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Gold Standard of Stereo Loudspeaker Amplification and DAC?

luft262

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If the Topping A90 and D90 are generally to be considered the "Gold Standard" for driving headphones, what amp and dac combo is the equivalent in the stereo speaker world? Is there something in a reasonable price range that electronically meets or exceeds audible transparency when driving speakers and is generally considered the amp/dac combo to beat?

I'm just curious if there is the same consensus around certain loudspeaker amps and dacs that there is around certain headphone amps and dacs such as SMSL, Topping, and JDS Labs, because I don't seem to be finding the same consistency on the loudspeaker side of electronics.

Thanks for your input.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Which amplifier meets the Gold Standard for you depends on how much gold you're willing to pay. ;)

Seriously though, this the kind of question which is impossible to answer without more specifics on what is desired and what is the budget. Its a loaded question similar to 'what is the Gold Standard of cars'. :rolleyes:
 
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Frgirard

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If the Topping A90 and D90 are generally to be considered the "Gold Standard" for driving headphones, what amp and dac combo is the equivalent in the stereo speaker world? Is there something in a reasonable price range that electronically meets or exceeds audible transparency when driving speakers and is generally considered the amp/dac combo to beat?

I'm just curious if there is the same consensus around certain loudspeaker amps and dacs that there is around certain headphone amps and dacs such as SMSL, Topping, and JDS Labs, because I don't seem to be finding the same consistency on the loudspeaker side of electronics.

Thanks for your input.
Topics d10 balanced
 

Rizzle

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Based on independent measurements only (SINAD or preference rating):
Courtesy of:
https://pierreaubert.github.io/spinorama/scores.html
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s/amplifier-sinad-list-asr-3rd-parties.16060/
 

abdo123

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Likely untrue, the Genelec 8351B (only one size up) does measure better as a standalone monitor, but worse after EQ & perfect subwoofer implementation.

Why? the algorithm is heavily influenced by low frequency extension.
 

Rizzle

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Why? the algorithm is heavily influenced by low frequency extension.
I'd assume that is why the 8351B scores better than the 8341A as a standalone monitor. However, when bass is handled by a perfect subwoofer, the other parameters become more important (again assumptions).
 

Wes

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Sancus

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Likely untrue, the Genelec 8351B (only one size up) does measure better as a standalone monitor, but worse after EQ & perfect subwoofer implementation.

The 8351B used a higher number of measurement points(700 vs 1000), it isn't actually worse. Also, the scores are nowhere near accurate enough to be used that way. In reality it's more like anything +/- 1 point is in the same bucket and you need to look at other attributes and the real measurements.

I'd say the best speaker measured so far is a tossup between the 8351B and the 328Be depending on how much loudness you need and your budget/space. Towers are extra hard to measure and it used over 2000 points(double the F208) so it has a pretty harsh evaluation score-wise.
 

Willem

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The thing is that even fairly modestly priced amplifiers and DACs are better than the threshold of human hearing. So in effect they are already golden. Best measuring amps: Benchmark, Purifi and Hypex Ncore. For DACs the story is slightly more complex, because facilities come into the story as well. My preference is for the RME ADI-2 DAC because measurements are excellent but it also has a multitude of useful controls. Others will prefer something with e.g. Dirac.
 

Rizzle

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The 8351B used a higher number of measurement points(700 vs 1000), it isn't actually worse. Also, the scores are nowhere near accurate enough to be used that way. In reality it's more like anything +/- 1 point is in the same bucket and you need to look at other attributes and the real measurements.

I'd say the best speaker measured so far is a tossup between the 8351B and the 328Be depending on how much loudness you need and your budget/space. Towers are extra hard to measure and it used over 2000 points(double the F208) so it has a pretty harsh evaluation score-wise.
I agree. It is difficult (impossible) to compare preference ratings, especially when they are measured with different methodologies. I didn't know about the measuring points, what I said about the 8361B, 8351B & 8341A were just my assumptions. I can still believe that a 8341A with EQ and a subwoofer would be better than the 328Be with EQ and a subwoofer, but I know I can't say that with a certain degree of significance. When you take away the subwoofer, I'd have no problems believing that the 8351B, 328Be or Dutch & Dutch 8c would outperform the 8341As.

Of course there are also other factors that are important when picking a loudspeaker, that's why it's (imho) impossible for a single best loudspeaker to exist, compared to let's say a DAC, amplification or headphones. E.g., placement, room size, use-case. Near-field monitors for on a desk are not comparable to loudspeakers for a cinema experience, and not comparable to far-field music listening.
 

Sancus

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I agree. It is difficult (impossible) to compare preference ratings, especially when they are measured with different methodologies. I didn't know about the measuring points, what I said about the 8361B, 8351B & 8341A were just my assumptions. I can still believe that a 8341A with EQ and a subwoofer would be better than the 328Be with EQ and a subwoofer, but I know I can't say that with a certain degree of significance. When you take away the subwoofer, I'd have no problems believing that the 8351B, 328Be or Dutch & Dutch 8c would outperform the 8341As.

Of course there are also other factors that are important when picking a loudspeaker, that's why it's (imho) impossible for a single best loudspeaker to exist, compared to let's say a DAC, amplification or headphones. E.g., placement, room size, use-case. Near-field monitors for on a desk are not comparable to loudspeakers for a cinema experience, and not comparable to far-field music listening.

Yeah, I agree in general, "best loudspeaker" is silly. It majorly depends on the use case, especially when you consider stereo vs multi-channel and different room layouts and listening distances. Some other things to consider are that a sub does not improve distortion much(if at all) above the crossover, so speakers with more powerful woofers still have an output advantage in the 100-500hz region, which is important especially for music with high dynamic range.

Also, "with EQ" scores are very sketchy for active speakers, especially Genelec/Neumann. These companies already measure and apply EQ specific to each loudspeaker at the factory, applying your own after the fact based on third party measurements(not your own units) risks making things worse.
 

Koeitje

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For amplifiers its probably the McIntosh Laboratory MC462 because of the low distortion and very high power output. Better than Purifi and wont clip with low efficiency loudspeakers like an AHB2 will. Its not even that expensive for what you are getting.
 

escksu

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Hmm... Gold standard? I dont think there is any. Although there are several ultra high-end "reference" amps and speakers, i am not sure if they are considered gold standard.

As another forumer has pointed out, this is akin to the "gold standard for cars".
 

MarkS

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Surely this is it:

s-l1600.jpg
 
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