To upgrade, or not upgrade, that is the question - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 31 Old 04-05-2016, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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To upgrade, or not upgrade, that is the question

Hello folks,

In a bit of a conundrum, and would like some feedback from those who have maybe gone down this road before me.

Moving into a new place, and am planning on going with a stereo setup in our main living room. For receivers, I have a choice of plenty of great power including vintage Marantz (2252B), NAD (7125), and Rotel (RX-600), or going with a more modern Onkyo (RX8050) that I bought after using it during my speaker demo. Also have the Wi-Fi adapter so I can use some of its network features.

I originally demoed big bookshelves for the space, including the Focal Chorus 705 and 706, DefTech SM55, and Boston A25 and A26. All had relative pluses and minuses (expect for the DefTechs which were unlistenable), and I was ready to crack open the wallet for the 706s, until we dragged a set of Wharfedale Diamond 10.6 into the room as a floorstanding comparison. The Wharfedales came home - not really a surprise, as I use a set of Sapphire SP-89s as the mains in my current system.

Regardless, I find the Diamonds are an improvement on the Sapphires, in terms of better upper end clarity, with a pleasant non-fatiguing sharpness too them. In comparison, the SP-89s are a bit mid-forward, and are better suited to HT than the Diamond 10.6s. Certainly the SP-89 had more bass, but the bass was substantial AND tighter in the Diamonds.

Soundstaging is good with the Diamonds, though you could hear the difference between them and the Focals - the Focals had more "air" with a wider soundstage, while the Diamonds were more laid back, with a narrower soundstage. That being said, I saw how the Focals had the potential to be fatiguing, while the Wharfies did not.

And just to throw one more piece in here, I do have a set of Mission M72 bookshelves I do like - despite being inexpensive, they have a similar sound to the Wharfedales - crisp up to without being harsh or fatiguing.

So now the conundrum:

I am in the midst of selling off some surplus items I own which should return roughly $2,000 to my pocket. My question is, in a used or demo market, could I get speakers in the $2,000 range that would justify the spend over the Diamond 10.6s? Can I widen and deepen my soundstage, not introduce fatigue, yet still produce accurate and adequate bass?

For example, there are some used Monitor Audio Gold Reference 20s traded in at a local dealer for $900. I can pick up a set of the newer GX50s used for $1,000, or used GX100s for $1,500. There may also be opportunities to pick up B&Ws, Dynaudios, Focals, PSBs, or Paradigms (Reference Studio 40 V3 - $800) locally, though I do live in a bit of an audio wasteland. In short, I am hoping to pick up speakers with an original MSRP in the $3,000-$4,000 range for $2,000 or less.

So has anyone else gone from good mid-level gear (Diamond 10.6 had an original MSRP in Canada of ~$1,400) to that "next step" and found it to be worth the money? Or has anyone else dumped an additional $1,000-$1,500 into speakers, and found the improvements merely marginal and not worth the cost of upgrade?

I welcome others sharing their experiences.

Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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post #2 of 31 Old 04-05-2016, 10:10 AM
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Cool

To the question of "to upgrade or not to upgrade" I will say definitely upgrade, the real question is how often to do so. The reason is simple: you have a short time on this planet so make the best of it while you are still "on" it (as opposed to "in" it). Life moves quickly my friend and before you know it you got gray hair and pondering your lifestyle choices

My new philosophy regarding Audio/Video expenses is this: Whatever my budget happens to be and before I put any of it on the line I start by playing a mental game of instantly doubling it. Then I ask myself if I can really appreciate the improvement that the doubling of my budget would offer me. This part is hard to do because you have to work to get the answer that only you can get. For example, for speakers this starts by making a list of what others regard as "good" in the price range and then going out and listening to them. For internet-directs it will involve paying shipping if needed, but the benefit is in-home audition (best way to judge speakers IMHO). This process could take a couple of months to converge. In the end you lay your money on the table even if its more than your initial budget knowing that you bought a product that will have you smiling for many years while pushing the next upgrade further out into the future.

