Originally Posted by jkscherk
I can't wait to see how the 4 Wyred4Sound SX-1000R monos drive the pair of Salon2s. Pairing them with a Mac C47 with dual sets of balanced or unbalanced outputs makes the big setup a breeze to connect and with the dual trigger power control its a one push start-up/shutdown process! I just hope the rental house circuits can handle the load.
So the evaluation is done/over. Was it 100% scientific? Absolutely not! Was it the best I could do in my space with my resources? Absolutely yes! Here’s what I did and what I found. You may agree or disagree, but at the end of the day, I chose what made me happiest on as many dimensions as possible. All comparisons were level matched using pink noise to within 0.5 db.
Stage 1: Compare the Peachtree nova500(nova) standalone to the nova as a pre/dac driving 2 Wyred4Sound SX-1000R(Wyred) mono blocs. In both cases, the Salon2s were bi-wired using runs of Kimber 8TC. I used 5 different music tracks, listening to about 60 seconds of each track before changing from one setup to the other. I tried to get a very good feel for each segment of music on one setup before switching. This usually took 2-3 playthroughs of the segment. It took me the better part of half a day to go through this exercise. Listening to one segment a few times; getting up and physically moving the speaker wires from the terminals of the one amp to the other; repeat; repeat; repeat. You get the picture. What I found was the Wyred amps had more fullness and control especially over the lower regions of the music. Bass was tighter and more controlled. Vocals, especially male, seemed to be more ‘present’ in the room. It just sounded like the performer was more ‘real’ and in the room with me than the nova. I found it to be clearly identifiable on almost all music. Overall, I just preferred the Wyred sound more. Was it a huge difference? Heck no! I’d give the Wyred amps half a letter grade better score.
Stage 2: Compare the nova as a pre/dac to the Mcintosh C47(Mac) using 2 Wyred amps in the same configuration as in Stage 2. The nova used single-ended connections into the Wyred while the Mac used balanced connections. Switching this time entailed a simple toggle of the XLR/unbal switch on the back of each Wyred AND moving the USB cable out from the Aurender between the USB inputs on the nova and Mac respectively. I used a different set of 5 tracks this time as I didn't want to have my brain think I was hearing something the same as before when in reality, it might really sound a bit different. However, this time I broke-up my listening session into 2: 1 session the second part of the first day and a repeat session the morning of the next day. This Stage of comparisons was more difficult. I expected just the opposite. For years I’ve believed (through reading, discussions, experts, etc.) that the pre-amp has much more to do with your sound than an amplifier. That could still be very true, but if so, that means these two pre/dac setups were VERY close to start. It took me longer to hear the differences this time around but I was able to consistently notice a difference between the two. The nova initially sounded more open, with great width to the soundstage and more ‘air’ around vocals. The Mac had a more focused and centered soundstage but didn’t seem to expand as much to the sides. At least that’s what I thought initially. More listening showed that there was just as much width to the stage with the Mac, but the vocals especially seemed more focused and, I hate to use the term again, ‘real’ in the presentation. I also think the bass was a bit tighter with the Mac. I went back and forth a lot in this Stage. Almost 5 hours! At times I thought the nova was better…depending on the track. Other times I gave the nod to the Mac. However, after a very long session of back and forth, I once again, preferred a sound that just seemed more ‘real’ to me. One that sounded like the performers were in the room. And in this case, it was the Mac. Here I’d say the Mac was MAYBE half a letter grade better.
Stage 3: Compare bi-amping the Salon2s with 4 Wyreds v. single amping with 2. Honestly……I gave up at this point.
I knew that I couldn’t do worse using 4 v. 2 and it could only be better. How much better? I’d guess that we are once again talking about MAYBE half a letter grade. Some day when I have more time and feeling a bit bored, I’ll actually do this comparison. Sure, I might not need the second set as I now have over 1200 [email protected]
going into the top half and the same into the bottom half……of EACH SPEAKER!!
But for now, I just decided to use all 4 and not think “….what might have been……”
Final thoughts: If I had not been able to hear the setups side-by-side in the same room with same speaks and cable, etc. I would never have been able to come to this conclusion: The separates are better. However, I will say this too: the nova500 is an unbelievable piece of gear. A one-box $3500 MSRP solution that holds its own against almost $12,000 of separates is pretty damn impressive feat. And the fact that it does so driving a world-class speaker like the Salon2 is even more impressive. So, I am keeping the separates, and running all 4 Wyred amps in a bi-amp monobloc setup. Overkill? Yep!! But last night when I sat down to listen, I had big-ass grin on my face. I’ve NEVER heard these speakers sound this good in my room. If you wouldn’t know better, you’d swear there is at least one, if not two subs being used in stereo. Not overpowering, just unbelievably tight, controlled and deep bass. Oh….and it doesn’t hurt that you can turn it up as loud as you can physically stand it and the sound signature doesn’t change…..AT ALL. Who says 2-channel is dead??!!!