Upgrade advice, my setup doesnt wow/move me anymore and cant carry newer music as good.

KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
Setup upgrade advice.
(this was an email to some experts with no response yet)


Hi whathifi Community,


Im Klaus (started when i was 16 currently 20) from the Netherlands and i am really into records but i feel that my setup is lacking
and perhaps failing my nice records to get to that next level (anymore) and i need advice.

I currently own a Audio technica Atlp120xusb with a Nagaoka mp 110 needle.
Which goes into a Marantz PM-25 Integrated Amp into a set of vintage B&W DM12's.

If i would have a budget of 1000 what should i tackle first and what are nice keepers?

And what are other gradual steps further up the ladder for someone who is willing to invest gradually?

I feel like i am missing quite some Low end and a bit more clarity.

Any other advice is welcome!( My cleaning, handling and care of the records and turntable are good and informed btw)

(To paint more of a picture of who i am) I try to invest good money into good pressings/vinylof my favorite records via discogs or second hand and i mainly listen to Jazz, Jazz Fusion/Rock, Prog and Hard Rock, Electronic, Ambient, Hiphop and R&B.

My favorite bands and Jazz leaders and etc. are: Soft Machine, Can, King Crimson, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, John and Alice Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Pharoah Sanders, Mccoy Tyner, Erroll Garner, Caravan, Tangerine Dream, Dexter Gordon, Eric Dolphy, Mingus, Black Sabbath, Gentle Giant, Frank Zappa& The Mothers, Captain Beefheart.
Floating Points, Tyler the Creator and Mac Miller.

Just to name a few(actually quite a lot , excuse my enthusiasm and i just wanted to paint the picture even better and thorough)


Thank you in advance for reading this and even taking the time to respond and process this, it would mean quite a lot.


Kind regards.
 
Last edited:

KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
Looking at that set-up I would suggest upgrading your turntable as that cartridge costs almost as much as your turntable itself.......
well around £180 v. £250 anyway......
I was thinking of a Project debut carbon evo with the Phono Box S2, but would make my speakers and/or amp a big bottleneck?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I was thinking of a Project debut carbon evo with the Phono Box S2, but would make my speakers and/or amp a big bottleneck?
Given your investment in records that would be a great purchase…BUT only on the understanding that as a young man you’ve many years in which to upgrade your amp and speakers. I agree that your current amp and speakers would hold back the overall results, but you’d be getting the best from your music in the meantime.

Better still, get along to as many dealers and Hifi shows as you can to audition what’s available in your country to get an idea how to improve your system, as funds allow.

Welcome to the forum.
 

KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
Given your investment in records that would be a great purchase…BUT only on the understanding that as a young man you’ve many years in which to upgrade your amp and speakers. I agree that your current amp and speakers would hold back the overall results, but you’d be getting the best from your music in the meantime.

Better still, get along to as many dealers and Hifi shows as you can to audition what’s available in your country to get an idea how to improve your system, as funds allow.

Welcome to the forum.

I did not expect such a profound, nice and welcoming message, Thank you.
 
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KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
I cannot understand the need for the Phono Box S2, unless you believe it to be better than the phono stage in your amp.
If this is the case why not buy an amp without a phono stage.
I forgot the fact that it was an integrated amp for a second while i was quite overwhelmed while reseaching, thank you for reminding me.
 
I forgot the fact that it was an integrated amp for a second while i was quite overwhelmed while reseaching, thank you for reminding me.
Do not concern yourself with that, simply remember that integrated amp or not it does not necessarily mean it has an inbuilt phono stage.
Yours does but it is limited on power output and will need careful speaker partnering....
You might need to look at some really efficient speakers.
 

KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
Do not concern yourself with that, simply remember that integrated amp or not it does not necessarily mean it has an inbuilt phono stage.
Yours does but it is limited on power output and will need careful speaker partnering....
You might need to look at some really efficient speakers.
The speakers are 15-100W@8Ω if im correct , so i should get a 150W 8Ω amp if im right, the amp should be 1,5× the speakers right?
 
Last edited:

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Setup upgrade advice.
(this was an email to some experts with no response yet)


Hi whathifi Community,


Im K. (started when i was 16 currently 20) from the Netherlands and i am really into records but i feel that my setup is lacking
and perhaps failing my nice records to get to that next level (anymore) and i need advice.

I currently own a Audio technica Atlp120xusb with a Nagaoka mp 110 needle.
Which goes into a Marantz PM-25 Integrated Amp into a set of vintage B&W DM12's.

If i would have a budget of 1000 what should i tackle first and what are nice keepers?

And what are other gradual steps further up the ladder for someone who is willing to invest gradually?

