Day off work tomorrow . . . !!!

CJSF

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Doing my first hifi equipment auditions in over 20 years in the morning . . . I dont know if I'm excited or nervous, a bit of both I suppose, its time to put my money where my mouth is? . . . what ever, it will be great to catch up with Dave after so many years, see if I have truly retained 'an ear'? Reacquaint with with valve gear, I can feel the sap rising already :bounce: . . . see just how good the Brio R really is, decide whether to wait for the new Apollo R ???? . . . Yes its all quite exciting really, CJSF :dance:
 
A

Anonymous

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Hope you enjoy you're day off. Go and enjoy yourself, you'll be the envy of everyone on here. I wish it was me. Fancy swapping???? :p
 

bemaniac

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I know the feeling, everytime I walk into a shop with savings knowing I can try and buy half the stuff gets my saliva going. Also my girlfriend is now a mature student so she's out of the house tonight til 10pm. My volume has been increased to about 11 o'clock and some nice bottles of bitter have been opened. Lets not get any noise complaints now :) rofl and is that smiley coolspot from the megadrive game............is he copyrighted? obviously not he was the frontman of virgin cola in the 90s lol
 

CnoEvil

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Macspur said:
Great stuff! Look forward to your findings.
......talking of demoing and findings, how are you getting on? :)

CJSF, I'm sure you will enjoy the Rega, which is an impressive bit of kit.
 

Macspur

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CnoEvil said:
Macspur said:
Great stuff! Look forward to your findings.
......talking of demoing and findings, how are you getting on? :) CJSF, I'm sure you will enjoy the Rega, which is an impressive bit of kit.
Hi Cno, Thanks for asking. I've ruled out the Audio Vector's, impressed by the ProAc D18, but not sure if there was enough of an improvement to warrent the expense and now I'm waiting for some ATC SCM 40's to arrive... if I don't find them to my liking, I'm not sure what I'll do. I'll be back at the weekend to report.
 

CnoEvil

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Macspur said:
... if I don't find them to my liking, I'm not sure what I'll do. I'll be back at the weekend to report.
....hang on to your very nice speakers until you can go further up the Proac tree......simples :shifty:
 

CJSF

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I'm having a great time . . . listening to the CD's I'm taking with me tomorrow . . . most are old; 'Dark Side of the Moon', 'Love Over Gold', 'Jennifer Warnes Famous Blue Raincoat' and of course cant leave 'Miserere' out, plus one or two others . . . I'm having a wallow in what I used to listen to . . . probably will still listen to . . .

However, over the past few months, I have dipped my toe a bit more into the wold of Classical music??? . . . the musical taste buds are surprisingly stimulated, one is liking the popular classics at least. Finding some gems that are making me want more, even opera . . . 'I'd never have believed it' . . . Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, Placido Domingo, a bit of Nigel Kennedy. All on a 'freebie' Mail on Sunday CD, had it gathering dust for years, Classics was not generally my thing, glad I did not throw it away, SQ seems OK, the tracks are from top labels too . . . roll on the morning . . . Smokinnn:rofl:

CJSF
 

CnoEvil

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CJSF said:
I'm having a great time . . . listening to the CD's I'm taking with me tomorrow . . . most are old; 'Dark Side of the Moon', 'Love Over Gold', 'Jennifer Warnes Famous Blue Raincoat' and of course cant leave 'Miserere' out, plus one or two others . . . I'm having a wallow in what I used to listen to . . . probably will still listen to . . .

However, over the past few months, I have dipped my toe a bit more into the wold of Classical music??? . . . the musical taste buds are surprisingly stimulated, one is liking the popular classics at least. Finding some gems that are making me want more, even opera . . . 'I'd never have believed it' . . . Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, Placido Domingo, a bit of Nigel Kennedy. All on a 'freebie' Mail on Sunday CD, had it gathering dust for years, Classics was not generally my thing, glad I did not throw it away, SQ seems OK, the tracks are from top labels too . . . roll on the morning . . . Smokinnn:rofl:

CJSF
Classical music is a great test of any system....the scale, complexity and dynamic swings of a full Symphony Orchestra, the accurate portrayal of piano and violin, and the ability to reproduce the human voice, with no "cupped hands over the mouth" effect. You should be able to hear where the various instruments are placed. The Rega amp is in the upper end of the budget territory, so try to assess how close it gets to achieving this.

