• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Argon SA1 Amplifier Review

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 28 11.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 156 62.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 62 25.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 2 0.8%

  • Total voters
    248

Katji

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
3,002
Likes
2,200
No USB input, DAC below par, at that price, and push-in dual-purpose volume control knob ... = Poor.
 
Last edited:

Jimster480

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
1,918
Likes
1,249
Location
Miami
But hey you can charge your phone with it. There's that.
At what output!?
This lands the unit in the middle of our "fair" category:
Pretty savage for the price.
This is usually the case when the amplifier is in Bluetooth connection mode.
Ah so it has Bluetooth? Can we maybe get a test of that @amirm? Not sure if you have any tests setup for BT yet.
Originally, the device once had an Ethernet interface and a built-in Chromecast streaming function. However, Google did not like that very much. Therefore, there is now the USB socket for powering an external Chromecast streaming stick.
So you plug the Chromecast Audio in and then feed the Coax input with it? What about now that the Chromecast audio is discontinued?
or interested readers, here are a few pictures of the amp's inner workings.
Looks like the USB can be used for firmware updates also?
 

sarumbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
4,445
Likes
4,003
Location
Southampton, UK
Originally, the device once had an Ethernet interface and a built-in Chromecast streaming function. However, Google did not like that very much.
What had Google did to communicate their unhappiness to you?

For that matter, are you the manufacturer or an owner that is privy to manufacturer’s development of the product?
 

Tobei

New Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
22
So you plug the Chromecast Audio in and then feed the Coax input with it? What about now that the Chromecast audio is discontinued?
Without knowing for sure, the amplifier should have been launched around 2018. Yes, you're right, the USB port doesn't really make sense. What certainly the manufacturer has thought, I can not tell you more precisely.

Looks like the USB can be used for firmware updates also?
I have not seen any instructions for an update, nor any firmware file.

Best Regards
Tobias
 

Tobei

New Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
22
What had Google did to communicate their unhappiness to you? For that matter, are you the manufacturer or an owner that is privy to manufacturer’s development of the product?
I do not know if Google is happy or unhappy with me ;-)

According to NAD, Google had made it a requirement that Chromecast not be installed with a wired network connection. The first series still came with an Ethernet port and later this disappeared and was replaced by the USB socket. If you do some searching on the internet you will find pictures showing both variants as well as information about the modification I described.

Best Regards
Tobias
 

Jimster480

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
1,918
Likes
1,249
Location
Miami
I do not know if Google is happy or unhappy with me ;-)

According to NAD, Google had made it a requirement that Chromecast not be installed with a wired network connection. The first series still came with an Ethernet port and later this disappeared and was replaced by the USB socket. If you do some searching on the internet you will find pictures showing both variants as well as information about the modification I described.

Best Regards
Tobias
Weird, so they didn't want Chromecast on Ethernet? What if they allowed both wifi and Ethernet? I mean Ethernet adapters for Chromecast exist.
 

Tobei

New Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
22
Weird, so they didn't want Chromecast on Ethernet? What if they allowed both wifi and Ethernet? I mean Ethernet adapters for Chromecast exist.
That is my state of knowledge. Unfortunately, I can only speculate about everything else. In the NAD AMP1 manual, the Ethernet jack is still visible. NAD now uses (exclusively) WLAN. Argon Audio has done it without Chromecast, and included the USB jack. In the Argon Audio SA1 manual, this is noted as a power supply for a Google Chromecast Stick.

Whether Argon Audio ever wanted to integrate Chromecast or not, I cannot judge. For me, the Argon Audio SA1 and the NAD AMP1 are one and the same product, only with Google Chromecast the two products differ. I hope I have now explained it more clearly.


Best Regards
Tobias
 
Last edited:

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
9,123
Likes
25,772
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
A product where the digital inputs cannot take a 0dBFS signal without severly clipping is beyond poor. The fact that Amir had to wind down the digital level to -12dBFS to get sensible THD numbers rules it out as broken by design.
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
2,293
Likes
2,337
Weird, so they didn't want Chromecast on Ethernet? What if they allowed both wifi and Ethernet? I mean Ethernet adapters for Chromecast exist.
My understanding would be that it would have Chrome cast buit in, like many TVs do… Unless I’m not grasping the fine prints.My bet would be that Ethernet only streaming doesn’t cut it for chrome cast licensing and they want to be in products that can receive a cast wirelessly. If you buy a stick you remediate to that, but then it’s not a chromecast device at all.
 

