Hifi set up the produces a warm, detailed sound

subseastu

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Hi all I've been out of the loop for a while regarding all things hifi but I feel its time for a change from my present set up which you can see in my signature below. The system at present, though good, just seems to lack detail and is a bit loose in the bass. I think this is mainly down to the amp. What I want is to get a system that will give me a nice warm, detailed sound thats tighter / more defined on the bass. It doesn't have to go loud (have to think of the neighbours!). So what do you good people suggest? Get rid of the amp or cd player, or speakers, or a combination, or the whole lot? My budget is about £2000 and I don't mind buying second hand. Oh yes the room is about 4m x 5m with heavy wooden furniture. Cheers
 
subseastu said:
Hi all Managed to up date my signature now so any advice on my original question please?

From what I've heard not many amps come much warmer than Nad. However, I do think that you could benefit by listening to the Nad 356BEE or Creek Evo2 or one of the midrange Yamaha amps and - definately - change the Dalis. I'd be looking more at MA BX2 or Dynaudio 2/6. But I know the more budget end of the Nad range can struggle with harder to drive speakers - I think that's more your problem.

None of these changes I've suggested are particularly 'warm', but they have a bigger, smoother, sound. Certainly look at speakers first and then suck it and see...
 

subseastu

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Thanks plastic, I think its the same old answer to this and its to go out and emo a shed load of stuff and see which suits the most. But its always good to narrow the field down a little first.
 

FennerMachine

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From my experience try some older Quad amps.

Quad 44 pre with matching 405 power amp.

I went from Cyrus aCA7.5 pre to NAD 1240 pre, older than your amp so maybe not a great comparison.

It was too warm! Also lost the sparkle from the music.

The Quad 44 pre seemed to fix that.

Massively warmer than the Cyrus but still had the sparkle.

Should be able to pick some up in budget with plenty to spare!

Might be a bit too old though, plus there are a few revisions of the Quad 44.

Worth considering but read some reviews and do a bit of research before getting something so old!

Not sure about your speakers.
 

subseastu

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Thats some pretty exotic stuff there, but maybe a valve amp is the way to go. Isn't there a problem with a general lack of detail with valve amps though until you start to spend thousands?
 

Macspur

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subseastu said:
Thats some pretty exotic stuff there, but maybe a valve amp is the way to go. Isn't there a problem with a general lack of detail with valve amps though until you start to spend thousands?

Perhaps try a class A intergrated like a Sugden? best of both worlds an intergrated that produces a rich warm detailed valve like sound.
 

Sabby

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subseastu said:
Thats some pretty exotic stuff there, but maybe a valve amp is the way to go. Isn't there a problem with a general lack of detail with valve amps though until you start to spend thousands?

It's a total misconception to generalise valve amps as warm and lacking in detail. I've heard valve amps that sounded brighter and more detailed than quite a few transistor amps. There are of course some valve amps that sound very warm and lacking in detail, but that also applies to some transistor designs as well. This misconception might well go back to the early valve amps that generally sounded warm and lush compared to their transistor counterparts. Modern valve amps are a totally different beast and certainly merit a listen.
 

CJSF

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subseastu said:
Thats some pretty exotic stuff there, but maybe a valve amp is the way to go. Isn't there a problem with a general lack of detail with valve amps though until you start to spend thousands?

I've just gone through the 'valve amp mill', took me 9 months to get there, as an old 1980's valve freak, do I go back to the old ways or embrace new technology, and true I did not want to spend a kings ransom 'this time round'!

To give an idea see my thread: '. . . pretty dam good . . .', it has been a rocky road, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I prefer the warmer sound of valves, but thought the cost might be prohibitive . . . However, friendly dealer said try the Croft CI-P valve hybrid . . . wow . . . after a long audition session, I ordered the CI-P (Croft Integrated Phono). The trick is 'burning in', now with 40-50 hours under its belt, it is giving me warm, dynamic, detailed music, IMHO musicality is the Crofts strength, backed up with the most exquisite detail and a low frequency punch that is more than adequate for me, maintaining an edge at the bottom end that is remarkable from my modest transmission line PMC LB1 speakers, seat pinning stuff.

