Wharfedale Lintons w/ Sugden vs Yamaha vs Line Magnetic amps

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mahoganydeck, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Yes it sounds like it behaves like a SET amplifier and that is probably because it's the closest thing to a SET amplifier that SS gets - a kind of entry to SET amps without the hassle of dealing with tubes.

    Still I tend to agree with a prior poster that with a budget system it makes more sense to spend the most on a loudspeaker and worry about the amplifiers later. Amps can be bought quite cheap second hand - speakers tend to be more of a hassle to sell later. And speakers do have the most influence on the resulting sound in a room.

    So if I were ballparking the money of the overall system I would far rather a set of Audio Note AZ Three loudspeakers (94dB sensitive full range) speakers for $2500 and a preamp power amp combination from say a Trends Audio for less than $500 or maybe a little more expensive like a Schitt Audio Saga preamp ($400) and Trends Audio Class T amplifier (more than enough power for the AZ Three) or a second hand Rotel RB 1050 that I have which will easily drive the Lintons.

    The main issue as most of us round about imply is that the Linton may be a nice speaker but it is not a nice speaker for a low powered amplifier so basically the OP has a choice - buy a sensitive speaker to be able to take advantage of low power amps - or get off the idea of low powered amps and buy higher power. Square pegs into round holes don't work.

    I say AZ speakers but all the rage right now seems to be Tekton and Zu Audio - both of these will be much easier to find than the AZ Three - but i like the sound of the AZ Three more than Zu and for the same money and I have not heard Tekton - but I always gravitate to speakers that are easier to drive since then you can buy amplifiers for sound quality instead of watt quantity.

    Here is a little Project MaiA amp integrated for $500 - 25 watts and AZ Three speakers (outside) even class D is okay here.



    Not to be one note there is Zu Audio that only needs about 2 watts

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3_HIZeCmaE

    Omega loudspeakers

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZREQTBJk9f4
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  2. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    My feeling is at those prices (or even at lower prices for small stuff like cables) I would not want to buy ANYTHING without being able to return it for a reasonable restocking fee.
     
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  3. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Line Magnetic is definitely a legitimate brand they’ve just had some growing problems, for lack of a better term, I guess.

    I liked the Lintons. Just found them to need a very authoritative amp.

    I would agree with @head_unit . Speakers should be the starting point and where most of your money go unless you are sold on a specific speaker already.

    I will totally disagree about the need to turn solid state amps up “for clarity”. If anything a good SS amp gives you more clarity, more detail, and a lower noise floor than the best tube amps. Tube amps give you that harmonic distortion that is very pleasing and much like horn speakers they can give you a live venue feel at lower volumes. Of course that is with the sacrifice of clarity, low level detail and low noise floor, and dynamics and bass slam and bass extension. Everything in this hobby has trade offs. No mater what anyone says, no one type of speaker, amp, or system is perfect. It’s all about choosing what compromises are acceptable to you. I’ve gone back and forth between tube and solid state. Currently I am at the odd combo of solid state and horns.

    Not sure about speaker cost over there but I got to hear a pair of Fyne 501s and they were very nice. Really liked them and I preferred them over the Tannoy Revolution Series. A pair of those and the Rega Elex R or the a-s1200 would be pretty sweet. Plus they appear to be an easy load so they’d play nice with a tube amp.

    As for amps I personally prefer the Yamaha to the Rega. A Belles amp would probably be pretty pricey there but the Aria is a really nice amp. Surprised you didn’t mention Naim but not sure how expense they are there but I’ve not heard a Naim integrated that I didn’t like.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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  4. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    The problem with discussions like these is that people come from things with different experiences and experience levels.

    Clarity and noise floor are not the same things. I shall en-devour to explain what I am talking about better.

    John Marks formerly of Stereophile described a certain speaker as sounding like an "X-Ray" of the music he was listening to. No meat on the bone. That is the feeling I get with most all Solid State amplifiers regardless of price or how low their noise floor.

    So the example I provide here is a comparison with Bryston Separates (astonishingly low noise floor and measured performance) versus an 8 watt 300b SET amplifier which likely has at best middling numbers in terms of noise floor or distortion.

