Vintage amps: my experience so far

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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2017-12-24 @ 16:13

Speaking of vintage amps, does anyone happen to know the best amp for shouty speakers? I gradually found out Bowers & Wilkins DM302 to be shrill and shouty when played loud, especially around upper-mid region. Trumpets and other brass instrument become especially ear-hurting, and so are radio transceiver 'roger beep' effect in Jane's World War II Fighters.

Granted Sansui A-40 isn't exactly TOTL amp, but it drives my JBL L20T pretty well.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-12-24 @ 19:31

Are you hitting a power limit? SPL of the B&Ws might be lower than the JBLs causing the Sansui to tap out.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2017-12-26 @ 12:33

gdjacobs wrote:Are you hitting a power limit? SPL of the B&Ws might be lower than the JBLs causing the Sansui to tap out.

That's what actually puzzles me. JBL L20T has 87 dB / watt / meter sensitivity, with only 75 watt max power handling. B&W DM302 has 91 dB / watt / meter sensitivity, with 100 watt max power handling. So at least on paper, B&W DM302 should be more 'loud-friendly' than JBL L20T, yet I could play JBL L20T to very loud volume, and the speakers still sound very clean. B&W DM302, on the other hand, sound really shrill and fatiguing when played loudly. And the amp is the same: Sansui A-40, that is.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-12-26 @ 15:14

Indeed, that is strange. What about the impedance curves?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Skyscraper » 2017-12-26 @ 18:03

When it comes to amplifiers really good ones were made from the 1960s and forward to this very day even if the build quality were generally better in the 60s and 70s.


When it comes to table top radios though it seems the transistor and the more compact radio builds it made possible also resulted in a decreased quality of sound more often than not.






Here is an example of an old radio from the mid 1950s and a newer radio from the 1980s. :lol:

Older vs newer.JPG






Grundig 4055 3D klang Fern Dirigent (1955)

Grundig 4055 3D klang Fern Dirigent.JPG



Grundig 4055 3D klang Fern Dirigent inside.JPG







My main system in my living room consists of an older Pioneer SX-1250 (1976) receiver but with newer Heco speakers and a couple of active subs. The turntable is a JVC QL-A2 from 1978.

Living room.JPG
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-12-27 @ 00:56

What's the TT beside your Roland modules?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Skyscraper » 2017-12-27 @ 08:09

gdjacobs wrote:What's the TT beside your Roland modules?


It's a Lenco L75

https://www.vinylengine.com/library/lenco/l75.shtml
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2017-12-27 @ 09:21

gdjacobs wrote:Indeed, that is strange. What about the impedance curves?


Here is the B&W DM302's impedance curve:
Image

And here is the DM302's frequency response curve:
Image

I still don't have the idea why the DM302 sounds straining when played loud. :dead:
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-12-27 @ 14:51

Skyscraper wrote:
gdjacobs wrote:What's the TT beside your Roland modules?


It's a Lenco L75

https://www.vinylengine.com/library/lenco/l75.shtml


No need for the JVC, dude! Lenco TTs are the duck's guts.

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:
gdjacobs wrote:Indeed, that is strange. What about the impedance curves?


Here is the B&W DM302's impedance curve:
Image

And here is the DM302's frequency response curve:
Image

I still don't have the idea why the DM302 sounds straining when played loud. :dead:


I bet the B&Ws pull more current in mid-range than the JBLs. Got a stronger amp?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Skyscraper » 2017-12-27 @ 16:58

gdjacobs wrote:
Skyscraper wrote:
gdjacobs wrote:What's the TT beside your Roland modules?


It's a Lenco L75

https://www.vinylengine.com/library/lenco/l75.shtml


No need for the JVC, dude! Lenco TTs are the duck's guts.


I like to have auto return on the main turn table I use. The question if a direct driven quartz lock turn table is better or worse than idler drives and belt driven turn tables I will leave for others to argue about. To me the thrift store find JVC sounds fine with its original JVC Z-1S pickup. I will uprade the stylus to one of the better ones that fits this pickup when I feel it needs replacement.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2017-12-28 @ 14:55

gdjacobs wrote:I bet the B&Ws pull more current in mid-range than the JBLs. Got a stronger amp?

So I made a comparison between B&W DM302's impedance curve and JBL L20T impedance curve, and here's what I got.

Image

Despite being more sensitive (91 dB / watt / meter), the B&W DM302 is apparently harder to drive, with approximately 3 ohm dip between 200 Hz to 300 Hz, and 5 ohm dip between 10 kHz to 20 kHz.

