I am honestly shocked!

admin_exported

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Today, I tested the ROTEL RA-04 and RCD-06 along with the B&W 686s and also a pair of larger B&Ws at £380. Now, to be honest, with a piece of kit costing over £1000, I expected it to be fantastic. It was set up correctly by a guy who knew his stuff in his shop. It was in the right environment, on the correct stands with the right wiring. EVERYTHING WAS CORRECTLY DONE.

And yet I was shocked how it made the music sound...well less musical.

Everything was too digital and too cold with no feel or warmth to the music. It made oasis seem perfectly well reproduced and yet (and forgive me for my oxymoron) it was somehow badly reproduced.

I changed the bass and treble, swapped speakers and changed many CDs and they were all...lifeless.

Maybe the problem is how I usually listen to music. I use a JVC MX-J850 which was about £250 7 years ago and yet the sound I get from this is by far more musical! To be honest, the JVC supressed it in about everyway and it is hardly the most advanced piece of audiological technology.

My dad also agreed with me, but he claimed that it sounded exactly like many "top end" hi-fi systems of prices between £500 and £5000. He said they all sound the same - perfect, but cold.

Please enlighten me and tell me I am wrong because to be honest, I cannot justify getting into hi-fi if this is the case. And, does anybody out there agree with me? And what hi-fi will deliver this warmth and soul I am pining for?



Many thanks to all.
 

robg1976

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Sep 17, 2007
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I dont believe your jvc sounds better something is wrong here...........

Find A NAD dealer and test A C352 amp and C542 player costing Aprox. £700 with aany pair of quality speakers and im sure you will be amazed.

Im sure any set up from lets say NAD...Marantz or Cambridge audio will blow your jvc to sonic heaven

IN conclusion i hope this 1 experience has not put you of hi-fi and i urge you to try again My NAD is my first hi-fi and even after 18 months it still puts a smile on my face everytime i use it .......Im sure if you play your own music on any of the above set ups you will love it... Dont give up you Dont have to spend thousands to have a quality Hi-fi set up..
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="Hughes123"]
I was shocked how it made the music sound...well less musical.

Everything was too digital and too cold with no feel or warmth to the music. It made oasis seem perfectly well reproduced and yet (and forgive me for my oxymoron) it was somehow badly reproduced.
[/quote]

Yep, that's how Oasis sound to me too. On anything.

Seriously though if you like the sound you already have why bother changing it?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Try Arcam. No cold sound at all. Only have experience with cd192 ($$$), but reading WHFS&V I came to understand all their cd-players have the same sonic signature. Also look for arcams on ebay, ther are lots-will keep you within budget! If that still doesn't work for you, then try a cdplayer with tubes in it. AH! njoe tjoeb, based on marantz cd-player is the cheapest that comes to mind. In short: try different makes cd-players, arcam, musical fidelity (dac + NAS harddrive= cheapest option). Me thinks the cd's bright sound is to blame!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
So obvious I forgot: Try a record spinner (vinyl) with a similar kind of setup you already auditioned. This will sort out where the root of the problem lies.
Best wishes,
Solomon
 

nads

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2007
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i have to say when i first listened to a rotel amp years ago i decided that i would not be spending any money with them. i did just not get on with them.

Some 20 years ago when i wanted an AMP i went of listening and it came down to two the NAD 3130 and some Cambridge audio amp, you may guess which i went for.

i would also suggest that for listening sessions you use original CD's as a poor copy or a crap MP3 recording will be very noticeable.

so roll on 20 some years and i have just been upgrading my HiFi and Guess what still love the NAD house sound and have discovered the wonders of quality cables.

During the time between buying the first and last Nads i have listened to many a set up and i feel i am more than happy with the sound that i have. Keep listening and trying.
 

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
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Sorry to butt in, just wanted to ask nads something. ive read a cuolpe people on here saying NAD have a reputation for brightness. Mine, altho second hand, is nothing of the sort. Are they talking tosh...?
 

robg1976

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Sep 17, 2007
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yes mate they are talking rubbish.. Nad does have a lets say nad sound which is big on base deep and full but always controlled.....
That can be said of most products they do bring their own sound to the mix thats why we all prefer different products as with music try before you buy...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="al7478"]Cheers! Apologies to Hughes123 for the interruption.[/quote]

That's quite alright!

