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Thread: Greetings Artofsounders!

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2018

    Location: Woking

    Posts: 32
    I'm Chris.

    Default Greetings Artofsounders!

    Hi all, long time reader and appreciator of this forum so certainly time I took a more active approach to my learning curve about our wonderful hobby!

    I have to say the forums are a refreshing approach to lively discussion, opinions and advice without threads descending into somewhat menial and often ill informed opinions.
    Don't get me wrong some laughs and jokes (and drinks and smokes) - one for the Knopfler fans there - are welcome but it always amazes me how people are so quick to treat others opinions and experiences with disdain rather than consider what they are saying and possibly learn something in the process!

    If there is one thing I've learned in "all" my years in hifi (I'm only in my 30's but started early!!) its that all systems are different and what has been a life changing upgrade or tweak for one person may not work at all for another. Having said that I also believe that system matching and synergy, no matter the budget, has the biggest effect on our hifi enjoyment.

    Big budget or small, there are hifi bargains to be had if you know what you're after and where you want to get to.

    God knows I've wasted my fair share on wholly inappropriate purchases but that doesn't mean they are necessarily bad products, just not right in my system at that time.

    For me its all about getting value from your hifi. If it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and brings a tear to your eye, 100k speakers are good value. Same goes if you can get there for 100!

    As far as my current kit goes I'm just coming out of a SET amp, high efficiency/horn/single driver speaker approach from which I have found bliss. However, I have recently been a convert to the Quad ESL fraternity . . . the 57's specifically. If there's a more magical and rewarding speaker this side of 5k I can't wait to find it.

    I do a lot of my listening late at night at low(ish) volume in a loft conversion, so low level detail retrieval is important for me whilst retaining warmth. The Quads do this on level unrivaled by anything I've heard. At the moment I'm actually running them with a low watt SET amp (surprise surprise) which in theory isn't the best match for them, BUT, it works. It just does. I have a theory that they enjoy some of the feedback from the amp and the fact the voltage is tube rectified rather than solid state. Granted, this gives a slightly bloated bottom end but the "bloom" it allows the Quads to throw out into my room is spine tingling.

    Also the shape of the room has a lot to do with the sound of my gear. It is a gradually rising pitched roof that falls at the opposite end and so logically it amplifies if not somewhat compresses the sound. However I liken the effect to a giant pair of headphones giving a totally immersive experience. In short, its like nothing else I've heard. Its probably quite colored and inaccurate but I don't care. The immediacy of the presentation from the Quads along with the magical tube bloom more than outweighs any shortcomings they may have. They do have some well documented limitations.

    Anyway, apologies for the War & Peace but hopefully that gives some idea about my system.

    My musical preferences are aimed towards well recorded folk/rock/acoustic with some electronic notes (I was young once . . . ). Think Dire Straits, Eagles, The Doors, London Grammar, LAMB, Nils Frahm, Jon Hopkins kind of stuff.

    As noted by many, a female vocal coming through the Quads with tube amplification is as close to the live performance as one can really get.

    My sources include an LP12 (dad hand me down, thank you dad!) boosted by a lovely Mark Travis phono stage and a simple Pioneer streamer going into a Musical Paradise MP-D1. At least that is one of my systems . . . .


    Looking forward to getting to know the community with some relatively intelligent questions and answers along with some stupid ones it almost goes without saying!

    Speak to you soon,

    Opti-cal

  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Dorset

    Posts: 2,832
    I'm John.

    Default

    Hello Chris. Plenty of interesting threads worth reading on the AoS.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 18,673
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Welcome to AoS Chris,

    Nice introduction and an interesting back story to your audio voyage. Don't worry about the length of your first post - it gives us something to get our teeth into!

    We have several Quad 57 enthusiasts here (I've been one for the last 45 years!), so we would be interested to learn a little more about the SET amp you use. And yes, the shape of the room and the positioning of the speakers within it, has a major effect on the overall sound.

    Enjoy the Forum
    Barry
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2018

    Location: Woking

    Posts: 32
    I'm Chris.

    Default

    Thanks guys, that's great to hear.

    I always come across buried threads from AoS and can easily (and happily) lose an afternoon or two if not an entire weekend!

    So much knowledge here.

    Anyway re my SET amps I've tried the Quads with a Minute EL34 offering from Asia but due to its zero negative feedback design it can sound a little lean with them. I've had a lot more pleasure listening to them via a super cheap (but actually well respected) Gemtune/Nobsound/-Insert Chinese re-badged generic design name here- EL34 amp with some tube rolling which has been a revelation. As previously mentioned it shouldn't work particularly well but in my room with my system it really does. Only 8wpc but for my listening levels its more than adequate.

