Which would sound better, perform better...?

Joseph

Post by Joseph » Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:30 pm

I am considering the following three options:
1. Blue Circle FtTH Hybrid Integrated Amplifier (4795.00)
or
2. Blue Circle Audio BC24 (2450.00) with the Blue Circle preamp BC101 (1795.00) totaling 4245.00
or
3. Blue Circle Audio BC24 (2450.00) with the Blue Circle preamp BC21.1 (1650.00) totaling 4100.00.

Has anyone had any experience with these products and does the performance of the FtTH Hybrid justify the additional expense?

If not, what would be your preference and why?

I am planning to use the system to drive Merlin TSM-MX Speakers through Cobalt Cable speaker cables. Does anyone have any suggestions as to which system (1, 2 or 3) would best match the Merlin TSM-MX Speakers driven through Cobalt Cable speaker cables?



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Post by esoxhntr » Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:47 pm

Joseph,

All three would be very good, it really depends on your musical taste. In my mind the FtTH is worth the extra bucks, because it covers the minor trade-offs that you would experience with either a 101/24 or 21.1/24 combination.

The 101/24 combination offers a little more punch and clearer imaging, the 21.1/24 would provide a little more sweetness in the midrange and better instrumental/voice tonality. Remember, I'm talking about degrees of difference here, not a completely different sound.

The nice thing about the FtTH is that it will outperform both combinations in all of those relevant areas, and provides a lot more power (it is a loud MOFO) so will have better control of the low end. Plus you don't have to buy interconnects, so you save a little money there.

As I recall, Merlin speakers are reasonably efficient, so all the combos you mention will drive them properly. I would think you could be happy with any of the three options, but the best of the three is definitely the FtTH.

George

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Post by Sugarbrie » Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:32 pm

I would tend to agree with the FtTH. The only advantage to the separates is if you think you will have the upgrade or change bug later. Separates are more flexible in that regard.

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Post by Chowder_head » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:27 am

One thing i've been meaning to ask is, why BC integrateds don't come with an amp/in so you can carry a seperate amp? You can get a pre-amp out. If you had both, then you'd get a lot of flexibility.

Also, Exo, when you wrote,

"The 101/24 combination offers a little more punch and clearer imaging, the 21.1/24 would provide a little more sweetness in the midrange and better instrumental/voice tonality"

Did you mean "a little more" in relation to these two or in relation to the integrated?

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Post by Nick » Thu Jan 26, 2006 3:55 pm

Chowder_head wrote: One thing i've been meaning to ask is, why BC integrateds don't come with an amp/in so you can carry a seperate amp? You can get a pre-amp out. If you had both, then you'd get a lot of flexibility.

Also, Exo, when you wrote,

"The 101/24 combination offers a little more punch and clearer imaging, the 21.1/24 would provide a little more sweetness in the midrange and better instrumental/voice tonality"

Did you mean "a little more" in relation to these two or in relation to the integrated?
John,
Do you mean a use seperate preamp, and use the integrated as a power amp?

You probably could do this via the tape/processor loop.
Just hook up the output on the preamp to the input on the processor loop.

Gilbert, care to comment?

Cheers,
Nick

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Post by PhilNYC » Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:01 pm

Chowder_head wrote: Did you mean "a little more" in relation to these two or in relation to the integrated?
I'm sure he meant in relation to these two.

The FtTH uses an amp stage that is based on the 200-series amps, which to me sounds faster, more extended, and generally more powerful than the BC24/28 amps. Then it uses a tubed preamp stage with similarities to the BC3/3000 preamps. So I'm going to guess that the FtTH is going to do pretty much everything better than the separates combinations listed.

Of course, I have not yet heard the FtTH...will be trying it out in two weeks. But I'm already of the opinion that the NSCS is one serious piece of work compared to the entry-level separates from BC, so I have all the faith in the world that the FtTH will take it up yet another level...(the FtTH is essentially the NSCS with a better preamp stage and a separated power supply)...
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Post by Chowder_head » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:02 pm

Hi Phil,

I've been working at the Columbia University Lamont Dougherty Palisades campus for a week and I have been tempted to call you, but have resisted because I know I can't resist Blue Circle products once I am in close proximity.

John
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Post by esoxhntr » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:14 pm

Chowder Head,

Sorry if I was unclear - I did mean in relation to each other. Like I said, the FtTH is a better solution than either of the separate combos you mentioned because it exhibits the strengths of both of the combos but does a better job of them.

Hmmm...my grammar function is not at it's peak tonight, so let's put it this way: the FtTH is better - period.

