Competition Closed...but what is in the Retro – Stereo 50?
Jul 20, 2016 at 7:02 AM Post #466 of 516
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  I had a look at the sensitivities, but it's hard to get an idea without some sort of baseline.
 
I tried to use my current set up to measure the volume level I'd like to achieve (using an app), but without using some sort of standardised tone(?) and the LS-3.5 numbers, it's still meaningless.
 
 

 
Hi,
 
For you and for anyone else who wishes to get into this:
 
One way of testing is if you have a multimeter - play -20dBFS pink noise
 
(e.g. from iFi's burn in tracks)
http://ifi-audio.com/audio_blog/burn-in-like-a-pro/
 
to set the level at the speaker binding posts to a known level (say 2.83V or more or less depending on how efficient the speakers are and how much you like pink noise) and then measure the level using your app at a fixed distance (say 1m). 
 
Using this signal will be similar to the average level of a crescendo of a classical orchestra, or the outro jam of a live Jazz band on well recorded CD's (most modern Pop will sound 'louder' due to heavy compression). So a good 'serious' recording will have the loudest passages at similar levels as the sound level of this 'pink noise' signal.
 
This gives you a 'baseline' which, while not absolute (as in dB/W) can be replicated easily anywhere and allows comparison. You can then determine the relative loudness of different speakers on the same signal (take note that room size and acoustic treatment play a role here) and then you can also consider the absolute SPL.
 
As a reference point, the Retro Stereo 50 + LS3.5 can fill a modern urban living room or the front room in a UK semi-detached or terraced house (around 30 square meters) with solid sound levels, but it won't go to 'head banging' or live rock concert levels (your neighbour will thank you though). 
 
So in the same situation switching to the Neat Iota's would mean very little past 'Girl & Guitar' or chamber music at sedate sound levels would be playable, while with the LS3.5 we can do justice to larger Jazz ensembles, larger scale classical works and modern pop music without feeling the desire to turn it up past the systems limits. SOme of our staff find it very much loud enough, some don't, so even within the company, we all have diverse preferences!
 
In theory a set of Retro Stereo 50 with LS3.5 and this -20dB average signal will allow around 80dB SPL in a normal sized (say appx. 30 sqm) room - just slightly below the level of a classical orchestra at ffff at a good seat (mid-hall), which is normally sufficient for enjoying the performance.
 
The HK990 with Neat Iota's by comparison will allow around 85dB normalized to similar conditions, so it will play notably louder if called upon to do so.
 
The Retro Stereo 50 on the other hand under the same conditions will only produce 74dB which is a bit on the quiet side, but MAY be sufficient if LOUD
biggrin.gif
listening is not required.
 
Cheers.
 
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Jul 20, 2016 at 8:07 AM Post #467 of 516

tomblessington

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Well, you can't really complain about the comprehensiveness of that reply!
 
I'm no volume fiend (I listen to heavy metal quietly - the irony of this is not lost on me), so I guess that I may just about be able to get away with the 25W per channel. I'll have to email Select to see what can be done re: demoing it.
 
Unless you're planning on releasing a stereo 100, that is
wink_face.gif

 
Jul 21, 2016 at 3:30 AM Post #468 of 516
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  Well, you can't really complain about the comprehensiveness of that reply!
 
I'm no volume fiend (I listen to heavy metal quietly - the irony of this is not lost on me), so I guess that I may just about be able to get away with the 25W per channel. I'll have to email Select to see what can be done re: demoing it.
 
Unless you're planning on releasing a stereo 100, that is
wink_face.gif

 
Hi,
 
iFi comes from AMR. We're one of the few ultra-fi companies here. So this is a normal reply!
 
We're not sure about being 'light' on the volume with 'heavy' metal (couldnt resist).
 
Just contact Select and they will recommend a dealer to organise a demo for you.
 
The Stereo 50 is the flagship!
 
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Jul 21, 2016 at 5:34 PM Post #469 of 516

tomblessington

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And an excellent reply it was.
 
I've emailed Select, but in the meantime is there any good resource you can recommend for basic hifi engineering theory?
 
I have a feeling that solid state and valve amps cope with higher/lower than their nominal matched impedances differently (I think that solid state want constant power, while valve want constant voltage?), and I couldn't decide if the Neat Iotas, at 6ohm and a sensitivity of 84db, would actually therefore happily produce similar volumes attached to a 25W valve amp as an 8ohm/84db speaker on a 43W valve amp.
 
Although I have a feeling that 30% more power is probably only in the regional of 1.5dB or so extra volume.

