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  • new speakers and amp...

    Once I move I'll have quite a bit more room and I'd like to separate my computer setup from my 2 channel rig in the office. This means I'll be looking for new speakers and a new amp, but aside from having a few specific requirements I'm pretty open to suggestions here.

    Gear I have that I plan to use:
    Reference 1's
    Music Hall CD25 (modded)
    Oppo 980H
    Ariston Audio RD11 Model E TT w/ Grado Gold Cart
    tube pre/headphone amp
    Marantz power amp (forget the model)
    McAlister Audio tube phono-pre

    Now, I can either use the Ref 1's in the main 2 channel rig and put them on some stands or I can get a different speaker, or even a small tower. I still won't have lots of room so something along the ELT525T would be a great size, maybe a bit larger.

    Now on to the computer setup:
    Auzen X-fi Prelude with 627 Op-amps
    current: Gizmo amp, but I would like to upgrade either now or later.

    Regarding the amp:
    I would really like a single amp that is capable of driving a pair of speakers and headphones. The amp NEEDs to be good, yet I don't want to spend a lot of money. price will depend on what speakers I end up with, and I can save up since I have the Gizmo for now. My preference would be tubes and DIY is not out of the question. Something like the Glow amp would likely suit me, only cheaper would probably be better.

    Regarding speakers for desktop:
    The ref 1's are amazing nearfield, so I'm not opposed to keeping them on my desk. I would like to then upgrade the amp (again doesn't have to be right away)
    If I go with something different I would like to keep the same general size or smaller. Efficient speakers would be a plus as most smaller amps are low-powered. Sealed, or front ported designs would be a plus.
    I want something that will play well and have tight accurate lows, sweet mids and clear highs. I can't stand harsh speakers. I really love my Ref's and I enjoy the ELT's quite a bit as well.

    So Option #1:
    Ref 1's in the main 2 channel rig. This leaves me with new speakers for my desk. My intitial thought was to grab a pair of ELT5625M's and then upgrade the amp to a nice tube amp and give them ninja treatment down the road.

    Option #2:
    Ref 1's stay on my desk, get a pair of ELT525T's for my 2 channel rig. Once again, find a nice tube amp for the Ref's.

    Option #3:
    Ref's go in 2 channel setup, new speakers for desk/computer, maybe build or buy a nice single driver speaker, upgrade amp later

    Option #4:
    Ref's stay on desk, new speakrs for 2 channel setup

    As for price, I'd like to keep the initial cost below $400-500 max. Like I said, I don't need everything at once, and I can save if I have to. I don't want to spend a small fortune though as I realistically won't be able to double or tripple the budget if I wait a few months (miracles do happen though...)

    Other than that I'm pretty open to suggestions. If anyone knows of a nice desktop sized amp that is capable of driving both speakers and headphones well let me know. I've seen some good comments about the Musical Paridise MP-301 and the Glow amp. I believe Joilda has a new small integrated out as well.
    http://web.musicalparadise.ca:8103/i...products_id=68

  • #2
    Out of those options, I'd pick #3. That's if you will be doing most of your critical 2 channel listening away from the computer. I'd put the ref's in your main rig, wherever that is, unless you are willing to bump up your budget.

    As far as the headphone amp, can't help you there. Although, I agree I'd be tempted to try the Glow. Certainly is a looker as well.
    Never Argue With An idiot. They'll Lower You To Their Level And Then Beat You With Experience!

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    • #3
      I'm not afraid to buy used speakers as well. Should open up new possibilities. :D (actually just browsed a'gon for ACI, and Totem products. A friend has some and they are quite good IMHO)


      yeah, It's going to be tough to find a great headphone amp that can also drive speakers... I'm probably going to have to spend more than I want to and maybe end up building one.... I have a pretty good headphone amp now and I could likely tweak it a bit and get a nice 2w or so out of it, but that would mean probably not getting the ELT525M's and ninja crossovers later. (ref 1's will likely get ninja treatment as well someday...)

      Comment


      • #4
        Hmmm... let's see if I have this right.

        You want a small tube amp with headphone jack for nearfield listening and don't want to spen more than $500.

        Bottlehead Sex Amp!



        http://www.bottlehead.com/et/adobespc/S.E.X./SEX.htm

        I just got one of these kits and it's a winner! I put it together over a weekend and it sounds amazing. Great instructions and of course if you need any help troubleshooting the forum is an excellent resource.

        It would go perfectly with your ref1s.

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        • #5
          I saw that, but was concerned that 2w wouldn't be enough power for dynamic swings...

