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About Cal123

  • Rank
  • Birthday 16/03/1978

Personal Info

  • Location

Wigwam Info

  • Turn Table
    Audio Note TT-2
  • Tone Arm & Cartridge
    Audio Note Arm-3 v1
  • SUT / Phono Stage
    sut & Croft RIAAR
  • DAC
    AN Dac1 /Chord Mojo
  • Integrated Amp
    Audio Innvations 300
  • Pre-Amp
    SAC Thailand TVC
  • Power Amp/s
    Audio Innovations 1s
  • My Speakers
    Audio Note AN/J-D
  • Headphones
    Bottlehead crack/Beyer 990.
  • Trade Status
    I am not in the Hi-Fi trade

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  1. As I still occasionally find the sound from the AN Dac and AI the First too laid back and lacking bass control, I tried replacing the AN Dac with my Chord Mojo dac. This certainly brought along some control and timing. Tonally, it's not nearly as smooth or refined, though. Then using the Mojo with my P1SE actually turns out to offer a nice balance. It sounds like the P1SE lost some weight and regained a sense of urgency in its way of delivering music.
  2. Thanks for the clarification. Unfortunately, that location is taken up by the second output transformer in my amp. Another reason to keep an eye out for a pair of monoblocks, I suppose.
  3. I've previously seen people replace the ECC88 (which is what mine uses) with 6FQ7/6CG7. Is the 6SN7 similar to these? Is it necessary to update the heater transformer to install these? I didn't hear anyone else mention this before, but it would make sense as these tubes do draw more current.
  4. Update. From the first seconds of listening to the P1SE, I found it sounded much more expensive than the AI the First. It had more sparkle, more punch, and more power for when the mix gets dense and complicated. But there was also a thickness to the sound, that, from faint memory, reminded me more of the AI 500 that I used to own than the AI 300. Returning to The First was refreshing and offered a sense of "less is more". While the sound was somewhat rough around the edges, compared to the P1, the music was communicated much more directly. The clearest association upon listening to the P1 was actually that of an Audi car: the solid feeling of the door as it closes, the softness and high quality of the materials, the nicely tuned suspension that offers an effortless drive for hours - yet also an experience of sensory deprivation compared to, say, an old MG sports car. And perhaps the clearest manifestation of the difference between the two amps came when listening to Eva Cassidy: The P1 threw a large soundstage and offered a very detailed presentation of her voice, particularly in the higher frequencies, and she sounded powerful and shining on the stage. The First, on the other hand, gave me the impression that she was standing naked on the stage, singing straight to the heart. It was touching not so much in a romantic way as existential, a matter of life and death. I find I have much less bass boom now, which could possibly be attributed to two things. First, I might have changed the position of the speakers and stands slightly, after testing a set of Audio Note AX2s, that I purchased for my brother. Second, the Duelund output caps in my AN DAC1 may have improved their bass performance during quite a number of hours listening to it through my headphones. In any case, the bass is now more controlled than with either the original AN cobber caps and the Duelunds when they were new (less than 50 hours).
  5. I'm picking up an Audio Note P1SE tomorrow, so will be interesting to hear how it fairs in my setup. After swapping some gear around last week, my favorite ended up being the Mojo run directly into the AI the First. The resistors I've had installed at the input of the First probably helps this combo work. The sound is leaner and the soundstage is smaller, but it rids the bass of the excessive overhang in my room (room mode at somewhere between 80 and 100 Hz) and improves attack and timing. A marriage or compromise between flat and round earth. I'm still wondering if the output transformers on The First are the same as in the Seconds. I thought using the 4 ohm output would improve bass control when restricting playback to low volume listening, but it became even more flappy than with the 8 ohm output. The mids and highs were even more beautiful, though, which I hadn't expected.
  6. Fourlegs: I've just updated my profile to include a tranformer based volume control. I was advised to try this by another forum member and must say it's one of the most cost effective upgrades I've ever made. I find that it takes the edge off the Mojo a bit, which to these ears is a good thing.
