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Recommend a new amp for my Quatro CT


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Considering an amp upgrade for my Quatro CT.  I think I will stay with solid state.  One option is the Ayre VX-5 Twenty.  I know this is a popular brand with many Vandersteen owners.  Another amp on my short list is the Moon by Simaudio 760A, and finally the Coda 8.  I read a lot about various Ayre/Vandersteen matchups but have yet to run across anyone online who has experience with wither the Simaudio or Coda amps with Vandersteen.  Just curious if anyone here has any experience or opinions.  My preamp is an older Audio Research line stage.

Thanks

Randy

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over a period of  12 +++ years, Ran my 5a with an Ayre VX-R , when i got the 7’s i had it upgraded to Twenty series. I then moved to the unique and special imo high pass Vandersteen M7 amps I have heard the Vandy M5 amplifiers  and Don’t discount the added sonic and cost benefits of greatly reduced speaker cable length with mono amps. I have heard M5 many times and especially for value and sonics they are world class. A friend just got the Moon for his Treo CT and i will get a chance to listen next few weeks.

Best to you in your search !

Jim

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For the money, I would just get the M5 HPA's from Vandersteen and call it a day, as they were made for those speakers and the Kento's.

Unfortunately, not many come up for sale used.- Probably due to their performance.

I have no experience with Moon or Coda, but can give another thumbs up for Ayre. In fact, I have the MX-R (non-Twenty) powering my Treo's. I would think they have enough power to drive the Quatro's- esp. if you have Vandy subs/crossovers.

 

Bob

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Where on the country are you at?
(Is there a Coda or Sim dealer around?)

On 7/28/2022 at 8:40 AM, randyhat said:

Considering an amp upgrade for my Quatro CT.  I think I will stay with solid state.  …

The other option to consider is whether an upgrade will really upgrade things…
What is in the stack at the moment?

I do like gear upgrades as much as the next person, but they have not always been totally earth shattering.

Edited by Holmz
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11 hours ago, Holmz said:

I do like gear upgrades as much as the next person, but they have not always been totally earth shattering.

That's at least partly because the upgrades may not address the fundamental limitations of the system.

Personally, aside from upgrading the loudspeakers, the biggest improvements I have wrought have been fixing the seemingly little things, however you define those.  Details that don't cost much to change are often dismissed as being "tweaky" or unworthy just because of the price.  But, they add up.  Too many people conflate cost with usefulness.

An example of this is speaker placement.  That's pretty much free!  It certainly affects the sound quality in a big way.  It's even measurable in many ways.  A new amplifier won't accomplish the same thing.

But, everybody has their own priorities on this sort of thing and what brings them happiness and satisfaction.  It's a hobby!

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I certainly understand and agree with your sentiments about upgrading.  I've actually kept my current amp, Bryston SST2, for the past 10 years.  It is  solid performer but it was the amp I just happened to have when I bought the Quatros.  I am just curious what might work better....just to change things up a bit.  Part of the fun is comparing components...though the upgrade itch can become a rabbit hole that can distract from the enjoyment of the music.  I think I've done pretty well sticking with the same setup for the past 10 years and am entitled to have wandering eyes :-).

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40 minutes ago, randyhat said:

I certainly understand and agree with your sentiments about upgrading.  I've actually kept my current amp, Bryston SST2, for the past 10 years.  It is  solid performer but it was the amp I just happened to have when I bought the Quatros.  I am just curious what might work better....just to change things up a bit.  Part of the fun is comparing components...though the upgrade itch can become a rabbit hole that can distract from the enjoyment of the music.  I think I've done pretty well sticking with the same setup for the past 10 years and am entitled to have wandering eyes :-).

Don't know about "wandering eyes" but you are going to want wandering ears to find the amp within your budget that blows away your Bryston.   Want to know what I wanted the Quatro's to sound like, audition them with the M5-HPA mono blocks.  RV

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ah…the “ unfair advantage “ of the speaker and amplifiers designer / creator  ( sub and mains )…. being one and the same person !

 

to the OP - Good on ya ! Scratch the itch as needed. Knowing and acknowledging you have one is imo key…. Audiophile / Music lover know thyself is one of my key tenant…. i am subject to same whims, desires, etc…

Enjoy the journey and the music…

Jim

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I don't want to stray too far off the original question, but here is my philosophy:

Don't make any upgrades of components until you are 100% sure that you have achieved at least 95% of the potential of the gear you think you might want to upgrade.   Whatever that takes.  Otherwise, you're just flailing about, pretty much undamped.

Just FWIW...

