did I blunder in my speaker amp choice? (50 watt ?)
post-7686424
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 17

LevA

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
762
Reaction score
12
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Posts
762
Likes
12
Hi all,
 
been away from head-fi these last few months due to move to japan and would really appreciate some advice..
 
after slowly settling into life in japan and work (and buying an apartment), I finally had the chance to dive into the speaker world, which I have wanted for so long.  these last two weeks I have slowly put together my audio system which are:
 
sonus faber concertino speakers -
the original models, not the dome home. I really like the sound these speakers give out, nice and smooth and with good tonal balance. although small bookshelf model, they have nice low end, though not so deep. they really match well with classical music, which is what I listen most of the time. while they do exceptionally well with smaller ensembles, symphonies with full orchestra sound would probably be better with a floor standing speakers, but nevertheless still very enjoyable to listen to. while my living room is small when compared to western standards, Its pretty decent for japanese apartmant size (16 tatami mats), and the concertinos serve well for my purposes. 
 
luxman L-570 integrated amp- 
always wanted to try vintage luxman, and when I did, It didn't take me long to find and buy one. the amp gives out a wonderful, soft sound with plenty of details. I'm pretty ignorant about specs, but its a 50 watt per channel pure class A amp - whatever pure means..? 
I also auditioned sansui au-707 which was 130 watt, and though I could feel it had more power to push the concertinos, It felt tonally wrong and had less separation than the luxman. also imaging was more forward, whereas the luxman has more depth. so in the end I opted for luxman. 
 
 
marantz cd6003 -
after auditioning denon and marantz, I chose marantz for my cd player. would have liked to have SACD playing option as I do have quite a few of them, my budget just didn't allow me. for its price, I think marantz house sound is very nice and dont have any complaints. compared to denon, the sound was more organic, wheres the denon, while having slightly better detail, just felt scratchy and harsh compared to marantz' smooth sound. 
 
I really like this setup, but I have noticed that last few days I like to increase the volume a little and am concerned about clipping the speakers. I really dont  know much about these things but after some reading I have found out that my speakers are not very effeicient (86db), and maybe I should have went for a more powerful amp? 
how can one tell if ones volume level starts to clip? mind you I don't use even half the volume of the amp. the amp specs indicate 50 watts per channel at 8 ohms. if it helps here is some information on the amp:
http://audio-database.com/LUXMANALPINE-LUXMAN/amp/l-570-e.html
 
and some info on the speakers:
http://www.stereotimes.com/speak030800.shtml
 
the main reason for wanting more volume is when listening to classical music with some silent passages difficult to hear clearly. otherwise, with other genres such as rock, jazz etc, my usual listening volume level is quite enough. 
 
should I have bought a more powerful amp? anyone have experience with either the amp or the speakers here? any advice would be greatly appreciated. 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7689753
Post #2 of 17

JRG1990

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
1,625
Reaction score
49
Location
UK
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Location
UK
Posts
1,625
Likes
49
Power handling of the speakers just says 25-120watts , it doesn't say whether thats RMS or peak or anything, same for the amp that 50watts might be peak and not continuous power, so the amp might actually be less than 50watts. clipping is explained here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipping_(audio) .
 
     Share This Post       
post-7689827
Post #3 of 17

Bazzman

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
156
Reaction score
27
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Posts
156
Likes
27
Companies like Sonus Fabre will always use RMS ratings and using a 50 watt class a amp should be enough. If you feel the volume is more than loud enough with the volume only half way then clipping should not occur as you will not be stressing you amp enough seeing as it's a class a amplifier. That is just a basic view of the situation in my opinion.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7689831
Post #4 of 17

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Messages
22,597
Reaction score
494
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Posts
22,597
Likes
494
You should be fine. IIRC, the ProAc Response 2.5 clones are also 86dB and I'm running them with a 45W amp. They get obscenely loud without clipping - I've cranked them up to around 120dB for short periods of time. Enough to feel a little pain in the ears, but no distortion.

