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A newbies lonely ramblings

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by D-man, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. D-man

    D-man
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    Dear All,

    I have recently got into this world of High-Fidelity and have been thoroughly amazed by the results. Initially of the 'a cd player is a cd player' camp I have opened my ears and well and truly got the bug. I have read with great intent the threads posted on this forum and have followed the advice given, to very satisfactory results. I have now decided to join up and post my own because I need some help.

    Sometime ago I purchased a NAD C521 BEE and a Marantz SR4200 which I ran through a pair of old Wharfedale 7.1s. With aspirations to get a 5.1 set up running some time in the future. I realised the weakest point in this link was the speakers, so wanting something to last me several years; I purchased a pair of Quad 11's. These gave me a level of transparency and detail that I hadn't heard before, but still something was missing - Balls. The Marantz lacked meat and couldn't really drive the Quad's, it sounded like I was listening to music in the next room. Although it was a detailed and refined sound, it just didn't make you tap your feet.

    It was then I decide to get a dedicated integrated amp, and after reading quite a lot of threads on the subject, I plumped for a second hand Cyrus 2. This just blew me away; you could really feel the music. Admittedly it was a bit edgy and not as refined as the Marantz but you felt like you were in the music. My next purchase was a second hand PSX which really shaved off those harsh highs and opened the whole sound up.

    Please forgive my ramblings, there is a question coming I promise. It’s just nobody else I know cares about hi-fi, hi-fi is a 4 letter word to my girlfriend and my friends just walk away if I try and engage them in hi-fi talk.

    I now use the Cyrus for music and have held onto the Marantz as a surround sound processor to drive the centre and rears. I have tried to connect the pre-outs from the Marantz to my Cyrus so that it can drive the front L & R. But the output signal is so low it’s barely audible through the Cyrus at normal listening levels, even after changing the speaker levels on the Marantz. I only get an audible signal if I crank the Cyrus up to 12 O’clock, baring in mind 9 O’clock on the Cyrus is more than enough for my CD player. Am I liable to damage the Cyrus if I have it on at such a high level? Considering Its age I fear Lord of the rings extended edition may kill it.

    Or is there any other way of boosting the signal from the Marantz?

    Anyone’s help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. tom_nieto

    tom_nieto
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    I have my Cyrus 3 at 12 o'clock for AV duties, although I did that as more of a reference point. It shouldn't damage it in any way I don't think, there's no reason for it to.
     
  3. D-man

    D-man
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    thanks for the reply. I think i'll just crank her up then. I was just a bit worried i'd burn her out as she is pretty old.

    Why the disparity with output signals though? Even other sources into my Cyrus output at different levels. Isn't their an industry standard?
     
  4. ditton15

    ditton15
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    welcome to the Forums, and commiserations with the bug, it may be with you for the rest of your lonesome. I arrived at AVForums to check out a telly, then started the 5.1 and then, like you, started wandering down the HiFi route having found myself listening, and caring, about the music much more than I was watching AV stuff.

    I also first got an s/h integrated, an AudioLab 8000a, which I put between the pre-out of the AV receiver and the front speakers, and tool advice to put the dial of the stereo amp to 12 noon. My next upgrade (or so) was to buy an integrated that had an AV power amp setting. There are a number abut s/h. That allows you to use the pre-amp for CD purposes (set as integrated) and to ignore the pre-amp for AV purposes.
     
  5. D-man

    D-man
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    Thank you for the welcome. What you suggested does sound a more elegant soultion to the problem rather than fiddling around with 2 amps/volumes all the time.

    My next purchase I think will be a new cd player. The NadC521BEE is really detailed but is a bit digital and the sound is rather 2 dimensional, it doesn't seem to project any sense of space and air around the instruments. I've listened to the Arcam 73T and that sounds alot more natural and dynamic. Any suggestions around the £400 mark s/h or new?
     
  6. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    Maybe worth looking at a DAC?
     
  7. D-man

    D-man
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    Yeah thought about that but my DVD player is rubbish so I didn't think it would make a very good transport and if i added the dac to the nad i'd end up with another box.
     
