PS Audio Sprout integrated amplifier Specifications

Thu, 04/23/2015
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AllanMarcus's picture

Would be nice to read about a direct listening comparison between the D3020 and the Sprout. Feature wise, the Sprout has a phono (er, vinyl), input, but the D3020 has a remote (albeit a horrible one). The Sprout has real knobs, which sounds insignificant, but if you really want to see how bad a digital interface can be, try the D3020. Both seem to have power switches in inconvenient locations.

There seems to be a nice selection if high quality desktop amps out now. D3020, Sprout, Teac's AI series, CEntrace DAC Mini PX, Sony UDA-1, possibly the Cambridge Audio Minx Xi, and the Denon PMA-50. Anymore? Time for a shootout?

jmsent's picture

There will be a huge audible difference. Just look at the frequency response of this amp, and see the bumped up peak at 60 Hz and then a cliff like drop all the way down to 20 Hz. The NAD has an eq switch that gives you a similar curve, but in that case it's defeatable, and you can set it for nice, classic, flat frequency response. This amp looks to be designed for a particular speaker type, one with severely limited bass, like a desktop 2 way with a small woofer. Hook this to a speaker with true bass extension and flat response, and the results will be boomy upper bass and no lower bass. That's a deal breaker for me, but YMMV.

fetuso's picture

I've owned the D3020 for almost two months now and I am particularly sensitive to criticism of its remote and interface. The reason? Because such criticism actually kept me from buying this wonderful little amplifier for months, until I finally bought it because it was exactly what I was looking for. I've commented previously on his site and others about how these criticisms are overblown, but here I go gain. The remote is black on black, and yes it it hard to see the buttons. But the buttons are few and nicely spaced out. You'll have their locations memorized in no time and you'll have no need to even look at the remote. It also fits very nicely in the hand. Could NAD have added some white? Of course. But please don't let it stop you from buying this great amp. Same goes for the interface, which is really just the power button and input switch on the unit itself. I've never had an issue with these. In fairness, sometimes I have to press the power button a second time, but so what? We're talking maybe half a second to press it again. It is a bit quirky until you learn where it wants to be touched. My main point is that the D3020 is very user friendly and easy to live with. It also sounds great. Don't let these petty criticisms stop you from buying it if the features fit your needs.

AllanMarcus's picture

I like the d3020 too, but the UI is aweful. The remote is horrible. The touch sensitive buttons on the top are not intuitive. Long hold was a kludge to resolve the issue of accidental presses. The bass boost button hidden in the back is just a crazy place for it. It looses points for UI, but it has many redeeming features. Right now I don't think there is a better option out there, but many other models that compete at that size are coming on the market. I won't stop complaining, but I will disclaim the complait. There are two ways one interacts with an amp, the UI and the listening. How you weight the importance is personal, and clearly the listening is a much higher weight, but the UI is still important.

fetuso's picture

Sorry readers that a review about the Sprout has spawned comments about the D3020. I tried the bass button, didn't like it, so I don't care that it's on the back. The UI and remote are a bit quirky, yes, but not awful and horrible. To each his own I suppose. I Spend so little time with the interface that's it's not an issue. I turn it on and enjoy. What else is there to do with it? It's not like we're speaking to Martians with it.

I've said my piece.

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Luxman Classic CL-38u preamplifier Page 2

Thu, 04/23/2015
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worldofsteveUK's picture

these reviews and content in general are hitting stereophile.com so quickly now I'm beginning to wonder whether I still need a digital subscription.

John Atkinson's picture
worldofsteveUK wrote:
these reviews and content in general are hitting stereophile.com so quickly now I'm beginning to wonder whether I still need a digital subscription.

This is due to how the calendar crumbles each month.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

worldofsteveUK's picture

I was in retail in Canterbury in the early eighties just as Luxman stopped making rather lovely things like the L80V http://www.hifiengine.com/images/model/luxman_l-80_front_panel.jpg which were replaced with bland industrial looking gear. Good to see them back. Thanks for the heads up on the timing, frankly Art is worth the price of admission alone.

jmsent's picture

you've got going on there, Art. I think you'd have to be blind to mistake that Luxman for a Marantz 7.Other than the fact they're both tube preamps with some switches in the middle, I fail to see any cosmetic resemblance whatsoever. the panels are completely different colors, the Marantz cabinet was walnut, the Marantz switches were old fashioned toggles with bakelite knobs,the power switch was an old fashioned slide switch, etc. BTW "C" just meant it came with the cabinet. There was never a Marantz 7A or B., and officially it was always known simply as the Marantz 7.