    Piano is played and the 300B SET (Audio Note Meishu) captures the piano in terms of tone, timbre, body, breadth, size, with the top notes present and alive and the bass full deep and rich. The Bryston rendered the piano, to use John Mark's words, as an X-Ray - the attack is there the shimmer the leading edge of everything is pronounced but it lacks the "meat." Oh it's clear and there is no noise black and white as all get out. like an X-Ray - the edge is vivid like a TV set to maximum brightness and maximum detail and maximum white and maximum black - it pops. It's an eyesore but it pops.

    So in order to get the meat on the bones of the music - I put the volume up to try and "fill in" the missing aspects of tone, timbre, body, ambiance that the SET amp had captured at 65-70dB. So we put the volume up on the Bryston to 75-80dB trying to get that meat filled in - to bring UP the timbre or the ambiance or the texture. It doesn't come to be. So the Bryston dealer who is also the Meishu dealer brings in other speakers that are more suitable to the Bryston's power band - Dynaudio (but I also tried PMC/Magnepan/B&W) at another dealer. The issue comes in that as we keep trying to fill in the missing meat - the volume dial has to increase and the volume level becomes uncomfortable to listen to for daily use and or the speakers begin to compress which then squashes their ability to recreate quality sound.

    This issue is fairly common for many speakers on the market and you constantly read it in reviews where the reviewer or forum audiophile will say "This speaker comes alive when you give them more power" - and that is a sign of a lack or resolution. It is also why so so SOOOOO many people get the idea that they need more and more and more watts. So they are listening to their PMC or B&W speakers with Bryston and it's not right - they're ears are picking up that X-Ray sound but they are not realizing what they are actually missing because every other system they hear does the same thing - oh the other system is Hegel and Legacy or Sim Audio and Paradigm or Classe and Dynaudio - it's all the same with the same problems. Whatever amp they bought isn't enough - so they go from the 150 watt model to the 250 watt model to the 350 watt model trying to get that Meat. And it's never coming because a 350 watt amp over a 175 watt amp is 3dB and so all that does is make the X-Ray louder.

    Noise floor is a separate thing - generally SS and CD has considerably lower noise floor than SET amps and Vinyl or R2R Tape - but the latter all tend to have vastly superior (if you have reasonably good ears) Resolution. Which is why Everyone who buys a SET amp and Vinyl these days have ALL owned expensive low noise floor SS and CD. This is not being bought as retro - it is being bought because people like myself who were sold hook, line, and sinker on SS measurements and who owned it, became flabbergasted quite frankly at how truly abysmal it sounds at reproducing basic harmonic structure and not making everything sound like an X-Ray. So yes Clarity of sorts when you gut all the meat out and just have the bone left over - you can see the white of the bone better. But that's all you got. Of course there are exceptions - but generally when tube amps struggle it is because they are under-powered for the room or the speakers or both. That can be fixed with a more efficient speaker. Nothing can fix Solid State. Exceptions being a handful of class A designs, but they are typically costly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
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  5. mahoganydeck

    mahoganydeck Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Interesting, I live in the UK but non of the Audio Note dealers show prices, I'd be interested to consider the option of getting AN speakers and a cheaper amp to be upgraded later. But then I'm losing even more focus in my decision making.
     
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  6. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Bwahaahha - don't even get people stared on Audio Note prices - their catalog is something like 200 pages long and they have over 150 products for sale and no marketing department so prices are largely dependent on the exchange rates. They run their business differently - they don't make 100 amps and send them out like a normal company. You go to a dealer and you listen. If you like the sound of it then you ask how much - they give you a price which is based in part on the current exchange rates. Then when you place your order that price is locked in.

    Then you wait 4 months (you may get it faster but prepare for 8 months no matter what they say because they have far more orders than they can actually make in any sort of fast time frame) and then you will get a call when it arrives. I have placed an order for the M6 Phono Balanced Preamp and I may be lucky because they sell boat loads of these amps in Hong Kong - it is the most popular preamp they sell here. So they ship regularly to Hong Kong - all they have to do is give me the face plate I want instead of the ones most of the Chinese buy. (I want black with gold knobs and they like Silver with silver knobs.

    Now there is some advantage to all of this and I suspect why it is far more popular in Asia and Europe where patience has its virtues. And that is you can order it the way you want it. So if you buy a $7,000 speaker from B&W you can walk out with it that day in a choice of 3-4 colours. AN will likely make you wait 2-3 months but then you can choose 1 of over 20 finishes and all of the RAL colours (like 300+ colours) . The other advantage is the AN K at $4,500 will sound better than the B&W at $7,000 so if you can wait you get a better speaker, that can be driven off of 7 watt amps in pretty much any finish or colour you want.