Certain more "pop" orientated albums will let you hear how it handles deep punchy bass. Remember to bring some badly recorded stuff as well, to see how palatable this is. You don't want these CDs relegated to the attic.
 

CJSF

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CnoEvil said:
CJSF said:
I'm having a great time . . . listening to the CD's I'm taking with me tomorrow . . . most are old; 'Dark Side of the Moon', 'Love Over Gold', 'Jennifer Warnes Famous Blue Raincoat' and of course cant leave 'Miserere' out, plus one or two others . . . I'm having a wallow in what I used to listen to . . . probably will still listen to . . .

However, over the past few months, I have dipped my toe a bit more into the wold of Classical music??? . . . the musical taste buds are surprisingly stimulated, one is liking the popular classics at least. Finding some gems that are making me want more, even opera . . . 'I'd never have believed it' . . . Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, Placido Domingo, a bit of Nigel Kennedy. All on a 'freebie' Mail on Sunday CD, had it gathering dust for years, Classics was not generally my thing, glad I did not throw it away, SQ seems OK, the tracks are from top labels too . . . roll on the morning . . . Smokinnn:rofl:

CJSF
Classical music is a great test of any system....the scale, complexity and dynamic swings of a full Symphony Orchestra, the accurate portrayal of piano and violin, and the ability to reproduce the human voice, with no "cupped hands over the mouth" effect. You should be able to hear where the various instruments are placed. The Rega amp is in the upper end of the budget territory, so try to assess how close it gets to achieving this. Certain more "pop" orientated albums will let you hear how it handles deep punchy bass. Remember to bring some badly recorded stuff as well, to see how palatable this is. You don't want these CDs relegated to the attic.
In that case ConEvil, I'm not doing so bad already with the venerable Rotel 820, Pavarotti's voice is crystal clear, venue (I think its live?) acoustics are excellent, they sound real enough, Kennedy's violin is magic, one can feel his passion as he plays. Its the imaging thats out a bit, not so precise as my old EAR's could do . . . Its hard having only 20 year old memories as a standard to compare with, but like riding a bike, its coming back I think, I'm sure Dave will give me some pointers as well . . . :dance:

Thanks all for your encouragement . . . CJSF
 

Mr Morph

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CJSF said:
Doing my first hifi equipment auditions in over 20 years in the morning . . . I dont know if I'm excited or nervous, a bit of both I suppose, its time to put my money where my mouth is? . . .
Why is it that I feel like a ‘Mother who is about to send her Son on the first day of school’? I never even knew I had these maternal feelings?

And don’t forget your ‘Packed Lunch’!!!
 

CJSF

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:rofl: 5 o'clock back home . . . what a great day, I now know what a dog with two tails feels like . . . :bounce: Left home at 8.30am, leave plenty of time, school runs and all that. Speakers, stands, interconnects, CD's, money, flask and biscuits . . . yes Hazel made sure I did not wast away . . . I was only going up the road 60 miles to Safron Waldon. Arrived at 10am, Dave was standing at the door, after 20 years we had a lot to catch up on.

So, a natter and coffee latter, we started with Brio/Apollo . . . First, an old friend in Dark Side of the Moon, control, detail, the Rotel 820 was soon retired in my mind. Moved onto Pavarotti, Kennedy, Jennifer Warnes and finally Bach's Toccata & Fugue on the pipe organ. So far so good, swapped the interconnects, subtle change to my liking, a little more bite. As recommended, I took a strident recording, which did not phase the Brio one bit.

Discussion, we were happy that everything was as it should be, mainly the LB1 speakers doing a job . . . they were excellent, no need to do any fine tune shuffling, they just simple fitted in. Went back over the tracks a couple of times. Feeling relaxed now, Dave produced another coffee.

