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ProAc D18 and which amp.

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SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
24
18,895
6th.replicant said:
SteveR750 said:
Well impatience got the better of me ... so jumped at an ex display A38 for £849 ...
When's the A38 due to be delivered?
Later this week, but won't get to use it till next week.

No, I did not consider the new Caspian p/amp - I don't believe in bi amping, and since the M2 is not bridgeable and Roksan are not making mono bloc then it's probably not where I want to spend that extra money.
 

Shanka

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2011
123
0
18,590
I heard the Caspian m2 power bi amp set up and could not justify such a small increase in performance for over £1000, I'm with you and couldn't justify it myself, looking forward to see how u get on.

Have fun
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
24
18,895
Well it's been a hectic few days, busy at work, and having moved home this weekend with all the hassle that goes with it. Sun is out shining and I should be out on a nice 3 hour ride building up my tan lines, haven't turned a pedal in over a week, but hey ho c'est la vie

I spent most opf yesterday evening trying to configure my lounge which has a fierplace dead centre of the opposite wall, so no chance to place the TV between the speakers as previously. Eventually girlfriend comes up the with idea to use the coffee table as stand, and the glass affair is relegated to other domestic duties. To slightly offset the cycling disappointment, I doiscovered my broadband is up and running, and not only that according the broadbandspeedchecker I'm getting around 7.5 - 7.8 Mb d/load speeds, seems fast as anything else I've tried so even if the absolute number is pants, then at least it's working well.

Back to the system, have had about half an hour listening semi critically this morning and my initial feelings are confirmed. This is not a truly scientific experiment, as the M2 never came out of its box after the move, the A38 slotted straight into its new home from the go. The new lounge is bigger, and is fully carpeted, but is still devoid of curtains so is still somewhat "ringy" so perhaps anechoically not soo different...

The first thing I noticed is the midband is maybe ever so slightly more recessed, a bit like scooping the mids out on a guitar amp, the treble is clearer, warmer and less "glassy"; no shoutiness here. The bass is nice and controlled and meaty, but I think this is where the M2 excels. There A38 has slightly less clout, the notes and the tunes of a bass guitar are more difficult to make out, and it doesnt stop and start quite so quickly; but in every other respect I find it warmer, lusher and a more organic sound. More critical listening, and I am sure the microdynamics are much better defined, especially in the treble region; listening to Billy Burnette's My Love Won't Change you get a real sense of how hard the crash cymbals are being hit which adds a great sense of rhythm. This is one deceptive amp, a bit like Spendor speakers, it doesn't grab you by the ears and shake you, it just slips quietly and confidently into your psyche and lets the music do the talking.

So the million dollar or rather £1000 question which do I prefer? I reckon the A38 is a keeper, it works well within my system balancing the brightness of the CA DAC and revealing the dynamics and level of detail that keeps you engrossed in the music. Thanks 6th Rep and others who suggested it, hopefully I'll manage now until a feel the "need" to get a DS (sneaky or similar) and a better DAC!

Right, gotta go and unpack some more of them damn boxes!

Here's now it looks now: (if I could get the pic to show that is.....)



http://www.flickr.com/photos/45601861@N02/6931163285/
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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Hi Steve, I'm glad things are sounding promising.

As usual, I am going to put my neck on the line and make a few predictions....

Much as I really like Arcam, I think (just like the Spendors), you will miss some of the excitement in certain types of music. I think the Arcam is offsetting the edginess that the Dacmagic brings to the equation (in the same way that the Spendors did).

Once you have a good source (eg. Sneaky), you will be able to make a proper assessment of the all round capability of the system, and I think you should then look at the possibility of bi-amping (ie with P38 or better still P777), to really get the most out of the system....sorry for being so eager to spend your money. >)

I look forward to your assessment when everything has settled down.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,879
229
20,070
SteveR750 said:
Well it's been a hectic few days, busy at work, and having moved home this weekend with all the hassle that goes with it. Sun is out shining and I should be out on a nice 3 hour ride building up my tan lines, haven't turned a pedal in over a week, but hey ho c'est la vie

I spent most opf yesterday evening trying to configure my lounge which has a fierplace dead centre of the opposite wall, so no chance to place the TV between the speakers as previously. Eventually girlfriend comes up the with idea to use the coffee table as stand, and the glass affair is relegated to other domestic duties. To slightly offset the cycling disappointment, I doiscovered my broadband is up and running, and not only that according the broadbandspeedchecker I'm getting around 7.5 - 7.8 Mb d/load speeds, seems fast as anything else I've tried so even if the absolute number is pants, then at least it's working well.

