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How to make a SS amp sound like a Class A?

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CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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Rethep said:
plastic penguin said:
Can't really ever seeing myself buying a valve or a Class A amp... just not practical: They tend to use more electricity than the average SS amp, proned to overheating (my amp is used between 4-6 hours most days), and I think those reasons are more of a compromise than my one or two current issues.
Depending on your musical taste, (even cheap) valve-amps give you qualities an (even expensive, whatever class) ss-amp can only dream of! Only the bass is a different story. Even cheap ss-amps give you stronger bass than expensive valve-amps. So, if your main interest is loud and/or rythmic popmusic, look elsewhere. Otherwise, depending on the importance of your energy-bill, a valve-amp will be the best choice imo.
I many ways you are right Rethep, however, wearing my Foundation Audio hat . . . I worked for almost 10 years with all sorts of speakers and with various manufacturers, specialising in stand mounted designs.

Cheap valve amps can be a bit thick at the bottom end, however, support the speaker right and you will be surprised just how capable both speaker and amp are. Move on to 'proper' valve designs which dont have to cost a kings ransom, taking the same speaker/stand technology and there is as much capability as SS . . . The problem here is perceived volume??? Does one want loud, distorted and clipped, or, is it musical power one prefers? Just to put a spanner in the works, the hybrid 'valve/mosfet' rout offers the best of both worlds . . . ;)

Foundation designs and fillings were unique, copied but never equalled . . . as far as I can see even now, modern stands/filling generally fall short? By cleaning up the base, allowing the base driver to dig deep, opening a clear window in to the mid and high frequencies, putting reality in to the soundstage in the process, all done with valve amps.

Sadly a by-gone era . . . a personal and biosed view some would say . . . I have re created it and listen to the musicality of a modest hybrid valve system today?

CJSF
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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CJSF said:
Rethep said:
plastic penguin said:
Can't really ever seeing myself buying a valve or a Class A amp... just not practical: They tend to use more electricity than the average SS amp, proned to overheating (my amp is used between 4-6 hours most days), and I think those reasons are more of a compromise than my one or two current issues.
Depending on your musical taste, (even cheap) valve-amps give you qualities an (even expensive, whatever class) ss-amp can only dream of! Only the bass is a different story. Even cheap ss-amps give you stronger bass than expensive valve-amps. So, if your main interest is loud and/or rythmic popmusic, look elsewhere. Otherwise, depending on the importance of your energy-bill, a valve-amp will be the best choice imo.
I many ways you are right Rethep, however, wearing my Foundation Audio hat . . . I worked for almost 10 years with all sorts of speakers and with various manufacturers, specialising in stand mounted designs.

Cheap valve amps can be a bit thick at the bottom end, however, support the speaker right and you will be surprised just how capable both speaker and amp are. Move on to 'proper' valve designs which dont have to cost a kings ransom, taking the same speaker/stand technology and there is as much capability as SS . . . The problem here is perceived volume??? Does one want loud, distorted and clipped, or, is it musical power one prefers? Just to put a spanner in the works, the hybrid 'valve/mosfet' rout offers the best of both worlds . . . ;)

Foundation designs and fillings were unique, copied but never equalled . . . as far as I can see even now, modern stands/filling generally fall short? Foundation cleaned up the base harmonics, allowing the base driver to dig deep, opening a clear window in to the mid and high frequencies, putting reality in to the soundstage in the process, all done with valve amps.

Sadly a by-gone era . . . a personal and biosed view some would say . . . I have re created it and listen to the musicality of a modest hybrid valve system today?

CJSF
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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CJSF said:
plastic penguin said:
So if valve amps aren't warmer than SS why choose them? What makes them stand out from the SS crowd?
Warm, what is warm??? thick, woolly, warm and detailed??? No PP valves are musical with potential control and authority that just does not come over on a lots of SS. Some valves are warm(er) but then one could say SS is cold and analytical . . . descriptions that are personal, any more than trying to describe an acoustic in an auditorium, there are all sorts?

I like the 'Croft' hybrid amps, they have a valve pre side doing all the good things that valves do to delicate input signals, then a meaty Mosfet power side, giving controlled welly!!! if you want welly that is. I partner my Croft with PMC speakers, some dont like that?