So in summary I see this as a choice between upgrading more often with lower cost products or upgrading less often with higher cost products. For me "lower" cost means what I can comfortably afford and "higher" cost means 2X that amount but YMMV.
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post #3 of 31 Old 04-05-2016, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScooterMcTavish View Post
My question is, in a used or demo market, could I get speakers in the $2,000 range that would justify the spend over the Diamond 10.6s? Can I widen and deepen my soundstage, not introduce fatigue, yet still produce accurate and adequate bass?
Two thoughts:

1. Have you ever heard Vandersteen speakers? The Model 1Ci would be within your range, as would their Model 2Ce if you can find a dealer who's willing to negotiate. They have the warmth and musicality of Wharfedales (I love my Diamond 10.1 for music) but possibly more detail and dynamics.

2. Have you ever heard a speaker with a RAAL tweeter? Supposedly they have incredible treble extension without any harshness or fatigue. Here are 3 I would look at:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...SRM2/srm2.html
http://philharmonicaudio.com/BMR%20Philharmonitor.html
http://www.chanemusiccinema.com/chan...peakers/A5rx-c
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post #4 of 31 Old 04-05-2016, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I enjoy getting feedback on an upgrade from someone named "Upgrader". LOL. Funny how we equate an audio enthusiast mentality to a "lifestyle".

I do appreciate the feedback though. I have pretty much turned that corner in life too - I no longer buy "junk" or what I can afford, as years of doing this has taught me that I only end up regretting this. This is true with audio equipment as well, though for me, I'm a "financial utility" guy. If I have ~$1,500 speakers, and I find a set of ~$4,000 speakers does not tangibly improve my audio experience, then I did not get the "utility" from that purchase that I could have. So not that I don't want good equipment - my concern is that the cost of the upgrade is worth it, and I won't regret sinking the cash into upgraded speakers instead of the "utility" I would get from an MG Midget.

Hey Zorba, based on your avatar, suprised you didn't suggest Dalis. I have heard of Vandersteen, but have not heard Vandersteens, and I believe they are only available/auditionable in two cities in Canada, both of which are a few thousand miles from where I am. A fellow audio aficionado on a Canadian forum picked up a set and loved them, but I struggle a bit with the design concept - enough that I would be uncomfortable paying out the $$$ to even get a used set shipped to me. In short, I may love them, but wouldn't trust buying a set before auditioning, which I don't have access to do.

Thanks for the RAAL suggestions - the Sierras have always been well-discussed on forums, as have the Philharmonics. The Chanes do not pass the aesthetics test, unfortunately. Ribbon tweeter was the way I was thinking, and that something in the GX series by Monitor Audio might be the way to go - and these I can at least audition locally.

What's been your upgrade experience? Did you find that "good" to "basic reference" bump was worth it?

Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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post #5 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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LOL, and now being in touch with the local MA audio dealer, apparently he thinks I should upgrade my power as well as my speakers. His suggestion was to go to a better quality integrated as in his opinion it is as important as the speakers, and that I'd be disappointed with the performance of the MA Golds or Platinums with my current power options. His suggestion was a nice dual mono 115W/ch integrated trade-in he had on hand.

Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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post #6 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 01:59 PM
 
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Speaker Cables

I recommend upgrading your speaker cables before throwing $$$ at new speakers. Most vendors offer 30 day auditions and you will be pleasantly surprised at the upgrade. Remember, the people who hate on cables are welcome to their opinion. Only you can decide what works for you after an in home risk free audition. LISTEN then decide. Here are some reviews to get you started. These cables are like $200 max and if you don't like them send them back for a refund. New speakers are MUCH more expensive.


