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Power Amps for Duntech Sovereigns
Old 12th March 2016
  #1
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bikegerm's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Power Amps for Duntech Sovereigns

Hey gang.... We're currently looking into alternate power amps to push our Duntech Sovereign speakers. We are currently using some older Bryston 7B SST's. They sound good but I'm looking for something with faster transients. I've inquired about the Pass X600.8's but they are just too expensive. Any ideas ?

Randy
Old 13th March 2016
  #2
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 
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Hypex.
Old 13th March 2016
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icepower
Old 13th March 2016
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I've never tried BRYSTON's with my Sovereign's and don't know how they behave with transients but i use UCD700HxR (bi amp) for years and it's a good combination . theses amps feed the greedy Sovereigns easily and fast enough to take critical decisions on the transients information without difficulty
Old 13th March 2016 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson ➑️
Hypex.
Unfortunately for me, the Hypex didn't cut it. I had built two dual-NCORE400 boxes, each with a SMPS600 in it and they were sorrowfully not up to the task. Truly not happening I was sad to find out. Any real level and they simply crapped out. I was loaned some Lipinski class D mono blocks and they were a big improvement but still not a great match. Plunked down painfully for Pass 600.8's and things are sounding fabulous, and compared to the other matches, just in a totally different battle class. Nothing sounds strained at any level, the sound is consistent at pretty much every level, and the bottom octave showed up and without any apparent effort.

The only issue remaining for me is with the top end - its not quite as open as I would like.

I yanked a crossover and its stuffed with electrolytics. Talking with the folks at Duntech, they were confident that rebuilding the crossovers with film caps and MOX resistors would be a significantly worthwhile endeavor. Off topic but maybe of interest.

Anyway, if you can try the Hypex first I would suggest that.
Old 14th March 2016
  #6
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The Pass Labs x600s are worth the price of admission - mine are one generation older (x600.5) but are absolutely amazing - best amplifiers I've ever heard.
Old 14th March 2016
  #7
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duplicate.

Last edited by bushwick; 14th March 2016 at 04:07 PM..
Old 14th March 2016
  #8
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There is a pair of 600.8's for $16k on audiogon right now. Maybe they'll take less. . . You know, I'd be interested to see what the sovereigns would sound like with a pair on each speaker. Scott Hull mentioned to me a long time ago that Sovereign's are power pigs and that in his experience, the more power he threw at them the better they kept sounding. For eons he's been powering his with a pair of Cello Perf II's on each speaker.

To note: the 600's are comfortably pushing 1200 watts at 4 ohms, 2400 watts per amp at 2ohms, which fills the need of sovereigns published specs of 3-4.5 ohms easily.
Old 14th March 2016 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick ➑️
Unfortunately for me, the Hypex didn't cut it. I had built two dual-NCORE400 boxes, each with a SMPS600 in it and they were sorrowfully not up to the task.
That is so unusual that I wonder if there was something wrong with them.
Old 14th March 2016 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson ➑️
That is so unusual that I wonder if there was something wrong with them.
since the Soverreign's are greedy, UCD 400's monoblock/speaker was maybe undersize

no complaint here with bi amp UCD700 SMPS1200
Old 14th March 2016 | Show parent
  #11
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In my case specifically, it was actually two NCORE 400's per speaker cabinet. I had built two boxes, each with two NCORE 400's inside & one one SMPS600 powering the pair of NCORES. Each speaker had one of these boxes dedicated to it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sub-d0 ➑️
since the Soverreign's are greedy, UCD 400's monoblock/speaker was maybe undersize

no complaint here with bi amp UCD700 SMPS1200



Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson ➑️
That is so unusual that I wonder if there was something wrong with them.

I sold the amps on & they are now happily being used, so not saying something might not have been right but I didn't hear any complaints from Chuck Zwicky who purchased these from me (Zmix around these parts). For what it may be worth, I was complimented on the build out of them, but never asked him if he found some fault in them after using them.
Old 14th March 2016
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Odd. I know Chuck (former Mpls guy) and trust his ears / tech. Yours is the first bad review I've read on a credible forum. So it goes...
Old 15th March 2016
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I don't really like the sound of the Pass .8 series amps. I have a pair of the XA .5 series and have heard the XS series as well, which I feel like keeps the house sound of Pass. The .8 series to me feels too dry and lifeless, whereas the .5 and XS series has the body and soul that Pass is known for.
Old 15th March 2016 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering ➑️
I don't really like the sound of the Pass .8 series amps. I have a pair of the XA .5 series and have heard the XS series as well, which I feel like keeps the house sound of Pass. The .8 series to me feels too dry and lifeless, whereas the .5 and XS series has the body and soul that Pass is known for.
Interesting observations. I wondered what might be the reason for your experience and called Pass to chat about the differences in the amps and one of the techs there had this to say (paraphrasing): If someone is going from .5's to .8's with the same amp most people will find it to be an improvement. The .8's are faster, tighter in LF, & less noise.


