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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:08 am 
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msommers wrote:
Have you looked into Pass Labs? The XA 160 or 200.8 series would fit the bill nicely as a power amp. A left-field option could be the Hegel H30 power amp.

Adding a nice tube preamp and quality tubes would add some warmth and likely cheaper than getting a new pre/power combo. Even something like a Rogue Audio RP7 or equiv. from Prima Luna, Triode, Manley Labs. I'm sure others could weigh in with suggestions.

Yes, I'm thinking to try a tube preamp. I found that Electra 1038s are extremely sensitive to the system components, even swapping interconnects makes a very audible difference. That's why I'm hoping to get advise from people who actually had experience with 1038s. Thank you for your input.

-- 13 May 2017 15:11 --

Lutherton wrote:
Am I correct that you have 500 watts per channel driving speakers with efficiency of 93 db/w/m, and a preamp with 20db of gain? If so, your amps are idling along, barely working. Why not put your money into an amp that's better matched to your fairly efficient speakers?

I concur that Pass Labs amps should be considered, but I suggest that you investigate the 30.8, or 60.8 or perhaps the new xa25, or their First Watt F5 or F7. Unless you are trying to fill the great outdoors with sound, any one of these may do the job for you. My speakers are 90 db/w/m, powered by a 25wpc First Watt clone, fed by a zero-gain passive attenuator. I have lots of "loud", more than I ever need even when playing LPs on my turntable. And the sound quality is to die for.

Many people seem to recommend Pass Labs. Thanks for the advise

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Digital:
Roon > HQPlayer > Musical Paradise DAC (MP-D2) > Bel Canto XLR cables > Accuphase E-470 Integrated > Focal Electra 1038 BE II
Vinyl:
Rega RP6 + Dynavector 10x5 > GCPH


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:14 am 
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If you consider a tube preamp I would recommend highly the Dehavilland Mercury 3. Adds nice warmth to my vintage Luxman MQ80.


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:28 am 
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spinaker01 wrote:
James_W wrote:
Daren_P has a good point. Your description of the sound is pretty much every Focal I've owned over the years regardless of associated gear. It can be a real love or hate situation similar to panels or B&W.


I found the Aria series to be a pleasant departure from their "cool" house sound



Haven't heard the whole Aria series but having owned the 906's, I'd say their house sound still applies to them.


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:47 am 
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daren_p wrote:
It's not all that uncommon for Focal to be described as you have mentioned (ruthless would be another good one). Before you go swapping electronics, are you sure the speakers are for you, maybe their just not to your taste? I don't recall if I've heard your specific electronics but BelCanto is typically known to be on the neutral to slightly warmer side of neutral, so it sounds like you would likely have to go to pretty warm & full sounding gear to be a better match for you.

I actually love the sound of the Focals. They are very resolving without being clinical which is a very important characteristic to my taste. The beryllium tweeters are to die for, they produce a very delicate and extended sound and are not harsh at all.

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Digital:
Roon > HQPlayer > Musical Paradise DAC (MP-D2) > Bel Canto XLR cables > Accuphase E-470 Integrated > Focal Electra 1038 BE II
Vinyl:
Rega RP6 + Dynavector 10x5 > GCPH


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 8:13 am 
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Hi Yrogins, I have spent many hours with 1038's on various gear.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to chat.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:54 am 
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Location: Calgary, AB, CA
yrogins wrote:
Thank you all for sharing your ideas.

-- 13 May 2017 15:02 --

Dr Tone wrote:
Warmth and weight is McIntosh if you ask me.
what McIntosh? Tubes, SS, modern or vintage? I'm not familiar with McIntosh but read that people had good results driving Focals


I owned 1028BEs for years. Ultimately, I'd probably go tube pre and quad balanced solid state power, I prefer when the amp has good control over the drivers. Modern or used is really a financial decision.

Ultimately I fixed the problem by going with better speakers.


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 10:41 am 
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Location: st-basile, QC, CA
naim make a good match


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 12:12 pm 
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Location: toronto, ON, CA
I'm sitting here listening to my Focal 826ws and I use a Primaluna Dialogue 5 amp, with Tung Sol KT120's with a passive pre and enjoy the sound immensely, and have more than enough headroom sound level wise to satisfy me in either classical, blues or rock, ( Tragically Hip playing at present). I had a Quad 405-2 previously and enjoy the sound of the tubes far more. Just my ears worth.


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 12:22 pm 
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Location: St-Leonard, QC, CA
yrogins wrote:
The sound is very dynamic and detailed but lacks some warmth and weight to my liking.


This is a perfect description of old Class D design, used in your Bel Canto ref1000 MKII.


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 2:34 pm 
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Shogun wrote:
yrogins wrote:
The sound is very dynamic and detailed but lacks some warmth and weight to my liking.


This is a perfect description of old Class D design, used in your Bel Canto ref1000 MKII.
I think it all depends on other components especially the speakers. I used BC to drive PSB Synchrony Ones and never felt the lack of weight. It was a very good match.

