First Post, New System Ideas

andycc72

Well-known Member
The Cyrus One was an amp that I really thought could be a contender early on, but the reviews are so mixed. Have you personally used one? The build seemed to be questioned I recall.
I've used a Cyrus One to drive a pair of LS50's and I really liked it, it has plenty of power to drive the speakers you mentioned and is a good all rounder. I couldn't fault it. Most of the reviews I read prior to purchasing were good. I have read on forums lots of people suggesting it might sound bright, the vast majority of those people have never even heard one.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it and at £699 it's a steal.
 

gava

Well-known Member
Agreed - @Pricy, I had a similar Hifi absence as yourself and getting back into it I agree with the common theme on here that the piece of kit having the most effect of the sound is the speakers, back in the day it was the source.

Yes indeed. The majority opinion now is that something like 50-80% should be spent on speakers. Speaker + room combo makes the biggest difference.

I think it's mainly because amplifier design has seen enormous progress (particularly in class D) over the last 20 years, and speaker progress has been slower.

So literally today for only £200 or £300 we can now get amplifier performance that might have cost many thousands of pounds 20 years ago. Speaker performance hasn't shown the same order of magnitude improvement over the same time period, perhaps a 100% improvement in value, rather than a 1000% improvement on electronics.

A second factor is that there is a level of improvement in electronics where you start to get rapidly diminishing returns. The real world audible difference between an amplifier with a SINAD of 110dB is not that different to one with a SINAD of 75dB, because it's very difficult to hear those differences. Many tube amps have SINAD right down in the 50-60dB range and some people find that distortion pleasing.

With speakers though the differences are immediately audible between one speaker and another - even if they are both good speakers, and we don't even really know how to measure everything when it comes to speakers. We can tell by measurements when a speaker is poorly designed but saying which of two competently-performing speakers is preferred for a particular taste is almost impossible.

For me the thing which would make me recommend a 50-50 split rather than an 80-20 split is if thereby you get proper DSP/Room correction, streaming, etc. in the amplifier. If you are looking at an all-in-one device then it can make sense to allocate more of the budget away from the speakers.
 

stevoknevo

Active Member
Bluesound Powernode, a pair of Q Accoustics Concept 20, and a BK Electronics XLS 200 sub - £55 over budget but you get an 80w amp with built in streamer running arguably the best OS into a pair of speakers that cost a lot more at release, and a sub for some deep bass in your electronica listening - the Powernode has a sub output with high & low pass filtering so the sub can deal with the low bass taking the strain off both the speakers and amp and will cross it over perfectly. You shouldn't be much more than £20 quid for speaker cables, there's a 5m sub lead provided, and your good to go with a full range set-up.



 

Pricy

Standard Member
And, although I rate Richer Sounds very highly (I’ve had consistently good service from them at two different dealers over 20 years), it’s perhaps not too surprising that a dealer would recommend the more expensive option. They’re not a charity after all. But it is your wallet, not theirs!
I agree but largely you’re a little guided by an individuals preference too, which can be difficult to separate. See what tomorrow brings elsewhere.
 

Hoku

Active Member
…we don't even really know how to measure everything when it comes to speakers. We can tell by measurements when a speaker is poorly designed but saying which of two competently-performing speakers is preferred for a particular taste is almost impossible…
This is an excellent point.

Measuring speaker’s in-room responses are helpful, but a small fraction of the whole picture.

Our brain’s processing ability is far superior and nuanced than what are comparatively blunt instruments like SPL meters.

How do you measure accurate tonality of brass instruments, or a speaker’s prowess at timing? Or how natural and saturated a human voice sounds?
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
This is an excellent point.

Measuring speaker’s in-room responses are helpful, but a small fraction of the whole picture.

Our brain’s processing ability is far superior and nuanced than what are comparatively blunt instruments like SPL meters.

How do you measure accurate tonality of brass instruments, or a speaker’s prowess at timing? Or how natural and saturated a human voice sounds?
And that's before you even cover a minefield like individual preference.
 

Pricy

Standard Member
Yes indeed. The majority opinion now is that something like 50-80% should be spent on speakers. Speaker + room combo makes the biggest difference.

I think it's mainly because amplifier design has seen enormous progress (particularly in class D) over the last 20 years, and speaker progress has been slower.

So literally today for only £200 or £300 we can now get amplifier performance that might have cost many thousands of pounds 20 years ago. Speaker performance hasn't shown the same order of magnitude improvement over the same time period, perhaps a 100% improvement in value, rather than a 1000% improvement on electronics.

A second factor is that there is a level of improvement in electronics where you start to get rapidly diminishing returns. The real world audible difference between an amplifier with a SINAD of 110dB is not that different to one with a SINAD of 75dB, because it's very difficult to hear those differences. Many tube amps have SINAD right down in the 50-60dB range and some people find that distortion pleasing.

