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Wharfedale Lintons w/ Sugden vs Yamaha vs Line Magnetic amps

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

  1. Ilusndweller

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

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    I didnt think you were recommending Arcam pres ("polite and dull").

    You hurt my feelings (C30), but I feel much better now. :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    People often lament a lack of good dealers these days and I think the ones who have a better chance of sticking around are the ones who actually like music and want to create a customer for life over selling something today 45 seconds into the conversation. And the dealers who can sell quality products and demonstrate the gear properly help matters greatly. First it helps to hear stuff properly so when I go to the Audio Note/Einstein/Roksan/Rogers dealer I get to listen in a room like this - excuse my knee - I ended up buying the little AX Two speakers a week later. Having $100,000+ worth of gear attached to them does put them in the best possible light but then they care enough to bother.

    [​IMG]

    Or I can listen to major brands in a room like this where everything sounds absolutely awful but "hey this is 25% off - what a deal you should buy today - it won't be hear next week." All of this is just manufacturers trying to move as many boxes as is humanly possible.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway - in the end you just have to try and listen for yourself in the best spaces you can and find the stuff you like.

    I don't talk too much about the intangibles you mention - locally made, environmental factors, family business, people who listen to actual music. On another forum there is a manufacturer of 2 channel music that spends 95% of his posts talking about movies. Not to get onto the maudlin track but yes if things come to down to A and B and the sound is close but A is made by a local family business over B a corporation that makes stuff in China - I am going with A. Especially if the second hand market actually values A in 10 years where B is becomes virtually worthless.

    And it tends to happen that the smaller guys out there do tend to offer up better sounding gear or at least some interesting take on things.
    I would look up AV Showrooms and Peter Bruninger (former reviewer at Stereophile and TAS) who does company profiles. I wasn't going to post this here because people always whine but I can't find it in the 184 page AN thread but here is the factory tour with the owner and his daughter who is rumored to be taking over the company when PQ retires. He is 70 after all. So if this sort of hand built (including the parts) stuff matters and speakers being hand made by a father and son in a stream powered green plant in Austria then they have some intangibles over heavy polluting mega corps.

     
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  3. Helom

    Helom DavidR’s man crush

    Location:
    U.S.
    I'm not arguing that tube amps don't sound better than SS in many cases, just that they're not more accurate to the source, which is an unequivocal fact.

    Regarding distortion, the curveof SS distortion is irrelevant in many cases since its highest levels within the powerband are often lower than that of the minimum distortion of a tube amp (concerning a competent SS design).

    Regarding negative feedback, well, that argument doesn't hold water either. Here's a good primer on the subject and why negative feedback isn't responsible for poor sound in amplifiers:
    Is Too Much Amplifier Negative Feedback Bad?
     
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  4. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    That link isn't terribly insightful.

    I do find it funny that the example is with a 2 channel Rotel that spanked a Pioneer - "Rotel 2CH amplifier with a much higher distortion rating. The Rotel absolutely spanked the internal amplifiers of my Pioneer." He noted the Pionner had very low distortion .008THD

    Well I too had a Pioneer Elite and brought home a Bryston which also spanked the Pioneer. Both are SS amplifiers however and both have higher than needed damping factors (which equals high negative feedback). The Bryston had marginally higher THD specs but no human could detect so that doesn;t seem to be the issue. Rotel may also have higher distortion but so what? It is still under 0.02%

    While the Bryston and my Rotel spanked my Flagship Pioneer Elite - neither of the power amps sound "good"

    My Rotel has a DF of over 500 and thus high negative feedback. Three reasons I have it still is One - it's basically worthless on the second hand market. Two - I might be able to use it in a H/T system to reproduce car crashes. Three, I can be on a discussion forum like this one and can say to you that yes I have what is deemed to be an "accurate" amplifier. So the readership knows that indeed, I have an accurate SS amplifier that measures good on hand so I am not in tube La La land.

