My first digital hifi setup - sanity check

Pasanda

Active Member
My first post in many years...

I finally have enough to afford a half decent hifi set up and am converting a spare bedroom into a games/music room. I have around £4k to spend before my wife starts contacting lawyers. I'm looking for advice on the general approach.

Music will be based around a source of purely server-based digital music - a mixture of high bitrate mp3's and FLAC files. These are all currently stored on my server, parked next to where the hifi will be, and I was assuming there is no reason for moving them off.

Having spent a few week scanning options, it seems my best approach is to use something like a dragonfly DAC (as good as i can afford, but most likely the Red or Black), plugged into the server, connected directly to an amp, which in turn will be connected directly to speakers. I haven't really started looking at either of those last two components, but am probably looking for floorstanders - something like the Monitor Audio Silver 300, just because i have the space and like the look. I don't use Apple stuff and i'm not looking to use a CD player (although i do still have a half decent 20YO marantz in the loft, nor a turntable.

Just for info, i have an old but half decent Cambridge Soundworks 5.1 system for PC gaming audio. I was not planning to merge the music audio and gaming audio together in this room, as the two requirements seem incompatible to me - but i'd be happy to be convinced otherwise.

I have budget of around £4k for the DAC, amp, speakers and connections. There is a Richer sounds very near me in Cardiff if that helps.

Whilst not specifically asking for recommendations on kit - I understand there are too many variables and personal preferences - at this point i was just looking to sanity-check the general approach to getting music from my server to my ears in the simplest and best quality way for the money, using the setup as outlined about. Using the computer as the music selection interface is a little clunky and sure some sort of portable interface, or remote control would be nice. But i can't see how that would work, and could always log onto my server from the couch, using teamviewer remote login.

Thanks in advance.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
The other option is to install some media management software on your server pc. I use plex but there are many available, and many are free.

You could then get an amplifier that has streaming options built in, or you could add an external streamer ( eg chromecast audio, but again many others available) then you use a smartphone or tablet as the remote. You would open the app, browse to the music then send it to the amp to play.
 

pixelpidgeon

Well-known Member

pixelpidgeon

Well-known Member
Yes a bargain option is Chromecast audio into a good DAC into your amplifier. The Chromecast is controlled via an app on an android phone/tablet and it is possible to play gapless with a little setting up.
 

pixelpidgeon

Well-known Member
You do have a decent budget so could get N all in one amp/ streamer like nail or bad have some new stuff out...
 

pixelpidgeon

Well-known Member
Nail = naim. Bad = nad. Bloomin auto type on phone commute to work. Excuse ;)
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
With your content available for digital streaming, the only thing that really makes sense is a Network Streaming Device. Yes, you can connect a computer directly to the Amp, but then how do you control it? Keyboard and Mouse? That is certainly an option.

I think if you get some type of Audio Server Software, PLEX has been mentioned but there are others, there might be an App that will allow you to control the system and music playback using a Smart Phone or other Smart Device.

However, a decent Audio Streaming Device only costs £500, and you should be able to work that into your budget. Though Streaming Units can run up to about £1500 -

Bluesound NODE-2 - £500 -

Bluesound NODE 2 Hi-Res Wireless Music Streamer

BLUESOUND - NODE 2

Cambridge Audio CXN Network Music Player - £700 -

RICHERS -Cambridge Audio CXN Network Music Player/Streamer

OPPO Sonica DAC/Streamer - £800 -


Peter Tyson - Oppo Sonica DAC

Cambridge Audio 851N Network Player - £1400 -

RICHERS - Cambridge 851N Network Music Player/Streamer

The Monitor Audio Silver 300 cost about £1250/pr so we deduct that from the budget leaving (£4000 - £1250) ... £2750 which is more than enough for a good amp and Input device.

Can we assume you are looking for a Stereo system.

If we subtract the middle ground for a Streaming Device, and pick the Cambridge CXN at £700, that then leaves £2050 which is massively more than enough for an amp.

Taking it to the extreme, you might consider the Cambridge 851A amp with 120w/ch. It does not have Digital Inputs, but the 851N Network Streamer/DAC does have multiple digital inputs, and the CXN Network Streamer also has external access to the internal DAC but with fewer connections.

