Denon streaming mini system

richwhite08

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Can anyone shed some light on how I’d actually use this - https://www.richersounds.com/denon-ceol-rcd-n11-dab-black.html

I saw the Cambridge Audio CXN V2 yesterday and was really impressed. Does this Denon do a similar thing? I see it has a CD player built in which is a nice advantage, and it also has an amp.

Is this likely to be sufficient as a standalone unit that I just add speakers to? I subscribe to Apple Music which offers lossless audio, but I didn’t think it was possible to stream wirelessly in lossless - until seeing the Cambridge streamer streaming in CD quality from Tidal yesterday.

At £449, if it really will do everything I need it seems like a great deal. But with that Cambridge being about £800, I can’t help but think I’m overlooking something.
 

Symples

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You can simply add speakers to the denon system.

The Cambridge CXN will need at amp and speakers or active speakers (speakers with amp built in)
 
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manicm

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I have the Ceol N10 which is exactly the same system sans DAB. It's a great do it all system with Spotify Connect, and Tidal within the HEOS app - it's not the same native interface but don't be disheartened as you'll find your playlists etc, and it's direct wifi 'connect', not via Bluetooth or Chromecast. It doesn't have the latter, but Airplay 2 is available.

Two tips, one is get an OneForAll universal remote so you can connect the Denon to your TV and use one remote.

The other is consider getting other speakers. I suspect the Monitor Audio Bronze 50 or 100 will work wonders. The included speakers are good but are bass light.
 

richwhite08

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I have the Ceol N10 which is exactly the same system sans DAB. It's a great do it all system with Spotify Connect, and Tidal within the HEOS app - it's not the same native interface but don't be disheartened as you'll find your playlists etc, and it's direct wifi 'connect', not via Bluetooth or Chromecast. It doesn't have the latter, but Airplay 2 is available.

Two tips, one is get an OneForAll universal remote so you can connect the Denon to your TV and use one remote.

The other is consider getting other speakers. I suspect the Monitor Audio Bronze 50 or 100 will work wonders. The included speakers are good but are bass light.
Thanks for that, really helpful.
AirPlay 2 presumably means I can stream my Apple Music to it? Do you know what quality it is - would it actually stream in CD quality, or would it compress to lower?
I’d definitely get external speakers. This would be to replace my Technics stereo
 

richwhite08

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You can simply add speakers to the denon system.

The Cambridge CXN will need at amp and speakers or active speakers (speakers with amp built in)
Do you know why the Cambridge is such a higher price point considering it lacks the built-in amp? I used it in store and thought it was superb, but I’ve not seen the Denon in person to know how it compares so I wonder if the quality is lacking
 

nopiano

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Do you know why the Cambridge is such a higher price point considering it lacks the built-in amp? I used it in store and thought it was superb, but I’ve not seen the Denon in person to know how it compares so I wonder if the quality is lacking
In the scheme of things, yes the Denon is aiming rather less high, but by repute is a decent little package.

Bear in mind streamers can cost many £thousands, which is relevant in better systems.
 
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richwhite08

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In the scheme of things, yes the Denon is aiming rather less high, but by repute is a decent little package.

Bear in mind streamers can cost many £thousands, which is relevant in better systems.
Yeah, it has me wondering if I’d be disappointed with the Denon - £449 for everything, compared to £800 for the Cambridge which would also then need an amp and speakers, so somewhere north of £2000 to be conservative.

But I see the Denon also supports Airplay 2, which I believe means I could stream lossless music to it
 

Witterings

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Really not being critical but it sounds like you don't have a lot of knowledge in this area which is the same as me a year ago and trying to get your head round it when you 1st start it's an awful lot to take in.

Why not say what you want to achive as an end goal and what you want to spend in total as there are so many ways of achieving pretty much the same thing at different price points.

The little Denon units are certainly known to be very good for their price point but as with everything if you want even better quality the cost goes up.
Certainly the Cambridge streamer with a decent amp and speakers will be "better" than the Denon unit, you really need to hear both to compare them.

You could achieve exceptionally good quality sound with a £700 amp and a WiiM streamer which will do pretty much the same as the Cambridge one but is about £90 ... and then whatever you want to spend on speakers on top.