If you are humming along with the XA series, they are the all class A design and they must sound different than the X series. I'd like to hear them at some point. Which model do you have?
Old 15th March 2016 | Show parent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick ➑️
Interesting observations. I wondered what might be the reason for your experience and called Pass to chat about the differences in the amps and one of the techs there had this to say (paraphrasing): If someone is going from .5's to .8's with the same amp most people will find it to be an improvement. The .8's are faster, tighter in LF, & less noise.

If you are humming along with the XA series, they are the all class A design and they must sound different than the X series. I'd like to hear them at some point. Which model do you have?
Yes, the .8 does have a "tighter" bottom-end, at the expense of the mid-range body and high-end transparency. Sounds too clinical to me with no soul. Besides, I feel the tightness and speed of the bottom-end sounds a little unnatural. That's why I'm sticking with my XA-100.5 monoblocs. One day, I would like to upgrade to the XS-300 amps. I do need more power for my relatively inefficient speakers.
Old 15th March 2016
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Clinical and without soul are exactly what I want in an amp. The excitement should be in the music, not the playback gear.
Old 16th March 2016 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson ➑️
Clinical and without soul are exactly what I want in an amp. The excitement should be in the music, not the playback gear.
When the equipment can't or won't clearly reproduce the weight, body and soul/excitement of a violin/cello/guitar that's on the master tape, then it's not for me.
Old 16th March 2016 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick ➑️
In my case specifically, it was actually two NCORE 400's per speaker cabinet. I had built two boxes, each with two NCORE 400's inside & one one SMPS600 powering the pair of NCORES.
I had the same problem when I used one SMPS600 to power two NCORE's. I tried again using one power-supply per amp and it powers my Duntech's perfectly.
Old 16th March 2016 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Phil ➑️
I had the same problem when I used one SMPS600 to power two NCORE's. I tried again using one power-supply per amp and it powers my Duntech's perfectly.
As I'd suspected. No issue running one UcD700HG a side for the Regents, which have the same (minimum power) requirements, according to Duntech.
Old 16th March 2016
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I have 3x Dunlavy SC-V and 2x SC-IV in a surround setup in my room, not the Duntechs, but my comment on this is that you should do yourself the favor of comparing monoblocks vs. a pair of stereo amps in vertical bi-amp.
When I got my Dunlavys, I started out with the Classe CA-M400 amps. I was thoroughly unimpressed. When I switched them for the CA-2200 (Same amp in a stereo package) the difference was not subtle. Better imaging, tighter, punchier and more extended bottom. We've tried different amps over the years, but the stereo amp in vertical bi-amp has always taken the day.
Personally, I've been waiting for the stereo version of the Bricasti M28 to upgrade my amplifiers, but these are in the same price range as the big Pass amps. We have the M28 in our B&W 802 Diamond surround setup. When they brought over the prototypes M28 we swapped it for the Classe CT-M600 monoblocks in the room and the difference was night and day.

As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
Old 16th March 2016 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Phil ➑️
I had the same problem when I used one SMPS600 to power two NCORE's. I tried again using one power-supply per amp and it powers my Duntech's perfectly.
Well that is a bummer. I had some back and forth with the guys at Hypex and they said the setup should be no problem, even after I put things together and was puzzled at the poor sound I was getting. I wonder if they have an explanation for this now. I also wonder how their Ncore 1200's would stack up to the Pass. A pair per speaker would put thing in the same general range of power. Maybe around the same dosh too.

All that said, I am quite happy save for some HF extension. Newer Duntech x-overs are utilizing film caps and the older ones electrolytics. I'll report back after the swap for any folks who have the older crossover designs.
Old 24th March 2016
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Have a listen to this amp Bryston Limited: 4BSSTΒ² PRO Dual-Channel (Stereo) Amplifier. It is getting rave reviews Bryston 4B SST2 300 Watt Stereo Amplifier-Audio Advisor.

FWIW

We have been using Bryston Power amps for 21 years and they still sound the best IMHO.
Old 24th March 2016 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➑️
We have been using Bryston Power amps for 21 years
Just one year out of warranty then..
Old 24th March 2016 | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue ➑️
We have the M28 in our B&W 802 Diamond surround setup. When they brought over the prototypes M28 we swapped it for the Classe CT-M600 monoblocks in the room and the difference was night and day.

