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How good are your high-end systems ?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by TheSeer, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. TheSeer

    TheSeer
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    Hello all,

    For several months now I have been trying to put together (on paper) a reasonably high-end hi-fi system which would also serve as a Home Cinema system prior to arranging auditions of chosen components. The primary requirement would be music, NOT movies but at the same time I would want a pretty good standard of Home Cinema.

    I am going to have to put the system together in a series of steps (eg speakers first, then amp, then front-end). There is no firm budget, but the eventual spend I had in mind was something like £10 - £12k (not including the visual side of things such as plasma screen etc), assuming I can pluck up the courage to spend that kind of money.

    But, before I go ahead and start seriously auditioning components, I have one question for all the posters/visitors to these boards who have high-end systems:

    Does your system deliver constant & reliable emotional satisfaction? By which I mean does your system 'connect' with you at an emotional level whenever you play it?

    If I'm going to spend £10K on a hi-fi system, then I sure as hell want it to 'connect' with me on an emotional level whenever I listen to it. If it doesn't then I might as well spend my money on something else. My current system is a hotch-potch of separates put together over a number of years and sometimes it sounds brilliant and at other times it sounds plodding. I don't want to have spent £10k and still be in the same position. For that sort of money, I want a system that alters my mood and takes me places.

    So, if you have a high-end system, then I would be very interested in hearing whether you think it delivers the goods or not. I'd like to avoid a very expensive mistake.:rolleyes:
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    That sort of money should buy you a very great deal of satisfaction,if you spend it carefully enough.
    As you no doubt know,at that sort of price level,there's an enormous choice of equipment available,a lot of it very capable indeed,and some more involving than others.

    I'm not sure what would be described as truly high-end,but in terms of the budget you have,mine would be reasonably comparable.

    CD input...Linn CD player used as a transport
    Dac/Upsampler...Perpetual Technologies P1A/P3A
    AV processor....Tag AV32R
    Amps....Krell KMA 100 monoblocs
    Speakers....B&W Nautilus 805
    Cables...Kimber interconnects,speaker cables and mains leads.
    UVEM HCPC

    With good material,it really does work very well,and the Krells give the kind of bottom end control and grunt that very few other amps can,and is one of the reasons I've kept them and not moved to any more modern amps....the only amps I'd change them for right now are also classed as almost vintage,and would be the Levinson 20.5s.
    It can produce a really decent musical result,especially when the TAG is bypassed and an Audio Synthesis passive preamp is used instead....but so much depends on what you put in,in terms of software....bad recordings of any kind will sound bad.

    Of course,like all of us,given sufficient funds,I'd ony go and buy more,and better,but it would cost a lot more to find something which suits me and would perform much better.

    If you're interested in music and av,in that order,it would be worth looking at a Meridian system,in terms of performance,connectivity,matching and upgradeability,if you want one manufacturer.

    Also worth considering are Krell,Tag,and ATC,plus speakers from some of the above,and also the Wilson benesch range.

    I'm sure that many others will have opinions to offer as well,but certainly to my ears,a lot of the AV oriented speakers like M&K for instance,don't sound as good on pure music as AV.

    My system is just that.....my choices over many years,and does what I require of it.....with your budget you have to get out and listen to as many systems as possible,get an idea of the sound you like,and then shortlist quite a few items and get them back home to listen in your own house before buying.

    Hope that's of some help!
     
  3. GaryG

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    The drawback to a high-end system is that it is very revealing, well mastered and produced disks sound fantastic, unfortunately, well mastered and produced disks are the exception rather than the rule. A lot of the current stuff sounds awful.

    Looking at the order in which you intend to upgrade I would suggest you go for the 'source' first rather than the speakers. If the source isn't retreiving it, then the speakers can't reproduce it.

    There are a lot of good CD players available on the free ads section of hififorsale.com http://www.adverts.hififorsale.com/home.asp

    You might want to audition the Meridian 602 transport with a good DAC, there's not much on the market that can beat it as a transport.
    http://www.geocities.com/shianjer/Meridian_602_606.html

    A good DAC would be the Audio Synthesis DAX Decade. The advantage to this DAC is that it has a digital volume control eliminating the need for a pre-amp and allowing a cleaner signal path.
    http://www.audiosynthesis.co.uk/dax_decade.htm

    I agree with Alexs2, Krell monoblocs for the main stereo pair are the business but are not cheap, however, here's a good alternative for a lot less money.

    http://www.williamshart.com/jlhampli.htm

    If you contact Shaun Williams he will let you borrow one for a home demo for the cost of the postage.

