Lejonklou Tundra

Discussion, questions and suggestions about Lejonklou products

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Post by lejonklou » 2012-05-30 01:33

Thank you so much everyone for your positive comments!

I'd like to confirm what Thomas wrote: There is now a standard and a low mains voltage (90-132 VAC) version of Tundra. It turned out to be the only way to make Tundra sound equally good on both voltage ranges.

For those who might be interested, this is the story behind the decision:
The standard Tundra has autorange power supplies that switch between low (90-132 VAC) and high (187-264 VAC) mains input voltage. When powered up, the power supplies start on the high voltage setting. If the circuitry senses that the voltage is too low, it activates relays that double the mains voltage. This is a common way of making switch mode power supplies accepting both ranges, while still keeping a high efficiency (which makes them run cool). A slight loss of audio performance can appear in the low voltage setting, due to the power being routed through relays. But as the arrangement is so practical, it's usually neglected.

When Tundra was tested by Thomas in the US, it turned out that the autorange circuitry became affected when the power supplies delivered large currents near the mains frequency. In the US, that's 60 Hz. So when the speakers received a beefy signal near 60 Hz, the power supplies incorrectly sensed that the mains voltage was in the high range and opened the relays. Only to realise that the voltage was now too low and once again activating the voltage doubling relays. This "false alarm" situation caused the power supplies to be clicking whenever a sufficiently strong bass note was sent to the loudspeakers. Tundra kept on playing, but the sudden clicks from inside the case were not acceptable.

When Thomas reported this problem, I realised what the problem was and fixed it within two days. It was quite simple and the power supplies remained autorange, so they could be used all over the world. But as every detail of Tundra has been so carefully tuned and selected, I knew that a even a small and seemingly unimportant change would probably also result in a change of audio performance. So I had to give it a thorough listen before I released it. And sadly, the fix made the power supplies perform a little bit worse. How annoying! I simply couldn't accept it.

In an attempt to "tune the fix", I ordered a bunch of components to see if I could make it sound better. And it did get better. But Tundra still sounded a little bit more direct and alive without the fix. That's when I decided to skip the autorange feature and release a low voltage version of Tundra. The power supplies are hard wired for low mains voltage and therefore sound as good as the standard version does on high mains voltage. A little less practical, yes. But it was the only no-compromise way to do it.

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Post by Ozzzy189 » 2012-05-30 09:35

Brilliant reading Thomas, thanks.
Fredrik, have you had the opportunity to test a tundra on ninkas? I run mine as per my signature, I'm hoping that a tundra passive blows my tri amped lk set up out of the water. I presume it will, as people say it's better than ak amps.
Anyone comments greatly appreciated.
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Post by tmilligan » 2012-05-30 09:41

Ozzzy189 wrote:Brilliant reading Thomas, thanks.
Fredrik, have you had the opportunity to test a tundra on ninkas? I run mine as per my signature, I'm hoping that a tundra passive blows my tri amped lk set up out of the water. I presume it will, as people say it's better than ak amps.
Anyone comments greatly appreciated.
Daniel...
Yep, it certainly will.

I have just moved from C4200/D and aktiv Katans to Tundra. Was a touch nervous about going passive again but have no regrets. See my thoughts a few posts above...
1. MDSM, 4200/D, aktiv Katans
2. Rega P3-24, MDS-I/D, 4100/D, aktiv Katans
3. Kiko

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Post by Music Lover » 2012-05-30 10:53

lejonklou wrote:But Tundra still sounded a little bit more direct and alive without the fix. That's when I decided to skip the autorange feature and release a low voltage version of Tundra. The power supplies are hard wired for low mains voltage and therefore sound as good as the standard version does on high mains voltage. A little less practical, yes. But it was the only no-compromise way to do it.
So the logical decision is then to remove the autorange feature on ALL amps, and release a HIGH voltage version of Tundra?
(likely more musical than today's high voltage version WITH autorange feature)
It's all about musical understanding!

