Upgrading my budget system

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all,

I know in some respects this ones been done to death but hopefully you can give me a few pointers-

current system -Denon 1906avr amp, Eltax Monitor 3's & other eltax centre, rear and sub, Oldish Phillips cd player.

the system is a comprimise really, I mostly use it for stereo playback but also want the surround sound

Basically (and understandably i think you'll agree!) im unhappy with the 2 ch experience im getting. Im thinking replacing the Eltax is the first step however budget is a prob!

Im thinking something along the lines of BR2's, at a stretch -B&W 686 (bit worried about the much talked about issue of driving these). any thoughts about what would match/improve my system would be much appreciated. Im not in the position to upgrade anything else at the mo... but hopefully one day!
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
You're caught between the devil and the deep blue sea (as the saying goes). I would suggest you contact richer sounds who, I believe, sell Eltax and just ask them the same question.

The problem is your receiver lags behind when it comes stereo. Depends where your priorities lie. Firstly have a chat with Richer or any other high street outlet for any ex-dem examples they may have.

Also try Sevenoaks website: www.ssav.com or www.audio-t.co.uk

Good luck
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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The Eltax Monitor IIIs are probably the best thing in your system. They're a great little budget speaker and would really sing on the end of better source and amplification. Try them with a Cambridge Audio Azur 340A amp and the matching 340C CD player. I think that would be a great step forward.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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PS I know you would lose the surround sound this way, but you're TV/DVD sources will probably sound better through a decent quality stereo rig than a seriously compromised surround one, and if you listen mostly to 2 channel music you need to make this your priority.
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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Agree partly with above. Keep the speakers for now... Get a better stereo amp - although I would aim a little higher than the 340 ... at least spend a couple of hundred on the Marantz PM6002 at RS.
And of course you wont lose your surround as you have preouts...
 

JoelSim

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Aug 24, 2007
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IMHO a gradual upgrade would be better. Aim to spend at least £300-£400 per component and you will hear the benefits hugely. If this takes 2 years of saving, so be it. Aim higher than the CA 340. Avoid Richer Sounds. Buy some decent kit but audition it first. Buying off the internet can be a false economy, to save £20 and end up with something not as good as it could be. Only your ears can decide, so demo first.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="matthewpiano"]PS I know you would lose the surround sound this way, but you're TV/DVD sources will probably sound better through a decent quality stereo rig than a seriously compromised surround one, and if you listen mostly to 2 channel music you need to make this your priority.[/quote]

Would have to disagree with this part of this statement. As a surround system your system isnt to bad and willout perform any stereo system for cinema use but agree that for stereo use your stereo is pretty bad.

I would go for a cambridge audio 540r receiver for £200, very good for stereo (also very good for cinema sound) and much more musical than most av receivers but it has pre outs so you could add a better stereo amp to drive the front speakers at a latter stage. Next up i would add a decent cd player, maybe a cambridge audio 340 or 540 or maybe the nad 515bee.

This should keep you ticking along nicely until you can afford to upgrade the speakers and then finally add a stereo amp.

The ma br2s would be a good choice.
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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[quote user="JoelSim"]IMHO a gradual upgrade would be better. Aim to spend at least £300-£400 per component and you will hear the benefits hugely. If this takes 2 years of saving, so be it. Aim higher than the CA 340. Avoid Richer Sounds. ...[/quote]

Very harsh. Even if some overexuberent employees do oversell CA equipment, they are quite a few peoples first foray into 'real'hifi.
I bought my first Arcam stuff from them too :)
 

fr0g

New member
Jan 7, 2008
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[quote user="matt444_2000"]
[quote user="matthewpiano"]PS I know you would lose the surround sound this way, but you're TV/DVD sources will probably sound better through a decent quality stereo rig than a seriously compromised surround one, and if you listen mostly to 2 channel music you need to make this your priority.[/quote]

Would have to disagree with this part of this statement. As a surround system your system isnt to bad and willout perform any stereo system for cinema use but agree that for stereo use your stereo is pretty bad.

I would go for a cambridge audio 540r receiver for £200, very good for stereo (also very good for cinema sound) and much more musical than most av receivers but it has pre outs so you could add a better stereo amp to drive the front speakers at a latter stage. Next up i would add a decent cd player, maybe a cambridge audio 340 or 540 or maybe the nad 515bee.

This should keep you ticking along nicely until you can afford to upgrade the speakers and then finally add a stereo amp.

The ma br2s would be a good choice.
[/quote]

Why change receiver when he can simply add a stereo amp and connect via preouts?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
sorry frog, just checked and the denon does have pre outs. matthewpiano through me because he started talking about sacrificing surround.

In that case ignore my advice about cambridge audio 540r.

Just add maybe one of the sub £200 amps from nad or cambridge audio for an instant improvement and then add maybe the matching cd players
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
thanks for all the replies, really appreciate it. oh for some more money!

the denon does have pre outs, so something i hadnt thought of is to add a better quality 2ch amp in order to get the best out of the monitor 3's, are they really decent enough to make this worthwhile?! have i benn restricting their potential all this time?!!
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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[quote user="matt444_2000"]
sorry frog, just checked and the denon does have pre outs. matthewpiano through me because he started talking about sacrificing surround.

In that case ignore my advice about cambridge audio 540r.

Just add maybe one of the sub £200 amps from nad or cambridge audio for an instant improvement and then add maybe the matching cd players
[/quote]

heh. I learned to do a quick check on these things a few weeks ago :)

Also I would probably go with JoelSims recommendation of a slightly higher budget if a real upgrade is required...
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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[quote user="sunshinecoast"]
thanks for all the replies, really appreciate it. oh for some more money!

the denon does have pre outs, so something i hadnt thought of is to add a better quality 2ch amp in order to get the best out of the monitor 3's, are they really decent enough to make this worthwhile?! have i benn restricting their potential all this time?!!
[/quote]
Very good for the money imo. Almost certainly got more to offer with a decent hifi amp.
which cd player have you got?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
i would say your eltax should be your last upgrade.

1. New amp - Cambridge audio 340 or 540, Nad c315 bee

2. New Cd - Cambridge audo 340 or 540, Nad 515bee

3. New Front speakers - Monitor audio br2 ( i think the B&w 686 would struggle with either of the amps mentioned

A way of getting better kit and or spending less money would be to get on ebay
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi, My CD player is a Phillips CD723, like many things my initial forays into hi-fi were perhaps somewhat under-researched and its only afterwards you really start reading/researching and courting opinion!
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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I think the criticisms being levelled at Richers and Cambridge are a bit unfair. Both companies do exactly as they say on the tin - provide access to decent, affordable hi-fi which often provides people with their first steps on the ladder. The Azur 340 series may not be the best components ever, but we are dealing with a tight budget here and for the money the Cambridge bits offer a good return. Also worth a look is the entry level NAD gear which will offer a slightly warmer sound than the Cambridge Audio system.
With reference to the Monitor IIIs, these really are a cracking little speaker for the money and whilst they are not going to challenge the likes of the Monitor Audio BR2s, they are capable of very good soundstaging, depth and clarity and will certainly benefit from improved electronics. I used to have a pair myself and the only criticism I had was that they can be hard work to position to get the best out of them due to those legs and the downward firing bass port.
 

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