Glen Croft has don an amazing job, marrying a valve input stage, the warmth and detail, with a mosfet output, the power and drive! At under £1000 its one for the top of the list . . . perhaps not if you expect all the knobs and whistles, CI-P is basic, minimalist stuff, '3 line in', '1 line out' and '1 phono in' . . . 'twin (L-R) volume controls', a mute switch and on-off switch, thats it, thats all I need for a minimalist 2 channel stereo system that is transporting me back to those golden halceon days of the 80's.

Croft amps are hand built to order, no PC boards, all hard wired, minimalist stuff . . . 'the least for the most', my journey is almost over, light is streaming through the tunnel exit, I'm heading into a world of wonderful music listening.

CJSF
 

Inter_Voice

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plastic penguin said:
subseastu said:
Hi all Managed to up date my signature now so any advice on my original question please?

From what I've heard not many amps come much warmer than Nad. However, I do think that you could benefit by listening to the Nad 356BEE or Creek Evo2 or one of the midrange Yamaha amps and - definately - change the Dalis. I'd be looking more at MA BX2 or Dynaudio 2/6. But I know the more budget end of the Nad range can struggle with harder to drive speakers - I think that's more your problem.

None of these changes I've suggested are particularly 'warm', but they have a bigger, smoother, sound. Certainly look at speakers first and then suck it and see...

Previously I owned a NAD C355BEE which is basically the same as 356BEE as quoted by pp. I can also confirm that this amp. produces very warm sound with good tight bass. NAD C355 is no more available in the market but there might be one or two still available in eBay costing between £200-300 SH which is not a bad deal indeed. Worth considering :)
 

CnoEvil

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subseastu said:
Thats some pretty exotic stuff there, but maybe a valve amp is the way to go. Isn't there a problem with a general lack of detail with valve amps though until you start to spend thousands?

Some of this "exotic stuff" make surprisingly affordable amps, with their expertise trickling down to the budget end of their range.

Here is a selection of "sweet" sounding amps:

ICON AUDIO
Stereo 20 PP.....£500
Stereo 25 Mk11...£800
Stereo 20 SE.....£1000

UNISON RESEARCH
Unico Primo......£1250
Unico Series.....£1375

PURE SOUND
A10......£650
A30......£1400

Sugden Mystro...£1255
Shanling STP80..£1295
Audio Analague Crescendo..£600

PEACHTREE
Decco 2.....£850
Nova........£1100

Sabby's description of valve amps is spot on.....above I have listed a mixture of Valves, Hybrid and musical SS amps
 
Inter_Voice said:
plastic penguin said:
subseastu said:
Hi all Managed to up date my signature now so any advice on my original question please?

From what I've heard not many amps come much warmer than Nad. However, I do think that you could benefit by listening to the Nad 356BEE or Creek Evo2 or one of the midrange Yamaha amps and - definately - change the Dalis. I'd be looking more at MA BX2 or Dynaudio 2/6. But I know the more budget end of the Nad range can struggle with harder to drive speakers - I think that's more your problem.

None of these changes I've suggested are particularly 'warm', but they have a bigger, smoother, sound. Certainly look at speakers first and then suck it and see...

Previously I owned a NAD C355BEE which is basically the same as 356BEE as quoted by pp. I can also confirm that this amp. produces very warm sound with good tight bass. NAD C355 is no more available in the market but there might be one or two still available in eBay costing between £200-300 SH which is not a bad deal indeed. Worth considering :)

The dilemma the OP has is whether to buy an amp that'll benefit from the speakers, or change the speakers to match the Nad 326. All amps, worth their sort, will sound pukka with the right matching. Likewise, most amps can struggle if tethered to a monitor that wasn't intended for them.

As always, best the OP goes and listens to a few variations.
 

Inter_Voice

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plastic penguin said:
Inter_Voice said:
plastic penguin said:
subseastu said:
Hi all Managed to up date my signature now so any advice on my original question please?