Back to the system, have had about half an hour listening semi critically this morning and my initial feelings are confirmed. This is not a truly scientific experiment, as the M2 never came out of its box after the move, the A38 slotted straight into its new home from the go. The new lounge is bigger, and is fully carpeted, but is still devoid of curtains so is still somewhat "ringy" so perhaps anechoically not soo different...

The first thing I noticed is the midband is maybe ever so slightly more recessed, a bit like scooping the mids out on a guitar amp, the treble is clearer, warmer and less "glassy"; no shoutiness here. The bass is nice and controlled and meaty, but I think this is where the M2 excels. There A38 has slightly less clout, the notes and the tunes of a bass guitar are more difficult to make out, and it doesnt stop and start quite so quickly; but in every other respect I find it warmer, lusher and a more organic sound. More critical listening, and I am sure the microdynamics are much better defined, especially in the treble region; listening to Billy Burnette's My Love Won't Change you get a real sense of how hard the crash cymbals are being hit which adds a great sense of rhythm. This is one deceptive amp, a bit like Spendor speakers, it doesn't grab you by the ears and shake you, it just slips quietly and confidently into your psyche and lets the music do the talking.

So the million dollar or rather £1000 question which do I prefer? I reckon the A38 is a keeper, it works well within my system balancing the brightness of the CA DAC and revealing the dynamics and level of detail that keeps you engrossed in the music. Thanks 6th Rep and others who suggested it, hopefully I'll manage now until a feel the "need" to get a DS (sneaky or similar) and a better DAC!

Right, gotta go and unpack some more of them damn boxes!

Here's now it looks now: (if I could get the pic to show that is.....)



http://www.flickr.com/photos/45601861@N02/6931163285/
Like I've always said on here that Arcam is brilliant for long listening sessions. True they don't have the unshakeable gusto of other brands, nor, by the same token, are they fatiguing.

The more I read about new Arcams and other brands like Caspian M2, the more convinced I am that the Leema sits happily between the two: Has the attack and dynamics of the Caspian and the soothing subtlety of Arcam.
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
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18,895
I actually think the Arcam is more dynamic, which is not the same as muscular. The Arcam seems to convery the shades better, in that a softly struck drum sounds that way, so when it is given a belting, you know it is. The M2 on the other hand seems a little more one dimensional in that respect, even if the ultimate thwack is greater.

Cno, thanks again for stirring up the hornets nest, I'm going to have to block your posts from now on :shhh: I'm sure that a chnage in source (DAC in my case) will change the whole system again, but I would add that in my limited experience that the DAC £ for £ doesn't have quite such a big effect as the amp, though I recognise that the QBD76 that I heard was for the money mindblowingly good. Having said that the Peach wasn't that much better than the DACmagic.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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0
SteveR750 said:
I actually think the Arcam is more dynamic, which is not the same as muscular. The Arcam seems to convery the shades better, in that a softly struck drum sounds that way, so when it is given a belting, you know it is. The M2 on the other hand seems a little more one dimensional in that respect, even if the ultimate thwack is greater.

Cno, thanks again for stirring up the hornets nest, I'm going to have to block your posts from now on :shhh: I'm sure that a chnage in source (DAC in my case) will change the whole system again, but I would add that in my limited experience that the DAC £ for £ doesn't have quite such a big effect as the amp, though I recognise that the QBD76 that I heard was for the money mindblowingly good. Having said that the Peach wasn't that much better than the DACmagic.
You should request the forum has a "Junk Box" installed, and dump me directly in there! :O

.....won't stop me being right though. :shifty:
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
24
18,895
OK, so how does the CD6SE -> laptop compare to Laptop -> Sneaky? OR is it dacmagic+ -> summat else?

