Age Old Question

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
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Basically this boils down to the age old question of “all-in-one system vs budget separates”.

But first, a little back ground may help you appreciate WHERE I’m coming from:-

Several years ago, I decided it was time to replace our good old HiFi. The system in question was a Technics separates, which is now about 17 years old and benefited greatly from the addition of a pair of Mission
760 speakers shortly after.

My brief (about 6 years ago) was to replace the bulky HiFi system with something that sounded just as good but took up much less space.After narrowing the search to a Denon DM30 micro system and a Teac micro (cant remember the model), I became the proud owner of the Denon.

Disappointingly from the start, both myself and my better half, realised that the sound from the new baby was no where near the sound of the old system. Even with my trusty Missions, it failed to enthuse its audience.

BUT – we had gained a chunk of valuable house space – so whocares???
Having lived with (and little used) the DM30 for a goodwhile, it decided to break down about 5 mounts out side of warranty, and our friendly TV/HiFi repair man said it wasn’t worth repairing. Strangely I wasn’t disappointed, and took great pleasure in hitting it with a hammer and taking it to the local tip.
So, after total upheaval due to re-decoration, the living room fell silent for a while. AND we had even more space in the living room.

Yet, this summer – because its been wet and we’ve been indoors much more than normal, I’ve often thought – I could just do with some music. – Ah! – problem – no Hifi set up.
Thank goodness I had just put the dear old Technics system in the garage loft rather than flogging it to a lucky punter on EBAY. So, after a dust down, its temporarily squeezed back in the living room.

The problem is, we now don’t really have room for it.So, I have the dilemma:-

Don’t bother with any HiFi at all.
Get a Micro system so as not to take up too much space.
Sod the space issue, chuck out some furniture and get new separates.

Choice (a) isn’t really aimed at this forum.
Choice (b) must take into account the disaster with my previous micro system- even if Denon gave their best micro system away I wouldn’t take it.
Choice ( c) will take very careful negotiation with my better half, to allow a permanent separates system in the house.

Hence, (at last) my question. Is it possible for a decent (non-Denon) Micro system to
sound almost as good as a budget separates system?
If so, how much of a part do cables, connectors, speakers really make?

In an attempt to get a head start before visiting HiFi dealers, I narrowed my list of Micro systems to:-
Teac CR-H255
Onkyo CS515
NAD C715

As for the budget separates:-
Cambridge Audio Azur 340Ase
Cambridge Audio
Azur 340C
Possibly the Cambridge Audio Azur 640T

Or
NAD C315BEE
NAD C515BEE
Unsure about a suitable tuner, the NAD C445 is way over
budget.

Finally – somewhere in the middle:-
Teac Ref 300 MKIII

If possible, I’d like to stick to same the brand, other wise “my better half” will say our living room looks like a second had shop! But that’s another story. This is the main reason I’ve included the Teac Ref 300 MKIII, but I’m struggling to figure out if its an over priced psuedo-micro system or a neatly packaged, quality single brand separates system.

As for speakers, I still love my old Missions, so would they be upt to the job of any of the above systems? Or would they be greatly enhanced by having a set of M-S 902i’s or similar?

Apologies for the long read, thank you for getting this far!
Thanks in anticipation.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I agree with Solo Mini. Use your exisitng speakers and then updgrade those when funds allow...
 

crusaderlord

New member
Apr 29, 2008
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If space is a big issue and will always cause a concern in the house then i would also agree that the Arcam Solo Mini is a fantastic piece of kit at £650. Its CD is taken from the Arcam CD73 and is a really nice player.

If you cant stretch to this price then i have the Onkyo 515 in my bedroom and it comes highly recommended by me and the WHF team. Very musical and without speakers is c£220.

Separates can give more punch and control and high volumes but if space and price is an issue one of these should work pretty well for you.
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
Am I missing something here? What is the difference between an amp and cdp sitting on top and a micro system - give or take a few inches.

