New "Tripath style" amplifiers

 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15722
Registered: May-04
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http://www.sureelectronics.net/goods.php?id=1127

http://www.sureelectronics.net/

http://www.parts-express.com/wizards/searchResults.cfm?srchExt=Mfg&srchMfg=133&u tm_source=Parts-Express&utm_medium=Flash+Panel&utm_content=sure_electronics+07-2 9-2010&utm_campaign=Home+Page+Flash+Panel


http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?t=219961


http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/class-d/143669-sure-electronics-new-tripath-board -tc2000-tp2050.html

http://www.goodsearch.com/search.aspx?keywords=sure+electronics&page=3&osmax=11



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Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1184
Registered: Oct-10
How 'bout them refried beans Jan?

 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4581
Registered: Feb-07
If I'm not mistaken I think Nick played around with one of the Sure amps from PE.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3391
Registered: Jun-07
I got a kit for xmas and have not pulled it out of the box yet David.Jan, I have been eyeing those up now for months. I am going to build an enclosure for it and then start playing with it. I got the full 2 x 100 unit with the largest Power Supply. As things start to wind down I will have some time to get it out.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4583
Registered: Feb-07
What kind of enclosure are you gonna use Nick?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3392
Registered: Jun-07
Not sure. Been doing some research on it. With Class D stuff would it not be ok to use wood enclosure giving they do not produce a lot of heat?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15668
Registered: Dec-04
Sure, just use a top vent.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15735
Registered: May-04
.

Yeah, wood is fine for most anything electronic, some listeners prefer wood since it has no magnetic properties of any sort unlike even aluminum alloys. Considering the high flash point of most woods even the hottest amp isn't going to do more than discolor a wooden case if you use some common sense. Placing a folded to a few thicknesses strip of heavy duty aluminum foil above the hottest spots in an amp would reflect a good bit of the heat away from the top surface. I've used this technique with under the counter work lights in the kitchen and in a few display cabinets. Add a strip of insulating material like some compressed fiberglass or just a 1/4" of air space between adjacent layers and the heat isn't going to bother the wood at all even with tubes in the amp.

You'll need a stable chassis material though since wood expands and contracts with temperature and humidity. The original radios and phonographs from the first part of the 20th c/ used a metal chassis and then mounted that inside a wooden enclosure - sort of like guitar amps are built; http://www.soundgaragetales.com/epiphone-vj-mods/epiphone-valve-junior-removing- the-chassis (Watch the short video to see how it's [un]done.) You can even consider dressing up the enclosure like the guitar amps with some fancy coverings or doing some wordworking; http://www.siegmundguitars.com/MS.html A few manufacturers disdain steel cases in favor of aluminum or plastic and you see Italian designers going for high style with very exotic woods. I put my T amp in a simple plastic enclosure from Radio Shack, large enough to fit the SLA battery I use for a power supply and it still only comes to about the size of ten CD's stacked together. An outboard supply with an umbilical would be a good idea for a class D amp.

http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-hptb5&p=electronic%20project%20b oxes&type=

You might want to start with a less expensive enclosure and then put it inside a fancier wood box if you like the sound of the amp - don't bother if you don't.


Not too fancy but different; http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/passion_sound_psi15_e.html

You could dress it up like something it isn't; http://antiqueradios.com/


This is one of my favorites for looks;
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0503/sapanniversary.htm


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Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15670
Registered: Dec-04
Ooohh antique radio is nice!

Wonder if it will resonate in a louder room?

But with compressed insulation inside...
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3395
Registered: Jun-07
Cool.

Thanks for the info and links Jan. They will surely help. It would appear PE have a volume control knob module coming this month on the 24th. I will be grabbing that up.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1182
Registered: Jul-07
Similar approach to my RWA integrated. I'd never stumbled on these before. Incredible price. I bet they sound pretty damn good too.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3396
Registered: Jun-07
I hope so Chris. I am going to rip them out by end of this week and wire them up to my rears in the theater to just make sure everything works first. I will surely post pics.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4585
Registered: Feb-07
You could use a wood box and make your amp look like one of these:

http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/200795-red_dragon_special_edition_leviath an_mono_blocks_/
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3398
Registered: Jun-07
lol I seen those actually. Cool Dragon.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4588
Registered: Feb-07
I'd buy them just for the Dragon.

It lights up too!
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1992
Registered: Oct-07
Wood does expand and contract. MOSTLY at right angles to the grain. 'Long ways' not so much.

I'd use Ceramic spacers from amp to enclosure. They are both heat and electric insulation.
I'd be careful with aluminum foil above my amp. If any falls ONTO the amp, it could mean trouble. As in ZAP and either fix or replace. A proper plate....thin gauge of say .050" will do fine and if screwed on, have zero chance of dropping in.
Venting? Yep, but not too much, and right over the power devices and whatever gets warmest in the power supply. You may want to go 'topless' at first and see what gets warm and by how much. Venting in the bottom is required at this point, too. That will give air a chance to 'chimney' out and pull cooler air IN. The Ceramic spacer should space the board maybe 1/2" from the bottom.

In all fairness to 'd' amps, I can flog mine for a couple hours before it gets past 'warm to touch'. Enclosure is top vented and I've never looked under it.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1993
Registered: Oct-07
If you don't have the skillset to work with wood, the local JC probably has classes. I'm enrolled this semester and must build something with 'a door and a drawer'.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3400
Registered: Jun-07
My skill set in woodworking is 0 Leo.lol. I have barely any experience. My grandfather is a pro however and has offered his services. But I want to learn, not just have him do it. I will draw up a design (I am great at art and math however) and spend a day with him. Thanks so much for the info. I would think the PSU would provide the most heat. It is literally twice the size of the board and is a monster. It appears it can power at least two of the amps in series. Cool.

So the typical 1/2 inch spacers used in rack mount server systems should work? I have thousands of them at work I can nab. I can also nab up so ceramic plating from work as well. I could mount that around the inner lining of the wood case. hmmmm I am getting excited to start experimenting.

Tonight after I put Ava to bed I spent two hours painting and hanging a new 120inch Drapes in the living room. yaahhh....*zzZZzzzZ*. lol Oh well it looks nice, but I want to throw this slu together.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15673
Registered: Dec-04
You painted your 120" drapes?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3401
Registered: Jun-07
LOL!! No no. Ripped down the old ones. Touched up the walls then painted some bits of wall and trim and hung new bar and then drapes. The price it cost for the drapes would had bought me 5 class D kits.lol.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2002
Registered: Oct-07
Don't know from 'typical' rack mount spacers.
I have a bunch of ceramic spacers. They are maybe 3/8" in diameter and 5/8" long. They have threaded holes at each end for ....maybe 10-32 screws. I have no idea how you'd tap or drill this material.

You apparently have a 'conventional' PS. Some amps now use a SMPS....Switch Mode PS which operates at high frequencies and can therefore use a much smaller transformer for the same power output. They tend to run cooler, too. My ASP modules (B&O) have such power supplies on board and the whole thing runs pretty cool.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15676
Registered: Dec-04
Ceramic is machined like low-carbon steel, medium speed. Preferred fluid is windshield washer liquid.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3402
Registered: Jun-07
Good to know guys. Will be ripping them open later tonight.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2003
Registered: Oct-07
Nuck, I have 2 different finishes on ceramic.
1 finish looks shiny and maybe glazed and put thru a kiln.
2nd finish is 'natural' white without shine or color.

These spacers were also intended for Ultra Hi Vacuum use where windshield washer fluid would be a major contaminant. The spacers originally came sealed / bagged and you only touched them with latex or vinyl gloved hands. If ceramic is not porous you could wash that stuff off, bake 'em and be good to go.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3411
Registered: Jun-07
Well, I got it all hooked up on my work bench and it works! lol

For testing I simply used an IPod Touch 4th Gen and my Paradigm Monitor 3's which I use as surrounds in my theater. I got sound and not bad sound at all, giving what I was using for speakers and a source. Now for the enclosure then mods.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3413
Registered: Jun-07
If I were to make my own wood enclosure, what kind of wood would be best?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15760
Registered: May-04
.

The best wood is the one you like to look at. Burled maple's always a good choice for looks and not terrribly expensive; http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2F search%3Fei%3DUTF-8%26p%3Dphoto%2Bburled%2Bmaple&w=160&h=120&imgurl=www.bing.com %2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dphoto%2Bburled%2Bmaple%23focal%3D2f7e4c8fd725211711ad22 55556588d0%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fwww.imageseek.com%252fhakan%252falbums%25 2f1911%252fCimg7424.jpg&size=&name=search&rcurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fimag es%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dphoto%2Bburled%2Bmaple%23focal%3D2f7e4c8fd725211711ad225555658 8d0%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fwww.imageseek.com%252fhakan%252falbums%252f1911% 252fCimg7424.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dphoto%2B burled%2Bmaple%23focal%3D2f7e4c8fd725211711ad2255556588d0%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252 f%252fwww.imageseek.com%252fhakan%252falbums%252f1911%252fCimg7424.jpg&p=burled+ maple&type=&no=2&tt=111&oid=http%3A%2F%2Fts1.mm.bing.net%2Fimages%2Fthumbnail.as px%3Fq%3D409697260162%26id%3Dfbd3a8e2c63470ae3317810a7726d90e&tit=Cocobolo-Maple +Burl.&sigr=158iu291p&sigi=151vp2ij4&sigb=11s3np0qu&fr=slv8-hptb5

Looks very good against a mahogany or even a walnut base. Walnut alone would retro as vintage audio was encased in walnut if anything. The stain, oil and poly/varnish you choose will determine the final look.

For a very dense, nonresonant wood, look to teak but be ready to go through a few expensive saw blades in the process. Box joints are good looking and not too difficult. Best advice is to browse the internet woodworking sites or head down for a few hours at the local library/bookshop. If you can think it, someone can build it.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2016
Registered: Oct-07
Wood Choice?
Limitless. A nice 'default' would be starting with Baltic Birch plywood and a nice veneer.
I made my first college project from Sipo Mahogany. Watch the dust.
Different woods have different characteristics. Some will glue better than others and some will take a woodscrew / fastener better than others. Some woods are just plain hard and you'd better have SHARP tools or go home.
Any of the 'hardwoods' will work fine. Except Balsa, which IS a hardwood, but not a hard wood.

How is the house decorated? Anything to match or coordinate with?

For an amplifier enclosure....and a small one, at that, you could go crazy and make a real nice box with dovetail or finger joints to hold it together. Since you will only use a small amount of wood, some hi-cost options open up.
http://www.hardwoodtogo.com/index.php?target=categories&category_id=175&gclid=CK 6Ll4qdsKYCFRNSgwodFxfwnw&page=full_list
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15761
Registered: May-04
.

You might also consider something out of the ordinary and go with Mpingo. A specific type of rosewood it is commonly used in clarinets and other woodwinds along with the fingerboards of violins and cellos. Mpingo has gained a rather controversial reputation in audio due to the Shun Mook Monks and those who are monetarily/mentally conflicted by the idea of anything smaller than a refrigerator door having the capacity to affect sonics within a room; http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-hptb5&p=shun%20mook%20mpingo& type=,http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-hptb5&p=shun%20mook%20mpingo&typ e=,http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-hptb5&p=shun%20mook%20mpingo& type=}

}


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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15762
Registered: May-04
.

OK, I don't have a clue what happened there but the link seems to work. The forum appears to be haunted the last few days.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2019
Registered: Oct-07
Jan's suggestion of Burl'd Maple is nice, but difficult for a beginner to work. All the reversals of grain are a PIA.

Sharp tools are your friend. Be safe.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4598
Registered: Feb-07
"Except Balsa, which IS a hardwood, but not a hard wood"

Is balsa really considered a hardwood? I used to use it when I was I kid for modelling. It was pretty darned soft.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15683
Registered: Dec-04
remeber guys, it is Nick's FIL that will do that actual work with actual tools.
Nick will watch (with woefully inadequate wraparound safety glasses) , until a hardened carbide tip flies off, mid Rosewood, and catches him for 12 stitches just below the PPE.
While holding a wrench or spanner for the next tool change.

Dang,wait, that was ME!!!


The guy was like..."dang. that has not happened before." The first aid was appreciated.

Just a heads down.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3414
Registered: Jun-07
LOL!! Heads down and eyes covered.

Thanks for the great info folk. I am drawing out a design tonight of what I want. Outside and in. I have no woodworking skills but I can draw like mad. I am also good at Math. Once I get it on paper, I buy wood and head to my Grandpa;s to spend the day and watch him build my enclosure.haha.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15687
Registered: Dec-04
Bring Grampa a drink for me Nick.

And a hug.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3415
Registered: Jun-07
Will do. Got the measurements and layout of the inside and out all done up on paper tonight. Will do final tomorrow.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2020
Registered: Oct-07
Not that you'd want to build speakers...or any other hi-fi piece from balsa alone, it is still interesting stuff.
Perhaps the very LEAST dense pieces could be used between harder layers of something else as vibration damping.

http://www.kirkschnable.com/amaglider/assets/general-technical-documents/balsa-w ood-properties.html
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3418
Registered: Jun-07
Cool.

Going to buy wood this weekend. Collectively what is the best wood while keeping the price low and is flexible/easy to work with? I go into my local Home Depot and ask for....? lol Thanks.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2024
Registered: Oct-07
At the 'home stores'?
probably Poplar.

don't use Pine or Cedar or other fence material.

The 'home stores' also have Oak. Here in SoCal, Oak is way overdone and it may be tough to work. You'll find 'red' or 'white' Oak.

And, also on the list is some kind of Birch plywood. A half or quarter sheet of 1/2 inch would be fine. These are usually 'void free' and considered furniture grade.

Any way to find a 'real' hardwood yard and buy a couple board-feet of something else? for a Tripath enclosure, you are talking small amounts.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15765
Registered: May-04
.

Unless you're very impatient to get this started, I'd not bother with Home Depot. They're in the business of selling wood cheaply, they're not in the wood business. For general run of the mill lumber, they're fine but that's about it. IMO if you can't at least find a selection of cherry/walnut/maple and you want to turn out a good looking piece of work, find another store. Any large city will have a shop that caters to the hobbyist woodworker, just check the Yellow Pages. Otherwise, the internet's the place to head; http://www.woodworkerssource.com/

Another alternative that would provide a nice-to-striking appearance, keep the cost down and allow you a start right now is to build an enclosure then put a veneer of some exotic woods on top of the basic structure; http://www.woodworkerssource.com/wood_veneer.html For that you only need some MDF as a core material.

If you go with HD materails, try either poplar or oak if you want solid wood. They are both considered "stable" (for solid hardwoods) with few warps and twists and they work up well with fewer tear outs and cleaner edges than something like pine which is a softwood. Lay the propsective pieces on the floor and make certain you have good straight edges by picking only those pieces with edges that lay flat. Most cabinets will be constructed with either a plywood or a MDF core as both are dimensionally stable and easy to work with. You won't find plywood that's suitable for cabinet construction at HD until you go into the oak veneered or birch ply which will be almost as expensive as buying a real hardwood for the amount you will need.


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Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3419
Registered: Jun-07
Thanks for the info. The local Rona has most of the hardwood it seems. Home Depot has squat like you said. There is some woodworking nuts here that are also fairly technical and they said to use MDF with a nice wood veneer. So this would be the easiest? For the volume knob and power knob on the front panel this would mean cutting perfect holes on two pieces. lol. Perhaps I will take all the great ideas and call my grandfather tonight and ask what he would prefer to work with. I am easy.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15766
Registered: May-04
.

"Perhaps I will take all the great ideas and call my grandfather tonight and ask what he would prefer to work with."


Good thinkin'!

I'd advise that the person doing the work should make the decisions regarding which piece(s) of material he would rather have dulling his blades. You might begin by asking him whether there are any woods or materials he's been thinking about working with but just hasn't found the right project. Veneering is somewhat simple on a small project but not at all foolproof.



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Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3420
Registered: Jun-07
Good point Jan. I will offer to buy wood of course, but he has a ton of it in his 800 sq ft work shop.lol. He may just have what I need and was looking for an excuse to use some.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2026
Registered: Oct-07
Nick,
Make your calculation for how much wood is needed IN ADVANCE.
Try to figure out how large you want the box. Leave space around the amp for ventilation while also allowing enough space for any soldering or connections which must be done.
Multilply LxWxH in INCHES and divide by 144. This is 'board feet'.
When going to most lumbar yard which specialize in the more exotic hardwoods, you won't generally be able to buy 'dimensional lumber'. You will be able to buy 4/4 (four fourths) wood in sometimes odd widths. If you go this route, instead of dimensional lumber....1x4 and such, you'll need stuff like a bandsaw for doing a 'resaw' and a joiner / planer setup for making the side smooth, parallel and to a specified thickness.
http://www.ahec.org/hardwoods/pdfs/IllustratedGradingGuide.pdf
You will want FAS lumber....Firsts and Seconds. This will be something like 83% clear lumber with no edge defects. Read the above link for more than you'll EVER need or want to know. #1 common is just that, and probably not what you'd like.

