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bierfeldt
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What to do

I bought the Raidho x-1s and they are awesome. Wife and deep soundstage. Wonderful detail and a truly special speaker. Unfortunately, my GF HATES the fact that they don't have dustcover sand hates the white ceramic speakers. Additionally, I moved and they don't work in the new space I am in. For that reason I am looking to get rid of them and have a trade in place that can deliver great value.

Cash and two amps, both First Watt. One is and F2J, recently upgraded by Norman Pass and the other is a lightly used First Watt J2 which was the 2016 Amplifier of the year here at Stereophile. I could just sell both and I will easily get $3500 - $4500 for the two amps and with the cash included I will recoup most of the speaker cost and can reinvest in a new pair or I could keep one of the First Watts and get Zu, DeVore or Klipsch speakers. The review of the Zu Soul Supreme here at stereophile used the J2 and said it was a spectacular match.

Just curious what your guys thoughts are on either keeping the J2 and getting Zu Soul Supremes or selling both First Watts and getting a more traditional tower

commsysman
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Speakers
bierfeldt wrote:

I bought the Raidho x-1s and they are awesome. Wife and deep soundstage. Wonderful detail and a truly special speaker. Unfortunately, my GF HATES the fact that they don't have dustcover sand hates the white ceramic speakers. Additionally, I moved and they don't work in the new space I am in. For that reason I am looking to get rid of them and have a trade in place that can deliver great value.

Cash and two amps, both First Watt. One is and F2J, recently upgraded by Norman Pass and the other is a lightly used First Watt J2 which was the 2016 Amplifier of the year here at Stereophile. I could just sell both and I will easily get $3500 - $4500 for the two amps and with the cash included I will recoup most of the speaker cost and can reinvest in a new pair or I could keep one of the First Watts and get Zu, DeVore or Klipsch speakers. The review of the Zu Soul Supreme here at stereophile used the J2 and said it was a spectacular match.

Just curious what your guys thoughts are on either keeping the J2 and getting Zu Soul Supremes or selling both First Watts and getting a more traditional tower

"wife and deep soundstage"...rofl.

I would get an amp with more power and look at lots of speakers.

bierfeldt
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Fat thumbs

Not the best typist on the phone...Wide not wife. for some reason this low power, high efficiency segment intrigues me.

caphill
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bierfeldt wrote:
bierfeldt wrote:

I bought the Raidho x-1s and they are awesome. Wife and deep soundstage. Wonderful detail and a truly special speaker. Unfortunately, my GF HATES the fact that they don't have dustcover sand hates the white ceramic speakers. Additionally, I moved and they don't work in the new space I am in. For that reason I am looking to get rid of them and have a trade in place that can deliver great value.

Cash and two amps, both First Watt. One is and F2J, recently upgraded by Norman Pass and the other is a lightly used First Watt J2 which was the 2016 Amplifier of the year here at Stereophile. I could just sell both and I will easily get $3500 - $4500 for the two amps and with the cash included I will recoup most of the speaker cost and can reinvest in a new pair or I could keep one of the First Watts and get Zu, DeVore or Klipsch speakers. The review of the Zu Soul Supreme here at stereophile used the J2 and said it was a spectacular match.

Just curious what your guys thoughts are on either keeping the J2 and getting Zu Soul Supremes or selling both First Watts and getting a more traditional tower

Bierfeldt,
What happened to your Rogue hybrid amp?
As far as speaker choices, what's your price range? So, now you are looking for a floorstanders? Compact or large? I would stay away from Klipsch and would look seriously into either the Zu or the DeVore.
Alternatively, I would suggest the Wilson Sabrina or the Vienna Acoustics or the Focal Sopra line if I were you. The Viennas have rather laid back presentation with smoother more refined richer warmer sound profile but probably aren't as detailed as say the B&W or the Focal.
The Focals are forward and a bit bright. It all depends on your personal preferences as well as your associated gears (amp, preamp, source components). What power amp are you using right now?