RICHERS - Cambridge Audio 851A Stereo Amplifier

Cambridge Audio - Azur 851A Amp

Cambridge Audio - Azur 851N Network Player

The Cambridge 851A and 851N are a bit expensive, but they so fall within, or at least close, to your budget -

£1400/ea = Cambridge 851A Integrated Amp
£1400/ea = Cambridge 851N Network Streamer/DAC
£1250/pr = Monitor Audio Silver 300 Speakers
-------------------------------
£4050 = Total


If you want to trim back a bit, then move to the CXN Streamer -

£1400/ea = Cambridge 851A Integrated Amp
£_700/ea = Cambridge CXN Network Streamer/DAC
£1250/pr = Monitor Audio Silver 300 Speakers
-------------------------------
£3350 = Total


If you feel like scaling back even more, then the Cambridge CXA80 amp with 80w/ch and Digital Inputs -

Cambridge CXA80 = £750 -

RICHERS - Cambridge CXA80 Stereo Amplifier

Cambridge Audio - CXA80 Amplifier

A system built around this would be -

£_750/ea = Cambridge 851A Integrated Amp
£_700/ea = Cambridge CXN Network Streamer/DAC
£1250/pr = Monitor Audio Silver 300 Speakers
-------------------------------
£2700 = Total


Now we can consider other brands -

Rotel R14 Integrated Amp. 80w/ch, DAC (32b/768k, 2xOptical, 2xCoaxial, USB-PC), APX Bluetooth - £999 -


https://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi/hi-fi-separates/hi-fi-amps-receivers/rotel-a14-amplifier

http://rotel.com/sites/default/files/product/infosheets/A14_InfoSheet.pdf

Rotel RA-1572 Integrated Amp, 120w/ch, DAC (32b/768k, 2xOptical, 2xCoaxial, USB-PC), APTX Bluetooth - £1495 -

https://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi/hi-fi-separates/hi-fi-amps-receivers/rotel-ra1572-amplifier

http://rotel.com/sites/default/files/product/infosheets/RA1572_InfoSheet.pdf

You could combine this with the BlueSound NODE-2, or the Cambrdge CXN, or the Oppo Sonica.

Another amp that combines everything into one unit would be the NEW Yamaha RN802 Network Streaming Amp. 100w/ch, Network Streaming, DAC, Bluetooth, etc.... £700 -

New Yamaha RN803D DAB Network Receiver, 100w/ch

Yamaha R-N803D Silver Stereo Hi-Fi Receiver w/ MusicCast - Yamaha - AudioVisual Online

Yamaha R-N803D Black Stereo Hi-Fi Receiver w/ MusicCast - Yamaha - AudioVisual Online

That is well under your budget.

If you want a more basic amp, and then add an external DAC and Streaming, then Amps like Arcam, Musical Fidelity and others ...

Yamaha A-S1100 Amplifier

Musical Fidelity M3si Amplifier with DAC - Superfi

Arcam FMJ A39 Amplfier - Superfi

CYRUS 8₂ DAC

Musical Fidelity M5si Amplifier with DAC - Superfi

Yamaha AS2100 Amplifier - Superfi

Musical Fidelity M6si Amplifier with DAC - Superfi

If you can only buy at Richer Sounds, then the Cambridge Systems should do a very good job. However, if you can get to other dealers, then some of these other brands are worth considering. I would expect good results from either the ROTEL A14 or the ROTEL RA-1572.

In Streaming Units at a reasonable price, the BlueSound Node-2, Cambridge CXN, and the Oppo Sonica should do a good job. If you feel you need to spend more on Streaming, then the Cambridge 851N or perhaps the Marantz or Pioneer as alternatives -

Marantz NA8005 Networked Audio Player - Superfi

Pioneer N70A Networked Music Server - Superfi

Cambridge
has a long history of making highly rated Network Streaming Devices, so they are probably a safe bet.

At a lower cost, the BlueSound Node-2 is probably one of the most popular Streaming devices worldwide right now, so it is a reasonably safe bet.

There is one other BlueSound device with is the VAULT-2, which has a CD reader and a 2tb built-in Hard Drive for media storage. Though the price is considerably higher, it does eliminate the need for alternative storage, and it has connections for external USB Drivers. Though 2TB is enough storage for many thousand of albums.

