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Old 8th September 2012, 12:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagehenley View Post
So in a AKSA amp are the actual components expensive, high quality and that helps create a great signal to drive speakers or is it just a fantastic circuit design or as I'd guess both?...

One example of this must be why do people have huge mono blocks when they could just have a small integrated...
I can understand the mono blocks thing, as there is (I think) a measurable benefit - it may or may not be audible, but there's no harm in building excellence from the ground up, if you can afford it.

I'm less convinced by the component 'quality' thing. The impression I get is that 'boutique' components are mainly marketing and slightly unusual materials, and cannot be shown to be measurably better than the standard items produced by multinational companies to rigorous standards. Surface mount components look so small and insignificant that they just can't sound any good, of course. Much better to use some large expensive ones in your design - except that surface mount has excellent properties with regard to parasitic inductance and capacitance and all those good things that flow from being smaller and closer to the PCB.

I can understand the psychological attraction of feeding a signal through a component, and it somehow imparting a quality that not only improves the sound, but also stands out against the hundreds of components that the signal passed through on its way from microphone to phono socket (solid gold of course). But I would certainly not stake anything of value on being able to hear, or measure a real effect.
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Old 8th September 2012, 04:51 PM   #12
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Ok so moving back to quality of sound versus cost...

You've got the following amounts of money to spend on an amp setup (integrated or mono/pre/power etc)

250
500
750
1000
5000

What would you go for?
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Old 8th September 2012, 05:02 PM   #13
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250 could get you DIY Aleph J. Spend the rest on speakers.
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Old 8th September 2012, 05:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CopperTop View Post
It is surely a remarkable thing, though, that the cost of various bits of 'high end' hi fi is on a par with buying a car! The cost of R&D just cannot be anywhere near what goes into designing and building a car, and the parts costs are a small fraction - that car you're thinking of buying probably contains a complete amplifier/FM/CD/multi-way speaker audio system with active crossovers anyway!

As a DIY-er, which seems more miraculous to you? That a car can be designed, manufactured and sold for $15,000, or that a valve amplifier based on 1920s technology, a dressed-up $5 DAC IC in a nice box, or even a mains cable can sell for the same price?
The same factors apply to cars (39 years as an automotive engineer) and the overhead costs are usually in the low billions $ for R&D and tooling to cover vehicle platform, powertrain, interior and exterior styling elements. The key is to drive a million or more vehicle sales across the platform over its life cycle to get the per vehicle cost to low thousands. Obviously with this structure when sales volumes collapse as in 2008-09 there is a hemorrhage of red ink.
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Old 8th September 2012, 05:12 PM   #15
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Where does one purchase one, find more info?

Any other suggestions???
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Old 8th September 2012, 06:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by vintagehenley View Post
I have no idea what a AKSA amp costs or what it would compare to sound wise/power wise compared to a branded amp...is there anyone in Berkshire UK that I could visit to listen to a AKSA?
If you want information on Aksa amps you should look at the aspen website.
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Old 8th September 2012, 07:05 PM   #17
jcx is online now jcx  United States
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for all the markups involved - you shouldn't jump to the conclusion that diy is always going to be cheaper for the quality

the economics of large lot automated (or cheap off shore labor) mass market items means you can sometimes get good quality for less than it costs a diyer to buy the raw parts for

millions of units in sales means designers can spend $ millions on design, testing, evaluation, dedicated production tooling, process controls - stuff no individual hobbyist can afford
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Old 8th September 2012, 09:31 PM   #18
andyr is offline andyr  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagehenley View Post

What I'm really interested in trying to understand is what makes an Amp or DAC sound better than another and how price and the components used affect this.
Many things make one component sound different to another. Specific parts used - like caps - impart a particular sound, as do resistors and op-amps (others too, possibly, but I haven't heard them mentioned).

Then of course there is the circuit design itself, and the component values the designer decided to use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagehenley View Post

For example does a AKSA amp sound good because it's full of expensive and high quality components....I don't know but for example really expensive transformers full of gold that cost 200 each...or is it just cheap simple components that have been put together in perfect synergy thus creating great sound?
AKSAs sound good because the designer, Hugh Dean, listens to the physical realisation of the circuits he dreams up and adjusts the circuit to suit what he's aiming to achieve. Every amp Hugh has produced sounds different (AKSA 55, AKSA 100, AKSA 55 'Nirvana', AKSA 100 'Nirvana', Lifeforce, Soraya, Maya, NAKSA 70 and NAKSA 100)

In terms of are the components individually expensive - no! However, judicial use of certain high-priced components has improved their sound, in some cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagehenley View Post

I have no idea what a AKSA amp costs or what it would compare to sound wise/power wise compared to a branded amp...is there anyone in Berkshire UK that I could visit to listen to a AKSA?
I suggest you persuse the AKSA site ... hopefully you will find someone nearby.

Regards,

Andy
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Old 9th September 2012, 03:40 AM   #19
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagehenley View Post
Put another way how does a AKSA amp compare to a Cyrus amp in terms of its price, components, power, class etc...
I sold my Baby AKSA (built to AKSA 55N specs) to a guy who had a Cyrus 8VS2 and here's some comments from him.

Noticed marked improvements in most areas. More overall clarity and neutrality. Piano now has realistic strike/resonance, guitar less strained, and resolves complex passages better. Not certain about dimensionality, but could have been something that was "artificial" with other amp.

Pleasantly surprised it made that much of a difference. Have only played about four quality recording so far.

Tried my old amp as a the pre-amp stage. Still very good sound but not quite as clear and a little of the "Cyrus" character appearing in the sound (although still a lot better than the old integrated).

Other tests
2. Cyrus integrated with new crossover designed speakers: A lot smoother overall without loosing any definition compared with original speaker crossover (from memory).

3. Your pre-amp design and Cyrus as power amp: A little bit clearer than Cyrus pre/amp combo. The Cyrus configuration as a power amp is startup controlled (presume with firmware) so not sure how/if the pre-amp is eliminated from circuit (or if volume control is just preset to a very high level).

4. The pre-amp and Baby AKSA still a long way ahead. Most noticeable: wider imaging, singers being very present in the room, clearer overall across range, natural sounding instruments and more defined separation between instruments.
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Old 9th September 2012, 04:04 AM   #20
andyr is offline andyr  Australia
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Very interesting, rabbitz. Can't get much clearer recommendation for the original AKSA than that. And all subsequent AKSAs sound even better!

Regards,

Andy
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