Listening to the Blue Circle NSL, Junior prototype.

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Bob Neill
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Listening to the Blue Circle NSL, Junior prototype.

Post by Bob Neill » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:31 am

This is not going to be a puff piece on the new (forthcoming) NSL, Jr. because it doesn

Chowder_head
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Nice comparison

Post by Chowder_head » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:37 am

Nice, Bob. I know the sound of your amp through two of your JMRs. I've heard the Tocaro 42s, not sufficiently broken in to do themselves justice, but I certainly get where you are coming from.

"Forthcoming": when?

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Forthcoming when?

Post by Bob Neill » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:46 am

Gilbert hasn't said but probably will now. I would say, not having heard Senior but hearing GY describe its difference from the Junior, that for some of us Junior will be a bargain, depending on where GY prices it. If your speakers are 88-90, probably not, but who knows? Granted my speakers are 97 dB but I heard no difference in output and sound quality between the two amps that I could ascribe to their huge difference in power output. Miguel (Tocaro) and Peter More (Crimson) believe that Tocaros counter-intuitively thrive on high powered amps. But Junior's 25 did them fine. I'll have Tocaro 42's here this coming week. They're 99 dB!

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Post by Chowder_head » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:56 pm

My speakers are all easy to drive and/or sensitive. 25W is a lot of power compared to 1.5W

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Post by Ice Man » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:09 am

I had the chance to listen to the amp, in my system, and the bottom line is this: it was the most impressive amp I have ever heard, by far. It was extremely revealing, with unimaginable clarity and realism, yet, super smooth and never, harsh or fatiguing sounding. Fun factor was off the charts.

As a reference, I have a custom BC206ob.

I bi-amped the unit to handle the midrange and above, while letting my amp handle the bass-- my system never sounded better or more alive-- and without a doubt, this is the path that I will take in the future: have an NSL type amp control the mids and up, and then let my amps handle everything below.

I was very sad to have it leave my system, and it did take a bit of time to get over it. The truth was, my system sounded downright broken when I removed it. Amazing amp. Simply, amazing.

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NSL, Junior and Bass

Post by Bob Neill » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:51 pm

I had no problem with the amp's bass. I know that GY and esoxhntr were playing around with an NSL and NSP bi-amping arrangement just as you are talking about bi-amping with the NSL and your BC206ob. I hope this doesn't give folks the impression that the NSL amps are deficient in bass. Both of the reviews of the NSL senior (if I remember right) had no more problem with the bass than I did with Junior, so I would imagine Senior has bass to spare.

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Post by Ice Man » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:06 pm

I never heard the NSL Jr. by itself. I honestly never had any intention of doing an A/B comparison between the two amps.

I heard all about the NSL and NSP combination, and I simply wanted to try it in that configuration. Once I heard the sound it produced, my normal curiosity of, "What if I..." and my need to tweak went straight out the window; I just wanted to sit and listen to music, disc after disc after disc. I couldn't stop smiling. While I love the sound my 200 series amp produces, the combination of the two was jaw-dropping amazing.

The question of bass never crossed my mind. I've known Blue Circle long enough to know that there is no way they will ever sell a product if it does not sound damn good both up top AND down below, while also being an incredible value in their respective price range. Moreover, at the price range of Jr., it has to be damn good. Period.

Furthermore, if one is going to solely make a judgement based on its number of watts, that would be a mistake: it would be more accurate to look at the output impedance. It states on the NSL page, despite having 28 watts into 8 ohms, it has an output impedance LOWER than most 300 watt amps. That translates into a higher damping factor than most 300 watt amps. A higher damping factor means better control over the speakers' lower octave cones, and therefore, it will produce better bass.

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Post by Ice Man » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:10 pm

** Unfair and inaccurate statement, on my part, in the above thread. Requires explanation:

In the above post, I commented that after I removed the NSL Jr. from my system, my amps sounded "broken."

It is unfair and inaccurate because I was comparing a warmed up system (continuous two weeks) to the initial sound of a system which was turned off for a full day. My system had zero warm up time. It is well known that every system needs some warm-up time to sound its best.

It's been a couple of weeks now that the NSL Jr. has left my house, and my BC 200 series amps have been on ever since. They are absolutely wonderful and incredibly realistic sounding. I love my amps and the sound it produces.

A few thoughts comparing what I heard with the NSL Jr. (bi-amped) to my fully warmed-up 200 Series amps:

NSL Jr.'s background is absolutely black; floor noise is nonexistent. It's not lean, but ultra accurate-- I have never heard anything that sounds closer to live music than with the NSL Jr. bi-amped. I could easily listen for very long periods with it every sounding harsh or fatiguing. It was extremely engaging and alive sounding; every instrument and performer could be clearly delineated.

200 Series amps sounds very real, but the tubes give it a warmth and lushness, especially with vocals. I listen to a lot of folk, jazz, and pop music with a particular preference for female vocals. The tubes do add a special magic that I am especially fond of.

I guess it really depends on what your associated equipment entails, and what you prefer. I think the solid state will make the background darker and for it sound a bit quicker. I think the NSP and the 200 series amps w/o tubes will bring about a lower floor noise and bridge the gap between the the 200 series and the NSL series. With that said, there is something truly special about so many op-amps working in parallel, and unless you have two fully warmed up systems, side by side to compare, it's pretty difficult to compare.

Honestly, I could be very happy with either one. VERY, VERY, HAPPY. I mean, never upgrading or changing amps-- ever again-- type of happy! I am sure that there are people out there who will prefer one type over another. Either way, one will not go wrong from buying a Blue Circle amp. And, like the 200 series owners, who after many years, decide they want to go in a slightly different direction, it seems like only The Custom Shop can and will accommodate you.

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NSL vs. 200 series amps

Post by Bob Neill » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:33 am

What sounds natural to you depends a great deal on what you've just heard. Audio is hugely relative. Moving from a 204 to an NSL, the latter will initially sound a bit lean and ultra-transparent. After listening for a day or so, it will become your new normal. Moving back to the 204, the hybrid will initially sound a bit warm and thick. After a day or so, it too will sound normal, its particular virtues once again evident. This only works with really good amps that have something distinctive to say, of course. In most cases, with really good gear, you can adapt to any of it. It's like changing seats in a hall or even changing halls.

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Post by Ice Man » Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:56 pm

I completely agree with you. As I stated, I would be very happy with either type of amp.

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Post by Jeddy » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:13 pm

MAN! I've got to hear this NSL jr.!!!
But will it drive the BM2's I have??

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Post by esoxhntr » Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:22 pm

Jeddy wrote:MAN! I've got to hear this NSL jr.!!!
But will it drive the BM2's I have??
There is no doubt that the NSL Jr. will drive your BM2 speakers - the pair should sound awesome.

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