My first audition

Nas88

Well-known member
Nov 24, 2010
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18,520
Hi all,

First time poster here! I would like to ask your expert advice/opinion on the following.

My father explained to me that there is no sound like hi-fi sound. I knew I became an audiophile when I heard my first hifi system in Dubai, it was the JBL ES80 series powered by Harman Kardon amp/cd player. I fell in love with the quality and depth of sound instantly!

Now my question is, what should I get as my first hi-fi system? I have done a lot of research and came to the conclusion of the following -

- JBL ES80

- KEF IQ50

- Mordaunt Short Aviano 6

- B&W 684

I haven't really got a budget but don't want to go over the top on expenditure. I chose these according to recommendations/reviews and I want to just start with Floorstanders. And can someone explain to me about bi-wiring amp and what I would need to power these? If you feel you have to, please give me the Obi Wan talk of what I should know when purchasing my first HiFi.

Thanks,

Nisar
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
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Nas88:

... please give me the Obi Wan talk of what I should know when purchasing my first HiFi.

Thanks,

Nisar

Be nice to the dealer and haggle within reason.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,175
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Find a friendly dealer, tell him your budget and audition, audition, audition...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
i quite like the b&w's . and ye find a dealer, but id be aware that (in my oppinion) they can push the lines that they make the most mark up on , or richersounds can have a habit of pushing there own brands , ie , cambridge.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Listen to everything in your price range! No such thing as a bad speaker only different sounds. There are of course desirable traits but only you can decide which one will bring your music to life!
 

Nas88

Well-known member
Nov 24, 2010
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18,520
Ah...well the nearest dealer I have is canterbury hifi..but I think the nearest demo room is in Maidstone Richersounds. See I was told by my dad that let me ears do the reviewing and then go from there.

Has anyone been to Richersounds in Maidstone recently? They wouldn't mind if I asked them to setup a couple of speakers to listen to and then say 'Yes, I like those' and go off to save up? I know its a bit cheeky, but I don't want to set a budget for something expensive when I can get something for less with the same quality.
 

DavidNorway

New member
Aug 26, 2010
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Nas88

The Richersounds has just moved 20 meters up from where they where in earl street,larger shop than before,also noticed they had some sort of demo room,not sure what was inside as it was dark with curtain etc.Maidstone also has a Sevenoaks hifi which has been there years,its close to Mcdonalds.There is also Home Media which is on Union street,this shop has been there many years.So plenty of choice in Maidstone,from my little experience i try to visit these shops during the weekdays as they tend to be quieter and you will get better service.
 

Nas88

Well-known member
Nov 24, 2010
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18,520
Thanks for all the info guys. Went to test me first speakers at Canterbury HiFi and the bloke suggested some new Q500s to start off with. Played with PM6003 combo and the sound I must say in regards to vocals/strings/symbols were outstanding! I had read up on ABRs and was a little apprehensive on the idea of this. So, when the bass kicked in I could tell they weren't really showing depth or clarity in the low range. It sounded more like someone tapping the cones rather than a good kick. I will admit if I were to setup a 5.1, these would be my perfect 2 frontages.

I did tell him I was a bit flexable in regards to my budget which was around the £1000mark. So he brought in a Rotel RA05se, plugged them in and liked the sound. It gave a nice edge to the high tones, a bit warmer but tight sounding. I found the Marantz a bit clinical, clarity but not my cupatea.

He did have a A-S500 brand new un-open, as he wasn't sure if they were getting more shipped in. While I was testing the RA05, he rushed in to say they were getting more yamahas in and plugged it up. First thing I noticed was the reach in these speakers, hearing notes I didn't before but to me it was very soul-less. Stuck with the RA05 and told him that I was also looking into 684s, brought them in, plugged into the RA05 with 6003 cd player. BLOODY HELL!!

Now thats more like it, great tones, silky smooth, and punch! Could really feel it on my chest. Loved the sound! He did suggest that if I were going for Rotels, to go for the cheaper RA04se as the only difference is a remote control and LED lights.

Going tomorrow morning to Richersounds to test out Aviano 6s and anything else they got in-store but to be honest, they got a hard battle to beat that combo.

I do have 1 question though regarding CD-player. Initially I was just searching for an Amp+floorstanders and planned on just running them through my CA DVD player that I bought 8 years ago? This one http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/summary.php?PID=20

Now, as I am still a hifi noobie....I didn't think that a CD player wouldn't make much of a difference. That you could just use any DVD/CD/Blu-ray player to use as the digital part of the system? If so, would you suggest that I sacrifice my system to just a package where I'm getting a dedicated CD-player/Stereo Amp/Speakers?

