Author Topic: SENERGY What really is It ??  (Read 2491 times)

Offline steve

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2017, 06:06:29 PM »
steve, it could simply be that i think the sp-9 sucks!   :D  i was just trying to figure out a possible reason, as i know others are fond of it.  looking at the sp-9's specs, i suspect it's less likely any impedance mismatch, and more likely that i just don't like that preamp.

regarding the speakers and venue, i seriously doubt either was an issue.  the room was quite huge - ~20x40, w/ceiling vaulted to a 2nd story balcony along the 40' length.  and, tho i don't know the design specifics, i do know, just from my ears, that items 3 & 4 also don't apply.  nothing at all bass heavy was going on.  (and it wasn't bass heavy w/the sp-9 either - just dull lifeless sound.)  speakers were on the short wall, about 4' from the back wall.  there were some short walls in the room splitting it up, but it was basically one big open space.  speakers were thiel 3.5's, (flat to 20hz w/factory eq), amp was original series adcom gfa555 (smooth faceplate w/rack handles.)  the adcom gfp-1a was adequate, the sp-9 was not.  if anything the preamp should have been a good match, due to the sonic characteristics that have been attributed to the speakers and the amp. (at least according to the audio press.)  next preamp was an arcam delta 110 preamp; it was most excellent.  (a bud of mine still uses one; bought after he heard mine.)  that was followed by the electrocompaniet ec-1a; even better.  it was several years later before i tried another tube preamp; the melos ma333r completely thrashed the rogue magnum 99 and the cary spl98 that i was auditioning.  at that point, i stopped investigating preamps; the melos was that good.  (different venue, by then, and various speakers were now being actively crossed over to subs.)  i was really wanting to like the cary because it looked so nice, but it was not to be..

doug s.

Thanks for the info Doug. I hope you did not think I was simply addressing you, but for the audience in general. Your info was quite helpful, good logical way to address the problem. I too would estimate the SP9 was the culprit.

I find that components in general can be syrupy, "lifeless sound" and yet not overly bass because of undersized ufd while terminated improperly. The Orange Drop 716 copper lead polypropylene capacitors are known for this characteristic. Other brands as well.

I have mentioned that I am adjusting an ~ 9k ohm resistor by 0,05 ohms or less. That is one part in ~200,000. That is incredibly touchy. Adjust 0,05 ohms too much, and too much bass. Same the opposite. My work has demonstrated just how tough it is to get a system right.

Aside from our conversation, who knows what associated electronics or speakers are part of the manufacturer's test system. If their associated components are not accurate/natural, that has to be considered. Now back to our conversation.

There are a very few manufacturers who can design a great preamplifier. Glad the Melos worked out great.

One other thing. It has become apparent to me that the future will be those whose company can become "vertical" in nature. By that I mean that all the components, phono, preamp, amp, speakers are all designed together almost as one piece so to speak. I use separate components simply because it takes separate power supplies to optimize each stage of electronics.

I find the "audio press" to be questionable at best ever since, when I opened for business, one reviewer literally hammered my 10A and shipped it back to me destroyed because I would not sell it to them for $300.00. They, and friends, have attempted to destroy me several more times over the years.

Cheers

Steve
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 06:10:14 PM by steve »
Steve Sammet (retired, but manufacturing "V" ics again)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamp
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Spkrs
"V" ICs
10 parallel 18 ga. speaker wires

Offline topround

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2017, 06:21:19 PM »
I've never owned an SP9 but aren't they sort of known for a warmish vintage tone?
I think the magic started to happen at the SP10
System consists of an amp a preamp, 2 speakers a turntable and a phono preamp, Also some cables and power cords and a really cheap cd player.

Offline doug s.

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2017, 06:43:06 PM »
no, the sp11 got (and still gets) accolades, quite a few years before the sp9 was built.  retail $5k in 1985; that was serious coin.

doug s.
I've never owned an SP9 but aren't they sort of known for a warmish vintage tone?
I think the magic started to happen at the SP10

Offline doug s.

