Expert Advice Needed - First Hi Fi system

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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi everyone, after quite a bit of research I’m about to buy my first Hi Fi system and have a couple of burning questions.

First, some relevant info. Room size is 13ft x 26ft, this is a modern flat (i.e. fake walls), with open kitchen integrated to dining and living room, laminated floor and floor to ceiling windows. As you can imagine, one of my concerns is to avoid getting a system that is “too big” for this room.

My options are:
1. MA BX5’s / Marantz PM 6004 / Arcam rDAC / Sonos connect – Total cost c.a. £1400
2. MA RX6’s / Arcam FMJ18 or Creek Evolution 2 / Arcam rDAC / Sonos connect – Total cost c.a £2200

So three questions:
1. Given my room type, which system would be more appropriate?
2. On option 2, which Amp. should I go for? – the Arcam or the Creek?
3. Any suggestions or comments to my current thinking?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi there Nick, and welcome!

Whilst I wouldn't say I am an expert 'per se' I do know a considerable amount about Hi-fi and would like to give you my advice,

I would opt for option 1. The Marantz PM6004 is fairly warm and between the BX and RX range, the RX can be a little harsh. I would think that you'd be better with a warmer tone in a modern flat with thin partition walls. I don't think you'd want something too bright bouncing off of thin reflective walls.

Both systems would be just right, I wouldn't say they're too big at all..

For me, definately option 1, and save yourself £800. The BX range of speakers really are awesome. The RX are better but I've heard they can be a little too bright.

If option 2, I'd go with the Arcam amp.

IMHO, the MA. BX range are a perfect match for the Marantz PM6004.

Also, consider the Squeezebox Touch as your streamer. Not sure you need a DAC right off, with either the Sonos or SB Touch. Because their in-built dacs will be good enough,( can someone correct me if I'm wrong here?)

Cheers,

AJ
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi AJ,

Thanks for your clear and very helpful advise!

As you suggested, I am indeed very tempted by option 1, specially given its value for money.

About the Sonos Connect, I was very sure about it (I even got a Play 5), but I had a look at the Squeezebox Touch and I'm very impressed, specially its ability to stream FLAC. As a result, I'm not so sure about Sonos now.

Thanks again!
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
135
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18,595
Do you have any analogue sources .. if not ...

Cyrus Streamline for £900 (streamer / DAC / amplifier / uPnP remote and display)

+ your choice of speakers
 

eggontoast

Well-known member
Feb 23, 2011
453
12
18,895
Not sure what you mean, the Sonos will stream FLAC also !

Which ever system you go for I would hold off on the rDAC, I found no appreciable difference with it using my ZP90.
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
1
18,890
Firstly, I would recommend that you consider the new ADM9's from AVI. I'm not a fanboy, but they do seem to offer a lot and there doesn't seem to be many people that do not like what they hear.

Secondly, your room sounds quite bare and could probably do with some sound deadening here and there to minimise any neighbourly noise agro in the future.

Rugs for the floors in front of the speakers and sound deadening panels behind the listening position or opposite the speakers should do a lot to minimise reflections and reduce noise transmission through floors and walls.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Apologies, my mistake. Sonos will indeed stream FLAC. What Sonos does not support is 96/24 decoding which the SB Touch does.

Re the rDAC, is it the case then that in order to make a difference the DAC has to be of very high quality? and a DAC like the rDAC is not enough to make the difference?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
A DAC is great for when the analogue output from a device isn't quite cutting the mustard.

..So then you turn to the digital output from that device.

For example, with a budget (£30-£100) CD Player, the in-built dac might be poor.. but you will find the digital output from that cheap CD player will output the same signal as a more expensive unit, it is digital.

Feed that digital signal into a high-quality digital to analog converter and voila.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
330
19,270
Nick55 said:
Hi everyone, after quite a bit of research I’m about to buy my first Hi Fi system and have a couple of burning questions. First, some relevant info. Room size is 13ft x 26ft, this is a modern flat (i.e. fake walls), with open kitchen integrated to dining and living room, laminated floor and floor to ceiling windows. As you can imagine, one of my concerns is to avoid getting a system that is “too big” for this room. My options are: 1. MA BX5’s / Marantz PM 6004 / Arcam rDAC / Sonos connect – Total cost c.a. £1400 2. MA RX6’s / Arcam FMJ18 or Creek Evolution 2 / Arcam rDAC / Sonos connect – Total cost c.a £2200 So three questions: 1. Given my room type, which system would be more appropriate? 2. On option 2, which Amp. should I go for? – the Arcam or the Creek? 3. Any suggestions or comments to my current thinking? Thanks in advance for your help!
Either system will do a great job, though if you can afford system 2 now I would be inclined to go for it. The Arcam A18 isn't a bad amp - well built and with particular talents in terms of instrumental timbre and soundstaging. Matches well with MA too. However, it does lack punch in the bass and you might find it a little too pipe and slippers. The Creek shares the Arcam's talents but has just a bit more punch and life about it and this would be my choice out of the two amps.