As a benchmark, the CDP -> PC was bigger than K2 -> M2 (by some margin)
 

6th.replicant

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2007
292
0
18,890
Glad A38 + D18 is hitting the spot :)

Your A38 is ex-display, right? If so, the A38 will respond to running-in - IME it delivered more texture, imaging and bass after approx 100 hours. It also likes 100% copper cable, nothing fancy, the stuff I use cost c.£4/m. (Rick @ Musicraft sorted it for me. Cheers Rick.)

Also worth taking a punt with bi-wiring: use all eight of the A38's speaker socket thingys and select 'SP1' and 'SP2'.

IME, A38's good for revealing low-end bass. For example, do you have Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy? When I first played it via my A38, there was some deeeep low-end 'thunder' during the intro that I'd never heard before :grin:

A38's also good at what I think is termed 'organisation'. For example, Cee Lo Green's Bright Lights, Bright City can sound like a 'flubbery mess' via other setups, not so with A38/D18. (FWIW, Bright Lights... was/is one of my demo tracks.)

And don't forget, don't give the D18s too much welly 'til you've given 'em 200 hours run-in.

:cheers:
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
24
18,895
6th.replicant said:
Glad A38 + D18 is hitting the spot :)

Your A38 is ex-display, right? If so, the A38 will respond to running-in - IME it delivered more texture, imaging and bass after approx 100 hours. It also likes 100% copper cable, nothing fancy, the stuff I use cost c.£4/m. (Rick @ Musicraft sorted it for me. Cheers Rick.)

Also worth taking a punt with bi-wiring: use all eight of the A38's speaker socket thingys and select 'SP1' and 'SP2'.

IME, A38's good for revealing low-end bass. For example, do you have Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy? When I first played it via my A38, there was some deeeep low-end 'thunder' during the intro that I'd never heard before :grin:

A38's also good at what I think is termed 'organisation'. For example, Cee Lo Green's Bright Lights, Bright City can sound like a 'flubbery mess' via other setups, not so with A38/D18. (FWIW, Bright Lights... was/is one of my demo tracks.)

And don't forget, don't give the D18s too much welly 'til you've given 'em 200 hours run-in.

:cheers:
Yes

Hmm, I'm using chord carnival silver screen, which I bought to spcice the spendors up. It didn't much.

Maybe if the £/improvement is worth the silly cable price update (and yes silly, Hi Fi cable R&D yeah right).

Can see that, though the M2 is hardly flaccid.

Oh cr*p. Too late, though as ever how much is too much?

It's the top end dynamics that get me, smooth and silky yet a smash is a smash.
 

6th.replicant

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2007
292
0
18,890
SteveR750 said:
6th.replicant said:
Glad A38 + D18 is hitting the spot :)

Your A38 is ex-display, right? If so, the A38 will respond to running-in - IME it delivered more texture, imaging and bass after approx 100 hours. It also likes 100% copper cable, nothing fancy, the stuff I use cost c.£4/m. (Rick @ Musicraft sorted it for me. Cheers Rick.)

Also worth taking a punt with bi-wiring: use all eight of the A38's speaker socket thingys and select 'SP1' and 'SP2'.

IME, A38's good for revealing low-end bass. For example, do you have Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy? When I first played it via my A38, there was some deeeep low-end 'thunder' during the intro that I'd never heard before :grin:

A38's also good at what I think is termed 'organisation'. For example, Cee Lo Green's Bright Lights, Bright City can sound like a 'flubbery mess' via other setups, not so with A38/D18. (FWIW, Bright Lights... was/is one of my demo tracks.)

And don't forget, don't give the D18s too much welly 'til you've given 'em 200 hours run-in.

:cheers:
Yes

Hmm, I'm using chord carnival silver screen, which I bought to spcice the spendors up. It didn't much.

Maybe if the £/improvement is worth the silly cable price update (and yes silly, Hi Fi cable R&D yeah right).

Can see that, though the M2 is hardly flaccid.

Oh cr*p. Too late, though as ever how much is too much?

It's the top end dynamics that get me, smooth and silky yet a smash is a smash.
I was also a Silverscreen user. In comparison, Musicraft's 'generic' 100% copper sounds better balanced, IMHO. YMMV.

