Question My equipment or diminishing returns? 🤔

Zeeman92

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2014
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5
10,545
Hello, I've posted a few things on here before, but I'm still relatively new so please be nice! I appreciate any time you've taken to read and comment on this.

So I've recently upgraded from Monitor Audio BX6 Bronze speakers to Silver 300. Whilst they're slightly faster with better imaging and soundstage, there doesn't appear to a great deal of improvment other than tighter and more accurate bass. Being three way speakers, I had expected there to be more of a jump, but it actually feels like more of a sidestep. I did an A/B test and whilst a tiny bit more detail is picked out on the silvers, it's mainly an improvment with the bottom end than anything else.

This leads to my question, could my equipment be strangling the sound a bit?

I have the following for stereo. I don't have a streamer yet, I was thinking of going down the PC USB - DAC route, here's how I currently have the kit.

Chromecast Audio into Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Into: Audiolab 8000Q - Pre-amp and Audiolab 8000PX - Power-amp.

I use either Amazon HD or Tidal. As I'm aware, from either of those streaming services, the Chromecast doesn't allow any more than 16bit 44100 unless the content is streamed via stored music.

For analogue music I use my Audiolab 8000A as the phonostage going into the Q and PX - source is a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon SB with the stock Ortofon Red cart.


Any help is much appreciated, thanks.
 
I guess there isn't much you can do about the limitations of the chromecast, but even CD quality should be good enough, and the first thing I would do is replace that 2M Red.
are the speakers new? They may need a little more breaking in if they are, otherwise your kit looks up to the job.
if that's all you use the 8000A for suggest selling it on and buying a dedicated phono preamp in its place
 
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millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
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Hi,

Im not going to tell you what to buy and budget for. Thats up to you! but what to expect and how far things can be taken.

I always say budget speakers can really be pushed. And is where buying the best speaker you can afford statement falls flat on its face. i'll explain further.

Forgetting the fact you're buying another MA, so same house sound, you're just buying refinement and more difficult to drive speakers in this case 4.5ohm min dip @ 180 hz, theres a lot of sound at that frequency that's getting a little rough not many amps that could handle that convincingly especially at volume. Dimensioning returns? maybe! An unconsidered purchase? more likely and what you're going to need to do, to the rest of the system to get it back to your happy place and that WOW moment. This is why people upgrade so quickly and burn through money.

Having said that there's only so much they can do with a piston in a box. It's never a night and difference, it can be! But the jump has to be big not just a few hundred big but thousands big and it not all about the speaker in that price, hence my unconsidered statement above. Once you get to a certain point you have to start looking at the whole no just the singular. Amp along with the speakers.

So you're BX6 for example i'd quite happily stick a 4k-5k (not saying you have to spend that you could) amp up their backsides and the same on a source. Yes they would render those differences up to that price points easily and the amp would give massive scope for future upgrades, and ill say and say and say it again! power and efficiency are king and together it's god-like, People just don't realise how far budget speakers can be taken They would sound phenomenal when driven correctly and not many listen to properly driven budget speakers. Buying the best speakers money can afford absolute bull. it all need to be taken into account

You already had the efficiency and some power. TBH i would have left well alone. it was a well-considered system.

We're all guilty of it and not many admit it .But we all upgrade to what they think is "better" and we wish we hadn't i know i did and so long ago.

Sorry to say but the money would have been better spent on a completely new and more powerful front end All you have done is made your front end upgrade path even more expensive as id quite happily pair the 200's with 5-8k (again not saying you have to spend that but id certainly be looking at around the 3k mark amp dac combo). I'd say those speakers are lifers for you as long as you like the MA sound that is.

I know it doesn't really help you consider your next upgrade but I think in you case unless you have money to upgrade the rest of the system i might actually try to return the silver 200 if you can and not to late

Hope that make sense, writing this on the train on the way back home.
 
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insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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I'd like to offer a different perspective on this subject. Would you still be surprised if you put £15k worth of speakers and had the same result?

The one constant here is the room. Looking at the setup you have I'd look to treat the room however little or much you can. This will universally improve your listening experience. And most people are surprised by how much compared to money spent.

Second consideration here is your experience and taste. Reason why I bring this up is that the longer you are in this hobby the quicker you realise what you like and what you don't like. I think we all have a preference which we've always had but realise it slowly over time. Perhaps you already know what you like but aren't yet sure how to get it. I wouldn't worry though it takes time and you'll get there.

Finally, it may just be that neither the Monitor Audios nor Audiolabs are the components for you. My best guess is they're not for me but I've had enough experience with these brands, even though I've not heard these particular components.
 
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Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
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Whilst they're slightly faster with better imaging and soundstage, there doesn't appear to a great deal of improvment other than tighter and more accurate bass.
Well ‘better imaging and soundstage’ and ‘tighter and more accurate bass’ seems quite an improvement over an already excellent speaker. Perhaps your expectations were a little too high. Remember the improvements as you spend more money can be subtle…. Also as a Monitor Audio owner, I would say they need at least 150 hours to really open out.
 
