Very dissapointed in first demo

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New member
Aug 10, 2019
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Hi All,

I went to my first demo yesterday, at my local Hi Fi shop. It's only small, and having spoken to the owner last Saturday, he suggested that for the sort of budget I was thinking of, (£1500) for amp, CD and speakers, that if I went up to the £2000 mark, then I would then be entering true Hi Fi.

So I turned up, with a selection of CD's and the owner had set the system up and warmed it up. It consisted of Arcam A18 amp, Arcam CD17 and B W 684 speakers. This was his suggestion.

I was really excited, but I became very dissapointed as I listened to this set up. Listening at various levels of volume, there was hardly any bass, without using the bass control and turning that in the + direction. In all it sounded very flat, to even muffeled. On one live track the accoustic guitar on it's own sounded nice, but as soon as the other instruments came in it just lost it, there was no ring to cymbals etc.

Please could anyone give me their opinions, I know that I need to go and listen to something else. I am thinking of going and listening to the cambridge Azure 840 v2 amp and CD, with Mordaunt Short Aviano 6 and Mezzo 6, to see what that sounds like.

I live in Chesterfield and work in Leicester and Sheffield is not far away from where I live, so if there are any suggestions of where to go to listen to any further suggestions please let me know.

Thanks
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
13
19,695
Two things. Firstly, £1,500 is plenty to get "true Hi fi". Secondly, the system that you demoed, from my experience of the individual components, wouldn't sound very good.

However, the kinf of music you like and the size of room you're going to put it in have quite some bearing on what to look at. Can you give us some ideas?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The room is 12 x 14ft. The music I listen to is varied, rock, pop, R n B, jazz.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
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19,695
OK, same sort of size as my room. For starters, I'm not sure I would recommend floorstanders as they might be a bit overpowering in that room.

I would start by looking at something like the Cambridge system available at Richer Sounds (saving 300 quid or something over RRP), and maybe selling the speakers and getting something a bit mroe refined. I still haven't heard the EB Acoustic EB1s, but they do rave about them here, even privately.

That would leave you hundreds of pounds to buy stands 'n' stuff.

Course, you might find that he 840-based system (which is also a very good deal at two grand) is absolutely what you want, though I repeat my caeat above about floorstanders...
 

roger06

Well-known member
Dec 23, 2007
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Spending £1,500 if it doesn't really get you want you want is a total waste of money.

I had this figure in mind and also auditioned Arcam stuff at this price point. It was really boring. I then listened to a Naim / Dynaudio combo which came to about £2,300 and I was blown away.

Five years later it's still going strong and I still love it whereas the 1500 quids' worth of Arcam would have been upgraded and it would have cost more in the long run.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
John,

Thank you very much for the helpfull advice, I will get myself down to Richer Sounds and have a listen to the Cambridge equipment and I have took note about the floorstanders.

Cheers, will let you know how I get on.
 

d_a_n1979

New member
Sep 6, 2007
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Massari; I had the same issue with the Arcam & B&W combo; even with the B&W CM7's and the 683's the Arcam gear lacked


The CD17 is a good spinner but IMO you'd be better off with the likes of the Rega Apollo

IMO seperates you need to listen to are:

Amps:

NAD C355BEE
Rotel RA06SE / RA1520
Yamaha AS2000
Audiolab 8000S
Marantz PM7004
Roksan Kandy K2
Rega Brio 3

CDP's:

Rega Apollo
Arcam CD17
Audiolab 8000CD
NAD C545BEE
Marantz CD6003

Speakers:

Monitor Audio RX2's and the RX6's
Rega RS3's and the RS5's
B&W 685's and the 683's
QUAD 22L2's
Acoustic Energy AE Neo 3's
B&W CM7's
Neat Motive 2's
Dynaudio DM2/6's or the 2/7's

If youre happy with 2nd hand seperates then IMO the likes of An Arcam Alpha 10 or the DiVA A85 integrated amps would be superb; matched with a new/2nd hand Rega Apollo or a decent 2nd hand Arcam DiVA CD192 CDP and any of the speakers mentioned above; you'll be laughing
 

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
Massari,

From your post I feel like you may have similar taste to myself. I would suggest you try any Dynaudio speaker. For me, these speakers have bass like nothing else on the market. Other speakers I tried, I found that the bass was either too reserved or, if it was present, it was not good quality.

Neat and Monitor Audio also have good bass, but not as good as Dynaudio.

