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December 01, 2023, 01:40:53 AM

Author Topic: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)  (Read 1276 times)

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Offline smodtactical

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I am totally shocked with the moreplay performance. I built it several months ago but just moved into a new listening space where I am using it more. I am directly comparing it to my ARC ref5se. Rest of the system is yamaha ns5000, pass x350.8 and denafrips terminator OG with v2 board.

What I noticed with moreplay in the system is a bigger more 3d soundstage especially with respect to depth and height, more forward and textured mids (incredible with female vocals), a warmer more pleasing tonality. I really can't believe it. This is also with stock tubes and cheap cabling (the ARC has much more expensive higher quality cabling). Moreplay just brings my system to life and although the ARC is good it makes it sound flat and somewhat lifeless.

I plan to do a full review at some point. I will keep listening but right now I don't really get how this is possible.

EDIT: UPDATE
Just an update. So I compared moreplay to allnic l3000 v2 and CJ Et5 and once again i thought moreplay was as good or better. Better than allnic and as good as et5.

Now heres the kicker. I was using a waudio power distributor... the cheap $250 one on amazon. Have been for years.

My buddy loaned me a puritan PSM156.. I put that into my system and wow. It made the et5 significantly better than the moreplay. It wasn't even close anymore. So it seems the waudio may have been holding my more expensive preamps back. I cannot re-test the arc or allnic as i  no longer have them. I don't have good reasoning for this. If anything you'd expect the more pricey preamps to have better power supplies and less susceptible to power issues than moreplay ?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2023, 11:34:35 AM by smodtactical »

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2022, 04:36:55 AM »
Well I would definitely imagine that the ARC performs much better on the test bench!
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline smodtactical

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2022, 09:48:00 AM »
Ya I guess so. I wonder if anyone has encountered the moreplay performing better than far more expensive gear.

Offline Mucker

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2022, 05:04:07 PM »
I don't know about "far more expensive" but my Schiit Freya + at twice the cost has been sitting in a box since getting the Moreplay. And the Freya + is an excellent preamp.

Offline smodtactical

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2022, 03:19:12 PM »
I don't know about "far more expensive" but my Schiit Freya + at twice the cost has been sitting in a box since getting the Moreplay. And the Freya + is an excellent preamp.

 Nice. Ya I don't get it. I look at the ARC and all the engineering and then I look at moreplay which I made. It makes no sense how moreplay can be this much better. I would have been blown away if moreplay just matched arc performance.

Offline adeep42

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2022, 05:54:57 AM »
I can't make comparisons to ARC or other super high end preamps, but I am blown away by the affect of the Moreplay on my second system. It's a tribute to good simple design, point to point wiring and the right tube for the job.

VIVA BOTTLEHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Mucker

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2022, 08:28:52 AM »
I believe the answer is in the description on the product page.

Preamps are simple things, at least in concept. The Moreplay is no exception; the gain stage is a single 6V6 beam tetrode, wired as a triode. But the devil is always in the details, and this preamp is no exception there, either. Many of those details were chosen to maximize the signal to noise ratio in a wide variety of situations.

Paul Joppa and Paul Birkeland used their many years of experience with the previous designs and developed the Moreplay.

Good, dedicated engineers backed by many years of trial and error design. I think all superb products, like BH gear, usually follow this practice.

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2022, 09:54:53 AM »
One line that has me chuckling in this thread is "I look at the ARC and all the engineering...".

It's about innovation. Though we seem to sort of have a rep of doing things old school (probably due to the emphasis on single ended circuits and the simple chassis/hand wired aspect of a DIY product) we've spent a lot of years doing things pretty different than anyone else - parallel feed, cascode constant current sources, hybrid shunt voltage regulators, etc. In the case of the Moreplay the most unconventional feature is the gain control following the output stage - something we learned in refining the BeePre circuit.

We spent an awful lot of years building test circuits, listening to them and trying to understand what made them sound good to us. Pretty often the way that worked was considered off the rails by the conventional designers out there, and there have even been times when we circled back on stuff that we had initially rejected as we gained more understanding. To the point where I eventually realized we are usually on to something special when there is a lot of "you can't do that!" going around. Sometimes it's even PJ and PB that are saying it.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
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Bottlehead Corp.