If you prefer the All In One option the Technics SA-C600 is getting good reviews and would probably sit between the Denon and a seperate Streamer / Amp setup.

If you have any other questions ask, there's a lot of good people on here to help through what may initially seem like a minefield.
 

Witterings

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An afterthought .... what they were streaming from Tidal may well have been higher resolution than Airplay 2's 16/44.1 and a lot of the overall sound will be down to the amp and speakers they combined it with which could easily have been a £2000 amp and a £4000 pair of speakers.
 

richwhite08

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Really not being critical but it sounds like you don't have a lot of knowledge in this area which is the same as me a year ago and trying to get your head round it when you 1st start it's an awful lot to take in.

Why not say what you want to achive as an end goal and what you want to spend in total as there are so many ways of achieving pretty much the same thing at different price points.

The little Denon units are certainly known to be very good for their price point but as with everything if you want even better quality the cost goes up.
Certainly the Cambridge streamer with a decent amp and speakers will be "better" than the Denon unit, you really need to hear both to compare them.

You could achieve exceptionally good quality sound with a £700 amp and a WiiM streamer which will do pretty much the same as the Cambridge one but is about £90 ... and then whatever you want to spend on speakers on top.

If you prefer the All In One option the Technics SA-C600 is getting good reviews and would probably sit between the Denon and a seperate Streamer / Amp setup.

If you have any other questions ask, there's a lot of good people on here to help through what may initially seem like a minefield.
An afterthought .... what they were streaming from Tidal may well have been higher resolution than Airplay 2's 16/44.1 and a lot of the overall sound will be down to the amp and speakers they combined it with which could easily have been a £2000 amp and a £4000 pair of speakers.

you’re right, I don’t have a lot of knowledge in this area so am trying to learn as I go.

The shop was streaming Tidal from a phone at “CD quality or higher” (his words), and I was listening through a pair of headphones that I then bought. But the amp cost hundreds.

Regarding what I want - if it’s a feasible goal (considering I’ve now seen speakers with a 6 figure price tag), I’d like to get close to what I get with the headphones. They have great clarity, highs and lows are present, there’s clear separation of instruments, and the bass is phenomenal - you don’t just hear the note, you hear the resonance around it as well.
Clarity is the most important thing.

I’m open to all in ones and separates. There's a convenience to a solution like Denon, and the Technics you suggested also looks really nice - seems the only thing it doesn't offer, in comparison to the Denon, is streaming to additional units on HEOS?


Budget can be flexible but the cheaper it is the quicker I can get it. I’m also happy to look secondhand (if it’s worth it - I found the Cambridge streamer and it’s only about £100 cheaper, in which case I’d prefer to buy new and get the warranty etc). As far as costs go, my big issue is I'm not sure what to expect at each price point. For instance, if £500 will get me 95% of the way the there, and £2,000 is really about diminishing returns, then I'd rather stick to £500. On the other hand if £2,000 is what's needed for the sound to really come alive, I'd prefer to take the extra time to save. I'd like this to be a purchase that lasts for a long time.
 
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WayneKerr

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Comparing headphones to speakers is like comparing apples to oranges, it will never be the same experience. Headphones are up close and personal, speakers are more immersive. However, I've recently purchased some Sennheiser HD800S and they are the closest I've ever heard to speakers.

What headphones do you own as this will indicate a price point for a stereo system... not that cost has anything to do with enjoyment.
 

richwhite08

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Comparing headphones to speakers is like comparing apples to oranges, it will never be the same experience. Headphones are up close and personal, speakers are more immersive. However, I've recently purchased some Sennheiser HD800S and they are the closest I've ever heard to speakers.

What headphones do you own as this will indicate a price point for a stereo system... not that cost has anything to do with enjoyment.
Immersive is what I’m looking for with the speakers. The headphones are Grado SR325x
 

WayneKerr

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Grado's are very revealing, (I've got a pair of SR225's), but not a very expansive soundstage. Personally, I'm more of a Sennheiser man and my previous headphones were HD650 and were on par* with a £3K stereo system split equally between source, amp, speakers.

* never exactly the same experience as headphones - speakers deliver in very different ways.
 

richwhite08

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Grado's are very revealing, (I've got a pair of SR225's), but not a very expansive soundstage. Personally, I'm more of a Sennheiser man and my previous headphones were HD650 and were on par* with a £3K stereo system split equally between source, amp, speakers.