  8. Tony8377

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    You're forgiven. Nerd is the word I normally hear :) , heah it's their loss :p

    It's perfectly fine to have the Cyrus at 12 o'clock (or even 2 o'clock but not much higher). The thing here is the cyrus is made up of two parts, the pre amp and the power amp. The power amp which just applies a fixed amount of amplification to everything and the pre attenuates the signal (I think that's it - I don't claim to be an expert). Therefore the pre amp part actually reduces the volume of the source signal and as you increase the volume lets more of the signal through. Therefore the problem you have is that the marantz is reducing the volume of the source and then the cyrus is further reducing it leading to a barely audible source at normal listening levels. By turning the cyrus up to 2 o'clock you are (virtually) taking the pre part of the amp out of the equation and using just the power amp part. The marantz then acts as the pre. I was reading a different post earlier which claims that on some of the newer Cyrus Amps you can set the AV Input so that when selected it automatically turns the volume up to 2 o'clock so that you then use the attached AV Amp to adjust the volume.

    I agree, complete waste of time unless you have a very good DVD transport(such as the lexicon RT10 which I am currently listening to/borrowed). I tried adding a £1000 pink triangle ordinal dac to a £200 toshiba DVD player and whilst it did improve it, it was nowhere near as good as a £250 cd player.

    Personally I used to have the opinion that you should spend most on the cd player but these days I find the opposite to be the case. I bought my myryad cd player secondhand for £200 (originally £600 about 5 years ago) and it sounds amazingly good on my system and not too far off much more expensive ones. I tried it with the pink triangle dac and actually preferred it without.

    Whilst I don't want to get started on adding extras I will just briefly say that the best improvement I have seen is by adding a decent interconnect and, more importantly, placing some nordost pulsar point under your equipment. On quite a few occasions I have seen many a £250 cd player thrash their equivlent £500 player just by spending £50 on some Pulsar Points.
     
  9. D-man

    D-man
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    Thanks for the info, really didn't want to kill an amp i'd just bought. Puts my mind at rest knowing i'm just bypassing the pre rather than overdriving it.

    Whats your advice on interconnects? I've got a pair of budget Cambridge audios cables which seem to do the job, I really didn't think they would make that much of a difference on a budget cd player.

    And what are these pulsar points? I assume these are for isolation. Are they used in conjunction with a hi-fi rack?
     
  10. Tony8377

    Tony8377
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    The stangest thing about budget seperates is just how amazingly good a cheap CD Player can sound by adding a really good second hand interconnect and some isolation. The great thing here is that if you do it through second hand cables etc you are never going to lose much.

    Nordost Pulsar Points are resonance and vibration control devices that sit under any (and all) components in your system. See at the bottom of this page for some professional reviews. Basically the idea is to isolate each component from interference from other sources etc. See here for some pictures.

    They will have a major effect on the soundstage, openness of the system, high end treble, and really tighten up the bass (be warned though some interpret this as thinning the bass but actually its just controlling it properly so it doesn't rumble on - which some actually prefer). Some people say they are a little too clinical but I am amazed at just how good they are and have them under every component. They also come with either 6mm or 8mm threads which also allows you to use them under speakers (which I also do). These can be bought for about £40 of ebay, see here so if you don't like them you can quickly sell them on for the price of postage. See here for some individuals reviews.

    These are also available in Titanium for £220 a set :rolleyes: . My housemate has three sets of these and I was amazingly surprised to say that I accidentally carried out a blind listening test between the two and there was a significant difference between them.

    For interconnects (and speaker cable for that matter) once again I swear by Nordost and never don't go near the main stream of QED, Ixos etc as in my opinion there is no comparison. Once again it is a very detailed, tight deep base(not thin or rumbling :) ), open sound (warts and all type sound) which I love but isn't for everyone. If you want to go for Nordost don't go any lower than Blue Heaven. A 1 metre length of Blue Heaven normally goes for around £80 secondhand and has fluctuated around that value for as long as I can remember so once again you are not going to lose much just to try it out for a few weeks.

    A lot of people on this forum like the very thick cable such as those advertised in the powerbuys section so also consider giving them a go.
     
  11. D-man

    D-man
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    I think I'm gonna concentrate on getting a decent rack and i'll have a look at those interconnects you suggested before I splash out on a new cdp. I also found that other post on 'budget upgrade' quite helpful, I may even get some kind of mains filtering for my set up too.

    I think the moral of the story here is make the most of what you've got.

    thanks again.
     
  12. Londondecca

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    Of course, there is the option for reclocking your CD and various other tweaks which might help. Might be worth look at the TNT site http://www.tnt-audio.com/int.html for some ideas
     

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