Pre/Power or Integrated?



I am in the position of thinking about upgrading my current low end Sony system (1080/700) to something more serious. I have Ruark Contemporary R speakers and love them so this is not an issue.

The alternatives I am looking at are Tag, Pioneer and Marantz. I would like a DVD player that does CD/SACD and DVD-A if poss. So I'm looking at AX10/757i or 9200/8300DVD. If I go for Tag then I will miss SACD which will be a shame.

I accept that the Tag system (AV32/DVD32) will sound better than the other two combinations but how much so? It's bigger and much more expensive. I can fit the AX10 and 757 more or less in place of my existing gear. Will I really notice that much difference on say, CD playback?

It seems to me that the Pioneer setup particularly, has exactly what I want in a nice package that will set me back about £2700 all in. But will I always be wondering how much better the Tag would sound?

Another point is that the AX10 has the fancy auto setup which takes away the possibility of me not getting the best from it. I am also unlikely to spend much more than £10/m on speaker cable.

Bearing in mind I quite like the sound of my current set up, how much extra benefit am I going to get from spending £5000 more on Tag stuff?

Opinions pleez.


PS: Anyone know where I can demo Tag/AX10/9200 back to back?


In order to answer th equestion of which option is better for you, I think that considering the amount of money you are intenting to spend, that you should definately demo both options (possibly other options) and decide for yourself.

With regards to the DVD player and SACD, from my own experience I believe that a dedicated CD/SACD player would be better than a DVD player with these facilities. You could split the budget and buy seperate players which I believe would be money better spent.

The difference between different DVD players albeit noticeable is not as great (imo) as the difference be tween a dedicated CD/SACD player and a DVD players CD performance.

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