    You're in London you should go to the thread on Audio Note here (make popcorn because it's probably the biggest audio equipment related thread on this board). Strictly for fans of Audio Note UK..
    Generally, I would just e-mail Audio Note dealer directly - I had a price list years ago that they sent me for review purposes and it was like I say a pdf that went for close to 200 pages - and they have added to it since then.

    Here are their dealers in Great Britain. https://www.audionote.co.uk/great-britain

    They make very expensive products but there are a lot of wallet friendly items too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
  7. mahoganydeck

    mahoganydeck Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Thank you! I'll call them today
     
  8. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    A lot of what people hear as “detail” from tube amps and resonant speaker cabinets is indeed distortion. It may be a pleasant distortion but it’s distortion nonetheless. Some PMC speakers may not sound as pleasant as some AN models but they are more accurate to the source, for better or worse. The distortion found in the typical SET amp and filterless DAC lowers the overall system resolution to around 12 bits (even less in some cases), far less than CD quality. Again, a high-distortion system may be more enjoyable in many cases, but it shouldn’t be confused with clarity.
     
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  9. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    These last couple of posts have been very interesting to me. I currently have 8W SETs driving Triangle Titus speakers which have been modified with much better capacitors in the crossover. They may not be AN but that’s what I have. I also just bought a Parasound A 21 amp to drive my currently-owned Monitor Audio Silver 8 speakers. So I think I’ll have a good system to compare these aspects of sound reproduction.

    I can connect both amps to my Parasound P 7 preamp and then only turn on one amp/speaker chain at a time.

    I used to use the Silver 8s in a surround system that has been dismantled. My intent is to have both systems available so I can go back-and-forth. But secretly I’m hoping the A 21 / Silver 8 system surpasses the other so then I can pass my SETs and Tituses on to another music lover. I’ve used them for over 20 years and would like to think it’s time for a change.

    But maybe both will make equally or differently compelling music, maybe with different genres, so then I can have the best of both worlds.

    I guess if the SET system is the clear winner, I could sell the Parasound amp and S8 speakers and buy some AN gear. :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
  10. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Thing is, you might perceive the SET amp as being higher in resolution because our brains often hear the low, even-order harmonics as part of the music or an instrument’s inherent resonance. Where you can sometimes catch this is in the decay of guitar strums. The decay will often have a sort or warble to it. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s distortion because it mimics music and natural resonances so well.
     
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  11. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Location:
    Toronto
    And which models would that be? The only model I've seen where this occurred was because *I* brought this up and it's only for a single model which has since been replaced anyway with another model.

    Seems like a disservice to spread misinformation like this about a brand you don't have firsthand experience with.
     
  12. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I don't think *I* perceive the SET amp as being higher in resolution (but not lacking resolution either, which may certainly follow your thought process). I think AN (and Triangle) speaker enclosures are made with thin wood and little or no internal bracing? and hopefully/likely are 'tuned' to certain notes. Not certain about AN but Triangle (my Tituses anyway from 2002) uses single driver non-filtered/crossed over driver for bass/mid with a high (6kHz in the Titus) handoff to the tweeter. The bass/mid driver has no filtering whatsoever, and the tweeter a simple 2nd order high pass filter (and a level matching resistor). This is a similar approach to my other lusted-for Ref 3 MM DeCapos, which I should also probably consider sometime.

    I do augment (with passive or active high-pass filtered) low bass <50Hz with a sub on the Tituses. Need to figure out how to implement this in my proposed 'dual' system. Currently I have the balanced output of the P 7 feeding a KRK ERGO (which is then used single-ended and provides actively filtered signals to the 300B amps and sub). I want to use the balanced P 7 output to the A 21 but may use the single ended output instead for these initial experiments. I also only have one expensive pair of speaker cables ... so will have to swap around and see how things sound.
     
  13. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Wow you must post on a lot of forums. I’ve read about the confusion you had over which tubes were coming with which amp, the transformer hum you had on a couple of models. Then I think you were the one on this forum talking about a capacitor problem. Of course these problems were all over a few years. Oh and then there was the rumor about the company calling quits when the two brothers that ran it had some sort of dispute. Not to mention when I went to audition the phono stage the new one the dealer unpacked was noisy out of the box, but I think that was a similar transformer issue.

