New speakers.

Good evening all. Sorry, but this is one of those posts asking for guidance.

I had a recent post in the digital section which a couple found tiresome, though most were very helpful. In that thread I was asking for CD player suggestions to replace a Droplet cd player. In the end I acquired an AMR cd 77 to accompany a pass xa30.5 ,pass preamplifier and Zingali speakers. The Zingalis are quite old now. I spoke to a dealer over the telephone who stated that speaker technology has moved on quite a bit more than electronics such as pre and power amps etc.

The AMR is absolutely fantastic, considerably better than the Droplet ( which strangely refused to switch on after a couple of months storage in a clean spare room)

Anyway, the AMR is great. I wanted a disc spinner but actually have used the dac a lot more, something I did not expect. To my ears, music from my laptop, even low bit rate ( 128 kbs) sound great. Its convenient and there is the advantage of instant access too. I have compared lower bit rate to higher and to be honest there really is not much in it. its more down to the quality of the original recording. My Queen collection , will never sound as good as a modern recording ( though the actual music is leaps ahead, of course). I have special issue Queen cds that promise extreme resolution, but in all honesty there is little between them and the original issues, remasters etc etc. I think, at the end of the day, its all about money, sadly. For example, I have a special issue of A Night At The opera and compared with a recording of Inna-hot ( Romanian cute chic that makes great modern dance). Worlds apart,I know, but I really love all kinds of music and not just the drab jazz that dealers favour mostly because it is easily replayed by the kit the are trying to sell. Anyway the Inna recording sounds much better, cleaner etc etc even though its at a much lower bit rate to the expensive Queen issue ( over £100). One was recorded 30 yrs ago and no matter the bit rate its going to sound like a modern recording. Thats just my experience.

The Pass XA30.5 does not have huge amounts of power but gives more than enough volume through the Zingalis. I like the zingalis but my main issue is its handling of some of the bass notes. Bass from dance music is relayed very well but its not that big. I seems to struggle with the kind of notes that gets doors rattling at higher volume levels. The Zingali speakers also harden a touch at higher volumes. I was considering adding a subwoofer but I made a huge error some years ago in connection, which resulted in the blowing of a x350 power amp. Also, i think they are difficult to set up properly.

Anyone have any suggestions as to speakers or adding sub woofers? I might even give that option a go ( with extreme caution and advise on connection). in fact this may be a cheaper option, but im quite vague how to connect and integrate the base to extend what the Zingalis provide to create a sound that integrates properly, rather than creating a thumping sound.

Thank you for reading and kind regards to you all.

Hi James,

I'm glad your search for a new player turned out so well. I haven't heard the AMR but it has a great reputation. That and the Pass amp should keep you satisfied with your electronics for quite a while.

How old are the Zingalis? How much would you like to spend? There certainly are a lot of great speakers available, so you should be able to find something that suits your taste to a t.

Getting subwoofers to mate well with your speakers is something of an art. I would recommend getting new speakers. I believe that your speakers have the biggest effect on the sound of your system. You should be able to replicate the improvement you got with your AMR pretty easily with new speakers.

I say that because with your AMR and Pass you should be able to distinguish between MP3s and higher resolution recordings, if you are sitting in front of your speakers and listening. If you only listen as background music the differences may not be as apparent or as important. I think that you could be amazed at the sound your system can make with the right speakers though.

I agree that a good quality recording in MP3 can sound better than a poor recording in high resolution, but there are recordings out there that will blow your socks off. Higher resolution should make the sound more three dimensional and natural sounding.

I assume you are listening to internet radio mostly. The endless variety and new music it makes available are great features of internet radio.

Give us an idea of what you're looking for in a speaker and you should get some recomendations to look into.
Thank you for the response.

The Zingali speakers, model 2.06, are now just over 6 years old. They have a horn design and sound good, but i believe they need replacing now as the AMR CD77 should be playing music in higher league. I think they are the limiting factor. They originally cost me £3650, brand new.

My budget is quite broad if the result will be worth the extra expense. My budget is £3000 to £6000.

i would also consider pre owned ( from a dealer ).

Im after a real clear presentation of the music with complex passages easily replayed with good base, not thumping type ( the Zingalis have decent base but its not that big) .

So far Ive looked into ( on the net) Wilson Benesch, Sonus Faber, B and W and the odd names not previously known to me such as Wilson Audio and Art Speakers ( though they did not respond to a query by email about where I can hear a set!)

Am I right in thinking it is better to stay clear of models that were launched several years ago? I dont want to end in square one, though a bargain is always tempting!

For me its quite early days with computer based music. It certainly impresses me. My huge cd collection is being used less and less, having ripped a lot onto my lap top.

I welcome and appreciate any suggestions.

Thank you kindly. Regards. James
Unlike your dealer, I am not aware that speakers have moved at all in the past decade...

I propose you go for high sensitivity speakers, more sensitive than your Zingalis. The reason your spkrs are hard at high volumes is probably because the amps run out of steam at high volumes... If so, you need spkrs that are even easier to drive.
There are many good choices and as a matter of fact there is a thread about this at the moment.

OTOH none of the companies you mention (Benesch, SFaber, etc) offer very high sensitivity speakers AFAIK.

Lovely amplifiers, btw!
Gregm, Which thread in particular is about easy to drive speakers? It's not immediately apparent, to me anyway.
You might want to do a search for threads on speakers that work well with your Pass amp. The right amp > speaker pairing is the key to getting the best out of both. I'd guess the topic has come up before. You could even give Pass Labs a call. They would probably be willing to give you some advice.

You don't need ultra high efficiency speakers that are designed for low power tube amps. A speaker in the 89 db and up sensitivity range with a nominal impedance of 4 ohms should work fine.

Sensitivity tells you how loud your speaker will play for a given input of watts. Higher is louder.

Impedance tells you how hard your speakers are to drive. Lower impedance is harder to drive. Harder to drive means a more powerful amp. Your Pass is a medium power amp.

Manufacturers give this spec as one number but impedance varies with frequency. A 4 ohm nominal impedance may dip to 2 or even 1 ohm at certain frequencies. You can get this type of info from reviews where measurements are done (Stereophile online is a good source) or by contacting a dealer or manufacturer. Reno HiFi is a Pass Labs specialist. They might be a good source of advice.
Tomcy6-Thanks very much for the information about speakers sensitivity, impedence etc. Its given me a good starting point.

With so many speakers on the market, its a tough choice.

Ill report back when I find a suitable upgrade.But in the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions or is using the same amp, i would be interested to know what speakers they are using.

Thank you all.
Regards, James
OK, If my conversions are correct you are looking for a speaker set up in the $4800 - $9000 range?

That will work well with your AMR and Pass labs XA30.5 amp?

Just so happens that I first listened to Shelby + Kroll Monitors and Woofer Monitor with an AMR DP777, XP 10, and Pass XA30.5 amp.

Very musical with a spooky huge and detailed soundstage.
With full output to 30hz measured at 3m. I have had a lot of speakers and these will stay in my system for a very long time!

Give them a try.

James -- the thread is not at all obvious! Sorry about that.
I'm referring to a post by David212 around the middle & mine a bit further down.

With all due respect to Tomcy6, I wouldn't suggest you opt for 89dB/1m/2W spkrs with your amps. They wont drive them correctly. (Among others, I have a pair of such spkrs and yr amps can't drive them correctly.)

Basic arithmetic would indicate that +95dB / ~8ohm / "easy" load would be the ticket. And there are many good speakers with those tech specs!
Gregm, are you aware that the Pass XA30.5 is not a 30 watt amp? It switches to A/B operation at 30 watts and per Stereophile measurements doesn't clip until it hits 130 watts into 8 ohms and 195 watts into 4 ohms.

Here is what Pass says about it on their web page:

XA30.5 30 Watt Class A Stereo

A spectacular stereo amp with speakers above 87 dB / watt / meter sensitivity. Performance and satisfaction well beyond what it’s specifications would indicate.
Tomcy6, you are right to point that out. I had limited myself to the class A operation.
I have the Pass Int-30A, and my experience of the bass is consistent with OPs, not great with regards to thump, as was clearly shown in comparisons with A/B and D designs in the range of 200 wpc.

My speakers, btw, are 92/4, and I'd not want less efficiency.

I love the Pass, but I listen to a lot of small scale folk and jazz, at pretty moderate volumes. If listened to the kind of dance stuff the OP listens too, I'd be looking for more amp, probably.

YMMV of course.
Hi. Thanks for all the replies. I have a greater understanding of sensitivity and impedence matching to gain good results. I have come across a couple of reviews on the net where they have used the xa30.5 with speakers of 87 db sensitivity, reporting good results. i will contact Pass to see what they say. Not sure if they will welcome that kind of question but Ill give it a go.

What about sound quality? There are so many speakers available ( probably not as much as in the USA- some of the lesser well known quality ones Ive come across the net are rare in the UK) and its impossible to determine what one speaker can do better than another.

I dont intend to draw this thread out as of course its a matter of taste too with varying budgets, source equipment, music played etc etc.

However, would anyone like to mention speakers in the £3-6K range that may be a substantial upgrade. It would be useful to get some pointers for me to investigate.

Thank you all. Regards, James.
Pass is helpful with questions. If you do not have a Pass dealer in your area, Mark at Reno HiFi is very helpful, and offers competitive prices.