My preference would be the Wilson Sabrina. Alternatively, the new B&W 803 D3 or the 802 D3 are quite spectacular too. These 802 or 803 require quite a bit of power and these new 800 series D3 lines paired really well with Classe amps. They were designed and voiced based on Classe amplifications. I would pair them with either the Classe CA-2300 stereo amp or the CAM-300 monoblock amps. You can probably get good discounts on these Classe Delta series amps as they have been discontinued and Classe isn't going to replenish them. But there's a risk in buying Classe Delta series products in an after market these days as Classe isn't going to move forward with this series and I didn't know if you've heard that Classe might be going away soon. The new owner of the B&W Group might decide to dissolve Classe.

Good luck and let us know what you finally decide on.

bierfeldt
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So

This is all driven by a potential scenario where I can swap the Raidho's for these two First Watt amps and some cash. The First Watt J2 is spectacular, was Stereophile amp of the year last year and has been said to be the best amp Norman Pass has ever made. Given that, I am considering keeping it if the deal gets finalized.

Zu is not happening. She hates those even more but seems to like DeVores so that is the way I would go if I get and keep the First Watt. We shall see though. No guarantee that deal is going through which means relisting and trying for a different deal.

Disappointing that Classe might get dissolved. Wonder if it isn't profitable? Maybe they roll some of the equipment in under Rotel.

I still have my Rogue and it is great. Again, this scenario is strictly opportunistic based on what I think is a fair and interesting deal.

caphill
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bierfeldt wrote:
bierfeldt wrote:

This is all driven by a potential scenario where I can swap the Raidho's for these two First Watt amps and some cash. The First Watt J2 is spectacular, was Stereophile amp of the year last year and has been said to be the best amp Norman Pass has ever made. Given that, I am considering keeping it if the deal gets finalized.

Zu is not happening. She hates those even more but seems to like DeVores so that is the way I would go if I get and keep the First Watt. We shall see though. No guarantee that deal is going through which means relisting and trying for a different deal.

Disappointing that Classe might get dissolved. Wonder if it isn't profitable? Maybe they roll some of the equipment in under Rotel.

I still have my Rogue and it is great. Again, this scenario is strictly opportunistic based on what I think is a fair and interesting deal.

The First Watt was awesome. I know someone here who is a nephew of Nelson Pass. He helped built the First Watt amp actually.
Highly recommended but it all depends on what kind of speakers you will be getting though cause you don't want to be underpowering your future prospective speakers.

The DeVore are awesome sounding great and visually nice.
As fas as visual aesthetic look my favorite ones are the Focal Sopra and Utopia lines as well as the new B&W 800 series D3 line, especially the new 803 D3, 802 D3, 800 D3.
Frankly, I hate the looks on my Wilson Alexx or any Wilson Audio speakers with the exception of the Wilson Duette Series ll stand mount speakers. IMO all Wilson Audio speakers look very ugly but the reason I bought them was because of their audio performances or sonic quality.
I understand that most wives or girlfriend or fiancé do like the sexy stylish great looking speakers visually.

Yes, since the B&W Group was purchased by a new owner and the new owner sat down and looked at the financial book on its Classe division and it turned out that Classe loses money each month.
Well...I think this is not uncommon with those high end hifi manufacturers since they only produced small volumes.
So the new owner isn't happy with the Classe division bleeding money all the time and will probably close Classe for good and it might be happening pretty soon as early as next year or possibly even later this year.

They are going to keep the Rotel since it is higher volumes of productions as they are much more affordable than Classe.
Don't know if B&W Group will do some modifications with the Rotel. B&W Group only distributes Rotel products and they do not own Rotel. They only own Classe and B&W speakers.
We will see.

Anyways, good luck with everything and let us know what you finally decide on.

caphill
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Shame on Classe

Yeah, it is very unfortunate about the fate of Classe due to financial distress. Classe makes great components and I love their sonic performances, build quality and the aesthetic looks on all Classe products. At this point we all aren't 100% sure when or if Classe will close for good but it is leaning towards that direction. The new Delta Series products that were supposed to come out right about now aren't moving forward and we will never see them and the only things remain in productions at the moment is their Sigma series gears, which is Classe's entry level series offerings. I saw great potentials in their new Delta series products that were supposed to come out now but we will never see them. I did listen to their pre-production run of the new Delta stereo preamp/DAC and their stereo power amp during Music Matters audio show event here in Seattle this past March. They performed flawlessly driving the new B&W 802 D3 speakers. Sonically they were better than the already spectacular performing and recently discontinued Delta series products in all areas but the increase in prices are significant.
However we will never see them unfortunately.

