Reduce box count

matengawhat

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2007
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Trying to decided whether to drop to an all in one system but scared of limitations or buy new amp.

Currently have way too many boxes, audiolab cd player, mf A5 pre amp, 2 p35 arcam power amps, mf DAC and 2 headphone amps, Denon 4700 hc amp which will keep for now. Ma pl100s again keep for now.

Can I get an all in one system for max £3k that will out perform the above or just buy a £3k amp to replace the mf and arcam kit.

Listen mainly to CDs and a little vinyl, would be nice if had phono input, DAC, Bluetooth for lazy Alexa listening sometimes.

Really like the retro vu meters, was looking at some of the Yamaha stuff but seems to lack Bluetooth.

Bit out of touch with things having paused hobby for kids so looking for a few recommendations to start.

Thanks
 

record_spot

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May 30, 2015
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Made a rule a few years ago that I'd never own more than my 4-shelf hifi rack would accommodate. I opted to go down the active speakers route, which means the rack is three sources (one being a turntable) and a Linn preamp. I still enjoy box swapping, within reason (usually older CD players for less than £200 - usually way less) and it's meant I can keep the stereo manageable, but still tinker and have fun at the same time.

Totally recommend actives though. Wouldn't go back to the olde worlde now.
 
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matengawhat

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2007
694
13
18,895
Made a rule a few years ago that I'd never own more than my 4-shelf hifi rack would accommodate. I opted to go down the active speakers route, which means the rack is three sources (one being a turntable) and a Linn preamp. I still enjoy box swapping, within reason (usually older CD players for less than £200 - usually way less) and it's meant I can keep the stereo manageable, but still tinker and have fun at the same time.

Totally recommend actives though. Wouldn't go back to the olde worlde now.
had 2 racks in old house one for stereo one for home cinema with about 8 shelves in each so plenty of space, current room is smaller hence need to reduce. Home cinema stuff includes ps5, psvr, series X, switch, Apple TV, Roku so again a load of boxes.

Ideally want to keep my speakers for now as part of my 5.1 setup
 
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plastic penguin

Well-known member
Trying to decided whether to drop to an all in one system but scared of limitations or buy new amp.

Currently have way too many boxes, audiolab cd player, mf A5 pre amp, 2 p35 arcam power amps, mf DAC and 2 headphone amps, Denon 4700 hc amp which will keep for now. Ma pl100s again keep for now.

Can I get an all in one system for max £3k that will out perform the above or just buy a £3k amp to replace the mf and arcam kit.

Listen mainly to CDs and a little vinyl, would be nice if had phono input, DAC, Bluetooth for lazy Alexa listening sometimes.

Really like the retro vu meters, was looking at some of the Yamaha stuff but seems to lack Bluetooth.

Bit out of touch with things having paused hobby for kids so looking for a few recommendations to start.

Thanks
Hint: Leema Quasar.
 
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record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
102
46
18,620
had 2 racks in old house one for stereo one for home cinema with about 8 shelves in each so plenty of space, current room is smaller hence need to reduce. Home cinema stuff includes ps5, psvr, series X, switch, Apple TV, Roku so again a load of boxes.

Ideally want to keep my speakers for now as part of my 5.1 setup
So, smart TV or PS5 will give you the apps your Apple TV, or Roku would give you - my Samsung TV has Prime, Spotify, Apple TV, and god knows what else all on there. You can get that down to two boxes - TV and PS5. Keep one of the racks and Vinted / Gumtree / FB Marketplace for quick sales to get rid of the other, or get rid of both and buy a smaller rack.

I got rid of all my vinyl about ten years ago, had to be done, but you need to be ruthless if you really want to get rid and gain space. Or perspective!
 

matengawhat

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2007
694
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So, smart TV or PS5 will give you the apps your Apple TV, or Roku would give you - my Samsung TV has Prime, Spotify, Apple TV, and god knows what else all on there. You can get that down to two boxes - TV and PS5. Keep one of the racks and Vinted / Gumtree / FB Marketplace for quick sales to get rid of the other, or get rid of both and buy a smaller rack.

