darryla

Amplifier dilemma

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Hello folks, long time without a post but getting back into my setup and need to make decisions on amp(s). So looking for some advice. 

* Chord CPA 1800 - intermittent fault (very rarely happens, I’m happy to live with it) in one channel (bought from wammer this way). Chord unable to diagnose.

* Sugden A21 AI - has a noisy volume pot, so needs some TLC (Sugden replaced for me 7/8 years ago) but works fine with Chord as pre. 

* Living Voice Avatars. 

* Sources are DAC, CD (neither XLR) and MM phono. 

Open to suggestions, that include:

Keep one, both, neither, ‘new’ integrated or ‘new’ pre/power. 

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Super Wammer

Okay so you are using a Chord Pre with a low powered Class A intergrated amplifier . My first question is why ? If the Sugden is good enough to drive your speakers then why bother with a Pre ? Noisy Pots are often cleared up with a good spray of contact cleaner and a vigirous twiddle from nought to maximum , I would presume you have tried this ?

If all the above is the case then I would only suggest that the Chord is a very expensive and by some well regarded Pre Amp . It is only going to show its best quality by being attached to a a similar high quality Power Amp . obvious suggestion would be a Chord Power take your choice form the range dependant on what money you have to spend and what is currently on the market.

If the above is not what you are leaning towards then perhaps a Class A power amp would be more what you are looking for . Krell (early models) comes to mind for me but there are also some Valve Class A units that could also be considered .Croft OTL would be a very sweet choice and would gain my envy on a big scale .

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Pretty much concur with bencat

I'm not sure in overall sound benefits a preamp has. A few questions:

1) Has a professional tested the Chord to try and diagnose the problem?

2) What's the maximum budget?

3) Would you consider using just a integrated amp?

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4 hours ago, darryla said:

Chord unable to diagnose

That sounds ominous .. how intermittent is the fault?  Has a similar "fault" ever occurred using the Sugden as a power amp?  

I would be tempted to leave the chord on heat .. play it into a dummy load for a long time to see if the fault turns from intermittent to fully fledged ?

The Sugden A21 is a special piece of kit .. to my ears the sound may be preferable to the Chord, as when I last heard one (not your model it was a good few years ago) it sounded clinical and "cold" by comparison but this may not be the case with newer models.  Perhaps you can tell us what you like and dislike about the Sugden and the same for the Chord.

If the Sugden delivers enough power to drive the LVs at the volume levels you like then I would stick with it.  If you wanted to improve the amp and like the sound of the Sugden then I would be tempted if it was me to see if I could find a Sugden Masterclass at the right money and sell the two amps you have to fund it.

It is a shame about the Chord - selling it with an intermittent may be troublesome (unless economical with the truth) .. 

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9 hours ago, bencat said:

Okay so you are using a Chord Pre with a low powered Class A intergrated amplifier . My first question is why ?

Two reasons, 1) to try and get the Chord issue to be "permanent", no such luck despite >5 years of ownership. 2) Silent pots!

9 hours ago, bencat said:

If all the above is the case then I would only suggest that the Chord is a very expensive and by some well regarded Pre Amp . It is only going to show its best quality by being attached to a a similar high quality Power Amp . obvious suggestion would be a Chord Power take your choice form the range dependant on what money you have to spend and what is currently on the market.

If the above is not what you are leaning towards then perhaps a Class A power amp would be more what you are looking for . Krell (early models) comes to mind for me but there are also some Valve Class A units that could also be considered .Croft OTL would be a very sweet choice and would gain my envy on a big scale .

Agreed, right now, the Chord is adding nothing sonically to the setup and my budget doesn't stretch to an equivalent Chord power amp. 

9 hours ago, bencat said:

If the above is not what you are leaning towards then perhaps a Class A power amp would be more what you are looking for . Krell (early models) comes to mind for me but there are also some Valve Class A units that could also be considered .Croft OTL would be a very sweet choice and would gain my envy on a big scale .

I have been looking at a Krell KSA 100 to partner the Chord, is this the kind of thing you were thinking? I'm not sure based on how good an all rounder the Sugden is, if the extra ~£1,000 will yield much.

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8 hours ago, plasticpenguin said:

Pretty much concur with bencat

I'm not sure in overall sound benefits a preamp has. A few questions:

1) Has a professional tested the Chord to try and diagnose the problem?

2) What's the maximum budget?

3) Would you consider using just a integrated amp?

1) Was sent to Chord by previous owner and they could not get it to reproduce. I have found it to be a 'weekly', brief occurrence that anecdotally appears to be helped by sitting on the warm Sugden. 