volvic's picture

Yeah but the digital subscription is so cheap I feel comfortable knowing that Art and others at Stereophile are being supported to continue reviewing such great products. Still have my old Luxman L-450 with digital tuner and cassette deck at my parent's place, after all these years they still run great. Love Luxman's gear and have come full circle on their turntable, once thought it ugly now think it is quite attractive.

ngt1977's picture

I noticed JA mentioned in the measurement column the CL-38U's polarity is reversed on MC loads. How pervasive is this on other equipment? If it does occur, then shouldn't that information be in the review copy? It's my understanding that polarity can be corrected by reversing the sources RCA/XLR into the troubled (?) unit. Is that true? I admit to knowing very little about checking and compensating for polarity would love further explanation whether that be in the pages of Stereophile or elsewhere. Thanks!

Doctor Fine's picture

When RELATIVE POLARITY is miswired the left and right speakers will not agree as to whether the speaker is moving IN or OUT.

One speaker will be playing INWARD notes and the other speaker will be playing OUTWARD notes.

That is because the plus and minus terminals on ONE speaker have the leads REVERSED somewhere in the chain. Unless you bought some really BAD stuff this has occurred by Operator Error and YOU wired one speaker BACKWARDS---YOUR bad.

Positive lead is wired to Minus terminal and Minus lead is wired to Positive terminal. On ONE speaker only.

What John caught is NOT this problem (which would really have messed up the sound terribly and made the bass sound weak as heck)...

John noticed ABSOLUTE POLARITY was miswired.

Which is when ALL the wires are hooked up to the WRONG terminals. On BOTH channels.

So your speakers would play together as they moved IN and OUT. BUT---they would play INTO their cabinets instead of OUT of their cabinets. The speakers would drive the sound INTO the box instead of driving the sound OUT to the air.

It all sounds a bit DEAD when you do that. Exactly as though you were making the sound play INTO the box instead of playing OUT into the room. MUFFLED. Very CLEAR. But MUFFLED.

But not terribly so. It is an effect you really have to pay attention to notice. And have really well set up gear in the first place.

And what is WORSE is that SOME recordings were accidentally encoded with everything reversed. AND BAD RECORDINGS WILL BE PLAYED CORRECTLY WHEN THE POLARITY IS ABSOLUTELY REVERSED.

Just to make all of us crazy. Haha.

But anyway---It is there. It is real.

But probably NOT the first thing you might hate about your new Stereo.

I once accused Benchmark of having their phase reversed on the DAC1. Their engineer called me back and said: "wrong." "It is NOT wired wrong."

Then I triple checked my setup and damn it---MINE was wired backwards.

Oh well. I will never live down the shame...

And life goes on.

Pages

Luxman Classic CL-38u preamplifier

If you look at it from a distance and squint a little, Luxman's Classic CL-38u preamplifier ($4200) could almost be mistaken for that most classic of all classic hi-fi products, the Marantz Model 7C control center. The aluminum front panels of both models have, at their centers, a row of four distinctive toggle switches, flanked on each side by four control knobs. Even more noticeable are the stylish wood enclosures—standard on the Luxman, optional on the Marantz—which make both preamps appear ready for duty at the Playboy Mansion, ca 1963, or perhaps an appearance in a Life photo essay titled "At Home with Steve McQueen."
Thu, 04/23/2015
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PS Audio Sprout integrated amplifier Page 2

Thu, 04/23/2015
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COMMENTS
AllanMarcus's picture

Would be nice to read about a direct listening comparison between the D3020 and the Sprout. Feature wise, the Sprout has a phono (er, vinyl), input, but the D3020 has a remote (albeit a horrible one). The Sprout has real knobs, which sounds insignificant, but if you really want to see how bad a digital interface can be, try the D3020. Both seem to have power switches in inconvenient locations.

There seems to be a nice selection if high quality desktop amps out now. D3020, Sprout, Teac's AI series, CEntrace DAC Mini PX, Sony UDA-1, possibly the Cambridge Audio Minx Xi, and the Denon PMA-50. Anymore? Time for a shootout?

jmsent's picture

There will be a huge audible difference. Just look at the frequency response of this amp, and see the bumped up peak at 60 Hz and then a cliff like drop all the way down to 20 Hz. The NAD has an eq switch that gives you a similar curve, but in that case it's defeatable, and you can set it for nice, classic, flat frequency response. This amp looks to be designed for a particular speaker type, one with severely limited bass, like a desktop 2 way with a small woofer. Hook this to a speaker with true bass extension and flat response, and the results will be boomy upper bass and no lower bass. That's a deal breaker for me, but YMMV.

