Chivas

Valve amp suggestions for Harbeth 40.1

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1 minute ago, Chivas said:


Snap!


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Lol.. glad you don’t care about measurements and debates! Neither do I lol.

i like what I like and hear what I hear.. 

ive heard your speakers on Krell, ARC, Sugden and Pathos.. loved them all but Pathos was pretty lush! 

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..but failing that, your Icon Audio are hard to beat for a mixture of value, with decent grunt.


That’s what my gut tells me, but trying to see if I can prove it wrong and is really the purpose behind this thread


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Super Wammer

I shall follow this with interest as also Running MB845SE monos and often think about a change,  but know they will be hard to beat for sensible money. 

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I shall follow this with interest as also Running MB845SE monos and often think about a change,  but know they will be hard to beat for sensible money. 

I know where you are coming from. I think we are on the same page, so please feel free to hijack the thread and ask your own questions. We can consider it as a joint effort to beat the Icon’s.

Btw I also have the signature versions (the first incarnations), but am “de-signaturing” them by replacing the Jensen PIO coupling caps with polypropylene Audyn True Copper Max caps. The Jensens are just too unreliable and I have had 2 caps that leaked DC and sent the 845 valve into red plating and I once fried an output transformer when this happened. So keep an eye on the output valve bias voltages!


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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Chivas said:


That’s what my gut tells me, but trying to see if I can prove it wrong and is really the purpose behind this thread


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FWIW (prolly not much), I have some 40.2s and like an organic, euphonious presentation....which up to now has been from the likes of the Class A MF AMS35i.

I have taken a punt on a Class D Gato DIA 250S, which according to all reviews that I've read, is supposed to sound very unclass D like. It's somewhat of a risk as I have yet to hear a Class D that I would buy....but Elite Audio, who gave me a great deal, will allow me full credit against something else, if I don't like it. I'll know more when the system is connected up, later this week.

One of the reasons I went with Harbeth, is it is more "Amp Agnostic" than many brands.

Edited by CnoEvil
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Super Wammer
24 minutes ago, Chivas said:


I know where you are coming from. I think we are on the same page, so please feel free to hijack the thread and ask your own questions. We can consider it as a joint effort to beat the Icon’s.

Btw I also have the signature versions (the first incarnations), but am “de-signaturing” them by replacing the Jensen PIO coupling caps with polypropylene Audyn True Copper Max caps. The Jensens are just too unreliable and I have had 2 caps that leaked DC and sent the 845 valve into red plating and I once fried an output transformer when this happened. So keep an eye on the output valve bias voltages!


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Had this happen on the RH amp after 3 weeks of ownership, luckily (for me anyway) the dealer I bought them secondhand from had given me a 3 month warranty. Don't think he made much on them after a pair of Jensens and a new tyranny. 

Initially was 'just' the Jensens, got it back and had 2hrs worth of listening then nothing. The output tranny had given up, I guess it had got damaged initially and was hanging on by a thread that my 2 hours of use broke. Was 4 months in the shop get a new one rewound (cheaper than buying from IA). Had a Chinese Cayin hybrid integrated on loan from him to cover but was only 15w though sounded okay. 

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Posted (edited)

The one amp I would like to get here for a listen is the MasterSound 845 Reference integrated (mk1). I heard one at Scalford in 2017 and it was sublime, a really liquid mellifluous sound, great detail and tone. 

Their monos are supposed to be pretty good too, I know their preamps are good as I'm running a PHL5 with my IAs. 

Edited by Lurch
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A toughie. :D

AN power amps would probably end up being 300Bs as their 211s are very expensive. The Quests and Conquests are very refined 300Bs and would make a good sound with your M3s. I worry about how loud they would go and still keep the bass under control on your big Harbeths. They certainly work well with the SHL5s but the 40.1 is a bigger job. Do you have a big room or like LOUD music? Their sensitivities are very similar but that 12" bass unit ??

The Unison Research amplifiers can generate more power (S6 35w/channel of Class A) so may be able to keep the 40.1s under better control. There are other amps in their range that give the same type of sound but provide a more detailed and refined sound. Worth a listen as their aesthetics are a lot better than those of Audionote. B| In fact, being Italian they look lovely.

