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Hi-fi Trauma - help!

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
2
0
So, I took my lovely NAD amp bought 10 years ago (not sure what model, cost £230) to Richer Sounds to get repaired as the green light went red every time I turned it on. They hit me with the news that it was my speakers (Acoustic Energy AE100's) that had caused it and that I'd need to replace both the amp and the speakers. Not good news...

Desperate to get music back in my life but without wanting to spend a fortune they talked me into buying a Cambridge Audio Azur 340A (which I got for £120 - not bad?), and some Tangent Millenium floorstanding speakers.

Now, I'm no hi-fi boffin but I do appreciate a decent sound. Unfortunately this combination sounded beyond dreadful (The speakers are winging they're way back to Richer Sounds as we speak). I'm now contemplating buying B&W 685's in the desperate hope of getting a good sound back. Is that a silly thing to do? Would the Cambridge amp do them justice?

Basically, I'd prefer to spend less than £200 on speakers to try and get back to at least as good as my NAD/AE100 combo sounded - is this going to be possible? What would you recommend putting with the CA Azur 340A to get a good sound? Do the AE Neo 1's (I can get some for £100) stand up to the old AE100's - or should I blow the budget and get B&W 685's? Or something else?

Cheers
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
68
2
18,545
I'd get a second opinion on the amp probs being caused by the speakers - just how would they diagnose that without trying them? Speakers don't break amps, shorted wiring might but this would most likely be external. Sounds to me like they just wanted your money! The 100's are not a hard speaker to drive either, my dad uses some perfectly well on an old Sony mini-system!

With regard to the Neo 1's - they have a cleaner, more attacking sound than the 100's (if that's your thing), but more detailed, powerful and punchy - for £100 they would be a very good buy (the main prob with them is the uninspiring looks!), the initial pair we sent to WHF? had a magnet fault which initial samples all suffered from (basically the magnet cup had the wrong profile so leaked flux, meaning lower power to the bass and an overly "bright" sound. This was rectified and they subsequently recieved a perfectly decent 4-Star rating (if my memory serves me correctly!).
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hiya.......

You know I understand that you want and need to get music back into your life...... but I am not a fan of knee-jerk buying, it usually does not get you the best deal.... and people generally do not shop around for all the options.

I would be suspicious (unless there was a lot of information missing in what you have written here) about the diagnosis...... anyone who works with secondhand stereo will never tell you what is wrong with a stereo unless they can see it..... and it would be highly unusual for speakers to blow an amp.... think about this amps have outputs to speakers... How would the speakers blow the amp.... Now I am not any sort of engineer..... but then neither is the average salesman in Richer Sounds.......

I do not think that the deal that you got on the amplifier is not great, but it is not bad....... the thing is that because you are not investing the money that you did to begin with (original amp: £230 10 years ago.... new amp £120 today) so I think that it will be hard to replicate the performance that you know and love..........

If I were you I would return the lot to Richer Sounds and thank them for the extended home test.... spend the budget that you have for the Richer Sounds stuff on some stop gap secondhand stuff from Ebay.... and then regroup and plan from there. Maybe an engineer's second opinion, maybe just save up and get some better kit.......
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
382
192
19,070
Sounds like a salesman looking for a quick and easy sale to me. I'd get a second opinion on your amp. If it is dead I'd be looking at better than the CA 340A to replace it.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Agreed - second opinion on the root cause of the fault. Poor advice from the RS guys I think, but happy to be proved wrong (someone phone Julian Richer!).

If money is limited, but you want a good sound and don;t mind standmount speakers, the Superfi NAD/Q Acoustics deal will get you music back in your life pronto for £371. NAD 315 CD player and amp with the Q1020i - picked up a 5 star review in WHF a month or two back for this very combination. Cracking deal, should sound good and you can upgrade bits as time and money allow.

I'd caution against secondhand off Ebay; it can be a Pandora's Box - many report good experiences and nothing but, mine is patchy. Some great success (my current speakers were about £600 new in 1995, I got them for £75 at the end of last year and they're in superb condition) and some nightmares (a supposedly excellent Systemdek turntable which was anything but and it took weeks to get my money back). Check out the BADA marketplace too; you often get a good deal there.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
382
192
19,070
Good suggestion there with the Super-Fi System Sizzler. Its great value for money and I feel it would blow the CA 340 stuff apart.

In terms of secondhand, if it goes well you will get much better performance for the same money and can put together a wonderful system. I recently purchased a Pioneer A400 in mint condition for £97 and I reckon its the best all-round amp I've ever had (my last two amps were £500 CA 740A and £550 Denon PMA1500ae!).

However, RS is right in his words of caution. You can just as easily get caught out. I personally probably would only buy 2nd hand now because of the extra value you get, but then I enjoy the whole thing of trading hi-fi and hearing different bits of kit in my living room.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Firstly, thanks all for your wise words. I've taken your comments on board and have come to the following conclusions (rightly or wrongly!):

1. I'll keep the Cambridge Audio amp for now, and, should I come across a Pioner W 400 somewhere in the ether I'll give it a whirl and the CA can go in the WEEE skip (or in the dining room).

2. I'l also keep the big lumpeths of Tangent's that I bought on the basis that they cost £70, the cab to get them home was £15, the cab to get them back would be £15, then Richer Sounds would charge a 15% 'handling fee'.

3. Add a 'nice' pair of speakers to the mix and, as long as I'm happy with them, put the Tangent's in the dining room (or the WEEE skip).

So, one final bit of advice i'd ask from your kind selves (I know this is a subjective thing, and the amp will play a big part, but your opinions solely on the speakers would be appreciated): My new speaker budget is £200 max. What I'm after is something with at least the clarity, definition and richness of sound as the AE100's.

The shortlist I have at the minute, but am definitely not set-on is:

Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (£115 new)
Acoustic Energy Neo 1 (£125 new)
B&W 602 s2 (£150 second hand off some posh bloke who's only used em a couple of times to watch Inspector Morse).

My music taste is generally folky, and I like to listen to old vinyl.

Cheers again!
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Well spotted, 'cos obviously the W400 is the widescreen version. Err...!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
In-case anyone's interested - I bit the bullet and bought some MS Mezzo 2's in the end.

Thought I was losing my hearing/mind when I got them home last night. After reading all the rave reviews I unwrapped the boxes like a kid on Christmas morning, sat my girlfriend down in front of the hi-fi and prepared her to be 'blown away'. (She couldn't care less what they sounded like but humoured me none the less)...

What was I gonna listen to first? Vinyl? CD? R n R? Folk? Hi-fi? Lo-Fi?I eventually opted for Velvet Morning by the Verve and sat back and hit play.

'Oh'.

'They sound worse than my AE 100's...Rich, but it's all bass'.

I tried more records...maybe they suit vinyl better I thought. Sounded even worse. Ah, better sleep on it, it's getting late.

So I set my alarm an hour early this morning, thought I'd add in a bit of extra time for aural pleasure. Nope, they still sounded way too...muffled.

As I left the room to go to work, totally deflated, I thought 'What Hi-fi and thousands of people can't all be wrong' and I leaned in to peel off the "don't rest the speakers this way-up" stickers. They sucked, but they were staying.

And as I peeled away at the sticker the tweater started to fall off. Can this get any worse?

And then it dawned...that's not a tweater. It's a piece of dense plastic protecting the tweater.

And for the next 5 minutes I was in aural heaven.

Farewell AE100's. Accueil Mezzo 2's.
 

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