Upgrading to ... ? B&W 683, onkyo A-5VL/CS-5VL

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all,

I am planning to upgrade my old system (Technics SA-EX120, Quadral PICO) . Starting from scratch, spending an awful lot of time surfing the web.

Today I tried a few things first in the shop. I set my eyes on the B&W 683, the guy in the shop supported the idea and paired it fo rme with the onkyo A-5VL/CS-5VL combo. I also tried the Cambridge 650A/650C. (I actually liked the onkyo a bit better upon the first try)

So ... this is my starting point right now which about fits my budget. Reading the site and the forum, I really liked many of the suggestions here so if any of you spared a word or two of caution, of encouragement or any advice concerning this setup or any alternative suggestion, I would very much appreciate.

This is the room this will eventually go to: http://i.imgur.com/WVwsH.png. On the right is where my HiFi is now and on the left, on the two sides of the TV is where the new speakers are planned. Please, tell me that the 683 is not too big for this room. Thanks

Thanks in advance,

cheers, Tamas
 

Chokobolt

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Mar 6, 2010
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Very impressive drawing


Why don't you place your TV + speakers in the corner, the sofa is facing?

Personally, I couldn't live with how the speakers are placed in your drawing. I mean one speaker firing straight ahead, and the other to the side.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Chokobolt:

Very impressive drawing


Why don't you place your TV + speakers in the corner, the sofa is facing?

Personally, I couldn't live with how the speakers are placed in your drawing. I mean one speaker firing straight ahead, and the other to the side.

Yeah, the drawing is nice and useful, I did not do it just for the purpose of my post though, it is really handy to have a 3d model (sketchup) of my apartment for a number of purposes.

The direction of the speakers is a bit random, but you obviously make a good point and I will experiment with that once I have them, as well as adjusting the seating(s).

I'd love to put the TV and the speakers in their obviously best position, i.e. facing the sofa but I cannot believe I will be able to live with the TV right in front of the window. I have played with the idea though and even went to look for examples if there has been anybody so insane as to position the TV such, which I did not find, so I just decided that's not for humans.

Tamas
 

Chokobolt

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Mar 6, 2010
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Well, my window is right behind my screen and that doesn't bring me any trouble at all. I also have curtains for the window, so it's all good
 
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Anonymous

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Chokobolt:Well, my window is right behind my screen and that doesn't bring me any trouble at all. I also have curtains for the window, so it's all good


You see, this is exactly the kind of comments I have been hoping for. I thought the same but felt silly. And of course the wife agreed (with me being silly). I will definitely give it a try then. Thanks

Tamas
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Chokobolt:Be sure to keep us up to date on how you get along


Will do. But first I need to work more on what to buy. Speaker sounded great but the amp doesn't seem to do well at all in reviews so I will have to line up others for listening that maybe do better justice to the 683.

If anybody wants to chime in with ideas on that, I certainly don't mind ;-)

In any case, this is a fantastic forum, I enjoy and learn a lot from all the other threads, too

cheers,

Tamas
 

Chokobolt

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Mar 6, 2010
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Yeah, I didn't even know that Onkyo made stereo amps. They are most known for their AV amps I guess. I don't know how much your budget is, but Marantz, Nad, Naim, Denon, Rega etc. seems to be making some great sounding stereo amplifiers, both for those with a low budget, (maybe not so much Naim) and those who are fortunate enough to have a lot of money to spend.
 
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the record spot

Guest
Rather think the 683s will need something a little beefier than the Onkyo to sound of their best to be fair. The Quadral Picos were regarded by some as the best small speaker a couple of years back - £650 or so, but very fine indeed by all accounts. Are you sure you want to get rid of them? Perhaps spend the money on a major amplifier upgrade?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
the record spot:Rather think the 683s will need something a little beefier than the Onkyo to sound of their best to be fair. The Quadral Picos were regarded by some as the best small speaker a couple of years back - £650 or so, but very fine indeed by all accounts. Are you sure you want to get rid of them? Perhaps spend the money on a major amplifier upgrade?

Wow... Spot on, I was hoping this would not come up :-(. No, I'll hate to part with these speakers. I still remember auditioning the speakers in the shop like 10 years ago, the pico stood out just so much, it was amazing. Then we paired with this Technics amp and I never got the awesome sound in any of the apartments I lived in since. I always thought that the amp is the weak point, but then again I remembered others telling me to spend much on the speakers, little on the amp and remembered trying those floorstanders in the shop and how they amazed me at the time (compared to the pico) but were not in my price range.

Long story short: let's say I have around CHF 3-4000 (that's like 3-4000 USD) that I happily invest into upgrading. What would get me the most? I regret the picos but sound of the likes of the 683 beat them clearly as far as I can tell. Would I win with spending $3000 on just the electronics driving the picos compared to say buying B&W 683 + Cambridge 650A+650C (I have given up on this Onkyo pair already)? Maybe, but so far I did not think so ...

