Which Avian Amp for 88db Ohms Monitors?
Depending on how the IRS treats me in this very odd and extended tax season, i expect I will be ready soon to pick a Raven Avian integrated. My small monitor speakers are rated 88 db; with 4 ohms impedance. I was wondering which amp would be best suited for these specs? I have read that the speakers have shown fine capability with 20 watt amps or even less power; and I also note that it is said that the Nighthawk or Blackhawk "power" would be equivalent to a 100 watt solid state amp. So...am I safe to go with any of the three options? My instinct with this moderate sensitivity would be to go with the Osprey; but I rarely listen to music (classical and jazz) at really loud levels. In fact, the other day I listened to the Olivier Latry recording of the Bach Toccata and Fuge in D minor at "blast" level with my 60 watt Solid state amp. And that was really too loud for my medium-size room. Right now I am going back and forth between the Blackhawk and the Osprey but would love some input from forum members. Thanks. Joe
I remember that name too. Those monitor speakers should be a VERY simple feat for the Blackhawk MK3. So do not worry one iota about this. Save a little money and start with the Blackhawk. Someday if you want to trade up just let us know. The Osprey MK3 has the same sonic signature only with 50% more power. But I am certain you will not "need" it.
Now... if you have a large room full of people dancing and having a few adult beverages... maybe the Osprey would come in handy. But these days, who really knows when we'll be able to do that again.
So my recommendation is... get the Blackhawk MK3 first. You are going to LOVE it. Not only do I promise that... we have a guarantee that says if you don't, return it and get your money back! My suspicion is though... you will call or email me within a couple of days at the longest telling me we aren't getting it back... ever. Or so it usually goes.
Thank you so much for your interest Joe. We look forward to welcoming you into the Raven Audio family!
Hi Joe - I'm in a small room (12x12) and using 85db - 8Ω speakers with my new Nighthawk MK3. My comfortable listening level is 65 - 70 db at my listening position and I seldom advance the Vol knob past the 10 o:clock position. It gets uncomfortably loud at 11 o:clock. The overall sound of the Nighthawk at any level is mesmerizing and betters anything I have ever heard.
Hey Joe. My experience is very similar to Don”s. I have used my Blackhawk with both 86db and 91db 4 ohm speakers in a larger room and have never gone much past 9 or 9:30 with either of them. I really haven’t seen much if any difference in power between it and the 150w SS Integrated I owned prior to the BH.
Thanks guys, the world of amp to speaker matching can be very confusing. And this for someone who spent an hour or more with Dave Thomson at the NY Audio Show sometime back!
I am using a NightHawk with the Ce'Lest Speakers in a room that is 14 feet wide and about 30 feet long. The system is setup across the width, with the seating area about 10 feet from the speakers. Most of the time I am at 9 o'clock on the volume and it is plenty loud.
How much difference in sound is there between the Nighthawk and the Osprey? I know the Osprey is more powerful, but is the sound quality the same?
The larger sound difference is between the Nighthawk and Blackhawk. The Nighthawk MK3 is incredibly musical, accurate and clean, crisp and detailed with huge tight, very fast clean bass, and a nice bit of punch and slam. The Blackhawk MK3 still has all of that, but is a little richer and thicker sounding with a bit more in-your-room midrage and a larger bass slam, mostly because the top-of-the-pack RavenCap capacitors give it this huge effortless response across all frequencies.
They are expensive as heck to make and they are completely proprietary. With the additional ultra top end audio-grade resistors throughout - along with a fabulous pair of discontinued antique Piher (60's era) carbon resistors in the preamp especially (we still have a few thousand left) makes the Blackhawk MK3 and Osprey MK3 sound alike, only the Osprey MK3 has 50% more power which gives it an immense amount of headroom for this level of integrated amplifier.
I hope this helps. The Nighthawk MK3 has the still excellent - especially for the money - German made Wimar Capacitors throughout. We even added the subwoofer filter into the Nighthawk MK3, so really it is a steal. The Nighthawk and the Blackhawk are self-biasing amplifiers and Osprey are fully auto-biased.
