PiperCub

Banned
Thanks for your reply. I would be careful in thinking pre and power is best all the time because some really good intergrateds can sound awesome too, but I definitely think there is something to be had on seperate amps for each speaker and a seperate pre.

I would look at other brands too if you change amps, unless you are set on naim and the naim sound going forward because you need very deep pockets at the higher end naim stuff. As I said before I think, I heard my current speakers about £5k of newish naim pre and stereo power amps, and when I got the demo 25-23 pair back home, the naim amps were in my view blown out the water with £7.5k worth of cyrus kit. Not surprising with the price increase but it was quite a bit more performance for me with clarity and dynamics than the extra price disparity would dictate. Brands like cyrus, arcam, musical fidelity etc, you'd probably get a lot more for your money than naim.

I was lucky with the speakers and being able to choose them, all thanks to the courier who dropped one of my original boxes on the way to dealer, denting an edge.
 

Wall Of Sound

Active Member
That must have been extremely annoying but at least some good will come out of it in the end, What is the lead time on them?

I'm hearing extremely good reviews about the new Twenty5 range, keen to hear them at some point

Reference your other comment: that's where audio equipment is so subjective and different to every set of ears. So many variables come into play, the signature sound from amplifier, how the speakers sound with your separates, the room acoustics, plus the style of music which you like, which I think is the most important part of all

I haven't heard music fidelity or Cyrus gear so I cannot comment on those but I have heard Arcam and with my style of music I found them very linear and almost bland, for want of a better word.

This was the FMJ A29/39 model and at the time I ended up getting the CA 851 gear instead, the Arcam's just seemed far to laid back for my music which is rock (both light and heavy) and oldskool rock (Alice Cooper/Def Leppard/Ac/Dc etc)

The music just didn't have that drive/presence and power (and I don't mean in wattage sense) plus no sense of fun, it just went about itself in a laid back manner not fitting for my type of rock music, however for someone else's music collection the Arcam will probably hit the spot, especially if it's light delicate acoustic material or orchestral etc

Now when I play my music on my current Naim gear, it's completely different and suited perfectly for me. It's voiced how i like it and the bass is spot on for rock music and definitely has that extra something about it making it very rhythmic and addictive to listen to

The dealer that I like to use (Nintronics) now stocks Cyrus gear so I will check them out when I am next down there :)
They are a good 2 hour drive from me though!

Hope you get to enjoy your PMC's soon
 
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PiperCub

Banned
It only took me 3-4 weeks but I had to wait only a few weeks to get the pair in the photo (the factory pair)

I do think arcam has come on in spades but I know what you mean by a bit bland. I do think some of their amps now are getting rave reviews so it's easy for it to change.

Cyrus produce a very detailed, dynamic, hugely fast fast paced rhythmic sound with not huge tonal warmth to the mid range and overall character of the sound. These former qualities make for a very fine hi fi system which major on detail resolution above much else. It makes music very real and realistic, appealing for all music especially for electronic and classical and good with rock because all the instruments in a rock track sound so real. The dynamics and fast pace help to track rhythms in most music and this is another cyrus plus. For eg realism of a drum beat etc. It does get critisised for the tonally lean sound I mention but this is only relative to other systems in my view and is not really a negative for me as it doesn't mean bass doesn't come on when needed particularly with powerful mono x300 and x200 signature power amps. It's just this warmth is not there to colour the overall character of the sound as much as some other brands. Some refer to it as an analytical sound, maybe it is but it isn't half real and enjoyable. Perhaps not having this warmth is more real because you could argue instruments and songs don't have warmth to them, other than the sum total real parts of instruments and vocals in a track.

I think if you've been to naim and then go to cyrus you might think something is missing, but equally if you prefer the sound it's another matter. I think with naim you get a much more tonally rich warm sound to the mids and bass and with rock it might be a preference but the dynamics of cyrus kit can make up in other areas. It sounds to me as if you've found the sound you like in naim because of the power, authority, tonal richness and good levels of detail and good mids naim give. A good match for heavy rock.

I do think you get better detail and better dynamics in cyrus systems to naim at the prices I mention, but I suspect naim come into their own when you are spending a lot more, for obvious reasons of the components that go into them.

If you do have a listen to cyrus, I'd have a listen to other brands too other than naim around the same budget as you are paying for naim as you might be surprised. If you do listen to cyrus, I'd recommend listening to highest spec dac xp signature (with attached psx-r2 power supply - essential for this pre dac ) with mono x300 signature highest spec power amps. The lower specked cyrus amps are not nearly as good or as good value.
 

Wall Of Sound

Active Member
Well I've had the Definition speakers a good 6+ weeks now, and they've been used a good 4 hours+ every single day whether it be music or films, so thought I would update this with my honest assessment so far.

Are they going to be keepers? hmm no, not long term. I will probably upgrade towards the end of the year to the B&W 804 D3's, or maybe sooner than that, it will depend on a few things, however I was always going to do it this way anyway.

What do they do well? well, making music sound fun and rhythmic for starters, but that's partly thanks to the amplifier's fantastic qualities.

What do they do less well? I guess if I'm being extremely critical, maybe a touch closed in and dark sounding, and the difference between bungs in and no bungs is quite substantial. Tannoy maybe should have tuned the ports better.

I still think Supernait 2/ 804 D3 is an extremely pleasing sound to my ears. I almost want to go back to Nintronics for another listen, but that will just make me want to pull the trigger sooner.

Do I regret buying the Definitions? definitely not, it's an upgrade on what i had, they go louder with ease, and considering the dealer I used offers 100% credit back (I.E selling it back to them at the same price, providing its still mint, boxes kept etc, and as long as i buy the new speakers from them also) it's win/win in my book.

Speaking of B&W, I'm receiving the P9 headphones tomorrow, although that review will not be on here and instead in the headphones section on this site, but just thought I'd give a purchase update!
 
