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Modern all-in-one solution vs. separate parts?

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
2
0
Hi all,

I'm looking to purchase my first "real" sound system but can't really make up my mind on which path to follow; a modern all-in-one solution (new or little use) or pre-owned higher-end separate parts.

requirements and thoughts:

1. the sound is more important then power as i never listen to loud music
2. i want to stream my music wirelessly from my NAS to the system... one way or another
3. i dont have CD's or vinyl
4. budget is about £ 2,000 for a finer system, excluding speakers

I guess the easiest (and cheaper) thing would be to pick up a Onkyo TX-8050 or something similar from Naim, Nad etc and pair it with some decent speakers but... I dont know how they perform... and for some reason I like the old-school units better.

I was offered a Roksan Caspian M1 preamp + a M1 power amp (1 year of slight usage, 4 years of warranty left) for exactly £ 1,000 and I feel so tempted with that even though I know I will have to add a DAC and a solution for the wireless streaming.
I actually have an airport express, maybe that will solve the streaming problem?

I have also been tempted by a pre-owned Musical Fidelity A1008 which is a tad more expensive (£ 1,200) then the Caspian package but as I understand it, includes a quite capable DAC.

Which path is the right one? Can any of the above mentioned Onkyo/Naim/Nad compare with a classic system or are they a better buy in terms of performance / £ ?

Suggestions and guidance welcome, Thanks
 

paradiziac

New member
Jan 8, 2011
17
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There's no right/wrong answer, the right path is what works for you.

In terms of pure sound quality/price, I'd look at spending a good proportion on a used amp and add a DAC (maybe something new like the M-DAC but don't discount older hi-end DACs) and if you need, a Squeezebox touch for streaming from your NAS.

For £1000 used you can get a really good older amp. Class A (my preference) / Valves deserve serious consideration as well as smooth sounding solid state. Sugden, Soneteer, LFD, Leema (Tucana), Lavardin, Electrocompaniet....

Happy hunting!

P.S. If the DAC you choose has a built-in pre- you might only need a power amp--something worth thinking about.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The way I achieved those requirements was to buy the AVI ADM9.1T active speakers and subwoofer. I use an Airport Express to stream, plugging it into one of two optical inputs on the main speaker that has integrated DAC and preamp. I replaced some good separates with this system, incl £1700 of Spendor SA1 speakers. It was a very big step up.

I listen at low volumes most of the time and the definition and depth is effortless and complete. It's a very natural sound (said by a Spendor lover).

Ps. The cost was £1,925 delivered. Going up a bit in April, apparently.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,627
76
19,770
Concur with Iggs - with your preference and taste and budget then actives seem the logical solution. Alternatively, look at one make all-in-ones, such as Marantz 603, Onkyo or even Arcam Solo Mini. That said, you'll need to challenge your own doubts and listen to a few set-ups and see where it takes you.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Of course, auditioning is key to satisfy yourself that you've found what you prefer.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Short answer is work out what you want, shortlist the stuff that delivers that in whichever combination that may be and demo a few. Take it from there...!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for replying,

Tough one... I know that it would make sense to go for something "all-in-one" or the Avi-package solution (which looks awesome) but another part of me wants something more then just sound... hard to explain but I just find a traditional sound system aesthetically pleasing and a piece of art on its own.

But... an all-in-one / active system might just be the smarter choice...
 
T

the record spot

Guest
qpush said:
Thanks for replying,

Tough one... I know that it would make sense to go for something "all-in-one" or the Avi-package solution (which looks awesome) but another part of me wants something more then just sound... hard to explain but I just find a traditional sound system aesthetically pleasing and a piece of art on its own.

But... an all-in-one / active system might just be the smarter choice...
No problem; if its aesthetically pleasing you want, that can come in many shapes and guises, but my favourite "all-in-one" system in that regard is the Aura Note. Designed by Kenneth Grange, it's a couple of years long in the tooth now but has one USB and can take a PC input too. Lovely looking bit of kit - £1500, or £900 for an ex-dem one in the BADA Marketplace.

Google it and check out some of the images - lovely finish.
 

paradiziac

New member
Jan 8, 2011
17
0
0
qpush said:
..but another part of me wants something more then just sound...
..music?

One point to consider, not all "hifi" is "musical"... you can buy a £££ system that isn't particularly musical. Or a cheap system that makes good music. Hard to explain, but if you go listen to different systems you'll get more idea about what sounds more musical to your ears.

To me, the aesthetic appeal is the engineering and artistry that an audio company puts into producing equipment that simply lets the music flow and makes you just want to keep listening with a big smile on your face.

Everyone is different so there are lots of choices on the market and you get lots of different opinions.
 

GMK

New member
Jan 23, 2009
27
0
0
Completely true. The most "musical" and "fun" listening experiences I've had have been with a JVC Mini system and my Ruark Talisman II speakers (which were 5x the price). It may go against the grain but over a wide range of music they caused me to enjoy it more than any other set up. That's all that really matters after all........how it makes you feel
 

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