_________________
Digital:
Roon > HQPlayer > Musical Paradise DAC (MP-D2) > Bel Canto XLR cables > Accuphase E-470 Integrated > Focal Electra 1038 BE II
Vinyl:
Rega RP6 + Dynavector 10x5 > GCPH


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 3:54 pm 
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Location: Kingston, ON, CA
I'd go Audio Valve Eklipse tube pre feeding PS Audio BHK 300 mono blocks (tube input stage, MOSFET output) and connect everything with Teo liquid ICs... sit back, relax and enjoy IMHO.


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:40 pm 
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I don't post much, mostly lurk. But I have to chime in on this one. Having on hand aria 926, 905, and Electra 1028 be 2 for several years, I have quite a bit of experience with these speakers, and quite a bit of gear on them.

In my experience the Aria sound signature is ver laid back for focal, not quite like their more forward house sound. I use a Cary tube pre-amp with a bryston 4B3, the sound is clean, detailed, and rich. I've spent quite a bit of time rolling tubes, I've found 1950's RCA long black plates to be a match made in heaven with focal.

I've listened to quite a few systems with the Electra line, and these speakers in my experience are extremely sensitive to changes upstream. They are also extremely sensitive to room and positioning. Even just a cm of toe in can affect this speakers soundstaging dramatically. I think I've only ever listened to one focal electra system that was matched properly to its gear, and set up
Properly to the room, otherwise these speakers can easily become bright, and thin sounding. The key is tubes with these guys, preferably a tubed pre, with an SS amp with great grip/control.

Being so sensitive to gear changes, I've found these speakers respond really well to quality gear, and tweaks. The more I tweak the room, upgrade gear, and mess around with isolation etc. the better sound
I get out of these. It's amazing that I can continue to squeeze better and better sound out of these speakers. Anyone that considers these speakers bright, or fatiguing is doing it all wrong.

I have to second the recommendation of pass gear. My next amp
To play with will be an XA30.5. I think it will be a nice match. It can be hard to get it right, as no one has an unlimited budget to work with.

Wrote this on an iPhone, so sorry for the punctuation.

Cheers,
Mike


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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:45 pm 
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prostock1 wrote:
naim make a good match



As a Naim owner, they wouldn't be my first choice & from what the OP is saying I don't think they would be an ideal match for him either. Naim typically never use to be recommended with Focal but since they got bought by the same company, people seemed to have started to assume that all models from both brands go well together. I believe the newer Sopra series was at least partially voiced with Naim, so the pairing works but with the electra, they would probably be too "in your face" for many.

I have heard the Electra's a number of different times & typically, like some have posted they have usually sounded best to me, with some sort of tube setup.


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 5:18 am 
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daren_p wrote:
prostock1 wrote:
naim make a good match



As a Naim owner, they wouldn't be my first choice & from what the OP is saying I don't think they would be an ideal match for him either. Naim typically never use to be recommended with Focal but since they got bought by the same company, people seemed to have started to assume that all models from both brands go well together. I believe the newer Sopra series was at least partially voiced with Naim, so the pairing works but with the electra, they would probably be too "in your face" for many.

I have heard the Electra's a number of different times & typically, like some have posted they have usually sounded best to me, with some sort of tube setup.

Focal actually recommends Naim NAC272 + NAP250 for Electra 1038s on their website. Go figure...

_________________
Digital:
Roon > HQPlayer > Musical Paradise DAC (MP-D2) > Bel Canto XLR cables > Accuphase E-470 Integrated > Focal Electra 1038 BE II
Vinyl:
Rega RP6 + Dynavector 10x5 > GCPH


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:21 am 
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yrogins wrote:
daren_p wrote:
prostock1 wrote:
naim make a good match



As a Naim owner, they wouldn't be my first choice & from what the OP is saying I don't think they would be an ideal match for him either. Naim typically never use to be recommended with Focal but since they got bought by the same company, people seemed to have started to assume that all models from both brands go well together. I believe the newer Sopra series was at least partially voiced with Naim, so the pairing works but with the electra, they would probably be too "in your face" for many.

I have heard the Electra's a number of different times & typically, like some have posted they have usually sounded best to me, with some sort of tube setup.

Focal actually recommends Naim NAC272 + NAP250 for Electra 1038s on their website. Go figure...



Ha, interesting, I guess it would work for some peoples taste but personally not a setup I would consider pairing. I own similar electronics, 282 w/250DR (282 is the better pre) & while I like the Electra series, the combo would be too much for me (also in a treated 2ch room). If I spent all my time listening to audiophile grade reference recordings, maybe but as I also listen to "regular" music, no thanks. From what you have said so far, I don't think it would be an ideal match for you either. It would likely help on the bass front but I doubt it would do much to improve the warmth you're after.

I actually heard the 1038's not too long ago with what I believe was a Meridian integrated (not sure if it was current or not, don't know much about their products) that was surprisingly easy on the ears/enjoyable to listen too.


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