1 Year to Save - Which Amp & Streamer?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Richy1984, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. Richy1984

    Richy1984
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    Hi all,

    The Bristol Show has promted to me to save up for what I'd consider to be a pretty special sounding Hi-Fi. At next years show I'd like to purchase the lot :)

    In a year I reckon I could put aside £3600 for Hi-Fi. With the sale of my current Hi-Fi I'd get around £1100 which gives me £4700 total. There was a decent saving of 15% available at this years show, so I'll add that on too giving me a total budget of £5400 - plus a little extra if something really special is availble for a touch more.

    Now then, I need Speakers, DAC / Streamer and an Integreated Amp.

    Speakers: I am already set on these - PMC Twenty.23
    Integrated Amp: ?? Suggestions Please! :)
    DAC / Streamer: ?? Suggestions Please! :)

    Richy
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  2. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    Do we get a year to come up with suggestions ?
     
  3. Kurchatov

    Kurchatov
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    What is the point of recommending a streamer now when many new options will be available by next February?
     
  4. BlueWizard

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    Well, if we use products that have some long term potential then try this on for size -

    £2300/pr = PMC 20/23

    £3400/pr = PMC 20/24

    £300/ea = Sonos Zoneplayer
    £_40/ea = Sonos Bridge

    With an assumed £5000 budget (I've left cash for Misc), the remainder for the amps is £2360.

    Are you determined to spend all that?

    Are there any other features you might need, such as a DAC?

    I don't think you need to spend the whole £2360, but you certainly can -

    The Rotel RA-1570 has 120w/ch, built-in DAC with Optical, coaxial, and USB-PC inputs, prices at £1200 -

    Rotel RA-1570 | RA1570 | integrated amplifier Hifi Gear

    Rotel PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS - RA-1570 Integrated Amplifier

    Nice features, tons of power, good quality.

    In a slightly different vein, the Arcam FMJ-A38 is a very sweet straight up amp with 100w/ch, priced at £1699 -

    Hi Fi Amps And Receivers Arcam FMJ A38 | hifix.co.uk

    But now we get to the serious equipment. The Parasound Halo equipment is not widely available, but the amps have been compared with US$10,000 amps. Very highly rated systems.

    The P5 Pre-amp has electronic bass management for both Subwoofer and Front speakers. It also has internal DAC and optical/coaxial inputs, price at roughly £1000.

    Product Lines > Halo > P 5 2.1 Channel Stereo Preamplifier

    The matching Parasound A23 amp has a solid 125w/ch and is also priced around £1000.

    Product Lines > Halo > A 23 Two Channel Power Amplifier

    But wait there's more, Parasound also has the 250w/ch Halo A21 power amp, though totally killing your budget at about £2400 -

    Product Lines > Halo > A 21 Two Channel Power Amplifier

    I don't think you will find much to equal the Parasound P5+A23 for £2000.

    You could probably bump your speaker up to the PMC 20/24 and get the Sonos and Rotel RA-1570.

    £3400/pr = PMC 20/24
    £1200/ea = Rotel RA-1570. 120w/ch, DAC
    £_340/set = SONOS Zoneplayer+Bridge
    -----------------------
    £4940 = TOTAL

    The same with the Parasound P5+A23 would be -

    £3400/pr = PMC 20/24
    £2000/pr = Parasound P5+A23 (125w/ch, DAC, Bass Management)
    £_340/set = Sonos Zoneplayer+Bridge
    ----------------------------
    £5740 = Total

    With the original PMC20/23 speakers -

    £2300/pr = PMC 20/23
    £2000/pr = Parasound P5+A23 (125w/ch, DAC, Bass Management)
    £340/set = Sonos Zoneplayer+Bridge
    ---------------------------
    £4640 = Total

    Keep in mind there is a NEW PMC Twenty/26 that is about to hit the market. One assumes it is a 20/24 with the addition of a Midrange driver. No price yet though.

    PMC twenty.26 | AVForums

    Those are all very sweet systems for the money. All have plenty of power. All, except the Arcam, have additional features that can serve many people.

    Stop back in about 9 months and we will see how the market has change. Also, check out reviews on the Parasound equipment; I think you will find that I was not exaggerating when I said reviews compared them to US$10,000 amps.

