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Basic Audiophile Components

Discussion in 'Hi Fi Systems & Separates' started by Henry Oliver, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Henry Oliver

    Henry Oliver Guest

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    Hi Everyone,
    This is my first posting to the site and I am looking forward to hearing the views of my fellow Hi-Fi buffs regarding my hopes shortly (the prospect of early retirement and a nice lump sum) to elevate my system to "audiophile high end" proportions.
    My present system is excellent and I find myself asking: How can even the basic "high end system" improve on what I have at present? I have all Arcam products (Arcams Integrated Amp (A32), their CD player (CD 36) and their Power Amp (P35) which are bi-wired to Epos ES11 loudspeakers, connected to the tremendous Nordost Vahalla speaker and interrconnect cables. Aside from my thoughts on retirement and the receipt of serious funds, I hope shortly to buy the Nordost Valahalla power cords and Nordosts' Thor power conditioner.
    Which brings me to my question to everyone out there in Hi-Fi world: What products should I be starting to audition in order to move to the stratospheric proportions that is "audiophile high end". I read, on a monthly basis, all about Gamut, Audio Research, Wadia, Hovland, B&W, etc, etc but would welcome hearing from fellow Hi-Fi gurus alike what their experience has been on listening to products by the aforementioned companies. I really would like to hear from anyone who could offer me advice on what I should focus on or is it a case of, once again, audition everything and let your ears decide.

    Henry Oliver
  2. CatcherOnRye

    CatcherOnRye Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  3. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard Well-Known Member

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    The problem is 'High End Audiophile' means different things to different people. For someone with a £500 system, £5,000 seems like high end, but to someone with a £5,000 system, £15,000 seems like high end, etc....

    High end for you, and for every one really, starts with your budget.

    There are speakers that retail of US$250,000 a pair. When you say 'high end' do you mean that high end?

    Further, you will certainly have no trouble spending an additional US$50,000 to US$100,000 on a turntable.

    So, the sky is really the limit, but it would help if we knew where you were between the earth and the sky price wise.

    Not that I'm that familiar with the stratospherically priced equipment.

    Steve/bluewizard
  4. trailer

    trailer Active Member

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    Don't forget other variables such as your listening room size, music type you like to listen to etc.

    What do you miss with your current set up?
  5. leedude03

    leedude03 Member

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    you have answered your own question in your post, always let your ears decide,
    what may look good on paper may not always be the case, and try to get a home demo as where you listen will be different to audition rooms elsewhere.
    listen to as much as you can from all manufacturers and then narrow down to a short list and then listen again, a long winded process i know.Also dont just listen to the mega expensive gear as you can pick up some cracking kit for a reasonable price.
  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS Active Member

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    Henry my advice after reading your post is to concentrate on the components rather than all the Nordost cabling and power accessories you are IMHO about to waste a large chunk of money that could be spent on better componentry than ancillaries.

    There are many options or routes to take, I’d centre around the speakers you can listen to and get a feel for, then try to tailor components (amp & source) around those – I’d spend at maximum 10% on cabling as a whole for any system if you believe in its ability to transform high end systems – many don’t. Re. your speakers you could even start with the amps and CD source you have at present as your speakers are the main facet in your system.
  7. KT88

    KT88 Member

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    Valhalla with cd36 and a32/p35?
    you're either lying or insane
  8. DDAA

    DDAA Member

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    And then mail me your old equipment as a generous act of charity as you pitty me and my shoddy set up. :thumbsup:
  9. phil t

    phil t Member

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    YUP!!!!

    It's down to your personnel preference and no one else's. How much do you want to risk buying a system you don't like?

    :)
  10. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin Active Member

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    First off, congratulations on your retirement. Enjoy yourself and your new freedom, and try not to get on your wife's nerves (re-watch "Pappa Ante Portas") ;). Now you'll finally get to listen to all those LPs and CDs you paid so much at the time for and haven't heard for years.

    You didn't list your music tastes, which may have been useful information.

    The weakest part of the reproduction chain is the speakers - this is where electronics meet mechanics and where the performance is limited by the realities of mass and momentum. Since you now have some cash, I'd suggest starting off by replacing the Epos ES11 bookshelf speakers with full range floorstanders, and if you have the cash, you could try something in a different league.

    I'd suggest auditioning Quad and Martin Logan ESLs. Although the P35 will be fine with the Quads, for Martin Logans you'll also want some really stable power amplification, such as Accuphase, Bryston, Burmester, Classe, Elektrocompaniet, McIntosh, etc. But I'd suggest this sort of quality power amplification anyway - regardless of the final speaker choice.

    Sorting out the components will yield a greater return on investment than tweaking cables and power cords, so save on that - at least for the time being. After all, you still have to live of something.
  11. Henry Oliver

    Henry Oliver Guest

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    Many thanks to all for taking the time to reply which is greatly appreciated. :thumbsup:

    My music tastes are leaning towards aor/melodic rock, prog rock/prog metal et al.

    Am I lying or insane (Nordost Valhalla with Arcams A32/P35, CD36 ?), then I must be unsane. But the Valhalla's will be forever present in any future system and will undoubtedly prove themselves when I enter the world of "high end" hopefully in the near future.

    Henry
  12. trailer

    trailer Active Member

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    Henry,

    If that's your taste then I'd be having a demo of some Naim kit. I listen to a lot of guitar driven stuff and the Naim/B&W combination is excellent.
  13. ryart

    ryart Member

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    Mark.Yudkin has already listed my initial thoughts, but good as electrostatic speakers are, I'm not so sure they are the best for rock.

    Changing to better, and invariably more expensive, equipment will usually give a higher resolution. All the little details in the music will be reproduced and this can give a greater illusion of "being there" and involvement with the performance.

    As you go up the ladder it becomes increasingly important to match all the components well. As such it is essential to audition the components together and in your own home. This involves finding a good dealer who is prepared to invest time and enthusiasm into your purchase.

    Another option is to look at ex-dem or second hand. You can make some big savings or get a much better system but it can be difficult to match components so they complement each other.

    As for...
    I don't suppose you are either, and certainly not rude ;).
  14. deaf cat

    deaf cat Member

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    Hi Henry, Just double checking your going to take you favorite nordost cabling to any demos, I'm sure that was in the plan already:smashin:

    From, the Nordost cabling I've heard it can have quite an effect on the final sound repro.

    Have fun!!
    :thumbsup:

    One thing I found very useful was to visit a hifi show or two and mark each equipment room as to likes and dislikes giving an idea as to future possibilities and things to steer clear of....


    :)
  15. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin Active Member

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    Given the "aor/melodic rock, prog rock/prog metal" tastes, I would alter my previous electrostatic auditioning suggestion to limit it to Martin Logan, specifically the Vantage, Spire or Summit models.

    Of course, you must listen for yourself, and as Ryart stresses: "it is essential to audition the components together and in your own home", so look for a suitable dealer.

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