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Vista Audio Spark II Review (Amplifer)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Vista Audio Spark II stereo integrated amplifier. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US $389 from the company direct.

The Spark comes in a deep but otherwise small case:

Vista Audio Spark Review Amplifier.jpg


Nice to have dual inputs and volume control. The rear of the amp is a bit unusual in placing the mains input between the connectors:

Vista Audio Spark Review Amplifier back panel.jpg


Would have thought to put the IEC jack all the way to the left and speaker to the right. Doesn't matter if the performance is good anyway.

Is this the first audio product we have tested from Serbia?

Vista Audio Spark Measurements
I had to crank the volume all the way up to get close to my nominal 29 dB gain (per THX spec):

Vista Audio Spark Measurements.png


Boy, that is a lot of power supply noise. Playing with grounding reduced the spikes at 60 Hz a bit but did nothing to the harmonics which are caused by the internal power supply. Even if that was low, the distortion spikes are not. As a result, the amplifier rates quite low in our overall ranking:

best stereo amplifiers review 2021.png


Signal to noise ratio is better than what we saw in the dashboard indicating the noise floor rises with power:

Vista Audio Spark SNR Measurements.png


I was surprised to see a bass roll off in this day and age where just about every amplifier is dc-coupled:

Vista Audio Spark Frequency Response Measurements.png


Multitone shows a messy response with the lows polluted by the power supply and highs due to inadequate feedback:
Vista Audio Spark Multitone Measurements.png


Crosstalk is below average:

Vista Audio Spark Crosstalk Measurements.png


The amplifier is rated at only 20 watts but I was not able to get that:

Vista Audio Spark Power into 4 ohm Measurements.png


It did better actually with 8 ohm load indicating current delivery is its issue:
Vista Audio Spark Power into 8 ohm Measurements.png


Back to 4 ohm, if you allow more distortion or buRst the input, you do get a bit more power:
Vista Audio Spark Max and Peak Power into 4 ohm Measurements.png


Finally, there is fair bit of variability when we sweep frequencies:

Vista Audio Spark Power vs Frequency vs Distortion and Noise Measurements.png


Conclusions
Sometimes I really wonder what appeal such amplifiers have that attract buyers. This amp has too little power to drive most speakers and has a lot of noise and distortion as well. There must be some mystique about it that I don't understand.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Vista Audio Spark II amplifier. I hope the designer sees these measurements and at least works to sharply reduce the power supply noise as that can't be anything good no matter what school you are from.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

digicidal

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Wow, this amp is a total crap.
Quit being so generous. It's quite a bit worse than that. ;)

Maybe they're marketing it as "having a legacy tube sound" and just figured that noise was noise, so why not? This even makes the ultra-cheap chip amps seem high-end by comparison.
 

Loathecliff

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Perhaps* this thread should be headed with a health warning aimed at those who bought one?

* NB:- I'm not suggesting a poll:rolleyes:
 

GWolfman

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That's a lot of money for such poor performance. Maybe it makes you breakfast in the morning?
 

VintageFlanker

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Thanks for the review.
Never heard about the brand before. Wow, this sucks...!
Maybe they're marketing it as "having a legacy tube sound"
Few explanations from the Company:

"It really is simple - our products are engineered to the highest standards. We do not "voice" our amplifiers. They have to be technically competent units.
There is no excuse for high distortion, even if it is mainly due to the "ear friendly" second harmonic."


The amplifier is rated at only 20 watts but I was not able to get that:
I see 20W at <1% THD+N, which is the common ( non conservative) rating most of the industry/press is using nowadays...
Still, I prefer your "before clipping" standards.
 
Last edited:

Xombul

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Vista Audio Spark II stereo integrated amplifier. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US $389 from the company direct.

The Spark comes in a deep but otherwise small case:

View attachment 125125

Nice to have dual inputs and volume control. The rear of the amp is a bit unusual in placing the mains input between the connectors:

View attachment 125126

Would have thought to put the IEC jack all the way to the left and speaker to the right. Doesn't matter if the performance is good anyway.

Is this the first audio product we have tested from Serbia?

Vista Audio Spark Measurements
I had to crank the volume all the way up to get close to my nominal 29 dB gain (per THX spec):

View attachment 125127

Boy, that is a lot of power supply noise. Playing with grounding reduced the spikes at 60 Hz a bit but did nothing to the harmonics which are caused by the internal power supply. Even if that was low, the distortion spikes are not. As a result, the amplifier rates quite low in our overall ranking:

View attachment 125128

Signal to noise ratio is better than what we saw in the dashboard indicating the noise floor rises with power:

View attachment 125129

I was surprised to see a bass roll off in this day and age where just about every amplifier is dc-coupled:

View attachment 125130

Multitone shows a messy response with the lows polluted by the power supply and highs due to inadequate feedback:
View attachment 125131

Crosstalk is below averaage:

View attachment 125135

The amplifier is rated at only 20 watts but I was not able to get that:

View attachment 125132

It did better actually with 8 ohm load indicating current delivery is its issue:
View attachment 125133

Back to 4 ohm, if you allow more distortion or bust the input, you do get a bit more power:
View attachment 125134

Finally, there is fair bit of variability when we sweep frequencies:

View attachment 125136

Conclusions
Sometimes I really wonder what appeal such amplifiers have that attract buyers. This amp has too little power to drive most speakers and has a lot of noise and distortion as well. There must be some mystique about it that I don't understand.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Vista Audio Spark II amplifier. I hope the designer sees these measurements and at least works to sharply reduce the power supply noise as that can't be anything good no matter what school you are from.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
There is a typo in "averaage"
 

H-713

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Seriously? I'm sorry, but if you're going to make something with mediocre performance at a high price, at least make it look nice. This might very well be a crappier amplifier than a Crown D150. As a side note, I can't believe I just called something "crappier than a D150".
 

Koeitje

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How can this be, when their website says:
cap.PNG
 

Kegemusha

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Guilty !:facepalm:

But I got it from Serbia cheaper, I sold it 3 seeks ago, and I was imagining a bad measured one before I open this thread.
I bought it after seeing Steve G review, he has some good points sometimes, and before finding this forum. I know better now.
To me, I must say it didn't sound bad, on the desktop sounded nice, better than the emotiva basx-a-100 that I also have, so here is the point when measurements are fine but the ears/room cheats on you, people come home and found the sound really nice too, so we probably are all deaf here.
 

MZKM

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