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Post by Music Lover » 2012-05-30 13:13

Some comments on your comparrison Thomas.
First of all, thanks for the long and detailed report, highly appreciated!!
ThomasOK wrote: To start off with we compared against the Klimax Chakra Twin 500 with Dynamik as many reports had held this as the fairly close competitor. We were surprised and pleased to find out that the Tundra was simply musically superior to the KCT/D.
As you all now by now, I've never understood the Twin product.
Not THAT much more musical than Akurate/D, still a lot higher price.
Unless you consider the nice Klimax sound in Twin!

Your findings Twin/D vs Tundra are same as mine. Tundra is more musical.
Do you also consider Twin having a nicer sound? I do.

However Solos sounding a lot better and is more musical than Twin, so agree - a more interesting comparison is Solo/non D vs Tundra.

And again, our findings (I also used Solo/non D) are similar, interesting!
ThomasOK wrote: ...we both found our preference reversed, indeed the things we found better about the Tundra on the first track we now found better about the Solos!? How confusing! TJ then put on a track by a very interesting cellist I forget the name of. She recorded an album of just her playing cello but with lots of overdubbing and doing things like tapping the cello to give drum sounds and playing the strings in unusual ways to come up with a wide range of different textures. Once again TJ and I felt the Solos let us hear more of what was happening musically. On a hunch I played Synchronocity II by The Police and again cranked it pretty loud. How about that? TJ and I both felt the Tundra had now swapped positions with the Solos again and was letting us hear the complex drumming and potent bass interactions more clearly and Sting’s voice just seemed more present and conveyed emotion better.
What about playing Police at a lower volume? Solos better then?
ThomasOK wrote: it seems that the Tundra lets you hear more of what is going on musically when you are cranking a piece of music with a lot going on, whereas the Solos perform more musically when playing simpler pieces at a lower level.
We never tested if it was related with volume, BUT we found out that Tundra excel on complex pop/rock music, and Solo excel on especially classical & jazz but was only a bit better on non-complex pop/rock.
On some tracks quite same performance.
So again, almost same experience.

When I tested we had a fairly modest volume level (on 242 mkI) around 50-60 with Solo, and corresponding 58-68 on Tundra depending on recording level/mastering - and on some music Tundra was more musical, on other music the opposite. Solos had always a nicer sound.

What do YOU think on the sound on these amps? To my ears that's Solos real strength. Cleaner, more natural with a lot more information. Voices, drums/cymbals, classical instruments and 3D from live recordings.
This is regardless of music style.

Another observation
Regardless of music, Tundra has a little Naimish PRaT character, with focus on rhythm and tempo. (I like that "fun factor")
Can possible be the reason it excel on complex music.
On complex music, it was easier to UNDERSTAND the music with Tundra.
But on some non-complex music that understanding was reduced, being under Solo level - strange.

More observations
On the other hand Solo has a flow that makes music easy to digest on all music styles. The Klimax sound excel on all recordings, specially classical.

NOTE #1, we used the first Tundra #001. They are now tuned a bit and should be even better.
NOTE #2, all-in-all they are quite close in musical performance, less so in sound.

ThomasOK wrote: So overall I find the Tundra fully competitive with non-Dynamik Klimax Solos and that’s about as impressive a feat as I can imagine.
TOTALLY AGREE!
Tundra is a no brainer, unless you are a Klimax sound addict as I am.
I know, not very politically correct on a Tune Dem forum *smiley*

Plan to compare a burned in Tundra with burned in Solo/Dynamik, using my Solos/non D as benchmark. Going to be fun!
Stay tuned :-)

Until then I consider two options, wait on Tundra mkII or dynamik my Solos
It's all about musical understanding!

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Post by Rufus McDufus » 2012-05-30 13:30

Music Lover - I forget, did you try 2 Tundras in the initial tests? It does sound very good indeed with 2 using 1 channel of each.

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Post by Music Lover » 2012-05-30 14:42

Rufus McDufus wrote:Music Lover - I forget, did you try 2 Tundras in the initial tests? It does sound very good indeed with 2 using 1 channel of each.
Nope, we used the very first Tundra #001.
None were yet produced at that time, if I understood Fredrik correctly.
It's all about musical understanding!