http://www.avrev.com/home-theater-ac...es-review.html

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue7/signal.htm

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue3/mapleshade.htm

Last edited by witchdoctor; 04-06-2016 at 02:02 PM.
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post #7 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 02:03 PM
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I only upgrade when something breaks or a deal is about to be had, otherwise I get used to what I have and try not to buy stuff I dont want in the 1st place.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS
Subs: Rythmik FV25HP, Rythmik FV15HP
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post #8 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 02:18 PM
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unless your speaker cables are defective, upgrading speaker cables will have 0 affect on your sound quality.
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Set up #1: EMP e5Ti, e5Ci, and EMP e5Bi surrounds, Outlaw LFM1 Plus sub, SVS NSD SB12 sub, Marantz Slimeline 1504 AV receiver
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and EMPtek10i10i sub, Denon 1910 AV receiver
Set up #3: Philharmonics- BMR in a 2.0 system, music only, Yamaha RXV-363 AV receiver
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post #9 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 02:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post
unless your speaker cables are defective, upgrading speaker cables will have 0 affect on your sound quality.
Not everyone agrees with you. Checkout the results of this speaker cable shootout, you can find many more examples like it. The best thing is to conduct a risk free audition to decide. Even the authors of the reviews I posted were able to hear a difference in those specific cables.

http://www.audioaficionado.org/cable...t-results.html
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post #10 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Appreciate the suggestion witchdoctor, but I'm an adherent and occasional correspondent with Roger Russell, the designer of superb speaker systems for McIntosh.

http://www.roger-russell.com/

Have some nice new 12ga wire for when I get the new system set up. Most people's issues with wire is due to too thin a gauge for the length of run, or oxidized connections.

torii, I'm sort of the "deal" kind of guy myself, but have yet to find an upgrade where I can't make my music sound better. The point of my thread was to ask if I'm at the point where returns diminish sharply, or if there would still be good gains going to a $4K (used $2K) speaker from my Diamonds?

And according to my sales guy, my power needs an upgrade too. Sigh.

Just wish I had more local demo options. A local guy quit carrying Monitor Audio and Paradigm, as he couldn't give them away - no one wanted to pay a premium for quality.
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Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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post #11 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ScooterMcTavish View Post
His suggestion was to go to a better quality integrated as in his opinion it is as important as the speakers...
No way!

Speakers are many orders of magnitude less accurate than even mediocre amplifiers, they make far far more difference. (OK I'm a loudspeaker engineer so you can accuse me of bias, but it is still an easily proven fact, just switch out any speakers and see how vastly the sound changes).

Not that amplification doesn't matter; there can definitely be synergies or lack thereof, but those effects are much less in-your-face than changing speakers. And I disagree about the integrated...well, maybe not. I think separates of like 150-200W are the real step, but a really strong 115W dual mono might cut it. But don't cut your speaker money to buy an amp!

I'm not sure about your step-up budget. I do believe more money buys better speakers, but yes 2-3 times more money is needed otherwise you may make more of a sideways more. Something recently used may be a significant step up from your budget, yet I feel hesitant for you.

Frankly, since you seem to like your Diamonds so much, I am strongly thinking you should keep within that same family and upgrade to the next Wharefdale level. I'm not sure what that is-their website is a rather unclear mess. Jade? Diamond 10.7s? I believe if you keep within Wharfedale you will simplify your quest and be very satisfied.
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post #12 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScooterMcTavish View Post
I enjoy getting feedback on an upgrade from someone named "Upgrader". LOL. Funny how we equate an audio enthusiast mentality to a "lifestyle".

I do appreciate the feedback though. I have pretty much turned that corner in life too - I no longer buy "junk" or what I can afford, as years of doing this has taught me that I only end up regretting this. This is true with audio equipment as well, though for me, I'm a "financial utility" guy. If I have ~$1,500 speakers, and I find a set of ~$4,000 speakers does not tangibly improve my audio experience, then I did not get the "utility" from that purchase that I could have. So not that I don't want good equipment - my concern is that the cost of the upgrade is worth it, and I won't regret sinking the cash into upgraded speakers instead of the "utility" I would get from an MG Midget.
Scooter,

All kidding aside, I started seriously looking to upgrade my own front 3 speakers (L,C,R) about two months ago with the same $2K budget in mind as you have now. But ... after listening to speakers in the $5K range my budget magically jumped to $5K. In the end and after all the research and all the running around town listening to a number of well regarded speakers it came down to these two (note that I wanted aesthetically pleasing towers with neutral but captivating sound and a matching center):

(1) Revel Performa3 F208 with the C205 center (deal for $5K all 3)
(2) Ascend Sierra Towers-Ribbon with the Horizon Center (just under $4.5K for all 3)

For me the F208s simply blew everything away in that price range, but after going to two different dealers I couldn't get them to allow me to try them at home (even after handing over my credit card to hold the full amount).

