davedotco said:Changing the subject slightly, I would be interested in how you are getting on with the Red Rose Classics. They, and the smaller Rosebuds, have some interesting qualities and I really like those ribbon tweeters, I was quite familier with them at the time but have not heard them for some years. They do seem to need some power though, we used the RR Afirmation amplifier, a 'variable' class A design, somewhere between the Krell 'sustained plateau' and true class A.
Where do I start?
I've used and loved Rosebuds. I've sold them some time in August. Missed what they did instantly. For unamplified music they were a dream and as you say the ribbons added so much. I knew ultimately they were not the right speaker for me. I needed something more universal, something that could handle heavy metal as well as jazz. I'm a big fan of ribbon tweeters anyway so I've actually contacted the only person in the UK I knew ever had a pair of Classics on sale. He somehow didn't sell them and eventually I got them.
Classics are a different beast altogether as you say. He also run his on the end of RR Affirmation (250Wpc) and then Musical Fidelity KW250's (250Wpc mono blocks). When he told me that I'd need a minimum of 200Wpc my heart sunk When I brought them home I only had a measly Naim 5i-2 (50Wpc) and Roksan L3 (120Wpc). I've reasearch Red Rose and found that Mark Levinson created the whole range so that it can be run with valves. Whether this applies to Classics I'm not sure as information is scarce.
As I expected by earlier experiences with power hungry Jamo Concert 7s Naim couldn't manage to drive them well. Felt shouty and uncomfortable at around 10 o'clock on the dial. Low level listening was fine but dynamics non existent at these SPL levels. Roksan L3 (120Wpc) on the other hand did no such thing. That gave me hope. The bass was well controlled though big and the whole presentation quite warm. It had a thump when it needed, scale and authority. However I knew I was missing out on detail.
Somewhere around that time I've started a thread regarding PRaT and Drummerman suggested Densen. Thanks DM
What did you get?
There was a second hand B-110 from their UK dealer with only one previous owner and 12 months warranty. I've dealt with them before and decided to give them a call. After a brief chat I knew I had to give it a try. Ok, it's only 60Wpc into 8 ohms but it doubles to 120Wpc into 4 ohms. But looking at specs and design I was begining to think it may be interesting at least. Especially as I could always send it back. Power supply 360VA, 60.000uF for only 60Wpc and no global feedback. At the very same time an Abrahamsen V2.0 came up for sale and I was a little torn. But considering I can afford a new Abrahamsen I went with Densen.
For goodness sake... how does it sound already?
Red Rose do a few things very, very well. Top to bottom, airy and precise in treble. No harshness. Midrange is lush and open and Densen helps here with stunning amount of detail. I am actually selling my AKG K712 now as my speakers can deliver more detail than these headphones that are considered to be studio reference. Vocals float in a 3d soundstage and have this ghostly nature appearing and disappering in thin air. Bass is very tuneful. Texture is just superb, the sound of double bass is just right. Not too thich not too thin and harmonics are done superbly thanks to ribbons. Densen made a difference here as Roksan just had too much bass with not enough texture. I could easily listen to Densen uncorrected that was not possible with Roksan, I had to attentuate bass. It would just excite the room too much.
Are they only good with unamplified music like the Rosebuds? No, sir. They feel as comfortable with slow grinding guitars of Soundgarden as Charlie Haden's bass. Just as at ease with blood pumping, thumping At the Drive In as with the new "Nat King Cole & Me" by Gregory Porter.
What about the amp?
Thanks to Densen the presentation is very musical. It's not the Naim "I'm going to get you" musical. It's not the energetic Roksan, that I felt made everything sound slighlty faster than it was. Densen just lets music flow. Slow tracks are just that but you can feel the groove. The uptempo ones will make you want to move. Transients are repoduce very well and dynamic shifts are more than I can handle. Where Naim would feel uncomfortable playing music beyound certain volume with Densen I feel uncomfortable listening to music beyond certain volume. It stays composed and in control from low volume all the way. Low level listening is also very pleasant with no lack of detail or imaging. The one difference that I was always not sure about Naim was how it handled cymbals. They just sounded a little artificial and shimmery on most tracks. It's fine with some speakers but isn't reproduce all that well with ribbons.
Downsides you say? Sure a couple...
Speakers are huge and heavy and I hardly made it up the stairs. They have a small sweetspot which in my case is not a problem although I'm at the closest I'd suggest to using them. It would not be possible in that setup if it wasn't for room treatment. Would they sound better with a more powerful amp? Perhaps, but at the volume I require Densen produces more than I bargained for. Would they sound better in a bigger room? Sure but that's what I've got at present.
What about the amp it sounds perfect?
Not so fast... it isn't but the synergy is amazing. So what's not so good about it? On day one I switched the amp and played music all day at background levels not really paying much attention to it. Listened to a few tracks at the end of the day and initial thought were positive. Sadly I didn't have time or energy for more. The next day I decided to do some critical listening. Oh, no what have I done? It sounds, tinny, lacks timbre... not impressed at all. Amps was off all night and I've started from cold so maybe it need some warm up? One hour? no..., two hours? surely... not quite but better, two and a half? yes, we're getting there
So now it stays on all the time just like the Naim did before it.
Is that all? Not quite, it's very sensitive. It picks up and amplifies clicks from my network mains adapter. Perhaps a fancy power lead will be in order.
Where do you go from here?
I'll put some tunes on and enjoy.
Before I considered a DAC upgrade but not any more. Built a rack so that's also done. Don't really need more room treatment. Equipment wise I'm good for a while. Maybe some fancy cables just to see how they play on a more revealing system
Do you have any pics?
Have a look here if you haven't already