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New amp - Tag or not ?

Discussion in 'TAG McLaren Audio Owners' Forum' started by Remi Provost, May 20, 2004.

  1. Remi Provost

    Remi Provost
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    I'am looking for at new powerfull amp to complete or replace my current setup with tag DVD32R/PSM + AV32R + 100x5R + Audiolab 8000p.
    At the moment i use the 100x5R in bi-amp mode for L+R and one for the center. The 8000p drives the back's. My main focus is in audio.

    I think the 250x2/3 could do the job, perhaps in bi-amp with one of the channels of the 100x5R ?
    In that case the 8000p could go back to my hifi storage :)

    Another route could be Theta, Bryston or something better ?
    Let the 100x5R go, and continue driving the backs with the 8000p. Center is not important, I could let it go, or drive it from another 8000p from my storage.

    I think the TAG 250x2/3 is a little overpriced here in DK, so the question is where I get most value for money ?


    Remi Provost / Denmark
     
  2. roversd1

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    Hi Remi

    If you want to keep the usefull TAGtronic Bus link, 'keeping it in the family' with the 250x3R would be the best option. It has enough power on tap to potentially power your speakers single wired without bi-amping.

    The 250x3R could also improve the performance of your centre channel, which in an AV set-up, is the most important channel (next to the sub) as it locks dialog and action sequences.

    Poor centre perfromance can ruin a good set up.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Teejoo

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    I agree,

    I would go for the 250x3R. It's simply a great amp :thumbsup: , and indeed you can use the Tagtronic bus.
     
  4. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    Remi

    The 250x3R is an excellent amp and you will benefit from using it for your front three channels. The Bryston's are also very good and in my opinion, there is no audible difference and the same volume. I'm not a fan of Krell but there are many who are. :beer:

    The Tagtronis bus would be lost if you went for another make and that is a great feature I wouldn't want to do without.
     
  5. alexs2

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    I'll add my penny's worth as one of the resident Krell fans!....I think the 250W Tag would make an excellent addition to your system,with the added bonus of a lot more reserve then your current 100x5R,which being honest,i've tried,and found somewhat lacking in clarity and ability to deliver current into low loads,but beautifully made.

    All of the other amps you've mentioned are excellent machines,and the Bryston and Krells have massive power reserves,if you listen at high levels or have current hungry speakers....maybe also consider Chord if the prices are ok.

    I'd certainly try as many as you can before buying,at least to b sure you've made the right final choice.
     
  6. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I concur with the above post, try lots. Tag, Bryston, MF, Krell ( :devil: ) and many others are ALL making some excellent amps. I had origianlly ordered the Tag from my dealer, who for various reasons could not supply it. I have now gone active to improve things further. My new Genelec 1037 are a jump higher in quality than the Bryston 600w feed KEF Ref 4.2.
     
  7. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    That isn't the Bryston's fault mate.......Its the speaker that makes the difference ;) Active speakers are sometimes a bit of an engineering compromise and not always a step up ;)
     
  8. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    No one said it was a Bryston or Tag or anyones fault. I have argued for years that the speaker is the area where we need to develop but if an active speaker system can better a £6k amp and almost £4k speaker (both highly regarded) at half the price, doesn't it make them a serious option in it's own right? Hell it is cheaper than the amp alone. Sure some active speakers can be compromised the trick is not buy them but hey all you M and K owners have worked that one out already ;)
     
  9. GrahamMG

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    Hiya.
    :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: M&K actives, yep I wouldn't either they work far better with Brystons etc.

    Mind you the Genelec's didn't get the vote on our search for a suitable speaker (small/Mid and large monitors) either. The result was very surprising but seeing as no-one knew what they were listening to, the result was completely unbiased :smashin:

    Each to his own eh ;)
     
  10. jolaca

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    Here is my vote to the 250x3R. Nice amp and very convenient if you already own a TagAV32DP/192R
     
  11. Remi Provost

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    Thanks for the advice, I think the TAG route is the way to go.
    When I think about the "wife/girlfriend" factor, I think it would be easier to smugle a new TAG amp into my rack, compared to Theta or Bryston :)

    What about bi-amping ?, should I keep the 5x100 for L+C+R high freq. + backs ?, or should I just sell it, and keep my 8000p for the backs ?
     
  12. mlinhares

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    Another 250x3 vote. I have for L + R + C and a 100x5 for rear duties. :clap:
     
  13. jolaca

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    Hi Remi!

