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Current setup - Lampizator, Zypher Labs, Dynaudio

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jai1611

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I've been listening to the AmpCamp ACA in the setup for the last couple of days. As it doesnt have a volume control, the matrix m-stage has been pressed back into preamp duties. The little amp is really quite impressive. It doesnt match the Zypher amp's speed or bass control, but manages to inch ahead in other areas (just does a better job of drawing you into the music). Of course, this is with the relatively easy to drive Sonodynes. I suspect that the ACA will struggle to get going at all with the Dynaudio's (not even going to try)

The little amp is impressive enough that I want to at some point try it with the Saadhanas once I set them up again. The low power (5w) and damping factor (3) also lend themselves to being used with such speakers.

I'm planning to send the Dynaudio's back to Mumbai (where they came from). If I end up doing that, will probably put the Zypher up for sale. Can make do with the ACA and the Sonodyne's till the main system is up and running again a few months down the line.
 

jai1611

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Jai why dont you write a review on Zypher labs amps and also if you have any pics would like to see them. What price did u pay for the amp? How does your ACA compare to zypher probably in detail will help. Its very impressive to see good quality amps from India. Its great contribution kanwar.
The reason to ask about the comparison between zypher and the ACA is I have auditioned the ACA that gives me an idea about how ACA gets related.
Sandy, its very difficult for me to review a component in isolation. What I've written through this thread are impressions of a full system, which has the Zypher amp as a cornerstone.

If I were to characterize the key traits of the Zypher amp from and SQ point of view, the main things are:
1. Speed and timing - the amp excels at this (perhaps the best I've heard)
2. High degree of transparency
3. Good soundstage, but not as strong at this as in other areas
4. High degree of neutrality - both in frequency extension and tone. No extra warmth or leanness
5. Excellent dynamics
6. Where it falls short of the (significantly) more expensive amps that I've owned/heard is in refinement and the expansiveness/depth of the soundstage

The ACA is not strictly comparable - it is a 5w amp that exhibits its limitations on the power / dynamics front even with very sensitive speakers. On the parameters highlighted above, I've compared the two below:
1. Speed and timing - the Zypher light years ahead
2. Transparency - the two are comparable, the ACA when fully warmed up is perhaps a bit better
3. Soundstage - the ACA is a bit more precise
4. Neutrality - the ACA is a bit warmer in presentation
5. Dynamics - no contest, the Zypher is again well ahead

Overall, the ACA is a bit more refined and would suit a setup with sensitive speakers and a small listening room. People who like a warmer presentation or have slightly lean speakers may also prefer it (this is why I was using it with the Sonodynes for some time). For normal speakers and listening room, the Zypher is a much better amp (not surprising given the cost gap)

I've moved back to the Saadhanas now so the ACA and the Zypher are no longer on duty. I'll put up a separate thread once the system has stabilised.

A recent pic of the Zypher below. Sorry for the poor quality - its taken with a phone.

EDIT: Comparison of the ACA + Lyrita DHT preamp and the Rethm Gaanam with the Rethm Saadhana speakers posted here: http://www.hifivision.com/speakers/29286-stereo-set-up-indian-classical-budget-1-lakh-10.html#post587736
 

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denom

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Hi Jai, very interesting observations on the Zypher Amp.

Ultimately, the Zypher amp is good, but not that good to be part of your set-up is what your saying, correct?
Or the Sonodyne speakers do not deserve to be paired with it I suppose :p
 

jai1611

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Hi Jai, very interesting observations on the Zypher Amp.

Ultimately, the Zypher amp is good, but not that good to be part of your set-up is what your saying, correct?
Or the Sonodyne speakers do not deserve to be paired with it I suppose :p
The Sonodynes are tonally somewhat lean (the ones I have). The Lampizator hid this somewhat but using the Behringer (which is a bit lean) with a neutral amp and lean speakers was a bit too much for long term listening (particularly given that my current room has a bit of HF issues anyway). The ACA compensated for this but gave up a lot in other areas. With a different DAC or in a different room, the ACA would not have replaced the Zypher. In a way these shortcomings were a good thing - finally convinced me to set up the Rethms again and leave the experimentation behind.