Good luck.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi Massari

There are 2 very good Hifi shops in Leicester, 1. Cymbiosys - Naim Specialists and 2. Leicester Hifi.

They both have good demo facilities and offer good advice.

Both have web sites so you should be able to find them easily.

Regards

Andy
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi,

With £1500 you can get something really good. I had a budget of around £1000 to spend on an amp and a pair of floorstanders and just like you listened to a lot of setups. I finally ended up buying a pair of Quad 21L2 speakers and a Marantz PM6003

You won't find a lot of reviews on the speakers as they are not so common - got mine from Superfi.

I would definitely recommend you listen to the above as it is an extremely good combination for this sort of budget. The speakers are very very delicate, smooth and detailed. As for the amp, it has good punch and can handle all types of music very well.

Good luck!

GM
 

sometimesuk

New member
Sep 25, 2008
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I'm hardly surprised. I've onyl listened to B&W 805S and found them too laid back and boring.

I'd say change the speakers.

You will be surprised at the differences between manufactures. Ihad the same experience about 9 years go, listening to a Rega system for ages, and though it was alright nothing special, then listened to some Arcam gear, and couldnt believe the difference. It just pressed all my buttons at the time.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
massari:
Hi All,

I went to my first demo yesterday, at my local Hi Fi shop. It's only small, and having spoken to the owner last Saturday, he suggested that for the sort of budget I was thinking of, (£1500) for amp, CD and speakers, that if I went up to the £2000 mark, then I would then be entering true Hi Fi.

So I turned up, with a selection of CD's and the owner had set the system up and warmed it up. It consisted of Arcam A18 amp, Arcam CD17 and B W 684 speakers. This was his suggestion.

I was really excited, but I became very dissapointed as I listened to this set up. Listening at various levels of volume, there was hardly any bass, without using the bass control and turning that in the + direction. In all it sounded very flat, to even muffeled. On one live track the accoustic guitar on it's own sounded nice, but as soon as the other instruments came in it just lost it, there was no ring to cymbals etc.

Please could anyone give me their opinions, I know that I need to go and listen to something else. I am thinking of going and listening to the cambridge Azure 840 v2 amp and CD, with Mordaunt Short Aviano 6 and Mezzo 6, to see what that sounds like.

I live in Chesterfield and work in Leicester and Sheffield is not far away from where I live, so if there are any suggestions of where to go to listen to any further suggestions please let me know.

Thanks

Moorgate Acoustics in Sheffield, very helpful especially Paul H.

http://www.moorgateacoustics.co.uk/

great selection of kit, and some used bargains also. Probably get more bang for your buck, most of them come with decent warranty also.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
what ive got sounds very good to my ears ..

monitor audio rx6...marantz cd6003..pm6003 ..

would cost around £1200 i think ..
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
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18,890
I suppose it depends on what sort of volume you want from the system. If you find the Arcam a little smooth, try the following.

If higher volumes, something like the Rotel RA1520 with a Rega Apollo CD and some Monitor Audio RX1's or 2's. If you don't listen too loud, the same system with the ATC SCM7's would be pretty good, and you'll be able to upgrade the electronics at some point and they'll still sound great.
 

ESP2009

New member
Feb 16, 2009
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One key to this post is the very subject line. It was the first demo, so get out there and listen to more, preferably not restricting yourself to one option per session. I know from personal experience that is not always easy to get out to demo, but it is definitely worth the effort to do so when you get the chance.

Take the advice listed in previous posts and also check the other resources on this site, shortlist some kit and then find out who can give you a demo within a reasonable radius. Don't let the shop dictate what you are going to try out, but by all means allow them to suggest any 'wild cards' you may not have considered.

If you can, do what I did this week, book an hour of your lunchtime if there is somewhere within spitting distance of work. Furthermore, find out what home demo arrangements are offered.

In a way, I was a bit disappointed with the demo I had last weekend, spending over two hours with the Sound Academy and leaving without spending a penny (er, that didn't read back well, did it?) I expected far more from the kit I was trying out, but it generally fell short of my expectations although, apart from the Cyrus, they sounded good. The staff didn't seem at all concerned and the chap I dealt with seemed to enjoy the experience as much as I - they are usually enthusiastic about what they are selling (unlike your average spotty youth in Currys!). Yes, this can be a two-edged thing because sometimes they can be fans of a particular make themselves and want you to appreciate it too! ;o) But I would say that from my recent experiences it can be a bit lonely in hi-fi shops and they welcome a fellow enthusiast to discuss the subject with, even if you don't buy (straight away).