    The Rotel is an unlistenable tinny fatiguing steaming pile of ca-ca, but hey it's more "accurate to the source disc." The good thing is that "accurate to the source disc" (with unlistenable music playback) we can all buy on the second hand market for $200 or so. So one can have the comfort of knowing they have "accuracy" to win arguments on forums. I too have such an amp so I get to win the accuracy debate as well :)

    "I'm not arguing that tube amps don't sound better..."

    Sounding better (which means sounding more "real" and more "correct") is the only thing that actually matters. So if A sounds more accurate than B, but B is technically more accurate than A - then A is the thing to buy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
  5. Helom

    Helom DavidR’s man crush

    Location:
    U.S.
    The article lays out the technical reasons for why negative feedback does not alter the original signal to any significant extent and why it’s not responsible for the poor sounding amps that gave negative feedback its undeserved reputation. Damping factor gives an amp the ability to stop the woofer from overreacting. If you understand the science behind the principle than you’ll realize it’s not detrimental to accuracy but actually helpful. A lot of the bass “texture” people perceive when listening to a tube amp is actually the amp’s inability to keep control of the woofer and rebound effects.

    You might struggle to detect the artifacts present in most tube amps but I don’t. A tube amp might sound more “live” but that’s still a consequence of non-linear frequency response and distortion artifacts. Again, I’m not claiming it cannot sound great, but it’s not accuracy. It’s sort of like claiming polarized sunglasses are more accurate when in fact they’re less-so than standard lenses. The polarized lenses may seem to give better detail but it’s an illusion. The reality is boring by comparison. Same sort of phenomenon applies to many instances of tubes vs SS.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  6. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    My experience is the same. I do love what great tube amps can bring to the table, but I find it's always possible to detect their (subtle) timbrally pleasing and/or spatially enhancing distortions. At least in long term listening. "The truth" it ain't, even if it may be incredibly succesful at presenting a more satisfying, lifelike musical picture than a technically-accurate ss amp.

    I like your 'polaroid' analogy, and it's familiar to me as it's one I have sometimes thought about when enjoying my Harbeth SHL5 (older version). Something about their relaxed tonality combined with lots of resolution, I guess.
     
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  7. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Audio Note definitely has a well constructed allure and presence in the high end community but I found it to be built more on a sales technique than a product. So I’d be wary of that rabbit whole. Their amps and speakers are nice but ultimately not really based on current engineering principles or science. Lots of great gear that isn’t though. So it really depends on the sound you’re looking for. I’ve been to some of the HiFi cafes and some truly amazing shops in Tokyo and Osaka. The best way to get there IMO is through a little diligent work on your own and by tuning out the opinions of most salesman.

    Also all the systems I heard and saw in Japan were decidedly un Audio Note. Big horns, big drivers and power (big tube amps or solid state, nothing single ended) seemed to be behind most of what I saw. I always thought they had a rather unique sound. Then one day I was listening to Andrew Jones on a podcast talking about his views on design and working with Pioneer and TAD. When talking about speakers he made the interesting statement that basically came down to different cultures place different values on sound qualities. The Western Europe and American markets place their top priority on tone and a certain richness where the Japanese market places theirs on things like impact and dynamics. There’s always outliers but I found that interesting.
     
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  8. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Nice set up! Those are carver speakers? They look like Apogee? What kind of drivers?
     
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  9. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Actually I don't like "most tube amps" because I detect a lot of problems with them as well. In fact all amplifiers I audition have various issues. Tube amps tend to be quite easy - simply changing tubes will yield quite readily noticeable differences - that's why people enjoy tube rolling. Of course some people not all people can hear why SS sounds so poor. The issue is comparing what to what in the same system. Plenty of lousy tube amps that lose to plenty of SS amps. We have not heard the same systems in the same rooms so the discussion on what we are hearing is somewhat pointless wouldn't you say? It is entirely possible that you like a given amp in a given system in a given room - I hear the same amp but in a different system in a different room and hate it. And it may be the case that if I was sitting beside you when you loved the amp - I may too - and if you sat with me and heard what I heard you might hate it as well.