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That's great info BK.  I think many do this, but too many chase their tails constantly.  Once you get your speakers right (Vandersteen for those of us posting), then you can focus on source and preamp. Then amp (at least this is how I do it).  I also take into account any future upgrades that I'm saving for.  I grew my system this way and even was able to upgrade from Treo's to Quatro's and then able to swap out my Ayre integrated for the Vandy mono blocks and soon the preamp if it sounds better than the other ones in the range it will be at, but the speakers are at the heart of my system and everything else was a true upgrade sound for my ears and in my space.  I haven't wasted money and I don't change things that often.

I'd audition the M5's, just to know what they sound like and go from there for reference.  JMHO

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@randyhat

I can understand the 'wandering eyes', but after 30 plus years I realized it would be best to follow the people who know what makes the Vandy's sing.

Mr. V, John Rutan, and @ctsooner, have been the best teachers. And, after listening with ctsooner at Audioconnection, I know we share similar tastes and react similarly to what sounds 'good'. So, I have more or less followed what they have recommended. As a result, I don't worry about upgrading power cords, interconnects, etc. without auditioning, as I know I will be not only getting an upgrade in sound quality, but saving time and money following my 'wandering eyes'.

28 minutes ago, BKDad said:

Tail chasing is a big part of the lifeblood for most hobby oriented businesses.  

Yup. I wish I had not spent all that money adding 'upgrades' on my Miata.- Though it was a pretty amazing car for the money, I could have used the funds to get the Audi TTS (which I have now) and gotten a better car from the get go.

 

As @BKDad said, try to get the most out of what you have currently. Those new Audioquest cables are amazing. Though not inexpensive, they are considerably less than a new amp, and will definitely wow you.

Bob 

Edited by GdnrBob
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3 hours ago, BKDad said:

Tail chasing is a big part of the lifeblood for most hobby oriented businesses.  

^^^^^^^^ ^. THIS^^^^^^^^^

It's called job security by those in the business, lol.  Audiogon has made a nice living from this practice.  It's funny as I'm selling a bunch of my power cords as well as my Fire and Horizon (WEL) interconnects as my whole system has changed with mono blocks.  I got a few used, so I hope to break even on them, but I don't make enough money to just randomly try things like many of my friends can do.  I'm older adn would rather spend the time LISTENING to music than equipment.  Most of the auditioning I do is when I'm on the road visiting friends and family or when folks bring their gear over to listen.

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14 hours ago, BKDad said:

That's at least partly because the upgrades may not address the fundamental limitations of the system.

Certainly if the limitation is psychologic then the amps will not objectively help.

I am kind of more of a data driven person, so if the measurements of the room show bass modes or long decays then that would make for a rational reason to address treatments.

When I changed the phono and preamp it was more psychological, and I liked the looks of it… so there were Feng-shui points to collect.

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Thank you all for your input.  Regarding the idea of "chasing my tail" with random and hopeful upgrades, that has not been my general practice over the 50 years I have been dabbling in this hobby.  Early on when all I could afford was mid-fi gear I did go through a number of components but as the components got better I have slowed down considerably.  My VPI turntable is 20 years old with upgraded cartridge 5 years ago.  Audio Research modded LS-15 is 25 years old.  My Lumin Streamer is my newest component an it is only a year old.  My Bryston amp is 10 years old and my Vandersteen Quatros are about 5 years old.  The Quatros are likely the last speakers I will ever own.  My point is that I am not flipping components arbitrarily or on a whim.  I realize I have good quality components.  I also know that there are newer and perhaps better products out there.  I am just asking for anyone who has experience with any or all of components I am considering replacing to share their experience.  I never intended for this post to result in a treatise on upgrading.  Yes, I suppose I am chasing my tale, but moving pretty slowly.  I do appreciate Richard V. chiming in with his recommendation of his amp.  Others have pretty much universally echoed his recommendation.  However, is is more than I want to spend.  I am looking for a new possible amp and preamp in the general price range of the Vandersteen amp by itself.

 

 

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@TomicTime, said what I was going to say.

Find a used pair of MX-R's and KX-R non-Twenty and you should be at the M5-HPA price point.

I own both and thank my lucky stars for being able to own them.

 

Are the MX-R's as good as Mr. V's amps? Probably not.

But they are very good.

The KX-R is probably one of the best preamps out there. (Okay, perhaps hyperbole, but you have to admit it is up there- but will probably be eclipsed by the new Vandy pre).

 

I wish I could not be so Vandy centric, but knowing that the speaker, amp and (hopefully soon to be announced) preamp are 'voiced' for your speaker makes it a 'no brainer' to just grit your teeth and spend what it takes to get the best sound from your speakers- If your budget allows.

