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Hsu TN-122HO Review, Cont.

 

I have also tried using regular 200 watt to 300 watt/channel stereo amps with the Omega Analysis panels, but the Sunfire Cinema Grand in its biamp configuration has proven to be the best musical pairing to date. (I strongly recommend you also try out the Sunfire Cinema Grand Signatures to biamp your speakers if they have separate high/low frequency binding posts.) As a front end to the Cinema Grand, I used another great Sunfire product, the company's "Classic Vacuum Tube Preamplifier Control Center". 

This wonderful sounding all tube preamp has two sets of line outputs, so you can experiment with the crossover network built into the Hsu amplifier. For example, you can run one of the preamp outputs into the line-inputs of the Hsu amp, where the very low frequencies are filtered out, and only the higher frequencies are sent to the main system amp and on to the speakers.

Or, you can use both sets of outputs on the Sunfire preamp, with one set going into the Hsu amplifier, and the other set of preamp outputs going into your amp.  In the latter case, obviously, you are not filtering out the very low frequencies via the Hsu amp's crossover, and the system amp and speakers are being driven full range. Now why, Bunky, would you want to do this? Because, you see, it's a great way to find out how well--or not--the crossover in the Hsu amp is doing its job.

The Analysis Omega's are full range panels, with a rated frequency response of 22-20,000 Hz.  In any event, I thought they still might benefit from some extra low-end oomph, hence my interest in the TN-1220HO and Hsu's 500-watt amp with its internal crossover.

OK, so maybe I was asking too much of a $700 amp with a built-in crossover.  Unfortunately, the Omega's were simply less musical, and overall, the presentation suffered with the Hsu crossover in the system. Not by a big amount, mind you, but enough to know that the Omega's were not living up to their full sonic potential.  I then tried doing without the Hsu crossover in the system loop by using the second set of preamp outputs in conjunction with the first, so that both the Hsu and Sunfire amps were now being driven directly.  The Omega's were driven full range in this alternate all-direct drive configuration. The Hsu crossover was still being used, however, to amplify only the bottom frequencies, with the highs filtered out by the Hsu amp en route to the TN-1220HO.

This was an enormously satisfying music making combination! And it must also be said that no matter which of the two crossover configurations I used, the TN-1220HO is simply an amazing subwoofer.  Properly setup and dialed in (I put the sub in the rear corner of the room, near the listening area), the TN-1220HO just disappeared. I consistently got a seamless blending of both the TN-1220HO and the Omega's.  The only way I could tell the Hsu sub was in the system, apart from everything in the room now rocking and shaking when deep organ notes were being played, was by putting my hand directly on top of the TN-1220HO bass driver and feeling it vibrating—Or by ridiculously cranking up the sub level control on the Hsu amp.

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