CJSF
Okay, not heard a valve amp for aover 20 years. You say good valve amps are 'musical' and the 'potential' for control.

My view has always been that any amp worth its sort will be musical, regardless of whether they are valve, SS or steam powered.

I've always had SS amps, not because of any perceived advantages but more accessible, certainly to a teenager.
 

paradiziac

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Jan 8, 2011
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I've got 2 SS amps, one is pure class A amp and the other is a class AB amp. Adele's voice sounds OK on both amps...husky without making you cringe (a good test album IMO).

I agree with electro's description, but I don't think class AB crossover distortion is all that significant until other aspects of your system are really well sorted.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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plastic penguin said:
So if valve amps aren't warmer than SS why choose them? What makes them stand out from the SS crowd?
....because (imo), a good valve amp often preserves the emotion of the music, by having a mid-range that is more natural than the greater majority of SS amps (especially the non Class A ones).
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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plastic penguin said:
TBH, it doesn't struggle with any voices. Even poor quality recordings vocals sound beautifully clear, but certain albums like Adele 18, Dido, Joss Stone's 'Mind, Body & Soul' lacks a bit of depth or realism. On the flipside Kate Bush sounds wonderful and believable, likewise Nora Jones and Sheryl Crow.

The answer is certainly speaker related. I have a very good idea which ones I'd finally audition, not straight away.
The difference that you are hearing in the music, between albums, is going to be down to the recording/mastering. They are the only variables. Changing equipment will affect the sound across the board, but recording weaknesses/differences, will still be evident regardless of equipment used.

A speaker change will have the greatest effect on overall sound, but I wouldn't know where to start with advice on the speakers to select.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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CnoEvil said:
plastic penguin said:
So if valve amps aren't warmer than SS why choose them? What makes them stand out from the SS crowd?
....because (imo), a good valve amp often preserves the emotion of the music, by having a mid-range that is more natural than the greater majority of SS amps (especially the non Class A ones).
The vocals on mine have emotion and texture, but with the aforementioned artists/albums there just seems to be something missing, not sure what though.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Overdose said:
plastic penguin said:
TBH, it doesn't struggle with any voices. Even poor quality recordings vocals sound beautifully clear, but certain albums like Adele 18, Dido, Joss Stone's 'Mind, Body & Soul' lacks a bit of depth or realism. On the flipside Kate Bush sounds wonderful and believable, likewise Nora Jones and Sheryl Crow.

The answer is certainly speaker related. I have a very good idea which ones I'd finally audition, not straight away.
A speaker change will have the greatest effect on overall sound, but I wouldn't know where to start with advice on the speakers to select.
I do. I have a very firm shortlist. It may surprise you but there's no PMC, MA or Focal involved.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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plastic penguin said:
The vocals on mine have emotion and texture, but with the aforementioned artists/albums there just seems to be something missing, not sure what though.
....liquid mid-range magic.
 

Covenanter

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Jul 20, 2012
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plastic penguin said:
Covenanter said:
PS WRT Adele the recording of "21" is to my mind (ears) very harsh and metallic (I suspect it has been compressed to make it sound good on cheap equipment) and I would never judge a hifi on the basis of how it sounded. In some ways it sounds better on my car's CD player than on my hifi!

What other female voices does it struggle with?

Chris
TBH, it doesn't struggle with any voices. Even poor quality recordings vocals sound beautifully clear, but certain albums like Adele 18, Dido, Joss Stone's 'Mind, Body & Soul' lacks a bit of depth or realism. On the flipside Kate Bush sounds wonderful and believable, likewise Nora Jones and Sheryl Crow.

The answer is certainly speaker related. I have a very good idea which ones I'd finally audition, not straight away.
I don't have all the same music as you but on mine Adele 18 is good (21 metallic as I said before), DIDO No Angel is excellent both voice and accompliment, Nora Jones very strong. So what speakers are you thinking of?

Chris
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Covenanter said:
plastic penguin said:
Covenanter said:
PS WRT Adele the recording of "21" is to my mind (ears) very harsh and metallic (I suspect it has been compressed to make it sound good on cheap equipment) and I would never judge a hifi on the basis of how it sounded. In some ways it sounds better on my car's CD player than on my hifi!

What other female voices does it struggle with?

