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Amp Recommendations for ESL 15

MartinLogan Owners (MLO)

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geeji

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The conclusion that was made and easily provable was that SPEAKERS make the biggest difference in a system. In fact speakers dwarf every other part of your set up. Interconnects? Not much. Speaker wire? Not much. Fancy amplifier or preamp? not much. But speakers DWARF THEM ALL. I can go into more detail on why speakers dwarf everything in the sound system if anyone wants me to go into it. But, it just interesting info to know when you make decisions. The next issue that dwarfs everything is the room effects. The guys that do work on treating the room and its negative effects on the sound are way ahead of the game. You room treaters already know this......
I posted this as information NOT to start any flame wars. It's just something to think about. :)
That is exactly what I was trying to underline, and also that from my own experience I like digital amplifiers, which have surprisingly low prices with high power and sturdy stability when this property is critical for "difficult" speakers such as M/L.
Beyond that, anybody can make his own mind within his budget constraints.

But as you also pointed, one should NOT underestimate the technical difficulty of making unbiased amplifiers, loudspeakers or even cables A/B comparisons. For instance, when comparing loudspeakers, one should not only adjust the actual sound levels in the room (better than 0.5db), but also the position in the room of the loudspeakers, especially when comparing loudspeakers with different radiation patterns (like Martin Logan's vs B&W). And using the exact same position is also probably the wrong answer, since the "optimal" position will be different for the 2 kinds of loudspeakers.

Bottom line, as you said : one should be VERY careful when measuring/hearing subtle differences : only on LARGE differences (loudspeakers again...) can one be reasonably sure that no unexpected bias could explain most of the difference.

Note that this is not related only to the ears<->brain interface, but also to the eyes<->brain interface : the first time I saw Adelson's Chess Board, I could not believe my eyes, and had to use Photoshop to check that A and B squares were actually the same grey.
Adelson's Chess Board.jpg
 
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Milesdavis9

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Pass Christian
I’m considering the XP22 with a 250.8 amp. Have you heard the XP32 vs. the XP22?
No I have not.....this is one of my last upgrades so decided to get the XP32....I; did read multiple reviews prior to making a decision...plus I have a 20 day review period....
 

Nuri58

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I agree loudspeakers has the biggest impact, but I noticed replacing my Arcam 300 to the 600 improved the sound to "double" as good, even before tweaking, and from that to the 850 it improved notably but not as much. Upgrade every time mainly due to HDMI standards or rather the reason for these, but also due to some HW issues developing with my 600. So I'll say no 2 is the amp, but like a set of more expensive LS does not guarantee you like the sound better and I guess this goes for amps too. But Arcam has been faithful to its sound signature so I guess that's one reason I have been pleased. For cables I agrre - LS just need a fair thickness and the interconnects fair quality. In any case I cannot tell a big difference
 

spkrdctr

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Thanks for the comments guys! Here is the another crazy audio thing that happens ALL THE TIME, with hopefully non-audiophile people. Listening to a speaker or amp or wire or receiver review on Youtube through a computers built in speakers systems or an aftermarket computer system sound system. This also includes listening on your TV through the TV speakers or with a sound bar or even (horrors!) through your high dollar mega buck surround system. Whatever you play through YOUR speakers whatever they may be, will only reproduce the sound that your speakers normally reproduce. Sound of course depends on the quality of the source material but for this example let's assume it is of very high quality. Your audio chain and speakers will produce the sound of your audio system. If the guy on youtube is reviewing the most expensive, amazing, incredible speakers in the world, you can not listen to them unless it is live and in person. There are hundreds if not thousands of youtube reviewers who post up video of a system and expect the listener at home to hear amazing sound. Not going to happen.

This is just another crazy audio thing I see all the time. Anyone else have any crazy stuff they are aware of?
 

BDH55

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Okay. I'm going to go against the grain here. Long time stat guy. I've had tubes, OTLs, big monoblocks from Pass and Bryston. And you know what I am using on my 15a's? The tiny Benchmark. Sounds fabulous. I bought two, for all that extra power in mono, cause we all need that, right? Well no, actually. Could never make a single run out of steam. Sent one back. No heat, no hernia, just beautiful music. Nothing against you guys that want a ton of Mac in your livingroom. I'm a Mac fan. But Benchmark, they are really on to something.
Interesting, and glad to hear the Benchmark is working well with your 15a's! I only became familiar with Benchmark last year when I decided to bring in their HPA-4 headphone amp. The HPA-4 is built like a tank and is a great piece of gear (although it ticks me off to spend that much on a piece of gear, and then have to buy the remote separately 🤬 ).

When I was working with Benchmark on how best to integrate the HPA-4 into my system, they surprised me and recommended tossing my Para JC2 BP preamp, and letting their HPA-4 take over the preamp duties as well as headphone duties. One of these days when I find the time, I'll likely make that swap and see for myself. They also saw my JC-1's and suggested that I should also consider their AHB-2 power amp. I thought that they were absolutely reaching with that recommendation, so I'm glad to hear that this is a real option (Stereophile reviewers seem to think highly of your amp as well with their placement in the 'A' category of their Recommended Components list).
 

BDH55

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having x260.8's in my set up there is no 'stepping down', you will be hard pressed to find another A/B amp(s) that have more initial Class A bias than the x260.8's. This is not a mark against the JC-1's rather a clarification as to the ability of the PASS .........
Other than the the X600.8 that is double the price of the X260.8!!! :D I am wondering if I really need that extra power though. While it would be nice to have an amp that runs class A all the way to 100 watts, the X600.8 delivers 1200 watts into 4 ohms. My current JC-1's deliver a 'measly 800 watts' into 4 ohms (class A to 25 watts) and that is more than enough for my needs, my room, etc.

As I've said before, I've got a pretty good system so I'm in no rush. Maybe McIntosh or Pass (or whomever else I settle in on), will hold a 20% off sale like ML recently did! I had NO intention of upgrading my Summits, and it was amazing how quickly things changed...
 

R1200CL

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I use Hypex Ncore 1200 based amps on my Odyssey’s. Theta Prometheus.
Class D Hypex is really good with ML.

Try, and get convinced. Mola Mola is another option.
 
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