BLUESOUND - VAULT 2

Bluesound VAULT 2 Hi-Res Music Server / CD Ripper

For value the Yamaha RN803 is a good choice. But given a budget up to £4000, you can probably get better.

Either Cambridge or Rotel would certainly work and either come very close to your budget.

For wire and cable, don't get carried away on this. Yes, you want decent wire and cable, but most feel extravagance in this area is pure snake oil.

This speaker wire is 99.99% Pure Oxygen Free Copper cable, and is more than you could need -

Fisual S-FLEX Studo Grade Speaker Cable - £2.35/meter -

Fisual S-Flex Studio Grade Black Speaker Cable 2 x 2.5mm - Fisual - AudioVisual Online

Fisual S-Flex Studio Grade White Speaker Cable 2 x 2.5mm - Fisual - AudioVisual Online

If you click on the boxes that say [NONE] you will get a drop down box of possible termination (banana plugs).

Fisual S-FLEX Studio Grade- Black - 2.5mm² - 3m - Fisual Banana Plugs - £19.05 each or £38.10/pair

Fisual S-FLEX Studio Grade - White - 25mm² - 3m - QED Airloc Plastic Plugs - £23.05 each or £46.10/pair


Oddly there are more options for S-FLEX White than Black, but if you want the QED Airloc either Plastic or Metal and Black wire, I'm sure they can accommodate you.

If you just want to buy the wire and add your own banana plugs, the Sewell Deadbolt are very easy to install, and reasonably priced -

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sewell-Direct-SW-29863-6-Deadbolt-6-Pairs/dp/B007QUYQSY?tag=av0c-21


There is one other wire that is on close out that meets the same standards are the Fisual S-Flex and that is the Fisual Super Pearl, but because each wire is double insulated, that makes the cables a bit more stiff.

Fisual Super Pearl - 2.5mm² - £1.50/meter -


Fisual Super Pearl 2.5mm Speaker Cable White - Fisual - AudioVisual Online

Fisual Super Pearl 2.5mm Speaker Cable Black - Fisual - AudioVisual Online

That should give you some perspective.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
There is also a very good AudioT in Crwys Road. Far better audition room than RS and they will happily price match. Good selection of higher end speakers and amps.
 

Pasanda

Active Member
Hi,
Just a quick follow up for now. Mostly to express my gratitude for the many excellent responses. Each one throwing up new options.

I am a lover of Plex and have been a pass member for about 5 years. I am not overly-enamoured with their music interface, even with the new premium features. although admittedly it is better than using the W10 GUI :) and it has an android client.

I'd forgotten about the AudioT shop, even though I'd even shopped there once many years ago, when it was Audio Excellence. So thanks for the tip.

@BlueWizard Very grateful for the range of responses, all of which contain something useful.

I popped into Richer Sounds on the off chance yesterday and spent 30 mins talking to Naz, who was knowledgeable and helpful. After listening to my requirements, he put together a quote for the 851N and the 851A, which seems to be reflected in many of the posts here, and seems to have received decent reviews too - and that gives me some comfort. I have an old Cambridge A1 mkIII, bought in 2001, and is not in the same league.

A quick question here - why would i go for the 851A and not the power amp 851W. It is a few hundred more, I believe the 851N includes a pre-amp, and i therefore assume (but it is just an assumption), the the 851W would be a superior combination. Am I missing something?

I haven't spent as much time on speakers just yet. Any known decent pairing with the 851 series for around 1500 would be welcomed. I prefer floorstanding for aesthetics, but could be persuaded for a standmount that was clearly better.

Thanks again to all. Really taken aback by the generosity of spirit.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Choosing between standmounts or floorstanders is down to space. Floorstanders need room to perform at their best, so out of a corner and placed into the room will give best results, KEF, as an example suggest a metre from any side wall for their monster sized R700 and R900s. The smaller R500 is a little easier to place and would set you back £1500. KEF also make two superb standmounts in the R300 and LS50s and either are extremely good with music, the LS50s having many 5* reviews.

