Where do I go from here?

smarty

Active Member
Current set up:
Arcam AVR300 receiver
Arcam CD82 CD player (upgraded from CD73T)
KEF Q55.2 floor standers (with new KEF iQ7s waiting in the loft once my 3yr old can be trusted not to knock them over as well!)
Also have a REL Q150 sub.
The speakers are bi-amped off the AVR 300.

I phoned my local dealer and then Arcam about upgrading the CD82 to a CD192 to be told by both it's not worth it. There are only a handful of parts left so it can be done but the upgrade costs £500 and their new CD17 is £500 retail. According to the Arcam lady the sound is as good as, if not better than, the CD192 anyway. My dealer also said the CD192 wouldn't really be an improvement over the CD82 (according to the technician he's spoken to).

So, where do I go from here? I'm not going to change the AVR 300 as it's not very old and I've got a pair of brand new iQ7 speakers from an insurance claim so they won't be changed either (plus I have the rest of the surround speakers to match).

Do I stay with what I've got (I'm not unhappy with the sound but initially just thought I'd upgrade while I still could) or sell my CD82 and get something else? If so what else? Any thoughts appreciated. Really don't want to spend more than £500 but would spend £500 plus the value of my player.
Would going to a different make CD player be better?
 

Theo Maxtible

Well-known Member
Current set up:
Arcam AVR300 receiver
Arcam CD82 CD player (upgraded from CD73T)
KEF Q55.2 floor standers (with new KEF iQ7s waiting in the loft once my 3yr old can be trusted not to knock them over as well!)
Also have a REL Q150 sub.
The speakers are bi-amped off the AVR 300.

I phoned my local dealer and then Arcam about upgrading the CD82 to a CD192 to be told by both it's not worth it. There are only a handful of parts left so it can be done but the upgrade costs £500 and their new CD17 is £500 retail. According to the Arcam lady the sound is as good as, if not better than, the CD192 anyway. My dealer also said the CD192 wouldn't really be an improvement over the CD82 (according to the technician he's spoken to).

So, where do I go from here? I'm not going to change the AVR 300 as it's not very old and I've got a pair of brand new iQ7 speakers from an insurance claim so they won't be changed either (plus I have the rest of the surround speakers to match).

Do I stay with what I've got (I'm not unhappy with the sound but initially just thought I'd upgrade while I still could) or sell my CD82 and get something else? If so what else? Any thoughts appreciated. Really don't want to spend more than £500 but would spend £500 plus the value of my player.
Would going to a different make CD player be better?
Hello fellow man of Kent!

It's good to hear that you (like me and many others) are happy with your Arcam kit. I'm new to Arcam with a DV137 and AVR350, so unlike a lot of others that use this forum, am unable to make a judgement on your equipment compared to other players etc.

If you're familiar with the DV137 in any way, you'll know that it has SACD and DVD-A capability. Supposedly there are some of these machines being sold off at less than half the original RRP. Might a move to hi-res (and MCH) audio be a way to go?

Just a thought. :thumbsup:
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
When I bought my CD82, I tried all three then-current models (CD72, CD82 and CD92), and bought the CD82 as the difference between the 72 and 82 was clear, but the 82 and 92 were close. The 72 was replaced by the 73T and the 92 by the 192 with the 82 squeezed out of the middle.

I also have a DV137. For CDs I prefer the 82, so for me, the 137 isn't an upgrade as far as stereo CD is concerned. The DV139 would have been a better buy.

I'm undoubtedly going to provoke reactions to contradict, but I reckon the weak points in your setup are the KEF Q55.2 speakers (anf the IQ7 for that matter) and the AVR300, and that you should be looking at addressing these components in your quest for better stereo performance. Otherwise, since you say you don't want to change these, you might just as well stay where you are and put the money away for when you do want a new AVR.
 
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smarty

Active Member
Cheers guys.
Yes, I think you're right. The KEFs, although very good when I bought my system initially, are probably the limiting factor. Probably more than the AVR300. However, in a 5.1 set up you can't just change the front speakers so it's a lot more expensive to change the speakers. I'm also limited by the placement and size of the centre speaker.
Originally, my system comprised an Onkyo TXDS696 AV amp and the CD73 plus the KEFs. That was about 7 years ago though. I got the AVR300 about 2 years ago when they were selling them off cheap when they discontinued them. Noticeable improvement over the Onkyo, especially as the speakers are now bi-amped. When we upgraded the CD to CD82 spec there was also a noticeable improvement. I guess I've just got used to the sound now though.

If there is one criticism then I'd say it's probably not the most exciting of sounds. The KEFs are very good with vocals and the treble is also nice. Mid range could do with a little more punch. Low end is fine as we use the REL in tandem. Just sounds a little lacking in sparkle. I'm using QED Silver Anniversary Bi-wire cable by the way. Not sure if changing that would help?

Any suggestions for better speakers then to add a bit of sparkle?

As for a DVD player, my Plasma is a standard def one so I'm going to wait until I replace my Pioneer DVD player (also SACD/DVD-Audio) with a BluRay player along with the TV. Would need a BluRay player that outputs HD sound over 6 channel analogue as AVR300 doesn't have HDMI. Can't see me doing that for a while though as very happy with current set up.

Sorry for the long post but one more question. What stereo amp would I be looking at to better the sound of the bi-amped AVR300 in Stereo Direct?

Cheers.
 