    The Absolute Sound (audio magazine) 2003 -
    "An amazing bargain,"
    "It possesses a musical rightness and a sense of timing that makes it unusually communicative."

    Editor's Choice Award 2012
    - The Absolute Sound Magazine
    "Best Solid State Amplifier" 2008/2009 - The Absolute Sound Magazine

    "Its luxurious appearance is more than skin deep" ... "The Parasound's ability to resolve detail, while remaining composed and easy on the ear, provide the equal of my 'reference' Levinson amplifier." - Hi-Fi News Magazine 2011

    High praise indeed.

    Stone Audio - Parasound P5 Preamplifier

    Stone Audio - Parasound HALO A23

    Stone Audio - Parasound HALO A21 2 Channel Power Amplifier

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  5. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Also note that there are many more Audio Streaming options, from dead cheap to drop dead expensive -

    Cambridge Audio STREAM MAGIC 6 Silver | Network Music Player | Richer Sounds

    Cocktail Audio X30 2TB Silver | Music Server System EXC Speakers | Richer Sounds

    Cyrus STREAM X2 Black | Network Music Player | Richer Sounds

    However, the Sonos is a very common and reasonably priced Streaming system. The output from it can be analog or it can digitally feed a better DAC, which you would have in the Rotel and Parasound systems.

    I assume the goal right now is to get some perspective on the range of possibilities.

    Steve/buewizard
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  6. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Also here are a couple of Rotel TUNERS that also have Network/Internet audio streaming options -

    Home Theater System Surround Sound Amplifier DVD Player - Rotel PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

    Superfi - ROTEL RT12 TUNER AND STREAMER

    Home Theater System Surround Sound Amplifier DVD Player - Rotel PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

    Superfi - ROTEL RDG1520 DAB/FM TUNER AND STREAMER

    Keep in mind that many BluRay players now come with Network/Internet Streaming capabilities.

    Oppo BDP-103D

    Oppo BDP-105D

    These two model contain DARBEE Video enhancement for the absolute clearest video playback, as well as superb analog Audio disk playback.

    Just trying to make you aware of the range of possibilities.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  7. Richy1984

    Richy1984
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    Thank-you for all the good suggestions Blue Wizard. I'll have a good look through.

    Don Dadda and Custodian, obviously those answers arent at all helpful. However, I admit that asking one year in advance may sound pointless / stupid! But this is a lo9t of money to me so what i'd like to do is spend a looong time, get peoples opioins, get a good long list of products and then slowly find places / time to demo them and wittle down the list. If new products come along that are similar then they can be added to the list, but to be honest, once I have a short list of contenders / companies that I like, I doubt that they'll be too much change (if any) in a year.

    Richy
     
  8. Richy1984

    Richy1984
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    Blue Wizard, thank-you again for all your replies. I'll have a look into the parasound and Arcam stuff.
    I should have siad that'll I'll also need a DAC; I'll add this to my original post - it was missed off as I usually get confused over exactly what is required for streaming music from a NAS drive.

    I'm pretty set on the speakers and wouldnt consider the 24s purely due to their size, and the additional cost. I had the 23s about a year ago now and getting rid of them (due to needing money) is one of my biggest regrets!

    I hear that Musical Fidelity can work well with PMC? What are peoples thoughts on Naim, Rega, Audiolab etc? I purely want to get peoples opinions so I can get a nice long list of options.
     
  9. Iain42

    Iain42
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    Hi Richy,

    Good luck with your quest.
    I bought a Naim Nait XS 2 a few weeks back to play stereo music through my Kef R700's, and love the sound. It's also integrated into my surround sound system by use of the AV bypass switch, helping to drive my Kef R700's for surround sound duties.
    I demoed against the Rega Elicit-R, and for me the Naim was clearly (and instantly) superior, with a much warmer, less clinical sound.
    Of course that's my ears and setup, but I'm still loving it!
     
  10. amcluesent

    amcluesent
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    What style of music do you listen to?
    Do you want to integrate the stereo with a AV systems now/in the future?