Obviously the proof is in the listening, and I'll hopefully make a judgement with my ears, I just like to know stuff.
 
Cheers!
 
Jul 22, 2016 at 5:51 AM Post #470 of 516
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  And an excellent reply it was.
 
I've emailed Select, but in the meantime is there any good resource you can recommend for basic hifi engineering theory?
 
I have a feeling that solid state and valve amps cope with higher/lower than their nominal matched impedances differently (I think that solid state want constant power, while valve want constant voltage?), and I couldn't decide if the Neat Iotas, at 6ohm and a sensitivity of 84db, would actually therefore happily produce similar volumes attached to a 25W valve amp as an 8ohm/84db speaker on a 43W valve amp.
 
Although I have a feeling that 30% more power is probably only in the regional of 1.5dB or so extra volume.

Obviously the proof is in the listening, and I'll hopefully make a judgement with my ears, I just like to know stuff.
 
Cheers!

 
Hi,
 
Speakers are generally rated for sensitivity (SPL) at a 'nominal watt' (2.83V) at 1m distance regardless of power. This means an 8 ohm Speaker will 'demand' 1 Watt, a 6 ohm speaker actually 1.5 Watt and a 4 ohm speaker will demand an actual 2 Watt from the Amplifier and a 16 Ohm speaker demands 0.5 Watt from the Amplifier. 
 
This presumes an amplifier with near zero output impedance (constant voltage) which is the case for most modern amplifiers, be they solid-state, tube or Class D.
 
Power, dB and loudness is covered on Wikipedia but not very clearly.
 
Here a quick summary:
 
+3dB = barely audible increase in loudness
+3dB = double the power
-3dB = barely audible decrease in loudness
-3dB = halve the power
+10dB = double loudness
+10dB = 10 time the power
-10db = halve loudness
-10dB = 1/10th the power
+20dB = four time the loudness
+20dB = 100 time the power
-20db = quarter loudness
-20dB = 1/100th the power
 
So a 10dB difference in SPL would be halve the loudness for the quieter system (this is a very significant difference) while a 3dB difference (double or halve the power) is barely notable.
 
Cheers.
 
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Aug 13, 2016 at 1:11 AM Post #471 of 516

E8ArmyDiver

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Hello everyone,it's been a while.I'm glad to see this thread is still active & interesting,especially since I just placed my order for a lightly used demo model with full warranty!
Right now it will drive small Dali monitors & my HE400i's but those are going to find new homes & I'll be upgrading cans SOOO recommend me some open back,over ears that will do this amp justice!Budget up to $1500.00 I think...
 
 
Aug 13, 2016 at 11:09 AM Post #473 of 516

simonatsea

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It had way more power than my Mrspeaker Alpha dogs required which are hungry cans. The Ether might work for you as a open back solution. But I would even think the HE-6 might be a good match up.
I do have to say it isnt the last word in refinement. My Alpha Dogs with my Geek Pulse Infinty absolutly blows the Ifi out of the water. But the Ifi does do everything and quite well.
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 2:24 AM Post #474 of 516

E8ArmyDiver

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Question regarding power output?
Does this unit actually put out a solid 25wpc into a 4ohm load(as the LS3.5's are)& if it truly does is this thanks to the X series(MilSpec) EL84 tubes & the efficiency of the switching mode power supply being able to maintain higher sustained current without wasting power as heat??
I only ask because research shows an average of 15-17wpc.from a pair of standard EL84 tubes.Thanks very much,take care.
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 4:15 AM Post #475 of 516

john57

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The amp does does not use the standard EL84 setting but runs the tubes at higher plate levels as I understand it. There is a jumper next to the power tubes that can be removed for the more standard levels for the EL84. For replacement tubes I use the 7189 tube like this one which works very well in my amp and it is the best I ran into so far.
 
http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/EL84-6BQ5-Tube-Types/Preferred-Series-7189-Premium-EL84
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 12:43 PM Post #476 of 516

E8ArmyDiver

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  The amp does does not use the standard EL84 setting but runs the tubes at higher plate levels as I understand it. There is a jumper next to the power tubes that can be removed for the more standard levels for the EL84. For replacement tubes I use the 7189 tube like this one which works very well in my amp and it is the best I ran into so far.
 
http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/EL84-6BQ5-Tube-Types/Preferred-Series-7189-Premium-EL84