I own all Classe Delta series gears in my dedicated HT room and am concerned that my Classe products would no longer be supported if and when Classe dissolves completely.
In the event of its bankruptcy I highly doubt if the B&W Group will roll some of the equipment in under Rotel because Rotel and Classe are not the same performance wise, build quality wise and price wise. They are simply different animals and are at different price ranges or category. Rotel is great for the money and I can't think of any other similarly priced products that will outperform Rotel in performance or sometimes includes other manufacturers that cost twice as much or more. It is very musical sounding gears at affordable price ranges......that best describes Rotel. Only in direct comparisons to other much higher end offerings such as Classe, Simaudio, Ayre, Audio Research, Pass Labs, Linn, Devialet, McIntosh etc that the Rotel is noticeably and audibly lacking in finess and refinements in its performance delivery.
I've heard a rumor that when B&W Group decides to close down Classe for good it's possible that they will start making high end Rotel gears that might inherit trickle down technology, component circuitry design & engineering and build quality currently used and implemented in Classe products that will up Rotel's sonic quality a notch or two.
We will see.

caphill
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Bierfeldt - Rockport Atria speakers

Hi Bierfeldt,
How's your search for new sets of speakers and amp going? My penpal, who is a pro reviewer for SoundstageHifi.com, is selling his Rockport Atria speakers for around $12k/pair but he said he can be flexible on the price. These sepakers retail for $22,500/pair and are current model. He bought them brand new 3 yrs ago from a Rockport dealer. He's had them listed on Audiogon. He lives in BC, Canada and is willing to ship them to the USA. The speakers have been kept in a smoke free and pet free and air conditioned environment and have been driven by a pair of Simaudio Evolution W7 monoblock amps and Simaudio P7 preamp for most of the time as well as a pair of Classe Delta CAM 600 monoblock amps and Classe CP-800 preamp in the beginning.

You can see his listing on Audiogon. You should contact him if interested.

bierfeldt
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Standing pat

The deal I had in place for the First Watt amps fell through so I am trying again to move the X-1s. It occurs to me that I could have custom speaker grills made for the Raidho's and just take them off when I am listening. So if they don't sell, I may just do that as that will solve my issue my my fiancé regarding aesthetics and a more powerful amp may resolve my issue with the space.

I am planning on picking up a Mytek Brooklyn DAC or an NAD M51 with a Bluesound Node2. That will be more immediate than a new amp as I just sold my Marantz.

I see three amps that I am thinking seriously about. First, just stepping up to the Medusa from the Hyrdra. I can get one used for $2100. An Ayre V-5xe which I can get used for $2500 as they come up pretty regularly at that price. The third option is the PS Audio BHK 250. PS Audio gives generous credits on trade and I can't top the deal they would give me on the Rogue for trade and would cost ~$5K new. We shall see.

caphill
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Plan

Good that you get to keep your Raidho speakers. I'm under the impression that you have a larger listening area now. A more powerful and better amp will solve the issue. All those 3 amps you mentioned above are fine imo.

Why did you sell your Marantz Reference series streamer/DAC again? Not sure if the Mytek Brooklyn or the NAD M51 would sound or perform any better than your Marantz Reference series. Give a serious listen to the new Linn Majik DS with the new Katalyst DAC architecture. Not sure how much it retails for. But if you can swing for the new Linn Akurate DS with the Katalyst DAC architecture that would be best option. And of course the new Klimax DS with Katalyst DAC architecture would be the best option but it is very expensive.
The other day I had a chance to listen to the new Klimax DS (Katalyst DAC architecture) at my local dealer in their reference all Klimax system with the Linn Klimax Solo Chakra 500 monoblock amps driving the Linn Klimax 350 passive floorstanding speakers and it was spectacular. We compared the new Klimax Katalyst DAC architecture against the previous model Klimax DS (non Katalyst DAC) and the difference in performance was immediate. The non Katalyst DAC already sounded so spectacular until you hear the new Katalyst DAC architecture one.

