• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Budget system

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.
A

Anonymous

Guest
Anyone who dreams of B&W Nautilus needs serious help! Such a massively over hyped speaker. As is their whole range really!
 

d_a_n1979

New member
Sep 6, 2007
134
0
0
thelegendarymonch:Anyone who dreams of B&W Nautilus needs serious help! Such a massively over hyped speaker. As is their whole range really!

A nice helpful post there...!

Please remember; as ive always stated; everyones hearing is different as are their music tatses and spaces where they have their systems etc...

I have listened to numerous Nautilus speakers, some have been fantastic, some havent been as good and can be beaten!

Now please try and stick to the topic; if you want to voice your opinions on B&W speakers; start a new post!
 

batonwielder

Well-known member
May 13, 2008
32
2
18,545
matthewpiano: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?

An "armchair" conductor is better fitting. ÿ

I understand why you are "downgrading" your system and starting anew. I'm going through exactly the same thing. I will probably end up with either an all Rega or Rega and Naim system.ÿ

I was going to recommend the Cambridge Audio setup to a friend of mine, who prefers bright and detailed sound. What exactly did you not like about them?
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
299
95
18,970
batonwielder:matthewpiano: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?

An "armchair" conductor is better fitting. ÿ

I understand why you are "downgrading" your system and starting anew. I'm going through exactly the same thing. I will probably end up with either an all Rega or Rega and Naim system.ÿ

I was going to recommend the Cambridge Audio setup to a friend of mine, who prefers bright and detailed sound. What exactly did you not like about them?

Its like sitting in the control room of a recording studio and listening back to a take. Everything is perfectly placed and very well seperated but it somehow doesn't gel as a musical whole.

I've arranged a demo of Marantz/Rotel stuff and the entry level Arcam FMJ stuff for next week, with plans to travel to Cheshire probably the week after to audition the Rega.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
299
95
18,970
d_a_n1979: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 :) ).

Yes, I'm in the Preston area. That is a very kind offer and I would love to be able to hear the Alpha amps (and meet a fellow music and hi-fi fan). It would enable me to compare what my money will buy me used against new. I really don't want to take the risk of buying anything without having heard it this time!!
 

batonwielder

Well-known member
May 13, 2008
32
2
18,545
matthewpiano:batonwielder:matthewpiano: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?

An "armchair" conductor is better fitting. ÿ

I understand why you are "downgrading" your system and starting anew. I'm going through exactly the same thing. I will probably end up with either an all Rega or Rega and Naim system.ÿ

I was going to recommend the Cambridge Audio setup to a friend of mine, who prefers bright and detailed sound. What exactly did you not like about them?

Its like sitting in the control room of a recording studio and listening back to a take. Everything is perfectly placed and very well seperated but it somehow doesn't gel as a musical whole.I've arranged a demo of Marantz/Rotel stuff and the entry level Arcam FMJ stuff for next week, with plans to travel to Cheshire probably the week after to audition the Rega.

Yep, that's my impression, too. My friend prefers this kind of sound.

Have fun listening. Don't buy anything until you've listened to the Rega!ÿ
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
I know you said you wanted to downgrade but listen to roksan's new Kandy if you can. Its very musical in a 'non-hifi' sort of way. That might change your mind.

As good as the Brio is, I've suggested it numerous times, its a beginners amplifier and I have a feeling you will soon be very aware of its limitations though if you really want to go 'back to the roots' its certainly a valid choice.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
299
95
18,970
drummerman:
I know you said you wanted to downgrade but listen to roksan's new Kandy if you can. Its very musical in a 'non-hifi' sort of way. That might change your mind.

As good as the Brio is, I've suggested it numerous times, its a beginners amplifier and I have a feeling you will soon be very aware of its limitations though if you really want to go 'back to the roots' its certainly a valid choice.

As I continue through this process I think its becoming less about necessarily downgrading and more about getting the right sound for me and my music, whether that means me ending up with less expensive or equivalently priced kit. The Roksan stuff is possibly a little outside my budget but I will certainly give it a go. If it really fits the bill it might be worth stretching for. What about end of line in the previous Kandy model?