    With regard to speakers, the SEAS Millenium tweeters and mid-range units rank amongst the best in the world, commercial offerings will put a big dent in your budget but if you go to lesser know manufacturers you can get something at a reasonable price.

    http://www.williamshart.com/speaker.htm
    http://www.bamberglab.com/products.htm
     
  4. TheSeer

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    Hello Alexs2

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply. I absolutely take your point about the need for home auditioning.

    Would you say that your system consistently delivers the musical goods? Or does it depend on your mood when you are listening?

    I firmly believe that music is fundamentally encoded into the human psyche and that it can be a superb form of therapy and relaxation. I'd like to know whether a high-end system can provide that kind of relaxation 'on-tap'?
     
  5. zoolander

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    Getting your dream hifi system together is a very lenghty (but enjoyable)process,many enthusiasts go through many years of tweaking and upgrading/equipment changing to achiece results that they are truly happy with.This is true with sysytems from £300-£100k.The amount of complexity and factors that affect sound is enormous.Even at a 10k budget,getting kit that doesnt work well together will result in bad sound.Depends waht music you like,if its commercial rock and op etc then you might as well get a £2000 system as the true high end 1 will simply reveal its recording faults and incompetence.Theres no easy way to get the perfect system at any cost so best thing to do is to write up a little shortlist-use magazines and forum posts as a rough guideline,and at £10k im sure any dealer would off you a very thorough home demo of the kit u decide to dem. If i had 10k to spend,1st cd player on my shortlist would be the (£3999)Wadia 302 cd player which can act as a pre amp to with its digital volume control,£3975)Gamut D200mkIII which is regarded as 1 of the best power amps regardless of price and speakers wise either the PMC OB1s or B&W 703 both at around £2000.I think about £2000 on Inteconnects,speaker cable,power cord isolation platforms and a nice rack would be in order.Of course there are tons of gear to choose from at this price so go out and take a look for yourself!


    zoolander:D wish i had 10k to blow on hifi:eek:
     
  6. ncpl

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    I run a Meridian digital theatre and don't see a distinction between movie and music. Ok, I realise that it is a one-brand setup, but, I do not have to worry about combining X with Y brand and cables etc.

    Probably "emotional satisfaction" is actually what I would describe as the most common reaction for me (still) and any passing listener (including the wife).

    I would suggest a good look at the current 5xx range that need moving from the dealers to make way for the G series. 598/568.2 will be had for very good deals as long as you're quick.

    Anyhow, worth a demo at least along with plenty of other gear mentioned above.

    Rgds

    Nick
     
  7. alexs2

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    A pleasure....I'd say that my system pretty consistently does deliver,but requires a decent warm-up time before the Krells are up to temperature and sounding at their best...until then it can sound a bit flat and lifeless.

    I think that system synergy is very important,and one reason why I suggested taking a listen to a full Meridian system,as the route to my current setup has included a few wrong turns,and changes after moving house.....my last system was stereo only,and consisted of triamped active Linn Keltiks with Krell amps,and this worked superbly well in my last house....in the current 250yr old house with timber framed walls etc,they just could not be tuned into the room properly and eventually had to go.

    I'd also suggest that overall balance in any system is very important,and sinking a very large proportion of the budget(in the case of the Wadia suggested by zoolander it would be 40%)into any single item can result in running short in other areas such as the speakers suggested.

    The best system I've heard for involvement and the ability to convey the feeling of music was stereo only,and consisted of a Levinson transport and DAC,with Levinson 20.5 amps(still fetching around £4.5K now for the amps alone)and Wilson System 5 speakers.....a bit overbudget and stereo only,but lovely sound.
     
  8. karkus30

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    High end systems are a bit subjective and there is a law of diminishing returns. My system evolved over a period of 3/4 years, I have not changed a thing for around 3 years and just enjoy the music without the added complications of worrying about the sound quality.

    My experience has taught me a lot :

    Long home demos are essential 2-3 weeks minimum, this allows time to warm up amps, run in speakers and mess around with speaker positioning.

    If you can, find a good second hand dealer that knows his stuff. Buying quality used equipment reduces depreciation considerably and means that you can trade it back to the dealer for a tiny loss and pick up another bargain.

    To put this in perspective my entire system cost around £2.5K, the actual cost would have been nearer twice that much.

    Although all the components in a system have an effect, by far the greatest effect comes from the speakers. The main problem is the reaction between them and the room they operate in. If you can get a decent sound sorted out using an average priced amp and cd player, then it becomes easier to improve the sound by upgrading. High priced speakers dont guarantee great room interaction.

    To illustrate this point further a brief story is necessary.

    After moving to our new house I found the system to be short of bass and very shrill. As I had changed the amp to a top of the range Yamaha Surround amp (£1300.....ching ), I wondered if this was the amp at fault, so off I went to a well respected shop with my old speakers in hand, eventually buying a Naim Nait 3 (£600..ching.......ching).

    Plugged it in, no better (infact mildly worse :confused: ). Thats when I deduced it was down to the speakers, so off I went to the local Hi Fi shop, who duly arrived with the latest and greatest (5 star reviews etc) and proceded to do a home dem.

    Guess what ? still sounded poor infact the sales guy insisted I would need monster speakers (around £5 to £10K :nono:), not sure what to do next and being pretty certain I didnt have that much dosh in the bank, I decided I would go back to my original plan and get another amp.

    There was a local secondhand hi fi shop in town so I decided to sell the Yamaha amp to the dealer and go out and buy something else.

    This secondhand dealer started asking questions and quickly came to the conclusion that it wasnt the amp, but the speakers. He happened to have a pair of small bookshelf speakers in stock that he recommended I try.

    I was very sceptical, as they were tiny in comparison to the dem speakers, but as he offered them on a long term trial, nothing was lost.

    These speakers cost me £325.00, they suited the room perfectly and worked with any amplifier, but reflecting a change as the quality of the source and amplification improved.

    There is no such thing as a perfect system, I have heard £40-50K systems sounding terrible. I have heard astounding things from high end £40K monoblocks put through £100 tandy speakers. Then there was a cheap 5 year old argos music centre which sounded amazing with an old pair of Wharefdale diamonds instead of the OEM speakers, but wouldnt work with any other hi fi speakers. Linn turntables that were ten years old and covered in mildew, leaving the latest model for dead.

    They are your ears, your room, your music and your money. Take it one step at a time and make sure the sound is exactly what you want. Ignore all the sales spiel, press reviews and other peoples comments and just listen.

    How will you know its right, very difficult, but you will know, its when all you want to do is dig out album after album even stuff you hate. You arent listening for the hi fi ness of the sound anymore, just revelling in the music. If the sytem doesnt make you want to do that, move on and do that as many times as necessary.

    Good luck.
     
  9. NicolasB

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    No. :(

    I think it is perfectly possible to have a satisfying system, actually, but you need to bear in mind three things.

    1) There are an awful lot of bad recordings out there. And no system presently available can make a bad recording sound good.

    2) Different people find different levels of quality satisfying. What's perfectly satisfactory to one person may be unbearable to another. If you're unlucky enough to have a very discerning ear/brain system, then satisfying yourself will be expensive.

    3) Don't make the mistake of supposing that you can spend all of your budget on actual audio devices. Surprisingly early you reach the point where the acoustics of the listening room make more difference to the quality of the sound than the components do.

    Getting a high-end system working well requires an enormous amount of time and effort and a lot of money spent on things besides the actual system. You need to spend a long time auditioning, positioning equipment, rearranging the furniture, negotiating with your wife about how much space things can take up, engaging in large-scale DIY projects, installing acoustic treatments, and so on. It's not a purchase so much as a lifestyle choice.

    Sure, it doesn't have to be - but if it isn't, a high end system will never be satisfying.
     
  10. lovegroova

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    Just to point out the most important thing here, it is the music you are listening to that is emotionally involving, not the system. A badly recorded piece of great music that you love will always touch your emotions more than an amazingly well recorded piece of music you find dull.

    Having said that, yes, I love listening to music and watching movies on my system, the audio part of which cost about £10k and with 2nd hand purchases could be had for a bit less than that. See below for details.
     
