Arcam & Naim?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by markusp, Jan 3, 2007.

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  1. markusp

    markusp
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    Hey everyone - as a Naim guy stepping into Arcam gear, I have a puzzling question. I love my Naim Nait 5i and CD5i setup but thought I would up my HT solution and so picked up an Arcam AVR-350. I've been playing with it for the past few days and trying to see if I can do away with my Naim setup and just live with the Arcam receiver partnered with my CD5i. Sounds sensible right? Well, my CD5i doesn't seem to gel with the AVR-350 quite like it does with my Nait 5i and I can't really figure out why. I suspect that the analog outputs are inferior to the din output on the actual CD5i but the funny thing is, while I've been trying to get things to sound "right", I've been listening to my Toshiba HD DVD player via digital coax to the Arcam and discovered that I actual prefer this setup to my Naim CD player / Arcam setup. The soundstage is wider, deeper and everything has more impact and slam. I guess this is due to the excellent DAC in the Arcam.

    My question is - does this scenario sound right? Should the HD DVD player / Arcam AVR-350 pairing sound better than my $2000 CDN Naim CD5i hooked up to my Arcam in analog direct?

    All opinions appreciated.
     
  2. ReferenceLover

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    I am no expert but I think both AVR-350 and CD5i are high quality & performance audio device. They should provide decent sound; CD5i has excellent DAC and AVR-350 has excellent DAC. Given that, I think it now becomes your preference. If your ears like HDDVD->Arcam DAC combo more, then this sound is "better", despite what others say about that setup.

    I have this feeling that in the world of A/V, audiophiles and videophiles tend to give more respect to brand name that cost more. This is usually the case, but it is not always true.
     
  3. Dankeech

    Dankeech
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    Sounds like you prefer the DAC on the AVR-350 than the DAC on the NAIM.

    I'm not speaking from experience, but I have heard that NAIM gear can sound quite forward. Maybe your preference is with the Arcam sound which I would suggest is perhaps more laid back.....

    Dan.
     
  4. Cold blooded

    Cold blooded
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    Sometimes the pairing of a forward sounding/revealing/lean component with more laid back/mellow/smoother component can lead to good results for long term enjoyability (if not neccesarily accuracy of reproduction)

    Go mellow all through the system and dynamics and detail,texture and accuracy will suffer.

    Go revealing all through the system and listener fatigue will set in.

    It's all a matter of balance. . . for YOUR pocket YOUR room YOUR ears.

    It's all relative and yet all opinion,but systems sound different and not neccesarily better or worse. . . buy and use what you enjoy . . .My own set up is unlikely to be a combination many would consider,it has been costly,but it performs.

    For what it's worth I think you are using some good components.
     
  5. trailer

    trailer
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    I think what has been said is correct.

    I have the AVR-350 and a Naim stereo set up too.

    Occasionally, when watching/listening to a DVD or even a TV show I think wow this sounds really good. Wouldn't this would do me for all my needs?

    I go back to the Naim CD player and think well OK it is different, not exactly better or worse but my foot starts tapping and the rhythm and flow is there again. I guess this is the signature Naim sound. Brighter, more upfront but with the "PRAT" (pace, rhythm and timing) that they seem to push.
     
  6. Greggles

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    i have had a similar experience in that I once plugged a friends CDX2 into my system to see what I was missing by using my DV29 for CD replay. Although the Naim was obviously a far better CD player in every way, the sound did not seem to gell somehow. Strangely it actually sounded slightly better using the phono output compared to the DIN output (although this could well be due to the quality of the DIN-Phono cable).
     
  7. Timbo21

    Timbo21
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    I thought Naim gear was carefully engineered, so that it only sounds at it's best when used solely with other Naim products. If you use something else you lose that Naim synergy ;)

    If your tosh sounds good into your AVR350, then let your ears be the final judge. Ultimately it's all about finding the right combinations which go together.
     
  8. Dan.Scott1234

    Dan.Scott1234
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    i'm in the process of changing my home cinema setup, I'm looking at the AVR350 and have been wondering about it's integration with my Naim system.

    In the future I'd like to combine my stereo and home cinema systems so if I went to the Arcam then i'd pre out the fronts into my Nait5i and connect my CD5 into the Nait5i. I'd much rather go Naim on the home cinema front too but I'm not sure whether the funds can stretch to it...

    I wonder what the combination would sound like, I have an Arcam DV79 which I'm really happy with and wonder whether I'd be as happy with the AVR350 or whether it would leave me wanting the Naim......
     
  9. mlilliman

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    Markusp, I have a Naim CD5i and Arcam A80 stereo integrated amp setup and recently experimented with connecting the Naim via its DIN and Phono sockets.

    The soundstage suffered to quite a large degree via phono (a quality VDH interconnect), and there was some bass lacking but vocals seemed a little more forward. I felt the DIN to Phono interconnect (Chord Chrysalis) made the two compenents gel much better although the bass is still very prominent (the reason for my experimentation!).

    As such, if you're using the phono outputs on the CD5i... try giving one of the Chord DIN to Phono interconnects a try.

    Out of interest, are you not using the CD5i and Nait 5i in stereo use, and using the pre-outs of the AVR350 to the Nait 5i to drive the front L+R in home cinema use? If you're finding you prefer the sound of the Arcam when playing CDs then that's another issue altogether and quite a feather in the cap for Arcam and their AVR350!
     
  10. markusp

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    Thanks mlilliman. That's exactly what I have been experiencing. I experimented with a number of different interconnects today and things are better but not where they should be. Your experience confirms what I have been thinking and so I will pick up the Chord DIN you suggested.

    There are a number of reasons why I do not want to use the Nait 5i, but cheif among them are the desire to simplify my system as my 13 month old daughter has a nice habit of messing up my system daily, and secondly, the chief desire to bi-amp my front speakers for HT use via the Arcam. Also, since the Naim and Arcam amps have different gain settings, calibrating the Naim properly for HT / music / sat viewing use is quite difficult. Sure, I can set up everything with an SPL meter to sound properly at 75 dB's but the trouble is, I don't listen to everything at 75 dB's and so at times, the centre speaker will overpower the front & surrounds and vice versa, depending on the programing and volumes I listen at.

    Thanks to everyone for taking the time and effort to respond.
     
  11. Barend

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    Like to chime in with my cross over experience.
    I have a Linn Unidisk 1.1 bought second hand in November, paired to an Arcam FMJ AV8 plus FMJ P7 final.
    The Linn is very very detailed, but not what you could call "warm".
    The P7 however is a bit easygoing and warm.
    So that's a magical sounding combination for me!
    I also have a separate Chinese CD Player, the Opera Droplet, which has valves and sort of a "vinyl" character...nice and warm mids, but a bit less detail and staging quality.
    Seems like a law of nature...
    Mind you, talking very small differences here, both the Linn and the Consonance sound heavenly in their own right, just different.:thumbsup:

    As to the AVR300/350:
    I had the AVR300, like most Arcam amps it had this special sound character I can only describe it as "intimate, involving and musical" with fine detail.
    Remember I ordered my AV8 and selling my AVR300 and giving it a listen just before the buyer arrived and thinking "My God am I doing the right thing!".
    Fortunately the AV8 was even better...
     

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