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came back from auditions for speakers and amplifiers..impressions

kingsap

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May 12, 2013
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Have been travelling around auditioning for speakers for budget between 2k-5k for my 6mx4m room. Heres some impressions :rockout: Im a total newb in this game, so im not sure if im giving a good impression..all comments are IMHO :)

Music tested:

- Norah jones: come away with me

-Dynamic experience volume 2

-Chris spheeris: eros

-Sade: the best of

-dire straits: brothers in arms

-easca reference CD

-radiohead: in rainbows

-fourplay: lets touch the sky

nothing fancy, but just the music i liked to listen :grin:

So heres the audition!!

1) PMC twenty.24 paired with naim superuniti!! First impression was very clear and detailed sound. Very good imaging and im impressed with the clarity of guitars. However the bass was slighly too clean for my taste and it sounds sterile...and the ambience was non existant. This was tested in a 7mx4m fully treated room.

After some time, i felt tired of listening to this combo. Norah jones vocals was getting to be on the point of irritating me...maybe im hearing too loud. Gottta give praise to the speed though

2) Bower wilkins 804D with naim superuniti!! Much better than the 24s, mids was clear and smooth, and treble was not tiring me out. However, the vocals presentation was slightly too forward to my taste, its like the vocals was overpowering the rest of the intruments. Maybe the amp was not powerful enough.

3) harbeth shl5 with manley labs monoblocks!! WOW this one is awesome!! Sounds great with vocals and i love the sound of intrumentals! I could sit and audition for hours if i have the time! Hearing fourplay and norah jones was close to perfect! The bass was slighly loose, therefore, it starts to lack dynamic and impact on the dynamic experience cd. Master of many genres, but i reeckon will lack on some genre. this was tested in a bigger room..i reckon 8m x5m

4) BW pm1 with classe amps!! This one was good too!! Loved the mids and treble, and the bass was very good! (i was expecting much less due to the size) However the extension was slightly lacking for my taste. Maybe a sub? I tested this in a smaller room around 4mx3m and was scared that this was too small for my room

5)BW 805d with classe amps!! Quite disappointed. Cant explain but i was prefering the pm1. Not my kind of sound i guess :)

6) Sonus faber cremona auditor m with krell s300i! Very detailed and clean sounding yet very musical as well! Bass extension was again lacking though. When hearing foruplay on this setup, i could get lost on the music for fours! Seriously that good! It also managed to catchup with difficult songs like radioheads 15 steps well! Very recomended for people with smaller rooms who dont need bass extension!! A cut above the rest of my test so far

7) Sonus faber cremona m with krell s300i! The bass was awesome and the sound was so engaging and smooth! Really liked it! Sound stage was a little small though (maybe its the room) and on some songs like chris speeris eros and radioheads 15 steps, the sound was a little slow! I reckon the amp was the culprit but i wont have enough to buy a better amp if i get this speaker, so i stopped :)

8) dynaudio c1 with krell s300i! Bold dynamic and fast! I was shocked hpw such a small speaker can produce such a big sound! The bass was impactful and deep! The surprised factor was overcoming my judgement! But kinda over my budget so i didnt audition for very long.

9) Proac responce 3 with densen amps! Mids on this one was mind blowing!!! Hearing norah jones makes me shiver! So lush and colorful and fun and warm and.....some other words i cant explain! But during radiohead and chris spheeris, it startes to get muddy and slow....not able to do everything well. Still loved this one!

10) Neat ultimatum mf5 with densen pre/power! Best of the best ive tried! better than the dynaudio c4 signature i tried for funs sake! coherent, musical and so much fun! I dont know how to explain, but the coherent sound and the airiness will mesmerise you! Hearing fourplay and chriss spheeris on this was one of the best audi experiences of my life! It can also handle eveything i throw at it and sounds good. the ambient feel (provided by the 2 supertweeter i guess) makes me cant stop listening to it. My choice so far :)

Any other speakers i should arrange an audition for? Before i make a purchase of the neal ultimatum mf5 and densen amps :)
 

Macspur

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May 3, 2010
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Hi Kingsap,

Wow! that's some extensive demoing you've been doing! and some very interesting kit too...bet you enjoyed yourself.

Firstly, can I enquire what source you will be using? and have you made a final decision on the amp?

Also, were these demos at one dealer, or spread over a few? The reason I'm asking is, just wondered about possibility of hearing some of the other speakers i.e SF/Harbeth with the Denson, which does appear to be your favoured amp.

You do seem very excited by the MF5/Denson combo, so would there be any chance of a home demo with that kit?

Thank you for sharing your experience, an enjoyable read.

Mac
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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Whilst your list is a 'who is who' of hifi names, I can't really imagine you came away with to much useful experience.

Its a mischmasch of amplifiers, music and frankly, probably way to many different combinations/items.

