ChemMan

SpendorD7-Mcintosh MA252 Hybrid-HarbethSHL5+

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Fellow Listeners,

It's party time and I'm not kidding.

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I am going to have to do this report in two stages.  It's hooked up to the Spendor D7, right now and I'll give the Harbeth SHL5+ a try later or maybe tomorrow. Scratch that, I need to hear some Harbie tonight. As ever, the Node 2 is pressed into service exclusively delivering Tidal.

I now understand why the world "slam' is used to describe the sound of a tube.  It's visceral, nearly tactile and goosebumps and smiles don't say enough.  I don't know what I was expecting and some wammer out there almost rained on my parade by sending me some video of a dude selling one.  I'm glad i listened to the first twenty seconds and shut it off.  Shame, Shame, Shame, think of a Nun following you around with a bell and chaniting that. Gods damn it man. The seven are not happy.

Anyway, put on STP and Interstate Love Song, just make sure your seatbelt is fastened. At a distance of 4.5m with a slight toe in on the D7 the SPL reads 74.5 dB and the sweet ass, neon blue volume indicator says 46%.  It is fun.  Lots of it. Everybody plays air drums or air guitar or maybe both. But who gets up and conducts Handel's Hornpipe from Water Music? Get serious.

I saw someone playing the slap bass guitar live once, when I was in university.  This reminds of that.  Everybody is just pulling the strings with a little more effort as if they are really into the music tonight.  Fascinating. And this is only a hybrid. More than this is possible?  I can't imagine it.  The drum fill, not Henley's congas on my standard Hell Freezes over Hotel California,  is so alive.  Even the guitar now on the solo. Wow, what a treat.  It seems like it is even more of a live performance than it is. The SPL is only 64.

It wasn't clear to me what was creating the special sound until I put on Dragon de Lune off the Hadouk Trio's live album Baldamore.  It's distortion of course, I noticed right away with his albanian oboe, but it now has a bit of rasp to it.  It's like adding a little bit of gravel to voice.  I don't know much about distortion, but the Beatles and Michelle sounds exquisite.  I chose that word on purpose.  If you emphasize the x, s and t sounds that's it. The backing vocals with just the Ooo, Ooo.  Great.

Everything is more defined and separated as well.  I can listen to my entire Beatles collection starting from scratch.  There is space and air everywhere. The Harbies better enjoy the same effect or the D7 is staying put.  This is freaking brilliant.   

I made the right choice.  Nobody would buy that nonsense, sterile, analytical Kii 3 after hearing this. Hah!  Sorry guys, this is just super exciting.

More later including a night time picture as captain of my own starship.

Edited by ChemMan
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You Sir, are becoming a proper Audiophile! Dance 4

...and the sound you are hearing, is what the right quality amp can do.

Edited by CnoEvil

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Iam blown by the way you put it across :D

You sir, are in the wrong industry. You should seriously consider putting your writing skills to better use in audio :)

Iam really glad you gave tubes a try, and are liking the McIntosh. Some say tubes add distortion,  but it really makes music believable. I have tread a very neutral path, with neutral speakers and amps. But one listen to my friends system through a tube pre amp, made me realize that I got it all wrong. Iam not in this hobby to look for the truth, but to enjoy the music. And tubes just add that magic :)

I also wish to thank you for keeping the juices flowing here for the last couple of weeks. I enjoy getting back on the wam  after a hard days work and reading your progress reports for the day :D

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6 minutes ago, newlash09 said:

I have tread a very neutral path, with neutral speakers and amps. But one listen to my friends system through a tube pre amp, made me realize that I got it all wrong. Iam not in this hobby to look for the truth, but to enjoy the music. And tubes just add that magic

Hearing is believing - As you know, I have always encouraged people to demo stuff that gives euphony.....but that is only words, until you hear it for yourself. 

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21 minutes ago, ChemMan said:

Anyway, put on STP and Interstate Love Song, just make sure your seatbelt is fastened.

:oj: 

Great write up as usual. Lovely bit of gear!

23 minutes ago, ChemMan said:

I made the right choice.  Nobody would buy that nonsense, sterile, analytical Kii 3 after hearing this. Hah!  Sorry guys, this is just super exciting.

And that's what it's all about. No measurement for exciting (coming from a guy who measures everything) :^

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Super Wammer

Nice one chem , … glad to see you are enjoying the amp, if its anywhere near my unico 90,

you will enjoy the harbees later...…. looks a lovely amp.

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Update 1.1:

Believe it or not, I brought this monkey home without reading one proper review.  I didn't look all that hard either.  Just checking the manufacturer's website says this bad boy delivers 100 watts into 8 ohms and 160 into 4 ohms.  I'm guessing this is more than enough for my listening levels. You don't get much out of it until about 35, by 45% there is considerable amounts of volume using very slight increments in %.  I haven't had a chance to turn in up yet.  I don't really understand this phenomenon and I don't reckon I need to.   

I'm also finding out something else that's important.  Simple Minds do not suck.  Yes, it's 80s music, but a few years back they went back in the studio and recorded all of their popular songs acoustically and got some help from KT Tunstall.  Check out Sanctify Yourself which then leads into Chelsea Girl.   The timing of this amplifier is spot on. Easy to hear it on these two tracks.  

I have said recently that it doesn't matter so much what speakers are playing when you are not listening critically.  Maybe they don't, but dancing in the kitchen while slaving on that stove is certainly possible now. Yow!

I don't know enough about amplification to explain why some of this is happening: timing, separation, enhanced detail, texture and slam (Ok i know that is tube flavour).  What I can tell you is my poor old Arcam A39 is staring at this newcomer with sad eyes. It looks like a beaten down, worn out, wet dog who knows the big doggy gets Daddy's love and a fresh bone.

Time to warm up the SHL5+.

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Super Dealer
54 minutes ago, CnoEvil said:

Hearing is believing - As you know, I have always encouraged people to demo stuff that gives euphony.....but that is only words, until you hear it for yourself. 

The problem I find is that ‘euphony’ ( distortion of course )  is added to everything, but if you like it, SETs add way more distortion.

Keith

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4 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

The problem I find is that ‘euphony’ ( distortion of course )  is added to everything, but if you like it, SETs add way more distortion.

Keith

Good to know that the euphony I witness, when at a live orchestral performance, is down to distortion. Who knew.

Edited by CnoEvil
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Super Dealer

Mustn’t confuse live and reproduced that is a newbie’s mistake.

Keith

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Super Dealer

I don’t believe I have.

Keith

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17 minutes ago, CnoEvil said:

Good to know that the euphony I witness, when at a live orchestral performance, is down to distortion. Who knew.

Quibbling with that measurement fellow aside, the live performance thing is interesting.  This amp, on the Martin Taylor album you turned me on to is reminding me how my Martin acoustic/electric sounds when plugged into an amp when I'm playing.  Yes, that's distortion of course, but that distortion is what we hear often when we listen to a live show that is electrified. So maybe having a little tube affect is a good thing in so much as it adds more of a life like feel to some types of performances.

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