What can I expect from this combo compared to the latest offerings - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-09-2012, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi folks,

I just wanted to share with all of you that I got into the 2 channel audio hi-fi world buying the following separates. Now as I am fiddling with the set ups what I am thinking is how well do this set up compare with the latest offerings and does the brands gel well together in terms of mitigating each others weakness. Any inputs on component upgrades or modifications are welcome.

The towers are connected to the amp via monster cables the basic speaker cables that we get in a roll of 50/100 mts.

1. NAD CD Player - C540
http://www.audioreview.com/cat/digital-sources/cd-players/nad/c540/prd_117008_1586crx.aspx

Seems to be warm with good separation of instruments, a 10 year old model not sure though.

2. Cambridge Audio - A500
http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/integrated-amplifiers/cambridge-audio/a500/prd_115659_2717crx.aspx

3. Acoustic Energy Aegis Three - Three way towers.
http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speakers/floorstanding-speakers/acoustic-energy/aegis-three/prd_123839_1594crx.aspx
Box piece but out of production

My take its a bit clinical and may be not too warm. Midrange is lacking, not sure whether its the recording or the amp.

Thanks for reading so far. Cheers.
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-09-2012, 05:56 AM
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Midrange is lacking, not sure whether its the recording or the amp.

What makes you think a lack of midrange has anything to do with the Amp? Check out the FR of the amp at various impedances of the speaker output, and you will find the the curve is most likely flat from about 20Hz to about 18 - 20kHz. So where for f..s sake could the midrange dip be due to amp performance?
This audiophile crap is really annoying by its complete lack of any explanatory model and being contradictory to available evidence.
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-09-2012, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by hdr77 View Post

Hi folks,

I just wanted to share with all of you that I got into the 2 channel audio hi-fi world buying the following separates. Now as I am fiddling with the set ups what I am thinking is how well do this set up compare with the latest offerings and does the brands gel well together in terms of mitigating each others weakness. Any inputs on component upgrades or modifications are welcome.

The towers are connected to the amp via monster cables the basic speaker cables that we get in a roll of 50/100 mts.

1. NAD CD Player - C540
http://www.audioreview.com/cat/digital-sources/cd-players/nad/c540/prd_117008_1586crx.aspx

Seems to be warm with good separation of instruments, a 10 year old model not sure though.

2. Cambridge Audio - A500
http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/integrated-amplifiers/cambridge-audio/a500/prd_115659_2717crx.aspx

3. Acoustic Energy Aegis Three - Three way towers.
http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speakers/floorstanding-speakers/acoustic-energy/aegis-three/prd_123839_1594crx.aspx
Box piece but out of production

My take its a bit clinical and may be not too warm. Midrange is lacking, not sure whether its the recording or the amp.

First off, you failed to include two important and very strong variables in your description of your evaluation: the recording and the room.

Secondly, your evaluation was not really a test of anything at all, since you used no fixed relevant reliable standard to compare to.

Thirdly, it appears that your evaluation was sighted and completely free of any bias controls. So, we don't know if your reactions actually had anything to do with what you heard. IOW was this about the equipment or your biases?
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-09-2012, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Dear raut .. I have this system only for the past 24 hours. Spent around 1k USD to acquire. Now my wife with her natural listening commented its just on par with boss table top wave guide players with only difference being the extra space and ability to play louder.

I am currently running a definitive tech pro 800 series out of a Yamaha Rx 661 and again the comment is sound quality is comparable with my 1k gig .. to a regular listener who doesn't get into any of the audio jargons.

For me the system sounds okay but not that I feel justified that there is a wide margin of improvement from my existing def tech pro 800 set up playing songs.

So I wanted to hear from you guys here on whether I am doing anything wrong in the component selection ... or it's just the placements etc. I am clueless.

Let me know if you need any other info or want me to check something. Wiring is correct wrt polarity of terminals. Thanks for your comments.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-09-2012, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

First off, you failed to include two important and very strong variables in your description of your evaluation: the recording and the room.
Secondly, your evaluation was not really a test of anything at all, since you used no fixed relevant reliable standard to compare to.
Thirdly, it appears that your evaluation was sighted and completely free of any bias controls. So, we don't know if your reactions actually had anything to do with what you heard. IOW was this about the equipment or your biases?

Agreed. Sorry that I didn't explain the reference system running in same space. It's a Yamaha av reciever powering pro 800 def tech sats with a sub.

I wanted to first see how good the above components look in your eyes compared to what is available from the respective vendors in today's market. I am not looking for an objective answer for the comparison. However any inputs you can give would greatly help.
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-09-2012, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by hdr77 View Post

Dear raut .. I have this system only for the past 24 hours. Spent around 1k USD to acquire. Now my wife with her natural listening commented its just on par with boss table top wave guide players with only difference being the extra space and ability to play louder.

I am currently running a definitive tech pro 800 series out of a Yamaha Rx 661 and again the comment is sound quality is comparable with my 1k gig .. to a regular listener who doesn't get into any of the audio jargons.

For me the system sounds okay but not that I feel justified that there is a wide margin of improvement from my existing def tech pro 800 set up playing songs.

If I'm reading the spec sheets right, you're comparing a def tech system with mains and a sub with 2 each 8 inch drivers to a pair of AE mains with 6.5 inch largest drivers.

Not exactly a fair comparison! The AE speakers may not sound that much different from that Bose system, at least on the bottom end.
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post #7 of 12 Old 11-09-2012, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the comment arny.

With the 65w into 8ohms specs of ca A500 with the NAD C540 do you think that the components are well suited for each other ? Will you suggest any improvements in components ? After reading more this sub forum my understanding is that all components from cd to amp has a flat response and one should be only worried about material, room acoustics & lastly round off everything with interconnects. Am I right ? If you need any further info to answer please let me know.