    Anyhow, as you like the PMC 20.23 at £2,100, I'd suggest partnering with a Naim SuperUniti (around £3,200) - £5,300 all up, but allow another £200 for cables etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  11. Richy1984

    Richy1984
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    I like jazz rock type stuff mostly. Clapton, Steely Dan, Toto, Dire Straits etc but also enjoy female vocalists such as Katie Melua. That and some more dancey stuff like Daft Punk. I generally like music with a funky beat to it, with good vocals and well mastered.

    I'm not too bothered about incorporating AV in future but it is a possibility. Whatever I do this has to be a purely stereo system so I won't be touching it with an AV amp, Blu-Ray player etc for music duties.
     
  12. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Rega make superb amps. I've heard Rega make OK speakers sound great. But, once you go above the Rega Brio-R, the amps get expensive, and they are very basic amps, no extra features, no tone controls.

    Hi Fi Amps And Receivers Rega Elicit R | hifix.co.uk

    Audiolab, again very well liked amps, but not cheap, few extra features -

    Hi Fi Amps And Receivers Audiolab 8200DQ | hifix.co.uk

    Stereo And Mono Power Amps Audiolab 8200P | hifix.co.uk

    NAIM make superb sounding equipment. Not the most powerful, but Naim rarely has a problem driving any speakers. There are some all-in-one NAIM system, I believe one is streaming and the other is CD plus streaming. If the all-in-one concept appeals to you, these are certainly worth considering.

    Digital Streamers Naim SUPERUNITI | hifix.co.uk

    Digital Streamers Naim Uniti 2 | hifix.co.uk

    Musical Fidelity amps have a very high reputation, but again, not cheap. Plus very basic features. Musical Fidelity does make a Streaming device and a DAC.

    Musical Fidelity M1 CLiC wireless streaming device available in a black or silver finish, with free UK delivery from Hifi Gear

    Musical Fidelity M3i integrated amplifier available in a black or silver finish, with free UK delivery from Hifi Gear

    Musical Fidelity M6i integrated amplifier available in a black or silver finish, with free UK delivery from Hifi Gear

    Stone Audio is in Dorset, I don't know how that works out for you (re: Parasound) -

    Stone Audio - Contact Us

    The other source of Parasound is KronosAV, though there website shows a showroom, I can't find their physical address anywhere on the site.

    http://www.kronosav.com/parasound

    They don't seem to have the Parasound P5 in stock, but it is a new product, and they may not have updated their website yet.

    How determined are you to spend the entire budget, and to what extent do you require the components to be brand matched?

    For example -

    £2300/pr = PMC 20/23 speakers
    £_795/ea = Rotel RDG-1520 Streamer/Tuner
    £1200/ea = Rotel RA-1570 120w/ch amp with DAC
    ---------------------------
    £4295 = Total

    The same but with the Rotel RT-12 Streamer/Tuner -

    £2300/pr = PMC 20/23 speakers
    £_650/ea = Rotel RT-12 Streamer/Tuner
    £1200/ea = Rotel RA-1570 120w/ch amp with DAC
    ---------------------------
    £4150 = Total

    If this will be in anyway a system for also watching movies, then the Oppo 105D would be fantastic, though not cheap. This has every type of Disk Playback (CD, SACD, DVD, DVD-A, BluRay) plus Network Streaming capability, excellent award winning analog audio playback, and external access to the internal DACs -

    BDP-105D Silver | OPPO BD UK

    BDP-105D | OPPO BD UK

    That only fits if you have use for the BluRay or other physical media playback capabilities though.

    £2300/pr = PMC 20/23 speakers
    £1100/ea = Oppo 105D Universal BluRay with Streaming and Darbee video enhancement
    £1200/ea = Rotel RA-1570 120w/ch amp with DAC
    ---------------------------
    £4600 = Total

    Alternately -

    £2300/pr = PMC 20/23 speakers
    £1100/ea = Oppo 105D Universal BluRay with Streaming and Darbee video enhancement
    £2000/ea = Parasound P5+A23, 125w/ch, DAC, Bass management.
    ---------------------------
    £5400 = Total

    Though my needs are very different than your own, this last system is very appealing if you need any kind of disk playback.

    Clearly there are a range of very nice systems that come in close to your budget.