So go with your setup. You did a good job of choosing components. All you need to do is make some time to listen and enjoy.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7689834
Post #5 of 17

Bazzman

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
156
Reaction score
27
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Posts
156
Likes
27
According to this review.
http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speakers/bookshelf-speakers/sonus-faber/concertino/prd_121068_4290crx.aspx
 
They say 50 watt minimum so you should be fine as you don't crank the volume all the way up.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7691045
Post #6 of 17

scootermafia

MOT: Double Helix Cables
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Messages
3,014
Reaction score
191
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Posts
3,014
Likes
191
Yeah, in my experience, wattage doesn't mean all that much - a well designed amp that has good synergy with the speakers is going to sound good no matter what the wattage, within reason of course - certainly really low wattage tube amps are often used with super efficient horn designs and the like.  I would crank it up and if you like what you hear, then you should be fine. 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7691154
Post #7 of 17

trog

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
907
Reaction score
24
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Posts
907
Likes
24
Am no audio guru but i'd rather have awesome synergy with speaker/amp that churns out the kind of sound signature i love even with a lowish wattage amp than worry about specs, etc 
 Unless of course u like to play way louder than what they could pump out My PC audio set up is a cute Lepai TA2020 amp and a pair of 89db efficient Polks and it's about the most awesome buy price/performance for me in a while 

 
     Share This Post       
post-7691172
Post #8 of 17

LevA

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
762
Reaction score
12
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Posts
762
Likes
12
thanks for the reply everyone, you guys put me at ease.
 
I usually use probably about just over 1/3 of the volume knob so I guess I am safe. 
as for some of those quiet passages, I guess its just the way its recorded, as newer recordings are better managed dynamically - at least for classical music. too bad my CD player cant play in SACD format, as even the redbook version sounds so good. I guess the extra money spent is well worth it, even without an SACD player..
 
so far quite happy with the setup, the amp and speakers match well. maybe not a reference or high end per se, still gives plenty of detail and is very musical.
 
now I just need some nice stands to finish up my setup.. unfortunately stands are not cheap here in Japan. been on the lookout for nice used speakers. although I prefer not to spend too much, I still want something quite sturdy, as we do get frequent earthquakes in this part of the world. so far cannot find anything below 15,000 yen...
 I might just pull the trigger and order these stands, though they are twice the cost for what I had budgeted. but they look sturdy, and would probably get the approval of the wife more than simple black metal ones..there are better looking stands for another hundred bucks but these dont look so bad. what do you guys think? also any tips for buying stands?
thanks!
 
 
 
                           
 
 
 
btw, here is a pic of my beautiful luxman 
 

 
     Share This Post       
post-7691198
Post #9 of 17

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Messages
22,597
Reaction score
494
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Posts
22,597
Likes
494
I don't know much about Japan, but why not commission stands from a local woodworker? It's relatively easy to find a cabinet shop in the US who will build what you want. If you can find something similar there, go for it. Applying a good finish is much more labor than skill. I'd be happy to tell you how to put a high-end finish on them if you take that route. I've had a keen interest in wood finishes for almost 20 years.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7691299
Post #10 of 17

LevA

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
762
Reaction score
12
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Posts
762
Likes
12


Quote:
I don't know much about Japan, but why not commission stands from a local woodworker? It's relatively easy to find a cabinet shop in the US who will build what you want. If you can find something similar there, go for it. Applying a good finish is much more labor than skill. I'd be happy to tell you how to put a high-end finish on them if you take that route. I've had a keen interest in wood finishes for almost 20 years.
 
That was my thought as well, but I don't know any local woodworker where I live. and I suspect, anything decent (use of heavy sturdy wood) is most likely to cost quite a bit, probably similar cost due to made to order. unfortunately in Japan any decent wood and woodwork is quite expensive. 
 