I feel like i am missing quite some Low end and a bit more clarity.

Any other advice is welcome!( My cleaning, handling and care of the records and turntable are good and informed btw)

(To paint more of a picture of who i am) I try to invest good money into good pressings/vinylof my favorite records via discogs or second hand and i mainly listen to Jazz, Jazz Fusion/Rock, Prog and Hard Rock, Electronic, Ambient, Hiphop and R&B.

My favorite bands and Jazz leaders and etc. are: Soft Machine, Can, King Crimson, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, John and Alice Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Pharoah Sanders, Mccoy Tyner, Erroll Garner, Caravan, Tangerine Dream, Dexter Gordon, Eric Dolphy, Mingus, Black Sabbath, Gentle Giant, Frank Zappa& The Mothers, Captain Beefheart.
Floating Points, Tyler the Creator and Mac Miller.

Just to name a few(actually quite a lot , excuse my enthusiasm and i just wanted to paint the picture even better and thorough)


Thank you in advance for reading this and even taking the time to respond and process this, it would mean quite a lot.


Kind regards.
Hi and welcome.

The above suggestions are correct, I would certainly look at a,turntable upgrade. I can vouch for the quality of Pro-ject, as I used to own Xpression 1.

But the whole set-up could benefit from an upgrade.

I'm interested to know why your system doesn't move you with emotion anymore, unless there's an internal fault with either your amp or speakers.

As suggested above try and demo as many different combinations as you can.
 

KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
Hi and welcome.

The above suggestions are correct, I would certainly look at a,turntable upgrade. I can vouch for the quality of Pro-ject, as I used to own Xpression 1.

But the whole set-up could benefit from an upgrade.

I'm interested to know why your system doesn't move you with emotion anymore, unless there's an internal fault with either your amp or speakers.

As suggested above try and demo as many different combinations as you can.
I will check it out.

Yes the whole setup could use it indeed but i at first want to see if a smaller step could help it any further.

I quite dig the speakers and have had them checked up quite recently, the amp is good , i have compared it to some other amps and this remained my fav at that time, i wanna get it checked up soon or replace it after i get a new turntable.

The part about moving me is that some of my favorite records just are starting to miss that *extra* to the overal sound that vinyl is able to bring and thats the whole reason i have a record player because its beter than any other medium and it can achieve that otherworldly, transcendant quality in the music.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
I will check it out.

Yes the whole setup could use it indeed but i at first want to see if a smaller step could help it any further.

I quite dig the speakers and have had them checked up quite recently, the amp is good , i have compared it to some other amps and this remained my fav at that time, i wanna get it checked up soon or replace it after i get a new turntable.

The part about moving me is that some of my favorite records just are starting to miss that *extra* to the overal sound that vinyl is able to bring and thats the whole reason i have a record player because its beter than any other medium and it can achieve that otherworldly, transcendant quality in the music.
Fair play. I know this might seem a daft question, but how often do you use your stereo and for how long? I know from personal experience if played too much it can sound a little stale. Then I won't play it for a few days and it sounds very different

Also B&W speakers generally match well with Rotel, as both companies share the same building in the UK and 'voice' their components work well together. Bear that in mind when the time comes to upgrade the amp
 

nopiano

Well-known member
The speakers are 15-100W@8Ω if im correct , so i should get a 150W 8Ω amp if im right, the amp should be 1,5× the speakers right?
That sounds like bit of an internet myth to me! There are several factors to consider, but in most domestic settings, very few of us need in excess of 100 watts. And quality is more important than quantity, though if you can get both that’s great.

For now, I suggest that you don’t get too fixated on specs or ‘formulae’ like this. Just seek a sound that engages you, and you can live with. That should identify a few brands to pursue. (If you spend a bit of time reading through old posts here, you’ll see how many people buy highly rated items without listening, and then wonder why they don’t like them at home.)
 

KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
Fair play. I know this might seem a daft question, but how often do you use your stereo and for how long? I know from personal experience if played too much it can sound a little stale. Then I won't play it for a few days and it sounds very different

Also B&W speakers generally match well with Rotel, as both companies share the same building in the UK and 'voice' their components work well together. Bear that in mind when the time comes to upgrade the amp
I use it usually 2 to 4 days a week.
I have had that and its the same like having a really great and powerfull album on and the next is perhaps a lesser album, then the second one just falls flat or yourre already overstimulated.
And yourre right about sounding different after a few days off.
But i do feel like there is an ever so present lack of quality that im catching up on or is catching up on me.


Thanks for the Rotel tip, i will check it out.
 
