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upgraded amp and dac

Easy EMI Options at HiFiMART.com

afj

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have been wanting to upgrade my amp and get a new dac for a while now but took me sometime to decide which way i wanted to go. i had a nad c272 paired with monitor audio rs6 speakers. a while ago the cambridge 640c cdp packed up and have been listening to music on a nad dvd player since.

for the amp i purchased the acoustic portrait thiyaga 200w per channel pre and power. had been to fm nikhil's house a few times and he helped me a great deal in the decision. infact made it very easy for me since he had the same amp (albeit with a tube pre). lugged my speakers to his house one day and had a listen. really loved the sound signature which is very neutral and a few steps above from the nad, and at a price similar to the nad. much better definition all around with sharper and more distinct sounds through the entire spectrum. i wont go into defining each instrument and vocals - its just a few grades better throughout. gives you a much more 'live' listening experience. dealt with siva and jeya at acoustic portrait in bangalore. was a very good experience and didnt have any problem while purchasing the amp. they were patient with my questions and tried to accommodate in any way possible. though i must add that if you have any requests that will interfere in the music reproduction, siva will not entertain it in anyway:). dont go to him asking for convenience over SQ

IMG_20151021_091831.jpg

IMG_20151021_091949.jpg

as for the dac i went an unconventional route. had researched quite a bit on the assembled kits that were available. initially didnt understand much about it at all but with the help of fm sarith, i started understanding what the important components of a dac were. also with help from diyaudio forum, settled in on a well established and recognized dac. there is a guy called weiliang that has designed quite a few dac boards and sells it right from totally unassembled, to assembled components to fully assembled dac. i went with the fully assembled one (since i do not have any experience with soldering and electronics). went with the ak 4118 input section (for spdif and coaxial), ak 4495 dac chip, xmos usb card (for usb input section) and LM49860 for the output amp section. the dac is very solid in the way its built as you can see from pics and pretty heavy as well. it also comes with a toroidal transformer. i loved the sound quality. very transparent and dynamic. really opened up the amp when compared to playing it on the nad dvd player. streets ahead. and def quite a few steps better than the cambridge cdp that i had. if i had to pick a small defect (or perhaps just a personal preference), i wouldve liked the vocals to be a little bit warmer. but just a little. the good thing about this dac is that you can experiement with the output amp chips. you can buy one for under 10 dollars and this will give you different sound signatures.

purchased it from minishow on ebay who came well recommended. he was very professional and answered questions for over a month before i made the purchase. exchanged atleast 30 emails with him. accommodated me in every way possible and item was received well packaged. totally costed me about $300 plus import duty

below is the link of the dac i bought with internal pictures

Finished AK4495 AK4118 DAC Decode LM49860 High Quality New Design for Audio | eBay

the xmos usb card is not included in the link and is extra


IMG_20151021_091859.jpg

IMG_20151021_092445.jpg
 

Nikhil

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Welcome to the club afj!

Good call on going with the 200W Power amp. You just have so much headroom available with that power on reserve. Just want to tell you that the sound will take some time to settle in. Caps will take about 200 hrs to burn in. The sound will get better after that.

Cables and accessories will be the next step but take your time with all that.

Happy listening!
 
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Naturelover

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Congratulations afj! Siva does make great products. Have heard Siva's setup and Gvenu's and Nikhil's too.
Is this a new pre and power? Does this mean that Siva is having new products? Great news if that is so.:clapping:

Did you not consider getting the DAC as well from Siva?

for the amp i purchased the acoustic portrait thiyaga 200w per channel pre and power. had been to fm nikhil's house a few times and he helped me a great deal in the decision. infact made it very easy for me since he had the same amp (albeit with a tube pre). lugged my speakers to his house one day and had a listen. really loved the sound signature which is very neutral and a few steps above from the nad, and at a price similar to the nad. much better definition all around with sharper and more distinct sounds through the entire spectrum. i wont go into defining each instrument and vocals - its just a few grades better throughout. gives you a much more 'live' listening experience. dealt with siva and jeya at acoustic portrait in bangalore. was a very good experience and didnt have any problem while purchasing the amp. they were patient with my questions and tried to accommodate in any way possible. though i must add that if you have any requests that will interfere in the music reproduction, siva will not entertain it in anyway:). dont go to him asking for convenience over SQ

as for the dac i went an unconventional route.

Welcome to the club afj!

Good call on going with the 200W Power amp. You just have so much headroom available with that power on reserve. Just want to tell you that the sound will take some time to settle in. Caps will take about 200 hrs to burn in. The sound will get better after that.
 
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afj

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Welcome to the club afj!

Good call on going with the 200W Power amp. You just have so much headroom available with that power on reserve. Just want to tell you that the sound will take some time to settle in. Caps will take about 200 hrs to burn in. The sound will get better after that.

Cables and accessories will be the next step but take your time with all that.

Happy listening!

thanks nikhil. already feeling the affect of the burn in. there were a few inconsistencies while listening and i wasnt really able to put a finger on what was wrong, since they were just that - inconsistent. sometimes vocals were a tad bright, sometimes the piano was slightly clouded - like a poorly recorded cd. but now its coming together nicely with about 10 hours of listening. not sure if its the amp burn in or the dac, but sound seems a little sweeter and more in harmony.

