Amp vs Speakers for preferred sound presentation

umigazumi

Standard Member
LOVE my friends Accuphase amp + KEF speakers. Even with FLAC via my DAC it's so much wider AND I can almost see where people or instruments are.

Have £2.5k this year so is it new amp or speakers first?

Current setup is FLAC files - RPi4 - Topping E50 DAC - Hegel H120 amp - RTL TDL3 speakers.

Looking at ASR, the Class D power amps seem amazing and will work with my Topping. BUT, would speakers be a better option?

Room is 4.5m x 7m
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I'd say your own setup is very good. Is your friends setup in a much bigger/smaller room or with softer furnishings etc, be careful, you could easily spend lots for very little improvement
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
The RTl speakers are getting on a bit but we’re pretty good in their day. first things to check are the obvious - correctly wired red ti red and black to black and there are no cracks or splits in the woofer surrounds. If you like the sound of the Transmission Line then I would for a pair of second hand PMC Twenty.23 or possibly 24 to listen to. If youncan grab an audition the I’d also throw into the mix the Kef R5/R500 and may be some Sonus Faber Lumina III for a different sound.

The Hegel is a pretty competent amp with a big damping factor to keep control on pretty much any speaker. I don’t think any of the new class D amps will make a huge difference. Also have you tried bypassing the Topping and plugging the RPi directly into the Hegel, does that make a difference.
 

umigazumi

Standard Member
The RTl speakers are getting on a bit but we’re pretty good in their day. first things to check are the obvious - correctly wired red ti red and black to black and there are no cracks or splits in the woofer surrounds. If you like the sound of the Transmission Line then I would for a pair of second hand PMC Twenty.23 or possibly 24 to listen to. If youncan grab an audition the I’d also throw into the mix the Kef R5/R500 and may be some Sonus Faber Lumina III for a different sound.

The Hegel is a pretty competent amp with a big damping factor to keep control on pretty much any speaker. I don’t think any of the new class D amps will make a huge difference. Also have you tried bypassing the Topping and plugging the RPi directly into the Hegel, does that make a difference.
@Ugg10 Thanks for your thoughts. Auditions to be arranged. I recently checked over the RTL's, they are in great shape, and only needed a clean of the speaker plugs and slight tightening of driver screws. Did originally run the Pi directly to the Hegel. I wasn't sure at that time and then at about 3-months, tried the Topping again and liked it (really no idea how to qualify that). The Hegel is a great amp but doesn't directly handle HigherRes tracks via the inbuilt DAC. Plays up to 96, but nothing higher and I have a lot of purchased 192 recordings.
 

umigazumi

Standard Member
I'd say your own setup is very good. Is your friends setup in a much bigger/smaller room or with softer furnishings etc, be careful, you could easily spend lots for very little improvement
Good point @muljao
My pals room is about 30% smaller and with soft wall coverings. I think i will try some room softening. We have a freindly Hi-Fi store about 20 miles away so might try some speaker auditioning. Almost purchased some KEF LS50's last time, but whilst they gave lots of the things I loved, I couldn't convince myself to live without the bottom half of the speaker. Might see if they have a sub.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Good point @muljao
My pals room is about 30% smaller and with soft wall coverings. I think i will try some room softening. We have a freindly Hi-Fi store about 20 miles away so might try some speaker auditioning. Almost purchased some KEF LS50's last time, but whilst they gave lots of the things I loved, I couldn't convince myself to live without the bottom half of the speaker. Might see if they have a sub.
I have tdl rtl2s in a room similar size to yours. To be fair in theory your amp is probably capable of driving even better speakers than the tdl ones but 30% smaller with soft furnishings is a big difference. As suggested above, I'd look at kef speakers but imo I'd look at ones bigger than the ls50 for your desired increase in performance.

A rug and a few bits also might help
 

Hoku

Active Member
If you’re after a more spacious sound while retaining the lower end oomph of your transmission line speakers, I’d heartily recommend at least auditioning DALI Rubicon 2’s.

