Arcam Alpha 8 & KEF Q15s - Want to upgrade speakers & get a DAC/Upgrade Hifi

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I've been listening to my Hifi now for 15 years (Arcam Alpha 8R amp, Alpha 8 Power Amp, Alpha 8SE CD and KEF Q15 speakers) and while I like its sound it is getting long in the tooth :)

I've intended for years to upgrade my bookstand speakers (currently on stands) to floorstand speakers but I'm not sure in what direction to go. I don't have access to the options available in the UK as I now live in Germany, the local store tends to focus on limited sets but do have KEF gear (not sure of models or prices yet, they are missing prices - and they amazingly have a couple of bits of Arcam hifi gear but tend to focus on NAD and Mourdant(?)). I was wondering if anyone can recommend floorstanding speakers that pair well with Alpha 8 gear.

The other issue is that the Alpha 8 doesn't have a digital input and thats problematic for me as I tend now to listem to music that way these days. Originally I had a Mac Mini in the living room and just ran a analogue cable between the Mini and the Amp, but recently we swapped it out into another room and replaced it with an Apple TV which is digital out only which leaves me with a prediciment:

1) Do I get an external DAC? (Dacmagic, rDAC... - not researched yet. Have two recommendations for Dacmagic, one for rDAC)

2) Do I upgrade the AMP/Hifi for something more modern which has digital inputs but if so to what? I'm concerned by the lack of gear available locally, so a decent demo could be an issue too. There are more options I think in Hamburg (I live a little south)

I'd be grateful for any advice, thank you

Rob
 

Frank Harvey

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As you're used to the KEF sound, and you have access to KEF gear (and also the fact that Arcam and KEF go together very well), I'd recommend you try the KEF R300. I know you're after a floorstander, but these will sound better than any floorstander at the price. I'm listening to mine right now, and there's no hint of any cabinet colouration, or any treble 'tizzyness' that can affect many speakers - just clean, uncoloured music. Bass depth for a standmount this size is pretty amazing, and as I type this, Serv It by FNDMNTL is playing, which goes to prove my point perfectly - there's bass notes in this track that you'd only expect to hear with a large floorstander - again, without any help from the cabinet joining in.

You're already used to the benefits of the UniQ driver, and with the R series, the UniQ is now the most refined and accurate it has ever been, as it has been developed via KEF's Concept Blade loudspeaker which was launched at the Munich show almost three years ago. Their imaging capabilities and their ability to hang voices in front of you are pretty scary at times. Not 'poo your pants scary', but you get my drift :)

I'm sure your 8's will do a great job with them.
 
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Thank you David for your response regarding the speakers to look at. I am, yes, surprised at the suggestion of the KEF R300 instead of a floorstander. I will definitely seek them out to try, hopefully the shop will do a home demo rather than me having to bring the Arcam gear to the shop (without a car).

Can't wait to see the wife's face when I mention this though. She doesn't see the need for floorstanders as it is, so to suggest these as an option will confuse the heck out of her :)

Do you have any thoughts regarding DACS?
 
tarasis said:
I've been listening to my Hifi now for 15 years (Arcam Alpha 8R amp, Alpha 8 Power Amp, Alpha 8SE CD and KEF Q15 speakers) and while I like its sound it is getting long in the tooth :)

I've intended for years to upgrade my bookstand speakers (currently on stands) to floorstand speakers but I'm not sure in what direction to go. I don't have access to the options available in the UK as I now live in Germany, the local store tends to focus on limited sets but do have KEF gear (not sure of models or prices yet, they are missing prices - and they amazingly have a couple of bits of Arcam hifi gear but tend to focus on NAD and Mourdant(?)). I was wondering if anyone can recommend floorstanding speakers that pair well with Alpha 8 gear.

The other issue is that the Alpha 8 doesn't have a digital input and thats problematic for me as I tend now to listem to music that way these days. Originally I had a Mac Mini in the living room and just ran a analogue cable between the Mini and the Amp, but recently we swapped it out into another room and replaced it with an Apple TV which is digital out only which leaves me with a prediciment:

1) Do I get an external DAC? (Dacmagic, rDAC... - not researched yet. Have two recommendations for Dacmagic, one for rDAC)

2) Do I upgrade the AMP/Hifi for something more modern which has digital inputs but if so to what? I'm concerned by the lack of gear available locally, so a decent demo could be an issue too. There are more options I think in Hamburg (I live a little south)

I'd be grateful for any advice, thank you

Rob

Okay - A pair of speakers that'll bring your Alpha 8 alive: Monitor Audio RS5 or RS6. MA and Arcam are pretty much the ideal combo. Having owned Arcam amps for countless years, MA exhibit all the virtues Arcam need to sparkle.

Personally wasn't that impressed with Kef/Arcam combo, but alternatives are Dali, PMC, Focal and Usher. Avoid speakers with dbs lower than 87, such as Spendor, Dynaudio, ATC, Epos. They are all cracking speakers but won't do the Arcam any favours.
 

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