Pretty damn good, but......

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larboy
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Pretty damn good, but......

Post by larboy » Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:49 pm

As the owner of a Blue Circle DAR, my satisfaction level is beyond expectations for this particular integrated amplifier. My objective was to keep it simple and musically satisfying. I have had this unit for close to a year and have marvelled at what this unit has brought to the table in terms of what it is capable of. I had considered other amp/pre-amp combinations, but this appealed to my sense of of ergonomics and economics. The unit that I have has the optional Shallco attenuator and the active gain stage with no other options added. The only change that I added was taking out the stock tube and putting in a Grade A Sophia 6SN7 tube that after the initial break in (substantial) brought the DAR to even a greater level of sonic nirvana. (yea, I like it). Where this is all leading is that I really don't want to change anything, as my system is amazingly quite to my liking and any disruption to the overall status quo would be quite upsetting.
So the question is, what beyond what I have will enhance my existing DAR. I have heard their is a KQ upgrade which can be added to this unit.
I would like to know if this is an upgrade that is appreciable and what specifically does it do to the sound. Is their anything in the works that will bring it to an even greater level ala NSL that can even bring this unit to greater heights at reasonable cost and in allowing this piece of equipment to truly excel at a different level or is this dreaming in technicolour? This would be a challenge that maybe, a person like Gilbert would take a look at and see what he could come up with. I love integrated amps and to come up with something that takes this design to the next level would be a dream come true to many of us out there.
As far as personal preference, neutrality and midrange reign supreme and the rest of my system is pretty much geared this way. (Harbeth M30.1 speakers, DAR, Musical Fidelity A5 CD player, Well Tempered Amadeus arm and turntable, Blue Circle Phon LO Thingee/Biggie Pipe, FX6 Thingee 6 outlet Power Line Conditioner Ect)

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Gilbert Y
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Post by Gilbert Y » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:42 pm

I did a DAR KQ upgrade for someone not too long ago. I hope he will see your post and tell his experience of his KQ upgrade.

I will try to put some pictures up tomorrow and report here again.

larboy
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Post by larboy » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:36 am

Thankyou, I appreciate the reply. Would appreciate any further info / pictures on this subject. The idea of the humble integrated amplifier being able go into a more exalted sonic pleasure is a thought to be savoured. And why not? It is a practical solution as it is for many of us and to further the boundaries on the integrated would be most welcome indeed.

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Post by Ice Man » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:53 am

Hi Larboy,

While I do not have a DAR, I do own several BC products, almost all of them from the Custom Shop. I have KQ'd my preamp and DAC, and I can tell you that KQ'ing makes the music flow in an even more realistic and alive manner. I'm not going to throw out audiophile terms because honestly, I don't even know what most of them mean. As much as you love your DAR, KQ'ing it will make it better in every conceivable way.

However, the KQ upgrade isn't your only upgrade option. In fact, your options are too numerous to mention. As with most things, it is a question of how much you want to spend. I'm not sure if you are fully aware of the latest BC integrated products (you can see the price list on the home page), but the current top of the line integrated is the FtTH2 KQ which is more than 2.5X the price of the DAR, with many units in between.

While the size of the power supply is absolutely essential for good sound, the design of the unit is just as crucial, if not more so. I am pretty sure that Blue Circle could upgrade your integrated to any higher model and beyond. Not only can you add a KQ to any unit, but one can add multiple KQ's and have them daisy-chained. Some on the forum have added custom power supply boxes to their units, so while they don't have a specifically designated name to it, it's just a massive BC power supply.

You might want to ask if others (Forum, dealers, Blue Circle) can tell you the sonic difference between the different integrated amplifiers. As I started off saying, it's really a matter of how much you want to spend. Upgrading your DAR to a higher BC integrated model doesn't only get you an increased power supply, but more importantly, a superiorly designed product. Your post gave me the impression that you wanted to know more about your options with your unit, how high you can go. I have no doubt that as good as the top of the line FtTH2 KQ is, Blue Circle's custom shop can make a unit quite a bit better. The upgrade path, for any BC product, is almost limitless, in the audio sense.

IM

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Gilbert Y
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Post by Gilbert Y » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:01 am


larboy
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Post by larboy » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:39 am

Thanks ice man for your input. Being a person of sound mind, a KQ for the DAR could be the ticket. As I mentioned earlier, I'm happy with what I have. I guess one of the great benefits of BC is they are upgradeable. Thanks for the pics Gilbert. If anyone has added a KQ to their existing BC integrated your comments would be appreciated.

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FtTH2 with KQ & BC204 with KQ

Post by bobneill » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:37 am

The best thing I can say about the KQ as an upgrade is that it's an upgrade that doesn't change the sound of what it's attached to. It makes it a better version of what it already is. As you move "up" the Blue Circle line looking for a better version of what you have, you discover that the 'better' amps sound different, have a different take on the music. And that may not be what you're looking for.