With speakers though the differences are immediately audible between one speaker and another - even if they are both good speakers, and we don't even really know how to measure everything when it comes to speakers. We can tell by measurements when a speaker is poorly designed but saying which of two competently-performing speakers is preferred for a particular taste is almost impossible.

For me the thing which would make me recommend a 50-50 split rather than an 80-20 split is if thereby you get proper DSP/Room correction, streaming, etc. in the amplifier. If you are looking at an all-in-one device then it can make sense to allocate more of the budget away from the speakers.

Really interesting post and something I was swaying the other way with. I did initially start looking at floor standing and a cheaper amp, but was suggested that you need the power to drive them, which is a fair point. You are right in that an all-in-one for now does add extra to the amp. The Monitor Audio 200 or even 300 6g versions are a steal at £649 and £799 respectively. I was swayed by the idea that 4m x 3.3m isn't really going to let that size of speaker sing enough, plus the cost of an amp to drive them. The 200's would still leave enough for something like the NAD 368 which does have enough for the speaker (save on speaker stands too). Maybe that's an option?
 

Pricy

Standard Member
Bluesound Powernode, a pair of Q Accoustics Concept 20, and a BK Electronics XLS 200 sub - £55 over budget but you get an 80w amp with built in streamer running arguably the best OS into a pair of speakers that cost a lot more at release, and a sub for some deep bass in your electronica listening - the Powernode has a sub output with high & low pass filtering so the sub can deal with the low bass taking the strain off both the speakers and amp and will cross it over perfectly. You shouldn't be much more than £20 quid for speaker cables, there's a 5m sub lead provided, and your good to go with a full range set-up.



Another very different approach. I have been using subs with sound bars for convenience but realise there's no real mid clarity. The interesting element you mention here is the Powernode, I hadn't even considered that. There's fast becoming plenty of options, which was the purpose of the thread and it's clear there's a lot of personal preference throughout. I have a few new options to explore tomorrow and let's be honest, half of the fun is in the auditioning, so looking forward to that.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
Agreed loads of options, from personal experience if there’s anything you see & hear that you think sometime you must have buy it as otherwise you’re down a path of upgrades and additional cost until you do!
 

Pricy

Standard Member
Agreed loads of options, from personal experience if there’s anything you see & hear that you think sometime you must have buy it as otherwise you’re down a path of upgrades and additional cost until you do!
I see you opted for a Brio and 607's. The Brio gets such rave reviews but I had discounted as it's analogue, which can be sorted for £145 but also because I can't seem to find anywhere locally to hear one. But, just found that HiFix are within reach... Presume you find the pairing, engaging enough?
 
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stevoknevo

Active Member
Another very different approach. I have been using subs with sound bars for convenience but realise there's no real mid clarity. The interesting element you mention here is the Powernode, I hadn't even considered that. There's fast becoming plenty of options, which was the purpose of the thread and it's clear there's a lot of personal preference throughout. I have a few new options to explore tomorrow and let's be honest, half of the fun is in the auditioning, so looking forward to that.
The Powernode is to all intents and purposes a NAD sub brand a là VW/Skoda - it was John Darko's review of it paired with KEF LS50 Meta and a KEF KC62 where he said he'd hit paydirt with that combination (bearing in mind the KEF's are circa £2.5k+ for both) and a Bluesound Node streamer is £550 in its own right - which is essentially the streaming section of the Powernode with Spotify connect/Tidal connect/Qobuz etc - and the Concept 20's got a very favourable review on here when they were 2.5x the price. That got me thinking what could be done similarly for a lot less money/about a third of the cost of the KEF's and Powernode and still provide a cracking streaming set-up with scope for a CD player down the line.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
There are a ton of options new and more of you include used gear. It can be hard to choose from scratch.

Having said that, with your cash and requirements I’d buy this combination. They will almost certainly accept a £1000 offer.


Some further info’ here



Both the speakers and amp are something of a modern wonder.

Then add one of these


All in, a little over budget, but all you’ll need for a decade or more of excellent music making.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
If you’d prefer the bigger S2 speakers, then it’s still within budget


 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
The room in question is 4m x 3.3m. I listen to all sorts, but mostly like bass heavy electronic music,

IME, a small room such as yours wouldn't suit a floorstander that can give the deep bass required for convincing reproduction of bass-heavy music without suffering excessive upper bass and, probably, muddled lower midrange too. I would also wager that Monitor Audio Silver 100's would give a similar effect in your room. So I would also suggest using a sub with a small pair of standmount speakers (or, if you particularly like the form-factor) small floorstanders. Have to say though that in this price bracket, standmounts often sound better than small floorstanders. One important point, IMO, is to ensure that the burden of deep bass can be removed from the stereo speaker pair when used with a sub. Sometimes the sub can do this or some amps and preamps can. Doing this allows the system to play louder and cleaner as the main speaker pair aren't stressed as much.