    As Mlinhares is doing, I am using a 100x5R(4) for the four rear channels, and the 250x3R for L C and R. However your idea about biamp for the hi-freq frontals with the 100x5R should work nice. Just get the 250x3r and try that combination.

    I think someone in the old forum was using this combination with pleasure and success.
     
  14. marck

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    I would have a listen to the Theta Dreadnaught (5 channel) too - I probably agree that the TAG will fit in better with your current set-up, but it would be worth comparing the two....

    And as a Krell owner, I would not discount the Krell Showcase (5 channel) - try and find a dealer that has the Krell, Theta and TAG and demo them all - that is the only way you will find out what YOU think is the best.

    Have fun demoing....
     
  15. GrahamMG

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    I also have used this combination with excelent results (250x3r fronts, 100x5r surround/rears), keep the 100x5r and you then have the amplification waiting for when you go 7.1........There is nothing wron gwith using the spare channels for bi-amping in the meantime which, depending on your speakers, should improve them. The TAG bus control of the amps (switching off unused channels etc.) should not be underestimated. The 250x3r is a very good amp but as you haven't mentioned your speakers yet, what are they?

    I am also not a fan of Krell but their latest range is a step up form their previous offerings, still not enough for me though. I have had an interesting time with some digital amps recently especially the "flying mole" type with 8 300W modules.....
     
  16. Remi Provost

    Remi Provost
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    Hi Graham

    My front speakers is the near-top model S6 Avantgarde from the Danish High-End manufactor "Audiovector" (www.audiovector.com)

    7.1 is a no-go... my girlfriend is already complaining... so I stick to 5.1.
    Anyway she could heer a significant difference between my Sony DVP-S9000 and the TAG DVD32R, so the funds was well spend :)

    It is impossible to demo the Theta, Krell etc. together here in DK, there are so few real High-End shops left.

    I think I will use 2 of the channels from the 5x100R to bi-amp my fronts with the 250x3.
     
  17. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Just a thought,and not withstanding the quality of the newer TAG power amps,plus the prices....have you considered anything from Gryphon,based in Denmark,and maker of some superb power amps...may be at least worth a look....Class A,high power and current delivery,and stunning build quality,plus sound....may give you a useful reference point.
     
  18. marck

    marck
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    Dont forget Copland - I used to own the CVA 535 - a very good amp, and vey reasonably priced - it is a fully balanced 5 channel amp. :D
     
  19. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    I'd be a touch wary of class A amps, some people swear by them but most swear at them, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages as far as my lot are concerned.......
    Remi could do far worse than use the spare 100x5R channels to bi-amp his front pair in my honest opinion. One can always do better but.......
     
  20. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I do agree with much of what you have to say there,Graham,and that includes your comments about the 100x5 in terms of practicality.
    My comments about the Gryphon amps are in the context of a home-grown reference which may be easier for Remi to audition.

    As to Class A amps in general.....how many true high end amps are Class A(either sliding bias or otherwise)?...Krell,Levinson,Gryphon,Pass Labs,MF and many others,all with formidable sound quality.

    The main disadvantages of high power Class A amps are in terms of power supply,heat dissipation and power consumption,most of which have been tackled by using sliding bias systems.

    I can understand that the BBC may have reservations as regards these amps in general,but many long term users(obviously myself included) have no such problems with them,and I certainly wouldn't agree that "most people swear at them".

    I wouldn't be too keen to dismiss an amp that can shift 50+amps into 1 ohm loads without melting.
     
  21. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    hehehehehe......

    I knew someone would bite :rotfl:

    I'd love to know what makes a "true high end amp" apart from the price ;)

    You don't need a class A amp for the highest sound quality but i obviously agree you might need one for very high SPL's. There was a great thread on the old TAG forum about this very subject whoich included Glenn etc., it was a peach and a real eye opener for those that insist that class A is best. I will say no more :)

    As for "swearing at them", you haven't had a tweeter fly past your left ear or burnt your arm as a result of leaning over one :laugh: I won't even start the hernia thread......which is the one appeal of a digital amp array......8 channels/300w per channel, weight 12Kg.....Now if only they sounded good......
     
  22. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Now if you knew me,you'd have known I couldn't resist having a go back at that one!