* never exactly the same experience as headphones - speakers deliver in very different ways.

I expect at some point I'll try more headphones for comparison but my fear is I'll feel the need to buy some really expensive ones :LOL: I don't know how mine compare to more expensive ones but they've been a revelation to my ears - they're open backed and it just feels the music is happening all around me. I find it hard to explain but I compared with some closed back and it was a night and day difference. I played some Tommy Emmanuel and the clarity was so strong it was almost like being in the room with him. They also pick up subtleties I'd never heard before (like in the intro to Paradise City, there's a low vocal harmony that I didn't know was there)

I don't expect speakers to sound exactly the same, but I'd ideally like to have similar for clarity and large sound in the room
 
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Witterings

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you’re right, I don’t have a lot of knowledge in this area so am trying to learn as I go.

The shop was streaming Tidal from a phone at “CD quality or higher” (his words), and I was listening through a pair of headphones that I then bought. But the amp cost hundreds.

Regarding what I want - if it’s a feasible goal (considering I’ve now seen speakers with a 6 figure price tag), I’d like to get close to what I get with the headphones. They have great clarity, highs and lows are present, there’s clear separation of instruments, and the bass is phenomenal - you don’t just hear the note, you hear the resonance around it as well.
Clarity is the most important thing.

I’m open to all in ones and separates. There's a convenience to a solution like Denon, and the Technics you suggested also looks really nice - seems the only thing it doesn't offer, in comparison to the Denon, is streaming to additional units on HEOS?


Budget can be flexible but the cheaper it is the quicker I can get it. I’m also happy to look secondhand (if it’s worth it - I found the Cambridge streamer and it’s only about £100 cheaper, in which case I’d prefer to buy new and get the warranty etc)

Personally I'm not a headphone user but from what I've read it's much more cost effective to gain a far higher level quality of sound in comparison to playing through speakers so just bear that in mind.

If you're looking to multiroom in the future I think you should decide if you want to be tied to one ecosystem such as only being able to buy products with HEOS or a seperate streamer and amp giving you greater flexibility.

If you want to do it on a budget with some 2nd hand I'd look at the WiiM streamers. The WiiM mini is cheaper and whilst it'll play 24/192 as a single unit it's main restriction is the multiroom is only at CD quality .... you'll probably find 2nd hand units for sale as the newer Pro has recently been released.
The WiiM Pro is £150 but depending on your streaming service you can multiroom at 24/192 but not via Airplay.

You could then buy a decent 2nd hand amp for around £300 just make sure it has digital inputs.

Then you're down to speakers and bookshelf or floor standing and again budget.
 

matthewpianist

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Firstly, your headphones. I have a pair of Grado 225x. They are superb but, as @WayneKerr says, very revealing. My Cyrus amp has a very good headphone output (and my Rotel has a decent one also), but the Grados would benefit from a better separate headphone amp.

Now to the overall system. The Denon is virtually the same as the Marantz MCR-612, and both are very capable units considering how much is packed into one small box at such an affordable price. One of these with a good pair of affordable speakers will offer a lot of enjoyment and flexibility. Would it compare with the sound of a set-up like the one I'm using (all fairly affordable kit)? No.

Also be aware that HEOS is simply Denon and Marantz's take on multi-room, and to utilise it you would need HEOS-capable Denon or Marantz equipment in the other rooms.

It is likely that if Richers were using an amp with the CXN it was a CX-A61 or CX-A81, both more expensive on their own than the Denon box, both also more capable as an amplifier. Put one of these amps with the CXN and a CXC transport (if you want CD playback) and you've got very capable electronics which could comfortably drive quite a wide range of speakers. Do you want stand mounted speakers, or floorstanders?

If you want to go the separates route and have an easy solution, the Cambridge set-up is a great way to go, however if you want to spend some time trying a good range of things I would recommend doing so. There's plenty of sub-£1k amps to choose from, some of which include streaming functionality and some you would need to use with an external streamer, but there are separate streaming solutions which are much cheaper than the CXN and every bit as capable.

