Author Topic: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax  (Read 189 times)

CDLehner

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EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« on: July 24, 2017, 09:57:23 AM »
Well...now I've gone and done it!  ::)

Just as I'm trying to rid myself, of this disease; selling off excess kit, picking a lane and sticking with it, etc. The temptation gets the better of me, and I go and buy something like this!



Oh; don't get me wrong. Alex (Yeung; resident glass genius, of EE) makes beautiful stuff; and I've owned EE (the original, MiniMax DAC; with analog volume control and defeatable tube buffer. Which I still consider, one of the best-sounding DACs...to have rolled through my Listening Room) before, and had my eye...on just about all of his IAs (this MiniMax, DEFINITELY the luscious M520; and even the sweet 88), for years.

But...while gorgeous, and intriguing; they are like the call, of a siren-song. Likely totally ill-advised, lol! I mean...the 520, is like a work of art



Exotic tubes, remote-switchable pentode/ultra-linear operation; NFB (Negative Feedback) control. And the MM; small, solid...built like a bowling ball. BUT...8wpc, and; ECL82 tubes!

Oh well; it's not for the Main room (so don't start asking about my gear yet, lol). And...it will "force" me, to dive into that other sexy-yet-impractical venture; (ultra) high efficiency speakers  ???  ;)
C(D)hris

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CDLehner

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2017, 10:37:48 AM »
So...the MiniMax arrived, yesterday; and even though I don't have a set-up, "optimal" to its capabilities...I just had to crack it open, and take a listen.

So...I dropped it, on the PMCs; no DAC...just AAM, right into the MM...driving the Twenty5-23s.

To explain what I heard...is to explore, the very nature; of hi-end audio, and music listening itself (and tiny houses, lol). And that, my friends...will take more than one sitting, to explore  :o

So...when I first heard, the little EE IA (and...I set it up, powered it on; left the volume off, and left the room for ~30 minutes or so I guess. You know...so as not to have it "cold", right out of the box); I'm not sure what was going on?  :o

I'm not sure, if it was a) psycho-acoustics; that I was hearing, what I thought...an 8wpc tube IA, was supposed to sound like...on my less-than-super-efficient PMCs (FTR, they're listed at 86.5; but my guess is, the impedance curve is fairly stable...as I've always found them, relatively easy to drive). B) The unit, needed more than the allotted 30 minutes or so...to fully come alive; or c) my ears, were just accustomed...to the sound and presentation, of my 250wpc Adcom 565SE (BTW...Adcom is just destroying, the watt-to-dollar ratio these days! 565SE - 250 for $1,500 retail/575SE - 350 for $2,500/and the new 585SE(!) - 450 for $3,000)

Needless to say; things did not start off well.

So...I turned the volume up a little bit, and streamed what I always do...when I'm running-in components; Linn's Jazz Radio. I went away from the system, for IDK; maybe an hour or longer...and decided to go back for another listen.

Now...and this may sound silly; or maybe you all have exactly the same experience: I always get my first sense of sound...as I'm approaching the door, to the Listening Room, lol. And this time...as I approached; I could hear...something nice, is going on in there!

When I opened said door...and the volume, was very modest; the room was just full of sound. I sat down, and played a bit. I was entranced; ensorceled!

Again...what exactly, happened? Unit came up to full operating temp and performance? Perhaps. Or b) my expectations, and/or aural memory...had changed; and I allowed myself to actually hear the EE MM IA (I like doing that, lol) without preconceived notion?

Now...it's been a small sample size; time wise. And, admittedly...I was lobbing it softballs; Linn Jazz, Ike Quebec, Eva Cassidy's Nightbird (which, not to use...the most over-wrought of audiophile cliches; but I was, in Blues Alley that night...lol). But it's been akin, to a revolution...more than evolution.

I'm no stranger, to class-A...tubes; and the idea, of less sometimes being more...in the world of audio. K.I.S.S., right? It got me thinking...and here it comes; about the whole Tiny-House movement. There's a reason, it's a trend; and books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up...are on best-sellers lists. CLUTTER! Clutter...gets in the wayyy  :blank:

It's Zen audio; what do you really need? The Tiny-House movement says, what; you need a place to sleep...a place to cook/eat. A place to wash; a place to relax. But...we can't all do it, can we? Not everyone, is selling their McMansion; and buying a house, the size of some Listening Rooms...lol.

Can you do it? Can you be "happier"; more content...with less?? Time will tell, I guess; which is why I will give it time. What happens, when I don't want to listen to Eva Cassidy; but rather, Bon Scott? Now...I think that's where; even though the PMCs do an OK job, with just those few watts coursing through them. I think, super high-efficiency speakers...will make all the difference.

I mean...in that Stereophile review, of the Zu Soul Supremes; the reviewer, was playing Sunn O))) at 100+db, for chris+ sake!

I will say this: it appears, this is a real taste...of the whole, $500 amp/$4500 speakers v. $4500 amp/$500 speakers debate. OK...maybe that's a little more tilted, than is usually bandied about; and the EE MM IA, is a $950 unit, retail...that I just happen to nab, new, for $600  thumbsup (so...close enough to $500, lol).

But I really am, going to give this guy...a day in court; in the Main room. Not relegate it, to some casual, background-music duty.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 05:15:21 PM by CDLehner »
C(D)hris

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CDLehner

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2017, 05:15:45 PM »
unlocked  thumbsup
C(D)hris

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no quarter

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2017, 06:05:49 PM »
Sounds like a good positive start,so when you say a taste of the $4500 dollar source/into 500 dollar speaker,and vice versa,I get the EE into the PMC's,but what will be the reverse set up?... say the Backert into what speaker?



