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Speaker upgrade uncertainties (Focal Aria 936)

Pareto Pragmatic

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When I have both Amps in hand I’ll have some fun with comparisons.

Give yourself some time with the solid state amp, it does take a little time to get used to that. At least it did for me, a couple of days, and that was coming from AVR a/b and vintage class a (but no tubes). Then do your comparisons.

Initially I liked it, but did not care for the sound of trumpet and sax in jazz. Over time, I liked it more. But I also found that going from a steep roll off filter on my DAC to no roll off filter gave me sound I liked more. So take your time, listen to a lot of music, listen to all types of music you listen to.

Then go with what sounds best to you. Or have both, and change things up, that's what I do. I prefer neutral, but enjoy colored sound too, depending on mood.

Have fun!
 

Verig

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@coconuthead Good to hear pentode/ultralinear worked for you. You won't hear much difference between high-power class A/B and D but going triode-pentode-D you will certainly notice it. And for the first time you will hear how the Focal bass bass and treble actually sound like. (Even more interesting will be what you prefer.)
 
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C

coconuthead

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I ordered the class D Buckeye 2ch Hypex NCx 500. It will ship in 1-2 weeks.

I’m looking forward to having fun with the comparisons between solid state and tube!
 

ModDIY

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Hi, in the past I have had several tube amplifiers and preamps. Conrad-Johnson, Mcintosh and Dynaco...etc.

At first I had difficulty switching to transistor amps. Currently I use transistor and class D amplifiers. The last 2 years I have owned Focal Chora 826, with minimum impedance 2.9ohms at 270hz which I measured (91db).

With the Sabaj A30a class D amp, 100w/c 8ohms and 200w/c 4ohms, I had never lacked power even at party levels. I sold the Focal to a friend who has a clone amp of the Musical Fidelity class AB bipolar transistors (original mono block) which I assembled with a huge bank of power supply capacitors, which I also sold. The amp is 50w/c 8ohms and 100w/c 4ohms, the amp has no problem playing loud with progressive rock. He will add a sub.

What I noticed with the Focals is that they give good definition at very low volume, this kind of quality is not so common, on the other hand the Focals are at their best when you send them a lot of juice, the soundstage expands and the dynamics improve in quality, as long as the amplifier behind is able to manage the impedance curve well.

The Buckeye 2ch Hypex NCx 500 is an excellent choice for your Focal Aria 936. You should rediscover the Focal at their true value.

I look forward to reading your comments.
 

Waxx

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Hi, in the past I have had several tube amplifiers and preamps. Conrad-Johnson, Mcintosh and Dynaco...etc.

At first I had difficulty switching to transistor amps. Currently I use transistor and class D amplifiers. The last 2 years I have owned Focal Chora 826, with minimum impedance 2.9ohms at 270hz which I measured (91db).

With the Sabaj A30a class D amp, 100w/c 8ohms and 200w/c 4ohms, I had never lacked power even at party levels. I sold the Focal to a friend who has a clone amp of the Musical Fidelity class AB bipolar transistors (original mono block) which I assembled with a huge bank of power supply capacitors, which I also sold. The amp is 50w/c 8ohms and 100w/c 4ohms, the amp has no problem playing loud with progressive rock. He will add a sub.

What I noticed with the Focals is that they give good definition at very low volume, this kind of quality is not so common, on the other hand the Focals are at their best when you send them a lot of juice, the soundstage expands and the dynamics improve in quality, as long as the amplifier behind is able to manage the impedance curve well.

The Buckeye 2ch Hypex NCx 500 is an excellent choice for your Focal Aria 936. You should rediscover the Focal at their true value.

I look forward to reading your comments.
You can use a lower power amp like you did if you have a lot of power resereve in the psu. That is mostly the limiting factor of class d amps (where rated power is mostly peak power, not rms power).

The 50w amp has a lot of caps to conquer peak demands, so i'm not surprised it works. But most modern amps don't have that cap bank, so they can't handle the peaks. That's why you need a higher power amp. In reality you won't use much power most of the time to drive it, but the psu must be able to give a lot of current at those peaks in the impendance, so your power supply will choke fast if it has no reserve dc in the caps. The amp may be rated at 50w at 8R, but with that cap bank it can give short peaks of 200w or so also.

A SMPS can't do that mostly, and so need to be rated much higher (and so the amp) in power or it will start chockig and distorting the sound. That is also the only advantage of linear psu's, for the rest an SMPS is technically a better solution i think. And that disadvantage is easy to fix, by overbuilding your smps (but economic reasons often makes that that does not happen in amps).
 
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