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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:02 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I'm a huge fan of the McCormack DNA-500 (500/900 Wrms @ 8/4 ohms on a 15A circuit; 600/1000 Wrms on a 20A circuit).

Much prefer it to either the Bryston 4B-SST2 or the 7B-SST2 monos, both of which I have owned.

I also prefer it to the Moon W-5 (original version) which I auditioned but have not owned.

Recently replaced all the stock fuses (11 of them!) with HiFi Tuning Silver Star (on sale at PartsConnexion) and noticed further improvement of fine detail.

On the used market, when it shows up, the price of the DNA-500 is typically around $3K.

Based on the improvement Steve McCormack made to my DNA-1 Deluxe, the next level of resolution for the DNA-500 would be to send it to SMc Audio for the Platinum upgrade (US$2500).

I've also heard very good things about the Hegel H30 power amp, but have never auditioned one.

Finally, the best amp—highest audio quality, not highest power output—I have owned is the First Watt F5 Turbo v3. But that one you have to build yourself, or get someone to do the assembly. I invested around C$4K in parts (including the cases). Power output is 160 Wrms/ch class A (300 Wpc A/B), but you can build them higher or lower power. Since building mine Nelson Pass has issued the schematic and circuit boards for a differentially balanced version, which is what I'd build now if I were starting over again. However, with Jensen input transformers the F5 is happy to accept either balanced or single-ended preamplifier outputs.

Good luck with your search for that "last" amplifier.

The other option, of course, is to go for a pair of very high quality powered speakers and leave the amplifiers up to the speaker designer. That, in fact, is the direction I'm heading. . .but I realize that this is not a popular option for many listeners precisely because one no longer has the option of experimenting with different amplifiers. . .


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:03 am 
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Location: Kingston, ON, CA
Maybe a pair of Pass monoblocks.

or:

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/solid ... lmhurst-il

or:

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/solid ... enal-pa--2

or:

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/solid ... rnville-pa

the kinds of brands that are relatively serviceable and have known high reliability.

There is also the odd low priced Constellation amp that shows up.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:14 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 8:48 am
Posts: 117
Location: London, ON, CA
.......And you are a planner too,wish I had been more that way,me I've always dove in with 2 feet,come up for air and see where I'm at???..which,as you'd suspect,has led to me having to work for 2 more to rid ourselves of a mortgage,ha,Ha...
.................................................................Still consider myself a Lucky Man,compared to many others lives-n-situations,and count my blessings,lately nearly every day!

.............................................I know nothing much of the newer higher end gear,offerings,and their 'RELIABILITY' Factor,but its something I Always consider when buying.
As far as amps-n-pre's,tubes-n-dac's steamers,I rely on others,to point me in the direction,as to what to audition(used),which,funny enough also led me to my new speakers,but again,most speakers are very much an acquired taste,I,think we can agree on that!
.....................................................................................I did own a J.A.Mitchell Gyrodek,(not even sure if they are still around?)
..................................................I lucked out getting it very reasonable,and 'in my opinion',it was way less fussy setting up over a Linn Sondek,so basically Zero maitence compared to other finicky rigs,once its dialed in,however it did weigh(if I remember right?)...over 50 lbs,so,a Large Target wall stand lag bolted to the wall was necessary,to keep it away from lil fingers.
....................................................Oh by the way,in my opinion it was a real 'Looker'...so my vote goes to that to a TT for you to audition if you don't already own a good TT?
.............................................................................................................I remember them selling in Music in Stratford,Ont., for around $3k without arm,cart,setup etc,& of course I don't want to start a my tt vs your tt war here,but I preferred it over a Linn,as its bass sounded more 'Realistic/defined,to my ears?..
.........................................Now,after doing much Listening in the last month,I can say,in my opinion,its kind of like if you compared box speakers to open baffle,the bass is 'Different' to many who hear it,totally obvious to my ears,and must add I used to play drums(many years ago),but still enjoy hearing any 'footwork/stick work,lately really enjoyed John Petrucci's double bass licks on dvd when he previously played with Dream Theater.Their new Drummer is Excellent,and a good fit ofr the band.
.........Again,to each their own,when it comes to personalized Music choices,but the above is just one thing I find my new speakers resolution does for my enjoyment,as they say your mileage may vary..
.........If I could give any advice,"Please Do Take your Time,especially for your important choices,and give it a couple of weeks,I find its usually enough to sink in,adjust,and by then you either like the change,or not.....because,as you stated,once you purchase,it may be hard to change it up,depending where on the rock you will be residing.

I'm sure many on here will have dozens of excellent choices for you to try & audition,and I'd say you are in a good location for access to do this,so I'm sure the coming months will be very busy for you!
.............................Peace & Harmonies....EP concert Kenny


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:51 pm
Posts: 554
Location: Mont St-Hilaire, QC, CA
Best power amp I had is what I'm running now, a Chord SPM 1050, running 200/350 in 8/4. Fantastic amp. There's many reviews out there, read the TAS one which mirrors what I think. Chord just released the MK2 version which is very different cosmetically but uses pretty much the same PS technique. A SPM 1050 in good condition is about $3,200 used... But if I had to start fresh, I would go for the MK2, no doubt (may be a little over your budget though).

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Last edited by Yippedidou on Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 8:48 am
Posts: 117
Location: London, ON, CA
+1 on any Pass suggestions.
..........................................EP concert Kenny


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:42 am
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Kenny wrote:
+1 on any Pass suggestions.
..........................................EP concert Kenny


Kenny, would you mind using regular punctuation? All the periods you're putting in some of your posts, especially the long ones, make it difficult to read what you've written.

As for an 8k high-power SS amplifier, I'd heed Dr.Joe's words :)
I've owned Bryston and while they're workhorses, they don't have the 'final amp' sound I'd be looking for in you shoes. Moon is okay, but has never sounded quite right to me either.
Pass Labs, if you can find some for the price, are very nice as well; YMMV, of course.
Byron

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:02 am 
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Location: Vernon, BC, CA
Yippedidou wrote:
Best power amp I had is what I'm running now, a Chord SPM 1050, running 200/350 in 8/4. Fantastic amp. There's many reviews out there, read the TAS one which mirrors what I think. Chord just released the MK2 version which is very different cosmetically but uses pretty much the same PS technique. A SPM 1050 in good condition is about $3,200 used... But if I had to start fresh, I would go for the MK2, no doubt (may be a little over your budget though).


If I settled with a SS setup it would most definitely be Chord (from what I've heard to this point). Sadly the stuff I want is way out of my budget.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:38 am 
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Location: Brandon, MB, CA
In that price range, you have a lot of choices - Pass, Accuphase, Krell, Ayre, Levinson, Blue Circle, etc.

For something completely different, I'd recommend a pair of Sony TA-N80ES. In a mono setup, these will give you ~600 W at 0.004% THD. Here's a pair for $2,000: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649309601-sony-es-ta-n80es-x-2-and-e2000-esd/

I'd get these and spend $1,000 on getting them recapped and upgraded.

Specs can be found here:
http://www.thevintageknob.org/sony-TA-N80ES.html

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:43 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:54 pm
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Location: Victoria, BC, CA
I think dr.joe has made a good suggestion to consider active speakers such as something from ATC etc. When you add the cost of separate amp and speakers it could be possible to get great sound quality without trying to match components and at a fair price considering all the research that has gone into them. This would be high on my list.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:19 am 
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Toad Hall wrote:
I think dr.joe has made a good suggestion to consider active speakers such as something from ATC etc. When you add the cost of separate amp and speakers it could be possible to get great sound quality without trying to match components and at a fair price considering all the research that has gone into them. This would be high on my list.


Indeed. A powered ATC would offer superb long term satisfaction.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:01 pm 
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Location: Mississauga, ON, CA
I might be biased... just a bit, but I am pretty sure my Cary monos will fit the bit and some.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:08 pm 
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Location: Surrey , BC, CA
we still do not know what speakers he is getting....


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:19 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, ON, CA
z28-1980--car wrote:
must be used SS

maybe 7bsst would be best for me

because if the 7bsst2 sounds like the 4bsst2 it hurts my ears

maybe some other mono block that is not so high pitched

i did have 3bsst two of them,but was easy to clip them,,the 3bsst was the best amp i have owned


Good call on the 3-B SST --it is a wonderful amp. Clipping one (1) 3-B SST (ST predecessor was easy to clip due to inadequate PS Caps, and also nowhere near as good at the SST) is difficult to imagine from my experience. When we (as a dealer) received the new SST, specifically when the 3-B SST was connected, I commented to a colleague that no one will need the 4-B (SST). We could not clip the 3-B SST regardless of the difficult loads it was presented with ! (it was no surprise, maybe 6-months later, the price of the 3-B SST jumped considerably, while the 4-B-SST went up --if at all-- slightly).

Regardless, I'd suspect your preamp needs to be replaced --with/while using 3B SST single, or bi-amped. What's a preamp have to do with perceived "volume level" one might wonder ? Everything ! With a quality preamp (at the Cambridge Audio 840-E level), one will discover an immense improvement overall including dynamics, perceived "loudness" levels but far more importantly the sheer musicality, precision, definition, control and power such a device can unleash --from the power amp.
That, with appropriate, quality Interconnect and speaker wire (no need for expensive ones, just a quality design) and you'll be on your way to discovering another dimension in SQ --including staggering/sensational dynamics and loudness levels. Not to forget, appropriate AC line conditions and where to plug-in the equipment. That is an art in itself, in my experience.

I have 'heard' the SST-2 (with their "improved" input buffer) was not terribly well received. I have no doubt this was corrected in the Cubed (3) series. The great guys at Bryston probably actually listened to the amp with their current (patent-pending) Input (Stage) Buffer with Gain --before implementing it in production !

Happy listening,

peter jasz


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:52 pm 
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http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/6492 ... amplifier/

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:13 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
Quote:

We could not clip the 3-B SST regardless of the difficult loads it was presented with !


You weren't trying hard enough. A friend had his ML Vista speakers passively biamped, with a Bryston 4B SST driving the electrostatic panels. He could drive the Bryston into clipping without any sign of distress from the panels.


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