I've not heard the Arcam Solo and I'm sure it sounds fine. However, for cheaper you can get a really nice cd and amp and hook the amp to your tv/Sky box for radio. I would look at Marantz, Denon (don't let your micro experience worry you) or Nad. These all offer excellent budget separates that look and feel good as well as sound it. I have the Denon DCD700 which is probably the cheapest piece in my kit and it looks and sounds like it cost a lot more. I think that CA starts getting better (pound for pound) in the 640 class.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,031
15
19,695
Aesthetics is also a consideration for many. Let's face it, 95 percent of hifi is 'pug ugly' to the 95 percent of normal people who are not into it as a hobby.

Speak for yourself
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
JohnDuncan:Aesthetics is also a consideration for many. Let's face it, 95 percent of hifi is 'pug ugly' to the 95 percent of normal people who are not into it as a hobby.

Speak for yourself


Mines not either.lol!

If space is limited then thinking practically is the order of the day. I am limited for space but I have made room by re-jigging all the furniture.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Well aint this just the best HiFi forum you've ever read?????

Thanks to ALL responders. Your input and views are appreciated.

Looks like, I'm going to have to add the Arcam Solo to my list of possibles.

I get the impression that unless one has a dedicated listening room. A good quality "all in one" will stand up very well against budget separates.

I had expected a flurry of NAD and Cambridge Audio supporters to wade in and start a right old ding-dong!

Any supporters/listeners of the Teac Ref system out there?

Meanwhile, I've started to think about how it would be possible to re-jig the room. I can reasonably find a space to house the electronics. But its the speakers that will cause me most headaches. The seating arrangements generally face the TV and Fireplace. I'm assuming (even with todays technical wizardry) that speakers definitely need placing infront of you rather than to the side or rear?
Hence, either straddle the TV or the FP or both. Which is one v difficult logistical issue.

Anyone know of a manufacturer of invisible speakers?

Sereenity

(Happy listening!)
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
Serenity:
Well aint this just the best HiFi forum you've ever read?????

Thanks to ALL responders. Your input and views are appreciated.

Looks like, I'm going to have to add the Arcam Solo to my list of possibles.

I get the impression that unless one has a dedicated listening room. A good quality "all in one" will stand up very well against budget separates.

I had expected a flurry of NAD and Cambridge Audio supporters to wade in and start a right old ding-dong!

Any supporters/listeners of the Teac Ref system out there?

Meanwhile, I've started to think about how it would be possible to re-jig the room. I can reasonably find a space to house the electronics. But its the speakers that will cause me most headaches. The seating arrangements generally face the TV and Fireplace. I'm assuming (even with todays technical wizardry) that speakers definitely need placing infront of you rather than to the side or rear?
Hence, either straddle the TV or the FP or both. Which is one v difficult logistical issue.

Anyone know of a manufacturer of invisible speakers?

Sereenity

(Happy listening!)

No matter what room you have, separates will beat most micro systems. As for the look and cables and all that. All you would need that you don't with a micro system is some interconnects that would be hidden by the boxes. I have a Sony micro system in my dining room that sits on a sideboard with two small speakers. If I wanted to spend any more money, I would have An amp and cd combo like the one below and two decent bookshelf speakers. If anything it would look better.

http://www.avreview.co.uk/news/article/mps/uan/754
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
You're not going to make many friend here describing kit as 'pug ugly'


Look at these bad boys for example

 
T

the record spot

Guest
Don't forget the slightly older Linn Classik, which was also very well received and reviewed in its' day. Reckon the Arcam would have the edge over the Linn, but you may have a preference for the sound and it's always useful to compare one against the other.