Lastly, do you think AE Aegis 3 is a capable tower and is there any equivalent comparison you could point out from other brands in terms of quality ?
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-10-2012, 08:16 AM
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The amplifier should not be a major issue; it is a fairly good unit.

Your CD player is using DAC chips from about 3 generations back, which were not very good in a unit at that price point then. This is a very weak part of your system.

I spent $6000 7 years ago to get the best-sounding player available then, the Ayre C5xe. That is what it cost to get the best DAC quality then, and it was quite apparent in listening tests how much better it sounded than cheaper units (such as yours).

NOW, the OPPO BDP-95 is a bit better-sounding than my Ayre, and is only $1000. It has made every unit costing 3 to 10 times as much totally obsolete IMO. I am using it as my CD and DVD player now.

IT is a STEAL for $1000, if you want the best sound quality. If That is too pricy, the new BDP-103 is $499 and is also very good (beats anything else at the price, and WAY WAY better than what you have for CD or SACD sound quality).

I know absolutely nothing about your speakers. You may want to get a home trial on some others for comparison.

The PSB Image T6 speakers are one of the best you can buy for $1300/pair.

The KEF iQ70 are very very good at only $599 (were $1200) at KEF Direct.
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-10-2012, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The amplifier should not be a major issue; it is a fairly good unit.

Your CD player is using DAC chips from about 3 generations back, which were not very good in a unit at that price point then. This is a very weak part of your system.

The established facts don't bear this out.

According to the following reliable source:

http://nadelectronics.com/download.php?100526154355-NAD_C540.pdf|Data%20Sheet%20-%20C%20540%20Compact%20Disc%20Player

"For the NAD C540 the 24 bit high resolution Burr-Brown Sigma-Delta Digital-to-Analog converter chip was chosen for its excellent low level linearity and detail retrieving capabilities."

This is consistent with our best understandings of current technology.

While the actual chip used may or may not still be new production, the basic methodology is characteristic of how most similar higher-end digital music players are made. Sigma-Delta is not generations-back technology, it is how virtually every audio DAC chip is being made these days.

Unless the specific NAD C540 is broken and not performing up to snuff, it should be more than suitable for its intended purpose. While sighted evaluations find audible differences among just about everything, a proper level-matched, time-synched, bias-controlled test is unlikely to find any audible degradation due to the use of the NAD C540.
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-10-2012, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by hdr77 View Post

thanks for the comment arny.

With the 65w into 8ohms specs of ca A500 with the NAD C540 do you think that the components are well suited for each other ?

Should sound great!
Quote:
Will you suggest any improvements in components ?

I see no purpose in suggesting improvements. If the list of components you give showed up on my doorstep, I would be happy to install them and listen to them.
Quote:
Lastly, do you think AE Aegis 3 is a capable tower

I'm not impressed with it.
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and is there any equivalent comparison you could point out from other brands in terms of quality ?

I like the sound of of your baseline system better.
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post #11 of 12 Old 11-11-2012, 01:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The amplifier should not be a major issue; it is a fairly good unit.
Your CD player is using DAC chips from about 3 generations back, which were not very good in a unit at that price point then. This is a very weak part of your system.
I spent $6000 7 years ago to get the best-sounding player available then, the Ayre C5xe. That is what it cost to get the best DAC quality then, and it was quite apparent in listening tests how much better it sounded than cheaper units (such as yours).
NOW, the OPPO BDP-95 is a bit better-sounding than my Ayre, and is only $1000. It has made every unit costing 3 to 10 times as much totally obsolete IMO. I am using it as my CD and DVD player now.
IT is a STEAL for $1000, if you want the best sound quality. If That is too pricy, the new BDP-103 is $499 and is also very good (beats anything else at the price, and WAY WAY better than what you have for CD or SACD sound quality).
I know absolutely nothing about your speakers. You may want to get a home trial on some others for comparison.
The PSB Image T6 speakers are one of the best you can buy for $1300/pair.
The KEF iQ70 are very very good at only $599 (were $1200) at KEF Direct.

Thanks your comments and suggestions commsysman. This would serve me as one of the reference points while shortlisting and comparing a prospective buy. Do you know of any place where some basic info on the quality of DAC chips could be found ? I have already procured the AE Aegis 3 as you may notice. I am reading other threads also here of people facing or faced similar problems while trying to maximize the performance of their set up.

Is my understanding right that room plays almost 50% or more of the elements involved in quality listening. Is this audio nirvana all about weeding out any colorations ,from source to speakers to room, to the original frequency graph of a recording ? If thats the case then any reasonable set up has to be first evaluated in a sound corrected room ?

Are we talking about room response measurements and applying possible mods to correct the problems before starting to make conclusions or comments on any problems with the system ? How is everyone else doing here ? Using electronic equalizers or applying physical corrections ? Any suggested beginners reading please ?
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post #12 of 12 Old 11-11-2012, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Should sound great!
I see no purpose in suggesting improvements. If the list of components you give showed up on my doorstep, I would be happy to install them and listen to them.
I'm not impressed with it.
I like the sound of of your baseline system better.

Thanks for the comments. I would say as commented in the other reply, I am more or less having blind spot with my room responses. To my untrained ears there is definitely a difference in playing this system in my bedroom and moving the same to the living room where its playing. The space where its playing now is

14ft x 34ft. and the speakers are placed along with 14ft leaving around 2ft from sides and a feet or more from the rear. Both are toed in too towards the listener. One more thing is they come with spikes which are not attached. The room has 30% towards the front where the speakers are placed wooden floor with a rug placed and 5 seater sofa kept around it. Ceilings are flat and is concrete.

Any tips ?
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