As with any equipment an audition is essential, especially with speakers. RS, I know do not sell the KEF R Serie but I'm not sure about the LS50s. Have to agree the guys in Cardiff RS are good, I bought a Marantz CD and Shure headphones from there over the last couple of months but I've always got my speakers from AudioT as they sell higher end products.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
If you already have your music as part of your Plex media server, then you should be able to access it without using the plex apps. With my HEOS app, it just shows up as a server and I can browse and play from within the HEOS interface. I previously had a Cambridge Audio CXR 200, and using the CA streaming app was able to browse to the Plex Media Server from within that.

The Kef Q series could be a bit of a bargain, if there is still stock available of last years models Q500 / 700 / 900 they were being sold off at half price by Peter Tyson, and probably others.
 

lmccauley

Well-known Member
Something a little out of left field you may want to consider for amp & speakers is Lyngdorf. There's quite an extensive thread here Lyngdorf discussion thread.

TDAI-2170 stereo amplifier £2800 Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 Stereo Amplifier Review
2 x MH-2 speakers £750 MH-2 Speaker
1 x BW-2 subwoofer £1000 BW-2 Subwoofer
Total £4500

It has RoomPerfect room correction, which is meant to be top tier.
Everything will stay in the digital domain, from your server right through to the power amp outputs.
The amp, speakers and sub are designed to work together - switch each to "bypass" and they will use the amp's digital crossover setting that matches the speakers.

Now, I haven't heard them, but if I was replacing my old system (which cost about the same at the time), then I'd definitely audition them.

For a streamer, I'd probably build one using a Raspberry Pi - easily doable for less than £100.
 
I would URGE you to listen to the Naim Unity with something like Kef R500 speakers. I was blown away when I heard it at Sevenoaks in Solihull a few weeks ago, and it worked well with the Kefs

We tried the Silver 200/300 at the same time too and felt the Kef's offered a lot more for a little more money

The Naim was VERY slick.
 

Pasanda

Active Member
I'm pretty open about most manufacturers. The one exception is KEF. I have the 2005.3 eggs and had the Kube2. A component blew on the board in the Kef2 about a year ago. No problem, because it had given me many years of great performance. Kef wanted £300 to replace the capacitor. I ended buying the Wharfedale Powercube SPC-10 for £80 less they Kef wanted to fix the component and £100 less than for a new Kube2 sub. I was really disappointed in their attitude. I can't do much about it, but i can tell my tale and i can refuse to buy their stuff again. I know their stuff is good, which makes their rip-off stance to existing customers a real pity.

@lmccauley That looks interesting. I'm looking into it now. It's above my budget, especially considering i'd need another 400-500 for cables and interconnects. But not impossible if it blew me away.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
...
A quick question here - why would i go for the 851A and not the power amp 851W. It is a few hundred more, I believe the 851N includes a pre-amp, and i therefore assume (but it is just an assumption), the the 851W would be a superior combination. Am I missing something?

I haven't spent as much time on speakers just yet. Any known decent pairing with the 851 series for around 1500 would be welcomed. I prefer floorstanding for aesthetics, but could be persuaded for a standmount that was clearly better.

Thanks again to all. Really taken aback by the generosity of spirit.
Using the 851N Network Player as a pre-amp, would give you a limited pre-amp, essentially a Volume Control. However, that might be enough for you. I shy away from minimalist Pre-Amps and Amps but there is a huge market for that style.

The 851W Power Amp is 200w/ch to 8 ohms and costs about £1700, compared to the more versatile 851A Integrated Amp which is about £1400 with 120w/ch to 8 ohms. Again, that is a call only you can make. If you don't see the system expanding beyond Streaming Music and you don't need other pre-amp features, this is certainly workable.

However, if in the future you decide you need a more flexible Pre-Amp with more features and inputs, the 851E Pre-Amp cost as much as the 851A Integrated amp (~£1400).

One could say, it makes more economic sense to get a 851A and use that as a pre-amp, not only to do you get essentially the same features as the 851E, but you get 120w/ch amp thrown in.

However, I could not find the 851E Pre-Amp listed on the Richer's website.

Cambridge Audio - Azur 851A Integrated Amp

Cambridge Audio - Azur 851N Network Player

Cambridge Audio - Azur 851W Power Amp

Cambridge Audio - Azur 851E Pre-Amp

If you feel your system will be limited to Streaming, then your plan for 851N/851W is probably OK, and the 851N does allow for a couple additional connection using the Digital Inputs, so there is some degree of expandability.