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PiperCub

Banned
Hi simpleguyshifi
I might have said before but I'd definetely recommend spending a bit more on amps if going right up there for speakers in those ranges. Did you listen to the twenty5 26, fact ranges also?
Cheers Simon
 

Wall Of Sound

Active Member
The amplifier situation will be looked at/addressed if needed once the 804D3's are bought. My train of thought is slightly different, but the end result/timescale will be the same, if that makes sense.

I know the Supernait 2 can already produce a fantastic sound with those future speakers, so I'm happy to address the speakers first within my set up, then let the speakers settle for a few months and re-evaluate next summer whether further, more powerful amplification should be added. It's a progressive way of doing it but at least I'm not making any mistakes along the way as I won't be under-powering them.
 

chris english

Active Member
My journey into hifi started in my early teens , had the boom boxes and £50 curry systems , graduated to an older but better sounding all in one turntable / cassette radio deck from my grandparents , i found some old , possibly home made speakers in the loft and loved the sounds they made , unfortunately in my later teen years all i was bothered about was volume and bass ! I knew nothing about sensitivity and matching , and proceeded to blow a channel on the system , oooppssss ! So fast forward to me being in college and earning a few quid here and there , i stumble upon what hifi magazine in WH Smiths , so what do i see something similar to the original poster Aiwa NSX 999 mk 2 review , and as i mentioned before all i wanted was volume and bass , this fitted the bill according to the review , so i was out to the local electrical / catalogue discount store to try and acquire one . At the time i couldn't afford one but they did have a mk 1 with no speakers :) so there we all were the stereo on full bore , eyeballs rattling listening to the latest dance tunes or chooonnss as we used to say . Anyway that kept me quiet for a while and until things inevitably broke . This time ill try Sony , better but ... Enter Technics dvd surround system , Wow ! Am i finally happy ? Have i reached audio nirvana ? Maybe , so just one more read of what hifi , what are hifi separates about then ? It sounds like i need them ! Hello catalogue shop manager , how much for the Sony TAFE370S Amp and matching cd player ? A very respectable price thank you very much . So A couple of pairs of speakers later , Eltax , Sony finally settled on some Jamo studio C170 , and that was me done for the time being , although the combo was a clear sound it didn't have the clout but circumstances dictatated that was me for now . A few years ago a ppi windfall and a mancave to play in i got myself over to richer sounds to see what i could get , walked out with Cambridge Audio 651A and matching cd player , Monitor audio Bronze BX5's and decent cabling , and a Harmon Kardon Bluetooth adaptor . This is what i was waiting for all those years . Ok its not really HIFI as such but it was in budget and put a smile on my face . I added a cheap Sony Dab / Fm radio to the setup and eventually a Rega RP1 Turntable with the performance bits , only thing i have changed is the Amp for an Arcam A19 , i found the cambridge amp too bright but works well in my second bedroom setup , but thats another story :)
 

Wall Of Sound

Active Member
Not updated this in 15 months, so now is a good time as any.

As mentioned earlier in the thread. The Tannoy DC8Ti's I had bought were never going to be keepers. I had planned to have them for 12 months, which was about right in the end. Anyway, in March this year I decided to swap them over for a pair of PMC 25.23's. This was based on many people I know loving this brand, some of those people also recommending them to me, plus intrigue.

It turned out I did not have any emotional connection with my music listening to those like I thought I would? I guess that erk'd on me a little. I think one problem with them was the cabinet design. Compared to the Tannoy definition range the cabinet design came across inferior and as a result the bass from the PMC's sounded more boxy. The biggest issue for me though was the treble, it had this weird rolled off sound to it which wasn't to my tastes. I thought maybe they would improve over time, or i'd just get used to their signature sound, but that wasn't the case.

I also changed to a bigger man cave and tried to get the speakers sounding better in there, as a result the speakers were further apart and further away from walls which meant I had to buy some new speaker leads. My original speaker leads would not stretch to the length I wanted! I ended up with a pair of Linn K200's. The change of location etc made no difference to my feeling towards them so July this month I decided enough was enough, they were going to be sold. This time I wasn't going to mess about, I knew I loved the B&W 804 D3's so I got in touch with one of the managers at Nintronics and asked if he would accept my speakers as part exchange. Luckily for me it was probably one of the easiest swap overs in my hi-fi story yet.

Late Monday 2nd July I had e-mailed over my interest for a part exchange deal, Tuesday it was confirmed they would accept my PMC's as part exchange with the 804 D3's, and Wednesday I went and did the swap over, and paid the difference. I got back quite late Wednesday so only set them up properly this morning!

I've only been running the new speakers in for a day, so I will give it a month or so before I report back with a proper home review, but already out of the box they are for me vastly superior to the PMC's but they do cost over double the price, so it's to be expected. The short version : I'm a much happier chappy now.

Anyone else have any updates with their kit?
 

Anderz

Standard Member
In this case it is going to a short version.

It was late '90s when the idea of a better stereo came to mind. So i went to nearby twn and had a look in the look the local radio shop. I ended up buying a JVC 3cd, double cassette, radio and aux system which was not really hifi but for playback good enough compared to what I grew up with and had prior since 1989 or something.

I was into vinyl so the aux was handy and I got a Beogram 1202 from my parents. Then later I saw an ad for a newer Beogram 2000 in the other end of town and upgraded the 1202 to it.

In 2003 my mom asked to find a cheap stereo and so I went hunting in thrift stores and found a cassette deck in silver. On the way home I thought a cleaning tape would be in order so I went by a radio shop.

The sale guy took one look at the deck under my arm and said: Hang on then went to the back room. He came back with a Beocord 9000 in rosewood. We are in the process of cleaning this up but otherwise its for sale.