Sierra towers are ID and wanted to try them solely motivated by internet reviews including freesole's thread here in this forum. So I placed an order with Ascend. BTW, I could have gone with Salks who many here believe has a similar product in this price range but I didn't. I also didn't consider Philharmonics primarily due aesthetics although I understand they are also formidable speakers. These 3 ID companies use different versions of the infamous RAAL ribbon tweeter that's been getting rave reviews in cyberspace.

Just sayin ... I am in the same upgrade game as you ... give or take a couple of dollars
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post #13 of 31 Old 04-06-2016, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey head-unit - that was my thought too, and separates are certainly out of the question, for both space and budget reasons. However, I remember upgrading to my first HC receiver (an H/K AVR 230) from a JVC, and was blown away by how much better my $80 bookshelf speakers sounded. I wonder to myself if a high powered integrated might not be the same magnitude in sound improvement from the gear I have.

And as much as I do like the Wharfedales, I was looking for a wider soundstage than the Diamonds get. And of course, the only WDs to demo here are Diamonds.

Upgrader, appreciate the feedback, and appreciate where you are coming from with your suggestion. Unfortunately, I have enough other obligations that I can't carve more budget out than I already am. I think that if used is also the way to get more for my dollar that I'll just need to be patient for the right set to come along. Even a pair of Ascend Sierra 2 get over $2,000 CDN after exchange and import taxes.
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post #14 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 01:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post
unless your speaker cables are defective, upgrading speaker cables will have 0 affect on your sound quality.
Eli, unfortunately you missed the word "actual" from between "0" and "affect", and that left you open to the response you got. That is, an individual's sincere account of the differences he perceived can then be wedged in. But as you probably well know, that's got absolutely nothing to do with any actual/measured differences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by witchdoctor View Post
Not everyone agrees with you. Checkout the results of this speaker cable shootout, you can find many more examples like it. The best thing is to conduct a risk free audition to decide. Even the authors of the reviews I posted were able to hear a difference in those specific cables.

http://www.audioaficionado.org/cable...t-results.html
The most expensive gear won a shootout. What a shock! Of course, when a cheaper product "wins", that's touted as evidence of lack of bias, which is nonsense. It's only evidence they don't understand bias. In this particular case, the dutiful wife didn't know the brands or prices, so she was declared as having "zero bias". No sorry, that's zero understanding.

Seriously though, this is unadulterated subjectivity that carries no weight beyond mildly amusing curiosity. There's no evidence of any attempt to control bias and of course, no attempt at (gasp!) measurements. If the differences are so obvious, why not measure them? Oh that's right, these are hitherto unexplained subtleties that can't be identified by measurements or elucidated by science (yet).

What the well meaning poster, you and possibly most members on that forum fail to understand are the sub-conscious biases and pre-conditions that affect how we process and perceive sound. Our perceptual system results in real, non-subtle effects to the listener. The presence of perceived differences DOES NOT prove there are actual differences. Sub-conscious biases and "illusions" of human perception cannot be "switched off" or defeated by willpower or mere knowledge of them. (For example, watch the BBC McGurk Effect clip on Youtube and try "switch off" that phenomenon.)

The purveyors of cables DO understand this though, that's why they (seemingly) benevolently offer "risk free" home trials. It's not "risk free" at all when the prospective buyer who, like many, do not (or refuse to) understand the frailties of the human perceptual system and the physics of audio reproduction and "trust their ears" in an audition. The "risk" is that excessive amounts of discretionary income is spent on high profit elements of the audio system that make no actual difference to the sound, usually at the expense of elements that DO make an ACTUAL, measurable differences.