As you know since we have talked on the phone several times, I already have the Nighthawk and the Celest speakers. I was just asking the question because I read Steve's review of the Osprey and the Celest speakers and he seemed to say that the Osprey was in a different class than the lesser expensive models.
It absolutely is. The fact that the Osprey MK3 has a built-in bias board for each channel gives the amp the ability to be micro-adjusted on each channel to match the power tubes being installed into it even better than self-biasing amps that do that work on their own. That extra level of control makes the Osprey not have to work quite as hard as a self-adjusting bias amplifier and this results in more micro-detail, more delineation, separation and control of the sonic output. It's that "more air between the musicians and their instruments" that everyone talks about. This can allow the amp to give your system a playback soundstage that is both a little wider, sometimes well outside of the speakers sideways, but also MUCH deeper and more detailed than the incredible Blackhawk MK3.
The separation between the instruments and vocalists and especially chimes, cymbals and percussion instruments is much more delineated throughout, and those types of instruments will now start to have the type of sustain and an ability to lift them up and out of the soundscape a little more than the Blackhawk MK3 does. Even on complex orchestral recordings and complicated movie soundtracks this starts to occur. This is where you start to see a performance level similar to our Elite Series, which is what you get from them over the lower-priced Avian Series. You can start to hear that level of playback can give you, and THAT is really saying something.
The entire sonic soundscape, because of the 50% more power is a little richer, more delineated, more extended in especially in the air of the upper frequencies, which lifts the level of sonic detail up towards the ceiling (this is that nice upper-extension people talk about - and it is VERY difficult to do properly), back through the back wall, and out into the room. You can tell the amp has that 50% more headroom, and as a result of that 50% more power a more effortless musicality. It also gives it that darker background as a result because the amp is not having to work quite as much to bring you that detailed playback. More power is what gives the amplifier more control over the playback, and it unfortunately costs more to build because it requires a more complex level of design prowess and build/circuit quality.
These improvements in the circuit and the resulting additional power allows the owner to have a little bit of a glimpse into what our Elite Series amps do so well. The new upcoming Eagle and Golden Eagle MK3's, and especially the thick machined anodized aluminum chassis hand-wired Reflection MK3 - start to go where very few amplifiers can go. Once you step into that world, you are stepping into the world's best amplification. No other amplifiers in the world are going to surpass what Raven Audio does in that world-class stage... for the investment.
Yet still, even for that type of price level Raven Audio is going to be able to give you more value for your money. Even though it is difficult for most of us to imagine investing this level of financial obligation into audio playback, there are those that can and they demand the best there is. This is what professional musicians and high end recording studios demand. This is where the $80,000+ amplifiers dwell and of course those six and seven figure speakers exist. Match those types of amplifiers with our Corvus Reference speakers for instance, and you have a system that can better systems costing well towards the vaulted million-dollar stratospheric level.
You can actually start to hear what those $10,000-plus amplifiers start to give their owners with the Osprey MK3. And yet... even still, the Osprey will better even those amplfiers in some areas, especially in upper end extension and micro detail. When the Eagles start to arrive again early in 2021, this is where the current state of the audio world will change - and those other more costly amplifiers out there that are able to better these little Avian Series integrateds will no longer be able to. The Eagles will thoroughly and completely dominate some of the best amplifiers that currently cost well up into $15,000-30,000 world, like the Reflection MK2 does now. And the Eagles will be somewhere around the $6,000 to $7,000 area, ballpark. They will also be able to achieve 50 to 75 Raven tube watts per channel. Can you imagine being 2 1/2 times the power of the Nighthawk and Blackhawk, with the same type of sonic quality!? Yeah!
Being in the Raven Audio family has its perks, and we demand the best for our customers that invest in us. We will always take their level of investment and give them more for what they would be spending elsewhere. No matter if it's speakers, cables or our integrated, and power amps and preamplifiers... we will always be working on something that will offer our family members something better for what they invest into being a RavenHead. This is what we at Raven Audio live for and are passionate about.