    A true high end amp....doesnt have to revolve around price,as some very nice little amps with truly excellent sound quality do exist in the lower price ranges as I'm sure you know,but we both know what we're getting at there....for me,high end is in terms of sound quality,and the ability to work with real speakers on an everyday basis....in other words something that actually works and sounds good,never mind the measurements.

    I'd also agree that the highest sound quality doesn't neccessarily mean Class A,as Bryston owners will agree amongst many others....as for high SPL's,surely that's dependent on output power,and speaker efficiency,as any Audionote SET Class A owner knows!

    I've owned Krells and other Class A amps(including a few of the tubed variety) for many years,and maybe I've been lucky,but I've never had one break down or damage a set of speakers( I suppose in true Murray Walker fashion,that will now cue my Krells to fry the speakers and anything close to them!).

    Ok....the hernia thread....I agree,let's not go there...these things are heavy,no question.

    Digital amps....nice idea,but as you say,a way to go yet,and as for one driven into clipping...nasty.

    If you want to get me going on the subject of load tolerance,sound quality and some of the older TAG amps....I went into a demo with an open mind,despite what several TAG forum contributors said about them,and came out happy that my somewhat older Krells still did the job.

    Anyway...time for the weekend!
     
  23. GrahamMG

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    Hiya.
    Yes, we understand each other well :D I was just having a bit of Friday afternoon fun....
    I prefer the words "quality amp" unfortunately people have this weird thing about spending more money equals better so the manufacturers oblige..... :mad:

    The older TAG amps yes I can see (hear) what you mean (that includes the older Bryston as well), I went to the TAG blind test between the 250x3R and my ever so heavy Bryston 6BSST, I could tell them apart initally but after the first round or two it was all but impossible as everyone's ears had adjusted, the serious point made there in my opinion wasn't that all decent quality amps sound the same but that people over a short period of time adjust their listening taste so it sounds like what they want to hear making small differences in amp output impossible to tell and is the main reason why speakers will always make far far higher differences than any well made amp due to much larger sound differences that the brain can't dial out.

    One digital amp I have listened to recently was pretty good and almost good enough to fool people over an extended listening test, I think it is at CEDIA next week, I'd love them to hook up a blind test with Krell/Bryston etc. and see if anyone can tell them apart after a dozen or so listens......
    As for valve motherboards or amps (excluding Marshall as I have a soft spot for them) will go the same way as CRT's, good, but nobody wants them anymore so no-one makes them......sad but true.........

    Have a good long Bank Holiday weekend.
     
  24. lowrider

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    I know of a "digital" amp that beats Bryston ST on all areas... :rolleyes:
     
  25. GrahamMG

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    Hiya.
    OK i'll bite, if its £5k ish and beats a Bryston SST of similar money, care to share its name? Of course I'd be even more interested if it didn't flood the mains with RF and could output more than 1/3rd of its rated output continously and "coped" with high output low impedance loads etc. etc.... ;)
     
  26. mlinhares

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    I will answer for António, he has a Belcanto. Never heard so can not say anything.
     
  27. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Also have to agree with that....until the RF problems and difficulties near maximum output and with low loads have been dealt with,I'll stick with what I've got(heat output and all thank you!).
     
  28. Dr Udo Zucker

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    Hi all, I like to enter some additional view points into the debate

    There are in my opinion very good reasons why different amplifier topologies are being executed. Whilst in hifi circles "sound quality" might come mainly into mind, it’s usually cost, heat dissipation and/or size constraints. Let’s have a closer look at these factors:
    .
    In my opinion Class A power amplifiers, even with sliding/sustained bias are pretty unacceptable solutions as their efficiency is very poor and hence their heat dissipation is enormous. I had many years experience with Class A power amplifiers, initially two Krell KSA 300S, then five FBP650Ms. Well, both KSA300S failed and I didn’t know how to get them shipped for repair (they are so heavy/bulky and I had thrown away the huge packaging) and I was worried about the repair cost anyway. My five Krell FBP650Ms were switched to TMA 250MRs over time because I couldn't longer accept the need for an air condition when listing/watching to music/movie and, I admit, I had difficulties justifying their high electricity consumption -> bill- and that even in standby. Despite the fact that I lost quite some money when selling these Krells [which took me more than 3 years] , my electricity bill is now healthy and I can also listen to music during the summer months. I fully admit that with two channel systems the problem is less than with 7 channel home cinema as they are just less heaters in the room. I also recognise that the energy cost in the USA are still much lower than in many parts of Europe - and Portugal is very costly in this context.