fetuso's picture

I've owned the D3020 for almost two months now and I am particularly sensitive to criticism of its remote and interface. The reason? Because such criticism actually kept me from buying this wonderful little amplifier for months, until I finally bought it because it was exactly what I was looking for. I've commented previously on his site and others about how these criticisms are overblown, but here I go gain. The remote is black on black, and yes it it hard to see the buttons. But the buttons are few and nicely spaced out. You'll have their locations memorized in no time and you'll have no need to even look at the remote. It also fits very nicely in the hand. Could NAD have added some white? Of course. But please don't let it stop you from buying this great amp. Same goes for the interface, which is really just the power button and input switch on the unit itself. I've never had an issue with these. In fairness, sometimes I have to press the power button a second time, but so what? We're talking maybe half a second to press it again. It is a bit quirky until you learn where it wants to be touched. My main point is that the D3020 is very user friendly and easy to live with. It also sounds great. Don't let these petty criticisms stop you from buying it if the features fit your needs.

AllanMarcus's picture

I like the d3020 too, but the UI is aweful. The remote is horrible. The touch sensitive buttons on the top are not intuitive. Long hold was a kludge to resolve the issue of accidental presses. The bass boost button hidden in the back is just a crazy place for it. It looses points for UI, but it has many redeeming features. Right now I don't think there is a better option out there, but many other models that compete at that size are coming on the market. I won't stop complaining, but I will disclaim the complait. There are two ways one interacts with an amp, the UI and the listening. How you weight the importance is personal, and clearly the listening is a much higher weight, but the UI is still important.

fetuso's picture

Sorry readers that a review about the Sprout has spawned comments about the D3020. I tried the bass button, didn't like it, so I don't care that it's on the back. The UI and remote are a bit quirky, yes, but not awful and horrible. To each his own I suppose. I Spend so little time with the interface that's it's not an issue. I turn it on and enjoy. What else is there to do with it? It's not like we're speaking to Martians with it.

I've said my piece.

Pages

PS Audio Sprout integrated amplifier

I find small humans more beguiling than big people. My favorites are the two-footers—those little two-year-old boys with a kind of wobbly, bent-kneed stride that dips like a blues song every fourth step as they stagger ahead of their watchful parents. I like three-footers too—sprightly three-year-old girls who dress better than their moms and never need a lifestyle consultation. Whenever we see one of these cheerful, bouncing young'uns coming toward us on the sidewalk, I smile and my dog's tail wags. Their bright faces and excited voices make me think, You go, little sprouts! These miniature humans' special beauty is that they still possess their full force de vie.
Thu, 04/23/2015
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Westchester, NY Vinyl Session Saturday

New York dealer Accent on Music (175 E Main Street, Mount Kisco, NY 10549) is hosting a "Vinyl Adikt" event on Saturday April 25, starting at 11am. "Come along and celebrate the LP as we uncover the history behind the longest surviving music format and listen to great tracks on an iconic Sondek LP12 turntable," states the invitation and visitors are encouraged to bring along some of their favorite vinyl.
Thu, 04/23/2015
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Simaudio Moon Evolution 740P line preamplifier Measurements

Wed, 04/22/2015
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COMMENTS
TruthSpinner's picture

Is that not the exact same type of tech that Accuphase has been using in their volume controls for about thirteen years now?

BillK's picture

These always reminded me of the last decade's Mark Levinson preamps.

I'd be curious to read how this preamp compares to the 850P as well.

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Simaudio Moon Evolution 740P line preamplifier Associated Equipment

Wed, 04/22/2015
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COMMENTS
TruthSpinner's picture

Is that not the exact same type of tech that Accuphase has been using in their volume controls for about thirteen years now?

BillK's picture

These always reminded me of the last decade's Mark Levinson preamps.

I'd be curious to read how this preamp compares to the 850P as well.

Pages

Simaudio Moon Evolution 740P line preamplifier Specifications

Wed, 04/22/2015
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COMMENTS
TruthSpinner's picture

Is that not the exact same type of tech that Accuphase has been using in their volume controls for about thirteen years now?

BillK's picture

These always reminded me of the last decade's Mark Levinson preamps.

I'd be curious to read how this preamp compares to the 850P as well.

Pages

Simaudio Moon Evolution 740P line preamplifier Page 2

Wed, 04/22/2015
Share | |
COMMENTS
TruthSpinner's picture

Is that not the exact same type of tech that Accuphase has been using in their volume controls for about thirteen years now?

BillK's picture

These always reminded me of the last decade's Mark Levinson preamps.

I'd be curious to read how this preamp compares to the 850P as well.

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