Man, I love this amp.

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bobneill
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Man, I love this amp.

Post by bobneill » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:38 pm

While I sit here waiting for my new NSP (due sometime in August), I continue to be ultra-pleased with the BC1022 still here on loan. This a.m. I was listening to English modernist Brian Fernyhough's (nearly unlistenable to me ten years ago, still unlistenable to many) string quartets, and they were actually beautiful. Not soft or prettified, just clear, firm, and gorgeous. Part of this is the Arditti Quartet, the world's leading introducer of the modern string quartet literature. But the 1022's perfect balance of informativeness and beauty - its captivating midrange, firm bass - is the main player. I keep asking myself, Wouldn't the 1022 form the basis of a great integrated? To sit alongside of the FtTH2 for those of us who have fallen love with the "N" sound. Oh well.

Let's just say the 1022 is one of Gilbert's best all-time creations. I expect the NSP to outdo it in terms of subtlety, resolution, refinement, and all that. Else I wouldn't have ordered one. But for the most excellence (and charm) for the buck, the 1022 is the best amplifier in the line. And as I've said here before, it has its own personality which will cause some to prefer it to everything else around with a blue light on it.

I will miss this baby when she leaves.

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Note

Post by bobneill » Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:12 pm

If anyone cares, my personal ID over there on the left has my history on the forum wrong but there's no way to fix it. I actually joined at the beginning but screwed up my password, etc. a few years later and had to rejoin. Why anyone should care is because I don't to be thought of as a relative newby, not at my age anyway. I'm a wise old fart is what I really am, who came to Blue Circle years ago with a BC3 Despina sold to me my Clark Johnsen, who was then a BC dealer. Smart guy who probably still has his BC3 Despina.

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No text, somehow above "note" got double posted.

Post by bobneill » Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:13 pm

No text.

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Clave
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Post by Clave » Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:36 pm

Would you describe the amp as more up front or more mid hall, etc? I realize this is also dependent on the rest of the system.

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Post by Double D » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:44 pm

Yes Bob.. you WILL miss the 1022 when it's gone, but, I can tell you with certainty that once your new NSP starts to stretch its limbs throughout the (long!) settling in process, you will be glad that you pushed towards the NSP.
This is in no way meant to diminish what the 1022 accomplishes, and like you I will concur that it is perhaps one of G's best efforts in the power amp realm at a price that is far more approachable for most.

Like you, I actually considered "stopping" at the 1022, but there is just that special layer of fluidity and nuance that the NSP adds to the equation that once lived with, becomes difficult to not possess.
Now, if I were starting over again.. I'd probably make a case for owning a BC3 variant pre, along with the 1022 .. some really decent well voiced speakers, and put some $$ into a good front end.. and die happy.
I also think that the 1022 is "fair" enough in that while it will sing with some really excellent surrounding gear, it doesn't NEED them to make its case and sing it's virtues. It therefore becomes a really solid foundation for building a system around, because it will take a LOT to show it as a weak link.

Clave, as to your query about the sonic balance of the 1022, well.. cold out of the gate, it does sound perhaps a bit upfront, however, it changes its stripes substantially after a solid 24hours powering, then it becomes much more neutral. I actually consider it perhaps THE most neutral of all the BC amps I have heard over the years. When I first spent time with it, I knew that Gilbert had taken a different path on this one, and yet it still manages to retain the BC hallmark of tone and structure (there must be something in the water in Innerkip.. really !) because to maintain those qualities, and yet drive the sonic balance more towards the linear world while not forsaking a bit of romance is a tough ballet to dance.

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1022 up front or mid hall?

Post by bobneill » Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:37 am

What he said. DD, that is.

Neither up front nor mid hall once it settles in. Its warmth suggests mid hall but its resolution of detail mitigates that. Not that it needs mitigating! Extremely well balanced in all respects but as I've said in several different ways, wonderfully appealing. It's the appeal that will sell the amp, that and its 120 watts. And its firm low end. And its price.

I like it with a duded up 109 or some equally sophisticated all ss preamp. I would't sully it with tubes, even in a hybrid amp. The whole "N" family neither needs nor wants glass. Gilbert has found a way to make it superfluous, even a detriment, clouding up the situation.

