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Old 8th March 2009, 03:50 AM   #351
udailey is offline udailey  United States
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I just had a good bit of fun. Posted my comments about the night on another forum and wanted to share with you guys. 2 audio friends came over and you have seen them around. BillyK and Laybjr.
I am trying to organize for next weekend a little audio conference if you guys are interested. Would be in Massachusetts. I will get some prices for conference rooms tomorrow and see if thats a great idea of if I should do it at my house again. Martin King mentioned he might show with a pair of speakers !!! I would be thrilled.


Here is my post

Tell you what MJK if you will commit to coming I will get a conference room in Mid Mass. Hell maybe North Mass. I would love to hear some of your speakers.
The night was absolutely wonderful. Bill brought some California Sound stuff. Frankly he is so digital it is a bit foreign to me but it was a definite improvement on my gear. The Lightspeed got some good attention and I thought it held its own very well. We switched to a Conrad Johnson hybrid preamp that was very nice but my amp was a bit on the high gain side for it. Still sounded good. I had the MyRef running on the Audio Nirvana's. Bill is digital as I said and his ripping of discs to lossless has been done very well. He has a lot of live recordings that do NOT sound amateur so some Grateful Dead sounded, well, Great.
Bill and I were patting ourselves on the back for how well our systems were integrating and each of our systems strengths were being shown off. Larry was just sitting back, eyes closed, listening and waiting to drop the hand grenade on our delusions of grandeur. He unpacked two Wavelength 300B monoblock Class A amps and absolutely wiped the floor with our previous setup. We still used the California Audio/Sound ? transport and DAC into a tube pre into the mono blocks and I have to say that the Audio Nirvanas have NEVER sounded like that. It was jawdropping over and over again. Blew my mind. I have been saving money for new speakers. Thats not the weak link and these amps proved it for me. I love the ANs and I am really happy with them, especially now. Now I know that its a great amp I need and also that I would do well to upgrade my source. He was using Kimber Kables to the speakers and some PBJ between the source and pre and amp. I dont know what difference the Kimber or PBJ made but man I am in love with the Wavelength amps. A very special 8 watts.
3 guys had a great time. Pizza and beer was good to. New pizza place for me. Great cheese
I really hope to get Alan, MJK, and TeaBag to make the trip. Bill will be there for sure and we are hoping to get Larry to come back. I will have to experiment to see if I can get the ANs in the car. Tough fit.
OH and I have new respect for my Fonkens. I owe Dave Dlugos an apology for all the grief I have given my Fonkens. It was certainly amp dependent and I just need something better.
I am going to post this over on DIY and hopefully the mention of MJK will get some others interested.
Good night and Good night
Uriah
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Old 8th March 2009, 06:13 AM   #352
troystg is offline troystg  United States
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PBJ "is" Kimber Kable, I would be curious to find out which model SPEAKER cables ya'll used.

My 10+ yr reference was two runs (bi-wire) of 4TC on the top and 8RP on the bottom.

Then I heard the Bi-focal XL and figure the only way I am going to top that is to go active speakers and eliminate the cable all together.
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Old 8th March 2009, 02:41 PM   #353
billyk is offline billyk  United States
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They were 8tc, the interconnects to the amps from the pre were PBJ, I was nostalic for the days when they were in my system too. The connections to the source were my home mades with Belden cable and Neutrik plugs. the digital connection between the transport and DAC was AES/EBU with mogami cable and Neutrik xlrs.... Man there was so much fun stuff about, but I have to say the Wavelength 300b stuff just blew me away.
Next week... here I come
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Old 8th March 2009, 10:28 PM   #354
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I followed Dario's recommendation and replaced the Panny at C9 and AVX at C21 with an ELNA Silmic and a WIMA MKP2, 220uF and 0.22uF. This is with the AudioCap Theta at C13, which already significantly improved the sound of the stock kit.. With only one monoblock amp changed so far, immediate impressions through B&W 802's: sound has become sweeter, fuller, with less edge to highs. Where before sound was forward, all of it in front of the speaker, it is now deeper and more 3D, but back from the speaker. I would compare the change to going from CD to SACD, with almost all the same benfits. More detail without added brightness, more depth without being forward, more natural tone to all instruments with a slight, very natural roundness to everything. Beautiful spaciousness and sweetness of highs with no hard edges.