My FtTH2 got a bit more headroom with its KQ, felt a bit more comfortable driving my JMR Orfeos, a combination I seldom use but some of my customers like it. Tom Campbell, who reviewed both the JMR Offrande Supremes and Orfeos for Positive Feedback, liked them with the FtTH and felt the KQ gave them a bit more comfort and ease. Not a dramatic difference, he said, just better. Simply not complexly better. I feel the same way about my BC204KQ. There is a more relaxed, confident sound to Offrandes and Orfeos with the KQ involved.

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Post by larboy » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:04 pm

Bob, that is exactly it. I do not want to change the sound as I like the unit the way it is. Any changes to the sound would be via the 6SN7 tube which is what I did. In fact, the tube I'm using (Sophia) gave a more open window to sound with greater dynamics and a wider and deeper soundstage without sacrifice to the neutrality. A real gem. The synergy between the DAR and the Harbeth 30.1's is rather amazing. So, the idea of pursuing a certain ease and even a greater sense of flow is what I am looking for.
So now the punchline. How about a KQ in a pipe! What do you think Gilbert. Would like to add to my Blue Circle pipe collection....

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Gilbert Y
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Post by Gilbert Y » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:09 pm

larboy wrote:Bob, that is exactly it. I do not want to change the sound as I like the unit the way it is. Any changes to the sound would be via the 6SN7 tube which is what I did. In fact, the tube I'm using (Sophia) gave a more open window to sound with greater dynamics and a wider and deeper soundstage without sacrifice to the neutrality. A real gem. The synergy between the DAR and the Harbeth 30.1's is rather amazing. So, the idea of pursuing a certain ease and even a greater sense of flow is what I am looking for.
So now the punchline. How about a KQ in a pipe! What do you think Gilbert. Would like to add to my Blue Circle pipe collection....
KQ in a pipe is possible but in order to fit everything in the pipe, it will be pretty long.

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Gilbert Y
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Post by Gilbert Y » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:10 pm

Gilbert Y wrote:
larboy wrote:Bob, that is exactly it. I do not want to change the sound as I like the unit the way it is. Any changes to the sound would be via the 6SN7 tube which is what I did. In fact, the tube I'm using (Sophia) gave a more open window to sound with greater dynamics and a wider and deeper soundstage without sacrifice to the neutrality. A real gem. The synergy between the DAR and the Harbeth 30.1's is rather amazing. So, the idea of pursuing a certain ease and even a greater sense of flow is what I am looking for.
So now the punchline. How about a KQ in a pipe! What do you think Gilbert. Would like to add to my Blue Circle pipe collection....
KQ in a pipe is possible but in order to fit everything in the pipe, it will be pretty long.
What the heck, I am slow tonight. We have need doing dual pipe and triple pipe. Would dual or triple pipes config work for you. If so, then we can really do the KQ in a pipe.

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Post by larboy » Fri Apr 04, 2014 6:27 am

No, how you go about building the pipe is not an issue. The only concern is the possibility of RF creeping thru. Had this problem originally with phone lo thingee/biggie pipe.

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Gilbert Y
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Post by Gilbert Y » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:05 pm

larboy wrote:No, how you go about building the pipe is not an issue. The only concern is the possibility of RF creeping thru. Had this problem originally with phone lo thingee/biggie pipe.
FLT as a phonostage has a lot higher gain than the DAR. Therefore, it affect by RF a lot more than line level components like the DAR. Beside, when and if we build a KQ into a pipe, we will line the inside of the pipe with a piece of brass to shield from RF.

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Post by Jtnicolosi » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:46 pm

I had my DAR KQ'd a while back. As Bob Neill noted it takes your amp and makes it better, simple as that. To my ears my system sounded quicker and music had an effortless quality. It's not going to turn your world upside down, but it's a solid upgrade within a system that you already enjoy.

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Gilbert Y
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BC30X1 Hybrid Balanced and Filtered Powerline conditioner

Post by Gilbert Y » Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:25 pm

Here you are

https://www.flickr.com/photos/17843311@ ... 660387304/

Two pictures of the BC30X1 in it standard config. Like the BC60X1 this BC30X1 using the same concept as mix with filtered balanced power and filtered only power. It has a built in X1e. This is a X1e the original big brother not the little brother X0e. It has a 120 VA balance power output. Enough for a preamp, a DAC or may be a phonostage. However, if the user want more separation between digital and analog, we have another product (TPX120 coming soon) which will have a 120 VA transformer in a stand along form so the DAC can plug into that one alone to isolate from the analog more.

Two outlets from the rectangular outlets are the balance power. The other four on the other vertical pipe are the filtered only power outlet. Unique to this BC30X1 is the special design high current (for power amps and sub woofer amps ) outlets right beside the power inlet. This outlets are design for high current with fast response time in mind. Although these are design for high current application, they also work well with line level components such as phonostage, DAC, computer, hard drives, etc.

Retail price is $2,195.00.

I know you guys are going to ask me what is the percentage of this BC30X1 has compare to the BC60X1. This is the question for the user to decided.

:wink: :roll: :)

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