Newbie (but oldie) seeks CD system enlightenment


New member
Dec 1, 2015
Hello: apologies in advance for the fact that I'm about to drone on for ages to no apparent effect; please bear with me...

I'm very much hoping that some of you knowledgeable folk out there might be willing to give me the benefit of your opinion and experience; as a live sound engineer, I know how much I enjoy blarting on about microphones and mixing desks, so I'm guessing that perhaps you may be driven by the same urge to guide the befuddled newbie onto the righteous path of hi-fi loveliness.
As a supposed audio professional, in theory I know what I'm listening for, but I've never owned any "proper" hi-fi equipment (other than my trusty Sennheiser HD650 headphones) - my idea of a stereo system delivers 80,000 watts and stands in a field - and, to complicate matters, decades of mixing rock bands have left my hearing somewhat less than pristine (hampered further by screaming tinnitus at 9kHz and 11kHz) and I'm aware that, above a certain level of audio reproduction, I'm no longer physically able to hear the difference between good gear and great gear.
My mission is to make my TV room, which currently contains a fairly basic surround system and a TV, a great place in which to enjoy my CD collection. It's a fairly eclectic array: lots of classical (orchestral and minimalist), contemporary jazz (ECM-label high-production-values stuff), progressive rock, blues. (No pop or rap - life's too short...) It doesn't need to be particularly loud - it's quite a small room (4m deep, 6m wide, wooden floor), and I only have two ears - I'm after clarity, depth, detail, expressiveness and, of course, high fidelity to the original recording. I want to hear Tord Gustavson's foot on the soft pedal, and be able to detect Robert Fripp's muffled snort of derision when Adrian Belew plays the same note twice...
Here's the stuff currently in the house:
TV room:Yamaha DSP-A5 surround amplifierTannoy Mercury MX2 standmount speakersPanasonic BluRay player DMP-BD65 (which doubles as my CD player)(Rest of surround system: Tannoy Mercury MX1 rears, matching centre, no sub)
Studio (casual listening / domestic reference monitoring - could be moved to TV room if necessary):philips CD721 CD playerNAD turtntableNAD 3020i amplifierTannoy Eclipse speakers
Studio (main monitoring - not going anywhere, only mentioned because I like Dynaudio):Quad 520f power amplifierDynaudio BM5 near-field monitors
For the TV room, given that "add a sub-woofer to the surround system, you idiot" is a given, I appear to be faced with the following options:
TV room option 1:Do nothing: it's fine, just put the Mercury MX2s on proper stands, shut up and get on with it. Cost: £200-ish.
TV room option 2:Move some or all of the Philips/NAD stuff to the TV room, and/or perhaps get budget/mid-price floorstanders for stereo use on the Yamaha amp's B outputs (leaving the MX2s to handle surround only). Cost: maybe £500. TV room option 3:Invest in a "proper" stereo system for music listening (if possible, using the same speakers both for stereo and for surround: straightforward if the Yamaha amp is good enough to handle higher-end CD and speaker combinations, but problematic if not?...) Cost: £700 - £2,500
If option 3 is clearly going to offer huge advantages (as my research so far, and my intrinsic new-toy acquisitiveness, suggest is the case) then I want to spend just enough to make listening to my CDs a joyful voyage of discovery, without going beyond my ability to discern a benefit (given the sorry state of my ears.) The "top-of-my-budget, don't-tell-the-wife" upper limit is about £2,500, at which level this is what has been suggested:
Arcam CDS27 CD player / media streamerArcam A19 amplifierTannoy Revolution XT6F speakers
The CDS27 offers the advantage of being able to stream .wav files directly from my networked studio hard drive, which would be very handy for mix referencing, but it's not essential; and reviews suggest that the remote is poor and operation slow, although I'd appreciate hearing what owners think as I've heard one and (to me) it sounds like the real deal.
Reviews and friends' suggestions provide alternative options, including some which do appear to save a lot of money, but would they then constitute a sufficient upgrade from where I am already? Would I be stumbling into compatibility issues? I want to find a balanced solution, with compatible components all pulling in the same direction; I've no intention of becoming a hi-hi hobbyist on the upgrade trail, I just want to get this right first time so that I can enjoy my CD collection now and in perpetuity to a high percentage of its potential (within realistic budget-driven expectations, and given my rock-ravaged status as a cloth-eared buffoon.) Here are the alternatives suggested so far:
Alternative speakers;Q Acoustics 3050 speakers
Alternative components:Marantz CD6005 CD playerMarantz PM6005 ampAudiolab 8200 CD playerOnkyo A-9010 amplifierCambridge CXC CD transportCambridge CXA60 amplifier / DACRega Brio-R amplifierRega Elex-R amplifier
I've heard the Arcam and Marantz players, but am due to demo them again (along with the Audiolab) through the A19 amp and the Tannoy and Q Acoustic speakers.
So, I'd be very grateful for any comments, suggestions, mild-mannered abuse (if absolutely necessary) or anything that would help to light my path through what is to me a wonderful but mysterious World of Stuff. Many thanks in advance, and apologies again for my long-winded display of intrinsic bafflement!