Tony

no quarter

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2017, 06:08:05 PM »
Chris,have ever looked into Audioholics Anonymous?😜😊
Tony

CDLehner

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2017, 09:02:12 PM »
Sounds like a good positive start,so when you say a taste of the $4500 dollar source/into 500 dollar speaker,and vice versa,I get the EE into the PMC's,but what will be the reverse set up?... say the Backert into what speaker?

No reverse; I'm not getting, "$500" speakers.

I'm just re-affirming the idea...that you can get good sound, with "little" spent on electronics; and more on speakers.

(That being said...keep in mind; while I might have gotten the MM, for $600...it's closer to a $1,000 piece. Plus...even if the MM, does become the "center" of a Main set-up; I don't think, the Mytek Brooklyn is going anywhere.

So...the AAM, Brooklyn, and MM; constitute, ~$3,500. But for the purposes of this discussion; we're focusing, on how good...a "$600", 8wpc IA...can sound
C(D)hris

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no quarter

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2017, 09:23:46 PM »
Gotcha!
Tony

CDLehner

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2017, 10:59:32 AM »
So...I haven't really had time, to re-visit the EE MM IA set-up. But that doesn't mean, I haven't been thinking about it.  ???

One of the things, that would kill me...if I went the less-is-more route (whether it be the EE, or something else; more on that...); is giving up the Backert Rhumba 1.2! It is OUTSTANDING!!

So...I've been thinking about, how to stay "simple", and low-watt; yet keep the Backert, if possible.

I might go, First Pass J2. I've wanted this amp, for some time now. I've read more than one place...it's like the "best-sounding" amp, like EVER! And I'm no stranger, to Mr. Pass' designs; having owned the FW M2, which was excellent...and the Pass XA-30.8, which was astounding!

Thing that's always kept me from pulling the trigger...when I am obviously, usually quite trigger-happy, lol  ;); is the very "weird", reversal of power stats.

http://www.firstwatt.com/j2.html it's 25 into 8; 13 into 4  :o

Now...I guess that's a JFET thing; and/or, part of Nelson's mad scientist/genius approach, to design. But it's been unnerving. And if you read Stereophile...it's mentioned in that review, of the Zu Soul Supremes. It seems made, for high-efficiency speakers (the aforementioned Zu's...and DeVore O93s ::drool::; and kinda falls apart, with anything but (Excite X14s, KEF LS-50s).

Jax has been after me, to go back to a Luxman class-A IA. I think, now that he has stepped off the box-swapping merry-go-round; he lives vicariously through me. I think...at this point...he pays less attention, to the what; and more attention to the how. As in...it's not so much, what he hears I've picked-up; but more, how happy I seem to be...to have it in the room.

I think he must be convinced; I was at my most audio sated...when I had the L-550 AX  :)
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CDLehner

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 10:44:33 AM »
Sorry guys; I have company this week. Not much time to post.

I can tell you: I had a little "experiment", with the EE...before they arrived; and I think I'm out of lust.

Details to follow  ;)
C(D)hris

MAIN: AAM (Auralic Aries Mini) > Mytek Brooklyn > CARY SLI-80 Signature > PMC Twenty5-23s

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spurrier sucks

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 10:58:01 AM »
Luxman IA? Do it! Would love to hear one myself. Nice warm sound right?
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John

CDLehner

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2017, 11:11:44 AM »
Sorry guys; I have company this week. Not much time to post.

I can tell you: I had a little "experiment", with the EE...before they arrived; and I think I'm out of lust.

Details to follow  ;)

So...I'm still, just crushing Sheer Heart Attack!

Was in the Living Room, listening to it on the Sonos 3; and decided..."this would be a good test, for the EE MM IA". See, if it can Rock!

In a word; it can't :( ...not with the 25-23s anyway.

What was captivating, and alive; and flat-out engaging...with Jazz, and such...at low to moderate levels. Was just flat...with Rock, at higher volumes.

Now...would a higher-sensitivity speaker, like an 8wpc tube IA should have; make that different? Maybe; after all...the review of the Zu Soul Supremes, raves about the pairing of that speaker and small-watt power. However...notice I said small; not flea (watt).

Those tests were done, with the 25wpc...SS First Watt J2 http://www.firstwatt.com/j2.html ; and the 22wpc, tube Line Magnetic 518 IA http://www.toneimports.com/lmaudio/518IA.html

They are, a far cry; from an 8wpc, ECL82 based unit...lol.

So...I could, take a leap of faith; get a speaker like the Zu SS. See how they sound, with the EE MM; and if it still leaves me yearning...pair a J2, with my Backert...which, on paper, should be a can't-miss pairing. But...that's a $4,500 leap of faith (Zus are ID; even if they have dealers, I doubt they give discounts...and I don't have a "connection" with one. And...I NEVER see them, Soul Supremes anyway; pop-up on the used market...and trust me, I've looked!)

I'm not inclined. In fact...the 25-23s, are feeling more and more solid; as a main-stay in my system  thumbsup

So...the EE MM IA, will probably play sweet, little second-fiddle; for some of my own, high-sensitivity...DIY forays

(1st up, might be an attempt; at this sweet, little...old Omega design. Based on the Fostex FE126En https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/approx-4-fullrange/fostex-fe126en-4-full-range/)



As for the Main system; I think it's time, to try that Backert/Bryston combo  thumbsup
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 11:15:26 AM by CDLehner »
C(D)hris

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CDLehner

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Re: EE (Eastern Electric) MiniMax
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2017, 01:25:20 PM »
Luxman IA? Do it! Would love to hear one myself. Nice warm sound right?

Like a wool blanket  thumbsup
C(D)hris

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