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Rega RS3 vs Wharfedale Diamond 9.6, please, I need advice

aythamitp

Standard Member
Hello everyone!

I had decided to purchase a set of Whafedale Diamond speakers (9.6 + 9.1 + 9CM + SW150) paired with a Cambridge Audio 540R for my soon-coming new plasma TV. Then I came across some very good reviews on the Rega RS3 (a brand I had never heard of... excuse my ignorance). I guess the new setup would be the RS3 + R1 and the R Vox.

This increases my original budget substantially, so the big question: is it worth it? Any opinion on the Rega speakers versus the Wharfedale? Are they in a completely different league?

I'd be listening to the them on a 20 sq mt (215 sq ft) room and most of the times at low-medium volume most of the times (I don't want the neighbours to kick me out of the building :)) Is the subwoofer really necessary? Any advice on that? I don't know why I have always consider the subwoofer as secondary but I guess it is a must for a Home Cinema setup.

Thanks in advance for your advice and have a nice day

Aythami
 

Passingbat

Distinguished Member
Forgive me for going off at a tangent, but if you are planning to get a blueray player at some stage, are you are aware that although the CA amp has HDMI inputs, they don't process audio, so you would not get the the HD audio from BR discs via HDMI.

It does have analogue inputs so with a more expensive BR player with analogue outs, you can get HD audio but it is trickier to set up as you have to handle base management manually and it depends on the flexibility of the amp and player.

Apologies if you are aware of all that, but it is a common mistake to assume an amp with HDMI inputs will automatically process audio and just wanted to make sure.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
In a recent test in Hi-Fi Choice magazine, which tested small bookshelf speakers from AudioPro, Dali, Focal, Infinity, Rega, and Tannoy, the Rega was the only speaker to get a full five stars in all five rating categories. The top choices were Rega, AudioPro, and Focal.

So, in general, the Rega are highly rated and well respected, though they are not cheap. This small bookshelf, the Rega RS1, retailed for close to £400/pr.

If you can afford to spend the extra money, and you like the speakers, then it might be worth it. The truest test is to give a listen, your ears will tell you more than all the reviews and opinions you can find.

I've got a pair of Diamond 9.6, and I am very satisfied with them. They have great presence and sound stage, good midrange, good bass, and are very attractive. I got them in Cherry, but the photos you find on the Internet don't do the Cherry justice. They are a very muted medium wood tone with only a slight hint of red, which is exactly what I was looking for.

I would certainly say the Rega are a better speaker, though I've never heard them, you just need to ask if they are enough better to justify the price, and to also ask, what else you can get for a price equal to the Rega.

- - - - - - - - - -

Off on a tangent here, as much as I find it hard to believe what DickLodge said about the 540R, he is probably right. If you go to the Cambridge website and look at the specs for the 540R and the 640R -

Specifications / Azur 540R (Version 3) - the ultimate 6.1 HDMI AV Receiver / 540 Home Cinema / Products / Cambridge Audio

Specifications / Azur 640R 7.1 HDMI AV Receiver / Azur / Products / Cambridge Audio

You will notice that the 640R has a long list of decoding formats. These are the various audio encoding and decoding scheme typically found on DVD and BluRay.

But I have to ask, what is the point of an HDMI connection on an AV AUDIO amp, if not to decode audio? I mean, if it doesn't decode audio, isn't that roughly the same as a car with a transmission that is not connected to the wheels?

I suspect though, that you can feed HDMI directly to your TV, or to your TV via the AV amp, then feed the Digital Audio Out of the TV back to the inputs of the AV amp and get digital audio that way. Though I can't be sure.

I guess I'm just questioning the design logic behind a digital audio amp that can't decode digital audio signals.

Also, Cambridge isn't the only one, I believe the bottom two from the Onkyo line of AV amps function the same way.

Still there HAS TO BE a way of feeding it digital audio, or what would be the point of it?

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Passingbat

Distinguished Member
Off on a tangent here, as much as I find it hard to believe what DickLodge said about the 540R, he is probably right. If you go to the Cambridge website and look at the specs for the 540R and the 640R -

Specifications / Azur 540R (Version 3) - the ultimate 6.1 HDMI AV Receiver / 540 Home Cinema / Products / Cambridge Audio

Specifications / Azur 640R 7.1 HDMI AV Receiver / Azur / Products / Cambridge Audio

You will notice that the 640R has a long list of decoding formats. These are the various audio encoding and decoding scheme typically found on DVD and BluRay.

But I have to ask, what is the point of an HDMI connection on an AV AUDIO amp, if not to decode audio? I mean, if it doesn't decode audio, isn't that roughly the same as a car with a transmission that is not connected to the wheels?

I suspect though, that you can feed HDMI directly to your TV, or to your TV via the AV amp, then feed the Digital Audio Out of the TV back to the inputs of the AV amp and get digital audio that way. Though I can't be sure.

I guess I'm just questioning the design logic behind a digital audio amp that can't decode digital audio signals.

Also, Cambridge isn't the only one, I believe the bottom two from the Onkyo line of AV amps function the same way.

