Describe the sound of Sherbourn amps...

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Lee-M, May 3, 2004.

  1. Lee-M

    Lee-M Stunt Coordinator

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    I am interested in the Sherbourn 5 or 7-channel amps... I would not be able to audition before purchase, so am curious as to how other listeners would describe the sound of a Sherbourn: Warm, neutral, or bright?

    Also, how is the noise level while idle? Any problems with ground loops, or that dreaded multi-channel hum?
     
  2. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    If you aren't able to at least audition in a store, I would not rely solely on word of mouth for such a costly purchase. Personally i have never heard the Sherborne, but many have described them as warm sounding.
     
  3. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Lee, I have the 5/1500A, which I would say is neutral (for me anyway). A better question would be what speakers are you looking at driving with a new amp? And what preamp will be used. All 3 components are important in determining the final sound signiture. My setup is an Aragon Soundstage, Sherbourn 5/1500a, NHT VT2/VT1.2 speakers.
     
  4. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    I have a 5/1500A and in my system it is very transparent or neutral. I have used this amp with Paradigm Monitor speakers and Vandersteen 2Cs. It replaced the amp section of a Yamaha RX-V596 receiver, which still handles pre-pro duties for HT.

    I recently added an ASL AQ2004 tube preamp for 2 channel sources and the sound definitely changed, becoming a little warmer and surprisingly, improved bass response. This strengthed my feeling that the Sherbourn is very nuetral.
     
  5. Lee-M

    Lee-M Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Klipsch ForteAcademyRC3-II HT setup, with an Anthem AVM20 processor. I would say my ears enjoy a neutral to just slightly bright sound. I want it to sound live, and the Rotel that I currently own makes it sound like my ears are stopped up... I suspect that it is rolling off the high frequencies somewhat; I have never felt like the music or performers are in the room with me, since I let go of my McCormack DNA1...

    I have been looking at Bryston or Anthem Statement, but they are WAY beyond my price range... I lost out on a Lexicon equivalent of the Bryston 9BST a couple of weeks ago due to delayed email, and have been persistently trying to come up with a similar deal ever since...
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    If that's what you're hearing, then perhaps you should check the values of the capacitors on the speaker crossovers. If you find that they've changed significantly then have them replaced.
     
  7. Lee-M

    Lee-M Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu,

    This is an area of audio enthusiasm I have not dealt with... any suggestions (or links to descriptions) about how to check the values of my crossover caps would be helpful...
     
  8. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    I think Chu is surprised you want brighter with Klipsch and Rotel in the chain. [​IMG] Do you have the 1095 or the 1075 amp?

    Have you checked into Anthems PVA7 amp? I think you should just try a little patience and wait on one of the Lexicon/Bryston amps you were talking about. If you got the Anthem AVM20 processor locally, maybe they can loan you a PVA7 to try out.
     
  9. Lee-M

    Lee-M Stunt Coordinator

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    charles,

    You are only one of a couple of people who have alluded to the Rotel amps as being "bright"... many others, myself included, would characterize them as warm, even slightly dark.

    Yeah, I am starting to think I'll tough it out for the Bryston deal-of-a-lifetime I've been hoping for.

    Sigh... it's rough not being able to buy whatever, whenever, and not have to answer to whomever[​IMG] ...
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Now I don't happen to buy into this warm Rotel or bright Rotel thing. However, let's put that aside as I really don't want to drag this horse out for a beating. We can do that later in another thread [​IMG]

    My thinking is running like this Charles. Klipsch speakers have historically never been considered mellow or reserved. The particular model Lee-M's got are pretty close to 20 years old. They've got a 98 dB sensitivity and could be driven by a damned soundcard and still make you deaf. Now if I've got a speaker that is that old and it's a Klipsch and I think the HF performance is deficient, then I'd strongly suspect problems in the tweeter and/or defective cross-over components, specifically the electrolytic capacitors. Virtually all electrolytics lose their rated value over time. Decreases of 90% or more are not unknown. That can wreak havoc with the crossovers.

    Often you see tweakers looking to mod their crossovers. They'll go out and drop a bundle on audiophile capacitors, replace their existing ones, and come back and post how much better their speakers sound. Now what they don't do invariably, is measure the value of what they replaced. The speaker sounds better and it's attributed to the special sonic characteristics of this high priced cap. That's the wrong thinking. The reason it sounds better is because the circuitry was defective and you've fixed it. Consider the following story.

    Years ago, when my oldest wanted a car, I bought him a 1987 MR-2. I bought it off someone I knew for $500. Now after a while, my son noticed some performance problems with the car. Sure, that was to be expected, after all the car was old and those looked liked the original wires inside. Being a teenager, and knowing more than his father, he went to a performance shop where he was sold some expensive performance spark plug wires. Lo and behold, the car regained its pep. No more hesitation. He was overjoyed and told me how much better the performance wires were than the originals. I was outraged when he told me what he payed. Turns out the place had a money back policy so I went there with the wires and admonished the salesperson for having sold him something he didn't need. We got our money back and purchased stock wires. Well if it didn't beat all, the car once again had it's performance restored with no hesitation or missing on acceleration. So what did he learn? He learned that if a part is defective and you replace it with a competent part that's $40 it'll do just as well as a $200 part. It won't have the hype, but it wasn't the hype that was correcting the situation.
    Lee, if you're unfamiliar with circuitry and don't relish the aspect of buying a capacitance meter (around a $100 if not more), cutting out capacitors and soldering in new ones, then my recommendation is that you try to find someone locally who can do the work for you. You might also consider posting on the DIY forum. Perhaps there is someone local who can assist you for a nominal amount. Brian Bunge, who posts on HTF, might be interested in providing some guidance and could likely rebuild the crossovers.

    It's my opinion that if there is a problem it likely lies in your speaker and if you like them that much, then it's time to take them in for a tune-up.

    As an aside, and a way for you to get a feel if your drivers are working OK, you could burn some test tones on a CD, reflective of the frequencies that each driver is supposed to be able to handle, and play them sequentially (don't crank the damned volume up now!) to determine if you can hear the tones. I think your tweeter crosses over around 8K so maybe something like a 12K tone should enable you to check that out.
     
  11. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Neither do I.

    Do Sherbourn amps have a "sound"?

    If a Sherbourn amp fell over in a forest, would anyone hear it?

    Sorry. Yada, yada, yada, the dead horse is going away, and I promise to take my medication. [​IMG]
     
  12. Lee-M

    Lee-M Stunt Coordinator

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    Are we getting into the "amps sound the same" territory here?

    ...because I can tell you definitively that it isn't true. If others can't hear the differences, that's fine with me, and I'll filter out their advice accordingly.

    As to the question of whether or not there is a problem with the crossover caps on my Fortes, I do not reject that possibility.

    What I can say is that, a little over a year ago, I owned a McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe. When I played well-recorded music cds, the sound was heavenly: in many instances, it either sounded as though the performer was in my living room, or I was transported to the recording venue (thanks in part to the (sub)sonic realism gained by an excellent subwoofer that actually plays sub-20 Hz material, thus passing on crucial room cues).

    I was getting deeply into home theater, and ran the McCormack in tandem with an HK520 (for center and surrounds, plus the necessary 5.1 decoding)... I found the sound from the HK to be lacking, and took the next step, by purchasing the Anthem AVM20 processor, then shortly thereafter, the Rotel 1095 amp, replacing my McCormack.

    I had auditioned the Anthem-Rotel combo with some Martin-Logans at the dealership, and do you know what? With 2-channel music, my McCormack-Klipsch combo not only competed with the setup at the dealer, it was actually superior to my ears; bringing an immediacy and sweetness to the recordings that the Anthem-Rotel-M.L.s did not.

    I chose to compromise, and went with 5.1 bliss, sacrificing the music listening in the process.

    ...My point being, my Klipsch speakers performed to my satisfaction up until the time I changed my power amp... and mind you, this is not a difference that casual listeners were going to pick up on; it just does not bring me to the performance, or even it to me, like the previous set-up.

    My system does not sound bad, but my best conclusion as to why it sounds different now has to be the Rotel amplifier. This does not mean that I am adverse to having my crossovers checked out; and it probably would make a difference in sonic character if I were to have them changed or repaired... any change in the signal path...

    INCLUDING CABLES...

    is going to provide a different sound; and there is an inevitable break-in period after changing these components.

    Anyone who has further observations about the different sonic characteristics of 5- or 7-channel amps, especially with Klipsch speakers, I would enjoy hearing them.

    I am probably going to hold on the Sherbourn idea for now, but it is definitely still on a top ten...
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Lee, we can get into the cables/wires/power cords/ etc. sound thing. If you want to entertain the idea of a Sherbourne, an ATI, a whatever, far be it from me to stop you.
    I simply want to bring to your attention that...
    1) you've got a very good chance of drivers maintaining their Thiel/Small parameters over time. The implication there is that the performance of the drivers will be essentially constant over time.
    2) crossovers invariably contain capacitors and quite often they're electrolytics.
    3) electrolytics are known to degrade over time. It's a function of manufacturing (bad batches happen you know) and is accelerated with increases in temperature.
    4) when 3) happens, things change.

    Seeing as your speakers are 140 years old in people-years, it's entirely reasonable to question if things with regards to the cross-overs have changed. If you take some time, investigate, you can either put the matter to rest one way or another.

    Now Klipsch has a forum. Why don't you bring this to the attention of people over there and perhaps a moderator who's an engineer can guide you.

    There's only one medication for us Angelo...and that is to start drinking heavily [​IMG]
     
  14. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Here's mud in your eye... [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Bottom's up [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Chu, nice detailed post about the speaker crossovers. I learned a lot.

    Lee, you have made a lot of changes to your setup. Getting 5.1 bliss AND 2 channel bliss is the hardest thing to do with home theater processors. The AVM20 is suppose to be very good with 2 channel but you may never have the McCormack sound back without putting that back in the chain (I know, money is always an issue).

