Roksan Caspian M1 amplifier with Marantz CD63 SE and B&W DM601 speakers

Bloviator

New member
Feb 4, 2011
2
0
0
I previously sought help in another thread and received some extremely helpful advice, for which I was most grateful. See
http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/which-component-is-the-weakest-link-in-my-system#576719

The posters who suggested I would get better value by buying used equipment changed my thinking a bit and I started looking at amplifiers and speakers on Ebay. I soon found myself bidding on a used Roksan Caspian M-Series 1 amplifier and unexpectedly won it.

My first impression on hearing the new amp in my system was that it made an improvement that was clearly audible, but not amazing. The bass was definitely more powerful and perhaps more tuneful. I also noticed greater mid-band clarity and more precise stereo imaging. However, I did find the sound somewhat lacking in sparkle at the top end, as if the increased bass was not matched by greater clarity or liveliness in the treble, leaving the balance a little warm overall. I have had the Roksan it in my system for a month now, but my opinion of the sound produced remains the same - it is too restrained at the top end - and I am wondering why that is and what to do about it.

These are the possibilities that have occurred to me so far:

1 The particular unit that I purchased (a 2004 model) has a fault or is somehow showing its age. (Unlikely, I think, as it sounded fine in the seller's high-end system.)

2 The sound I am getting is typical of the Roksan Caspian and if it's not to my taste, it simply means that it's the wrong amplifier for me. The original What HiFi review of the M-Series 1 did indeed mention that it could sound dull at lower volumes. (I usually have the dial at the 9 o'clock position.)

3 The Roksan is being held back by my 15-year old B&W DM601 speakers or is a poor match for them. A speaker upgrade would bring the treble to life and increase overall clarity.

4 There is nothing wrong that some minor tweaks to my system couldn't fix. (I am using Cable Talk Monitor 2 interconnects and Cable Talk 3 bi-wire speaker cable, both 15 years old. The speakers are positioned 47cm from the rear wall on Atacama SE24 speaker stands. The other components are on a solid Partington hifi rack. The room is 4.55m x 3.65m and carpeted.)

I should add that my expectations of the kind of sound I should be hearing from my speakers may have been influenced by another hifi purchase that I made a few weeks before getting the amplifier: a pair of Grado SR325is headphones. I use them plugged directly into the headphone output socket of my Marantz CD63 CD player and they produce an extremely clear and lively sound, so much so that I sometimes think that vocals lack a little warmth and the treble detail is too prominent. The contrast in presentation when compared to the sound from my speakers is remarkable. No doubt, I should not be expecting my speakers to match that level of clarity and detail, but I do find myself wishing i could hear more of the treble detail that I now know is there in the recordings and the CD player is capable of reproducing.

Have I got the wrong amplifier or the wrong headphones? I wonder.

Advice and opinions welcome, particularly from anyone who knows the Roksan Caspian amplifier well. My intention when I bought the Caspian was to keep an eye on Ebay for suitable speakers to partner it.
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
1
18,890
I'm no expert here, but from similar responses regarding my system, I would say that the speakers are the weak link and your ears may have been spoilt with the Grados. You'll need to shell out a fair bit of cash to match them.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I agree with the person who said your loudspeakers are weak. The problem is not their age but the model itself. DM601-S1 is an entry level model with lots of shortcomings. Replace your current B&W by higher standard loudspeakers and you will get a consistent overall improvement.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Bloviator said:
I previously sought help in another thread and received some extremely helpful advice, for which I was most grateful. See
http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/which-component-is-the-weakest-link-in-my-system#576719

The posters who suggested I would get better value by buying used equipment changed my thinking a bit and I started looking at amplifiers and speakers on Ebay. I soon found myself bidding on a used Roksan Caspian M-Series 1 amplifier and unexpectedly won it.

My first impression on hearing the new amp in my system was that it made an improvement that was clearly audible, but not amazing. The bass was definitely more powerful and perhaps more tuneful. I also noticed greater mid-band clarity and more precise stereo imaging. However, I did find the sound somewhat lacking in sparkle at the top end, as if the increased bass was not matched by greater clarity or liveliness in the treble, leaving the balance a little warm overall. I have had the Roksan it in my system for a month now, but my opinion of the sound produced remains the same - it is too restrained at the top end - and I am wondering why that is and what to do about it.