All the cable purveyors have to do to separate the unwary from their cash is come up with a product that looks different &/or has a different narrative and it's contribution is mistaken for an actual difference by those that have limited understanding of how our hearing perception works.

OP: Apologies for the long off-tangent post. I clearly have too much time on my hands.
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post #15 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Gigear, no issues here. Although I wanted to talk about speaker upgrades, the cable industry is a bit criminal.

Should one buy quality cable of adequate gauge for speakers? Yes. Should one buy quality interconnects with adequate gauge? Yes.

I linked to Roger Russell's site, as I take the word of a man who built +$20k speakers very seriously. He's pretty clear on what he thinks of the psychoacoustic guys.
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post #16 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 05:34 AM
 
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Gigear, no issues here. Although I wanted to talk about speaker upgrades, the cable industry is a bit criminal.

Should one buy quality cable of adequate gauge for speakers? Yes. Should one buy quality interconnects with adequate gauge? Yes.

I linked to Roger Russell's site, as I take the word of a man who built +$20k speakers very seriously. He's pretty clear on what he thinks of the psychoacoustic guys.
I prefer Nelson Pass, the man who builds some of the worlds most famous amplifiers. In his words:

"If, like many audiophiles, you have spent a small (or large) fortune on your hi-fi system, money spent for high quality cables and connectors is a reasonable investment."

https://passlabs.com/articles/speake...e-or-snake-oil
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post #17 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 05:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GIEGAR View Post
Eli, unfortunately you missed the word "actual" from between "0" and "affect", and that left you open to the response you got. That is, an individual's sincere account of the differences he perceived can then be wedged in. But as you probably well know, that's got absolutely nothing to do with any actual/measured differences.



The most expensive gear won a shootout. What a shock! Of course, when a cheaper product "wins", that's touted as evidence of lack of bias, which is nonsense. It's only evidence they don't understand bias. In this particular case, the dutiful wife didn't know the brands or prices, so she was declared as having "zero bias". No sorry, that's zero understanding.

Seriously though, this is unadulterated subjectivity that carries no weight beyond mildly amusing curiosity. There's no evidence of any attempt to control bias and of course, no attempt at (gasp!) measurements. If the differences are so obvious, why not measure them? Oh that's right, these are hitherto unexplained subtleties that can't be identified by measurements or elucidated by science (yet).

What the well meaning poster, you and possibly most members on that forum fail to understand are the sub-conscious biases and pre-conditions that affect how we process and perceive sound. Our perceptual system results in real, non-subtle effects to the listener. The presence of perceived differences DOES NOT prove there are actual differences. Sub-conscious biases and "illusions" of human perception cannot be "switched off" or defeated by willpower or mere knowledge of them. (For example, watch the BBC McGurk Effect clip on Youtube and try "switch off" that phenomenon.)

The purveyors of cables DO understand this though, that's why they (seemingly) benevolently offer "risk free" home trials. It's not "risk free" at all when the prospective buyer who, like many, do not (or refuse to) understand the frailties of the human perceptual system and the physics of audio reproduction and "trust their ears" in an audition. The "risk" is that excessive amounts of discretionary income is spent on high profit elements of the audio system that make no actual difference to the sound, usually at the expense of elements that DO make an ACTUAL, measurable differences.

All the cable purveyors have to do to separate the unwary from their cash is come up with a product that looks different &/or has a different narrative and it's contribution is mistaken for an actual difference by those that have limited understanding of how our hearing perception works.

OP: Apologies for the long off-tangent post. I clearly have too much time on my hands.
Sigh, whatever "testing" you did to choose your speakers, your receiver and your CDP will work just fine for cables.

Most cable vendors offer 30 day risk free in home auditions. As long as you are able to return the cables if you don't like them an in home audition is the best way to decide. Many online speaker companies also offer risk free auditions and it works fine.