    Chill out man. Posting on this forum doesn’t really make anyone that consequential in the grand scheme of things in this hobby.

    Anyways I do believe my advice on Line Magnetic was to buy it from an AD as in avoid the grey market that lots of people seem to recommend these days, so he can have the support. They make nice stuff and I like their design and what they are aiming at, probably take another shot at listening to their phono stage but every time I’ve considered going with one of their products I’ve run into something that changed my mind.
     
  14. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Pretty much agree with what your saying. All I am stating is that for actually detail and resolution of what is in the recording you are better of with a nice solid state amp. That “tone” and “meat” are the very pleasing distortion products produced by most tube amps that can give everything a fuller more life like sound.

    As for golden ears. Well even if you prefer that full, fuzzy, Audio Note sound I’ll still give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you have good hearing ;)

    I mean I like their sound too. Just describe the reasons why differently.

    As for speakers coming alive with more power and volume well that’s that whole famous curve thing again. Only way to lessen that is to go with real efficient speaker designs.
     
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  15. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Location:
    Toronto
    You must be confusing me with someone else. I had a question about transformer hum which is normal in most cases for SET amps but since I wasn't aware of this, I needed to ask. The capacitor issue is a problem I discovered and signaled to others. There was no confusion about which tubes came from which amp so again, this must be another member you're referring to.

    That brother drama you're referring to is just behind-the-scenes stuff that is irrelevant. The company is still working perfectly fine so much ado about nothing.

    I am chilled, thank you. I merely believe it's best to not speak out of turn about products or companies you have no real knowledge about or experience with. That is why I stay out of any discussions pertaining to, for instance, Technics turntables. I know nothing about them so I won't bother to type what would most likely be misinformation and possibly steer someone in the wrong direction.
     
  16. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I was more or less doing this in the 1990s before I read the article or heard a SET amplifier - I grew up on CD and SS owning many in that decade. This is an article on Detail and Resolution and why many people mistake detail for what it really is. grain. It's fairly long Are You On The Road To... Audio Hell? Article By Leonard Norwitz And Peter Qvortrup

    When I refer to Tube amplifiers having meat it should be said it has the ability to playback the meat when it is on the recording - it also does NOT when it's not on the recording. So when I listen to ten recordings on Bryston Separates - I spent several days with it at home as well on more than one occasion - and if I play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Madonna Immaculate Collection, Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, AC/DC's Back in Black, Jakson Browne's Pretender, Miles Davis Kinda Blue, The YellowJackets Wildlife, etc - there is a sameness to all of these recordings - a leading edge on guitar that is the same a decay that is the same and a hollow presentation - in spit of the fact that ALL of these are recorded in different locations on different gear with different mastering engineers. Steve Hoffman can talk about this since he has mastered many of the greats that all of these recordings should not all sound the same.

    Incidentally it's why I don't buy Magnepans or Quads or Soundlabds etc - it all has a stamped on sound.

    The system should not make it sound the way you want it to sound - one recording should have a soundstage that is panoramic - the next album might be closed in or vague. One recording may be brash - the other warm or veiled or thick. My SS Rotel power amp and my SS Rotel Preamp that TAS raved about made it all sound like a sheen was on everything - Arcam made everything sound polite and dull. And at the dealer when he runs Sim Audio or Classe or Meridian it's a homogeneous presentation. The entire Meridian set-up with their digital speakers was the worst offender the store had (they dropped the line). So when I put on Chantel Chamberland's The Temptation it is sparkling clean but also denser and full ambiance - but with the new Outfield Play Deep print is fast tight clean open like a good rock album probably should be. On the SS amps I've had through the two albums are closer together sounding the Ambiance in Chamberland is lost and it sounds more like the Outfield LP and the Outfield LP is hotter and edgier. The difference of two very different recordings is less differentiated. Over time this is not enjoyable - both LPs are less enjoyable as a result. That is why everyone who goes to a SET amplifier of known quality came to the SET amplifier FROM the likes of (enter the name of SS amp here_______)
     
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  17. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    The Meridian digital setup I heard was probably the best sounding system Ive heard(note: I have not heard a lot of "high end systems", but I have heard Maggie 3.3R, Maggie 1.7i(both Maggies with 2nd best SVS sub), Goldenear 1, Goldenear Reference, Snell Type C, and own Carver Amazing Silver Mk4). I also feel digispeakers are the future (present) of best sound. are you ready for High Definition Audio?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
  18. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Some can argue against objective science until their ears bleed but the reality is that SETs do indeed alter the original recording more than good SS. The reality is that many recordings have a sameness thanks to the processing and digitization.

