Education For Novice Enthusiasts In Separates/RS87's Blog

RS87

Member
Sorry @Hianholland I thought I had replied... evidently not, apologies.

That's interesting about the Kef Reference's, I was under the illusion they were near faultless, so coming from someone who was openly biased, it's surprising you didn't enjoy them most.

I have been looking at the Raspberry Pi quite a bit lately so was going to do a little 'blog' on them soon. What DACs have you installed in them and also did you have any other considerations/alternatives when choosing your DAC chip?



On a separate note, in this down time I have been heavily amp hunting... integrated/stereo amp hunting. The non-exhaustive list I provided above has proven fruitless until now....! o_O

I had been hunting, new, open box, refurbished, ex-demo, trade in, Classified Ads (here), Gumtree and as @gibbsy would say...evilBay lol Anyway, nothing has been found that has been either a bargain or just too far away.... until now!

Yesterday I tried a different approach. I was scrolling through the HT bypass list, on that amazing site that I have previously linked to above, and just putting in every brand into Gumtree by alphabetical order, changed 'Sort By' to "High to Low" and sifted through the lists.

Anyway, I got all the way down to R, more specifically Rega, and up pops two Elicit-R's!!! One for £995 and one for £900... in Scotland!! Yikes. So.... long story made not so long... I'm on a 7 hour round trip on Saturday for an Elicit-R that I managed to get for £900!!!! Boxed, instructions... the full shabang! My heart was set on a Yamaha A-S1100 or 2100 but nothing reasonable available. Pretty sure I've gone crazy, especially given my OP but hey, that's my story so far (and prob sums up my life TBH) :D.
 

Hianholland

Active Member
@RS87 sounds like you've had some success on the amp front. Good luck. No experience with Rega kit but seem to have pretty good reviews.
It was the R7 I was looking at, the series below the References. Was quite surprised how 'muddy' they sounded relative to the Quads and B&Ws.
For the RasPi, I use one RasPi4 with USB out into a Topping DX3 Pro. These go via amp to Kef Q35 floorstanders. Prior to that I used HiFi berry Pro DAC Hat but didn't sound so good. Topping really cleaned up the sound.
For the second RasPi4 I use an Allo Boss DAC Hat into amp feeding Kef Qi7s floorstanders, and this is a pretty transparent DAC, better than the HiFiBerry in my view.
Both Pis run RoipeeXL. I used a lot of forum searching to land on options for a DAC. Roon community is a good source of information.

For my next 'upgrade', I'm torn between trying a tube buffer between the streamer and Arcam Pre or maybe going all the way with a stereo tube preamp.
 

RS87

Member
Thanks @Hianholland, very informative and helpful to know.

From the little that I know since I've started this whole journey, a tube amp that is made well... is the crème de la crème. This falls strictly into the Class A amplifier category I believe? Class A being absolute best for sound quality but crazy inefficient with the electricity. One thing I never got is... when someone is spending that much money... cost of electricity isn't really a concern, is it? Unless one is an eco warrior of course. But the aim of paying such sums means you'd be after the best sound.... at all costs...!
 

RS87

Member
Ok, so yesterday I completed 8 hours in total from leaving my house and returning with the Rega Elicit-R that I paid £900 for.... yes I paid 900 quid for a heavy black box in order to drastically improve my audio experience (re: that's crazy based on OP).

On Friday I had also bought a Marantz CD6006 UK Special Edition CD player, open box from my local Richer Sounds for £275 (which my wife collected today for me whilst I was on my travels for the amp). Evidently you can pay via BACS and still get what you want from the store... result for someone who has crazily gotten way too overzealous and carried away with this impulsive urge to accomplish high fidelity music whilst being in lock down. Oh and should the sales rep Marc ever venture onto this platform, a big thanks for being my go to guy for all the great help, assistance, advice and chat. (He helped with my first upgrade of TV and AVR a couple of months ago and I insisted he deal with me again.)

Friday I also bought a 1m RCA phono cable from KabelDirekt, next day from Amazon, which too was at home with the CD player when I returned with the amp.

I first plugged the amp in because the chap who sold it to me said it works best when warmed up, lol. He had a lot of expensive gear and had just upgraded to the Rega Osiris, hence the reason for sale. I proceeded to connect all the cables and CD player too.