With the size of the box in mind, no need to get into veneers, though you can get some pretty exotic stuff and do all sorts of cool stuff using adjacent sheets....the grain match will be superb and you can do 'book match' type work with this material. If you go the veneer route, Baltic Birch furniture grade plywood is available at the home stores, if your builder doesn't have it 'in stock'. That would make a super and dimensionally stable enclosure.
Even 'expensive' wood won't break the bank on this. You should be able to get some very nice maple....a nice mix of heart and sap wood makes a nice dark/light contrast for maybe 5$ or 6$ a board foot. If you need more than 3 or 4 BF I'd be surprised. Buy about 20% more than what you calculate.

Does your builder have a planer? Joiner? Bandsaw? Router? In an 800ft shop, you could have quite a setup. At school, we even have a Saw Stop industrial Cabinet saw. It will STOP and retract the blade if you even TRY to stick your finger in the running saw. For this kind of investment, you could have quite the stereo!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3421
Registered: Jun-07
Thanks Leo. Yeah my GP is hardcore and has all the works in his shop. Thanks for the suggestions. Yeah I drew out the enclosure the other night. Size is going to be 16 inches from left to right, 12 inches from front to back, and 3 inches high. I have drawn out the wiring diagram for the innards and all the measurements for how the boards/psu/volume control and so on will be placed. Now the wood. I will get some good stuff.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2027
Registered: Oct-07
At 1/2" for all pieces, that works out to <1.25 board feet.

Making a thinner top? reduce accordingly.
I'd love to see dovetail detail attaching the sides to front:

http://www.blocklayer.com/woodjoints/dovetaileng.aspx

I have enrolled for my 2nd semester of shop. So, again I'll have access to a first class facility. Just in my class alone, we have 3 cabinet saws, a huge bandsaw, a smaller bandsaw, a scrollsaw, 4 router tables with a large selection of bits, a shaper and all sorts of power sanders....drum, belt and 'manual'. A good selection of planes, scrapers and so on. The planers? From a battleship. They are 31" wide and are huge. You can do doors or tabletops with no problem.
Before I showed up, they even had a teacher from Japan show up and showed a special class how to build using traditional Japanese methods. No metal fasteners. The shed out back, over the working sawmill is built in this fashion as is a large ornamental gate.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kujo

Post Number: 166
Registered: Jun-05
I don't mean to thread jack, but this thread is sort of relevant to a question that has been bugging me. I'm looking for a t-amp to use in a portable speaker project... do any of you know how the Sure TA2024 (the one with the housing) compares to the Dayton DTA-1 or the Dayton DTA-2? And is it possible to run the Sure t-amp off a battery pack, and if yes, do any of you have any recommendations maybe li-ion wise? Thanks!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15776
Registered: May-04
.

According to the video here; http://www.parts-express.com/pe/pshowdetl.cfm?&DID=7&Partnumber=320-308&ctab=13# Tabs the Sure and the Dayton use the same chips. That should give you similar sound quality and you get to decide which better suits your needs and budget. Both amps should operate with a battery pack without problem. Choose the type of battery that best suits your needs. A group of "AA" batteries will provide essentially the same performance as any other battery when you first insert the battery pack. The issue with batteries is more one of how fast the battery looses its charge and how do you want to deal with replacement. Rechargable batteries run from simple "AA" type to more sophisticated sealed lead acid types with floating chargers. Any of the forums or web pages devoted to the T amps will give you ideas on how to implement a battery power supply. Parts Express should also be able to help you make a decision about batteries.


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Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3471
Registered: Jun-07
Well, now that my kitchen cupboards are done, deck is built, kid is healthy, I am healthy , wife is healthy (damn daycare) and Ava's first birthday is over I finally had some time to myself the last few days. *shwing*

So I decided to try and build myself an amp box for this kit. lol MYSELF!! * Wholly fack I am going to lose a limb * I did ok. Guess what I used? lol My old Laminate flooring I had in storage.lol YOu heard me, LAMINATE FLOORING! haha. Brutal. Ugly, but it WORKS! Check out pics below :

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Getting it wired.
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Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3472
Registered: Jun-07
Ugliest thing in the world.lol. But guess what, it makes music. Works like a beaut. Gonna hook it up in place of the Naim and hope not to destroy anything.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1315
Registered: Jul-07
Good job Nick. It looks decent to me. It's how it sounds that counts anyway.

Don't let the smoke out.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4741
Registered: Feb-07
Looks good Nick. Laminate flooring.... lol. Classic.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16178
Registered: May-04
.

I think Six Moons/Architectural Digest would call that look "Faux Classic Neo-Modernism".








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Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4742
Registered: Feb-07
Haha.

How does it sound Nick?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3473
Registered: Jun-07
LOL Thx guys. I like that name Jan, I think I will stick with that.

Not sure how it sounds just yet, only tested everything with one Paradigm Monitor 3 V3( Worse sounding speaker I have ever heard ) and an I-Pod Touch with compressed music as a source.

Tonight I plan on wiring it up to the MSB DAC and Paradigm Studio 10 V5's to see how it fairs. Give the NAIM a week off or so. I will let you all know how it goes. From what I read all over the net it should do very well for the money.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2326
Registered: Oct-07
And it's in a wood case.....sort of.

Actually, looks terrific.
Layout is clean and functional.
I hope you enjoy the music!
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1371
Registered: Oct-10
I like the simplicity!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3474
Registered: Jun-07
Thanks guys.

So I ran it in good and hard last night and to my amazing surprise it sounds down right amazing. It full on surprised the living heck out of me. I didnt think in a million years it would sound a fraction as good as it did. I played it full out for about 2 solid hours last night with music from Diana Krall to Metallica and all genres in between. It did well on everything. Only ran into one small issue :

After an hour or so of playing I started to get a snapping sound once in a while in the speakers, it would only happen maybe once or twice a song, then it became more frequent. Now, this may have been stupid of me but I soldered every point inside. I am guessing I have a bad solder somewhere, I even soldered the power switch. Now fixing the solder is easy I can just burn them off and re-do them but my question is : Which connections should I NOT be soldering. I am use to PC based boards where a solder can be used practically anywhere. It seems to be a power issue or perhaps it does not like my MSB DAC. I never got the popping through the IPod Touch. I cant see it being the RCA input connections of the Speaker terminals as it does it out of both speakers even when one or the other is unplugged. I am using the Line out on the Power cable to the front panel switch (soldered) then another cable from the front panel switch to the Line In on the power supply. Seems to work fine. Here is my thought on what is wrong.

1.) I shouldn't of soldered the power connections instead used crimps.

2.) There is a clocking issue between my DAC and T-Amp

3.) Digital Volume Pot (Gain switches) Seems to control volume perfectly fine however

4.) I used the same grounding point for both RCA inputs. I will try to use separate grounding points for each.

5.) Could be a bad solder point somewhere which is highly possible. I could take them off and just wire everything directly.

6.) Laminate case is acting as a conductor? *Is that even possible*

7.) I could be way off.

Any suggestions?

Other than that Sure Electronics have one amazing little product. To think you can high end sound for less that 150 dollars blows my mind. The simplicity of their product along with the flexibility of being able to install them in pretty much any application is one thing, but to hear it put to shame big name amps costing multiple times more is the big win here. I will highly recommend Sure boards to anybody.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16187
Registered: May-04
.

Soldered connections should not be inferior to (gas tight) crimped connections if the soldered joints have been well done. Certainly not in terms of just making a good connection. Sonics between the two are debatable but soldered connections should be fine in virtually any assembly in consumer audio. If the crimped connectors would then terminate in a push on connector, stay with soldered joints.

Cold solder joints are very common in diy components. Most of the diy gear that was available in the 1950-70's eventually disappeared due in part to the problems manufacturers had repairing the kitchen table assemble kits with bad solder work. Assuming you did a reasonable job the first time around, there's no need to remove the solder from each connection, just reheat each solder point to melting and then allow the joint to cool completely before you moving on to the next point. If you're unsure what a good solder joint should look like, try a search engine for explanations and illustrations.

Your problem could be due to a cold solder or it could be the amp clipping. I would do some troubleshooting before I went back into the amp to resolder all the connections.

Can you tie the noise to anything specific such as clipping? Does it occur at all volumes or just at the top of its range?

Grounding the inputs to one point shouldn't present a problem unless the manufacturer specifically warns against such a procedure. So check each input individually along with each speaker output once you've determined this is not due to clipping. Then check with other source players.

The noise could be due to a bad board. If you suspect a board, push gently on the board with a non-conductive prod such as a pencil or a popsicle stick. You might need to examine the board under a magnifying glass for any lifted traces.

Noises in both channels tend to be in those areas which are common to both channels. That would lead you to begin with the power supply and any ground connections though grounds are unlikely to make snapping sounds.

And, of course, contacting the manufacturer is always your best bet.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3475
Registered: Jun-07
Good stuff Jan. What I will first do is plug it back into the main system but using a different source. It could be the ground in the PSU. If it does come to a point where I have to open it up again I will re-ground the power to the box instead of the PSU or do both. I am confident I will figure it out. I will plug it in as soon as I get home. Thanks.

Oh, its definitely not clipping as it does it at any volume level. Doesnt sound like clipping either. I cant really explain it, but I am 100 percent confident its not clipping. I will get back tonight. Thanks again.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4745
Registered: Feb-07
What speakers are you running on your custom amp Nick? Hopefully that snapping sound doesn't harm them.

Remember when I blew out the wooofers on my Sttafs with that tube pre-amp. It made a really weird buzzing sound right before it took the drivers.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2328
Registered: Oct-07
Boy, Jan, your remark about poor solder connections on the older DIY stuff really takes me back.
I took some money I had saved and bought a Knight Kit Star Roamer SW receiver. My dad caught me starting the electrical assembly using a 250watt gun from 'stores' and made me get a a small iron. That made all the difference and I later bought a VTVM which I wish I still had.......
But yeah, using the equivalent of welding on low wattage solder connections is a no-go and can damage stuff.......

Another board level trouble shooting technique is to use 'cold air' in a can. When producing the popping noise, a 'spritz' of cold air on semiconductor devices will produce a positive result if the device is too hot and at the edge of breakdown....Don' FREEZE stuff, since that'll also damage it....just a quick chill....
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3476
Registered: Jun-07
Good to know Leo. I found a cold solder on the power switch. When I touch the line wire it sparks. Not good, probably leaking noise. I re-soldered with better lighting and I brought home my good soldering gun from work instead of the 10 dollar Radio Shack special I used originally.lol Hey it still works, but not temperature control so you have a small Window.

David - Paradigm Studio 10 V5's at the moment. Yeah I quickly hooked up the NAIM tonight and they are ok. The popping didnt sound like it could be damaging as it wasn't overly loud. Will probably go back to testing with the Monitor 3 Rears from the theater setup.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3497
Registered: Jun-07
Well after I re-soldered the cold solder joint on the power switch everything seems well.

I first left it apart and hooked up the Paradigm Monitor 3 's and I-Pod Touch as a source. Cranked it full blast for about 30 minutes. Everything seemed ok. Then I put the lid back on to assure it was getting warm enough, ran it another 30 minutes full out with hard metal and got the auto fan spinning. Then I fully put it back together with new spacers on the bottom to bring it up about a full inch. Ran it hard for another hour straight, perfect. Sounds wonderful too. Not to get it back into the main system again in place of the NAIM.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2344
Registered: Oct-07
It's the little things that count!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3498
Registered: Jun-07
For sure Leo. Can't wait to get it back into the system tomorrow.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16212
Registered: May-04
.

Nick, how's the DIY amp doing in the main system?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3510
Registered: Jun-07
It did great Jan. Sorry been meaning to post back here. I took some pics as well of it in the system that I will post when I get home.

The highs are real nice and it has plenty of slam too. Very nice sounding little amp. I am really really impressed with how well this amp sounds for how little money it costs. It isn't as good as the NAIM but I didn't expect it to be. The NAIM has a fuller sound with much better dynamics throughout the mid range. The little Sure amp competes however in the highs and detail retrieval. The NAIM amp went back in Thursday night as I did miss it. Overall I would recommend the sure amp to anybody. For the price its a killer. Easily better than some 400-650 dollar integrated amps I have heard. You can really get creative with these kits too. You can wire them in series up to three of the 100 x 2 (really 25 x 2) amp boards with the one power supply. Add three of the Sure volume controls I am using (9 dollars a piece and work very well) and some switches and you got yourself multi-room audio. The Sure units are not expensive, easy to wire up, sound great and are flexible.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16213
Registered: May-04
.

So, basically good for what it is - a T-amp - but still a T-amp at the end of the day? No giant killer in disguise?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3511
Registered: Jun-07
Ya I suppose so Jan. My problem is I have not had hardly any experience with T-Amps to date. Perhaps they all sound good at 128 dollar range? I am not sure. This amp cost me 128 dollars taxes in shipped and deep down I figured it wouldn't be that great. I was wrong. I see Parts Express have some T-Amps in the 100-150 dollar range that I am sound great for the money. But I felt like building something.lol. So I guess it comes down to what is considered a Giant Killer. Do all T-Amps sound this good for such little money? ( I really don't know) If so, then no, its not a giant killer in disguise. But for someone like me who has little experience with this technology, and has been listening to an amp that would put most sub 500 dollar amps to shame that cost him 128 dollars? lol Then it might just be a giant killer. I suppose if I had more experience with T-Amps I would just think its another T-Amp. A pretty powerful one at that. You think if I put this in my daughters room with a little bookshelf pair for background noise she would appreciate it at 13 months old?lol That is one heck of a noise maker.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16215
Registered: May-04
.

I've yet to completely figure out T-amps. I began a thread titled "Buy this amp" after I'd heard the Sonic Impact amp at $39. I also put up my comparisons of the SI amp against the Italian Autocostruire T-amp which used a different chip and far better parts; http://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/products/reviews/209464.html Both of those amps had lots to like about how they presented music though parts quality and implementation in the basic areas still seems to be the key to success. There are qualities found in the T-amps that you would pay thousands to possess in any other technology - with the possible exception of the better class D amps. And, when you look at it realistically, the Tripath amps are still a class D amp though Tripath claimed the nomenclature "class T" to separate their product from the mass market junk driving car stereos and HTB's.

Certainly the forums have had good coverage of the various chip amps and there are few listeners who aren't impressed by what they hear from the stock packages when they consider what they paid for such quality. Those who diy mods or purchase the upper end of the chip amp claim a distinct improvement over the basic chipsets used by most manufacturers. Right now the Virtue Audio amplifiers and CD players are making a relatively large splash in the chip amp community. Using the higher wattage output chips speaker matching is less of a problem and improved sound is claimed. However, by the time you get to the top o'the line amp with upgraded power supply, you're well into the territory ($1500-2000) where you should be expecting quite good sound from any serious online only manufactuer and even several more broadly distributed lines to be found in a shop where you might have an audition before buying.

Class D Audio is also making waves on the diy forums and in a few review magazines; http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=jjataifhi216uajshj0egk4mdrguih65& topic=76400.0, http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/class-d/152980-class-d-audio-who-these-guys.html and http://classdaudio.com/

For $500 or so you can do a low wattage MiniWatt or a Zen Triode if you have compatible speakers. No matter which amp you select you'll find more than one comment suggesting "this" amp is the bee's knees. It has always stood to reason that trading watts for dollars is a good bet but the chip amps have sort of turned that equation on its ear. But then, as much as I like the Autocostruire amp, the Italian T amp still lacks just enough that I always end up wanting my tubes in the system by the end of a CD.

So here are the high wattage T amps and the Class D Audio amps that claim to have removed a few more veils. My curiosity is piqued but I don't need one more amp sitting around the room with no real purpose other than to be not quite a substitute for the tubes. Apparently the Class D Audio amps are virtually plug and play though they are sold as "kits". And from what I read there's a brief return policy if you're not satisfied. They're a little more than the Sure amps but not nearly the price of the fully outfitted and nicely packaged Virtue amps. I'll think a bit more and maybe give them a try just to see where the technology has arrived in 2011.




.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3513
Registered: Jun-07
Great post Jan. Sonic T amp? I have seen that somewhere. 39 dollars? wow.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2374
Registered: Oct-07
You can buy 'd' modules and power supply parts from Hypex.

I heard the Channel Islands monos last weekend and they are nice. But you could DIY one fairly easily.

http://www.hypex.nl/

Browse the 'products' pulldown for modules, PS and even a plate amp.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16219
Registered: May-04
.