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Post by Ozzzy189 » 2012-05-30 16:10

So say biamping a pair of speakers isn't really worth doing, one amp per speaker , but running them as a monoblock with only one channel off each amp is? I'm a little confused.
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Post by ThomasOK » 2012-05-30 17:43

Music Lover, thanks for your reply to my posts. I do indeed think we are on the same page in terms of our evaluations. But before I answer some of those questions I want to clear up a couple of things (hopefully). First off, I don't believe a high voltage Tundra is necessary or even beneficial. As Fredrik explained it to me the auto-ranging power supplies assume high voltage and if they see that the relays do not kick in. So at high voltages the relays are already out of the circuit and you are getting the best sound possible. Secondly, there is a good chance the Tundra I am listening to is even better than what you heard and it is certainly more musical than it was when I first received it and seems more powerful as well. I do believe that bypassing the relay for low voltage has boosted performance. In addition Fredrik has experimented more with internal torques and I have experimented with the torques for the case itself. With these new torque settings, now being used in all production units, the musicality is further improved and I find the sound is also a bit smoother without losing the rhythmic and flow qualities. Indeed I feel the flow is enhanced.

Which brings me to your question about the "sound" of Klimax units. I agree that the Klimax units have a smoother sound, indeed this was one of the things TJ commented on while we were comparing to the Solos. But his comment was that the Solos sounded smoother, especially on the complex material, but it almost sounded like it was at the expense of a slight veiling of the musical detail. Interestingly, on the simpler music where the Solos seemed clearer the difference in smoothness was less noticed. With the KCT/Ds there was certainly some of the Klimax "sound" there but the Tundra was just so much more musical that you really didn't notice much or actually care, for that matter. Again, I believe that the improvements in the Tundra since I first received it bring its sound closer to the Klimax units although even before the fix and torque updates we felt it was easily more musical than the KCT/D. As I stated on my other post, quite an amazing amp!

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Post by ThomasOK » 2012-05-30 18:10

Ozzzy189 wrote:So say biamping a pair of speakers isn't really worth doing, one amp per speaker , but running them as a monoblock with only one channel off each amp is? I'm a little confused.
I'll take a crack at this although I imagine Fredrik could explain it better. The reason Fredrik, anthony and others are moving away from bi-wiring to single wiring is that they have found that single wiring is more coherent and focused - the results just seem to be more musical. Bi-wiring appears to give a bigger, more "detailed" and more H-Fi sound but at the expense of a less tuneful and musical performance. In theory this would seem to have to do with the electrical signal following separate paths and the differences this could cause between the two signals that arrive at the speaker terminals.

This same thinking can be applied to passive bi-amping where you are also dealing with the possibility of slight differences in the amp channels.

On the other hand when you use one channel each of two amplifiers you are now running true dual-mono with no possibilities of interaction between the two channels. In addition, I believe that each amp channel in use now has the ability to pull more from the power supplies as the other channel is idle. Also there is less of a thermal load so the single amp channel is likely to be able to put out more power. So you can see why running two amps, one channel each, could have substantial musical benefits. It is similar to using two Lintos vs. one which many of us found to be musically superior before the Urika blew them both away. But there are even more reasons for it to work with power amps. One reason many companies go with mono-block amps, like the Solos, for their top units.

Now this would make you think that Fredrik could simply pull one channel out of the Tundra and have a kikkin' mono amp. But it is not that simple. As the loads on the power supplies, and probably even the thermal characteristics of the amps, have been optimized for two channels of operation it is quite possible that taking one channel of the amp out could make it sound worse. There is a lot of balancing that goes into these top designs and changing things can be musically detrimental. Note the Radikal which sounds worse with that exceedingly bright LED unplugged (a problem I have solved with a bit of the felt strip Linn supplies for the inside of the platter placed in front of the LED).

Now I will mention that all of the above is strictly a theoretical explanation. I have not had the time or opportunity to experiment with single vs. multi-wiring or passive bi-amping. This is in part due to my main speakers having crossovers and amps built in which makes this type of comparison, shall we say, difficult. ;-) Of course I could conduct some of this research at work and in time hope to do so. But between evaluating Tundras, fighting the Khan battle, selling, doing turntable setups and running Nokturne Audio, I find myself a little strapped for time!