I dusted off a few old and abandoned CD's and cleaned with a microfibre cloth with acetone (wife's nail varnish remover) and chose a select few that were virtually scratch free.

I'm just going to jump to the punchline.... it did NOT sound great.

I should, at this point, add that I was welcomed to a demo of both a CD and a vinyl within the gentlemen's home. He had an old Densen CD player hooked up and a turntable that resembled the Rega Planar of some sort (but i'll confirm soon what his equipment was, more specifically, to enable readers to make some frame of reference) which were all hooked up to a lovely pair of Magnepan MG-1's (based on a quick net search). Oh and it looked like he went 'Line In' with the phono input which he appeared to have a Rega Aria phono stage. Guess he is a big Rega fan by the sounds of things... shamefully pun intended. 🙈

So.... I think my speakers are sorely mismatched, not to mention I probably got trigger happy, again, a couple of months ago when I bought them! I never knew I was going to go down this rabbit hole and for the system they were first connected to, they performed within expectations, at that time before this Alice in Wonderland whirlwind, especially with movies. It helped that it had the matching centre speaker.

The reason I believe this and I really have very little experience to go by, so do take my observation with a pinch of salt, but the Elecit-R sounded fantastic on his setup (granted all the above high specced gear facilitates that of course) and also the Marantz is very well regarded at being rather musically brilliant within this price bracket.

These speakers are not made for my front room. One part of my learning is that speaker matching is two-fold: 1) the amp needs to drive it well and sound well with them 2) speakers have a reasonably linear approach based on speaker size vice room size. I think they are deserving of more open plan room or simply larger room, where the sounds are aloud to flow more freely without too much reflection back off the walls and secret option number C) speaker placement, something I have very little manouvrability on, given the location within the room (or more specifically the door and the radiator blocking the ability for the left speaker to move sideways).

One last thing to note, I should be receiving my banana plugs today. One thing that always gets me is, no matter how well i think i splice the speaker cable and screw the post down onto those bare twisted exposed ends, I then have to move the whole unit (which ever amplifier/AVR it is) backwards about 500mm and always fear the cable has dislodged somehow which could contribute to poor sound quality if it came loose (I'm sure it didn't but for peace of mind, I'm eliminating that possibility).

Oh actually, one last last thing, lol. There is one 'upside' to this experience, that only last about an hour or so (since I had travelled all day and needed to go to work for 22:00), was that there was a monumental difference between CD albums and sound quality!!! I mean serious. Some albums were simply unlistenable, (UB40 - Labour of Love III - 1998 Virgin Records) Come Back Darling sounded muted and muffled, (Craig David - Slicker Than Your Average - 2002 Wildstar) Fast Cars sounded reasonably detailed but then random notes would just sound 'off', both Stormzy albums were a mixed bag but somehow my mums old Shania Twain album from the 90's seemed to be a sweet spot. Smooth and balanced, nothing overpowering and nothing really lacking either.

So, a long and disappointed 'blog' there. I only had an hour to play around with it all, I set the CD player to direct mode and that's really the only tweak I made so perhaps there's hope, though I cant really see where before swapping these speakers for something smaller but with more detail and control. But after spending £1200, expecting joyous big smiles... I am rather deflated.

You win some, you lose some... this story ain't over!! :( :mad: :D
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
Your disappointment could very well be down to the Rega showing the limitations of the speakers. It could simply be that listening to your speakers in your room is something that your ears and grey matter are use to. I would try different positions for the speakers and give it time. You have hinted that you can already hear the difference in the quality of recordings which will tell you something about the potential of the Rega.

You've also heard the potential of the Rega when paired with good speakers, otherwise you have not have parted with your money. Remember though that speakers are so so important to an amps performance along with the room that they sit in.

The Rega does sound better when warmed up for a few hours. Usually over the weekend especially mine is left on for 48 hours or so.
 

RS87

Member
Right, some catharsis for me by way of an unexpected early update, so everyone went to bed and I moped, sat there watching telly uninterestedly. The amp and the speakers are starring at me from below the telly, I feel like they are laughing at me ("haha 1200 quid and we sound crap".