Yes I understand the factory tubes are EL-84X,which are Mil Spec tubes.I am just trying to confirm the amp actually does put out 25wpc.before I choose new speakers.I was also curious as to how iFi managed to get that much power from a pair of EL-84's & my research seems to indicate that the highly efficient switching mode power supply is able to maintain the current needed to run the EL-84X tubes at maximum capability without wasting power output as heat like a linear power supply.
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 2:14 PM Post #477 of 516

technobear

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The amp does does not use the standard EL84 setting but runs the tubes at higher plate levels as I understand it. There is a jumper next to the power tubes that can be removed for the more standard levels for the EL84. For replacement tubes I use the 7189 tube like this one which works very well in my amp and it is the best I ran into so far.

http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/EL84-6BQ5-Tube-Types/Preferred-Series-7189-Premium-EL84

Yes I understand the factory tubes are EL-84X,which are Mil Spec tubes.I am just trying to confirm the amp actually does put out 25wpc.before I choose new speakers.I was also curious as to how iFi managed to get that much power from a pair of EL-84's & my research seems to indicate that the highly efficient switching mode power supply is able to maintain the current needed to run the EL-84X tubes at maximum capability without wasting power output as heat like a linear power supply.


See: http://www.head-fi.org/t/753978/competition-closed-but-what-is-in-the-retro-stereo-50/255#post_11543718

:cool:
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 3:07 PM Post #478 of 516

E8ArmyDiver

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See: http://www.head-fi.org/t/753978/competition-closed-but-what-is-in-the-retro-stereo-50/255#post_11543718

cool.gif

Perfect,thanks very much!
Very reassuring to know as long as whatever speakers I end up with have a gentle impedance/phase curve & moderate efficiency the amp should drive them just fine in my room.Thanks again...
 
Sep 4, 2016 at 7:54 PM Post #479 of 516

E8ArmyDiver

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Greetings everyone.I wanted to drop in & post a BIG THANKS to iFi for making such a wonderful little amp/source controller!
I've had mine a few weeks now & can honestly say I've never had better sound reproduction in my home & that includes the SimAudio i5.3/Sonus Faber Toy Tower system I downsized from!I chose Dynaudio Excite X14 speakers & the synergy between the Stereo 50 amp & speakers is superb!Despite the speakers being ONLY 80db efficient,in my 4mx5mx2.5m room the Stereo 50 drives them to wall shaking levels with no distortion whatsoever!Anyone thinking about buying this amp should have no reservations about it's ability to drive real world speakers...
Someone replied the headphone stages were not world class but it slams my little APPJ tube headphone amp to the curb with the HE400i's!All in all I HIGHLY recommend this amp to anyone who needs a compact music player with BIG sound.
 
Sep 8, 2016 at 3:15 AM Post #480 of 516

TheOneInYellow

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It has been a long while, thought to update my Twitter and FB background pics to showcase all the new changes to my desk, so posting a new pic of my desk here.
Absent are new upcoming Corsair K95 Cherry MK Red or Brown gaming keyboard (there is an unused keyboard tray on my desk where my new gaming keyboard will be situated. Will test which Cherry MK key type I prefer), and Corsair gaming mouse pad (deciding between MM600 or MM800 RGB). Both will be acquired at next paycheck.
My Noble Audio Katana CIEM's are still being made so are also absent.

You can't see it clearly but on the left-hand side of my gaming MSI GP62 6QF laptop is an iFi Audio Gemini USB cable (data/audio head only), and the power head is directly connected to the 1st Gen iFi Audio iUSBPower output (that is the true way to use it, told to me by iFi Audio themselves). Thus I'm using the iUSBPower as a USB power regenerator.
The 1st Gen iFi Audio iPurifier is behind the iFi Audio Retro Stereo 50.
For music via laptop I use J.River Media Centre (media playback via Media Centre Home Cinema/CCCP), but for serious listening I use my Onkyo DP-X1 digital audio player in balanced mode and headphones of choice.
The Retro Stereo 50 is predominantly used for multimedia consumption, or whenever I want to listen to music via speakers.

Behind the laptop, lifted into the air via CoolerMaster Ergostand III, is my 10-way USB 3.0 dock, and behind this a 3Tb external HDD on an external USB 3.0 HDD dock.

I use my John Blue JB3 speakers as I prefer them over the iFi Audio LS3.5.

With the Retro Stereo 50, if I use headphones, one output is always connected to my SubPac S2, and the other to my headphones.
Meze Headphones 99 Classics is connected via low gain, and Audeze EL-8 Titanium or AKG K 712 via high gain.
The latter headphone is used for gaming with an Antlion ModMic 4.0 microphone attachment.

For my Xbox One and PS4, I output via optical Toslink into a 1st Gen TurtleBeach EarForce DSS 7.1 sound processor into analogue in of Retro Stereo 50.

 

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