  7. Fourlegs: I had the amp serviced locally, not because I suspected anything was wrong with it, but because I needed to have the gain lowered slightly. The technician did a service at the same time and the amp came back sounding quite a bit crisper and clearer. No improvement in bass response though, as far as I remember. The price for the service itself must have been around what I'd pay just for shipment if I were to have a Naim amp serviced in the UK (I'm located in Denmark). EDIT: The technician did actually tell me, that I might want to change some 6 to 8 pieces of small blue electrolytic caps, as far as I remember. I'm not sure how that would influence bass, specifically, but I guess I should get around the doing it at some point. I might mention that the lack of bass control seems to be aggravated by the generally long decay of sounds reproduced by the Audio Note Dac 1. A Chord Mojo sounds rather lean, compensating for some of the bass flab/decay of the 2a3 amp. The attraction of the Audio Note Dac 1 is it has a much nicer midrange and a complete absence of top end glare. A Metrum Octave actually worked quite well acoustically but didn't have the insight and finesse of either the Chord in the highs or the AN Dac in the mids. The AN Dac with the Audio Innovations 300 works quite well, as the amp seems to cut off the lowest frequencies, retaining its energy for midbass and up. All in all, I'd say the AI300 and Metrum combo was the easiest to live with, as I rarely had to worry about bass problems, but this combo also provided the least insight. My analog setup, perhaps owing most of all to a Kontrapunkt B cartridge and a Croft Riaa R, has a much faster and somewhat dryer presentation than the AN Dac, which also helps alleviate bass problems. While the bass can be muddy in the analog replay as well, it rarely robs too much energy from the rest of the frequency range.
  8. Trane: what made the original Oto better than later, UK labeled editions? I have thought about trying out an Oto from time to time, but looking at the local second hand market I've only found the older model with rca sockets mounted on the side. I'm not sure if they perform close to the level of the more recent version. Also, I've often seen second hand Audio Note amps with newly replaced main boards. It makes me a bit skeptical about the reliability of some of their older amps. The First being hard wired, I hope it will never need a major overhaul. Fourlegs: I would love to get a Border Patrol PSU. While the effect on the Second amps is well described, I've yet to see someone using it with their The First. I think a pair of the Second monoblocks would actually be cheaper than a BP PSU for my stereo amp. On the other hand, as you note, the monoblocks will be more costly to run.
  9. I've found both Snell K, J and E in the mk2 or 3 versions to sound great at low volume, one of the main reasons for me going in that direction. Now I'm enjoying Audio Note Js. I didn't find the Audio Note K as full sounding and as a result, they were less enjoyable at low volumes. I found this to be the case with both the older MDF based K's with cobber wires and a later spe version with plywood front and back. Another thing I've found to greatly improve clarity as well as bass output at low level listening is substituting resistor based attenuation with a transformer volume control. This works well with headphones as well.
  10. I've been quite happy with an upgrade from Audio Innovations 300 mk2 (ECL86 based) to an Audio Innovations the First (2a3 push pull). Clarity and presence are really quite amazing now. However, when swapping back to the AI 300, there's more bass control and a nice bouncy quality to rythmic music. Part of the reason may be that the AI 300 doesn't go quite as deep as the 2a3 amp, which seems to work well in my room, at least given the limited power output of both amps. I wonder if an upgrade to a pair of AI "The Second" monoblocks would offer me the dynamics I'm missing with the stereo version or whether an ECL86 / EL84 amp is always going to sound more energetic, although presumably less refined. The Second monoblocks certainly get a lot of recommendations, while I don't find as many comments on The First. As for speakers, I'm using 92dB Audio Note J's setup in a room of approx. 20 m2. Might The First, at 7.5 watts, simply be underpowered for this setup? Any comments from people with experience of The First and Second amps or similar 2a3 push pull amps would be much appreciated. Also, it would actually be easier for me to find and finance an additional The First amp than buying a set of monoblocks. Would bi-amping with two The First amps theoretically achieve similar results to a pair of The Second monoblocks?
  11. A 6 dB reduction might suffice. I take it the amp can supply the extra current for the filament (600mA vs 300mA for the ECC88) without suffering a melt down?
  12. Thanks. David, I believe my brother will get in touch with you at some point. Looking forward to seeing how it goes.
  13. My brother is located in Harrow, London, and is looking for a place to have his Audio Innovations 300 (mk1) serviced. I think the only evident problem is a scratchy input switch which could likely be remedied with a bit of contact cleaner, but as he doesn't know its service history he'd like to have someone do a proper health check on the amp. At London Sound (near Rayners Lane St.) he was offered a full overhaul for an estimated 600 - 900£. In Copenhagen, where I live, the equivalent of 80 - 100£ would suffice for a full check-up and replacement of e.g. a couple of resistors. So I discouraged him from taking the offer from London Sound. Could anyone recommend a repair shop in West London that could carry out such a basic service competently at a sane price?