Upgrading hi-fi seperates - am I doing the right thing?

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all, first post, not much experience in this area - looking for some advice.

I'm looking to upgrade my current system; a Cambridge Audio A5 amp, Sony CDP-XE520, with some Class D speakers (don't know the model but they were under £100). Both the amp & CD player were second-hand and were bought quite a few years ago now - I think it's time for a change.

I'm thinking of upgrading the whole lot to Marantz - the PM6004 & CD6004, plus some Tannoy V4 speakers. It's a hell of a lot of money for me, and I just want to make sure it'll be worth it, I guess. All got excellent reviews, but I've no idea where my current system ranks in the scheme of things, and whether the extra spend will really bring enough difference to make it worthwhile.

I think the current system sounds pretty good already, to be honest, especially since upgrading to some decent speaker cable - but then I've never heard anything better, so how would I know?

My turntable is a Pro-Ject Debut III if that's of any relevance - not looking to upgrade there.

Really grateful for any advice!
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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Hi, and welcome to the forum.

The path you should take depends very much on how you see yourself using your hi-fi over the coming months and years. The Marantz components and Tannoy speakers will certainly give you a significant upgrade on what you have but shouldn't just be an automatic choice. As you say, this is a lot of money and it is important to get it right. There are two main questions you need to ask:

1. What sort of sound do you want, and what types of music and recordings are you likely to listen to the most?

2. How do you want to listen to your music? Are CD and vinyl going to remain your primary/only sources or are you interested in other things such as Spotify Premium, internet radio, DAB radio, streaming from a computer etc?

Hi-fi is changing and many of us are now starting to wake up to the idea that an amp, as the hub of the system, should be able to draw together all the different sources and requirements that we have.

If you can provide answers to these two questions I'm sure we can give you some more useful advice between us all!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi, thanks for the swift response, and the welcome.

2nd question first - a definite affirmitive! I'm never going to give up CD & vinyl - predominantly the latter to be honest, but I listen to enough stuff on CD to warrant a good player. Can't stand internet streaming...

The vast majority of what I listen to is rock, mostly from well before the digital age, so I guess if I had to describe the sort of sound I want it'd be something that shows off that old-fashioned raw guitar to its full potential - this is the sort of thing I have in mind :)

I use it all a lot and I'm certainly willing to spend the money if it's a sensible move.

Thanks again!

P.S. happy new year!
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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I think a Rotel amp would suit you better than the Marantz. The RA-04SE is excellent for all types of music but particularly classic rock and will pair very well with the Marantz CD6004. If you can bear the idea of standmounters I'd suggest auditioning the B&W 685s (still excellent) but I'd also try the Tannoy floorstanders as well. It would also be well worth auditioning a NAD amp as an alternative, although I personally feel the Rotel is better built and it also benefits from an excellent phono stage for your turntable.

Auditioning is key and if you go for the 685s get some decent stands for them.

Happy New Year!!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks both!

@matthewpiano I'll bear all that in mind, thanks a lot! Looks like I'll have to see if I can find a local stockist for the Rotel.

@eternaloptimist I'd say around £300 per piece really, can't afford much more than that. The advantage of the system I suggested is that Richer Sounds do a deal on it, saving £100 (the main reason I chose those speakers, to be honest).
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
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Taking a bit of time to try a few different things, rather than jumping into an advertised system package, will help you to make sure you get the best combination to suit you for the budget. That way you can then get on with enjoying the music rather than it all being about the boxes.
 

unison

New member
Oct 3, 2008
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hi,

the answers to a few other questions might help people give you advice

1. is any of your current equipment on a rack, particularly the turntable

2. what interconects are you using between amp and cd player

3. what cartridge is on the turntable

4. does the Cambridge amp have a phono stage built in

i ask these questions chiefly because you have said vinyl is your thing
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi unison, ta for the reply.

1. Not currently, but I'm going to invest in one.

2. Chord Company Crimson

2. Ortofon OM 5E - not replaced the one that came with the turntable (guess I should look at upgrading that too, right?)

4. No, I'm currently running the turntable through a Pro-Ject phono box MkII, so I can go either way on that one.

Cheers!
 

unison

New member
Oct 3, 2008
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hi,

you do say that you currently like your system. and given your liking for vinyl I would suggest you start with a rack. and look at upgrading your cartridge. the rack will improve all your current equipment. and means you will get the best out of any future upgrades. if you then do look to upgrade later on make sure you get a amp with a good phono stage for your turntable, or budget for a good separate one. you'll will be surprised how much difference a proper hifi rack will make
 
T

the record spot

Guest
SFD85 said:
Hi all, first post, not much experience in this area - looking for some advice.

I'm looking to upgrade my current system; a Cambridge Audio A5 amp, Sony CDP-XE520, with some Class D speakers (don't know the model but they were under £100). Both the amp & CD player were second-hand and were bought quite a few years ago now - I think it's time for a change.

I'm thinking of upgrading the whole lot to Marantz - the PM6004 & CD6004, plus some Tannoy V4 speakers. It's a hell of a lot of money for me, and I just want to make sure it'll be worth it, I guess. All got excellent reviews, but I've no idea where my current system ranks in the scheme of things, and whether the extra spend will really bring enough difference to make it worthwhile.

I think the current system sounds pretty good already, to be honest, especially since upgrading to some decent speaker cable - but then I've never heard anything better, so how would I know?

My turntable is a Pro-Ject Debut III if that's of any relevance - not looking to upgrade there.

