What Amp are you using?

I use it in the kitchen with Sony CMT-SBT100. DAC PCM5102

I m using a McIntosh MC462 together with McIntosh C53 preamp. It’s really expensive for the most of us, however what McIntosh offers is the amazing upgrade of the SQ in everything you connect with them! I had an RPi4GB for my Kodi. Then I read about Volumio and I decided to “play” with my RPi by “burning” an SD with Volumio. I use as my main streamer an Auralic G2.1 together with Sirius G2.1. So, when I connected my Volumio/Rpi4 I was shocked by the SQ that I heard ! Socked because the comparison between Rpi4 (€60) and Aries G2.1+Sirius G2.1 (€ over 10.000) was subtle. Of course there are differences but not so considerable for the most of us. And for sure not proportional to the price difference. The conclusion is that according to my opinion, what really matters in SQ is mainly the power amplifier. The most significant difference you can hear in the Sound quality comes from power amplifier (and loudspeakers too), therefore it worth to invest in power amp than in streamer or even in DAC. I’ m using my Rpi4 together with Ares II Denafrips (€600) and really sounds great. Volumio (either alone or as Roon endpoint) sounds amazingly because of … power amp. But there are so many power amps out there.

It’s a great amp no argue about that. But I have to ask…
Does it sound 10.000 euro better then a 3.000 euro amp?

It really sounds more than € 10.000! I haven’t tested all the power amps of the market. I had the Anthem STR power with Anthem STR pre for two years. Cheaper than McIntosh. The comparison with McIntosh? It’s quite different sound! It’s far beyond my intensions to promote … McIntosh or … whatever. I simply love music. My argument is that before spending money in streamers and DACs please read reviews, or even better try to test the outcome of sound in your next buy. Instead of spending money in a good steamer and a good DAC and then in another one and another … Keep your money and keep your Rpi4 with Volumio! Save those money for a really good power amp. And last, everything starts from the dimensions of your room. You don’t have to buy an amp with some kWatts! In most of the cases something around 2x100watts or 2x200! will be more than enough. Then, take a look for the prices of power amps at this category. But keep your Rpi4 or your Asus Tinkerboard.

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Have you checked the polarity of your cables and your cables too! I mean rotate 180o power plug adapter and then maybe you try a better (shielded) power cable. I had experienced similar problems.

Point made.
Almost every amplifier sounds reasonable when cranked up at 60%. Simply due to the volume you can’t hear details. A good amp should produce all details on a low volume.
During an intern many many moons ago, I had the fortune to play with Sphinx (manufactured by Siltech (designer partied/drunk the brand bankrupt). (project 8 + 18, or project 2 + 2* Project 12). They are very affordable now, but at least 25 years old. Siltech has now the Saga series starting at 35k.
The sound and details wiped the floor with NAD, but for the money of those Sphinx you could buy a new car. I do love music, but I can’t convince (even though I’ve heard the differences) myself that I am willing to pay 40k for that difference.
That’s why I was asking.

I am also intersted in an upgrade. I have a ma ntz pm6004 and diamond 9.1 wharfdale.
I want to upgrade tu he speakers. What do you think. What will be an upgrade, one class above I am interested.? Or should I upgrade the amp…

Difficult to answer, it’s the combination that makes the sound.
Speakers normally sound better when played in and don’t show tears on the membranes.
Both had really good reviews, qua sound and price.

If you don’t want to do both at once, it’s difficult to advice. Replacing the amp first, might narrow the variety on speakers later, same vice versa.
As I am a sucker for NAD, I would choose the Amp first. Take your gear to the local reseller and let them hook your speakers to a few amps of your choice.
Make sure to take some variety of songs with you to your liking (example) and choose that combination that sounds the best to you.
When going for speakers do the same. Take you amp and test multiple speakers (use the same tracks)
Make sure to budget some good speaker cables. As you don’t want to loose details on poor cables…
if you have poor cables 20-30% of the signal will get lost.

For sure I would prefer car instead of amp! :smile:I’ m not talking and I don’t propose amps by 25k! I have heard McIntosh and I have checked that prices start at around €5000. I m pretty sure that there are many other amps that may sound even better than McIntoshes. I repeat … I have heard McIntosh and … Anthem.

My point is that if someone loves to hear SQ in his music and that “utility” is more important than the “utility” he perceives from … his car or his moto or … whatever then it is wise -in my opinion- not to spent money “left or right” for DACs and Streamers because the power amp offers the most in the SQ we hear. In my opinion the DACS and Steramers contribute the least in SQ in comparison with rest of Hi-end components.

And I repeat that Rpi4 with Volumio is an amazing streamer. In simple words if someone although he can spent €1000 for a streamer and €1000 for a DAC would be very wise and clever to keep €60 for Rpi4 and some €200 for an Allo DAC and save the money for a really good power amp. Not necessarily at the range of €5000!

At least this is my opinion and I have hear it and I hear it every single day in my room. Maybe I m wrong :man_shrugging:

Thanks for suggestions. One more thing.
What are good speakers cable x just give an example… Not very expensive. The ones to not lose 20 30%.

impedance of your speakers will vary between 2-12 ohms. If you speaker cables are 0.5 ohms they will take 25% of the signal on low impedance. This is something you will hear when doing a comparison. But here again, it all add up to the amount you’re willing to pay for these difference.
So if you’re visiting the reseller, take your cables and also listen to some they have. If you can’t tell the differences stick with the ones you have. (or you can even buy small blocks to put under your speaker cable to lift them from the floor… they go for 150 euro each per 50cm cable…)
Audio is very personal.

I know that is very personal but at least one good example m there are too many… What Is a good speakers cable! My speakers are 8ohm.

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I can’t give you a honest answer. I would get you something from a review…
I’ve hooked my speakers with cables from Siltech, LS-38 G3, I got them for a bargain. (cost price)

Your amp is better than your speakers. Get a demo of speakers in your price range. Ideally see if the dealer will let you try them at home.

Speaker cable performance is dictated entirely by the laws of physics and is unrelated to the size of the marketing budget of the cable manufacturer! Short cables have lower resistance (good) since resistance is proportional to length. So choose cable lengths that give you you room to adjust the speaker position and shuffle the amp on it shelf but not too much more. You want the cable resistance to be less than 5% of the impedance minimum of the speaker (say 2.5% of its nominal impedance) to give good damping and transient response.

A guide on cable sizing vs length from Cambridge Audio. They have suggested a wire resistance of 5% of the nominal impedance. A bit high since you also need to allow for the output impedance of your amp in determining good damping.

Bi-wiring is just another way to make you spend more money!

Blue Jeans cables are well made and generally sensibly priced.

I have read that article and I have observed that most of the cable are matching m what do you think about this :slight_smile:QED Profile 79 Strand

Looking at the reviews it’s a big bang for the bucks.

QED cabling is good. Decent pure copper wires. If you wanted to minimise costs you could just twist the bare wires and pinch them in the screw terminals of the amp and speaker. But watch out for shorts between the wires or to the metal chassis of the amplifier. Alternatively you could buy spade terminals or banana plugs to allow easier connection/disconnection of the leads. It is doubtful whether a much more expensive cable would be distinguishable even with expensive amps and speakers. It is for this reason ‘reviewers with golden ears’ are reluctant to take a blind test . .

If you go for this (especially those from Amazon/ebay) make sure they are properly isolated.