  11. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    In "high end" terms at a paltry 4k, I'm at the bottom of the pile here. However I would say that my system consistently engagages me on an emotional level BUT I would not say that it is giving me a flawless and accurate reproduction of what is going on. My Audio Note CD2 has a signal trace that looks like an earthquake and is by no means the most accurate player I've heard (or owned for that matter) but it manages to sound special in a way that the other players I've owned (Alpha 9, 8000CD, CD3.5) have not. Coupled with a Marantz PM8200 (doing tempory service as a pre-amp) and 4x MF A50's it never fails to make me smile.
    Looks bloody horrible though.
     
  12. Dimmy

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    Very interesting thread :D
     
  13. TheSeer

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    NicolasB wrote:

    Getting a high-end system working well requires an enormous amount of time and effort and a lot of money spent on things besides the actual system. You need to spend a long time auditioning, positioning equipment, rearranging the furniture, negotiating with your wife about how much space things can take up, engaging in large-scale DIY projects, installing acoustic treatments, and so on. It's not a purchase so much as a lifestyle choice.

    Very interesting comment, NicolasB. Would you care to go into the 'large-scale DIY projetcs' a bit more. Have you done any of this for yourself?

    Sure, it doesn't have to be - but if it isn't, a high end system will never be satisfying.

    I'm not sure I understand this? Do you mean something along the lines of 'its a journey, not a destination' type of thing?

    Or is it a case of once you have got to certain level of quality then you can't remain there, but that you have to keep improving the quality to maintain the satisfaction?:confused:

    Actually, if thats the case then it means that this hi-fi lark is a bottomless pit into which you just carry on throwing money.:eek:

    I'm always wary of open-ended commitments, its the accountant in me:rolleyes:

    I had imagined spending £10k and then remaining happy with the result for quite a few years. Obviously, thats not your experience?
     
  14. TheSeer

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    Tons of fun wrote:

    However I would say that my system consistently engagages me on an emotional level BUT I would not say that it is giving me a flawless and accurate reproduction of what is going on.

    Yes, I do appreciate this. I know that something doesn't have to be faithful to the original in order to be satisfying & engrossing. A bit like a movie studio taking artistic licence in order to make a factual film more interesting....

    Ideally, though, you would want your system to be faithful & satisfying. No? However, I expect it is necessary to spend tens of thousands to be in that position.:(

    Rgds
     
  15. lovegroova

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    I think you want your system to sound good to you. That is what is important. If you are like Nic, then you are very hard to please, if like me, a little easier. I think my system sounds great, and whilst I know there are things I could do to improve it, I am more than happy with the sound reproduction.

    I know that to gain significant improvements in quality would cost more than I can afford at the moment. When I had a £100 system, I loved listening to my music on that. I then moved to a £1k system and I loved listening to my music on that, now I have had the time and the means to spend £10k on the system I love listening to music on that. I's love to be able to spend £100k but I probably won't ever be in a position to do that.

    I am getting to the point where I find it very difficult to tell the difference that 'upgrades' make, so I guess you could say I've reached my threshold.

    However, in time I guess I will upgrade my TAG to a dual processor version and perhaps get some more power amplification BUT at the moment I can't afford to do it and so am more than hapy to enjoy my music on my system. Remember to listen to the music and not the hifi - that is what is important.
     
  16. Ed Selley

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    I think with many owners, the answer is often "no" oddly enough. For every Alexs2 who has an impressive inventory of pretty neutral equipment, there is a guy like my Dad who has an 8K Naim rig (Not in any way neutral but good fun nonetheless). Audio Note also has a cult following, and some staggeringly expensive product that puts its own spin on things. If you're spending that much, the ideal must surely be in part a system you enjoy- if that isn't the last word in neutrality, then so be it.
     
  17. alexs2

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    Absolutely right....as I said earlier,it all comes down to what sounds right to your own ears,irrespective of reviews,advice or anything else.

    If objective reviews had anything much to do with it,no-one would ever find SET systems such as Audio Note amps as enjoyable as they are.

    The gear I have was arrived at over several years of collecting and changing,before finding something that suited what I wanted.
     
  18. NicolasB

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    Sadly not. I am unfortunately really rather ill in several different ways which are very unlikely to go away. Between them they've reduced me to the point where even something as simple as preparing a meal represents a level of physical and psychological effort that is quite beyond my abilities. Embarking on a major redecorating and furniture-building campaign is absolutely unthinkable. :(

    But if you'd like more info, check out the DIY forum for starters.


