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Where am I hearing the difference


OldMatePete
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G’day

 

Got a bit of a dumb one. 
 

I’ve been living with my PS Audio Sprout for some time now and have been perfectly content, but I have recently been asked to list my father in laws old rig so I decided to give it a plug in. 
 

Its a Perreaux SA35 pre amp and an Adcom GFA555 power amp. 
 

Well now I have the itch to look at new amplification, the trick is I’m really unsure as to what of the components is effecting the most change. 
 

Is it Class D vs A/B that I’m hearing or is that stupid? 
 

The sound overall felt much richer and open, and as the volume increased it got better whereas the Sprout tends to feel a bit hard over a certain volume. 
 

This is a littler long winded but I’m trying to work out what is the next step to take, I have been pining after a 2nd hand Yamaha a-s3000 however now I’m thinking I might be better off going down the separates route.

 

In summery, my question to the experienced is, Am I hearing more sonic change from the relative class of the amplification, and is it the pre amp or the power amp doing this?
 

 
 

 

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A solid idea, and certainly not off the cards

 

There are a few issues with that, one being size and aesthetic and the other is functionality,  

I do need to have a remote as the amp is on TV duties and I want it to be easy for the missus to use.

Also I can say Im a huge fan of those massive units (Unless I can work out a way to squirrel them away)

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7 minutes ago, OldMatePete said:

In summery, my question to the experienced is, Am I hearing more sonic change from the relative class of the amplification, and is it the pre amp or the power amp doing this?

It isn't inherrently either.

 

Class D or AB amps can both sound great .... and "seperates" isn't inherently better, as a designer could theoretically put the same two components in one box, "ta da, no seperate any more".

 

The "on paper" specs of the Sprout (according to PS Audio) are significantly worse .... and so, we could guess that if we gave that amplifier any more difficult task than how they measured it (likely to make it look good), then it would be even worse.

 

What speakers are you driving?

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2 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

The adcom is significantly more powerful than the sprout. That could explain the difference, particularly as you crank it up. The harshness of the sprout at higher volumes could well be caused by it clipping 

 

I did suspect that, the Sprout is putting out 100w into 4 ohms and the Adcom 325w into 4 ohms,

My speakers are 4 ohm rated and are 90db sensitive, so not too difficult to drive (at least from my understanding) 

I really had no concept of having all that extra juice on tap would make so a difference in the sonic characteristic 

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2 minutes ago, OldMatePete said:

My speakers are 4 ohm rated and are 90db sensitive

Not quite enough info to say...

 

1 minute ago, OldMatePete said:

Orpheus Aurora 3.3s 

Yes, they are "easy".

 

So this tells us that 50w is almost certainly enough, unless you are listening very! loud.....  but we don't know the distoriton of the Sprout amplifier.

 

So I checked and it isn't very good.

 

Can you tell us how you connected them all?

 

Were you using the Sprout with it's analogue intput or digital input?

If you had a digital input to the Sprout .....  What did you driver the pre/power with? .... the DAC output of the Sprout?

 

This might help answer if there's anything you can do with your current setup to make it behave better.

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Is indeed the different amps, not just power IMO.

 

But be aware that a different pre/amp combo may sound a bit different again, maybe better or worse than the Perreaux/Adcom combo.

So audition some gear and find what sounds best to you.

 

Used gear will offer more for ya' money but difficult to audition.

Edited by muon*
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18 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

 

Can you tell us how you connected them all?

 

Were you using the Sprout with it's analogue input or digital input?

If you had a digital input to the Sprout .....  What did you driver the pre/power with? .... the DAC output of the Sprout?

 

This might help answer if there's anything you can do with your current setup to make it behave better.

 

So the Sprout is pretty much wired up fro everything, 

The comparison between the two systems was using my Schiit Modius DAC streaming Tidal, so the analog input on the Sprout 

For the Sprout I do use the Phono Stage and the Optical (TV) also 

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19 minutes ago, muon* said:

Is indeed the different amps, not just power IMO.

 

But be aware that a different pre/amp combo may sound a bit different again, maybe better or worse than the Perreaux/Adcom combo.

So audition some gear and find what sounds best to you.

 

Used gear will offer more for ya' money but difficult to audition.

 

This is the conundrum for sure,

I certainly do prefer picking up 2nd hand gear (there is that sexy Gold Note power amp in the classifieds now) 

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43 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

Make sure you send a fairly high input signal to the Sprout, and then turn the volume dial on the Sprout down how ever far you need.

 

Ah I hear you, 

You think its gain staging that is resulting in the difference.

