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November 2012 Issue
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LOW FREQUENCY EFFECTS

Thank you for an interesting and well written review on the RX-A3010, in the June 2012 issue.

Some additional questions though. Does the Bass Management of the 3010 do stereo bass with all left front/surround channel low-pass on left sub and correspondingly on right with center LP and LFE divided between the subs?

In the text there was also talk about the direct DSD to analog capabilities of the DACs. Was it confirmed, also by measurement, that this is the case for multi-channel signals (in what mode)? If so, how many/what channels have the benefit of this, being driven simultaneously and which DACs do the job?

While we are at it, do you know of other Pre-proc./ AVRs or multiplayers that do this direct DSD to A in multichannel?

Seems to me that this is a rare commodity and if Yamaha do this at the price point, it’s very rare indeed - that is to say, if not some pseudo-approach is involved here?

Michael Sderback

Finland

 

Hi Michael. Sorry to disappoint you but we do not engage Bass Management or assess it on AV receivers, so this aspect of the Yamaha was not tested. As a hi-fi magazine (i.e. not Home Cinema) we assess the abilities of a receiver when used with full range loudspeakers, not with small satellites and subs that demand bass management. In this circumstance you get stereo bass, not bass mixed and directed into a single subwoofer. Bear in mind that full range loudspeakers cost just £200/pair; it is unrealistic to use an expensive receiver like the Yamaha with anything less. 

Nowadays, it is common to convert DSD code from SACD to PCM before sending it through the PCM DACs that feed all channels of a receiver. This often occurs within a Texas Instruments receiver chip and manufacturers may be unaware of it, since such processes are buried within the small print of an Application Note. The Yamaha  returned very low distortion with DSD, just 0.05% at -60dB, so either they use native DSD convertors of good quality or an effective conversion routine that would be a part of the receiver chip used. It is impossible to say quite what is going on internally, but our DSD code measurements show that RX-3010 delivers great results in this area and will give good sound quality from SACD. NK

 

 

Yamaha RX-A3010 produced great results when tested with DSD. Is a "pseudo-approach" used asks Michael Sderback?

 

FAST PLAYER

A few months ago I wrote to you asking advice on the purchase of a CD player, but whilst waiting for your reply to be published, I bought an Arcam FMJ CD 33 which has ‘ticked all the boxes’, but was not one of the machines that you advised. 

In the meanwhile I have decided to treat myself to a new turntable (the first since my LP12 30 years ago) and thanks yet again to Simon Griffin of Hi-Fi Sound Ltd of Stockton-On-Tees I am the new owner of a Clearaudio Champion Level One turntable /Satisfy DWTonearm /Ortofon Rondo Bronze and I would like to upgrade my phono stage in the next few months. At the moment I am using a NAD PP2 which is superb considering the silly price that it is (£80-ish) and I would like something with the same tonal sound (perhaps valves?) so your advice would be really appreciated. 

The rest of my system is Roksan Rok-L2.5 pre-amp /Beard P100 Monoblocks feeding Ruark Talisman II or Ruark Crusader II speakers using QED Genesis Silver Spiral speaker cable and Chord Chameleon 2 Interconnects. 

In my last letter to you I praised local dealer Simon Griffin and I would like to praise him yet again for his help and patience in dealing with me (i’m a pest at times). A word to hi-fi buffs in the Teeside area, if you are looking for friendly advice or very reasonably priced ‘gear’, then give Simon a call.

Alfie Forcer

 

 

Alfie Forcer couldn't wait and bought one of these – an Arcam FMJ CD33 and it "ticks all the boxes".

 

Hi Alfie. If you are after the same presentation as the NAD, but better, then valves may not be the way to go. I would suggest you consider the Creek Wyndsor phono stage we reviewed last month in our October 2012 issue. It has a similar ‘easy’ sound as the NAD, only far better in terms of resolution and dynamics, as well as adaptability. It will suit your new Rondo Bronze and offers an upgrade path too, by having balanced inputs, rare at present. NK

 

 

Get a Creek Wyndsor phono stage for great sound plus balanced inputs. 