In relation to the Brio, what specific limitations are you referring to?

Thanks again Drummerman.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
MP, sorry I haven't heard the Kandy 3.

The 'limitations' I was referring to are those common to all budget amps ie. limited impact, control, frequency extremes etc.. Its a really good amplifier but I think coming from your 740 (which I have never used) perhaps you'd find it a bit wanting soon but its of course equally possible that you'll love it. Certainly worth auditioning imo though, its nice and together sounding.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
299
95
18,970
Thanks Drummerman. The big problem with the 740A for me is that its a bit lifeless. Everything is there and its incredibly detailed and well defined but, somehow, it sounds like a less powerful amplifier than it actually is.

I've seen the Kandy 3 CD and amp pairing for £899 and could be very tempted by that if I can get to hear it but I'm going to have a look at the new Kandy range as well. The Rega kit is still high on my list. Also now thinking of Creek Evolution as a possibility and the Audiolab 8000s seems very good value now as well at £299.99. Having listened to an 8000s at length a few months back I'm quite tempted by that too. There is too much choice and not enough free time to try everything!!
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
If you have £900 or so to spend and don't want go a little further with the AVI's I'd personally would go the Kandy K2/Dacmagic way.

Yes I know what you mean with lifeless. No such problems with the Roksan. I've owned one of the original 8000S's years back and did'nt like it at all, not that this means a lot. Perhaps the chinese ones are different. Let us know your opinion on all the stuff you're listening to.

Anyway, other members may have more interesting suggestions so I leave it at that. I'm sure you'll find a nice system.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I don't know if you read Gramophone Mag as a classical music fan, but Andrew Everard edits a Hi Fi section. In the latest edition they recommend the new Marantz 5003 cd/amp combo, or the Cambridge Audio 540s for a low-end set up. Might be worth checking out a few editions of the mag...?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Harking back to your original post, I would encourage you to audition the Marantz 6002 combo. Budget they may be, but they fall into the end of the budget category where getting significant improvements involves spending really significant extra money (Roksan et al).
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Actually, come to think of it, wouldn't it be worth trying some (much) better speakers than the 9.1s before scrapping the Cambridge combo? Maybe something with a bit more in the balls department?
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
299
95
18,970
tractorboy:Harking back to your original post, I would encourage you to audition the Marantz 6002 combo. Budget they may be, but they fall into the end of the budget category where getting significant improvements involves spending really significant extra money (Roksan et al).

That is exactly what I'm doing tomorrow morning. I'm taking my own speakers and also trying B&W 685s with CD6002/PM6002 and CD6002/Rotel RA-04. Also hoping to try the Pioneer CD and amp if they have them in and (again if possible) the Dali Lektors.

As for the CA stuff I've tried several different speakers with them and nothing has satisfied. Both 740 series bits have now been sold to help fund the new system. I'm actually loathe to lose the Diamond 9.1s and will be keeping them unless anything else really stands out. I've had Quad 11Ls, M-S 901s and 914is, Tannoy Sensys 1, Monitor Audio B2, Wharfedale Diamond 8.3+, various KEFs - the Diamond 9.1s suit me better than any.

The 9.1s really do sound well above their price tag. The top-end is quite stunning and they seem to suit classical music and other acoustic styles extremely well. I'm still very interested in the Rega Apollo/Brio combination, especially as I've read in several places that they work very well with the Diamonds. We'll see what occurs and I'll certainly keep everyone updated. Just choosing my demo discs now!!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Rega, Cheshire, sounds like Synergy AV; good dealer, very helpful.

The Rega kit is fantastic. I heard the Apollo, Mira3 and R5s and thought it sounded very polite but a good listen, one I liked very much. Not heard the Brio but is meant to have a bit more get up and go. I can quite imagine that the Brio and R3s would be quite a captivating pairing.

My experiences of Audiolab kit have never been good (to my ears). Accurate, clinic, cold and detailed. Fine if that's what you're after but it sounds like the place you're coming from.

I'd definitely recommend the Rotel amps as they have an excellent tonal balance and weight to them. They're not as good in the mids as some (Marantz?) but it sounds likes you're after an involving, balanced and enjoyable listen rather then just detail. If you can find an RA06 at a good price then it's worth a go, 70W a channel, flexible and very enjoyable. I'm not sure what your budget is but I think it would work well with a pair of Proac Studio 110s and a Rega Apollo or Marantz.

Exciting times, keep us posted!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
matthewpiano:
That is exactly what I'm doing tomorrow morning. I'm taking my own speakers and also trying B&W 685s with CD6002/PM6002 and CD6002/Rotel RA-04. Also hoping to try the Pioneer CD and amp if they have them in and (again if possible) the Dali Lektors.

I found the 685s to be a bit dull and uninvolving with the Marantz kit, which seems to be a fairly common critism of them, although I know the mag reviewers found them very much to their taste. I have Epos on the end of mine, which was like... yes... a veil had been lifted from the music. (Been a while since I've seen that one :))
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
matthewpiano:tractorboy:Harking back to your original post, I would encourage you to audition the Marantz 6002 combo. Budget they may be, but they fall into the end of the budget category where getting significant improvements involves spending really significant extra money (Roksan et al).

That is exactly what I'm doing tomorrow morning. I'm taking my own speakers and also trying B&W 685s with CD6002/PM6002 and CD6002/Rotel RA-04. Also hoping to try the Pioneer CD and amp if they have them in and (again if possible) the Dali Lektors.

As for the CA stuff I've tried several different speakers with them and nothing has satisfied. Both 740 series bits have now been sold to help fund the new system. I'm actually loathe to lose the Diamond 9.1s and will be keeping them unless anything else really stands out. I've had Quad 11Ls, M-S 901s and 914is, Tannoy Sensys 1, Monitor Audio B2, Wharfedale Diamond 8.3+, various KEFs - the Diamond 9.1s suit me better than any.

The 9.1s really do sound well above their price tag. The top-end is quite stunning and they seem to suit classical music and other acoustic styles extremely well. I'm still very interested in the Rega Apollo/Brio combination, especially as I've read in several places that they work very well with the Diamonds. We'll see what occurs and I'll certainly keep everyone updated. Just choosing my demo discs now!!

The Creek Evo is so much better than the Rotel and Marantz. With the DacMagic, it would sound great. It definitely has the oomph you say has been lacking with your 740A.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
299
95
18,970
Audition Report 1

Went to demo some kit this morning and thought I'd feed back to everyone with some thoughts.

First up was the Marantz CD6002 and PM6002 with the B&W 865 speakers. Initially quite pleasant sounding with decent levels of detail. I played a range of music and, whilst the system sounded quite warm and musical at times, I quickly grew disatisfied with the sound it was making. The top end sounded quite splashy to me and there was a distinct lack of drive in the bass. Everything was a bit bland sounding. In the quieter passages I also found the transport on the CD6002 a bit on the noisy side. Half an hour of listening showed me that this system was not for me. Although I knew some of it could be the speakers, the characteristics I didn't like were very similar to what I disliked about a PM4001/CD5001 I had briefly. To me, the 6002 components do not reflect the reviews and plaudits received in WHFS&V and I think a review I read elsewhere is much closer to the mark. They are budget components which sound like budget components and, to me, the PM6002 doesn't touch the NAD C325BEE.

I wanted to try the Pioneer PD-D6 and A-A6 combination but the dealer didn't have them on site and was quite dismissive of them, suggesting that they weren't particularly musical. He did, however have something else for me to listen to...