As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
The Classe CT-M600's are the ones for me too.
for a while the B&W 801 nautlus were in my room & they didn't like the hypex...the Classe were a perfect match. those speakers need a lot of power.
A few months later when that set up had to leave I went back to my Dunlavy SCiiia's & hypex UCD400 stereo.... I couldn't take it, I had to get my own Ct-600's. After that all was good again. great amps!
Old 2nd July 2016 | Show parent
  #25
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Started rebuilding the crossovers today. We got one of them done and put it back in. We were very careful to measure the capacitance of what we pulled out and taking curves of the crossover for each of the driver groups and were able to match the rebuild to an extremely close tolerance, though we were lucky John had extra capacitors with him. One block of the original caps were all closely matched but on the low side. The replacements were closely matched but on the high side. The curves after the rebuild were essentially the same and because of that I was totally amazed at how different the speakers sound, floored actually.

The new caps tightened up the low mids and the balance low to high is much, much more even. At the moment I have zero desire to touch the top end of the crossovers which is something that had been on my list to play with. John also commented how much larger the audible change was than he'd expected. His first thought was distortion was probably the culprit of the low mid bulk sensation and with the new caps the distortion is gone or much reduced...no more extra harmonics bulking up the low mids putting the balance out of whack. Things sounds more lifelike and believable, less colored.


We opted to leave the ceramic resistors in and not put in mox resistors I'd bought. There really is no metric in the audio range that stands to benefit from mox resistors of ceramic and the temperature coefficient is two orders of magnitude worse so we'll leave that alone for the moment.

Also, I misspoke earlier in this thread saying the original crossovers had electrolytics. That was incorrect. They were also some kind of film capacitor as well.

Anyway, gonna let the new x-over burn in overnight and have a listen tomorrow. I have a feeling I will be using less secondary referencing, we'll see, but at least for now it sounds like a different speaker and I'm pretty fired up about it.

-j



Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick ➑️
.............

The only issue remaining for me is with the top end - its not quite as open as I would like.

I yanked a crossover and its stuffed with electrolytics. Talking with the folks at Duntech, they were confident that rebuilding the crossovers with film caps and MOX resistors would be a significantly worthwhile endeavor. Off topic but maybe of interest.

Anyway, if you can try the Hypex first I would suggest that.
Old 2nd July 2016
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I might be cheating but I remember seeing a video of Dave McNair when he was still at Sterling doing a gear tour and he had some Cello Duets powering his Duntechs. Those amps are crazy!!
Old 16th July 2016
  #27
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🎧 10 years
Briscati Love

Well .. we are very fortunate to be demo'ing new amps for our Duntech Sovereign's. I have been on Bryston 7B sst's for the last six years. Great sounding, but not "stunning".

Enter Damon and his Bricasti M28's. Our Duntech's have come alive ! The difference in bottom end definition and dynamics were instantly noticable. The mids are smoother, and the highs seem to "splash" with every cymbal crash. They are fulfilling all of my expectations of what our Duntech's and mastering room should sound like. It also makes it easier to hear subtle changes in processing !!

We've drank the kool aid . I'm worried there is no going back !!

Randy
Old 16th July 2016 | Show parent
  #28
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We've had five of the Bricasti M28 for almost 2 years and have no regrets.
I'm pretty skeptical of claims "This is better than anything else....." but when we heard the first prototypes, it was not subtle.
I'm still using five of the Classe CA-2200 stereo amps on my surround Dunlavy setup, but am anxiously awaiting the forthcoming Bricasti stereo amp.
All the best,
-mark

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikegerm ➑️
Well .. we are very fortunate to be demo'ing new amps for our Duntech Sovereign's. I have been on Bryston 7B sst's for the last six years. Great sounding, but not "stunning".

Enter Damon and his Bricasti M28's. Our Duntech's have come alive ! The difference in bottom end definition and dynamics were instantly noticable. The mids are smoother, and the highs seem to "splash" with every cymbal crash. They are fulfilling all of my expectations of what our Duntech's and mastering room should sound like. It also makes it easier to hear subtle changes in processing !!

We've drank the kool aid . I'm worried there is no going back !!

Randy
Old 10th August 2016
  #29
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🎧 10 years
my political platform

Well... after spending a few weeks on these M28's, their shipping boxes are off to storage and the old amps "have left the building" ... These Bricasti M28 amps have found a new home here in Takoma Park. Kudos to Damon at Bricasti and thanks to Airshow's Charlie Pilzer for his vision and investments in our facility.

"If elected I promise to put a Bricasti in everyone's home !! "

Randy
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