These are the possibilities that have occurred to me so far:

1 The particular unit that I purchased (a 2004 model) has a fault or is somehow showing its age. (Unlikely, I think, as it sounded fine in the seller's high-end system.)

2 The sound I am getting is typical of the Roksan Caspian and if it's not to my taste, it simply means that it's the wrong amplifier for me. The original What HiFi review of the M-Series 1 did indeed mention that it could sound dull at lower volumes. (I usually have the dial at the 9 o'clock position.)

3 The Roksan is being held back by my 15-year old B&W DM601 speakers or is a poor match for them. A speaker upgrade would bring the treble to life and increase overall clarity.

4 There is nothing wrong that some minor tweaks to my system couldn't fix. (I am using Cable Talk Monitor 2 interconnects and Cable Talk 3 bi-wire speaker cable, both 15 years old. The speakers are positioned 47cm from the rear wall on Atacama SE24 speaker stands. The other components are on a solid Partington hifi rack. The room is 4.55m x 3.65m and carpeted.)

I should add that my expectations of the kind of sound I should be hearing from my speakers may have been influenced by another hifi purchase that I made a few weeks before getting the amplifier: a pair of Grado SR325is headphones. I use them plugged directly into the headphone output socket of my Marantz CD63 CD player and they produce an extremely clear and lively sound, so much so that I sometimes think that vocals lack a little warmth and the treble detail is too prominent. The contrast in presentation when compared to the sound from my speakers is remarkable. No doubt, I should not be expecting my speakers to match that level of clarity and detail, but I do find myself wishing i could hear more of the treble detail that I now know is there in the recordings and the CD player is capable of reproducing.

Have I got the wrong amplifier or the wrong headphones? I wonder.

Advice and opinions welcome, particularly from anyone who knows the Roksan Caspian amplifier well. My intention when I bought the Caspian was to keep an eye on Ebay for suitable speakers to partner it.
Roksan produce some wonderfuls amps. Nevertheless, it does require a really good source and speakers. Can't comment on your CDP but your speakers were enty-level that won't get the best from the Roksan. This in mind, I would seriously suggest you invest in much better speakers: Monitor Audio GS10s, PMC DB1is, Spendor... listen to these and your amp should be a revelation.
 

Shanka

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2011
123
0
18,590
hi,

Have been looking for speakers with my caspian and can recommend looking at Proac's (listening too)have listened to many and found these will get a lot from your amp, don't know your budget but they do come up on ebay,

Good luck
 

Bloviator

New member
Feb 4, 2011
2
0
0
Hi Shanka,

Did you listen to the M-Series 1 when you were buying your M2 amp? I'd be very interested in your comments if you were able to compare the new version of the Caspian with the older one. What alternatives did you consider before deciding on the M2?

According to the What Hifi review, the M2 sounds bigger and more powerful, but this is "coupled to significantly higher levels of transparency and detail resolution. It's tonally rich without sacrificing agility." I think I could do with some of that transparency and detail in my system now. I can't afford to upgrade to an M2, but I'm interested in what those who know both amps have to say about their characteristics.

The consensus here seems to be that I should be looking at a speaker upgrade to get the best out of the amplifier I have, before I consider anything else, which is pretty much the conclusion I had reached myself.
 

Shanka

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2011
123
0
18,590
Hi Blo,

I have not heard the previous Caspians but you have read the WHF review which may give you some ideas, was highly rated then, maybe take it to 11 and see what happens (11 o'clock not Spinal Tap 11).

I listened to many amps Naim, Cyrus, Leema,Audiolab,Exposure, Kandy, Rotel and nearly went with Naim or Leema but after hearing the Caspian knew it was the one for me and how I like my music to sound.

Since I bought the Caspians they have highlighted some shortcomings with my speakers which is why I am looking to acquire some new ones and hence suggested the proac's as I feel my floorstanding B&W's aren't doing justice to the rest of the equipment and I have a small bout of upgraditis.

In your situation I think it will be your speakers that are holding your amp back, mine sounds great with my current speakers but I know there is more to come, I also generaly listen at about 9 and have no issues.

Good luck
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS