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Thread: Comparing amplifiers

  1. #1
    Join Date: Sep 2018

    Location: Estonia

    Posts: 82
    I'm Veiko.

    Default Comparing amplifiers

    I have had B&W 603 floorstanders with 2 XTZ Edge A2-300 (class D) power amplifiers
    (and Topping Pre90) for about a year now (in a big space, 60m2).

    But from the very start I noticed, that this does not work for harder rock music.
    It feels small, feeble, thin, compact, irritating. It feels unlistenable. The highs get very
    loud, if I crank it up, it sounds like a thousand mosquitos singing.

    So yesterday I decided to have a go with a different amplifier. In the bedroom system I
    use a Onkyo A-6130 (class AB), so yes, I had postponed this switch for about a year. I don't
    really like to shuffle too much.

    XTZ blocks cost three times the price of Onkyo, so yes - all the accuracy, refinement and clearness
    was lost, when I set the Onkyo up in my main listening room. So this rock music did not have a high
    quality sound in very many ways, but it DID have some more body, more meat on the bone, more
    volume, I think at the mid-range especially. So it actually sounded right, it was more listenable.

    The previous experience in comparison with XTZ could be summarized as a truck, that only has wheels.
    It is fast and it drives the same distance, but it does not have the load, the cargo-box. And it is kind
    of pointless (when listening rock music), it does not sound right.

    So thats all from me today. I guess I will be looking some class AB poweramps.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 32,896
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    90% of what you hear is the speakers and the room.

    is your room sparsely furnished, hard floors, etc? If so I'd look at doing something about that first.

    Also maybe use some EQ. I don't think you will solve the problem changing the amplifiers and the speakers are decent if not the last word.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Soncoz SGD-1 * Nelson Pass DCB1 * Krell KSA50s * JM Lab Electra 926 *

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 1,816
    I'm Dennis.

    Default

    I agree completely with Macca.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Sep 2018

    Location: Estonia

    Posts: 82
    I'm Veiko.

    Default

    The room is far from perfect. I have no treatment apart from a carpet infront of system.
    But I feel like I got more body out of that Onkyo.
    Some calibration tool would definitely be interesting to try.

    manni 22-korrus 12.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 32,896
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    You said you tried the Onkyo in the bedroom system though. At least there you have the bed and mattress as a big damper.

    If the XTZ amps were a bit weak then I'd have said that's your issue but they will have no problem driving those speakers optimally.

    I use a little bit of dedicated room treatment but that's all I need as I have two big padded sofas, wall to wall carpet with rugs over the top, thick curtains (floor to ceiling on one wall) and lots of clutter to diffuse HF energy.

    If you can post a couple of pics of the room as it is now then that will help with suggestions, room treatment doesn't need to look intrusive or ugly.

    edit - Sorry now I've re-read your post I see you tried the Onkyo in the main room.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Soncoz SGD-1 * Nelson Pass DCB1 * Krell KSA50s * JM Lab Electra 926 *

  6. #6
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Surrey

    Posts: 6,758
    I'm Rob.

    Default

    That is a large and awkward room. How far are the speakers from the wall behind them? What is the floor covering and is that a doorway behind the Left speaker?
    Buy Bose...And get your parking validated!.

    https://youtu.be/ZCBe7-6rw4M

    No Highs...No Lows....It Must Be Bose!

  7. #7
    Join Date: Sep 2018

    Location: Estonia

    Posts: 82
    I'm Veiko.

    Default

    To be clear - I have so far used 2x XTZ (class D) in the main room, and Onkyo (AB) in the bedroom.

    (By the way, Onkyo sounds very good in the bedroom with Elac Debut bookshelf speakers.
    Bedroom is smaller and more symmetric, I feel like it is quite ideal acoustically.
    I have not tested XTZ there that much, but I kind of suspect it's rock-related characteristic will be repeated).

    Just yesterday I switched the amplification! Onkyo is not as refined as XTZ in living room,
    but it seems to give rock music more of that very-needed mid-range-volume and body.
    Although again - it sounds bad doing it.

    Right speaker is 70 cm from the bookshelf, and left one 130 cm from the doorway.
    There is no proper door, but there is a carpet on the floor.

