Weighing up various options...

Dan Turner

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Hi all.

I've got about £1500 (i'm certainly not opposed to spending less) set-aside to treat myself and i'm having a hard time deciding what to do.

I'm toying between trying to find a 2nd hand XPS2 power supply for my CD Player and a new Blu-ray player, or getting the BR player and a new home cinema amp (if the latter then I would like them from the same manufacturer for aesthetic reasons).

A present i'm using a Sony BDP-S570 and STR-DA3300ES. The Blu-ray player has been fine for HD picture and sound quality but i'm a little fed-up of it's flakiness in being able to actually execute it's 'on paper' streaming capabilities, and I wouldn't mind something with better DVD upscaling abilities. The AV amp is a few years old now and it has HDMI inputs which are only able to accept HD audio in LPCM format (which is fine because the the player can decode the codecs), but i'd like something with a decent on-board up-scaler for Sky as whilst the scaler in my TV is OK, i'm sure it can be bettered, and the scaler in the sky box is downright lousy. It was c. £700 4 years ago.

For the rest of my system i've got the front L&R going through my Naim stereo amp and Neat speakers (no centre), MA Radius 180 surrounds, Radius 90 surround-backs, and an REL quake sub.

I'm pretty sure i'm going to upgrade the BR player regardless of what else I decide and I've been pointed towards the Pioneer BDPLX55 as having really good streaming capabilities - does anyone have any experience of this player and it's general performance, particularly whether DVD upscaling is likely to be an improvement on my present Sony?

As far as the AV amp goes I was thinking possibly the Pioneer VSXLX55, mainly as it would be a good visual match for the BR player, ticks all the spec boxes, and seems to be in the right price range. Has anyone got any experience of this amp, and is it likely to offer an appreciable improvement on my Sony?

Any other suggestions of a BR player and AV amp same-manufacturer combo that I should consider?

Cheers

Dan
 

Dan Turner

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Anyone?

I'm encouraged by the WHF review of the VSXLX55, but I guess I'd kind of like to guage how much of an improvement over my current Sony it would be.

How about opinions of partnering Pioneer with Monitor Audio?
 

CnoEvil

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Hi Dan

I'm not sure I'll be a lot of use (don't like Pioneer amps), but if it was me, I'd be throwing it at the 2 channel side, as this would give me the most pleasure.

That means a competent streamer, which (for me) would be/is a Linn DS....but for you, probably a Naim. If that doesn't appeal, it would be on power supplies and Naim power cables.

This is personal, so please feel free to ignore. :)
 

Dan Turner

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CnoEvil said:
Hi Dan I'm not sure I'll be a lot of use (don't like Pioneer amps), but if it was me, I'd be throwing it at the 2 channel side, as this would give me the most pleasure. That means a competent streamer, which (for me) would be/is a Linn DS....but for you, probably a Naim. If that doesn't appeal, it would be on power supplies and Naim power cables. This is personal, so please feel free to ignore. :)

Yeah, I have to admit that i'm leaning that way. I threw my lot in with the CDX2 a little while back because you can get so much more bang for your buck going for a second hand CDP than a shiny new network streamer (and changing CDs is no hardship if i'm in the room anyway - I have Sonos for multi-room, entertaining or if I'm just feeling lazy etc) so it would be an XPS2 if I went that route (which could still serve a streamer-led system down the road if i stuck with Naim). The trouble with that option is that the Mrs' perception of 1 innocuous looking black box with no ostensible function costing £1500 odd is not especially favourable. Then I tell her that new it would be £3k and for some reason that makes it worse :doh: Of course she wants me to spend it on whatever I want really.....

Alternatively I could spend it on loads of little things - the new blu-ray player, a new car stereo with ipod integration, a new lens for my camera, weekend away (that would go down well), there are loads of things and generally having lots of things to show for the money spent would go down better. Problem is that not getting the XPS2 would probably niggle and i can't really afford to end up spending out on it down the road. I kind of need to spend what I've got to spend now and then leave it for a good few years.

The other option with the AV Receiver is borne out of the fact that my Sony is a few years old now, not really of the latest spec and not really up to the standard of the 2 channel gear its routing the front L&R through, although I have to wonder if it's really worth getting anything better in my small room with a relatively inexpensive sub and surround/back speakers.

on balance I think that the easiest route to giving me the most pleasure for the money and quelling my upgraditis is probably to get the XPS2, then at least I will have taken my 2 channel system to it's logical and reasonable end-point (assuming you don't regard a 555PS for the CDP or a Supercap for the amp to be logical or reasonable!)
 

CnoEvil

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I know how you feel re CDPs, as I was exactly the same. Then my local Linn dealer said "I think you should have a listen to this new DS technology....no pressure!". That sowed the seed which ended up germinating.

I'm less familiar with the Naim solution (though I've heard one), but the Linn one was a revelation.

So like my dealer said to me....go have a listen, especially 24 bit (if you haven't already); NO PRESSURE.

Having owned one now for over a year, I never play CDs.....my catalogue is easier to navigate, play lists are fun and music has never sounded better.......just saying . >)
 

Dan Turner

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CnoEvil said:
I know how you feel re CDPs, as I was exactly the same. Then my local Linn dealer said "I think you should have a listen to this new DS technology....no pressure!". That sowed the seed which ended up germinating.

I'm less familiar with the Naim solution (though I've heard one), but the Linn one was a revelation.

So like my dealer said to me....go have a listen, especially 24 bit (if you haven't already); NO PRESSURE.

Having owned one now for over a year, I never play CDs.....my catalogue is easier to navigate, play lists are fun and music has never sounded better.......just saying . >)

I am tempted, and I'm sure that decent network streamers from the likes of Linn and Naim are at least as good or perhaps a bit better than their equivalent CD forebears, however if I got the XPS2 for say £1500-ish 2nd hand, then that means that for under £3K all in, I would own what is (at present prices) about £6800 of CD player - even if i flogged my CDP and came up with £3k to spend - is that going to buy me a streamer to compete with that? I'd be taking more of a sideways step and only slightly up from where I am presently with just the CDX2, surely....

I actually feel like i've got the best of both worlds at the moment - for a casual listen or for entertaining the Sonos into my amp is remarkably good and of course integrates with the Sonos' in the rest of the flat, and for proper sit-down listen then the hardship of changing a CD is more than made up for by the extra performance.
 

Dan Turner

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CnoEvil said:
There is nothing wrong with your logic......I'm just being me, and provoking thought. :)

Well Cno you did provoke some thought, but alas I'm going to have to halve by budget pretty much, because I have ended up paying much more tax than I though I would on my bonus |( . So for this year i think i'm pretty much settled on getting the Pioneer blu-ray player, a new car stereo with ipod integration and a new lens for my camera.

If i get a great bonus next year maybe i'll have another look at what i can do with my 2 channel system, but for now it's sounding great so I'm not too bad off :)

Thanks for the input
 

CnoEvil

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Dan Turner said:
Well Cno you did provoke some thought, but alas I'm going to have to halve by budget pretty much, because I have ended up paying much more tax than I though I would on my bonus .

I feel your pain; the Revenue Commissioners are out with a vengeance at the moment. |(
 

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