I am thinking of trying another approach to the new hi-fi system. Perhaps an old JVC amp from the late 70s coupled with a Marantz or NAD cd player and to top it off some good old Wharfedale E50s! It would certainly cut the price by a serious amount of money! Would this sort of set-up solve my "cold" problems? To be honest, I have never heard vinyl in action...most claim it has a warmer sound, but because all my music is on CD, I cannot just switch over to record.
I think the CD player may be a big part of the problem, especially as the music seemed to have NO stereo sound stage and seemed to be just one big noise in the middle.
Could anybody advise me what 70s/80s amps are good? And what speakers are good? Considering I want warmth! I love the look of the Wharfedale e-series, and I remember being amazed by them in my grandads house when I was three or four, fiddling with the controls on the front of the E70s! Nostalgic!

Thanks for all of your help!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="Hughes123"][quote user="al7478"]Cheers! Apologies to Hughes123 for the interruption.[/quote]

That's quite alright!

I am thinking of trying another approach to the new hi-fi system. Perhaps an old JVC amp from the late 70s coupled with a Marantz or NAD cd player and to top it off some good old Wharfedale E50s! It would certainly cut the price by a serious amount of money! Would this sort of set-up solve my "cold" problems? To be honest, I have never heard vinyl in action...most claim it has a warmer sound, but because all my music is on CD, I cannot just switch over to record.
I think the CD player may be a big part of the problem, especially as the music seemed to have NO stereo sound stage and seemed to be just one big noise in the middle.
Could anybody advise me what 70s/80s amps are good? And what speakers are good? Considering I want warmth! I love the look of the Wharfedale e-series, and I remember being amazed by them in my grandads house when I was three or four, fiddling with the controls on the front of the E70s! Nostalgic!

Thanks for all of your help!


[/quote]

Try a Kenwood K1100 amplifier with B&W DM2 MkII speakers, absolutely fantastic sound.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
330
19,270
I'd suggest you have a good look at Arcam gear, and if you want to save money investigate the later models of the Alpha series. The Alpha 7, 8 and 9 amps are excellent units and all offer the warmth and musicality you crave. I've just got hold of an Alpha 7 and I've spent a whole afternoon today glued to my system as music gushed out of it. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that, unless you have a large budget, second hand is often the best way to go with amps. I briefly had a Cambridge Audio 640A and found it completely unsatisfying at a cost of £250. The Alpha 7 cost me £75 and its in a completely different league. To be honest, it sounds better than a more recent Arcam DiVA A65+ I heard.

I've had Rotel amps, including an RA-01, and although they do some things very well, I often found it sterile and lacking in any real musical depth. I think you would find the NAD stuff preferable but you would need to give it a good audition to make sure it suits.

Also look out for a clean Naim Nait 3. Its a very musical amplifier and can be picked up for fairly low prices second hand now. Its very rhythmic and works well with a wide range of music, although it is a little fussy about speaker cables and partnering ancilliaries. I suspect a Marantz CD player might be a little bright for it, but one of the better NAD players or a second hand Rega Planet II could make for a good match.

As for older Japanese stuff, some of it can sound very good. Some of the better Pioneer and Sansui amps from the 70s can be great fun and I've really enjoyed playing with them over the last couple of years, but they don't offer the soundstaging abilities and detail resolution of the best more modern British amps.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thankyou for your suggestion! I have briefly heard an Alpha 7 when I was younger coupled to some RUARK floorstanding speakers. Dunno the complete list of equipment, but I was very impressed! The only thing I do not like about them are their look and build. Very, well, plasticky...but I guess its the sound that counts.

I was looking at a JVC A-X400 which is 70watts/channel, its lovely looking with all its lights (sound like a kid) and judging by the figures, would out perform my current mini unit. But does anybody actually know what they are like? I mean, is there the same sort of amp which is better or gives a more involving, musical and warm sound from like the 70s or 80s? I've also heard that the JVC A-X4 is quite good, but is it?

Speaker wise, I was thinking of some brand new floorstanding tower type ones for around £400-600...what are the best?

And CD player wise, what gives a good, musical, involving, rich and warm sound? (not asking too much am I)?! Second hand, of course!

All the best.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
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19,270
Careful!!! Partnering £400-£600 speakers with a JVC integrated is only going to end in disaster.