The JBL L20T, on the other hand, despite being less sensitive, is easier to drive, with merely 6 ohm dip between 150 Hz to 350 Hz (approximately) and 8 ohm dip between 7 kHz to 20 kHz.

So, is it the reason the B&W DM302s sound more brittle and fatiguing than the JBL L20T when played out loud? Because the Sansui A-40 driving them starts clipping when speaker impedance falls below 4 ohm? So I need a more powerful amp?

Too bad my 220v to 110v power transformer went bad, and I've been down with sore throat so I couldn't buy a new one. Otherwise I could try my Yamaha RX-V663 (US release, 110 volt only) to drive the B&W DM302. The RX-V663 is more powerful than the Sansui A-40. With more powerful amp, hopefully the brittleness at loud volume will cease to exist.

That's too bad. I'm a tad disappointed to discover the B&W DM302 is harder to drive despite being more sensitive. I hope I could play around with tube (or tubey-sounding) amp. Or low powered, high output impedance amp like TPA3116. I mean, since the DM302 is pretty sensitive, then I guess it would mate well with low power amp.

I wonder whether the highly acclaimed Dared DV 6C would work well with the DM302. Yes, its output power is only 35 watt per channel at 8 ohm, but it doubles down to 65 watt per channel at 4 ohm. Should be a good choice, no?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-12-28 @ 15:58

Worth trying if you can, I think.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2017-12-29 @ 00:01

gdjacobs wrote:Worth trying if you can, I think.

Indeed. I never expected Bowers & Wilkins to sound hard and brittle. If anything, B&W tends to be associated with warm and mellow sound, no?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-12-29 @ 03:58

Never owned a set, so I can't really comment.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2018-1-02 @ 14:44

gdjacobs wrote:Never owned a set, so I can't really comment.

So.... I replaced the Sansui A40 with vastly more powerful Yamaha RX-V663 AV receiver. And the B&W DM302 sounded much better ever since! Thanks, gdjacobs! I think the 25 WPC Sansui just couldn't handle the 3 ohm impedance drop, while the 95 WPC Yamaha can.

Image

Image

Trumpet-heavy songs that were previously unbearable with the BM302 driven by Sansui, now becomes more tolerable, especially Herbie Hancock's Cantaloupe Island and Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger. However, I noticed significant soundstage depth reduction in The Coryells' Sentenza Del Core - Allegro, also in Princess Amidala's monitored heart beeps during childbirth in Star Wars: Return of The Sith. Fortunately, such thing doesn't happen in Infected Mushroom's Saeed.

Nonetheless, the overall sound becomes warm and pleasing with the more powerful Yamaha RX-V663. It should be noted that Yamaha RX-V663 has bright, sterile, and clinical sound, that makes JBL titanium dome tweeters --such as JBL 120Ti and JBL L20T-- fatiguing. With B&W DM302, it is a much different case: the entire sound becomes warm, airy, and pleasant to listen. In 2013 I auditioned a pair of midrange-heavy JBL 4315 driven by NAD C325BEE, and I was pleased by the resulting warm sound. Listening to DM302s driven by Yamaha RX-V663 reminds me much of that experience. I am mostly pleased by Miriam Makeba's Pata-Pata album. All songs in the album sound so natural, so warm, so smooth.

As for soundstage depth, all is not lost. Yes, I noted much soundstage reduction in The Coryells' Sentenza Del Core - Allegro and Star Wars: Return of the Sith. But I played Scorpio Girls by Supergroove. The song opens with the sound of running footsteps indoor, and much to my pleasant surprise, the sound really comes from behind the speakers! I never experienced this with JBL L20T driven by Sansui A-40, not even with JBL 120Ti driven by Sansui AU-7900. Also, in most songs, the 3-dimensional soundstage depth subtly appear. Not a "wow" moment, but subtle.

I mostly use Yamaha RX-V663 in pure direct stereo mode, but it also has Cinema DSP. And based on my short experiment with Supergroove's Scorpio Girls, Yamaha Cinema DSP actually deepens the sound stage. It's great, since I mostly play games with Cinema DSP activated anyway.

It's also interesting to note that clinically detailed speakers like JBL 120Ti and JBL L20T sound best when driven by the warm-sounding Sansui AU-7900 and Sansui A-40, while warm-sounding speakers like B&W DM302 sound best when driven by clinically detailed amplifier like Yamaha RX-V663. I have tried Yamaha RX-V663 driving JBL 120Ti, and the sound is fatiguing in the long run.