I tried listening in stereo, but, because I had changed onlyone amp, the timing between channels seemed all wrong, and imaging was terrible. I listened to some mono discs, and the ELNA/WIMA seemed not as loud until I realized it was only the brightness of the highs that made the Panny/AVX seem louder. The midrange and bass had more body, and there was more air and depth, even in mono, with the ELNA/WIMA. So, does it change for the better? Yes, but it's subtle, far less drastic than changing C13, which is crucial. If what you seek is a spacious, musical sound rather than ultimate detail, then the AVX must go. The Panny is not so bad, and most people might not notice a change, or appreciate it. I prefer a realistic tone to instruments rather than artificial hi-fi sound. I suspect that just replacing the AVX cap with the $1 WIMA would yield the most benefit, and I think it would fit snugly where the AVX sits. The ELNA adds a rounder, more realistic tone, but I think it's the WIMA that really cleans up the highs.

One note: I bought a 50V ELNA, and it is a larger diameter than the Panny. So big that I had to mount the WIMA on the backside of the PCB, which is not at all difficult. With my coupling cap off the board anyway, that left plenty of room for the ELNA.

I plan more experiments with resistors in the signal path and Mundorf coupling caps.

Peace,
Tom E
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Old 8th March 2009, 11:43 PM   #355
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Quote:
Originally posted by madisonears
I followed Dario's recommendation and replaced the Panny at C9 and AVX at C21 with an ELNA Silmic and a WIMA MKP2, 220uF and 0.22uF.
...
sound has become sweeter, fuller, with less edge to highs. Where before sound was forward, all of it in front of the speaker, it is now deeper and more 3D, but back from the speaker.

I would compare the change to going from CD to SACD, with almost all the same benfits. More detail without added brightness, more depth without being forward, more natural tone to all instruments with a slight, very natural roundness to everything. Beautiful spaciousness and sweetness of highs with no hard edges.
...
ELNA/WIMA seemed not as loud until I realized it was only the brightness of the highs that made the Panny/AVX seem louder. The midrange and bass had more body, and there was more air and depth, even in mono, with the ELNA/WIMA.
Hi Tom,

I'm happy that someone else shares my impressions

Just wait 20-40 hours of listening and Silmics opens-up with a furher improvment.

'back from the speaker'?

It could be that MKS2 and MKP2 (or our speakers ) have a slight different response

Quote:
Originally posted by madisonears

So, does it change for the better? Yes, but it's subtle, far less drastic than changing C13, which is crucial.
I agree that C13 it's crucial, it has a bigger and more immediate impact but I wouldn't define C13/C21 one subtle...

Bass firmness with Silmics improves a lot.

I would say that if C13 swap has a impact of 100, C9/C21 would be 40

Quote:
Originally posted by madisonears

If what you seek is a spacious, musical sound rather than ultimate detail, then the AVX must go.
Try also pulling out PS bypasses... more of the same effect.

In these days I've investigated also LM318's PS caps (C6,C11) and PS bypasses and it seems another promising place for improvements.

I've tryed to insert PS bypasses (C17,C18,C19,C20) and with AVXs soundstage collapses, Wimas MKS2 are a lot better but without is best IMHO.

At first Silmics here (C6,C11) are horrible (closed) if new but burned in...

In C6, C11 positions I've tried also Nichicon KZ, wow, they sounds promising (bass response seems to improve further) but they don't fit well so I've ordered some 25V ones and some FGs for C1,C2.