Are you still looking to build a new home theater system anytime soon? Are you going to have it in a separate room or in the same room as your 2Ch listening room?

bierfeldt
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Marantz software

I like the Marantz Reference DAC, hate the software and am intrigued by MQA. That is why I am thinking about the Brooklyn DAC. We shall see. It will be a couple months and the Mytek is great because of the in home demo. My budget for that unit will be about $2K plus streamer.

Home theater is on hold for a while as well. Divorce is expensive in so many different ways. It is unlikely I would do home theater and two channel listening in the same space. I just like them separate and my experience is that great home theater speaker have a different sound profile than great audio speakers, I like keeping them separate as it would mean a lot of clutter.

caphill
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Home Theater (HT)

I see.

In regards to HT setup.....couldn't agree more with you that ideally HT should be in separate room than 2CH setup. I happened to inherit my dad's house and all his gears when he passed and he had separate rooms for 2ch and HT. I guessed I consider myself lucky but not everyone has a privilege of having separate dedicated rooms for each application.

Btw, I'm going to sell my Classe SSP 800 pre pro at the end of the year cause I'm going to buy a new pre pro that can support Dolby Atmos, DTS-X, 4k video, hdcp 2.2 etc. I'm going to do Atmos setup in my dedicated HT room pretty soon. But I'm keeping all my Classe Delta Series amps in my HT setup. Just changing the pre pro.
I wonder if you would be interested in purchasing the Classe SSP 800 from me towards the end of the year. I can sell it to you for under $4k perhaps around $3500. The SSP 800 retails for $9500 and was recently discontinued. I was told that Classe is probably not going to dissolve but will be going through some changes. And even if Classe went dissolve by law they will have to keep their product supports for the next few years. The SSP 800 audio performance as a HT preamp processor is stellar and is one of the best sounding HT processor I've heard for under $15k. Its performance as a stereo preamp is also phenomenal. Very well built and very thought out designed. Equipped with separate power supplies for its digital and analog audio circuitry. An ultra low noise toroidal transformer power supply feeds its analog audio circuitry and switching power supplies feed its digital audio circuitry. The toroidal transformer power supply is placed in isolation from the audio circuitry and all components within the unit in order to prevent it from injecting noise and polluting the critical audio circuitry.

The SSP 800 does not have video processing or upscalling capabilities, it does not process the video, it simply switches it. Classe does not believe in putting video processor/upscaler in their HT pre pro. The unit is strictly optimized for audio performances, both stereo and multi-channels.

Great DAC configuration and implementation. Classe uses apodizing filters to reduce pre-ringing and pre and post ringing of digital filters have been an area of expertise for Classe and is to be found in the SSP 800. Rather than focusing on a single element in the signal path, the SSP 800 based designs ensure the quality of the complete signal path.
As a result, the SSP 800 delivers what is widely considered ultimate performance with negligible pre and post ringing.
Every single design aspects were given thorough evaluation. Trace lengths were kept to minimum to avoid signal loss.

Anyways, let me know if you might be interested and I probably won't sell it till beginning of next year.

bierfeldt
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Room Correction

I might be interested but I need another month or so before I will know what is going on. I may be moving again and we shall see what the new space looks like.

The other problem I have is that Classe doesn't offer room correction. I get there philosophy, I just don't agree with it. I have tried to manually adjust channels to optimize sound out of my home theater equipment and I am simply incapable of doing as good of a job as Audyssey.

If my room is less than optimal, what is your advice on setup?

caphill
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bierfeldt wrote:
bierfeldt wrote:

I might be interested but I need another month or so before I will know what is going on. I may be moving again and we shall see what the new space looks like.

The other problem I have is that Classe doesn't offer room correction. I get there philosophy, I just don't agree with it. I have tried to manually adjust channels to optimize sound out of my home theater equipment and I am simply incapable of doing as good of a job as Audyssey.