However there are alternate Pre-Amp that you could consider in the future, and for a bit less money -

https://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi/hi-fi-separates/stereo-pre-amps/rotel-rc1570-pre-amplifier

Rotel RC-1572 Preamplifier

https://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi/hi-fi-separates/stereo-pre-amps/rotel-rc1590-pre-amplifier

Again, I did not see the 851E Pre-Amp listed on the Richer Sounds website, not sure why that is.

Someone mentioned NAIM, definitely good equipment. The Uniti all-in-one have about 80w/ch. That's a step down in power, but excellent quality equipment. Not exactly cheap though.

https://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi/hi-fi-separates/hi-fi-amps-receivers/l/naim

NAIM Audio - Streaming & Multiroom Audio

Just a few additional thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Pasanda

Active Member
Thanks again Steve. My budget won't stretch to the N, the E and the W and, considering comments on the N&W, plus the price difference, which does start to corrode what's left for speakers and interconnects, i am now starting to come down more firmly on the 851N and A.

One reason for this combination becoming more attractive is an Ebay reseller called thegreatsound selling both of these, new, with 2 years CA warranty, for £300 less (each) than RS. I really have no issue with RS bit a bit more pricey - it's worth it for their expertise. But £600 is a bit much to ignore. The down side, if you can call it that, is that they come with an Italian power lead. but they are IEC, of which i have a metric million lying around.

I have also found a 2nd hand MA Gold GX300, which i am trying to bring down to my budget. Does anyone know whether the CA combo above would be a good match for the GX300's?
 

Paul7777x

Well-known Member
I'm pretty open about most manufacturers. The one exception is KEF. I have the 2005.3 eggs and had the Kube2. A component blew on the board in the Kef2 about a year ago. No problem, because it had given me many years of great performance. Kef wanted £300 to replace the capacitor. I ended buying the Wharfedale Powercube SPC-10 for £80 less they Kef wanted to fix the component and £100 less than for a new Kube2 sub. I was really disappointed in their attitude. I can't do much about it, but i can tell my tale and i can refuse to buy their stuff again. I know their stuff is good, which makes their rip-off stance to existing customers a real pity.

@lmccauley That looks interesting. I'm looking into it now. It's above my budget, especially considering i'd need another 400-500 for cables and interconnects. But not impossible if it blew me away.
Sounds like you're heading in the right direction.

Except for the '400-500' for cables...

Unless you're fitting out a modest substation that's about £250 to £350 too much.
 

Pasanda

Active Member
Sounds like you're heading in the right direction.

Except for the '400-500' for cables...

Unless you're fitting out a modest substation that's about £250 to £350 too much.
I've read and heard from several different sources that i should budget 10% for cables and interconnects. On a £4k budget, that makes £400. Do you believe that's incorrect?

Believe me, i hope you're correct.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I've read and heard from several different sources that i should budget 10% for cables and interconnects. On a £4k budget, that makes £400. Do you believe that's incorrect?

Believe me, i hope you're correct.

Here is a survey I did where I asked - How much DID you pay, not how much SHOULD you pay? ...for all wire and cable.

WIRE: Not what SHOULD you Pay, but what DID you Pay?


USA Results -



UK Results -



Notice this spans quite a range of System costs. In the USA, top is about $52,000. In the UK, the top of the range is just over £25,000.

Generally, most are under 5% with many under 3%.

This was for all wire and cable in the system.

You could Budget £400, then start shopping around for what you need. I suspect you will come in well under £400 for all wire and cable.

If you want advice for good wire and cable, we can come up with multiple sources for all kinds of cable - RCA, XLR, Optical, Coaxial, and Speaker Wire or Speaker Cable. I suspect you can get quality cable for less than £400 total.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Mark.Yudkin

Well-known Member
I've read and heard from several different sources that i should budget 10% for cables and interconnects. On a £4k budget, that makes £400. Do you believe that's incorrect?

Believe me, i hope you're correct.
10% on cables is way over the top. You will not be able to hear any difference to cabling costing a fraction of that, although some people imagine they can. Just stop reading advertising material from the cable manufacturers.

(My speaker cables cost less than 1% of the price of the speakers, and they're 10m).
 