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #33 on: August 15, 2017, 07:02:05 PM »
steve, no problem - there's plenty here for everyone.  as i can't design equipment, i can only read what others say, and then use my best judgement as to what i might want to try, and then trust my ears.  you go into details as to why the sp9 may sound the way it does; could be; i have no way of knowing that.  those more technically inclined, that own this gear, might want to consider parts upgrades.   8)  me, personally, i am good at parts swapping, but someone needs to tell me what parts to swap!   :rofl:  i still have a wintage art di/o dac that i modded, and it's still competitive w/dacs costing a wee bit more...

everything i've read about what you have said over the years, and about what others have said about sas gear leads me to believe i'd enjoy sas products, tho i have never sampled...

there's something to be said about a mfr making gear that fits well with its other gear.  especially if people like the sonic signature of that mfr.  i know i'd love to hear the powered kef ls50 monitors, as i own a pair of the passives, and they are simply astounding, considering their size and cost.  and for me, personally, especially when it comes to speakers, i now believe that, even w/multi-driver speakers, separate amplification and active x-overs for each driver will give far more accuracy than will passive x-overs, even if the speakers are not by themselves, active.

doug s.
steve, it could simply be that i think the sp-9 sucks!   :D  i was just trying to figure out a possible reason, as i know others are fond of it.  looking at the sp-9's specs, i suspect it's less likely any impedance mismatch, and more likely that i just don't like that preamp.

regarding the speakers and venue, i seriously doubt either was an issue.  the room was quite huge - ~20x40, w/ceiling vaulted to a 2nd story balcony along the 40' length.  and, tho i don't know the design specifics, i do know, just from my ears, that items 3 & 4 also don't apply.  nothing at all bass heavy was going on.  (and it wasn't bass heavy w/the sp-9 either - just dull lifeless sound.)  speakers were on the short wall, about 4' from the back wall.  there were some short walls in the room splitting it up, but it was basically one big open space.  speakers were thiel 3.5's, (flat to 20hz w/factory eq), amp was original series adcom gfa555 (smooth faceplate w/rack handles.)  the adcom gfp-1a was adequate, the sp-9 was not.  if anything the preamp should have been a good match, due to the sonic characteristics that have been attributed to the speakers and the amp. (at least according to the audio press.)  next preamp was an arcam delta 110 preamp; it was most excellent.  (a bud of mine still uses one; bought after he heard mine.)  that was followed by the electrocompaniet ec-1a; even better.  it was several years later before i tried another tube preamp; the melos ma333r completely thrashed the rogue magnum 99 and the cary spl98 that i was auditioning.  at that point, i stopped investigating preamps; the melos was that good.  (different venue, by then, and various speakers were now being actively crossed over to subs.)  i was really wanting to like the cary because it looked so nice, but it was not to be..

doug s.

Thanks for the info Doug. I hope you did not think I was simply addressing you, but for the audience in general. Your info was quite helpful, good logical way to address the problem. I too would estimate the SP9 was the culprit.

I find that components in general can be syrupy, "lifeless sound" and yet not overly bass because of undersized ufd while terminated improperly. The Orange Drop 716 copper lead polypropylene capacitors are known for this characteristic. Other brands as well.

I have mentioned that I am adjusting an ~ 9k ohm resistor by 0,05 ohms or less. That is one part in ~200,000. That is incredibly touchy. Adjust 0,05 ohms too much, and too much bass. Same the opposite. My work has demonstrated just how tough it is to get a system right.

Aside from our conversation, who knows what associated electronics or speakers are part of the manufacturer's test system. If their associated components are not accurate/natural, that has to be considered. Now back to our conversation.

There are a very few manufacturers who can design a great preamplifier. Glad the Melos worked out great.

One other thing. It has become apparent to me that the future will be those whose company can become "vertical" in nature. By that I mean that all the components, phono, preamp, amp, speakers are all designed together almost as one piece so to speak. I use separate components simply because it takes separate power supplies to optimize each stage of electronics.

I find the "audio press" to be questionable at best ever since, when I opened for business, one reviewer literally hammered my 10A and shipped it back to me destroyed because I would not sell it to them for $300.00. They, and friends, have attempted to destroy me several more times over the years.

Cheers

Steve

Offline steve

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #34 on: August 15, 2017, 08:32:04 PM »
Doug, you and anyone else are always welcome to visit if you get to central Illinois and see how my experiments are coming along. Just give me a shout/email before hand so I can warm the system up.

Getting ready for the eclipse. Tomorrow morning a shipment of special approved glasses is coming into town. This after every single pair has been sold a week ago. None to be had. Neighboring Peoria museum had 1000 pairs come in this morning, but by 1 pm were sold out. See if I can get some tomorrow, get in line early and hope the proper ISO is printed on them.