If my room is less than optimal, what is your advice on setup?

The SSP 800 comes with a manual PEQ (Parametrix EQ). We downloaded an XTZ Room Analyzer software and perform some calculations based out that. I found the XTZ very effective and the manual PEQ on the SSP 800 performs fabulous when set up correctly. You also need to get SPL meter and a ruler to measure speakers distances. I would use the manual PEQ sparingly and make some moderate adjustments accordingly to get the best results. When everything is calibrated right you will be rewarded with the results. It is spectacular.

I wished I was in NY otherwise I can show you and help you with the manual calibration. If your local dealer in NY happens to be a Classe dealer they should be able to come to your place and help you perform a manual calibration for you when you get your HT room and gears in place.

Acoustical treatments will help as well. I know it isn't plug n play kinda thing. And the SSP 800 is a true differential or fully balanced design all the way from input to output. All channels are fully balanced and equipped with XLR balanced outs.

Fyi, Alan Park, who's responsible in designing great products eg Linn CD12 (discontinued) and a great Mark Levinson stereo preamp, helped designed and engineered the SSP 800. The design team who worked on the SSP 800 consisted of some other great designers/enginners from Mark Levinson, Linn, Ayre.
Every single aspects were taken into serious considerations in order to obtain the best possible sonic fidelity. Trace lengths were kept to minimum in order to minimize signal loss. Power supply regulators and voltage regulators were given serious thoughts and were carefully executed. The SSP 800 was and is a benchmark on which lot of other high end preamp processors are based on.

You should also seriously look into the Anthem AVM860 pre pro. It retails only for a fraction of the original retail price of the SSP 800. The AVM860 retails for $3k brand new and supports the latest formats and codecs. The ARC is very good. Sonically, and with the ARC engaged, is not quite the same level of performance as the SSP 800 but was pretty close IMO. The Anthem was for sure better than the Marantz AV8802 or even the Classe Sigma SSP.

bierfeldt
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That is interesting

XTZ to help define what adjustments need to be made is exactly what I was thinking I needed. How much adjustment is required depends on how bad your room is and how poor your setup is most likely. Good to know that is available. When you do go to sell it, let me know.

It is interesting. It seems like my model of Marantz Pre/Pro - the AV7005 has been particularly good through time. It is good (not great) for two channel and the the phono stage is crap but for multi-channel it seems to be well regarded and to some extent, punched above its weight. For something that can be had for $600 or $700 refurbished, seems like a steal.

I should know more in a couple weeks and will keep you posted if I am interested.

caphill
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Marantz pre pro vs Anthem

The Marantz processors are good for HT but is weak for 2CH for music. The AV8802 is very good for HT but its 2CH performance is ok, not in the same league as the Classe SSP 800 or the Sigma SSP or Meridian, Krell, McIntosh MX160 etc. If I was in the market for a brand new pre pro for under $5k and will use it strictly use it for HT (movies) I would get the Anthem AVM860 for $3k. It supports the latest formats and codecs.
But the Anthem and the Marantz stereo performances aren't in the same league as those high end pre pros eg Classe, Meridian, etc. Even when used as surround sound processor for HT they can't compete with the Classe or the Meridian or the McIntosh pre pros. They are completely different animals.

caphill
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Classe SSP 800

Bierfeldt, I will let you know when I'm going to put it up for sale. It comes with all original packaging and accessories eg box, remote, user manual, power cord. It is in excellent condition both cosmetic and operation. This is actually a hifi high end audio preamp that happens to do home cinema instead of the other way around. Even though my SSP 800 is strictly used for HT in my dedicated HT room but I have tried its stereo music performance and have tried it as an analog stereo preamp in bypass mode and it was spectacular.
Its stereo and multi-channel performances are equally impressive.

However the Classe isn't equipped with video processor and upscaler. It does not process video, it simply switches it.
And the GUI is horrible. $800 receiver has better GUI than the SSP 800. This also applies to the Sigma SSP and other Classe pre pros.
IMO video processing and upscalling should be done in your bluray player or in your TV display. The Oppo 103/105 & 203/205 do great job in this department.

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