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Audiophile Heaven With Only Two Components

arancano

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Feb 10, 2020
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After half a century as an audiophile, I am finally completely content with my audio system. I am enjoying my music like never before. The journey took me through dozens of speakers and electronics and many thousands of dollars. The expensive travel fortunately met its end before my own expiration date arrives. I look forward to at least a dozen more years of music listening bliss.

The Fosi P20A Pro was the final addition to my downsized two-component system. Key to its success, and extremely modest price tag were:

1) A pair of superb Q Acoustics Concept 50 speakers.
2) A pair of Sparkos Dual op amps to replace the Fosi's stock op amps.
3) Using the immensely affordable and unbelievably good sounding Micca 14 gauge pure copper speaker wire.
4) Bi-wiring the Q Acoustic speakers affordably with the Micca wire.
5) Correcting my hearing deficiencies with a pair of Jabra top-of-the-line hearing aids (there is a Costco equivalent).
6) A Samsung S21 FE 5G phone with superb internal DAC.
7) An acoustically right, but hardly over-the-top music listening space.

That's it! A two component setup, three counting the phone. I've had rigs costing up to $50K, and worked at a hi-end audio retailer for five years. Downsizing to a $6K rig (including hearing aids and phone) while achieving the kind of sound most audiophiles dream about is something many will find hard to believe. I'd be lying if I said I thought it possible just a few months ago. In truth, affordable and high quality hearing aids became available about two years ago. The Fosi, and class D amplification, are a fairly recent phenomena.

And, synergy is everything. I dare say the exceptionally musical sound I now hear would not be if all of the above were not in place. The rig excels in all of the categories used to described hi-end audio. I suspect the one item most likely to be overlooked is hearing testing and the acquisition of affordable hi-end hearing aids if needed (less than $2K, most brands run over $5K). Most folks don't think of our ears as a component in the music appreciation chain. But it is for more people than you think, and you only know how important a role it plays for music listening once you correct any existing deficiencies.

My journey results have withstood the test of time. Sure, I would like to hear how some new promising technology sounds, but I'd be doing it out of curiosity, not for wanting something better. It's hard to describe; the desire is simply not there. I've enjoyed music throughout my journey, but having arrived at a music reproduction destination sure feels good. Now retired, it's wonderful having the time to explore a quickly evolving music genre - Americana.

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I take it this is an attempt at humor?

Jim

Hardly. It's cheap enough. Do the compare. Of course, I am only vouching for my rig, my listening room, and my ears. I've made a good deal of money selling my hi-end gear, including interconnects and speaker cables. My last sale was a pair of AudioQuest Robin Hoods. My bank account is happy they work for somebody.
 
A pair of Sparkos Dual op amps to replace the Fosi's stock op amps.
Why blindly do this?
I've made a good deal of money selling my hi-end gear, including interconnects and speaker cables. My last sale was a pair of AudioQuest Robin Hoods.
So do you think these expensive cables matter at all, or are you just profiteering off others ignorance?


JSmith
 
well that's a bit unfair

if i had lengths of expensive brand name speaker cable i'm not going to get on my soapbox and tell prospective customers its snake oil

caveat emptor

there's always going to money in the banana stand
 
I learned long ago that someone's trash is another's treasure. I can only share my experience when asked by a seller. It's rare when one does. It's never happened that an honest answer discourages. Who am I to speak negatively about something someone else cherishes and is highly excited and invested in acquiring? As a second-hand seller, the only obligation is to make sure that an item works as new and looks as advertised.
 
Why blindly do this?

So do you think these expensive cables matter at all, or are you just profiteering off others ignorance?


JSmith

As far as the Sparkos, there are plenty of reviews about their performance. But again, trying them is a no-brainer. They are totally returnable.
 
Not unless you think you know better than the designers at Fosi. Without measurements, it's simply stabbing in the dark hoping to hit something. At best there will be no difference, at worst the amp may be put into oscillation.


JSmith

Read the complete Amazon description for the Fosi. It expressly promotes replacing the stock amps with your personal preference (that is equivalent). It is a selling point for the amp and there is a video in Amazon about it. The amp is designed for op amp swapping. Fosi engineers put in inexpensive op amps that sound decent to meet a price point. I've read they cost less than a buck.