So I get out my phone and start searching speaker placement, to give me a heads up on tomorrow. This is where I first landed:


Some insightful information. (They also have other great info/"stories" on their website, well worth a look such as this:

Test your speakers like a Cambridge Audio Engineer )

After those two links I found:

The first part was covered by CA in the first link but the second part, angle your speakers in (or toeing in as I have more commonly read from this people of this hi-fi world) is something I already knew about and had done already... or so I thought until you see the before and after shot in the gentleman's photo. It turn's out, I may have been a little too cautious with my toeing in angle.

So with all that in mind and two tots of Tamnavulin in me, I get the urge to tinker, which is risky since everyone is asleep at midnight. Nonetheless, I proceed ahead.

Starting with gibbsy's advice first, I move the speakers about a foot away either side (bearing in mind they were only about a metre/3 foot away from each other before which flanked the tall glass shelved stand, based on practical and aesthetical reasons) and then toed the speakers in reminiscent of the Crutchfield photo. Now my wife is gonna think that we have two very odd looking out of place speakers. Since my room won't allow me to create an equilateral triangle with speaker position, I decided to make an equilateral triangle myself by sitting about 5 feet away from the speakers.

I'm just going to jump to the punchline.... it sounded GREAT!

Not perfect but great. I put that Shania Twain CD back on, since that was the one that was most relaxed and stood a chance of putting a smile on my face by way of success and I also cant play any bassy music right at this point. What most stood out to me was instrument separation and I don't know how else to put it other than "space". It felt like the music was pushed back beyond the speakers and there was room for it all to be. As in if I closed my eyes my living room wall wouldn't be anywhere near as close as it was or even there at all. Very weird, very new but very exciting. One other weird thing is that when I looked at the centre speaker (for the home theatre/AVR setup, I could have sworn the vocals and the odd other sound was coming directly from it! So much so that I gradually moved closer and closer. It took me to about a foot away from the centre speaker before I could tell the speaker wasn't producing vocals, which of course I knew weren't being powered but the illusion was ever present.

I played the Rag and Bone Man album. This was a mixed bag. One of the songs seemed to get overloaded a little and the separation disappeared and it got all a bit jumbled. This was similar on some of the more upbeat tracks. The slower ones are where the success came from. On one track, a piano is being played at different levels and in all sincerity, I closed my eyes and it felt as though a piano was in my room. It wasn't room filling, because I had the volume on 5 LEDs (the only way of visually seeing the volume level on the Elicit-R) which is about a fifth of the gain available to the volume according to the Rega manual, but it felt like the wall had disappeared and there was a piano a couple or few metres away from me.

Then I listened to some Motown and some of that wasn't mastered well but there was a Lionel Richie track Stuck On You that really done amazingly with space and separation, again a slower paced track.

So, I'm far from out of the woods yet with it all, for various reasons but now there's hope and gladly there's been a smile! :D I can wake up happily and start cranking the volume a bit during daytime hours and see how nicely it plays then.
 
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RS87

Member
Blog update. (How I'm about to explain this might sound weird and not in keeping with hi-fi jargon so don't crucify me if some explanations of the experience sound daft.)

So I was able to get the volume cranked up this afternoon. My oh my...! I have the speakers toed in pretty much like the angles of image below except mine would be spaced closer together as if they were on the front corners of the cabinet in the picture, due to my room layout.
1606185939316.png

What a transformation, seriously! So much so that I feel quite silly with what I will now call a "massive overreaction" when I said this previously lol.... :
I think my speakers are sorely mismatched
These speakers are not made for my front room
perhaps there's hope, though I cant really see where before swapping these speakers

But I'll own what I said and how I felt, I have to stay true to the experience and the journey, after all, this is what novice learning is I guess. Plus, if just one other person in the world benefits from me being a drama queen then it's a positive result. So, the biggest educational tip of this experience: speaker placement and angles!!! It's so strange to see that the little movements and adjustments that I made with the positioning of the speakers created a whole different sound. I even tried Come Back Darling from that awful UB40 CD and it's now listenable.

Anyway, there are no 'womp' sounds coming from the low end which is what was happening on the first outing such as on most tracks on Stormzy's Heavy Is The Head album. The bass had a mind of its own and it felt as though it went from mid, into low and then straight to the bottom with a 'womp' and kinda skipping a smooth transition in the lower frequency region, if that makes sense. Now... it's silky, it flows. Not over powering random bass sounds, it's very controlled and intentional. I am very surprised how well the bass alone has really been reined in.