Davieboy00

Novice Member
However, in a 5.1 set up you can't just change the front speakers
No reason why not.
I used to have Missions all round and earlier this year I changed my fronts to B&W683s but kept my Mission surrounds and centre. All works together fine.
I'm sure there are plenty of folk out there in forumland who have different fronts and surrounds.
If you are dead set on keeping the speakers all the same manufacturer , I would upgrade then fronts first then the surrounds and centre as budget allows.
I reckon that if you tried to get a whole surround package with any budget you have for fronts that you would always have that little niggle at the back of your head that you could still do better.
Cheers.
David
 

Mr_Orange

Well-known Member
No reason why not.
I used to have Missions all round and earlier this year I changed my fronts to B&W683s but kept my Mission surrounds and centre. All works together fine.
I'm sure there are plenty of folk out there in forumland who have different fronts and surrounds.
If you are dead set on keeping the speakers all the same manufacturer , I would upgrade then fronts first then the surrounds and centre as budget allows.
I reckon that if you tried to get a whole surround package with any budget you have for fronts that you would always have that little niggle at the back of your head that you could still do better.
Cheers.
David
My fronts and centre are B&W and my surrounds are Gale. I think it is more important to have tonal matching across the front 3, than it is front to back.
 

smarty

Active Member
That's what I was told.
Maybe a change of fronts only wouldn't be that bad then. Might have to test some speakers.
Any recommendations?
 

Mr_Orange

Well-known Member
With Arcam amplification, you should definitely consider some B&Ws appropriate to your budget.
 

Turtles

Novice Member
B&W's, PMC's and Dali's - as a start!

You should find something to fit your budget in all of them.
 

killiefan

Active Member
If you have a nice local dealer why not try to get hold of a CD36 - going rather cheap at the mo. Sevenoaks' Sevenoaks branch is seeling some on eBay. The CD37 is too new for your price range.

Or perhaps a dedicated power amp - P90 (3 channel if you can to run the 3 fronts).

I've read that ICs and speaker cable should certainly not be used to try to cure any percieved issues in your system - but a good dealer should suggest some alternatives and let you borrow for a home test.

Ultimately it is your money. Get some audition time in and buy what puts the biggest smile on your face.
 

smarty

Active Member
With Arcam amplification, you should definitely consider some B&Ws appropriate to your budget.
When we bought the Onkyo and KEFs originally we demoed some B&Ws alongside the KEFs. The KEFs sounded better on vocals and seemed to have a sweeter treble. B&Ws had slightly tighter bass but overall we felt the KEFs better. Oh, and the B&Ws looked like coffins compared to the lovely KEFs.

I've noticed in the past a lot of people have recommended PMC speakers with Arcam kit. I'll have to have a look and work on the wife...

Anyone want to buy some brand new, unused KEF iQ7s?
 

markusp

Novice Member
Why not just upgrade your front pair of KEFs to the XQ line and keep your existing Kef center speaker to use with them?

The iQ series is ok, but the XQ series is clearly a league up and should be seriously considered, especially if you already like what your existing KEFs have to offer.
 

Davieboy00

Novice Member
With Arcam amplification, you should definitely consider some B&Ws appropriate to your budget.
Totally agree.
I think the issues you may have heard with the Onkyo and the B&Ws were down to the pairing and not the speakers.
Well worth an audition of some B&Ws.
But as ever it is down to the individual what they like the sound of.
 

smarty

Active Member
Someone I've spoken to has suggested changing the speaker cable and interconnects.
Currently using QED Silver Anniversary Biwire and I think a Puresonic (can't remember which one) analogue interconnect between amp and CD player.
It has been suggested to try Chord Co Carnival Silver Screen speaker cable (or Rumour 2 but I think that's too much) and Chord Co Chameleon Silver Plus interconnects.
Anyone have any comments on that before I say who it was?

My current dealer also seems to think the KEF iQ7s will sound a lot better than the current Q55.2s so I'll give them a go first before I do anything else.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Don't waste your money on expensive cabling - you need to put your money into those aspects of your system where you will get the greatest return on your investment. Of course, if your current speaker wire is bell wire, then replace it with 1.5 - 2.5mm stranded copper (less than £2/m), similarly any properly manufactured shield interconnect will be quite adequate.
 

smarty

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestions.

I had another play last night. I'm going to sound like a right numpty but I think the main problem was lack of volume before! I have a 3 year old and his bedroom is directly above the lounge so I was running it at moderate volumes the other night. I had been quite happy with the performance previously.
Last night I upped the volume and it just came to life. Sounded so much better. No need for any changes now - very happy with it. Apart from one thing... how can I improve the sound at lower volumes? I have to run the amp at 65 to 70 before everything starts to sing and sometimes that's just a bit loud.
Is 65 to 70 about the right volume? What do other people listen at? As soon as you get to about 65 (dependent on source material recording volume)everything just opens up. Before that it sounds very closed in and boring.
 

smarty

Active Member
how can I improve the sound at lower volumes? I have to run the amp at 65 to 70 before everything starts to sing and sometimes that's just a bit loud.
Is 65 to 70 about the right volume? What do other people listen at? As soon as you get to about 65 (dependent on source material recording volume)everything just opens up. Before that it sounds very closed in and boring.

The question is (I guess) whether it's the amp that needs cranking up to bring it to life or the speakers that need some decent welly before they wake up (or a combination of the two)?
If it's the amp then would less sensitive speakers help? What do I do if it's the speakers? They're quite sensitive.

What volumes do others listen at and what's it like at lower volumes?
 

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