 

I have no volume adjustment from the DAC unfortunately,

Its just being fed from a Raspberry Pi running Tidal connect  

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20 minutes ago, OldMatePete said:

I have no volume adjustment from the DAC unfortunately,

Its just being fed from a Raspberry Pi running Tidal connect  

Then the DAC is running at full amplification.

 

Is there a volume dial on the Rpi? .... if so, where was that set?

 

 

.... but to answer your original question.  The Sprout is garbage, keep your Dad's gear and your DAC and throw the Sprout in the bin.

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21 minutes ago, OldMatePete said:

 

Ah I hear you, 

You think its gain staging that is resulting in the difference.

 

I have no volume adjustment from the DAC unfortunately,

Its just being fed from a Raspberry Pi running Tidal connect  

The best scenario is not to add gain to your otherwise pristine ability of your source component, other than only that which is available as voltage gain, necessary at your power amp. 

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3 hours ago, OldMatePete said:

A solid idea, and certainly not off the cards

 

There are a few issues with that, one being size and aesthetic and the other is functionality,  

I do need to have a remote as the amp is on TV duties and I want it to be easy for the missus to use.

Also I can say Im a huge fan of those massive units (Unless I can work out a way to squirrel them away)

 

Why not use/try the Sproat as a pre-amp? It appears to have analog outputs that could go into the Adcom power amp

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1 hour ago, davewantsmoore said:

Then the DAC is running at full amplification.

 

Is there a volume dial on the Rpi? .... if so, where was that set?

 

 

.... but to answer your original question.  The Sprout is garbage, keep your Dad's gear and your DAC and throw the Sprout in the bin.

 

 

Hahahaha Yeah I am certainly getting that feeling.

 

Yeah there is no volume control on the Rpi either 

Edited by OldMatePete
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1 hour ago, Satanica said:

 

Why not use/try the Sproat as a pre-amp? It appears to have analog outputs that could go into the Adcom power amp

 

 

This was what I was thinking,

There is that Gold Note in the classifieds.

 

I was not sure if the quality of sound was improved more by the Power amp or the Pre amp, that why I was a bit hesitant to use the Sprout as a pre, if the gain was so incremental  

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6 hours ago, OldMatePete said:

I was not sure if the quality of sound was improved more by the Power amp or the Pre amp, that why I was a bit hesitant to use the Sprout as a pre, if the gain was so incremental  

You could try the Sprout as a DAC/pre ... but it isn't great.

 

The Adcom is a pretty good amplifier.

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6 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

You could try the Sprout as a DAC/pre ... but it isn't great.

 

The Adcom is a pretty good amplifier.

 

 

I guess from here I need to decide if I buy a power amp or mono blocks and then live with the Sprout as a Pre Until I need to replace it, or look at a new integrated 

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4 hours ago, OldMatePete said:

I guess from here I need to decide if I buy a power amp or mono blocks and then live with the Sprout as a Pre Until I need to replace it, or look at a new integrated 

I'm not sure decisions about equipment for playing music for its effect on you can be made on the basis of types of equipment. 

 

It's really mostly about the implementation and the best way to tell if something is for you is to listen. Reliable reviewers (you'll have to judge who they are) can certainly help, especially in these difficult conditions.

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7 hours ago, GregWormald said:

I'm not sure decisions about equipment for playing music for its effect on you can be made on the basis of types of equipment. 

 

It's really mostly about the implementation and the best way to tell if something is for you is to listen. Reliable reviewers (you'll have to judge who they are) can certainly help, especially in these difficult conditions.

 

 

I hear you on that, constantly torn between the world of numbers and specs and then wondering how much I should really care about that.

 

The drama is auditioning 2nd hand gear with my system is virtually impossible 

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41 minutes ago, OldMatePete said:

 

 

I hear you on that, constantly torn between the world of numbers and specs and then wondering how much I should really care about that.

 

The drama is auditioning 2nd hand gear with my system is virtually impossible 

IMO both specifications and unmeasurables (or at least things not measured) count. 

 

In some areas I can make decisions quickly and easily—for hi-fi upgrades it has never been that simple. Sometimes what matters to me doesn't matter much to others at all. Without long auditions at home (IMO really necessary, but almost impossible these days) I've had to search out reviewers who seem to value the same things I do, and who do much more than just repeat the PR blurbs from manufacturers.

 

I reckon for my last upgrade I must have read every review on the internet, including YouTube, until I found about 10 that seemed authentic. Then I was able to arrange a listen to that piece of gear and to decide whether it sounded OK. Maybe I was lucky, but when it finally arrived it was what I had wanted.

 

Good fortune, mate.

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