OK Dave, what now, the next step up, says he . . . 'Croft Integrated L' and the Apollo . . . Straight in with Nigel Kennedy . . . wow, the detail, the control, the reality of performance, speed, start and stop, it was as though Nigel had taken a step forward, one was sudenly aware of the orchestra but nothing 'in your face' but there they were. The same for Pavarotti, clean, crisp reality.

We came back to the 'strident CD', Jimmy Nail's, Crocodile Shoes and Big River, still strident but with a depth and ease that made it listenable.

I saved the best to last . . . 'Allegri Miserere' . . . dissolve the walls or what, every word was audible, the various positions of the participant vocalists displayed in the stereo image. Yes it was good to listen to with the Brio, but the Croft Integrated simple put flesh on the performance . . .

Do we have a Brio buster? For me yes, the croft took me back to my Audiophile days, when valves were king, and still are in my humble opinion. The Croft is laid back when the music recording requires, but gets up close and personal as one would expect with something a bit more in your face.

So, I came home feeling satisfied, relaxed, considerably lighter in the bank balance department, but well within budget. The down side, Croft amps are made to order, so a couple of weeks wait, its been a long road so the extra weeks wont hurt. I have the Apollo here, so, it will be pressed into service very soon with the Rotel 820, but I'm marking off the days on the calender . . .

:dance: . . . CJSF
 

CnoEvil

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Once a valve man, always a valve man. You have had enough experience to instantly recognize when the sound is just "right".

Glad you had such a productive day (on all levels), and that you stayed true to what you really like - I wondered how you would settle for less, having owned Ear amplification.
 

CJSF

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CnoEvil said:
Once a valve man, always a valve man. You have had enough experience to instantly recognize when the sound is just "right". Glad you had such a productive day (on all levels), and that you stayed true to what you really like - I wondered how you would settle for less, having owned Ear amplification.
As you say CnoEvil, 'old habits die hard' . . . What I heard today was simply a revelation, the Brio was good, very good, but the 'Croft Integrated L' simply 'lifted the bar' in terms of reality and musicality from the first track. I did not have to convince myself.

I had to come to term with basic styling . . . a plain black box, no remote, as an ex audiophile that was no hardship. Performance, musicality and presentation is everything and this, the 'CI-L' has by the bucket load. It offers a solid platform for me and Hazel to enjoy my current 20 year old CD music collection, gives confidence and a desire to build this further, with out that nagging feeling, 'I want better'. Of course there is better? or is there a point at which 'better' becomes simply 'different' . . . ? the 'better factor' being so small is it worth the effort? . . . I would suggest that is a whole new debate?

CJSF
 

CJSF

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Woke up this morning . . . still with a big smile on my face:grin: I can still hear the acoustics and instrument tambour on Nigel Kennedys track, bowing of the cellos and bass fiddles, simply a new experience! . . . the presence of the organ as it breathed in Bach's Toccata . . . I cant wait for the Croft to arrive.

At the weekend, I will be digging out the rest of my old CD collection from the loft along with my late Fathers extensive classical CD library. The shelves in the new listening room will be stacked in anticipation . . .

the sap has risen . . . :dance: CJSF
 

Mr Morph

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CJSF said:
Of course there is better? or is there a point at which 'better' becomes simply 'different' . . . ? the 'better factor' being so small is it worth the effort? . . .
And within that statement, lays the truth about ‘hi-fi contentment’.

As Clint Eastwood once said, ‘every gun plays its own tune’… and I’m happy you’ve found something that suits your taste. A ‘smile’ in hi-fi is worth a lot more than the ‘marketing hype’
 

CJSF

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chebby said:
CJSF said:
chebby said:
OK Chebby, and . . . . . . . . . no comment after all . . . ?CJSF
Just wanted to know what you bought after your day out.
Very interesting day it was to Chebby, as I have noted . . . what I was not prepared for was the obvious move up in sound quality from 'Brio R' to 'Croft Integrated'. I expected a change in sound ie., solid state grit to tubes warmth, but the extra tangibility/involvement factor of the valve amp at this level was not something I had expected.

