System advice sought please

SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

Active member
Jun 3, 2022
8
1
25
Hello all,

First and foremost thank you for having me in the forum!

Also thank you in advance for any guidance you can offer.

I’ll try not to ramble but have a lot to cover, so please humour me.

I’ll be moving house in the next couple of months and will have a little money left over, some of these funds will be available to go towards a new sound system (around £3-£4k).

I’m a diehard music fanatic and have for the last few years been using a gen 1 Naim Mu-so Qb which has been fine, but no more than that.

I tend to use Apple Music for streaming as I have built an extensive playlist and like the platform, this is my primary source of audio (I also do a lot of driving).

I’m unsure as to whether I can benefit from Apple lossless without using a wired connection and DAC, perhaps you could fill me in on this…

I’m currently giving consideration to the below options and I only wish to purchase new:

*Naim Mu-so 2 (or equivalent)
*Naim Uniti Adam & speakers (or equivalent)
*Kef LS50 Wireless ii
*Amplifier, speakers and device for streaming

I‘m leaning towards the last option for a couple of reasons, I’m not convinced that the all in one Bluetooth/AirPlay solutions won’t become obsolete in due course and should any internal component fail I‘ll in turn have an expensive paperweight.

Obviously if any part of the amplifier, speakers and Bluetooth system fail, I just replace the offending component.

I have been looking at NAD, Arcam, Musical Fidelity and Naim for the amplifier side of things (I have always coveted Arcam for some reason), but after this I’m clueless as to good speaker and Bluetooth options.

I make music myself which I’d like to audition/enjoy on this system outside of my studio, I am not looking to colour the sound in so match as hoping for a good reference point.

The system will be present in my living room and will be central on the long wall of a rectangular room which is 18’5 X 11’5.

I prefer to listen to music rather than watch TV but if I can hook up the system to the idiot box, my family would appreciate it.

Just a point of note, I mainly listen to and make electronic music but love a bit of everything from metal to classical to jazz.

There’s a link below to my Last.fm account which shows what I listen to.

If there’s any Ed Sheeran in there my Daughter is linked to my Apple Music account, honest!


Any advice and recommendations wholeheartedly appreciated, sorry if this post is long but I wanted to give as much information as possible to get the best help!
 

Dom

Well-known member
Aug 6, 2011
1,007
306
19,570
All good stuff, have you listened to the Borea speakers? That's crucial too understanding what you like.

I have been through a few speakers and they are all different interm's of sound. I like my Emit M30 speakers, there grungy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

Active member
Jun 3, 2022
8
1
25
All good stuff, have you listened to the Borea speakers? That's crucial too understanding what you like.

I have been through a few speakers and they are all different interm's of sound. I like my Emit M30 speakers, there grungy.
I will be going to audition a few bits once my funds have cleared.

Looking for recommendations so that I can narrow things down a bit when I do.

I’m not sure about ohms and speakers so have no idea what I need to consider when it comes to speakers and amplifiers.

I’d assume the speakers need to be driven enough to get them going but not so much I damage them.

When it comes to making music or active listening my inner nerd comes out, but I’m a bit out of my depth with the specs of high end consumer HiFi.

From my findings so far the Bluesound Node seems like a good bet but not sure about the rest.

Thank you for responding 👍🏻
 

nopiano

Well-known member
As usability of a streaming system is so vital, and you are familiar with Naim, I’d definitely look at the Atom with some suitable speakers of your choice.

Speaker choice should be mainly about sound quality. But in the living room they need to look nice too, and I don’t know your taste. Most of the leading brands have write up by WHF, our hosts here, or a Google away from many other journals and websites. As you may know, Focal and Naim are linked financially and may work well together these days, though I’ve not heard this combination.

A suitable modern alternative may be NAD with their Masters M10 series 2. NAD use the popular Bluesound system that’s well liked. A cheaper alternative is the NAD C700, a less flashy version of the M10
 
  • Like
Reactions: SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

Gray

Well-known member
There are obviously a lot of variables for you to consider.
As far as I'm concerned, a few things are more certain.
1) I agree with you that going for separates rather than an all-in-one is a good idea.

2) Any separate Bluetooth receiver choice is clear cut - ifi Zen Blue.