From what I've heard not many amps come much warmer than Nad. However, I do think that you could benefit by listening to the Nad 356BEE or Creek Evo2 or one of the midrange Yamaha amps and - definately - change the Dalis. I'd be looking more at MA BX2 or Dynaudio 2/6. But I know the more budget end of the Nad range can struggle with harder to drive speakers - I think that's more your problem.

None of these changes I've suggested are particularly 'warm', but they have a bigger, smoother, sound. Certainly look at speakers first and then suck it and see...

Previously I owned a NAD C355BEE which is basically the same as 356BEE as quoted by pp. I can also confirm that this amp. produces very warm sound with good tight bass. NAD C355 is no more available in the market but there might be one or two still available in eBay costing between £200-300 SH which is not a bad deal indeed. Worth considering :)

The dilemma the OP has is whether to buy an amp that'll benefit from the speakers, or change the speakers to match the Nad 326. All amps, worth their sort, will sound pukka with the right matching. Likewise, most amps can struggle if tethered to a monitor that wasn't intended for them.

As always, best the OP goes and listens to a few variations.

+1 ;) but the problem is it is sometimes very difficult to find a right shop in some part of the country having all the required gears for audition. Like me in my area it is quite difficult to arrange for an audition. My system was bought without any audition at all and was purely based on my extensive research on all the reviews available on the web. Fortunately the result is well beyond my expectation and the SQ is entirely to my satisfaction - or may be I am just lucky :)
 
Inter_Voice said:
plastic penguin said:
Inter_Voice said:
plastic penguin said:
subseastu said:
Hi all Managed to up date my signature now so any advice on my original question please?

From what I've heard not many amps come much warmer than Nad. However, I do think that you could benefit by listening to the Nad 356BEE or Creek Evo2 or one of the midrange Yamaha amps and - definately - change the Dalis. I'd be looking more at MA BX2 or Dynaudio 2/6. But I know the more budget end of the Nad range can struggle with harder to drive speakers - I think that's more your problem.

None of these changes I've suggested are particularly 'warm', but they have a bigger, smoother, sound. Certainly look at speakers first and then suck it and see...

Previously I owned a NAD C355BEE which is basically the same as 356BEE as quoted by pp. I can also confirm that this amp. produces very warm sound with good tight bass. NAD C355 is no more available in the market but there might be one or two still available in eBay costing between £200-300 SH which is not a bad deal indeed. Worth considering :)

The dilemma the OP has is whether to buy an amp that'll benefit from the speakers, or change the speakers to match the Nad 326. All amps, worth their sort, will sound pukka with the right matching. Likewise, most amps can struggle if tethered to a monitor that wasn't intended for them.

As always, best the OP goes and listens to a few variations.

+1 ;) but the problem is it is sometimes very difficult to find a right shop in some part of the country having all the required gears for audition. Like me in my area it is quite difficult to arrange for an audition. My system was bought without any audition at all and was purely based on my extensive research on all the reviews available on the web. Fortunately the result is well beyond my expectation and the SQ is entirely to my satisfaction - or may be I am just lucky :)

I don't think is determined by the dealers (or lack of outlets). I know from experience that a system seldom replicates the sound of a dedicated auditioning room. That's why it's so important to hear it at home before deciding. On the flip-side, it's (sometimes) beneficial to buy blind, as long as the dealer has a returns policy. Too much faffing in a dealers can pollute a decision. (This is something I've experienced recently:poke:).
 

CnoEvil

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plastic penguin said:
I don't think is determined by the dealers (or lack of outlets). I know from experience that a system seldom replicates the sound of a dedicated auditioning room. That's why it's so important to hear it at home before deciding. On the flip-side, it's (sometimes) beneficial to buy blind, as long as the dealer has a returns policy. Too much faffing in a dealers can pollute a decision. (This is something I've experienced recently:poke:).

PP, how are you getting on with the Dacmagic?
 
CnoEvil said:
plastic penguin said:
I don't think is determined by the dealers (or lack of outlets). I know from experience that a system seldom replicates the sound of a dedicated auditioning room. That's why it's so important to hear it at home before deciding. On the flip-side, it's (sometimes) beneficial to buy blind, as long as the dealer has a returns policy. Too much faffing in a dealers can pollute a decision. (This is something I've experienced recently:poke:).

