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Shanling A3000 with B&W 683 Speakers - Good starter system?

 

New member
Username: Cybernoot

Sun Valley / Ketchum, Idaho USA

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-09
Finally, after 10 years I've stopped moving and have a small budget -$2000- to start working toward a hi-fi system that I can live with.

The new home has a 20' X 30' great room (altho with 8' ceilings, it ain't all that great... but it is cheaper to heat!). My current ancient default system is a Denon 685 receiver (circa 2000 - the wife's), Mission 781 bookshelfs and a similarly ancient Pioneer CD/DVD DV-C503 changer (all I could afford at the time).

Great listening (jazz, Morcheeba, blues, etc) in my small apartment in SF with my vintage Kenwood 1300 receiver (currently far away in storage), the Missions now sound like a choked-off boom box in the new diggs.

I'm thinking about upgrading both the speakers and the amp, and holding off on the CD player til I save up more pennies. I expected to be able to upgrade only one component at a time (which would have to have been the speakers), but what seems to be a pretty decent deal possibility came up...

a Shanling A3000 Integrated Amp (2 years old) - $800
and a pair of B&W 683 speakers (new) - $1350

I haven't listened to the Shanling A3000 Integrated Amp yet, but have heard good things about it. I will be able to demo the system together, but not til I get to Boise (6 hour round trip).

Can anyone tell me if they've heard this combination, and if they think well of it for a $2000 budget? Or would you suggest a different direction?

I'd love to have a bigger budget, but the wife and I opened a restaurant just under 2 years ago - and that takes first priority. However, with 12 hour days 7 days a week, if I can't get a good sounding system soon, I think I'm going to crack.

Thanks!
 

Silver Member
Username: Edison

Glendale, CA US

Post Number: 859
Registered: Dec-03
I would post it on www.audiogon.com, and you will get many more good advices.

You can also buy it there - used but good stuff for a lot less, and you can afford a CD player as well.

Go slow and research before buying, and you will make better choices !

You sound like you are a little too anxious to make a quick decision. If you can be patient and wait for good advices, and read reviews by the pros, your ears will definitely thank you for the informed decisions you made.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edison

Glendale, CA US

Post Number: 863
Registered: Dec-03
This is a good sight for reviews by the pros.

http://whathifi.com/BestBuys/
 

Silver Member
Username: Afj

GaboroneBotswana

Post Number: 173
Registered: Jan-08
instead of the b&w's check on the monitor audio rs6. you should get them for 1000 dollars or under. there are a lot of chinese amps out there and generally users are very happy with their performance esp for the price they paid. you could also look at bada, jungson, xindak...it depends on what your personal preference is
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 11468
Registered: Dec-04
I agree that the RS6 is a better speaker.
The amp needs a good source to play.
A good basic cdplayer should be in the budget as well, spud.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 13312
Registered: May-04
.

There's not much information provided here but enough to say the 683 is probably not a good combination with 95% of the tube amps on the market:

"Model 683
Minimum impedance: 3.5U at 100Hz
Nominal impedance: 6U (below 6U from 78Hz to 900Hz)
Port tuning: 30Hz with the port open; 43Hz with the port fully blocked with the supplied foam "bungs"
Effective bass extension (-10dB): 29Hz (port open)
Sensitivity: 86dB/2.83V/m

The 683's impedance phase angle was more capacitive than is typical of most speakers at low frequencies (less so with the port bung in place). I would judge this speaker to be somewhat more difficult to drive than average, though any competent amplifier comfortable with a 4U load should have no difficulty with it."
http://www.ultimateavmag.com/speakersystems/108bw/index6.html


Tube amplifiers like speakers that have a consistent impedance, not one that has a low impedance dip. Tube amps like speakers that do not have capacitive loading, as the 683 apparently does.

Tubes amps will alter their frequency according to Ohm's Law when loaded down with such a speakers. Enough that there will probably be more than 1.5dB of frequency response deviation from the amplifier. If you think what you have now sounds choked off, the tube amp will probably sound worse with these speakers.

Pick another amplifier or another speaker.

.
 

New member
Username: Cybernoot

Sun Valley / Ketchum, Idaho USA

Post Number: 7
Registered: Jan-09
Thank you for all the posts!

Nuck & Francis... I checked out reviews of the Silver RS6 that you recommended. The reviewer was ecstatic about the cost/performance ratio - and it sounds promising for my musical tastes as well.
http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/306monitor/

Thank you for calling the RS6 to my attention. Unfortunately, it looks like I'll have to go at least as far as Washington or Colorado to demo them... as usual, there's nothing here in Spudsville USA.

Of course, if I wanted to demo tractors, I could pick no place better than south central Idaho!
 

New member
Username: Cybernoot

Sun Valley / Ketchum, Idaho USA

Post Number: 8
Registered: Jan-09
James - Thank you for the sound advice (pun). It's true that I am drooling for better sound than I have now.

I would like to do more research, but as mentioned above, I don't have a lot of options without a private jet. I may have to try to piece together a starter system based solely on reviews and the good advice of the kind audiophiles here at ecoustics.

The only hi-fi shop in the state is located in Boise (6hr RT - depending upon snow & avalanche conditions) - and even their choices are very limited...
 

New member
Username: Cybernoot

Sun Valley / Ketchum, Idaho USA

Post Number: 9
Registered: Jan-09
Jan - Thank you for the research... I went to the link you provided, and all I can say is...

Beam me up, Scottie!

It's so far over my level that I feel like I'm on another planet. But I'm very impressed by your level of competency and erudition!

