Help Upgrading / adding to my Arcam S10 / Monitor Audio setup

zannin

Active member
Aug 18, 2021
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1
25
Hi! Total newb here. First post.

Here's the thing.
I have a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 500 speakers, an Arcam S10 amp, and an Audio Technica LP5 with Ortofon Blue.
I love it. But it lacks a punch. The bass falls short and not all music genres are delivering on my expectations. (I stay within Rock, Jazz and Blues and rarely go into hip hop - mostly when it's connected to jazz - so, I'm not a beats by dre target audience).

I have a some budget to upgrade. I was thinking about adding a tube amp to the mix, or maybe replacing the S10. I want vivid and bold sounds.
But I don't know where to start. I got the speakers, amp and cables on a hi-fi shop at Adelphi in Singapore (a hi-fi specialised mall) and spent hours talking to the old man in the shop and listening to all kinds of sounds. Last year I moved to London and brought everything with me - and upgraded again from an Ortofon Red to Blue.
I'm proud of keeping it analog and not connected to my TV.
It's records-only (and sometimes plugging my phone via aux/p2 for convenience).

Now what's next?
I am looking for a CD player and "something" that will elevate this whole party.
I might go about £2k for this.
 
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Welcome to the forum.
you mention it lacks punch. Do those speakers work well for you in your new listening room?
You think the amp is the culprit? The recommended power rating is 80-250 wpc so I don't think a valve amp will help here.
It may be the phono preamp in the SA10 isn't up to much and you might benefit from an external phono preamp.
Does the figure of 2000 include the price of a replacement amp and a CD player?
confused when you say it's records only then mention a CD player......
 
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zannin

Active member
Aug 18, 2021
2
1
25
Welcome to the forum.
you mention it lacks punch. Do those speakers work well for you in your new listening room?
You think the amp is the culprit? The recommended power rating is 80-250 wpc so I don't think a valve amp will help here.
It may be the phono preamp in the SA10 isn't up to much and you might benefit from an external phono preamp.
Does the figure of 2000 include the price of a replacement amp and a CD player?
confused when you say it's records only then mention a CD player......
Hi Al,
From what I tested the amp might be the culprit. When I plug Spotify, or even after replacing stylus, I hear more of what I want. I read in a few placed that the Arcam doesn't do great on Analog. With that I am leaning towards something like you just said, a pre-amp to bring more from the turntable and let the S10 distribute.

So probably I have to ways out of this. A pre-amp like Pro-Ject Phono Box or replacing the S10 for a heavier integrated amp like Cambridge Audio CXA81. Makes sense?

And about the CD... yes. Haha. I think I can find a CD player outside of that budget. I didn't bring all my CDs with me but I do have some stuff that I would love to listen every now and then. What I meant (and totally failed to express) is that my setup is not supposed to live around DACs and stream boxes.

Thank you for replying :)
 
Got you. If the CD player is secondary then, as you probably know, a DVD of Bluray player will do the job of you already have one.
perhaps the Arcam is not that compatible with those speakers, I don't know as have not heard that set-up.
Although the speakers seem quite efficient they do have a high suggested power requirement so if you are looking at a new amplifier I would suggest something like Exposure of along those lines rather than the Cambridge which might simply be a sideways step.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
it lacks a punch. The bass falls short
If the WHF review is anything to go by, it would suggest changing the amp (at least) would be a good move for you.

Not that I think the phono preamp in your LP5 should be better than that in the Arcam, but I wonder if you've compared the two.
 
If the WHF review is anything to go by, it would suggest changing the amp (at least) would be a good move for you.

Not that I think the phono preamp in your LP5 should be better than that in the Arcam, but I wonder if you've compared the two.
Forgot the LP5 had an inbuilt phono stage, it's worth a try.
 

MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
I have a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 500 speakers,

I love it. But it lacks a punch. The bass falls short

I want vivid and bold sounds.

I might go about £2k for this.
If you already haven't so than also try Naim Audio's Nait XS3 amplifier as the Nait XS 3 should give you these traits and also offer improvements in some other areas of performance too :) No internal DAC's or streaming capabilities just an analogue amplifier that Silver 500's respond superbly to (y)
 
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RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
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As Rick says ... Naim springs to mind.

