I'm 23 years old and I time like a b**tard

Originally Posted by Richard Dane:
Originally Posted by Adam Meredith:
I know, I know - is it a pair of mole slippers?




Get on down.


Do moles come in a size 13?

I shall see what I can cook up with a lawn roller.


The original intention was to produce Lemming slippers - but they kept throwing themselves into the bath.

Originally Posted by Jan-Erik Nordoen:


Now, can someone guide me as to what might need to be updated given the age of the amp ? Capacitors first ?


Alco, your prize is this close up view of the inside of the amp (Warning : audio porn)



Have a word with Darren at Class A audio.

Jan I didn't realise you were in Canada. Yes I did meen Darren in Sheffield.

Certainly worth a word he might well be able to advise what components to change and suitable replacement components, as I believe he does work on other manufactures other than NAIM.



If you have a maintenance service done on it, have the electrolytic capacitors changed only, to keep it into its original condition as close as possible. Ceramic and film capacitors rarely need to be replaced.


Also, you may have the switches on the front and connections on the back pannel cleaned with zero residue electronic cleaner (like Asalco Superwash), and in the case of the switches, only do it if they are causing important "hesitation" noise when selected. Don't put any sort of contact cleaner or degreaser into this! The ALPS Blue volume pot don't require anything special for maintenance. If it's noisy, just get it replaced.



Maurice, the Obelisk is now singing happily in system 2 ( see profile ) fed by the SuperUnitiServe  , in place of the NVA AP 50, which will be relegated to TV duties. The Obelisk has the sonic signature that captivated me in its descendant, the  Heed Obelisk Si: a delicious "lit from within" midrange akin to a 300B amp. Slightly less refined than the NVA, but I am hoping that a little TLC in the right places will improve that.


Stoik, thank you very much for the pointers, and the article... long live Google translate. I'll talk with Jean Desrochers at Planabox, as he works wonders with old Quad gear, amongst others, and I will pass along your advice. As you quite correctly point out, I don't want to  change the original character of the amp, just bring it back to its former glory,, although I suspect that Jean may have some ideas for tweaking the performance... I've heard glorious music from a Quad 505 with his full-monty mods.


The biggest surprise though with the Obelisk is the timing, the amp just grabs the groove in a most alluring way ; it's also surprisingly dynamic. Not bad for a 23 year-old integrated.


Thanks to everyone else who offered advice, and to Adam for the footware. I'm still trying to figure out the link though.... Shuhkarton ? or was it just a setup for the lemming slippers ?



Originally Posted by Jan-Erik Nordoen:

Must be the British humour. Badger slippers I can understand, but moles?


The Obelisk 2 wil be sent off shortly to a local electronics wizard for fettling. Before that though, can anyone indicate which components may not have aged gracefully?






Or Beaver gloves...?

"It is difficult to know what is left"


I hope, many more posts of the calibre of your quantum entanglement reply (bringing together two separate threads). By far your best work here.


Or a career as a forum personality trainer?




(Canada chose the beaver as its national emblem, showing that we do have a sense of humour. Despite current trends in men's fashion, it remains fur covered)

Anyone fluent in German ??


I've run the review of the Obelisk 2 (thanks Stoik) through Google translate, but there's some cleaning up to do, if anyone can help out.


"Some other speakers fly around the ears"






(Original text follows the English)


The warranty has been violated quite offensichlich by omission - for me there's this new ...

TO the British "shoe box" amplifiers from the hi-light industrial phase of the 80s and 90s, the ION Obelisk next example Naim (Nait 1 & 2), Onix (OA20/21/22) and Mission Cyrus (1/2/ff.) Is another example, which I am but come rather late, this is my first attempt with an obelisk.
The Entwicklungssereie is obviously under different banners in today, in relation to the time very expensive, Heed Obelisk passed - which I know little - but this obelisk 2 here has a very interesting feature that it more into a relationship with Sugden, Quad , Creek Audio and Innovation presents: the asymmetrical, meaning one-lane supply as continuous rather in times of tube technology was. Here, of course, no output transformer is used, it is not necessary transistors with low-resistance, but the DC-free coupling of the loudspeaker requires a (relatively large) coupling capacitor in the speaker circuit.
Thus, although everything is provide "simple", but one must also necessarily galvanically isolate each stage - to the output, some other speakers fly around the ears.

More of the same - and that's different ...
Typical for such a small, nominal weak British is the mighty power that stands out in this obelisk as well as in the eye for all direct competitors. Also typical is the apparently quite small guessed cooling, Japanese will there always equipped powerful - but the British have the an invisible thing in common: they use always the case for heat dissipation with and thus have an advantage over the thermally insulated mounted Far-cooling concepts because they need as well as any vents. Minimum movements cases are closed i.d.R. remain internally clean and the controls far better protect against environmental factors such as dust and other air pollution, so also here.
But there are a few unique features, the ION here has a pressure switch signal choice that works with combinations, binary, so to speak - and just the Elko-coupling of the speakers, despite double-executed power supply, heir has you probably prefer to supply each logical signal level separately, as only be separated into two half-cycles.
The circuit is in turn a little conventional, all discrete design with individual transistors, the heatsink is Compartment bolted to the floor pan and heated so with the whole unit, there is, as so often in this sector either through the headphone jack out speaker outputs are switched off, and a Jack is introduced ("switched"), the other terminals for direct connection without reducing sound may switch contacts in the signal path.