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Post by lejonklou » 2012-05-30 20:47

Good answers from Thomas, there isn't much I can add.
ThomasOK wrote:As Fredrik explained it to me the auto-ranging power supplies assume high voltage and if they see that the relays do not kick in. So at high voltages the relays are already out of the circuit and you are getting the best sound possible.
Exactly. So what I just called the "standard Tundra" should probably be called the "high mains voltage Tundra".
ThomasOK wrote:Now this would make you think that Fredrik could simply pull one channel out of the Tundra and have a kikkin' mono amp. But it is not that simple.
True. If I pull one channel out of a Tundra, the remaining channel performs worse. It's better to leave the unused channel idling than to remove it.

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Post by usjaz » 2012-05-31 08:39

Hi, Lejonkou/Thomas,

I live in US, plan to move to Asia(220V) later this year. I assume it would not be a good idea to buy a low voltage(110V) Thundra, use a step down transformer when I move to Asia(220v)? or Is there a particular type/kind of transformer serve this purpose well?

[side-track a bit] How about for lower current preamplifiers? same?

Had a chance to aske Tim De Paravicini of EAR recently in reference to a 110v preamplifiers. He said
Preamplifier [EAR868] will operate satisfactorily with a step down 100 watt rated transformer. That is from 230 volt down to 117 volt, these are easily available at shops.
When I asked him to qualify "satisfactory". He responded:
Let's get pedantic! Satisfactory to me means good or correct to me. As in a "Satisfying meal" lovely and so on.
just for everyone's amusement. :-) Do you guys agree? What's the general consensus or experience on using Stepdown power transformer with hifi-audio ?

This link seems to disagree. (random google)
http://www.drhifi.net.au/Hi-Fi/Using%20 ... mers/1.htm

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Post by lejonklou » 2012-05-31 20:53

usjaz wrote:I assume it would not be a good idea to buy a low voltage(110V) Thundra, use a step down transformer when I move to Asia(220v)? or Is there a particular type/kind of transformer serve this purpose well?
Hi usjaz and welcome here!

I have tried a step down transformer rated at 750W with different pieces of electronics. It's big, ugly and rather expensive. My experience is that it works reasonably well with low power electronics (such as phono stages and preamps). The lower the power consumption, the better. There's a loss of performance involved, the music is softened and less direct, but still enjoyable.

The more power I've tried squeezing out of it, the bigger the loss of performance has been. I can't recommend using it with a Tundra or any other power amp. And if one does, it has to be sufficiently over dimensioned for the task.

If you're moving to Asia, I would definitely get the Tundra converted to high power instead.

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Post by mrco99 » 2012-05-31 21:53

Hi Fredrik!

I imagine during your 'UK tour' you've heard your Tundra in various setups.
Were there any standouts or sweetspots in particulair?
If I recall correctly you designed Tundra because you felt current poweramps lacked ability to drive a wide range of speakers. Are there any particulair (Linn) speakers that surprised you with Tundra, or maybe some models that you haven't heard yet, but are specially interested to hear?

Regards from Amsterdam, and still hoping for a future visit :-)

Marco

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Post by ThomasOK » 2012-06-01 03:48

usjaz wrote:Hi, Lejonkou/Thomas,

I live in US, plan to move to Asia(220V) later this year. I assume it would not be a good idea to buy a low voltage(110V) Thundra, use a step down transformer when I move to Asia(220v)? or Is there a particular type/kind of transformer serve this purpose well?
Hello usjaz, If you purchase a US version you will be able to send it back to me at Nokturne Audio for conversion back to high voltage before you move. It will be the reverse of the procedure used to convert to low voltage and is approved by Fredrik. The cost will be minimal and certainly much less than any decent transformer. Feel free to PM me with any questions.

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Post by Ozzzy189 » 2012-06-01 07:05

Thanks for the great replies, it's certainly food for thought for my future upgrades. I like the idea of two tundra running 242 passive. However, would you consider running the akurate 226 sub too, and how could it be used with a tundra? Either as a pair, or just one?
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Post by lejonklou » 2012-06-03 11:48

mrco99 wrote:I imagine during your 'UK tour' you've heard your Tundra in various setups. Were there any standouts or sweetspots in particulair?
Hi Marco!