Let us know some more information... How large is your room? Where will the speakers be positioned? What music do you listen to? Is vinyl on your radar or not? Will streaming be your main source? What model is your current Technics system? What will the split be between headphone use and listening through speakers?
 
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richwhite08

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If you're looking to multiroom in the future I think you should decide if you want to be tied to one ecosystem such as only being able to buy products with HEOS or a seperate streamer and amp giving you greater flexibility.

That's a great question. Multiroom would be advantageous but not strictly essential. How would it work with a separate streamer and amp as far as flexibility, do the streamers link up to wireless speakers?

On that topic, what can I expect from wireless speakers? Until this weekend I was under the impression that wireless can't go as high quality as wired, but the Cambridge AXN muddied that for me because it was receiving streams at CD+ quality, but I don't know how much of that is from its own up-sampling.

The WiiM Pro is £150 but depending on your streaming service you can multiroom at 24/192 but not via Airplay.

AirPlay would be a definite requirement for me
 

richwhite08

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Firstly, your headphones. I have a pair of Grado 225x. They are superb but, as @WayneKerr says, very revealing. My Cyrus amp has a very good headphone output, but the Grados would benefit from a better separate headphone amp.

No to the overall system. The Denon is virtually the same as the Marantz MCR-612, and both are very capable units considering how much is packed into one small box at such an affordable price. One of these with a good pair of affordable speakers will offer a lot of enjoyment and flexibility. Would it compare with the sound of a set-up like the one I'm using (all fairly affordable kit)? No.

What is the setup you're using?

Also be aware that HEOS is simply Denon and Marantz's take on multi-room, and to utilise it you would need HEOS-capable Denon or Marantz equipment in the other rooms.

This has been a small concern. Questions in my mind are "what if they stop support in the future" and "if I'm looking at multi-room, should I also consider Sonos"

Put one of these amps with the CXN and a CXC transport (if you want CD playback) and you've got very capable electronics which could comfortably drive quite a wide range of speakers. Do you want stand mounted speakers, or floorstanders?

CD player is a must (partly because I want my son to have that tactile experience with music that I did - looking at artwork, reading the lyrics and notes in the booklets etc. It was a huge part of enjoying music to me when I was younger)

I'm open on speakers.

If you want to go the separates route and have an easy solution, the Cambridge set-up is a great way to go, however if you want to spend some time trying a good range of things I would recommend doing so. There's plenty of sub-£1k amps to choose from, some of which include streaming functionality and some you would need to use with an external streamer, but there are separate streaming solutions which are much cheaper than the CXN and every bit as capable.

I'd love to really get into testing, my issue really is it's hard to do so now. My local Richer Sounds are a friendly team but it's a small store with limited stock. The only other audio store in my town is really high end stuff, like speakers starting at £4k and going close to £200k. I'd love to do what I do with guitars and visit the shop and spend hours playing different ones, comparing, and seeing what feels right. That's what I did with the headphones.

There just seem to be a dearth of audio shops now - and with speakers, I'm aware that the room itself will have a significant impact and an audio shop's demo room won't be exactly the same as mine.

Let us know some more information... How large is your room? Where will the speakers be positioned? What music do you listen to? Is vinyl on your radar or not? Will streaming be your main source? What model is your current Technics system? What will the split be between headphone use and listening through speakers?

Great questions! I've attached a photo of the room - forgive the mess, my young son has been unwell. I'm standing in the doorway to take this photo. Currently the hifi is in the far left corner in front of the curtain. Speakers are currently on the floor behind the orange chairs.

I'd like to have a speaker each side of us (sat on the sofa) rather than all coming from one side, so I'm thinking the next one will be either on the near left side, which is a TV entertainment cabinet (we'd have to use this space if we got separates), or an all in one like the Denon could sit in the glass table on the near right side. The advantage of being on that glass table is we could have a speaker each end of the sofa and hide the cables behind it. If the equipment is on the left side, I have to get the cable around the chimney breast discreetly.

What music I listen to: primarily rock but I've been listening to a wider variety with the Grados because it's so much more enjoyable with the extra clarity. I also enjoy classical and acoustic stuff. The salesman also played Yosi Horikawa's "Bubbles" to show me how the headphones play music that makes use of the space, and it's made me want to explore different sounds. So, I'd want something capable of Dolly Parton to Hans Zimmer.