If you didn't like that cable shootout here is 100 more, take your pick:

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=disconnect...tout&ia=videos

Last edited by witchdoctor; 04-07-2016 at 05:41 AM.
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post #18 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 08:59 AM
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Sigh, whatever "testing" you did to choose your speakers, your receiver and your CDP will work just fine for cables.

Most cable vendors offer 30 day risk free in home auditions. As long as you are able to return the cables if you don't like them an in home audition is the best way to decide. Many online speaker companies also offer risk free auditions and it works fine.

If you didn't like that cable shootout here is 100 more, take your pick:

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=disconnect...tout&ia=videos
Wow! A few desperate specious comparisons being drawn here eh 'doctor?

Clearly your audio raison d'être is at stake.
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post #19 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Now folks, play nice.

We all know by now that those on one side of the fence do not agree with those on the other side, and one will not be won to the other side by the perceived logic of one's own arguments.

People are free to spend money on whatever they want if it makes them enjoy what they have more - this is why we earn money, and don't all drive Honda Civics.

So back on topic, as per the response from my audio guy, I should consider purchasing the Musical Fidelity A3.2 Integrated Amplifier he took in on trade for $900. As per him, this would move me from mid mass-market audio gear into the true world of hi-fi. Looking at the specs (115 true watts into 8 ohms? Wow.) I imagine this might sound pretty good, and may get performance out the Diamonds that I wouldn't get with the Onkyo or Marantz.

I can then kick back and wait for a great deal on some higher level speakers to fall into my lap. Thoughts?

Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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post #20 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 09:27 AM
 
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Now folks, play nice.

We all know by now that those on one side of the fence do not agree with those on the other side, and one will not be won to the other side by the perceived logic of one's own arguments.

People are free to spend money on whatever they want if it makes them enjoy what they have more - this is why we earn money, and don't all drive Honda Civics.

So back on topic, as per the response from my audio guy, I should consider purchasing the Musical Fidelity A3.2 Integrated Amplifier he took in on trade for $900. As per him, this would move me from mid mass-market audio gear into the true world of hi-fi. Looking at the specs (115 true watts into 8 ohms? Wow.) I imagine this might sound pretty good, and may get performance out the Diamonds that I wouldn't get with the Onkyo or Marantz.

I can then kick back and wait for a great deal on some higher level speakers to fall into my lap. Thoughts?
Can you audition it? I have owned Musical Fidelity gear and like it but have not tried their amps. I know when I upgraded to a better amp my JBL's sounded so much better I almost didn't recognize them.
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post #21 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Can you audition it? I have owned Musical Fidelity gear and like it but have not tried their amps. I know when I upgraded to a better amp my JBL's sounded so much better I almost didn't recognize them.
I felt the same way when I went to my first high current receiver, a H/K AVR230. It absolutely blew as an AVR, but had a spectacular stereo mode. The difference in sound between it and its predecessor was tangible and immediate. And it also sent me off to buy new speakers.

So my thought here is it's pretty low risk as the Diamond 10.6s are already a sunk cost. Buying a high quality hi-fi integrated at this stage of its life (55% depreciated) isn't a bad investment, as its residual value will remain strong for a number of years still. Plus, the online reviews are pretty stellar, with Arvid Kohli from Secrets of HT and Hi-FI stating they ordered one for their personal use after reviewing it. Sound Stage and Stereophile also gushed over it.

And if this is a good piece, I always have other gear to move to fill the kitty back up for some speakers.
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Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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post #22 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 12:28 PM
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I enjoy getting feedback on an upgrade from someone named "Upgrader". LOL. Funny how we equate an audio enthusiast mentality to a "lifestyle".

