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TheFlash

Audia Flight Owner's Club

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Super Wammer

Well that was a nice afternoon. SCM40A owner Nick @Fourlegs popped in from 15 mins away and SCM40 owner Nick @Nopiano popped in from ... 3 hours away.

The menu du jour was a mix of amp comparisons, speaker comparisons (sort of): 

  • ATC SCM40 passive and ATC SCM40A active speakers
  • Arcam A49 and Audia Flight FLS10 amps - each acting as pre into the actives and as integrated into the passives
  • Test tracks
    • Till Brönner - Nightfall from Nightfall
    • Malia/Boris Blank - Celestial Echo from Convergence
    • Chopin's Barcarolle (Nick to provide details?)
  • Plus in non-comparative mode
    • Daniel Lanois - I Love You from Shine
    • Jones/McBride/Cobb - various from West of 5th
    • Craig Armstrong - Weather Storm from The Space between Us

Life's too short to give a blow by blow account. Basically, nothing was blown away by anything else!

The passive SCM40's sounded more well-rounded on the end of the A49 than I remember from last year: clear across the spectrum but with more bass than I recall. Lovely.

The active SCM40A's with A49 as pre is my rather bizarre usual setup here (I run a second set of speakers off the A49 so am not moving to a dedicated pre). Sounded lovely, crisper than the A49 into passives, greater ability to follow individual instruments when desired.

The FLS10 as pre didn't, as might have been expected, blow the A49 as pre away. I would struggle to identify any notable differences, though Nick and Nick may have better memories and/or ears.

The FLS10 as integrated driving the passives: I was really looking forward to this but at matched levels the sound was different but not notably better. How can this be? I think it lies in listening levels: the FLS10 is so clear and effortless that I must have been (no, strike that, I know from the dB readouts that I was) previously listening louder on this combo and therefore hearing deeper into the mix, hearing an in-the-room attack on notes etc. I can't subject this to any sort of structured analysis, can't highlight softness or whatever in the FLS10 sound, I just find myself relaxing into it more readily and for longer. In fact I'm doing that as I type and doing the noddy/shakey/feeling lucky thing I do when I'm loving what I'm hearing.

I was pretty sure the punchline here was going to be FLS10+passives bests actives but this wasn't to be. I will continue to really enjoy my actives here and relish the time I have with the Audia Flight and passives when I'm up north. Yeah, I know, I'm spolit rotten.

A Nick may be along shortly with a photo...

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Super Wammer

... and right on queue: thank you, Nick, they're lovely.

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Dealer
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, TheFlash said:

A Nick may be along shortly with a photo...

and so here I am . . . .

As per usual it was a delightful afternoon at Nigel's listening to music and drinking his coffee. And as per usual it was another proof of "Comparison being the thief of joy". In other words whenever we stopped comparing and just listened we were perfectly happy listing to whatever happened to be connected at the time.

There was no bad kit here. Quite the contrary in fact.

When in comparing mode I might have have preferred the active 40s compared to the passive 40s plus Audia amplifier but on the other hand I left saying to Nigel that I have a sneaky feeling that the Audia amp plus ATC 40 passives plus some insanely loud Led Zep might sound magnificent.

edit, Nigel has posted my photos so I have edited to delete them from my post.

Edited by Fourlegs
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Nigel is being shy and didn't post the photo with his best pointing pose . . . he is pointing at the silky smooth operating volume control on the Audia Flight amplifier (why did I feel the need to delete 'volume knob' and use 'volume control' instead?).

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good grief , the mrs is being very patient with that lot in the lounge !!!!!

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Super Wammer
28 minutes ago, hifinutt said:

good grief , the mrs is being very patient with that lot in the lounge !!!!!

Who are you calling “that lot”?  Oh, you mean the Hifi kit?!

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Super Wammer

The Chopin Barcarolle is played by Krystian Zimerman on DG 423 090-2, also containing the Four Ballades and Fantasie.   

The Till Brönner - Nightfall track is, I believe, A Thousand Kisses Deep, track 1 on the CD.  

As it’s late, I’ll sleep on the listening and write something tomorrow.   

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On 15/05/2019 at 23:58, CnoEvil said:

If you hear, what I think you are going to hear....it will be both seductive and addictive. It should be refined and delicate, yet authoritative, controlled and exciting.

I'm gettin' really turned on man!

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Super Wammer
9 hours ago, hifinutt said:

good grief , the mrs is being very patient with that lot in the lounge !!!!!

"The Mrs" or, as I call her when shouting for my tea, "Wife!" is content in the knowledge that the arrangement is temporary - the passives are being fostered here rather than adopted as it were. Until next week. She's been very patient over the last year with so much swapping around but a period of stability will shortly be upon us!

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Super Wammer

Is the pallet temporary too ? Will this also be its final resting place in Kendal ?

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Super Wammer
5 hours ago, bencat said:

Is the pallet temporary too ? Will this also be its final resting place in Kendal ?

Very temporary, although it might be acting as a sort of bass boost... My ambition is to formally install the ATC passives and the Audia Flight in Kendal next week but I am waiting for my black belt joiner friend to tweak the shelf. Read on if interested.

