Rotel RA03 + rDac or Cambridge Audio 651A or.... I am stuck!

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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi, I would really appriciate some help as I am stuck right now. Currently a have a system consisting of B&W CM1 speakers and a Rotel RA03. The source is my PC (connected via line in, I know it sucks :D). What I am missing is some detail in the treble and upper midrange as well as a little more controlled bass. I am a fan of quite warm yet detailed sound. The system as it is now does sound good but not really, how to put it, "wow". So I want more detail, control and warmth. Part of it is due to the Amp, as hooking up a Rotel RA1520, which I use in an other system bettered it a lot (the RA03 sounds a little hollow in the midrange taking away detail and warmth :( ).

So which of the two options would be better for me? Unfortunately I just read the 650A sounds a little clinical and cold? Thats not really what I want. But on the other hand, would just adding a poper DAC (Arcam rDac) give me more detail and warmth?

I always wanted to experiment with a tube amp, but what amp could I use, thats around 500 to 700 Euro, is detailed, warm and has enough power to drive the CM1? (84 db sensitivity)

In order to get the bass tighter I planned to add a subwoofer (B&W ASW 610). But then again I was thinking: Will upgrading the amp, adding a DAC and subwoofer get me closer to my goal or would I have to buy new speakers? As for speakers I was considering the CM8 or Martin Logan Source (I have listened to the Source about 4 years ago and I still remember it as if it was yesterday. Those speakers left a great impression. I didnt hear the CM8 yet, just the CM7 which I didnt like). I guess both would give me more detail (especially the Source) and a tighter bass. Combining either with a tube amp would be the cherry on the ice cream :D.

So what would be your suggestion? I really dont know wether to upgrade my existing system or start over and get new speakers? Please give advice! :help:

Regards

Daniel :)
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
One of our regulars, Igglebert, used to own a Rotel RA-03.

If the you like the tonal qualities of Rotel then RA-1520 would be the obvious choice. Yes, CM1 and most B&Ws require an amp with pure current and pretty gutsy, so if B&W are a preference then stick with solid state.

Depending on budget I'd be looking, in your position, at something in the region of a Leema Pulse or Naim Nait 5i, Creek Evo, Roksan Kandy K2 or Rotel RA-1520 with something like a Rega DAC.

As regards to Cambridge Audio, I'm not a big fan.

Hope this helps.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the comment. I run the RA1520 with CM5's (plus high end CD-Player and cabling) in another system and every time I sit down I just listen to music and it sounds awesome (wow effect). With the CM1's I find myself listening to the speakers rather than music and its just so...boring??? I want to get the sound more exciting more detailed and emotional. The question is: How do I get there? Do the CM1's have it in them and just need the right electronic? Then I am in for a new amp, DAC and subwoofer (but which?). Or do I need new speaker?
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
daniel1111 said:
Thanks for the comment. I run the RA1520 with CM5's (plus high end CD-Player and cabling) in another system and every time I sit down I just listen to music and it sounds awesome (wow effect). With the CM1's I find myself listening to the speakers rather than music and its just so...boring??? I want to get the sound more exciting more detailed and emotional. The question is: How do I get there? Do the CM1's have it in them and just need the right electronic? Then I am in for a new amp, DAC and subwoofer (but which?). Or do I need new speaker?
You could add a power amp to the RA-03, this'll give you a bit more zeal. Have you tried the CM5s with the RA-03?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hi, yes I tried to do so, but the sound was not satisfying. It didnt sound good, rather hollow in the mids. I think it has enough power, but there is this hollow part in the mids that spoils it. So its the tonality (?) thats not good. If I stick with my speakers, I will definitely need a new amp. 1520 would be good, but Im thinking that I maybe need something a little more treble, as the CM1's are sounding darker than the CM5's. Again, my thought was: Tube Amp. Something smoth, yet crisp and clear in the mids and treble and much more emotional than the Rotel RA03. What would I get in the 500-800 Euro range? But the question remains: Will it be better to upgrade the amp or would new speakers be a more longterm fix? If anyone heard the CM8, how do they comapre to the CM1?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi, I got an offer for a pair of B&W N805 speakers. Accordingly my setup would look like this: N805 (+ original stands), B&W ASW 610, Rotel RA03 (might switch to a Destiny EL34 Plus), Arcam rDac. What do you thinkn about that setup? Could anyone tell me how the N805 compare to the 805S and if they are a substential upgrade from the CM1?
 

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