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Budget system

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
303
103
19,070
I've given up on the Cambridge 740A/C combination. Its incredibly impressive in so many ways but its VERY hi-fi and I just can't live with it day to day. I want a more musical system that just leaves me to enjoy my music again.

I'm starting from scratch and want to build a budget system round a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s I've just purchased. I still have a NAD C521BEE CD player from a previous system and wondered about combining it with a C315BEE or C325BEE amp. Has anyone heard the Diamonds with NAD amplification?

Alternatively I am considering the Marantz PM6002/CD6002 combo or going down the 2nd hand route. Second hand I have thought of the following possible amps:

Audiolab 8000A or 8000S
Pioneer A400
Kenwood KA3020SE
Arcam Alpha 7 or 8
Marantz PM7002 or PM66SE-KI Sig
A Rotel of some description - possibly even an RA-930BX.

Taking one of these routes, what CD players should I look at? I'm very interested in any impartial advice. I've got carried away with getting more and more expensive hi-fi and the music has somehow got lost along the way.

I intend to keep my Chord Company Crimson interconnect but perhaps upgrade speaker cable to Silverscreen. I'll also be using a Thorens TD150MkII turntable as a source and already have a Graham Slee phono pre-amp. My Diamonds are on Atacama stands.

Musical tastes are classical (my reason for buying the Wharfedales), jazz, 60s and 70s rock, folk, and some musical theatre so my system needs to be an all rounder. I want warmth and musicality but also the sound needs to have sufficient attack for the more dramatic works and songs.

Thanks in advance...
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
matthewpiano:I've given up on the Cambridge 740A/C combination. Its incredibly impressive in so many ways but its VERY hi-fi and I just can't live with it day to day. I want a more musical system that just leaves me to enjoy my music again.

I'm starting from scratch and want to build a budget system round a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s I've just purchased. I still have a NAD C521BEE CD player from a previous system and wondered about combining it with a C315BEE or C325BEE amp. Has anyone heard the Diamonds with NAD amplification?

Alternatively I am considering the Marantz PM6002/CD6002 combo or going down the 2nd hand route. Second hand I have thought of the following possible amps:

Audiolab 8000A or 8000S
Pioneer A400
Kenwood KA3020SE
Arcam Alpha 7 or 8
Marantz PM7002 or PM66SE-KI Sig
A Rotel of some description - possibly even an RA-930BX.

Taking one of these routes, what CD players should I look at? I'm very interested in any impartial advice. I've got carried away with getting more and more expensive hi-fi and the music has somehow got lost along the way.

I intend to keep my Chord Company Crimson interconnect but perhaps upgrade speaker cable to Silverscreen. I'll also be using a Thorens TD150MkII turntable as a source and already have a Graham Slee phono pre-amp. My Diamonds are on Atacama stands.

Musical tastes are classical (my reason for buying the Wharfedales), jazz, 60s and 70s rock, folk, and some musical theatre so my system needs to be an all rounder. I want warmth and musicality but also the sound needs to have sufficient attack for the more dramatic works and songs.

Thanks in advance...

Denon DCD-700AE is a very nice sounding player - warm, good bass.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
13
19,695
I've heard the budget NAD system from Superfi (whichever numbers they are - 315 I think) with Diamonds and Tannoy Mercurys, and they're fantastic. Not exactly what you'd call hifi - quite coloured really - but really musical and enormous fun.

If you did want to go second hand, I'd recommend the Rotel RA-04, which suits the Diamonds to a tee.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I used to drive my Evo2-10 with a 315BEE in my secondary system. Worked fine. I think NAD/Wharfedale is a good match.

Although if you can buy a used Arcam I think you could have a better sound.

I have owned the CA 540 amp, and tried at home for several weeks the 640V2. I really like CA amps; I think they are very informative, sweet sounding, and musical. But... they do all this without passion. It's like they are saying to you: "look how wonderfully I present to you this musical frase...I bet you haven't heard it this way before, have you?". OK, fine, it's interesting and funny for a while, but...in the end you realize it's an "informative" approach, which doesn't really connect you in an emotional way with the music.

I'm now trying at home the Creek Evo amp versus the Arcam A80. I prefer the Arcam, it's more involving. The Creek is musical, but it leaves you looking at the music from the outside; you cannot immerse yourself into the music.

I think there are components which have more emotional power than others. The problem is that it really takes a while for you to know which are the ones that do that. A store demo won't tell you this. Not even a one or two day home demo.

Usually what happens is that you audition a component comparing it with other components, analizing their performance in every aspect: this one has a faster bass, this one has a better soundstage, the other one has better imaging, etc. And then you decide which one is the winner and buy it. This is the safest way to dissatisfaction!

What one should do is just listen to music for some days with the components; the one which made you enjoy the music most is the one that you should keep. It doesn't matter if it has less detail, or isn't as faster as the other one, etc.

Music systems are performers. Have you realized that usually the greatest singers are not the most perfect ones? If we talk about singing technique, Di Steffano sucked! But audiences went crazy listening to him. And Louis Armstrong...a horrible technique! But how happy we are when we listen to him singing!
 

Tesler

New member
Oct 2, 2007
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Hi Matthew,

I can understand exactly what you mean about the Cambridge Audio combination you have. Classical music does have a flat and clinical feeling to the music; yes the combination is HiFi sounding rather than musical.

My 740a amp is resigned to the spare room; I think the amp is the culprit for the clinical sound more so than the CD player.

I'm still enjoying my Pioneer A400 which I bought from new in 1990 it has superb musicality, slam, and a sweet treble that is to die for.

I tried using a new Marantz CD6002 with it, but results were a bit splashy at the top end. I was lucky enough to source a new Laser assembly for my 12yr old Marantz CD63se earlier this year so I'm using that with the Pioneer which sounds stunning.

If you like Classical music, A pioneer A400 (if you can get a good second hand example) will make you happy, Carmina Burana for example blows me away, the wife cries when she hears it. If you have a turntable you don't need a Phono stage, my turn table sounds much better through the Pioneer then it does with the CA 740a/640p.

My advice? If you can get a Pioneer 400 in good condition? Then do so.
But the golden rule for what ever you choose is to demo it first.
Good luck in you audio quest.

Tes
 
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Anonymous

Guest
If it's any use I had a similar experience to you but after a lot of demoing I took the opposite route with my amp and bought a Roksan Caspian Integrated then of course I felt that my CD player wasn't up to the job. I was going to replace my CD player but in the long term but spotted the Arcam DV135 on the Superfi website for £299. Took the chance after reading the What Hi-Fi review and bought one. Now I'm as happy as a cat with a cream flavoured ar*e. Quite simply the combo is staggering and the Arcam hasn't even run in yet. So for £299 you really can't go wrong.The Silverscreen cables I use are excellent but don't know how they'd be with the Wharfedales.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
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Putting our differences to one side for a moment I experienced the same with the 840 components a little while back. Technically very good but a bit mechanical sometimes though uninvolving would be to strong a word. Superb for the money. Anyway ...

I still have a little loan system here, courtesy of a nice dealer friend consisting of a Denon amplifier and player with some Mordaunt Short speakers. This little lot is not worth a lot but it plays music very nicely. Powerful, punchy, warm and very focused, open and detailed. Certainly not miles away from my previous 3k system. I will get my AVI's imminently but I could happily live with that little system, I have for the last few months.

Especially the amplifier is a peach. It was nigh on indistinguishable from one of Arcams new amplifiers, the A28 and probably bettered it in certain areas. The matching player is fine too and you could always add a DacMagic. This with some cheap Kef iQ7's rocked, soothed and surprised.

Don't get me wrong, they are not perfect but nothing is, no matter what price as you have found out.
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
drummerman:
Putting our differences to one side for a moment I experienced the same with the 840 components a little while back. Technically very good but a bit mechanical sometimes though uninvolving would be to strong a word. Superb for the money. Anyway ...

I still have a little loan system here, courtesy of a nice dealer friend consisting of a Denon amplifier and player with some Mordaunt Short speakers. This little lot is not worth a lot but it plays music very nicely. Powerful, punchy, warm and very focused, open and detailed. Certainly not miles away from my previous 3k system. I will get my AVI's imminently but I could happily live with that little system, I have for the last few months.

Especially the amplifier is a peach. It was nigh on indistinguishable from one of Arcams new amplifiers, the A28 and probably bettered it in certain areas. The matching player is fine too and you could always add a DacMagic. This with some cheap Kef iQ7's rocked, soothed and surprised.

Don't get me wrong, they are not perfect but nothing is, no matter what price as you have found out.

What model Denons are they DM?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Drummerman, can you tell us which Denon models you are trying?

A friend of mine told me once that the Denon PMA 2000 amp was the best sub 1K amp he has ever heard.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
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0
Nothing as illustrious as that ...

Denon PMA-355UK http://www.denon.co.uk/site/frames_main.php?main=prod&ver=&MID=3&sub=2&action=detail&Pid=197&

Denon DCD-685 and some Mordaunt Short MS20i's

worth ... £100 - 150?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
drummerman:
Nothing as illustrious as that ...

Denon PMA-355UK http://www.denon.co.uk/site/frames_main.php?main=prod&ver=&MID=3&sub=2&action=detail&Pid=197&

Denon DCD-685 and some Mordaunt Short MS20i's

worth ... £100 - 150?

Wow! Very impressive.

Denon doesn't have this kind of stereo components for the Latin American market. Only entry-level stereo receivers and CD changers. But no audiophile CD players, or PMA amps. It's a shame.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
303
103
19,070
JohnDuncan:I've heard the budget NAD system from Superfi (whichever numbers they are - 315 I think) with Diamonds and Tannoy Mercurys, and they're fantastic. Not exactly what you'd call hifi - quite coloured really - but really musical and enormous fun.

If you did want to go second hand, I'd recommend the Rotel RA-04, which suits the Diamonds to a tee.