Really grateful for any advice!
Really depends how you see your entertainment needs going in the next few months or years. If you're thinking about getting into music on a hard drive (either on computer or as I do via an external hard disk as well), or don't want multiple boxes doing multiple duties either to minimise clutter, for space reasons or simply that your other half just won't have it(!), then a bog standard integrated probably won't tick all the boxes.

I got interested in amps with onboard DACs around three years ago when Harman Kardon brought out their HK990 (a behemoth of an amp) and then Onkyo introduced their A5 series amp and CD player which offered DAC too. Then Marantz got in on the game. At the time, I started using an iPod Nano, then later a 32Gb Touch. Then Spotify came on the scene a couple of years ago and then Spotify offline and then I noticed iTunes offered internet radio. Then came iPlayer and the BBC's internet radio service which I'd also been using for a while...the list goes on. Suddenly, the bog standard integrated amp looks like the poor relation in all of this. Then Onkyo deliver the master stroke, cut a deal with Spotify and then it's appearing on their AV receivers and the network amp I use as well as a bunch of other functionality all of which I use. Finally I get what I want from hifi but the added bonus being I get the performance too.

I'm not saying that the amps mentioned aren't good products, but they'll only serve you so far and especially if any of the above applies to you. Have a think about what you might need - if it's just CD and LP, then you're on easy street and any of the above and plenty more will do you a good job. If you're thinking about getting into alternative sources, or just get fed up looking out another CD every hour or so (I jest!), then have another think about what you're going to need. If multiple boxes aren't a problem, then, again, you're on easy street (again!).
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,245
11
19,195
the record spot said:
Really depends how you see your entertainment needs going in the next few months or years. If you're thinking about getting into music on a hard drive (either on computer or as I do via an external hard disk as well), or don't want multiple boxes doing multiple duties either to minimise clutter, for space reasons or simply that your other half just won't have it(!), then a bog standard integrated probably won't tick all the boxes.

I got interested in amps with onboard DACs around three years ago when Harman Kardon brought out their HK990 (a behemoth of an amp) and then Onkyo introduced their A5 series amp and CD player which offered DAC too. Then Marantz got in on the game. At the time, I started using an iPod Nano, then later a 32Gb Touch. Then Spotify came on the scene a couple of years ago and then Spotify offline and then I noticed iTunes offered internet radio. Then came iPlayer and the BBC's internet radio service which I'd also been using for a while...the list goes on. Suddenly, the bog standard integrated amp looks like the poor relation in all of this. Then Onkyo deliver the master stroke, cut a deal with Spotify and then it's appearing on their AV receivers and the network amp I use as well as a bunch of other functionality all of which I use. Finally I get what I want from hifi but the added bonus being I get the performance too.
I think it's worth re-visiting what the OP said earlier regarding streaming...

SFD85 said:
2nd question first - a definite affirmitive! I'm never going to give up CD & vinyl - predominantly the latter to be honest, but I listen to enough stuff on CD to warrant a good player. Can't stand internet streaming...
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Fair enough; music off a hard drive, stored on a laptop, connecting to a TV for the occasional film (as many do through a two channel amp), or play wirelessly via DLNA through a home network. I was trying to illustrate the point that integrateds might not be the only choice.

Internet streaming is one option, but doesn't cover everything. It's worth reiterating that too I think.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,245
11
19,195
From Richer sounds...

Yamaha A-S500 £229 and CD-S300 £179

About £410 total.

Put the £190 saving (from your £300 per item budget) into better/bigger speakers that suit your 'old school' rock tastes.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi all, thanks for all your help.

I think my choice is between the Marantz PM6004 and the Rotel RA-04SE and I'll have a look at the Yamaha A-S500 as well.I'll see what my local hi-fi shops have got.

The important thing is that the consensus seems to be that it'll be a great improvement on my current system, which is what I'm looking for for the money.

Much appreciated - really nice to find such a helpful forum. Cheers!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
unison said:
the rack will improve all your current equipment. and means you will get the best out of any future upgrades.
How can you say that without knowing what he's currently using other than a rack? For all you know the turntable is on a concrete floor!

SFD85 said:
I'm never going to give up CD & vinyl - predominantly the latter to be honest, but I listen to enough stuff on CD to warrant a good player. Can't stand internet streaming...

The vast majority of what I listen to is rock, mostly from well before the digital age, so I guess if I had to describe the sort of sound I want it'd be something that shows off that old-fashioned raw guitar to its full potential - this is the sort of thing I have in mind :)
So, you can't stand streaming but you have no problems linking to YT? :shame:

Since you are predominantly focused on vinyl, I would start with a good amp+speakers, then worry about the cd player. From the given amps, I would rate the Rotel RA04 above the others, but I have only heard the PM6003, not its newer version. Since you are happy with your current sound, you should also listen to the Cambridge Audio 650A.

I have few speaker suggestions, not having heard the Tannoy. You might want to try out Quad (11L) for comparison. The best CA pairing I ever heard was with Polk Audio (thinking RTi A1 here), but that combination might not work for rock.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
tremon said:
So, you can't stand streaming but you have no problems linking to YT? :shame:
Well, yes - YouTube's fine for showing examples over the internet, isn't it; I'd happily invite you all round to my flat to listen to the vinyl, but that might be a bit time-consuming :p

Anyway, thanks for the tips! I'll add 'em to my list of things to look further into.

PS on racks - some of them are really steep - is it one of those things that it's worth paying more for?
 

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