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Ralph - thanks for stepping fwd. I DO have a question for you, as our equipment lineup is pretty similar.


I had Paradigm Ref. v.2's and am planning a move to v.3 100's, 570 and ADPs. Like you, I have Parasound amps: HCA-2200 (250w x 2) and 2205 (220w x 5). My pre/pro is an Anthem AVM-20.


How would you say the Gemstone compared to your Parasound amps?

You mentioned elsewhere that there were things you liked better about each brand. Can you be more specific, as I'm interested in the Gemstone to achieve some very specific changes vs. the sound of the Parasounds.


THANKS!

-Paul
 

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Nice review Ralph. I just want to comment that I have the Gemstone and I don't have any hum with RCA connections.

NETHOMAS
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by PaulG
Ralph - thanks for stepping fwd. I DO have a question for you, as our equipment lineup is pretty similar.


I had Paradigm Ref. v.2's and am planning a move to v.3 100's, 570 and ADPs. Like you, I have Parasound amps: HCA-2200 (250w x 2) and 2205 (220w x 5). My pre/pro is an Anthem AVM-20.


How would you say the Gemstone compared to your Parasound amps?

You mentioned elsewhere that there were things you liked better about each brand. Can you be more specific, as I'm interested in the Gemstone to achieve some very specific changes vs. the sound of the Parasounds.


THANKS!

-Paul
Greetings,


Paul, I liked the Gemstone. The Parasound's are a little more open in the upper frequencies, while the Gemstone offers more detail in the mid ranges. The Gemstone offers a bit more in the low end than the Parasounds although these differences were not night and day. Some find that Parasound amps can exhibit some grain. I would say that statement can be true but is material dependent. 95% of the time I don't detect grain from my Parasounds and some might mistake a brighter presentation for grain. The Gemstone is definitely more laid back in this regard. Female vocals sound especially smooth with the Gemstone. Detail is similar on both amps with a slight edge going to the Blue Diamond. Dynamically the amps are on equal ground as both can brings things up a notch in a hurry and keep up with the most demanding material.



Regards,
 

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Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the write-up and taking the time to review the Gemstone amplifier. I appreciate your honest opinions and candid thoughts!


If I understand you correctly, your ear prefers as much information as possible without being "bright" and you felt that the Parasound has that attribute which appeals to your ears. Although you also saying that the Parasound can exhibit grain on "less than ideal" recordings, you are saying when using references SACD (etc) it is very hard to detect. I am not attempting to put words in your mouth, just attempting to clarify what I think i am reading... If so, our ears correlate.

I re-read your write-up and got the impression that you were rather pleased with the total bottom end magnitude of the Gemstone. The Parasound is no slouch in this category but if you could give a percentage of the increase with the Gemstone (1%, 5%, 15% etc) as well as defining how you thought the overall tightness of the bottom end was with the Blue Diamond (as compared to other amps that you have heard), it would be helpful.

You mention that the Gemstone was a very musical amp in your write-up. That was the intended audience when we decided to produce the amp and I am glad your ears enjoyed the sound.

Thanks again for your opinions and taking the time to listen!

Sincerely,

Steve from Gemstone Audio
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SteveH
Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the write-up and taking the time to review the Gemstone amplifier. I appreciate your honest opinions and candid thoughts!


If I understand you correctly, your ear prefers as much information as possible without being "bright" and you felt that the Parasound has that attribute which appeals to your ears. Although you also saying that the Parasound can exhibit grain on "less than ideal" recordings, you are saying when using references SACD (etc) it is very hard to detect. I am not attempting to put words in your mouth, just attempting to clarify what I think i am reading... If so, our ears correlate.

I re-read your write-up and got the impression that you were rather pleased with the total bottom end magnitude of the Gemstone. The Parasound is no slouch in this category but if you could give a percentage of the increase with the Gemstone (1%, 5%, 15% etc) as well as defining how you thought the overall tightness of the bottom end was with the Blue Diamond (as compared to other amps that you have heard), it would be helpful.

You mention that the Gemstone was a very musical amp in your write-up. That was the intended audience when we decided to produce the amp and I am glad your ears enjoyed the sound.

Thanks again for your opinions and taking the time to listen!

Sincerely,

Steve from Gemstone Audio
Greetings,


Steve, thanks for giving me the opportunity to spend tiem with the Blue Diamond, the pleasure was all mine. You are correct with regard to my statements, and I guess our ears do correlate. With respect to the Gemstone's bottom end compared to the Parasound I would define it as a 10 to 12 percent increase in favor of the Blue Diamond.


In terms of overall tightness, I described it in my review as bass that flowed into the room rather than boomed it's way in. By that I meant that the bass was tight with plenty of punch as opposed to slappy ( I do mean slappy not sloppy ) where it is localizable and bloated. It reminded me of the Outlaw Model 770 which I noted when I reveiwed that as having similar attributes. I think that the Gemstone took that up a level in that it was a bit tighter than the Outlaw though. I have heard amps from Adcom, Aragon, Marantz, Pass Labs, and Linn. The first three in the list don't compare to the Gemstone. Pass Labs and Linn get closer but the Blue Diamond gets the edge.