Paul7777x

Well-known Member
As Steve mentioned earlier, these (or similar) are all you'll ever need.

Fisual Super Pearl 2.5mm Speaker Cable White - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

This is an excellent, rock solid cable. It's also even a bit pretty as it has a slight sheen to it. :smashin: It comes in black too, and there is a flat version should you wish to hide it under a carpet or rug.

If you want to be really posh and get the Qed Airlock bananas fitted then a 3mtr pair will cost £49. A bit less if you want less expensive bananas or spades fitted. £9 for the bare cable 3mtre pair.

There is no need at all to spend more than this.

As for phono connectors, these are as good as you'll get.

Fisual Havana Custom Made Stereo Phono / RCA Cable - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

£29 for a one metre pair, £39 for a three metre pair.

And even that's a bit much. I mention these because they are well made and will last as long as you do.

Dealers will tell you a different story and say you should spend hundreds, if not (literally!!!) thousands of pounds.

Still, commission and huge mark ups are a wonderful thing. Unless you're buying.

There is not, and never has been, any genuine evidence that 'special' (and, crucially, expensive) wire does or even can possibly make a difference.

You will however find any amount of faith based, self deluded, wishful thinking, expectation bias, conformation bias fed nonsense about magic wire should you choose to look.

You will find no engineering or scientific reasons for any of it.
 
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Pasanda

Active Member
Thanks very much to all again. Also for pre-empting my next question regarding any advice of what sort of cables and interconnects I should be looking at. So, again, thanks. Especially for adding a few hundred quid to my budget - the Fisual cable looks very reasonable and is going on my list.

Those stats speak for themselves and certainly track far less than RS were intimating (but, as you've rightly pointed out, these are the same people who sell that cable). Appreciate the info.

One standout in that grid is the person who spent over $50k on their system and a mere few hundred on their cables. It does look a bit odd - especially for someone who is prepared to pay for the best of the best.

Still trying to decide on speakers. I had an offer accepted on a pair of MA GX300 for £1400, but the person has gone silent. If I buy new from the Ebay seller mentioned above, on the CA 851N and 851A, that will leave me around £1700 for speakers, which seems healthy. I'm waiting for RS to see if they'll price match, which they should as it passes all their criteria.
 

Paul7777x

Well-known Member
That's going to be a mighty healthy hifi you'll have sir.

I hope you decide to share some photos when it's all up and running.
 

Pasanda

Active Member
sQuick update. I pressed 'go' on the ebay seller for both the 851N and the 851A - both items for £2298.. RS said they wouldn't match, as it wasn't UK stock. However, having read through their price match guarantee, this say nothing about where the stock comes from, only that it must be a UK seller, and the goods must be brand new, and come with a comparable warranty, for which the Ebay equipment ticks all the boxes.

So, as helpful as RS were initially, the fact they did not live up to their own price matching guarantee, leaves me really quite disappointed. It seems they need another clause, which states "...and only if the other seller isn't much cheaper than we are".

Thanks to all for getting me this far. Just speakers to go. So any further tips gratefully received. My listening room will be 4.08m x 2.80m so not huge, and i'm ideally after floorstanders, for the aesthetic (and, I've read, generally better audio). On the plus side, the whole room is available for positioning and I have a reasonably healthy £1700, and I now know what i'll be connecting the speakers too, and what with, thanks to Paul7777x.
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
If you need XLR cables, while AudioVisualOnLine will certainly have them, you will get the best value on those cables from a Musician Supply Store -

Audio Visual On-Line - XLR - (£40/pair, 1m) -

Fisual Havana Custom Made XLR Cable (Pair) - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Studio Spares - XLR - (1m, £12.34 each, assorted colors) -


Pro Neutrik XLR Cable 1m Violet - Leads - XLR - Cables & Leads - Studiospares

Pro Neutrik XLR Cable 1m Blue - Leads - XLR - Cables & Leads - Studiospares

Pro Neutrik XLR Cable 1m Green - Leads - XLR - Cables & Leads - Studiospares

Pro Neutrik XLR Cable 1m Red - Leads - XLR - Cables & Leads - Studiospares

At Design-A-Cable, Van Damme is probably the best choice. Van Damme Blue 2.5mm² for Speaker Wire, and Van Damme STARQUAD for XLR Cable.

