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Review and Measurements of Accuphase E-270 Amplifier

DonH56

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If the period of the big spikes is 8.333... ms that is 1/120 Hz -- noise coupled from a bridge rectifier? The smaller ones between could be related to the same thing (second state of the bridge as it switches). Could be a bad ground or just a poor grounding scheme as well.

Guessing - Don
 

Dogen

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In Tokyo, Accuphase is all over the place. Even in the huge electronics retail chains. I didn't see many integrated amplifiers, however.

Interestingly, in 2011, Accuphase launched the wonderful T-1100 FM tuner. A follow up to the excellent T-1000 tuner. Some consider the T-1100 to be the very best tuner ever made. Sounds absolutely wonderful.

http://www.fmtunerinfo.com/ricochets.html#T-1100
http://accuphase.com/model/t-1100.html

US new price is probably north of $5k now but I have no idea. A couple of years ago, used Japanese T-1100 and T-1000 sold pretty cheap but prices seem to have risen. Grey market units can be imported from Japan to Europe & the US. However, you would be stuck with Japanese tuning scheme (Accuphase told me a few years ago that they will not modify JDM units, although maybe that has changed or someone has figured out how to do that).

There are still some fantastic classical and college FM radio stations in Japan, Europe and the US. If a $5k Accuphase is a bit out of the budget, there are plenty of 1970s FM tuners that can be purchased and aligned by a good tech for less than $500.

Apologies for the tangent.
Out of curiosity, what is a “Japanese tuning scheme”? Somehow adapting to smaller room sizes and the typical construction of Japanese abodes?
 

sergeauckland

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AnalogSteph

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Out of curiosity, what is a “Japanese tuning scheme”?
76-90 MHz coverage. Different inductors in the frontend than with a 87.5-108 MHz model, I guess. You could build them such that 76-108 can be covered throughout (and a bunch of portable radios do), but it's not going to do VCO phase noise any good.
 

Dogen

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76-90 MHz coverage. Different inductors in the frontend than with a 87.5-108 MHz model, I guess. You could build them such that 76-108 can be covered throughout (and a bunch of portable radios do), but it's not going to do VCO phase noise any good.
Oh, so it’s not related to sound characteristics...
 

amirm

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If the period of the big spikes is 8.333... ms that is 1/120 Hz -- noise coupled from a bridge rectifier? The smaller ones between could be related to the same thing (second state of the bridge as it switches). Could be a bad ground or just a poor grounding scheme as well.

Guessing - Don
Ah, that makes sense. I missed the obvious. :)
 

svart-hvitt

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Looking at the specs from the integrated series, I notice that the stated S/N difference between RCA and XLR diminishes as you walk up the model ladder on the class A/B designs:
In E-270 shorted an A weighted at output: High level 106 dB - Balanced 91 dB - main in 122 dB
In E-370 shorted an A weighted at output: High level 107 dB - Balanced 97 dB - power in 123 dB
In E-470 shorted an A weighted at output: High level 109 dB - Balanced 102 dB - power in 125 dB

This leads me to believe that this is a difference that is planned and does not have to do with any faulty quality control on the E-270 sample tested.

Interestingly the class A E-650 has no difference between high leve and balanced. They are both 102 db. The main in has 117 db. So in that model you have lost 7 db in the high input but not gained anything in the balanced input compared to E-470. The main in at 117 db is also surprisingly 5 db lower than the entry level E-270.
This implies Accuphase follows the marketing economics textbook to take out the marginal willingness to pay of each customer. Airliners are a good example of this practice.

So Accuphase seems to knowingly make inferior products so as to make quality divisions within their own product lines. Would it cost Accuphase a lot to make one good product instead of a series of inferior products? Is the extra cost of the top product correlated with the extra addition in sales price?

If there are products that are by design very different, say between a 20 kg amplifier and a 1 kg amplifier, it makes sense to price the products differently, right? But what if the only difference is a message from the marketing CEO to make internal adjustments in order to ruin the performance of the lower series products?

We live in an era of consumerism. We have planned obsolescence, and Apple can make iPhone obsolete by pushing out new firmware. And then we have producers that make inferior products just to be able to take out each customer’s willingness to pay.

Do we have enough facts to call Accuphase a consumerism oriented company where marketing has a priority over engineering excellence?
 
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This implies Accuphase follows the marketing economics textbook to take out the marginal willingness to pay of each customer. Airliners are a good example of this practice.

So Accuphase seems to knowingly make inferior products so as to make quality divisions within their own product lines. Would it cost Accuphase a lot to make one good product instead of a series of inferior products? Is the extra cost of the top product correlated with the extra addition in sales price?