    What one might perceive as recording differences when listening to a tube amp is actually how the tube distortion differently effects every frequency in a recording, adding to some while nullifying others.
     
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  19. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I kind of agree with what you say because there is some truth to it, but I think it's a lot more subtle than how you portray, which sounds like "SS bad; Tubes great", or "SS = bare bones from KFC chicken; Tubes = Ruth's Chris Filet Mignon". Please, nobody post about how Ruth's Chris is overrated or something like that. :laugh:

    I actually just had a shootout with all of my audio gear as I'm whittling things down and selling off the excess, so I compared 8 different systems over a couple of days (3 amps, 4 pairs of speakers, in different configurations). I might start a thread about it, as I took notes on each and kind of fleshed out my thoughts. It was a very interesting process that really highlighted for me the importance of synergy and component matching, something I think we all intrinsically know but it really clicks when you map things out. Anyways, it was all SS amps (Classé, Naim, Sugden) and none of them lacked meat on the bones, or the ability to reveal subtle tonal shadings, though of course they had different amounts of meat and yes, probably not as much as a SET/HE system. That is a decision each listener must make - how much meat on the bones do I want? I feel like some systems that are revered for tone, timbre, and body, maybe, just maaaayyyybe, exaggerate this. I mean, I haven't ever heard anyone complain that there is too much tone, timbre or body coming from a system. People assume that if System B has more of it than System A, System B must be better. But, if you keep adding something, there must be a point where it's too much (if you are striving sound that sounds real).

    My impression is that SS amps have made a lot of progress over the decades, and no doubt their designers have strived to make them sound more like tubes, just as CD player designers have strived to make their products sound more analog. And they have largely succeeded in this regard.

    Stop listening to Bryston, Richard. :p Honestly, I know you posted about getting a powerful SS amp to help you with reviews. Not sure how that is going but there are better options, if you want a more natural sounding amp.

    Thin, hollow, bare bones is not how I'd characterize the sound I heard at all, and different albums indeed do sound different. That is not to say that these amps didn't have a homogenizing effect. Everything has a sound, and some systems that I listened to homogenized the sound more than others. It was an issue that bothered me with two of the speakers I had but not with the other two.

    Also, there is turning up volume to fill in something that is missing, which is obviously a sign that something is wrong. I doubt anyone would end up enjoying such a system, because there will be something missing until the system is playing loud enough, but by then there will be the need to turn down the volume due to fatigue, or the speaker hitting it's limits. But there is also turning up the volume because you like what you hear, and you can turn it up (still at reasonable levels) without suffering from any fatigue or speaker compression. That is a pretty good indication that you've got a solid system.
     
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  20. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    "less is more" or "meat on the bones"?

    Which camp do you fall into? :)

    Forte Model 3(or Innersound monos) = Less is More
    Kyocera A-910(or Luxman M120a) = Meat on the bones
    As far as Im concerned 6 of one/half a dozen of the other.

    I fully agree on the system synergy thing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
  21. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Couple of things. Most SS amplifier measurements are taken after the negative feedback has been engaged - so the input isn't really the input. The fact that the output and the processed input match up on the graph isn't telling you much. It's like a photograph of a Halle Berry - someone airbrushes the hell out of it. They then send that altered copy to the printer who makes enlarged prints - oh wow look how it matches the picture they were given. See they both measure the same - only the real picture isn't being seen - a doctored copy of a doctored copy align big deal.

    Tube distortion only occurs when it is pushed - you don't seem to understand that tube amps and SS amps are measured at near full power - so when a tube amp shows 1% THD or that it "warbles" at 80hz that is occurring at near full level. Tube amp distortion is linear - SS amp distortion is more U shaped. SS amps measure well in the middle of their power band they are terrible at fractions of watts and they are terrible when pushed above their rating.


