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Advice and Ideas for System Upgrade

LeoGooner

Active member
Mar 4, 2021
6
1
25
My current system is below, I have included when I bought it and how much I paid as this has, rightly or wrongly, informed my thinking to date:

NAD C370 amp 2001, £405
Pro-ject The Phono Box preamp 2001, £40
Monitor Audio Silver 8i speakers 2001, £610
Rega RP 1 turntable (with original cartridge) 2011, £229
Bluesound Node2 streamer 2017, £475

The overall sound is pretty good but I want better - specifically to improve the soundstage, detail and low end. I am thinking I should replace the amp and speakers.
I don’t listen to vinyl enough to justify upgrading the turntable, but will upgrade the cartridge. I also have a CD player, tuner and tape machine - all rarely used so not planning to replace them, but would like to be able to use them with a new amp. I've not had the streamer too long so I am not thinking about replacing it just yet.

I started out thinking I should spend about double what my current components cost to get a good improvement, so about £2000 for amp and speakers and maybe another £300 on cartridge upgrade, cables (currently using Van Den Hul Snowtrack speaker cable and D102.3.8 interconnect) etc. I've no idea if I've got that right?

I have been looking at possible amps (Rega, Naim, Marantz, Roksan) and floorstanding speakers (Wharfedale, Fyne, Acoustic Energy, B&W) but having been out of the hi fi market for some time, realise I need to better understand two things:

1. the price/quality relationship – if I was to spend £3000 rather than £2000, would that make a significant difference? Of course this is largely subjective but more informed views than mine will help.
2. I use hi fi in the traditional way I guess (and resisted streaming for some time). I don't plan to use the TV, bluetooth, USB devices etc with the hi fi so I'm thinking I'd be OK going for a purely analogue amp? I want to keep amp and streamer separate for now, would prefer an amp with a phono stage and must have headphone output. I haven't really considered separate pre/power amps and imagine I would need to significantly up the budget for this?

I am talking to my local dealer but their time and stock seems very limited. I know I will need to wait for them to open to audition and make decisions but in the meantime I am trying to understand the above - any ideas and suggestions, for budget or specific components, would be greatly appreciated.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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5,270
Hi LeoCOYG :D Fascinating subject. I'll throw in a curve ball just for a little bit of a perspective.

Here are prices you'd be expected to pay today to buy your hifi on a used market. I will assume units that come from first careful owners which will come at a small premium so I will round up the prices.

NAD C370 amp 2001, £405 Used today £300
Pro-ject The Phono Box preamp 2001, £40 Used today £40
Monitor Audio Silver 8i speakers 2001, £610 Used today £300
Rega RP 1 turntable (with original cartridge) 2011, £229 Used today £200
Bluesound Node2 streamer 2017, £475 Used today £300

As you can see the depreciation isn't as much even if you shave of 10-15% for more real life pricing.

The real question is how much would you need to spend on a modern equivalent system at new prices. This could then be used as a baseline for improvement.
 
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LeoGooner

Active member
Mar 4, 2021
6
1
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Thanks insider, that is really useful information - I assumed rather more depreciation. I completely agree with you on the real question. I don't know the answer!
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
921
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I can only speculate as don't know your gear that well but know it's well regarded. You're not the first person today that I paid an indirect compliment. Need to look at my communicating skills :D

I'm sure others will chip in. I'd say use your baseline amp + speaker todays worth and then double that amount. This will give you a worthy upgrade.

I'd be remiss of me to say that whatever route you go the sound signature of 2021 made speakers will be different to 2001 made. Depending on what you're looking for you may find yourself preferring the old ones.
 
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bigfish786

Moderator
Jan 29, 2013
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19,070
hi there.
my first question is about your setup. have you got the speakers placed optimally? thats going to give you a free performance upgrade.
next, i'd say take your turntable up a level, RP1 performance pack, or just a belt and cart. the goldring e3 is a good cart to go for, under 100 quid.
see how that goes.
 

LeoGooner

Active member
Mar 4, 2021
6
1
25
hi there.
my first question is about your setup. have you got the speakers placed optimally? thats going to give you a free performance upgrade.
next, i'd say take your turntable up a level, RP1 performance pack, or just a belt and cart. the goldring e3 is a good cart to go for, under 100 quid.
see how that goes.
Hi bigfish
thanks, I think I have the speakers right - they are in a bay, plenty of room behind them, less to the side but enough. I have been experimenting recently. Definitely will be upgrading the cartridge, haven't come across the Goldring yet so will check it out thanks:)
 

LeoGooner

Active member
Mar 4, 2021
6
1
25
I can only speculate as don't know your gear that well but know it's well regarded. You're not the first person today that I paid an indirect compliment. Need to look at my communicating skills :D

I'm sure others will chip in. I'd say use your baseline amp + speaker todays worth and then double that amount. This will give you a worthy upgrade.

I'd be remiss of me to say that whatever route you go the sound signature of 2021 made speakers will be different to 2001 made. Depending on what you're looking for you may find yourself preferring the old ones.
More intrigue. How are current speakers different to 20 years ago in terms of sound characteristics?
 

LeoGooner

Active member
Mar 4, 2021
6
1
25
A better cartridge and a power amp if you can find one or a nad m amp
Thanks gas
the M amps are out of my price league but I will cast an eye over them - if only to dream . . . what do you mean by power amp, do you think there are separate pre/power options within my budget?
 

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
980
175
19,070
A power amp, mabye try looking at emotiva power amps

Nad c298 if you still want something from nad

200 for a new cartridge mabye ortofon 2m blue, selling you're speakers you might be able to upgrade to a newer pair of monitor audio speakers if your willing to spend £3000



Or the cheaper Q Acoustics concept 40 or KEF Q550/750


 

DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
1,020
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20,070
Doubling expenditure on amp and CDP didn't do it for me - it wasn't a significant upgrade to my ears, 10x original expenditure did do it for me, (must state that I didn't pay full RRP so it was more like 6.5x original expenditure).

Appreciate that this is not going to be an opinion shared by many.
 
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