Vinyl: no. My wife's mentioned it but I doubt we will get it.

Will streaming be my main source: if the equipment can stream at a quality that's at least equal to CDs, yes, streaming would be the main source with CDs also being required from time to time. If the unit has DAB that would be used occasionally too, but not a deal breaker.

The current Technics is SE-CH570

The split between headphones and speakers: not 100% sure at this stage but probably 60-70% in favour of speakers. We play a lot of music on our phone for our son, and the nice headphones have got me remembering music as entertainment in its own right instead of being background noise, so a good system would definitely inspire us to play it more.

IMG_4716.jpg
 

Witterings

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That's a great question. Multiroom would be advantageous but not strictly essential. How would it work with a separate streamer and amp as far as flexibility, do the streamers link up to wireless speakers?

On that topic, what can I expect from wireless speakers? Until this weekend I was under the impression that wireless can't go as high quality as wired, but the Cambridge AXN muddied that for me because it was receiving streams at CD+ quality, but I don't know how much of that is from its own up-sampling.



AirPlay would be a definite requirement for me

I'm just going to talk about the WiiM's for now rather than confusing with lots of different streamers.

They're plugged into whatever amp you have and they communicate with each other so you could have one plugged into an amp with wired speakers in one room and another plugged into wireless speakers (or another amp) in another room and can sync them so they both play in time.

From what you're saying about your guitars, I don't think Sonos is the way to go, they're good but there's better and again you're stuck with an ecosystem.

Just a comment I saw about speaker placement either side of the sofa .... you want speakers in front of and facing you rather than at your side facing in the same direction to get the best out of them.

With your room layout / space and a little one who'll be longing to put their fingers into speaker drivers shortly or use speakers on bookshelves to pull themselves up ..... having the reverse effect and pulling the speaker down to land on them, I'd probably look at some decent wall mounted bookshelves either side of the chimney breast.

If a CD player is a must your very 1st decision is an all in one unit OR sperate amp and CD player, if you wanted the streaming initially you could always add a CD player later.

If it's seperate CD player, I'd be awful tempted to have a look at the Cyrus One Cast amp which will do your Airplay streaming from day one, you could add a sperate CD player later and if you ever wanted to go to say Amazon Music playing 24/192 OR wanted multiroom could add a WiiM at a later stage.

If you want the All In One solution I'd be awful tempted with the Technics I mentioned earlier or the Denon you mentioned at the start or there's a Marantz equivalent.
 

Witterings

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AirPlay would be a definite requirement for me

I just read back over this and realised you hadn't quite understood what I was saying ... The WiiM's work perfectly well with Airplay. with no limitation on WiiM's side.

Airplay though has a limitation of quality irrespective of whichever streamer you're using, the only way to get higher quality from an iphone/pad is via a wired connection.
 

Nico69

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I've just bought a Marantz PM7000n amp that has a built in Streamer. i'm very happy with it. Plenty of power and a great sound. Streaming is a doddle using the HEOS app on my phone. I don't even have to go near it to turn it on/off and start streaming. It has a decent Phono stage for my turntable and plenty of inputs for CD player (RCA/Optical/Coax).

I take it this is your first kid? Then I'd go bookshelf speakers on wall mounts or bookshelves and ALWAYS keep the grill covers ON. Kids love to poke things and your tweeters won't last long. Also things like CD player draws won't last with a toddler on the loose. Perhaps a slot loading one but be prepared to find evidence of a biscuit trying to be fed into it!

When our kids were little I made a purpose built hifi cabinet/sideboard built into the alcove beside the chimney breast with painted MDF grill doors to protect the kit.

Also when your kids are little you won't be playing music loud as they'll either be asleep or you are trying to get them to sleep or you yourself will be asleep.

I'd go with the Marantz and a set of Dali speakers Spektor or Oberon's depending on your budget. You can probably do this for around £1000 if you shop around. Add a CD for around £2-300 and you are sorted.
 
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WayneKerr

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Matthew, Witterings, Nico, and Nopiano all make very valid points.

If you definitely require CD playback then go the separates route, if not then an all-in-one will probably suffice. My opinion is separates will probably give better performance than an equivalently priced all-in-one system, with no redundancy... I like to keep things simple :)

Speakers should be mounted either side of the fireplace so they are firing at you on the sofa. Standmounts on wall-brackets would be my preferred option.

