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Like the arcam sound (warm) what other amps and speakers sould I audition?

1ntense

Established Member
Im rather confused about alot of the terminology that is used when describing sound and hifi..

I hear the term warm being used alot when talking about the arcam sound, I have demod the arcam 170, cd 73 (i think, might have been the 192) with quad 12Ls, monitor audio rs1s, br5s and rs6s. I liked the sound from most of these speakers but would say I prefered the arcam gear along with the quads best. I only heard one song with the quads tho and have heard theyre not suited to dance and music with alot of bass.

I have also demod the audiolab 8000s with the arcam cd73 or 192 (again not sure) with the new b&w 600 range, the 686s and 685s. I also heard these with a rotel ra-04 and while i did like the sound, I didnt think it was as good to my ears as the arcam gear with the quads or monitor audios.

From what I understand the arcam sound is warm, while the audiolab sound is supposed to be clinical and neutral, transparent maybe? As in it doesnt really colour the sound much.

I think this means that it makes the sound on the cd come out the other end the way its supposed to sound whereas the arcam stuff colours it with warmth?

If this is the case are the b&ws also neutral sounding? The audiolab and the rotel to me didnt excite me like the arcam did.

Just wondering what other speakers to audition with the arcam gear as I seem to like the warm sound.

Hope I havent confused you as much as I am about this.

What other speakers/amps would be classed as warm and what exactly does warm mean?

Thanks,

1ntense
 

iainsilvester

Established Member
I think you've pretty much summed it up well. You have to chose the kit that sounds good to you, but also bear in mind music is generally perceived differently to movie sound track.

Folks generally prefer warmer music and cooler movies. The latter is important to get the wider dynamics and fast transient response for impact that comes with sharper instrument/sound separation. What gives us the wow factor in movies is tiring for longer term music listening.

To a degree we have been aclimatised to warm music which is typical of lower/mid end equipment and has much to do with design constraints, particularly in speakers, where the bass blur often softens the edges of the sound. Don't get me wrong this is not a criticism but a fact of life and the result is not unpleasant.

Music wafeforms are immensely complex and tricky to reproduce. When the Audiolab 8000A first appeared in the early 80's it was the first integrated amp to perfectly amplify a square wave from a signal generator, ie no rounding of the edges. In the real world this means it could track very fast transients giving a sharp, clear but clinical or "cool" sound. In the same way higher end speakers are often referred to as cool, eg Quad electrostatics/B&W Nautilus because of their clarity and absence of base blur. It is difficult to argue that this is not how it should be, but it isn't that simple.

The bottom line is most real live accoustic music and real world sounds are not warm, but the dynamics and clarity that is impressive is also tiring simply because of the mass of info the brain has to deal with. For this reason a warmer sound is literally easier on the ear.
 

Nobber22

Prominent Member
I've heard Arcam go well with Acoustic Energy Aegis speakers - the new Neo set should be worth a demo.

Also reckon Totem speakers are warmer than those from MA and B&W, so these should suit you too.

Don't write off the Quads with dance/bassy music - they can rock with the best of them.

An amp like the NAD C352 is also of the smoother variety, so would be a good test against a mid-range Arcam. Ditto something from Creek or Rega.

Higher up the money tree, Primare amps and PMC speakers are a lovely neutral match - perhaps hinting towards the smoother sound you are after - without you losing out on any detail. Well worth a listen! :smashin:
 

nigeltant

Standard Member
I have the Arcam 192, Audiolab 8000 pre and power amps and B&W speakers and I think the combo is brilliant. I auditioned several CD players at the price, and it was the best, as well as being relatively conventional in looks and operation - you do have to live with these bits of kit!! The sound stage is impressively detailed and every instrument has it's own space and the sound is light and airy (it sounded even better at home than in the shop!!). You can listen all day and night without any fatigue - you just want to hear it play more and more! I have had this combo for 2 1/2 years and still love it. Everyone who hears it says it is the best they have heard....which is nice!
 

iainsilvester

Established Member
I have the Arcam 192, Audiolab 8000 pre and power amps and B&W speakers and I think the combo is brilliant. I auditioned several CD players at the price, and it was the best, as well as being relatively conventional in looks and operation - you do have to live with these bits of kit!! The sound stage is impressively detailed and every instrument has it's own space and the sound is light and airy (it sounded even better at home than in the shop!!). You can listen all day and night without any fatigue - you just want to hear it play more and more! I have had this combo for 2 1/2 years and still love it. Everyone who hears it says it is the best they have heard....which is nice!

Sounds like you are on the cool side to me :) I agree with you, if it's there I want to hear it too, and I hate crap bass.. But we are all different, as usual demo lots and suck it and see.
 

1ntense

Established Member
so a "warm" sound means blurry bass then?

Nigeltant - what B&Ws are you running?

A warm arcam amp with a neutral audiolab and neutral speakers would be a mixure of warm and neutral sound I would think?

Would I be right in assuming that studios would go for a neutral sound as from what I understand, an amp and speakers that replicate the actual sound from the cd are generally considered better and the more you pay the more the sound is the same as it is in the studio.

Doesnt mean to say that it is better to everyones ears tho.

So are B&Ws neutral then? (600 series)
 

iainsilvester

Established Member
so a "warm" sound means blurry bass then?

Nigeltant - what B&Ws are you running?

A warm arcam amp with a neutral audiolab and neutral speakers would be a mixure of warm and neutral sound I would think?

Would I be right in assuming that studios would go for a neutral sound as from what I understand, an amp and speakers that replicate the actual sound from the cd are generally considered better and the more you pay the more the sound is the same as it is in the studio.

Doesnt mean to say that it is better to everyones ears tho.

So are B&Ws neutral then? (600 series)

Bit over simplified re the bass. Some speakers and amps just have a more bassy tone, others are "brighter". Descriptions get a bit like describing a wine. There is no doubt large inexpensive cabinets can be prone to excessive warmth, particularly if they try to produce deep bass. Doesn't make it wrong though.

I think you're spot on re studio monitors, but again not to everyone's taste.
 

nigeltant

Standard Member
I am running B&W DM602.5 S3s (my listening position is about 3 metres and they are about the same apart). The Audiolabs are the 8000s Pre and 8000SX power amps. I think the overall sound is 'neutral'...but then I guess I would say that as I like it. The bass is certainly not 'blurry', but is tight and controlled.

We are getting into Pseud's Corner territory here, but I find it 'involving' - you listen to the music, not the Hi-Fi. It is certainly very revealing and really shows up good and bad discs - I really do think you hear what is there without any colouration. You really hear the difference between discs that have been well mastered and those that haven't.

BTW - the 192 is far better than the 72 (never heard the 73 though!), and is built in the UK to a much higher spec rather than in China like it's cheaper cousins (or so I was told by the salesman!). Warning on the Audiolabs though - I get the impression that the new builds are not as good as the old ones; I bought mine 4 years ago (the pre amp 2nd hand and the power amp new from ebay) when TAG Maclaren had taken over and dumped the brand - but can anyone else confirm this?
 

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