Recommended Hifi electronics - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 37 Old 08-17-2019, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Recommended Hifi electronics

Hi guys,

I’d like to start a list of all Hifi components that would be audibly indistinguishable from the Dan D’Agostino Relentless monoblocks and preamp. Not just blanket statements like “any AVR”, but actual product recommendations.

Thanks for your help with this.
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post #2 of 37 Old 08-18-2019, 06:11 AM
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That’s a large price tag.... not sure how many have heard enough in that range to even know.

I would expect the Naim Statement NAC S1 & NAP S1 to different, having heard other D’agostino amps and owning other Naim products. I was supposed to go meet Dan one night at a local dealers showing but never made it.

Things in the price tag you should audition I guess would be:

Soulutions 7 series
Boulder 2000 or 3000 series (only heard the 860/810 amp/pre combo long ago)
Aavik M-300/C-300 (heard the U-300 integrated which is excellent and I think it’s what makes Raidho and Borrenson speakers sound the way they do)

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post #3 of 37 Old 08-20-2019, 01:25 PM
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I'm curious which speakers you'd feel the need to feed 1.5kw apiece to in this hypothetical system.
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post #4 of 37 Old 08-20-2019, 10:14 PM
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I doubt anyone reading this thread has ever owned the amp but I guess the premise is anyone having heard it at a trade show "should be able to distinguish its sound signature independently from":

- the speakers it was connected to at the show
- that room's acoustics
- the differences in sound sources
- the particular music that is was being demoed with

?
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post #5 of 37 Old 08-20-2019, 10:15 PM
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Onkyo TX SR373

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #6 of 37 Old 08-20-2019, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qirex View Post
I'm curious which speakers you'd feel the need to feed 1.5kw apiece to in this hypothetical system.
I have heard about some weird designs where impedance dropped below 1 Ohm. Not sure if it is true though, just a talk.

Kino****a speakers iirc.

Maybe for that?
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post #7 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 01:13 AM
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I'm not sure what one gets as far as performance for $125,000 per channel aside from a very elaborately made case and bragging rights (which can be important in some circles). I'm sure they sound great but I'm having difficulty imagining situations where most of its 3000W power draw isn't going towards heating the room up. That said I'm not shopping in that price category so I'm sure there's some six figure esoteric speakers out there that are very inefficient and drop to super low ohms when pushed really hard. I get why products like the Relentless exist, both as aspirational pieces and showcases for D'agostino's ability. I do question the ability of anyone to actually hear a difference between it and a bunch of other really capable amplifiers playing actual music in a real room at volume that won't cause permanent hearing damage.

For around half the California sales tax one would pay on a single Relentless monoblock:

  • 2x Benchmark AHB2 $6000
  • 2x NAD M22 V2 $6400
  • 2x Parasound Halo A21+ $6300
  • Parasound Halo JC 5 $6000
  • Anthem STR Amp $6000
  • McIntosh MC152 $5000
  • Lab Gruppen C88 $5800
  • I don't know enough about tube amps so I didn't mention any but I bet there's some really good ones under 10 grand.
The Relentless is an amazing piece of engineering no doubt but does all that effort translate into actually sounding better? I'd say it's debatable which is a nice way of saying probably not, and definitely not 20x better than a bunch of other great amps. People buy half million dollar sports cars they don't drive in anger. At least building a seven figure stereo doesn't carry much risk of death or dismemberment (unless you try to move one of those giant monoblocks by yourself).

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post #8 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 04:26 AM
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Tube amps are strictly DIY stuff now. No point of buying them at any price point imo.
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post #9 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aats View Post
Tube amps are strictly DIY stuff now. No point of buying them at any price point imo.
How many DIY’ers have the capabilities to build a product as good as higher quality tube amps? Let’s say a Prima Luna power amp.

But to keep with the OP’s question, Soulution, Air Tight, Zesto and others sound fabulous in this high priced realm.

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post #10 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
I doubt anyone reading this thread has ever owned the amp but I guess the premise is anyone having heard it at a trade show "should be able to distinguish its sound signature independently from":

- the speakers it was connected to at the show
- that room's acoustics
- the differences in sound sources
- the particular music that is was being demoed with

?
^^^ This.

Save your money.
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post #11 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 07:04 AM
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I have compared the Dan D’Agostino's MOMENTUM S250 stereo amplifier to a pair of Balanced Audio Technology's VK655SE mono blocks in a brick and mortar high end electronics store, hooked up to Wilson Audio Maxx 2s. This was at least 5 years ago, I don't recall either amp winning the comparison. Played both digital and analog music through the system. The system was using BAT's REX preamp. Both amps sounded excellent.

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post #12 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 07:28 AM
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[QUOTE=MSchott;58452432]How many DIY’ers have the capabilities to build a product as good as higher quality tube amps? Let’s say a Prima Luna power amp.