There's deals aplenty out there on the Linn and it's probably available for the same price or thereabouts as the Solo.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Separates will always be superior in terms of sound quality to an 'all-in-one' system. And, I'd go with the NAD separates.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Doesn't this come down to budget and priorities? I have a number of systems but choose to listen mostly to my Linn Classik. I love the sound and have never felt it inferior to my separates systems (one Arcam 290/290P and another Pioneer A400 based). I'm not sure if the new Classik is out yet but Linn say it sounds even better. In my study I have a Cyrus 6VS amp connected to my PC + a DAB tuner and it also sounds great. I've heard the Arcam Solo mini and if I didn't already have a Classik I'd certainly buy one. If/when they build Internet radio/media streaming in I'll definitely get one for the kitchen. But you can pick up Cyrus amps/cd's at good prices at the moment and they don't take up that much more room the Linn Classik. So it depends on your priorities and budget. If you want small and DAB, and it's in budget, you won't regret the Arcam Solo mini if it has the power for the room you want to put it in. Like they always say at Whathifi go to your dealer and have a listen!
 

Nadeac

New member
Jul 6, 2008
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After purchaseing a Teac H300 Dab and a pair of 1010is a couple of months back id definatly say go the NAD route or other good quality seperates!

I to wanted to downsize from a to big to complicated 12 year old aiwa system,so i purchased the above and like u was dissapointed with the sound,especially through headphones {dont get me wrong modern micros might be better than the one u had}

Within a month i purchased a NAD 315bee and ran the teac through that ,adramatic improvement .A few weeks later i purchased The matching NAD cd player 515bee ,again an improvement in sound

Theres nothing wrong with the TEAC in fact its a very good well built unit{better built than the Nads} ,U cant really expect something that small ,that has so much built into to sound as good as seperates .Especially at £200

I mean its a CD/DVD DAB/FM radio built in USB with onscreen display and HDMI out all in one

Another thing i wouldnt recomend is useing 1010is on the full size Nad amp ,they tend to get a distored very quick for some reason , but they are only designed for micro systems and will give much better sound than factory supplied micro system speakers

If u do go the Arcam solo route and u are not happy just buy a seperate amp like i did ,if it has a right outputs u may be able to use it with a power amplifier

But what u have got to remember if u purchase a full size amp u can get the matchin CD player as well as Tuner as opposed to haveing micro components mixed with full size

Depends how fussy u are

Mark
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks Mark (and thanks to all responders)

I've got plenty to chew on now!

I was hoping the result would be a simple easy list of possibles, but now I've just got a similar sized list of different manufacturers:-

NAD
CA
Arcam
Linn

Who said it was easy!

Time to Go listen to some gear!

May need to raid the piggy back before setting off though, I think the last one on that list may be a wee speck over budget!

Anyone want to buy some Bank/Building Soc shares - You know they will come good in the end ;-)

Serenity
 

Nadeac

New member
Jul 6, 2008
69
0
0
Save some money and go the Nad or Camebridge route,if u want new that is

Look at the reviews cambridge do a nice amp with matching CD for under £180 each both 5 stars

one thing though u go on about ur old Technics my old Aiwa certainly gives the Bee a run for its money .Or at least it does to my untrained ears!

Mark
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Mark

I fully appreciate what you are saying, and I'm coming to a
similar conclusion myself.

I've got a perfectly good "old" system. I know its getting long in the tooth, its
un-trendy and possibly classed as "fair to average" by true HiFi
enthusiasts. But to my ears it still
sounds pretty darn good.

(I suspect, for my average ears, I'd have to spend a bag
full of dosh to get anything better sounding)

If this system does fail or breakdown, I'll have to re-think
the budget separates vs high end all-in-one system issue.

As an aside I will audition the NAD's, the CA's and the
Arcam Mini Solo, but probably only purchase if I'm blown away by the sound.

Meanwhile, my next hurdle is speaker position.

Does it really matter if the listeners and the 2 speakers
dont form an equilateral triangle?

Putting them anywhere where the have a clear path to ones
ears is difficult.  Getting them equally spaced and still pleasing on
the eye is one major logistical problem.

Cheers to all
Serenity
 

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