Upgrade-itis... What would you do?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Big_Si_Owen, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Big_Si_Owen

    Big_Si_Owen
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    After a trip to the Bristol Sound and Vision show yesterday I have a case of upgrade-itis and am playing around with ideas. I like the sound of my system and its mostly used for movies but often gets music (either audio or DVD / Blu-ray) playing through it. I've had a few thoughts on how I could further improve its musicality and I recognise that I would need to spend a number of thousands for a significant upgrade so would have to do some saving. I'm unsure where I would get most bang for my buck? What would you do first?

    Media : FLAC/Apple Lossless CD rips stored on Windows Home Server 2011
    Source : Sonos ZP90
    Interconnect : Optical cable
    Processor : Audiolab 8200AP
    Power Amp : Rotel RMB-1075
    Speaker cable : 2.5mm Van Damme Blue
    Speakers : Dali Ikon 6 (actually the 5.1 package)

    Sonos upgrade? Level 3?
    www.fidelityaudio.co.uk/Sonos.html

    Power Amp upgrade?
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/ampl...y-ab-cinema-6500se-3800-power-amplifiers.html

    Speaker upgrade?
    http://www.avland.co.uk/aasp/dali/1220/epicon2/epicon2.asp
    Was really tempted by these too:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/spea...dali-helicon-800-speakers-7k-new-reduced.html

    Additional DAC?
    Was thinking of the Audiolab M-DAC?

    Something else? :)
     
  2. Nerved One

    Nerved One
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    That's a shame you missed out on the Dali....I have the Helicon 400 Mk2 25th Anniversary Editions and love them. If you have room for the bigger 800's at that price, I'd have snapped them up. If I was selling my 400's....I'd want a lot more than £1900.......

    Anyway, back to original question...I think I'd start with the speakers as an upgrade...I went from Ikon 6 to the Helicon 400's....and the difference is massive....so is the price right enough.
     
  3. Big_Si_Owen

    Big_Si_Owen
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    Cheers James. I was thinking that speakers would likely have the largest / most noticeable effect. Unfortunately the timing just wasn't right for the 800's. massive bargain!!!
     
  4. Nerved One

    Nerved One
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    Just checked out pics of your system and house....love the kitchen.

    The Dali you have are great for Home Cinema, but if you want to upgrade (who doesn't).....then might be worth asking your local Dali dealer if you can trade up...weight up those costs to what is available on ebay and forums.

    The Helicon 800 and Epicon 8's are big speakers....and need space for the bass to extend out fully...so you might want to look for Helicon 400 or Epicon 6.....Epicon 6 are relatively new out...so you might struggle to get a 2nd hand pair at resonable cost.
     
  5. Big_Si_Owen

    Big_Si_Owen
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    Cheers! :)

    Good point. The 800's were probably overkill really. They're massive beasts, aren't they!

    The 400's/6's (or even the 2's judging by their sound in a similar sized room to ours (6m x 4m) at the show) are probably more than fine.

    Will keep my beady eyes open and hopefully I'll have the funds available if some come up.

    Cheers for your advice!
     
  6. MI55ION

    MI55ION
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    Big-Si

    Try and demo as many different models as you can and once you've got the speakers of your dream, aim for mono block amps to power individual speakers. If you can accommodate them, some acoustic room treatment will also go a long way.

    All the best mate.
     
  7. sergiup

    sergiup
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    I second MI55ION, go and listen to a few other speakers too; in my personal opinion, I would also include some Focal speakers and some PMCs - something like the Focal 826/836 or the even the PMC twenty.24 since they're still cheaper than the Epicon 2s.

    Are you looking to move away from floorstanders and on to standmounts, or was it just a model preference?

    I would say that you need to narrow it down a bit in terms of budget, speaker size if this is a consideration, and what "sound" you want. I would say that anything in the Dali/PMC/Focal ranges at around the £3.5 mark
    for two speakers (if that's what you're aiming for) will offer excellent quality, and I would even say that they would have slightly similar characteristics in terms of clarity etc.

    The best possible advice is to set a budget and go listen to as many potential candidates as possible; it sounds like you're aiming for a pretty high budget anyway, so you kinda owe it to yourself to make a well informed choice :smashin:
     
  8. Nerved One

    Nerved One
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    Great advice....I do also apprecaite Focal....but the ones I liked were just too expensive....the Dali Helicon/Epicon do come close however...I love the combination of the ribbon and soft dome tweeter.
     
  9. Big_Si_Owen

    Big_Si_Owen
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    Cheers for the advice guys. Sounds like speakers have the vote for being the first item for upgrade!

    Not fixed on going for floor standers or book shelf. I'd be fine with either providing the sound is right. I've always preferred floor standers but the Epicon 2’s opened my eyes a bit as they sounded lovely! :) Room is 6m x 4m so could cope with larger speakers.

    My current Dali speakers were £2.5k for the 5.1 package with the fronts being £1k of that. I really like the sound of them. To make it a significant upgrade I'm thinking £3k+ would have to be the budget to set. As the rest of the set are Dali and I'd want a consistent sound (as I couldn't justifying upgrading all at once at that sort of cost) I thought sticking with Dali was a sensible approach (providing they sound the part, of course!)

    I've gone for listenings before (although not for a long while!) but am often concerned that the rest of the gear won't be the same that I'm listening on so may not be a fair test? What's your experience?
     
  10. MI55ION

    MI55ION
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    Seeing the title of your thread and knowing the nature of this hobby I'd be inclined to demo speakers with the future in mind, so use amplification during the demo that brings out the best in the speakers so at least you know their potential. Of course a significant portion of what you will hear both in the demo and once the speakers are in your living space will be the affects of the room so do bear that in mind and the potential issues it will introduce. Treat any dealer room demo as a guideline, there's no guarantee a pair of impressive stand mounts in a small box room will have the same impact and scale in your room. Same principle for big floor standing speakers. As such I would suggest once you have demoed a range of speakers (ideally at different dealers for maximum exposure) and zoned in on a few likely candidates, ask to demo them at home, a good hifi dealer should be able to facilitate this request, if not look elsewhere. Most of all take your time, don't get suckered into the old xx% discount if you buy them on the spot. Whilst you might convince yourself they are the best of the bunch, money is a great motivator after all, it may not be a wise decision for your long term best interest. Just my take on things. :)


    Edit: One thing I forgot to add regarding making a purchasing decision based on existing kit or preconceptions. This will almost always limit your options. Since the stereo speakers are the single most important part of your system, especially for a hifi enthusiast as yourself, disassociate yourself with any existing limiting factors (except your budget of course although its nice if there's some amount of flexibility) and go in with a fresh open mind.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  11. Big_Si_Owen

    Big_Si_Owen
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    This is going to be the most difficult bit, I think. As 90% of their use is going to be for movies I should really aim to replace the Left, Centre and Right at the same time. This then moves the budget requirement from £3-4k to the £6,7,8k amount though and further into the realms of fantasy.

    EDIT - Epicon 5.1 package is best part of £17k if it got that far! http://www.avland.co.uk/aasp/dali/1320/epicon6av/epicon6av.asp
    Winning lottery numbers required. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  12. MI55ION

    MI55ION
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    My bad. Since it's 90% movies I think a different approach may be required.

    A nice cohesive uniform sound along with seamless sub integration and quality room eq are probably the main priorities. Big floorstanding speakers may be overkill. You may want to check out MK and Ken Kreisel offerings although I'm sure there are others. The sub plays an important role. ;)
     
  13. MI55ION

    MI55ION
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    I was going say you might want to add XTZs into the mix, I know they don't have a dealer anymore in the UK but there are owners scattered all over. In fact if you fancy a demo and anywhere round London next few days I'm off work this week so feel free to get in touch. Don't let their price put you off. :)
     

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