First HiFi System recommendations

Leyenda

Active member
Sep 30, 2021
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Hi all, I'm putting together my first real HiFi system and am strongly leaning towards the BlueSound PowerNode as a source / amp. It has what I need, mainly hi-res streaming, good TV connection (HDMI Arc), solid power, and great reviews.

However, for the same USD$ 950 I could get the BlueSound Node (i.e. the non-amp version of the PowerNode mentioned above), and couple it with something like the Cambridge Audio AXR85. Why would I do this? Separates mean the ability to upgrade or add other sources later, while the Class A/B amp in the Cambridge product should sound better than the Class D in the PowerNode. I would also get marginally more power and nicer aesthetics (IMO).

Am I right to think the Cambridge amp will sound better than the BlueSound amp? Will I run into any issues with i.e. laggy TV audio?

Thanks for your input!
 

Leyenda

Active member
Sep 30, 2021
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@shadders Affordable floorstanders but I haven't fully decided which ones yet - some I've considered are the ELAC Debut 2.0 F 5.2, and the Tekton Design Mini Lores. But again, any recommendations are welcome - so long as they are floorstanders and pair well with either of the systems mentioned above!
 
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nopiano

Well-known member
You can’t realistically make assumptions about the design/class of an amplifier to determine its potential sound quality. Maybe a decade ago, class D was less well established and easier to pass by, but not now.

I agree that future sources external to the Node, like players and turntables should be considered. Connectivity is a definite one to check. Equally, streaming services come and go, and we are somewhat at the mercy of manufacturers as to how well and for how long they will update their designs.

The Bluesound is very popular here in the UK. How does the price of the NAD M10 compare in the US? And are there any rivals from affordable brands like Emotiva and Schiit?
 
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Leyenda

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Sep 30, 2021
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The NAD M10 would fit my needs perfectly as an all-in-one solution, but at $2,500 is more than double the price of the options I mentioned above.

Same story with Schiit: none of their amps are quite as affordable as the entry level ones from Cambridge, and they don't offer an integrated streamer amp like the PowerNode or the M10 (AFAIK).

Hadn't heard of Emotiva before, will take a look
 

Gray

Well-known member
The NAD M10 would fit my needs perfectly as an all-in-one solution, but at $2,500 is more than double the price of the options I mentioned above.
Checkout their new C700. It may be that you can live with the differences.
Still has its own display (albeit non-touchscreen), which is more than can be said for Nodes.
 

shadders

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Nov 19, 2009
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Hi,
My preference would be to purchase separates, as others have stated, the manufacturer may not keep their software up to date. So a separate amplifier is probably the best approach, and for streaming there are some very cheap solutions, which includes the Raspberry Pi etc.

I would also audition the amplifier whatever the class. There are too many myths in hifi, so choose the amplifier that sounds the best.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
I have to agree with the previous post.
I can see the attraction of the all-in-one, especially for women (and the increasing amounts of men dominated by them).

I mentioned C700 as a cheaper alternative to the M10 you desire, but, as pointed out, there are very good reasons to keep things separate.
 
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Leyenda

Active member
Sep 30, 2021
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Thanks for all your inputs. The NAD C700 indeed looks great, but it's about 50% more than I'm looking to spend for... what? a screen I'll never look at, and an aluminum instead of plastic case? The power output, amp design, and DAC all appear to be virtually the same as the PowerNode.

Look like I'll be stocking to the cambridge audio amp, and either the Node streamer or a cheaper Raspberry Pi-based streamer.

Now, does anyone have any floorstanding speaker recommendations? :D
 
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D

Deleted member 160668

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A comment from me here... I went to the recent UK Audio Show and into the Blue sound room. They were demoing the Node using a PMC Cor amp into some PMC 25.24i speakers (almost 6k worth of speakers). It sounded really good.

The demo finished and they unveiled the party trick... Neither the node nor the Cor were in use. Actually a powernode under a box at the back was running the speakers. Impressive.

Don't knock the little powernode. It sounded decent.
 

Leyenda

Active member
Sep 30, 2021
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@Gray @Al ears interesting you mentions Dalis - I heard some not too long ago and remember distinctly liking them. Unfortunately I can't remember the model, but here in the US I can get some of their older models on deep discounts. Specifically the Zensor 5 and Zensor 7, as well as the Opticon 5. Any opinion on those? My budget for speakers is around $600 - $700

@amormusic I believe you - the powernode has gotten rave reviews. Do you think it sounds better than the aforementioned Cambridge Audio amp though?
 
D

Deleted member 160668

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@amormusic I believe you - the powernode has gotten rave reviews. Do you think it sounds better than the aforementioned Cambridge Audio amp though?
[/QUOTE]
Well that didn't work! Lol!



Of that I couldn't say as I've not heard the Cambridge for a 1st hand comment. My mention of the powernode was that it was impressive for what it is.

I too would not go the one box option as you may want to upgrade in stages. Cambridge do make some well priced kit which performs well. I've owned their CXN before and currently own their 851N, both of which performed excellently for the money spent. So I'd personally be very happy to consider Cambridge in future.

However, if your budget for an amp is in this ballpark, I'd probably go for a second hand option to get maximum bang for buck.
 
@Gray @Al ears interesting you mentions Dalis - I heard some not too long ago and remember distinctly liking them. Unfortunately I can't remember the model, but here in the US I can get some of their older models on deep discounts. Specifically the Zensor 5 and Zensor 7, as well as the Opticon 5. Any opinion on those? My budget for speakers is around $600 - $700

@amormusic I believe you - the powernode has gotten rave reviews. Do you think it sounds better than the aforementioned Cambridge Audio amp though?
The Opticon 5 might be a good buy, I have not heard them though. How much are the Oberon 5 where you are?
 

Gray

Well-known member
Thanks for all your inputs. The NAD C700 indeed looks great, but it's about 50% more than I'm looking to spend.
...Just tonight I was reading about it in Hi-fi Choice magazine.
They've got its price clearly marked as £130 . What a mistake! (wonder if anyone believes that price.....if so, they could be in for a shock).
 
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rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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@Al ears Oberon 5s are $1,300 USD where I'm located - looks like that's significantly more than in the UK / Europe, right?
yes, a bit... Maybe if you talk to a dealer they'll offer a discount? I'll also second the Triangle BR08 suggestion, and the Elac Debut floorstanders are also good. For a cheaper option, look into Wharfedale Diamond 12.3, they're very, very good. If you want separates, you could do worse than a Rega Io. In US you could also check the used market for a Rogue Audio Sphinx. If you want a great budget wonder, why not the Cambridge Audio AXA35 instead of the reciever?
 

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