The later JVC amps were only ever average in their day and the AX400 was never anything to shout home about sound-wise. The A-X4 was pretty decent but not with the kind of speakers you are talking of.

For floorstanders look at something like the Monitor Audio BR5s or the Mordaunt-Short MS904i, both between £300 - £400 new and potentially quite a bit cheaper second hand. If you don't like the thought of the Arcams and want something a bit more visually impressive I'd suggest trying a Marantz PM7001 amp. If you are lucky you might even find a lightly used KI-Signature version. Then partner with a Marantz CD-63SE KI-Signature (around £200 second hand) or look for a good Rega Planet CD player (a bit warmer than the Marantz). Add a set of decent speaker stands, and some decent cables, and you'll have a pretty cracking system on your hands which will blow your mini or anything based around those JVC amps out of the water.

Other than that, look into these as ideas:

Rega Apollo CD (brand new, about £500), Naim Nait 3 amp (about £200 used), Monitor Audio BR2 (£180)

Creek Evoultion CD player and amplifier with Epos M5 speakers.

I've heard the first of these combinations and it sounds superb although you would need to be careful about speaker cable (Naim NacA5 works best). I've heard very good things about the Creek/Epos combo, although that would probably be a brand new set-up.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hughes,

I wouldn't neccessarily go for a warm kind of sound, it can sound unnatural in it's own way. Trust me I know first hand, I own a Arcam Alpha 9 and 8se cd player and some B&W 685 speakers and the sound is very warm. It just doesn't suite rock or anything like that. Yes Rotels can sound hard and mechanical (certainly the 971 MKII I tested years ago did), but NAD sound way too warm while having little dynamics or bite. It's like listening to your grandmothers old record player/amp and speakers - but warmer still, like you can't recognize your own music under all that syrup. The solution? I don't know, it's hard to find something that's both exciting and natural sounding. Perhaps Rega, or Naim. All I can tell you is that my old Denon receiver sounded better than anything else I've heard in the budget - mid price area, including my current amp at 4 times the price. Good luck.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
For years I've had the Rotel RA931 mk2 amp with a NAD 522 cd feeding Celestion 20i speakers. Although a good sound when I bought them they were sounding tired.

I recently purchased the Rotel RA-05 Amp, Rotel RCD-06 CD and B&W 685's and new Super Dreadnought stands with QED Silver Anniversary cables and it sounds brilliant thanks to the guys at Oranges & Lemons.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
That is exactly the set-up I tested in Technosound wannobear. I just felt it was very mechanical and cold and I could not get involved in the music. Pink Floyd - which sends shivers up my spine on my JVC was just...music. I must admit that it must be an incredible set-up for some if you like that sort of sound - and it sure can go loud, but it wasn't my sort of sound.

So...I have bought an amplifier. I don't know how old it is (probably late 70s) and I don't know how good it is (oh god!) but i've bought a JVC A-X400 70watts per channel.

Ebay listing is here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330193335898&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:GB:1123

Video for the exact item is here: http://s153.photobucket.com/albums/s201/Torrent935/48/?action=view&current=JVCAmp_agk.flv

As you can see, it's quite er...dated but I'm sure i'll grow to like it! Does anybody know anything about it?
Oh, and what floorstanding speakers can I get for under £600?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hi Hughes123,

I might be stating the bleedin' obvious, but if you love the sound of your JVC then why change? You ask what might deliver the warmth and soul you pine for - but I think you've answered your own question!

No-one else can tell you that your right or wrong - if it sounds good to you then it's right for you!

Forgive me if I've missed something, but why do you want to change if you love your existing JVC so much?

FWIW, for my £400 budget, I bought some £600 MA RS6 speakers - after a home demo, I was sure I liked these. Be careful before spending £600 on speakers if other hifi stuff failed to impress. If you can't home demo, then perhpas consider 2nd hand then if you don't like it you can hopefully re-sell without significant loss?

Good luck and lettuce all know how it goes
 
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Anonymous

Guest
You have a very fair point! But the JVC does have its problems. To start with, it cannot drive my Sony sub connected to it properly, leaving the speakers to do the sub-50hz stuff which degrades quality. When the volume is over 30/50 (which isn't that loud) it starts to distort and when at 40/50 it starts clipping quite drastically. Also, it doesn't give that much detail even though the tonality is smack on - making classical and stuff like Pink Floyd sound a bit iffy. I also cannot connect a turntable directly to it, also there are not enough aux connections for my liking.

