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post #1 of 12 Old 04-15-2014, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

 

Please be gentle with me since this is my first post (other than an introduction one) but I'm after some upgrade advice.

 

My current stereo set up is a Rotel RA-920AX, Dual 505 turntable and Wharfedale Evo 8 bookshelves (mainly due to space in my new house) - I also use one of the inputs on the Rotel for lossless playback via a computer. I'm planning on adding/upgrading to this and I've done a fair bit of research, but I'd like to make sure I'm barking up the right tree and without anyone to bounce ideas around with that I actually know, I thought here might be the place to do it.

 

Over the years I've had a lot of older NAD kit and I love the sound, so I'm planning on adding a 521/541 CD deck to the current set up and upgrading the Rotel to NAD amps. However, I'd like to move away from the integrated amp and I'm building an initial kit list:

 

  • NAD 1155 or 1130 pre-amplifier
  • NAD 2600 or 2 x NAD 902 power amp

 

The idea is to either use a single, more powerful 2600 power amp, or two separate 902 amps. Feedback on which would be a better idea would be much appreciated. I'm leaning more towards the 902s as with these I can bi-amp, which I can't with the one 2600, but I don't know which would be a better solution.

 

The curve-ball is the speakers - the Pacific Evo 8s are rated at 6 ohm, so bridging the 902s is probably out. However, I'm considering replacing my AV setup, in which case the Mordaunt Short 908i fronts might migrate to my stereo setup as I love their performance when used for music rather than AV.

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Feel free to tell me if I'm going about this all wrong!

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post #2 of 12 Old 04-15-2014, 08:45 AM
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You're going about this all wrong.

If you want to improve the sound of your system, you need to improve the speakers. Otherwise, you're just spinning your wheels. Spending more money to amplify the same speakers you're happy with no makes no sense.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #3 of 12 Old 04-15-2014, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Haha, thanks mcnarus.

 

I can't comment on the Wharfedales as I've not tried them with another amp, but as for the MS 908i speakers I have - I've wired them up to the Rotel previously and unless you really turn up the volume they sound a bit 'lost' (for want of a better word) - the soundstage seems to entirely disappear along with pretty much all of the bass. I'd always assumed that was because the Rotel was a little underpowered for them since I didn't have the same problem when I wired them up to a NAD C325BEE I borrowed from a friend to try out. With the NAD, the MS's just seemed to come to life.

 

Really, I just wanted replicate the warmer sound of the NAD relative to the Rotel which I just don't love so much. I only ever bought it as a 'stop-gap' since I couldn't afford anything else at the time and it'll probably be moved to bedroom duty, along with the Evo 8s eventually as I plan to replace them with something a little meatier.

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post #4 of 12 Old 04-15-2014, 11:45 AM
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Really, I just wanted replicate the warmer sound of the NAD relative to the Rotel which I just don't love so much.
But NAD doesn't sound warmer than Rotel, not if you compare them properly. That's just in your imagination, probably conditioned by reading a bunch of stupid reviews.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #5 of 12 Old 04-15-2014, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gilphilbert View Post

I'm after some upgrade advice ... Feel free to tell me if I'm going about this all wrong!

I agree with mcnarus that you're going about this all wrong. biggrin.gif Besides considering better loudspeakers, you should also consider the acoustics of your room. Both of these will give vastly more improvement than replacing electronics. This short article is mainly about home recording, but all the same principles apply to hi-fi and home theater acoustics too:

Acoustic Basics

--Ethan

RealTraps - The acoustic treatment experts
Ethan's Audio Expert book

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post #6 of 12 Old 04-16-2014, 02:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.

 

Maybe it is in my head, but I really thought the NAD sounded warmer.

 

Regardless, it sounds like it's the loudspeakers that are the weakest point in my current set up. I've been toying with an upgrade to them anyway, but I haven't really decided what yet. I'll have to spend some time looking around and listening to some since it seems that upgrading my amp won't add anything to what I have at the moment.

 

Ethan - I'd love to start down that path, but unfortunately this is my lounge and my wife would never allow me to add anything like that to it! Maybe once I've got a dedicated listening room, in my next house...