I got rid of all my vinyl about ten years ago, had to be done, but you need to be ruthless if you really want to get rid and gain space. Or perspective!
Don't think could live with using a games console for apps, just a but clunky, love my apple tv.

Just in process of converting 3/4 of my double garage to create a man cave/music/cinema room. Created a cupboard/crawl space thats about 3.5mx1.2mx1m going into garage void for all my cds/Lps to be hidden away, hopefully big enough for storage once racked out
 

RoA

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Feb 11, 2021
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I have long given up on physical media. Haven't used a CD or Record for years.

I generally now use integrated amplifiers with built-in DAC and an external streamer (CCA) ... that is it. One visible box (and that's tucked away).

My nightmare is a rack full of dust collecting boxes.

I did play with actives for a while but gave up on that.

Simples.
 
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podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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I have an Audiolab Omnia and love it, now it's set up OK. If I was starting from scratch, I would buy the Evo 150 and the Evo CD transport, with KEF LS50 meta, on matching stands. All this comes to £4600 so it's a substantial amount to pay, to play tunes. Dream system, but I can't upgrade for a while. I was looking at the Naim Uniti Atom, a few years ago, when it was 2 grand and now it's £2700 for some reason. Good reviews, but I don't think I would buy one. Several people suffering screen issues, on Naim kit recently, but not sure about the reliability of the Cambridge displays. I wouldn't go back to separates and cabling everywhere, gathering dust. I'm probably going to rip all my CDs to FLAC, during the winter and put them on my laptop and/or USB drive. I love the sound of CDs, but realise that physical media is old hat now and you can get the same quality, via streaming.
 
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Tinman1952

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May 19, 2021
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Agree it's nice to see so many amps with DACs included these days, the mf DAC was from a time before it became fashionable
Exactly. It is now fashionable but not necessarily the best for sound quality....
Many 'purists' would argue that it can compromise sound quality putting all those delicate electronics and power supplies on one big aluminium box.
 

matengawhat

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2007
694
13
18,895
I have an Audiolab Omnia and love it, now it's set up OK. If I was starting from scratch, I would buy the Evo 150 and the Evo CD transport, with KEF LS50 meta, on matching stands. All this comes to £4600 so it's a substantial amount to pay, to play tunes. Dream system, but I can't upgrade for a while. I was looking at the Naim Uniti Atom, a few years ago, when it was 2 grand and now it's £2700 for some reason. Good reviews, but I don't think I would buy one. Several people suffering screen issues, on Naim kit recently, but not sure about the reliability of the Cambridge displays. I wouldn't go back to separates and cabling everywhere, gathering dust. I'm probably going to rip all my CDs to FLAC, during the winter and put them on my laptop and/or USB drive. I love the sound of CDs, but realise that physical media is old hat now and you can get the same quality, via streaming.
Can I ask why you would swap the Omnia for evo150? Not one of considered.

I have a cxc transport that could use short-term, is the Evo going to be around for a while
 