To give some more context, I have moved the speakers apart as already said but also brought them forward about 2 inches. They were never backed up against the wall but now they are more forward and also angled inwards. As a result, there is a bass port on the back of the speakers which is now angled away from the wall and also one on the front. So instead of bass firing forwards and backwards in virtually straight angles, they are now firing diagonally which seems to be dispersing the bass considerably and creating a smooth sound.

The vocals stayed central, most of the instruments stood out but kept in their right place without dominating or hiding.

I could go on and on about how everything sounded amazingly different today but I think I have written enough to cover it without boring everyone to death or else I'll start throwing words out there trying to sound like some kind of born-again-audiophile-wannabe.

So I'll sum it up with: everything (or almost everything) is now sounding harmonious and rhythmic. Even my wife, who can be especially critical when I start blasting music thinking the sound quality is great when it isn't, was even singing along and toe tapping. That's a seal of approval at my end if her toes are tapping instead of covering her ears and telling me to turn it down coz it sounds awful.

I need to sign off by repeating one more time so that it really sinks in due to how critical this is.... SPEAKER PLACEMENT!!!! :D

p.s. thanks @gibbsy :clap:
I would try different positions for the speakers and give it time
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Glad you've made progress with speaker positioning. It goes to show just how important the room is in all of this. Get the combination right and it can be magic. Enjoy the Elicit.
 

Glawstergull

Novice Member
This is great as the OP has invested some time in his own journey yet it very much spills into mine on a separate thread.
ps You must be some sort of HiFi magician if you can make anything UB40 did sound good!
 
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RS87

Member
Right, it's been a week since I made a significant push forward on my quest to find sonic excellence.

WOW! I really have listened to some music this week and with bliss. I am simply blown away by this experience and I have to say, it is money well spent! The TV has barely seen its pixels lit and that's saying something in my house.

Let's update. Since the charity shops are shut, for another few days at least, I think I might have etched a laser burn in a few of them CD's :D. I was getting a little frustrated when I realised..... the CD6006UKSE has a USB port! Man, I had completely forgotten about this in the fog of war that was me trying to stay true to physical media. (Brain wave.... I can stream music through my phone!!!! Ding ding ding! Sorry @gibbsy, this part is going to disappoint you :blush:.)

I connect my work phone (iPhone for my unavoidable sins) and find the playlist, that I compiled recently to audition my purchase of my MA Silver RX8's, one that I felt songs are hard to deal with musically and that can easily elicit angry and shrieking emotions if not played correctly, and realise I can stream music through this CD player despite my only having a strictly analogue amplifier. Damn, how did I forget about this all this time?!! I was so consumed by the fact I was pursuing physical media, and also my amp was strictly analogue with no digital inputs or a built in DAC, that I had completely forgotten that I could stream music through the stereo.

I have a free 3 month trial of Amazon Music HD ("HD music I know :facepalm:, they have taken the liberty to essentially call CDs HD based on the bit rate) but it's actually not that bad. Most of the music is CD quality 16bit/44.1Khz (HD) but it also has tracks that are 'comparable' to DVD-A and SACD and beyond.... supposedly. Anyway, so as not to spark a debate, there can be some very nice songs and music to be found on these Hi-Res streaming sites and since my physical media is a bit anaemic right now, I had to seek relief in alternative sources.... and it did not disappoint. Oh and one great feature of this CD player, the remote allows you to skip tracks via the remote when streaming through the iPhone (or iPod as the Marantz prefers to refer to it as on the little front LCD screen).

So much of my listening now has DEPTH, CLARITY and POSITIONING to the track and yes that includes streaming music too. What I mean is, and i say this cautiously and tentatively, the music now feels more '3D' for lack of a better term. It's more spacious and separated, it's 'over there' and 'back there', not just sounds coming from a loudspeaker. I'm not just saying these words because I'm trying to fit in or look the part or show off or any other way of misconceiving all this. It's just that I'm putting music on, now, for a whole new experience. Remember 10 years ago or so and we had SD big box TV's and we walked into Curry's or somewhere and we saw 1080p on a thin telly for the first time, not 720p but full HD 1080p and we were like 'WOW!'. It's that same thing we've always seen but seeing it with clarity just changes it in way we didn't understand.... we'll this is that... for me, personally.