The final stage with your 2200μF-coupling capacitors - here in Panasonic FC

The phono stage now with Panasonic FM / FC electrolytics

another British oversized power supply - now with Evox-Rifa electrolytics

Control, headphone jack, signal switch, power switch

Everything fresh - once belonged
Where you would place the obelisk 2?
He fünktioniert according to the principle of the first CAS4040 or QUAD303, it is noted that he was definitely not intended to enable a relatively small coupling capacitor mountains. This type of circuit schänkt him a little at 8-ohm speakers in smaller rooms, then that is a deficit in the bass anything noticeable as it plays its cards well. As with the competitors of the same size value specifies the obelisk above all on the right for him to be in control is feasible to focus on the essentials. So he shows, as expected, no extreme broadband, but grip dynamics, good spatial representation, and above all, a natural representation of the vocal range, color and verdeckungsarm.
Apart from the fact that the basic concept has a lower boundary rare nowadays, he joins in an overall assessment of its properties among the other "box" a. Aside from the Cyrus devices in this class have the "japanischste" characteristic, Onix, Naim and ION are still close together. You are congeneric structures, typically in their base vote. And in my opinion, the obelisk is actually even a successful compromise between Onix and Naim, in terms of tone color and dynamics in each case between the two to settle - of course again with yet another focus.
And though this is my first obelisk, I must admit: it can not really ignore as a collector, when combining a small British chain is simply the ION in the first election, depending on the other components safely often times even the best .. .


The original German version :


bei mir gibt's dafür neue... 

ZU den britischen "Schuhkarton-" Verstärkern aus der Hifi-Kleinindustrie-Phase der 80er und 90er Jahre ist der ION Obelisk neben z.B. Naim (Nait 1&2), Onix (OA20/21/22) und Mission Cyrus (1/2/ff.) ein weiteres Beispiel, an das ich aber erst recht spät geraten bin, dieser hier ist mein erster Anlauf mit einem Obelisken.
Die Entwicklungssereie ist ja offensichtlich unter verschiedenen Fahnen in den heutigen, im Verhältnis zu damals recht teuren Heed Obelisk übergegangen - zu dem weiß ich wenig - doch dieser Obelisk 2 hier weist ein sehr interessantes Merkmal auf, das ihn eher in eine Verwandschaft mit Sugden, Quad, Creek und Audio Innovations stellt: die asymmetrische, sprich einspurige Versorgung, wie sie  eher in Zeiten der Röhrentechnik gängig war. Hier wird natürlich kein Ausgangstrafo verwendet, das ist mit niederohmigen Transistoren nicht nötig, doch die gleichspannungsfreie Ankopplung der Lausprecher erfordert einen (relativ großen) Koppelkondensator im Lautsprecher-Kreis.
So ist zwar alles "einfacher" zu versorgen, aber man muß auch jede Stufe zwingend galvanisch entkoppeln - bis hin zum Ausgang, sonst fliegen einem die Lautsprecher um die Ohren.

Immer wieder das Gleiche - und was anders ist...
Typisch für so einen kleinen, nominal schwachen Briten ist die mächtige Versorgung, das sticht bei diesem Obelisken genauso ins Auge wie bei allen direkten Mitbewerbern. Ebenfalls typisch ist die anscheinend recht klein geratene Kühlung, Japaner werden da stets mächtiger ausgestattet - doch haben die Briten das eine unsichtbare Gemeinsamkeit: sie benutzen stets das Gehäuse zur Wärmeabfuhr mit und haben damit große Vorteile gegenüber den thermisch isoliert montierten Fernost-Kühl-Konzepten, denn sie brauchen so auch keine Lüftungsschlitze. Dioe Gehäuse sind geschlossen, bleiben i.d.R. innen sauber und schützen die Bedienelemente weit  besser vor Umwelteinflüssen wie Staub und anderen Luftbelastungen, so auch hier.
Doch es gibt auch ein paar Alleinstellungsmerkmale, der ION hier hat eine Druckschalter-Signalwahl, die mit Kombinationen funktioniert, binär sozusagen - und eben die Elko-Ankopplung der Lautsprecher trotz doppelt ausgeführtem Netzteil, heir hat man wohl lieber jede logische Signalstufe separat versorgt, als nur in zwei Halbwellen zu trennen.
Die Schaltung ist wiederum eher konventionell, alles diskret mit einzelnen Transistoren aufgebaut, der Kühlkörper ist fächig am Bodenblech verschraubt und wärmt so das ganze Gerät mit, es gibt wie so oft in dieser Sparte wahlweise über die Kopfhörerbuchse geführte Lautsprecherausgänge, die schalten ab, sowie ein Klinkenstecker eingeführt wird ("switched"), die anderen Terminals sind für den direkten Anschluß ohne möglicherweise klangmindernde Schaltkontakte im Signalweg.  