How loud is too loud? I'd say no more than 38 clicks on your A38. (At the Bristol show, Arcam's demo had an A38 at 60 clicks! RCAs might've been attenuated, mind?)

Yep, agree, lots of top-end attack and detail but no brightness - that's the A38 and D18s working well together. When I demo'd, A38 + Spendor A6 didn't have brightness, but in hindsight sounded very dry; A38 + ATC SCM40 top-end was nasty, nasty bright and very metallic.
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
24
18,895
This morning I re-installed the M2 again just to recalibrate my ears in the new house, and also recognising the D18s are that much more run in. Well, something of a revelation, I have been playing various spotify and hi res tracks this morning, and almost every song I am left imprssed with the level of subtle detail and impact. Yes the A38 is smoother perhaps, but it's not as exciting or as puncy. It's the bottom end where the M2 trounces it, much more tuneful. The A38 can be a tad ponderous in this respect, so it loses a bit of rhythmic intensity.

The top end isn't as shouty as it was a couple of weeks ago, that could be down to more hours run in plus my floors are now fully carpeted and the room is bigger which is going to help tame the top end a bit. I suspect that a change in source / DAC would the subtle change that I'm looking for to just smooth out the top end icing, but I do prefer the fundamentals that the Caspian offers.

I will try a used Sugden perhaps at some point in time, and the A21 can be found at sensible money used, but 33w just doesnt sound enough (though I am only too well aware of how loud Marshall watts are).
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I currently own the following setup:

Jadis Orchestra Reference with kt-90 tubes

Proac D18 ebony

Naim CD5XS

Transparent audio ultra rca

proac signature black speaker cable (bi-wired with QED airlock plugs)

Shunyata hydra 2

Shunyata diamondback and copperhead power cords

I am simply blown away by the sheer force of this setup. The imaging, soundstaging, drive, vocals and overall balance are absolutely brilliant. I did a side to side comparison of the D18s against DynAudio Countour 1.1, Celestian SL6, Proac Studio 140, KEF XQ10 (current version) and varied Focal designs.

None, even remotely, came close to the completeness of this speaker. It is the last word in books. Simple, straight forward, good old 2-way design.

The 40 watts of the tubes are doing great justice but I beleive a quality 150 watt+amp should be able to jump start the aminal lurking in the speaker.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
xcess said:
I currently own the following setup:

Jadis Orchestra Reference with kt-90 tubes

Proac D18 ebony

Naim CD5XS

Transparent audio ultra rca

proac signature black speaker cable (bi-wired with QED airlock plugs)

Shunyata hydra 2

Shunyata diamondback and copperhead power cords

I am simply blown away by the sheer force of this setup. The imaging, soundstaging, drive, vocals and overall balance are absolutely brilliant. I did a side to side comparison of the D18s against DynAudio Countour 1.1, Celestian SL6, Proac Studio 140, KEF XQ10 (current version) and varied Focal designs.

None, even remotely, came close to the completeness of this speaker. It is the last word in books. Simple, straight forward, good old 2-way design.

The 40 watts of the tubes are doing great justice but I beleive a quality 150 watt+amp should be able to jump start the aminal lurking in the speaker.
Very nice system.

I wouldn't be in too big a hurry to get rid of the Jadis.
 

Macspur

Well-known member
May 3, 2010
77
0
18,540
CnoEvil said:
xcess said:
I currently own the following setup:

Jadis Orchestra Reference with kt-90 tubes

Proac D18 ebony

Naim CD5XS

Transparent audio ultra rca

proac signature black speaker cable (bi-wired with QED airlock plugs)

Shunyata hydra 2

Shunyata diamondback and copperhead power cords

I am simply blown away by the sheer force of this setup. The imaging, soundstaging, drive, vocals and overall balance are absolutely brilliant. I did a side to side comparison of the D18s against DynAudio Countour 1.1, Celestian SL6, Proac Studio 140, KEF XQ10 (current version) and varied Focal designs.

None, even remotely, came close to the completeness of this speaker. It is the last word in books. Simple, straight forward, good old 2-way design.

