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In Reply to: Re: Orion speaker: any new owners who share opinion? read archives: Fatiguing or not? posted by Edp on October 15, 2005 at 08:16:34:
You won't be disappointed with Siegfried Linkwitz's amplifier recommendation. The ATI amplifiers are excellent quality and very cost-effective.
Agreed the ATI units are not offending, but know that the speakers are more refined than those units. Not that they are bad, but they hold back the full potential and refinement of the whole system.
I auditioned the Orions at the good Doctors house, and suspected the front was holding back the system, and the amp impressed me like an Adcom. Workable, but not the last word in refinement.
"Let me help..."
Then what do you recommend for amplification? How about a preamp to run before the asp?
You're asking advice from someone who has not even heard the speakers in question. It's possible that he's never heard the ATI amp either.
What you don't understand that I am actually giving very high praise to the speaker creations of Dr Linkwitz. I've heard at least four of his creations from both his commercial venture Audio Artistry, through his "free designs" Phoenix and lastly, but briefly his, direct sales units Orions. I've been greatly influenced by his open baffle studies and implementations. I have been building my own designs along the lines, but passive not active, since 1998 based upon a following of his design goals.
I've heard a good number of ATI (both ATI and OEM badged ) units. The simple deal is that the Orion is workmanlike with the mulitchannel ATI, but it is not showing its full potential. The issue is a cost one though. To get the multiple amps that the active system requires will greatly increase the cost.
There are several amps that would be better. A full set of Conrad Johnson MV50, Marantz Model 7's, ASL EL34 based (in tube world) or Arye and some NAD amps come to mind. Of course I also feel that the speakers are still not seeing full potential with these, and would wonder how well they would be with a full complement of Thor TA30's or Lamm 1.2's. BUT you're talking about $100,000 in amplification.
But one of the issues of making recommendations on specific models, is that I am of the mind that it is a personal choice. What I might like (Audio Magic Parallel SET) may not suit the tastes of the person asking the question. Hence why I stand by the comment that based upon my experience, the ATI amps are not showing the full potential of the SEAs Mag cone based design implemented by the Dr in the Orion.
Having lived with no fewer than two sets of Orions over nearly three years, I can attest that the thoudsnds of dollars one would spend on exotic amplifiers can be better spent in different areas (i.e. software).
SL states this on his website:
" Much has been written about the sound of amplifiers in the Hi-Fi Press. Amplifiers can sound different due to non-linear distortion which generates new spectral components. The typical total harmonic distortion specification is merely a guide post and not a complete measure of amplifier distortion. THD should be below 0.1%, as a starting point, for amplifiers not to sound different from each other. More important is the distortion at low output power levels, below 2 W, where an amplifier spends most of its time during music reproduction, unless it is for Hard Rock. The crossover distortion of Class A/B amplifiers is impulsive in nature. It is very broadband and easily overlooked in the noise floor of the amplifier output spectrum. It registers low in a THD measurement, but the spectral components add in the time domain. They are responsible for much of the "solid-state sound". Class A amplifiers do not suffer from this inherent problem, but a well designed Class A/B can match their performance in practice. Amplifiers can also sound different when their relatively high output impedance, or low damping factor, interacts with the combined loudspeaker and speaker cable load impedance to cause a frequency dependent drive signal at the speaker terminals. This is very much an issue with tube power amplifiers and passive crossover networks. The ORION drivers present a simple load to their amplifiers, which are essentially driving the voice coils directly. No inductors or capacitors are in the signal path. Even tube amplifiers could drive the tweeter and midrange, but the woofer presents too difficult a load to their transformer output. "
If SL recommends a specific amp to use with his speakers, it goes without saying that it wasn't by accident. Also, if the amp was a poor performer or inadequate in some way to power his speakers he simply would not recommend it.
Not certain why you are so abrasive, but possibly as an owner, you are under the assumption that I'm saying the combination is bad.
It appears that when it comes to amps you are of the view that there is little difference between most well constructed amps. That is not an opinion I share. It is worth trying others, no matter what the good Dr says.
The good news is that as an owner of the units, you have a world class speaker with a superior design parameter (open baffle) implemented by a world class designer and you appear happy as such. Enjoy the units.
> It appears that when it comes to amps you are of the view that there is little difference between most well constructed amps.
That is where you would be wrong. I'm using Hypex UcD based amps with my Orions. I do concede that a Theta Dreadnought II would likely sound better than an ATI amplifier. However, at what cost? The difference between the two amps would be IMO very subtle. OTOH, the cost difference is huge.
The typical argument is that is often made is that going to an active system involves compromising on amplification, and I believe this was your initial point. The fact of the matter is a set of Orions driven by an ATI amplifier will significantly outperform a $5,000 amplifier of your choice paired with a $2,000 set of speakers of your choice.
"The typical argument is that is often made is that going to an active system involves compromising on amplification"
I'd only slightly modify this to say
"The typical argument is that is often made is that going to an active system CAN involve compromising on amplification"
And you are correct that was my input. I've heard a good number of "home constructor/kit based" and a few commercial actives where sadly this is the case. Does not mean it is a given, just a not to rare possibility.
It is a bit odd that you are giving out grief on the suggestion that the Orions will respond to more refined amps, and yet you don't use the ATI yourself. Out of interest was there a techincial/preference reason you use something other than the ATI or was it more an econimics issue( had amps, or good deal type thing)?
As to the $5000 amp/$2000 speaker issue. That sonic preferences or speakers are so subjective, there is no real way to win or lose that suggestion. For me I might feel that a Cyrus Brenneman Cavilier (el 34 based) connected to a 1964 JBL S7 or S8 to be more to my liking with equal output capabilities and would have couple of thousand left over from the $7000 budget. BUT that would not mean that the Orion/ATI is inferior to everyone, hardly, just different. Hence no way to win or lose that suggestion.
> It is a bit odd that you are giving out grief on the suggestion that the Orions will respond to more refined amps, and yet you don't use the ATI yourself.
It's not my intent to give out any grief. I'm simply stating that you aren't really in the position to 1) State that the ATI amplifier is a limiting factor in an Orion system. 2) Recommend specific amps for the Orion. IMO in order for you to do either would require you to OWN a set of Orions and have TRIED THEM with the ATI and the other amps you've recommended. It's just way too easy to dismiss the ATI amplifier to the ones you've recommended w/o having tried it yourself. (Vis a vi my arm-chair critic comment).
I've used a few different amps with my Orions (but not the ATI). I don't use the ATI because I prefer to build my own.
If you're into vintage equipment I'm surprised that you would find any merit with the Orions. They are so diametrically different from the JBL's you mentioned that I find it hard to believe that you could like both. Given this, and what I mentioned above (arm-chair critic) I cannot place any credibility in your amplifier recommendation for the Orion. I would like to believe that others see it that way too.
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