Anyway, should I be satisfied with Yamaha RX-V663? Or perhaps an external 5-channel amplifier would sound better? The RX-V663 has multichannel analog pre-outs, so I could use external power amp. Any suggestions?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-1-03 @ 02:12

Excellent! I'm glad they're performing much better for you.

As for what to use to drive them, why not try tracking down an older pro audio amp? They're generally more capable of driving low impedance loads. I completely understand running a surround amp in stereo (doing it now), but it always feels like I'm tying one of it's arms behind it's back.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2018-1-03 @ 04:09

gdjacobs wrote:Excellent! I'm glad they're performing much better for you.

Many thanks! It was your suggestion to check the impedance curve on the first place.

I imagine an AVR is not really a high current amp to begin with, but still, the Yamaha RX-V663 is vastly more powerful than the Sansui A-40, so I though: why not? Turned out the RX-V663 works beautifully with the DM302.


gdjacobs wrote:As for what to use to drive them, why not try tracking down an older pro audio amp? They're generally more capable of driving low impedance loads. I completely understand running a surround amp in stereo (doing it now), but it always feels like I'm tying one of it's arms behind it's back.

Ah, but those B&W DM302s are indeed for home theater. Knowing the loudspeakers are not shrill with high powered amp, I plan to buy another three B&W DM302 for surround setup. See, I have to renovate the house sooner or later, so it was a good chance to build my own dedicated, 2 meters x 3 meters gaming room (instead of my bedroom I'm currently using), where small speakers will shine. I will face the short wall, while the front LCR speakers will be placed according to Cardas Golden Ratio. My distance to the speakers will be about 1.3 meters or so. As such, powerful amplifier isn't a necessity, but high current amplifier is, considering the nature of the B&W DM302 speakers.

I've always been interested in small speakers, due to the better stereo imaging, better soundstage, and better "disappearing act" (unless when compared to OB). However, small speakers also have their own challenges, like bass extension (or the lack thereof), low sensitivity, tendency to distort at high volume, and in the case of B&W DM302, impedance dip that requires high current amplifier or high-powered amplifier, since high-powered amp tend to be capable to provide high current as well.

It seems to me low-powered amp can be high current as long as it is designed to. An example is NAD amplifiers. They are always rated conservatively, perhaps 50 WPC or so, but they are indeed high current. They can drive anything without problem.

The internal multichannel amp of my Yamaha RX-V663 is pretty good, but I wonder if I can do better, especially since Yamaha RX-V663 has multichannel analog output to use with dedicated power amplifier.

How about the highly-acclaimed Dared DV 6C? Is it high current? The spec says 35 WPC at 8 ohm and 65 WPC at 4 ohm, so it seems the amp doubles down at 4 ohm. Does it indicate that the amp is high current?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-1-03 @ 14:25

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:(...)
Ah, but those B&W DM302s are indeed for home theater. Knowing the loudspeakers are not shrill with high powered amp, I plan to buy another three B&W DM302 for surround setup. See, I have to renovate the house sooner or later, so it was a good chance to build my own dedicated, 2 meters x 3 meters gaming room (instead of my bedroom I'm currently using), where small speakers will shine. I will face the short wall, while the front LCR speakers will be placed according to Cardas Golden Ratio. My distance to the speakers will be about 1.3 meters or so. As such, powerful amplifier isn't a necessity, but high current amplifier is, considering the nature of the B&W DM302 speakers.

Well, play on!

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:It seems to me low-powered amp can be high current as long as it is designed to. An example is NAD amplifiers. They are always rated conservatively, perhaps 50 WPC or so, but they are indeed high current. They can drive anything without problem.

The internal multichannel amp of my Yamaha RX-V663 is pretty good, but I wonder if I can do better, especially since Yamaha RX-V663 has multichannel analog output to use with dedicated power amplifier.

How about the highly-acclaimed Dared DV 6C? Is it high current? The spec says 35 WPC at 8 ohm and 65 WPC at 4 ohm, so it seems the amp doubles down at 4 ohm. Does it indicate that the amp is high current?

Sure, it might. I'd be leery of running a low impedance load without some idea of how THD degrades with power.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Standard Def Steve » 2018-2-09 @ 03:51

Well, it's not exactly a vintage amp, but I busted out my Yamaha K-950 tape deck from 1981 today. Played an exceptionally well-recorded mixtape on it. Cassettes really can sound quite good.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2018-4-04 @ 15:01

Anyone experienced with Rotel RB 985? My latest acquisition from ebay. Could anyone describe Rotel's signature sound?

Image
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