/QUOTE]

Depends on the DIY'er, how long they wish to spend with their build and so on. The hardest part of building an amplifier is connecting all the parts together--much easier with a board. Now it is very simple, use some software, design your board, "populate" it with the parts to make sure it all fits properly then send the board design out. Wait a week and you get your board in the mail. Of course, you already designed your amp (or whatever) tested it using software and you know what it will do before the first part ever touches the board. Thousands of people around the world do it every year, many videos on youtube to show you how to use the board, design and testing software and forums that discuss different designs.

Go to DIY Audio forum, they break down the amps into different types and you can play with tube amps, Class A, Class AB, Class D and Class H...even chip amps in parallel if you like.

Tube amps have been around for over 100 years--nothing mysterious about them at all. Class AB amps rolled out in the 1950's--nothing new under the sun their either--Class D was invented in 1964 so has been around for 55 years. It's just amplifiers, the dumb bricks of audio. Little squiggle goes in, bigger squiggle goes out--not hard to fathom. No chips, processors, software or anything exotic required to build them.

That Boulder thing--as stated in engineering classes the world over "Any fool can make something bigger--sometimes it takes a genous to make something smaller. Take a giant center tapped transformer, a huge bridge, slap in big storage/filter caps in the power supply and keep stacking NPN and PNP output transistors until you get the power and impedance drive levels you require. Be aware that more power and lower impedance requires larger heatsinks...and high bias Class AB requires huge heatsinks because they are not very efficient. Done!

OK, they took a regular amplifier and made it bigger--akin to making a huge toothpick out of a 2 by 4. The design is from the 1950's and they just kept adding parts until it reached specs. This is not hard to do, fairly simple with the hardest part being making the fancy case. Not what I would call an engineering feat in any shape or form. I own a Class AB amp that I call "The dumb brick", it just amplfies signals and nothing else. Even if it was 500 pounds, pushed 1/4 ohm loads and outputed 5,000 watts with my 220V dryer plug--it is still a dumb brick.

If you want to see actual engineering, at least something removed from mid last century--look at the professional arena amplifiers. Those things can programmable everything, every form of DSP, delay, dynamic EQ, speaker protection to programmable power supplies to tell it what breaker you have it attached to so it won't overload the breaker. Those things monitor in real time, get hammered to full power, can run outside in desert heat in Saudi Arabia for day long concerts, output 10 KW, do 1 or 2 ohm loads and weigh less than 30 pounds. They get flown or driven around the world on tour, don't break, don't blow up and do this for 2 year tours before they ever catch a break. Now THAT is some engineering--just throwing more parts/bigger parts and making a giant dumb brick is not impressive as far as engineering or moving things forward in amplifier technology.

If you want to know, just look at full testing of amplifier--it will tell you what it does. The best numbers I've seen were the Benchmarks, if you chase zeroes that would be the best bet. In reality, does it matter? Since my system is in a living room, not an underground bunker--I don't need 130dB S/N ratio specs. If I was in an underground bunker style studio where silence is golden, I would look into the Benchmarks for that reason. If I wanted/needed low impedance drive capability at high power levels, I'd look more towards professional touring amplifiers because they are designed to do that sort of thing without demainding me to rewire my house.

Now if you like massive oversized things just because that is your sense of style--or a way to compensate for something--have at it! I thought that giant amps were cool when I was a teenager but got over it during my PA days. Personally, I prefer smaller/lighter more efficient amplifiers as I tend to hide audio equipment--not make it the room center piece. YMMV, maybe you like giant things piled high in your living space--some people do! The market is mowing away from those so better get them while you still can!

In summation, you can build any amplifier you like--many people around the world do just that. Very easy to do these days with companies that wil make you the boards, software to design, test and refine your amp design and 3D printing to make it look like a space ship if you like--CNC machining can be done locally if you want something crazy. Back in the 40's/50's audiophiles used to build their own speakers and their own amplifiers--very common as that was part of the hobby. My ancestors did that, I remember seeing old tube amps, round face scopes, infinite baffle speakers with rheostats on the horns and all that sort of thing the audio clubs did in the 1950's. These days it would be far easier to build them than 65 to 75 years ago--the internet, communications and software make it much easier.

The DIY guys on AVS really don't get into building amplifiers--more speakers/subs and installing HT structural items but I think a few build amplifiers. You can get a bread board, purchase some components and build very basic amplifiers in an afternoon--fun hobby. There are youtube channels that will take you step-by-step, explain what each part is, what it does and why it is used. Give it a shot, might as well peak behind the curtain and see/learn how the magic works.
Good luck!
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post #13 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post
How many DIY’ers have the capabilities to build a product as good as higher quality tube amps? Let’s say a Prima Luna power amp.