    Current tubes are:

    Psvane EL34B's (I have some 6CA7 TII's to try soon also!) - The ones that came with the amp are the black base version but I have a matched pair of brown base ones.
    Tung Sol 6SL7 pre amp tubes (I have some NOS Tung Sol's on the way!)
    Svetlana Winged C 5U4G rectifier tube (I have a NOS RCA one to try as well)

    Just a little note on the Psvanes - it might just be in my system but to me after 20 hours or so they sound absolutely majestic. Superb tight bass, slightly forward but magical mids and some nice sparkle in the highs, I'm not sure why they don't have more of a following. This in comparison to Gold Lion KT77's, Svetlana's, Groove Tubes, even some NOS Siemens and Tesla's I've tried. Admittedly I've not pulled the trigger on a NOS pair of Mullards but have to draw the line somewhere!

    I should quantify I'm also using a Rel T3 subwoofer in the setup just on low settings with the crossover around 70Hz just to underpin the low end of the Quads. You hardly know its on, until you turn it off that is. Unless I have a truly huge full range speaker I don't think I could listen to a setup without a well implemented sub now!

    I've tried the same setup with two T3's, one for each channel but the improvement was not really audible at my listening levels. Also I think it "excited" the room too much which messed with the imaging a bit.

    Of course its not perfect, depending on the recording the volume and "slam" of the sub can be too much/too little but its a compromise like a lot of things.

    I would actually like to get a REL with remote control for this purpose one day . . .

    Regarding amps I'd love to try an old Radford in my setup.

    (Apologies if my posts are a little long or in the wrong place, I'm not quite up to speed with the online etiquette as of yet!)

    Cheers

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 37,234
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Hello Chris. Welcome to AOS.

    Looks as though you've been having fun developing your system.

    Please join in any chat that interests you or start your own threads.


    Enjoy the forum,
    Geoff.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 18,673
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    I've never got on with supplementing the Quad 57s with a sub: it's either been too intrusive or had no effect at all. It might have been room positioning that was the fault, as I know of other 57 users who successfully augment their speakers with a sub-woofer. IMO the only way to extend the bass (if not in frequency, but in weight) is to stack them.

    Regarding Radford valve amps, they are indeed a very good match with Quad 57s. I occasionally use an STA 15 Mk.III with mine.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 37,234
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    I agree with Barry. I've owned 57's, but not used a sub with them. But, I have heard them used with a subwoofer a few times and did not like it.

  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2018

    Location: Woking

    Posts: 32
    I'm Chris.

    Default

    Thanks for the replies.

    In regards to the subwoofer it probably is room dependent. I can certainly listen to them without it but for me it fills the gap until I can afford to do it "properly".

    I would love to go for a stacked pair but I'd need to significantly upgrade my amplification. I have a fair amount of other hifi to sell as I think I will concentrate purely on the 57's. Like many have noted after living with them for a while there is no real going back.

    Sounds like you fellas have really heard them at their best, something admittedly I'm probably yet to experience.

    It has been said that a stacked pair can lose some of the subtlety many adore but the trade-off is real and accurate bass. Is that towards your experience?

    Or is it possible to have it all as they say??!!

    I was also looking into a pair of Leak TL12's for them in the future plus a suitable preamp . . . . What do you chaps have/recommend?

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 18,673
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Opti-cal View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    In regards to the subwoofer it probably is room dependent. I can certainly listen to them without it but for me it fills the gap until I can afford to do it "properly".

    I would love to go for a stacked pair but I'd need to significantly upgrade my amplification. I have a fair amount of other hifi to sell as I think I will concentrate purely on the 57's. Like many have noted after living with them for a while there is no real going back.

    Sounds like you fellas have really heard them at their best, something admittedly I'm probably yet to experience.

    It has been said that a stacked pair can lose some of the subtlety many adore but the trade-off is real and accurate bass. Is that towards your experience?

    Or is it possible to have it all as they say??!!

    I was also looking into a pair of Leak TL12's for them in the future plus a suitable preamp . . . . What do you chaps have/recommend?
    I did briefly experiment with stacked pairs. I wouldn't say subtlety was compromised at all - in fact the sense of 'presence' was palpable, immediate and enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. But they do take up a lot or room and are visually imposing: sadly too much for me in my listening/living room.

    I would strongly encourage you to try a stacked pair, if you have the room. Also if you do have a go with stacking, I would experiment with the actual geometry: don't just follow Quad's suggestion of stacking them so the curvature of the two speakers forms an unbroken arc. The beamwidth of Quad 57s in the vertical plane is only about 15 degrees (hence the commonly reported complaint of 'beaming'); stacking them as recommended by Quad will make this worse, reducing the vertical beamwidth to less than 10 degrees.

    Regarding valve amplification, IMO you really do need a minimum of 10 Watts to drive Quad 57s. For a while I ran mine with a Sugden A21 (a 12.5W/channel Class A solid state design) and found the amp could run out of headroom. Interestingly, I didn't have this problem when using the Quad II valve amps (rated as 15W), and as I have mentioned the Radford 15W design: the STA 15, is perfect.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 18,673
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Further to the above, if you really want to investigate Leak valve amplification, I would recommend the 'Stereo 20' using EL84 output valves. On paper only 10W/channel, but in practice it offers more than that. It has a high sensitivity (100mV for full output), so you have the option to experiment with passive volume controls.

    Also be careful to distinguish between the TL12 and the TL12+, they are not the same.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

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