    IMG_20220118_160702.jpgIMG_20220118_160637.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2018

    Location: Woking

    Posts: 801
    I'm Chris.

    Default

    Just looking at the equipment and setup quickly, it is a big space to fill 'properly'.

    Volume-wise you can probably get there but it probably won't sound too pleasant. A lot of hard surfaces and also the wall next to the right hand speaker won't be doing anything good acoustically and becasue you don't have the symmetry with the left speaker (which is just out in open space) it's unlikely to be able to create a solid image and indeed much lower mid-range and low end. The highs could be a bit shrill due to the aforementioned hard surfaces and indeed the equipment. The XTZ's are good amps but being Class D they are neutral, some would say a little clinical and unexciting. I have no direct experience of them but I have had experience with Ice Power amps and Temple Audio mono's both of which do have similarities.

    The Topping pre is also known to be a little clinical, in my experience to get the best from Class D amplifiers a tube preamp can really bring them to life or indeed an active preamp which is on the warmer side of neutral.

    I'm having trouble finding specs or anything on your Onkyo A-6130S, all I can seem to find is a network streamer? I do like the sound of most Onkyo amps I've heard though, usually sound a lot more powerful than they actually are.

    As others have suggested the room is probably robbing you of a lot of elements of the music here. The mid-range and lower end is slightly missing and the low end doesn't have much impact I'll bet. The highs are probably there but by the time you get to any sort of volume when the drivers start to deliver some low end grunt and bass, the highs have become too much.


    My suggestions would be to play with placements and room interaction first, you might do better swapping your hifi for where your TV is or even better than that (I suspect) putting your hifi in front of the window 90 degrees to the left of where your TV is. Then hanging some big curtains directly behind it. That would use the parallel walls to act as a symetrical and more predictable listening space where in my experience, things should sound a lot better.

    You could also try putting a few more soft furnishings around, like a duvet or pillows in the corners or some curtains along the sliding door but it's still a massive space to fill properly.

    If none of that is working it may be your preamp is just a bit sterile and lacking with your XTZ's, I know it measures very well but sometimes components just do not have the synergy.


    Don't give up hope, I've had systems sounding horrible at first but after careful room tweaking/speaker placement as well as changing some (not all) components, things have always turned out well. I don't give up until it does!
    System 1: - Amp - Musical Paradise MP-701 mk2 - Neurochrome 686
    - Source: Audio Technica LP-5 - Custom 6V6 stage - Novafidelity X30 - Soekris 1421 (LPSU) - Custom TDA1541 C3G DAC -
    - Speakers: Martin Logan Prodigy's - Subs: - REL T3's -

    System 2 - Amp: Musical Paradise MP 303/Custom 300B SET - Custom 6SL7 Pre -
    - Source: Pioneer N-30K - SONCOZ SGD1 -
    - Speakers: Loth X BS1's - Sub: REL T3 -

  9. #9
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 32,896
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    You've got a bright room with quite bright speakers, and you have the speakers well out into free space, so your not getting any boundary reinforcement for the bass end.

    I reckon if measured you would have an FR curve sloping upwards from the bass to the top end - this is exactly the opposite to an in room response that will sound good.

    I agree with Chris re the layout, moving the system to where the TV is now would help. Thicker rug and heavy fabric curtains instead of the blinds.

    Put the speakers 1 foot away from the wall (about 30cm) and then fine tune position from there.

    If that doesn't improve things enough, or you can't do that for domestic reasons, then I'd look at EQ, either digital or analogue, as being the only solution. You won't solve the issue changing the amplification. What you have already is fine IMO.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Soncoz SGD-1 * Nelson Pass DCB1 * Krell KSA50s * JM Lab Electra 926 *

  10. #10
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 32,896
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Incidentally there was recently someone on another forum with the same issue. Class D amps, sound was cold and sterile.

    He fixed it by just using the level controls built into his speakers, top turned down, bottom end dialled up. Sorted.

    He thought it was the 'character' of the amplifiers at first too.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Audiolab 6000CDT* Soncoz SGD-1 * Nelson Pass DCB1 * Krell KSA50s * JM Lab Electra 926 *

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