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post #7 of 12 Old 04-16-2014, 06:26 PM
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It might be true that the NAD sounds "warmer", but the Rotel is a much better, more accurate amplifier. In the long run, you might find the NAD to be a downgrade in sound quality.

A very nice upgrade would be the Musical Fidelity M3i Integrated amplifier; it is excellent and has 4 times as much power; enough for almost any speakers.

You have some good speakers there also, but perhaps there are other speakers that would satisfy your taste better.

Focal makes some amazingly good speakers that are not much more expensive than what you have.

I also can tell you that the sound quality you are getting from your old Dual turntable is not very good; been there...moved on.

I think you would be amazed at the improvement that a Music Hall MMF 2.2 turntable, for example, would make; or something similar from Pro-ject. It would be $500 well-invested if you play vinyl much at all.

The OPPO BDP-105 is literally the state-of-the -art in CD players. NAD does not make anything comparable.

The 105 is SO good that I sold my $6000 Ayre player after hearing it. It is a HUGE bargain at $1200. There are a dozen or more very good CD players for $3000-$8000 that are not as good.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-17-2014, 05:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your replies.

 

I think, to be honest, I'm going to have to replace the Wharfedales which is a shame as I only bought them recently (second hand) but I'm just not in love with them. Maybe I've been spoiled with floorstanders recently, but these just don't do it for me. I've been impressed with their soundstage and the mid to high reproduction is also good, but they really lack on mid-low reproduction and this makes them feel - and I'm not sure of the correct terminology here - but they sound very "thin" at lower volumes and they lack something at higher volumes too. I had assumed this was the lack of power from the amplifier, but dragging my AV amp downstairs has shown me that they're pretty much the same on that too.

 

commsysman - having turned it on last night for the first time since I moved, it would appear that my Dual didn't survive the move anyway. I don't play masses of vinyl, but a reasonable amount and I've been planning on replacing it anyway, so thanks for the pointers there.

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post #9 of 12 Old 04-20-2014, 06:23 AM
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Well, I am very impressed with Focal speakers, in general.

The EVO 8 does have a rather wimpy mid-bass and doesn't quite have it all together; I agree with that. Good, but not great...lol.

For a reasonably-priced floorstanding speaker, I can recommend the PSB Image T6 speakers, which go for around $1200/pair.

I had them for 2 years, and they are really very good in all respects; hard to beat at that price level. I think you would really like them.

They are quite sensitive, so your amp should be good with them.

I now have the Vandersteen Treo speakers, which are superb, if you have $7000 to spare (but they definitely need a LOT of power to drive them).
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-20-2014, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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So (and this only proves how decisive I am) I've sold my Wharfedales - they went yesterday. I'm going to go to my local Audio-T and see what they have to offer. I'm planning on auditioning the following:

  • B&W 685 S2
  • B&W CM1
  • Rega S1
  • KEF Q300
  • Focal Chorus 706

Although I don't think Audio-T stock all of those, so I might have to go to a SevenOaks store too.

 

Any other suggestions? Sadly I don't have $7000 to spare, my budget is around £500.

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post #11 of 12 Old 04-20-2014, 03:57 PM
 
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Hi, sorry about your Duel. I just got my 1219 up and running and it sounds fine for a TT that's 48 years old.
I upgraded to a Rega and really love the sound, lots of bass as compared to a lot of TT. I've done side by sides with 5 different TT and they all sound different in there own way,,,,,
Each having thir pros and cons but the Rega beats them all hands down.

Also, I'm a firm believer in MONOBLOCKS, sound, dynamics and separation all have there advantage.

Peace,

Nick
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-20-2014, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gilphilbert View Post

So (and this only proves how decisive I am) I've sold my Wharfedales - they went yesterday. I'm going to go to my local Audio-T and see what they have to offer. I'm planning on auditioning the following:
  • B&W 685 S2
  • B&W CM1
  • Rega S1
  • KEF Q300
  • Focal Chorus 706
Although I don't think Audio-T stock all of those, so I might have to go to a SevenOaks store too.

Any other suggestions? Sadly I don't have $7000 to spare, my budget is around £500.

Take a look at those in these prices they are unbeatable

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-FS52
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