It looked cool so before leaving I had decided to get it. Still it was more expensive than my parents budget so I kept looking. Next was an ad for a Beocenter 2000. I asked seller: is it flat and silvery? I have that but it does not work. Back to what works then. In the end we arranged for him to personally deliver in a few hours.

At this point after I was not aware of what 2000 I was getting.

The seller arrived with the Beocenter 2000 and Beomaster 2000 + Beocord 2000. So there I had something for my parents and the 3 main units if I added the Beogram 2000. I then got the radio shop to service the Beomaster and Beocord 2000. Meanwhile I looked for speakers and a stand.

The Beosystem 2000 introduced me to the magic of Bang & Olufsen and I had the Beocord 9000 too. That lasted to 2006 and I went deeper into old school B&O and got a lot of experience out of that.

At the sort of conclusion stages I got the desires down to Beosystem 6000 as I was lucky to have it complete including stand and speakers for that period in time. And I had 2 times with Beosystem 6500 eventually settled on white edition.

The white edition was the final thing as my first 6500 system was finally complete with 2 cassette decks even and freshly serviced. Perfect? Happy now? Maybe white will do? Come on! So it stayed there for a while though there was a weird twist to this shift.

So I saw an ad with a terrible picture and description for a Beocenter 9500 near Copenhagen ready for service. Great location as my service guy is near and so I went to have a look. As I talked to the seller he had more B&O not advertised for sale. Guess what it was!

A complete all 4 units Beosystem 6500 in white! Ready for service meaning fair price too.

Weird indeed so I sold the first 6500 and got this which what I still have today. The Beocenter 9500 got serviced and sold to Sweden.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
My story is very short.

Started off with a Sony Tape player in the late 90s. Moved onto a fancy tape player* in the early 2000s (lcd inline control!) then moved through various MP3 players, best being something I can't remember the name of now (Creative Zen?). It ended up going through the washing machine (whoops). For proper hi-fi gear, what I have in my sig is all I've owned bar a few crappy Argos specials (1000w of pure distortion types..)

*portable disc players were too bulky
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
1) Sharp push button mono portable taper recorder (also used to load games on a Sinclair zx spectrum!)
2) Garrard turntable with integrated amp with 6x9 open baffle speakers (hand me down)
3) sharp double cd ghetto blaster
4) summer job at uni, earnings used on my first proper hifi - sansui aug30x amp, mission 737r speakers, rotel cd
5) added an AR EB101 turntable, later upgraded with AT110E cartridge (still have)
6) rotel cd died, replaced with Technics SLP777 cd
7) gave away amp and speakers, replaced with Quad 44/405-2 amp and Kef 104/2 speakers
8) moved house and the “wardrobes” as SWMBO called the Kefs had to go along with the Quads (still regret that!)
9) house extension allowed me to invest in 5.1 system in the lounge (see sig) - Panasonic 46” plasma, denon avr3808 amp, denon 2500bt blue ray, B&W fpm6 centre, fpm4 front, m1 rear, asw610 sub
10) started working a bit from home so started assembling an office system - pc or chromecast audio playing Spotify into Fostex A3 dac into two Rotel RB850 power amps in bridge mode and a pair of B&W CDM1SE speakers
11) developed this replacing the Fostex with Audio GD NFB2.1 dac, NAD 1240 preamp (Fostex donated to my son to use with Yamaha HS7 actives)
12) finally added two Wharfedale SW150 subs and changed the NAD for a Rotel RSP1066 to control the sub/CDM1SE crossover.
13) finally garage system with old laptop into a denon pma6.5 amp and denon speaker

Bit of a journey and I suspect more to come (got my eye on something on eBay at the moment :) )
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Mine I guess started with my Dad - he was very much into HiFi - has a Quad 22+202 and some speakers he made himself, then a 33+303 and the original quad electrostatic speakers and the matching tuner. Somewhere along the way he also bought an Ampex valve reel to reel. Then of course he upgraded to 44pre-amp and 405 amp and again matching tuner and ESL 63 speakers and a Linn Sondek LP12 and a very nice bluepunkt cassette deck (cant remember the model) - this was back when they first came out.

This is about when my journey starts in the early 80s - Sansui A60, Sansui speakers (cant remember the model), Sansui SR222 turntable and eventually added a Sony TC-FX6C cassette deck (one of the first with Dolby C.). Shortly after I got in DJing (still early 80s) so I ended up replacing the SR222 with a technics SL1200Mk2 and along with a friend who managed to also buy one - we started DJing and HiFi took a bit of a back seat in favour of live sound etc having been sold in order to buy live sound gear and synths and Roland TR303+TR606 bass and rhythm machines.

Roll on 30 years and most of a 6.5mx5.5m 'living room' is given over to a studio full of racks and synths and the nearest I have had to any kind of consumer audio in my house was an Sony 5.1 HT system bought shortly after I got a top of the range trintron sony TV (yeh - that's how old it was). So I have basically had a diet of active studio monitoring + high end professional DAC, DJ decks (SL1210s + DJM-800 mixer and CDJ-1000Mk3) as my means of listening to other music.

Now that I in my 50s Ive finally given up DJing and production and started selling off the studio gear to make room for normal living room, (much to my wife's relief I should think ;))

Last year the old HT system finally went out with a bang - literally. So mad rush to find a replacement, pretty much the first thing I could find that had pre-outs, so ended up with a Yamaha AVR (RX-V781), then ended up buying some Yamaha floorstander speakers, sub + AV speakers and CA Minx Min 12 for atmos heights and we got an AV system back. While this was fine for TV/Netflix etc, not so great for activity listening to music, so went amp hunting and eventually ended up with a Yamaha A-S2100 at a discount (as store was having trouble getting an A-S1100) which I am very happy with, but was using the AVR's zone 2 out for streaming.