Lots of good suggestions already but I'm compelled to mention an alternative approach that, from experience, should give superior audio quality (though may not suit for other reasons) and that's a system based around active speakers, often called active nearfield monitors. For all sorts of reasons, they tend to offer better sound per pound (no hiding from the fact that I'm an active speaker advocate!).

A decision needs to be made at the outset of system building because different components are required (i.e. a preamp rather than integrated amp) to build a setup around active speakers. Worth looking into although info in hifi mags is minimal as you won't find reviews of such speakers sandwiched between adverts for £1000 exotic cables, reviews of speaker isolation cones, mains conditioners, £3k equipment support platforms etc. - which probably says it all.

Suggestions:
Dynaudio LYD-5 (two required.) £622
used with...
Dynaudio 9S B-Stock £699
or
Focal Alpha 50 Evo (two required) £418
Focal Sub One £698

many, many other possible combinations including some domestic orientated subs such as:
SVS SB-1000 Pro (Black Ash) £639

I think the BK subs offer better value but they don't contain the circuitry to remove deep bass from the main speaker pair.

As for a pre-amp:
Amazon product

No wifi, just bluetooth.

Also, check out the Edifier range of active speakers such as the Edifier S2000Pro and S3000Pro. They have versatile connectivity and could be the basis of a great-sounding setup.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
I see you opted for a Brio and 607's. The Brio gets such rave reviews but I had discounted as it's analogue, which can be sorted for £145 but also because I can't seem to find anywhere locally to hear one. But, just found that HiFix are within reach... Presume you find the pairing, engaging enough?
Yea - it’s an excellent system and the two fit very well I’ll be updating the speakers shortly but that’s down to getting a higher uk/Euro supplied speaker that will also cover me for a future amp upgrade. I blame @Paul7777x for his suggestions of a Brio and Spendor A1 or A2 in another thread 🤦🏻🤦🏻🤣🤣

You can get some very good deals on the 606 / 607 at the moment
 

Pricy

Standard Member
Yea - it’s an excellent system and the two fit very well I’ll be updating the speakers shortly but that’s down to getting a higher uk/Euro supplied speaker that will also cover me for a future amp upgrade. I blame @Paul7777x for his suggestions of a Brio and Spendor A1 or A2 in another thread 🤦🏻🤦🏻🤣🤣

You can get some very good deals on the 606 / 607 at the moment
The deals in those two at the moment are super, hence I feel obliged to give the 606’s a listen tomorrow.
 

Pricy

Standard Member
IME, a small room such as yours wouldn't suit a floorstander that can give the deep bass required for convincing reproduction of bass-heavy music without suffering excessive upper bass and, probably, muddled lower midrange too. I would also wager that Monitor Audio Silver 100's would give a similar effect in your room. So I would also suggest using a sub with a small pair of standmount speakers (or, if you particularly like the form-factor) small floorstanders. Have to say though that in this price bracket, standmounts often sound better than small floorstanders. One important point, IMO, is to ensure that the burden of deep bass can be removed from the stereo speaker pair when used with a sub. Sometimes the sub can do this or some amps and preamps can. Doing this allows the system to play louder and cleaner as the main speaker pair aren't stressed as much.

Lots of good suggestions already but I'm compelled to mention an alternative approach that, from experience, should give superior audio quality (though may not suit for other reasons) and that's a system based around active speakers, often called active nearfield monitors. For all sorts of reasons, they tend to offer better sound per pound (no hiding from the fact that I'm an active speaker advocate!).

A decision needs to be made at the outset of system building because different components are required (i.e. a preamp rather than integrated amp) to build a setup around active speakers. Worth looking into although info in hifi mags is minimal as you won't find reviews of such speakers sandwiched between adverts for £1000 exotic cables, reviews of speaker isolation cones, mains conditioners, £3k equipment support platforms etc. - which probably says it all.

Suggestions:
Dynaudio LYD-5 (two required.) £622
used with...
Dynaudio 9S B-Stock £699
or
Focal Alpha 50 Evo (two required) £418
Focal Sub One £698

many, many other possible combinations including some domestic orientated subs such as:
SVS SB-1000 Pro (Black Ash) £639

I think the BK subs offer better value but they don't contain the circuitry to remove deep bass from the main speaker pair.

As for a pre-amp:
Amazon product

No wifi, just bluetooth.

Also, check out the Edifier range of active speakers such as the Edifier S2000Pro and S3000Pro. They have versatile connectivity and could be the basis of a great-sounding setup.

