Time for a showdown

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Clave
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Time for a showdown

Post by Clave » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:36 pm

Showing an epic lack of restraint, I've bought the FtTH2 that was being listed here, which originally came from Amherst Audio. With no dealer nearby, this is my version of an audition. I've been running a Despina Mk II and BC 24 combo for years. Sweet and soulful but missing a couple things I'm looking for. If the FtTH provides them, I'll be glad to save some shelf space. I don't expect a hybrid amp to bring tons of thunder, but 20% more bass control would do the trick. What can I expect?

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What are you looking for?

Post by masluck » Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:43 pm

Hi Clave,

Congratulations!! It begs the question: what are you looking for in your new integrated over what you currently have?

Mark

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Post by Clave » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:03 pm

Mainly after better bass control and a little bit more speed. Not a lot, just a little. Plan A was to upgrade the BC 3 power supply and eventually get a BC1022, but that's a pretty big investment for me, so this is an attempt at a shortcut. Plus I was curious and the price was right, and I like the simplicity of an integrated, especially one that uses just one tube (twice the tube rolling fun/agony for the money). I liked the tone and vibe of the NSCS when I tried it some years ago with speakers similar to mine, so it stands to reason I will like the FtTH. If the integrated doesn't float my musical boat and revert to plan A. Probably should have left well enough alone, but since when is good enough acceptable for audiophiles? Anyway, stay tuned.
Last edited by Clave on Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by masluck » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:32 pm

Hi Clave,

I can't see why you wouldn't like that amp, but the BC world now knows about my particular bias towards having a "bit o'tube in my lunch". I like what Gil But does with tubes and solid state amplification devices. That is why I will always have a BC tube preamp mated to a BC solid state amp - that is just me. Actually, with the exception of my first separate system at 14 years of age, all of my stereos have had that combination. The thing about having tubes in your rig is you can change the sound more dramatically (if you wish) than any interconnect or power cord will afford (at least in my experience). I have not personally heard your new amp, but I do have Gil But's latest thinking in both my preamp (BC3000 GZpz SE) and in my power amp (basically twix the 200 series and NSP line - NST input/M2 output stage).

Bass control is a strength - exemplified especially with the AAD Silver Reference 7's. The AAD's are awesome speakers for the money and respond well with the Luminous Audio speakers cables that K-Dub recommended. Actually, I do like the Luminous, TG Audio, Crimson and Shunyata interconnect and speakers cables I have in the rig based upon what tubes I happen to be using. I can't recommend the AAD speakers any stronger - they are as fast and articulate as my last pair of Magnepans, but with far better bass response. If you can land a pair for audition they may just be the trick. Speakers (like all audio) are highly subjective, but hell, I am happy... :D :D :D :D

Mark

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Clave
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Post by Clave » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:06 pm

When I'm ready to investigate new speakers, the AAD's will be on the short list. Speakers are definitely the hardest part of a system to get right because not only do you have to love the voice, but they have to work in the room. For those of us who live in apartments with very limited placement options, it's especially tricky. There are far worse problems to have, I realize. Heck, I've had some of them myself. :shock:

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Bloser's FtTH2

Post by bobneill » Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:37 am

That amp has either an Amperex or Telefunken tube in it, I can't remember which, probably the latter. If you end up liking it, I've got another or so lying around here.

Glad Mr. Bloser found a buyer. Seems like a very good guy.

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Post by Clave » Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:39 pm

He said it has an Amperex Orange Globe 6DJ8 in it. Amperex and Blue Circle are a good marriage in my experience. Enticing midrange meets enticing midrange kind of thing. Haven't heard a Telefunken. From what I've read, I'm guessing it sounds cleaner but less beautiful?

Of course, as soon as I bought the new piece, my current rig started to sound a lot better. Trick of the mind? Or maybe my XOe filter got fully broken in. Anyway, it will be an interesting comparison between the integrated and separates.

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Post by Clave » Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:21 am

So the FTtH2 is up and running, the BC 3 and BC 24 are watching with baited breath. Not everyone can stay, unfortunately. Need a couple days probably for my ears to adjust and just listen to music rather than think about equipment. First impressions: The integrated seems to quieter and a more resolving, faster and more dynamic but maybe less charming and/or romantic in the process. The other combo has a different mix of tubes, which complicates the comparison. I don't seem to be able to turn the music and off and go to bed, which may say something.

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FtTH2 vs. BC3 Despina/BC24

Post by bobneill » Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:43 am

Give the integrated several days (4-5) to settle in and to let your brain adjust to the different sound. You are still hearing it in relation to the other rig rather than in relation to reality. Once you stop hearing the FtTH, wait another day and then switch back. That may be the first time you hear the 3/24. If it sounds a bit soft and solicitous and can't quite hold your attention, there you are. If it sounds "better," there you also are.

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P.S.

Post by bobneill » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:45 am

If you're liking the FtTH2 but would like a little more of "everything," you should know that that particular amp is KQ ready. I have the KQ that was built for it here and would be happy to restore it to its birth mother. It's listed under the Gear for Sale listing....

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Post by Clave » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:55 pm

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. The integrated is awesome, of course, and the extra power over the BC24 makes for a more effortless sound. However, I can't help wondering what the BC3 and a more powerful amp could do.

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Clave....

Post by bobneill » Mon Nov 17, 2014 3:09 pm

BC3 Galatea or BC3000II GZpz and BC1022.

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Clave
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Post by Clave » Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:02 pm

So, after a couple weeks with the FtTH2, here is the verdict . . . it kicks a lot of ass. I mean a lot. It is much more dynamic and lively sounding than the BC3/BC24 combo, not to mention quieter and more detailed, especially in the higher frequencies. It makes for exciting listening. I guess authoritative would be an audiophile term for its presentation. That said, I realized I have an attachment to the midrange purity of the BC 3 (maybe abetted by the tubes in the BC24), which, combined with my speakers' tendency to add a little too much texture to the midrange, makes the old combo a better fit for my system, especially when it comes to acoustic instruments and vocals. I'd rather listen to The Band on the integrated but early Dylan on the separates. I suspect a more powerful amp will help make up the difference in terms of dynamics. I can't say one set up is more "realistic" than the other. They convey different aspects of reality.

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Post by garyj » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:05 am

See that you are selling. I wonder if you are looking for more midrange in the FtTH if it would be worth trying a Mullard tube which may have a little more mid-warmth. Just s thought. Good luck.
gary

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Clave
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Post by Clave » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:33 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't think the amp lacks warmth except maybe in relation to what I'd been using. Once my ears adjusted to the slightly more neutral sound I was hooked. Mainly, my speakers sound happier with the 20 extra watts (which sound like more). Keeping the integrated, the other pieces I sold locally.

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