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Best amp for Sonus Faber Concertino Domus speaker

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I am looking for good amp + cd player for about $2k budget. I have auditioned the Rotel 06 series (RCD06 cdp, RC06 pre, RB06 power amp) but not with the SF Concertino (instead with ProAc Tablette Reference 8 Signature).

Anyone know if the Rotel 06 series and Sonus Faber are good match?
Is the Rotel sufficient to drive the SF to its max performance?
If i were to stretch my budget abit, would the Primare I21 integrated be so much better and worth the extra $$ ?

Btw, Rotel & ProAc together (with REL Quake sub) sounded quite impressive to me. But then this is my first real audition of 2-ch audio so i got nothing to compare to.
post #2 of 36
Do you want to stay in the same brand line for both your CD player and your AMP?

Are you considering only an integrated amplifier, or have you also considered getting a Pre-Amp as well?

I would take a look at the Primare line of electronics, they are also imported by Sumiko like the Sonus and should be a good sonic match. Another brand to take a look at are McIntosh or Krell but these could be out of your price range.

Take a look on audiogon for used equipment, you can save a bunch of money going this way as well.

If you want to up your budget a little, I believe a used Mcintosh 275 tube amp will probably make your Concertino bookshelves really sing.
post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnizu View Post

If you want to up your budget a little, I believe a used Mcintosh 275 tube amp will probably make your Concertino bookshelves really sing.


While I have not heard Concertino and 275 together, I do not believe that is true. Tube amps supposely have a roll off at higher frequencies. And SF speakers also have a sharp roll off at higher frequencies. Not sure if that effect compounded will sound nice.

And AFAIK, Sonus Faber only sold solid state amps.
post #4 of 36
Are you going straight 2-channel with no subs? What kind of music do you listen to...volumes...how far away from the speakers?
post #5 of 36
The local SF dealer here pushes them with Classe, IIRC. Sounds superb.
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

The local SF dealer here pushes them with Classe, IIRC. Sounds superb.

Wouldn't Classe outclass the Concertino Domus?
post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnizu View Post

Do you want to stay in the same brand line for both your CD player and your AMP?

Are you considering only an integrated amplifier, or have you also considered getting a Pre-Amp as well?

I would take a look at the Primare line of electronics, they are also imported by Sumiko like the Sonus and should be a good sonic match. Another brand to take a look at are McIntosh or Krell but these could be out of your price range.

I dont mind to have different brand of CD player and amp as long as they match. However, being a newbie in the audio world, it may not be as easy to tell if the combination is matched or not. By using player and amp of the same brand, matching is guaranteed and i have one less thing to worry. Only need to worry about amp-speaker and speaker-sub matching.

Right now I am choosing between an integrated or a preamp/power amp combo, whichever works better with my speaker of choice. What are the difference between these two choices?

Unfortunately I do not live in the US and the SF dealer here doesn't carry Primare. But then again, is the Primare and SF combo so good to worth the extra bucks? Anyone has tried this combination before?

Thanks.
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Are you going straight 2-channel with no subs? What kind of music do you listen to...volumes...how far away from the speakers?

Since i am aiming for a bookshelf now, i think a sub is necessary for 2-ch music. I listen to 80% of jazz, vocals, instruments, lounge. and 20% pop, rock.

From my experience in Proac Ref 8 and Rotel 06 audition, the sound starts to fall apart as i crank up the volume, especially on rock music. Maybe a equivalent floorstanding speaker would not have this weakness but they are out of my price range.

Another reason for choosing bookshelf/sub combo is the upgrade path to HT. For HT i will definitely need a sub anyway, so i think there is some kind of a redundancy in low freq for a floorstander with sub. I know some of you might not agree but to me, the improvement in floorstander/sub may not justify the additional $$. I have also heard that sometimes bookshelf is better than floorstander in terms of sound stage and clarity, is that true?

Appreciate any advice...
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by wchek View Post

Unfortunately I do not live in the US and the SF dealer here doesn't carry..............

So, maybe you've misunderstood my post.

Does he carry Classe?

http://www.classeaudio.com/
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

While I have not heard Concertino and 275 together, I do not believe that is true. Tube amps supposely have a roll off at higher frequencies. And SF speakers also have a sharp roll off at higher frequencies. Not sure if that effect compounded will sound nice.