          Comment


          • #6
            I think Travagan's produces a head amp which also drive speakers (Green?)

            Not quite Tube quality sound, but the Head-Fi'ers seem to like the Travagan's amps.

            I'd love to hear the Ref1's with tubes though. Mine are in a cabinet, and it doesn't have room for tubes :(

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sparky14
              I think Travagan's produces a head amp which also drive speakers (Green?)

              Not quite Tube quality sound, but the Head-Fi'ers seem to like the Travagan's amps.

              I'd love to hear the Ref1's with tubes though. Mine are in a cabinet, and it doesn't have room for tubes :(
              yeah, I'm a long time head-fi member... I take everything said over there with a grain of salt...but I believe the guy who started travagans was from firestone audio, which supposedly had some great products for the money. I might have to look into the Red as I don't need USB, but again seems to be a fleawatt amp.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by soloz2
                I saw that, but was concerned that 2w wouldn't be enough power for dynamic swings...
                In a small office the SEX amp will do the job. Yeah when pushed it won't sound like a 100 watt amp but you can get fairly decent volume from it and a clarity you just don't hear from typical ss amps.

                If you're looking to shake the walls then yeah, it probably won't cut it. I wish I had an spl meter so I could give you an idea of how loud it can go.

                Actually, in order to get the most from it you need to mate it with a good preamp. I use a modified bottlehead Foreplay II preamp. I get more gain and better control over the volume range than if using the sex amp by itself.

                For nearfield listening though you'd be hard pressed to find something better sounding at this price. And if you can throw in a sub to fill in the lower octaves you may not feel the need to push it so loud.

                Here's my set up in a second bedroom.



                Currently I'm using it to drive a pair of Definitive Monitors which are 91dB efficient. These are just standing in until I can get my 97dB Klipsch Heresey IIs fixed. Through the Hereseys I can definitely rock the house with 2 watts! I know the Ref1s aren't the most efficent speakers so that may also be a factor.

                Another option would be to mate a tube pre with a small ss amp.

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                • #9
                  Couple thoughts on my part:

                  1) Totem's ARE great speakers, but need power to sound their best. May not be the best suggestion for you

                  2) I'd suggest two pieces for headphone and speaker amp; just get the headphone amp with pre-outs. Opens up the possibilities more. Likely more expensive than an all-in-one option, but also perhaps better sound.....

                  There was an integrated sold a few years ago, still see some used. 100wpc, passive pre section, and supposedly a great headphone out. Ah, remembered: Portal Panache. Expensive, may be overkill, but may also be the last amp you buy for that situation.

                  Good luck!
                  What if the Hokey-Pokey really IS what it's all about?!

                  Kinky Tom!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    if I can't find a combo headphone/integrated it won't be the end of the world. I'll figure something out. I've thought about building a tripath amp and could pair it with one of my millet max's. I've also considered building a beta22... but that would require some saving!

                    the gizmo will work fine for now! So I think I should probably focus on speakers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by soloz2
                      I've thought about building a tripath amp and could pair it with one of my millet max's.
                      That sounds cool. An Amp4 (similar chipset to the Virtue One/Two) should be a nice upgrade in power and sound quality to the Gizmo and still be relatively compact. The Virtue is priced well for what it is actually. For something even smaller at an equivilent power level to the Gizmo, an Amp32 seems to fit inside one of the tiny altoid cans.....

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                      • #12
                        I didn't realize it was that small. Regardless, were I to build one I'd probably put it in the same size enclosure as the headphone amp and stack them :D

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                        • #13
                          anyone have any experience with the Usher S520? Seems good for the price and the front port would be a plus for a desktop situation.

                          Some of the smaller B&W's have front ports as well.

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                          • #14
                            I have a FLAC->SB3->CI Audio VDA-2->Virtue Two->Strata Mini setup and am quite satisfied. Danny Richie just started selling the Virtues along with a battery power supply upgrade.
                            Originally posted by dweekie
                            That sounds cool. An Amp4 (similar chipset to the Virtue One/Two) should be a nice upgrade in power and sound quality to the Gizmo and still be relatively compact. The Virtue is priced well for what it is actually. For something even smaller at an equivilent power level to the Gizmo, an Amp32 seems to fit inside one of the tiny altoid cans.....

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dvenardos
                              I have a FLAC->SB3->CI Audio VDA-2->Virtue Two->Strata Mini setup and am quite satisfied. Danny Richie just started selling the Virtues along with a battery power supply upgrade.
                              I saw that he did. I like the Virtue Two, but I wasn't sold it was worth the asking price. Also, I found the sub output sub-par.

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