We're all different, so I may be wrong, but I know that I can listen to perhaps 2 or three different things at one session before it gets confusing and tiring.

Still, I like your descriptions and it must have been interesting at least to be exposed to all that lovely hifi.

regards
 

DocG

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May 1, 2012
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If you're still trying to figure out what you like, there's plenty of other possibilities to explore. Try speakers with ribbon tweeters (e.g. Monitor Audio Gold series or GoldenEar Tritons). Listen to some panel speakers (Magnepan, Quad ESLs). See if you like the combination of a (SET) tube amp with high efficiency speakers. Active speakers are another option. Amp and speaker are always well matched; they tend to do deeper bass for the size too.

If the bass with the SHL5 - Manley combo was too loose, you should (as Mac suggested) try the Harbeths with a good solid state amp (they're worth it!).

Anyways, enjoy the hunt, and don't rush things. Take your time until you see clear!
 

kingsap

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May 12, 2013
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Thanks for the other suggestions. These amps are matched by the dealers that suits my budget hehe. Will definitely audition harbeths with a good ss. These choices are tested at 4 dealers.

Some speakers ill try

-proac d28/30

-kef ref series

-magnepan3.7

Im afraid to be over budget hehe. So the higher the speaker budget, the lower the amp budget. Source are a wyred4sound dac2 via laptop flac files
 

altruistic.lemon

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Jul 25, 2011
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I have Magnepans, and they're great speakers, but do bear in mind you need a decent size room with some space behind them. They also need an amp with decent power.

Not surprised you like the Neats. They often seem to get overlooked, but the Elites and upwards are excellent.
 

DocG

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May 1, 2012
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kingsap said:
Thanks for the other suggestions. These amps are matched by the dealers that suits my budget hehe. Will definitely audition harbeths with a good ss. These choices are tested at 4 dealers.

Some speakers ill try

-proac d28/30

-kef ref series

-magnepan3.7

Im afraid to be over budget hehe. So the higher the speaker budget, the lower the amp budget. Source are a wyred4sound dac2 via laptop flac files
Maybe 1.7s could be a better option, as they would leave you with more budget for a good, high current amplifier. If the dealer doesn't have 1.7s on demo, the 3.7s are of course well suited to see if you like the Maggie sound.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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kingsap said:
Thanks for the other suggestions. These amps are matched by the dealers that suits my budget hehe. Will definitely audition harbeths with a good ss. These choices are tested at 4 dealers.

Some speakers ill try

-proac d28/30

-kef ref series

-magnepan3.7

Im afraid to be over budget hehe. So the higher the speaker budget, the lower the amp budget. Source are a wyred4sound dac2 via laptop flac files
What other amps do you have access to and what is your combined budget for amp and speakers?

It is certainly worth listening to the dealers advice, but he may not have the same taste as you.......so it is essential that you have ideas of your own.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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Hello Kingsap,

thanks for sharing your experiences. Interested to hear your view on the Neat Ultimatum, which will be on my list too, when I finally get round to demoing speakers (still on the amp trail at present).

i see the Spendor D7 got a good write-up in the latest WHF.

Matt
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
397
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19,270
If you can, try to hear some speakers by Vienna Acoustics. I've heard their Haydn Grand standmounts, and the Mozart Grand and Beethoven Baby Grand floorstanders, and all have been exceptional. They seem to work very well with T+A amplification, but I've also heard them sounding good on the end of Cyrus.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Hi Kingsap, thank you for sharing your experiences.

I don't really agree with Drummerman's comments (I suspect he is a tad grumpy this morning), as long as there was some thought to chosing your list. It is clear that you took on board what you heard.....and the only way to know what you like, is to try a good variety of kit. Most people don't listen to enough options.

You have been given some good advice above, especially (imo):

- The source becomes increasingly more important as a system goes highend.

- SET amps with efficient speakers are certainly worth trying

- Active speakers are worth hearing.

On the amp front, I would suggest (depending on budget):

Musical Fidelity M Series and AMS 35i; Luxman; Sugden Masterclass; Accuphase; Electrocompaniet, McIntosh and Pathos

On the Speaker front:

Kef R Series / Reference Series; ProAc; PMC (not Twenty Series) and Spendor ST / Classic Series / A Series / D7

EDIT. Some possible matches:

- MF AMS 35i or McIntosh + Kef Ref

- MF M6i or M6 500i + Kef R Series

- Sugden Masterclass + ProAc or Spendor

- Electro + PMC

- Accuphase or Luxman + Harbeth
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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CnoEvil said:
Hi Kingsap, thank you for sharing your experiences.

I don't really agree with Drummerman's comments (I suspect he is a tad grumpy this morning) ...
Oh, did I come over like that?

