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System synergy

M

maidened

Guest
Here is a little recent hi-fi conundrum I've been in.....Mr. Wilson you need not reply to thread, as I know your views already.
My friend had a pair of ATC 12SCM's and for 4 years he struggled to drive them properly. He had tried Quad, Tact and Krel. The Tact and the Krel drove them, but there just wasn't enough resolution. Dynamics were also lacking. About 2 years ago I suggested to my friend, to try the ATC's with my Cyrus 8VS with power supply. At this point he was fed up with the ATC's, and told me to F*** off and "the Cyrus is only 70 watts per channel, it will never drive them!"
As previously posted, about 2 weeks ago we tried the ATC's with the Cyrus and a Rega Apollo. I had the system running for about half an hour and was gobsmacked! A massive wall of sound, with everything in the right place. I thought, for me there is no turning back....I am going to offer my friend a nice sum for the ATC's. Half an hour later, my friend came down to join in the listening proceedings. 2 minutes into the first track and he stated "I'm selling the Krel's and getting what you've got!"
A week later we both had the same system. Now here is where the story gets a bit deeper kiddies!
I have a Rega P3 2000. This has got a Rega Elys 2 cartridge running through a Rega phono amp. With all previous speakers I had used the P3 showed great results. However, with the ATC's, the P3 developed distortion around the treble and a rough edge around vocals. For days I tried to live with it and just accept how it was, but for the first time, I was getting a better sound from CD than vinyl....CRAZY!
I thought right then, I'm not going to change the CD amp and speaker combo, because I love the sound so much, and couldn't turn back from it.
At last, would I have what I wanted from a system, a good balance between vinyl and CD. I thought to myself, I can get the same results from vinyl, I just need to play around a bit.
I was always intrigued as to what an LP12 sounded like. All the reviews indicated it would be the sound I would like, rhythmical, warm, more music, less hi-fi. I managed to pick one up, which was a 1985 model that had been fully serviced, with a Linn Basik plus tonearm, with a Goldring 1042 cartridge.
Fortunately for me, the seller offered to try the deck on my system.
The LP12, the myth, the legend, here it was in our room..Oh! I was so excited waiting to hear that needle hit the plastic and then......nothing! I was expecting a big orgasm of sound, and all that came through the ATC's was a tinny mess! So, the seller and myself are both sat there in dismay. I said to him "Where's the bass?" He said "I use floor standers at home and have no problem. It must be because you are using small speakers." I tried to explain to him that the ATC's are a studio monitor and they will reveal weakness. He started saying again about big and small speakers. I then tried to explain how the ATC's have a flat response and that in all cases the physical size of the speakers does not mean a bigger sound. By the way, he is using Quad 22L's which colour the sound!
At this point he would not listen to any reason, because I think he was miffed that I wasn't buying the turntable........ so off he went.
Thank God I didn't buy the Sonndeck without a demo!
So here I sit in my house, more disillusioned than ever...how the hell can a Linn Sonndeck sound so dead....a legend! The deck, by which all others were measured by, the deck that I will never touch again with a bargepole! So I sat there thinking stick with the P3, at least it's got resolution, detail and dynamic, even if the treble is a bit harsh. Then I thought, no there has got to be more to this, there must be something I can do.
So I contacted a fellow enthusiast who also believes in Rega. I explained the situation to him. He said "Try the Denon DL110 or the Dynavector 10X5" because he thought it was the Elys2 that was the culprit. Thank you very much sir!
The next morning, the seller of the LP12 rang to explain how great the LP12 sounded on his system. Again I tried to explain about the difference between the ATC's and the Quads, but he was having none of it and said it must have been my Rega Phono amp (he is actually a very nice chap btw) After this, I then rang a local dealer and explained the situation, and he has very kindly offered to demo the Dynavector at home.
System Synergie, in my opinion, does exist, and the moral of this story is......don't believe the myths and legends before you start parting with hundreds of pounds.....which could amount to thousands. Try before you buy....at home.A good dealer will let you do this, and if they don't, then don't bother with them.
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
To be honest,system synergy accounts for a very large part of how good(or bad) a system performs and sounds.

Very often you will find that a well chosen set of realtively cheap components can easily outperform a much more expensive but ill-chosen system.

On another point....the remarks you make about the LP12,whilst true given the system context,should be seen against the fact that the Basik arm is just as the name suggests,and the Goldring cartridge is also not a fair comparison.
I would admit that the setup I have on mine is more expensive,but the intrinsic abilities of the deck,given a good arm and cartridge are still very good,but it really does benefit from adding the offboard PSU(another admittedly expensive upgrade),and older models often have poor upgrade histories.

Krell amps are another area where a lot of differing opinions come up....older Class A models have immense bass power and load tolerance but do need a prolonged warm-up time before they sound their best,and many people simply dont like the sound of certain models,especially the KSA-S series,or some of the KAV models....it is,as we've both said,down to system synergy,and the sound that an individual wants.
 

Mr_Sukebe

Established Member
As you rightly say, synergy is essential, and unfortunately one of the things that is so hard to get right. Magazines usually brush over it, but it's certainly an area where a good dealer can add a lot of value.

The problems with your Rega sound like setup. Might be worth getting your deck checked out.

Ref the LP12. I've owned one of these and even with a basik they can be pretty stunning. Sounds like the deck had some serious problems. As it's from 1985, can't say I'm too surprised. Be aware that virtually everything in the deck has been improved since then, so a 2007 has hardly anything that's common to a 21 year old deck.
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Ref the LP12. I've owned one of these and even with a basik they can be pretty stunning. Sounds like the deck had some serious problems. As it's from 1985, can't say I'm too surprised. Be aware that virtually everything in the deck has been improved since then, so a 2007 has hardly anything that's common to a 21 year old deck.

That's well put,and whilst I obviously like the sound etc,as I own one currently,I have to agree with what you say about the age factor.

There is a long history of updates to the deck,from some fairly simple bracing to the plinth,all the way to suspension,base,bearing,PSU and other major changes,and it's also been true that many self-installs are not always well done.

As I mentioned above,one of the best but also costliest upgrades is the PSU.....an older deck with either the original or later Valhalla PSU is vastly inferior to those fitted with either the Naim Armageddon PSU or Linn Lingo....all the usual pace rythm etc attributes are immediately and very noticeably improved.

Many of the later changes do remove some of the warmth with which the LP12 is associated,and some have commented on them as sounding more like CD,but the deck can still produce superb results...albeit in the right system.
 

karkus30

Banned
As I bang on about testing gear out at every opportunity and not pandering to 'What Hifi' style legends, it all makes perfect sense to me.

Personally I dont like ATC speakers, but have heard them sound pretty good powered by a pile of Naim amplifiers that appeared to touch the ceiling, the deck was.........a Linn and the record was playing DSOTM. It sounded amazing and was being used to demonstrate the abilities of Mana Acoustic sound frames.

I have heard good and bad Linns. Some of the worst have had the full works, some of the best have been laying in a garage for 20 years and look like they are fit for the tip. There does not seem to be any reason why they vary so much.

Krells.......and I am generalising, are a warm, soft sounding amplifier with enormous power but usually give a good stereo image at the expense of a lack of the characteristic bits that can lift a system.
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Krells.......and I am generalising, are a warm, soft sounding amplifier with enormous power but usually give a good stereo image at the expense of a lack of the characteristic bits that can lift a system.

I know this of course gets back to opinions and synergy etc etc,but I think that most would describe Krells as being warm only in physical terms!

I wouldn't describe many that I've either owned or heard as being either warm or soft sounding,but I would agree that they are not hard or harsh,when partnered with suitable components.

The KAV series,and the rather unpleasant KST100 are not the last words in imaging,and as I've said,the KSA-S series were a bit of a bad move in some respects sonically,but the FPBs are much superior.
 

DigiBadger

Standard Member
I've found the most common cause of a dodgy sounding LP12 is where they have been bodged by an idiot. I buy and sell these for extra cash. I've picked up models that have been "serviced", some by dealers (not very good ones) and some by blitherig idiots who think they can guess they way around the thing without a speed checker on a wonky bench in their garage. I laugh a these people because quite often they're wrecking one of their most prized possessions. The best ones i come across are the ones that have no such claims, possibly even with an original knackered cartridge still on it!
 
M

maidened

Guest
I've found the most common cause of a dodgy sounding LP12 is where they have been bodged by an idiot. I buy and sell these for extra cash. I've picked up models that have been "serviced", some by dealers (not very good ones) and some by blitherig idiots who think they can guess they way around the thing without a speed checker on a wonky bench in their garage. I laugh a these people because quite often they're wrecking one of their most prized possessions. The best ones i come across are the ones that have no such claims, possibly even with an original knackered cartridge still on it!
Do you reckon that you could get one to sound great in my current system.
 

karkus30

Banned
The best ones i come across are the ones that have no such claims, possibly even with an original knackered cartridge still on it!

Mirrors my experience exactly. The untouched ones that have been shoved in a loft always sounded better than the cirkus, valhalla upgraded ones.
 
M

maidened

Guest
Mirrors my experience exactly. The untouched ones that have been shoved in a loft always sounded better than the cirkus, valhalla upgraded ones.

I'm getting a new one next week. Heard one with my system and loved it.
 

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