It will cost you far more cash to get the intimacy of headphones in a speaker-based system. The choice of audio kit is huge and no one here will be able to tell you what to go for, your ears will make that decision. I've only ever owned separates and am brand loyal to Marantz.

If you really want to push the boat out on a headphone system: Sennheiser HD800S + Topping A90D headphone amp... not a cheap route but the Senns are the closest I've ever heard a headphone sound like a speaker, very impressive.

Hi-Fi stores are disappearing as everyone shops online these days, I dread the day when they all close because they cannot compete. The only way to keep them open is to purchase through a physical store, not an online presence.
 
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richwhite08

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Thanks for the great input guys, really appreciated!

I'm just going to talk about the WiiM's for now rather than confusing with lots of different streamers.

They're plugged into whatever amp you have and they communicate with each other so you could have one plugged into an amp with wired speakers in one room and another plugged into wireless speakers (or another amp) in another room and can sync them so they both play in time.

From what you're saying about your guitars, I don't think Sonos is the way to go, they're good but there's better and again you're stuck with an ecosystem.

Just a comment I saw about speaker placement either side of the sofa .... you want speakers in front of and facing you rather than at your side facing in the same direction to get the best out of them.

With your room layout / space and a little one who'll be longing to put their fingers into speaker drivers shortly or use speakers on bookshelves to pull themselves up ..... having the reverse effect and pulling the speaker down to land on them, I'd probably look at some decent wall mounted bookshelves either side of the chimney breast.

If a CD player is a must your very 1st decision is an all in one unit OR sperate amp and CD player, if you wanted the streaming initially you could always add a CD player later.

If it's seperate CD player, I'd be awful tempted to have a look at the Cyrus One Cast amp which will do your Airplay streaming from day one, you could add a sperate CD player later and if you ever wanted to go to say Amazon Music playing 24/192 OR wanted multiroom could add a WiiM at a later stage.

If you want the All In One solution I'd be awful tempted with the Technics I mentioned earlier or the Denon you mentioned at the start or there's a Marantz equivalent.

Thanks for this. Good to hear that about Sonos too. Wall-mounted speakers either side of the fireplace is definitely possible. The alcoves are different sizes, so if I put the speakers close to the walls they wouldn’t be equidistant to where we sit - is that ok, or should they be symmetrical in distance?

For a CD player, I would prefer to keep it but I’m not opposed to adding it later on instead of being required from day one. The priority requirement with a streamer is being able to stream at a quality at least on par with CDs.


I just read back over this and realised you hadn't quite understood what I was saying ... The WiiM's work perfectly well with Airplay. with no limitation on WiiM's side.

Airplay though has a limitation of quality irrespective of whichever streamer you're using, the only way to get higher quality from an iphone/pad is via a wired connection.

Thanks for clarifying. What is the highest Airplay can broadcast at? So long as I can get CD quality, I’ll be happy, I won’t be overly concerned about not streaming higher than that.

I've just bought a Marantz PM7000n amp that has a built in Streamer. i'm very happy with it. Plenty of power and a great sound. Streaming is a doddle using the HEOS app on my phone. I don't even have to go near it to turn it on/off and start streaming. It has a decent Phono stage for my turntable and plenty of inputs for CD player (RCA/Optical/Coax).

I take it this is your first kid? Then I'd go bookshelf speakers on wall mounts or bookshelves and ALWAYS keep the grill covers ON. Kids love to poke things and your tweeters won't last long. Also things like CD player draws won't last with a toddler on the loose. Perhaps a slot loading one but be prepared to find evidence of a biscuit trying to be fed into it!

When our kids were little I made a purpose built hifi cabinet/sideboard built into the alcove beside the chimney breast with painted MDF grill doors to protect the kit.

Also when your kids are little you won't be playing music loud as they'll either be asleep or you are trying to get them to sleep or you yourself will be asleep.

I'd go with the Marantz and a set of Dali speakers Spektor or Oberon's depending on your budget. You can probably do this for around £1000 if you shop around. Add a CD for around £2-300 and you are sorted.

Yep first kid. He’s a champion sleeper though and we both work at home, so there are a lot of opportunities for listening through speakers.