But, it is still a fantastic system!

You might also be right about buying speakers second hand. Might get more for my money! And if they are below par - I could always try and make a profit!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I understand where you are coming from to a certain degree!

One thing i will say though is that I have rairly heard hi-fi sound good in a demo room.They are usually quite sterile places.

And i have never heard in them,what i call the "3D wall" that magical wall of sound you can get when the room is just right for your equipment.

Demo rooms are usually far bigger then your room at home and far sparser. You end up picking gear thats sounds fine for that demo room but probably isnt right for your home. Sadly (in my experience) not many dealers seem to want to let you home demo stuff unless you are paying £ 3000 for a complete av syastem or something!

So maybe the gear you tried out my sound different in your home, just a thought!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="Hughes123"]
Today, I tested the ROTEL RA-04 and RCD-06 along with the B&W 686s and also a pair of larger B&Ws at £380. Now, to be honest, with a piece of kit costing over £1000, I expected it to be fantastic. It was set up correctly by a guy who knew his stuff in his shop. It was in the right environment, on the correct stands with the right wiring. EVERYTHING WAS CORRECTLY DONE.

And yet I was shocked how it made the music sound...well less musical.
Everything was too digital and too cold with no feel or warmth to the music. It made oasis seem perfectly well reproduced and yet (and forgive me for my oxymoron) it was somehow badly reproduced.[/quote]

WWWOOOOOAAAAAAHHHhhhh stop RIGHT THERE!!!!
---- Insert derogatory oasis comment here ----

Right, now that rubbish has been called rubbish;) I would angle for more speaker weight... which later in the thread you seem to be doing..

Good floorstanders for under 600 quid, I've seen a few pairs of my speakers (MA GR20's) going for less than that on ebay. Theres a helluva lot of weight in those speakers and partnered with decent amplification they will rock your world. I went for audiolab, but sounds to me like you want to head down the arcam route. Pre-power arrangement is reccomended, especially if it is easily upgradable to biamping later on (or perhaps integrated/power combo for biamping now).

As for 'testing' music. I'm sure you'd get on with 'The Pixies' get ahold of their album 'Wave of Mutilation' and check that out on the higher end systems you demo. I was blown away by the difference 'higher-fi' made with this album. Always remember, it's not just the speakers, amp and CD player, it's the recording quality too.
 

fatboyslimfast

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2008
158
0
18,590
[quote user="Mr_Poletski"]It made oasis seem perfectly well reproduced and yet (and forgive me for my oxymoron) it was somehow badly reproduced.[/quote]

I think you have hit the nail on the head there MrP. Oasis albums are notoriously produced for the mainstream, which means that on a revealing system, you are going to hear the producer more than the music...

Although some people (not I...) would suggest that maybe isn't quite such a bad thing
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Wow, it's nice to see an old thread up and runnning once more! Well thanks for your suggestions Mr Poletski, but I have got myself quite a nice set-up now! Arcam FMJ A32, Arcam CD73T, Wharfedale EVO2 30 and Project Debut III...I guess you can see that the budget went up a bit.....

I am very pleased with the sound it provides, especially as my room is less than perfect for any hi-fi! I also have some Grado SR60 headphones which are miles ahead of the sound provided by the Wharfedales...they really show how could the electronics are and how well they could perform in a better environment, speakers etc.

The upgrade I am looking for in the future is an improved DAC for the CD player...perhaps an upgrade to the CD192 for £500 would be good...or would I be best looking to buy a better external DAC for my CD73? Cheers!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hughesy.
Thank god you went for the system that suited you. As I have stated before trust you own instincts and your own ears. Although I enjoy the sound of Rotel others dont. I wont slight any type of euipment because it is all down to personal choice. What may be 5 stars here will be less or not even mentioned in other mags or forums. I think my system suits my type of music and will serve me for a couple of years.
Enjoy mate.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Yep, I'd be double checking the cd before blaming the player. To state the obvious - having recently demo-ed some equipment I soon realised that the quality of the cd's I was playing was definitely having an impact on the sound. (Duh!) Bring a selection of cd's and try them all out.
 

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