In the UK, I heard Tundra with 140, 242 and 350P. None of them stood out as a superior match, but on the other hand I were unfamiliar with the systems and didn't install them from start to finish. I've always been more concerned with the quality of the source (including the digital parts of a DS system) and the system installation than the match between power amp and speakers.

When cranking the volume up I have gotten the impression that 242 demands the most current of these three. I did try two Tundras (using one channel on each) on the 242's at Hidden Systems and the improvement seemed to confirm just that.
If I recall correctly you designed Tundra because you felt current poweramps lacked ability to drive a wide range of speakers.
No, I simply wanted to make a good power amplifier. The turning point in the development was when I realised I should be working on signal preservation instead of power delivery. What happens at the input stage makes a more fundamental difference to the music than what happens at the output stage. But the output stage determines how loud you can play, of course. So the quantity (power) aspects can't be ignored.

Still looking forward to a potential visit to Amsterdam! :)

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Post by Charlie1 » 2012-06-03 12:36

lejonklou wrote:The turning point in the development was when I realised I should be working on signal preservation instead of power delivery. What happens at the input stage makes a more fundamental difference to the music than what happens at the output stage.
Without wanting to get too fixated on the input stage, I presume the input connectors are the first step when following this philosophy. Did this require any particular attention or are they same as Kikkin?

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Post by lejonklou » 2012-06-03 17:27

Charlie1 wrote:Without wanting to get too fixated on the input stage, I presume the input connectors are the first step when following this philosophy. Did this require any particular attention or are they same as Kikkin?
Yes, same RCA/phono connector on all my products. Tried lots of connectors a couple of years ago and this one stood out as the best of them all. Asked the manufacture if they could do it in black plastic instead of white and red. They said no. Tried persuasion with a large order, but they still refused.

Recently I found out that they no longer exist. Or perhaps the company has been bought and changed name? Could prove impossible to find the exact same connector, but luckily I have a lot of them!

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Post by anthony » 2012-06-03 17:50

lejonklou wrote:
Charlie1 wrote:Without wanting to get too fixated on the input stage, I presume the input connectors are the first step when following this philosophy. Did this require any particular attention or are they same as Kikkin?
Yes, same RCA/phono connector on all my products. Tried lots of connectors a couple of years ago and this one stood out as the best of them all. Asked the manufacture if they could do it in black plastic instead of white and red. They said no. Tried persuasion with a large order, but they still refused.

Recently I found out that they no longer exist. Or perhaps the company has been bought and changed name? Could prove impossible to find the exact same connector, but luckily I have a lot of them!
Thank you for your input.

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Post by lejonklou » 2012-06-03 19:44

anthony wrote:Thank you for your input.
Ha ha!

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Post by macrotech2 » 2012-06-06 19:54

You spelled it out in black and white, but it still made me see red :-)

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Post by lejonklou » 2012-06-13 00:24

Tundra is now available in version 1.1.

Four ferrites have been replaced with a new and better type, with improved filtering properties. The result is a slightly cleaner and more nuanced performance.

For those who own an original Tundra, the following options are available:

1. Ask your local retailer or distributor if he wants do the upgrade. The parts are free of charge, but expect him to charge for the time spent.

2. Ship your Tundra to Lejonklou. The upgrade itself is free of charge, only the return shipping will be charged.

3. Save this upgrade for later. Perhaps in the future there will be other improvements that can be fitted at the same time. The 1.1 upgrade will remain free of charge, there is no date limit.

Why an upgrade so soon after release? Many HiFi companies continually improve their models, but they keep it secret. In line with our motto 'Honest HiFi', Lejonklou will always be open about every improvement we make. And as far as possible, we will offer inexpensive upgrades to the latest specification. We also keep track of each unit's upgrade history.

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Post by Music Lover » 2012-06-13 08:59

lejonklou wrote: In line with our motto 'Honest HiFi'
Great strategy Fredrik!
It's all about musical understanding!

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Post by macrotech2 » 2012-06-13 09:11

Music Lover wrote:
lejonklou wrote: In line with our motto 'Honest HiFi'
Great strategy Fredrik!
+1. Great motto.

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