Thanks for this. I also think my room doesn’t lend itself to floorstanders really, the layout will be a compromise too as it’s a bit cluttered and not ideally spaced. My thoughts were that it might pay to invest in better standmounters.
A friend swears by his active speakers but he’s mostly listening to electronic music. Whilst I listen to a lot myself I do listen to a good variety and have space for a few separates. I’ll look into those you mention and try and explore all possibilities. Trying not to rush it as I don’t like buying twice.
 

Pricy

Standard Member
Quick update: had a listen to the silver 100 and B&W 606’s, no contest for me, the MA’s were far more to my taste. The Audiolab was a little too smooth and lacked the punch of the NAD 638. Tried the Roksan Attessa too and found that the high end was really front and centre, detracted from the low end for electronic music. The NAD and silver 100’s sound a great partnership. Pretty happy with that. I did feel that the electronic music tracks separated them better than more melodic, vocal driven music. They all sounded satisfactory to a point with London Grammar and a few 80s pop tracks tried. Very worthwhile audition.
 

Hoku

Active Member
Well done for taking the time to demo properly and be patient. Just shows the value of auditioning and not buying blind. And it just shows too how important partnerships are between components in passive systems to achieve the best tonal balance for your taste. So often more important than simply the price of each component.

And it’s nice to hear feedback too from ones who ask for input on the forum and actually start to demo your shortlist and report back your findings. All helpful for other prospective punters.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
And it’s nice to hear feedback too from ones who ask for input on the forum and actually start to demo your shortlist and report back your findings. All helpful for other prospective punters.
This
 

Pricy

Standard Member
Well done for taking the time to demo properly and be patient. Just shows the value of auditioning and not buying blind. And it just shows too how important partnerships are between components in passive systems to achieve the best tonal balance for your taste. So often more important than simply the price of each component.

And it’s nice to hear feedback too from ones who ask for input on the forum and actually start to demo your shortlist and report back your findings. All helpful for other prospective punters.


I enjoy this part; the reading around, listening and debating - it’s all part of the very human ‘want’ process. No rush here (well I’m trying to contain the excitement) but certainly have learnt to buy once over the years, best you can anyway.
The only fly in the ointment at the moment is the possibility of the MA 200 6g’s over the new 100 7g? I’d save £100 from not needing stands in that solution. I should have demo’d the 200’s maybe. I don’t like the finish as much but maybe there’s the compromise. Read a post somewhere here last night from a dealer who suggested the 200 is ideal in my size of room. So.. I guess the question is: silver 100 7g or 200 6g? Just noted that the 200’s aren’t as fussy with plenty of distance from the wall, that is an extra point to them.

Edit: just found the post mentioned above. So if @Yorkshire AV has anything to add here, I’d appreciate any comment.
 
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Pricy

Standard Member
I’ve placed the order for the NAD 368 amp and silver 200 speakers. Went for an ex-demo version with the BluOS module too which will mean that I can plug my NAS into it. Interestingly, whilst demo’ing the 100’s against the 200’s, I felt the former had more bass, especially with electronic dance music. Realising that my ear is used to integrated bass/mid drivers we discussed this. It is a more muddy bass sound, which I almost certainly have become accustomed to. The 200’s shone in the soundstage department, with the mid and high end giving a broader, wider, more spacious feeling.
I guess later on, there’s room for something like a BK XLS200 to add to the system, but I’ll look forward to collecting and starting the long running in time towards the end of this week. Thanks to all that assist me here.
 
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pjacko

Standard Member
Wow! Looks like inflation has found it's way into the Cambridge range tonight. CXA-81 up £200 (£1199) and CXA-61 up £150! So CXA-61 at £899 now, most reviews suggested it's probably slightly over-priced as it was.
I nearly got caught out by this, but RS are doing £300 off the cxa81 so it’s actually gone down to £900 not up to £1200are they being clever, or sneaky? I’ll let you decide!
 

Pricy

Standard Member
I nearly got caught out by this, but RS are doing £300 off the cxa81 so it’s actually gone down to £900 not up to £1200are they being clever, or sneaky? I’ll let you decide!
Maybe they do have some stock at pre-inflation costs? I’d guess they will lose more sales opportunities at the headline price though.
The Sevenoaks experience was far better for me though all round.
 

Pricy

Standard Member
Well, I’m around 40 hours of ‘running in’ into the system and she’s starting to really shine. Really pleased with the choice and perfectly suited to the rooms size. Trying to resist the volume button too much but it’s creeping up a fair bit today. Keeping the EDM down a little too. Why did I take so long to replace my old system when I have a detached property? Kinda feel reborn rediscovering old favourites 😊
 
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