And AFAIK, Sonus Faber only sold solid state amps.

Not sure about the Concertinos, I have heard the Mac 275 on the SF Cremona Auditors and this match up was really nice, granted the Cermonas are 4800 dollars vs the Concertinos at 1500. That is where I draw my conclusion for the Mac 275.

Currently Sonus only sells a sold state amp called the Musica, for $3,000 rated at 2x100 at 4 ohms. I have not heard it so I cannot offer an opinion here.

Wchek:

The Primare equipment is nice, but I wont tell you that its a "must have" for your equipment. I went with a Primare Pre30 to separate my 2 channel audio from my HT because it is a fully balanced pre-amp with a passive HT bypass option, and I got a killer deal on it.

Budget I would take a look at Adcom's stuff, maybe used off Audiogon. Otherwise, the Rotel RCD-1072 is a great bang for the buck player and will pair nicely with most any integrated amplifier. Typically people go with one brand of equipment for aesthetic reasons, IE everything looks matched. You should be able to mix and match electronics without any issues technical issues. Just make sure you go and listen to stuff before you buy anything. Everyone has their own opinion about how things sound, demonstrated by Vitamin C and my differing opinions on SF monitor speakers and tube amps .
post #11 of 36
I've heard SF matched with Primare. It sounds very nice, but I can't compare it to anything, so...

my 2 cents: I am under the present impression that your choice of source (cd player) will affect your sq more than your choice of pre/pro, amp, or integrated.

Chu Gai asked some very, very important questions. If all the answers are of the modest sort, I would say splurge more on the cdp, and get an integrated. Thats just me though, gl and hf!
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnizu View Post

make sure you go and listen to stuff before you buy anything. Everyone has their own opinion about how things sound, demonstrated by Vitamin C and my differing opinions on SF monitor speakers and tube amps .

Not sure where WChek lives, but without 30-day return period and a fat credit limit, it would be a pain in the arse to test all those amplifiers.

Also, IMO you would need a sub for Concertino; it's bass line is pretty not impressive despite its amazing warmth at midrange.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

Also, IMO you would need a sub for Concertino.........

I guarantee you that the vast majority of the Concertino owners do NOT use them with a subwoofer.
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

Not sure where WChek lives, but without 30-day return period and a fat credit limit, it would be a pain in the arse to test all those amplifiers.

Also, IMO you would need a sub for Concertino; it's bass line is pretty not impressive despite its amazing warmth at midrange.

Magnolia Hi Fi in the Seattle area carries Primare, McIntosh and SF. Best buy may be expanding this, my bet however is they cut back on the higher end lines like SF and Mcintosh and focus more on the Mid to High such as Boston Acoustic.

Also, these speakers are small enough where you could actually box them up and take them with you to a store to demo electronic equipment. Just a thought.

Vitamin and I finally agree on something! Yes, I do believe these will need a sub with them. Take a look at HSU research or SVS, something in a 10" should be fine and not kill your pocket book.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

I guarantee you that the vast majority of the Concertino owners do NOT use them with a subwoofer.

I don't know, but it seems to me that the Concertinos has a pretty sharp bass-line roll off and you won't 'feel' the bass resonance until you crank it over 80dB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnizu View Post

Magnolia Hi Fi in the Seattle area carries Primare, McIntosh and SF. Best buy may be expanding this, my bet however is they cut back on the higher end lines like SF and Mcintosh and focus more on the Mid to High such as Boston Acoustic.

Also, these speakers are small enough where you could actually box them up and take them with you to a store to demo electronic equipment. Just a thought.

Vitamin and I finally agree on something! Yes, I do believe these will need a sub with them. Take a look at HSU research or SVS, something in a 10" should be fine and not kill your pocket book.

Magnolia A/V (the higher end store) should carry all the high end lines. The 2 Mag A/V around my area both have Cremona in stock/on display.

I am actually eagered to hear the Aculine sub. It's cheap but it's not in stock.
post #16 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnizu View Post

Also, these speakers are small enough where you could actually box them up and take them with you to a store to demo electronic equipment. Just a thought.