(Of course, the PICOs should not be factored in the cost as if they were thrown out at 0 price. They would either get sold or found their place)

So many unknowns, I have been hesitating for weeks. Fortunately Christmas is the deadline otherwise I'd go crazy

Thanks a lot,

Tamas
 
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Anonymous

Guest
the record spot:Rather think the 683s will need something a little beefier to sound of their best to be fair.

I agree with this, unfortunately this is a bit uncharted territory for me, what would be a good example of a beefier amp where I could start experimenting?

Thanks

Tamas
 

AL13N

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Nov 29, 2009
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farkasehes:the record spot:Rather think the 683s will need something a little beefier to sound of their best to be fair.I agree with this, unfortunately this is a bit uncharted territory for me, what would be a good example of a beefier amp where I could start experimenting?
XTZ offer a home demo so you could test it side by side with the Onkyo and Cambridge.

The CDP uses the same DAC chip (AD1955) as the CA 840C and the amplifier has DAC inputs so you can connect your TV/DVD/STB as well. Audio Sanctum offer a package deal on the CDP/Amp combo.

Happy hunting
 
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Anonymous

Guest
AL13N:the record spot:Rather think the 683s will need something a little beefier to sound of their best to be fair.
XTZ offer a home demo so you could test it side by side with the Onkyo and Cambridge.
Happy hunting

AL13N, thanks for the advice, I appreciate. Unfortunatly I did not find the XTZ a good starting point for the hunting: no trace of it in Swiss shops and I found it difficult to match the specs/quality to equivalent better-known ones.

I might stretch it as far as, say the ROTEL RA-1520, does that sound like a worthy driver for the 683s?

Thanks for all the comments, it's really helpful

Cheers,

Tamas
 

AL13N

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Nov 29, 2009
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farkasehes:Unfortunatly I did not find the XTZ a good starting point for the hunting: no trace of it in Swiss shops
Yes, you're right. Unfortunately they do not have any presence in Switzerland, so the only way of ordering is directly from XTZ.

farkasehes:I might stretch it as far as, say the ROTEL RA-1520, does that sound like a worthy driver for the 683s?
Well, given that Rotel are part of the B&W Group, one would certainly hope so. This also means there's a high probability of B&W dealers also stocking Rotel, so give it a listen.

If it's pushing your budget see if any dealers in your area have any ex-dem stock.
 

bezza79

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Feb 15, 2009
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I certainly don't think you'll be disappointed with the Rotel RA-1520, as this is what I have with the 683's!!

Bias aside, I started my auditioning with the 685's and worked up through the 684's until I was blown away by the 683's. I started at the Rotel 04 then the 06 then it was a straight fight between the Rotel RA-1520 and the Roksan Kandy K2.

I went for the Rotel for two reasons, firstly it looked much better (!) and secondly the bass was, in my opinion alot better on the Rotel. Both are worth listening to if you can as your taste may be different, I have quite a varied taste in music and will listen to anything from Drum'n Bass to Classical to Rap both were very good with all types of music but the Rotel swung it for me in the end.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
AL13N:
If it's pushing your budget see if any dealers in your area have any ex-dem stock.

One way of sanitizing my budget is not to replace my broken CDP (not part of the above equation), but buy the Dac Magic, which I would pbbly want as half of my music is flac on my computer, anyway. The question is, would then playing CDs on my DVD player - optical sound into the DacMagic hooked up to my expensive Amp and speakers - make me as happy as a matching CDP would?

(I am beginning to feel embarrassed about hijacking the forum, will fade away soon)

cheers

Tamas
 

bezza79

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Feb 15, 2009
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Well it's funny you should ask that as I have the Dac Magic and use it connected to my computer as my main source. I have hundreds of CD's but don't have the space to keep them out so opted for this option.

I initially had the Dac Magic set up via USB from the computer but now use a co-axial connection which does seem better, I also use my Apple TV connected to the Dac to playback my music. I was recently lent an Arcam CD73T by a friend which I was able to compare with the Dac Magic and to be honest I really struggled to tell the difference, they were/are both excellent.

I found the music played back via the computer better than playing the CD through my PS3 connected to the Dac also. The sound seemed more open and the instruments and voices had much better separation.

As to whether it would make you as happy as a matching CD player, I couldn't say as even now that is the next thing I would like to add to my system. Not probably because I need it but because I want one!

Oh and one last thing I got a free membership to the B&W Society of Sound when I purchased the speakers (and again with my MM-1's!!) which you need a computer set up to be able to play. I recently joined HD Tracks also and they give you some free Hi-Res music samples which again can only be played with the assistance of a computer.

And really finally on the budget side of things the dealer I bought my speakers from contacted B&W and got hold of a factory returned set for £600 fully tested and still with the full 5 year guarantee.
 
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Anonymous

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I am not sure this last sentence of your comment was helpful ...

(breaks into tears of envy)
 

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