There was a song, which regrettably I cannot recall, I could clearly hear a harmonica being played but was not centre stage in the song. To reference my above analogy, that's like watching the same show all these years and seeing a blurry logo on someones t-shirt on screen, then 1080p comes out and all of a sudden you can read the word 'SNOW' on their shirt (F.R.I.E.N.D.S - Chandler, white t-shirt... series 7 I think, possibly 8) that has always been there but you could never quite make it out. This is that harmonica. It was always there but just kinda blurred in with the other sounds and never stood out or was identifiable until now.

Oh and I dug out my NAD 5120 turntable that had been in the garage for 3 years since I moved in here, hoping to get some vinyl action.... failed. Belt was slack and the phono leads seemed to have some kind of oxidation. It has an Ortifon OM5E cartridge which I looked up and seemed like I should have had some reasonable quality but nope, no joy. Then I accidentally pulled the earth cable from the solder underneath the removable tonearm so definitely no success until I make a few repairs (or sell). I have some remastered Coldplay, N.W.A and Ed Sheeran plus original Elton John Yellow Brick Road and Dire Straights Brother In Arms LPs, amongst others, that I was hoping to listen to.

Anyway, summary: major success (turntable aside) and increasing delight.... daily! Spectacular turn of events given the consternate start to this all one week ago.

P.S Red Red Wine sounded... dare I say... musically joyful yesterday! ;)
 

RS87

Member
Addendum: I'be just had a shower, before I go to bed (I work nights) and it occurred to me that the update was completely positive. Granted, that's a glass half full perspective but I guess I ought to be transparent (not that being positive was in anyway sounding deceptive).

There are negatives to all of this so what I'll do is do an update midweek at some point to highlight some of the shortcomings of all of this and spend a few days narrowing down what they are and why I think they are.

Yeah, the majority of the music is now sounding great but I'll leave it like this for now.... there are some real stinkers of tracks out there still that I am not enjoying whatsoever, for various reasons, let alone the restrictiveness or tedium of my new setup.

So that's me keeping things balanced. Back in a jiffy.
 

Hianholland

Active Member
Refreshing this thread, as @RS87 would be interested to know how you got on.
Also, for my own situation I'm still looking at separating 2 channel from my AV processor by putting in a 2 channel preamp and have been looking at the Anthem STR preamp and also a McIntosh C47 as possibilities. Also considering a different approach by swapping out my FR & FL power amps for a Lyngdorf TDAI 3400. I think I need to be careful with equipment pairings as any accentuation of the higher frequencies can come across as a bit bright with the ribbon tweeters of the Quads.
Would be interested in peoples views on the choices and approach.
 

RS87

Member
Hi all and @Hianholland

Sorry for the hiatus, happy new year to all who end up reading this. I had some time off of work over xmas (although worked xmas day and boxing day) so I promised the family it would be... FAMILY time. :D

So glad I was able to stick to my promise for them. The reason that has relevance here.... the Hi-Fi, if I can say that so loosely, got some insane action and for much of the time was a centre piece in all the joyousness and frolicking. (Sorry to sound so xmassy 3 weeks after the occasion lol but the whole last 6 weeks have been amazing).

I've just read my last couple of posts and realised I left it sounding very negative although turned it around to glass half full with the addendum. Well, the glass is very full now!

The charity shops opened and I went hunting. Previously, I was stuck to streaming music through my phone with the cable hanging out of the front using Amazon HD. Even though I was quite pleased with it, it was a CD player, not a DAC for my phone. I now have over 100 CDs already and have listened to 80+ of them... seriously! How did I find the time? Well the family have been enjoying it all with me. It's not a singular occasion, it's a shared one. Albums have been listened to all the way through, something I never done streaming. Appreciation for the artists and their stories have returned, like they once used to. I should say that the family donated about 60% of them CDs but I did spend about 40 quid in a couple of days though, on compact disc treasure lol.