3) You must listen to any speakers (preferably with the intended amp, in your room) prior to purchase.
 

SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

Active member
Jun 3, 2022
8
1
25
There are obviously a lot of variables for you to consider.
As far as I'm concerned, a few things are more certain.
1) I agree with you that going for separates rather than an all-in-one is a good idea.

2) Any separate Bluetooth receiver choice is clear cut - ifi Zen Blue.

3) You must listen to any speakers (preferably with the intended amp, in your room) prior to purchase.
1. Separates are definitely my preference.

2. Might I ask why the ifi Zen Blue? It seems everyone suggests the Bluesound Node, I do require gapless playback as I tend to listen to complete albums if it matters.

3. Can I ask how I might go about demoing components at home? Is this a service that retailers offer?

thank you 🙏🏻
 

Gray

Well-known member
1. Separates are definitely my preference.

2. Might I ask why the ifi Zen Blue? It seems everyone suggests the Bluesound Node, I do require gapless playback as I tend to listen to complete albums if it matters.

3. Can I ask how I might go about demoing components at home? Is this a service that retailers offer?

thank you 🙏🏻
The Zen Blue was only a suggestion for an entirely separates system - because, by all accounts it's about as good as BT gets.
It wouldn't be necessary if you were to go for the Node, as that features 2-way BT (as well as being a receiver, it can also transmit to BT devices).

Home loan is a (useful) service that good dealers provide.
One dealer I used, asked me to leave cheques for the full amount before taking equipment.
Another, wanted no deposit at all.
You might well find that some dealers do not provide a loan service.
In that case, as Al said above, it's best to find one that does.
 
D

Deleted member 160668

Guest
Welcome.

My two pence as follows (ps I also have a QB):

Deffo proper separates is the way to go... The QB is great, for what it is, but it has its limitations. The Naim app is imo, utter crap. I'm actually thinking about sticking my CCA into the back of mine via optical so I can run the native tidal app and just cast. Anyway, I digress.

Personally I would avoid BT completely and opt for a proper streamer as you have suggested in the Node. These are well reviewed and actually pretty decent.

Another streaming option to consider would be a Cambridge 851N, which I have, which is a top notch streamer / DAC all in one. The DAC stage on this is excellent and within a hairs breadth of my Arcam D33. The usability of the app is rock solid. The unit is built like a tank. It is an all round excellent piece of kit. Mine is going nowhere!! There is nothing to compete with it in this price bracket. You can buy these new (advertised as manufacturer refurb - advertising gimmick) on eBay heavily discounted.

If you go the Node route, be aware the DAC is the weak area of it and you may want to output to a standalone external DAC. There are lengthy streams over on the Wam forum of how you can pimp these for added performance.

As to amps and speakers, wow there's a rabbit hole and so many options to consider.
Probably best to wrap your ears around some speakers and amps at your local dealer to see what tugs your rug.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy
Welcome.

My two pence as follows (ps I also have a QB):

Deffo proper separates is the way to go... The QB is great, for what it is, but it has its limitations. The Naim app is imo, utter crap. I'm actually thinking about sticking my CCA into the back of mine via optical so I can run the native tidal app and just cast. Anyway, I digress.

Personally I would avoid BT completely and opt for a proper streamer as you have suggested in the Node. These are well reviewed and actually pretty decent.

Another streaming option to consider would be a Cambridge 851N, which I have, which is a top notch streamer / DAC all in one. The DAC stage on this is excellent and within a hairs breadth of my Arcam D33. The usability of the app is rock solid. The unit is built like a tank. It is an all round excellent piece of kit. Mine is going nowhere!! There is nothing to compete with it in this price bracket. You can buy these new (advertised as manufacturer refurb - advertising gimmick) on eBay heavily discounted.

If you go the Node route, be aware the DAC is the weak area of it and you may want to output to a standalone external DAC. There are lengthy streams over on the Wam forum of how you can pimp these for added performance.

As to amps and speakers, wow there's a rabbit hole and so many options to consider.
Probably best to wrap your ears around some speakers and amps at your local dealer to see what tugs your rug.
if the DAC in the Node is it's weak point and you 're better off with an external DAC why but a Node?
or am I missing something here?
 