The amp I am using now costs over 200k retail and is purpose bit for my current speakers (both Rethm). In that setup, I would not try the Zypher or any other 100w+ solid state amp for that matter. I tried the ACA as a matter of curiosity - the Saadhanas go a long way in making up for its lack of power but ultimately even these speakers need a few more watts.
 

denom

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Thanks Jai for the explanation. Frankly speaking, I always wondered why you were content playing second fiddle/experimenting with other set-ups when you had the rethms flagship with you all this while. Yes, the saadhana's are a PITA to set-up & can frustrate anyone without patience or understanding of what & how to get them to sing, still a person of your experience should have figured this out earlier :D

Going down the wrong route trying to pacify oneself that all is well sure is a futile exercise.

Look forward to you achieving the goal with the rethm amp/speaker combo, with matching cabling & a suitable source to milk out every drop from the set-up. Do be patient with them & persevere as the fruits of doing so will be very fulfilling am sure.

Looking back, you wasted a lot of precious time overlooking what was right in front of you!!!

Sorry for being harsh on you dear friend, but just saying it as it is :)
 

jai1611

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Going down the wrong route trying to pacify oneself that all is well sure is a futile exercise.

....

Looking back, you wasted a lot of precious time overlooking what was right in front of you!!!

Sorry for being harsh on you dear friend, but just saying it as it is :)
Not harsh denom bhai

A year back I found myself focusing on sound instead of music so decided to take a break from the big system. Now enjoying music once more and looking beyond tweaking endlessly. I already have the right speaker cables, have found (and bought) a good source, will only change the ICs and add a USB cable in the setup. The rest is going to be spending some time finalising the speaker positioning

The tweaking energy is going to be devoted to some DIY projects - more productive that way!
 

denom

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Jai, good to hear about you heading back in the right direction :)

Look forward to reading & seeing the pics of the set-up once in place. Do share info on what source you have bought.

DIY projects, hmmmm :thumbsup:
 

jai1611

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Jai, good to hear about you heading back in the right direction :)

Look forward to reading & seeing the pics of the set-up once in place. Do share info on what source you have bought.

DIY projects, hmmmm :thumbsup:
Thanks denom

The source is a DIY DAC that I heard and liked. Its based on the Fet Audio kit (dual mono implementation) and the person who built it added a souped up power supply, tried out different caps and added a good USB-I2S interface (Edel). He was thinking of selling it. I heard it my system and liked it so bought it from him.
 

reignofchaos

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Thanks denom

The source is a DIY DAC that I heard and liked. Its based on the Fet Audio kit (dual mono implementation) and the person who built it added a souped up power supply, tried out different caps and added a good USB-I2S interface (Edel). He was thinking of selling it. I heard it my system and liked it so bought it from him.
Good to know you found a source you like. What chip is this kit based on?
 

reignofchaos

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It uses a PCM1794 with a solid state output stage based on the Pass D1 design.
D1 had a very controversial I/V stage - many thought it was a hack but apparently it sounded very very good. I'm surprised though that you chose a dac with a delta sigma converter like the PCM1794.

Would love to listen to it some day. Could you please point me to the DAC's product page?
 

jai1611

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D1 had a very controversial I/V stage - many thought it was a hack but apparently it sounded very very good. I'm surprised though that you chose a dac with a delta sigma converter like the PCM1794.

Would love to listen to it some day. Could you please point me to the DAC's product page?
The D1 schematic has been in public domain for quite some time now. The output stage was designed with a particular chip in mind and the I/V stage needs to be modified to suit modern chips. You'll find quite a few adaptations out there.

I'll still have a 1541 DAC with a tube output stage for when I want something a bit more mellow.

FET Audio | Hi-End Audio ProjectsFDA-1 PCM1794A DAC for Sale / PCM1794 - there have been a few different versions of this. I think mine is the one in the link.
 
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Naturelover

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Jai, have you had the opportunity to compare the AP Thiyaga with the Lampizator? Like you opinion please. Can you give some idea of the price of each?
Thanks
 

jai1611

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Jai, have you had the opportunity to compare the AP Thiyaga with the Lampizator? Like you opinion please. Can you give some idea of the price of each?
Thanks
I've heard them separately. My impression is that the AP Thyaga is more neutral and dynamic. The Lampizator is better at soundstage and adds a certain magic/realism to the sound (particularly vocals).

AP is around Rs80k+VAT. The Lampizator level 3 is Euro 2k+.
 
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