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How far do you take it?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by mobily, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. mobily

    mobily
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    Hey all,

    After reading various threads on here and magazines it is clear that seperates are the best place to go but how far do you take it? For example I have a budget of about £400 for a stereo seperates system and I thought a CDP, amp and speakers would suffice. Now I read about pre and power amps and DACs!

    How far is it necessary to go before the difference isn't noticeable to the human ear?

    Can you split the components down even further than I have suggested above?

    I would be interested to hear peoples opinions. :thumbsup:
     
  2. OldSkoO1

    OldSkoO1
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    Wow, this is a question i dont think anyone can answer!

    But i'll let you know my thoughts. You start off pretty much in the dark, knowing next to nothing but wanting a new hi-fi. You know you want something good but you haven't got a clue how to approach it. All this matching equipment, cds with amps and the same deal with speakers. You naturally want the best money can buy within your budget.

    I've just spent quite a bit on a Cyrus 8vs amp / cd8x cd player and b&w 705 speakers plus chord cabling; i wanted something like this that could give me a netural listening experience thats upgradable and towards top quality for years and years to come. I only did this last weekend, before i only bought mini systems of what i thought were good quality. I demo-ed different speakers and cabling and bought what sounded best to me. Now, 1 week on i'm questioning my choice on speakers! People seem to say the 705's are too bright and prefer other speakers. Now i wouldn't have a clue because i haven't had that much experience on hearing the differences. All's i know is i tried 2 dyanudio sets and the 705's sounded clearer and more punchy but with a little less bass. (Thats a seperate story).

    I find its incredibly easy to get sucked into what is good and what is bad and what you could of bought. Thats the real killer! In some ways forums and other peoples oppinions are damaging. Basically because everybody listens to different music and has their own idea of what it should sound like / or what sounds good to them.

    Equipment does make a difference, in some cases a big difference. You could go on and on and on buying additions like DAC's / Pre-amps, better cd players etc etc. Overall its about what sounds good to you, not what adding this and that may do to improve the sound.
    I bought this kit to emerse myself into music to relax and to know that i could extract detail in quality pieces of music that i've never heard before, essentially enjoying it much more. And with this kit i definatly can, some of my cd's sound immensily good and i'm overjoyed with my purchase but i can't help but think i could of got better speakers, or whether i've missed out on something or that my speakers are too bright for my amp / cd etc. My kit really reveals bad cd's too and thats not what i was expecting.
    Instead i'm finding myself becoming more concerned about whether i should of got different speakers or they should be pulled away from the wall more etc etc.

    So to sum up my experience, do demo some different combinations. Start out with recommendations from magazines, which is what i did as i knew nothing about good sounding equipment. Take it from there, definatly try different bits of kit and speakers too. Choose the sound that makes you the most happy. And if you find a lot of people disagree with your speaker choice, just remind yourself that, thats what sounded best to you when you demo-ed it, regardless of whether another speaker could technically give a better sound. Who knows, in 5 years time your hearing may tell you a different story and its time to put those speakers on ebay and upgrade.

    Or at least thats what i try to convince myself :)

    GL
     
  3. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    I think I can answer the question for me personally the best sounding hifi kit I ever heard has a maximum price of £2000-3000 per component, ie a system costing roughly between £5000-9000 is as good as my ears get. Ive heard plenty of systems costing 5 to 10 times that cost and always been unimpressed compared to what you can get for a fraction of the cost. So for me Im heading towards the £6000 figure (all bought ex-dem & second hand for a fraction of the price) does me just fine, its as good as my ears can appreciate.
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
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    By far the most enjoyable system I've heard recently amounted to over £40k's worth of stereo only,and it was truly superb in all respects.
    I'm not implying that my ears are any better than yours CJ,but when I left,the most lingering feeling was knowing that I dont,and wont have that sort of spare change lying around.
     
  5. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Alex no worries dude, your ears probably are better than mine, but everyone must have a cut-off at some point, Im pretty sure many people would scoff at a hifi system costing £9000 never mind £40,000. Just that in my experience that as good as I can hear when it comes to overall cost. YMMV and power to you if it does. FWIW that £9K system was a Sugden Masterclass/Proac effort, closely followed by a £6K Copeland/SF Auditor system, with my current system (which Im very very happy with) bringing up the rear in third place. I just cant get worked up about hifi above that mark TBH bro.

