Question System upgrade greatest impact first. £600 may stretch to £800 max.

coffeecup

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Feb 1, 2013
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I'll try and keep this short as I can, I have a bit to say and a few questions that keep going round and round and I don't know the way forward.

With HiFi shop's becoming rarer than rocking horse poo these days and ones that I can get to have a limited selection of components to demo and I don't want to invest in a component only to find out I should have gone for the other component (they didn't stock) instead.

My current system consists of ..
Marantz cd6005 cd player (on Atacama speaker stands filled with sand), both with their backs in the corners of a room as I have no where alse to put them.
Rotel RA-05 Integrated amp.
B&W 601 S2 speakers.
The CD player and amp sits on an award winning (at the time) metal HiFi stand with glass isolated shelves (can't remember name). Speakers are connected with a Qed (20 year old) cable and the interconnects are insert audio 100 mk1 (maybe?)
My last 2 buy's were bought blind as the previous components gave up and I wanted something quick and reasonably cheap to replace them with.

The first blind buy was the Rotel amp which replaced a Nad c370 (famous red power light of death issue). I was immediately deflated with it, to me it didn't have the grunt or the timing of the Nad. The Nad also played cleaner at lower volumes, so to me the Rotel sounds wooly/muffled and/or flat with a good chunk of the music I listen to.
9 months later the marantz replaced an aging Yamaha cdx-396, which appeared to sharpen things up but the difference was slight. But I still feel I'm missing grunt when I need it and poise/sharpness. I don't play with the balance/treble/bass knobs on the amp as I don't want to always end up tweaking them.

I love my CDs I spent the best part of 30 years collecting some 3000+ and I'm not willing to give them up and move to another platform like vinyl or a subscription based app platform. I do use the marantz to play some YouTube songs (ones I don't have) through an iPad occasionally.
As for my music taste it's varied hip hop, rock, Elton John, the dead south, 80's, 90's, Macy Gray the list goes on... What does get played a lot tho is Bruce Springsteen the devils and dust album, magic album and greatest hits.

So ..... What would give me the best bang for my buck to upgrade this system.?
I've read over the years always start with the source which in my case would be the CD player, but I noticed little difference when I got the marantz over the Yamaha it leaves me thinking it's gotta be the amp that needs the upgrade....
I'm sure new speakers would make a difference as the ones I have are 20+ years old but is there any point if the amp is not capable of making them work like I want/desire?

I don't have money to keep upgrading components every year or two. So do I spend £600-800 on new component released in the last 6 months or so, or do I go for something on ebay like rega brio, cyrus or something from the arcam fmj line which was more expensive when they were released a few years ago and now go for around my budget?

A few years after this I'll upgrade the next weakest link for around the same kind of money so what would be the next upgrade?

I realize this is a long post but ideally I need to get this right as I possibly can.
 
To my mind the source first philosophy lies in the analogue field. When it comes to.digital, as you have noticed with CD, the main upgrade path seems to lie with the other end of the system, namely the speakers.
My money would go here,on the speakers, but these you simply have to audition in your own home.
Find a dealer that allows a good returns policy.
You might also look at the amp itself and going for something higher up the Rotel chain especially second-hand.
 
I'll try and keep this short as I can, I have a bit to say and a few questions that keep going round and round and I don't know the way forward.

With HiFi shop's becoming rarer than rocking horse poo these days and ones that I can get to have a limited selection of components to demo and I don't want to invest in a component only to find out I should have gone for the other component (they didn't stock) instead.

My current system consists of ..
Marantz cd6005 cd player (on Atacama speaker stands filled with sand), both with their backs in the corners of a room as I have no where alse to put them.
Rotel RA-05 Integrated amp.
B&W 601 S2 speakers.
The CD player and amp sits on an award winning (at the time) metal HiFi stand with glass isolated shelves (can't remember name). Speakers are connected with a Qed (20 year old) cable and the interconnects are insert audio 100 mk1 (maybe?)
My last 2 buy's were bought blind as the previous components gave up and I wanted something quick and reasonably cheap to replace them with.