How do you feel the Marantz compares with separates?



Matthew, Witterings, Nico, and Nopiano all make very valid points.

If you definitely require CD playback then go the separates route, if not then an all-in-one will probably suffice. My opinion is separates will probably give better performance than an equivalently priced all-in-one system, with no redundancy... I like to keep things simple :)

Speakers should be mounted either side of the fireplace so they are firing at you on the sofa. Standmounts on wall-brackets would be my preferred option.


Hi-Fi stores are disappearing as everyone shops online these days, I dread the day when they all close because they cannot compete. The only way to keep them open is to purchase through a physical store, not an online presence.

Speakers mounted either side of the fireplace is definitely doable. I like the idea of separates because I used to own them and I like being able to pick and choose - e.g. if one brand is better at amps but someone else is better at streamers.

I’d like CD playback as an option, but I wouldn’t be opposed to adding it later (when my son’s a bit older) if I’m able to stream in CD quality in the meantime.

I dread when the shops close too. Without already knowing what you want, it’s impossible to buy audio equipment blind IMO.
 
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Nico69

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Dec 28, 2019
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Thanks for the great input guys, really appreciated!


How do you feel the Marantz compares with separates?

I went from separates to the integrated and I was blown away by the quality of the streaming. I use Amazon as a provider. It's easily as good if not better than some CD's. I bought the CD6007 to go with it and I can't tell any difference in sound quality between streaming and CD except some Albums sound better than the CD version I have! (probably due to the remixes I have or stream). I'm almost wondering why I bought the CD player now except I had a wad of overtime payment due so I splashed the cash on it.
 
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matthewpianist

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Feb 18, 2022
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Rather than quoting big parts of your post, I'm going to address the points as succinctly as possible.

I agree with others that bookshelf speakers mounted on the wall would be the best way to go. They will sound far better than your current arrangement, both because of the change in speakers but also due to the current position being awful as far as sound goes.

If it were me I would opt for a pair of Dali Oberon 1s or Q Acoustics 3010i. They're both small enough to avoid bass boom but have enough to give to ensure musical enjoyment. The Oberon 1s are less fussy than most speakers about positioning, thanks to Dali's wide dispersion design. My little JBL 52L Classics are great fun and front-ported, but they're also a bit more expensive. Either side of the fire place is definitely your best option, just leave some space between the speaker and the side of the chimney breast.

I think the question of CD playback really comes down to the size of your collection. If you only have a relatively small collection I doubt you'll miss anything with streaming as your only source. I still use CD as I have circa 4,000 discs, including some large out-of-print box sets and I'm not ready to part with them. Otherwise I would probably part with CD, keep vinyl for the physical media experience (and its analogue sound), and adopt streaming as my main source. I use it quite regularly now for exploring music, and there's a good choice of different streaming services. I use Qobuz and the new streaming platform launched by Presto Music.

The PM7000N is a very good suggestion if you want a high quality amp and streamer in one box. The HEOS platform is very good and the amplifier section will work very well with the suggested Dali speakers. It will certainly give you even better performance than a MCR-612, good though that is. If you want to add CD playback a Marantz CD6007 is a very good option. Avoid the Rotel CD11 Tribute - I have one which behaves very unpredictably and which is on its way for repair, though we all know how that goes with intermittent faults. My Dad also has one with similar faults and we're not the only people - it's a shame because it's a very fine player and I also own the matching A11 Tribute amp. My 30+ year old Sony works far more reliably and sounds every bit as good, if not better. If you don't want to spend much on a CD player and you choose carefully there's some great value to be had in buying an older player.

You asked me about my system - see below in my signature. All three sources are hugely enjoyable, and though not the most expensive I've had by any means, the speakers are the most engaging I've had. The Bluesound Node 2i streamer is very good, but definitely benefits from being digitally connected to the amp and using the Cyrus' built-in DAC. I've had much more expensive systems, going as far as QUAD Artera CD/Pre-amp and Stereo power amp with all sorts of speakers, but this set-up is much more engaging.

Hi-Fi is a rabbit warren and you can soon end up in endless cycles of swapping things around - trust me, I've been there and bought several versions of the t-shirt. Focus on musical enjoyment and easy access to your music and you'll be on to a winner.
 

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