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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I needed a better amplifier to amplify the line-out of a Yamaha P-80 digital piano to our old Bose 601 speakers that sit just in front of the keyboard. The old Sony 100-W ss receiver just wasn't cutting the mustard.


An audiophile friend of mine suggested that I try a 3-W integrated tube amp that he had borrowed from one of his audiophile buddies. I replied, "3-W? You must be kidding". He said that he definitely was not kidding. Because the thing was only a couple of hundred dollars, and I didn't have to shell out a penny to demo it, I told him to bring it over.


He arrived a short time later with two amps - the 3-W unit that he had described previously, and a 15-W integrated amp from the same manufacturer that he had purchased a bit over a year ago for one of his sound systems.


I tried the 3-W first. From literally the first note I struck on the piano, I knew that I would be buying a tube amp to replace the Sony. The sound I heard from our old Bose speakers was a "night and day" difference from the ss receiver.


My wife and I also have a 20-year-old Technics SL-P370 1-bit MASH CD player that used to be connected to the ss receiver, so that we could listen to the occasional CD. Well, that little amp resurrected both the speakers and CD player from the dead. Upon hearing the change in both the piano and CD sound, my friend said that we had a system that sounded good, even by audiophile standards.


Then we installed the 15-W amp and the result was noticeably better with both sources.


To be brief, we now have the 15-W amp in our system, but that's not the reason I'm writing this post.


I wanted to compare the performance of the new amp to the Denon AVR-5800 that we have in our basement home theatre (HT). In the HT we have two Paradigm Studio 100s for the right and left fronts. Those would be the speakers that would "speak" for the amp shoot-out.


I first listened to a couple of CDs using an Oppo dvd player SPDIF to the Denon, then I disconnected the Paradigms, connected them to the new amp's 8-ohm terminals, and used the Denon's "line-outs" (whose name I cannot now remember) as the input to the new amp.


To make an increasingly-long story short, my impression was that the overall sound was about equal, although the Paradigm's bass was more pronounced with the new amp than the Denon - "a matter of taste", I thought to myself. But the thing that stuck in my mind the most was that the old Bose 601s upstairs sounded better than the 100s.


This thought dogged me for a couple of days before I decided to bring the 100s upstairs in order to do a side-by-side comparison with the 601s. Any of you who own the 100s can appreciate the effort that this took, because these speakers are well over 100 lbs apiece.


Anyway, I did the comparison and, sure enough, the 601s not only sounded equal to the 100s, but the bass on the 60s was much more powerful than the 100s.


I was in a state of profound confusion, so I went to the Paradigm web site and downloaded a couple of reviews of the 100s - one of which was a "Stereophile" review written in 2000.


The review spoke of tremendous performance, including powerful bass.


I could not believe my eyes. I wondered if I had bought two defective speakers.


I read more and discovered that the writer/tester recommended that the Studio 100s be connected to a amplifier capable of driving a 4-ohm speaker. During both tests, I had the 100s connected to the 8-ohm terminals on the new amp, so I went back into our living room and connected them to the 4-ohm terminals. The result was nothing short of astounding! Those 100s rose from the dead, or their semi-conscious state, at least.


The Bose are now in the basement and the 100s now sit in our living room, "speaking" for the CD player and piano.


I checked the Denon owner's manual and found that the amp drives speakers with "6 - 16 ohms" impedence. This is why the Paradigms sounded anemic on both the 5800 and tube-amp downstairs, and why the 601s sounded better the 100s upstairs.


My audiophile friend dropped by to hear our "new" system and he was impressed. "Better than average, even by the severest audiophile standard", he said.


So, to all of you folks who might have Paradigm Studio 100s either for fronts in your HT, or in a two-channel stereo system, make absolutely sure that you have an amplifier that can drive a 4-ohm speaker.


Oh, and BTW, with the proper amplifier for the 100s, there is no need for a subwoofer, and I've been listening to movies that have deep bass in them in a system that includes a Paradigm Servo 15 that has an internal 400W amp. Upstairs we played a CD of some Tibetan music in which there is the sound of a drum that must be 10 feet in diameter. The 100s shook the house with the thunderous, accurate bass. Don't waste your money on a sub.


Also, anyone installing a new HT, or upgrading the sound of and old one, should seriously consider purchasing three (or even four) low-wattage tube amps and a separate sound processor/pre-amp. Take my word for it, the improvement in audio of tubes versus solid-state is simply amazing.


Thanks for the opportunity.
 

