What speakers should I pair with the Sonic Impact Class T amp?
October 3, 2005 5:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm curious about all the hype surrounding the Sonic Impact Class T integrated amp, and would like to use this curiosity as an excuse to finally set-up a small bedroom stereo system. The TNT Audio review (linked above) suggests >90 dB speakers - any suggestions on speakers to pair with this amp? I want to keep the price down, but I'm willing to pay enough so I can enjoy the sound.

I'm aware of this previous post, but am looking for specific recommendations for speakers. I'd like to get the pair for around $300. (Think I should avoid this amp altogether? Let me know.)

Help me out MeFi HiFi!
posted by istewart to Technology (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
i've been pretty happy with speakers from cambridge soundworks. i have the "Classic Series Model Six Two-Way Bookshelf Speakers;" they also have a better set of bookshelf speakers for $299.

i've seen some complaints about the amp, so if you buy expensive speakers for it, you might want to be prepared to go out and buy an expensive amp later if it doesn't live up to the hype.

i'm mighty curious about that amp myself! :)
posted by clarahamster at 5:28 PM on October 3, 2005

This amp is good, but in my own personal comparison between it and my Onkyo TX-DS575 A/V receiver, it failed to best it. From the reviews I've read, you'd think this amp was a giant killer. IMHO, it is not all that; however, it still is a very good little amp. Considering its price, there's really nothing you can complain about.

Check out this thread on an audio forum I frequent for more thoughts on the amp.

As to specific speaker recommendations, I highly recommend the Axiom M3ti. They are 92db (1 watt / 1 meter) efficient, and sound fantastic. Don't let the internet-only thing scare you off. They are one of the best sounding 2-way bookshelf speakers you'll ever hear. (I am not affiliated with Axiom, but I do own their products.
posted by pmbuko at 5:28 PM on October 3, 2005

you'll ever hear ... for the price.
posted by pmbuko at 5:30 PM on October 3, 2005

There are a number of lengthy posts on DIYaudio.com about high-efficiency speakers to pair with these amps.
posted by jeb at 5:46 PM on October 3, 2005

I like the Axioms too, but I'm not sure they're efficient enough to be driven by the T-amp (of the two different sensitivity numbers in the specs, I suspect the anechoic 88dB/Watt is the one you want to judge by, not the more optimistic in-room measurement). You can get the Klipsch SB-2 for ~$250, and those will definitely be significantly more sensitive than the Axioms. I've never heard them, though.
posted by kickingtheground at 5:52 PM on October 3, 2005

The Sonic Impact amp sounds like a very good $40 amp. Nothing more. It certainly doesn't sound as good as a very good $80 amp, or a very good $800 amp.
posted by Jairus at 5:58 PM on October 3, 2005

I've had the T-amp connected to my Axiom M22s and it worked just fine. And the in-room sensitivity is actually the more pertinent spec since you'd never be playing music in an anechoic chamber. Efficiency is simply a measure of how loud (in dB) a speaker will play if you supply it one watt of power.
posted by pmbuko at 6:17 PM on October 3, 2005

If you are going to listen to this amp in your bedroom then you probably do not need super efficient speakers unless you want to shake the walls. In a larger room the efficiency becomes much more of an issue. The amp is cheap. Try it with your existing speakers and see if you like it. If you have no speakers at all, then check out the high efficiency speaker forum for more opinion on such speakers than you could ever care to read.

The T amp has good sound for the price, but beware getting too caught up in the hype. You can't get something for nothing. Its sound is fast and clean, in a way that bests many low end ($100 to $500 transistor amps). A true super clean, super fast, audiophile amplifier is the a single ended triode tube amplifier. Here is an inexpensive example which you assemble yourself to save even more $: Bottlehead SEX amp (note: picture of seller's wife in birthday suit on page). I was also going to include a link to Decware's Zen amp kit, but that just experienced a 50% price increase. A single ended tube amp has inherent design advantages over other amplifier designs, but also inherently lacks power (simplicity provides the sonic advantage, yet limits the power). Schemes to increase the power add feedback and distortions that only very expensive circuits can overcome. The T amp is similarly simple, but with a quite different basis and circuit. It is not as clean and pure as a SET but if it leads you ultimately in that direction then what a bargain.
posted by caddis at 10:26 PM on October 3, 2005

Anything with a Fostex full-range driver in it will be fine. Look for a kit, or build one of the many many DIY designs if you are handy with the wood glue.
posted by Triode at 11:36 PM on October 3, 2005

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