I’ve not heard a wider or taller soundstage than from these speakers. And I believe they are the sweet spot of the range in terms of dynamics, speed and fun factor. Their bass is lush and full: they sound like much larger speakers, not just in terms of the bass, but the sheer scale and size of the sound they kick out. I’d only recommend the larger floorstanding Rubicons with a very large room and a very powerful amp.

Tonally I would think your Hegel could complement the Rubicons nicely. Just be aware though that the Rubicon 2’s need space behind them, otherwise the bass can be a little too much. And they are designed to be used with no toe-in, which I think helps explain the spaciousness of the soundstage.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Speakers all the way imo. The TDL3s are very elderly indeed.

The Hegel is a first class amp too.

You might quite literally find these to be all you’ll ever need. And a superb price here.


Any and all reviews are stellar indeed...


And your H120 is quite perfectly capable of driving them very well.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
@Ugg10 Thanks for your thoughts. Auditions to be arranged. I recently checked over the RTL's, they are in great shape, and only needed a clean of the speaker plugs and slight tightening of driver screws. Did originally run the Pi directly to the Hegel. I wasn't sure at that time and then at about 3-months, tried the Topping again and liked it (really no idea how to qualify that). The Hegel is a great amp but doesn't directly handle HigherRes tracks via the inbuilt DAC. Plays up to 96, but nothing higher and I have a lot of purchased 192 recordings.

Ps, I also wouldn’t get bothered about 192 recordings, or anything specific in fact.

The original recording is the first and last arbiter of the sound quality of a song.
 

umigazumi

Standard Member
If you’re after a more spacious sound while retaining the lower end oomph of your transmission line speakers, I’d heartily recommend at least auditioning DALI Rubicon 2’s.

I’ve not heard a wider or taller soundstage than from these speakers. And I believe they are the sweet spot of the range in terms of dynamics, speed and fun factor. Their bass is lush and full: they sound like much larger speakers, not just in terms of the bass, but the sheer scale and size of the sound they kick out. I’d only recommend the larger floorstanding Rubicons with a very large room and a very powerful amp.

Tonally I would think your Hegel could complement the Rubicons nicely. Just be aware though that the Rubicon 2’s need space behind them, otherwise the bass can be a little too much. And they are designed to be used with no toe-in, which I think helps explain the spaciousness of the soundstage.
Thanks @Hoku Appreciate the nod towards the Dali Rubicon 2's. Luckily, I have space to pull forward into for placement. Will audition those.
 

umigazumi

Standard Member
Speakers all the way imo. The TDL3s are very elderly indeed.

The Hegel is a first class amp too.

You might quite literally find these to be all you’ll ever need. And a superb price here.


Any and all reviews are stellar indeed...


And your H120 is quite perfectly capable of driving them very well.
Thank you @Paul7777x I hadn't heard of these before or even the idea of a supertweeter.
They looks a little like my old but beloved Celestion Ditton 44’s (currently stored in the garage). eBay or similar for my searching. Very very intriguing.

Noted about the 192 recordings. I got a little giddy with the buy option at the time. Learning can sometimes be costly.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thank you @Paul7777x I hadn't heard of these before or even the idea of a supertweeter.
They looks a little like my old but beloved Celestion Ditton 44’s (currently stored in the garage). eBay or similar for my searching. Very very intriguing.

Noted about the 192 recordings. I got a little giddy with the buy option at the time. Learning can sometimes be costly.

It’s easy to fall for the spurious claims of those selling ‘hi-res’ recordings. There was a bit of a stink a while ago, and probably still is, that a lot of the recordings sold as 192 were simply upscaled cd quality at 16/44.1.

If you have a read around on the net for Harbeth reviews you’ll find some seriously impressive opinions.

I’m heading Harbeths way when my budget recovers later on in the summer.
 