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Zeeman92

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2014
34
5
10,545
Hi,

Im not going to tell you what to buy and budget for. Thats up to you! but what to expect and how far things can be taken.

I always say budget speakers can really be pushed. And is where buying the best speaker you can afford statement falls flat on its face. i'll explain further.

Forgetting the fact you're buying another MA, so same house sound, you're just buying refinement and more difficult to drive speakers in this case 4.5ohm min dip @ 180 hz, theres a lot of sound at that frequency that's getting a little rough not many amps that could handle that convincingly especially at volume. Dimensioning returns? maybe! An unconsidered purchase? more likely and what you're going to need to do, to the rest of the system to get it back to your happy place and that WOW moment. This is why people upgrade so quickly and burn through money.

Having said that there's only so much they can do with a piston in a box. It's never a night and difference, it can be! But the jump has to be big not just a few hundred big but thousands big and it not all about the speaker in that price, hence my unconsidered statement above. Once you get to a certain point you have to start looking at the whole no just the singular. Amp along with the speakers.

So you're BX6 for example i'd quite happily stick a 4k-5k (not saying you have to spend that you could) amp up their backsides and the same on a source. Yes they would render those differences up to that price points easily and the amp would give massive scope for future upgrades, and ill say and say and say it again! power and efficiency are king and together it's god-like, People just don't realise how far budget speakers can be taken They would sound phenomenal when driven correctly and not many listen to properly driven budget speakers. Buying the best speakers money can afford absolute bull. it all need to be taken into account

You already had the efficiency and some power. TBH i would have left well alone. it was a well-considered system.

We're all guilty of it and not many admit it .But we all upgrade to what they think is "better" and we wish we hadn't i know i did and so long ago.

Sorry to say but the money would have been better spent on a completely new and more powerful front end All you have done is made your front end upgrade path even more expensive as id quite happily pair the 200's with 5-8k (again not saying you have to spend that but id certainly be looking at around the 3k mark amp dac combo). I'd say those speakers are lifers for you as long as you like the MA sound that is.

I know it doesn't really help you consider your next upgrade but I think in you case unless you have money to upgrade the rest of the system i might actually try to return the silver 200 if you can and not to late

Hope that make sense, writing this on the train on the way back home.
Thanks for your comments, unfortunately as I bought them used I can't return the 300s. They're not terrible, just not the upgrade I had expected.
 
Thanks for your comments, unfortunately as I bought them used I can't return the 300s. They're not terrible, just not the upgrade I had expected.
Sometimes the case I am afraid. It is possible to get the right speakers for the listening room and then think to yourself that the next model up must surely be an improvement, only to find that isn't the case.
 
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Zeeman92

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2014
34
5
10,545
I'd like to offer a different perspective on this subject. Would you still be surprised if you put £15k worth of speakers and had the same result?

The one constant here is the room. Looking at the setup you have I'd look to treat the room however little or much you can. This will universally improve your listening experience. And most people are surprised by how much compared to money spent.

Second consideration here is your experience and taste. Reason why I bring this up is that the longer you are in this hobby the quicker you realise what you like and what you don't like. I think we all have a preference which we've always had but realise it slowly over time. Perhaps you already know what you like but aren't yet sure how to get it. I wouldn't worry though it takes time and you'll get there.

Finally, it may just be that neither the Monitor Audios nor Audiolabs are the components for you. My best guess is they're not for me but I've had enough experience with these brands, even though I've not heard these particular components.
Thanks for you comments, unfortunately, as I live in a rented property there's only so much I can do really like a bigger sofa and chuck on some cushions. Already have a heavy rug on floor. I had wondered whether maybe it was the 'labs' but as my budget didn't stretch to a trip down my local retailer, it made more sense to stay with the sound I already knew which at the time was BX6 and the 8000A and upgrade from that as I assumed my disappointment was with the speakers so it therefore made sense to get a pre/power combo then find speakers.
 

Zeeman92

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2014
34
5
10,545
Sometimes the case I am afraid. It is possible to get the right speakers for the listening room and then think to yourself that the next model up must surely be an improvement, only to find that isn't the case.
It's a shame but we'll learn one way or another.
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
213
93
370
Hello, I've posted a few things on here before, but I'm still relatively new so please be nice! I appreciate any time you've taken to read and comment on this.

So I've recently upgraded from Monitor Audio BX6 Bronze speakers to Silver 300. Whilst they're slightly faster with better imaging and soundstage, there doesn't appear to a great deal of improvment other than tighter and more accurate bass. Being three way speakers, I had expected there to be more of a jump, but it actually feels like more of a sidestep. I did an A/B test and whilst a tiny bit more detail is picked out on the silvers, it's mainly an improvment with the bottom end than anything else.