The 40 watts of the tubes are doing great justice but I beleive a quality 150 watt+amp should be able to jump start the aminal lurking in the speaker.
Very nice system.

I wouldn't be in too big a hurry to get rid of the Jadis.
Agreed... the Naim is possibly the week link.

Cheers

Mac
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,879
229
20,070
SteveR750 said:
This morning I re-installed the M2 again just to recalibrate my ears in the new house, and also recognising the D18s are that much more run in. Well, something of a revelation, I have been playing various spotify and hi res tracks this morning, and almost every song I am left imprssed with the level of subtle detail and impact. Yes the A38 is smoother perhaps, but it's not as exciting or as puncy. It's the bottom end where the M2 trounces it, much more tuneful. The A38 can be a tad ponderous in this respect, so it loses a bit of rhythmic intensity.

The top end isn't as shouty as it was a couple of weeks ago, that could be down to more hours run in plus my floors are now fully carpeted and the room is bigger which is going to help tame the top end a bit. I suspect that a change in source / DAC would the subtle change that I'm looking for to just smooth out the top end icing, but I do prefer the fundamentals that the Caspian offers.

I will try a used Sugden perhaps at some point in time, and the A21 can be found at sensible money used, but 33w just doesnt sound enough (though I am only too well aware of how loud Marshall watts are).
This is my conclusion with Arcam. In general they produce a wonderfully detailed sound but the bottom end can lack punch and definition. It's a pity because they could be show-stoppers if they could equalise the lower frequencies.
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
My top two recommendations, if not considered already (I have not read through the entire thread, I must admit)

1. Get rid of the DacMagic Plus - I believe it is the culprit. Rega DAC or Audiolab M-DAC at minimum. I would not recommend the MF DAC. Yes, I have heard all these DACs

2. Granite Plinths under the speakers - Almost all the shoutiness of my speakers was gone like magic. I bought 3cm thick from 'Bauhaus' which costs like 4 pounds for two pieces. It depends on your current flooring (In our house the flooring is wooden)

Your Speakers are great as you know and the amp is definetly very good as well.
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
24
18,895
Thought I'd post an update, as the system is well and truly run in, the bass in particular has come alive with D18s, they are massively better than the Spendors in this respect, and easily have the most slam of any speakers I have owned, but not at the expense of speed and agility.

I'm sure the DACmagic is the weak link, but despite that it sounds stunning. I'm convinced with moist things that if they seem better than the last time you used them, then they are working well for you, if you constantly feel it's not as satisfying then it's not right. It sonds superb at all listening levels too, I was listening to ACDC Live in Paris last night before going out, and stopped what I was doing just to listen to the atmosphere of the crowd. Each time I use the system, there are several jaw dropping moments.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
SteveR750 said:
I'm sure the DACmagic is the weak link, but despite that it sounds stunning. I'm convinced with moist things that if they seem better than the last time you used them, then they are working well for you, if you constantly feel it's not as satisfying then it's not right. It sonds superb at all listening levels too, I was listening to ACDC Live in Paris last night before going out, and stopped what I was doing just to listen to the atmosphere of the crowd. Each time I use the system, there are several jaw dropping moments.
Steve, I'm delighted that you are getting so much pleasure from your system....which is the whole point after all. There is plenty of time for future upgrades, so enjoy it while the upgrade bug is being held at bay...cause sure as apples is apples, it will strike at some point.

Cno
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
537
24
18,895
CnoEvil said:
SteveR750 said:
I'm sure the DACmagic is the weak link, but despite that it sounds stunning. I'm convinced with moist things that if they seem better than the last time you used them, then they are working well for you, if you constantly feel it's not as satisfying then it's not right. It sonds superb at all listening levels too, I was listening to ACDC Live in Paris last night before going out, and stopped what I was doing just to listen to the atmosphere of the crowd. Each time I use the system, there are several jaw dropping moments.
Steve, I'm delighted that you are getting so much pleasure from your system....which is the whole point after all. There is plenty of time for future upgrades, so enjoy it while the upgrade bug is being held at bay...cause sure as apples is apples, it will strike at some point.

Cno
And I'm sure that you will discouraging such irresponsible behaviour! ;)
 

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