Another noob looking for amp and speaker advice.

amplifiers, receivers and loudspeakers
Audionaut
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Re: Another noob looking for amp and speaker advice.

Post by Audionaut » 15 Mar 2019 17:24

There is a boutique audio store in my capital city I didn't realize this I'll visit as soon as possible. I'm totally overwhelmed and confused about amps so maybe that place can help.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Another noob looking for amp and speaker advice.

Post by JoeE SP9 » 15 Mar 2019 17:50

rm:
I don't agree with you on what to get first. I don't know where the only a tube amp thing came from. I still say choose the speakers first. Then buy whatever makes them sound their best. As for SS or tubes; I have no preference as my preamp is a hybrid while tubes drive my panels and SS drives my subwoofers.

You recommend Klipsch speakers. I don't like any of them. They give me instant ear fatigue. I'm not all that fond of most JBL's either. There are plenty of other popular speakers I don't think much of. That's why I always strongly suggest auditioning speakers before buying.

Not wanting to travel a little or make a big effort to audition speakers says to me you don't really care. In case anyone is curious, I live in Philadelphia and don't drive anymore. I've ridden the train to Washington DC, Wilmington Delaware and New York City to audition gear. None of those locations are "around the corner". When I travel to Washington DC it's always an overnight trip. NYC is ~90 miles (128Km) away. Wilmington DE is ~40 miles (63Km) away and Washington DC is 181 miles away (291Km). Perhaps if the trains here were faster a Wash. DC trip might be only a single day. For a NYC trip I catch a train a 5AM.

I should also mention that I'm not a big vintage fan. Many vintage lovers always push whatever their favorite vintage amp or TT is. I didn't want most "vintage" gear when it was new. Having never used or wanted a receiver makes me see things in a different light.

raphaelmabo
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Re: Another noob looking for amp and speaker advice.

Post by raphaelmabo » 15 Mar 2019 18:42

JoeE SP9 wrote:
15 Mar 2019 17:50
I don't agree with you on what to get first.
Then we can agree on having totally opposite views on this matter.
I don't know where the only a tube amp thing came from.
It was a suggestion of mine in the thread, to look into tubes. But tubes gives a certain sound, and if one wants tubes then one has to select the tubes first and then the speakers since tubes are picky about what they drive.
I still say choose the speakers first.
I understand that you say this, and I still say not to choose speakers first. So, then we can agree on being opposites in this discussion. :)
You recommend Klipsch speakers.
I recommend them in the context of tubes, I've already said that. Smooth sounding electronics. We were first talking tubes and then speakers to match. I don't recommend them with all electronics. I have several times pointed out in this thread: with smooth electronics. Or warm sounding electronics. Because they have a lively character. They will sound bright and headachy with forward and bright sounding electronics, that is something that I've also has pointed out.

But what we can agree upon too, not just that we disagree on many things :) but we can perhaps agree upon agreeing upon that it is always important to audition the gear. Not just speakers. Everything and together, with the music one knows and likes. And building a system is about system matching, since every part of the chain has a sound, and it is all about combining sonical characteristics to get the sound one wants.

rewfew
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Re: Another noob looking for amp and speaker advice.

Post by rewfew » 15 Mar 2019 20:35

Audionaut wrote:
15 Mar 2019 17:24
There is a boutique audio store in my capital city I didn't realize this I'll visit as soon as possible. I'm totally overwhelmed and confused about amps so maybe that place can help.
As I'd originally stated, you'll get as many recommendations as there are people recommending, and more. Then, to further add to the dilemma, differences on how to do the choosing. All right, a boutique audio store is a start. They'll put more things in your head that may further overwhelm it. But, you can hear some of this stuff. And at least your now being pro active, and that's how you can come to an eventual decision. Instead of a shopping list. The audio world is like a Byzantine bazaar, with opinions and beliefs all over the map. I don't think anyone here has not gone through a learning curve, of some years to get to their eventual satisfaction listening to their music by not some trial and error.

Here's some advise from a well seasoned audio designer whom I use his speakers. He answers an inquiry as to what amplifier to use with a speaker model of his design.

"I won't recommend brands, but I will provide some (hopefully useful) feedback.

I've run all models on several amps including 2-10 watt SET, 10-30 watt ultra-linear tube amps, solid state chip amps from 25-100 watts and several-thousand watt class AB discrete transistors. I've also run a variety of digital amps from 25 watts (commercial) to several thousand watts (prosound).

All of them work well provided they are good-quality amps and they aren't pushed past their limits. When pushed past their limits, some amps are more graceful than others. Clipping is nasty on most solid state amps, less a problem on tube amps and especially SET amps.

I personally like amps with enough power. Single-ended amps are sweet, but I think people often push them past their limits. They don't get grungy when they start clipping, so people tend to get used to their sound. But they do start sounding a little bit strained or "heavy" sounding as they bump up against the rails and shave off the top of the waveform. So because of this, I tend to suggest a minimum of ten watts. I've run two watt SET amps, and they sound good and get plenty loud. But I'd rather have at least ten watts.

Once you move into the Class AB (and ultra-linear) tube amps, you have a lot of choices that offer enough power. In this world, I find the best amps sound a lot like SET amps and I've heard some really good Class AB and ultra-linear tube amps. Probably most of the high-end tube amps are in this category. But I find the lesser amps sound a little bit distorted all the time, and some of them make odd noises like squeaks and whistles. I think this is probably specific to certain brands and mismatched tubes though.

In the solid-state world, I find better amps sound very natural as long as they are not pushed into clipping. Once any solid-state amp starts to clip, it sounds harsh and "jagged." But lesser amps sound slightly distorted all the time.

I think I have a preconceived notion against digital amps because I tend to avoid them, except for light duty or things that I consider "secondary." I never use them for mains, but sometimes use them for surrounds and sometimes for subs. But they sound pretty good, so I think my bias is probably unfounded.

Above all, live with the amplifier for a while. One of the most important things is that the amplifier remains a constant for you for years and years. It should almost be "forgettable" in that it just amplifies the signal and other than that draws no attention to itself. It should be trouble-free and this isn't something you'll know until some time has passed."


I wouldn't obsess over what he say's about tube amps. They're probably more trouble for you to invest in at this point than what would suit your needs. But with all the available choices, a good solid state amp with more than enough power to let you listen without being drawn to the amp, but to the music, like he says. Good hunting.

Audionaut
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Re: Another noob looking for amp and speaker advice.

Post by Audionaut » 15 Mar 2019 22:42

I should therefore bring some records to an audio gear store?

JoeE SP9
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Re: Another noob looking for amp and speaker advice.

Post by JoeE SP9 » 16 Mar 2019 14:41

Audionaut wrote:
15 Mar 2019 22:42
I should therefore bring some records to an audio gear store?
Unless you only have LP's I suggest taking a couple of CD's with you also.

Audionaut
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Re: Another noob looking for amp and speaker advice.

Post by Audionaut » 17 Mar 2019 01:05

My entire system is designed around my turntable, otherwise I'd use Spotify. LPs it shall be.

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