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Hi, I wonder then, if I set my Yamaha RX-V3800's impedance selector to 4 or 6 ohms, will I get better sound out of the speakers than I'm currently achieving. I have Studio 100 V.4s and I since I've had them I've always had the feeling that they're capable of so much more than I'm currently getting out of them. Not that they sound bad, they just sound lean and I too have read the reviews in which their bass is noted to be quite powerful while also being tight and tuneful if not wholly transparent. I keep thinking that when a kick drum hits in any music that I'm listening to, I should feel it with these speakers yet I don't. Again, I wonder if lowering the impedance selector will change that. Anyway, thanks for the post and info, glad your system is sounding so much better after the change.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvision7m /forum/post/19638490


Hi, I wonder then, if I set my Yamaha RX-V3800's impedance selector to 4 or 6 ohms, will I get better sound out of the speakers than I'm currently achieving. I have Studio 100 V.4s and I since I've had them I've always had the feeling that they're capable of so much more than I'm currently getting out of them.

a) Easy way to say for sure is to try it out. Not a difficult trial here.


b) Generally, switch between lower impedance (4Ohm) and higher impedance speakers (6 or 8 Ohm) often has very little to do with the sound. In order to achieve the same output power, the higher impedance speakers require higher voltage, but lower current. If you do nothing to amplifier, but connect lower impedance speakers, you will get higher power and higher current. Some amplifiers will burn out if you attach lower impedance speakers. That is where the switch comes handy. When you switch amplifier into low impedance (4Ohm) mode, the amplifier is limited in output power.


c) It is a special amplifier design that assures proper work with low impedance speakers. Some companies state directly- stable at 2 Ohm!


So, as I summary, I would not place much expectations on the switch in terms of sound quality. However, adjust it accordingly to your speaker impedance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvision7m /forum/post/19638490


Hi, I wonder then, if I set my Yamaha RX-V3800’s impedance selector to 4 or 6 ohms, will I get better sound out of the speakers than I’m currently achieving. I have Studio 100 V.4s and I since I’ve had them I’ve always had the feeling that they’re capable of so much more than I’m currently getting out of them. Not that they sound bad, they just sound lean and I too have read the reviews in which their bass is noted to be quite powerful while also being tight and tuneful if not wholly transparent. I keep thinking that when a kick drum hits in any music that I’m listening to, I should feel it with these speakers yet I don’t. Again, I wonder if lowering the impedance selector will change that. Anyway, thanks for the post and info, glad your system is sounding so much better after the change.

My wife and I own Studio 100 v.2.


I have just learned first-hand that Watts are definitely not all created equal. There are tube-amp-watts and there are SS-amp-watts. Heavan and Hell are twins compared to these. To be blunt, our relatively small, 15W/channel integrated tube amp puts our 5800 literally to shame when it comes to driving our 100s. The 100s and Denon have been paired in our HT for around 8 years, so I am intimately familiar with what the Denon can do with the 100s.


To drive the point home a bit deeper, albeit in an outright amateurish way, the position of the pointeer on the volume control on our new amp at zero volume ("all the way down") is between 7 and 8 o'clock, and its position at highest volume is between 5 and 6 o'clock. At a listening volume that would almost certainly cause deafness if left there for an extended period of time, the volume control is just below 11 o'clock. Normal, comfortable listening, but still at a pretty high volume, requires the pointer to be at just below 10 o'clock. This, from an amp rated at "only" 15 Watts per channel.


So, once again (with feeling), if you own Studio 100s, beg, borrow, or steal a low-wattage, 2-channel integrated tube-amp that has the option to connect to speakers that have 4-Ohm impedence. Our amp has three speaker terminals on each channel - neg, 8-Ohm, 4-Ohm.


(Here's the example that we now own:
http://www.musicalparadise.ca/mp/ind...products_id=67

[FWIW, My wife and I are retired. I have no connection to this business, and I am not a salesman for this, or any similar business. My audiophile friend bought this particular unit for himself after a considerable search and demoing of other similarly-configured amps. My wife and I are direct beneficiaries of all of his audio experience and legwork.])


In closing, your 100s are capable of great audio performance. I'd be very interested to hear the result of any testing you (or other Studio 100 owners) do with either SS amps (like your Yamaha) in 4-Ohm mode, or, better still, a tube amp like the one we now have. But keep in maind that even if your switch to 4-Ohm mode on the SS amp produces no, marginal, or even good results, do not assume that a 4-Ohm tube amp will not do any better. Believe me, it will!


Thanks for the opportunity.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvision7m /forum/post/19638490


Hi, I wonder then, if I set my Yamaha RX-V3800’s impedance selector to 4 or 6 ohms, will I get better sound out of the speakers than I’m currently achieving. I have Studio 100 V.4s and I since I’ve had them I’ve always had the feeling that they’re capable of so much more than I’m currently getting out of them. Not that they sound bad, they just sound lean and I too have read the reviews in which their bass is noted to be quite powerful while also being tight and tuneful if not wholly transparent. I keep thinking that when a kick drum hits in any music that I’m listening to, I should feel it with these speakers yet I don’t. Again, I wonder if lowering the impedance selector will change that. Anyway, thanks for the post and info, glad your system is sounding so much better after the change.