Thanks JD. Thats got me thinking about a possible CD6002/RA-04 combination to use with the Wharfedales. Thats one for home demo I think.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
303
103
19,070
drummerman:
Putting our differences to one side for a moment I experienced the same with the 840 components a little while back. Technically very good but a bit mechanical sometimes though uninvolving would be to strong a word. Superb for the money. Anyway ...

I still have a little loan system here, courtesy of a nice dealer friend consisting of a Denon amplifier and player with some Mordaunt Short speakers. This little lot is not worth a lot but it plays music very nicely. Powerful, punchy, warm and very focused, open and detailed. Certainly not miles away from my previous 3k system. I will get my AVI's imminently but I could happily live with that little system, I have for the last few months.

Especially the amplifier is a peach. It was nigh on indistinguishable from one of Arcams new amplifiers, the A28 and probably bettered it in certain areas. The matching player is fine too and you could always add a DacMagic. This with some cheap Kef iQ7's rocked, soothed and surprised.

Don't get me wrong, they are not perfect but nothing is, no matter what price as you have found out.

Cheers Drummerman. I will definitely look at these items. Would certainly make for a very cheap but effective system. Thank you.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
303
103
19,070
batonwielder:Classical sounds absolutely superb on the Wharfedale Diamonds and unbelievable with Rega Brio 3. Just try it.

The Brio looks interesting and, as classical is the bulk of my listening I'll demo it. My only slight concern is its flexibility - does it sound as good with other music? What CD player would you suggest for this combination?

Many thanks to everyone for their ideas and contributions. Keep them coming!! I'm desperate to get this sorted out but don't want to rush into another bad decision.
 

d_a_n1979

New member
Sep 6, 2007
134
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0
I saw that you mentioned the Arcam 7/8 integrated amps MP byut have you considered the Arcam Alpha 9 or 10 integrated amps as well?

Both are very good and would be a good partner to a decent CDP and your Diamonds.

I'm in a similar boat to you currently; really not sure what to do about my current set-up. I'm really toying with the idea of selling it all on eBay and then seeing where i am when its sold and go from there; starting with a new canvess so to speak.

I really fancy building a simple system (i.e. B&W 683's, Roksan Kandy LIII integrated amp or the Arcam FMJ A32 and the Arcam 135 DVD player)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
As a classical music fan of over 20 years I always return to Neutrons as a reference point for their accuracy.
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
matthewpiano:batonwielder:Classical sounds absolutely superb on the Wharfedale Diamonds and unbelievable with Rega Brio 3. Just try it.

The Brio looks interesting and, as classical is the bulk of my listening I'll demo it. My only slight concern is its flexibility - does it sound as good with other music? What CD player would you suggest for this combination?

Many thanks to everyone for their ideas and contributions. Keep them coming!! I'm desperate to get this sorted out but don't want to rush into another bad decision.

I don't have any classical music. However, last night I was listening to Alicia Keys and the piano sound was beautiful. The DacMagic is so very accurate for the money and it would allow you to spend a bit more on amp and speakers. I use my BD player as transport but have ripped lots of my cds now and listen to them from my computer (via extender). The good thing about the DM is you could buy one, try it and then sell it on if you didn't like it - you might lose yourself £20 if that.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Dear MatthewPiano

If you consider the Rega Brio 3, you may consider a used Rega Planet to go with it. I bought one and listen mostly to classical music. It is very natural, not hifi at all. In particular, it is very different from budget Marantz stuff (at least the CD5400 that I had, haven't heard the CD6200), which is quite coloured, in my view.

Hedgehog
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
303
103
19,070
Does anyone know of a good Rega dealer in Lancashire? I can't seem to find one near me!!!! I really want to try the Brio 3 with my Wharfedales, preferably on home demo and preferably with an Apollo CD player.

I also plan to try the Marantz CD6002 with the Rotel RA-04. I'm trying to keep an absolutely open mind about particular brands to ensure I go with the best sound.

The Arcam Alpha 9 and 10 look good and I am definitely considering these although it will obviously be hard to audition them.
 

batonwielder

Well-known member
May 13, 2008
32
2
18,545
I think that any detailed CDP will sound great with the Brio 3 and the 9.1's.

I'm so excited that you are seriously considering my recommendation. I'm confident that you will end up coming home with the setup.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
303
103
19,070
batonwielder:
I think that any detailed CDP will sound great with the Brio 3 and the 9.1's.

I'm so excited that you are seriously considering my recommendation. I'm confident that you will end up coming home with the setup.

Its odds on favourite at the moment Batonwielder so thank you very much. I can't wait to organise a demo and spend some time listening to the combination. I will keep you posted - will be a week or so before I get the funds together but at least that means I won't make a rash decision.

On another note, are you, as your forum name suggests, a conductor?
 

d_a_n1979

New member
Sep 6, 2007
134
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The only Rega dealers i know are located in South Manchester and Cheshire :(

MP - With regards to you auditioning Arcam stuff; you live in PReston dont you? If thats the case youre more than welcome to audition my set-up apart from the Arcam Alpha 9 CDP which has gone back to Arcam again (managed to get them to sort it for free this time round :) ).
 

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