Cheers
Steve


steve, no problem - there's plenty here for everyone.  as i can't design equipment, i can only read what others say, and then use my best judgement as to what i might want to try, and then trust my ears.  you go into details as to why the sp9 may sound the way it does; could be; i have no way of knowing that.  those more technically inclined, that own this gear, might want to consider parts upgrades.   8)  me, personally, i am good at parts swapping, but someone needs to tell me what parts to swap!   :rofl:  i still have a wintage art di/o dac that i modded, and it's still competitive w/dacs costing a wee bit more...

everything i've read about what you have said over the years, and about what others have said about sas gear leads me to believe i'd enjoy sas products, tho i have never sampled...

there's something to be said about a mfr making gear that fits well with its other gear.  especially if people like the sonic signature of that mfr.  i know i'd love to hear the powered kef ls50 monitors, as i own a pair of the passives, and they are simply astounding, considering their size and cost.  and for me, personally, especially when it comes to speakers, i now believe that, even w/multi-driver speakers, separate amplification and active x-overs for each driver will give far more accuracy than will passive x-overs, even if the speakers are not by themselves, active.

doug s.
steve, it could simply be that i think the sp-9 sucks!   :D  i was just trying to figure out a possible reason, as i know others are fond of it.  looking at the sp-9's specs, i suspect it's less likely any impedance mismatch, and more likely that i just don't like that preamp.

regarding the speakers and venue, i seriously doubt either was an issue.  the room was quite huge - ~20x40, w/ceiling vaulted to a 2nd story balcony along the 40' length.  and, tho i don't know the design specifics, i do know, just from my ears, that items 3 & 4 also don't apply.  nothing at all bass heavy was going on.  (and it wasn't bass heavy w/the sp-9 either - just dull lifeless sound.)  speakers were on the short wall, about 4' from the back wall.  there were some short walls in the room splitting it up, but it was basically one big open space.  speakers were thiel 3.5's, (flat to 20hz w/factory eq), amp was original series adcom gfa555 (smooth faceplate w/rack handles.)  the adcom gfp-1a was adequate, the sp-9 was not.  if anything the preamp should have been a good match, due to the sonic characteristics that have been attributed to the speakers and the amp. (at least according to the audio press.)  next preamp was an arcam delta 110 preamp; it was most excellent.  (a bud of mine still uses one; bought after he heard mine.)  that was followed by the electrocompaniet ec-1a; even better.  it was several years later before i tried another tube preamp; the melos ma333r completely thrashed the rogue magnum 99 and the cary spl98 that i was auditioning.  at that point, i stopped investigating preamps; the melos was that good.  (different venue, by then, and various speakers were now being actively crossed over to subs.)  i was really wanting to like the cary because it looked so nice, but it was not to be..

doug s.

Thanks for the info Doug. I hope you did not think I was simply addressing you, but for the audience in general. Your info was quite helpful, good logical way to address the problem. I too would estimate the SP9 was the culprit.

I find that components in general can be syrupy, "lifeless sound" and yet not overly bass because of undersized ufd while terminated improperly. The Orange Drop 716 copper lead polypropylene capacitors are known for this characteristic. Other brands as well.

I have mentioned that I am adjusting an ~ 9k ohm resistor by 0,05 ohms or less. That is one part in ~200,000. That is incredibly touchy. Adjust 0,05 ohms too much, and too much bass. Same the opposite. My work has demonstrated just how tough it is to get a system right.

Aside from our conversation, who knows what associated electronics or speakers are part of the manufacturer's test system. If their associated components are not accurate/natural, that has to be considered. Now back to our conversation.

There are a very few manufacturers who can design a great preamplifier. Glad the Melos worked out great.

One other thing. It has become apparent to me that the future will be those whose company can become "vertical" in nature. By that I mean that all the components, phono, preamp, amp, speakers are all designed together almost as one piece so to speak. I use separate components simply because it takes separate power supplies to optimize each stage of electronics.

I find the "audio press" to be questionable at best ever since, when I opened for business, one reviewer literally hammered my 10A and shipped it back to me destroyed because I would not sell it to them for $300.00. They, and friends, have attempted to destroy me several more times over the years.

Cheers

Steve
Steve Sammet (retired, but manufacturing "V" ics again)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamp
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Spkrs
"V" ICs
10 parallel 18 ga. speaker wires

Offline tmazz

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2017, 09:34:24 PM »
steve, it could simply be that i think the sp-9 sucks!   :D  i was just trying to figure out a possible reason, as i know others are fond of it.  looking at the sp-9's specs, i suspect it's less likely any impedance mismatch, and more likely that i just don't like that preamp.