Apologies, nice sunny day ... very happy.

regards
 

kingsap

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May 12, 2013
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Thanks for the suggestion :) I actually looked to audition for speakers, then based on my budget, ill look at amps that the dealers provide to test listen that is within budget. My budget for speaker and amp is approximately 10k USD. So based on my choices are

PMC 24 and naim superuniti = 4800 + 3500 = 8300

BW 804d and superuniti = 8800 + 3500 = 12300

BW pm1 and classe = 3300 + 8000+ = 11300

BM 805d and classe = 5500 + 8000 = 13500

SF cremona auditior m + krell s300 = 5000 + 2500 = 7500

SF cremona m + krell s300 = 7900+2500 = 10400

dynaudio c1 signature = 8800 + 2500 = 11300

proac response 3 (used) + densen b200/b330 (used) = 2200 + 2900 = 5100

neat ultimatum mf5 (demo, mint) + densen b200/b330 (used) = 4100 + 2900 = 7100

so next is:

-magnepan 3.7 + ???? (please not some 10k monoblocks :D ) = 10000

-proac d28 +??? = 10000

-spendor d7 +????? = 10000

this ????? means something that will match and will add up tp +- 10k

Will try to arrange for more audition. At the moment its the neat + densen that is leading.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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In order to help with this puzzle (for us in the UK), we need to know:

- The pricing ($) of the 3 speakers you mention

- What other amps you have available and what they cost.
 

kingsap

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May 12, 2013
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CnoEvil said:
In order to help with this puzzle (for us in the UK), we need to know:

- The pricing ($) of the 3 speakers you mention

- What other amps you have available and what they cost.
Prices here are quoted in USD....so lets say using UK price of max 7000 pounds :D

So just use spendors d7 proac d28 and maggies 3.7 in pounds then deduct their prices from the 7k :p

I reckon pricing are supposedly to be quite similar overall. Thanks alot :D

By the way how much is the sugdens masterclass? (in British pounds)
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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kingsap said:
Prices here are quoted in USD....so lets say using UK price of max 7000 pounds :D

So just use spendors d7 proac d28 and maggies 3.7 in pounds then deduct their prices from the 7k :p

I reckon pricing are supposedly to be quite similar overall. Thanks alot :D

By the way how much is the sugdens masterclass? (in British pounds)
Sugden Masterclass IA-4 is about £4100, is Class A, and sounds wonderful.

Do you have access to Electrocompaniet?
 

Covenanter

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Jul 20, 2012
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I'm impressed with your efforts to audition all this kit but I am at a loss to understand how you can choose between such a variety!

I've loved Kef speakers over 30+ years so would recoommend that you listen to some!

Chris
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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kingsap said:
so next is:

-magnepan 3.7 + ???? (please not some 10k monoblocks :D ) = 10000
seeing you're from the USA I'd go for Music Reference RM-200 power amp. for pre amp duties you could use Music Reference's "active pot in a box" (check the full price list in pre amp section). the whole lot with the speakers will set you back for $11K so slightly over the limit but I think it'd be worth it to flex the budget a little for this set up.

go and audition Maggies. I'd like to hear your thought afterwards. with the amp it's more difficult as it seems it's factory direct only. if you think you could go that route you could check on the net what people have to say about it. and also check the review on Stereophile.

happy hunting.
 

DocG

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May 1, 2012
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kingsap said:
-magnepan 3.7 + ???? (please not some 10k monoblocks :D ) = 10000
The 3.7 is $5500 per pair, leaving $4500 for the amp. Maybe some Ayre integrated?

The 1.7 costs some $2000 per pair. I think pairing this model with a good quality amp (and spendng the lump of your budget on that) might give a far superior overall result. What would a Pathos Logos cost in the States?

i don't think you can just calculate $/£. Better to google the US prices, IMO.
 
T

the record spot

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I suppose my first question would be, do you feel you need to spend that much to achieve the sound quality you think you want?
 

kingsap

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May 12, 2013
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cant seem to get hold of a sugden in here...will try to go to the maggies dealer and see what amps they have. The pathos looks interesting! gonna try them with a sonus and see what happens.

Thanks all for the advices
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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kingsap said:
cant seem to get hold of a sugden in here...will try to go to the maggies dealer and see what amps they have. The pathos looks interesting! gonna try them with a sonus and see what happens.

Thanks all for the advices
Pathos Logos, Ethos (built in DAC) and Classic One Mk 111, are the ones I'd be looking at.
 

kingsap

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May 12, 2013
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Came back from magnepan dealer.....

IT WAS HUGE!!! Where can i put that in my man cave :O

Definitely wont be able to purchase this one :O :O :O :O :O i need my man cave for music room + guitar collection + amp collection + pc + workdesk :rockout:

Sounds amazing, but didnt audition for long. Timbre and speed was awesome! Howeve the neats are smoother and funner to my ears :)

Proac Next!!
 

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