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Gradual upgrade of a vinyl system

Yimkin

Active Member
Hi folks, new poster but long time reader, please be gentle!

I currently have a Denon CEOL, which is connected to a Rega RP-1 via a Cambridge Audio phono stage and into Tannoy V6 (I think) speakers.

I only listen to vinyl through this, I do have Spotify but just use it on my phone when travelling. I’m on the process of building my own custom sideboard/av unit/tv stand, and want to build it to accommodate further upgrades. The unit will be over 4 metres in length and about 80cm high and solid oak, so will weigh a tonne - so I don’t think there will be an isolation issue between turntable and speakers.

At present, the idea is stick with what I’ve got, but swap out the Denon for a Marantz PM 6006 and ditch the phono stage but use the amps instead. Then, progressively as funds allow, upgrade speakers to something like KEF LS50, and then turntable to Rega RP3. Potentially then change the amp to a Rega Brio, but dubious about that as although I don’t at the moment, I would like some form of digital input if tastes or tech changes, at least maybe an optical for the TV. I’ve no real interest in home cinema etc.

Does the above sound even vaguely sensible for what is ostensibly intended as a vinyl only system? Any other ideas? It would be a progressive change with about £800 available for each component (turntable, speakers, and, to a lesser extent, amp). I’d definitely want a serious upgrade in sound quality, as I could buy an awful lot of records for what I intend spending!
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Yes and no. I would look at buying a marantz to later intend on upgrading to a brio sort of a waste as you'll lose money on the marantz sale/trade. I would also think the kefs would work better with a more powerful amp than the marantz (I have two of these amps and love them but the ls50 is known to like power).

If it we're me I'd ask around here and start with a good powerful second hand amp with phono stage. I'd then add an SMSL M3 dac for about 70 pounds and see where to go after that, you might find with a good amp that your speakers are sufficient and that spending 200 quid might be all you need,either way you can improve speakers later also, just my 2 cents
 

Yimkin

Active Member
Thanks muljao - afraid I’ve been off the scene for a while, so have no idea what would comprise a ‘good’ secondhand amp for a reasonable price (you quote £200) - any ideas? I’m assuming something like a Arcam?
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Look at this thread as an example, check out the Rotel for 100 pounds.

I would suggest if you decide maybe a second hand amp is an option to start a new thread asking about a good powerful second hand amp with phono stage.

I have the SMSL dac I mentioned earlier and it's great.

Another good example for an amp might be a pioneer a400 but it has no remote. Also in the classifieds here someone is selling an Arcam avr250, which although a sorround amp can be used in stereo and has great specs and loads of inputs, but no phono input, but similar with phono inputs are available

Question - Advice on used amp
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
For around £425 (maybe less with a cheeky offer or wait for others on auction) I don’t think you could beat this and it will stand up to many upgrades in source and speakers.

Quad 606 power amp

Quad 606 Power Amplifier | eBay

Nad 1000 preamp

Nad Monitor Series 1000 Preamp | eBay

Quad 306 is a good alternative for less money and power, 606/707/909 are all very similar.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Plenty to chew over in the other answers with regard to used amps. The pm6006 although a good amp will not make a good investment with LS50s in mind. They do like power, as do my KEF R300s, which I actually preferred in an audition. Looking at Rega the Elex would be a better option than the Brio because of the extra headroom. I drive my R300s with an Elicit-R and it's 105 watts in 8 ohms make them sing.

Avoid Naim with the LS50s or R300s, they don't seem to be able to give a tight control over the bass which was a real surprise and disappointment when going against Rega in an audition.
 

Yimkin

Active Member
Well in true internet style, I managed to ignore both my own plans and the sage advice given above!

Popped into town today and auditioned a few things, and bought an Audiolab 6000a and some KEF R100 speakers (the latter reduced to 310 from 600). I’m delighted with them! In a year or two I’ll upgrade the turntable to a Rega RP3 and then that’s it for me...
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Good speakers the R100s, punch well above their weight. I had them running as fronts for several months and now have them as surrounds. Lovely clear mids and highs.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Well in true internet style, I managed to ignore both my own plans and the sage advice given above!

Popped into town today and auditioned a few things, and bought an Audiolab 6000a and some KEF R100 speakers (the latter reduced to 310 from 600). I’m delighted with them! In a year or two I’ll upgrade the turntable to a Rega RP3 and then that’s it for me...
Enjoy, think you bought well
 

Yimkin

Active Member
Two quick questions if you folks don’t mind...

1) The speakers came with foam plugs to use in the bass ports. The entirely graphic instruction manual says you have to use them to get a flat frequency response - is this true or should they just be used depending on positioning or if the bass is overwhelming?

2) The amp has an inbuilt phono stage - I’m assuming it would be best to use this rather than my relatively cheap Cambridge Audio one?

Willing to experiment, just thought I’d ask here first!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The bungs are best used for position purposes, it's a case of experimentation you are looking for good clean bass without any boominess. Use the bungs to prevent the boom.

If your TT has a phono stage then best not use the amps, use one of the other line in RCA.
 

Yimkin

Active Member
The bungs are best used for position purposes, it's a case of experimentation you are looking for good clean bass without any boominess. Use the bungs to prevent the boom.

If your TT has a phono stage then best not use the amps, use one of the other line in RCA.

Ah, sorry for confusion - I have a Rega rp1 with an external Cambridge Audio phono stage, but my new Audiolab 6000a has an internal stage, so I could use the inbuilt one with the phono connectors on the amp or the external via a line in. Just assuming as my new amp is a significant step up it would be better than my current external.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Nothing to lose by trying both. The amps phono stage is one less connection though. I dare say the amps will be the better.
 

lotsatoys

Active Member
My R100's sound fantastic and image in a 3d kind of way in my system (as in my sig)
I've always found small high performance speakers always seem to image better than
large floorstanding ones. I have no intention of changing mine ........yet.
 

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