Hear Here

Active Member
LOVE my friends Accuphase amp + KEF speakers. Even with FLAC via my DAC it's so much wider AND I can almost see where people or instruments are.

Have £2.5k this year so is it new amp or speakers first?

Current setup is FLAC files - RPi4 - Topping E50 DAC - Hegel H120 amp - RTL TDL3 speakers.

Looking at ASR, the Class D power amps seem amazing and will work with my Topping. BUT, would speakers be a better option?

Room is 4.5m x 7m
Speakers definitely. ALL systems can be hugely improved with better speakers, whereas buying a new amp for existing speakers will only make a small improvement.

Class D amps are indeed now excellent - in fact I chose a Class D amp over a Class A Accuphase after a 12 amp home testing session over a couple of years. But that was only AFTER choosing the speakers that suit my particular room and my listening tastes.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
whereas buying a new amp for existing speakers will only make a small improvement.
I have to respectfully disagree with this. I thought the same until I put a Denon amp with my tdl rtl2s instead of a cheapish pioneer av amp. It was like night and day.
 

Hear Here

Active Member
I have to respectfully disagree with this. I thought the same until I put a Denon amp with my tdl rtl2s instead of a cheapish pioneer av amp. It was like night and day.
I'm not surprised that a good Denon amp would be a big improvement over a cheapish AV amp that's not primarily designed for 2-channel audio. I used to have big Denon POA 4400 monobloc amps and they were very good with the speakers I had at the time, but I've moved on several times with different amps as I've improved or changed my type of speaker. I'd be quite interested to try those old Denons in my present system, though I doubt they'd match my Avantgardes!

I still maintain that spending 3 times the value of earlier equipment (speakers or amp) the improvement in sound quality will be vastly greater if this extra budget is put into speakers - but the amp will need to be compatible to get the best from the new speakers.
 

Flobs

Active Member
LOVE my friends Accuphase amp + KEF speakers. Even with FLAC via my DAC it's so much wider AND I can almost see where people or instruments are.

Have £2.5k this year so is it new amp or speakers first?

Current setup is FLAC files - RPi4 - Topping E50 DAC - Hegel H120 amp - RTL TDL3 speakers.

Looking at ASR, the Class D power amps seem amazing and will work with my Topping. BUT, would speakers be a better option?

Room is 4.5m x 7m

What do you like about your friends system in comparison to yours?
What do you want to improve in you system?

I notice you seem dead set on D Class amplification yet your friends system is push pull (B class).

What type of music do you listen to?
What is your favorite type of music?

If your dead set on D Class then you already have that so my guess is to look at speakers, I love TL loaded speakers but if your into rock and stay with brighter amps then you'd be much better off with bass reflex imo those Harbeth's posted above by Paul look lovely. Your RTL's are good speakers however they are not in a class with your amp imo (I say that as I have upgraded my amp and got great results with my TL loaded MS' but it has to be acknowledged the amp deserves better, Rock much better with my Bass reflex Davis').
At a guess you are getting great bass but your mids are sounding too bright and a speaker in the catagory, and age, of ours just isn't going to have a tweeter that can give total satisfaction.
Worth noting though that when talking to my dealer on mentioning Hegel (even though it wasn't what I was looking for) he said it wouldn't give me the soundstage or the warmth I was looking for).
 

umigazumi

Standard Member
What do you like about your friends system in comparison to yours?
What do you want to improve in you system?

I notice you seem dead set on D Class amplification yet your friends system is push pull (B class).

What type of music do you listen to?
What is your favorite type of music?