Last edited:

plastic penguin

Well-known member
I use it usually 2 to 4 days a week.
I have had that and its the same like having a really great and powerfull album on and the next is less "Banger" in terms of music choise, the second one just falls flat or yourre already overstimulated.
And yourre right about sounding different after a few days off.
But i do feel like there is an ever so present lack of quality that im catching up on or is catching up on me.


Thanks for the Rotel tip, i will check it out.
@nopiano is correct. Don't get too hung up on paper specs. You've had this combo long enough to know if the amp has enough power to drive the B&Ws
 

Vincent Kars

Well-known member
Mar 6, 2021
222
200
970
I feel like i am missing quite some Low end and a bit more clarity.
My gut feeling is that this is most of all a matter of speakers.
I don't expect any upgrade upstream to improve on this substantially.
Just start by auditioning other speakers.

A nice test would be to get (borrow) a CD player. Will tell you what your current system does with a reasonably neutral source. If you are still missing low end/clarity obvious the speakers are the bottle neck , not the source or the amp.
 

matthewpianist

Active member
Feb 18, 2022
21
17
25
To make a worthwhile upgrade as the next stepping point I would suggest upgrading the turntable to a Rega Planar 2 or Project Debut Carbon EVO, and changing the amp for a Rotel A11 Tribute. At present the B&Ws are the strongest part of your system and could be upgraded when funds allow. I think you'll get much more out of them with these suggestions.
 

KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
My gut feeling is that this is most of all a matter of speakers.
I don't expect any upgrade upstream to improve on this substantially.
Just start by auditioning other speakers.

A nice test would be to get (borrow) a CD player. Will tell you what your current system does with a reasonably neutral source. If you are still missing low end/clarity obvious the speakers are the bottle neck , not the source or the amp.
I just did a test with a dvd player and found that it opened the speakers more, percussion became clearer and more present but it lacked overal depth and pressence instead of being just present.

Thanks for this tip.

I feel like the speaker have great pottential with perhaps a different amp , but until i upgrade my speakers i will still be missing the extra lows and some body.
 

KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
Current plan/thoughts

For the turntable i will definitly go for a Pro-ject debut carbon or a Rega planar 2 wich i wil research more, cartridge left asside for a second.
For the amp i have no clue and i will check out the Rotel A11 Tribute and any other suggestions to perhaps match with the KEF's if i decide on them.
For the speakers im currently researching the KEF ls50's,
and i am wondering if there are any suggestions great vintage or second hand speakers under or around €600.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
KEF LS50 are high performance speakers which are quite demanding of the amplifier and source. Even then, they aren’t everyone’s taste, though I personally like them and bought a pair a few years ago.

Used speakers are hard enough to choose at home, but without knowing what’s available to you, it’s hard to recommend anything specific.
 
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KlausVinyl

Active member
Sep 19, 2022
14
2
25
I am also thinking about the Klipsch rp6000f speakers and the Wharfedale Diamond12.3's

So my goal right now would be this setup

Project debut carbon evo
Rotel a11 Tribute
KEF LS50 or Klipsch RP6000F or Wharfedale Diamond 12.3

Would that be a nice combination?

KEF LS50 are high performance speakers which are quite demanding of the amplifier and source. Even then, they aren’t everyone’s taste, though I personally like them and bought a pair a few years ago.

Used speakers are hard enough to choose at home, but without knowing what’s available to you, it’s hard to recommend anything specific.
 
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nopiano

Well-known member
I am also thinking about the Klipsch rp6000f speakers and the Wharfedale Diamond12.3's

So my goal right now would be this setup

Project debut carbon evo
Rotel a11 Tribute
KEF LS50 or Klipsch RP6000F or Wharfedale Diamond 12.3

Would that be a nice combination?
Funnily enough, there were two floorstanders I almost suggested. The Diamonds you mention, and the Q Acoustic 3050i. Unfortunately, I don’t know how they are priced for you.
I own the smaller QA 3020i that has the same tweeter. They are very sweet and easy to listen to. I’m pretty sure you’d enjoy either. Can you hear them at a dealer?
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Current plan/thoughts

For the turntable i will definitly go for a Pro-ject debut carbon or a Rega planar 2 wich i wil research more, cartridge left asside for a second.
For the amp i have no clue and i will check out the Rotel A11 Tribute and any other suggestions to perhaps match with the KEF's if i decide on them.
For the speakers im currently researching the KEF ls50's,
and i am wondering if there are any suggestions great vintage or second hand speakers under or around €600.
Hi-fi is a strange. Often it isn't about individual components but which ones has the best synergy, hence why I mentioned Rotel if you're keeping the B&W. It's a good, safe combination
 

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