Upgrading my system


New member
Aug 10, 2019
Visit site
Hi all,

A long time lurker and first-time poster here. I bought my first hi-fi system about 1 1/2 years ago and based my decision on research/readings I have done on this forum so a big thank you to everyone :)

Lately I have been thinking about upgrading my hi-fi setup. My current system consists of a nad c525bee cdp, a nad c325bee amp and a pair of mordaunt short avant 902i speakers on stands. This system generally performs pretty well but I find it sometimes the sound can be a bit sharp for my liking and as a result I can't listen to the music for too long (fatigue). So what I am after is a wamer, move engulfing/involving sound.

I mainly listen to jazz, classical, chinese pop and relaxing/zen music. I do also listen to some pop, old rock/soft rock but not a lot.

The way I see it, I can either get a dac or replace my speakers (but not both due to money restraints). The question is which path should I take, dac or speakers? And which dac or which speakers? My budget is about AUD$500 but if really needed can probably stretch to AUD$800.

Thanks in advance.



Hi there!

Are you using your CDp a lot, or are you mainly streaming music from any portable/wireless source you got? If the former, a DAC is not necessary, a good CDp should be enough DAC by itself. If the latter, then a DAC could be a good upgrade, and not necessarily that expensive, but try to hear it on your own setup first – some tend to exhibit dryness, or brightness, or just suffer in some frequencies range, and that probably won’t help your sharpness problem. Also, if you intend to use a USB link, not all DACs support USB, and when they do they are not always capable to support all sampling rates. In any way, choose carefully.

Let’s suppose the amp is doing fine right now… I don’t see why it wouldn’t, your 902i have an excellent sensitivity for bookshelfs, and can handle a wide range of power, and Nad does fine stuff, so…

Which leaves us with your interconnect/wires, and the material used for the cones of your speakers. I’m not much for fuss around wires and interconnect, but if you use silver, I would perhaps warn that it tends to brighten the sound a little when compared to copper. None is necessarily better than the other, it’s more a matter of matching and tastes - to me. Silver will tend to liven, sharpen, and even sometimes will seem to get more details out of your music, where copper will make for a warmer and perhaps more "natural", rounder sound. As the amp and cdp combo will also tend to shape the sound a certain way, both material can become valuable according to the listener and his situation. This ain’t no law, mind you. As for your cones, they are made of pure aluminium, which certainly helps them to cover such a wide range of frequencies, while being expressive and sensitive, but which could also be a factor in your fatigue if you tend to listen at high volumes. I’m sure they are formidable speakers, but once again, tastes, matching, and your room acoustics could easily tend to make them a tad too bright.

Now, as you have to make a choice, I’d advise to try and demo speakers before anything else. My thought is, even if you are 30% cds and 70% streaming, a DAC will never but half-fill your needs, unless it is so good that you decide running your CDp through it too, or unless you grow steadily and quickly fond of streaming, up to the point where your CDp won’t be necessary anymore… whereas new speakers, in the NOW, could easily change the whole outcome of your system for the better, whatever the source is, and whatever it becomes in the future. Meaning that if you already do a minimum of streaming, that use can only increase with time as the whole Hi-Fi idea is turning towards it, and in one or two years you could invest in a DAC to complete your solution.


Hi Phil

Firstly thanks for your reply. And now to answer your questions and some more info:

1. Yes, I do use my CDP quite a bit, actually enjoy the experience of loading the CD and listen to it without turning on my computer (which can be quite noisy on a hot day).

2. I forgot to mention in my last post that I actually have a Maverick Tubemagic D1 DAC that I use as my headphone setup (actually thinking of getting an amp (matrix m-stage) for that setup but that's another story). I have tried D1 with my hi-fi setup and yes, it did improve the sound but still not enough. It did produce a more crisp sound and a little bit more warmth but still not that "involving", rich sound that I am after.

3. I haven't thought about the interconnect until you mentioned it. I will definitely look into it and speak to my dealer to see what they can recommend. Do you have any brank/model that I should try?

4. Room setup - the back of the speakers is actually facing window (with blinds in front of the window). Will that make the sound bright?

5. If I was to buy a new pair of speakers to match my amp (NAD C325BEE), which one would you recommend?




Hi Kenny,

I understand what you mean, the touch of a good CDp is awesome... Don't loose that attitude! :)

I'm no good in DAC's outside of the generalities I told you. You'll have to find more specific infos somewhere else here, I'm afraid.

Don't go crazy with the interconnects/wires. If you do have silver, then try a good quality copper instead. Give it a good three-four days to fill out with current, just using your system like you always do... Try to feel for something different, for a change, an improvement - if any. Don't spend too much money there, DAC or speakers are better expenses.

I don't think your window is making your sound bright, though some stand-mounted, when too close to a rear wall, or sidewall, tend to overpitch on certain frequencies. Window won't help in that case, blinds neither. Put your system at good volume, and apply your hand on the window, see if it's vibrating much or not. The blinds could be disquieting if they do vibrate, but not to the point of actually modulating the sound. Are your speakers stands good enough? Heavy, stable, good built, strong feets?

Don't really know about the speakers... many could do the trick, but perhaps it's not the real nature of your problem, so don't buy without being sure. Query your amp in the forums here (Search), you'll find plenty of people who own it, and plenty of advice.

Last question would be : can you optimize your room placement? Play around a little with the speakers? Add a subwoofer? There could be a solution there, too.


Latest posts