Kind of on impulse I signed up for a tidal trial and bought a dragonfly red dac for my iPhone (for my car and work, but also curious about MQA) and through these forum read a post about Roon one day. After looking into it I realised I actually already had all the hardware to make the most out of it - ie Raspberry PI with a touchscreen, a QNAP NAS and a USB DAC with MQA support to plug into the raspberry PI, so I signed up for a trial with that, converted my raspberry PI into a Roon player and controller and my NAS into a media and finally that all my streaming needs nicely met.
Well almost (still figuring out how to make Roon play music off my NAS and stream it over the internet to my iPhone wherever I am - car/work etc). Other than that, Im really liking Roon and being a programmer, am slowly writing a new media controller app for the Raspberry PI for it (to integrate with other home automation as well, particularly Harmony and AV + lighting control).

At some time I will get around to HiFi-izing one of my technics SL1210M5G turntables with a decent cartridge and plumb that into the Yamaha Amp (already tried it with the ortofon electro DJ cartridge and even with that it sounds excellent by vinyl standards). I probably should really get rid of the turntables as I don't really listen to vinyl very much, but I still like to mix as to me its kind of like tinkling on a piano and I literally have a shed load of 12" EPs still so I keep them around, kind of like people hang on to a musical instrument.

Next upgrade itch for me is likely to be my speakers - probably KEF R series or MA Silver series and a much better USB DAC I can leave at home and permanently plumbed it - contenders are Pro-ject S2 digital or RME ADI-2 DAC currently (as I have one of their big studio audio interfaces as well), but not really set on either as both have some use issues that I'm not entirely settled on.

Its also an adjustment for me to simply listen to music rather than trawling it for samples or inspiration or as potential set material - with the new amp I've finally got the clarity I'm used to from studio systems and with great sound it really encourages you to relax and just enjoy instead of my normal impulse to latch onto mix flaws etc :)
 
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Cornish Dave

Active Member
Blimey this could go back a few years as my first purchase was in around 1966, and I will have forgotten actual models over the years.

Back in 1966 I had just moved into my first married quarter in the RAF at an old WWII base at Hornchurch. The RAF provided just about everything you could need to survive did not incluse any music or vision sources though! My first purchas was a tear radiogram from the local Rumbelows in Elm Park. I recall it cos £46 guineas and to look at was of indeterminate make specially made for Rumbewlows I guess. The only thing you could see was the word Stereophonic, but a bit of delving identified it was made by Ferguson. Stereo was very new back then and many of my LPs were mono, I still have them all. The sound was probably awful but I was chuffed to bits with it.

That radiogram lasted me till 1974 when an Aunty died and left me some money. Amongst other things I purchased an ITT music centre it was just a record deck with a radio. Came with floor standing ITT speakers, no spikes and the grill covers were some sort of non removable rubberised plastic. Again it seemed at the time to be superb. At some time over the next year I went to Dixons and purchased a Chinon tape deck but when connected to the music centre the sound was barely audible. Back to Dixons who then tried a Wharfedale cassette deck and this worked fine.

On to 1977 and I replaced the music centre with a Trio Amp might have been a KA1500 and a Toshiba rfecord deck this might have been an SR220. Still used the old ITT speakers mind as had no budget to replace them. The Wharfedale remained in use but after a couple of years the ITT speakers were replaced by a pair of Wharfedale Lasers.

I cannot remember exactly when but the Trio and the Wharfedale were replaced by a couple of Denons which were reckoned to be excellent quality back then. The Wharfedale Lasers then got replaced by Heybrook point5s and I even purchased stands for them. Things stayed like this for a while until I got the Arcam bug!

Sometime I think in the late 80s. or early 90's I purchased a Denon DCD600 CD player and this system lasted a while and then the Denon started slipping. Oh I forgot I also had a Denon tuner, never worked very well as rfeception was awful where we lived. When the Denon CD player failed I replaced it with an Arcam Alpha Amp, no numbers I think you got an Alpha or Delta in those days. Eventually I replaced the Toshiba deck with a Rega Planar 3, I have still got it! Various Arcams improved the system until the early 2000's when I had an Arcam Alpha 9 Cd player, Alpha 8 Integrated amp and an Alpha 8 power amp. Added to these was an Arcam Alpha 8 Tuner which fiound stations the Denon never did! My speakers had changed to a pair of Castle Severns with spikes and removable grills by now! I then fell out of love with music and this system sat in our front room and was rarely used.

I have a study and had a little cheap Panasonic in there which was replaced by a Denon DM37 couple with a pair of Wharfedale 9.1 speakers. I listened to this set up much more than the expensive gear in the front room. My wife hated the stack of boxes hi fi so it all went to be replaced by an Arcam Solo Mini and a pair of Arcam Muso speakers, all rather small and to my wife's taste. I discovered internet radsio and replaced the Denon in the study with a Denon Ceol N9 and eventually the wharfedales were replaced by my current Q Acoustic Concept 20s which I still have, about four years old now. The Denon Ceol moved to the front room to replace the Arcam solo which I still have and A Yamaha RN602 arrived in the study, The Ceol then got passed on to my daughter and the RN 602 moved to the front room, still with the Muso speakers. Now in the study I have the Q Acoustics with the Yamaha 303 Streamer, AS1100 Amplifier plus an Arcam DCDS 27 cd player.

What next I wonder...... floorstandng speakers perhaps?
 

Apollo83

Member
Not strictly Hi-Fi, but my music playing journey:

80's = Buying Records and playing them on my parent's Akai Rack System (with Rack Handles on each component!) with Akai floorstanding speakers. Also Recording records and radio onto tape to play on my Aiwa Tape to tape radio cassette player and on my Aiwa 'Walkman' clone. Fine control of Rec/Play/Pause necessary. Mix tapes rule.