Alternatively, if you want to keep the cost down a little consider the NAD C326BEE. Similar price to the Marantz but it is, IMO, a more involving and very musical listen, excellent though the PM6004 is. NAD matches well with MA in my experience and the 326 has an uncanny ability to make you feel like you are listening to something much more expensive.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
AJ, once again thanks for a very clear and convincing explanation.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi tino,

Thanks for your suggestion. I've read the the Cyrus Streamline Amp. is only 30W per channel. Would that be enough to drive the RX6 capable of up to 120W? or even the BX5?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
matthewpiano said:
Nick55 said:
Hi everyone, after quite a bit of research I’m about to buy my first Hi Fi system and have a couple of burning questions. First, some relevant info. Room size is 13ft x 26ft, this is a modern flat (i.e. fake walls), with open kitchen integrated to dining and living room, laminated floor and floor to ceiling windows. As you can imagine, one of my concerns is to avoid getting a system that is “too big” for this room. My options are: 1. MA BX5’s / Marantz PM 6004 / Arcam rDAC / Sonos connect – Total cost c.a. £1400 2. MA RX6’s / Arcam FMJ18 or Creek Evolution 2 / Arcam rDAC / Sonos connect – Total cost c.a £2200 So three questions: 1. Given my room type, which system would be more appropriate? 2. On option 2, which Amp. should I go for? – the Arcam or the Creek? 3. Any suggestions or comments to my current thinking? Thanks in advance for your help!
Either system will do a great job, though if you can afford system 2 now I would be inclined to go for it. The Arcam A18 isn't a bad amp - well built and with particular talents in terms of instrumental timbre and soundstaging. Matches well with MA too. However, it does lack punch in the bass and you might find it a little too pipe and slippers. The Creek shares the Arcam's talents but has just a bit more punch and life about it and this would be my choice out of the two amps.

Alternatively, if you want to keep the cost down a little consider the NAD C326BEE. Similar price to the Marantz but it is, IMO, a more involving and very musical listen, excellent though the PM6004 is. NAD matches well with MA in my experience and the 326 has an uncanny ability to make you feel like you are listening to something much more expensive.
Yep, and actually, I am very tempted to get that NAD too. Or even the C356BEE.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
330
19,270
AJ20011 said:
matthewpiano said:
Nick55 said:
Hi everyone, after quite a bit of research I’m about to buy my first Hi Fi system and have a couple of burning questions. First, some relevant info. Room size is 13ft x 26ft, this is a modern flat (i.e. fake walls), with open kitchen integrated to dining and living room, laminated floor and floor to ceiling windows. As you can imagine, one of my concerns is to avoid getting a system that is “too big” for this room. My options are: 1. MA BX5’s / Marantz PM 6004 / Arcam rDAC / Sonos connect – Total cost c.a. £1400 2. MA RX6’s / Arcam FMJ18 or Creek Evolution 2 / Arcam rDAC / Sonos connect – Total cost c.a £2200 So three questions: 1. Given my room type, which system would be more appropriate? 2. On option 2, which Amp. should I go for? – the Arcam or the Creek? 3. Any suggestions or comments to my current thinking? Thanks in advance for your help!
Either system will do a great job, though if you can afford system 2 now I would be inclined to go for it. The Arcam A18 isn't a bad amp - well built and with particular talents in terms of instrumental timbre and soundstaging. Matches well with MA too. However, it does lack punch in the bass and you might find it a little too pipe and slippers. The Creek shares the Arcam's talents but has just a bit more punch and life about it and this would be my choice out of the two amps.

Alternatively, if you want to keep the cost down a little consider the NAD C326BEE. Similar price to the Marantz but it is, IMO, a more involving and very musical listen, excellent though the PM6004 is. NAD matches well with MA in my experience and the 326 has an uncanny ability to make you feel like you are listening to something much more expensive.
Yep, and actually, I am very tempted to get that NAD too. Or even the C356BEE.
The 356 has more power but doesn't quite have the same deftness/delicacy when it is required. The 326 still strikes me as an excellent balance and having heard it with a couple of much better CD players in the last couple of days I think its abilities tend to get somewhat under-rated.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Nick55 said:
Hi tino,

Thanks for your suggestion. I've read the the Cyrus Streamline Amp. is only 30W per channel. Would that be enough to drive the RX6 capable of up to 120W? or even the BX5?
It would work, yes. and I think above 30 watts you'll have your neighbours rat-a-tat tatting at your door lol. TBH, I rarely go above 25w and that's pretty damn loud.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Not trying to hi-jack Nicks thread here, but which amp would you recommend for the Zensor 1's, between the PM6004 and C326BEE?

Matt, you've had the Zensor's, right? How did they sound.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
330
19,270
AJ20011 said:
Not trying to hi-jack Nicks thread here, but which amp would you recommend for the Zensor 1's, between the PM6004 and C326BEE?

Matt, you've had the Zensor's, right? How did they sound.
Still got the Zensors as well. To be honest they work well with either amp but I find the NAD has a bit more grunt than the Marantz. Worth an audition to see which you prefer. Both excellent amps.
 

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