Yes of course i could do that, but I don't actually own the Concertino yet. Am seriously considering it, that's why i am now looking for a suitable amp to match them with.

I had a chance to drop by the shop for a while today. They have a new SF Musica integrated on display and i am sure it matches all SF speakers. However it is out of my budget range.

I was then introduced to Audio Analogue Primo integrated and cd player, but it is not in stock till next week. Do you know if the Primo will drive the Concertino beautifully? Not sure if the two italian makers test their products with this combination!!
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by wchek View Post

Yes of course i could do that, but I don't actually own the Concertino yet. Am seriously considering it, that's why i am now looking for a suitable amp to match them with.

I had a chance to drop by the shop for a while today. They have a new SF Musica integrated on display and i am sure it matches all SF speakers. However it is out of my budget range.

I was then introduced to Audio Analogue Primo integrated and cd player, but it is not in stock till next week. Do you know if the Primo will drive the Concertino beautifully? Not sure if the two italian makers test their products with this combination!!

To my knowledge, Sonus Faber products (especially the midrange and high end ones) matches nicely with McIntosh, Accuphase and Primare, but all those brands are probably out of your price-range.
post #18 of 36
Thread Starter 
There seem to be endless choice of amps to choose from, but how do i narrow down my search? I'm looking for some guidelines here, perhaps your experience might help...

What factor influences matching of amp with speaker? Is it amp output power? speaker input impedance? etc?

When someone say a speaker is easy or difficult to drive, do they mean the required power to drive is high for difficult speaker, and likewise low power for easy speaker?

How do we know if a speaker and amp is properly matched? What happens when the combination does not match?

And finally the million dollar question, what is the perfect amp for SF Domus speakers? Assuming money is no object, and the amp doesnt over-perform the speaker.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by wchek View Post

..........................what is the perfect amp for SF Domus speakers? Assuming money is no object, and the amp doesnt over-perform the speaker.

What does the dealer where you are purchasing the SFs recommend? Usually the dealers have a pretty good idea of what matches well. Of course, you are limited to whatever the brands are that the dealer sells.

Don't forget Classe, BTW.
post #20 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

What does the dealer where you are purchasing the SFs recommend? Usually the dealers have a pretty good idea of what matches well. Of course, you are limited to whatever the brands are that the dealer sells.

Don't forget Classe, BTW.

The dealer recommended SF Musica and Audio Analogue. I think they also carry Rotel, Exposure, Cambridge Audio, Musical Fidelity, etc. None were recommended but maybe i didn't spend enough time talking to the guy in the shop.
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by wchek View Post

The dealer recommended SF Musica and Audio Analogue. I think they also carry Rotel, Exposure, Cambridge Audio, Musical Fidelity, etc. None were recommended but maybe i didn't spend enough time talking to the guy in the shop.

Pick some amp that has high current and is not too warm and laid back.

was pleasantly surprised that Primare and Cremona Auditor combination. sounds much more transparent and 3D compare to McIntosh and Cremona Auditor.
post #22 of 36
I am driving SF Concertino's and a SF Domus center with a Cambridge Audio Azur 640R. I also have an HSU sub. The sound is sweeeet.
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by quad user View Post

I am driving SF Concertino's and a SF Domus center with a Cambridge Audio Azur 640R. I also have an HSU sub. The sound is sweeeet.

Gotta try that then, got an extra pair of concertinos and thinking i should put it in my office
post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by quad user View Post

I am driving SF Concertino's and a SF Domus center with a Cambridge Audio Azur 640R. I also have an HSU sub. The sound is sweeeet.

maybe i should also ask for a demo with this combination too...
post #25 of 36
I would strongly recommend Primare matched with your Concertinos. I have extensive first hand experience with the combination and IMO it had perfect synergy. I used arcam and bryston as well but always enjoyed the primare the most. The Primare A30.2 amp has a retail of your budget so you would have to either break the piggy bank open or try to find a used/demo unit.

Primare's CD players are also excellent but with the least expensive model being $1300 I cannot recommend that wih regards to your overall budget. Good luck!
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by jedimindcontrol View Post

I would strongly recommend Primare matched with your Concertinos. I have extensive first hand experience with the combination and IMO it had perfect synergy. I used arcam and bryston as well but always enjoyed the primare the most. The Primare A30.2 amp has a retail of your budget so you would have to either break the piggy bank open or try to find a used/demo unit.