    So you are getting great HT sound with the AVM20 right? If that is true, I doubt the culprit is the amp. But when you switch to music you are not happy. What sources are you using and are they digitally connected and/or analog connected? Could you still use a McCormack in your current setup?

    I don't always recommend products that I have but you may have been happier with an Aragon Soundstage. It has true analog bypass on all inputs and is a 2 channel preamp first (all seperate analog path vs the digital path). I know the AVM20 gets good reviews for music and I am not sure how it compares to the Soundstage, but if your speakers sound fine with home theater and sounds like "your ears are stopped up" with music, then I would point more toward the preamp (maybe a setting from a source or on the AVM 20 issue) than the amp.

    You probably need to experiment some more. Maybe your dealer can provide a different pre or amp (the Anthem PVA7 should be a plenty for Klipsch speakers) for testing. Sorry I couldn't help any more than that.

    Again, to me the key is how does your setup sound with home theater. If the answer if great (and not like your ears are plugged up [​IMG]), then changing preamps rather than amps will have the biggest effect on music (again IMO).
     
  17. Lee-M

    Lee-M Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I thought I would drag this thread from the depths, and report on the changes I actually made to my set-up, and the perceived sonic differences:

    The Rotel 1095 was sold last year; still a beutifully made piece of equipment, but not "doing it" for my music listening.

    Onto the rack went a (NIB) McCormack DNA-HT1 three channel amp, for the front soundstage, and a (used) McCormack DNA 0.5 for the surrounds.

    ... and I'm back in audio heaven, not quite the nuanced sound that I was receiving with the McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe, but into the area of audiophilia that very nearly fools you into thinking that the performance is taking place in your listening room.

    The only concession I had to make was the loss of subwoofer output with strictly 2-channel music; my Anthem AVM-20, while being wonderfully configurable, (re- ) processes the source signal if you want to use the sub-out (as it must, since that is where the bass management takes place). This extra processing changes the source signal from my CDP significantly enough to cause it to lose its "live" sound.

    I am therefore using the "analog direct" mode, which does not send a signal through the sub-out, but which produces the immediate, live sound I am looking for, sans the bottom octave.

    The only workaround for this of which I am aware would be to run a second subwoofer, dedicated to music-listening only; then using one of the other two zones' full-range output as the signal to be processed by the (second) subwoofer amp's crossover.

    I would not consider changing cables between film and music listening to be a viable alternative; I currently manage the bass from DVD's through the Anthem processor (excellent tweakability), and have my subwoofer amp's crossover set to the highest position (to avoid any signal roll-off).

    My point in bringing this thread back up is not to say "nyah nyah nyah" to those who offered up some other advice (well, maybe one "nyah"); but to make the suggestion that someone such as myself who knows about their own gear and their own tastes, who has performed enough upgrades to hear and be aware of the sonic differences they have made, can be steered in directions which, although offered up with the best intentions, frequently ignore the knowledge and experience of the person asking the question.

    I ask about the sound of a particular amp, and I am told my speakers need new caps (the guys at the Klipsch forum got a kick out of that), that my 3-grand pre-pro might not up to the task (not true, my ears say!)

    ... and I can add two more amplifiers, even made by the same company, with the same design principles, , between which I can hear clear differences. Part of this is my own ability to hear these differences, part is the ability of my Klipsch speakers to cleanly and accurately reveal these differences.

    (BTW: I recently took a friend to an HT/audio showroom that had the usual familiar mid-level brands (including Blose); he listened to most of them unimpressed before coming to the Klipsh set-up; after 3 seconds, he nodded and said, "Ahhh, yes... there we go". If he had been intent on buying at that time, he would have left with the Klipsch system).
     
  18. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    Lee, I'm glad to hear you have found a solution that you enjoy.

    WRT the subwoofer, have you considered adding an Outlaw ICBM to your system to handle analog bass management?
     
  19. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    ...and I am told my speakers need new caps
    no kidding? I must've missed where that was specifically stated. Glad you like the amps though.
     
  20. Lee-M

    Lee-M Stunt Coordinator

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    My apologies, chu; I was putting together these statements from you:



    I had owned them for 15 years, and really enjoyed them for 2 or 3 with my first McCormack amp; when I plugged in the Rotel, the sound was completely different.

    And, true to what my original notion was, I am now back on the better path to sonic nirvana.

    ... and my point in pursuing this is: Listen to what people are saying before you offer advice that does not even answer the questions they ask. I completely understand that there are many who do not, cannot, or will not hear what I hear; to them, there does not seem to be a discernable difference between different amps; the bevy of respondents on this forum who fall into this category has convinced me to not bother asking these questions here any more.

    Anyway, the best lesson I've learned in the past five years of upgrading is to trust my own ears. There is a lot of good advice available, but nobody has the same system, specs, room, tastes, or level of interest as anyone else.

    And while there are number guidelines available for anyone putting a system together, or upgrading their current one (timbre-match your mains and center, use a calibration disk and an SPL meter, etc.), it comes down to your own (and your family's) enjoyment.
     

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