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kitchen audio upgrade

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by clamjouster, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. clamjouster

    clamjouster Member

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    Hi, as my family and I spend an increasing amount of time in the kitchen I'm considering updating my kitchen mini Hifi to something a bit more current.

    A bit of history. Over the past several years I've bought and sold various vintage mini systems and finally (and happily) settled on a Technics HD550 mini system about 2 years ago. I then paired it with various 2nd hand budget stand mounts to extract the best out of it.

    From Gale Monitor Golds to the current Diamond 9.1's I'm using I've probably tried half a dozen small bookshelf speakers to extract the best out of it. My favourites were a pair of Mission M31's which thanks to their super deep cabinets gave a rich and bassy sound but alas they're spoken for in another set up.

    So, I'm looking at a max budget of around £400 for a new system and speakers. I'm not massively interested in wireless or Bluetooth streaming so that's not a deal breaker although ideally I'd like it to have a bi-wirable amp. Power isn't a big deal either but a minimum 25 watt RMS into 6 ohms (which is what I've got now) is more than adequate.

    Currently top of my list to audition are the Denon DM39 OR the Teac CRH2601DAB coupled with MA BX1.

    Does anyone have opinions on these and am I likely to see an improvement in sound quality over what I'm already running? I don't really want to spend any more as this gear is sat on the kitchen surfaces and will live a life where it's likely to get covered in god knows what as we prepare food. For that reason I don't want it to be too expensive should my daughters cover it in smoothie.

    Thanks

    David
  2. PSM1

    PSM1 Well-Known Member

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    There is no such thing as a biwirable amp. You can have biwireable speakers but any amp can be biwired if wanted. That said biwiring IMHO gives no gains that a reasonable sized single cable can not give. All you are doing is giving more money to a cable manufacturer. Biamping is another matter and can give some gains (although usually fairly small) but you will not get a system that can do that for your budget. I use a Denon Ceolo N5 in my kitchen with some Monitor Audio ceiling speakers and it works very well. Hence I would expect the DM39 and BX1 to pair well together.
    I would not expect massive improvements in sound quality since the speakers are around the same quality as you have now and I doubt the Denon amp is any better than the one you have now. You are still buying budget equipment so can not expect huge improvements. All that has really changed over the last few years is more bells and whistles in terms of features. The amps themselves have seen no real significant changes. Also, given that this is going in a kitchen with I suspect lots of reflective surfaces and I assume the speakers are also going to be placed on the work then overall sound quality is goig to be fairly compromised already. So even a great system is going to be limited.
  3. clamjouster

    clamjouster Member

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    Thanks for the reply. You are of course correct about bi wired amps, school boy error. When I got my current system there was a marked improvement once I had separate HF and LF terminals on the amp to bi wire the speakers.

    Acoustics in the room aren't great and I'm very limited in placement of the speakers which is no doubt why it sounds so poor compared to my other set ups.

    I'll give them an audition anyway but I suspect you've just confirmed my gut feeling that I'd need to spend a lot more to achieve minor gains.
  4. dogfonos

    dogfonos Member

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    I also think the room is the limiting factor so wouldn't spend much on any setup unless you can significantly improve the room acoustics - which I suspect is unlikely with most kitchens.

    Where I may not agree with others is the type of setup I'd recommend - a cheap true-active (i.e. not just powered passive) studio monitor at about £100 connected directly to the source. Limited flexibility so if you need a host of inputs etc it's not the way to go.

    If you think biamping improves the sound then the next logical step is surely active speakers where each speaker contains an electronic crossover and each individual drive unit has it's own dedicated power amplifier. This example is the cheapest true active I've seen on the UK market. The importer is also the seller and there's no marketing budget, therefore it's almost unknown (also the reason it's so cheap) but has impressed the few who've heard it:

    Studiospares SN4A Pair at Studiospares
  5. dogfonos

    dogfonos Member

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    Agree with PSM1.

    Don't agree with PSM1.
    What has significantly changed in the field of consumer electronics over the past few years is Value For Money. China has made a supreme effort to become the world's manufacturing base and it's average standard of living is still low. Consequences are that unknown brand products made in China can be imported to the UK at minimal cost and sold directly to consumers at ridiculously cheap prices. Some products are admittedly crap but some offer stunning value (I don't use the word 'stunning' lightly). I'm not sure this phenomena is widely appreciated. It's therefore possible to buy far better quality for the same budgetoday than, say, ten years ago whereas value with traditional, named-brand hifi gear doesn't seem to have changed as much, IMO. Perhaps the gap continues to widen?
  6. clamjouster

    clamjouster Member

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    Thanks for the input. I know that in it's day my current stereo was up there amongst the best micro systems which is one of the reasons I settled on it and there's no doubt it sounds a lot better and isn't as under powered compared to some of Technics other efforts I've tried. I've decided I'm going to go for the MA BX1's first as I fancy a change from the 9.1's. It's not that they're bad speaker, far from it. It's just that it took a lot of time before I learnt to appreciate their sound and through experience I know there is better out there to be had.

    As for a system upgrade (side step) I'm going to have to ponder that one a bit longer.
  7. clamjouster

    clamjouster Member

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    Also thanks for the link to the active speakers, that option hadn't even crossed my mind. The option that jumps out at me with regards to that is the JBL control 2.4G. Having used and liked Control Ones over the years a small and discrete yet quality pair of active speakers is an avenue I think I'll spend some time researching.

    Thank you very much.

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