Primare's CD players are also excellent but with the least expensive model being $1300 I cannot recommend that wih regards to your overall budget. Good luck!

I agree here. Also, the build quality on the Primare CD players seem to be really lacking. Their other electronic equipment is really top notch in this regard, but at 1300 to 2100 dollars for a CD player I expect a transport that doesn't look and feel like the DVD drive in my PC...
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnizu View Post

I agree here. Also, the build quality on the Primare CD players seem to be really lacking. Their other electronic equipment is really top notch in this regard, but at 1300 to 2100 dollars for a CD player I expect a transport that doesn't look and feel like the DVD drive in my PC...

I noticed no difference in sound quality between Primare CD player and McIntosh ones. Seriously I do not feel that a good CD player (or preamp and cable) would make as much difference as speakers or amplifiers.
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitaminc View Post

I noticed no difference in sound quality between Primare CD player and McIntosh ones. Seriously I do not feel that a good CD player (or preamp and cable) would make as much difference as speakers or amplifiers.


I don't want to take this thread off topic but I have always felt that the source unit can have a tremendous effect on overall sound quality. I have upgraded my player 3 times in the last 2 years and noticed a significant difference in SQ between each unit.

I do not buy into the need for high-priced wire and cables. And really, a good amplifier should not effect SQ at all. In theory, an amp should only be amplifying the source signal...not adding any noticeable sound characteristics, right? We all know this is rarely, if ever, the truth but it always makes me chuckle when I read a review of some mega-dollar amp and there is an endless amount of industry adjectives abut the "sound" of the amp...smooth, liquid, open, sweet, dynamic, detailed, airy, blah, blah, blah... sounds more like its coloring the overall sound not merely amplifying it!

IMO speakers will be the defining part of the equation in sound quality with source units and the preamp closely behind. And as always, everyones ears hear it all differently.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by jedimindcontrol View Post

I don't want to take this thread off topic but I have always felt that the source unit can have a tremendous effect on overall sound quality. I have upgraded my player 3 times in the last 2 years and noticed a significant difference in SQ between each unit.

I do not buy into the need for high-priced wire and cables. And really, a good amplifier should not effect SQ at all. In theory, an amp should only be amplifying the source signal...not adding any noticeable sound characteristics, right? We all know this is rarely, if ever, the truth but it always makes me chuckle when I read a review of some mega-dollar amp and there is an endless amount of industry adjectives abut the "sound" of the amp...smooth, liquid, open, sweet, dynamic, detailed, airy, blah, blah, blah... sounds more like its coloring the overall sound not merely amplifying it!

IMO speakers will be the defining part of the equation in sound quality with source units and the preamp closely behind. And as always, everyones ears hear it all differently.

Off topic it is. IMHO, the speaker is the definitive component that determines your sound output, with the AMP closely behind due to its pairing with the speakers. The reason I say this is because all speakers have certain frequency and phase responses and impedance that peaks/troughs at different frequencies. And the ability of an amplifier to output the required current/voltages at those frequencies is crucial of the overall output. For example, if the speaker has a huge impedance at 1500Hz and the amplifier's current output troughs at that frequency, then chances are your system's frequency response will take a nose dive around 1500Hz. This is why amplifier matching with speakers is the most crucial step in the sound system (and room treatment).

In terms of source unit, CD players with decent DAC should be outputting very similar quality analog signals if not identical. I am fairly confident in this because I am very familiar with the design process of the DAC used in those players. The biggest variant is the output stage inside the CD player after the DAC, which involves some sort of amplifications that could distort DAC outputs.

But vinyl is a different story because it is purely analog thus the signal path will see a lot of variants and the preamp is acting as first stage amplifier for the phono input. Otherwise preamp should be a simple switch (thus the move towards integrated amps). Just my $0.02.

BTW, OP, there's a pair of Primare I20 integrated amp and CD player on Audiogon for about $800 USD.
post #30 of 36
I limited experience with Sonus is that their speakers sound better with a little juice behind. I would be cautious with anything less than 50 watts tube power.
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