Chris
TBH, it doesn't struggle with any voices. Even poor quality recordings vocals sound beautifully clear, but certain albums like Adele 18, Dido, Joss Stone's 'Mind, Body & Soul' lacks a bit of depth or realism. On the flipside Kate Bush sounds wonderful and believable, likewise Nora Jones and Sheryl Crow.

The answer is certainly speaker related. I have a very good idea which ones I'd finally audition, not straight away.
I don't have all the same music as you but on mine Adele 18 is good (21 metallic as I said before), DIDO No Angel is excellent both voice and accompliment, Nora Jones very strong. So what speakers are you thinking of?

Chris
Totem Model-1 Signature (possibly), ProAc Response D1 or D2, Sonus Faber. That's the starting point, and see how it goes from there.
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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Totem Model-1 Signature (possibly), ProAc Response D1 or D2, Sonus Faber. That's the starting point, and see how it goes from there.

[/quote]

It will be different . . . but will it be better . . . ? Only to start the search again in a couple of years time when the itch starts?

CJSF
 

Covenanter

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Jul 20, 2012
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plastic penguin said:
Covenanter said:
plastic penguin said:
Covenanter said:
PS WRT Adele the recording of "21" is to my mind (ears) very harsh and metallic (I suspect it has been compressed to make it sound good on cheap equipment) and I would never judge a hifi on the basis of how it sounded. In some ways it sounds better on my car's CD player than on my hifi!

What other female voices does it struggle with?

Chris
TBH, it doesn't struggle with any voices. Even poor quality recordings vocals sound beautifully clear, but certain albums like Adele 18, Dido, Joss Stone's 'Mind, Body & Soul' lacks a bit of depth or realism. On the flipside Kate Bush sounds wonderful and believable, likewise Nora Jones and Sheryl Crow.

The answer is certainly speaker related. I have a very good idea which ones I'd finally audition, not straight away.
I don't have all the same music as you but on mine Adele 18 is good (21 metallic as I said before), DIDO No Angel is excellent both voice and accompliment, Nora Jones very strong. So what speakers are you thinking of?

Chris
Totem Model-1 Signature (possibly), ProAc Response D1 or D2, Sonus Faber. That's the starting point, and see how it goes from there.
I'd be fascinated to know how you came to your shortlist. As and when I want to upgrade my system I'll look at speakers so any guidance gratefully received.

Chris
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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Covenanter said:
plastic penguin said:
Covenanter said:
plastic penguin said:
Covenanter said:
PS WRT Adele the recording of "21" is to my mind (ears) very harsh and metallic (I suspect it has been compressed to make it sound good on cheap equipment) and I would never judge a hifi on the basis of how it sounded. In some ways it sounds better on my car's CD player than on my hifi!

What other female voices does it struggle with?

Chris
TBH, it doesn't struggle with any voices. Even poor quality recordings vocals sound beautifully clear, but certain albums like Adele 18, Dido, Joss Stone's 'Mind, Body & Soul' lacks a bit of depth or realism. On the flipside Kate Bush sounds wonderful and believable, likewise Nora Jones and Sheryl Crow.

The answer is certainly speaker related. I have a very good idea which ones I'd finally audition, not straight away.
I don't have all the same music as you but on mine Adele 18 is good (21 metallic as I said before), DIDO No Angel is excellent both voice and accompliment, Nora Jones very strong. So what speakers are you thinking of?

Chris
Totem Model-1 Signature (possibly), ProAc Response D1 or D2, Sonus Faber. That's the starting point, and see how it goes from there.
I'd be fascinated to know how you came to your shortlist. As and when I want to upgrade my system I'll look at speakers so any guidance gratefully received.

Chris
Well, love the Totem Arros but too unstable to risk that sort of money, so hoping the sigs will be even better and add equilibrium; never heard any ProAcs but hear they are fairly smooth in the top end; Sonus Fabers not heard but come with a very loyal folloeing - and they look the biz.

As and when I let you know. :)
 

Singslinger

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Jul 31, 2010
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A short postscript about warm-sounding speakers - perhaps try something from Sonus Faber? I'm sure the Leema has enough grunt.