  • Like
Reactions: SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy
D

Deleted member 160668

Guest
if the DAC in the Node is it's weak point and you 're better off with an external DAC why but a Node?
or am I missing something here?
Okay a reword. To improve it you can (amongst other tweaks) add an external DAC. There are lengthy streams about this, power upgrades etc.

You can also do nothing and just play it.

EDIT: okay, I've done a brain fart. Ignore comments re the Node. That'll teach me not to do five things at once!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

Active member
Jun 3, 2022
8
1
25
Thank you for your help everyone, I’ll get some auditions done and go from there.

If I have any questions I’ll return and will share pictures of anything I purchase further to assistance received.

🙏🏻
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
849
389
19,270
+1 for the Node / CA suggestions. I also like Naim amplification very much, so defo have them on your shortlist. Maybe a Nait XS3 with a pair of Wharfedale Lintons with matching stands, or used Spendor A5R will make for a great pairing.

If you don't mind buying used and the clutter, I think you can even squeeze a Nac 202 + NAPSC + Nap 200DR pre-power combo off of the bay or a dealership that sells used stuff.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

Active member
Jun 3, 2022
8
1
25
So just a quick update, I went to a bricks and mortar shop to try some gear out.

Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 + Kef R3’s = No lows at all

Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 + Dali floors standers (I think Opticon 8) = Woolly with no definition

Rotel RA-1572 + Dali floors standers (I think Opticon 8) = Bigger sound but lacked highs

Rotel RA-1572 + B&W 702 S2 floor standers = incredible with electronic music, put some metal on and the bass player left the room

Considering I listened to a £6000 system (without streaming or cables etc.) and thought it was great until I changed genre I’m extremely disappointed.

I won’t be bothering at all, I’m not sure if it’s down to the setup of the room with the treatment or poorly set up equipment but I think I’ll buy a Naim Mu-So 2 instead, my current little Qube sounds better than anything I heard and it was £600.

At least I saved myself £6000!

Thanks to everyone that’s chimed in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 12th Monkey

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
1,460
291
19,570
So just a quick update, I went to a bricks and mortar shop to try some gear out.

Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 + Kef R3’s = No lows at all

Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 + Dali floors standers (I think Opticon 8) = Woolly with no definition

Rotel RA-1572 + Dali floors standers (I think Opticon 8) = Bigger sound but lacked highs

Rotel RA-1572 + B&W 702 S2 floor standers = incredible with electronic music, put some metal on and the bass player left the room

Considering I listened to a £6000 system (without streaming or cables etc.) and thought it was great until I changed genre I’m extremely disappointed.

I won’t be bothering at all, I’m not sure if it’s down to the setup of the room with the treatment or poorly set up equipment but I think I’ll buy a Naim Mu-So 2 instead, my current little Qube sounds better than anything I heard and it was £600.

At least I saved myself £6000!

Thanks to everyone that’s chimed in.
Considered Buchardt ?

(Active speakers)

(stands)
 

SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

Active member
Jun 3, 2022
8
1
25
Considered Buchardt ?

(Active speakers)

(stands)
I have considered Buchardt but it’s a faff to send them back if I don’t like them either.

TBH I’m thinking of a pair of Genelec nearfield monitors and a sub in my studio when built instead.

Get the benefit when producing music too then.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I won’t be bothering at all, I’m not sure if it’s down to the setup of the room with the treatment or poorly set up equipment but I think I’ll buy a Naim Mu-So 2 instead, my current little Qube sounds better than anything I heard and it was £600.
If you’re satisfied with your decision then good for you. I’d be more persistent though, and take that learning/listening with you to another shop. Just imagine how you’d feel if it all came together?

That’s what you’re after I’m sure, but it takes patience and determination. Good luck, whatever you decide.
 

SeNtIeNtMiNoRiTy

Active member
Jun 3, 2022
8
1
25
If you’re satisfied with your decision then good for you. I’d be more persistent though, and take that learning/listening with you to another shop. Just imagine how you’d feel if it all came together?

That’s what you’re after I’m sure, but it takes patience and determination. Good luck, whatever you decide.
I think in all honesty I won’t have the opportunity to listen as loud as I’d like to. In a soundproof studio I can turn it up a bit. I think my taste of music is so varied that I’m unlikely to find a fits all solution anyway. Never know, I might change my mind again.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts