Which Goes First

daveyjay

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Dec 2, 2008
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Thoroughly unhappy with current set up: Bluesound Node 2 (the original version), Arcam A19 amp, Monitor Audio Silver 1 speakers, Tidal Premium. The sound is flat, recessed and muddled at best. So, what's to blame - source, amp or speakers? All three? Should I get rid of it all and start again? If not, which should I replace first?

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Cheers.
 
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Samd

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Mar 6, 2013
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What Hifi Review gives a hint:

We found that the Arcam A19 needs some careful system partnering to truly shine. We swapped our neutral-sounding ATCs for the KEF LS50s speakers – and the change in pace was immediate.
The KEFs, our 2012 Product of the Year at £800, have a lively and open presentation that suits the Arcam amplifier a treat. There’s an instant lift to its sound, with a warmer and livelier presentation that shows off what this amp can really do.
 

Dom

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Aug 6, 2011
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The only thing I could add is that plugging everything in makes a difference so source goes first, and put computers on a separate line.
So in your case the Blue Sound then the amp and so on.
Don't give up and I hope you don't think I'm crazy.
 

daveyjay

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Dec 2, 2008
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Thanks for prompt replies. I had everything unplugged and ready to be boxed up to sell, but I thought I'd give it all one more try just to see if I had been in a bad mood when I had last listened. :)
 

chris661

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Oct 30, 2019
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What's your positioning like?
None of your equipment is bad, and I'd expect decent sound if set up correctly.

Chris
 

insider9

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None of your gear is bad, however there's definitely no synergy. You could look at any of the components. I'd change the Node last though.

Are you speakers placed on stands?
 

knaithrover

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Nov 24, 2013
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I had the FMJ a19 with MA RX1 a few years ago and found it a startlingly musical listen at times even jaw dropping, however as a combo it definitely lacked depth and could be a little bright. I eventually moved the Arcam on and the MA's ended up in my garage set up. I am toying with the idea of getting another A19 for a bedroom set up with the RX1's but adding eq with a schiit Loki - if the treble is rounded off and a touch of bass added I reckon it could be very decent. My advice is to try eq
 

daveyjay

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Hmm. Nothing much wrong with the positioning. Maybe I’m expecting a little too much as far as SQ goes. To be honest, I get more enjoyment listening to my ageing JBL Onbeat Extreme.
 

chris661

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I know what you mean. Sometimes an easy-to-use inoffensive system is nice to have.

That said, your separates system should easily exceed the JBL for sound quality.
Are you certain positioning is okay and that everything is set up correctly?

Could you describe the problem a little more?

Chris
 
Yes, I think a little more information is required but looking a a digital system and the fact you cannot alter the quality that Tidal is giving you I'd be looking at changing speakers then possibly amp or DAC although I understand the Node is half decent
 
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Always thought that Arcam and Monitor Audio were supposed to be a good match??
 
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scene

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I'd agree with most of the comments so far (apart from changing the source - I'd say that's the last thing to change).
Positioning: Have you ensured your speakers are out from the walls, corners - I'd try giving MAs a foot to breath off the wall and, try to make sure they're at least a couple of feet off the side walls. You might want to consider toeing them in a bit, try playing with an angle of about 10-20 degrees. This is worth trying as it costs nothing...
Stands: What stands are you using, and are the speakers solidly placed on them (blu tak can be your friend...) - if you're not using stands, seriously consider getting some...
After that your into expensive changes - and it's the speakers and/or the amp to change.
I'd look to speak to your friendly local dealer and explain you're looking to getting new speakers (and maybe an amp) and see if they'll let you bring in your source/amp/speakers (are they still boxed up??) to demo some kit. Tell them about your kit, room and music preferences (and budget!) and they should be happy to help you. Take along some tracks you know and love and enjoy the demo.

This is where good dealers beat online any day.
 

daveyjay

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Thanks again for the extra replies. The MAs are Blu Tacked on to Atacama Nexus stands. They are about a foot away fro rear wall. Bass port bungs are in - without them, the bass is boomy. The sound is not 'forward' enough and the mid range is 'muddled'. That's the best way I can describe it.
 

chris661

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I'm beginning to wonder if the speakers are working correctly. If you're near Sheffield I'd be happy to pop round.

Chris
 

Fred_Barker

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Feb 17, 2013
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Thoroughly unhappy with current set up: Bluesound Node 2 (the original version), Arcam A19 amp, Monitor Audio Silver 1 speakers, Tidal Premium. The sound is flat, recessed and muddled at best. So, what's to blame - source, amp or speakers? All three? Should I get rid of it all and start again? If not, which should I replace first?

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Cheers.
Keep the Arcam unless you have a big budget (y)
 

chris661

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2019
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I'm in Sheffield too. Small world 😁
Neat!
You'll have to come round and bring some tunes.

Daveyjay, I'd suggest playing some music quietly and putting your ear to each driver in turn. Make sure you're getting treble from the tweeters, and midrange & bass from the 6" cones. While you're in there, make sure the 6" cones move smoothly when gently pushed.

A little while ago I re-capped the crossovers on some Kef 104.2s. Huge improvement to the sound. The old caps had dried up, so all the values had shifted and then the crossovers weren't aligned properly.

Chris
 
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daveyjay

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Dec 2, 2008
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Thanks for additional replies everyone. I think it's all working as it should - just not happy with the sound. Going to try different speakers first. Will post back soon :)
 
Thoroughly unhappy with current set up: Bluesound Node 2 (the original version), Arcam A19 amp, Monitor Audio Silver 1 speakers, Tidal Premium. The sound is flat, recessed and muddled at best. So, what's to blame - source, amp or speakers? All three? Should I get rid of it all and start again? If not, which should I replace first?

Interested to hear your thoughts.

Cheers.
Hold on to the Silver 1's. Amp first and for not too much money look at the used market for a NAD C370. Then look at substituting the Node 2's analogue output with it's digital output into an Arcam irDAC MK1.
 
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