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Adam A7x great sound for the money works well with Hugo2!
My good friend and I have bought Omega Alnicos, he drives them successfully with Hugo2, and I drive them with Bludave as the second system. The purity of the sound and the huge stage are impressive, it is difficult and nearly impossible to return to a power amp. Because speaker cables are not more than 2m at the moment, I made up 2 sets with 0.5mm silver wire, 2 wires twisted with a drill. Then I soldered low mass rca plugs on the dac side and hollow bananas on the other. Our Omegas are bipolar, a second driver and 4 binding posts are on the back, so we can switch between 4 Ohm and 16Ohm.
Very cool. How is the sub bass. Do you think a sub is needed?
How do they compare to various powered monitors like the Focals?
When your DAVE arrives, let me know how it pairs with the Focal SM-9s. What cables are you using from DAC to speakers? Also, is a sub needed or is the bass extension adequate for most music??
I am deferring the serious cable experimentation until the DAVE arrives.
On sub -- the SM-9s are rated to 30Hz +/- 3dB, however, in both practice and measurement, I find it's really more like 40Hz.
In practice, while you can hear low notes (e.g. a good test is Boz Scagg's Thanks to You at around 26.5 seconds -- the final synthesizer note which is around 35Hz), you don't feel the rumble in your stomach. For this reason, I am not of the -- go unamped/no sub route. I need the rumble.
As to measurement, I am providing an overlay of 2 SPL sine sweeps of 15Hz to 200Hz -- the red is with sub, the green w/o. The absolute levels are a bit mismatched betw the 2 curves due to moving the mic while positioning the sub, but you can easily see the picture. Again, this is pre-DAVE, but simple sine sweeps should not make a difference.
P.S. In interpreting these sweeps, I do have room modes at 47Hz and 120Hz that've been mitigated, but not eliminated, with about 90 Sabins of absorption.
Powered monitors and subs have built in amps, you will destroy the purity a bit.
The Omega Alnico's resolution power is really amazing, even compared to my hornspeakers.
When used straight from Dave or even Hugo 2 you want very high efficiency speakers, 94 dB and above. With tower models been told that you don't really need a subwoofer as there is more bass in a larger cabinet.Even top range Omegas won't go down below 35 Hz, but is more down to listening setup, and speaker build, rather then numbers.
Is always worth listening first if possible, to know if the sound suits your needs
I think to get the most out of Chord DACs with active speakers, the active speaker should not do DSP or digital crossover because that inevitably means the speakers use their own internal ADC and DACs. Moreover, I don’t think pairing Chord DACs with class D amplifiers are ideal. As Rob Watts has said in the past, class D amplifiers switch at most at 4-500kHz whereas Chord DACs switch at 104MHz and first stage upsampling goes to 768kHz. Using class D amplifiers loses some of the benefits of improved transient timing from the Chord DACs. I actually think that’s why even though Chord DAVE measured great by John Atkinson at Stereophile, he didn’t go wild about the DAC because he paired it with class D amplifiers. That’s why he thought DAVE sounded similar to other high-end DACs.
With the Omega SAMs I found the low end surprisingly good (rated low 40s but placement matters) we found listening to them by themselves completely acceptable. However, when we kicked in my JL Audio f112v2 (low pass at ~45Hz, level set to match the omegas, driven straight from DAVE xlr outputs), it added the something extra that made it a no compromise setup
When our Omega Compact Audio Monitors get here, I’m looking forward to offloading the bass from the Omegas even more, and seeing how that mix impacts the sound. My hypothesis is that more focus for the Omegas on the mids and highs will improve sound more than any loss of the Chord magic below 50Hz with the sub, but we’ll see
This driving high efficiency speakers direct from DAVE is a new world for me. Any other high efficiency speakers out there that take what the Omegas can do and elevates even higher?
What does the above mean and are there commercially made speaker cables terminated as you describe for those of us not able to make our own. Which Omega towers have best synergy with Chord DACs?
Is good to check them out as better or not alternative to Omegas :
According to Louis X8RS towers.
I would be very suspicious of that ‘ruler’ flat frequency graph tbh. In the history of speaker design no speaker designer has ever been remotely close to that graph. When people say a speaker is flat in the response it is relative. Then you have to consider the off axis 15/30/45 degree measurements because unless you have exceptional room acoustic treatment, what you will hear is a median of all those responses. Tests by Revel have shown that just 14% of the ‘on-axis’ firing makes up our brains understanding of a speakers sound characteristic. The remainder is significantly influenced by short and long reflections. This is how our brains recreate the space. If you think about it firing sound directly at you for acoustic instruments is not natural. Only absolute SotA speakers have designs which come relatively close to linear in that on-axis, off-axis test. Having said that, one exception I have come across which approaches the problem from a different design strategy is MBL’s 360-degree-radiating omnidirectional spheres. This is an interesting concept because it fires in ‘all’ directions just as an acoustic instrument does. It has the unique benefit of providing a frequency signature which is consistent on all axis’. So as long as the frequency signature is relatively flat, that is what your brain will tell you. It has the added benefit that it performs better and is more believable as a performance ‘without’ room acoustic treatment (apart from maybe a little bass control if needed). I have yet to have a home demo but I have read it is very like listening to live music.
To return to that flat line frequency signature above, it highlights to me that the comments attributed to the speaker should equally be read with a large dose of cynicism.
We ordered Super Alnico tower's first, then I noticed that their impedance is too low for Hugo2/Dave. Louis recommended a solution with one driver on the back, and both chassis have their own binding posts. Finally we decided to have the chassis on the wide panels, similar to the Junior's. Regarding the cables I would look for someone with soldering skills. Start with a thin enamelled copper wire (low mass!!).
If the new Chord digital amps turn out just to be a more powerful version of the Dave amps then driving speakers direct from Dave may be a temporary distraction.
What do you mean by "Start with a thin enamelled copper wire (low mass!!)." ?
and why are you suggesting a low mass wire?