If you're willing to provide similar analysis of the Monitor Audio Silver RS6 for performance with a tube hybrid... or even recommend other speakers, I would be grateful.

Also, I'm not married to the Shanling tube hybrid... My overly simplistic reasoning in considering it is that I like tube amps that I've heard, it has good reviews, and it's in my price range.

I'm open to any other advice on a good amp for my primary needs (2 channel jazz & other music). And I wouldn't mind considering 7 channel for hook-up to my plasma tv, but the budget for additional speakers will be a long time coming... I know I'm not as passionate about the ultimate home theatre system as many others are.... I work 12 hour days, 7 days a week. So even tho the Idaho winters are long, I don't have much time for any but the occasional movie.

Thanks very much for sharing your experience, Jan.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edison

Glendale, CA US

Post Number: 868
Registered: Dec-03
Matt,

I would stick with a 2 channel system - you will end up with a more satisfying system - more quality for sure.

Movies sound ok too, on 2 channels.

I too like the sound of tubes - Onix SP-3 is a 38 watt tubed integrated that will outperform all the classics. Only 2 inputs and 1 output but build quality and sound that ranks at premium level. Can be found used on www.audiogon.com for $500.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 13314
Registered: May-04
.

According to Stereophile's measurements (http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/306monitor/index3.html), the RS6 is a relatively easy load to drive. It does what an easy load should do, which is have a high phase angle where it has a low impedance and vice versa. I would still carefully audition this speaker with a tube amplifier, however, before making a final decision.

Tubed power amplifiers (or any amplifier that is transformer coupled to its load)will by their nature have a higher that "normal" output impdedance. Higher that is than a direct coupled amplifier which includes the majority of transistor amplifiers. This high output impedance follows the reactive load of the speakers it is attached to causing frequency response deviations in the output of the system. Every tubed (or transformer coupled) power amplifier will have a different output impedance (that will vary with frequency) due to the individuality of the output transformers. When it comes to tubed power amplifiers, high quality transformers are king as they account for a very large portion of the amplifiers "sound".

For that reason I would sugegst you find the most consistent load possible if you wish to use a tube amplifier.



What the RS6 does in its impedance/phase angle is relatively benign. It's peaks and dips are what would be termed "high Q". This means they are constricted to a small frequency range with steep slopes up and down. This makes their effect on the amplfier less noticeable than a "low Q" system that has broad peaks and dips with low sloping rises or a system that has high/low impedance and a highly capacitive/inductive phase angle at the same time. The RS6 might work well with tubes in this instance but I would suggest an audition before making the system work. Actually, I would sugegst an audition of any system.

If you really aren't sure what you might encounter with a piece of gear, then shooting blind "just because" is, IMO, a risky adventure.



If you prefer tubes, pay attention to the speakers used in the review. I would hope most reviewrs are aware of the reactive load/frequency response issues with tube amplfiers. Even then, if you aren't sure what the reviewer values as "good sound", you might find your values are not the reviewer's values.


Put "SET tube amplifiers" and "single driver loudspeakers" into a search engine and look at what speakers go with tube amplfiers. I'm a proponent of single driver systems and you typically won't find a better speaker load for a tube amplfier. Single drivers are not for everyone but they can offer exceptional performance at reasonable prices if their virtues suit your own priorities.

Alternatively, you can look at electronics that comprise a "hybrid" system of tubes in the pre amp and solid state (look for MOSFET's) in the power output stage. For many listeners this set up offers the best of both worlds and requires no output transformers.


.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 13315
Registered: May-04
.

http://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/products/reviews/156699.html
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 11470
Registered: Dec-04
JV, thanks for looking at the RS6 numbers. That backs up what a lot of us think, that these units are fairly benign and do not represent a great task to an amp, tube or not.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 11471
Registered: Dec-04
And also, being the owner of those Ling speakers that JV linked to, I would add a bit of input here.
These speakers are as benign a load as anyone could ask for.
My tube amp, with EL34 outputs, do very well with the FRSD Lings.
Max SPL is limited by the amps output transformers, but this unit was bought as a severe budget toy.
The Lings continue to please, in a small room, and the best performance comes from low listening, and not at near field.
These speakers, given the price(which would make you roll your eyes cheap) are a gift from the designer, and man, I have used them in a lot of different ways, albeit not a SET amp.
I have run the Lings on huge Classe amps, as well as a receiver that a friend brought over, a Marantz 7001(I tink)...nasty. No fun to be had.

These Ligs are a toy to enjoy, slap some Jofnny Cash on the table and lay back.

ps...I found the speakers upper limits on Roy Orbison's 'Not alone' at a touch of volume, therewas a tweeter added to the driver from Tim later on...
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 2323
Registered: Jun-07
JV hit it on the nail. The RS6's are a pretty easy speaker to power. Price to performance they are by far the best I have personally ever heard. That would be why I bought a pair.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 485
Registered: Jul-07
Nuck, did you build your Lings or buy them ?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 11477
Registered: Dec-04
Chris, I got them built by Tim for a song...
He had swapped them around a bit, they were perfectly packaged and a fine product. Very enjoyable speakers, and I miss Tim here.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3534
Registered: Sep-04
Yeah, me too. It was nice to have a manufacturer on the board giving insights to his side of things.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 491
Registered: Jul-07
Tim still picks up email. I got the drawings from him for the Alegria Audio Aria speaker system. I want to have a go at building my own speakers and the Aria's seemed like a great project. Maybe a little more complex than I should start with, but I think I can figure it out.
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