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Thread: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    2

    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    Friends,

    Thank you David for welcoming us so warmly to your community!

    I am truly humbled by the honor that Ascend is paying us by pairing our ICEBlocks with the mighty Sierra-1s.

    We worked very hard on the ICEBlock to make something unique and very special. The enclosure is 100% custom, a beauty that lends itself to customization and wife acceptance. We will be creating tops that perfectly match the Sierras you buy with them.

    The amp itself... truly amazing. It has the speed, power, and silent noise-floor well-known with ICEPower enthusiasts but also the warmth of tubes. Gary's buffer is truly genius work and makes this amp is a true crowd-pleaser. His buffer is universally charming.

    I look forward to working with Gary to answer any questions you may have.

    I'm also very excited to introduce our customers to the entire line of Ascend speakers and to a long partnership with Ascend.

    Very best,

    Seth Krinsky
    Chief Bottle Washer
    Virtue Audio

    PS - Some of you are probably wondering why Dave is recommending a pair of $2,000 monblocks with his $1,000 monitors. Others are asking why those monitors still only cost $1,000! It's our experience that the Sierra-1s just get better and better, the more juice you throw at them!
    Last edited by virtue; 05-08-2010 at 09:20 PM.

  2. #12

    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    I hadn't heard of this company before, but if a company that has sold me on the Sierra-1, which I really like, and the Rythmik F12SE which I also really like... well the logic should be simple. I hope.

    Not sure if it can really speak for the Virtue Audio ICEBlock gear, but my Peachtree Nova does have a switchable tube stage I've been playing with That I'll describe:

    Initially, I was very skeptical that it would do anything and I kept it off for a while to get used to the default sound. After tuning in on, I can say that it really does nothing noticeable to the bass or midrange. It only adds a bit of softness on the highs which makes playing back less than hi-fi sources like streaming internet radio and questionably produced material much easier to bear.

    It doesn't sound like there is a loss in detail, but there is definitely a bit of smoothness added. Moderately noticeable on headphones; a bit less on the speakers. It's audible on certain (but not all) material, but the sensation is more of feeling that stuff is easier to listen to than something concrete. The tube is sort of like a very subtle DSP effect, except that it sounds natural; I have found it a useful feature.

    Anyway, a quality class D to look at as a possible future upgrade! Just need some more pictures on the finish options, and... well the money.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,854

    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    Edible,

    I am very happy to hear that you have been enjoying your Sierra-1 & Rythmik combo!

    Quote Originally Posted by ediblestarfish View Post
    It doesn't sound like there is a loss in detail, but there is definitely a bit of smoothness added. Moderately noticeable on headphones; a bit less on the speakers. It's audible on certain (but not all) material, but the sensation is more of feeling that stuff is easier to listen to than something concrete. The tube is sort of like a very subtle DSP effect, except that it sounds natural; I have found it a useful feature.

    Anyway, a quality class D to look at as a possible future upgrade! Just need some more pictures on the finish options, and... well the money.
    This has been my experience too when comparing the Virtue amp to another ICE amp that just uses the ASP500 module, in stock format without any mods. The tube buffer stage takes the edge off -- a bit smoother and less fatiguing.

    The Virtue IceBlock is a very good amplifier and I don't give out product recommendations easily. Just ask Seth over at Virtue --- I literally dug deep into their Virtue One amp and sent the designer my own measurements of the device to ask some rather advanced technical questions.

    ICE Power is something I have been interested in since it was introduced and I have been recommending various amps and receivers based on this technology for a while now. It is certainly not for everyone though -- it is quite an expense for an amplifier. If I had my way, I would offer a 2-channel 500 watt Ascend IcePower amp for under $1000, and folks -- I have tried. It is just not economically possible

    As I write, I have Sarah McLachlan playing through a pair of Sierra-1 with the Virtue amps driving them at medium volume. Contemplating not working this evening and just kicking back and enjoying some music time

    We will be offering more products from Virtue soon -- have a look at their website and if any of their products interest you, send me an email.

    Their Virtue One, of which several of our customers own and have commented on, matches up exceptionally well with CBM-170 SE and CMT-340 SE.
    Last edited by davef; 05-10-2010 at 11:54 PM.
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    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  4. #14

    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    I've got a couple of Virtue amps (an original TWO and one of the new Sensations - unfortunately not these ICEpower beauties). I thought they went well with my Sierra-1s and are absolutely great at low to mid listening levels. They shone with the higher frequencies but perhaps lacked a bit of authority in the lower end, particularly at higher volumes. I have a Denon AVR that puts out about 4x the power in stereo mode, and bass response (both in sense of emphasis and quickness) was the one area where the Denon may have edged out the Virtue when mated with the Sierras - albeit mostly with music that had more going on in the lower frequencies.

    Then I tried the Virtue amps with a high current supply (that is to say higher than the largest 130W switching PSU that Virtue offers - a simple battery kit that I threw together) and the missing speed and emphasis in the lower end, to my surprise, was actually noticeably improved. The soundstage also opened up slightly and I could discern ever so slightly more detail and separation in selected passages across the frequency range.

    Anyway, I was surprised at the improvement a higher current power supply made with the integrated, moderately powered Virtue amps when mated with the Sierras. No, it was not night-and-day, but definitely discernible (and definitely worth the $80 or so the battery supply cost me). Something to definitely consider if Ascend-Virtue partnership extends to these integrated amps. I can only imagine what the ICEPower amps might bring to the table...
    Last edited by cynan; 05-11-2010 at 12:57 PM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,854

    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    Nice review of the Virtue ICE Block:

    http://www.affordableaudio.org/aa2010-05.pdf

    Starts on page 7.
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    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    Quote Originally Posted by davef View Post
    As I write, I have Sarah McLachlan playing through a pair of Sierra-1 with the Virtue amps driving them at medium volume.
    Dave, just curious, which preamp would you recommend with a 2.1ch Sierra-1 and Virtue Ice Amp setup?

    Regards,
    Ken
    Sierra 1 R/L
    CMT-340 SE Center!
    CBM-170 SE Surrounds
    HTM-200 Rears
    HSU VTF-3 MK2 Sub
    Arcam AVR300 Receiver
    Arcam DV79 CD, DVD, DVD-A Player
    Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Player
    Sony Bravia KLV-V40A10 40" HD LCD

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,854

    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbre View Post
    Dave, just curious, which preamp would you recommend with a 2.1ch Sierra-1 and Virtue Ice Amp setup?

    Regards,
    Ken
    I have used an older Marantz pre-processor,a 2ch NAD and a Rotel RSP1060. I could not hear a difference between any of these vastly different pre-amps and with the high input impedance of the ICE Block, I would say any good quality pre-amp would be a good match
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    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  8. #18

    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    Hi Dave, these amps are definitely worth looking into. The idea of tube rolling also seems very interesting.
    I looked at the virtue website and they offer lots of different customizations. Does Ascend offer something like that? I tried earlier with the Ascend store, but couldn't find a way to customize them...
    Thanks,
    Santiago

  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    2

    Thumbs up Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    Virtue will actually configure and ship every unit. So whatever we offer directly, you can buy through Ascend - just tell them what you want. Some extra fees do apply for certain configurations and you can expect those to be added to the base price offered by Ascend (an extremely aggressive price, I would add).
    Seth

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Default Re: *** Special: Ascend + IcePower!

    Seth - I see there are plenty of aethetic configuration options available on your site. Do you have any additional photos of the options? Specifically for me, I'm curious what the black looks like...

    Thanks!
    Jon O.

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