New member
Dec 1, 2015
...and I've no idea why all the line and paragraph breaks have disappeared from my original post, making it look like I'm even more of a disorganised idiot than I actually am... Sorry - it looked quite straightforward before HTML (or whatever) ate it...


Well-known member
Apr 6, 2014
My advice is don't start because your be forever upgrading. But if you do join the hi-fi world then buy the Rega Brio-R as your first stero amp as it is the best budget stero amp in my view. Good luck on your new hi-fi journey. I'll be upgrading to the Rega Elex-R Stero amp sometime after Christmas.


New member
Feb 19, 2012
Struggled to pick out the kit in your novel....what I did pick up is the Yamaha A5 - now in the day that was considered a classic, a very musical receiver. If it's in good working order..... Work with it.

So I'll give the same advice I gave to another - look at improving your speaker package.

Improve the rest in time.......

Depending on space MA BX5 would be my start point - stereo pair - floorstanders have the same foot print as standmounts on stands....

Focus on speakers for now - maximise that budget.


New member
Dec 26, 2013
Collin aka Boggit on our forum. The hi-fi he has on offer here: Clicky.

IPL Acoustics M1TLm Floorstanding Speakers (UK made) + Abrahamsen Integrated Amplifier and matching Abrahamsen CDP (Norway/Sweden) fit in your budget. You can pick a speaker cabinet finish and demo before buying etc. etc.



New member
Dec 26, 2014
to boggit will show his IPL speakers of which I have a pair, not connected to Colin in any way, I've been using IPL speakers for quite a while now. These will give you your 'base level' sound which will be wonderful, after that it's down to the amp. I was very happy with mine up until a year or two ago, details being lost and 'hardness' when things got a bit loud. I've also been to more than a few concerts and in my younger days preferred headphones; payback time for the reaper, maybe. After much advice and pointers from this forum, I bought a Vincent hybrid amp and it's a dream. Everything has so much detail, layers are revealed easily but not totally seperated, and will go scarily loud if need be but retains its control and smoothness. This is a pure amp/speaker observation from different sources - internet radio, WAV, FLAC and even mp3 files from hard drive and networked, and CD of course. I demoed Naim, Arcam, Cambridge, but none of them floated my boat. The Vincent gear is sold on a sale or return basis, so you can use it with all your kit at home. The Abrahamsen or something other than that may be all you need, I haven't heard it so can't say but I wanted what the Vincent offered, and it looks gorgeous too. Whichever way you go, once you get that amp/speaker relationship right, it'll be all you need. Good luck!


New member
Jun 18, 2014
Vladimir said:
Collin aka Boggit on our forum. The hi-fi he has on offer here: Clicky.?

IPL Acoustics M1TLm Floorstanding Speakers (UK made) + Abrahamsen Integrated Amplifier and matching Abrahamsen CDP (Norway/Sweden) fit in your budget. You can pick a speaker cabinet finish and demo before buying etc. etc.?



I will add that if you want an all in one solution and ditch the cd player you could also look at a hegelh80 with a built in dac. Both amps will offer (in my opinion and ears) a higher level of sounds clarity compared to the normal amps of similar budget.

You mentioned in your post about what you want to hear in the recording and instruments. Well look no further. Not just the main parts of the songs but all the micro dynamics and transient sounds normally 'missing' from amps within same price range. This all creates an atmosphere behind the main beat or chords that sounds so musical.


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