I love my Custom Design shelves, designed and made in UK. The older Custom Design shelves have a groove into which the 6mm shelf slots, the newer ones have the glass sitting atop. The older designs are in 6mm glass only; newer designs are in 6mm glass or in 10mm "Reference" glass. The 6mm can take 30kg, the 10mm can take 50kg, and the FLS10 weighs 36kg. I did think of getting the groove deepened but apparently one cannot cut holes into any strengthened glass less than 2.5 times the thickness from its edge or it will crack; so I've bought a 10mm top-mounted shelf from Custom Design (arrived today, top quality) and my buddy will cut off the shelf supports at the bottom of the groove, round the edges, reseat the bolts... and I shall have a "Reference" top shelf on which to give the Audia Flight FLS10 the home it deserves.

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Super Wammer

Since our listen on Monday I’ve had a chance to play the tracks back home. As can happen, these things come over differently at different times of day, or perhaps mood.  

Anyway, back to Nigel’s.  As the pictures show clearly, the active SCM40s were in their regular position, on spikes, and sitting in Quadraspire shoes.  The new passives were sitting inboard of these, on audiophile towels.  Well, towels, anyway!  

We listened to the Malia and Bronner tracks via the A49, and as pre or integrated, as required.  Then we did the same on the Audia Flight.  It was impossible not to ogle the stunning box that is the Italian amplifier, especially sitting on its imposing wooden shipping case. It looked far more elegant than I’d imagined from some pictures, the swooping letterbox cutout clearly showing the cool blue display of output in dB below zero.  This neatly winds down to infinity when you hit Mute on the remote.

Via the A49 the actives gave their typical clarity and precision with the articulate and supporting bass lines clearly revealed.  The passives were richer-toned yet looser and woolier, with a less focussed sound stage.  With the Italian job as preamp, the actives seemed to acquire a degree more warmth and ambience, though possibly slightly less precision.  Plucked bass was definitely richer, but it would really be a matter of taste which a listener preferred.  Putting the Audio Flight to full effect through the passives was a bit of a curates egg for me. There was a beguiling warmth and spaciousness, but a slightly distracting phasiness I’d not heard before on the Bronner track - which comprises just two instruments.  (I was sitting in prime spot, pretty much bang between the speakers.  Nick Fourlegs was to my left at the other end of the sofa, and Nigel was perching on sundry other chairs or sofas).  This wasn’t so apparent on the highly ambient sound of the Malia, where the lusher sound of the AF was more suited. The greater precision of the actives was again evident on the Chopin CD, though the greater warmth of the passives complemented the recording.  

Hard to draw firm conclusions, though I’m pretty sure the towels and inboard placement did the passive ATCs no favours.  More confident to say that the AF seems incapable of making anything harsh, and inherently with a lushness that had me looking up descriptions of rich, warm and Italian things.  Italian hot chocolate, suggested Mr Google!  With such a textbook technical spec there’s nothing to suggest this monster integrated amp will sound of anything, so this remains intriguing, if it’s a dependable opinion on the sound. However, a recent HiFi News review of the even more costly Strumento series majored on euphony, so maybe this is a family trait.  Once we relaxed to various jazz and other discs, the AF and passive combination seemed more winning, sounding effortlessly natural with a lovely ambience.  When wandering into the adjacent rooms, it was rather like hearing a live performance from a distant bar or cloakroom.  Authentic, I guess you’d say.  

The imminent removal of the passive ATCs to Nigel’s man cave, together with the Audia Flight amplifier can only lead to better things, I’m sure, as this will be its permanent home. And the speakers will acquire their maker’s feet!  I can’t wait to hear how he finds this combination once installed!  

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Super Wammer

Thanks, Nick, eloquent exposition as ever.

I've listened further myself of course and have loved it. What you refer to as "distracting phasiness" (which, as you said when here, "is like the sound is wrapping around you"), I simply heard as a wider and more immersive soundstage; such are the joys of being unique beings!

I've reflected myself on the experience of comparison on Monday and of course on Nick's borrowed phrase about comparison being the thief of joy... and, well, it absolutely is. I know when Nick does his own tweaks at home, he sometimes thinks he prefers one combo to another but then realises that if he leaves the combo in situ for a few days he sometimes lands on a different view of whether the difference is or is not an improvement. I guess that's what I found here. If anything, the active SCM40A's showed their mettle: in no way disgraced by an Italian über-amp (yes, I know that's German) and if one listens for crispness then they may well have won out, but as we know we don't all actually listen like that in real life i.e. analytically.

My own test is simlar to Nick's and on this the Audia Flight wins out for me: I listen for longer, get distracted less readily and even if I have to pop out of the room for something important (like posting on the Wam...) I quickly return to listen rather than being dragged into other activities.

It will be a physical challenge to get two 32kg (net) speakers and a 36kg (net) amp up 40 stairs. Crikey, I'd better enjoy the sound when they're "home".

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This is the brand I was thinking about. Smaller and British but with that sweeping designed fascia.

Talk Electronics.

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