Sorry I dragged this on a bit, but I really want to get into hifi after hearing those 684s!!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Nas88:

He did have a A-S500 brand new un-open, as he wasn't sure if they were getting more shipped in. While I was testing the RA05, he rushed in to say they were getting more yamahas in and plugged it up. First thing I noticed was the reach in these speakers, hearing notes I didn't before but to me it was very soul-less. Stuck with the RA05 and told him that I was also looking into 684s, brought them in, plugged into the RA05 with 6003 cd player. BLOODY HELL!!

Now thats more like it, great tones, silky smooth, and punch! Could really feel it on my chest. Loved the sound! He did suggest that if I were going for Rotels, to go for the cheaper RA04se as the only difference is a remote control and LED lights.

I had an RA04 for while and it is a good amp for sure, the SE is apparently better - I only upgraded to RA1520 to be sure I could drive the new speakers.

A remote control and LED lights are not a big benefit - and with the RA05 v. RA04 the RA04 was tested as sounding better by our forum hosts. The 1520 has a remote and LED lights. The remote is in its little bag in a cupboard and has never been used, the amp's lights are invisible as it is in the same cupboard (yes, that's some big holes cut in the back where the cables and cooling go...).

Nas88:

I do have 1 question though regarding CD-player. Initially I was just searching for an Amp+floorstanders and planned on just running them through my CA DVD player that I bought 8 years ago? This one http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/summary.php?PID=20

Now, as I am still a hifi noobie....I didn't think that a CD player wouldn't make much of a difference. That you could just use any DVD/CD/Blu-ray player to use as the digital part of the system? If so, would you suggest that I sacrifice my system to just a package where I'm getting a dedicated CD-player/Stereo Amp/Speakers?

Sorry I dragged this on a bit, but I really want to get into hifi after hearing those 684s!!


CD players: yes they can make a difference. As big a difference as you can imagine... The main components having an impact are the quality of the transport (the bit that goes spins the CD and makes the laser track across the disc) and the DAC, the bit that converts digital audio to analogue. The transport in the DVD player should be half decent as the tracks on DVD are narrower than a CD and thus require a higher minimum level of accuracy. The DAC on the other hand is likely to be "limited". At best.

So... Get a separate DAC if the budget will stand it, and ideally one that can handle 24bit input on the USB port. Don't get a CD player as there would be no benefit over the DVD/DAC and, more importantly, you are likely to get into high definition audio pretty quickly - shortly after that you will have ripped all your CDs to FLAC on a hard drive and be playing music via a computer connected to the DAC with USB. And downloading HD music from Linn, Society of Sound and HD Tracks. And then you can move towards..., etc., etc., etc...

Hifi-itis, a terrible affliction. There should be treatment available on the NHS - like vouchers for new DACs, that sort of thing :)

Having said all that, the DAC can wait, you'll get plenty to enjoy just bringing in the amp and speakers, then add the DAC once you want to try HD music. Oh, and did anyone mention cables...
 

Helmut80

New member
Jan 8, 2011
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Hi,

I am really interested to hear how you get on at the various places, as I am in a very similar situation. Live near canterbury and have a budget around £1k for a pair of floorstanders + amp (and possibly DAC). The canterbury hifi didn't look all that great so I haven't been in yet, but want to check out Seven Oaks in Maidstone. Didn't even know they had a Richer Sounds there.

Speakers on my list are:

Dali Concept 6/8

MA BX6/RX6

B&W 684/3

Acoustic Energy Aelite 3

Wharfedale 10.7

Quad 22L2

ranging from £500- £750, with the 683s being just out of reach, unless I love them.

Ams in the running at the moment are the Yamaha for As500 £299, Harman Kardon HK3490 (with built-in DAC), or second hand NAD (new one if I go for speakers at the lower end of the price range).
 

Nas88

Well-known member
Nov 24, 2010
23
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18,520
To putt1ck-

Thanks for all the info, which is exactly what I wanted to hear. I like the idea that I could keep my CD/DVD player for now and at a later stage get a DAC which I can use with my Laptop/TV via hdmi? "Hifi-itis, a terrible affliction. There should be treatment available on the NHS - like vouchers for new DACs, that sort of thing :)" lol nice one, I think I'll wait on the DAC idea as it sounds really good to me.

Well, this morning went to Richersounds in Maidstone to audition Aviano 6s, wasn't really sure about what amp to power them with so told them to choose whatever. Got there, and they had it hooked up to a Pioneer A6 MK2. I have to admit, this was a damn good combo! Tried every genre under the sun and couldn't fault it. Great bass response, filled the whole room, nice treble and not too warm. Even when pushed they weren't struggling to fill the room or give great detail.