    My OTO is an example - There is no distortion up to 4.2 watts per channel (per Hi Fi Choice magazine's measurements). The amp will then distort the more it gets pushed. That is why it is a woefully impractical amplifier for so many speakers because it will almost always be pushed into distortion - it may be "pleasing distortion" which is better than the unpleasing kind but it requires high efficiency speakers so that you don't go past 5 watts. Indeed, it uses some feedback as well to be able to control some tougher speakers. Having said that the OTO is hardly representative of what I am talking about since it is arguably the most "stereotypical" tubey sounding amplifier that AN makes outside of the I-Zero. These two are the most homogeneous sounding of their amps as they don't have the resolution so they tend to favour the Chantal Chamberland music over the The Outfield music - they soften it up a little. But that's okay because that's what people want when they buy these sorts of amps.

    But let's assume the objectivist is correct and they want to tout SS measurements as the be all and end all - here - that's fine (I have such amplifiers myself so I know) - they always lose Blind Level Matched auditions to amplifiers like the OTO, the Radford, The Sugden A21a as Hi-Fi Choice and Stereophile's Martin Colloms have demonstrated over the decades. So they brought in the SS engineers and brought in their own SS amplifiers and all of them chose the tube amp with low/no feedback. That is kind funny but also sad that they are charging $3000 for amplifiers that they themselves didn't like as much as a $100 tube amp. This is also why most of the SS amplifiers who make many different amplifier designs - their best sounding top of the line amplifiers are their class A amps. Some of these guys eventually figure it out. In spite of the fact that their Class A SS amp almost never measure as well. Nelson Pass Sit amps don't measure as well - they make music sound like music more than their Pass Labs 200 watt beasties.

    I will not disagree with you - Measurements being used show what they show - SS has better measurements. They don't sound better and they do not represent music better. That is why everyone who has decent ears sells their SS for SET. Not the other way around.
     
  22. lonelysea

    lonelysea Drunk Posting Never

    Location:
    Twin Peaks, WA
    Gorts, please change the title of this thread to
    Wharfedale Lintons w/ Sugden vs Yamaha vs Line Magnetic vs Audio Note UK amps
    Thanks.



     
  23. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Good point that yes I get my overly anal hat out sometimes that makes people think I believe more strongly about a position than I actually do. This is the way we are taught to write in University - persuasive writing requires a certain fortitude. So I end up arguing at the extreme ends of the scale and so I look back and I come across as SET is the best and everything else is sheer rubbish. I almost persuade myself when in fact I listen to SS amplifiers every single day because it is connected to my television! So rubbish it ain't but it's rubbish when I put the hat on. The reality is most of the arguments are moot since most folks do not have the time or the money for the kinds of SET amps I am talking about or have actually done the listening to such systems over periods of time.

    I am fortunate that in Hong Kong I can pretty much listen to most everything minutes apart and to most of the companies' best equipment and often. It's not dissimilar to TV's where yes if you compare the Sony and the Samsung side by side and they are both set-up perfectly you may like one or the other but in reality - if you didn't do a direct comparison - you probably wouldn't care all that much and both would be more than fine.

    In the end most analogies that can be made are mere tips of the iceberg. My use of the word meat can be taken not quite the way I mean it so I had to then come back and say when the meat is present on the recording I want the meat and when it's not on the recording I want the bone. There are stereotypical tube amps that always add meat to recordings when the recording only has bone and they will add more meat to a meatier recording. Thus in this amplifier's case it is adding it's own sonic signature (distortion), thickness, a veil whatever word one wishes to use to recordings - hence why Tube amplifiers have the stereotype of being "warm" and why so many people add a tube to their system to get some warmth or meat. I find this presentation to be superior to the opposite - the X-Ray amplifier that misses the meat that is on the recording and shines very brightly (nauseatingly so) on recordings that are bone only to begin with - but neither amp is actually what I am talking about.

    There is no real accuracy in audio 5+5 = 10 and that is it - there is no other answer that is correct and so while one amp may get you an 8 and an other a 12 neither is accurate - and amps - even mediocre measuring ones - are vastly more accurate than any loudspeaker.

    So yes system synergy comes into play - the Amp that is 5+5=7 and the speaker that is 5+5=12 gets you 10+10=19 which is closer to absolute accuracy than either was on their own. Anyway - it's all kind of fun but in the end when I want to put real money down - I have yet to find a good SS amplifier that ultimately ticks the boxes for me.
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  24. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    You will need to add
    post number 5 - "Other amps I’d consider are the Rega Elicit-R, Roksan K3 or Belles Aria."