    Whilst Class A seem to me [and many others] the “brute force” approach to sound quality, Class B or AB amplifiers can, if well executed, do the very same in a more intelligent way. Amplifiers of these types can have very good sound quality but will only run hot when very hard driven - in most instances my 250MRs, for example, are getting just as little warm and surely never hot. But that’s by far not everything a designer needs to consider...

    When the former management team of TAG McLaren Audio set the specification of the 250MR we wanted to provide excellent sound quality at almost all operating conditions, meaning independent of AC supply level and amplifier’s operating condition. This is far more difficult to achieve and is unfortunately often ignored, because many/most hifi reviewers tend to set the AC voltage to the nominal level and listen to the amplifier only when well run in and at high levels. However, ask yourself, how often is this the case at home? Very few can control the AC level and many listen at a varying sound levels, depending on the time of day.

    Take one of the Audiolab amplifiers for example and you would find that they only perform well if the AC voltage level [we are not talking about AC noise!] is within a very narrow window and the amplifier is well heated up. There will even be a sound quality difference if you listen to the very same amplifier in the UK compared to Europe because of the slightly different AC voltage levels. And please note, I am talking about sound quality, not maximum power level which naturally shifts with AC voltage in most instances. Therefore listen to an Audiolab amplifier at low level (where the amplifier remains rather cool) and it will sound “average” compared to running it pretty hot and at the correct AC level. The bias level of these amplifiers is just so sensitive to these operating conditions.

    Douglas Self, former head of amplifier design at TAG McLaren Audio, was very keen on achieving an amplifier design which would be very, very consistent under all operating conditions and he really achieved this with his 250x3R/250MR topology. It wasn’t easy and surely wasn’t cheap, but it had to be done. Details how he achieved this were once described in depth at the “old” TMA website. I can elaborate on this if required as I wrote the original pages.

    A further design requirement, and now we get into the field heavily affecting digital amplifiers, are the “new” need for a high audio bandwidth. Many people are still considering the need for DVD-Audio and SACD compared to more common recording formats, such as DVD-V and CD. Well, these formats can output up to 100kHz and hence an amplifier [and any other component in the audio chain] will need to offer an adequate audio bandwidth to prevent intermodulation distortion.

    Please note, that I have never been a keen supporter of higher audio frequencies than those offered by DVD-V (because I do not believe they are required) but they are an reality and with it they bring the need to generate a full chain of audio components which can handle these frequencies. And here a digital amplifier will usually score very badly as it is very difficult/costly to generate a high audio bandwidth, particularly exceeding 100kHz. The alternative is of course to add filters into the chain, somehow questioning the need for the high recording formats in the first place.

    Class B or AB amplifiers such as the TMA 100x5R, 250x3R or 250MR [sounds like I work for this company, but I don’t {anymore}]are excellent “compromises”. For those who don’t need the space saving or very cold running of digital amplifiers and surely those who subscribe to higher audio bandwidth, digital amplification might not be the obvious choice.

    Once again, I like to apologise for the very long contribution - nevertheless I hope it assists the discussion somewhat.
     
  29. lowrider

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    Mine is the Bel Canto eVo 6 Gen 2, 360 watts x 3 bridged, (note that the way it is designed bridging improves every thing, not just power, and becomes fully balanced), it costs about the same as the Bryston 6B SST...

    You remember my Sonus Faber EAII are very difficult speakers, the high current Rotel RB991 clipped at medium levels, I had to buy the Bryston 4B ST to handle them properly, well, the BC beats it in all areas, bass tighter, what I thought where room ressonances disappeared with this power, also the mids are more detailed, sounds like there is air around each instrument or singer, and the highs are never harsh...

    As far as I read, it can handle very low loads, and deliver full power continuously, it doesnt generate any RF that causes interference to the sound, and it uses half the juice of equivalent AB powers, never gets hot, just small cooling fins on each mosfet transistor, two per bridged channel...

    This design, class T from Tripath, the designer, has a gentle filter at 80 khz, as its oscilator frequency varies, so there is not much spurious RF generated, any way I dont have the new formats, and dont intend to change my system soon...

    Here is the link if you want to check it out:

    My system
     
  30. fheller

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    I just received 3 250 MR.
    You should not miss them. Muchos gracias to Dr. Zucker and his team.

    kind regards
    fheller
     

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