Congratulations afj! Siva does make great products. Have heard Siva's setup and Gvenu's and Nikhil's too.
Is this a new pre and power? Does this mean that Siva is having new products? Great news if that is so.:clapping:

Did you not consider getting the DAC as well from Siva?

thanks naturelover. i think the power is the same as what nikhil has, but siva now doesnt make the tube pre. he says the ss pre that he now makes is more neutral and works better with current form of music on a computer vis a vis a cd. not sure how that works technically, but i wasnt too bothered. i do like the sweetness and the warmth that a tube gives, but again it has its own eccentricities and maintenance issues. and esp when he told me that a tube pre would cost a lot more than the deal i was getting on the current stock in hand, i just went with the ss

i wouldve liked to have his dac as well but it was in the region of 70-80k, and i didnt want to spend that much.
 
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Nikhil

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The AP tube Pre according to Siva is designed for CD playback. The tubes round off the edge of RBCD material. This is something that is highly subjective, as an AP Transport feeding an AP DAC does a fantastic job anyway. So one has the ears to get more into this.

With the advent of hires material and the linearity of SS design - Siva says the new modern hires material has better resolution than RBCD. He has now moved to the SS design even going on to say that (under a scope) the distortion of tubes is pretty unacceptable to him anymore. I actually agree with him on this, in principle, and have been looking at moving to a SS Preamp as an option. I just like the sound of the Tube Pre too much to do that though.

With regard to burn in or just things settling down - just let the setup play for a few days without listening critically. You will know when it just clicks - an aha moment of sorts. If the Power Amp has the same caps that I had upgraded to - then burn in is at least 200 hrs. Don't bother counting the hours. You will know when the amp just ratchets it up another level once the caps settle in. Definitely worth the wait but just let it happen.

Enjoy the music!
 
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captrajesh

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@Afj IIRC you had a Bada Purer amp. Do you still have it or have you disposed it off? How do the AP and NAD compare with the Bada?
 

afj

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@Afj IIRC you had a Bada Purer amp. Do you still have it or have you disposed it off? How do the AP and NAD compare with the Bada?

had the bada a long time ago. it was a very good amp for the price. but had to dispose it as it was TOO powerful. need a really big room to listen to it (and at that time my listening area was over 500 sft). the bass was just too big for easy listening even at low volumes. would rate it above the nad. but not as refined as the AP. i guess it would be good for certain types of music. hip hop rap rave hard rock...not so good for classic rock, jazz, classical etc
 

kvm

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Congratulations afj for your new purchase; enjoy the music [emoji4]

Quick q: isn't 200w reserve of the power amp too much for RS6 speakers especially when they are rated from 40-120w? It may not do any bad but am wondering if it does any good. Pl share your thought process.

Also did you get a chance to check if Thiyaga DAC is DS or R2R based and any info on the DAC Chip used - couldn't find these details on their website.
 

Nikhil

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Quick q: isn't 200w reserve of the power amp too much for RS6 speakers especially when they are rated from 40-120w? It may not do any bad but am wondering if it does any good. Pl share your thought process.

More power is never a bad thing unless you absolutely crank it up and blow out the tweeters.
In fact having more power is better than having less power which can actually do more damage to a driver.

Also did you get a chance to check if Thiyaga DAC is DS or R2R based and any info on the DAC Chip used - couldn't find these details on their website.

The AP Thyaga DAC has the Wolfson 8741 chip - not an R2R design.
 
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kvm

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Thanks Nikhil; agree that more power is better but reason I asked as it's way more than the rated!

Thanks for the clarification on the DAC
 

Nikhil

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Thanks Nikhil; agree that more power is better but reason I asked as it's way more than the rated!

Yes as per the spec sheet it is a bit much. However, speakers present a complex load to the amps. With material that has a lot of low freq material or transients the amp has to be able to have reserves to supply power at that load. When you have an amp like the AP the speakers sound very sure footed as the amp is able to track the speaker load very well.

Having said that I doubt you will need to go more than 11 'o' clock on the volume dial. At that level the AP amp will wake up the neighbhorhood. What it does is, it allows low level detail retrieval at low(er) volume levels. The bass is tight and sure footed even from relatively small speakers. That is really where the extra power comes very handy.
 

afj

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Congratulations afj for your new purchase; enjoy the music [emoji4]

Quick q: isn't 200w reserve of the power amp too much for RS6 speakers especially when they are rated from 40-120w? It may not do any bad but am wondering if it does any good. Pl share your thought process.

Also did you get a chance to check if Thiyaga DAC is DS or R2R based and any info on the DAC Chip used - couldn't find these details on their website.

the nad that i was using previously was 150w per channel. it had enough of headroom to control the speakers. AP only has 2 models of amps - 75w and 200w. 75 would've been too low so i went with the 200. if they had a 150w amp i wouldve gone with that. wouldnt want to venture lower than 150w
 

kvm

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Sounds good folks; on the brighter side having a higher powered amp makes it future proof- can take on possible speaker upgrades as well [emoji4]
 
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