    In the course of a year, these options might change, but similar equivalent options will be available to take their place.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  13. Kwman

    Kwman
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    Have a look at Linn products as well. Their DS streamers are very good
     
  14. Arcam_boy

    Arcam_boy
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    Has it got to be brand new or could you not stretch to a Bryston 2 channel?

    I know they're quite pricey but with a 20 year warranty (I think) that even buying one a few years old would be a pretty safe bet.

    Get the stunning 23's from the show and look for a Bryston off one of the forums/2nd hand dealer. You could add a simple sonos connect to start with then look at a decent DAC as funds allow.

    That'd certainly be my route if I went with PMC.
     
  15. windhoek

    windhoek
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    £1,875 Teddy Pardo i80a integrated amp
    £960 Teddy Pardo DAC
    £600 OPPO 103D
     
  16. moppit

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    Hi Richy
    I've got a Nait xs and love it. It's driving some vintage kef reference 2's with a pioneer N50 source. It's a lovely big sound with great scale and punch without any trace of harshness. Daft Punk on 24bit pins me to the wall!

    Just reading through the other posts and found myself on the stone audio site and they have an ex.dem Naim 152xs / 155xs pre/power combo going for £850 and £950. That's almost the price of a new xs so would be tempting (how much you saved so far.?).
    What ever route you choose I would urge you use our suggestions as merely a shortlist. There is no substitute for hearing how the amp and speakers work in your room and then come to a decision. I was slightly disappointed with a Naim Uniti when paired with PMC 23's - a trace of harshness at high volumes but then I think I'm just more sensitive to that. You be the judge...
    The xs to me is definitely smoother and bigger sounding but then maybe the pioneer n50 helps there. The pioneer is a bit of a bargain with a good DAC and one that could be bypassed later as an upgrade.
    Alternatively a one make Naim system eg. Xs integrated with Naims own streamer would look the part,..
    and sound it too. Doubt you would be disappointed!
     
  17. Richy1984

    Richy1984
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    Cheers Arcam. I always find your posts some of the most useful on the Forum. I had considerd Bryston whih as you say would be ideal seeing as how PMCs are developed with them, but I'd crossed them off the list purely due to cost. However, if I could go second hand and find a cheaper streaming means as you say, that would definately be something I'd consider :)

    Youve owned a Sonos Connect havent you? How good are they? hopefully far better than their speakers which in my opinuon are pretty dire! :-o
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  18. Richy1984

    Richy1984
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    I certainly will demo. That is my reason for getting a short list so far in advance so I can whittle it down slowly over time after a good few demos. I can understand how the uniti with 23s wouldnt sound great. I think PMCs really begin to open up with better amplification and I'd imagine that the Uniti didnt perhaps have the control for the 23s. 21s maybe woudl be a better match. Having said that, I've heard the Unitiqute, unitilite, uniti, uniti 2 and superuniti and in my opinion anything below the uniti 2 doesnt quite cut it, unless its with small easily driveable speakers. I find the lower end Naim kit although very open and detailed, just a touch brash / harsh as you say.
     
  19. Arcam_boy

    Arcam_boy
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    @Richy1984

    Thanks buddy, appreciated.

    I've had a couple of Sonos Connects (ZP90's) as they're so good.

    Very simple to hook straight up to an amp. You can then stream Spotify/Napster etc for general listening. Or use a PC or NAS drive and burn FLAC/WAV files to the hard drive and play 44.1 16bit, i.e CD Quality files on your system.

    I had a ZP90, MDAC and 4TB NAS drive as the source of my last 2 channel system which comprised of some £6k speakers and £4k 2 stereo amp and it was a superb source. You could use the Sonos straight away and then demo a few DAC's to see what suits you and save a few more pennies.

    You obviously won't be getting the full potential from your system immediately using the onboard Sonos DAC but at least if you have a Bryston/PMC combo you can concentrate on the source/room rather than speakers/amp.
     
  20. TomScrut

    TomScrut
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    Same as I just suggested on another thread, Linn Majik DSM. Similar money to SuperUniti, better or worse depends on your taste really.
     