    I have heard amps and speakers that I quite like that have also sounded rather terrible in different rooms/systems. I often point to MBL and YG Acoustics that I felt were awful at one show and at the next show - I placed them 1-2 best sounding. Audio Note which I own was pretty mediocre (to be diplomatic) and were utterly trounced by MBL and YG Acoustics. If I had only been to that one show then my system and view of audio may be quite different.

    Tube amplifiers vary dramatically within brand let alone across brands. They further vary dramatically with what they are connected to. That variance is less so with SS. So if I run my Rotel on my AN speakers or my old KEF speakers or my Tannoy speakers or my Wharfedale speakers it will not have the variance that my KingKo or OTO will have because tubes do not like varying impedance - these amps will suck donkey balls on the KEF and my Tannoy. The Rotel will be "better" and since I don't think much of my Rotel then the tube amps will be truly appalling!

    This is a major reason why I try to audition gear in a number of locations and with a number of systems that are actually designed for each other.

    Lastly - I believe most audio arguments over preference items exist because no one on these boards actually hear the same systems in the same rooms at the same volume with the same music. So when I hear a speaker and say - it lacks cohesion - well that is after three auditions in three rooms with three systems - I try. Now it is still very possible that in all three of those systems the speaker was never the problem - it could be a coincidence that all three times the three amplifiers were the problem. My fourth audition or seventh audition may yield superb results. I mean there was a poster on Audioasylum who went to half a dozen or more audio shows and we come onto one of my threads and tell me how lousy Audio Note sounded - lol. He even wrote to dagogo on a Jack Roberts review to state how crappy the speakers were.

    Then one day he went to a show that Warren Jarret presented and which had my 2a3 amps running them - he brought his usual Chet Baker LP and boom - best sound he ever heard at any show. I give the guy credit - he didn't give up after one or two auditions. This is why I keep listening to SS amps and I keep listening to electrostats and planars and computer based audio. There are tube types I don't much like and solid state amps I don't much like, but I keep listening to them hoping to find stellar examples of them. And when I find ones, like the Pureaudio One integrated, I get excited because finally something did it for me. Jack Roberts who was in the room with me at the same time listening to the same music also loved it - he reviewed it and wound up buying the amplifier (I considered it rather a lot as well). We are both generally tube guys. So us old dogs can learn new tricks.
     
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  10. mahoganydeck

    mahoganydeck Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Interesting! so for that impact / dynamics big sound you are talking about - what would be a few equipment examples for say £4k?
     
  11. Ilusndweller

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

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Thanks! They are Carver Amazing Silver MK4(last and supposedly best version). I got them from the original owner (purchased in 92) who replaced the (needed new surrounds) 3, 12s. They are open baffle, ribbons are dipole as well, and there is a "sock" covering the woofers. He replaced the woofers with Simply Sound replacements a couple years ago and said he could not tell a difference.
    Carver Amazing Factory Replacement Speaker, Amazing, Silver, 618-003 00, 618-00002-00, W-1220

    These are getting 750W (Innersound iPower 750 and Innersound ESL 800) and they eat it up(83 dB sensitivity). When I listen to my Schoeps CMXY-4V masters they transform my listening room into the venue.

    They also compleeeeetely school my previous B&W CDM-1SE with dual subs. To the point where I am now again open to the idea that interconnects can make a difference in sound. Only thing is all my my "high end"interconnects were recently stolen ($150ish, I sold my higher dollar interconnects in 2001 when I stopped taping since I bought them to record with) so I can't test this out.
     
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  12. Helom

    Helom DavidR’s man crush

    Location:
    U.S.
    Fair enough.
     
  13. IRG

    IRG Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    Interesting discussion chaps. And it didn't delve into naming calling either, well done! I know I learned a lot, hope the OP did too, although whether he's more confused now than before, is quite possible.
     
  14. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    All of the internet arguments usually wind up eventually getting to - "listen for yourself" cause you're the one who has to spend your cash and you're the one who has to listen to the thing.

    I have been looking at cars a lot lately (even though I am 6-7 years away I like to plan ahead) and one of the cars on my list is the Mazda Miata - but until I sit in it and drive it all I have is all the reviews to go by. But it is one of those "you have to experience it" kind of cars judging by all the commentary on it. But I have about 7 back-ups on my list that I also intend to try out. And each have their various strengths. I intend to buy it second hand so doing the research now means that in 2027 when I see a 2020 I will say - ahh yes this one has this problem or this one was reviewed quite favourably etc.

    And with cars people choose them based on different criteria for their needs. For me I like that the Miata has been a perennial prized car for its top tier reliability (and since they are driven very hard and taken to tracks when they score number one in this regard it means more than some granny driving a Corolla). 35mpg is pretty sick for a sporty car and the RF helps in British Columbia weather. But at 53 I may not want to be sitting on the ground. So while it has it's pluses maybe it will bug me - Bose sound out of the headrests ... shudder. LOL. But I am not looking for a track car or even its handling or fun factor. People can look at the same exact car and buy it for very different reasons. Me I like reliability, gas mileage - love the look of the ND models - and I like it for the turning radius ease of parking in my garage or wherever. I'd probably also buy the automatic. Car guys of course hate automatic transmissions and they hate it even more in the Miata because "you buy a sports car for rowing etc etc" and those are valid reasons to buy it but they sell almost half of them in automatic so there are folks like me who just want a reliable, cheap to maintain and fix, cool looking car to putter around a relatively small town that has some fun elements.

    It's not that dissimilar to audio. A lot of folks have to buy gear that will fit in with the WAF and home decor. Perhaps they choose an amp or speaker based on a cool design or a cool look or just to get a particular sound. Tube rolling guitar amps (or home amps) are done for this very purpose. The use of any sort of tone controls to capture the presentation your ears say is correct.

    Consider all of the speaker manufacturers - speakers have far more differences than do amps. Ask the qualified degree holding engineers at all these companies what the correct sound is and what do you get? Horns, Transmission Lines, Omni-Directionals, Single Drivers, Line arrays, damped cabinets, undamped cabinets, sub satellite, large, small, open baffle, ribbons, electrostatic transducers, various hybrids of all of these, and then within those designs they use silk dome fabric, Titanium, Hemp, Paper, Kevlar, various plastics (polypropylene), Beryllium, Diamond, various combinations of these materials materials. It's rather amazing at the sheer lack of consensus.
     
  15. IRG

    IRG Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    I like the Miata too, but would def want the stick, and for the most part, I’m not a manual fan anymore. I had an old Audi S4000 I bought for grad school that was stick, cost $1500, very used, sold it 4 years later for $500 - super cheap transportation. Nearly everything on it was broken when I traded it in. Never did get the Miata, got a Toyota Tacoma 4 door 4x4 pickup truck and absolutely love it. Complete opposite of a Miata. But the 4wd is great in winter (you park Miatas in the winter here), and I actually use the bed a lot for home projects. They hold their value so well that my lease was cheaper than my previous Honda Civic. Gas mileage, not so great but trade offs just like SS vs tube.

    My kid wants me to get a Tesla Cybertruck next. We’ll see, if you can ever find one. I’m at least interested in a hybrid truck next. Is that like HYBRID class d amp with a tube preamp? Or maybe a class a power amp and a tube preamp. Now put put it in a sharp looking, affordable package.
     
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  16. Ilusndweller

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

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    There are some nice trout below the falls (far side) just up from Beebe Lake. And some big smallies below Ithaca Falls when the water is UP. #11 countdown rapalas in rainbow trout. Creek House used to have awesome wings.
     
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  17. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Yeah, I've debated DF with people on here. Doesn't make sense to me the argument that a high DF leads to unnatural bass. The amp controls the woofer based on the signal it gets. If all the stuff that audiophiles like is on the source - tone, natural decay, ambiance, scale, body, etc. - then that is part of the signal. Any amp that has great control will not just stop a note before it's natural decay if the decay is picked up in the recording and is fed to the amp. It will continue to control the woofer so that it vibrates and produces that decay. And it will do that very well. Back to my point, that maybe systems that exaggerate these things are what people like. They hear what is in real music in such a system, yes, but it's exaggerated. But since it's there in greater quantity people believe it to be more accurate. Kind of like the sky is blue, so a picture with a bluer sky must be more like reality. Well, of course not. There is a correct amount of blue, just as there is a correct amount of body, texture, decay, etc.

