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Inspire by Dennis Had Enjoying Vacuum Tube Audio

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Old 08-21-2022, 08:54 PM
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Default Watts -> Had -> Audio Bliss

I'm just curious if anyone else is using the Chord digital processing to feed some of the Inspire tube amplifiers?

I used to love my LP vinyl system over anything that I could muster up digital wise. I had a Chord mScaler hooked up to the Chord Hugo TT2. This raises the Redbook 44.1K sampling to 704K or 768K, depending on the input. I was using a push-pull amp of reputable nature. My vinyl always sounded better, even though the detail was much brighter, along with tighter bass on the digital. I also had a good but not great subwoofer.

I have made several improvements in the last few months:

1) I added the Inspire LP-2030 preamp. Not only does this add a wonderful tone to the signal, but also provides a volume control along with 2 outputs, one for the sub and one for the speakers.

2) I added the Inspire KT88 SEP amp. Being a guitar player, I am enjoying the RCA or Marconi 6L6Gs in it. Of course the Zeniths 6V6Gs are warm and inviting as well.

3) On my second system, I've hooked up the LP-2030 to the recently purchased Inspire 300B-DJH model. I have 2 sets of speakers in my listening room, thus the 2 mostly separate systems. I am using the LP-2030 preamp in both systems. I have the 300B SET amp connected to my older 1995 Infinity Prelude Towers PF-Rs speakers. Robert Harley made the ultimate endorsement for the Prelude PF-Rs in the Sept '95 magazine of Stereophile. He purchased them . Since I am former employee of Harman International, I bought a set in 1996. They still keep up with the best of them. I love the silk dome tweeter in the d'appolito array.

4) I upgraded my Hugo TT2 to a Chord DAVE. It has superb stereo separation and has about 50% more taps than the Hugo TT2.

5) I've just purchased a set of Inspire speakers from Dennis and Allan. When I couple them to my Sunfire XTEQ12, they rumble. I have the KT-88 SEP amp hooked up to the new speakers.

Although my Lexicon RT-20 has a superb soundstage compared to my previous Sony flagships and Oppo transports, I usually use TIDAL to stream hi-def audio to my mScaler and then to the DAVE. The upgraded signal is then fed to Dennis' preamp, and then to the KT88 or the 300B.

Now my vinyl sounds flat, although I must admit there is an intrinsic warmth that still reels you in. I wish I could hook up the Vinyl player to the mScaler, but I guess it's rather awkward (and perhaps even sacrilegious) to convert it to digital only to convert it back to Analogue.

Just wondering if anyone else is using the Watts upgrade on the digital side to feed the wonderful SETs and SEPs that Dennis is offering? I am simply enamored by the digital source/analogue output combo of the single ended variety.

I guess I should mention that Ron Watts is the consultant/designer for the higher end Chord products, in case some are unfamiliar with Chord.

Last edited by Hoosier Hi-Fi; 08-22-2022 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Clarified SET setup.
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Old 08-28-2022, 12:50 PM
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While I'm waiting on Dennis's phono preamp to come to production, I'm happy with my interim solution. Now the vinyl is in the lead again.

Trumpet MC.jpeg

Phono Rack.jpeg

Updated System.jpeg
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Old 08-28-2022, 07:07 PM
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How about a review of the new Dennis speakers? The look great, but how do they sound?
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Old 08-28-2022, 07:41 PM
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Super nice!
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Old 08-28-2022, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formerly YB-2 View Post
How about a review of the new Dennis speakers? The look great, but how do they sound?
Hi Glenn. Listening is so subjective that I'm not sure I can give it universal justice. I know that Dennis designed a contour network in his single driver speakers in order to match to some of his SEP/SET amps. Don't take this as gospel, but if I understood correctly the contour network adds a bit more emphasis for the upper and lower frequencies, and is custom tailored for the single driver. These speakers have some electronics in the bottom, I assume that it's for crossover, but not sure if he worked his magic in this pair or not.

These speakers are open back and have a pair of 10 inch drivers, along with a silk dome tweeter. A friend and I paid a visit to Dennis a couple of weeks back in order to pick up one of the first 7C5 SEP amps that he made. While he was auditioning the amp, he had two different pairs of speakers that he had in the front room. I was amazed at the bass response that was coming from the vinyl. He was toggling between my new 7C5 amp and a new 2A3 SEP amp that he made last month.

With the open back, it appeared to fill the entire room up there. My listening room isn't nearly as wide, and I'm cramped for space so I had to stick the new speakers a bit further in than I want, but I wanted to keep my Infinity Prelude PF-Rs in there as well.

I loved the larger sound that I was hearing in these speakers (compared to my towers), and the silk dome is extremely crisp and keeps up with the best of them. I was so impressed with them, that I talked Dennis and Allan to sell them to me. They sound extremely balanced and musical to me. I felt I had to duplicate what I was hearing there at my place. I think they're phenomenal, but again, sound is so subjective and personal. At least they 'moved' me, and I ended up moving them to my listening room.

By the way, the friend that was with me was also impressed with not only the speakers, but also the 2A3 SEP amp. He purchased it as well. So I'm not sure what greater endorsement I could have other than feeling that I had to have them.

Last edited by Hoosier Hi-Fi; 08-31-2022 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 08-28-2022, 10:50 PM
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Here is a pic of the back of the new speakers.

Had Speaker.jpg
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Old 08-28-2022, 11:19 PM
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Thanks.
They do look nice, but am wondering if my PASS Labs INT-26 might have have too high a damping factor to work well with an OB speaker designed for truly low powered amps.

Here is an explanation I was given by another low-power SET amp maker:
When the bass is rounded off from a slow high mass woofer featuring a voice coil where 2/3rds of it is outside the magnet gap, linearity suffers. Having a high power amplifier with lots of feedback resulting in low output impedance "controls" the woofer by forcing it to stop quicker. This tightens up the bass and that is why people have labeled it as "better bass".
High efficiency speakers with lower moving mass and tighter suspensions don't need help stopping and high damping from the amplifier will grossly over damp the bass to the point where there isn't any. In the 1940's and 50's all stereos were high efficiency, low damping. Then by the late 60's it changed to low efficiency, high damping because it was less expensive and easier to sell a small speaker box instead of a large one.
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Old 08-29-2022, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formerly YB-2 View Post
Thanks.
They do look nice, but am wondering if my PASS Labs INT-26 might have have too high a damping factor to work well with an OB speaker designed for truly low powered amps.

Here is an explanation I was given by another low-power SET amp maker:
When the bass is rounded off from a slow high mass woofer featuring a voice coil where 2/3rds of it is outside the magnet gap, linearity suffers. Having a high power amplifier with lots of feedback resulting in low output impedance "controls" the woofer by forcing it to stop quicker. This tightens up the bass and that is why people have labeled it as "better bass".
High efficiency speakers with lower moving mass and tighter suspensions don't need help stopping and high damping from the amplifier will grossly over damp the bass to the point where there isn't any. In the 1940's and 50's all stereos were high efficiency, low damping. Then by the late 60's it changed to low efficiency, high damping because it was less expensive and easier to sell a small speaker box instead of a large one.
Asked Dennis your question, and this was his response...

"These drivers seem to work rather well with higher impedance single ended amplifiers"
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