Two CDs I found that made me so excited.... Michael Jackson: HIStory - Past, Present and Future - Book 1.... you know.... the one with the GOLD discs! WOW! I couldn't believe I found this after my second day in my local high street for £1! I had this as a kid but on cassette and my neighbour had shown me his but he had the gold disc CDs... I was mesmerised, that thought has been etched into my brain for around 25 years and now I finally own them! In the charity shop immediately next door, I found an album that was the staple of my teenage years. It was quirky, well of the beaten track, obscure and come out of nowhere but just resonated and now I hear it, it seems timeless and that is The Streets - Original Pirate Material. It's very much marmite that album but I LOVE marmite. :D

I have more updates and loads more to say but I'm conscious of information overload/boring people to death! o_O

Anyway, it's great to be back and music, real physical media, has taken over my life and it's been amazing! Oh and speakers have been repositioned again slightly and I have hit a sweet spot, this has gone a long way to making everything palatable to everyone, ZERO listening fatigue including sustained high volumes which I got severely when listening to these speakers through the Denon receiver before I was 'woke' haha on hi-fi.
 
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RS87

Member
Refreshing this thread, as @RS87 would be interested to know how you got on.
Also, for my own situation I'm still looking at separating 2 channel from my AV processor by putting in a 2 channel preamp and have been looking at the Anthem STR preamp and also a McIntosh C47 as possibilities. Also considering a different approach by swapping out my FR & FL power amps for a Lyngdorf TDAI 3400. I think I need to be careful with equipment pairings as any accentuation of the higher frequencies can come across as a bit bright with the ribbon tweeters of the Quads.
Would be interested in peoples views on the choices and approach.

Thanks mate :), appreciated.

How's the decision making going? Are you arranging any home demo's? Up in the range you're looking, you don't really buy impulsively like I was crazy enough to do lol particularly as you say with the pairing of the ribbon tweeters. Shame lockdown happened again, this has probably hampered your search right now til mid feb possibly.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
How's that Elicit?
 

Hianholland

Active Member
Hi @RS87 , I took delivery of an Anthem STR pre this week, and just set up tonight with a first attempt at the room calibration. Sounds pretty good so far, but I need to do a bit more work over the weekend to fine tune and understand the capabilities more. How have you got on with the Rega?
 

RS87

Member
How's that Elicit?

Fantastic! One of the early concerns I had was if I would be affected by not having tonal controls or not. In the first couple of weeks, this started to feel like an issue since certain albums and tracks were just awful and I missed the opportunity to 'correct' them. As time has gone on and since I have made another minor speaker-placement adjustment, everything seems to just flow more. I guess my ears have adjusted to the listening style/character of the speakers, amp and media but when I hear a bad album or just a poorly mastered song on an album, I just shrug and think this setup is designed to be as pure and untouched as possible which is the whole point of the Elicit-R in the first place.

To flip that coin, if I had tonal controls, I 100% would have ruined a lot of these albums by now and also would never feel settled and would feel the need to tweak. Now, I'm so assured of this amp right now and what it gives me, that the majority of my listening is done in bliss. A bad track is exposed but a great track, when it comes on, it grabs my attention even if the music is just on in the background (such as when I was working on a uni project and typing away). I'd sit up for a few moments and let it envelope me in the sound! Those are the bits I love the most... you know when a track is done well.

Another feature I love about this amp, that I annoyingly discovered after I finally unboxed the Solaris remote a month later (I was hoping to keep it in the box brand new).... I can control the volume and mute with the Marantz CD player/amp remote. Real handy on controller declutter, definite wife approval, lol.

Hi @RS87 , I took delivery of an Anthem STR pre this week, and just set up tonight with a first attempt at the room calibration. Sounds pretty good so far, but I need to do a bit more work over the weekend to fine tune and understand the capabilities more. How have you got on with the Rega?

Great news on the new purchase, glad it's started out well. How did you come about to buying it? Did you manage to get some kind of demo or just gut instinct/ thorough online research?

So how is your setup connected now? You have the Arcam AVR, Emotiva power amp, Anthem preamp, and the Audiolabs monoblocs. Its a very involved setup especially with all the other components you have too :D . You appear to be pretty well covered on the digital front lol, bravo. 👏
 

Hianholland

Active Member
Hi @RS87 , good to hear you're getting along with the Rega.
I didn't demo, thorough research/reviews vs my criteria, and I used to have an MRX500 a few years ago so familiar with Anthem sound and ARC. Was very tempted by the Lyngdorf TDAI3400 but ultimately my criteria was more matched by a preamp. I've now got a separate pathway (almost) dedicated to 2 channel. The Anthem has a HT bypass for FR/FL & Sub which I plan to try tomorrow, so the Arcam FR/FL & sub outputs are connected to these inputs on the Anthem. The anthem is connected to the sub and Audiolabs, the Arcam to the Emotiva (for centre & surrounds).
Very pleased with the results so far for 2 channel.
 

RS87

Member
Hi @RS87 , good to hear you're getting along with the Rega.
I didn't demo, thorough research/reviews vs my criteria, and I used to have an MRX500 a few years ago so familiar with Anthem sound and ARC. Was very tempted by the Lyngdorf TDAI3400 but ultimately my criteria was more matched by a preamp. I've now got a separate pathway (almost) dedicated to 2 channel. The Anthem has a HT bypass for FR/FL & Sub which I plan to try tomorrow, so the Arcam FR/FL & sub outputs are connected to these inputs on the Anthem. The anthem is connected to the sub and Audiolabs, the Arcam to the Emotiva (for centre & surrounds).
Very pleased with the results so far for 2 channel.

Oooh, controversial with the sub being connected to the stereo side of the system (if I have interpreted that correctly, I know it's for movies from the Arcam though). If so, how's that going? The 'purists' will be up in arms lol however either way, if you have done this or I've misinterpreted, this is something I did look into at the beginning. My stereo speakers actually go down as low as 32Hz which is well within the sub-bass range which is why I opted against connecting an appropriate sub to the stereo. Also, most musical instruments can't get into the sub bass range and certainly not to the bottom although synthesized or mastered I'm sure there's a way of doing it.

Bass Range: 60-250Hz
Sub-bass Range: 20-59Hz
(For anyone who stumbles across this and is learning like I am.)

How has your testing been going since your last update? Room calibration behaving nicely? Any speaker placement adjustments needed (I assume not but who knows what the new pre-amp does to the characteristics of the speakers now, possibly it changes the tonal dynamics that need adjusting to the room)? I'm just guessing with what I'm saying, I could be talking nonsense but novice-learning-logic makes me feel like it could be possible. :D

On a separate note, how is your equipment arranged/housed in your room? I'm still part way through a refurb on my house so I temporarily have a cable nightmare, an atrocious mess behind the 5 tier open-backed/sided glass stand that is a pain to keep clean from dust. This is the only part that is not wife friendly (not chauvinistically but aesthetically and practically) so will be expected to be rehoused by the end of the year. Making it cable friendly behind the scenes though seems a tall order. All of the plugs are directly behind the unit too which has an obvious problem with the cables but a not so potential obvious problem with RF/EM interference. The latter is beyond my scope of knowledge though.
 

RS87

Member
Listening fatigue.

For me, this is when listening to the music, the sound quality (by way of substandard media quality or equipment or both), particularly when played loud, is poor and you need to turn it down or off. Not to be confused with listener fatigue, whereby you have listened to so much music you get tired and zone out of listening.

My setup seems to have overcome this since the arrival of the Rega. I bought the Monitor Audio's, originally, in the hope that some fairly high quality speakers would significantly upgrade my sound quality on the newly acquired (at the time) Denon X2700H . Whilst there was a noticeable difference between them and some old Roth Oli 3's that I had, there was still a discernible lack of clarity in the sound and from the reviews I read, I was sure these speakers were capable.

Listening to various tracks and artists, streaming FLAC (minimum 'CD quality' or 'better') at the time, I was getting two things that I hoped my new speakers would have sorted: muddled sounds/instruments and listening fatigue, which happened quickly on two very particular tracks for me. Michael Jackson's Dirty Diana and R.E.M's What's The Frequency, Kenneth? The issue with both of these tracks, incidentally, happens to come from electric guitars.

Anyone have any difficult tracks that they have come across that have given them this experience or that they know are difficult to handle on their previous systems but their upgrades made for a more harmonious listening experience? If so, please feel free to suggest some difficult tracks and also the before and after system components that were necessary for this.
 

