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From fantastic old big stuff to great small streaming stuff (B&W 801 to ??? )

mortois

Active member
Nov 12, 2020
4
1
25
Hi all,

I'm new to the forum and hope to get some insights from you guys on what setup could give me my current happiness in an updated smaller and wireless package.

Current setup:
B&W 801 S80
Quad 99 / 909 / CDP-2 (dac)
Chromecast audio and yes, Spotify.

The above setup gives me really nice results and after having have many many speakers and amps over the years, I've been happy with my current setup for quite some time now. However, the time has come for something more modern (easier to use) in a smaller package.

Budget is around E2500 - E4000 (including sales of my current equipment). Now, what to do?

I need:
Smaller package
Ease of use (spotify, tidal connect. Press play and it should work)
Proper quality

What I have in mind are a few different paths:
1: ALL IN ONE: KEF LS50 Wireless II / Buchard A500 / Q Acoustics Q active?
2: SMALLER SEPERATES: NAD M10 or NAIM Unity with fe B&W 705 signatures? Possibly with a sub.
3: IN BETWEEN: 2nd hand NAIM superuniti with 2nd hand B&W 805 for example
4: Or just buy a NAIM Mu-So 2 and stick to headphones for dedicated listening...

Any thoughts on the topic? I've read a lot and I know it is a generic question, but I have trouble finding information on how my old setup compares to much more modern stuff in terms of quality. I've planned a listening session at a local hifi shop to audition my 2nd option path, but I would appreciate some thoughts of people who had the same dilemma (great and bug old stuff vs modern smaller stuff)
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
450
278
19,270
Have you looked at the Quad Artera? Quad amplification with built-in CD player. Simply add a Bluesound Node2i for flexible and high quality streaming, and your choice of speakers.
 
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mortois

Active member
Nov 12, 2020
4
1
25
Tnx a lot. Haven't looked at it before and tbh, I think I'll skip the CD player for my next system and focus purely on streaming.

A unit without an external node fe has my preference.

I'm looking forward to reviews on the new q acoustics q active speakers as well..
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
530
312
19,270
The most important thing will almost certainly be to see and hear some new kit. Even though I’ve been buying and selling Hifi for decades, and read most of the journals and websites, there’s no substitute for seeing and hearing.

Quite often the size or proportions of an item seem very different ‘in the flesh’ than in pictures. And it’s hard to say how you’ll feel about modern speakers.

Personally, I’d be tempted by the NAD M10 setup, but with any streaming solution do be sure you like the app, it’s ergonomics and usability, and the range of streaming services it supports. Many QA speakers are easy to live with, but the actives are very new as you note.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
519
218
19,270
Hi - I'd try to audition Revel Performa 3 M106 (which are amazing speakers in their price range, imo) + Naim Atom/Linn Majik DSM3/Hegel H 120 (or sh 190), Lumin M1 (no analogue inputs on this one)/Arcam SA30/Nad M10 all-in-ones. I'm not sure which ones do Tidal Connect etc, but these all are very good pieces of kit.
 

mortois

Active member
Nov 12, 2020
4
1
25
Thanks Nopiano and Rainsoothe, I will buy both the Kef Ls50 wireless 2 and Naim muso 2 this black Friday and audition the m10 setup in the shop and then have a bit of a better comparison. I also like to buy 2nd hand stuff, that's where the super uniti plus speakers came from. I'm now also able to pick up a pair of scan speak reference se monitors that I'd like to give a try. Possibly indeed with an atom or m10 as well. Will take a look at the Revels!

I will only use Spotify and tidal connect hopefully and for the WAF it is important that everything is simple.
 

mortois

Active member
Nov 12, 2020
4
1
25
Update from my side.

I auditioned the Naim Muso, bought the KEF LS50 Wireless 2 and a pair of Scan Speak Reference SE monitors to test next to my current setup.

The muso is too much of a different game. Not an audiophile product, but a convenience one. For this purpose I'll stick to my HK Go Play (which I still like after these years).

The Kef LS50 Wireless 2 have been sent back to the store after careful auditioning at home, Design is great, convenience is great, package is attractive, but I really expected more of the sound. The 801's blow them away on every front, even after all these years. I expected the mids / highs of the Kef to be quite an improvement over my old 801's (30 years of improvement), but the opposite is the case. The Kefs sounded dull, boxy and were not able to make me 'feel' the music. A/B switch back to the 801's to showed just how great these old speakers are.
I guess the Kefs are good for many people, but not for me. Big disappointment, since I really wanted to like these speakers.

Then the Scan Speak Reference SE DIY monitors. Although again not as enjoyable as the 801's, these speakers are really good and an improvement in some areas (while lacking in others). As a compromise (smaller size, cheaper) they might be a fit with a good streaming amplifier (which I still need to buy). Also these monitors are in a different league than the Kefs imo.

I visited some more shops and the advice I got multiple times was to start looking at higher end streaming amps with for example 805 d3's. Still need to audition this to be able to make a comparison with my current setup.
I'm also still looking at a set of Buchardt A500's as a possibility.
 
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