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Thoughts on Sugden a21a and speaker matching.

Discussion in 'audio' started by Sugarman, Jul 11, 2022.

  1. Sugarman

    Sugarman Active Member

    Aah ok, I do listen to a lot of Blue Note LPs!
    gavreid likes this.
  2. Sugarman

    Sugarman Active Member

    Any thoughts on the Proac super towers mk 1 - very old now I think, but I've seen a pair which have been refoamed 'by Wembey audio'. And the aforementioned studio 140s?
  3. Sugarman

    Sugarman Active Member

    Thank you, out of control bass I do not like, my budget is up to £800, I've seen some cheapy proacs on Fleabay so may try those first.
  4. Sugarman

    Sugarman Active Member

    I'm trying to avoid 'designed by ear' speakers, just want something neutral.
  5. Amormusic

    Amormusic pfm Member

    Sugarman likes this.
  6. notevenclose

    notevenclose pfm Member

    You're never going to eliminate the limitations of the Sugden's bass, which Kevin Scott once memorably described to me as having "somewhat over-generous buttocks." I've had 4 Sugdens in my time, and they all share the same trait to some degree. I remember comparing the first generation Masterclass integrated to a Lavardin IT 2k6 driving my LV OBX-RWs, using 'Sunset' from Kate Bush's Aerial: A Sky of Honey (3 different bass players). The Sugden sounded a bit like the over-weight goalie being accused of being too slow getting down for a low ball; "I got there as fast as I could..."

    FWIW, in many respects I prefer the contemporary a21 (especially the power amp version) to that Masterclass, although I'm reliably informed both are better amps now. The a21 you have will likely only be good for 15-18 watts.

    To that end, an easy to drive speaker — benign impedance, lightweight paper driver, not too power hungry — probably represents the best compromise, there's no guarantee a 'better' but more difficult speaker will suit, hence my advising proceeding cautiously.

    (One thing you've not mentioned, BTW, is your source, which will have a part to play as well).

    To be honest, if I were planning to start again (I'm not, lacking both the inclination and the cash) I'd probably opt for a current a21 Signature and a pair of LV R25As, which I reckon I could live with very happily.
    Sugarman likes this.
  7. notevenclose

    notevenclose pfm Member

    Actually, turn out (as I've just been reminded) that I have heard an a21 driving Pro-Acs, Tablette Ref or Sgnature I think, when I sat in on a mate's dem a few years back.

    I wasn't thrilled — neither was he as it turned out, he bought a pair of LV Auditoriums — they sounded a bit 'small' to me as I recall, and I thought they'd 'editorialise' the range of music you could enjoy on them, which I suppose is the situation you're in now. The bigger ones you mention might be better, probably easier to drive. IIRC, we also heard Art Audio Stilletos and small Totem floorstanders, complete with 'Beaks.'

    Not much enamoured of the former, can't really remember anything about the latter, so presumably they didn't have me run screaming from the room. Or possibly they did, and I've 'blanked out' the trauma. ;-)
    Sugarman likes this.
  8. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    I suppose there's more to consider than just the amp & speakers pairing, room size, positioning and required volume. A small room and listening in a near field position at moderate volume would require a different speaker than a large room with a midfield listening position or a speaker placed in a boundary position.
    The little Totem arro's were a speaker that quite surprised me, on paper they don't look to be a great match with the A21a with their tiny driver and 84 or 86db sensitivity and yet they worked really nicely together.
    Although I used them in two small living rooms for a brief period of time I did have them set up in the middle of a very large lounge whilst I I was redecorating the room they were normally in, with a modest front end of a STD 305M, Hadcock242se, WB Ply MC and EAR 834 the A21a and little Totems produced a soundstage that was cavernous, great depth.
    The beaks were a bit of a nonsense imho.
  9. Sugarman

    Sugarman Active Member

    My listening room is my lounge, which is average size, high ceilings, room is about 4M square, I sit about 2.5M away from speakers, which are sited close to the wall, would be difficult to site them in a freer space, without being too close to the listening position. So I need speakers which work ok close to walls, and about average size I'd say, would prefer floor standers, as they blend visually into the room better,
  10. BigBlue2020

    BigBlue2020 pfm Member

    I think the modern a21a's have a few precious extra watts, and look fantastic too.
  11. Sugarman

    Sugarman Active Member

    I just won some Proac studio 140s off Ebay for £200, which I believe is pretty cheap. I'll see how these fare. My sources are a Pioneer PD 8700 cd player, the one with the 'turntable' loading platter, in which you place the CD's upside down. I added a Topping Dac 01 to this and it improved it by miles, quite a delight, considering the Dac was less than a £100. I also used a Technics 1200 GR, carts are a bit messy at the minute, need to buy a new one, used to use Nag carts, the MP200, but that's when they were cheap from Japan. So looking for a MM cart now, around £200-£300. ALso looking to upgrade cd player, when a nice one comes along in the classifeds.
  12. idlewithnodrive

    idlewithnodrive Class A, all the way

    A21al owner here.

    With this amp, IME, equally as important as the speakers used is the room size and listening levels. I listen near field in a small room at moderate levels. In that configuration there isn't much that the Suggie's 'struggle' with.

    I've had particular success with Triangles, ProAc 1SC's and my current Transmission Audio M1i's are magical.
    Alex S, Darren L and Sugarman like this.
  13. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Absolutely. Room size and to an extent, volume level far more important than speaker. I used the Sugden with most usual suspects - LV, ProAc etc, and unusual - Neat MF9s. In the end though, you may as well get a suitable valve amp instead.
  14. idlewithnodrive

    idlewithnodrive Class A, all the way

    This is the truth. If the room is too large or you must keep your insensitive / difficult load speakers, buy a more suitable amp.
  15. Gza

    Gza pfm Member

    I auditioned the current sugden a21 with some jbl l82’s and thought it sounded great. Listened to a wide variety of music. At no point did I think it was slow or lacking in bass.

    i then listened to the a21se with some proacs and fell in love. Had a bit more grunt over the standard a21. ordered the a21se :)
    PhilofCas likes this.
  16. jtgofish

    jtgofish pfm Member

    I do wonder if the reported poor bass control is more a result of speaker mismatch.The Sugden has quite a low damping factor and I assume from that a highish output impedance.So it is likely to sound best with true 8 ohm speakers rather than 4 ohm.Much like a valve amp.
  17. Sugarman

    Sugarman Active Member

    Got the Proac 140s, first impressions are the treble is too bright with jazz, which is about 50% of my listening, understanding more and more why I stick with my Audio note Js. But I did like the scale and precision of the 140s with rock, though the bass was a bit flabby, but some on here have said that is due to the Sugden.
  18. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    If these 140 have two woofers, bass risks to remain flabby no matter the amp.
    I also noted that some older Proac used to be a bit harsh in the treble area but this problem has been solved on newer versions as they now use some ring dome fabric tweeters.
    Sugarman likes this.
  19. Dozey

    Dozey Air guitar member

    I don't think proacs should sound too bright. Maybe run them for a while and see if they calm down. Unless there is some damage of course ...
  20. Gza

    Gza pfm Member

    I've never heard the studio range but I have read that they can be a bit bright depending on the rest of the gear. I own D2's and have heard others in the response range and have always thought they were on the (slightly) warm side of neutral.

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