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silvershadelynx
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Amplifier upgrade

Hi all,

I've built my own pair of full-range electrostatic loudspeakes. I'm quite happy with them and they are big (door size) panels. Although stats can be difficult to drive my current aplifier seems to have no problems at all driving them. It is a Harman Kardon HK680 integrated amplifier. If I'm correct is has a positive review: (not sure if the source is reliable)

https://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/hk680_e.html

As always - I'm wondering if there is room to improve things. I would think the living room where my audio system is intalled is the foremost important factor and I didn't do much about room treatment. As this is my third pair of DIY stats I think it would be quite difficult to make big improvements here. (although I have plans to build new panels).

I use a budget CD player (Marantz CD5001) and an old but fine turntable (Pioneer PLD12D with AT100e cartridge) I guess at the source there is room for improvement.

But how about the amplifier? When reading reviews I read a lot of subjective terms describing different amplifiers. At the other side there are people that tell each amplifier should sound (almost) equal as it just aplifies the signal - nothing more.

Then there is the factor of load - electrostats are well know for being a more diffult (capacitive) load compared to magnetic loudspeakers (resistive). And electrostats are well know for being (very) resolving. Would this mean there is room for improvement and would it be worth the effort to upgrade my HK680 amplifier?

Ideally I would select up to five to ten different amplifiers and compare them at home. But I guess this will be difficult - if not imposible. It would be difficult to bring them to an good audio store as well. I always prefer to test things by myself and alone.

So to summarize my question: do you think an amplifier upgrade can result in a clear audible improvement in my case? And what amplifiers would qualify for this? For instance, would a Quad 606 MKII qualify?

commsysman
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System Choices

I would suggest that you get the Marantz Cd6006 player; it will be a significant upgrade. Marantz
is using much better decoder circuits in the 6006 and it is way better than the 5001. There have been great improvements in the last 10 years in the chips, and the sound is noticeably better.

For an amplifier, I suggest the Musical Fidelity M5. It has superb sound quality.

Catch22
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I doubt it. That amplifier

I doubt it. That amplifier specs out as a beast. At some price point, yeah, but not a realistic expenditure I would guess.

Seems like a perfect match for an electrostatic design.

silvershadelynx
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commsysman wrote:
commsysman wrote:

I would suggest that you get the Marantz Cd6006 player; it will be a significant upgrade. Marantz
is using much better decoder circuits in the 6006 and it is way better than the 5001. There have been great improvements in the last 10 years in the chips, and the sound is noticeably better.

For an amplifier, I suggest the Musical Fidelity M5. It has superb sound quality.

Hi, thanks for your suggestion, I wasn't aware of significant improvements in more recent cd-players. I will consider upgrading my current player.

I just read a review of the Musical Fidelity M5 at:

https://www.avhub.com.au/product-reviews/hi-fi/musical-fidelity-m5si-integrated-amplifier-488376

It looks promising, also as it seems to have no problems driving lower loads.

silvershadelynx
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Catch22 wrote:
Catch22 wrote:

I doubt it. That amplifier specs out as a beast. At some price point, yeah, but not a realistic expenditure I would guess.

Seems like a perfect match for an electrostatic design.

Thanks for your reply. What do you doubt and which aplifier specs out as a beast? The Harman Kardon or the Musical Fidelity?

commsysman
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Amplifier
silvershadelynx wrote:
Catch22 wrote:

I doubt it. That amplifier specs out as a beast. At some price point, yeah, but not a realistic expenditure I would guess.

Seems like a perfect match for an electrostatic design.

Thanks for your reply. What do you doubt and which aplifier specs out as a beast? The Harman Kardon or the Musical Fidelity?

I wonder what is meant by "a beast"??

For sound quality, I would rate the Musical Fidelity as very very good-sounding, and the HK as fairly good.

Catch22
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I was suggesting the HK is a

I was suggesting the HK is a beast. Did you read that entire review? That thing can pump out the juice and remained stable at 1 ohm!!!

The review was impressive.

silvershadelynx
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Hi, I did read the entire

Hi, I did read the entire review and thans for your replies. I'm curious how the Quad 606 MKII would compare to both the Harman Kardon and the Musical Fidelidy when it comes to sound quality and stability. Do you have any idea?

Catch22
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If I was going to venture

If I was going to venture into a different amplifier to hear what those speakers could really do, I'd go really big on voltage capability. While all the above mentioned amplifiers will likely drive your stats, I'm not confident that there would be enough of a difference in sound quality to justify spending the several thousand dollars. Nothing sucks worse than realizing that more money doesn't necessarily buy better sound.

If your integrated has a preamp output, take a look at something like this, maybe. https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9bb31-innersound-esl-electrostatic-stereo-power-amplifier-16588-solid-state?creative=305983658573&gclid=Cj0KCQiA1sriBRD-ARIsABYdwwGuuU94F9_mFOQ21_m0FcoCPt345T7f05bMa5Dopo-N7rqcEX1l-fgaAgYDEALw_wcB&keyword=

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