Upgrading from BC2 and BC3

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Ivan
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Upgrading from BC2 and BC3

Post by Ivan » Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:03 pm

Hi All,

I bought about 15 years ago a used BC2 amp and a new BC3 pre-amp.

Now I want to upgrade to better things.

Should I upgrade the power source to BC2K4 or should i get an integrated Blue Circle amp. Which makes the most sense?
Have the new Blue Circle integrated amps surpassed my separates?

I am looking for a deeper soundstage with more defined lines around the instruments. More of a real performance and not of a recording (don't we all)
I have about 4-5K to spend. As this will be my last upgrade.

Ivan.

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bobneill
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BC2 and BC3 upgrade

Post by bobneill » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:05 pm

Suggest you ask GY to re-build your BC2 into a 6SN7 amp with a BC206 output stage. That will add reliability and also some clarity. Keep the BC3, presumably a Despina. Just doing the work on the BC2 will keep you
within your $4K to $5K budget.

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A different path...

Post by masluck » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:03 am

Hi Ivan,

I don't know if you pulled the trigger on Bob's suggestion. It surely is an option. Over the last 5 years, I have actually done gone through the stages that Bob describes in his response. I had a BC26 MKI and upgraded it to a NST/BC206/LOC/M2 and after it broke in, became a wonderful amp with greater transparency and weight to the music. I also upgraded my BC3000 MKII to GZpz SE status - that was a profound upgrade as well. I wouldn't overlook what could be done with your pre as well.

I then went a different direction, sold my amp and ordered a BC2k4sh, with adjustable solid state and 6SN7 tube controls. It is still breaking in, but it raised the bar on soundstage, transparency, speed and presence. I am very pleased by the bass as well, which the Class D output stage has a bit more of a firmer grip on versus even the upgrades I did to the amp.

Our ears are all different and what we want out of gear as well. I will always have vacuum tubes in my amps, as it gives me control over top and bottom extension (tube rolling - i.e. Amperex vs. Siemens) and with the parametric controls I have on my BC2k4sh, I can blend how much of either solid state or 6SN7 tube I want at any time. This, IMHO, gives me a capability that makes all my material listenable, not just the well recorded ones.

Good luck, don't fret your decision and enjoy the ride... :D :D :D

Mark

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BlueKnight
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Post by BlueKnight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:39 am

What Bob said regarding your amp. Since your BC3 is 15 years old, it might also be time for a tune-up or a modest up-grade to match.

Keep us posted.
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bobneill
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Upgrading a BC2

Post by bobneill » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:41 pm

Going from a BC2 to a 2K4SH may be too large a change, even with the amp's tube option. I find the tube option tempers my ELD BD's clarity a bit but it still sounds like a 2K4 Class D amp...which is a long way from a BC2. If it were possible to upgrade a BC2 to a BC 2.1 or BC2000 (it isn't), that might be ideal. But in the real BC world of 2017, I would think twice before making the change Mark is suggesting. Depends on how far you want to go, I guess. Totally agree that upgrading your Despina to a Galatea or BC3000 II would be a good idea. That might even be the first step to take. A BC3000II GZpz would make your BC2 very happy. Youthful even.

masluck
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Post by masluck » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:32 pm

Ummmmm Bob, I just reread my post trying to locate where I "recommended" that Ivan buy a new 2K4sh in lieu of alternative choices, and for the life of me can't find it. I was just sharing my journey which I felt was germane to his question. Thanks!!

Mark

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bobneill
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Mark

Post by bobneill » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:07 am

Yeah, you're right, I over-read you.

Bob

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Post by k-Dub » Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:32 am

Ivan, I would ask what speakers you have, or plan to have to pair the amp too... That would help me guide you in one direction (the rebuild of your amps into BC2 8004) or to a new blue circle bc2k4 amp.

I find the BC2 (with the bc3) to be soundstage champs - they bridge the "you are there" versus "they are here in the room" perspectives like few I've heard. IE with that amp, you hear both based on your perspective at that moment; and with choice of 6sn7, power cords and isolation, steer the amps presentation to one or the other. They are music makers, and look killer sweet too! I love those amps.

I have not heard the BC2k4 in my system (yet!) but ears I know and trust tell me, once they break in (which is not a small endeavor) they are a step forward over the 200 series output devices. And Masluk's experience going from bc26 (bipolar outputs), to bc206 BEAST (200 series outputs) to bc2k4se tube/ss driver hybrid amp would be advice to be sought out and considered...