Still there HAS TO BE a way of feeding it digital audio, or what would be the point of it?

Steve/bluewizard
You can feed digital audio into the CA amps but it has to be through optical or coaxial connections. (or analogue ins, as explained in my original post) But you can't send HD bitstreamed audio, such as Dolby True HD and DTS-Master Audio via these connections. These are the lossless audio formats on Blueray discs that give blueray not only better picture Quality, but better sound quality. The only digital audio that you can send through the optical or coaxial is regular Dolby Digital and DTS etc.

I agree, it is stupid that amp manufacturers put HDMI on their amps that don't decode audio --- they put it on so that people can use the amps for video switching HDMI sources.

Because HDMI is hyped as 'audio and video down the same cable', it is natural to assume that audio decoding will take place, but on low end recievers it doesn't, eg. Yamaha 365, and Onkyo 307. I think the reason it doesn't on the CA amps is that they are relatively old designs and they tend to lag other manufacturers with functionality. It's a good job they have sound quality going for them, otherwise there would be nothing to recommend them for at all! :D

Going via the TV won't be an alternative for HD audio. Some recent TVs, I believe, will pass regular DD/DTS through though.
 

aythamitp

Standard Member
You can feed digital audio into the CA amps but it has to be through optical or coaxial connections. (or analogue ins, as explained in my original post) But you can't send HD bitstreamed audio, such as Dolby True HD and DTS-Master Audio via these connections. These are the lossless audio formats on Blueray discs that give blueray not only better picture Quality, but better sound quality. The only digital audio that you can send through the optical or coaxial is regular Dolby Digital and DTS etc.

I agree, it is stupid that amp manufacturers put HDMI on their amps that don't decode audio --- they put it on so that people can use the amps for video switching HDMI sources.

Because HDMI is hyped as 'audio and video down the same cable', it is natural to assume that audio decoding will take place, but on low end recievers it doesn't, eg. Yamaha 365, and Onkyo 307. I think the reason it doesn't on the CA amps is that they are relatively old designs and they tend to lag other manufacturers with functionality. It's a good job they have sound quality going for them, otherwise there would be nothing to recommend them for at all! :D

Going via the TV won't be an alternative for HD audio. Some recent TVs, I believe, will pass regular DD/DTS through though.

Ok, first of all, thanks to both of you for answering. Regarding the CA question I hadn't thought much about it since I was planning to connect a Mac Mini that I use as media center to play .mkv files. It does have digital audio output that supports Dolby Digital, that's it... I've been told (and read...) that CA does work pretty well as a "classical" stereo amplifier which is really important for me and the price seems fair (390€), the 640R is double the price and I have to make choices :).

I have also found what I think is a nice price for a Mordaunt Short ms309i (199€). Is it a good combination with the Rega setup? Does the subwoofer have to be of the same brand of the set of speakers? (I'm sorry if the question sounds silly but I'm a little bit confused here...).

I guess I'll have to find a place to test those Rega, the difference with the set of Wharfedale speakers is 500€. I have a pair of Diamond 9.2 connected to a small Teac CRH-225 in my room and love the way they sound.

Thanks again for your advice, it's really great to find helpful people like you.

Regards,

Aythami
 

Passingbat

Distinguished Member
The fact that it is good with music, is, the big plus for the CA amps and a reason for their popularity, if HDMI audio isn't a must. The 640R BTW is just the same --- no audio via HDMI and no decoding for the new BR HD audio formats, which from what you say isn't a problem for your planned usage.

I have the MS 309 sub and I'm very pleased with it (the one you've seen is the 'i' version which is a later version). They used to sell for about £250 and in that price bracket, were generally acknowledged to be one of the best. I'm sure if you google it, you'll find reviews. It was also part of the Premier Plus package, so searches for that will bring up resuts, though be carefull with those reviews as there are some around for the original Premier package, which used the 308 sub, which was not as good as the 309.

The sub doesn't have to be the same brand as the speakers. Many people use a different branded sub to their speakers.
 

Passingbat

Distinguished Member

Passingbat

Distinguished Member

aythamitp

Standard Member
Thanks for pointing me to those reviews, I'm almost sure my next subwoofer will be the MS 309i (above all at the price tag aforementioned).

Unfortunately, like BlueWizard advised me, I did ask myself what else can I get for the price of the Rega and now I'm extremely confused :rolleyes: (I guess this the standard procedure before buying speakers :)).

Narrowing down, for more or less the same price I could get the following combinations:

· Monitor Audio (RS6 + RS1 + BR LCR)
· Focal JMLab (714V + 705V + CC700V)

I also looked at B&W (684 + 686) and Quad (L2 series) but they are completely out of my budget (taking into account the Rega, the MA and the Focal already mean going out of my initial budget).

Any thoughts on those speakers? I know i have to listen to them by myself to make up my mind. I've read good reviews of both (particularly the RS6) but at this point I'm just looking to hear any personal experience with those or the Rega. I'd also value a lot any other suggestions since in my town there aren't any Hi-Fi retailers so I would be travelling 100 miles just to make and audition and I like to know in advance more or less what I want to listen to.

Best regards and thanks again
 

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