Bob

 

Edited by GdnrBob
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5 hours ago, randyhat said:

Thank you all for your input.  Regarding the idea of "chasing my tail" with random and hopeful upgrades, that has not been my general practice over the 50 years I have been dabbling in this hobby.  Early on when all I could afford was mid-fi gear I did go through a number of components but as the components got better I have slowed down considerably.  My VPI turntable is 20 years old with upgraded cartridge 5 years ago.  Audio Research modded LS-15 is 25 years old.  My Lumin Streamer is my newest component an it is only a year old.  My Bryston amp is 10 years old and my Vandersteen Quatros are about 5 years old.  The Quatros are likely the last speakers I will ever own.  My point is that I am not flipping components arbitrarily or on a whim.  I realize I have good quality components.  I also know that there are newer and perhaps better products out there.  I am just asking for anyone who has experience with any or all of components I am considering replacing to share their experience.  I never intended for this post to result in a treatise on upgrading.  Yes, I suppose I am chasing my tale, but moving pretty slowly.  I do appreciate Richard V. chiming in with his recommendation of his amp.  Others have pretty much universally echoed his recommendation.  However, is is more than I want to spend.  I am looking for a new possible amp and preamp in the general price range of the Vandersteen amp by itself.

 

 

I don't think anyone is claiming you are "chasing your tail" but many have spent serious money without doing the comparison at a dealer of each piece only to find out it was a sideways move because what they replaced was better than they thought.  Your ARC LS-15 is not your weak link because Vandersteen's love "no feedback" amplifiers and your amp is high feedback.  Spend your money based on evaluation's you made with your ultimate goal in mind.  For some this requires some patience.  RV

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Having been on a classic audiophile upgrade path for the past 40 years, I can't resist commenting on chasing one's tail vs. an effective system upgrade long-term effort (not in the least applying either of those to anyone in this discussion--how could I?).  Over all those years I kept buying very good, high value gear (including five pairs of Vandersteens including the seductive 3A Sigs) that kept improving SQ, but I was continually disappointed that all of it didn't bring me to the level of what I'd heard at shows with super high end rooms.  With each upgrade, many touted to bring "most" of the SQ improvement of their much higher-priced stablemates, it did not fulfill those expectations.  I often asked myself if my expectations were unrealistic and if, as is often said, the audiophile quest was indeed a rabbit hole with no end in sight.  Then in the late going I took some very big steps up the mountain (Seven MkIIs, Aesthetix Metis preamp and Atlas Eclipse monoblocks, dCS Rossini, at-level Audioquest wires, etc.) that I expected would bring me to the summit--but they still fell a little short.  The big and final break came when I talked with @ctsooner.  Pete listened to what I had and strongly recommended the Sub Nines, as did Richard upon knowing my system.  Well, I took the 20k leap and got them.  And...at last!  I'd reached the plateau I'd been striving for all those years, and the fire fueling the audiophile quest was extinguished.  I was genuinely satisfied with the sound!  The Sub Nines finally liberated the SQ that had been theretofore unreleased.  Whew!  

The big takeaway and the point of this comment being that there IS or at least can be a genuine end to the audiophile quest.  Maybe you all know this, but you CAN reach a plateau that is fully satisfying, that you can sit and listen contentedly and not proactively wonder or care about or seek anything better, but just marvel at and enjoy the gorgeous sound.  I'd finally found not only the SQ I'd been seeking, but the answer to my question about whether there ever was an end to the audiophile quest.  In retrospect, all that foregoing equipment and money were in fact well spent, getting me to this point.  And, o yes, thanks, Pete!

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Too kind Jim. Way too kind, lol.  It really is all about what each person wants and expects.  So many folks expect to get 100k sound for 20k...  It's just not going to happen.  I see many go the used route and I certainly have done that, but it's about putting a system together and not components. That's why a dealer is so important. One you can trust and are used to dealing with.  Nearly every Vandy dealer I've dealt with since the early 80's has been outstanding at listening to what I wanted and what I could afford. They then lowered certain expectations.  

I"ve been blessed to get to know some great folks in audio.  Not just on this board, but many I do enjoy most of the Vandy owners I've met over the years.  We are a different breed and it's why we are all here.  

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1 hour ago, GdnrBob said:

I would like to second @ctsooner's advice. From our mutual listening session at Audioconnection, I knew he was hearing what I heard.

As a result, when he recommended the Brinkman Nyquist II, I knew it would be a good move. And, it was.

bob

"Under Pressure"....great song, not so sure about audio, lol. HA.!!!  Bob, I do hope you are loving your Nyquist, lol. I've been begging Rutan to bring it in the store as he has nothing above the Auralic Vega 

 

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