90's = Buying CDs and playing them on my Philips CD/Tape/Radio with detachable stereo speakers (what an upgrade in sound! ;-) ). 'Compilation' CDs seem like a good idea :-(

00's = Buying CDs and ripping them to MP3. CDs played at home on a Roberts All in One, MP3 on the move using the 'Harddrive with rubber corners' Archos Jukebox and the beautiful Rio Carbon (still works!)

10's = Still buying CDs + the odd record + exploring new music on spotify. Early in the decade my first hi-fi setup was the budget:
Rega RP1, Cambridge 351C, Arcam miniBlink -> Cambridge AM10 -> Wharfedale Diamond 220
Recently I have upgraded to:
Rega RP1, Rega Apollo, Arcam miniBlink -> Rega Brio -> Monitor Silver 100

Very happy to have re-discovered hi-fi and the value of good music played on good kit.
Still enjoy the experience of playing a physical album (the time that must be taken and the focus that must be brought to bear) but also enjoy the convenience of recorded/streamed digital music.
No danger of CDs and records dying for me.
 

Dune

Active Member
Here is my hi-fi history. My journey started as I suspect many of my generations did with a transistor radio given to me for a birthday. It was a total surprise and resulted in an almost instant fascination with music. Next I end up with a Philips cassette player. The one with the single button you had to hold to fast forward or rewind and Iused to record things like Top of the Pops off TV demanding absolute silence while I did so!

The first "stereo" was a a Thorn EMI combined record player and radio with two seperate speakers. The record deck was the ubiquitous BSR autochanger record-mangler.

I first came across "proper" hi fi not long after when I visited a friends house whose father had a Goldring Lenco record deck, an Armstrong 626 (I think) receiver and a pair of Celestion Ditton 15 speakers.

I had to have something similar so saved like mad doing saturday jobs and ended up with a Garrard 86Sb MkII (rival to pioneer pl12d), Shure M75ED cartridge, Goodmans Module 90 receiver and Leak 2030 speakers.

I lusted after more esoteric kit like direct drive TT's but then after reading an article in a magazine called Practical Hi Fi that I read as "belt drives are best" (because it was the dawn of the Linn Sondek era) I was happy enough. Didn't make any difference anyway as I could not afford an upgrade!

However I did learn what a difference a good TT makes as a friend bought a Thorens TD145 plus ortofon vms20e cartridge and he let me borrow it while he waited for the rest of his system. Made a huge difference installed in my system.

Uni then got in the way, no room for the hi fi in various shoeboxes I lived in but I did a year in industry when I added a Nakamichi 480 cassette deck I still have,

After Uni and in my first job I splashed out on a Linn LP12, S-shaped basik tonearm and Arcam P77 cartridge. Not long after I added a Naim 32/110. The 32 was a free replacement of 42 that got damaged in transit! Apart from changing speakers to Arcam Ones (bad move, changed then back) I ran this for decades. Had the amps serviced twice by Naim and they upgraded the 110 to a 140.

For various reasons a Marantz CD63 KI became the primary source but that was it until a few years ago I got a Linn Sneaky DS and a pair of Neat Motive SE speakers. Huge difference with the Linn direct into the Naim 140. Two years ago mainly due to wanting to add more digital sources I added and Audiolab M-DAC+. Was not expecting much of an improvement in sound over the Linn direct into the amp but there was. The last upgrade was last Christmas to finally pension off my 37 odd year old Naim 140 and I replaced it with a Moon 330P. Very different presentation. More detailed and much faster transients.

I now have a fair collection of H-res music, ripped CD's and use Qobuz through the Linn. Sounds brilliant.

I still have the Linn LP12 and the Naim's. All in the loft! I think the 140 might see the light of day again for a system in the study.

Things I have learned over the years? Naim kit is bullet proof and you won't here differences in your system when you change stuff if it can't resolve the difference. The change to the Moon 330P with it's extra resolution shows up differences I never heard before.

So when people say you can't tell the difference between a cheap DAC and and expensive one or a cheap TT and an expensive one, I immediately wonder what they are playing it through.

Where to next? The Linn/Audiolab is a bit of a compromise. Fancy trying to get it all in one box like an Auralic though Chord DAC's intrigue me. I have always fancied some ATC speakers having heard them many times but I'd need a bigger house. The amp will stay a while but I have to say I was spoiled when I went to the North West Hifi show and heard the Music First Audio system. The MFA pre-amp and new power amps were being fed by a reel to reel tape deck and the sound was fantastic into Graham Audio speakers. A great contrast to some of the other demos who seemed to think being loud to the point of pain was the definition of Hi-Fi.

I'd quite like to get the LP12 going again with records available t buy but I'd want it upgrading and that might cost too much.
 

Cornish Dave

Active Member
Blimey Dune you went further back than me but my first music equipment was a Pied Piper Radio that my parents got me for Christmas in 1959. I loved that radio going to sleep at night listening to Radio Luxembourg on 208. I also once had a little transistor from Woolworths in the early 60's remember part of the name was Spicket. It was plastic but in a leather case, got dropped so often it disintegrated!
 

GW43

Well-known Member
I'll try and be brief, and hopefully (reasonably) accurate!

