AudioAficionado.org  

Go Back   AudioAficionado.org > Manufacturers Forums > Boulder Electronics

Boulder Electronics Transparent, Accurate, Fast, Rugged, and Reliable

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 09-23-2020, 10:46 AM
carszen carszen is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
Default

I went to my local dealer last week to audition a streamer/dac from Moon Audio, but ended up listening to a whole Moon system with SF Liliums. Wouldn't be surprised if the kit cost six figures, but I was not really impressed. So the staff steered me to a Boulder 866 which they hooked up to my speakers: Serafinos. The combination was sublime: natural, musical, transparent, excellent pace and timing, effortless. Just outstanding. And no fancy add-ons, just streaming Tidal using Roon in a well-treated room.

I have always been aware of Boulder, but never gave much consideration since they are generally out of my comfort level in terms of price. And the 866 is no exception at $15k, but could be considered a bargain given the level of performance and that it replaces preamp, amps, dac, streamer and all that messy, expensive cabling. Plus tidy, modern, and fits anywhere.

I have been considering updating and simplifying my system which includes Mc 501 mono blocks and the 866 makes a compelling argument, even if it isn't quite a complete one-box solution. But the sound! Just have to come to terms with trading in the 501's, and of course the cost.

I can definitely see how someone could buy two of these. And it does run a little warm, especially compared to the 501, but nothing excessive. I presume it is a Class AB amp biased towards A which is why it sounds so great and runs warm. One of those auditions we have all experienced that is hard to get out of your head.
Reply With Quote
  #52  
Old 09-23-2020, 05:52 PM
ghasley ghasley is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 20
Default

Its great to go and demo gear and for it to exceed your expectations, like the 866 evidently did. Its unfortunate the Moon setup didn't...I'll use the old audiophile sayings in reference to the Moon setup: "maybe it wasn't broken in", "what kind of cables", "what about the room", "maybe the system matching"....

The 866 is simply an amazing accomplishment by Boulder. The more people that experience it, the more $15,000 sound considerably underpriced. Warm regards.
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 09-23-2020, 10:20 PM
chadisrc chadisrc is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 27
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghasley View Post
Yes I have. It doesnt give up much, if anything. I have in another system an Aqua La Scala fed by i2s from an Aqua Linq as well as fed by USB via my Innuos Zenith and it is slightly different but not discernably so.

Every time I use my 866 fed music over ethernet using its internal dac I think of how much money I might have saved over the years on cables and attempts at system matching. The digital version of the 866 may be all any music lover would ever need provided they can be happy not tweaking cables, tubes, power cables, etc, (wondering what two different versions of the same tube might bring to the table).

I have purchased two identical 866's. The 866 is the real deal. Its not fussy, it just gets it right. Its the equivalent to finding out on your blind date with a supermodel that she is intelligent, is grounded, has great values and actually likes you for the same reasons. A silly analogy I know but its one of those audio purchases that seems like a no-brainer after you've lived with it for a while.
Hi Ghasley, I was just curious. Why did you end up purchasing two of them, for two different set ups? I have to say that is quite the endorsement. You certainly make a good argument to when you consider separates, and the extra costs of cables etc. Did you compare the 866 against some of the boulder separates, like in the 1100 series? If so, did the 866 get most of what they have to offer?
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 09-24-2020, 09:18 AM
ghasley ghasley is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 20
Default

I have multiple setups(i presently have 6 amps, I’m ashamed). I enjoy various tube types and have kindof a low powered tube system room along with other setups because I enjoy gear almost as much as music. I did not listen to the Boulder separates. I had purchased the first 866 for a tv room system. Good for music, good for tv (Im not a surround sound fan), easy to use and versatile. I knew it was good but I didnt know until I got it home and let it break in that I realized how good. Weve all had setups where our significant other walks by and never listens to music. My wife can now listen in high quality to anything on the Boulder with just her ipad. We have a 2 level home that is kind of spread out, it seemed halfway logical at the time to duplicate the original Boulder setup in another space. I have learned we tend to relax and listen in the original space more but hey, its like a belt and suspenders.