2) Probably £1,000 + whatever I got from the Chord and Sugden

3) Yes, would consider

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8 hours ago, uzzy said:

That sounds ominous .. how intermittent is the fault?  Has a similar "fault" ever occurred using the Sugden as a power amp?  

I would be tempted to leave the chord on heat .. play it into a dummy load for a long time to see if the fault turns from intermittent to fully fledged ?

The Sugden A21 is a special piece of kit .. to my ears the sound may be preferable to the Chord, as when I last heard one (not your model it was a good few years ago) it sounded clinical and "cold" by comparison but this may not be the case with newer models.  Perhaps you can tell us what you like and dislike about the Sugden and the same for the Chord.

If the Sugden delivers enough power to drive the LVs at the volume levels you like then I would stick with it.  If you wanted to improve the amp and like the sound of the Sugden then I would be tempted if it was me to see if I could find a Sugden Masterclass at the right money and sell the two amps you have to fund it.

It is a shame about the Chord - selling it with an intermittent may be troublesome (unless economical with the truth) .. 

Issue is definitely intermittent (brief but 'weekly') and despite a lot of usage and sitting on the warm Sugden, it does not really change characteristically. 

I think I would benefit from a little more power based on current usage but sonically, to me, the Sugden is great. 

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Super Wammer

That is pretty difficult when an item has such an intermitent fault  have you tried it with another power amp ? If so presume that it also shows the issue as well ? As an observation I would suggest that the very worse place you can place your equipment (any equipment including the Chord) is on top of a Class A Amplifier . Firstly you are blocking the air flow to the amp which it needs if it runs in true class A . Secondly you are likely to put additional heat in to your Pre that it was not designed to cope with . If you have these two close coupled then this could be a cause of your intermittent fault as the Chord is slowly having its temperature raised and may be tripping some thermal protection in the circuit . Please remember I have not seen or heard your equipment so I am just guessing on the information given . I may well be very wide of the mark , but would still reccomend these two items are kept well apart with decent air flow to each .

The Sugden and my Krell are both Class A but they are nothing like the same amplifier . What you like about the Sugden you may not find with a Krell . A Krell will give you real clarity an effortless sound to the music and bass that is very powerful but controlled . My (and I would say this ) the Krell early models (KSA 50,100,200) are all a world away from the Sugden and I like the Sugden but a Krell is real step up in quality with a very different slant to its sound.

Edited by bencat
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48 minutes ago, bencat said:

That is pretty difficult when an item has such an intermitent fault  have you tried it with another power amp ? If so presume that it also shows the issue as well ? As an observation I would suggest that the very worse place you can place your equipment (any equipment including the Chord) is on top of a Class A Amplifier . Firstly you are blocking the air flow to the amp which it needs if it runs in true class A . Secondly you are likely to put additional heat in to your Pre that it was not designed to cope with . If you have these two close coupled then this could be a cause of your intermittent fault as the Chord is slowly having its temperature raised and may be tripping some thermal protection in the circuit . Please remember I have not seen or heard your equipment so I am just guessing on the information given . I may well be very wide of the mark , but would still reccomend these two items are kept well apart with decent air flow to each .

The Sugden and my Krell are both Class A but they are nothing like the same amplifier . What you like about the Sugden you may not find with a Krell . A Krell will give you real clarity an effortless sound to the music and bass that is very powerful but controlled . My (and I would say this ) the Krell early models (KSA 50,100,200) are all a world away from the Sugden and I like the Sugden but a Krell is real step up in quality with a very different slant to its sound.

Previous owner had it in totally different setup with same fault. From memory I think it was class D kit. I have tried other configurations, too. 

Should have been clearer re Chord, I’m not deliberately running it hot and it’s racked etc. but it does seem to have problems less often than previous owner (issue is identical though) and I just wonder if the Sugden being ‘underneath’ is contributing in some way. As I said, likely coincidental. 

Appreciate feedback on the Krell. I think low risk option would be to try Chord/Krell side by side with Sugden and see if the effect is tangible and preferable. 

Selling both for an integrated Sugden Masterclass IA-4 also looks feasible if a little harder to ‘try’?

Other integrated or power amp suggestions appreciated. 

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50 minutes ago, darryla said:

Previous owner had it in totally different setup with same fault. From memory I think it was class D kit. I have tried other configurations, too. 

Should have been clearer re Chord, I’m not deliberately running it hot and it’s racked etc. but it does seem to have problems less often than previous owner (issue is identical though) and I just wonder if the Sugden being ‘underneath’ is contributing in some way. As I said, likely coincidental. 

Appreciate feedback on the Krell. I think low risk option would be to try Chord/Krell side by side with Sugden and see if the effect is tangible and preferable. 

Selling both for an integrated Sugden Masterclass IA-4 also looks feasible if a little harder to ‘try’?

Other integrated or power amp suggestions appreciated. 

The Sugden Masterclass is far superior to the Krell IMO - more refined and "emotional" .. versus a more cold clinical sound.  If you like the sound of your Sugden I am pretty convinced that in comparison you would plump for the Masterclass too.

If the previous owner of the chord had the intermittent fault less intermittently than you one could argue the heat from the Sugden is helping rather than hindering ..  it is a sad state of affairs though if the manufacturer cannot sort the problem out.
All I can say is on the difficulty of auditioning a Sugden is to give them a ring and see if they can sort out a home dem for you .. or check with other wammers on here to go and have a listen - Yoda uses to use a Masterclass with his Art Impressions so I would drop him a line and ask him for his views - he has a good ear and is very knowledgeable and it would be my first point of call.  Take your time, cos as my old mum used to say "act in haste and repent at leisure" 

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31 minutes ago, uzzy said:

The Sugden Masterclass is far superior to the Krell IMO - more refined and "emotional" .. versus a more cold clinical sound.  If you like the sound of your Sugden I am pretty convinced that in comparison you would plump for the Masterclass too.

+1

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Super Wammer
On 18/11/2018 at 12:20, uzzy said:

The Sugden Masterclass is far superior to the Krell IMO - more refined and "emotional" .. versus a more cold clinical sound.  If you like the sound of your Sugden I am pretty convinced that in comparison you would plump for the Masterclass too.

If the previous owner of the chord had the intermittent fault less intermittently than you one could argue the heat from the Sugden is helping rather than hindering ..  it is a sad state of affairs though if the manufacturer cannot sort the problem out.
All I can say is on the difficulty of auditioning a Sugden is to give them a ring and see if they can sort out a home dem for you .. or check with other wammers on here to go and have a listen - Yoda uses to use a Masterclass with his Art Impressions so I would drop him a line and ask him for his views - he has a good ear and is very knowledgeable and it would be my first point of call.  Take your time, cos as my old mum used to say "act in haste and repent at leisure" 

Hi Uzzy I do not doubt for one minute that you are telling it as you hear it . Problem is I do not even recognise that description of a Krell compared to what I listen to every day . This is what is so difficult about giveing advice and guidance on equipment .

I have owned and used my Krell for over twelve years and it has proved to be musical , warm and lifelike . It is the one item I use that I feel I know well and it has made all of the speakers I have used it with breathe and place what I hear as natrual music in my room . I can listen to it for hours with no fatigue . Yet this is the very opposite from what you describe which is exactly the sound I dislike and avoid in many other amplifiers .Those that I would describe as being cold and clinical are Audiolab , Chord and certain Mission amps (not all ) . So I am left feeling puzzled do I hear things that differently to you that I can describe and amplifier in exactly the opposit terms to you ? Or have we just listened to different amplifiers ?

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On 18/11/2018 at 12:20, uzzy said:

The Sugden Masterclass is far superior to the Krell IMO - more refined and "emotional" .. versus a more cold clinical sound.  If you like the sound of your Sugden I am pretty convinced that in comparison you would plump for the Masterclass too.

+2

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2 minutes ago, bencat said:

Hi Uzzy I do not doubt for one minute that you are telling it as you hear it . Problem is I do not even recognise that description of a Krell compared to what I listen to every day . This is what is so difficult about giveing advice and guidance on equipment .

I have owned and used my Krell for over twelve years and it has proved to be musical , warm and lifelike . It is the one item I use that I feel I know well and it has made all of the speakers I have used it with breathe and place what I hear as natrual music in my room . I can listen to it for hours with no fatigue . Yet this is the very opposite from what you describe which is exactly the sound I dislike and avoid in many other amplifiers .Those that I would describe as being cold and clinical are Audiolab , Chord and certain Mission amps (not all ) . So I am left feeling puzzled do I hear things that differently to you that I can describe and amplifier in exactly the opposit terms to you ? Or have we just listened to different amplifiers ?

I would put the Krell in a different league to the amps you mentioned above and agree that compared to the Krell those amps are cold and clinical by comparison.

I can only relate to my experience - do not get me wrong I think the Krell is a fine amp, I just think the Sugden's do it better than the Krell and was trying to describe why. 

It is just an opinion and that is why it is vital that people listen before making their own minds up.  

  

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