The first blind buy was the Rotel amp which replaced a Nad c370 (famous red power light of death issue). I was immediately deflated with it, to me it didn't have the grunt or the timing of the Nad. The Nad also played cleaner at lower volumes, so to me the Rotel sounds wooly/muffled and/or flat with a good chunk of the music I listen to.
9 months later the marantz replaced an aging Yamaha cdx-396, which appeared to sharpen things up but the difference was slight. But I still feel I'm missing grunt when I need it and poise/sharpness. I don't play with the balance/treble/bass knobs on the amp as I don't want to always end up tweaking them.

I love my CDs I spent the best part of 30 years collecting some 3000+ and I'm not willing to give them up and move to another platform like vinyl or a subscription based app platform. I do use the marantz to play some YouTube songs (ones I don't have) through an iPad occasionally.
As for my music taste it's varied hip hop, rock, Elton John, the dead south, 80's, 90's, Macy Gray the list goes on... What does get played a lot tho is Bruce Springsteen the devils and dust album, magic album and greatest hits.

So ..... What would give me the best bang for my buck to upgrade this system.?
I've read over the years always start with the source which in my case would be the CD player, but I noticed little difference when I got the marantz over the Yamaha it leaves me thinking it's gotta be the amp that needs the upgrade....
I'm sure new speakers would make a difference as the ones I have are 20+ years old but is there any point if the amp is not capable of making them work like I want/desire?

I don't have money to keep upgrading components every year or two. So do I spend £600-800 on new component released in the last 6 months or so, or do I go for something on ebay like rega brio, cyrus or something from the arcam fmj line which was more expensive when they were released a few years ago and now go for around my budget?

A few years after this I'll upgrade the next weakest link for around the same kind of money so what would be the next upgrade?

I realize this is a long post but ideally I need to get this right as I possibly can.
Having heard B&W 602 many moons ago, it was powered by Arcam A80 (I think), the older B&Ws seem to match well with the DIVA range. However, as they are quite old now it's unlikely to have a returns.

I would also suggest Leema Pulse, a bigger bang for your pound. No idea, though, how they sound with Bowers speakers.
 
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James105

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Oct 30, 2019
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I'll try and keep this short as I can, I have a bit to say and a few questions that keep going round and round and I don't know the way forward.

With HiFi shop's becoming rarer than rocking horse poo these days and ones that I can get to have a limited selection of components to demo and I don't want to invest in a component only to find out I should have gone for the other component (they didn't stock) instead.

My current system consists of ..
Marantz cd6005 cd player (on Atacama speaker stands filled with sand), both with their backs in the corners of a room as I have no where alse to put them.
Rotel RA-05 Integrated amp.
B&W 601 S2 speakers.
The CD player and amp sits on an award winning (at the time) metal HiFi stand with glass isolated shelves (can't remember name). Speakers are connected with a Qed (20 year old) cable and the interconnects are insert audio 100 mk1 (maybe?)
My last 2 buy's were bought blind as the previous components gave up and I wanted something quick and reasonably cheap to replace them with.

The first blind buy was the Rotel amp which replaced a Nad c370 (famous red power light of death issue). I was immediately deflated with it, to me it didn't have the grunt or the timing of the Nad. The Nad also played cleaner at lower volumes, so to me the Rotel sounds wooly/muffled and/or flat with a good chunk of the music I listen to.
9 months later the marantz replaced an aging Yamaha cdx-396, which appeared to sharpen things up but the difference was slight. But I still feel I'm missing grunt when I need it and poise/sharpness. I don't play with the balance/treble/bass knobs on the amp as I don't want to always end up tweaking them.