Changing the impedance selector to a lower setting is counter productive. It's not at all the same thing as using a different tap on a tube amplifier.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve /forum/post/19636426


Oh, and BTW, with the proper amplifier for the 100s, there is no need for a subwoofer, and I've been listening to movies that have deep bass in them in a system that includes a Paradigm Servo 15 that has an internal 400W amp. Upstairs we played a CD of some Tibetan music in which there is the sound of a drum that must be 10 feet in diameter. The 100s shook the house with the thunderous, accurate bass. Don't waste your money on a sub.

I respectfully disagree. The Servo 15s add at least another octave lower bass than the Studio 100s do alone.


I've tried mine with a small Jolida tube amp and didn't come up with the same results. I much prefer mine with a beefy SS amp although, admittedly, I've not heard them with a beefy tube amp.


Regardless, the Studio 100 is a pretty good speaker by any measure.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve /forum/post/19641585


There are tube-amp-watts and there are SS-amp-watts.

No there are not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 /forum/post/19643249


................................

I've tried mine with a small Jolida tube amp and didn't come up with the same results.

......................................

How many watts was the Jolida amp and did you connect the Studio 100s to the amp's 4-ohm terminals?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve
How many watts was the Jolida amp and did you connect the Studio 100s to the amp's 4-ohm terminals?


I don't recall..it was/is my brothers amp, and it was two or three years ago.
 

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If the information at the website link you provided for the 15 wpc tube amp is to be believed, the output impedance of the unit is either 4 or 8 ohms. Since they state it's a SET (Single Ended Triode) such output impedances are not unheard of.


Now, when speakers are driven by most solid state amps (and some tube amps) that have a low output impedance, the frequency response of the speaker is essentially what the manufacturer states. In your case, it's pretty flat from 40 Hz to 20 kHz. But something happens when the output impedance of the amplifier, tube or otherwise, starts becoming large. The frequency response of the speaker is no longer flat. In fact it starts to take on the characteristics of the speaker's impedance curve.


For example, look at the impedance curve (solid line) of your speakers.




The greater the output impedance of your amp, the more the frequency response changes such that it's as if you had added an equalizer to your system and put in some boost at around 40 Hz and quite a bit more at around 1.8 kHz. Now, if you like it, that's great but don't get confused with the whole SS/tube watts thing. Had you tried a tube amp with a comparatively small output impedance, say 0.1 ohms, it would have performed similarly to your SS setup. Conversely, had you added something like a 4 or 8 ohm power resistor to your speaker wires, you'd find that your SS setup would sound similar to the 15 wpc amp you got. 'Course, you'd lose a bunch of power which would be dissipated as heat in the resistor.


BTW, that website says the amps are proudly designed in Canada. Does that also mean they're made in Canada or are they made in China?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai /forum/post/19681988


......................

Now, when speakers are driven by most solid state amps (and some tube amps) that have a low output impedance, the frequency response of the speaker is essentially what the manufacturer states. In your case, it's pretty flat from 40 Hz to 20 kHz. But something happens when the output impedance of the amplifier, tube or otherwise, starts becoming large. The frequency response of the speaker is no longer flat. In fact it starts to take on the characteristics of the speaker's impedance curve.

...........................

The greater the output impedance of your amp, the more the frequency response changes such that it's as if you had added an equalizer to your system and put in some boost at around 40 Hz and quite a bit more at around 1.8 kHz. Now, if you like it, that's great but don't get confused with the whole SS/tube watts thing. Had you tried a tube amp with a comparatively small output impedance, say 0.1 ohms, it would have performed similarly to your SS setup. Conversely, had you added something like a 4 or 8 ohm power resistor to your speaker wires, you'd find that your SS setup would sound similar to the 15 wpc amp you got. 'Course, you'd lose a bunch of power which would be dissipated as heat in the resistor.


BTW, that website says the amps are proudly designed in Canada. Does that also mean they're made in Canada or are they made in China?

Thanks for the explanation. I'm impressed by the change I heard in our Studio 100s and in our 8-Ohm Bose 601s as a result of using a low-power tube amp rather than a 100-W Sony and a 170-W Denon solid-state receivers.


But regardless of the reason for it, a very simple 15-W tube amp that has the ability to drive 4-Ohm speakers is far more suited to drive Studio 100s than a 170-W/channel Denon 5800 that can drive "6-16 Ohm" speakers. To me, that's astounding.


The tube amp whose link I provided was designed by a local (Edmonton, Alberta) entrepreneur. It is manufactured in China. If it were manufactured in Canada or the US, I have a strong feeling that it might cost a bit more.



(BTW, after we inserted the tube amp in our system, my wife instantly recognized the increase in audio quality in her Bose 601s - speakers she had owned for well over 20 years. After listening for a grand total of maybe 5 minutes, all I had to say to her was "what do you think?" Her two-word reply was "get one". Again, I'm not advertising for that amp. Maybe every tube amp of similar specification would produce the same result out of our very simple, relatively-inexpensive system. I'm only certain of what that particular one can do.)


To reiterate, if you Sutdio 100 owners have never connected them to an amp that is built to drive 4-Ohm speakers, please do so. You are going to be very impressed with the resulting audio.
 

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The audiophile wife cliché......
 
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