Nice job Steve.



Regards,
 

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SteveH,


Can you update us on the availability of the 5 channel Gemstone, and the other mods you mentioned in another thread? Thanks.
 

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We are getting close to being out of the next batch of 7 channels (under two months).

I will be making some 5 channels versions. The new cosmetics are also done but the new look will reflect the non-sale pricing. Silver is still TBD but most likely and not until we are in full swing of the new look (1-2 months).

I will show the new look in a couple of weeks but again it will be basically $300 more (off sale).
 

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Steve,

I"m very interested in your 5 channel version, and will most likely be ordering one right after Christmas to give it a spin. What sort of lead time is involved? i.e., if I order a 5CH, how long can I expect to wait?


Thanks,


Nert
 

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Hi Ralph!

I've read your review and your posts on this thread. I’ve also listened to many different amplifiers, including those you mention, trying to detect the ‘differences’ you and some others seem to find simply and cannot. And in another thread Steve has said ‘identifying the differences is very hard work’ yet does not feel extremely confident about passing a blind comparison of amplifiers. Anyway, I’ve dissected your post to focus on my questions:
Quote:
……I would define it as a 10 to 12 percent increase in favor of the Blue Diamond.
How anybody can ascribe a percent better or worse is puzzling to me and I was surprised Steve asked. Do your review notes include any electronic measurements?
Quote:
It reminded me of the Outlaw Model 770 which I noted when I reveiwed that as having similar attributes.
Any thoughts about % better or worse here?
Quote:
I have heard amps from Adcom, Aragon, Marantz, Pass Labs, and Linn. The first three in the list don't compare to the Gemstone. Pass Labs and Linn get closer but the Blue Diamond gets the edge.
To me, that’s amazing. Don’t compare? I considered the Gemstone myself because I believed it may have an excellent part set and construction but the Pass and Linn are very good products. Any thoughts about possible reasons for the distinctions?

Thanks!
 

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Hi all,


New here. Steveh, been reading about your amp here and very interested in it. Especially when the silver ones come out to match my lex processor. I have a quesiton regardng setup though. My room is 15 x 20 feet, and the way I have it set up, if I got the gemstone, I would have to run about 25-27 feet of speaker cabling from the amp to the rear speakers, and about 18 to the sides. That's kinda long. Would it be better to get something like 2 Carver zr1000s, which you listened to Steve, and commented that it was pretty good (very good later in response to tubeguy44 :)) and run balanced cabling about 22 feet to those and 6 feet of speaker cabling? I have an all balanced system, so that's an option I have.


Which one would sound better? The pricing is just about the same for either option.


Thanks all.
 

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Can any of the current owners of Gemstone amp check and let us know about the HUM Ralph mentioned. Mine is on order. I just wanted to know if this is common problem or something else. Previously I had similar problem with a different amp, when I connected with RCA I had hum but when I switched to XLR the hum was gone.


I will be using XLR. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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As I noted above on this link, I use RCA with my Gemstone/D1 combo and it is dead silent.

NETHOMAS
 

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Steve: Just in case you are keeping score, if you make a THREE channel version available by Spring of 2005, you have a good chance of selling me one. I know you don't have plans for this now, but I feel left out of all the fun!
 

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FYI: Steveh PM'ed me right after my question and said that he is off on vacation time at a cabin somewhere, so I don't think he will be responding too soon.


Cheers,


Nert
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sullyj
Hi Ralph!

I've read your review and your posts on this thread. I’ve also listened to many different amplifiers, including those you mention, trying to detect the ‘differences’ you and some others seem to find simply and cannot. And in another thread Steve has said ‘identifying the differences is very hard work’ yet does not feel extremely confident about passing a blind comparison of amplifiers. Anyway, I’ve dissected your post to focus on my questions:


How anybody can ascribe a percent better or worse is puzzling to me and I was surprised Steve asked. Do your review notes include any electronic measurements?


Any thoughts about % better or worse here?


To me, that’s amazing. Don’t compare? I considered the Gemstone myself because I believed it may have an excellent part set and construction but the Pass and Linn are very good products. Any thoughts about possible reasons for the distinctions?

Thanks!
I am off at the cabin but I couldn't resist to post before I get yelled at...:eek:

It is very difficult to pass a double blind test going from A to B to X 6 times verifying in your mind in an effort not to mess-up. It is fatiguing listening for that specific difference as you need to pin point it in the snipit of a passage and you then want to listen to again a few times making sure you caught it correctly. I don't care if you are trying to test speakers that have the same frequency range. It is WORK. Saying all of this. I will be happy to pass a ABX test with amps. It will be at my place as I need to know the sound.

When you don't have to concentrate so hard going back and forth telling the differences is easier. Also, there are amps that sound close and I won't be able to pass. The bottom line is I can pass and many other can as well. In order to pass what you already know, it takes practice. And yes, some amps have 10% more bottom end than others. Even with a 10% difference, doing this blind will not be easy.

Hopefully this clarifies things.

Have a great weekend!:)
 
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