I could ... but I doubt that I will. The Hypex modules and PS's appear to cost more than the packaged "kits" from Class D Audio. At the moment I'm interested - if that's the right term for what I am - not in the differences between the numerous chip amp modules but at finding a low priced chip amp that might satisfy me. That, to me, is the intrigue of the chip amps, how much can you achieve for how little outlay. At the present time the Hypex seems to have passed into the last generation of interest; http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/class-d/134498-amplifier-better-than-hypex-but-th ird-price.html The occasional review of a Hypex module follows the same format as all the other chip amps; "The sound is clear, rather transparent, precise, detailed, with that specific 'lucid' presentation typical of triode units", "Mid range is clean and smooth, not especially in evidence, but enough to give voices the correct body and appearance ... High frequencies are open, clear, lucid, really tubey", "The soundstage is very wide and precise"; http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/udc180_e.html

That could actually be a review of the original SI amp for $39 if the praise for the Hypex wasn't so bland and ho-hum. Here are bits from the TNT review of the SI; "This amplifier is STUNNING. And the review could stop here", "Warning: this has been the most thrilling and incredible experience I've had with a component in, say, 25 years of HiFi listening. This website has existed since 1995, I've reviewed hundreds of HiFi components, inexpensive and ridiculously overpriced ones. I never - repeat - NEVER came across such a stunning piece of gear in all of these years", "It is not easy to describe how a 20$ amplifier performs. First of all, as said, it has no competitors. The cheapest integrated amplifier I can think of costs 6-7 times the T-Amp. Trust me, it is NOT this kind of amps you should have in mind when comparing the T-Amp. In order to evaluate it you need to forget its price. Difficult? Not at all! It becomes very easy once you listen to it: tonal balance, dynamics, 3D imaging, transparency, detail...consider all these parameters critically and you'll be amazed by the results"; http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/t-amp_e.html


Now, honestly, which amp would you choose given those reviews?





Me too! That's why I bought the SI amp and then tried the Italian kit with the supposedly "superior" chip; http://tnt-audio.com/ampli/tripath_amps_e.html And, as I said, there are numerous qualities to really, really like about the T-amps' sound. So when I see a review of any chip amp - even the Class D Audio amp with the new TI chip, I think about my own experience with chip amps and the reviews they've received. I can't say I disagree with anything the reviews suggest - on first listen I was nothing short of amazed at the quality of sound coming from the $39 SI amp with its cheeesy plastic connectors and all. It competely turned my head around regarding the quality of some $2-7,000 solid state class AB amps that I had sold and auditioned. By contrast so many of the reviews I'm finding on the most recent generation of chip amps are based on impressions not against live music - I mean crimeny! doesn't any reviewer ever discuss what live music sounds like any more? - but against the sound of other amplifiers and, for the most part, amps I wouldn't have even suggested most clients audition. A Yamaha A700 integrated?!!! Gimme a break!


So here's part of my problem, the reviewers are sh!t. As I've said in Stu's thread regarding audio magazines, I don't care if I never read another review of anything that says exactly what the last review of anything and everything - except live music - sounded like. Prattling on about "tubey" sound is; 1) something the reviewer and I are very likely going to disagree on, and 2) no more informative of the quality I can expect than was John Stewart's appraisal of Trump and Palin feeding at La Famiglia Pizzaria; http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-june-1-2011/me-lover-s-pizza-with-crazy-br oad?xrs=share_copy

I've done the low wattage T-amp thing - twice. I think I have a handle on what to expect from those amps. Of course, being the good pushers and enablers that they are expected to be, the reviews of the current chip amps are always better than the last generation of chip amps. Better than, "I never - repeat - NEVER came across such a stunning piece of gear in all of these years"? OK, how the he11 can that be? I suppose after you've blown your wad on, ""This amplifier is STUNNING", about all that's left is, "High frequencies are open, clear, lucid, really tubey". "Lucid"?!!! I got to "lucid" a long time ago. If that's what's left out there, why bother? It's like opening the show with Clapton's "Crossroads" solo and then moving on to Leon Redbone for the rest of the night. You're supposed to leave them wanting more, not giving them "lucid".




Then I have to decide just how curious I am at this time. With descriptions like, "Mid range is clean and smooth, not especially in evidence, but enough to give voices the correct body and appearance ... ", I am as curious about hearing these amps as I am about eating at La Famiglia.

Then, everytime I think I am curious, it's not a chip amp that actually makes me more so. It's still tubes; 1307551797, http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0oGdd61Vu5N4jEAGSNXNyoA?p=decware+zen+triod e+amp+reviews&ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-hptb5&xargs=0&pstart=1&b=11&xa=_A3ZSC_0e6YhPUck78 rsDQ--,1307551797

Kits are cheap at $299 and simple put together. While not the truest no curcuit board and tube rectified version of the amp, they should give a sufficient taste of what Decware has to offer at 2 watts. I can't get away from thinking this is not your average "lucid" chip amp sound.




.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1325
Registered: Jul-07
I've pondered that amp from Decware as well Jan. I finally have the speakers that it could comfortably drive. One of these days maybe. If you take the plunge let me know your thoughts.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16226
Registered: May-04
.

Are you considering the kit or the factory assembled unit?
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1326
Registered: Jul-07
The kit. I went through the assembly instructions some time ago and they seemed clear enough that I thought I could work my way through it with a minimal chance of personal injury. I have only minmal soldering experience, but I can brush up on that prior to touching the kit. If I remember correctly Steve has very good soldering instructions on the site as well.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2379
Registered: Oct-07
Jan's link lead me to eventually find 'Aussie Amps'.
They are biased A/B.........
with 4x180 watt modules, and a pair of power supplies, I could easily bi-amp my panels.

http://www.aussieamplifiers.com/nxv200.htm
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1327
Registered: Jul-07
Interesting products, but the $$'s aren't small.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2383
Registered: Oct-07
The $$ aren't huge, either. Not the 130$ of a T-amp, but not the bucks of say.....a BelCanto 'd' offering, either.

A pair of 'stereo' amps....one at the back of each of my panels would be wonderful. I'd use the small amp and 1 power supply per module. Kind of makes me want to go to an active crossover and wire directly from amp to panel....
I'd have to look into a pretty jumbo heatsink, these are A/B amps so would heat up in use.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16231
Registered: May-04
.

What's the exchange USD to AUD?

One thing I try to keep in mind when I buy something like this is resale. I'm not much for swapping out gear and I have had the bulk of my system for a few decades simply by making sure what I purchased was going to suit my needs and desires before I parted with cash. Which, honestly, makes me, as leo put it, "unique", in the audio market. However, ultimately, the day will come when I want to move on - I doubt they'll allow the two 65lb. Mac tube amps in the home - and I take into consideration what troubles I might have disposing of my gear. The amps are no problem and Mac tubes are now back to selling for what I consider to be some rather outrageous prices after taking a dip in perceived value at the beginning of the recession. The Autocostruire amp cost me about $200 complete with chassis, SLA battery, floating charger and connectors. It's small enough to take anywhere short of solitary confinement and less maintenance than a very petite goldfish. And that would be a "buying point" for another T-amp should I make a decision to add to the already too large a collection of stray amplifiers and assorted audio gear laying about the house. My CD player and pre amp should be sellable with very little problem and at a decent price even if they don't go away for another ten or more years. They have both achieved a broadly accepted "cult" status by now that will stand them in good stead for years to come.

IMO the more than ten year life span of the Decware amp and the reputation it has for sound quality and reliability suggests I would have no problem moving it down the line if that were ever to come to pass.

Just looking at the cost of the Aussie amps vs something like the Class D Audio's - plus the possible issues with service should a problem arise -the Aussie amps wouldn't be my first personal choice. Even the Class D Audio and the Sure amps are unlikely to be around as a company in ten years time. All three are certain to be unfamiliar names and reputations to the average joe wandering through Audiogon in about four or five years time. Adding to the issues of the underground nature of such amplifiers is appealing to an even smaller crowd once you say "DIY" and I find myself put off by such items unless they fall into what I would consider the "dirt cheap" variety. Not suprisingly, "dirt cheap" is quite substantially different for me and for Bill Gates or even Jerry Jones.


While you might hold onto such an amplifier for a long time, should the chip fail down the road, that's the end of the amp in all likelyhood. These are, after all, chip amps and chips do not have a reputation for longevity like tubes or even bipolar transistors. The oddball solid state amps from the 1970's can have a problem finding suitable substitues for certain op amps or transistors nowdays as those components just ceased production at some point and no subs were ever developed. I certainly see these early chip amps being similar in that they too are first and second generation stuff that, like fist and second gen solid state, will appeal only to the collector in the not so distant future. So, even if you were to just give this amp away to a nephew who would use it in a garage system in 2025, much over a few hundred bucks is - to me and my budget - something I would have to amoritize heavily to justify the outlay only if I assumed I was going to absolutely love these amps sound-unheard from the get go. I'm not against generosity and I've given away an awful lot of my own hifi collection but I suppose I've reached a point where I've had a few friends turn down very nice pieces of audio gear - way better than what they owned - just because they didn't recognize the name and my closets are full at this point. This is somewhat related to the thread on high end advertising, people don't want an amplifier or speaker when all they know is, at best, a receiver with Sony or Pioneer on the front. No remote and they'd rather plug their iPod into a $49 docking system from Best Buy. Better sound quality doesn't interest them as much as does familiar crap.

So no intention of putting you off the Aussie amps, leo, but this is how I think about such purchases at this point and have for a long time. Obviously, I knew the Mac amps were not going to depreciate when I bought them almost thirty years ago. What I never guessed would be a neighbor using 6X9 car speakers in homemade boxes turning down a free pair of KEF's. I just can't imagine what something like the Aussie amps would be worth to me down the road other than another item to add to the pile.




.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1329
Registered: Jul-07
"IMO the more than ten year life span of the Decware amp and the reputation it has for sound quality and reliability suggests I would have no problem moving it down the line if that were ever to come to pass."

I'm sure that's true. Very few of the thousands of amps Steve has sold show up on Audiogon, and usually don't last long. Similar to Vinnie Rossi, Steve will take older units purchased second hand, upgrade them to current spec for a very reasonable price, and put a lifetime warranty on it (Vinnie's is 5 years).
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2389
Registered: Oct-07
I have a similar discussion with my brother about vintage cars.
He is looking thru EPray motors and sees something nice. Sorry, he says.... wrong engine or transmission. He bought a very inexpensive model of what he liked. It needed a little help, though. New brakes, exhaust, shock mounts(don't ask, 4 new tires, electrical work and it STILL needs a gas tank fix. Added together plus the expense of going to GET it and he could have had a 4 or 5 year old Honda Element....perfect for his cargo cult lifestyle and NO carpet to worry about with parts / service from Point Barrow to Key West.

He is essentially a speculator or investor. I will use the car and keep it nice. I want a driver.

It may be similar in the stereo realm. The Aussie amp has discrete P or N channel devices as output. They will be available and changeable for decades to come. MUCH more problematic are the Surface Mount devices. One good short and you fry a couple traces and you're outta' here. But if all you do is fry an output device you should be able to fix it.... If you are worried, you can have any opamps or regulators 'socketed' and replace as desired. You might even have some fun OpAmp Rolling! only half kidding.

I didn't buy to resell. Since I change stuff even less often than 98% of hifi types, I'll just use it. Making sure it is the right stuff? Very Important. My wish list? I'd love a Pass Integrated. I suspect it holds value at the highest %age of any stereo gear. Maybe even as well as Mac and certainly up there with Bryston....I hope! But I wouldn't be worried.

It's OK, an Aussie amp is not in my future or shopping list and your thoughts are reasonable.
You are NOT responsible for your Goofy Neighbor. Just another nail in the coffin of 'better sound'. A thought on that subject. My nieces and nephews ALL live such an amped-up, media saturated lifesyle that they have no interest or patients for 'good sound'.


And on a yet FINAL note, the Aussie amp is not as inexpensive as I first thought. The AUD costs about 1.06$US. So add 6% PLUS shipping / import? right off. Than there are the Extras. Heat sink? Soft Start? A nice 400va or 500va toroid of the right voltage. Case? Replace the metal standoffs with ceramic? (my idea) THAN add I/O connectors, plug/cord/socket. OH! You'll want upgraded PS Caps, too. Assorted bits, including heatsink compound and other hardware. I'd buy brass, since this is an all-out assault. Stainless wouldn't have much +- cost diff.

The cost would really add up FAST. The pair of 180x2 amps for bi-amping my panels would cost maybe 2 large.....just an estimate. Maybe a little less.

I briefly considered Nuck's MA6900 but reviews of Mac/Maggie are mixed at best.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16234
Registered: May-04
.

"I didn't buy to resell."

Neither have I, leo, that wasn't my point. What I do try to be aware of is how the unit in question will fare five, ten or twenty years down the road. After all matters of sound quality, flexibility, needs and wants, etc. are satisfied I'm often looking for products that offer the highest perceived value. If I'm faced with two quality components that might possibly suit my situation - as I was when I bought my current pre amp, then the product which can provide lasting appeal is the more likely to win the decision. In other words, components which earn their reputation for high quality sound that is essentially musically right above all else are better values to me than those which can be intially exciting but do not wear so well over time. Years ago I had the opportunity to sell the Mac tubes and move to some Counterpoint components at about an even swap. Evaluating the Counterpoint showed an exciting, involving sound displaying numerous high points with any sort of music. However, it was clear the Counterpoint was going to be more trouble prone and less manageable than the Macs and very likely was going to not wear so well down the stretch. In hindsight, I'd say I made the right call. As a benefit of those considerations the Macs have continued to appreciate while the Counterpoint not so much.

I never want to be the person trying to sell the purple Dodge Neon without AC.



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2395
Registered: Oct-07
Watch it, there, JV, i OWN a purple Neon....The fur hubcaps were about 300$ extra in faux mink.

When a car dealer makes a BAD mistake like your mythical Neon, some times the 'boss' will put s 'special incentive' on it. The 'spiff' goes to the salesman who unloads it and is above any and all normal commissions. Holdbacks still stay with the owner of the dealership.

Does such a thing exist in audio sales?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16235
Registered: May-04
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I don't get your posts' intent or reasoning.

"When a car dealer makes a BAD mistake like your mythical Neon, some times the 'boss' will put s 'special incentive' on it."


I've worked at three car dealerships during my years in retail. They were all meant to carry me through until another job in audio showed up and never was I that interested in learning the real nickles and dimes of the auto industry. But you have to know a bit about the way the business works to be good at moving in any direction the client and the dealership suggest they care to explore. I've certainly been asked to move a customer over to a two door, a manual transmision or a certain color when I could just to open some space on the lot. But, above all else, you don't loose a sale just to not move a vechicle.

The sort of "mistake" you refer to is a rare occurence. The Acura dealership where I worked had a NSX with a five speed transmission on the floor for several months. Selling an NSX is already a task that requires a specific client, selling one in Dallas with a manual transmission is similar to selling that unheard of diy amplifier to the mass market HT receiver buyer. However, the dealership was required to display a NSX once every few years to stay in good graces with Acura and this provided Acura a way to say "go here" whenever they received a request for information regarding a NSX. The car sat for several months and finally was shipped to another state where a deal had been closed. In exchange the Dallas dealership was traded several more easy to move vechiles and some compensations for taking up floor space. If someone had sold it out of our shop, they would have made a nice commission but no spiff. Auto dealers trade across the nation for cars that move and cars that move less. We all knew Heather Mist was the favorite color in an Accord and the four door LX with automatic was the bread and butter car for Honda. The Honda dealership here in Dallas was #1-2 in the nation when I worked for them and, when our 700-900 allotment of vehicles was shipped, the storage lot was full of just those cars. Come in late in the month on a Saturday night and you could drive out with that car for $100 over advertised dealer cost. There was also the light blue DX with a manual on the lot but there were actually buyers interested in those cars - just not that many. While your small town dealer might get caught with a far from popular car or SUV on their lot, the highly successful dealership seldom has to worry about such problems.

Consumer Reports, which you seem to like, will often tell the reader to save money by buying the equivalent of the purple Neon with a three speed on the column because the less popular colors and options are something the dealer wants to dump even at a loss. My experience says the highly successful dealership very seldom has to eat any profit. Besides, the less popular the car was new, the waaaay less popular it will be come time to trade. What you might gain on the front end, you'll more than loose on the back end of the deal. Manufacturers know which cars move and which cars sit. They incentivise the slow movers just to have them available on a lot for anyone who might believe in CR's line.

Most large delerships don't do much in the way of spiffs on specific cars. I made $100 on each car I sold up to the fouteenth car in a month and then the commission on each car for the month jumped to $150. More difficult cars to move might have a straight commission but that was unlikely. I made my money on the accessories and the financing I could sell. While at the Acura dealership I made the highest commssion of the salestaff on a TL which was sold at a straight $100 commission plus a cut on accessories and financing and on a RL which was sold at a percentagae of the final profit of the total package. More than anything the incentive was to move cars not to move specific cars. The more cars you moved in January, the more cars you could pick from in July. More desireable cars on your lot means more closed sales and fewer dealer trades where you might loose something in the translation.