    Post number 18: "Another amp I like is the Rega Elex-R"

    PN #19: I listened to the Lintons quite a bit at Audio Element and they are really great for what they are and at a very fair price...but they are not in the same league as say the Focal 936

    PN #20 "What about a (British) Croft Integrated?"

    PN # 28 "Not sure about speaker cost over there but I got to hear a pair of Fyne 501s and they were very nice...A pair of those and the Rega Elex R or the a-s1200 would be pretty sweet."


    Richard's posts:

    #16 You could pick up a pretty competent power amp from Rega, Rotel, Arcam for relative peanuts and then mate {sic] it to a good preamp such as Audio Note M-Zero or M1.
    #16 you can buy older Sugden pre/pro units for peanuts. $350 for a Sugden A48B

    #26 I would far rather a set of Audio Note AZ Three loudspeakers (94dB sensitive full range) speakers for $2500 and a preamp power amp combination from say a Trends Audio for less than $500 or maybe a little more expensive like a Schitt Audio Saga preamp ($400) and Trends Audio Class T amplifier (more than enough power for the AZ Three) or a second hand Rotel RB 1050...

    #26 I say AZ speakers but all the rage right now seems to be Tekton and Zu Audio.... I always gravitate to speakers that are easier to drive .../... Project MaiA amp integrated for $500 - 25 watts ... /... Omega loudspeakers

    THEN - the discussion moved from SS amps are more accurate than tubes - and a few posts began down that pit.

    So to the OP I answered his question directly with my preference:
    LM SET amplifier and Sugden A21 best
    LM PP amplifier second
    Yamaha last.


    As the discussion moved on here is a complete list of the brands I have recommended so far:
    Audio Note preamp M-Zero or M-One (or something like them so basically any second hand $1500ish tube preamp)
    Rega,
    Rotel
    Arcam
    ProJect
    Trends Audio
    Schitt Audio
    Sugden
    Line Magnetic
    Audio Note AZ Three speakers
    Tekton
    Zu Audio
    Omega Loudspeakers



    I may have missed it but has anyone else here in this thread recommended more brands and models to the OP so far than me?

    Lonelysea's typical contribution on the Steve Hoffman forums is - drum-roll please........ ?
     
    jonwoody likes this.
  25. mahoganydeck

    mahoganydeck Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Not 100% related to the products per se, but had a call with a UK AN distributor, and must say, it was the least pushy, most music/experience-focused conversation I've had with a seller.
    Other sellers I talk to seem to either try and shove products down my throat, or it's simply clear they are sales people without actual interest in music. I personally don't care much about reviews and words and measurements, I'm a musician. Distortion is just a word on a screen, or more correctly, some pixels which are light patterns that hit my retina. Same goes for numbers. If it gives me sonic pleasure, I don't really care how it's done and what is said about it or how it measured.

    Secondary features which I personally care about is brand ethos and product design- I ask questions like: is it made locally? are there real people behind the product? do they care about me as a customer and about their own products? are they abusing people or the environment in the process of production? do they really care to help me find the best system for *me*, even if it means they may not get as much money? Is there an appreciation to the fact that besides the sound they also deliver an object which takes space in a room and is not purely utilitarian but also something people touch and look at? On the other hand, do they sacrifice sound for good looks?

    When I was in japan I enjoyed sitting in Audiophile cafes and clubs, they had a lot of Shindos, McIntosh, Altec Lansings - these were the times when I really enjoyed a listening experience. My intuition tells me that buying a Yamaha over the phone from a 20 year-old sales-person who most likely spends most of his time listening to insanely compressed pop music out of his iPhone speakers is less likely to lead me in the direction of my Japan experience, than the AN seller who enjoyed talking to me about music and said that before we talk about anything I should just come and listen to see if I'm even interested, and they pick up customers from the train station (they also stock Klipsch, Puresound and more). Maybe my intuition is wrong, and of course I'd probably have to wait a few more months to save an extra 1k, but it seems like this is the right direction *for me* and it's worth it.

    I've also convinced my local HiFi shop to get the Lintons so I can test them with the Sugden and hear for myself. I have decided that there is no way I will spend this money on a system without listening to it first, no matter what I read online. So thanks for the discussion, it's very interesting as an intellectual game, but I think it's easy to forget we, (or at least me) are doing it for the pleasure of listening and not the other way around.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
    jonwoody and IRG like this.

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