Hianholland

Active Member
Hi @RS87 , thanks for the follow up.
Unfortunately the power unit failed after a couple of days in, but got the unit back today and set it up again with sub again. I plan to switch between sub & no sub to see which I prefer but the room correction seems to do a great job of integrating the sub so far. My Quads have a lower limit of 50Hz, but seem to have enough bass without the sub but the overall sound seems cleaner when using the sub.
As yet, no need to experiment with speaker placement, but will be looking to learn a bit more about the adjustments I can make with the ARC in a couple of weeks, once I've got used to the sound with this preamp.
Sounds like we have similar issues (as many do) with an open glass shelf unit, cabling is a nightmare!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Anyone have any difficult tracks that they have come across that have given them this experience or that they know are difficult to handle on their previous systems but their upgrades made for a more harmonious listening experience? If so, please feel free to suggest some difficult tracks and also the before and after system components that were necessary for this.
Not so much difficult tracks but whole albums because of compression. I'm talking exclusively about CDs. Anything by Haim and Paloma Faith. They are so compressed that it's painful on the ears. My Elicit and KEF R300 combination just doesn't like those two artists at all. Even worse on headphones.

If you're worried about sharp high notes then most of the tracks on Joni Mitchell's marvelous Blue album will give your system and your ears an outing. The Elicit can really control those highs and the KEFs respond accordingly. It's something than can fatigue with the wrong combination but I'll happily put all my Joni albums back to back. They are really well recorded.
 

Apollo83

Active Member
Not so much difficult tracks but whole albums because of compression. I'm talking exclusively about CDs. Anything by Haim and Paloma Faith. They are so compressed that it's painful on the ears. My Elicit and KEF R300 combination just doesn't like those two artists at all. Even worse on headphones.
I'm not sure we can blame that on Rega and KEF :)

RS87, I too feel cheated when I find an album that suffers from compression and the loudness wars...
Another one that I find difficult is deliberate clipping and/or volume cycling...
Low's Double Negative and Bon Iver's I,I are recent examples.
I like the albums despite BJ Burton's treatment, not because of...

Of course none of this can be fixed by Hi-Fi gear...
The quality of the source is paramount.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I'm not sure we can blame that on Rega and KEF :)
Not blaming it on the hardware. It's just it's unforgiving with poor recordings. Highly rewarding with good mixes. You have to ask why some of these artists are so happy to release albums that are dynamically flatter than hammered s**t. It's depressing at times, especially when you like the music of the artists involved.
 

RS87

Member
Hi @RS87 , thanks for the follow up.
Unfortunately the power unit failed after a couple of days in, but got the unit back today and set it up again with sub again. I plan to switch between sub & no sub to see which I prefer but the room correction seems to do a great job of integrating the sub so far. My Quads have a lower limit of 50Hz, but seem to have enough bass without the sub but the overall sound seems cleaner when using the sub.
As yet, no need to experiment with speaker placement, but will be looking to learn a bit more about the adjustments I can make with the ARC in a couple of weeks, once I've got used to the sound with this preamp.
Sounds like we have similar issues (as many do) with an open glass shelf unit, cabling is a nightmare!

Great to hear that you have confidently gone down that route. I'd be very grateful if you could randomly blog any updates on here as an when something different or interesting happens in regards to your stereo-sub setup, in your free time of course?

I have limited knowledge cross-over frequencies. Basically all I know is that a crossover is when, in this context, the subwoofer handles frequencies in the sub range and the speakers handle everything above the range specified. This should give better accuracy, response, timing etc if done well and equipment is paired together nicely, freeing up the woofer to better handle the other frequencies more competently, generally speaking. Do you have control over your crossover frequency with the stereo in some way like you would on the AVR, although granted no GUI (graphic user interface)/on screen display?

When I was considering a sub for the AVR with HT-bypass for the stereo, I basically got it down to the sealed BK XXLS400 or the ported Monolith. From the community here and a few reviews online, I would have gone for sealed if music was a big factor but if it was primarily used for movies then the ported Monolith was the correct way to go. Sealed being tighter, faster and more agile for music and ported simply has the ultra deep 'boom' quality, from its bass reflex ports, that is imperative for movies.

It's encouraging to know I'm not the only one suffering with dust and cables! :D
 

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