Die Endstufe mit Ihren 2200µF-Koppelkondensatoren - hier in Panasonic FC


Die Phonostufe jetzt mit Panasonic FM/FC-Elkos


another oversized British power supply - jetzt mit Evox-Rifa-Elkos


Regler, Kopfhörerbuchse, Signal-Umschaltung, Netzschalter



Alles frisch - mal angehört
Wo würde man den Obelisk 2 einordnen?
Er fünktioniert nach dem Prinzip des ersten CAS4040 oder einer QUAD303, man merkt ihm an, dass er definitiv nicht dafür gedacht war über einen relativ kleinen Koppel-Kondensator Berge zu versetzen. Diese Schaltungsart schänkt ihn ein wenig auf 8-Ohm-Lautsprecher in kleineren Räumen ein, dann wird nämlich von einem Defizit im Bass überhaupt nichts spürbar, da spielt er seine Karten bestens aus. Wie auch bei den Mitbewerbern gleichen Formats legt der Obelisk vor allem Wert darauf, das für ihn Machbare richtig im Griff zu haben, sich auf auf das Wesentliche zu konzentrieren. Also zeigt er erwartungsgemäß keine extreme Breitbandigkeit, sondern griffige Dynamik, gute räumliche Darstellung und vor allem eine natürliche Darstellung des Stimmbereichs, farbig und verdeckungsarm.
Abgesehen davon, dass das Grundkonzept eine heutzutage seltene untere Begrenzung aufweist, reiht er sich bei einer Gesamtbetrachtung seiner Eigenschaften mitten zwischen den anderen "Kästchen" ein. Mal abgesehen von den Cyrus-Geräten, die in dieser Klasse die "japanischste" Charakteristik haben, liegen Onix, Naim und ION doch nahe beieinander. Sie sind artverwandte Konstruktionen, typisch in ihrer Grundabstimmung. Und meiner Meinung nach ist der Obelisk tatsächlich sogar ein gelungener Kompromiß zwischen Onix und Naim, in Sachen Klangfarben und Dynamik jeweils zwischen den beiden anzusiedeln - natürlich wiederum mit noch anderen Schwerpunkten.
Und obwohl dies mei erster Obelisk ist, muß ich zugeben: man kann ihn als Sammler tatsächlich nicht ignorieren, beim Kombinieren einer kleinen, britischen Kette ist der ION einfach in der ersten Wahl, je nach den anderen Komponenten sicher oft mal sogar die beste... 


Originally Posted by Jan-Erik Nordoen:

Very good Alco and Maurice. I should have made it more difficult.




Very nice Jan-Erik. A series II unit by the look of the buttons and volume knob.  In many ways the Obelisk 2 was the pick of the range - quite a bit better than the Obelisk 1 but quite a bit cheaper than the marginally better Obelisk 3, which really only seemed to offer the convenience of upgradeable phono boards over and above the 2.  However, the Obelisk 3x + X-Pak supply was something else, as it should be at twice the price.


Although I let my Obelisks 1, 2 and 3 go in the last couple of years, I have kept hold of the 3x + X-Pak along with an FMT tuner.  I still have a whole bunch of literature for the range and if I recall correctly, the Obelisk 2 was very favourably reviewed by Ian Rankin in Hifi Review, concluding that it was probably the best at its price point.  Of course, the HFR favourite, the Nait 2, cost almost £100 more....

Hi Richard,


Yes, not bad at all for CDN $ 225 ! If you ever get a chance to scan the review and send it along, I'm interested in finding out more about the design. The German review confirms that the Obelisk 2 uses rather large capacitors in the output stage, a feature that continues in the modern Heed versions. According to Heed's designer, avoiding DC coupling of the output stage - capacitors being one way to do it - yields substantial sonic benefits. The Heed convinced me and I was curious to see whether the original design had the same sonic signature. I can confirm that it does. The midrange reminds me very much of a 300B amp that I almost fell for.



It's in the spa as we speak, so to speak. Treatment includes new output capacitors, a Furutech IEC socket (minor surgery), a beefier main power cable inside, new RCA sockets for the CD input, new rhodium plated speaker terminals and cleaned switches, plus anything else that Mr Jean Desrochers, the magician, deems sonically worthwhile. I expect it to emerge this Wednesday afternoon.


My early Christmas present.



I believe that you read French. If so, I can send you by email the text of the review I wrote for the Heed Obelisk Si and its add- on power supply. Let me know if interested.


In a nutshell, the Heed Si with its external power supply gave me better resolution than my 82 / hi/ 250 and brought me to places that the Naim combo only hinted at, and with no loss of what we love about Naim gear. A higher plane, in many ways.


As mentioned earlier in this thread, the Heed has a beautifully " lit from within" midrange, with loads of detail and a timbral balance that makes low level listening also very satisfying.


The Ion Obelisk has the same quality to the midrange, but with less finesse. I am hoping that the cure de jeunesse will improve this aspect. 


The NVA AP 50 is doing amplification duties at the moment while the Ion Obelisk is in the shop, but it's just so far from the musical insight of the Obelisk...


Vivement mercredi !



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