regarding the speakers and venue, i seriously doubt either was an issue.  the room was quite huge - ~20x40, w/ceiling vaulted to a 2nd story balcony along the 40' length.  and, tho i don't know the design specifics, i do know, just from my ears, that items 3 & 4 also don't apply.  nothing at all bass heavy was going on.  (and it wasn't bass heavy w/the sp-9 either - just dull lifeless sound.)  speakers were on the short wall, about 4' from the back wall.  there were some short walls in the room splitting it up, but it was basically one big open space.  speakers were thiel 3.5's, (flat to 20hz w/factory eq), amp was original series adcom gfa555 (smooth faceplate w/rack handles.)  the adcom gfp-1a was adequate, the sp-9 was not.  if anything the preamp should have been a good match, due to the sonic characteristics that have been attributed to the speakers and the amp. (at least according to the audio press.)  next preamp was an arcam delta 110 preamp; it was most excellent.  (a bud of mine still uses one; bought after he heard mine.)  that was followed by the electrocompaniet ec-1a; even better.  it was several years later before i tried another tube preamp; the melos ma333r completely thrashed the rogue magnum 99 and the cary spl98 that i was auditioning.  at that point, i stopped investigating preamps; the melos was that good.  (different venue, by then, and various speakers were now being actively crossed over to subs.)  i was really wanting to like the cary because it looked so nice, but it was not to be..

doug s.

Wow, I find that interesting. I have had an SP-9 Mk1 since 1988 and never found it to be anything near lifeless.  And as a matter of fact I got the SP-9 not long after I replaced my Dahlquist DQ-10s with a pair of Theil 3.5s. The CJ Premier 2 that sounded so nice with the DQ-10s did not mate well with the Thiels, so out it went. I have compared the SP-9 with many preamps over the years and while so were somewhat better, I never felt the amount of SQ increased justified the $s I would have needed to spend to get it.The SP-9 has been used to drive a Moscode 600, a Classe Twenty Five, an ARC VT-200 an ARC D-130 and currently a pair of Quicksilver Mid Monos. In addition to the Thiel 3.5s it was used with Thiel CS-6s and now Nola Boxers. Throughout all of these combination I have always felt it performed like a champ.

I'm just curious, did you ever swap out the tubes while you had it? Perhaps and under-performing tube may have caused the sound you didn't like (of a bad passive part somewhere in the unit.

Or perhaps I just like it and you just don't. And that is a matter of personal opinion, which means neither is right or wrong, and that's perfectly OK.

I have often wondered if differences in personal taste might in some part  be driven by differences in the frequency response of our own ears, as opposed to those of other audiophiles. In reality what we hear out of our systems is a combination of the sound put out by the system and our own ears sensitivity to sound as a function of frequency. Could it be that we all have the same idea of what is good sound and our personal preferences are simply a way of finding equipment that is more compatible with the response of our own ears? Hmmmm.... but that is a topic for another discussion.
Remember, it's all about the music........

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Offline doug s.

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2017, 08:15:21 AM »
it could be the original sp9 is better than the mkll iteration?  or maybe i got a defective sample.  tho it doesn't make much sense, because the store i got it from was a store that specialized in taking trades and refurbishing and re-selling used equipment.  they typically had a 1 week in-home demo policy, but they gave me an additional week, to try w/better tubes that they swapped out.  it still didn't cut it.

yes, there is the fact that different folks hear differently, but i don't think that's it, either - i've listened to a lot of music through a lot of gear w/a lot of other "audiofools", and we've been on relatively the same page for this to be the case.  while some of us have preferred different things, there'd usually be a consensus as to what it is we're actually hearing.

 i just chalk it up to one of those unexplainable mysteries.  tho if i had to choose, i'd guess "defective", as to the particular sp9 mkll i tried.  too many folks like it, or at least don't dislike it.

doug s.
steve, it could simply be that i think the sp-9 sucks!   :D  i was just trying to figure out a possible reason, as i know others are fond of it.  looking at the sp-9's specs, i suspect it's less likely any impedance mismatch, and more likely that i just don't like that preamp.

regarding the speakers and venue, i seriously doubt either was an issue.  the room was quite huge - ~20x40, w/ceiling vaulted to a 2nd story balcony along the 40' length.  and, tho i don't know the design specifics, i do know, just from my ears, that items 3 & 4 also don't apply.  nothing at all bass heavy was going on.  (and it wasn't bass heavy w/the sp-9 either - just dull lifeless sound.)  speakers were on the short wall, about 4' from the back wall.  there were some short walls in the room splitting it up, but it was basically one big open space.  speakers were thiel 3.5's, (flat to 20hz w/factory eq), amp was original series adcom gfa555 (smooth faceplate w/rack handles.)  the adcom gfp-1a was adequate, the sp-9 was not.  if anything the preamp should have been a good match, due to the sonic characteristics that have been attributed to the speakers and the amp. (at least according to the audio press.)  next preamp was an arcam delta 110 preamp; it was most excellent.  (a bud of mine still uses one; bought after he heard mine.)  that was followed by the electrocompaniet ec-1a; even better.  it was several years later before i tried another tube preamp; the melos ma333r completely thrashed the rogue magnum 99 and the cary spl98 that i was auditioning.  at that point, i stopped investigating preamps; the melos was that good.  (different venue, by then, and various speakers were now being actively crossed over to subs.)  i was really wanting to like the cary because it looked so nice, but it was not to be..

doug s.