But leaving the store, I had second thoughts about it. The MS Aviano 6 + Pioneer was an excellent combo for just over £1K but it would be hard to upgrade this at a later stage. With the B&W 684 + Rotel RA04se, the speakers weren't being pushed to there full potential but this was under my £1k budget, granted not by much but they did have a deal on for an ex-demo Rotel RB1562 which would give a total output of 140w. Now, am I being silly or would this actually be a better idea? Someone help me!!

To Helmut80-

I will say this, I thought the same as you about the look of Canterbury hifi when walking past it. But customer service has a new benchmark set at this store! I went in for a demo thursday after work at 4.20, he had arranged the new Kef Q500s with a Marantz 6003 combo for me. By the time I had gone through at least an hours worth of music, he had changed 3 amps and 2 sets of speakers for me. They do usually close for 5.15, but I was in there till 5.30 talking through good combos. I will be going there again I guess to test out the Rotel Amp + power Amp + 684 to see what thats like.

Richersounds at Maidstone are also pretty good but you got to phone in beforehand and arrange a demo. Not too sure about SevenOaks sound&vision, but doesn't hurt to have a look. As people have told me, I will have to tell you....demo, demo, demo! Its really what sounds good to 'you' really.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
DACs generally have three input options for music - USB, S/PDIF optical and S/PDIF coaxial. The DVD would probably have the latter two to connect to the DAC with. The computer which you'll end up using to stream your music to your hifi would connect with USB, and for best results would probably not be a laptop (ideally you want something fanless, having gone to the trouble of producing top quality sound, the whirring of a laptop is an unpleasant intrusion) and would be controlled by your mobile phone/tablet (or laptop if you're working at the same time). Not sure why an HDMI link would be used.

And I'm not sure the power amp is a useful starting point. 40W of Rotel power is near enough (unless the speakers are hard to drive) to make one's ears bleed and is more than enough for a noise abatement notice. Unless you are installing the system in a room larger than 50m^2? A power amp can add something to a system, but is a more of an upgrade than a starting point. If you liked how the B&W 684 + Rotel RA04SE sounded, then buy it, live with it a while and then decide what you would get most benefit from upgrading or adding. Which for my money will be a DAC.
 

Cypher

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Jun 8, 2007
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Nas88 ; When hearing the Yamaha A-S500 I thought the same thing as you ; soul-less. It has a powerful sound with lots of detail but it left me cold. A very clinical sounding amp, not my cup of tea at all.
 

fayeanddavid

New member
May 27, 2009
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You'll find all three shops in Maidstone very good for each of their market place niche.

Home Media is excellent for solid excellent advice, couple of dem rooms (one for A/V one for hi fi), some esoteric kit as well as normal aspirations. Simon, Ben and Martin are all fonts of knowledge

RS, very good for their market place, bright shiny new store (as mentioned), with a new dem room, always had good service there also, even down to doing some bluray comparisons in store ahead of purchasing, they can also do you a sensible deal once you've made your mind up

As for Sevenoaks, just been in a couple of times, got the Optima A/V stand from them, some how Sevenoaks have never quite "ticked the boxes" for me, used to go to the Kingston and Weybridge branches but felt much the same................good outfit though with good deals also

Good luck, and auditon, audition, audition
 

Nas88

Well-known member
Nov 24, 2010
23
0
18,520
putt1ck:

DACs generally have three input options for music - USB, S/PDIF optical and S/PDIF coaxial. The DVD would probably have the latter two to connect to the DAC with. The computer which you'll end up using to stream your music to your hifi would connect with USB, and for best results would probably not be a laptop (ideally you want something fanless, having gone to the trouble of producing top quality sound, the whirring of a laptop is an unpleasant intrusion) and would be controlled by your mobile phone/tablet (or laptop if you're working at the same time). Not sure why an HDMI link would be used.

And I'm not sure the power amp is a useful starting point. 40W of Rotel power is near enough (unless the speakers are hard to drive) to make one's ears bleed and is more than enough for a noise abatement notice. Unless you are installing the system in a room larger than 50m^2? A power amp can add something to a system, but is a more of an upgrade than a starting point. If you liked how the B&W 684 + Rotel RA04SE sounded, then buy it, live with it a while and then decide what you would get most benefit from upgrading or adding. Which for my money will be a DAC.

Thanks putt1ck, I'll probably test out the RA06se for a fairer test as the pioneers were giving out 60wpc. Then I will decide whether to go with the Rotel + B&W 684 package or Pioneer + MS Aviano 6 package. My rooms 16" x 11.5", maybe too much with a power amp?

Cypher:Nas88 ; When hearing the Yamaha A-S500 I thought the same thing as you ; soul-less. It has a powerful sound with lots of detail but it left me cold. A very clinical sounding amp, not my cup of tea at all.

Yes I thought the same, if I hadn't heard anything else i.e Rotel or Pioneer, I maybe would of gone for that.
 

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