On new cars, this is more common than any other pay scheme and plan of operation I've seen from a dealership. The manufacturer will always assist a dealer when they need to move cars. While Honda didn't engage in the practice in large numbers, most manufacturers will sell their "excess baggage" to an auto auction. In car sales, it's all about gross sales and fleet sales count as much as individual sales. Either way the car moves off the lot, new cars sales is not where most dealerships make their money. Used cars, lease programs, accessories, service and most especially finance are the money makers for virtually any dealership. The new car sales are pretty much considered to be the price of admission to the movie and then the $25 you spend on popcorn and a drink makes the real money. Small town dealerships are free to operate on a somewhat different routine than are large volume dealerships but the money makers are still the same - sell the price of admission and get them in the loop first and foremost.

Holdbacks are fungible commodities with any dealership. Looking at them just on the basis of new car sales is like looking through the wrong end of a telescope - you miss the larger image of what is going on outside of that framework. I would say the real value of holdbacks to any dealership would be just a tad less complicated than would be figuring out AIG derivatives. There are likely to be less than four people in any dealership who actually know what is going on with holdbacks because they are the very few who are getting paid based on the real bottom line of the dealership.




"Does such a thing exist in audio sales?"


Audio sales are far more diversified than are car sales. Car sales have a formula that works for car sales and that wouldn't work for most other businesses. Every car dealership I've worked at or known about makes money the same basic way and through the same basic formula. Every audio shop I've worked at has their own scheme of how the owership wants the sales staff to go about their business. I've worked at some shops where I was almost as knowledgeable about the real cost of everything down to garbage pick up twice a week as was the owner. I've also worked at dealerships where I wasn't allowed to see any price book, not even MSRP. In those shops the owners fed me a "cost" and I worked from there. Most of us in those shops were smart enough to know what was going on but we were never supposed to be as smart as the owners.

I've had price books where, in the case of Pacific Stereo when they were owned by CBS and they were selling CBS owned house brand products to themself, the dealer cost book was reissued each week and twice on Tuesday. In some shops I was completely free to make any deal that didn't drop beneath book cost. In some I had to go to a manager and get even the first offer from that person and no one else. If the dealer has the attitude that these are all just boxes and we're here to move another box, then spiffs were more abundant as were contests and incentives from the manufacturers. If the dealership is all about the owner's ego, then the sales staff rarely sees a spiff or a promotion and everything is directed to feeding the owner's ego. A shop with the attitude they are there to make a profit and that profit shouldn't fall beneath a certain margin will run all together differently than the rest. I've sold in shops were there was a decent spiff on house brand goods and none on the higher quality gear - though I always figured the higher quality gear was more difficult and more time consuming to sell. I preferred to sell at good margins and make a good profit for the store and from my efforts while lots of salespeople see house brands as nothing more than a device to offer a large discount because the company makes it up on the backside and they can move through more customers in a day by just moving cheap boxes.

Most of the independent shops I worked at offered little incentive on slow moving or discontinued gear. A company like Yamaha insisted a dealer carry "X"% of their entire line while a smaller manufacturer such as, maybe, Quad allowed a dealership to cherry pick what would sell in their store. For the most part, a slow moving or discontinued product was something you sold simply to clear it off the floor and make way for a better product to get out on the shelf. If you had already had that much trouble selling that product, you wanted something out there on display that you could move and be enthusiastic about it. One large difference between audio and cars was high end audio manufacturers were prone to introducing a MkII version while I had the original in the floor. Honda neve brought out a MkII Civic in the same model year.

It's likely most salespeople know what a spiff is but not that all of them have a high familiarity with the actual benefits or reasons for a spiff. IMO most salespeople today are kept in the dark more than I ever was at all but the most ridiculous shops. They are told, "There's product, sell it", and not much else.

Buying the discountinued or slow mover in an audio store isn't likely to be your best bet unless you just want a product for the lowest cost and highest dscount. There are lots of customers like that but, in my experience, no real clients. I liked clients who referred others and who came back for what we both preceived as another good deal. Customers were those individuals who filled the day in between clients.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2399
Registered: Oct-07
Yep, the guy ordering cars at the dealership only makes a spiffable mistake rarely.
Trades which are too weird will get wholesaled OUT.

Audio is a very different animal, no doubt. Just the fact that their is NO model year makes a big difference. My panels were made pretty much unchanged for over a decade. Mac? Timeless and I've even seen a 'reissue' of a classic. GM would never think to make a duplicate '69 Camaro. The new Camaro is the same in name only.

If I understand holdback correctly, it was intended to insure profit to the dealer. Dealerships DO NOT own the new cars on the lot, but rather rent them. They DO pay 'lotting' which is a small lease fee to the real owner. That's why turnover is so important. Holdback varies by manufacturer and can be a %age of list/retail, base price or invoice price. I haven't seen a number over a couple percent.

You worked Pacific Stereo, eh? Yeah, quite a factory. Bet you're glad to have gone on to greener pastures.

Oh, Yeah, car sales guys know what a Spiff is, and a Mini, too. A mini is 100$ over invoice. A 'Good up' is a customer who intends to buy and is not a tire kicker.
Car dealerships make tons of money. The hold most of the cards and I'm suspicious about all the 'invoice' disclosure sites, even KellyBlueBook.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16236
Registered: May-04
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Obviously, it would be impossible to create an exact replica of a '69 Camaro if your intent was to sell more than a few cars a year. There are a handful of specialty builders who do faithful replicas of the muscle cars; http://www.ponysite.de/bullit_2.htm but they're selling a few dozen cars a year at 1/4 million $$$'s plus per car. If you're Chevy and you have to meet safety and emissions codes plus add in all the accessories and amenities the modern customer has come to expect, then you make a pseudo-relica which has been "inspired" by the real thing. And I'm not sure an honest replica would have much value outside of a very few buyers. That small number couldn't make such a venture financially possible for a large corporation. I remember what my Chevelle SS rode like and the way it could rattle windows two blocks away with the headers and glass packs on it. I just can't imagine there's a booming market for such a vechicle today when you could have a luxury muscle car with current technology for the same dollars. Yesterday's best left to the guys who go to the $100 million auctions to buy a hot Sunday driver.



Holdback is really an incentive to the owner of the dealership. The manufacturer sees him or her as the responsible party and rising to the challenge of numbers is almost always what car sales are about. The owner hires the people and tells them what goals have been set. Then it's up to the people to make the dealer's holdback work. When you're #1-2, holdback is good money if you hit the numbers. Holdback in a small town dealership is more walkin'round money than real cash in the bank. But the dealership's holdback comes from all profits and goals, not just new car sales. The people in a dealership likely to know what the numbers actually are would be the department managers who get paid on hitting those numbers. Otherwise, officially in most car dealerships, the rest is nobody else's business - just go out and sell cars.

You can't deal on holdback as a customer. First, it's the owner's money, not the dealership's. Second, there's no actual money on the table until long after any individual sale is completed. You also can't deal on pac money which is a set amount added to the dealer cost plus delivery which establishes the bare bones profit a dealership will make on any new car sale. It's meant to cover the basics like land rental fees, dealer prep, keeping the lights on and toilet paper in the johns, etc. If you're aiming for a "good deal", you want to pay as little above dealer pac as possible and as little dealer pac as possible. Head to a volume dealer and the pac might be a few hundred dollars per car. Go to a small dealer who has to make roughly the same amount of money on fewer sold units and the pac will be several times higher. In a city like Dallas, the difference between the volume dealer's pac and the small 80 car a month dealer's pac can be over a thousand dollars more you would pay at the small dealership but you'll get the same car at either one.


"Dealerships DO NOT own the new cars on the lot, but rather rent them. They DO pay 'lotting' which is a small lease fee to the real owner."


Not sure what you mean by that. Quite a few dealerships own their land and buildings and possibly adjacent buildings and lots. Not all dealers will be owners but, if the owner wants to maximize profit, they'll own land. All dealers have a fairly complex "franchise" arrangement with the manufacturer so, yes, they are paying for the right to sell Hondas and Mercedes rather than Chryslers and Kia's. That can be a fairly expensive "right" for some manufacturers. David McDavid here in Texas at one time owned more land spread out across the state than did most local school districts. When he sold the franchises to the dealerships, he held onto the land and the new owners paid him to be selling cars out of his old buildings but still on his property. He and his family will be making money on car sales for the next 100 years or more.


"You worked Pacific Stereo, eh? Yeah, quite a factory. Bet you're glad to have gone on to greener pastures."

I learned a lot at Pacific because of the volume of sales they did compared to my first job in audio. On the other hand, my first job in audio sales was at the highest volume Advent dealership West of the Mississippi so I learned a lot there too - not to mention getting to watch the '76 Olympics on the first 7' wide NovaBeam projection TV. But Pacific was a doomed tax write off for CBS in the 1970's when they were acquiring companies like Pacific and Fender. There were high end companies building black box gear for Pacific and there was some junk and CBS made money buying it as one company and then selling it back to themself as another company. Eventually the books couldn't be cooked any more and the company was closed down. Management at Pacific was by attrition; when one manager finally got fed up an threw their keys through the front door tied to a rock, the assistant manager picked them up and got their promotion that afternoon. Too much brown nosing and back stabbing to be the guy who picked up the keys for my tastes.


" A 'Good up' is a customer who intends to buy and is not a tire kicker."


Best not to work at dealerships that make you take "ups". Some guy comes up looking for such and such a street and there goes your up and you move to the back of the line and wait your turn. You're better off standing on the lot or at the front door and snagging them as they come in. You're best off not having to do any of that BS but being good enough and hanging around long enough to be working strictly off referrals. That takes a good salesperson a few years to reach that point and not that many car salespeople want to work in one dealership that long or else they want to move up to the desk or financing so they're not the schmuck out getting a car to delivery at midnight in the rain. The guy in the next office at Honda was the referral only salesperson. He worked about 80 hours a week, generally by appointment, and made more money than all but a few of the top managers and the owner. But he liked sales and didn't want to move into management.


"The hold most of the cards and I'm suspicious about all the 'invoice' disclosure sites, even KellyBlueBook."


I'd tell you with that attitude you'll not be successful at negotiating a good deal. I've seen a few people grind a dealer down to not much profit but its never pretty and the guy's not welcome back. Getting a few facts straight and playing fair with a dealer will more often get you the better deal than trying to beat them at the game they play every day and you play once every five years. They know the numbers and they don't get excited at the prospect of buying a new car. That's where most people become their own worst enemy when they get swept up in the emotions of buying a new car. That's when any dealer will let you take enough rope to run up their profits. If a salesman puts a piece of paper in front of you and you sign it withouy reading every word on that paper, you need to slow down and catch your breath or you'll overspend. Otherwise, the numbers you need to be successful are all available and can easily be found.

Every dealer pays the same amount for the same car. Transportation costs vary across the country by a few hundred dollars. You can find those numbers in any number of publications nowdays. After that, it's mostly the dealer pac that makes the difference between car deals. Virtually all manufacturers pay for a dealership with high customer satisfaction - it gets figured into the holdback in most cases plus higher car allotments of preferred vehicles. Be nice and the dealership will usually be willing to pay a little bit for making you happy. Come in thinking you're going to beat them at their own game and you'll just be a number who gets a deal, take it or leave it and they'll move on to the next customer. Most often in a volume dealership, management won't let a salesperson spend too much time with someone who looks like a deadbeat or a grinder. Look and act like you want to do serious business where everyone comes out smelling good and you'll get their attention. Small dealerships are more laid back and rely on customer care to close the sale. Volume dealerships will sell for less and can still give good care but you're still mostly a number to management. I'd say play it straight and don't act like you know you're getting screwed because that's what car dealers do and, if you know the numbers as best as you can and keep your head about you, then you'll do alright.

Remember, new car dealers make the bulk of their profits in accessories, financing and service. Know the book cost of all the accessories you might want to add to the car and have alternative financing available. Service is done where you want and by whomever you want.

Used car sales are a whole different story.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16240
Registered: May-04
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A slightly different way to think about holdback is to consider it the owner's guaranteed income. The owner is generally considered the responsible party in a dealership and they have placed their name on the line and on the front of the dealership(s). It's generally assumed they have taken the time and produced the effort which makes the dealership possible. If it succeeds, the credit goes primarily to the owner(s). If it fails, the owner(s) takes the hit.

Even if the people the owner hires screw up, the owner will be assured an income as a reward for their efforts. By taking a small % off the top from all the departments, the owner makes sure they're going to come out ahead. But you have to realize the owner is taking that % from all departments and not just new car sales. While holdback can vary with the success of the dealership in the form of perks and additonal income, the holdback is going to keep the owner in business for a long time unless they simply have a terrible business plan or a completely absentee owner. Here in Dallas, Troy Aikman had a group of dealerships with his name on the front of the buildings. Aikman earned money just from agreeing to have his name out front and he only had to show up infrequently to look good for the public.

None of this money is available to a customer for negotiation. If you want the lowest price on a new vehicle, ask the dealership what their pac is. Find the dealership with the lowest pac and, in almost all cases, you'll find your lowest total price. Volume dealerships generally have the lowest pac since the cost of running a dealership is not that different from the highest volume to the lowest volume dealership - everyone has to keep the lights on and pay basic bills that are quite similar from one dealer to the next. Volume dealerships spread their bottom line cost over several hundred new car sales per month, low volume dealers spread the same costs over less than a hundred cars per month. With that in mind, it's only simple math that tells you which dealership is likely to have the lowest pac. Keep in mind volume dealerships tend to get that way by being somewhat more agressive in their business practices than do low volume dealerships.

If a dealership doesn't care to disclose their pac money, assume they are on the high end of the scale for your area. You could ask each dealer how many cars they sold last month though that information can be found through a search engine or a call to the manufacturer and volume dealerships are rather proud and willing to tell you just how much merchandise they sold each month. When I was selling at the #1 Honda dealership in the US, we would average 50-60 cars on a Saturday - almost as much as the lowest volume dealership did in a month - and the numbers were there on a board for everyone to see. By 7PM on Saturday you could close a sale by urging the customer to help you get to a goal of another few cars over what was already on the board. Alternately, to get an idea of how much volume a dealer does, look at their lot. If a dealership has all their cars on one lot, they are a low volume dealership.

Add the pac money to the figures you'll found for dealer cost and transportation and negotiate from the sum of those figures. Every dealer pays the same for the same car. Any difference accrued through a successful dealership goes into the onwer's holdback and once again is not available to the customer for negotiation any more than a $25 spiff on a pair of speakers is negotiable with the hifi salesperson.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2400
Registered: Oct-07
What I meant: Car dealership owns everything BUT the new cars on the lot, which as I understand it, are basically leased for a 'lotting' fee.

I've gone both routes with dealers. Hammered away and was never happy or made a reasonable deal. I was once told the Costco deal was 1000$ over and I said 'So?' I ended up at about 500 over for a very desireable car....a Special Edition Accord Couple in RED. They hold (held?) value very well and always had good resale. The dealership was VACANT at the time and the #2 man was in charge.

When I was shopping for my Element, I found what I thought was a motivated dealer. I didn't like the colors on the lot but figured they could do a dealer swap for what I wanted. They also wanted about 500$ for a rack and 150 for mudguards. Later, after I had my new Element in the right color at the right price, I sent away for the parts for just over 300$ to my door and took an hour to install. The dealership where I DIDN'T buy only had to make a move to meet me half way. The guy behind the desk?... he was the sales manager, maybe, and didn't seem to want to sell a car. He wanted too much money and wouldn't deal on the 2 accessories I wanted. I could have lived with one of the colors on his lot, too, but he just dug in his heels.

As for costs of dealerships.....Don't dealerships selling more reliable cars have to employ fewer mechanics per NEW vehicle sold? I always like to just peek into the service area and get a feel for what's going on. Busy? Vacant bays? Yelling or quiet activity? How many service writers?
That sort of thing::


OTOH, I was just hammering a guy at Ford. He was mumbling to himself about the 'old days' when you could 'make 10k a month' but no more....too many people know too much about the 'game'.

Statistics still show women paying more for an idential car than a man. I DO know a couple of Very Savvy lady shoppers, though, who I would never trifle with on the sales floor.

I was at a dealership once looking.....buy was no more than a week away. They had a car in which the steering wheel was cocked maybe 20 degrees from center, with the wheels centered. No telling WHAT was wrong...maybe somebody 'curbed' it? Anyway, I asked why they didn't fix it B4 sale. No good answer. I figure they'd sell it than somehow write it off as a warranty claim, not an internal charge.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16244
Registered: May-04
.

You don't seem to have very much faith in the honesty of car dealers. That's too bad.

Why "hammer" a guy at Ford or anywhere else? It's unlikely either one of you walked away in a better mood.


"What I meant: Car dealership owns everything BUT the new cars on the lot, which as I understand it, are basically leased for a 'lotting' fee."


I've never heard that term. Sounds like something someone you were "hammering" made up.

Dealerships do not pay for all the cars they order at the time of the order. They are allowed 30/60/90 days to move the car and the sooner it moves, the lower the overall cost. So two similar cars, where one sells in 14 days and the other in 56 days, ends up with the the older car costing slightly more money - for several reasons. If a car sits on a lot for 120 days, it probably represents cash out of the dealership funds. A good general sales manager orders enough to not run out but not so much the cars sit for more than a few weeks.