The Sparkos dual op amp was $60 when I bought it. It is a fully discreet circuit. You need two and most people probably balk at spending an additional $120 for a $90 amp. I find them transformative. The Fosi has good quality components and is well engineered. Discreet op amps take it to the next level. I would love to see Amir retest the Fosi with the Sparkos installed. For me, trying them was the only way to know if they would improve the sound in my rig. Check out the reviews. They are pretty well regarded. There is no restocking fee if returned.
 
Read the complete Amazon description for the Fosi. It expressly promotes replacing the stock amps with your personal preference (that is equivalent). It is a selling point for the amp and there is a video in Amazon about it.
I'm well aware of the silly promotion of op-amp rolling Fosi keep doing... something I have asked them to cease promoting, which appears to continue to fall on deaf ears. It's a bit of a blight on an otherwise straight up company TBH.

Unsure if you noted Amir's comment in the review of the V3?
There are replaceable op-amps for those of you who have nothing better to do than mess with the design.
Last time Amir measured a Sparkos op-amp, it was actually worse;
Last time I tested a sparkos opamp in an amplifier, it actually measured worse;

Distortion jumped up by 10 dB.


JSmith
 
Congratulations on reaching contentment, that's surprisingly hard to do.
Glad you got there, enjoy your music :)
 
If the distortion is low enough, a little more won’t make a difference. If noise is low, but distortion is high, it may make the setup more lively (see my 300B and Luxman phono amp measurements).
 
My last sale was a pair of AudioQuest Robin Hoods.
Mocking their customers audio-foolishness with the product name right away ... One thing you have to admit to Audioquest's marketing department is that they have a sense of humor. :)
 
I'm well aware of the silly promotion of op-amp rolling Fosi keep doing... something I have asked them to cease promoting, which appears to continue to fall on deaf ears. It's a bit of a blight on an otherwise straight up company TBH.

Unsure if you noted Amir's comment in the review of the V3?

Last time Amir measured a Sparkos op-amp, it was actually worse;



JSmith
Thanks for sending the reference. I don't doubt Amir's findings. He's a straight shooter. I'm not an engineer but I don't think you can necessarily apply his findings to using Sparkos in the Fosi. Well, you can, and you choose to. My choice is listening to the combination and forming an opinion. Different approaches.

I'm simply relating my observations, expressly between the Fosi and the Sparkos. As with most things audio, the mileage may vary. Absent numbers, I can live with my experience, especially if I love what I have.
 
Come on guys, there's no need to be so grumpy, this person has achieved what we all aim for, total satisfaction with their audio system, it doesn't matter if there are elements that we consider technically not perfect, the important thing it's that he likes them and is happy with what he has
 
I love what I have.
This is positive and I do like your setup, a nice space, enjoy. :)

I could be a little cranky today for other reasons... just don't bother wasting your time with swapping op-amps, it's an exercise in folly, honestly. It's better to focus on the room, speakers, measurements of same and EQ where needed. ;)


JSmith
 
Is the room divider comprised of acoustic panels? If so where did you get it. I have a room that is open to a larger room on one side as I suspect you have also.
 
Mocking their customers audio-foolishness with the product name right away ... One thing you have to admit to Audioquest's marketing department is that they have a sense of humor. :)
The French say Vive la difference. There are enough audio products out there to meet everyone's needs. Just because I find a less costly product that meets my needs does not mean whatever I sell is bad, or snake oil. In fact, the Robin Hoods sounded eerily the same as the Mica's. I sold them because, without a loss in performance, I could make some money to pay for other things you see in my listening room, and because the Mica's are thinner and a lot easier to work with. It's also a more affordable choice if you bi-wire.
 
Thanks for sending the reference. I don't doubt Amir's findings. He's a straight shooter. I'm not an engineer but I don't think you can necessarily apply his findings to using Sparkos in the Fosi. Well, you can, and you choose to. My choice is listening to the combination and forming an opinion. Different approaches.

I'm simply relating my observations, expressly between the Fosi and the Sparkos. As with most things audio, the mileage may vary. Absent numbers, I can live with my experience, especially if I love what I have.
The thing is that even when it is $ 60.- thrown away it isn't much money and if it helps you believe the system sounds better it will be totally worth it.

It just perpetuates the idea that swapping opamps is useful.
Also, after the 'all discrete' circuit that is basically the same as what's in an opamp but then on one chip, it is still followed by a chip based power amp.

In the end it is all about the experience of the owner/user of the system.
 
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