You could try Audio Research and their VS110/5 can be inexpensive used, have the more modern KT120 sound and produce a very neutral sound. Of course, the Ref 75/150 is a lot more refined and take the better KT150 valves. But they have a more modern sound. It is not bright and dry like a lot of SS but they do not have the warm pleasant sound of the AN and UR amplifiers.

The Icon Audio 845s certainly have the grunt, dynamics and power needed for the big Harbs. The other amps will probably sound more refined and detailed and for the AN and UR a better 3D soundstage.

My best advice is get thee to some bake-offs and hear what the differences are or e-mail a few ultra generous wammers who own said amps.

A quick tip, they are all suckers for cakes.    

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1 hour ago, CnoEvil said:

FWIW (prolly not much), I have some 40.2s and like an organic, euphonious presentation....which up to now has been from the likes of the Class A MF AMS35i.

I have taken a punt on a Class D Gato DIA 250S, which according to all reviews that I've read, is supposed to sound very unclass D like. It's somewhat of a risk as I have yet to hear a Class D that I would buy....but Elite Audio, who gave me a great deal, will allow me full credit against something else, if I don't like it. I'll know more when the system is connected up, later this week.

One of the reasons I went with Harbeth, is it is more "Amp Agnostic" than many brands.

Wow..that's great Cnoevil.. 

I will keep my eyes peeled waiting for your feed back  sir :)

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Super Wammer
4 hours ago, Chivas said:

Hi all, I’ve been running my Icon Audio MB845’s for a good few years now and had great service from them. But recently I’ve been wondering what else is out there that could work as well if not better.

Attributes I most appreciate are warmth and (smooth) detail (in that order) but above all dynamics, scale and a holographic 3D soundstage with lifesize images. I cannot stand edginess, grain or bright sounding equipment.

At some stage I pondered switching the amps and speakers out for something Audio Note (probably “affordable” AN monos and the ANE SPE HE) - but I expect that this will come at a considerable cost. I like the Harbeths and most cost effective will probably be to just change the power amps for a slightly different flavour.

Rest of the chain is an AN M3 phono, all Origin Live vinyl rig with an AN IO2 cart. The digital side won’t influence my decision (if any).

Any suggestions will be appreciated. I’d prefer 2nd hand and something with big glowing bottles

Many thanks in advance

Chivas

PS. Do Puresound still trade? I’ve always been curious how the M845’s will sound in my system, but have never heard a pair.

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I heartily recommend the icon audio mb845 mk2 as being a considerable step up from the mk1. The huge output tranny and other improvements make them very desirable. 

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9 minutes ago, Fourlegs said:

I heartily recommend the icon audio mb845 mk2 as being a considerable step up from the mk1. The huge output tranny and other improvements make them very desirable. 

This.

You're going to struggle to replicate what the 845s do so well. Possibly a really good 300B PP design, but that's likely to go well out of budget and the ones within budget are likely to sound like a step back. Very little else in the price range here has the sound that a well-designed 845 circuit can manage.

If (and it's a very big if) you can find one, a Mastersound 845, but one that's been sorted. The filament supply board can be an issue. An even bigger 'if you can find' is the originally mentioned Puresound 845s. They use an interstage design rather than capacitor coupling, which drives the 845s much better. I've only ever heard a pair once, but they made mincemeat of most of the competition.

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Posted (edited)

The most wonderful sound I've had from my P3ESRs is with a Croft 25R pre and Radford STA25. Within your budget, even if you go for a Radford Revival one. Different speakers I appreciate but wished to throw this in the mix ! Having said this a well fettled Quad 303 is hard to beat for a beautiful balance of smooth and detailed. There's plenty of room in your budget for a back up one from Amplabs ;-).

Edited by Ian

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I heartily recommend the icon audio mb845 mk2 as being a considerable step up from the mk1. The huge output tranny and other improvements make them very desirable. 


It’s a good shout and something that I have considered. The issue though is that if you go up to the latest mk2, there is also a massive jump in price, which opens up other possibilities, for instance the Pure Sounds.

The Icon mk2’s are on the shortlist though, so thanks for the recommendation


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