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Glass attack

Post by masluck » Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:13 am

"Needs or wants glass"?

I have to kindly offer a differing opinion. Based upon this thread, I contacted the guy who upgraded my BC26. Based upon his response, I was informed that my amp is really in between a BC1022 and NSP (M2 output stage, NST, some KQ and 1.25 farads of capacitance). It is a wonderful piece and truly resolving, neutral and musical. It mates very well with the AAD ref 7's AND the BC3000 GZpz SE. I run Siemens A-frame tubes in the BC3000 and you know what - it sounds phenomenal. The notion that somehow I am having an "inferior" experience while critically listening (yes, I do that too, just not with 200-300 year old dead guy music :lol: :lol: ) to it with a tube preamp brings a wide smile to my face. The fact is ALL audio gear colors the sound. Where you sit in a auditorium or club colors the sound. There is no absolute here guys and the perpetuation that those of us that happen to love our tube preamps are having some sort limited engagement.....again brings a wide smile to my face... :lol: :lol:

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Post by Double D » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:57 am

Yeah.. I think I'm in agreement here as well, I *know* my BC303DWBB is not as wholly transparent as the 109, it is perhaps its equal on many levels and in my humble opinion surpasses it on others, but that's a whole other discussion, and despite the touch of romance that Harbeth SHL5's bring to the party, would I give up the "touch of glass" .. nope.. Quite the opposite, I've completely embraced the concept of needing bottles somewhere in the chain. It is perhaps the ultimate expression of a "hybrid" amplification chain, with a tube pre, and solid state power amp.
Now, if you're the sort of person that values linearity and transparency above all else, then sure, ditching the bottles for a combo like the 109/1022 or NSP will certainly wet yer noodle.
Is one "better" than the other, maybe.. if you based it solely on a specific set of measurements. However, from an end user listening experience does it matter in the absolute, no. If it makes you happy, and connects you to the tunes you like, and you get deeper to the musical experience, then the end justifies the means. 8)

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Tubes vs. solid state

Post by bobneill » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:46 am

Which is why Gilbert will continue to make both hybrid and his new solid state "N" gear. What's fascinating to me about this is that if you spend an extended period of time with either, it will likely become your norm. When I first heard a piece of Gilbert's new ss gear, I heard what i would call a hint of an ss signature. After a while, it went away...and when I went back to my hybrid gear, I heard a hint of a tube signature!

This a.m. listening to Buxtehude on my solid state preamp (comparable to a BC 109 CP1 I expect but will have a chance to find out later this summer) and the 1022, as I have for several weeks now, I decided to shift back to my FtTH2KQ to see what I'd hear. What I heard was a softer, mellower sound, which surprised me. I'd not heard that from the FtTH2 before. Shifting back to the 1022 combo, I heard more clarity, firmness, and greater speed. There was more excitement. Now if I put my BC3000GZpz into the mix, driving my BC204KQ, I expect the difference would not be so pronounced. But based on experience, I'm sure some of it would still be there.

We are, most of us, used to Gilbert's hybrid sound. Its balance of comfort & sensuality with resolution has pleased us, been our norm for many years. But some of us are now becoming acclimated to the "N" sound, finding it more natural and convincing, even without the coloring of a tube preamp to soften (cloud?) it. This is not going to change, nor need it do so. But I for one am excited with Gilbert's new all solid state ventures. Bring 'em on, I say. More's the better. 'Tis a brave new world with musicians and instruments in it!

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Post by Julian C » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:10 am

Down with tubes! Well, sort of. My experience: 10+ years ago, it was not that hard to hear differences between better designed tube gear and SS. Today, not so much. Tubes had a naturalness, palpability and texture in the sound that SS had a tough time matching. Today's best SS designs (including BC) have gotten so good that the argument for tubes is hard to make. It's now largely a matter of very subtle sonic preferences, not better/worse. Although I liked the sound of tube gear I have had, I never liked owning and living with it. Heat, maintenance, slow deterioration. If a stable, reliable and efficient SS circuit can sound great and make music, I'm in. I think that's where we are today. Tubes are almost a lifestyle choice, not necessarily a performance one. Some people just want tubes and/or like collecting and fiddling with them. That's fine too.

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