One wonders how far one has to go up the financial ladder before the 'chasing the tail scenario' kicks in, in terms of sound quality improvements or simply different?

CJSF
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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CJSF said:
... what I was not prepared for was the obvious move up in sound quality from 'Brio R' to 'Croft Integrated'.
If I were spending £850 (for the Croft Integrated L) I would be very unhappy if it didn't sound better than a £480 Brio-R :)

(Or any other amp that costs £370 less.)

In fact if we are looking at a "level playing field" then (strictly speaking) the Brio-R - with MM phono input - should be compared to the Croft Integrated P (version with phono input stage) which is £1000.

Glad you are happy with your new amp.
 

CJSF

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chebby said:
CJSF said:
... what I was not prepared for was the obvious move up in sound quality from 'Brio R' to 'Croft Integrated'.
If I were spending £850 (for the Croft Integrated L) I would be very unhappy if it didn't sound better than a £480 Brio-R :)

(Or any other amp that costs £370 less.)

In fact if we are looking at a "level playing field" then (strictly speaking) the Brio-R - with MM phono input - should be compared to the Croft Integrated P (version with phono input stage) which is £1000.

Glad you are happy with your new amp.
Funny you should say that Chebby, I made the phone call this morning and changed the spec., to the 'P' amp with a valve MM phono input. Makes sense to me, as an old audiophile, although the record collection is gone, there are 40 or 50 LPs in the loft that I selected as favourites, I had enough sense to do that at the time. I'm shaping up for a Rega TT at some time. . . ?

Plus, if I do upgrade . . . moving the CI-P on will be much easier as a full integrated amp?

I know it sounds like I'm getting a bit lost again, but having had a long hard think and a long talk with Hazel, as I approach retirement next year, we both can see our lives being enriched by good music. Quite where it will finally lead remains to be seen, but essentially we have something to enjoy together regardless of Hazels, or my health problems. Funny how plans change over years 15 years, 10 years of planning has been turned on its head in the past 5 years . . .

My surprise over quality was because most reviews and comments have said how the Brio out performs amplifiers much more expensive. Obviously, they have not compared it to a Croft Integrated valve amp . . . I have read similar comment of the Croft, it is certainly a hidden gem in my book. Perhaps I'm biased as an old valve audiophile, but I would say to anyone who is in the, up to £1000, 2 channel bracket, give the Croft Integrated a listen, its a revelation, a wolf in sheeps clothing, but . . . and its a big 'but', you have to be prepared for basic styling, no money wasted here . . . You have to do things the old fashioned way by knob twiddling, there are two volume controls!

The reward is a performance of outstanding reality, punch, drive and delicacy, all in equal measure, only properly designed valve amps can achieve these heights across the whole musical spectrum IMHO. Save yourself £150 if you only want line inputs, of which there are 4 on the 'L' and 3 + MM on the 'P'

CJSF
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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[/quote]

My surprise over quality was because most reviews and comments have said how the Brio out performs amplifiers much more expensive.

[/quote]

Ah, the old 'giant killer' statement. I guess the reviews never said which of the much more expensive amplifiers it bested?

The main thing is to enjoy what you have (or will have) and it seems that you do.
 

CJSF

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My surprise over quality was because most reviews and comments have said how the Brio out performs amplifiers much more expensive.

[/quote]

Ah, the old 'giant killer' statement. I guess the reviews never said which of the much more expensive amplifiers it bested?

The main thing is to enjoy what you have (or will have) and it seems that you do.

[/quote]

Mmm . . . Yes Overdose, its the media over stating the case again . . . dont matter what walk of life, they always over egg the pudding, Joe public take it as gospel, before you know it, its fact . . . its a good job I'm well grounded and trust my ears . . . However, the Brio is probably the best at its price point and maybe a 'little above', I certainly enjoyed its presentation and if constrained would have been happy to purchase . . . ?

CJSF
 

amcluesent

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>One wonders how far one has to go up the financial ladder... <

For 2-channel CDstreamerampspeakers, maybe £6K-£10K if bought 2nd hand, £20K if buying new. Just saying... :?
 

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