I like all of my amps, I replaced Audio Research Ref pre and amp with the 866. I dont know what Boulder did with the 866 because I had listened briefly to Boulder years ago. The isnt an evolution of the 865, the 866 is a departure from the 865 to my ears. Maybe it is heavily biased to class a, I dont know. I can tell you that it sounds great on Wilson Sashas and Im listening this morning to the 866 connected to Devore o96’s and the sound is sublime. It should not be this good and if I had to be extra picky, the o96’s bass with the 866 is a little too controlled. That woofer has probably never started and stopped with such precision! LOL. It is resting next to a 8wpc 300b amp and the Boulder has this purity of tone and manages to retain the texture we all look for.

There isn’t a $7,000 amp, $6,000 preamp, $5,000 dac, $2,000 streamer and $2,000 of interconnects I would trade for the 866. Go listen, different people may hear differently but the 866 is seriously good and seriously underpriced.
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 09-24-2020, 09:39 AM
carszen carszen is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghasley View Post
Its great to go and demo gear and for it to exceed your expectations, like the 866 evidently did. Its unfortunate the Moon setup didn't...I'll use the old audiophile sayings in reference to the Moon setup: "maybe it wasn't broken in", "what kind of cables", "what about the room", "maybe the system matching"....

The 866 is simply an amazing accomplishment by Boulder. The more people that experience it, the more $15,000 sound considerably underpriced. Warm regards.
Certainly not throwing shade on Moon; I really admire the brand and would like to own it someday. Just need to find the right system combo to satisfy my sonic preference.

The 866 was a total unknown to me until I walked into the store. I was glad to come home to find this thread and other information on it which helped confirm my impressions. I need to go back and do a little more research, but I will ask here as well since Boulder seems to rely on it's product to sell itself rather than detailed marketing documents. It appears that the only way this unit works as a streamer is if you use the Roon endpoint provision. Otherwise the unit is strictly an integrated with a built-in dac. Correct? Which would be fine except if it makes the display just a fancy input selector. If one were to plug a freestanding streamer into the dac, will the screen display any song information or album art? As with any digital product, I am always cautious about limited shelf life of the technology, especially if the product is reliant on third party providers such as Roon, Tidal, etc. that can flame out unexpectedly. But you would still end up with a fantastic integrated.
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 09-24-2020, 11:06 AM
Higgens Higgens is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: SW Idaho
Posts: 1,104
Default

Good post!
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 09-24-2020, 01:32 PM
Antonmb's Avatar
Antonmb Antonmb is online now
Senior Member


 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Northwest Washington (Mt Baker foothills)
Posts: 7,402
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by carszen View Post
It appears that the only way this unit works as a streamer is if you use the Roon endpoint provision. Otherwise the unit is strictly an integrated with a built-in dac. Correct?

No, the 866 can also work with UPnP, so you can use any UPnP server and control app, such as Mconnect, Synology server and control app, Minimserver, etc. to stream to the 866. It’s not dependent on Roon.
__________________
Tony
"Have you seen the stars tonight?"
________________________________
Main system: Linn Klimax Katalyst DSM; D’Agostino Momentum S250 & HD pre; Rega RP10 w/Rega Aphelion; Boulder 508; Sonus Faber Amati Futura; Shunyata Denali 6000T, Alpha NR & EF PC, Alpha IC & SC; UpTone EtherRegen; Quadraspire Sunoko-Vent T, ISOAcoustics Orea & HRS Damping

2nd system: Luxman SQ-N100, Sonus Faber Minima Amator II, REL T-5, refurbished AR XA w/Nagaoka MP-200 & VPI cabling, Linn Klimax DSM Renew, Shunyata PS8 w/Defender & Viper, Nordost Blue Heaven PC & IC, Shunyata Venom sc, Symposium Svelte Shelves

Workshop: Vintage Yamaha CA-1010 & CT-1010, PSB Imagine Mini, Squeezebox Touch, Schiit BiFrost, AZ & WW cables

Digital Streaming source: SonicTransporter i7 w/Roon, Synology DS420+, English Electric 8switch