Joseph

Post by Joseph » Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:29 am

I appreciate all of the responses. They have been extremely helpful. I especially appreciate the response form PhilNYC. I am now considering the following two integrated amps:
1. Blue Circle NSCS with dual Shallco attenuators
2. Blue Circle FtTH

This is the first time I have ever purchased high-end audio equipment, but have always wanted to and have tried to keep up the industry and changes in the industry. I have already placed an order for the Blue Circle NSCS with dual Shallco attenuators (it seemed like a safer choice for myself since I do not know enough about high-end equipment and, because of my job, do not have time to audition every piece that I am interested in; basically I?m relying on what I read on the Internet to make my decision). Since I am having the money wired to the Blue Circle dealer and wiring take 48 to 72 hours to process, I have time to change my mind and go with FtTH. It is a tough decision for me. I believe the FtTH, from what I?ve read is better. I am not sure how much more I would get for and additional ~$1500 over the cost of the NSCS. If it were an incremental improvement, I would be reluctant to spend the additional ~$1500 since I have decided on a budget for my system and am trying to stick to that budget (however, I would be willing to change that budget, if there were a real good reason to).

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions regarding these two integrated amps; is it an incremental improvement or a major improvement?
Does anyone know what the warm-up time for the FtTh is?
Has anyone had an opportunity to compare these integrated amps and if so what was your opinion?


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Post by PhilNYC » Fri Jan 27, 2006 2:48 pm

Joseph,

The main question I have for you is whether your listening room is one where you are able to get good placement for your speakers (vs. it is a living room and you are restricted as to where you can place your speakers). Your speakers are definitely good enough that, in a good room setup, you'll be able to hear significant improvements in the FtTH over the NSCS. If you've got restrictions that will compromise the acoustics in your room significantly, then IMHO $1500 more for the FtTH is a lot of money...

(of course, I am speculating on much of this because I have not yet heard the FtTH...however, I've had experience with just about all of BC's products, and I've found that in general they all perform "as expected" in relations to other BC products.)
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Anonymous

Post by Anonymous » Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:14 pm

PhilNYC;

The room I will place my system in is a small dedicated room 9x11. I doubt it is the best acoustic arrangement. I agree with you. I think I will stick with the NSCS since it might provide the best performance for my particular arrangement and because I am too inexperienced to make a judgment on higher end equipment. I have done a lot of research on the NSCS and have read every article or post concerning the NSCS that I have been able to find on the Internet. I have read articles on similarly priced integrated amps and studied the information available for each of the integrated amps that I was interested in.

Based on my research I think the NSCS is the best choice for me at this point in time and I think I will be very happy with the amp.

Thanks for responding and for the helpful insight.

Joseph

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Post by Chowder_head » Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:05 pm

I wonder in a small room like that if you need more than 50-60 W? I listen in the near field, 6-8 feet from my speakers, at low volumes. Since i do not have to turn the volume very high, my $1240 CS can drive many inefficient small 2-way monitors at lower volumes (and very efficient 3-way floorstanders) quite well, i have found. In the near field, it is a very musical little amplifier. My AN dealer really likes it with his AN speakers.

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Post by eidolon » Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:45 pm

I cannot make any comment regarding Blue Circle products other than what would pretain to the NSCS dual Shallco model which has been in my system since late July of 2005.
The NSCS replaced an ARC LS15 preamp and Musical Fidelity A308CR amp.
There is no comparison. Hands down I'm happier with today's system.
The brake-in on the NSCS is LONG. In the past month has the unit really opened up. Noticeably.
My room listening/livingroom is roughly 13x16 with a nine foot opening on one side.
If someone wishes to bring Blue Circle seperates and do a comparison to the NSCS they are more than welcome. Or for that matter bring a FILTH, woops FtTH, and do a comparison.
I live in the Akron, OH area.
Shahinian ARC speakers.
Or vice versa?

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Post by PhilNYC » Thu Feb 02, 2006 2:36 pm

eidolon wrote: The brake-in on the NSCS is LONG. In the past month has the unit really opened up. Noticeably.
Told ya...! ;)

My NSCS demo unit easily took over 200 hours to really open up. Yes, out of the box, you can get a decent sense of its qualities, but it really gets up to another level after the break-in period. Must be those big blue caps... :D
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Post by Gilbert Y » Thu Feb 02, 2006 3:14 pm

PhilNYC wrote:
eidolon wrote: The brake-in on the NSCS is LONG. In the past month has the unit really opened up. Noticeably.
Told ya...! ;)

My NSCS demo unit easily took over 200 hours to really open up. Yes, out of the box, you can get a decent sense of its qualities, but it really gets up to another level after the break-in period. Must be those big blue caps... :D
Sol E P-dog. No boo cap in dar NSCS. Only the big white Boo Sirkol caps. :P :D :lol:

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