I do appreciate the feedback though. I have pretty much turned that corner in life too - I no longer buy "junk" or what I can afford, as years of doing this has taught me that I only end up regretting this. This is true with audio equipment as well, though for me, I'm a "financial utility" guy. If I have ~$1,500 speakers, and I find a set of ~$4,000 speakers does not tangibly improve my audio experience, then I did not get the "utility" from that purchase that I could have. So not that I don't want good equipment - my concern is that the cost of the upgrade is worth it, and I won't regret sinking the cash into upgraded speakers instead of the "utility" I would get from an MG Midget.

Hey Zorba, based on your avatar, suprised you didn't suggest Dalis. I have heard of Vandersteen, but have not heard Vandersteens, and I believe they are only available/auditionable in two cities in Canada, both of which are a few thousand miles from where I am. A fellow audio aficionado on a Canadian forum picked up a set and loved them, but I struggle a bit with the design concept - enough that I would be uncomfortable paying out the $$$ to even get a used set shipped to me. In short, I may love them, but wouldn't trust buying a set before auditioning, which I don't have access to do.

Thanks for the RAAL suggestions - the Sierras have always been well-discussed on forums, as have the Philharmonics. The Chanes do not pass the aesthetics test, unfortunately. Ribbon tweeter was the way I was thinking, and that something in the GX series by Monitor Audio might be the way to go - and these I can at least audition locally.

What's been your upgrade experience? Did you find that "good" to "basic reference" bump was worth it?
We seem to be on the same page regarding a bang-for-the-buck approach...I liken it to searching for the audio equivalent of a Honda Accord, beyond which the returns diminish so rapidly as to make further upgrades nonsensical. I apply that approach to really all of my major consumer purchases, really, not just audio. About 10 years ago, when I owned the Ascend 340 front stage, I almost went for the Vandersteen Model 2 (or it may've been the 3, fuzzy memory) but partly due to my then-wife's vehement opposition, backed out at the last minute. Which was a good decision since we parted ways after a couple years (for unrelated reasons, lol) and I moved around a good bit the next several years which would've made lugging around big floorstanders impractical. Since I've been living in much smaller spaces the last few years, the lack of room and ability to really play loud due to close neighbors has kept me very much in the small-speaker bracket, but I haven't stopped going out to listen to speakers whenever I can. I find that a lot of them are very appealing on first listen, but if you have the patience and opportunity to sit and listen for extended periods and follow-up visits, your perceptions can shift remarkably. This is why the 30 day trial periods that ID manufacturers provide are so indispensable.

My current mains are the humble Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 which I am surprised to say I prefer over many speakers I've heard at 2-4 times their cost for music listening. If I had space for a separate HT system, I would probably go back to the same Ascends I had before or something similar to it; instead I simply bought a cheap but very effective HT-oriented center speaker (BIC FH-6) which I use when watching movies and revert to stereo for music.

If I had the space and finances, yeah I'd probably be sniffing out the nearest Vandersteen dealer again. But I now also have considerable doubts as to whether paying 800% more for about 10-20% perceptible improvement would really be worth it---the main priority for me is finding not a "perfect" speaker, but one that is consistently PLEASANT, which to my ears means warm and laid back and musical, with the trade-off of losing a bit of treble detail and transient speed. For lack of a better word, an "atmospheric" type of speaker rather than an analytically flawless (or near-flawless) one...the latter also tends to require pristine sources, which entails more financial outlays unless you already have a music collection entirely on redbook CDs.

So anyway, it's back to the Honda Accord for me...
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post #23 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 12:36 PM
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And according to my sales guy, my power needs an upgrade too. Sigh.
What is your current power source for the Diamonds?
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post #24 of 31 Old 04-07-2016, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I demoed the Wharfedales with an Onkyo TX-8050 - bought one a week after buying the speakers based on how good it sounded at the demo. It is currently sitting BNIB in my basement closet at home, four days outside the shop's return policy.

I tried the Diamonds out at home (before buying the Onkyo) with my Marantz 2252B - considered this for power in this system, but decided some connectivity and remote control options would have value (hence buying the Onkyo). Also considered using the Rotel RX-600 I am using at my cottage as power, but again, remote and connectivity were a concern.