Offline smodtactical

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2022, 06:37:42 PM »
One line that has me chuckling in this thread is "I look at the ARC and all the engineering...".

It's about innovation. Though we seem to sort of have a rep of doing things old school (probably due to the emphasis on single ended circuits and the simple chassis/hand wired aspect of a DIY product) we've spent a lot of years doing things pretty different than anyone else - parallel feed, cascode constant current sources, hybrid shunt voltage regulators, etc. In the case of the Moreplay the most unconventional feature is the gain control following the output stage - something we learned in refining the BeePre circuit.

We spent an awful lot of years building test circuits, listening to them and trying to understand what made them sound good to us. Pretty often the way that worked was considered off the rails by the conventional designers out there, and there have even been times when we circled back on stuff that we had initially rejected as we gained more understanding. To the point where I eventually realized we are usually on to something special when there is a lot of "you can't do that!" going around. Sometimes it's even PJ and PB that are saying it.

Very interesting. 

Do you believe that a remote control inherently compromises the sound of a preamp ?

Offline smodtactical

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2022, 05:27:03 PM »
I want to add I have done more extensive listening and hands down the moreplay is better. It just has that magic then arc doesn't. ARC is really meant for people who want an ultra clean linear sound. But if you want holographic magic.. moreplay. It makes my whole system beguiling.

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2022, 06:01:04 AM »
All of the ARC preamps I have worked on had Alps Black Beauty pots in them (with or without remote), and I wouldn't consider that to be any kind of compromise in any way.  ARC definitely loads their products up with high dollar parts . I can remember the last one I worked on (an SP-8 I think) needed some new opamps in the power supply, and they were almost $40 each, which is incredibly expensive for a component where a good "audiophile" grade part that you'd want to send signal through would be $6.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline smodtactical

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2023, 11:34:24 AM »
Just an update. So I compared moreplay to allnic l3000 v2 and CJ Et5 and once again i thought moreplay was as good or better. Better than allnic and as good as et5.

Now heres the kicker. I was using a waudio power distributor... the cheap $250 one on amazon. Have been for years.

My buddy loaned me a puritan PSM156.. I put that into my system and wow. It made the et5 significantly better than the moreplay. It wasn't even close anymore. So it seems the waudio may have been holding my more expensive preamps back. I cannot re-test the arc or allnic as i  no longer have them. I don't have good reasoning for this. If anything you'd expect the more pricey preamps to have better power supplies and less susceptible to power issues than moreplay ?

Offline Mucker

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2023, 01:12:13 PM »
At 10x the price I'd expect alot of extra favors from the ET5 over the Moreplay  :-* It's funny that Moreplay held its' own and then it didn't.

My personal experience with power conditioners is that I no longer use them. My power in Nevada has been incredibly stable over the 20+ years I've owned my home. Infrequent lightning and not a single incident of power related audio component (or other) destruction.

It got to the point where I just plugged my audio equipment straight into the outlets many years ago. I use multiples of these heavy duty power adapters from Harbor Freight to keep all the grounding in one spot.

https://www.harborfreight.com/three-way-grounded-adapter-47962.html

My high resolution DAC's, SS and analog gear all sounds great and no different to my ear than when using surge protectors, UPS, line conditioners, etc..

I realize everyone's situation is different and one has to go with whatever situation works best for them.

One also has to be very careful when comparing devices so that a fair comparison is established. Usually this involves a very high degree of controlled testing.

Offline AG

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Re: Bottlehead moreplay vs Audio research reference 5se (early impressions)
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2023, 09:01:33 AM »
Ya I guess so. I wonder if anyone has encountered the moreplay performing better than far more expensive gear.
My Morepaly kick out my Mac C-26, one is tube the other is SS I know, but is was by far better. I am running my Moreplay with my mac amp and they match nicely.

Andre.
“Without music life would be a mistake”