First system (1979) was Sansui SR222 deck/JVC JAS-22 amp/Mordaunt Short Festival speakers
Added a JVC cassette deck - can't remember model number
Swapped turntable to a Dual - again, can't remember which one, but it was about £100 in 1980
Swapped turntable again for a Heybrook/Linn arm/Dynavector 10X cartridge (eventually)
Swapped amp for a Quantum pre/power amps - absolute disaster, so badly made it kept blowing my tweeters
Swapped amp for a NAD 3020 around 1984 - still going, in Bro-in-law's shop
Bought first CD player in 1986 - Yamaha something-or-other
Had a couple of NAD CD players, but awful build quality
Packed away my vinyl at this point
Swapped speakers (around 1990 or thereabouts)for Tannoy 603 - hexagonal with marble inlay and matching stands
Swapped NAD amp for Arcam Alpha 5+
CD player - Arcam Alpha 7SE - (late 90s)
Swapped speakers for Monitor Audio Silver S1
Swapped amp for Arcam A85 - second hand
Bought a Squeezebox and largely ditched CD
Upgraded to Squeezebox Touch
Swapped speakers for Monitor Audio Gold GR10 stand-mounts
Swapped speakers for Dynaudio Excite X12
Swapped Squeezebox Touch for Sonos Connect - still using this
Swapped amp for Audiolab 8200DQ/8200P (DAC/pre/power combo) - still using this
Swapped speakers to Dynaudio Focus 160, on matching stands - still using these

There have been various cassette decks/tuners/DVD players along the way too.

Pretty happy with current set-up, can't imagine how it would sound much better without spending a vast amount more, so I'll probably only replace anything when it packs-up - heresy!
 

Deaf Audiophile

Active Member
OK so let's start by saying that prior to my knowledge of Hi-Fi, and like everyone else who was in either middle school or high school around the early 90's, I only had a very basic all in one Aiwa system, the NSX-999. We all had to start somewhere right?

I was in high school and at the time this little midi system was considered big fish between me and my friends. I knew no different and loved it, all the flashy colours and the lit up graphic equalizers in the display, lovely stuff. I loved watching the bass cones flex in and out as I would crank up the sound. I would come home from school every night and one of the first things I would do is listen to CD's on it for hours, this would go on until I started my first job.

Then my work life started.....

I was walking home from work one day and popped into Richer sounds in 1997. This was my first ever step in a hi-fi shop. There was a strong smell of coffee as soon as I stepped in the building, I had no idea what I was doing, all i knew was I liked the look of the separates they had on offer and I had an urge to spend my wages. A richer sounds salesman then asked me if I was OK and whether I wanted any help, I explained I've popped in purely out of curiosity but could I listen to an amplifier and CD player. He was happy to take the amp and CD player into the demo room and it was all linked up to their speakers they had already set up.

The Amp and CD player I demo'ed was the Arcam Alpha 7 integrated amplifier and the Marantz CD63 Special Edition CD player. This was linked up to their Tannoy 638 floor standing speakers, these were well out of my price bracket at the time but looked and sounded fantastic. I tested it out with my Prodigy Poison CD single and Needless to say I was in love with the system compared to my Aiwa. As you probably guessed I walked out with The Arcam and Marantz, they also threw in a free yellow coloured Cambridge Audio Pacific RCA lead, result!

The following week I decided it was time to buy some speakers. I loved the Tannoy's I had heard previously but they were over double what I could afford. When you are young envy is a horrible thing! however I decided to splash the cash on some TDL RTL3 Special Editions. These were my first ever floor-standers and I could not wait to show them off to my mates. It was safe to say I was very happy with this set up for a good few years.

Lets go forward a bit, to around 2006, the system was doing OK, however one day my first ever issue happened. I managed to burn out the treble in one speaker, noooo!! was it because of volume reasons? I had no idea, but I got them repaired regardless. About 6 months later, I did the exact same thing again, but to the other speaker instead this time, Nightmare! Obviously now concerned I decided OK maybe it's time to purchase a new set of speakers.

This time a friend told me about a store called Sevenoaks Sound & Vision. I went in and all of a sudden I was instantly attracted to these yellow coned (at the top) speakers. I had not listened to them, all I knew was I wanted them. The store man let me have a little listen and straight away it was easy to tell these were much better than my TDL's, so I walked out with brand new speakers, these were the B&W 604 S3's. At the time I knew little about amplifier power requirements and speaker sensitivity, so as you can guess the system was extremely boomy because I believe the Arcam was only 40w per channel and it struggled to power these speakers efficiently. Anyone who knows about those 604 S3's will know they need a lot of power to sing. Even so, I still loved using them as I knew the potential of these speakers.

In 2011 however under powering these speakers eventually ruined them, I also learned a valuable lesson. It is better to have an amplifier that has more power than you could need than having an amplifier that under powers them. I paid attention.

I was now stuck with no speakers and frantically thinking what do I do, Do I get them repaired? do I get a new pair? then my mind went into nostalgia mode, I remembered those Tannoys 638's, the things I craved badly for back in 1997. 14 years after first listening to them I decided I would buy a second hand pair. I had to travel about 150 miles to pick them up via an eBay purchase, but I didn't care. 'Please sound how I remember them' that's all I kept thinking to myself on the journey there and back. When I got to the guys house they looked a little worn cabinet wise but the actual speaker cones were mint. I paid the guy £300 and lugged the speakers in the back of my car. Once home I plugged them in, read the manual and instant relief, It confirmed these were a lot easier to power. Anything from 10 watts, hurrah!

I sat down, played my first CD on these speakers and all of a sudden I lost my breath. Wow, I had not heard this kind of clarity before, why was that? was it because the TDL's were not good enough, and the B&W speakers were under powered? probably. I later found out this sound I was experiencing was much better sound stage and holographic 3D imaging. They sounded much better than anything bought before it.

in late 2013 both my amplifier and CD player packed up within a month of each other. I didn't want to get them fixed however. I'd had them both a very long time and decided I would get something new and shiny, so I sold them for parts on e-bay and used the money towards upgrading. That upgrade would come by popping into richer sounds again. They were great with me on my hifi journey so i wanted to use them again but it seemed a little different in there this time, less hi-fi stock than I remembered before, more TV's and sound bars and less separates? slightly disappointing. However the store guy then got my attention and asked if I needed help. Feeling like a newbie still to the hi-fi world I explained what had happened so he took me into the demo room where they had all the separates and speakers, phew!