Quote:
Originally posted by madisonears
The Panny is not so bad, and most people might not notice a change, or appreciate it. I prefer a realistic tone to instruments rather than artificial hi-fi sound. I suspect that just replacing the AVX cap with the $1 WIMA would yield the most benefit, and I think it would fit snugly where the AVX sits. The ELNA adds a rounder, more realistic tone, but I think it's the WIMA that really cleans up the highs.
We agree again, FMs are quite good and replacing C21 has the biggest cost/benefit impact, they clean-up things and open soundstage but as I already said expect a futher improvement with Silmics burn-in

Quote:
Originally posted by madisonears
I plan more experiments with resistors in the signal path and Mundorf coupling caps.
Wow, interesting!

I've mounted directly CMF55 (0,1%) and Takmans REX and REY so I'm curious about their importance.

Keep on testing!
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Old 9th March 2009, 01:13 AM   #356
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Dario,

I was wondering if the Silmic's would improve with additional time in the circuit. I've never swapped elco's before, so I don't know what to expect. So far the cap has only a few hours playing time. I know film and foil types change a LOT in the course of a few hours, then change more gradually with many more hours.

What did you hear with different resistors? I have PRP's on order, and I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble to swap them. They don't cost much, so I'm not financially committed to changing them out. I believe that the Xicon's might be a weak point in the signal path but okay elsewhere.

I don't think I'll bother with changing any other caps. Every time I make a change, I feel I'm risking damage to the boards. I'm very careful desoldering, but you never know when one of those pads will lift, and then you're screwed. These boards seem to be high quality, and the pads are strong, but if I happen to wreck one, where could I ever get another?

Peter or Uriah, are there any spare boards available?

I wish some other builders would share their experiences with and impressions of these amps. Over a hundred kits went out, and so far most entries here are about problems, not pleasures.

Peace,
Tom E
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Old 9th March 2009, 01:36 AM   #357
billyk is offline billyk  United States
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Quote:
I wish some other builders would share their experiences with and impressions of these amps. Over a hundred kits went out, and so far most entries here are about problems, not pleasures.
I have one board soldered up and ready to go. Need to mount the heat sink. Been crazy busy and broke so I have not had the time to do more or the $$ to get some of the additional parts, like casing, binding posts, etc. etc...
Rest assured I will be posting about what I hear soon enough. I listened to Uriah's and can't wait to hear mine. I have been showing what for me is great restraint and have not just twisted some wires together so I can fire it up.
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Old 9th March 2009, 01:51 AM   #358
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Quote:
Originally posted by madisonears
I was wondering if the Silmic's would improve with additional time in the circuit. I've never swapped elco's before, so I don't know what to expect.
Yes Tom, Silmics will improve a lot in 20-40 hours of use.

Quote:
Originally posted by madisonears
What did you hear with different resistors? I have PRP's on order, and I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble to swap them. They don't cost much, so I'm not financially committed to changing them out. I believe that the Xicon's might be a weak point in the signal path but okay elsewhere.
For resistors I don't know, as I written in the preceding post I've mounted directly resistors that are 'audio-grade' and I never tried swapping them (I've had the same concern about Xicons but I also think that caps' effect is much greater).

Quote:
Originally posted by madisonears
I don't think I'll bother with changing any other caps. Every time I make a change, I feel I'm risking damage to the boards. I'm very careful desoldering, but you never know when one of those pads will lift, and then you're screwed. These boards seem to be high quality, and the pads are strong, but if I happen to wreck one, where could I ever get another?
I'm also concerned about desoldering, it's for that reason that I've mounted those little sockets so I could try different caps without risk. When component selection will settle down I'll desolder those and solder directly components.

Click the image to open in full size.

But don't worry too much, Russ White was so nice to share Eagle files with the forum so if things go bad it would be possible to make others.

For ten pieces here in Italy it would cost 11 Euros each one (ca 14US$), for 50 could be as low as 6 Euros each one and I'm sure that also in the States or in China it's possible to have such prices.
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Old 10th March 2009, 06:58 PM   #359
widman is offline widman  United States
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Are the insulators included in the kit reusable? I haven't procured my heatsinks yet and would like to test the boards using cpu coolers.

Thanks,
pete
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Old 10th March 2009, 07:01 PM   #360
troystg is offline troystg  United States
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