If your dead set on D Class then you already have that so my guess is to look at speakers, I love TL loaded speakers but if your into rock and stay with brighter amps then you'd be much better off with bass reflex imo those Harbeth's posted above by Paul look lovely. Your RTL's are good speakers however they are not in a class with your amp imo (I say that as I have upgraded my amp and got great results with my TL loaded MS' but it has to be acknowledged the amp deserves better, Rock much better with my Bass reflex Davis').
At a guess you are getting great bass but your mids are sounding too bright and a speaker in the catagory, and age, of ours just isn't going to have a tweeter that can give total satisfaction.
Worth noting though that when talking to my dealer on mentioning Hegel (even though it wasn't what I was looking for) he said it wouldn't give me the soundstage or the warmth I was looking for).
Thanks @Flobs for the questions as it helps with thinking abou my ambitions.
Thoughts of Class D amps is from the recent highest praise at audiosciencereview. No actual listening by me, Not wedded to a type of amp so insights are helpful.

My music choices are a strange mix and includes Pink Floyd, Santana, Tracy Chapman, Dire Straits, Nina Simone, Michael Hedges and increasingly, World Music that has clear sound of instruments and vocals that are located all around the view, up and down.

My pals system has a lot of detail and distance between left and right for tracks that I'm already familiar with. When Ilisten to those tracks at home, now I know that detail exists, my ears can hunt for it on my system, with varying degrees of sucess. On my pals system its not overtly there over the top, but I can hear it as extra to what I know.

(Possibly the poorest description of sound ever)
 

Flobs

Active Member
Thanks @Flobs for the questions as it helps with thinking abou my ambitions.
Thoughts of Class D amps is from the recent highest praise at audiosciencereview. No actual listening by me, Not wedded to a type of amp so insights are helpful.

My music choices are a strange mix and includes Pink Floyd, Santana, Tracy Chapman, Dire Straits, Nina Simone, Michael Hedges and increasingly, World Music that has clear sound of instruments and vocals that are located all around the view, up and down.

My pals system has a lot of detail and distance between left and right for tracks that I'm already familiar with. When Ilisten to those tracks at home, now I know that detail exists, my ears can hunt for it on my system, with varying degrees of sucess. On my pals system its not overtly there over the top, but I can hear it as extra to what I know.

(Possibly the poorest description of sound ever)
Oh! What I'd do if I were you is ask your friend if you could take your speakers round and hitch them up for a try.
You seem to be talking about separation and sound stage and when I bought my amp that's exactly what I got that I didn't have before. (what I was looking for as well, it was an easy choice as I have always loved my speakers and always considered my amp the weak point).
We have some crossover in musical taste (though I'm more old Punk scene however never tire of Pink Floyd, Tracey Chapman and world music (those Andes panpipes sound great through Transmission line speakers, noway can you get that from bass reflex). You even got me to clean up a Nina Simone album of my parents that I haven't listened to since leaving home.
The problem you'll get if you find it's the amp not performing and you end up upgrading it you'll end up in the same boat as me. The itch to find speakers that give that bit more as well. I mean early nineties mid range speakers remain just that even if they are good and sound good you know you can do better. (I'm having awful trouble but then I have acoustic constraints and quirky limits to what I can/will buy).
 

umigazumi

Standard Member
Oh! What I'd do if I were you is ask your friend if you could take your speakers round and hitch them up for a try.
You seem to be talking about separation and sound stage and when I bought my amp that's exactly what I got that I didn't have before. (what I was looking for as well, it was an easy choice as I have always loved my speakers and always considered my amp the weak point).
We have some crossover in musical taste (though I'm more old Punk scene however never tire of Pink Floyd, Tracey Chapman and world music (those Andes panpipes sound great through Transmission line speakers, noway can you get that from bass reflex). You even got me to clean up a Nina Simone album of my parents that I haven't listened to since leaving home.
The problem you'll get if you find it's the amp not performing and you end up upgrading it you'll end up in the same boat as me. The itch to find speakers that give that bit more as well. I mean early nineties mid range speakers remain just that even if they are good and sound good you know you can do better. (I'm having awful trouble but then I have acoustic constraints and quirky limits to what I can/will bu
@Flobs I was able to ferry the RPi, DAC and usb cable, but my pals Dutch, requiring a flight + train ride. He refuses to move to the UK.
My brain worked overtime and think I need to speak to a friendly hifi store requesting to listen to my speakers with my Hegel, their Accuphase and then their Rega amps. Then the same again with some of their speakers for all 3 amps. It is a very cheeky request worth asking. That then eliminates the room variable too.