    Then again, there may be something common to high DF amps that makes them tend to sound poor (if that is the reality). But I don't think it's the DF itself. I think high DF is a plus, in and of itself. Hard for me to test, as all the amps I have, even though I have SS only currently, have low DFs (I believe Sugden and Classé are about 35-40, Naim about 20-25). I'm curious what an amp over 1,000 would sound like, but of course DF would be just one of many differences. And I'm aware that DFs above something like 10 or 20 are all any amp needs to control a woofer.

    Agree with Richard though that it all comes down to listening. You just have to listen for yourself and determine what sounds most pleasing to you. Music reproduction has many facets to it - tone, macro and micro dynamics, detail, slam, coherency, imaging, transparency, resolution, and on and on - I think most of us value all of these things, just in different quantities. And just because I listen to SS, and I doubt I will move back to tubes (power amp only) again, does not mean I would tolerate a system that made every drum hit sound the same, that didn't let me hear the resonating body of an acoustic guitar, or the fine decay of piano and cymbals, or that highlights the acoustic space a performance took place in. I think SS into mid-efficiency speakers can provide all of this, and it's not correct to suggest it's only possible with tubes + HE speakers.
     
  18. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    The natural choice if you are looking to get some of that sound into your house would be the JBL l82 and a a decently powered tube amp like the Icon Stereo 25 or one of the line magnetic KT88 amps. Tons of people will talk crap about the KT88 but honestly it’s not a big difference in sound, especially on the Line Magnetic amps. Lots of synergy and all that in that combo. It’s probably maxing out your price limit. If you are looking for a complete system for that price add a Rega P3 and Exact and Rega phono stage to start and buy as much of it as you can used. If I was doing that system I’d eventually add a Bluesound Node 2i and call it quits. I’d just grab either some nicely made Belden or Mogami cables.

    The l82 is a sweet speaker and easy to drive and has great bass response and dynamics and would pair very well with some tubes.
     
  19. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    That sounds like an awesome system. I loved the Apogee Stages, similar design i think. Congrats.
     
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  20. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I have not driven (other than a 2 day rental) in the last 9 years so I am likely to stick to an automatic since I've always driven automatic. So the Miata is less desirable but the new ones are supposed to be vastly better than old ones. The practical side of me leans more to something like the new Kia Stinger. But they make upgrades from time to time to time so we shall see what happens. If Tesla could ever get their door to line up with the frame and could resolve their endless QC problems and failures I may be interested. I also want to make sure that you can drive the car when the screen fails. And you know the screen is going to fail. As one reviewer who compared the Toyota RAV Prime to the Tesla crossover - Tesla is a tech company trying to be a car maker and Toyota is a car maker trying to be a tech maker. As i listened I thought - yes but the point is to buy a car right? I mean the main purpose is to get from A to B. If I drive from Seattle to New York or BC to Toronto and my car breaks down in a small town - I know the autoparts place will likely have parts for a Toyota - good luck with Tesla. I think Tesla will get there eventually but in the here and now I would wait until they get the kinks out. Now when I am ready to buy in a few years - who knows.

    But as an audiophile - Tesla did really poorly on sound quality so it kind of kills it for me. One of my favourite car reviewers on the Tesla (sound quality starts at 3 and 24 minutes)
     
  21. mahoganydeck

    mahoganydeck Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    I've actually tried this exact combo- the JBLs + Icon, and it sounded very muddy and unengaging to me, that's the demo session when I also listened to the Sugden with these JBLs and enjoyed it more. A Prima Luna was also demonstrated which I found very harsh and biting. For this sort of sound, how about something like a pair of Klipsch Heritage say Heresy or Forte + a Puresound A10?
     