    "Upgradeitis" is certainly an occupational hazard. There's always something better than what you've got. (Unless you're prepared to spend a couple of hundred thousand pounds on a system!) But actually I didn't mean any of those things. :)

    The point I am trying to stress is that, in terms of the quality of sound that the system produces you quite rapidly reach a point where the quality of the equipment is actually less significant than other factors.

    If you want a system to actually sound good, then the choice of the components is only the first step.

    The rest of it begins with simply configuring settings in devices. Even that can be quite an expedition if you don't know what you're doing. But there's so much more practical stuff to worry about: making sure that each power amplifier has its own mains socket (into which nothing else is plugged); making sure that mains cables don't run parallel to (and close to) speaker cables; carefully adjusting the position and angle of all the speakers so that they excite the minimum level of in-room standing waves; all sorts of other things.

    Beyond that there are many issues to do with the acoustics of the room: damping down direct reflections, bass traps to spoil standing waves, perhaps even souind-proofing so that you don't bother the neighbours (or they don't bother you).

    What many people fail to appreciate is that the way a system is set up, and (particularly) the acoustics of the listening room has MORE influence on sound quality than the choice of components, and that you are unlikely to be satisfied by the sound of any high-end system unless the set up and the acoustics, etc. are actually correct.

    All this lot represents an awful lot of time and money.
     
  19. lovegroova

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    Nic has made some good points here and here are some more of my thoughts.

    My system is in my living room, and I want it to remain my living room so I am not prepared to spend time adding acoustic panels, moving furniture and so on just for the sake of the system. In a similar way I do not want to have a centre rear speaker so I intend to stick with a 5.1 system.

    However, I have the option of doing the 'room treatment' electronically via TAGs TMREQ system should I upgrade my AV32R. This, by all accounts, makes a great difference to the sound, and at about £1,500 is within the bounds of possibility. it also meets my criteria for not having things like bass tubes and acoustic panels and so on, littered about my living space.

    However, if I had a dedicated room for my system, where aesthetics took a firm 2nd place to the quality of the sound, then I would consider room treatments that helped both sound and vision.

    It is about setting parameters financially, aesthetically and sound quality-wise.

    It is a little like cars in some ways. I have a Honda Civic Type-R, which is a bit of a stripped down road racer that is very fast but lacks refinement and comforts like climate/traction control that you would get in, say a VW. It is all about uncompromising performance - rather like a NicB sound system.

    Now, if I had spent the same amount of money on a VW, the performance of the car would be less but it would have all the creature comforts and would be more user friendly.

    Both cars would get you from A to B, which is their purpose, but do it in very different ways.
     
  20. Dimmy

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    I certainately agree with NicholasB on this too.

    My equipment is nowhere near 'High End', but it's already gotten to the point at which my room's interaction with my speakers is beginning to induce limitations on the effectiveness of upgrades and system altering.

    The phrase, "Your system only sounds as good as your listening room" springs to mind. If the acoustics are wrong, forget about spending huge amounts on Hi-Fi until you've sorted your room out.

    Of course if the room's right, then it's more than worthwhile :).
     
  21. TheSeer

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    Hello again and many thanks for all the people who have responded.

    A number of posters have pointed out that second-hand gear represents very good value for money, and obviously it avoids the big depreciation hit on new gear.

    However, what is people's experience with the performance & reliability of second-hand stuff? I can see the point of buying second-hand amplifiers / pre-amps / processors / tuners as these are electronic devices which ought not to degrade with age. But I would certainly have thought that the performance/ reliability of CD players / Speakers does degrade with age as these are largely mechanical devices and tolerances etc are bound to loosen with time with a corresponding decrease in performance & reliability. Do people find this to be the case?

    In pondering my purchases, what I am finding is that the potential amount of money involved is also bringing one other factor to the fore: The reliability of the kit. I don't want to spend 3K on a CD player to find that it fails in a big way six months after a 2 yr warranty runs out :mad:.

    Because of this I am finding myself drawn more to the likes of Bryston (20 yr warranty) and B&W nautilus (10yr warranty......?). Does anyone know of other brands that provide longer warranties (5yr minimum)? I find my attitude to this slightly sad as what I should really be doing is short-listing kit on grounds of sonic performance and NOT reliability. But I think what I am sub-consciously doing is trying to find ways to protect my investment :blush:.