But to keep with the OP’s question, Soulution, Air Tight, Zesto and others sound fabulous in this high priced realm.
I think tubes are really subjective thing (if you are going to measure tube amps, just straight up buy a Benchmark or whatever "close to perfect" SS amp you like), so most DIYer will do good there.
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post #14 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
I doubt anyone reading this thread has ever owned the amp but I guess the premise is anyone having heard it at a trade show "should be able to distinguish its sound signature independently from":

- the speakers it was connected to at the show
- that room's acoustics
- the differences in sound sources
- the particular music that is was being demoed with

?
I saw them, I heard them, but do they sound different than any other high buck amp and preamp? Hell if I know, but I'd be happy to give it a shot in my room. Any volunteers to bring em over?

Sure were purdy though.
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post #15 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 11:11 AM
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They look like they were ripped out of a submarine.

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post #16 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 12:45 PM
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They look like they were ripped out of a submarine.
A yellow submarine !
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post #17 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 12:58 PM
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I saw them, I heard them, but do they sound different than any other high buck amp and preamp? Hell if I know, but I'd be happy to give it a shot in my room. Any volunteers to bring em over?

Sure were purdy though.

Nothing like having an amp that's 6 figures and having to put it on the floor because it's too heavy to go anywhere else.
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post #18 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 01:22 PM
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Nothing like having an amp that's 6 figures and having to put it on the floor because it's too heavy to go anywhere else.
It's only a few hundred pounds
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post #19 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 05:00 PM
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From Audio News International:

"In extensive blind testing conducted by the Audio DBT Association, the Dan D'Agostino Relentless monoblocks were almost indistinguishable from a Pyle Pro PCA4 stereo power amplifier when the blinds were closed. (The amplifiers were hidden during testing. The blinds were located one inch in front of the loudspeakers.) But the 1,200+ test participants, with two exceptions, correctly selected which amplifier they were listening to 100% of the time when the blinds were opened. The participants who failed to choose correctly were two people who post in a U.S. website called AVS, stating that all amplifiers sound the same when not clipping. As both explained to this reporter, 'The amplifiers sounded identical when the blinds were closed or open. No difference at all.'"



https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._Mini_2_x.html


Photo: SelectBlinds.

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.

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post #20 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 06:06 PM
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Amazing. I wonder if PS Audio knows about those blinds.

A new audiophile tweak is born.

Save your money.

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post #21 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 06:25 PM
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It's only a few hundred pounds

The absolute worst are Wilson speakers. Even their tiny models you mount atop a stand/subwoofer weigh a ton and it gets even worse from there. Moving them in a showroom takes multiple people. It was like moving an elephant or a boulder. They aren't wooden cabinets they are thick slabs of some sort or marble? granite? like compound so they are super dense and there is zero cabinet resonances, known to create undesired colorations in other speakers. [Psst, don't let them know we moved them on occasion. Back then at least there was a rule all placements had to have a visit from, and an approval by, Dave himself.]

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post #22 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 06:32 PM
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The absolute worst are Wilson speakers. Even their tiny models you mount atop a stand/subwoofer weigh a ton and it gets even worse from there. Moving them in a showroom takes multiple people. It was like moving an elephant or a boulder. They aren't wooden cabinets they are thick slabs of some sort or marble? granite? like compound so they are super dense and there is zero cabinet resonances, known to create undesired colorations in other speakers. [Psst, don't them know we moved them on occasion. Back then at least there was a rule all placements had to have a visit from, and an approval by, Dave himself.]
Magico too.

Either one would eliminate my solo home placement tweaking.
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post #23 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 07:33 PM
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It's only a few hundred pounds
570 to be exact.

https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2018/...no-relentless/
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post #24 of 37 Old 08-21-2019, 09:38 PM
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I read what it says, but I think that's for the pair of monoblocks
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post #25 of 37 Old 08-22-2019, 05:54 AM
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Thumbs up

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post #26 of 37 Old 08-22-2019, 10:56 AM
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I read what it says, but I think that's for the pair of monoblocks

If one is looking at amps in that price range, you're definitely going to want the pair though, right?
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post #27 of 37 Old 08-22-2019, 11:07 AM
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If one is looking at amps in that price range, you're definitely going to want the pair though, right?
Well, given that they're monoblocks, unless you're going to listen to Duke's Masterpieces (1950) all day, yes. However, you don't move a pair at the same time or at least I wouldn't. I'd move one at a time.
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post #28 of 37 Old 08-22-2019, 01:05 PM
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I'd move one at a time.
At least in the case of Wilson they had the decency to provide really hefty cross bars on the back so you had a good solid grip point to grab on to:
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post #29 of 37 Old 08-22-2019, 03:13 PM
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At least in the case of Wilson they had the decency to provide really hefty cross bars on the back so you had a good solid grip point to grab on to:
Prolly also a structural rigidity element to that too.
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post #30 of 37 Old 08-22-2019, 03:39 PM
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Plus I bet Ahnold can use them as dumbbells.
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