Cheers
 

Macspur

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May 3, 2010
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A word of caution on the Totems PP, they too have a metal tweeter . I tried them and didn't like them at all... ProAc are superb and do try and get a demo of Harbeth when the time comes.

Mac
 

CnoEvil

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Macspur said:
A word of caution on the Totems PP, they too have a metal tweeter . I tried them and didn't like them at all... ProAc are superb and do try and get a demo of Harbeth when the time comes.

Mac
That was also my finding.......which isn't really surprising, as we usually like the same components.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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Macspur said:
A word of caution on the Totems PP, they too have a metal tweeter . I tried them and didn't like them at all... ProAc are superb and do try and get a demo of Harbeth when the time comes.
Harbeths have SEAS aluminium dome tweeters.
 

edplaysdrums42

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May 2, 2009
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I can whole heartedly recommend Harbeth, beautiful midrange, easy to listen to and great at lower levels. They might be a bit too laid back for some types of music though

Cheers, Ed
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Macspur said:
A word of caution on the Totems PP, they too have a metal tweeter . I tried them and didn't like them at all... ProAc are superb and do try and get a demo of Harbeth when the time comes.

Mac
Strange that - when the question was posed, some time back, about metal domed tweeters, most said it made little or no difference or no preference http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/soft-dome-v-metal-dome-tweetersdo-you-have-a-preferance

Certainly to my ears Totem's tweeters are more forgiving than the MAs, but I have only heard them with the Leema and Moon 1-3 (entry-level model).
 

drummerman

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plastic penguin said:
Macspur said:
A word of caution on the Totems PP, they too have a metal tweeter . I tried them and didn't like them at all... ProAc are superb and do try and get a demo of Harbeth when the time comes.

Mac
Strange that - when the question was posed, some time back, about metal domed tweeters, most said it made little or no difference or no preference http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/soft-dome-v-metal-dome-tweetersdo-you-have-a-preferance

Certainly to my ears Totem's tweeters are more forgiving than the MAs, but I have only heard them with the Leema and Moon 1-3 (entry-level model).
Probably more a question of implementation than material used, having said that, some of the best treble I have heard in dynamic headphones have originated by fostex/foster made diaphragms which happen to be microfibre rather than plastic or metal.

regards
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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drummerman said:
plastic penguin said:
Macspur said:
A word of caution on the Totems PP, they too have a metal tweeter . I tried them and didn't like them at all... ProAc are superb and do try and get a demo of Harbeth when the time comes.

Mac
Strange that - when the question was posed, some time back, about metal domed tweeters, most said it made little or no difference or no preference http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/soft-dome-v-metal-dome-tweetersdo-you-have-a-preferance

Certainly to my ears Totem's tweeters are more forgiving than the MAs, but I have only heard them with the Leema and Moon 1-3 (entry-level model).
Probably more a question of implementation than material used, having said that, some of the best treble I have heard in dynamic headphones have originated by fostex/foster made diaphragms which happen to be microfibre rather than plastic or metal.

regards
Quite right. :)

Nice to see you back, DM.
 

Electro

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Mar 30, 2011
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PP ,

Have you considered trying some acoustic treatment such as wall panel absorbers or diffusers ?

Do you suffer from flutter echo in your room , an easy test is to clap you hands loudly once and listen for a fluttery echo a split second later .

If you are suffering from this effect then it might be the cause of the inconsistent mid range performance of you system but unfortunately no change of equipment or speakers will cure it , but strategically placed acoustic wall panels can really help.

Gik Acoustics are very good at sorting this sort of problem if you have one :)

http://www.gikacoustics.co.uk/
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Electro said:
PP ,

Have you considered trying some acoustic treatment such as wall panel absorbers or diffusers ?

Do you suffer from flutter echo in your room , an easy test is to clap you hands loudly once and listen for a fluttery echo a split second later .

If you are suffering from this effect then it might be the cause of the inconsistent mid range performance of you system but unfortunately no change of equipment or speakers will cure it , but strategically placed acoustic wall panels can really help.

Gik Acoustics are very good at sorting this sort of problem if you have one :)

http://www.gikacoustics.co.uk/
Nope - the only time I've experienced that is when the curtains are removed and/or the furniture is moved out to clean the carpet.

TBH, it'll difficult trying to persuade Mrs. P. that acoustic panels are a good thing.
 

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