Enjoy Nina! I recently burned my copy of Louis Armstrong, What a Wonderful World. It was just that. Similar for a recent used purchase of Albert King and SRV - In Sessions. The same used CD merchant also introduced me to Porcupine Tree - Up the Downstair / Staircase Infinities. Now I'm just showing my wierdness.
 

hifinutt

Active Member
I'd say your own setup is very good. Is your friends setup in a much bigger/smaller room or with softer furnishings etc, be careful, you could easily spend lots for very little improvement
very wise advice . the hegel is superb. heard a 120 with amphion argon one before christmas at the dealer . it was musical and vocals were sublime . integrated amps have great advantages with less wires and not worrying about pre power matching
 

Jazzabana

Active Member
LOVE my friends Accuphase amp + KEF speakers. Even with FLAC via my DAC it's so much wider AND I can almost see where people or instruments are.

Have £2.5k this year so is it new amp or speakers first?

Current setup is FLAC files - RPi4 - Topping E50 DAC - Hegel H120 amp - RTL TDL3 speakers.

Looking at ASR, the Class D power amps seem amazing and will work with my Topping. BUT, would speakers be a better option?

Room is 4.5m x 7m
My suggestion for you would be to identify the problem first. How do u want ur system to sound compared to ur current system? Then maybe try ur amp with a tier above speakers and ur speakers with a tier above amp and see which is the bottleneck and which change would be a step towards the solution to the problem u defined earlier. Later on I would definitely change my dac according to the change you've made.
 

Flobs

Active Member
audiosciencereview
Don't take any notice of those quacks. 🤣 I occassionally read their stuff for a good laugh. Not even pseudoscience, I'm not even sure they know what they are testing. 🤣
 

Jazzabana

Active Member
LOVE my friends Accuphase amp + KEF speakers. Even with FLAC via my DAC it's so much wider AND I can almost see where people or instruments are.

Have £2.5k this year so is it new amp or speakers first?

Current setup is FLAC files - RPi4 - Topping E50 DAC - Hegel H120 amp - RTL TDL3 speakers.

Looking at ASR, the Class D power amps seem amazing and will work with my Topping. BUT, would speakers be a better option?

Room is 4.5m x 7m
My answer to your question is; speaker decides how much (compared to other frequencies) and in what sound color that frequency (instrument) is gonna be presented in the process of sound reproduction.
Amp is gonna decide how those frequencies r gonna be presented (when a note is played it starts breaking down into the rest of the notes. So how much of that breaking down is gonna be presented decides what u r going to hear a big boom or fuller bam with less explosion) and if the music is gonna be presented forward (into your face) or laid-back (not asking for your attention and music is happening in the premises).
And the synergy of ur amp and speakers is going to decide whether the presentation is going to be all over the place or with integrity and unity.
These r not rule of thumbs but I just tried to come up with some sort of description. It is realy too intricate and grift concepts to put into words.
 
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umigazumi

Standard Member
@Jazzabana Great advice thank you. Will try your suggestions of speakers with next tier amp and then amp with next tier speakers. Thanks also for putting into more normal words, the different types of sound.
 

umigazumi

Standard Member
Don't take any notice of those quacks. 🤣 I occassionally read their stuff for a good laugh. Not even pseudoscience, I'm not even sure they know what they are testing. 🤣
@Flobs There is something of a cult like hostility on the forums that borders with regard to any questioning the data vs sound presentation. Before buying my Hegel, I listened to my Rega, Naim and Hegel. Naim was very much in my face which I didn't like at all and made me want to move the seat further back. Rega was too strong (not sure how else to describe it) across the board and Hegel was relatively in the Goldilocks zone for my preference. No idea how the measurements explain that.
 

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