Wow, I find that interesting. I have had an SP-9 Mk1 since 1988 and never found it to be anything near lifeless.  And as a matter of fact I got the SP-9 not long after I replaced my Dahlquist DQ-10s with a pair of Theil 3.5s. The CJ Premier 2 that sounded so nice with the DQ-10s did not mate well with the Thiels, so out it went. I have compared the SP-9 with many preamps over the years and while so were somewhat better, I never felt the amount of SQ increased justified the $s I would have needed to spend to get it.The SP-9 has been used to drive a Moscode 600, a Classe Twenty Five, an ARC VT-200 an ARC D-130 and currently a pair of Quicksilver Mid Monos. In addition to the Thiel 3.5s it was used with Thiel CS-6s and now Nola Boxers. Throughout all of these combination I have always felt it performed like a champ.

I'm just curious, did you ever swap out the tubes while you had it? Perhaps and under-performing tube may have caused the sound you didn't like (of a bad passive part somewhere in the unit.

Or perhaps I just like it and you just don't. And that is a matter of personal opinion, which means neither is right or wrong, and that's perfectly OK.

I have often wondered if differences in personal taste might in some part  be driven by differences in the frequency response of our own ears, as opposed to those of other audiophiles. In reality what we hear out of our systems is a combination of the sound put out by the system and our own ears sensitivity to sound as a function of frequency. Could it be that we all have the same idea of what is good sound and our personal preferences are simply a way of finding equipment that is more compatible with the response of our own ears? Hmmmm.... but that is a topic for another discussion.

Offline _Scotty_

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2017, 01:57:43 PM »
While the amount of distortion a piece of gear has seldom tells the whole story, the SP 9 couldn't be described as having a low distortion circuit design as it does no better than 0.1 THD and by 10kHz this has deteriorated to 0.25THD. Looking at the specifications I initially thought it was a non-negative feedback design which is not the case.
 The ARC SP3A measured better than 0.005 THD using an all tube design with 12AX7s. I don't think there is any reason that circuit with 6DJ8s in it should intrinsically have as much distortion as the SP 9 has.
Scotty

Offline steve

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2017, 02:22:33 PM »
While the amount of distortion a piece of gear has seldom tells the whole story, the SP 9 couldn't be described as having a low distortion circuit design as it does no better than 0.1 THD and by 10kHz this has deteriorated to 0.25THD. Looking at the specifications I initially thought it was a non-negative feedback design which is not the case.
 The ARC SP3A measured better than 0.005 THD using an all tube design with 12AX7s. I don't think there is any reason that circuit with 6DJ8s in it should intrinsically have as much distortion as the SP 9 has.
Scotty

With the JJs or new Telefunkens no way. I listed the 11A as 0,015%, had trouble measuring lower, and wanted a cushion due to possible tube variations.

I agree as parts quality and design makes a difference.

Cheers

Steve
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 02:24:27 PM by steve »
Steve Sammet (retired, but manufacturing "V" ics again)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamp
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Spkrs
"V" ICs
10 parallel 18 ga. speaker wires

Offline steve

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Re: SENERGY What really is It ??
« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2017, 09:27:30 PM »
While the amount of distortion a piece of gear has seldom tells the whole story, the SP 9 couldn't be described as having a low distortion circuit design as it does no better than 0.1 THD and by 10kHz this has deteriorated to 0.25THD. Looking at the specifications I initially thought it was a non-negative feedback design which is not the case.
 The ARC SP3A measured better than 0.005 THD using an all tube design with 12AX7s. I don't think there is any reason that circuit with 6DJ8s in it should intrinsically have as much distortion as the SP 9 has.
Scotty

With the JJs or new Telefunkens no way. I listed the 11A as 0,015%, had trouble measuring lower, and wanted a cushion due to possible tube variations.

I agree as parts quality and design makes a difference.

Cheers

Steve

Meant to say Scott, that with the JJs or new Telefunkens, that the distortion was way below 0,1%. I used my preamp as an example, which agrees with your assessment.

Cheers
Steve
Steve Sammet (retired, but manufacturing "V" ics again)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamp
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Spkrs
"V" ICs
10 parallel 18 ga. speaker wires