HiFi newbie looking to upgrade!

matttan90

Novice Member
Hello peeps,

Updated : 10/4/2014

I have gotten a Naim 112/150, and a beresford bushmaster dac. Now need some recommendations for speakers, cables and analogue interconnect!







I have a :

NAD C325BEE amplifier
NAD C525BEE cd player
B&W 602 S1 speakers
Chord carnival silverscreen speaker cables
Cheap QED Interconnects


I am looking to add in a DAC such as the Beresford Caiman to play music off the computer. I find that its much more convenient to click the songs I want to play rather than switching CDs every other song, because I usually just like one or two songs per CD.
Currently, my setup is pretty muddy I would say. Its good, but i'm not convinced I'm hearing everything. Should I sell everything and start again? Or should I upgrade some of the things I already have. I might spend an additional 400 pounds on top of what I already have, or sell everything, and start with 700pounds. I might even just go the headphones way, if I don't get anything good enough..

Your help is much appreciated!
 
Last edited:

dogfonos

Well-known Member
First thing is to decide which direction you want to go. Seems to me that the CD could soon become redundant, especially if you rip all your CD's to a computer or attached network storage (probably the most flexible approach). Think how you want the new system to work and what, if any, other sources will be used because you'll get better sound per pound with less equipment - i.e. don't buy features/boxes you don't need. A simple £100 USB-only DAC with no other features can sound as good as far more expensive, feature-laden DAC's (the Cambridge Dacmagic XS and Epiphany EDAC spring to mind). IMO, DAC's in particular break the 'you get what you pay for' rule - in terms of audio quality anyway.

Currently, my setup is pretty muddy I would say.

Not entirely surprised. Most passive systems I hear don't have the same degree of coherent clarity and image stability of even quite cheap active speakers, however, passive speakers usually sound 'nice' so actives can come as a bit of a shock. If you have a pro music shop nearby, pay them a visit and have a listen to active speakers in your price range (of which there are dozens). For folk familiar with hifi gear, I'd suggest KRK, Mackie and M-audio products as a starter as they often (not always) have a slightly warmer bass more akin to many passive hifi speakers.
 

Gaspode_TWD

Active Member
I'd suggest you check that you've set things up to sound their best first. Start with speaker positioning as it can be surprising how much a difference a few inches can make. Try pulling them out in to the room first and then move them back towards a more convenient location. If it makes no real difference it only cost you a bit of time.
I've heard good active and very good passive speaker systems. Active can buy you better performance for a price because you're buying an integrated package. However, you pay a price in terms of subsequent flexibility and upgrade routes.
You might also want to check what quality you're using for ripping CDs. Many packages appear to assume you want maximum storage rather than preserving quality.
 
Hello mate.

I'd try to work with what you've got.

I've been in a bit of a similar situation in that I wanted to listen to music at my PC in high quality. I spent just over a grand on a headphone set up which sounded very nice indeed but just didn't do it for me in the end. Its a different kind of listening to a set of normal speakers.

The problem you may have is...

How close will you be to your speakers?

For now I'd buy this DAC...

FiiO D3 192KHz/24 Bit Digital To Analog Converter: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

I'm using one with a set of £2k active speakers and it works perfectly. I could get better and will eventually but with a tightish budget it will be fine.

Download something like JRiver 19 and rip your CD's to WAV quality which should give you CD quality play back. If this is your source you can then sell your CD player and maybe buy a 1TB hard drive for music if storage is an issue?

If you're going down the active route then something like these would be ideal...

Adam A5X - Active Nearfield Monitor - Single

Pricer is per speaker but you could then sell your amp and speakers to help fund these. They should sound very good indeed.

If you want to stick with passive speakers and an amp then something like...

Bookshelf Speakers Bowers And Wilkins 686 S2 | hifix.co.uk

Bookshelf Speakers Tannoy REVOLUTION DC6 | hifix.co.uk

Would get my vote. If your sitting fairly close you're not going to need massive volume so I'd stick with your current amp for now and look at upgrading in the future if required.
 

matttan90

Novice Member
I've heard good active and very good passive speaker systems. Active can buy you better performance for a price because you're buying an integrated package. However, you pay a price in terms of subsequent flexibility and upgrade routes.

You might also want to check what quality you're using for ripping CDs. Many packages appear to assume you want maximum storage rather than preserving quality.

Yup! Active speakers are speakers with their amplifiers integrated within right? I am not looking to head that direction because I would like the flexibility to upgrade subsequently!


Hello mate.

I'd try to work with what you've got.

I've been in a bit of a similar situation in that I wanted to listen to music at my PC in high quality. I spent just over a grand on a headphone set up which sounded very nice indeed but just didn't do it for me in the end. Its a different kind of listening to a set of normal speakers.

The problem you may have is...

How close will you be to your speakers?

For now I'd buy this DAC...

FiiO D3 192KHz/24 Bit Digital To Analog Converter: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

I'm using one with a set of £2k active speakers and it works perfectly. I could get better and will eventually but with a tightish budget it will be fine.

Download something like JRiver 19 and rip your CD's to WAV quality which should give you CD quality play back. If this is your source you can then sell your CD player and maybe buy a 1TB hard drive for music if storage is an issue?


Hey, I would be about 3m away from the speakers! I actually tried some 200 pounds headphones with a beresford DAC i just got, and I've decided I'll be going back towards speakers..

Yup I am using the mac equivalent of ripping cds I guess. (XLD > iTunes +bitperfect)






Hey guys,

Thanks so much for your opinions! I appreciate them very much. As it seems, I have sold my whole system, and I've got a Beresford Bushmaster (with PSU upgrade) quite cheap. Tried them on with a Sennheiser Momentum headphones and thats alright for now.

My Macbook set up is :
- rip CD using XLD with accuraterip into apple lossless
- playback through iTunes + bitperfect
- mini toslink - toslink into DAC (i could improve using a usb > SPDIF converter, but would cost more)


Also, it seems my budget has been increased! I've got a 2004 naim pre/power combo (NAC 112 / NAP 150) quite cheap as well. I am now looking for : speakers / speaker cable / analogue interconnects. System :

DAC : Beresford bushmaster
Analogue interconnect : ??
Preamp : NAC 112
Poweramp : NAP 150
Speaker cables : ??
Speakers : ??

I am looking to get some old speakers to work with my naims, preferably something secondhand for about 300-400 pounds. Would also look into new, but its hard to believe that anything new, would beat something secondhand for the same price range... At the moment, I am looking at some Dynaudio 2/6. Please do give me your recommendations!
 

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