 

 

 

Logitech Squeezebox Touch turned my CD into a "pretty sculpture" says Rupert Drescher.

 

 

EASY SQUEEZY

I use a Squeezebox Touch through a Rega DAC for all my music these days (the CD player is now just a pretty sculpture at the top of the rack). For ‘speakers I use ProAc Response 1SCs which have a rated sensitivity of 86dB, 8 ohm nominal impedance and an amplifier recommendation of between 20 -100 watts. Room size is small 3.5m x 5m.

For a while I had been unhappy with the performance of my amplifier, so about a year ago, on a whim, I bought a Marantz PM-4 at a second-hand hi-fi shop for a couple of hundred dollars, just to see what something else might be like. The amp came with a 3 month warranty and I could see that there had been some refurbishment in the recent past i.e. replacement capacitors and upgraded speaker terminals, so I thought why not?

Back in 1979, when the Marantz was made, it was seen as a real beauty offering exceptional performance at a sharper price than most of its rivals. It could belt out 60W per channel in A/B mode and at the press of a button you could also run it in Class A mode at 15W per channel.

When I first got the Marantz home, I plugged it in and was amazed at the difference that the amp change had made. Everything had snapped into focus, imaging was sharply defined and perfectly placed. Bass was deeper, more tuneful and better controlled while treble was sweeter with less grain, while also being more extended. The overall sound remained a tiny bit fatiguing and grainy in the treble, but an upgrade to the power cable soon fixed that. Almost by accident, I thought I had found the perfect answer to my problems, that was until I pressed the button marked Class A.

All of the attributes that were there before were still there but more so: all instruments and vocals were suddenly standing out in their own space and sounding silky smooth without a trace of grain or harshness. The treble and bass were further extended with the soundstage reaching beyond the walls and above the ceiling. The most subtle but beguiling change, however, was the new sense of tonal purity (almost beauty) with everything sounding just as it should: voices like real voices, guitars like real guitars, even drums like real drums and all of it sounding just so musical. Needless to say I have never gone back and consider myself a Class A addict.

Extended listening over the last few months has exposed a couple of issues though, namely a rather woolly bass quality and a lack of attack in certain music especially on drums, all of which brings me to my questions.

How can a measly 15Watts deliver such a beautiful sound to speakers of only average sensitivity? Is 30+ years just a bit too old to expect an amp to operate at its best, and if so should I think about upgrading to say a Sugden A21aL which should offer longevity as well as an extra 8Watts to play with?

Regards, 

Rupert Drescher 

Melbourne

Australia

 

 

For Class A power get a Jungson JA-88D perhaps? It produces over 100 Watts per channel, plus heat! 

 

As you say Rupert, Class A is something special and we have all heard much the same benefits as you. You may well be pushing the amplifier a little too hard and the woolliness you hear is muddle caused by overload. The Sugden will play louder, but not a lot louder. A Sugden A21SE is doing good service with us at present, although Rafael Todes, being used to sitting in an orchestra, cranks volume right up when he drops by and declares it “limited”! I don’t listen at such levels though and don’t run into the same problem – and I love it. For me, the Sugden and Tellurium Q Class A amplifiers are special, unless you demand high volume, then look elsewhere.

In your case, ‘elsewhere’ is China and Jungson, whose products are available in Australia I believe. I recall the JA-88D we reviewed in our May 06 issue had quite ‘obvious’ treble but was glassy clear. It was also fast and punchy, so this may well be an alternative, since it kicks out over 100 Watts. NK



 
Comments (1)
Leak TROUGHLINE
1Friday, 12 April 2013 14:24
john oates
EFG of LONDON carried out all the safety issues mentioned in Stephen Condliffes letter. I'm using the original decoder and am happy with it, but they do offer a more modern affair if required. At times depending on the broadcast the Troughline out strips other sources.

Thanks John. I found EFG at 9 The Vale, Acton, London, W3 7SH, UK Tel 020 8743 2727. They are new to me, but have been going a long time it appears. And Leak were originally based in that area. NK

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