PP, how are you getting on with the Dacmagic?

Still in the cardboard shell. At the moment I'm totally bored with hi-fi. Took a couple of days off work over the weekend with the express purpose of playing around with the DAC - did some gardening instead. Loathe gardening, which highlights how apathetic I am towards hi-fi. Won't last long...:?
 

CnoEvil

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plastic penguin said:

PP, how are you getting on with the Dacmagic?

Still in the cardboard shell. At the moment I'm totally bored with hi-fi. Took a couple of days off work over the weekend with the express purpose of playing around with the DAC - did some gardening instead. Loathe gardening, which highlights how apathetic I am towards hi-fi. Won't last long...:?

[/quote]

.....you'll be trout fishing next! :D
 
CnoEvil said:
plastic penguin said:

PP, how are you getting on with the Dacmagic?

Still in the cardboard shell. At the moment I'm totally bored with hi-fi. Took a couple of days off work over the weekend with the express purpose of playing around with the DAC - did some gardening instead. Loathe gardening, which highlights how apathetic I am towards hi-fi. Won't last long...:?

.....you'll be trout fishing next! :D[/quote]

Now that's really spooky. Over the weekend I was looking at my ledger rod and reel.

Since my little junket to PJ a couple of weekends ago I've been suffering hi-fi depression.
 

subseastu

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Wow, thanks everyone for a wealth of suggestions, I've certainly got a lot to think about. I think one thing is for sure, first is to change the speakers as these are floor standers and I think maybe some stand mounts would suit me better now. See how that goes and then look at changing the amp trying to audition some of the one's you've all suggested so far. Lastly will be the Cd player as I think at the level I am at the moment it will have the least impact. Thinking about if I change my Dali royal towers out for stand mounted speakers what speakers would you suggest to look at to get the sound I'm looking for? I think this will give me the biggest improvement wouldn't it? (stand mounter would naturally tighten up the bass wouldn't they?) I can then get an amp to refine futher the sound. What do you all think?
 
subseastu said:
Wow, thanks everyone for a wealth of suggestions, I've certainly got a lot to think about. I think one thing is for sure, first is to change the speakers as these are floor standers and I think maybe some stand mounts would suit me better now. See how that goes and then look at changing the amp trying to audition some of the one's you've all suggested so far. Lastly will be the Cd player as I think at the level I am at the moment it will have the least impact. Thinking about if I change my Dali royal towers out for stand mounted speakers what speakers would you suggest to look at to get the sound I'm looking for? I think this will give me the biggest improvement wouldn't it? (stand mounter would naturally tighten up the bass wouldn't they?) I can then get an amp to refine futher the sound. What do you all think?

As per my previous suggestion: MA BX2, Dynaudios... although, given the harsh, bright sound I'd look at soft domed speakers (tweeter section). All MAs are hard domed tweeter (reason why I mentioned BX range is they tend to be a little easy regards system matching)

Don't change your CDP yet. At this stage it's better to get the amp or speakers right first.

Before looking at any potential changes because, as I've mentioned before, could be fairly simple: do you want to upgrade the amp to match the speakers, or slightly lesser speakers to match the 326BEE? I honestly think your particular problem is more control rather than going for "better" equipement, if that makes sense.

If you decide to keep the amp and change the speakers I'd look at high decibel speakers 87db upwards into 8 Ohms. This'll mean, generally, a speaker that's easier to drive.... and control.
 

subseastu

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Plastic penguin, thanks for the fast reply. Your up and about late, or is it early?! Just looked at the MA BX2 and even though its an award winner I feel it could be a step down in quality to the Dali's (even though the dali's are about 6 years old now). What would you suggest in the £600-£1000 range as I think this would give a bigger improvement. I'd look at spending about the same on an amp as well in the future.
 

subseastu

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I think we got crossed replies there. I think you could be right about the control side of things. i'd hate to lose the dali's mainly because when I brought them they where £800 and I think a resonable speaker so i don't really want to take a step down fromm them if you see what I mean. So maybe its a question of trying an amp with better control of bass and possibily a more neutral sound to combat the natural bass of the floor standing dali's?
 

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