Personal audio: Woo WA6, WA7 & WA8; Auralic Aries Mini, Sonore MicroRendu & UltraRendu; Shure SE535, Shure SH1540, Westone ES50 Custom, Sennheiser HD820, MrSpeakers Aeon Flow C; Various Moon Audio dragons

Video: Sony XBR65X850C; Apple TV-4; Vienna Schönberg L/R, Webern center & surrounds; REL T1, T2, & T3; Arcam AVR850; Cambridge Audio 752BD; MIT-EXP SC
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 09-24-2020, 10:05 PM
chadisrc chadisrc is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 27
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghasley View Post
I have multiple setups(i presently have 6 amps, I’m ashamed). I enjoy various tube types and have kindof a low powered tube system room along with other setups because I enjoy gear almost as much as music. I did not listen to the Boulder separates. I had purchased the first 866 for a tv room system. Good for music, good for tv (Im not a surround sound fan), easy to use and versatile. I knew it was good but I didnt know until I got it home and let it break in that I realized how good. Weve all had setups where our significant other walks by and never listens to music. My wife can now listen in high quality to anything on the Boulder with just her ipad. We have a 2 level home that is kind of spread out, it seemed halfway logical at the time to duplicate the original Boulder setup in another space. I have learned we tend to relax and listen in the original space more but hey, its like a belt and suspenders.

I like all of my amps, I replaced Audio Research Ref pre and amp with the 866. I dont know what Boulder did with the 866 because I had listened briefly to Boulder years ago. The isnt an evolution of the 865, the 866 is a departure from the 865 to my ears. Maybe it is heavily biased to class a, I dont know. I can tell you that it sounds great on Wilson Sashas and Im listening this morning to the 866 connected to Devore o96’s and the sound is sublime. It should not be this good and if I had to be extra picky, the o96’s bass with the 866 is a little too controlled. That woofer has probably never started and stopped with such precision! LOL. It is resting next to a 8wpc 300b amp and the Boulder has this purity of tone and manages to retain the texture we all look for.

There isn’t a $7,000 amp, $6,000 preamp, $5,000 dac, $2,000 streamer and $2,000 of interconnects I would trade for the 866. Go listen, different people may hear differently but the 866 is seriously good and seriously underpriced.
I would not be ashamed to own 6 amps, I think its great. This hobby is so much fun. That is really good way of putting it, combing the cost of the amp/preamp/streamer etc. it is a bargain even at that price. Great way of using the 866 for your media centre as well, I am also not a fan of surround sound, and just use a 2.1 set up. It sounds like the 866 is super user friendly (wife using the iPad), and honestly for tv room system, that is exactly what you want, simple and sounds great. Thanks for the detailed response, and happy listening.
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 10-09-2020, 12:40 PM
revtil revtil is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 1
Default

I'm a little late to this thread, but Ghasley, I'm wondering if you could share some thoughts on how the 866 compared to the Nagra Classic Int? I currently have a complete classic setup (pre/monos) and needing to downsize... I know this isn't a fair comparison by any means... but how much would I be giving up with the Boulder?

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 10-09-2020, 08:39 PM
audiofound audiofound is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 65
Default

Deleted. Will redo.

Last edited by audiofound; 10-09-2020 at 08:50 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Audioaficionado.org tested by Norton Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:18 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.10
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
©Copyright 2009-2019 AudioAficionado.org.Privately owned, All Rights Reserved.
Audio Aficionado Sponsors
AudioAficionado Subscriber
AudioAficionado Subscriber
Inspire By Dennis Had
Inspire By Dennis Had
Harmonic Resolution Systems
Harmonic Resolution Systems
Wyred4Sound
Wyred4Sound
Dragonfire Acoustics
Dragonfire Acoustics
GIK Acoustics
GIK Acoustics
Esoteric
Esoteric
AC Infinity
AC Infinity
JL Audio
JL Audio
Add Powr
Add Powr
Legend Audio & Video
Legend Audio & Video
Audio by E
Audio by E
Canton
Canton
Bryston
Bryston
WireWorld Cables
WireWorld Cables
Stillpoints
Stillpoints
Bricasti Design
Bricasti Design
Furutech
Furutech
Shunyata Research
Shunyata Research
Accuphase
Accuphase