    Anybody else out there who has shortlisted high-endish gear based partly on the reliability & after sales support? I'd be very glad to share experiences.
     
  22. 3wrLcs

    3wrLcs
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    By far the most important factor is to find a good specialist dealer. Check several and see who you feel comfortable with and go from there. I'm not sure about companies who offer long warranties but I have had dealings with Naim service department and found them excellent. I've ran a 9 year old CD player, 12 year old pre-amp and 8 year old power amp from Naim without any reliability issues. As those components can be serviced for around £250 to bring back to near new and Naim can offer a good long term prospect.

    Brendan
     
  23. ditton15

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    I went this way, via meander along the upgrade path - thanks Gary, I'm enjoying the music - its never sounded better.

    And that's the point, it depends on what matters most. If its music, then get the best stereo and add on the AV capability. If its home cinema, then go for that - though I warn you that you might start listening to that music more than you suspect ...
     
  24. ditton15

    ditton15
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    I admit that I have crept into the hi-end, but I can honestly say that buying second-hand only gave me one problem - and that sorted its self out with only minor headache. Its gratifying that the hifi/av folk on the Net are straight-up.

    Because I meandered, trying to find where the 'ear/£' plateau (where my failling facility cant notice the increase in quality - and hence price), I have collected some second-hand 'trophies' on the way. You may not be interested in the Arcam CD72 - even though it could be upgraded internally, dac-wise - and so that seems destined to go to daughter. Its possible that you might like the Meridian 200/203 combo, for its transport. And I may yet, if I can secure that Transcend, have the very Meridian 602/606 combo referred to above. Mind you, I've just been gifted a classic Sugden A48 amp. And, yes, you're right, this is turning into a hobby ...
     
  25. ditton15

    ditton15
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    forget sad, seek happiness ...

    now that seems a prompt for the telling of the sad Tag story ...

    although I have been impressed by the attitude and actions of the pre/after-sales staff at AudioSynthesis, Arcam and Meridian. So maybe show them the colour of your money ...
     
  26. TheSeer

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    now that seems a prompt for the telling of the sad Tag story ...

    I must admit that due to the recent scares at Tag, I am not really considering any Tag gear. I consider it too big a risk to spend £000's on Tag gear with the possibility that the company might get out of the business altogether.

    I appreciate that this denies me some top-notch gear but that is something I am willing to put up with.
     
  27. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    B&W speakers are guaranteed for five years, but the guarantee is not transferrable, so anything of theirs that you buy second hand has no guarantee at all as soon as it leaves its original owner.

    Speakers can last a long time, actually. The point where many speakers start to sound just perceptibly not quite as good as they did six months after you bought them is probably somewhere around the 7 year mark (depending quite strongly on the level of usage) but they willl carry on sounding pretty good for much longer than that - decades, sometimes.
     
  28. dunkyboy

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    Most of the best companies have good warranties (my own favourites, Meridian and ATC, both offer 6 year warranties), though perhaps not as excellent as Bryston's (which is legendary :) ). If you buy from a reputable company such as the above you can be pretty much guaranteed that you will have support for your investment for many years to come.

    Indeed, companies like Naim and Quad are known to service and repair equipment of theirs from 30+ years back for not much cost, and make them practically good as new.

    Dunc
     
  29. ddlooping

    ddlooping
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    Hi all. :)
    TheSeer, if you don't mind a couple of questions from a newbie:
    - What is your current equipment?
    - Is the "enjoyment" of your system dependent on what you listen to, or can the same CD (?) sound great one day and c**p the other?
     
  30. TheSeer

    TheSeer
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    Hello ddlooping,

    My current gear really is a mish-mash of stuff I've put together over the years without any real planning:

    Rega ELA speakers (11yrs old)
    NAD C370 Amplifier
    Sony stereo SACD player brought at a knock-down price.
    Musical Fidelity X-24K DAC for listening to cd's.

    As you can see, no planning there and nothing esoteric.

    Yes, I do find that the same cd can sound good one day and crap on another day. But I'm not sure whether its the sytem that is the variable or whether its my own mood that increases / decreases my enjoyment. You know, a good day at work (maybe a promotion) and your favourite upbeat cd sounds brilliant. Or, bad day at work and your favourite slow cd feels poignant and hits the right note of melancholy...?
     

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