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Opinions on Exposure Classic amps (23/28)

Discussion in 'Hi Fi Systems & Separates' started by dionisio83, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. dionisio83

    dionisio83 Member

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  2. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig Active Member

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    I've not heard any of Exposure's newer stuff but their older kit was great. Solid and powerful sounding, rhythmic and dynamic without being harsh or edgy. If the current amps are similar then they'll be nice amps. I went down the Naim road years ago but with the benefit of hindsight I think Exposure would've worked out better.
  3. dionisio83

    dionisio83 Member

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    Thanks. So these 23/28 'classics' are a modern make as opposed to the highly regarded Farlowe-made models? Can't find much information on these on the web, or reviews, so I'm struggling with the decision a little and demoing would be tricky.

    Cheers!

    PS. What makes you say that (re: Naim)?
  4. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig Active Member

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    I don't know. It was years ago I knew a bit about Exposure amps. I've not seen or heard anything about them for ages.

    I had learned the hard way that some Hi-Fi kills the music and I was looking for stuff that was as musically informative and involving as possible. If that's what you're looking for then pretty soon Naim is going to feature large on your radar. I ended up with a Naim Nait-2 and pair of Linn Kans. A classic combination that wiped the floor with just about anything else in it's class, sort of.

    Although incredibly musically candid and foot tapping the combination has other less attractive qualities that make you want to throw it out of the window. It lives right on the edge of harshness at all times and a poor recording or imperfect setup tips it into fatigue city and even when working well there is always a nagging feeling that you're missing something. Of course with a 'budget' Naim amp and speakers that ignore the bottom two octaves you are but the Naim solution is always the same, you need another Naim box.

    It's quite addictive collecting those little green light-up logos but there is a problem. Apart from the fact that it's achingly expensive, you just never seem to get there. Even with thousands of pounds worth of Naim amps you still feel that there's something missing. It's very hard to put ones finger on but if you look at Naim owners you'll see that they are often consumed by the upgrade process. They are not a very contented bunch. If I was asked to have a stab at explaining it I would suggest that Naim amps are less pitch accurate than some other amps, or at least the way they present music does not portray the pitch of notes as clearly as other amps.

    I knew this at the time. I listened to Linn amps and it was obvious that they were more tuneful than Naim amps. However they were just too laid back for me and I liked the simplicity of Naim amps, which was a good call as the switchgear on early Linn amps proved unreliable.

    Exposure amps were kind of in the middle. They were more tuneful and solid than the thinner-sounding Naim amps but not as laid back as Linn. In retrospect I think they were bang on the money.

    I rejected them for a number of reasons. I had fallen for the Naim hype and propaganda for a start. Also, the finish on Exposure amps was poor, not much better than you could do yourself in the shed. Even the shop demo amps were flaking paint which doesn't inspire confidence about the construction inside. And lastly, I wanted the most exiting sound possible, and that's Naim.

    Don't misunderstand, I think Naim amps are great, but they're not perfect. They are fantastic at certain things but at the expense of some others. Still a great choice in the right context but the exposure of old was a more rounded product that was more likely to work in more situations. If the new amps are cut from the same cloth they'll be pretty good.
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  5. dionisio83

    dionisio83 Member

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    That's incredibly detailed, thanks.

    As it happens the other combination I've been looking at is a Linn Kairn active system with 3 x LK100 amps and Kaber speakers so this gives me a good idea of the differences.
  6. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig Active Member

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    Interesting. The first thing I would do is contact Linn, or one of their dealers, and ask if Linn still service the Kairn and LK100 amps. If they say no, then you'll need to consider the implications.

    These are not new products, they've got miles on them and nothing lasts forever. Sooner or later they will need work. If Linn don't do it then you might have big problems finding someone who will. Linn made parts themselves and bought other components that weren't very common, the result being that you can't get them any more. I don't know how that applies to the Kairn/LK100 but I know that you can forget about getting any help from them for the likes of the LK1/LK280 and their older speakers. Which would probably include the Kaber by the way.

    Linn have never had a great attitude to long-term backup. They won't touch any of their tonearms, preferring to offer a discount on a new one rather than fix them. Things they say are irreparable Audio Origami can fix no problem. Naim on the other hand stuck to standard parts and can fix any amplifier they've ever made. They only came unstuck when they started making CD players and Phillips stopped making the transport they'd used.

    If you bought that system and an LK100 packed up, what would you do? You can run older stuff. I use Linn Isobariks myself but if you do have a problem it'll take more effort to fix it. You need to look for used replacements or parts, which you can do obviously.

    All that aside, that system should sound pretty interesting. With the kind of speakers Linn and Naim favoured active makes a big difference. I'm not saying that active is always better than passive, but it's got a head start! That range of speakers, the Kaber, Keilidh were really designed to be used active and they should sound pretty good. Can you go and hear them?

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