So now I'm looking at an integrated, with remote, but no connectivity. Guess I could use the Onkyo Zone 2 as a pre for streaming audio to the MF, and use the speaker outputs for my patio speakers.....

Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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post #25 of 31 Old 04-08-2016, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, just to tie this one off, I've decided to pick up the MF integrated, and will use it with the Diamonds to start. If I still see a need to upgrade, then I have time, and can keep my eyes open for a great "value" deal on some used speakers.

Already found a buyer for the Onkyo, and have my treasured Marantz 2252B up on eBay to raise some funds. If I can sell my one surplus set of towers, I should have around $2,100-$2,400 CDN for some new speakers (or new used to me) if I don't like the Wharfies with the MF - that should be a pretty healthy used speaker budget to work with.

Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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Well, just to tie this one off, I've decided to pick up the MF integrated, and will use it with the Diamonds to start. If I still see a need to upgrade, then I have time, and can keep my eyes open for a great "value" deal on some used speakers.

Already found a buyer for the Onkyo, and have my treasured Marantz 2252B up on eBay to raise some funds. If I can sell my one surplus set of towers, I should have around $2,100-$2,400 CDN for some new speakers (or new used to me) if I don't like the Wharfies with the MF - that should be a pretty healthy used speaker budget to work with.
Congratulations. Please post a review once you have had some time with it, good call
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post #27 of 31 Old 04-09-2016, 12:17 PM
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Well, just to tie this one off, I've decided to pick up the MF integrated, and will use it with the Diamonds to start. If I still see a need to upgrade, then I have time, and can keep my eyes open for a great "value" deal on some used speakers.

Already found a buyer for the Onkyo, and have my treasured Marantz 2252B up on eBay to raise some funds. If I can sell my one surplus set of towers, I should have around $2,100-$2,400 CDN for some new speakers (or new used to me) if I don't like the Wharfies with the MF - that should be a pretty healthy used speaker budget to work with.
Does your dealer carry any NAD integrateds? Would be curious to see how they'd compare to the MF.
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post #28 of 31 Old 04-10-2016, 11:41 PM
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Before I had kids I had a Centerpoint preamp and Threshold amp driving Magnepans. I pieced the system together used and it was totally worth it. Then I got married, had kids and a true quality stereo system just didn't fit any more. I still have all the gear but no room to set it up! Now I have a big TV, High end Yamaha amp and the best "discrete" speakers I can afford. Movies are fun and it is a great system for a party but it certainly does not bring the music to life. By the time I am able to setup a quality listening system again I will be too deaf to appreciate it!
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post #29 of 31 Old 04-11-2016, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Zorba,

Dealer does not have NAD - there's three higher end dealers in my limited market space, and NAD is carried by the one that has Dynaudio as their entrance "good" speaker brand.

I used to like NAD pieces, had a 7400pe, and still have a 7124 that I'm saving for my daughter when she moves out.

However, when I bought a T748 for my HT, I was disappointed by how far the sound quality had fallen from my older pieces. Even my old H/K AVR 230 had a far superior stereo mode to it. This was apparent when I switched to a Marantz, and found its sound much better despite being in the same market space.

Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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post #30 of 31 Old 04-11-2016, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Before I had kids I had a Centerpoint preamp and Threshold amp driving Magnepans. I pieced the system together used and it was totally worth it. Then I got married, had kids and a true quality stereo system just didn't fit any more. I still have all the gear but no room to set it up! Now I have a big TV, High end Yamaha amp and the best "discrete" speakers I can afford. Movies are fun and it is a great system for a party but it certainly does not bring the music to life. By the time I am able to setup a quality listening system again I will be too deaf to appreciate it!
I feel like I'm heading down that road too. If I don't hi-fi now, then the benefits will be wasted on me.

Music: Musical Fidelity A3.2, Soliloquy 6.2, CEC/White (original AT-10 cartridge) Turntable, H/K CD
HT: Marantz SR5009, Wharfedale Diamond 10.6, Mirage Surrounds, AR MC1 Center, PS3, JVC Jukebox
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