  21. Steve413

    Steve413
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    Hi Richy1984,

    An amplifier worth noting and certainly auditioning is the new Lyngdorf TDAI2170 (£2699.00) ..I have been using Lyngdorf for the past eight years.
    This is a true digital amplifier...which in my opinion is perfect for the digital world that we life in, the way we listen to music today....via streaming from our PC/Mac using Sonos or other devices, it has a dedicated USB connection for direct connection to a PC/Mac.
    This is exactly the way I use it, a few years ago I swapped out my very expensive CD player for a Mac Mini, I store all my music (over a 1000 CD's) on my Mac mini all lose less, plus use Spotify and internet radio, and like many others have mentioned already I also use an Oppo which has an external hard drive attached to it, and with Oppo's new MediaControl HD app which has just been launched is great for playing back SACD's and all other discs......

    There are many unique features that the lyngdorf has on board as well, ICC (inter sample clipping correction) this will reshape clipped CD's, which to be fair is most CD's nowadays with the Loudness War that goes on at the recording stage.

    Another unique feature is the use of RoomPerfect room correction, which will take random microphone measurements within the room until the amplifier has gained over 90% knowledge of the room! then it will tune the system to the room it will be used in, one benefit that this can bring is that even the largest of speakers that usually need plenty of free space around them can now be place close to wall without any degradation of the sound quality! RoomPerfect does not alter the sound of the speakers in any way it just gives far more flexibility in placement.

    No additional off board DAC is required as you can think of the TDAI-2170 as a power DAC, because it is a fully digital amplifier there is no digital to Analogue conversion going on, another great thing about being digital means that there is absolutely no background noise present, something that needs to be experienced to really understand just how significant this is.....

    There are even additional plug in boards that can be fitted.....4in/1out HDMI and ADC for use of turntables.

    One question that really annoys me personally is "what kind of music do you listen to?"...surely a stereo should be able to play all genres of music.....this question is never asked when evaluating and buying a home cinema system..."what kind of films do you watch?"

    Lyngdorf's TDAI-2170 is certainly worth a listen.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  22. Dazzor

    Dazzor
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    Nice budget and even nicer if you find deals like this one

    All you'd need then is a decent front-end set-up.

    Go the used route, pay less and if you box-clever you can chop & change over time and loose very little money...... as the owner's from new take the initial / biggest hit.

    Demos are ok, home-loans from dealers much better as it's in your listening room....but.....

    There's nothing like owning kit, keeping it for much longer and seeing how things evolve without the added pressure of a week or fortnight time frame looming.

    Just what I'd do, in the highly unlikely event the opportunity presented itself (two kids, oldest 3yrs....Hifi light at the end of a very, very long and winding tunnel :suicide:)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  23. moppit

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    Dazzor makes a very good point here. 2nd hand, or ex dem kit is a relative bargain compared with new stuff. My kef reference 2's are late 90's hence the reason I only paid £500 on EBay from a dealer (a trade in for someone buying something new).They've been well looked after by the previous owner and sound great. I reckon i would have to spend around £2k to get near their performance on new kit. My Naim xs was ex dem from a dealer, immaculate, under £900. A new one £1500. Mine was not even run in!
    My N50 was also ex dem. And at £325 good value as at the time the cheapest new one was £450. All of my stuff came from dealers who gave me a warranty so nothing really to lose. Additionally I tried a few ex dem speakers at home from seven oaks who were great. No problem doing sale or return. Of course you can save even more going true second hand buying privately and my view is that there are some fab classic amps and speakers that compete easily with new. I would however not go too old on digital kit eg. DACs, as these seem to move on massively (by then I am no expert!).
     
  24. malkit

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    Totally agree with the previous two posts,with so many people changing kit regularly and dealers/manufacturers rotating models and hardly used demo units every year you're going to get far more bang for your buck taking this approach than dropping £5k in a dealers hand for a complete system of new gear even with a discount.
    You need have a bit of patience and make good choices of kit when the right deals appear,I can think of numerous examples of items I have bought,used in my system for several years then recovered most of what I paid when a tempting upgrade came along.
    What with the new Twenty 26's arriving soon there's sure to be plenty of Twenty series floorstanders coming up for sale soon too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  25. Dazzor

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    Mmm? I'd like to hear the Teddy stuff. Popular over on PFM.

    Do you have Teddy gear in your set-up?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014

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