Next up was the new Arcam FMJ combo (replacements for the CD73 and A70). Having been disappointed with an A70 some months ago, I was very cautious about Arcam and the WHFS&V reviews hadn't really filled me with excitement. They were certainly extremely well built units with fit and finish a step up from the old DiVA range. I tried them with the 865s first and there was an immediate and obvious improvement in sound quality over the Marantz electronics. Playing the Tchaikovksy ballet music, the sound was more open and detailed but with musicality in spades. Listening was suddenly an event rather than just being like wallpaper. Playing through my other demo tracks I quickly became convinced about the sound of the Arcam kit. Its got more drive and enthusiasm than the DiVA stuff ever had but without losing any of the traditional Arcam musicality. Consequently, Barclay James Harvest's 'In My Life' drove ahead with vigour and got my foot tapping, with more balance across the frequency range than the Marantz CD and amp were capable of. I still felt, however, that things weren't quite there. Playing 'Worthy Is The Lamb' from Handel's Messiah showed that the Arcam/B&W combination wasn't quite coping with the various layers within the choir and orchestra. The choir, in particular, sounded a little too indistinct and with some hardness in the treble that I'd also heard with the Marantz kit. At this stage I decided to swap the 685s out for my own Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s and suddenly, the whole picture fell into place. The diminutive Wharfedales showed themselves to be superior in every way, despite their lowly price tag. The midrange allowed voices to breathe properly and the top end was informative but without the slight harshness of the B&W's tweeter. Most surprisingly of all, bass was more lively and fuller sounding and the Diamonds were seperating the layers of more complex material whilst retaining a togetherness and musicality that I've missed for a long time. Whether playing orchestral music, opera, rock music or Joni Mitchell, the Arcam/Wharfedale combination sounded vastly superior to anything I had heard all morning. Joni Mitchell's voice hung with beautiful warmth in between the speakers on 'I Don't Know Where I Stand', almost to the point where she could have been in the room.

So what have I done then? Well, at this stage, nothing. I do still very much want to look into the Rega option before taking the plunge. However, I am VERY impressed with Arcam's new electronics and the synergy with my Diamonds is superb across a range of music. I actually didn't want to stop listening, which is a very good sign indeed. Again, I can't marry up the WHFS&V review of the new Arcam FMJ components with what I heard today. To me they are very superior pieces of kit and a bargain at their retail prices of £450 each.

As for the B&Ws I think they have been vastly over-rated and I was very disappointed with them. They just didn't touch the Wharfedales in terms of coherency, definition or tonal quality and for what they actually bring to the party, I think they are very over priced. The treble is particularly poor but they just don't have any real drive or life.

There is a very strong chance I'll end up with the Arcam FMJs in my lounge. Its up to Rega now to change that.
 

batonwielder

Well-known member
May 13, 2008
32
2
18,545
Sounds like you've found your system! Thanks for holding on for the Rega, though.

I'm not surprised that the Arcam matched well with the 9.1's. They are not just great speakers for the money, but great speakers, period!

I can't wait to hear what you think of the Rega setup.ÿ
 

d_a_n1979

New member
Sep 6, 2007
134
0
0
Brilliant write-up there MP.

Im sure that will help a number of people.

In the B&W's defence; i have to say that IMO they work best when pushed and when with good, fast, solid bassy music.

Cant wait to see your write up re the Rega separates!
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
299
95
18,970
Next step...

I've got a demo of the Rega Apollo and Brio booked for late next week and the dealer is also able to demo the Arcam kit for me again so that I can compare them side by side with my own speakers. More on that then.

HOWEVER, I've been thrown a bit of a curved ball today which could have some bearing on my choice of kit. We've received a letter from the company that manages our appartments informing us that somebody has complained about music from our home. This is the first we have ever heard of any issues and we are more than a little pi**ed off that the complainant didn't have the basic decency to simply knock on the door and make a polite request. As far as we know we have always been considerate about times, volumes etc.

Given that I don't want to exacerbate this situation or cause anyone any upset, I'm re-arranging my room so that we are closer to the speakers and consequently my listening is going to be more near-field than previously. To this end I need my new amp to be able to retain depth and dynamics at lower volume levels.

Does anyone have any ideas or experience of amps that are good in this situation? I used to have a NAD C325BEE and seem to recall it was superb at low volumes. Do I remember correctly?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Rotel. I use mine at low volumes all the time and it sounds great. Give one a spin, you might like it.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I seconded to Igglebert, I own RA-01 and it reminds me of tripath amp I previously owned. Rotel has clean signal and has fast presentation which is good on low volumes.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts