The slippery slope

matthewpianist

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Feb 18, 2022
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Circumstances have led to me selling pretty much all my kit over the past 6 months, and replacing it with the system in my signature. I'm sharing this in case it helps anyone who feels like they are drowning in the hi-fi sea.

Some of you know how much hi-fi I've been through over the past 15+ years, some of it entry-level and some of it stoking aspirations to go higher and higher up the food chain, buying kit that I couldn't really afford in a quest to achieve the best possible sound. If anyone had suggested in the past that I jump off the carousel it would have been over my dead body, but I've recently come to realise how ridiculous that is. The simple fact is, I've rarely achieved any sustained satisfaction, and even when it's seemed I may have done I have not stopped pursuing better. I've had Arcam, Roksan, Michell, Thorens, Quad, Leak, Audiolab, Naim, Rega, Spendor, Mission, Focal, Wharfedale, Triangle, Marantz, Q Acoustics, Dali, Cambridge Audio, NAD, Musical Fidelity, Cyrus, Denon (the big stuff), Monitor Audio.... and nothing has fixed the bug. I've been there with cables too

Being forced (not by anyone else but by circumstances) to jump off the bandwagon and 'settle' for a carefully chosen combination of budget kit has put everything into relief. I'm rather enjoying the music across vinyl, CD and streaming, and I don't feel as though I'm missing anything except the angst of trying to justify the outlay to myself. I'm not saying it would match higher end kit in some audiophile senses, but as a way of enjoying the music and podcasts it is as good as anything I've had. The little Missions are musically engaging like Missions of old and the inverted driver geometry achieves what it is intended to. They are also incredibly undemanding with regards placement. The Denon is 'the old model' (by two generations now the CEOL N12 is out), but the differences aren't all that significant, and it cost me £299 with a 6-year warranty (RS) instead of the £650 RRP of the new version. It's every bit as good as the more lauded Marantz MCR-612 and it drives the Missions with ease. Meanwhile the 45+ year old turntable, which has been serviced, runs more steady than some of the modern turntables I've had (including Rega), and is more pleasurable to use.

The point here isn't to claim that my little set-up is objectively as good as a well-sorted mid-high end system, but to demonstrate that musical enjoyment can be had for what is relatively beer-budget money, to the point that if you're strangling yourself financially in pursuit of 'audio nirvana', it's worth taking a step back. If you're enjoying what you have, whether that's a collection of old separates, a modern compact system like mine, or a high-end set-up that finally satisfies your hunger, do you really need to be eyeing up that next upgrade?
 

landco

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Meanwhile the 45+ year old turntable, which has been serviced, runs more steady than some of the modern turntables I've had (including Rega), and is more pleasurable to use.
Modern turntables with good mechanics are very expensive, as I understand it. So it's no surprise that a vintage turntable is better.
 
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I'm spending more time listening to the music and not analysing and dissecting the sound to the nth degree.
That really is the Holy Grail - and it sounds like your answer lay within you all the time. More power to your elbow.

I don't spend anything like as much time simply listening as I would like, but I do know that the desire to upgrade is absent.
 

Florestander

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May 8, 2021
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The point here isn't to claim that my little set-up is objectively as good as a well-sorted mid-high end system, but to demonstrate that musical enjoyment can be had for what is relatively beer-budget money, to the point that if you're strangling yourself financially in pursuit of 'audio nirvana', it's worth taking a step back.
That is good advice on may levels matthewpianist. The urge to upgrade is almost like an addiction in some senses, particularly where fear of missing out on the 'next best' or a further upgrade becomes the real driver. Many people I know have spent unusually large sums in pursuit of bigger and better only to find that the cost/value equation is ultimately not as satisfying as they originally thought it might be. And if I am brutally hones, I have fallen into the same trap from time-to-time, but (as circumstances dictate) , in relation to more modest sums.
 

DCarmi

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That is a good place to be in! It is really about enjoying the media and not the hardware.

I read one classical reviewer, might have been Edward Greenfield (or not), who said that when at work he used very expensive hifi for his reviews. When he went home he used a relatively bog standard setup because he wanted to enjoy rather than critically listen to music.
 

GeoffreyW

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You're far from alone, matthewpianist, I'm currently wondering if new speakers or a new turntable would improve things, but then I just realised how much I'm enjoying some tracks, I've never had as many brands as you, and it's a difficult roundabout to get off.
But I've come to a similar conclusion, and am just enjoying what I've got.
Well, for now, anyway.
 

matthewpianist

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You're far from alone, matthewpianist, I'm currently wondering if new speakers or a new turntable would improve things, but then I just realised how much I'm enjoying some tracks, I've never had as many brands as you, and it's a difficult roundabout to get off.
But I've come to a similar conclusion, and am just enjoying what I've got.
Well, for now, anyway.

One of my Facebook memories this morning is a post where I was listening to vinyl, and the turntable pictured is a previous PL12D I had. In the 8 years since, I've had several different turntables, and now I'm back with a PL12D and happy as anything.
 
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matthewpianist

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That is good advice on may levels matthewpianist. The urge to upgrade is almost like an addiction in some senses, particularly where fear of missing out on the 'next best' or a further upgrade becomes the real driver. Many people I know have spent unusually large sums in pursuit of bigger and better only to find that the cost/value equation is ultimately not as satisfying as they originally thought it might be. And if I am brutally hones, I have fallen into the same trap from time-to-time, but (as circumstances dictate) , in relation to more modest sums.

I think there's a bit of a Gollum element to it as well - shiny, new 'precious' things.
 

manicm

Well-known member
Circumstances have led to me selling pretty much all my kit over the past 6 months, and replacing it with the system in my signature. I'm sharing this in case it helps anyone who feels like they are drowning in the hi-fi sea.

Some of you know how much hi-fi I've been through over the past 15+ years, some of it entry-level and some of it stoking aspirations to go higher and higher up the food chain, buying kit that I couldn't really afford in a quest to achieve the best possible sound. If anyone had suggested in the past that I jump off the carousel it would have been over my dead body, but I've recently come to realise how ridiculous that is. The simple fact is, I've rarely achieved any sustained satisfaction, and even when it's seemed I may have done I have not stopped pursuing better. I've had Arcam, Roksan, Michell, Thorens, Quad, Leak, Audiolab, Naim, Rega, Spendor, Mission, Focal, Wharfedale, Triangle, Marantz, Q Acoustics, Dali, Cambridge Audio, NAD, Musical Fidelity, Cyrus, Denon (the big stuff), Monitor Audio.... and nothing has fixed the bug. I've been there with cables too

Being forced (not by anyone else but by circumstances) to jump off the bandwagon and 'settle' for a carefully chosen combination of budget kit has put everything into relief. I'm rather enjoying the music across vinyl, CD and streaming, and I don't feel as though I'm missing anything except the angst of trying to justify the outlay to myself. I'm not saying it would match higher end kit in some audiophile senses, but as a way of enjoying the music and podcasts it is as good as anything I've had. The little Missions are musically engaging like Missions of old and the inverted driver geometry achieves what it is intended to. They are also incredibly undemanding with regards placement. The Denon is 'the old model' (by two generations now the CEOL N12 is out), but the differences aren't all that significant, and it cost me £299 with a 6-year warranty (RS) instead of the £650 RRP of the new version. It's every bit as good as the more lauded Marantz MCR-612 and it drives the Missions with ease. Meanwhile the 45+ year old turntable, which has been serviced, runs more steady than some of the modern turntables I've had (including Rega), and is more pleasurable to use.

The point here isn't to claim that my little set-up is objectively as good as a well-sorted mid-high end system, but to demonstrate that musical enjoyment can be had for what is relatively beer-budget money, to the point that if you're strangling yourself financially in pursuit of 'audio nirvana', it's worth taking a step back. If you're enjoying what you have, whether that's a collection of old separates, a modern compact system like mine, or a high-end set-up that finally satisfies your hunger, do you really need to be eyeing up that next upgrade?

The Ceol N10 is only one generation behind - it was sold alongside the N11 which was IDENTICAL except for its DAB inclusion - for about 50 quid more. I have the N10 too.

The Ceol N12 is actually a bit more than a mild facelift - after carefully reading the specs it has a bit more power - '65w' compared to '60w', and a higher db rating. They are charging a heck of a lot more for that HDMI and phono stage though, albeit the former incurs a fairly chunky license fee. And after squinting your eyes, it has slightly better looks.
 

podknocker

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The CEOL N12DAB looks really nice in white and if I didn't have my Audiolab Omnia, I would be having a listen to this. I'm sure it would cope with my QA3030i speakers.

The networking features and HDMIarc bring the spec right up to date and would be great with a TV, tucked away. Streaming amps are the future and they are getting smaller and more capable.

I think the 65w figure is at 4Ohms, so not a beefy amp, but enough for most living rooms/speakers.
 

matthewpianist

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The Ceol N10 is only one generation behind - it was sold alongside the N11 which was IDENTICAL except for its DAB inclusion - for about 50 quid more. I have the N10 too.

The Ceol N12 is actually a bit more than a mild facelift - after carefully reading the specs it has a bit more power - '65w' compared to '60w', and a higher db rating. They are charging a heck of a lot more for that HDMI and phono stage though, albeit the former incurs a fairly chunky license fee. And after squinting your eyes, it has slightly better looks.

Ah, I assumed there had just been overstocking of the N10, hence it hanging around at that price alongside the N11. I looked at the specs of both and there's no way I was going to pay extra for DAB.

I won't lose any sleep over the additional 5w, the iFi phono stage is at least as good as the N12's internal one will be, and I have no use for the HDMI input. The only thing I do like better about the N12 is the fact it has proper speaker connections that accept banana plugs, instead of the bare wire only ones on the N10, but it's hardly a deal breaker and definitely not worth the £350 difference over what I paid for the N10.
 
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matthewpianist

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The CEOL N12DAB looks really nice in white and if I didn't have my Audiolab Omnia, I would be having a listen to this. I'm sure it would cope with my QA3030i speakers.

The networking features and HDMIarc bring the spec right up to date and would be great with a TV, tucked away. Streaming amps are the future and they are getting smaller and more capable.

HEOS works very well.

I believe DTS PlayFi as used on the Audiolab also now works very well, having been a little behind in the past.
 

podknocker

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HEOS works very well.

I believe DTS PlayFi as used on the Audiolab also now works very well, having been a little behind in the past.
Hahaha! No.

DTS PlayFi is DREADFUL. There's a 4 second delay and the app just stops, at random, for a few seconds, every few minutes.

I went back to this app, for no real reason and guess what, it stopped and dropped the music stream, within a few minutes.

I've been using bluetooth from my laptop, sat on top of my Omnia and it NEVER drops. Never, not once, in months.

I have Spotify, or online radio in the background all day and it sounds OK, perhaps slightly soft and dull at the top.

As I mentioned in another thread, I'm making do with the system I have and I do appreciate the great sound quality.

Like you, I'm no longer chasing the best device, hoping to realise my own 'audio nirvana' as you mentioned.
 

matthewpianist

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Hahaha! No.

DTS PlayFi is DREADFUL. There's a 4 second delay and the app just stops, at random, for a few seconds, every few minutes.

I went back to this app, for no real reason and guess what, it stopped and dropped the music stream, within a few minutes.

I've been using bluetooth from my laptop, sat on top of my Omnia and it NEVER drops. Never, not once, in months.

I have Spotify, or online radio in the background all day and it sounds OK, perhaps slightly soft and dull at the top.

As I mentioned in another thread, I'm making do with the system I have and I do appreciate the great sound quality.

Like you, I'm no longer chasing the best device, hoping to realise my own 'audio nirvana' as you mentioned.

It's disappointing to hear DTS PlayFi still has issues, but great that your workaround is fulfilling your needs so well. Perhaps a future firmware update will improve things.

Spotify does sound slightly soft around the edges compared to TIDAL or Qobuz, but it's not a major issue IMO, and hopefully they will finally come up with the higher-res option before too long,

Keep enjoying the music.
 
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JDL

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Jun 13, 2023
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Circumstances have led to me selling pretty much all my kit over the past 6 months, and replacing it with the system in my signature. I'm sharing this in case it helps anyone who feels like they are drowning in the hi-fi sea.

Some of you know how much hi-fi I've been through over the past 15+ years, some of it entry-level and some of it stoking aspirations to go higher and higher up the food chain, buying kit that I couldn't really afford in a quest to achieve the best possible sound. If anyone had suggested in the past that I jump off the carousel it would have been over my dead body, but I've recently come to realise how ridiculous that is. The simple fact is, I've rarely achieved any sustained satisfaction, and even when it's seemed I may have done I have not stopped pursuing better. I've had Arcam, Roksan, Michell, Thorens, Quad, Leak, Audiolab, Naim, Rega, Spendor, Mission, Focal, Wharfedale, Triangle, Marantz, Q Acoustics, Dali, Cambridge Audio, NAD, Musical Fidelity, Cyrus, Denon (the big stuff), Monitor Audio.... and nothing has fixed the bug. I've been there with cables too

Being forced (not by anyone else but by circumstances) to jump off the bandwagon and 'settle' for a carefully chosen combination of budget kit has put everything into relief. I'm rather enjoying the music across vinyl, CD and streaming, and I don't feel as though I'm missing anything except the angst of trying to justify the outlay to myself. I'm not saying it would match higher end kit in some audiophile senses, but as a way of enjoying the music and podcasts it is as good as anything I've had. The little Missions are musically engaging like Missions of old and the inverted driver geometry achieves what it is intended to. They are also incredibly undemanding with regards placement. The Denon is 'the old model' (by two generations now the CEOL N12 is out), but the differences aren't all that significant, and it cost me £299 with a 6-year warranty (RS) instead of the £650 RRP of the new version. It's every bit as good as the more lauded Marantz MCR-612 and it drives the Missions with ease. Meanwhile the 45+ year old turntable, which has been serviced, runs more steady than some of the modern turntables I've had (including Rega), and is more pleasurable to use.

The point here isn't to claim that my little set-up is objectively as good as a well-sorted mid-high end system, but to demonstrate that musical enjoyment can be had for what is relatively beer-budget money, to the point that if you're strangling yourself financially in pursuit of 'audio nirvana', it's worth taking a step back. If you're enjoying what you have, whether that's a collection of old separates, a modern compact system like mine, or a high-end set-up that finally satisfies your hunger, do you really need to be eyeing up that next upgrade?
Mathew, you raise some good points. What system is this one? Were you using some Triangle active speakers recently. Are you still using them on a different. system?
 

matthewpianist

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Mathew, you raise some good points. What system is this one? Were you using some Triangle active speakers recently. Are you still using them on a different. system?

I did try some Triangle BR-02BT powered speakers recently (they're not active), but although they had some nice qualities they just weren't right for my room. For such a small speaker they interacted badly with the room, resulting in bloated and boomy bass. This was after turning off the boost setting that is set to the default when they are shipped. Back they went!

I then tried a Cambridge AXA-25, which was very enjoyable to listen to but, suffered from an unacceptable level of mechanical hum, evident in quieter passages from my listening position. I returned that for a refund.

Deciding what to do next within a strict budget wasn't easy, particularly as this whole process has involved challenging some of the thinking that has got in the way in the past. I use streaming, CD and vinyl, and so need a solution that combines all three. I've had the Marantz MCR610 and MCR612 in the past and loved both, but didn't manage to resist the nagging (and incorrect) feeling that somehow it can't possibly be as good as separates.

I would have gone for a '612 again, but it's expensive and I really don't like how plasticky that glossy finish looks. The Denon CEOLs are essentially very similar and share a lot of the same technology, but IMO they look nicer. Like the Marantz models they don't have internal phono stages, but I already had the iFi one, which is very good. I don't need DAB as internet radio sounds better, and it's a medium I rarely listen to anyway.

About 20 years ago I had the Denon DM-31DAB with the matching Denon speakers, which were designed by Mission. I remember it being a very musical and engaging system, and that led to me hoping that a more refined Denon/Mission combination could work very well. I'm very familiar with Mission LX MkII series. They have plenty of good qualities, but can be prone to overblown bass which can be exacerbated by my room. The QX1 MkII seemed like a good prospect - stiffer cabinets thanks to the metal top and bottom caps, different porting, and improved drivers. My thinking has proved to be spot on, and the system performs beyond expectation across all 3 formats, and all for little more than the cost of an Audiolab 6000A.
 
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DCarmi

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DTS PlayFi is DREADFUL.
This sort of thing puts me off all-in-one systems. I don't see hifi manufacturers as overly competent in the software arena. Also they tend to drop support all too soon. Either that or changes to the streaming support mean dropping of services or lack of provision for new services.

I'd rather have inexpensive additional devices such as CCA or Wiim, which I can replace as necessary. That said, if an all-in-one sets you back £300, then fair enough.

Same goes for smart TVs etc. Our primary smart TV is slow in comparison to the Google TV I have attached to a little dumb TV. I also have a smart bluray player (still on sale) which is now pretty much senile when it comes to app provision.
 
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podknocker

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I don't think all in one systems are flawed per se, but it's the choice of app and like you said the support can drop.

The sound quality via bluetooth is the same as PlayFi and as I said, it never drops.

The Dell laptop radios and the antennae on the Omnia must be no more than 4" apart so it's very stable.

The chap at Phorus (DTS )told me they are no longer rolling out updates for PlayFi, on the Windows platform.

I have updated the Omnia, via the Android phone and it seems to be more stable than Windows 10 or 11
 
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matthewpianist

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This sort of thing puts me off all-in-one systems. I don't see hifi manufacturers as overly competent in the software arena. Also they tend to drop support all too soon. Either that or changes to the streaming support mean dropping of services or lack of provision for new services.

I'd rather have inexpensive additional devices such as CCA or Wiim, which I can replace as necessary. That said, if an all-in-one sets you back £300, then fair enough.

Same goes for smart TVs etc. Our primary smart TV is slow in comparison to the Google TV I have attached to a little dumb TV. I also have a smart bluray player (still on sale) which is now pretty much senile when it comes to app provision.

I can see your point, however competency does vary. Both Yamaha MusicCast and HEOS are well established and firmware updates seem to have kept things up-to-date and working well. In use I have found both to be very stable.

I have a Samsung Serif TV which I bought new about 2.5 years ago. It's used a lot in a busy household, and purely using the built-in smart features (I got rid of Sky earlier this year as it has, IMO, become irrelevant and costly). Everything works quickly and with stability. We have a much older non-smart Toshiba in our bedroom for which we have recently bought a Fire Stick.

On our recent honeymoon there was a Panasonic smart TV which looked 10+ years old. Using Netflix brought up a warning that by the end of 2023 it would no longer be supported. This speaks to your point, though I think 10 years is an acceptable life for a TV.
 

podknocker

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Consumers will forever be chasing the 'video nirvana' with TVs, because the number of panel technologies and transmission standards seems to be increasing daily.

It must be a nightmare looking for a new TV these days, wondering if firstly, the panel will survive and secondly, will it still be compatible in 2 years?

I've not owned a TV for over 3 years now and have utterly lost interest in them. I watch all my stuff online, on my big work monitor.
 
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JDL

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I did try some Triangle BR-02BT powered speakers recently (they're not active), but although they had some nice qualities they just weren't right for my room. For such a small speaker they interacted badly with the room, resulting in bloated and boomy bass. This was after turning off the boost setting that is set to the default when they are shipped. Back they went!

I then tried a Cambridge AXA-25, which was very enjoyable to listen to but, suffered from an unacceptable level of mechanical hum, evident in quieter passages from my listening position. I returned that for a refund.

Deciding what to do next within a strict budget wasn't easy, particularly as this whole process has involved challenging some of the thinking that has got in the way in the past. I use streaming, CD and vinyl, and so need a solution that combines all three. I've had the Marantz MCR610 and MCR612 in the past and loved both, but didn't manage to resist the nagging (and incorrect) feeling that somehow it can't possibly be as good as separates.

I would have gone for a '612 again, but it's expensive and I really don't like how plasticky that glossy finish looks. The Denon CEOLs are essentially very similar and share a lot of the same technology, but IMO they look nicer. Like the Marantz models they don't have internal phono stages, but I already had the iFi one, which is very good. I don't need DAB as internet radio sounds better, and it's a medium I rarely listen to anyway.

About 20 years ago I had the Denon DM-31DAB with the matching Denon speakers, which were designed by Mission. I remember it being a very musical and engaging system, and that led to me hoping that a more refined Denon/Mission combination could work very well. I'm very familiar with Mission LX MkII series. They have plenty of good qualities, but can be prone to overblown bass which can be exacerbated by my room. The QX1 MkII seemed like a good prospect - stiffer cabinets thanks to the metal top and bottom caps, different porting, and improved drivers. My thinking has proved to be spot on, and the system performs beyond expectation across all 3 formats, and all for little more than the cost of an Audiolab 6000A.
Thanks for that Mathew. That's very interesting and it's good to know you've found a system that's within budget and gives you a sound that you're happy with. I know it's not as simple as it might be thought it is, to get the right sound when you're as avid a listener as I believe you are.
I had more trouble finding the right speakers for what I want than I thought I would, but like you, I'm alright where I am now and have no plans to search for anything different.
At the moment anyway......
 

matthewpianist

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Consumers will be forever chasing the 'video nirvana' with TVs, because the number of panel technologies and transmission standards seems to be increasing daily.

It must be a nightmare looking for a new TV these days, wondering if firstly, the panel will survive and secondly, will it still be compatible in 2 years?

I've not owned a TV for over 3 years now and have utterly lost interest in them. I watch all my stuff online, on my big work monitor.

I worked for a Sony Centre franchise for 2 years back in 2007-2009, just at the point where the LCD/Plasma battle was nearing its conclusion. We were running CRT trade-in deals too, and towards the end of my time there I saw the early Sony 3D screens being launched.

The technology was more expensive then and TVs did less (I remember selling KDL-52X3500s at over £3k), and it's amazing (but perhaps not surprising) how different the market is now. Also to see which tech has been and gone - 3D, curved TVs etc...

I watch very little TV, and none of it live. I much prefer listening to music, but we're a household of 5 so a good TV is essential.
 

podknocker

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I think 95% of my 'entertainment time' is devoted to music and the rest TV/films etc.

I've never been into soccer or rugby, but I've started to watch these in the pub.

If the industry could work together and confirm a spec standard, it would be so much easier.

I do like the TVs without a bezel, the ones where the panel is behind a full sheet of glass.

So much easier to clean and I would be tempted if Sony or LG released one.

I would only be looking for something like this, if and when the technology settled down a bit.
 

Cricketbat70

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Feb 2, 2023
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Circumstances have led to me selling pretty much all my kit over the past 6 months, and replacing it with the system in my signature. I'm sharing this in case it helps anyone who feels like they are drowning in the hi-fi sea.

Some of you know how much hi-fi I've been through over the past 15+ years, some of it entry-level and some of it stoking aspirations to go higher and higher up the food chain, buying kit that I couldn't really afford in a quest to achieve the best possible sound. If anyone had suggested in the past that I jump off the carousel it would have been over my dead body, but I've recently come to realise how ridiculous that is. The simple fact is, I've rarely achieved any sustained satisfaction, and even when it's seemed I may have done I have not stopped pursuing better. I've had Arcam, Roksan, Michell, Thorens, Quad, Leak, Audiolab, Naim, Rega, Spendor, Mission, Focal, Wharfedale, Triangle, Marantz, Q Acoustics, Dali, Cambridge Audio, NAD, Musical Fidelity, Cyrus, Denon (the big stuff), Monitor Audio.... and nothing has fixed the bug. I've been there with cables too

Being forced (not by anyone else but by circumstances) to jump off the bandwagon and 'settle' for a carefully chosen combination of budget kit has put everything into relief. I'm rather enjoying the music across vinyl, CD and streaming, and I don't feel as though I'm missing anything except the angst of trying to justify the outlay to myself. I'm not saying it would match higher end kit in some audiophile senses, but as a way of enjoying the music and podcasts it is as good as anything I've had. The little Missions are musically engaging like Missions of old and the inverted driver geometry achieves what it is intended to. They are also incredibly undemanding with regards placement. The Denon is 'the old model' (by two generations now the CEOL N12 is out), but the differences aren't all that significant, and it cost me £299 with a 6-year warranty (RS) instead of the £650 RRP of the new version. It's every bit as good as the more lauded Marantz MCR-612 and it drives the Missions with ease. Meanwhile the 45+ year old turntable, which has been serviced, runs more steady than some of the modern turntables I've had (including Rega), and is more pleasurable to use.

The point here isn't to claim that my little set-up is objectively as good as a well-sorted mid-high end system, but to demonstrate that musical enjoyment can be had for what is relatively beer-budget money, to the point that if you're strangling yourself financially in pursuit of 'audio nirvana', it's worth taking a step back. If you're enjoying what you have, whether that's a collection of old separates, a modern compact system like mine, or a high-end set-up that finally satisfies your hunger, do you really need to be eyeing up that next upgrade?
Now here's where I wish I'd waited a couple of years. I have a very early CEOL system the RCD-N7. I bought it as a system for my dining room. It's only online service is lastFM that I never used. If I'd waited a couple of years for the RCD-N9 Spotify would have been included. It's no longer in the dining room but connected to my main system and used as a CD player and for streaming from my NAS. The number of times I've contemplated selling all my gear and just buying a later CEOL model. In my dining room now I have an even older Denon DRF 101 mini separates and a Chromecast audio. I probably spend more time listening to that than my main system, even though the setup is totally wrong. Settee at the side of the Denon and the speakers high up either side of the chimney breast on the same wall as the Denon. We tried to move the room around so the settee was at least opposite the speakers and not to the side and it just wasn't as relaxing.
 

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