Jimster480

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
1,918
Likes
1,249
Location
Miami
My understanding would be that it would have Chrome ast buit in, like many TVs do… Unless I’m bot grasping the fine prints.
Yeah I mean lots of TVs have Chromecast built in through the Android tv. I'm not sure why they would be upset with it being inside of an amp. But they did discontinue Chromecast audio so maybe they have other intentions.
A product where the digital inputs cannot take a 0dBFS signal without severly clipping is beyond poor. The fact that Amir had to wind down the digital level to -12dBFS to get sensible THD numbers rules it out as broken by design.
I did not even think about that. However you are definitely right
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
2,293
Likes
2,337
Yeah I mean lots of TVs have Chromecast built in through the Android tv. I'm not sure why they would be upset with it being inside of an amp. But they did discontinue Chromecast audio so maybe they have other intentions.
I think you get the idea, I elaborated a bit more but the Idea is Google can do whatever they want, It’s google.
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
2,293
Likes
2,337
A product where the digital inputs cannot take a 0dBFS signal without severly clipping is beyond poor. The fact that Amir had to wind down the digital level to -12dBFS to get sensible THD numbers rules it out as broken by design.
That would be true, but Amir had no volume control at all, with an hypothesis that it could be « operator error » I don’t think we have enough to reach this conclusion, but in all case, it should not be like that.
 

restorer-john

Master Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
9,123
Likes
25,772
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
That would be true, but Amir had no volume control at all, with an hypothesis that it could be « operator error » I don’t think we have enough to reach this conclusion, but in all case, it should not be like that.

Amir would back (attenuated) the digital signal sent from the AP to -12dBFS.

No D/A converter should be heavily clipping at 0dBFS and certainly the attached internal preamplifier should not clip its outputs when driven by the internal D/A. It just makes no sense and harks of poor design. Even if they implemented a hidden 'high gain output' which Amir wasn't aware of, the outputs still should not clip.
 
Last edited:

Awsmone

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Messages
51
Likes
39
I like the style of this as well. Nice features for the price with a known brand. It's far from "broken".

OH, clever bastards! I thought this was an Aragon. Shame on them for gas lighting me with "Argon". MAD!!!
Ah, this is a Danish company been around for 20 years, and I had assumed the name comes from the element : Argon atomic number 18; but was from the winning name of a naming competition ; I am unclear if it’s actually manutactured in Denmark, as the website says designed and engineered , not made in Denmark

its the house brand of online retailer hifiklubben
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
2,293
Likes
2,337
Amir would back (attenutated) the digital signal sent from the AP to -12dBFS.

No D/A converter should be heavily clipping at 0dBFS and certainly the attached internal preamplifier should not clip its outputs when driven by the internal D/A. It just makes no sense and harks of poor design. Even if they implemented a hidden 'high gain output' which Amir wasn't aware of, the outputs still should not clip.
I agree with you, just saying that we don’t know nothing about the gain structure. We know that 0DBFS is clipping, when used as a preamp when there are no attenuation. Not saying it’s right, but we can’t conclude a 0DBFS is automatically clipping. they may want to do level compensation with the analog ins.
 
Last edited:

Koeitje

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
1,773
Likes
2,799
I think this is pretty poor, because In my opinion the analog input shouldn't be losing that much performance over the DAC input. If anything it should be better.
 

Jimster480

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
1,918
Likes
1,249
Location
Miami
I think this is pretty poor, because In my opinion the analog input shouldn't be losing that much performance over the DAC input. If anything it should be better.
That would be the idea. Unless it is actually maybe converting the analog input to digital and then back to analog again? There have been a couple devices that have done this for no specific reason
 

sarumbear

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
4,445
Likes
4,003
Location
Southampton, UK
According to NAD, Google had made it a requirement that Chromecast not be installed with a wired network connection. The first series still came with an Ethernet port and later this disappeared and was replaced by the USB socket. If you do some searching on the internet you will find pictures showing both variants as well as information about the modification I described.
I always go to the source instead of accepting what a manufacturer says about a 3rd party system they use. Nor I trust hearsay on the Internet forums.

Chromecast, now called Google Cast is a Google system and as most Google software there is a comprehensive developer documentation. I copied from the first page of the SDK document. Highlights are mine.

The term Receiver refers to an app running on a Cast-enabled device that is responsible for responding to Sender commands and for conveying streaming content from an online streaming service to the Cast-enabled device. Examples of Cast-enabled Receiver devices include Chromecasts, smart televisions, smart screens, and smart speakers.

As we know there are wired smart TVs and smart speakers that support Google Cast, hence what NAD said is categorically not correct. However, it is possible that Google does not allow only the audio part of Cast (GC4A) functionality to be added without full Google Assistant also being in place. I haven't read the entire document to be sure. That is nothing to do with network connection but the need for microphones to accept the "Hey Google" commands.
 

JimFarrell29

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
5
Likes
3
Argon have a little reasonably priced streaming box which has gathered some buzz in the YouTube reviewing space. Interesting to see they have other strings to their bow. This little amp, while far from perfect, does not look dreadful for the price though would not be my choice.
 
Top Bottom