  22. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    If you found the l82 muddy try the Heresy 4 with the line magnetic. I’ve not heard anything by Puresound.

    Personally I’ve moved away from tubes for the better bass, clarity, and maintenance free aspect. I still have a restored Fisher 500c and a small EL84 SEP (SETs have never really done it for me) amp from a boutique manufacturer that I can rotate in for fun once in awhile. But if you want to stick with tubes I’d try the Line Magnetic KT88, It isn’t muddy sounding at all but it does have that tube signature, which might not be your bag.

    The limited exposure that I’ve had with the Icon I’d say it’s a little more linear than the line magnetic. So if you don’t like the line magnetic with the Klipsch and you are looking for a little more openness and sparkle try changing up your output tubes and try a tube amp with EL84s with the Heresy.

    The Forte 3 are my least favorite of the 3 new Klipsch and if you found the JBL l82 muddy I’d move on to the Heresy. Or you might just be a solid state guy. The Klipsch work great with Sugden. I tried an older A21, and a Belles Aria with my Cornwalls and enjoyed them both.

    Ultimately I picked the Yamaha a-s2100 because it just plain rocked better. Better extension, clarity, bass response. Also the Yamaha, while being very linear in measurements sounds a tiny bit more foreword in the mids, which I lik, all the while still being incredibly smooth and musical.

    Another speaker you could add to an audition list is the Dynaudio Special 40. They’ve a pretty unique sound but are very room dependent and can get a little boomy if too close to room boundaries.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
  23. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Also give whatever you decide on, especially speakers a good home demo. A lot of speaker muddiness is usually caused by positioning or room problems.
     
  24. mahoganydeck

    mahoganydeck Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    That's good advice, yes I'm a bit worried about the tube amp becoming a liability in terms of maintenance. It would be funny I would do a 360 back to the Yamaha + Linton combo.
    For instance, one of my favourite combos was a Klipsch La Scala + McIntosh, really enjoyed the sound, so something in that general direction would be nice.
    Btw, I think you've mentioned that you think AN is a lot about sales/marketing - would you mind elaborating a bit?
     
  25. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    I’ve always found McIntosh to have a pretty unique sound. You can get close to it with some of the upper end Marantz. What can you get a Parasound Hint6 for over there? Definitely worth a listen. The new Marantz Model 30 would be another good one to check out. Haven’t heard it yet but I would like to. Then there’s Hegel. I really enjoy their amps. Check out the H90 or H120. Closer to the McIntosh sound than the Yamaha. I found Hegel to really play well with Dynaudio. I also found all of those to work well with my Cornwall.

    Audio Note makes some interesting gear but their almost cloistered fan base and business model can be a bit ridiculous. They put a lot of money into more costly parts and not so much into the engineering end. They are basically a boutique brand that hit the big time and kept the boutique practices, the good and the bad. You can’t find readily available prices on their gear because they want you to get the full sales pitch and hear all about their upgrade path and everything else. In some circles the brand is a sacred cow. Once you open up their gear and really get a look you’ll find it almost always measures poorly and the actual build quality, not parts quality, is not so great. That said compared to a lot of the boutique brands they are definitely at the top but silver hookup wire will only get you so far. Their mark up at least in the U.S. reflects their successful marketing as much as it does the manufacturing and distribution costs. In other words it’s nuts.

    It does however have a middle of the road tube like sound, smooth, warm but not overly lush, with decent extension. The speakers have nice, furniture grade veneers and the external fit and finish of their gear is quite attractive. And the speakers. Well just about everyone my age was a fan of Snell Speakers. They were a quality speaker. Audio Note really has taken their designs to the next level. Their amps and speakers pair well together. Their gear is enjoyable but time has moved on. More modern designs can get you a lot closer to the actual live sound of music.

    I like vintage gear a lot and view Audio Note along the same lines. There is something almost intimate about a nice tube amp and a pair of high efficiency speakers. Though that only gets you so far. The Hegel and a pair of Special 40s can give you most of that intimacy and a much more dynamic, cleaner sound with great bass that will do justice to a lot more types of music.
     

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