This leads to my question, could my equipment be strangling the sound a bit?

I have the following for stereo. I don't have a streamer yet, I was thinking of going down the PC USB - DAC route, here's how I currently have the kit.

Chromecast Audio into Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus

Into: Audiolab 8000Q - Pre-amp and Audiolab 8000PX - Power-amp.

I use either Amazon HD or Tidal. As I'm aware, from either of those streaming services, the Chromecast doesn't allow any more than 16bit 44100 unless the content is streamed via stored music.

For analogue music I use my Audiolab 8000A as the phonostage going into the Q and PX - source is a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon SB with the stock Ortofon Red cart.


Any help is much appreciated, thanks.
CCA supports up to 96KHz/24bit.
 
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bigfish786

Moderator
Jan 29, 2013
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it could be something as simple as speaker position that could make the difference, try out moving them in/out back/forth a little, see if you can improve the soundstage. costs nothing, and can be the cure.
 
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abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
598
302
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Well not according to Amazon….

Interesting, I had a trial of Music HD and it worked perfectly on Chromecast, (The original) also if you go on the many forums use with Chromecast is confirmed. (I suppose it’s possible that Amazon has now stopped it (There is no date on the FAQ) but it would seem strange to do so)

Bill
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
384
184
570
Interesting, I had a trial of Music HD and it worked perfectly on Chromecast, (The original) also if you go on the many forums use with Chromecast is confirmed. (I suppose it’s possible that Amazon has now stopped it (There is no date on the FAQ) but it would seem strange to do so)

Bill
Yes that’s interesting Bill. The FAQ is current. I wonder if it’s just the ‘HD‘ part that’s not supported? Perhaps you only get the normal ‘lossy’ Unlimited service..? 🤔
 

Zeeman92

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2014
34
5
10,545
it could be something as simple as speaker position that could make the difference, try out moving them in/out back/forth a little, see if you can improve the soundstage. costs nothing, and can be the cure.
This could be a daft question, but is there a particular "knack" to doing that, or pretty much what you said (in out ect)? I've tried a few times and ended up giving up. Although, that was to get the imaging more central as I have a two seater so don't have a true central listening position as such.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
384
184
570
This could be a daft question, but is there a particular "knack" to doing that, or pretty much what you said (in out ect)? I've tried a few times and ended up giving up. Although, that was to get the imaging more central as I have a two seater so don't have a true central listening position as such.
All rooms are a different size and have different furnishings and layout etc.
So trial and error I’m afraid but there are a few general rules….

 
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Zeeman92

Well-known member
Nov 9, 2014
34
5
10,545
This is a very subjective question, I know, but is there anything you'd think about upgrading/know works well in my existing setup? I'm aware that this may now go off topic from the orginal thread so I hope that's not too much of an issue.

The reason I ask this is because, although I've had equipment for around 10 years now, I would only really class myself as an Audiophile in the last two years and I tend to buy used so don't always get a chance to hear the kit. I'll try and keep it short but I started off with an all in one cinema kit before progressing into separates then about four years ago when working with my dad I discovered an Audiolab 8000A in a skip, I was very novice so I nearly chucked it back in (not having seen a classic stereo amp before) then I had second thoughts and decided to Google it.

Since this point and having upgraded my receiver to one equipped with pre-outs, I started to gain lots more knowledge as well as an obsessive interest in stereo listening when I realised I could use the pre-outs taking the L/R to my 8000A. As I was already aware of the Audiolab sound, it made sense to get the Q and PX pre/power combo. As mentioned, I've never been totally sold on the sound of my kit and you've all given various bits of great advice.

Room is about 16 wide (16' 6.5" if you include patio doors) 'x 13' 7'7" then two double doors into a kitchen. Room doesn't have a great deal of stuff in it, a few bits of furniture and a two seater sofa with laminate flooring and a heavy rug in the centre.

Audiolab 8000A (used purely for a phonostage)
Audiolab 8000Q
Audiolab 8000PX
Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus (used for streaming with my Chromecast)
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB
Ortofon Red Cart (One of you mentioned replacing this, I am thinking of Audio Technica VM750SH)

Samsung UE55JS8500
Sony BDP-S7200
Pioneer SC-LX59

Monitor Audio Silver 300
Monitor Audio BX Centre - I plan to get the C350 at some point to match the 300s.
Monitor Audio BX2

QED XT-40 Cable on fronts only.


Any thoughts would be much appreviated, thanks.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
1,156
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I envy anyone who is comfortable to listen music in multi-room arrangement when used simultaneously. It's something that I have tried and consider an utter nightmare. The latency when walking from room to room is far too great for me to enjoy it. It's an absolute antithesis of Hifi. I'm waiting in anticipation when GPS tracking and smart programming will be able to adjust timing of music played considering my distance to each speaker. Until that's done I'm not concerning myself with this subject.
 
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