 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7691700
Post #11 of 17

HiGHFLYiN9

Member of the Trade: Zynsonix
Joined
Feb 10, 2004
Messages
5,762
Reaction score
294
Location
East Coast
Joined
Feb 10, 2004
Location
East Coast
Posts
5,762
Likes
294
Website
www.zynsonix.com
That Luxman is a beauty, I like their old-school sensibilities when it comes to style. As far as the stands go, you don't necessarily need exotic woods, plain old MDF would work, and you could have that painted to match your decor. Wood like oak or maple isn't too expensive either and could be stained and used as accent pieces. The labor is really what's going to get you, I'm not sure what builders in Japan charge, but the cost near D.C. is ~ $100 USD an hour for local builders, I'd imagine the stands would be around 3 hours to build as a rough estimate. 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7692408
Post #13 of 17

endless402

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 3, 2006
Messages
449
Reaction score
15
Joined
Mar 3, 2006
Posts
449
Likes
15
you have to remember that class A watts are not the same as class AB watts
 
50w class A is plenty for bookshelves. this also assumes that the amp is in good condition and the caps have been replaced.
 
if you want to listen to the dynamics of classical music, class A is not the way to go. class A is more for jazz and vocals, especially on a lower sensitivty speaker like yours. you prob want a bigger class AB to handle the large change in dynamics for classical music
 
 
also for class A, it's more difficult to tell if it clips since distortion on class A is lower.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7692771
Post #14 of 17

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Messages
22,597
Reaction score
494
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Posts
22,597
Likes
494
My understanding of class A is that it uses a single device to handle the entire signal being passed through. More linear, but also somewhat limited by the device in total output power. Also highly inefficient - IIRC about 75% of power is wasted as heat.

Class AB uses a phase splitter to divide the input and send each half to different devices, which can also be paralled. This allows for higher efficiency and much more power, especially if additional devices are used. The signal is recombined at the output. Not quite as linear as class A, but you get more efficiency and power.

However, the power that comes out of both class A and class AB is the same. The class A is a little more accurate, but it's fine for all kinds of music. Class AB can be very good, as well. My headphone amp is class A and works great with everything. My class AB power amp also works with everything. The power amp is a little warmer and softer sounding, but that's more because of the tubes used and its output transformers. The headphone amp is OTL and is more crisp and neutral.

As for the stands, look to a local cabinet shop or woodwork supply store. Raw lumber is less expensive than you think. You should be able to get a very nice hardwood for $20-$50. You only need a few board feet. A cabinetmaker will only charge a bit for simple cuts. A store near me charges 50¢ a cut. I could have stands cut for $10-$15 there. The expensive part is finishing. But you can DIY that yourself with about $20 of sandpaper and finish. You can easily apply a high-end finish, but it'll take several hours and a few days to dry. I'd be happy to tell you how. It's almost entirely labor and you can fix almost any mistake. Success is 100% if you put in the time.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7694419
Post #15 of 17

LevA

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
762
Reaction score
12
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Posts
762
Likes
12
well, after two more days of long listening sessions, I can say that the amp is more than enough to drive these Sf's.  
I think my earlier misgivings on silent passages are the result of some older recordings. 
I don't know much about the difference of class A and AB amps in regards to sound differences in dynamics, but I think the amp is doing exceptionally well with classical music. especially since I usually prefer more period instrument recordings, which it smoothes some of the sharp, scratchy sound than can be found in period instruments . 
 
however, I did notice that the SF's strength is with classical, jazz and acoustic music, than for example rock, electronic etc. they still sound very good, but not as captivating.
 
I'm still searching for good stands.
Uncle Eric, I will try to see if I can somehow find parts and do it myself. If I do, I will take you up on the offer and ask you for guidance. :)
 
also I have changed my mind of the stands I posted in previous post. If I do decide to buy one, I think I might go for something a bit better looking, to better suit with the furniture in our living room, and also please the wife.
 
On a side note, my Luxman got a  small crack on the wood enclose in the  back corner during shipping.  after contacting the delivery company, it looks like the amp might cost me nothing, as they will refund the purchase price and also let me keep the amp. at first they said they will try to replace the enclosure, but when I told them it's a vintage amp, they said most likely they will just refund the cost of purchase. today a guy from the company came to have a look and take some pictures. should hear from them in a day or two. gotta love the customer service in this country. no other country comes close!
as a result, my budget for stands may get a bump.
 
two stands I might spring for if I cannot do it myself : 
 
             
 
 
 
overall I like the design of the first one, and will probably match well with SF's as both use walnut wood. the second one, though not so great to look at, each one weighs about 20kg, which makes me feel more comfortable against slight earthquakes and our soon to arrive child. compared to the the first ones which weigh around 9kg each. 
 
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top