    Saying that though I get as much enjoyment from the £350 second system as I do from the £6000 main one.
     
  6. Londondecca

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    Most of the £10,000 plus systems I have heard tend to sound dreadful. I think this is not due to reaching the limits of human hearing but designers seem to be intent on showing off their skills by adding lots of esoteric features which mostly seem to detract from the sound quality. This is not to say expensive systems all sound awful but to many do seem to be trophy systems to show off to their friends.

    I guess you have reached the limit of HiFi-human hearing when you can clearly identify a Stradivari from a Guarneri del Gesu or if they have changed the strings during the recording sessions.
     
  7. OldSkoO1

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    You also have to factor in practicality. You can get a lot of these very expensive systems but are we talking putting this in your living room / bedroom / study? Do you have sound proofing, do you have kids or thin walls and next door neighbours.

    You could drop a whole shed load of money on a cracking system that you probably couldn't open up all that often so i think practicality also plays a big part :)
     
  8. Knightshade

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    This is a problem. You've still got the 'It costs thousands so it must be good' mentality out there. Harrods is a classic example. I've never heard LINN systems sound so S***E in all my life! At the time I think it was about £80,000 of fully active Hi Fi. It was set up so badly that it couldn't have been accidental. And people were buying it!:rolleyes:
    One of the most exciting and fun systems I've heard for a long time came in at about £4500. For info: Rega Jupiter, Cursa and 4 Exon Power amps on PMC FB1. It had a very nice raw sound to it. Far outclassed the £15,000 Chord system in the next room....
    Have to say though I was very happy with my old system.....:(
     
  9. alexs2

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    I hear you there....my stereo system includes a pair of Quad ESLs which cost about £400,and in many ways,they can still give speakers costing several thousands a good run,with the right source and amps....it's the overall sound,and not the cost(although I still know that a pair of Viva 845s would sound beautiful with the Quads!).
     
  10. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
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    Some years back I went to dem some speakers at the importers, after the session we went into his own studio, he also designs his own range of speakers. He was particularly interested in hearing my Telarc Omni Disc (LP) through his latest set of speakers. This disc comes with a warning to play at low levels and gradually increase the volume so as to avoid speaker damage. During the peak transients the sound pressure levels were enough to blur the vision, but the overall sound was glorious, clean and spectacular - loads of gain & no pain. It turned out the amps were not even at half way. Can't remember too much about the system - Simon York turntable, the CAT preamp, the power amps made the Krell mono-blocks next to them look tiny. I was probably sitting about 30 feet from the speakers, half way down the room. For me since that day the dream has been to build my listening room in the garden, should I ever get a house with grounds large enough - expect, I'll have to call it a granny annex to get planning permission though :rolleyes:
     
  11. Triggaaar

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    :rotfl:

    I know you guys were answering this question
    but it seems you've forgotten the main point:
    It is generally better to have a seperate source and amp, and speakers of your choice, rather than a package. This is partly because most manufacturers are better at making one component than they are at another. Also, within each cattegory, some units are better than others, so with seperates, you get to choose all the good bits - and you can also taylor the sound to your likes. Sometimes a good all in one does crop up - eg Linn make good all in 1 systems.

    That's about it - Transport, DAC, Pre Amp, Power Amp, Speaker.

    An integrated amp will definitely be best for your budget. Whether you get a CD player, or transport & DAC depends partly on whether you'd consider 2nd hand, and also whether you'll have a DVD player near by. If you use a DVD player in the same place, I'd recomment a 2nd hand DAC, which will sound better than a CD player of the same value. If not, I'd still consider 2nd hand CD player + DAC, for not much £ - eg, total budget £400, player £20, DAC £80, speakers and amp splitting the rest.
     
  12. akhc

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    I wouldn't bother about splitting any of the components. Just go with CD player/Int Amp/Speakers. Buy 2nd hand as you'll get much better value for your money. Go and demo equipment at your local hifi shop. Get an idea of what kind of sound u want and take it from there.

    As to how far you go before before it's not worth spending additional money? Well that's a personal judgement. It depends on your ears and also your wallet. The law of diminishing return kicks in for me somewhere at about £x000 per component in my system. That's based on financial reasons mostly. If I can afford more in the future, then most likely I will spend more as I've heard some speakers that cost £10000 that I'd love to have :).
     

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