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podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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I'm unsure how long this item will be on the shelves, but I'm hoping they always make this range, as the size and feature set, are excellent. If you have a good quality transport, like the CXC, you could use this with a matching streamer. I wouldn't swap the Omnia, now I own one, but if I had zero kit, I would buy Cambridge Audio Evo devices. If I'm looking to upgrade in 2 years, it would have to be the same model range. I don't like mixing aesthetics and different sized boxes, from more than one product range. I've always been a minimalist. I think the Evo CD transport, with the Evo 150 would be a stunning combo and they match visually. If an Evo 200 appeared and they managed to squeeze in a CD drive, it would be a dream come true for me. I'm sticking to as few boxes as I can now. Cyrus had just the 1 model range a few years ago and now they have 3 price points. I don't like anything in the cheaper 'One' range and there are several very similar models. It's so confusing. They still have the 'Classic' range, which comes in 2 finishes. They also have the top end range, called the 'XR' which is a different colour to the range below and I feel the 3 model ranges are unnecessary. I'm sure the R&D and tooling costs are higher, to make so many boxes. Also, if I bought a 'Classic' model, I would always be thinking that I'm missing out on something. If Cyrus, Cambridge Audio and other companies just gave us aspirational, 'state of the art' products, I'm sure they would sell enough to make a profit and not leave people wondering if they had made the right choice. Having cheaper production costs, would allow them to lower the price of the only, high end range, surely? I do like the neat and tidy approach and at some point I'm going to ditch CDs and go streaming only. If you can stretch your budget, you could consider the NAD M33 at £3999 but this has no CD drive. Again, not an issue, if you intend to leave CDs, as I do and just have the single box and speakers. The cheaper NAD M10v2 is also a good choice and if you don't need a touch screen, or Dirac correction, then the NAD C700 is a solid choice. The NADs have eARC HDMI ports also, something the Omnia is lacking. I might need the HDMI port, if I change my mind and buy a TV, something I don't currently own! I considered the NAD C700 model, over a BlueSound Powernode and then realised I still loved my CDs, so bought the Omnia, partly because I got a massive part exchange, on brand new, unopened Arcam CDS27 SACD player and Arcam A39 amp, I bought years ago, so I couldn't resist. I've never used the BluOS, or StreamMagic apps, but they both sound intuitive and solid, from all the reviews. You might hear a lot of negative views about DTS PlayFi, which the Omnia uses. I had a few issues, at first, but when I obtained a full licence key and connected it to my 5G router, it worked perfectly. I don't even use the LAN cable I used earlier. It sounds INCREDIBLE, but just be aware of a 5 second gap, between tracks, if you jump between playlists etc. I play albums on Spotify and Tidal and I'm sometimes mesmerised by the sound quality, through fairly average QA speakers. Also, you mentioned VU meters. The Omnia has analog and digital VU meters, but I find them purely cosmetic and a bit gimmicky, to be honest. They only move, when the output is fairly high and I don't have my system very loud at all. I have the display off (very dim) and leave it connected to my network all the time. Another option, is the Roksan Attessa CD transport and streaming amp, at £2000 combined. Again, if I was dipping my toes into this sector, for the first time, there are worse things to spend the money on. I quite like these 2 boxes together, in black and the fit and finish are really high. I'm sure buying components in the same model range, not only works together visually, but there may be a better synergy, electrically and acoustically. I just like things to match, to be honest.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
....I don't like mixing aesthetics and different sized boxes, from more than one product range.
Boy would you hate the look of mine?
Black, silver, gold, all different makes and sizes 🤪
Not the way I planned it, just how it happened.
I can see the obvious appeal of the all-in-ones, especially to women.
It's just the having all the eggs in one basket that I wouldn't like when it came to upgrading (or failure) of specific sections - undoubtedly great for those that are able to / don't mind spending money on another 2-5 grand product though 👍
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
98
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570
There is an 'all your eggs in 1 basket' situation, but hopefully, the experience and build quality will prevail. I know the Omnia has a lot inside and it's class A/B, but I think they managed to get a good balance. With the class D designs, having all this stuff squeezed into 1 box, is even less of an issue. With class D topology, there's less interference, from massive PSUs, heatsinks and 'beer can' caps, all jostling for space and generating heat. Some class D amps are 95% efficient and that's great, if you have your kit on most of the time. I'm amazed sometimes how technology has improved, from the days of midi systems, with nearly skyscrapers of components, stacked on top of each other. I posted a pic of my first system, on this site and it was jammed with buttons and nonsense. I'm sure cassette will never return, but I am puzzled why vinyl is still around. It sounds OK, if you spend enough, but it's large and inpractical and suffers from surface noise etc. I have access to 60 million tunes online and that could never be possible, being nostalgic and buying lots of cumbersome records. I know there's an established vinyl community, but it seems very odd, that you can buy a cutting edge streaming amp (like mine) and it comes with a phono stage. Strange. As Alan Partridge once said about his purchase of tungsten tipped screws, 'never gonna use 'em, never gonna use 'em'.
 
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