Also try Arcam's own Class G amplifiers ... SA20/30.

Powerful sound.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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Hi Al,
From what I tested the amp might be the culprit. When I plug Spotify, or even after replacing stylus, I hear more of what I want. I read in a few placed that the Arcam doesn't do great on Analog. With that I am leaning towards something like you just said, a pre-amp to bring more from the turntable and let the S10 distribute.

So probably I have to ways out of this. A pre-amp like Pro-Ject Phono Box or replacing the S10 for a heavier integrated amp like Cambridge Audio CXA81. Makes sense?

And about the CD... yes. Haha. I think I can find a CD player outside of that budget. I didn't bring all my CDs with me but I do have some stuff that I would love to listen every now and then. What I meant (and totally failed to express) is that my setup is not supposed to live around DACs and stream boxes.

Thank you for replying :)
Are you referring to a Arcam SA10, as opposed to a S10?
 

MARKZERO

Active member
Sep 30, 2021
3
5
25
Hello all,

I'm new to this forum but this thread caught my eye so I thought I'd add my take (FWIW!)

I have trawled the net for honest reviews of the Monitor Audio silver 500 (6G) ever since I bought a pair a couple of years back. I bought them without audition because they were ex-display and with a 40% discount! They were virtually mint and was pleased (bargain I thought)!

I really wanted to know people's opinion to these when fronting a HIFi system - not as part of a TV AV package/ 5.1 system - but apart from official reviews (which tend to flower things up too much) I could not find much at all....so I'm curious to hear any other honest reviews...... but for now I will share my own experiences!

(I would add at this point that these opinions are not just based on my opinions but also from my sons -in their twenties and well into their music of all genres - even some tastes going back to the 70s- this is important because their ears are good / hearing is sharp and they are quick to notice things before me. Not that my hearing is deficient - I'm now in my 50's so it won't be as 'keen' as theirs.) That out the way - see below:

I initially used the Silver 500 6Gs with a Marantz PM6004 amplifier - the sounded OK (clear and detailed and quite punchy with good bass) ....but like you Zanin I yearned for better. I juggled the position in the room - there were some definite improvements to be had there and this should not be under-estimated. I bi-wired them also with QED 79 strand cable - marginal improvement but probably down to a very slight reduction in impedance.

Advance forward a year (2021)and I started looking at other amplifiers and streaming. Tried the Silver 500s with a Naim Uniti star then a Nova - and the sound was improved. The dynamics were brought into the picture more so. I particularly like the Nova sound - but the thing is - even compared to the Marantz that change is subtle - it's not 'night and day' .....i've yet to listen to something that really is!

....but I think what starts to make the sound fuller more rounded and listenable is the ability for the amp to deliver current! Forget the watts - the current deliver when the impedance is halved is really significant. Now the MA 500s are efficient - not current hungry but they start to shine when they get fed with plenty to spare!


I next went on to try the Naim Supernait 3 - again with the MA 500s. I also changed the cables. Maybe the quality of this is overkill for the MAs - not sure. When I plugged the MA's into this the sound was fuller and well controlled - very listenable and non-fatiguing - better than the Nova. My sons thought so too! The current delivery of the SN3 is probably about as good as it gets - the speakers do sound good with this amp - (and so they should at this price) ....when you crank up the volume that's when the SN3 shines - it just doesn't give up / get stressed and the speakers soak up all the current. I guess that is the difference then between more budget amps vs expensive amps - stability of current deliver at all levels - you'll certainly hear that but at normal levels there really isn't this huge gulf of a difference that people talk about. ( I realise I might get lots of objections here also - but i must add this is just my subjective opinion)

To conclude - the MA500s for me, are very good as a part of 2 way HiFi system with a quality amp - but I'm still not sure that I have achieved the sound I'm after yet and suspect that these speakers might be the limiting factor. I'm going to live with them for a few years but may trade up after that.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with MA500s - they do a great job with a good amp - but maybe my expectations are too high. Considering I have listened to much more expensive speakers in HiFi demonstrations elsewhere and still not been 'blown away' makes me wonder if indeed that is the case!

I look forward to others feedback ......I'm only being honest!
 
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