Ivan
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Post by Ivan » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:50 pm

Thanks to all who replied, especially Bob.

My speakers are Gershman Advante Garde, whose sensitivity is 87db.
Therefore I feel I need more power to open them up.
I'm looking for a halographic sound. something that expands the sonic
landscape. Stretches the space between the instruments.

I once heard this 15 years ago in a large room, in Toronto, and I've never been able to forget it. For me it's the Holy Grail of sound. The amp was one I could not afford at the time, a big beast with 300 watts per channel. Since they were
playing my brand of speakers, I thought it was possible to re-create this with other components. I hope it was not the room, otherwise I need a new house!!.
I have not heard this sound since, in Hi End circles, although I have not shopped since I bought my Blue Circle gear (WAF).

I E-mailed a dealer In Toronto and he suggested another amp with low wattage, but would be the magic I have been searching for. I hope Blue Circle and do it for me.I can't see How one company can have a monopoly on Great sound.

Ivan.

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bobneill
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.."How one company can have a monopoly on Great sound.&

Post by bobneill » Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:43 am

One doesn't but Blue Circle has a monopoly on the sound you seem to want. The 6NS7 tube has something to do with it, though the new all solid state gear (1022, O22i, NSP, NSL) have it too. The advice I offered you came from a conversation I had with Our Leader, so it's probably pretty good.

Good luck.

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Post by k-Dub » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:43 pm

Ivan, I had my BC2 rebuilt via Gilbert. Switched to a 6922 variant driver (maybe a mistake? But I have a large NOS bank of 6922 variants - where as my favorite 6sn7 the Sylvania 6sn7w Tall boy is hard to find, and they crap out with no warning after years of use, just arc over... uggg - thus the switch to 6922 variants as the driver tubes)... But G Munlay used a quasi bc8000 power supply, bc204-bc206 m2 outputs...

And the difference was a larger stage - rear corners more easily seen/heard; and wider stage, with more separation in that stage. More clarity, and yet more ease. Made string ensembles, and large symphonies just sing... such great tonality... cellos just magical. Larger dynamic swings. doubled the wattage and voltage over the bc2, so its 150 watts sounded as powerful as a pair of Parasound JC1 300watt mono's (on 84db 6ohm speedcars!), but the BC 2 8004 had a larger stage, and is more nuanced/musical... better PRaT - a real Blue Circle hallmark. I think the chassis is part of that... the circuit for certain! ... G$'s parts choices... "the whole " sum of it all. So if you go that route - it is a winner for sure!

But Masluc's experience, having gone one step further than myself, to his custom bc2k4 thingee, has my interst peaked - esp in terms of the holographic stage of the bc2k4 does so well.

k-Dub
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Post by k-Dub » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:46 pm

To be clear - the first difference I described was of the BC2, versus the Bc2 8004. Then I go on to compare the JC1 mono's to the bc2 8004 mono's...

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Raven
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Post by Raven » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:11 am

Hi Ivan, welcome to the forum.

I was a Gershman dealer for several years and the Avant Garde was easily my favourite speaker. I've always preferred Blue Circle electronics to power Gershman gear (ok, to be fair BC is easily my favourite brand of electronics) but that pairing is exceptional.

The current BC offerings are a significant improvement in many ways. Not to say the original designs do not offer great sound and performance, it's just the result of Gilbert's continuous improvement obsession.

Like many speakers, the Avant Gardes can sound unbalanced with lower wattage gear. Having said that they do very well with anything around 150w or higher. The ELD -BD would be my recommendation. Plenty of power, technology from the BC107 in the pre section and the hybrid option to warm up the Avant Gardes just a little.
Mystic Audio - Please visit us at www.mysticaudio.ca

k-Dub
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Post by k-Dub » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:14 am

I like Raven's suggestion! especially If you are looking to simplify your set up... some are, and some are not (not me!! I like dual mono power supplies from source out if possible)

But if you are thinking you might upgrade the preamp section of the ELD-BD at some point (which G$ can do maybe in the future, but you are limited to one box space issues with the ELD-BD, where as you are not limited in space with the BC3)... and want to keep tubes in front of the amp with your current bc3, go for a BC2k4 or BC2k4sh...

But if I read between the lines, I think Raven's ears are saying you are upgrading both your preamp and amp, with the 107 like pre and 2k4 amp, in the ELD-BD. It will just take a few months!! for the amp section to break in is all... but worth it I am told by those who take the time to let that happen :)

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