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Re-kindling that love for music...

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by rOAdeh, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
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    Hey all,

    I bought my current system, Arcam A80, Arcam CD73, Quad 11L a little under a year ago and have generally enjoyed using it but feel now i want a change.

    The system as a whole is fairly laid back and whilst very smooth and non-fatiguing doesnt excite or interest me enough. My tastes in music haven't changed (rock, alt, metal etc) but my idea of their presentation seems to have shifted. I want something to grab me and tell me that i have to listen to it or else (for better or for worse..)

    In fact i fancy a change away from everything; i'm thinking of selling my entire av and hifi system and until i get a place of my own just having a nice hifi system before starting the whole av lark up again - having two different systems on my budget is really stretching me :/

    I generally listen at fairly moderate levels (around 70-80db prob) but do like to crank it when i'm going out which is about the only time my system will play something non-rock. It's at these times that i feel the system is strained the most, the little quads, perhaps due to their low sensitivity, just don't seem to have enough oomph and their bass extension, probably due to their relatively small size, isnt quite as good as i'd like it to be.

    I figure i have a budget of around £1k but that could be pushed to £2k if required. I am also looking solely at second hand now, as in my newbness i bought everything new and missed out on many bargains.

    I'm just looking for ideas on what to look at. Obviously for an aggressive rock system then names such as Naim appear, but i don't know whether i'd be best looking at getting a DAC for my existing cd player (given that arcam are generally reported to provide excellent transports) or just to start again. Also would it be worth just keeping the quads and using a sub? Do i just need a different amp? And then given i want a forward sound maybe active speakers are an option - though i'm not sure i'll enjoy the clinical sound they can give off given my existing system.

    I'm in a relatively small room at the moment, so floorstanders and any particularly large bookshelves arent viable but aside from that i'm very open to suggestions as i'm finding myself just getting lost in the overwhelming mass of second hand options and directions i can take. I figure with second hand stuff that i can just flog on any equipment that i dont agree with at the relatively low cost of postage seeing as it will prove somewhat difficult to audition the majority of stuff im recommended.

    Any help is much appreciated :)

    Thanks in advance,
     
  2. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    One thing you can do is to upgrade the CD73 to CD192 spec - this will cost around £499 and I am confident will be better than most if not just about all outboard DACs. You could also bi-amp the A80 with a P80 (£429 IIRC). Both mods would bring about pretty significant sonic benefits in the direction you seem to be seeking.

    No doubt a friendly local dealer would be able to let you try out these options to see if they suit you before you finally part with the money.

    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  3. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Roadeh are fair few points to cover first off I reckon you need to consider speaker “alteration” first a new amp &, you will notice a bigger change keeping the CD73 for now and looking at those 2 areas, speaker wise I would suggest adding a small compact subwoofer (due to your room size) ala REL Quake/MJA Pro 50 this will lift your Quads to a new level also user settable sound settings to tailor the sound, if you don’t like keep for your AV use. Or try some new standmounts, the Quad 11s IMHO are great little speakers that will benefit from a dose of sub-bass to lift their playback this should be your first port of call. Amp wise the world is your oyster : Maybe start off with a 2nd hand Arcam FMJ A22/A32 (£400-600) well thought of and a differernt league to the A80/85 in the quality of the pre-amps, others amps to consider Unison Resaerch Unico, Primare A30.1, These upgrades will cost you the bones of £1000, see what you think about the CD73 in place with these items. You have to go to £1000+ Int CD players to noticeably improve a CD73 (ie there is not much difference between CD players from £500-1000 IMHO), then you soon hit the realm of DACs :

    Source wise DACs are a fantastic way to improve CD playback when you have a CD/DVD source, FWIW I know of a few Arcam CD owners who have opted to go for DACs as their next CD upgrade. Do a search on this forum and the net for more info.

    John not arguing that CD192 is not a good sounding CD player (it clearly is to its users) but I disagree with your assessment that it will sound better than all outboard DACs, if that was the case we would all be listening to Arcam CD192s I reckon. There are plenty of £500 DACs available 2nd hand that will sound better than a £500 Arcam upgrade IMHO. Anyway its about time you guys (Arcam) realeased a DAC dude, Ive been at you before : MF are releasing a X – DAC V3 £500 24/192 Upsampler, Cyrus are launching their £1000 DAC-X, Arcam should also be at the table dude (IMHO). There will always be buyers of Arcam Int. CDPs/DVDPs & I would wager there would also be buyers of Arcam DACs. In the digital (PC-Digital radio) era John something to consider. Anyway a small request from the shop floor as it were.

    ATB
     
  4. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    I reckon you should change your speakers, as that will have by far the biggest impact on your sound. You say you like metal and rock, the Quads arent really rocking speakers to my ears, they lack bass and energy - thats not to say they are bad speakers, but just a bit tame for this type of music IMHO.

    Might want to try some more lively speakers like Monitor Audios or something like that.
     
  5. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
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    hmm thanks for the replies guys, sorry i havent responded as i've been away for a few days - was expecting to return and get a load of naim fanatics on here or something :) - might have been suscepitble to the standard 'prat' acronyms and such things!

    anyway certainly i've heard that many people find the difference between the cd73 and cd92 negligible (or at least not worthwhile given the cost of the upgrade).

    interestingly enough, i did demo the monitor audio s1's with the quads and found i preferred the quads with the arcam amps but the ma's were a close second. with different amplication it could be a different matter..

    and as you say cjross, there are so many different options available when it comes to amps at £1k s/h bracket - it's at this level that i'm not sure whether a pre/power combo would be worth investigating or whether i should stick with integrated.

    as i said i'm trying to move away from that 'warm' arcam sound, this is not a criticism as i did use to love it but now feel ready for a change. would the primare or the unico have the livelier sound that im looking for?
     
  6. WhyAyeMan

    WhyAyeMan
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    I dont know about the Primare, but isnt the Unico supposed to sound very warm?

    Maybe you could look at amps like Naim Nait 5, Rotel RA-1062, Densen B100 (think thats what its called), as they are all rocking amps.
     
  7. fordster

    fordster
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    Arcams do have a reputation for being "warm". Not tried one myself so can't make a personal comment. I have Quad 11L speakers driven by Rotel RA01 and RCD02 and it can really rock! Rotel equipment is very fast and pacy so may be more suitable if you're looking for excitement. They drive the Quad's very well as they are fairly neutral speakers. I only use them in a small room so the bass is fine for me but if you're using the kit in a big room you may need to add a sub.
     
  8. bobbypunk

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    I listen to a similar type of music. Try a Exposure 2010 intergrated/power amp combo and you'll be rocking all night long. Reasonable presentation with a sound that hits you like a sack of spuds!!
     
  9. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Don't know if it will interest anyone I ahve some exposure gear for sale in the classifieds.
     

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