If there are products that are by design very different, say between a 20 kg amplifier and a 1 kg amplifier, it makes sense to price the products differently, right? But what if the only difference is a message from the marketing CEO to make internal adjustments in order to ruin the performance of the lower series products?

We live in an era of consumerism. We have planned obsolescence, and Apple can make iPhone obsolete by pushing out new firmware. And then we have producers that make inferior products just to be able to take out each customer’s willingness to pay.

Do we have enough facts to call Accuphase a consumerism oriented company where marketing has a priority over engineering excellence?
Well, it may look that way to me, but only if you look at the balanced input performance and stay with the class A/B and not class A designs.

With RCA input the difference in spec as you move up the product chain are minute. And the entry level E-270 outperforms the E-650. This tends to somewhat contradict the consumerism point of view.
 

svart-hvitt

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Well, it may look that way to me, but only if you look at the balanced input performance and stay with the class A/B and not class A designs.

With RCA input the difference in spec as you move up the product chain are minute. And the entry level E-270 outperforms the E-650. This tends to somewhat contradict the consumerism point of view.
If not consumerism agenda, then hardly SOTA engineering?

So I am still a bit surprised in any case.
 
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Focusing on the unbalanced input:For the Price of 4 E-370 integrated you get one C-2850 preamp. That gets you 4db better S/N on the unbalanced input, 111 db. The best Accuphase preamp C-3850 specifies 115db S/N.

SOTA engineering? Well I’ll let the engineers debate that. I have only practical experience with the E-370. For what it’s worth, it sure functions very well as a preamp in my system and sounds more transparent than other preamps i’ve had in my system.
 

JJB70

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I guess the good news for this amp is that in terms of audible performance I am sure that it is fine, audibly transparent.

The bad news is that you can get an equally audibly transparent amplifier for 1/20 of the price.

What you will get, however, is the luxury build which brings a pleasure of its own.
 
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Of course, the luxurious build, those lovely meters, and sturdy buttons adds some owners pleasure. Like a luxurious Watch. Reliability is also a significant factor. I detest unstable gear that stops working properly. You don’t Get that with Accuphase.
On the sonic side I might add that the AAVA seems to work in a way that prevent loss of detail at low listening levels.
Many otherwise good preamps fails in that area.
 

svart-hvitt

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I guess the good news for this amp is that in terms of audible performance I am sure that it is fine, audibly transparent.

The bad news is that you can get an equally audibly transparent amplifier for 1/20 of the price.

What you will get, however, is the luxury build which brings a pleasure of its own.
My favorite cartoon from The Audio Critic.

I believe we’re past the point where you can put amplifiers of adequate quality into small speaker boxes. Still not SOTA performance in small class D (I think the high frequency debate is mostly FUD these days) but on par with legacy designs like Accuphase.

 

jasonq997

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Focusing on the unbalanced input:For the Price of 4 E-370 integrated you get one C-2850 preamp. That gets you 4db better S/N on the unbalanced input, 111 db. The best Accuphase preamp C-3850 specifies 115db S/N.

SOTA engineering? Well I’ll let the engineers debate that. I have only practical experience with the E-370. For what it’s worth, it sure functions very well as a preamp in my system and sounds more transparent than other preamps i’ve had in my system.
It is an awesome looking machine. I admit that I have always pined after those modern overbuilt Yamaha integrated amps. I think the model number is A-S2100. This aesthetic is before my time but for some reason this represents to me how stereo components should look and be built.

Somewhat off topic: Another of these "overbuilt" brands I have always admired is Bryston. Are their products any good from this perspective or are they just audiophile nonsense?
 
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I don’t know if Amir has tested any Bryston products. The certainly give a good impression on soundquality were I’ve heard them. If I am not mistanken they have a 20 Year Warranty which should indicate no reliability issues.
 
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It is an awesome looking machine. I admit that I have always pined after those modern overbuilt Yamaha integrated amps. I think the model number is A-S2100. This aesthetic is before my time but for some reason this represents to me how stereo components should look and be built.

Somewhat off topic: Another of these "overbuilt" brands I have always admired is Bryston. Are their products any good from this perspective or are they just audiophile nonsense?
Bryston is about the opposite of Audiophile nonsense. In comparison to most audiophile products, their stuff is impeccably engineered. They do some clever stuff to get rid of noise and keep distortion down. They've stubbornly been tweaking basically the same amplifier topology for decades, and manage to wring more out of it than they have any right to.
 

MZKM

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I don’t know if Amir has tested any Bryston products. The certainly give a good impression on soundquality were I’ve heard them. If I am not mistanken they have a 20 Year Warranty which should indicate no reliability issues.
Stereophile has measured their amps, indeed very good. Benchmark also makes a great amp too (John Atkinson had to call Audio Precision for help as the measurements were being limited by his AP).
 

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