I love my CDs I spent the best part of 30 years collecting some 3000+ and I'm not willing to give them up and move to another platform like vinyl or a subscription based app platform. I do use the marantz to play some YouTube songs (ones I don't have) through an iPad occasionally.
As for my music taste it's varied hip hop, rock, Elton John, the dead south, 80's, 90's, Macy Gray the list goes on... What does get played a lot tho is Bruce Springsteen the devils and dust album, magic album and greatest hits.

So ..... What would give me the best bang for my buck to upgrade this system.?
I've read over the years always start with the source which in my case would be the CD player, but I noticed little difference when I got the marantz over the Yamaha it leaves me thinking it's gotta be the amp that needs the upgrade....
I'm sure new speakers would make a difference as the ones I have are 20+ years old but is there any point if the amp is not capable of making them work like I want/desire?

I don't have money to keep upgrading components every year or two. So do I spend £600-800 on new component released in the last 6 months or so, or do I go for something on ebay like rega brio, cyrus or something from the arcam fmj line which was more expensive when they were released a few years ago and now go for around my budget?

A few years after this I'll upgrade the next weakest link for around the same kind of money so what would be the next upgrade?

I realize this is a long post but ideally I need to get this right as I possibly can.

Your old NAD died and you dont like its replacement, why not a newer one, NAD 368 its in your budget just? I'd also suggest listening to a lot more Bruce Springsteen albums ;)
 

twinkletoes

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Nov 16, 2021
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To be honest I really can’t see you actually making an upgrade here. It’s going to be more of a side step for that sort of cash I’m sorry to say. Maybe the speakers maybe.

I think you’re going to find it hard pressed to actually better what you have. Things really haven’t moved on all that far with the legacy gear.

If I could be so bold. You may better severed to save a little longer and get something that really makes a difference to your hifi life especially if you’re in no particular rush or need.

However there are some gems to be had second hand you could transform your system with the budget you have and little a patience and research.
 
To be honest I really can’t see you actually making an upgrade here. It’s going to be more of a side step for that sort of cash I’m sorry to say. Maybe the speakers maybe.

I think you’re going to find it hard pressed to actually better what you have. Things really haven’t moved on all that far with the legacy gear.

If I could be so bold. You may better severed to save a little longer and get something that really makes a difference to your hifi life especially if you’re in no particular rush or need.

However there are some gems to be had second hand you could transform your system with the budget you have and little a patience and research.
As his current amp is the entry-level Rotel it shouldn't be too difficult, especially on the used market.

Roksan Kandy
Creek Evo
Arcam DIVA range
Rotel 10 or 15 series
Midrange Marantz.
 

Shay.M

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Apr 22, 2021
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I'll try and keep this short as I can, I have a bit to say and a few questions that keep going round and round and I don't know the way forward.

With HiFi shop's becoming rarer than rocking horse poo these days and ones that I can get to have a limited selection of components to demo and I don't want to invest in a component only to find out I should have gone for the other component (they didn't stock) instead.

My current system consists of ..
Marantz cd6005 cd player (on Atacama speaker stands filled with sand), both with their backs in the corners of a room as I have no where alse to put them.
Rotel RA-05 Integrated amp.
B&W 601 S2 speakers.
The CD player and amp sits on an award winning (at the time) metal HiFi stand with glass isolated shelves (can't remember name). Speakers are connected with a Qed (20 year old) cable and the interconnects are insert audio 100 mk1 (maybe?)
My last 2 buy's were bought blind as the previous components gave up and I wanted something quick and reasonably cheap to replace them with.

The first blind buy was the Rotel amp which replaced a Nad c370 (famous red power light of death issue). I was immediately deflated with it, to me it didn't have the grunt or the timing of the Nad. The Nad also played cleaner at lower volumes, so to me the Rotel sounds wooly/muffled and/or flat with a good chunk of the music I listen to.
9 months later the marantz replaced an aging Yamaha cdx-396, which appeared to sharpen things up but the difference was slight. But I still feel I'm missing grunt when I need it and poise/sharpness. I don't play with the balance/treble/bass knobs on the amp as I don't want to always end up tweaking them.

I love my CDs I spent the best part of 30 years collecting some 3000+ and I'm not willing to give them up and move to another platform like vinyl or a subscription based app platform. I do use the marantz to play some YouTube songs (ones I don't have) through an iPad occasionally.
As for my music taste it's varied hip hop, rock, Elton John, the dead south, 80's, 90's, Macy Gray the list goes on... What does get played a lot tho is Bruce Springsteen the devils and dust album, magic album and greatest hits.

So ..... What would give me the best bang for my buck to upgrade this system.?
I've read over the years always start with the source which in my case would be the CD player, but I noticed little difference when I got the marantz over the Yamaha it leaves me thinking it's gotta be the amp that needs the upgrade....
I'm sure new speakers would make a difference as the ones I have are 20+ years old but is there any point if the amp is not capable of making them work like I want/desire?

I don't have money to keep upgrading components every year or two. So do I spend £600-800 on new component released in the last 6 months or so, or do I go for something on ebay like rega brio, cyrus or something from the arcam fmj line which was more expensive when they were released a few years ago and now go for around my budget?

A few years after this I'll upgrade the next weakest link for around the same kind of money so what would be the next upgrade?

I realize this is a long post but ideally I need to get this right as I possibly can.

I may try to combine Diamond Wharfedel 12.1 Floorstanding ?


And maybe Rotel A11 Tribute ?


I am not about the cost....

S.Muller
 
I may try to combine Diamond Wharfedel 12.1 Floorstanding ?


And maybe Rotel A11 Tribute ?


I am not about the cost....

S.Muller
The 12.1 is not a floorstander but is a good idea.
 

RoA

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Feb 11, 2021
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Personally I'd go for an Integrated amplifier with a decent DAC. That way you can keep using your CDP as transport.

Things that spring to mind are; Arcam SA20, Cyrus ONE Cast, both heavily discounted now and Audiolab's 6000A.

In the future, upgrade your speakers.
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
This isn't an easy one, but I'd say you have a strong CD/amp combination and perhaps need to look at the speakers if you are going to make a change at this point.

Your B&Ws were good speakers and still are, but one way in which speakers have improved substantially is clarity. The current B&W 607s2 are phenomenally good little speakers, and with their 2-part port bungs you would have the option to tune the bass response, very useful given the positioning of your speakers.

Also worthy of consideration if you want a really lively sound are the JBL L52 Classics. These are front ported so more flexible about positioning, and they're a fun listen. They also pair well with Rotel.

Some dealers offer a 'try at home' option, and I'd strongly advise you to use this, as you won't know how anything is going to sound without trying it in your own room.
 

coffeecup

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Feb 1, 2013
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Thx to all who posted for your thoughts.....

Last couple of weeks I was researching second hand naim nait 5si as the upgrade, thinking a 10 year old £1000 amp which seems to go for £700 these days would give me a noticable uplift in the quality of sound.

However it appears the majority of you think it's the speakers that need to be replaced. Which surprise's as when I replaced the Nad amp with the Rotel there was a noticable difference in sound there.

So should I go for some £800 new speakers? Or search for something a few years old which were more expensive when they were new?
The system is in a living room/diner room, 5m x 12m. I tend to be seated anywhere from 2-3m away from the speaker's.
I could go for some floor standing speaker's, I had a couple in my original set up tannoy mercury M3 which I sold for a set of monitor audio 3 high end (or something like that). Then I tested the B&W (which I have now) and it tightened everything up and had more taught bass than the monitor audio's, I then never looked back until the arrival of the Rotel. But there is no other space for the speakers except in the corners of one side of the room.
So I either get some bookshelf and use my current stands or I can floor standing but the need to work well close to walls in a corner.

Recommendations on what to look for please?
 

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