"Don't dealerships selling more reliable cars have to employ fewer mechanics per NEW vehicle sold?"


No, they need to employ the number of mechanics required to deal effectively with the number of cars being serviced. Reliable cars tend to last longer so they are in the shop years after a Jeep would have fallen apart. If the dealership is successful, they have a good clientelle who bring their cars in for service. Service is the money maker for a new car dealership so they will be aggressive in their sales pitch after the sale to get as many buyers into the service department as possible. Certainly, in a luxury brand you'll get a free loaner and a car wash at the dealership. Possibly, the dealer will come pick up your car and deliver a loaner to your location. Why someone brings their car to the dealership varies with the client and the dealership. If a customer is leasing the car, many people like the idea of having that steady service record at the dealership. Many dealers are offering free oil changes for the first year or something similar. "Free" maintenance has become common in the high end vehicles. The hope is the customer will eventually use the service department for everything.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2401
Registered: Oct-07
Problem is that car sales guys have an awful reputation.

I heard about lotting NOT while shopping for a car. Why would a car salesman even try to discuss something like that with a customer?

Your discussion of the 30/60/90 day thing fits right in with what I was told. The only exception was I hear the term 'lotting' applied to the practice and finacials of stock on hand.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16246
Registered: May-04
.

30/60/90 applies to most retail other than sales of bread and milk. Even in audio, if you can pay in 30 days, it will be a few bucks cheaper than if you pay in 90. Basic rules of credit being extended to a business partner. Don't make too much of this, leo. If a dealer orders in quantity, that will be cheaper too. None of that is the customer's to deal on unless the retailer wants it to be. You order big and run a promotion. What you sell that weekend is more profitable than what you end up sitting on. Good business is knowing how to order well.



"Problem is that car sales guys have an awful reputation."

IMO the "problem" is people are afraid of salespeople because they don't have a clue how to be civil to another individual who is trying to reach a beneficial proposition for both parties. In my experience, this is primarily a "guy thing". I've got a few dozen stories I could tell you about "guy things" and sales. Like the guy who was going to teach his daughter how to deal with car sales but he forgot to read the small print in the ad. He left after I and my sales manager pointed out to him what the "deal" actually was that he was requiring me to match from another dealer's ad. He was mumbling something about "having a bad shopping experience" as he walked out the door. His daughter had a "dad did it again" look on her face.



Would you "hammer" on an audio salesperson? Or, you're dentist?



"Salesperson" always seems to be the operative word here. My experience tells me that 9 out of 10 salespeople in almost any sales profession are truly honest people who are trying to put food on the table and a roof over their family's heads. I told any potential employer that I would not lie for them - not that most expected me to - but I knew enough to understand when to not say anything. There is no sales training that says a salesperson has to give way everything to allow the customer to take advantage of the dealership negotiations everytime. If we got $50 off a Civic or an amplifier because we ordered smart, that's our business and not your's. If $50 is going to make a sale, then it's up to the person with the product to decide if they want to give up the extra $50 they worked to get or if they want to sit on merchadise. It's called "negotiation" and if two parties want to engage in negotiations they both have to trust in the other to be operating in good faith. I've never had any real sales training where we were instructed to be dishonest. Quite the contrary, the rules of sales are almost always go for the honest deal that will get you a long term client and lots of referrals and you'll work less hard as time goes on. George at the Honda store certainly never had anyone leave feeling they had been taken advantage of, he had sky high approvals from his customers. George wrote good margin but he did it by being honest and getting people to be comfortable with him. He also had very little time for anyone who started "hammering" on him because he generally had an appointment coming in that made any unsavory customers not worth his time.

Most sales people treat their customers the way the customer treats them. If you're a d1ck to them, they'll only have so much professional courtesy and patience before they are a d1ck to you.

I was just hammering a guy at Ford. He was mumbling to himself about the 'old days' when you could 'make 10k a month' but no more....too many people know too much about the 'game'."


Know what that means in salesperson-ese? "I'll stroke this guy's ego by making him think he knows how to beat me when he doesn't have a clue as to what I do." Salespeople talk about customers like that all the time, we all have our collection of people we hope we never see again. We all have our collection of stories about the guy who thought he was way smarter than he actually turned out to be. Like I said, leo, a car dealer does this at least a dozen times a day and maybe 100 on Saturday while the customer does this probably once every five years. Who do you think is going to be better at playing "the game"? As soon as you start "hammering", what you're saying is you're not at all serious about buying a car. You're doing this for sport; first, because you can and, second, any salesperson is expected to take a certain amount of abuse before they finally let you go or let you think you've won something you haven't. You don't think the salesperson heads to the desk telling them about the guy who's in there "hammering" them? What do you think the desk manager's response is? Generally, you'll be let go after a few offers to see what's really there and you'll think the guys "didn't seem to want to sell a car".

Leo, they are a car dealership, they are there to sell cars. What they aren't interested in is dealing with someone who thinks "hammering" them with numbers that aren't any more realistic than the number of Saddam's WMD's will get them a deal that isn't beneficial to the dealership. I promise you, leo, if you come into a retail establishment and act as if you are seriously interested in a business transaction, it will be the rearest of times when the process will not take place. Yeah, there are the snooty shops that make you pull out your wallet before they'll greet you but most shops, and particularly most car dealerships, are there to move inventory. No one gets paid until they move inventory.

The one out of ten salespeople who exist, they exist everywhere. Any business where money is involved will have its share of jerks. The question is, why deal with a jerk? IMO, if you get yourself taken in by a jerk, it's primarily your own fault. Most especially today when the automobile business has numbers which are virtually transparent to the public. But people come in and they want to hammer on holdback or pac or accessories or some GD thing that they think belongs to them and not the dealership. If the dealership makes $50-100 more on a vehice because they can order well and because they have met the manufacturers's quotas for this or that, it's not up to the dealership to give that money away to some jerk who comes in looking to hammer on the dealership. That you think the real world numbers you see in a dozen different sources are still not correct says to me the problem is with you, leo, not with the honesty of the dealerships. A car dealership is there to sell cars - period. If you engage in honest negotiations with the dealeship, nine times out of ten a transaction will take place. If you're there to play games, nine times out of ten someone who does this a dozen times a day can figure that out pretty quick. Did the salesperson give you his/her card? You got let go, leo.

I could tell you exactly how to get the best deal from any dealership on any car but you still wouldn't believe me because you think you've got this all figured out, you've got the "lingo" down. And you think the "Problem is that car sales guys have an awful reputation." So why does that make it neccessary to "hammer" on them? Who has given car dealers a bad prep? Usually it's the jerks who think they are right and even the numbers they find in a dozen honest magazines are still wrong. I've had people like you walk right by my extended hand and a smile when I greet them in a car dealership and in an audio shop because they think salespeople "have an awful reputation". I promise you no salesperson wants to deal with that sort of customer and even less so if you're bound to working on an "up" system. I also promise you I've seen way better deals come out of people who aren't there to play games than I have to the opposite. It's all but impossible to pull one over on the pros and that's what bothers people who try.



You've said you and I have "problems", leo. I figured this was just an audio forum and everyone could let things pass. I gotta tell you, the attitiude you've displayed in this thread makes me think you and I would have some "problems" if we ever met on a salesfloor.







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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2403
Registered: Oct-07
You help make my point.
People generally do not like car salesmen. Why do women pay statisticlly MORE for the same car as a man? Because women are seen as vulnerable. Look at the qualifying questions you are asked. They are always looking for an edge and you must be careful what you disclose. While qualifying a (prospective) buyer is good, these guys ask 'how a big a payment do you want'....Itself not bad. I've seen people get oversold cars...the nephew of a friend who wanted me to cosign for a Mustang GT...the big V8. I wouldn't cosign. The young kid was fresh to California, clearly headed for girlfriend trouble (another 5 months did it) and was working a gas station. His grandmother ate THAT bill. Sales guy? down the road. Not the sales guys fault? I don't know. the kid was impulsive and simply woudn't buy what he needed.....a midsize or compact with 4cyl or at most a 6. For thousands less. If the kid had wanted something 'sensible', I'd have considered helping him.
I told a salesman my FICO score once. When we got to the paperwork he seemed surprised I hadn't lied to him when I said I knew what I could afford and they'd let me have it no-money down.
No, I don't hammer them except ONCE when I was talking to a VW guy. He not only ran my credit without my approval, but tried to talk me into a lease. I asked him to explain leasing to me.....and got BS in return....
Stuff like 'the money factor is interest rate'..Nothing about mulplying by 2400 to get the REAL interest rate. Not a word about how the lease payment is calculated. Not a word about over mileage or residual.
Not ALL sales guys....just car sales have the bad reputation. I don't know when it changed, but in Detroit car dealerships were closed on weekends. This sort of pressured working people who shopped after work to make a deal quicker rather than better. Unless you wanted the wife to buy the car?

No Jan, I don't think we'd have problems, unless you got preachy or shrill, which I don't think is your sales style. I suspect you ask good questions. When I go car shopping I know what I want and what it's worth. Last car I bought took about 90 minutes. A straight 500 over without any bloodshed or harshness. One dealer REALLY lowballed me on my trade while giving a slightly better deal on the car. Net? not so good. I sold the trade outright for about $3000 more than the dealers offer and paid about 500 more for the car. I had to remind them about the factory/dealer incentive. I'd go there again. The dealership before that was a little dicey, though, they were the ones who wanted about 300$ for an hours work, PLUS the profit on the parts to begin with. And when I installed the stuff (mailorder) I did things they wouldn't do....I greased the rack holddown bolts and used non-commerically available treatment on the rubber pieces.
When I sold the car I had intended to trade, the guy came to pick it up. When we were doing our banking, I mentioned I had just registered the car....so He was saving about 300$ right there. Not a twitch. When we got back to the house, he noticed the rear tires did not match the fronts. Wife said....'the original fronts are over there'...pointing. He wanted the tires, too. Nope..... Or the Case of Mobil1 and filter. If he'd been a little less greedy, i'd have helped him load the tires and given him enough oil for the next change.
When I bought my wifes car, pretty much the same deal. I knew what to buy, and shopped 3 dealers. That took about 2 hours, since they had to wash it and fill the tank...And I've been going there for service ever since.

I'll bet you even like the F+I guy? The one who sells you 30$ worth of scotch guard for 200$ and some undercoating. Or the paint sealer!

And furthermore, I've never hammered my Camera people OR my hi-end store(s) I bought my speakers and CD player and Rotel amp at the offered price. The 'deal' at one store, is once you are on the list, they'll eat the sales tax. Not trivial and certainly welcome. Surprised me with that one!
And believe me, I have a fortune in camera stuff. I always keep my channels open to my camera guy, where about 1/3 the staff know me.......I even brought my brother there when he bought a little point/shoot for his son.....I went and looked at studio lighting while he talked w/Larry.

Another car thing:: I really LIKED the idea of Saturn sales being what you see is what you get. No haggling, and supposed good value. Too bad GM torpedoed that one from the start. When the Japanese, who were in fear of this car, bought one and took it apart, they breathed a collective sigh of relief. I rode in a friends Saturn...the original model, and boy, was it bad. The seats were like sitting on planks. My sis-in-law has car which was anticipated and sold for way over sticker with waiting lists for months after intro. What a let down. Poor driving dynamics. It is good for urban, but I drove it about 60 miles each way to buy my sub......factory direct! and it scared me. I filled the tank and gave it back.
Her Chrysler minivan? You couldn't kill it. She drove it like a Ferrari, too. Scarey, but never broke down.....
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2404
Registered: Oct-07
PS, the guy at Ford, who I ref'd a couple posts ago, was one of the bad guys. He treated people poorly in general, and I didn't start up with him.....he started with some attitude I didn't fully give back. I had mentioned that people were very aware of invoice pricing, which he took to be a personal affront. The dealership was, I think, a corporate dealership and may run a little different, but with the same goals as a individually owned dealership.
The VW guy? outright lied when asked a direct question. And, he knew how leasing worked. he just didn't want to say.

As a test, try striking a good deal for a car. Say 500 over on a 30,000$ car. Maybe a little slim, but doable. Then ask if you can lease it at that price. I wonder what the answer would be?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16248
Registered: May-04
.

"Problem is that car sales guys have an awful reputation."

"I'll bet you even like the F+I guy? The one who sells you 30$ worth of scotch guard for 200$ and some undercoating. Or the paint sealer!"



Leo, how many times are you going to call me a crook today? I would say you see every car person as a crook. So you go in and you get treated like you think everyone is a crook. You see what you want to see. IMO, and from my experience, that's an unfair judgement of an entire profession. You generally get treated the way you treat others. If you walk in with a chip on your shoulder, you'll get treated that way.

It's pretty tough to run someone's credit unless they've already given you the information required to run their credit. If you don't like the deal, you have a choice; either work another deal or get up and walk away. Someone asks you if you want the undercoating they offer and you don't, you say, "No", and move on. There's nothing dishonest about that. Some people actually want the dealer to do things like that. If you're not one of those people, that doesn't make the dealer a crook. It's not up to the salesperson to stop a kid from buying something he can't afford. That sort of education should have come about a decade earlier and from someone else. And, yes, you can sell a car yourself for more than a dealer will trade for. Did that actually surprise you? That is what you consider being dishonest? What? you think the dealer's going to take in your trade for resale value? I suppose you do, just like you think the used car sales people should be selling their cars for what they gave in trade.


Women go about negotiations in an entirely different way than do men. Men and women see possessions such as cars in an entirely different manner. A car is not an extension of a women's genitals. It's not that women are seen as "vulnerable". Anyone who thinks that will usually find themself on the wrong end of a deal. There are a few women I wouldn't turn my back on during a deal but, for the most part, women do not see the sales processs as something where there must be a clear winner and a certain looser.


You, from the outside, see car dealers as inherently dishonest and think you need to win "the game". They need to be fed to the lions. From the inside, I think you're just another person I'd nod and allow to rant, then sell a car to, make my commissions and move on. Maybe I'm wrong, leo, but I've sure met a lot of "leos" in my time on the sales floor.



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2406
Registered: Oct-07
No, Jan, not 'all'....some certainly. I've actually had several good experiences buying cars from a couple guys who I bought more than one from........
I don't like high pressure dealers.
But, if you don't think all that money can have a corrupting effect and cause a few 'corners' to be cut.......
As for selling a car that is too expensive to someone who can't afford it, your right. The car will be repossessed and sold again at profit or granny can drive it. The kids credit will be ruined for several years at least.
And Jan, you have NO idea how I am at a dealer. When I go, I know several things...the only one which matters is the bottom line. Since that is all the dealer cares about, that's what I pay attention to. I've never engaged in name calling, yelling or that kind of behavior. I don't engage in huge protracted 'sweat 'em out' negotiations.

And No, Jan, it wasn't dishonest trying to lowball me on a trade in exchange for a lower vehicle price. But, I already knew how much I could sell the car for...within about 500$ of what I eventually sold it for. The 3000$ gap was just to much to bridge.

http://ethicalcarsalesman.com/Pledge.html

These guys may be good to deal with.

Why do you think I'm calling you a crook? I'm not, you know. Because you sold cars? Do you feel guilty for something?

You may like this::
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/aug/23/oregon-high-court-rejects-car-sales mans-ethics/

But maybe not this::
http://www.marketingmag.com.au/articles/news/5091/cops-score-high-for-ethics-use d-car-salesmen-in-need-of-a-rebrand/
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16249
Registered: May-04
.

"I've gone both routes with dealers. Hammered away and was never happy or made a reasonable deal."

"OTOH, I was just hammering a guy at Ford."

"I don't hammer them except ONCE when I was talking to a VW guy."


Either you've only "hammered" a salesperson once or you've "hammered" a salesperson" more than once. Which is it, leo?



"I don't like high pressure dealers."


I suspect most car dealers don't like you, leo.



"Car dealerships make tons of money. The hold most of the cards and I'm suspicious about all the 'invoice' disclosure sites, even KellyBlueBook."

" When I go car shopping I know what I want and what it's worth."

"And Jan, you have NO idea how I am at a dealer. When I go, I know several things...the only one which matters is the bottom line."



Leo, I know exactly how you are at a car dealership. I've seen you walking on the lot and heard it all before from hundreds of "leos". And I've never once met a customer who said they knew the "bottom line" who actually had a clue what the real bottom line was.




"Why do you think I'm calling you a crook? I'm not, you know. Because you sold cars? Do you feel guilty for something?"


No, leo, I feel insulted. Why you think you need to call me a crook, I don't know but your kind usually does.

How dense are you, leo? I tell you I sold cars and you feel compelled to tell me how crooked car salespeople are. I tell you I feel like I'm being called a crook and you add three links to say I should feel like all car salespeople are crooks.

WTF is wrong with you?!

You are being insulting. This is like someone introducing their blonde daughter and you tell them blonde jokes all night. When you meet someone with an Asian name, do you tell them about all the "slopeheads" you've known and how they can't be trusted? Maybe you know a few "raghead" jokes to tell the Iranians who come into your place of business. Or, maybe you tell Pollack jokes at the Wollaski family reunion?

What the he11 is wrong with you, leo? There are some things a mature adult knows not to do and insulting someone's profession is one of them! For twenty five years I had to sit across a desk and listen to jerks like you tell me how rotten salespeople were. I had to listen to how much they thought knew about what I did when I could tell they didn't have a clue. I had to listen to them tell me how they knew I paid "so and so" for the merchandise I was selling. And I had to listen to them tell me how smart they were to hold onto two used tires and a case of oil filters they'd ever use 'cause they sold their car themself.

I had to sit there with a smile on my face and listen to their crap when I knew they didn't know jacksh!t and no one in their right mind holds onto two used tires and oil filters they'll never use just to stop someone else from having them. And I can tell how much you actually know, leo. And that you do hammer car salespeople because you can get away with it. And that none of the crap you complain about from a salesperson is actually the salesperson's fault.

You don't want to be asked questions? Fine, go to a salesperson who's a mindreader. You don't like the trade offer? Fine, just say no. You don't want to be lowballed on your trade but you want to lowball the dealer on the new car. Man! how many times have I heard this BS? Look, leo, what you think you know, you don't know. What you think is the salesperson being dishonest is generally all in your head. That you sold the car yourself and you held on to two used tires ain't the fault of the dealer. OK? So don't blame it on the salesperson and don't start in on how dishonest salespeople are when someone tells you they're in sales! It's f*cking rude!

Ya'know why people dislike salespeople? Because salespeople allow the customer to sink their teeth into a hook and then run with it. Ego and greed are what does in anyone who gets less than a good deal. A salesperson isn't responsible for what someone does to themself. But because admitting they screw up isn't what most people want to do, they blame the salesperson. Then there are those like you who feel they have to tell other salespeople just how dishonest all car salespeople or just all salespeople are. And you don't appear to get it that in doing so you are calling them a crook too.

I haven't had to sit across a desk from a jerk like you in ten years, Now, I tell you I sold cars and you want to tell me how dishonest the profession is. And you won't stop.

Let's make this very plain, leo. You are being an insulting @ss. Just like every other inslting @ss I sat across the desk from for twenty five years. You don't know what you think you know and even if you did, I have no interest in hearing it.

Got that?

You have been insulting. I'm sick of it.


It's time for this thread to get back to amplifiers. No more, leo, no more.





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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16539
Registered: May-04
.

http://www.parts-express.com/wizards/searchResults.cfm?srchExt=MFG&srchMfg=470
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1729
Registered: Oct-10
Hey Jan! Why don't you shove one of those tri path amps up your a***? stick in a utility pole while you're at it!
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1730
Registered: Oct-10
ALL salespeople are crooks!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4814
Registered: Feb-07
Having a bad day Jazzy?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Plymouth

Canada

Post Number: 16567
Registered: Jan-08
 

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1736
Registered: Oct-10
Just for fun, I think I'll go to a car dealer tonight, pretend the salesperson who approaches me is Jan and hammer that person. Just kidding!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3539
Registered: Jun-07
The Topping amps apparently sound quit good it seems regardless of price. Definitely keeping those in the back of my mind small system recommendations.

I might have to pull the T-Amp I built out and try them with the new Totems.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16549
Registered: May-04
.

I've placed an order for this unit; Topping TP20-MK2 TA2020 Class T Digital Amplifier 25WPC,
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=310-320 It should arrive tomorrow or the next day. I'm a littlle wary of the way the unit is being sold. Not that I distrust PE but the chip used in this amp is the same chip as I have in my diy Italian kit amp. That amp was built back in 2006 when the height of the T amp fever was peaking and there were several models to choose from. TNT reviewed a handful of them at the time; http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/tripath_amps_e.html And I posted a review of the Italian kit amp vs the original Sonic Impact on this forum; http://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/products/reviews/209464.html

And; http://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/193312.html

No one at that time promoted the 2020 chip as being capable of 25 watts no matter the THD level. A quick look at any T amp write up and it was evident the 2020 chip was a solid five watter with THD rising rapidly above that output into a solid eight ohm load. So I'm already somewhat suspicious of Topping if they want us to believe they have suddenly turned the 2020 chip into a 25 watt amplifier. None the less, the Topping amp includes a few upgraded parts that were not included in the Autocostruire amp - though it fit the bill for what the average diy'er was doing to the basic T amp at the time. A few more mods after I had the amp together and the inclusion of a SLA battery power supply made the amp incredibly impressive for an approximately $200 investment all total. But the T amp, as good as it is at many values, still can't beat the Macs in overall listenability and musicality. The final impression of the amp is always that it presents music with a certain coolness and an ever so slight lack of realism when compared to the tubes. But it does swing and the breadth, scope and transparency which is brings to a "you are now there" style of soundstaging is fantastic for an amp of any price.

So the Topping will get compared to the Italian amp with the Topping power supply and, if possible, with the SLA. We'll see if a few more slightly better passive parts in the Topping can make any appreciable improvement over the basic 2020 chip amp that TNT thought was about as good as that chip got back in 2005. If it does, then maybe I'll explore the still newer versions of the more powerful chips made by companies such as Virtue. We'll see.


I'm still leaning to the Decware SET though and might decide to give it a try in the near future.


http://www.autocostruire.com/audiodigit/class-t-e.pdf



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2501
Registered: Oct-07
Could the T-amp, say the 2020 chip ref'd above, be used as the driver to some discrete power devices? You could get 25 watts out of either a single device or push/pull pair.....pretty easily?
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2502
Registered: Oct-07
Specs call for 23x2@4ohms......10% which is bogus high distortion.

Divide by 2 for 8 ohms and a liberal subtraction to get down to a managable 1% distortion and you may have 5 watts, as Jan's original specs call for.

The kit has enough options for most 'philes. Maybe by adjusting the gain / feedback you could add another stage of amplification and turn it into a high power amp, and actually get that 25x2 at some reasonable distortion.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16550
Registered: May-04
.

I'm unaware of the 2020 chip being used as a driver for a subsequent amplification stage. There are more powerful Tripath chips and they are becoming popular today despite the fact Tripath as a company when under several years ago.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-383


http://store.virtueaudio.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=27


http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/autocostruire_mc4x100_e.html

etc.



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Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3540
Registered: Jun-07
Leo/Jan I had the same findings with my Sure board. Specs on PE claimed 100 x 2. I knew this was false but once I got looking at true spec it was at a 4ohm load at 10 percent distortion as well. Really the board is a 20 x 2 and if pushed may hit 25 x 2 before clipping. Still a wonderful sounding amp for the 100-150 I have invested in it. At the time I was using it with the Paradigm Studio 10's but since moving on to the Totem Sttafs I really want to hook it back up again. Probably this weekend.

Can't wait for your thoughts on the Topping Jan.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2506
Registered: Oct-07
I'm curious about how well the Tripath stuff would do with a pair of Corner Horns.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16565
Registered: May-04
.

The Topping amp arrrived yesterday. 26 hrs. into "burn in", using the stock power supply, the amp is unimpressive compared to the other T amps I own. A decent value for $99 - if you have very efficient speakers and not extremely high volume requirements, same as any other 2020 chip - but I remember being far more impressed by even the baseline $39 T amp when powered by "AA" batteries. Possibly I'm too biased against this tiny - and I mean tiny - amp, I didn't think so as I'm no stranger to the T amp appearance. It hasn't shown any of those "I can't f*cking believe what I'm hearing" moments I remember from the first monents after I powered up the original Sonic Impact and certainly not from the Italian amp. That amp stayed in the system for two weeks before I put the tubes back in. But the baseline Topping ps is quite unimpressive in its own right. The amp has improved slightly since I first plugged it in so we'll wait and hope.





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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16566
Registered: May-04
.

"I'm curious about how well the Tripath stuff would do with a pair of Corner Horns."


There's really not much to be curious about, leo. The Horns are quite happy with a very few watts and are not hungry for current. We used to demo the K'horns with the old KLH and Advent table radios as the power source. Four watts max and the Klipsch were able to play far too loud. None the less, they were Klipschorns. If you could get past that fact, then the amplifier was of minimal concern IMO. Where the K'horns did best was with a very good tube amplifier. Not to sound like a "tube amplifier" but to make the most of the exceptionally fast character of the speaker. A touch of "tube bloom" didn't hurt the horn loaded drivers. I've seen reviewers describe the T amps as being slightly reminiscent of SET's in their sonic character but that hasn't been my experience with these amps.


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Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3542
Registered: Jun-07
Jan, what is the stock power supply rated at? 1amp? 2amps?

Allowing it to burn in further help with its performance at all?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16575
Registered: May-04
.

The switching type ps claims 14VDC/4A output. Upgrading power cables would be an impossibility with this amp. A few days run in seems to have made minimal improvements in performance. The basic problems I would note seem to be endemic to the unit and have not shown any significant improvements over the first few days. The amp does a lot of things right but ignores too much of what I value. The problem isn't in the speakers as my current FRSD's are not at all difficult to drive and cannot be blamed for what's missing from this amp. What I don't know, since I've not paid much attention to the lower end of the market in the last few years, is how this would compare to, say, a current low end NAD integrated amp's performance.




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Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3544
Registered: Jun-07
Got ya. 14VDC would be hard to find as well. hmmmm.

Does PE have a return policy? Say returning it for the Sure/PSU combo for around the same price?

IMO The latest offerings of budget NAD's are very good for the money. But would still cost you at least 4 times the money even for the 315bee than the Topping cost you.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16578
Registered: May-04
.

Yes, PE gives me 45 days to return an item. That's part of why I decided to try this amp. They've always been extremely easy to deal with.

It would appear the Sure amps don't exist on PE's web page any longer and possibly have been replaced by the Toppings. Possibly all PE has left in the Sure amps are the few open boards they show. I don't know that my curiousity hasn't been satisfied by the Topping. I was wondering just how a new T amp might sound compared to my old Italian DIY amp. It appears Topping has traded a few better quality internal parts for some cheaper externals like connectors and built an amp that might be fine for a computer system but falls short of the original T amp excitement.

When I went to Virtue's site, it says most of their lower priced amps have sold out. http://store.virtueaudio.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=27

There's mention of a Virtue Three but no other information. Looking at the lowest priced Virtue amp listed as "available for shipping" I'm at the same price range as the Decware. And, the thing is, I'm not really looking for a new amp so my curiousity is flagging for any more exprimentation at the moment.


" IMO The latest offerings of budget NAD's are very good for the money. But would still cost you at least 4 times the money even for the 315bee than the Topping cost you."


Yep, and that's been the issue which as made the T amps successful. You can bring up the price with high quality parts but you can also attain very high quality performance from a low dollar amp. The Miniwatt and so forth all go for about the cost of the NAD's to the Virtues and there wouldn't seem to be anything in the middle. More than anything else, though, I have a bit of curiosity to know just how good the budget NAD's are vs something like the Topping or my old Italian T amp. I've never been that much of a NAD fan even going back to the original 2020 integrated. And the nearest NAD dealer is the type that, if I walked in and asked to hear the 3315bee, they would want to know why before they told me they just didn't think it was worth their time. Doesn't exactly "spur" me to drive the distance and waste the gas.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3545
Registered: Jun-07
Sure stuff is still rocking on PE Jan, check it out :


http://www.parts-express.com/wizards/searchResults.cfm?srchExt=Mfg&srchMfg=133&M anufacturer=Sure%20Electronics

I swear that website makes it impossible to find certain things. The only way I could find that page again was to search by Brand name. I see they have full sized Sure cases now. (DAMMIT) lol that would of been a lot easier. But hey who else do you know that has an amp made of Laminate flooring?Am I the first? The one and only? LOL! Big 2 x 100 board, big PSU, volume control and case and your set. I smell a trade in. haha

I really have issues with dealers like your NAD dealer. There is one locally that sell all the fixings ranging from entry NAD/Arcam to the big 1000 watt Byrston monoblocks and every brand in between. My issue with them is that if you walk in there looking to demo a 400 dollar amp they huff and puff like they wont make their bonus that month. Brutal.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4816
Registered: Feb-07
I agree Nick. The navigation on the PE site is almost impossible to figure out.

Hey, we drove past your neck of the woods today - took a day trip to Belleville to pick up my son. I would have loved to have stopped by, but we were on a schedule.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3547
Registered: Jun-07
LOL good ol BelleVegas. Thats awesome too bad, but I understand the schedule thing. Seems like my life has ran on a wild one of late.lol.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3498
Registered: Oct-04
Excellent SQ & build quality... http://cgi.ebay.com/MUSE-M20-EX2-TA2020-T-Amp-Mini-Stereo-Amplifier-20WX2-S-/180 656464613 Hard to beat the price as well.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3559
Registered: Jun-07
Chris - They look good. Will keep the MUSE in mind.

Jan - Whats the update? Still same old? You returning the product?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16641
Registered: May-04
.

I haven't had an evening to devote to listening. The amp has been running 24/7 and has completed whatever "burn in" it should require. So I'll get to it soon and let you know what the decision will be.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3578
Registered: Jun-07
Decision?

You see this Jan - New beefier models hitting Parts Express :

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=310-326
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16885
Registered: May-04
.

No, I hadn't looked at the Parts Express site since I the Topping amp back for a refund.

The 2020 amp I had was really very good for the money and, IMO, better than average for up to several times its price. I've been intending to do a basic write up with a title somewhat like "What do you expect for $99?" but just haven't sat down to spend the time.




Overall the amp had terrific clarity and easily beat the Italian T amp in this respect. Going back to the Acoustriere after having the Topping in the system is more like going back to a midpriced NAD - but without any of the NAD house sound qualities I personally find annoying about all NAD products. But with it in the sysem I have a noticeably "softer" sound overall than the Topping amp presented. I can see the Topping actually being over the top when paired with some budget speakers with sufficiently high enough sensitivity to work with a five watt amp. Given that most people who are on that sort of budget generally don't have a clue about rooms and room treatments, the Topping and a pair of, say, Klipsch in a hard room would, for me, be headache inducing with any modern "pop" style of recording mastered for an iPod. But a pair of Klipsch in a hard room is headache inducing for me with any amplifier so take that for what it's worth. Certainly the Topping would be a better choice than any cheap receiver I know of.

For me the Topping was a spruce and mahogany Taylor auditorium size guitar with light guage Elixirs and the Autocostriere is a Martin spruce and rosewood dreadnought with D'Addario Silk and Steel 13's. Or maybe a solid maple sides and back acoustic guitar (Topping) vs a solid cedar topped guitar (Autocostriere). Either might be acceptable to a particular listener or for a specifc type of music but I tend to have my priorities fairly well established and the Topping didn't fully meet them.

With the single driver speakers in my main system the amp was really an interesting contrast to the tubes and the Italian T amp. If it had done a few more things more correctly, I might have kept it and just had it in the system for day to day listening. Its greatest flaw for me was a dimensionality which reminded me of, say, a Samsung TV (but without all the hyped up color/detail/edge enhancement inaccuracies of the Samsung made-to-pop-off-the-showroom-floor issues) or, maybe, a midline, not so great 35mm digital camera/lens combination. You know, the kind of stuff where the equipment has been so "goosed up" by "if you can't make it, fake it" settings (called in the lingo of trying to fool everyone who doesn't know better; "parameters" and "presets") that reality only applies when you finally see the results of a truly excellent product. You knew there was obvious depth to the original event with the Topping but where, had you been present at the recoding event, you would have seen the distances and the preception of open space with three dimensional objects within that space and between you and the performers, the images are all paper thin cut outs placed on a stage which just happens to have enough room for things to appear in front and behind each other. Not that the Topping lacked a sense of "depth". It performed well enough in that regard, just not as I expect an amplifier to perform. It certainly didn't impress in that regard either and that has been a quality of previous T amps that does always impress me.

If you've never seen a video display that accurately demonstrates realistic depth of field and not just flat images that appear in front of and behind each other, then you might only think of what I just said in terms of most audio systems and you'd somewhat be missing the point. The Mac tubes, the orignal $39 Sonic Impact and the Italian T amp all have the ability to project performers and instruments with a three dimensionality that has come to be called "holographic" in audio terms. I've heard what "holographic" translates to in several pieces of modern gear and I don't tend to care much for it as it doesn't truly represent what I experience with live music. The modern driven-by-audio-reviewer's-opinions style of "holographic" is, IMO, too tightly focussed and tends to lack the sense of a human voice or a fine instrument projecting sound into a three dimensional space which has limits - limits which tick off the right switches in my perceptual cognition to suggest a real event ocurring in front of me. The Topping certainly lacks the "you are there" quality or music reproduction and trades it for the more popular "they are here" version. I just don't much prefer that style of music reproduction. My prefernce is to be transported to the various venues wher the music happened. When I wrote p the original T amps for this forum I suggested they had the capacity to provide a small time machine capable of tarnsporting the listener to the event despite the fact the event occurred decades prior. This was, for me, a seriously lacking quality in the Topping sound except it didn't come close to even placing some roundness and boundaries to the individual sounds which where projected into my room. So, paper thin, two dimensional images should serve to be shorthand for what the Topping showed me within my system.

On this score, the Autocostriere beats the pants off the Topping but the Italian amp is somewhat more "thick" and "dense" in the sense of a realistic "presence" brought out through tonality and timbre. The Italian amp is again a nylon string guitar while the Topping is a bronze stringed instrument with a top that is just shy of "zingy" in my system. A Telecaster vs a Strat. Depending on your tastes and your experiences along with the specific system where it would be used, the Topping might actually have you sitting up and taking notice of what it has to offer that is more akin to live music than I hear from anything else at anywhere near its price.

I stopped by the local NAD retailer to hear their budget amps for a comparison and the Topping was far better at the sense of being in the presence of a live performer than were the NAD's I auditioned (two BEE models with budget appropriate speakers). The NAD's were also "flat" in their staging in the same manner as the Topping if not more so depending on the "demonstration of what I want you to hear selected material". Yes, there is depth there but no real sense of space. So, given the budgetary choices, I'd take the Topping since the NAD was also lacking in the sense of making those two dimensional images truly stand apart from one another in a manner which reminds me of a live performance. Now, take that as coming from someone who just, after all these years, has not caught onto the NAD house sound.

Also the Topping had, in my system, uneven dynamics across the frequency spectrum. While the overall timbre of most instruments was very good and the ability to identify a particular manufacturer's instrument was only ocassionally off kilter, the amplifier didn't do justice to the dynamic scale of a very fine instrument in the hands of a talented performer. This was most noticeable in the bass where the bottom end didn't expand and impress equally with the mids and top as the performance grew in weight and stature. This applies to all instruments and even those without deep bass were unable to captivate me with their range before obvious compression would set in. This didn't appear to be an issue of the amp running out of watts/power and my room/system along with average volume requirements were never in doubt with the small wattage 2020 chip. But my reference for this sort of dynamic power/emotional connection is both based in my own live music experiences and, on the amplifier side, the Mac tubes which have an abundance of weight and scale. Here again the Italian amp and the SI amp outdid the Topping. When the connection between music, performer and listener was meant to lift everything upward toward catharsis, the Topping stayed quite earth bound and artifically contained - except not evenly across the frequency band. OK for, maybe, droning trance music or more of that music meant for iPods but not for what I listen to and not for what I expect.



Additionally, the Topping was pretty stingy about expanding beyond the boundaries of the speakers so I was always more aware of listening to a recording than I am with my other amps. With the Sonic Impact at $39 and even with its cheesy plastic connectors and the required bunch of adapters needed I remember just being literally overwhelmed at the ability of that little amp to dissolve every boundary of my room and replace them with the venue's atmosphere. If I hadn't heard that, I would have never bothered with the Italian kit T amp. This is the one quality where the previous T amps I've had in the system can actually (slightly) better the Mac tubes. So, IMO, the Topping lacked one of the most attractive qualities of the T amp sound.

I never really tried the Topping with any power supply other than the stock wall wart. I hadn't heard the improvements I wanted from any of the other T amps when I changed the ps - at least not to the degree I thought they would suddenly become evident with the Topping. Any little tweak I tried seemed not to affect the Topping's performance. It was very much the same the day it left the system as it was the day it arrived in the system. Adding a pre amp vs driving straight into the Topping amp (with the Topping's VC set to max or what should be "out of the circuit") helped dynamics a bit but not enough to persue that route any further than just as an experiment.

The Topping amp does have the bouncy, "PRaT"-ish forward drive to the musical presentation that I hear from the other T amps and I never seriously lacked toe tapping to the performance. But the SI and the Italian amp don't make the I'm-trying-to-get this connection as the Topping's "yeah, there's adequarte bounce and momentum here" presentation. As far as "detail retrieval" goes, I would say, if that's your one strong desire, the Topping should satisfy due mostly to its increased perception of timbral "presence" over other budget amplifiers without tipping over into hashness and hash. But, still, the sense of being drawn in by the performers isn't as good with the Topping as it is with my other amps.

So the Topping is, IMO, a very good deal at $99 if not the best bargain out there for the money. I think alot of people who buy the Topping would be looking for a better performing amp if they ever heard a really good music system or if they are familiar with live acoustic performance. But, for $99, I would say it is not going to be beaten by the competition that actually exists today. Maybe I'm wrong if the original Sonic Impact amps (especially the upgraded model) can still be had for a few dollars more. But they seem to have disappeared from the market other than used - along with most of the other early entrants into the T amp field. I'd say the use of a few better parts gave the Topping its edge in some respects but then the cheaper parts such as average grade gold plated to impress the easily impressed connectors and a less expensive volume control mounted on a baseline board let down the potential capabiliites of this Topping amp. I know the 2020 chip can do better in many regards. That said, the Topping did do better in some respects compared to my other T amps - just not in areas I listen for or value to any great extent. However, as is typical, if I could take "this" from the Topping and combine it with "that" from my other amps, I'd have a very good amplifier IMO. But, in the end and for me, the Topping wasn't good enough overall to keep.

If I were putting together a desktop computer system, a system which was intended for extreme near field listening or my priorities were simply placed elsewhere, or just for an "average" system that provided better than background music performance, I'd have said the Topping was all I'd ever need in an amplifier. But, in my situation, none of that is the case so the Topping went back and I haven't really felt the desire to write this review since I haven't genuinely missed it in the systyem.




The new offering sounds interesting though and I might just give it a try. Parts Express is very good about their auditioning policies and I have no problems with trying an amp as long as I know I can repack it and not make any part of it look like the dogs used it as a chew toy. But I just bought a new bike and a new lap steel guitar, my 15 year old cocker spaniel had ear surgery and I need to spend some cash on a few other items more important than an amplifier I don't really need. Plus the holidays and winter are creeping up fast and I have other priorities beyond spending more than I need to time listening to an amplifier I don't really need. Maybe after the first of the year. I'll keep you posted or, if you give the amp a try, let me know what you think.




.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16886
Registered: May-04
.

One more point regarding the Topping 2020 amp would be the attack and sustain of individual notes and certainly of the hall sound which is already lacking with the amp IMO. I would easily score these two qualities down against my other amps though slightly above what I heard from the NAD's. (That might be the speakers which were paired with the NAD's for that matter.) While the Autocostriere has a softer impression to the overall sound, the variances it uncovers in the performers' approach to digging in or laying back on the instruments was superior IMO to the presentation of the Topping. The Topping lacked the stick on brass speed when you are focussed on the percussive timing effects of a cymbal or the initial "blatt' of a horn. Wood instruments had less sense of real wood being set into vibration and a more similar two dimensionality to their presence. Many upper register percussive instruments or those with characteristically fast attacks remained flat and free floating as if detached from the instrument itself. Listening to a guitar played in open tunings, hitting fretted up the neck notes while also hitting open (non-fretted) lower frequency strings, did not provide a fully developed instrument but rather one with two somewhat disparate sources of sound. Not terrible but distracting if you want to forget you're listening to a recording.

Sustain was adequate and probably better than anything else anywhere near the price but fell short of my perception of a fingerpicked acoustic guitar or the ringing, almost cyclic expansion of the soundfield of a highhat. I wouldn't discount the Topping if these were not priorities I held dear, but I would take the "audiophile" aspect of Topping's advertisements with a grain of salt. My criticisms of the Topping's performance are far beyond what I would normally associate with a $99 amplifier but not so outrageous given the high bar set by T amps in general I think. As I said, you're not likely to do better than this Topping amp for the money or even a few hundred dollars more in a conventional class AB amplifier. For many listeners this would be a quite satisficatory component and an amazingly good sounding amp for most should their speaker selection suit a low wattage T amp.

I was hoping the six years that have passed since I put together the Italian kit might have resulted in better performance than what I heard from the Topping. In the case of their 2020 amp, I would say they have only gone sideways and not forward. Or maybe there just isn't any more to extract from that chip and the more powerful TriPath chips are the next level. Only an audition can determine that.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3502
Registered: Oct-04
The Muse T-Amp models keep getting less expensive and more interesting...

http://stores.ebay.com/Audio-electronics-store-honest-shop/Amplifier-/_i.html?_f sub=1650601017&_sid=986276447&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4861
Registered: Feb-07
19.99??

You should try one.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3503
Registered: Oct-04
I did, I have the M20 EX2 (TA2020). No complaints, it's a rock-solid unit.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4862
Registered: Feb-07
Cool. I didn't know that. How would you describe the sound? I used to have a couple of the original Trends T-amps.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3504
Registered: Oct-04
I haven't listened to it in a while, but I had it paired with my Tekton 4.5 (Fostex FE127E), and a variety of sources, including an old battery operated Sony portable CD player and a Creative Zen MP3 player, and remember how impressed I was with the dead-black silence the unit demonstrated. I don't quite have the same ear as Jan has, but it sounded extraordinary to me in my small room. Dollar for dollar, I can't imagine a more a more satisfying listening experience (although my $99 Alessandro MS-1 headphones close).
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16890
Registered: May-04
.

"The Muse T-Amp models keep getting less expensive and more interesting... "




If I wait a little longer, they'll be giving them away!


The 2020 Tripath chipset would appear to be the best sounding of the lower powered choices. The original SI amp used the 2024 and others have commented on the superiority of the 2020 chip overall. Certainly, the Italian amp with the 2020 chip outdid the SI amp. But that's an unfair comparison given all the other differences between the two amps.

I'd say this is sort of like deciding you like the sound of 6L6's vs EL34's or KT88's. Or MOSFETs over bipolars. It's certainly what the designer/builder did with all the parts of the amplifer which make for its final character but I know from experience I prefer one tube over others and FET's over bipolars in most comparisons. So, for now, I'd stay with the 2020 chip if I were to try another amp.

Chris, if you still have the Muse and you're not using it, care to send it down for an audition? I'll pay for shipping.




.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16891
Registered: May-04
.

OK, Chris is sending his Muse amp for an audition and I'm also going to step away from T amps for the moment to try a Miniwatt N3. This seems to be one of only two affordable SET amps I have found an interest in - the other being the Decware 2 watt unit. But at 3.5 watts for the Miniwatt, gee, the choice seems so obvious.

The Miniwatt has been ordered and the Muse is promised. I'll clear some time off my schedule and maybe come to some conclusions about day to day amps that I can also sit down and enjoy.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3579
Registered: Jun-07
Sorry for the late reply...

Great review Jan. Cant wait to hear how the Muse does.

So giving the characteristics you described would you feel the latest Topping offering would be an even further improvement coming in at the 300 dollar mark.

What sensitivity are your speakers? I believe you are using a DIY single driver design?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16892
Registered: May-04
.

"So giving the characteristics you described would you feel the latest Topping offering would be an even further improvement coming in at the 300 dollar mark."



I really don't know, Nick. It's a different chip which would make some difference. Though both the 2024 and the 2022 chipset seem to be the chips many builders prefer. But I have no idea whether what I heard from the 2024 amp is an indication of Topping's sonic imprint and their ear for music or whether the amp was still just constrained by other factors. The Toppings were designed - as far as I can tell - in the Orient and many Asian designers have a "national" mindest that certain specs are all you need and sonics are not really what they try to achieve if the numbers are good.

If what I heard from the 2024 amp is what Topping considers their "house" sound - if that is how they hear music, then there may not be much more to the more expensive amp other than a chip that outputs substantially more wattage. And wattage in and of itself is not of much value to me.

About the only thing I think I still know about amplifiers, after having many ideas sort of turned around by the T amps, is the power supply still matters. It did on the SI amp and it certainly did on the Autocostruire. I would assume the twin transformers in the 2022 amp would up the ante as far as sound quality goes. But I don't know how they're using the twin transformers. Since the lower end Tripath chips are already bridged, it would seem unlikely they are using the two transformers one per channel to achieve what most people call a "twin powered" unit. But, then again, I don't know that the 2022 chip is set up as a bridged mono chipset so maybe that is how they have the circuit arranged. Dual mono or twin powered amps have certain advantages in theory but whether they achieve those goals in reailty would be another matter.

One article I came across on the Topping surmised they might be using one transformer for the "+" voltage rail and the other for the "-" rail but then I'm not sure that makes for a truly better amplifier. So I really don't know about the 2022 Topping amp. As one of the gardening radio hosts here in DFW says, "You're now in charge of that research, let us know how it turns out."






" What sensitivity are your speakers? I believe you are using a DIY single driver design?


You know, I've never seen a real spec for the drivers I use. They are a Dave Merrill designed unit which he had built for him in Japan in very small lots - something like 200 at a time. You placed your order and he let you know when the shipment had arrived and when you could expect your drivers. They are supposedly roughly based around a favored Fostex driver but there doesn't appear to be much actual similarity between the Merrill and the run of the mill Fostex unit. Merrill spent his design time getting a smaller SDFR with good top end extension that didn't require a notch filter to tame the all too common rising upper midrange which is the bugaboo of most small SDFR's. Merrill passed away from a heart condition not long after I bought my drivers but I understand they have recently been picked up by another company which will carry on the product line - an Australian company I think.

I couldn't find a single bad review of the driver and everyone I contacted said they were the best small SDFR on the market at the time. But no one actually knew any real specs. They all just said I should buy them and that I wouldn't be sorry. After I had a pair of speakers up and running as Zigmahornets for about a year, CM had a pair he thought he'd never use and we made a deal which gave me a second pair of drivers. I rebuilt the cabinets into a slightly different style of transmission line/quarter wave pipe and I now have two pairs of drivers in a modified quarter-wave pipe which, technically, was described by its originator as an "Omega-TL". The drivers are usually wired (direct from the amplifier to the drivers) as biploes (both drivers, front and rear, moving forward together when they receive a "positive going" signal) so I have an additional 3 or 4 dB sensitivity boost over the single driver Zigmahornets I started with. Just judging by what I hear vs speakers I know to have a pretty trustworthy 90dB, my guess would be the bipoles are no lower than 94dB and probably no higher than about 97dB. With the tubes I run the pair of drivers in each cabinet off the 4 Ohm tap when I connect them as bipoles. If I connect them as dipoles, then I have a bit more cancellation of certain frequencies and the apparent volume is slightly lower. Even with the modified pipe and the two drivers in each cabinet there is no real deep, deep bass to speak of, just enough that without the subwoofer music doesn't sound too thin. I could live with just the pipes if I had to as the balance of the system is pretty good despite lacking the last octave and a half with power. The Omega TL design heavily damps the backwave of the drivers through the first 2/3 of the pipe and has a fairly slow roll out (more gentle than a typical vented system but faster than a sealed system) after system resonance. It claims to extend the bottom end of the driver's response by about 1/3 octave beyond its F3. The DIY sub I put together is supposedly good to about 27Hz at -3dB, so, with the sub in the system, I have good enough bottom end xtension and a very open sense of the room sound which existed in the original recording venue should that be on the recording.

I'll see if the 3.5 watts of the Miniwatt are sufficient. I suspect they will be for my fairly modest sized room (21X17X9.5) and the average listening levels I use. At a comfortabe level I've never felt like I was stressing either of the small wattage T amps even on some of the "bigger" recordings I listen to. But then, Mahler and I have never been great friends. Shostakovich on the other hand ...




.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16901
Registered: May-04
.

The Miniwatt and CM's amp both arrived on Wednesday. I tried the tubed amp first. Geeez, this amp sucks! Not because of power limitations but it just plain sucks at everything. What I am hearing from this amplifier cannot be what the reviewers have gushed over. At present I have no amplifier in the house - including a few 1970's receivers - that have sound as utterly rotten as what this amp is producing. I can't seem to directly contact anyone at the seller (http://aloaudio.com/) by phone, all I get are answering systems. I've sent an email and I'm waiting for a response.



So far, I like the Muse. It does several things quite well. It already beats the Topping I auditioned for 1/2 the price of the Topping amp.


.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16902
Registered: May-04
.

Though both the 2024 and the 2022 chipset seem to be the chips many builders prefer.

I read that post again to find that statement to a slip of the finger. I should have stated, "Though both the 2020 and the 2022 chipset seem to be the chips many builders prefer."

The Topping amp I auditioned uses the 2020 chip as does the Muse amp which CM sent down.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3580
Registered: Jun-07
Awesome Jan. Glad to hear the Muse is at least working out.

Chris - Where do I find a Muse? Ebay?
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3505
Registered: Oct-04
See the ebay link above.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3581
Registered: Jun-07
Ooops missed that. My bad. Thanks Chris.

I see a DT-50A for 179.99 that looks interesting. hmmmm.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16915
Registered: May-04
.

OK, not only is the Miniwatt a piece of crap, the retailer, ALO Audio out of Portland, OR is also crap.


After two nights of disappointing performance from the amplifier, on 11/05 I sent an email (as per their website) to "Ken" at ALO. I never received a reply so, on 11/08 I re-sent the message with a note stating I had not received a response. I also found a spot for direct communication on their website so I sent the same message from there.

Here's the communication so far ...

Originally sent by me on 11/05;
I recently puchased a Miniwatt N3 amplifier (order #4831) which was shipped and arrived here on Wednesday. Over the last two nights I've tried to listen to music through the amp but I find it terribly difficult to spend time with. The amplifier I hear would not seem to have any relationship to the Miniwatt N3 I have seen reviewed as a wonderful, "recommended" product in many ways comparable to and even bettering - according to Sam Tellig - expensive and exotic SETs. Put quite plainly, this amplifier sucks!

The sound of the amp I have is extremely flat and uninvolving. Dynamics and a sense of musical flow and forward movement are all but non-existent. Images are flat and have no definition in space whatsoever. The sound is not necessarily muted but it certainly is "thick". While there is some degree of left to right "staging" and some depth to the presentation, I have 1970's receivers which are more definitive in this regard than is the Miniwatt. I have no amplifier in my house which has sound I would consider to be as poor as what I am getting from the Miniwatt. Nor in twennty five years of selling high end audio and forty plus years of being involved in the hobby can I remember an amplifier which has so utterly disappointed me as does the Miniwatt.

I have recenetly been auditioning a few amplifiers as I am attempting to find a suitable alternative to my large tube amplifiers. My speakers are 93dB sensitive and my room is fairly small - 15X22X9.5 feet. I don't listen at anything above conversational levels. I do not feel this is a matter of the N3's wattage limitations. After two nights of being disappointed by the Miniwatt I replaced it with a five watt T amp. Within the first two measures of music I had my toes tapping and I could easily hear the qualities I find of value in an amplifier but which are totally absent from the Miniwatt. I am not stressing the Miniwatt in anyway and at any volume the sound quality is substandard.

I have checked my connections and the system is wired as it should be. The system sounds fine with every other amplifier I have at my disposal. I had more than a few 12AX7's so I sub'd one for the stock tube with no better results. Both EL84's would seem to be functional. But this amp continues to sound absolutely rotten.

Do you have any suggestions I might try before I give up on the Miniwatt? I can't believe what I have heard over the last two nights is suddenly going to evolve into a gorgeous sounding amplifier with further run in. There are simpy too many things wrong with the current sound from this amplifier. I'd prefer to keep tubes in my system as I have been accustomed to tubed amplifiers for the last thirty years and find solid state and even many of the better T amps to lack in comparison. But, as is, the Miniwatt is unacceptable while a $39 T amp shines in comparison.

Suggestions please.


Thanks,
Jan Vigne



On the 8th I re-sent the message with the note; I had originally sent this email to Ken on the 5th of November. So far I've not received a response.


That day I received this email from "Ken";
Jan,


You can send it back to us and we can test for defect.


ALO
1810 SE 10th Ave
Unit B
Portland Oregon, 97214


Or simply return for refund as per out RMA policy.


http://aloaudio.com/returns.html


Thanks


ALO



I replied to "Ken's" email with;
Are you able to say this is not representative performance from this amplifier? Can I expect better than this from this amp? If so, I would like to hear a properly functioning amplifier.

I understand you are not able to predict how the amp will perform with every system but there are no other amps I have used in this system which display the same problems I hear from the Miniwatt.

If this is what the N3 is like, then I have no interest in dithering with you checking out the amp. Please advise.

Assuming the amp is defective, I would then assume this would be a warranty claim and shipping costs would be picked up by the manufacturer. My experience would be that this is a normal warranty issue for any other manufacturer. Can you verify this? Can you also arrange for shipping to be pre-paid back to you for a check out? I have no interest in turning this purchase into a $500+, weeks long affair of back and forth shipping simply because the amp doesn't perform as advertised. As the final price climbs, I have other amplifiers I could consider.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Jan Vigne



Today I received an email from "Caleb" who did not make any reference to my reply to "Ken" regarding warranty issues;
From: info ALO audio <info@aloaudio.com>
Subject: Re: Miniwatt problems
To: soufiej@sbcglobal.net
Date: Thursday, November 10, 2011, 12:20 PM


Hi Jan,

Looks like the Miniwatt might not be a great fit for you. Because you ordered within the past 30 day you are welcome to send the amplifier back to us once you request an RMA on the website. Once we get the amp and check it to be sure everything is proper working order we can issue a refund, minus a 15% restocking fee. Sorry the Miniwatt didn't work out for you, let me know if you have any other questions or I can help you further.
Thanks,
-Caleb




I am sending this email in response to "Caleb's" message;
There would appear to be some problem with your email contacts. After I received the first message from Ken, I sent this email as a "reply" to his information;

Are you able to say this is not representative performance from this amplifier? Can I expect better than this from this amp? If so, I would like to hear a properly functioning amplifier.



I understand you are not able to predict how the amp will perform with every system but there are no other amps I have used in this system which display the same problems I hear from the Miniwatt.



If this is what the N3 is like, then I have no interest in dithering with you checking out the amp. Please advise.



Assuming the amp is defective, I would then assume this would be a warranty claim and shipping costs would be picked up by the manufacturer. My experience would be that this is a normal warranty issue for any other manufacturer. Can you verify this? Can you also arrange for shipping to be pre-paid back to you for a check out? I have no interest in turning this purchase into a $500+, weeks long affair of back and forth shipping simply because the amp doesn't perform as advertised. As the final price climbs, I have other amplifiers I could consider.


Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Jan Vigne



I don't know whether you received that email or not. But in response to your latest email message regarding a return with a restocking fee ...



That's your answer? Sir, that is, IMO, extremely poor customer service. Rather than suggest this amplifier might have problems which would be covered by a warranty claim, or suggest an agreeable way to rectify my issues, you prefer to walk away from a customer? And with a 15% re-stocking fee when I had the unit in my possession for two days before I tried to contact you?! At 15% of the original $378 purchase price, you just made $56.70 for selling a defective amplifier under the false promise you are representing a high fidelity component!

Quite honestly, that's crap!

You make almost $60 on each returned item that can be sold again?! C'mon! If you don't want to work with me, at least don't take advantage of me. This amp has been reviewed as a giant killer. If it is, then I would expect you to stand by your merchandise. If it is not, then you are running a racket where you make almost $60 off every amplifier when it gets returned. And, I might add, an amplifier which can only be purchased on line without a proper audition until someone gives you the chance to keep $60 of their money just for the opportunity to listen to an amplifier. Every other amplifier I have tried in this system performs far and away to a higher level of fidelity than does the N3. That is "every amplifier", without exception. This suggests to me either this amp is defective or you are working a scam over the internet.

If I sound less than happy, it is because I am. In a situation like this I would at least expect you to wave the re-stocking fee. The amp is in perfect condition as is the packaging. It will be returned in as new condition.

I am trying to have good feelings toward an audio retailer but IMO you are making this very difficult to see you as nothing more than internet hucksters. Please prove me wrong by doing the right thing in this situation; return the amp with a no cost to me exchange for another to try or, knowing this amp to be less than the giant killer it has been portrayed to be, wave the re-stocking fee for an amplifier that should not have left your store with the promise of any sort of performance beyond less than mediocre.

Thank you for your assistance,

Jan Vigne






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Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4867
Registered: Feb-07
Scratch Miniwatt off the list.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3507
Registered: Oct-04
I wonder how that same message might translate into Chinese?

I'm feeling better & better about the lowly Muse ;-)
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16917
Registered: May-04
.


"I wonder how that same message might translate into Chinese?"


I'm not sure about Chinese, but in Portland-Oregonese I'm beginning to think it would be something like, "Who gives a sh*t about one customer?"



Today's communication;
From: info ALO audio <info@aloaudio.com>
Subject: Re: Miniwatt problems
To: "jan vigne" <soufiej@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Friday, November 11, 2011, 12:40 PM


Hi Jan,

Sorry for the apparent confusion in our communication. If the miniwatt is defective, we will gladly replace the unit with a properly functioning unit. If you are simply unsatisfied with the sonic quality of the miniwatt, you are welcome to return the unit, subject to a 15% restocking fee, as per our returns policy: http://aloaudio.com/returns.html
Without the Miniwatt here in our shop to test, we can not properly make a determination as to condition of the Miniwatt or its performance.
Please follow the RMA procedure if you wish to return the item.

Thanks,
-Caleb




My reply;
Really? $60 for two days of listening to an amplifier? An amplifier where you are the only US retailer and you only sell through internet purchases without an audition? $60?!!!

If you were in my position what would you think of that deal?

As I suggested in my previous email, a defective amp shouldn't cost me money to return after two days use. I've sold high end audio and I understand some components do not match with others even though the customer wants to try the gear. But I will say again, not one amplifier I have in the house or have heard with my equipment has sounded as bad as the Miniwatt does. The Glow amp sounded far better and has the same tube compliment and no more real wattage. Several five watt T amps are doing fine and playing without stress through my speakers. There is no technical reason for the Miniwatt to not be doing well with my equipment unless what I am hearing is the sound of the Miniwatt and what I've read in numerous reviews is a complete lie. I don't tend to think a half dozen independent reviewers all care to mislead their readers.

I would expect you should be able to predict with a fair amount of accuracy whether the amp should sound as I have described in a previous message. Is the Miniwatt dynamically flat? Is there no sense of musical flow and momentum? Can the amp not produce a credible soundstage to save its life? Is music played through the Miniwatt thick and facile? Does music played through the Miniwatt sound as I have described it or as the reviewers have claimed?

Or, is there some trick to getting the Miniwatt to perform as the reviewers have described? I ask because you seem far too willing to just take a $57.60 return fee and move on rather than assisting a customer. You have the market cornered on an amplifier people might want to audition after reading the numerous glowing reviews which describe this amp as a being quite the opposite of what I am experiencing. From my perspective I've had more than one alternative that has cleaned the Miniwatt's clock, sometimes for no more than $39. If I just didn't care for the Miniwatt's sonics, as you put it, this would be a different issue IMO. But I used this amp for two nights during which time it did not perform as advertised in any manner other than it made sound.

However, for the opportunity to audition a product which can only be purchased from your shop without a prior audition, you want $57.60 for two nights and what would appear to be no customer support beyond "you pay the shipping to return the amp and then we'll decide whether you owe us $57.60"?

If you were in my position what would you think of that deal?

Sorry, Caleb, this is coming across as a very unpleasant internet scam.

Will you agree to wave the 15% re-stocking fee or pick up shipping charges both ways for a replacement under warranty? Or, are you telling me this is the best I can expect from Miniwatt and from ALO?

Thank you for your consideration,

Jan Vigne







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Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2441
Registered: May-06
CM, that Muse is a nice little amp. Not right for my system or my room but I would consider one the next time I put together a small office near field listening system.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3513
Registered: Oct-04
It's not terribly versatile, but it does what does very well.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3521
Registered: Oct-04
Any further thoughts on the Muse Jan?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16929
Registered: May-04
.

Not right now, Chris. I like the amp overall, my criticisms are small and not exactly similar to MW's. Whether it makes the final cut isn't something I'm certain about just yet.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3526
Registered: Oct-04
I think that the original Sonic Impact T-Amp had the ability to function as a monoblock power amp (that sounds funny) with the change of a jumper setting. I've never investigated whether this is an option with other T-Amps?
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2442
Registered: May-06
CM, I wondered the same thing when I was demoing the Muse. There are some that can be. JV has more insight to that.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16934
Registered: May-04
.

Everything I've read about the 2020 and 2024 chips - the '24 was the original SI set - states clearly the amps cannot be bridged for higher power. Supposedly, the chips have already been bridged and doing so again would destroy the amp.

I'd have to look at more information on the higher powered chipsets used in amps like the Virtue and the higher wattage Toppings. I believe those amps can be bridged as mono units but I'd have to check before saying so in fact. And I seem to remember the Texas Instruments chip being touted as a T amp alternative can be bridged. I've just not seen much subjective information about that new chipset though.

Of course, with the way I have my bipole speakers set up, I could use two Muse amps (one per channel from the pre amp) and run one channel of each amp to each half of the driver set in each side. They are certainly inexpensive enough that I'd already come to that possibility as a "what if".

Right now, though, I need to sort out what's going to happen with the Miniwatt and my cash.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3527
Registered: Oct-04
Sorry for the confusion, but it was the TRENDS TA10 (which I also owned) that allowed for a jumper setting to bypass the preamp, turning it into a power amp, not a monoblock.

http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/trends_ta10_e.html
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16938
Registered: May-04
.

Did you ever do a direct comparison between the Trends and the Muse? The Trends used the 2024 chipset, I believe, but had some very high quality parts and construction.

Apparently, the Trends amp is no longer available though as a new purchase.

The Audiocostruire amp has the capacity to jumper through the volume control position on the board to create a straight power amp. If you're handy with a soldering iron and don't mind voiding whatever warranty you would have, you can do the same with any of the T amps using a passive pre amp-style volume control.

Technically, most of these T amps which are sold with a volume control have nothing which would qualify as a "pre amp". There are no gain stages or buffering stages in the components, just a passive volume control which can only decrease - by adding resistance to the incoming signal - the output level of the source player before it arrives at the power amp section. So bypassing the vc or swapping the stock vc for a higher quality unit makes sense from a sound quality viewpoint.

I've seen several reviews which claim to have improved the "gain" of the T amps by adding an active pre amp in front of the T amp. I get confused about the meaning of the writer's intent when I read such comments. The "gain" of the amp is fixed internally and what they are more likely responding to would be the addition of the active pre amp adding a greater sense of life to the music. Or, maybe, they don't understand how a passive pre amp functions and they've otherwise had a source player that didn't suit well with the impedance requirements of a passive pre amp. Possibly they didn't understand how a passive pre amp's vc tends to have an ideal position where the impedance matches make it sound "best" and as the vc deviates from that position, the sound will inevitably worsen. Or, they have been responding to the pretty cheap vc included in many of these T amps and bypassing it by running the vc to its full rotation takes the road block out of the signal path.

But, no matter what you put in front of the power amplifier, that power amp will clip at the same output level - there's no "gain change" involved. When the amp has run out of juice, that's all there is.

The amp's internal gain could be increased or decreased by changing the input capacitors which affect the amount of global negative feedback in the amp. But, otherwise, adding another gain stage in front of the T amp won't by itself change the "gain" of the T amp. But, still, the power amp has "X" amount of voltage/current to deliver to the load. Once it has reached that level of output, there's nothing more that can be added to it.





.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2617
Registered: Oct-07
http://electronics-diy.com/schematics/797/CMOY_SCHEMATIC.png

In this schematic of the well-known CMoy headphone amp, R3/4 and R23/24 are the feedback loops. The ratio of resistors used, in this case 10:1 define the gain.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3528
Registered: Oct-04
I shant be soldering anything anytime soon.

P.S. I've got one of those CMoy amps too.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2619
Registered: Oct-07
After 35 years spending part of each day doing microscope inspections of other peoples screw ups, my eyes are shot. I used to teach a short class in microscope setup, even to new engineers. Setting the distance between occulars and adjusting for differences between eyes as well as illumination and some advanced stuff like Nomarski optics and polarization were covered.
In order to solder small things I built myself a stable table with one of those alligator clip circuit board holders with an aimable magnifier glass. I can see well enough for doing DIP sockets and 1/4watt resistors. I'd like a good soldering station for Christmas, to replace my ANCIENT Ungar Imperial iron.....Please keep me on the list!
Andre is the one who basically got me back into building stuff....Where IS he, anyway?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16943
Registered: May-04
.

We're low on Andre's priorities list nowdays. I imagine Andre spends a good amount of time each day putting pictures back on the wall and lamps on tables after his gigantimongous subwoofer knocks them down.




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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2620
Registered: Oct-07
I'd almost forgotten about The Sub.
Reconstruction of damaged foundations, however, comes well before rehanging the pictures.

He darn well better be pursuing his education....per plan.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17250
Registered: May-04
.

I had the opportunity to attend this year's Lone Star Audio Fest on May 5th. One of the exhibitors, whose equipment I have appreciated in years past, was showing his speakers with the top o'the line (torroidal equipped) Topping amplifier. Judging from what I heard with the Topping in the signal path vs his small tube amp, I would have to say - based on this example - the Topping sound is quite similar throughout the product line up. Therefore, anyone considering a Topping amp can, IMO, use my above comments; http://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/668896.html#POST1978856 to be representative of the entire Topping line - based on my experiences with two Topping amplifiers.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3714
Registered: Jun-07
Jan, I just picked up a Topping TP-22mkII for 89 dollars shipped. Should be here Tuesday. Picked it up for a friend and will see how it sounds with the Sttaf's in my room.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17270
Registered: May-04
.

Let me know what you think of the amp's performance. I've now heard two Topping amp powered systems and I'd say the amp's house sound is fairly common to each system.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3715
Registered: Jun-07
Will do Jan. Should have it Tuesday.

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