Get back out there and try some alternatives. The Arcam range does seem a bit too laidback for many tastes. Go find some sparkle!
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
88
1
18,545
With the room size you have I'd recommend sticking with standmount speakers. But if you need to go the floorstander route try the monitor audio RX6. I would give the MS Aviano 6's a miss. My Lektor 2's sounded better.
 

6th.replicant

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2007
292
0
18,890
When demo'ing new speakers, I tried my Arcam cdp (was a CD72) and amp with some B&Ws - can't remember model nos but they were floorstanders and cost c. £800? - and the combo sounded a wee bit 'flat'.

Eventually went for KEFs, cos with the Arcams it sounds more like what I call 'lively vinyl'.
 

6th.replicant

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2007
292
0
18,890
vinod_david:Ok, if I partner an A38 + CD37 with my MA RS6, will they still be boring and flat ? - just curious.
FWIW, when I demo'd MA RS6s with an Arcam CD73 and an A70, the bass sounded very 'flabby' and 'thud, thud', mid-range was 'empty' and the top-end piercingly 'bright'/metallic.
 

Lost Angeles

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2008
130
0
18,590
massari:

Hi All,

I went to my first demo yesterday, at my local Hi Fi shop. It's only small, and having spoken to the owner last Saturday, he suggested that for the sort of budget I was thinking of, (£1500) for amp, CD and speakers, that if I went up to the £2000 mark, then I would then be entering true Hi Fi.

So I turned up, with a selection of CD's and the owner had set the system up and warmed it up. It consisted of Arcam A18 amp, Arcam CD17 and B W 684 speakers. This was his suggestion.

I was really excited, but I became very dissapointed as I listened to this set up. Listening at various levels of volume, there was hardly any bass, without using the bass control and turning that in the + direction. In all it sounded very flat, to even muffeled. On one live track the accoustic guitar on it's own sounded nice, but as soon as the other instruments came in it just lost it, there was no ring to cymbals etc.

Please could anyone give me their opinions, I know that I need to go and listen to something else. I am thinking of going and listening to the cambridge Azure 840 v2 amp and CD, with Mordaunt Short Aviano 6 and Mezzo 6, to see what that sounds like.

I live in Chesterfield and work in Leicester and Sheffield is not far away from where I live, so if there are any suggestions of where to go to listen to any further suggestions please let me know.

Thanks

You should have got him to swap at least one of the components while you were there to give you a direct comparision of equipment in the same surroundings.
Make sure you take the same CDs to the next demo.

B&W 684s do not lack bass.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the reply, whilst yes, it was my first demo and I need to do more before I part with my money.

But for the price that it was going to be for that set up, I could not believe how rubbish it was, I know we all have our different tastes, but I dont think that set up would have suited many people.

Previous set ups I have had in the past, have sounded much better at a lot less cost.

One of the problems I am finding is, when I search shops in my areas, they have some items that people suggest, but not the whole lot, so I think that with the advice that people are giving to me, I am taking notes of all the suggestions and I will just visit all the shops and work from there.

For me personaly, if I listen to a set up that I really like and the items have been recomended on here and have good revies from the magazine, then that is what I will go for. It would seem that I can get a better sound than yesterday for a lot less.

I think that if it was the Arcam range that was letting the speakers down, then I think they must have been sleeping, not laid back. But I dont doubt the qaulity of Arcam, but either not my taste or with the wrong speakers. He did put it through some smaller B & W's I think 685's but to no avail to me, a different sound but still very lacking.

Any way thanks again.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hey John,

I have booked to go to richer sounds next Friday at Sheffield, to listen to the 2 Cambridge systems, but I will ask to try a different pair of speakers other than the Mezzo's.

One question that I will ask you. As with the 2 Cambridge systems, one amp is 75 watts per chanel and the other is 120 watts per chanel. Now I doubt that I would use the full power of either amp, even if I do normaly listen at a high volume. But do you gain any think extra with sound with more power, ie, is it better at low volume listening or anything else.

Cheers
 

bluebrazil

New member
Jul 2, 2009
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generaly the higher the output the more control, even at less than room bouncing levels. but let your own ears judge and dont part with your cash if your less than impressed.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I have got a second demo set up, but I need to track down the likes of the Dynaudio, Monitor Audio and the quad speakers in paticular, as they seem to be favoured a lot, I have to say that the Rega Apollo cd looks good and from it's review and your recomendation, I want to try that out as well.

All suggestions are wrote down and I will go in search of them.

Cheers
 

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