Van Damme Blue 2.5mm² Speaker Cable - £2.43/meter -

Van Damme Blue Series Passive Speaker Cable

Design-A-Cable - XLR - Van Damme StarQuad - £12.25/meter EACH -

Van Damme STARQUAD Balanced Male XLR to Female XLR Mic Lead


Note the wide range of Cable and Connector Colors. One Meter Cables would be about £12.25 EACH.

As you can see, spending £400 is going to be a stretch.

Here is the next step up in the Van Damme StarQuad series (Neutrik Gold Connectors), but still only £13.77/each for 1 meter cables -

Van Damme STARQUAD Balanced Cable. Best Neutrik Gold XLR to XLR Microphone Leads

Design-A-Cable
also has a wide selection of RCA-RCA Cables -

RCA / Phono Cables

Single Gold Plated RCA to RCA Lead. Flexible Van Damme Cable

Of course, in RCA-RCA from Audio Visual On-Line, the Fisual Rio is top-rated, and the Fisual Havana, also top rated, takes it one step higher -

Stereo Phono / RCA Cables - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Fisual Rio Custom Made Stereo Phono / RCA Cable - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Fisual Havana Custom Made Stereo Phono / RCA Cable - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Ranging from £16/pr for the RIO and £29/pr for the Havana in 1 meter lengths.

As previously indicated the Fisual S-FLEX Studio Cable 2.5mm² is 99.99% OFC Copper -

Fisual S-Flex Studio Grade White Speaker Cable 2 x 2.5mm - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Fisual S-Flex Studio Grade Black Speaker Cable 2 x 2.5mm - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

There is one other cable, the Fisual Super Pearl 2.5mm², same quality but instead of the pair of wire being wrapped in a second layer of insulation, each individual wire is double wrapped in insulation. That makes the wire a bit more stiff, but I always thought it looked like cool wire, and now it is on close-out at £1.50/meter (black or white). (Normally, £2.20/m)

Fisual Super Pearl 2.5mm² (black or white) - £1.50/meter -

Fisual Super Pearl 2.5mm Speaker Cable Black - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Fisual Super Pearl 2.5mm Speaker Cable White - Fisual - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Super Pearl is still 99.99% OFC Copper.

Just a few suggestions.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Pasanda

Active Member
So you're a mind reader as well :). I've been staring at the back of those two units most of the afternoon. Was preparing to make a post to get some advice on balanced XLR vs. phono/RCA. I'm taking a working assumption, based on your post that balanced XLR is the way to go? To be perfectly honest, i've never had this option on anything i've bought before.

To balance my moan about RS above, it turns out that the warranty on those two ebay units is valid, but not in the UK; only Italy. So will need to be returned overseas if required. I had a chance to back down on the deal, but, for £600 saving, that's worth an awful lot of sending-overseas. Plus, and i know this is tempting fate, I've never had a piece of hifi fail within the warranty period, and i've read zero reliability issues with these items. So i'm taking the risk with open eyes.

Also, i'm driving across the country on Sunday to pick up MA Gold GX300's for £1400. Not a huge bargain, but in-budget, and far better than i could have afford new (was pitching around MA Silver's etc.). Spoke to a really decent chap who's just forked out £30k for his new system.

Seems a bit fussy, but is there a termination of choice for both ends of speaker cable? I read an interesting article by Graham Nalty, claiming z-connectors are the best choice, but these don't seem to be offered by the suppliers mentioned. Is this something to concern myself with? What terminations are usual/best?

EDIT - reading on, it seems that what Nalty calls Z-plugs, Fisual call BFA plug - so that's where i'm heading.
 
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mudan

Active Member
All this talk of cables making no difference. To my ears they can make a significant difference so don't buy cheap. This is down to cables I've compared at home in my own comfortable environment, not at a dealer. Even my headphone cable is upgraded and yes I can hear the difference..... But if you can't then don't waste your money, just buy bell wire!
 
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Pasanda

Active Member
Thanks for the balance Mudan. No worries, i was not planning to buy cheap, but not hundreds either. Ended up following BlueWizards general direction and buying the Fisual speaker cable and XLR interconnects.

EDIT - I spent 3.17% of the total equipment costs on those cables and interconnects, and i don't feel like i was scrimping.
 
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