They got me listening to some up-to date Arcam's, some middle of the range Cambridge Audio's and also Cambridge Audio's flagship model. The flagship model sounded head and shoulders better than my previous set up, it was a huge difference in quality. I asked the price of this system to which I got quoted £2,400. I gulped and double checked that figure with him. £2,400! That's much more than I had ever spent on any Hi-Fi. I was in two minds, what do I do, it sounded fantastic but I didn't realise it was this costly. In the end, the devil won, and I got out the credit card and the rest was history as they say.

I was half happy and half anxious at the same time driving home. I had never put this amount on my credit card before. What I had just bought was the Cambridge Audio Azur 851A/851C Amplifier & CD player combination. I plugged it all in, put on a CD and heard music like I had never heard before. Controlled bass, everything in the sound came through. All of a sudden I was less angry with myself for the credit card purchase.

So we go forward to summer 2014. Given the Amp and CD player was still quite new, I took it upon myself to do some upgrades. Firstly starting with the interconnects. Bare in mind I was using the same leads I got given in 1997 which quite frankly really needed changing, I decided to sell them on eBay and again use the money towards something new. In the end I went with the QED reference Audio 1 RCA's, these were bought on eBay and when I got them through and linked it all up they brought a sonic improvement, It was good controlled bass, but more of it, as well as an extra sparkle to the sound, more mid/treble. it took a week or so to get used to it as it changed the EQ on the sound.

The next thing I decided to upgrade the same summer was the speaker leads, the ones I had in the system were rubbish and I could not even tell you the brand, but because I had just bought some QED interconnects I thought I would use the same brand with speaker leads. In the end I went a little crazy and decided I would go for the QED Genesis silver spiral bi-wires. These were not cheap whatsoever, but I blind bought them anyhow, stupid yes? luckily for me they were far superior than the rubbish I was using previously, but again it took on it's own sound characteristic that seemed to change the EQ of my hi-fi. More bass, and yet more treble again. They sounded quite bright but after a few weeks or so I got used to them and thought I would be contempt for the next 10 plus years. As you can tell, that never happened.....

In late 2015 I was reading all the reviews for the best products in the past 12 months, one brand that stood out as winning awards in every magazine was Roksan. I had never heard of them before, but they were getting awards left right and center. I then went and did something stupid to which I still regret. I sold my Azur 851A and 851C even though I thought it sounded very good to my ears. I managed to nearly get back what I paid for these two items and out of that money I bought the Roksan Caspian M2 integrated amplifier and CD player. It cost me £3800 but when you take away the money I made from the previous kit and others things I had also sold, the actual cost on my card was closer to £1800, just slightly less than I had paid on the card for the previous system. Oddly, I didn't feel as bad about spending that amount of cash this time round.

I now have an award winning system, yes! I am happy. It will outshine my previous kit and as I plugging it in I felt like a teenager all over again. I sat down, played a CD and all of a sudden, I went from feeling like a kid to feeling like an idiot. What was this over powering bass all about, urgh... Way way way to much. I was not happy, something wasn't right. Maybe I plugged in the leads out of phase, what with all my enthusiasm to listen to it. Unfortunately that was not the case, and I could not understand how this combo had won so many awards and got so many accolades, what was the matter with my kit? was it faulty? I tried to live with the sound but it got to much for me in the end. I thought I would give it one more solution before selling, so I did a mini upgrade. I picked up some granite plinths which the speakers which were on spikes were now sitting directly on the plinths. This would help control that vile over-powering bass I'm getting.

Nope, still hated the sound. Damnit! I regretted purchasing it and just wanted to get rid so I decided to sell it on ebay. Another valuable lesson has now been learned.. I am never again blind buying audio equipment, or going off reviews either. From now on only my ears will have the final say on what I like and dislike. I felt so stupid.

Roll on 2016, the Amp and CD player was now sold. Thank god for that.. My torture with that system was over. I'm sure it has it's fans but I really hated the Roksan Caspian M2 Amp/CD combo, it really is for bass heads, and if you turn it up the bass over powers everything else in the sound and the amp struggles to play it all. I managed to get back a fair amount of what i had paid however, so not all was lost.

I looked through a few shops online and decided to plan my next adventure. To my amazement interest free credit was every where with 'pay4later' schemes. Interest free credit had me perked up, no more sticking it on a credit card and paying extra overall. It will cost what it says it costs. It opened up my world to audio equipment I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.

In the end I decided to go to a shop called Nintronics, it was a good drive away but they were recommended to me by a colleague. I turned up and they welcomed me into their demo room, sat me down and made me a coffee. We had a little chat about my requirements in terms of the sound signature I was after, once the formalities were over Naim equipment was set up along with speakers by the name of Focal. They were like 9k speakers, wow.. expensive! definitely not affording those, but I listened anyway. For some reason I really did not like the sound of them? all heavy mid range, yet they cost 9k? surely my ears are playing tricks, they should sound amazing. I told the guys no sorry this sound really is not for me, to which they were in agreement that everyone tastes are different and obviously the sound signature from focal isn't for me.

Then all of a sudden they realised they had confused me with another guy that was coming down. He also had Roksan kit previously and hated it, I'm assuming this guy had already upgraded his amp/CD player since it was him that wanted to listen to these 9k Focal's. We laughed at it all and I saw the funny side, easy mistake to make considering we both hated the Roksans, and we were both down on the exact same day.

They then set up the Naim Supernait 2 and linked it up to some B&W 804 D3's. All of a sudden my musical world felt complete, to me this set up sounded amazing. I had not heard anything as good as this before, not by a long stretch! The CD player being used was the Naim CD5 XS and it was all plugged in via 5 pin DIN, not a type of connection I was familiar with.

