Choices

Davieboy00

Novice Member
As some of you may know , I have been waiting for cash to do an upgrade.
This is a 40th birthday present to myself BTW.
My original thought was that I would buy 1 x A38 & 1 x P38 to bi-amp my fronts and let my AVR350 do the surround duties. Original budget was about £2000.
My budget has improved a bit so is now now £3000 - £4000 at a a push. £5000 at a no fun / social life level.
My thought now is that 1 x C31 & 2 x P38 may be in order.
Would the extra £800 or so ( at list price ) on the amps be worth it ?
I still have to buy an extra rack @ £300 or so plus 2 x Isotek power cords @ £120 plus a Townshend Audio interconnect @ ???? ( No argument please , my choice )
Current kit list as below.

AVR350
FMJ CD37
B&W 683 fronts.

Stereo is the No.1 consideration. ( 99% of use )

Any thoughts / comments ( supportive or harsh ) are welcome .
Cheers.
David
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
The rack is probably a storage requirement, but save the money on the power cords and just get normal interconnects, unless your wife can hear a difference (she's probably more skeptical and hence more neutral than you). The cash can be more wisely used on equipment or (even better) CDs.

Since you're talking stereo, I think the A38 (or C31 + P38) is a decent approach. I'm not much of a fan of bi-amping, usually a better amp can yield more. I would therefore suggest comparing 1) A38 by itself, 2) A38+P38 / C31+2xP38 and 3) C31+2xP1 (i.e. two monoblocks, but not biamped).

You may also like to consider new speakers, although since my suggestion would seriously blow your budget, perhaps it's not really an option.
 

Davieboy00

Novice Member
Thanks Mark.
I had thought about upgrading my speakers but reckoned that with speakers in the £3000 - 4000 range my AVR350 wouldn't be doing them justice so was going down the amp route with speakers to follow some time.
Hadn't thought about the P1s - good shout.
Your advice , as ever , is spot on. Best I can do is arrange auditions in all the combinations you suggested.
Thanks.
David
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Have fun with the auditioning, and don't forget to take your wife with you.
 

Davieboy00

Novice Member
Have fun with the auditioning, and don't forget to take your wife with you.
No wife.
How do you think I can get away with spending so much on Hi-Fi gear ? :D
 

Timbo21

Well-known Member
Dave,

Arcam rep reckoned pre-amp in A38 is better than C31.

Tim.
 

Davieboy00

Novice Member
Dave,

Arcam rep reckoned pre-amp in A38 is better than C31.

Tim.
Thanks for that.
I was under the impression that it was basically the same preamp :confused: Will ask my dealer what they know. Sent an email to Arcam and they say there are no plans to replace the C31 anytime soon.
My thoughts are leaning toward the A38 & P38 combo biamped. I know that many people disagree with biamping but I am a 'believer' and definitely think the B&Ws benifit from it. I will keep the rest of the cash to put towards speakers some time next year.
I have had several listens on my dealer's shopfloor but not in his listening room as yet. Must say I have been mightily impressed.
Am looking to get my auditions next weekend.
As ever , to mix metaphors , the proof of the pudding is in the listening.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Easy - it's the wife who hears the difference! How else do you get speakers the size of Quad ESLs past SWMBO?

BTW, "belief" is a poor criteria for choosing hifi. Try to be objective and get assistance (that's where the wife you don't have is so helpful). That way you don't spend money on things that don't (really) make a difference, and can optimize the use of the limited budget to where it yields the most.
 

Davieboy00

Novice Member
Easy - it's the wife who hears the difference! How else do you get speakers the size of Quad ESLs past SWMBO?
:D

BTW, "belief" is a poor criteria for choosing hifi. Try to be objective and get assistance (that's where the wife you don't have is so helpful). That way you don't spend money on things that don't (really) make a difference, and can optimize the use of the limited budget to where it yields the most.
Possibly belief was the wrong word to use. Refering to myself as a 'beliver' was purely tongue in cheek as this is another of those hotly debated topics. I have percieved a benifit of biamping in the past - kidology , the 'want to hear a difference factor' , possibly. It's good to remain sceptical. But definitely not dealer pressure. The guys in my dealer and I have some interesting debates as each of us has different tastes and views.
I like to think that , most of the time at least , I can remain objective and definitely have no desire to blow my whole bugdet for the sake of it. It's not burning that big a hole in my pocket.
I do have friend who assist me in auditions ( unfortunately not female , so no batlike hearing :D )and is usually brutally honest so gives a good 2nd opinion and keeps my feet on the ground.
Thanks again.
David
 

yant

Active Member
My original thought was that I would buy 1 x A38 & 1 x P38 to bi-amp my fronts and let my AVR350 do the surround duties. Original budget was about £2000.
My budget has improved a bit so is now now £3000 - £4000 at a a push. £5000 at a no fun / social life level.
My thought now is that 1 x C31 & 2 x P38 may be in order.
Would the extra £800 or so ( at list price ) on the amps be worth it ?

AVR350
FMJ CD37
B&W 683 fronts.

Stereo is the No.1 consideration. ( 99% of use )
I am sorry to be of no use about your direct query but I would seriously hesitate pairing a pair of B&W 683 with £3000+ of amplification.
The 683 are what < £1000 speakers? The 68x are essentially B&W entry level series. In the list above, they strike me as the weak link. Personally, I believe that there is much more between the sound of speakers by say doubling the cost from £1K to £2K than there are difference between a £1K Power amp and a 2K power amp.

Personally, for a £3K budget, I would put >£2K on new speakers. If you really think there's a problem with the AVR350, I'd add either:
- A P38 either bipassing the AVR350 power amp or bi-amping
- A C31 using the AVR350 as a power amp for stereo but not as a pre-amp
- An A38 for stereo.

But IMO, none of that until much better speakers than the 683 have been acquired. Not that there's anything fundamentally wrong with the 683, just that they are badly outclassed by the CD37 and would be awfully outclassed by the rest of your electronics should you follow your proposed path of amplifiers upgrade. If you blow your full budget on speakers, IMO fine, just keep an eye for a second hand P35 instead for the future.
 

Davieboy00

Novice Member
Thanks for the thoughts.
I agree that the 683s may possibly be the weak link if I add an A38 ( or possibly A38 & P38 , or any other combination ) but I have a very good option on the new amps at the moment.
I also have a prospective great deal on some new speakers but that isn't going to happen until next year.
Ideal scenario , other than changeing everything in one go , is that I would change the speakers first but timelines don't allow this at the moment.
Won't have to live with any shortcomings on the 683s for too long though.
Thanks.
David
 

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