I knew this amplfier/CD combo was for me, the sound was so powerful, but powerful in an emotional way, i had not felt this involved with music before. Something about it, I cannot put it in words? It's a experience.

The guys at Nintronics were absolutely fantastic as I was there for 3 hours making sure this was what I wanted, and they didn't want me to leave unless I was 100% happy. Not once did I feel rushed. This really helped with my purchase as I got to listen to it all properly, a whole CD near enough with that set up. I'd not had customer service like this before.

I was now the proud owner of a Naim Supernait 2, and Naim CD5 XS. When I got it all home I knew it was not going to sound as good as what i had heard in their demo room because lets be frank, my Tannoy's in their prime were worth about £900? and those speakers I heard were about £6,500. That's a substantial difference both in cost and quality. However it still sounded better than anything I had ever played in my living room. The only gripe I had was the treble. It felt very 'brittle' for want of a better word. Something wasn't quite right with that treble.

I read through the manual and it advised using Naim NAC A5 speaker cables. Hmmm, OK but those cables are cheaper than what I paid for my QED's, they aren't going to sound as good surely? Anyway I popped to a local shop that had them in stock and they let me listen to them, I was surprised as they sounded very good actually, but they were cheaper? how strange. Anyway as you can guess I bought a set, took them home and disconnected the QED's and plugged in the Naim speaker leads.

All of a sudden, it just sounded fantastic. That 'brittle' treble was now gone, everything just sounded so much better. I loved the sonic performance and everything just sounds great to my ears, it has strong bass but nothing overpowering, and nothing takes president, I can hear all the music at all volumes and I find I am losing myself in the music. Sunday I must of had music on for a good 4+ hours. It's easily the most enjoyable system I have ever had at home and I'm now listening to music again as much as I did as a kid.

I also now understand this talk of foot tapping and Amps being 'fast' etc. Previously I put it down to stupid comments as I know CD players will play it at the same speed, so I thought other people were just talking rubbish. I now realise because the music is played so accurately, the bass moves from one note to the other with no 'boom' in between, it's instant, precise, the most precise tight bass I have ever heard, just perfect, and the same with drums, this is why it seems faster, there is no overhang or smear in the sound so gives the illusion that the track feels faster between the bass and drum notes, it also makes it much more enjoyable listening experience. I was literally wow'd the Sunday just gone by my 4+ hours worth of listening.

My music tastes have changed since that kid that walked into richer sounds in 1997 with his Prodigy CD. Electronic music doesn't appeal anymore. Indie/Rock/Accoustic is where my heart is set emotionally. I still love the prodigy though :)

So to get to the end of my journey, and if you aren't asleep already from reading this, the Hi-fi I now have is as follows

Naim Supernait 2 - This is a truely fantastic amplifier
Naim CD5 XS - I saw no need for the more expensive Naim CD player.
Tannoy 638's floor standing loudspeakers
A pair of loaned Chord Shawline 5 Din to 5 Din - lovely sound.
Naim NAC A5 Speaker cables


I cannot stress how important it is to do a lengthy demo when it comes to Hi-Fi. Forget the cost, you have to listen to this system daily so make sure it is right for what you want and don't make the same mistakes i have along my journey, and it has been a very long one at that, but it's one I'm looking forward to completing by winter 2016 if not early 2017 when I buy the B&W 804 D3's. By that point my set up will be worth about 12k. Had you told me I'd have something like that 5 or 6 years ago I would of laughed and said no way man, no way.

I will also be testing out the Naim Hi-Line interconnect in a few days time, and looking into a dedicated Hi-Fi rack/unit. I will come back on my findings of the interconnect on this thread once the Hi-line lead has been tested thoroughly.

I know there will be people with 'better' systems than myself, 'better' being totally subjective of course. We all have a unique sound we crave for with audio. I had to learn this the hard way to finally get what I was after. When I've tailor my income and expenditure into these purchases, I think I've hit the limit at what I could ever afford, and I'm very very happy with the sound!

My only regret now is not taking photos stage by stage of my Hi-Fi evolution.

Once the speakers are purchased it will have taken me approximately 20 years to build this amazing set up and I am happy to have shared it with you guys.

Apologies if this bored anyone, If there are any questions please ask!

Now tell me your Hi-Fi story........... :)
Well that was some story. You must have had a good job to fund all that but your younger than me. I left school in 1974 but before I left I built a crystal radio at school & listening to that I found my first love of music that I played nightly when sent to bed. I left & joined f w woolworths & purchased a record deck with built in amp from the music section & purchased my first album al greens greatest hits which I played to death. Since then I must have owned nearly every brand of hifi kit like Sony, technics, kef, mission & so on. I am now not just leaving school but close to retiring in a couple of years & music & hi fi is the one thing that has always been in my blood. I still have a modest budget but manage to get a greatest sound for my bucks marantz amp & cd6007, q acoustics speakers. Rega planar 3. and enough music from over the years to listen to ( now digitally) but still hundreds of cd,s vinyls & flac files to keep me as happy as when I was that schoolboy wishing I had a Sony Walkman cassette player. By the way I still own that red Sony Walkman with orange headphones. I loved reading your story, hope you enjoyed my journey which has passed to my sons love of music.
 

Deaf Audiophile

Active Member
Blimey Dune you went further back than me but my first music equipment was a Pied Piper Radio that my parents got me for Christmas in 1959. I loved that radio going to sleep at night listening to Radio Luxembourg on 208. I also once had a little transistor from Woolworths in the early 60's remember part of the name was Spicket. It was plastic but in a leather case, got dropped so often it disintegrated!
Radio Luxembourg
Fantastic days with the dodgy signal fading. Oh the memories. It's what started my love of anything audio.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
In fairness though it’s a really good thread that should hopefully create some newer interesting posts !!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Nothing wrong with resurrecting an old thread if it's pertinent to the new member. Often better than starting a new one.
 

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