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Looks are important. So many admit to buying hifi because they like the look of it, without ever listening to it. My first set up was bought because of a review in Which? and I have bought exclusively based on What hifi reviews. My present set up is down to constant house moves and never being able to get a room where I could put the speakers in a decent position, fed up with loads of cable, space for CD and cassette storage and sound.
I had my Quad amp rebuilt because I was incredibly curious to see what a custom redesign and build could achieve. It cost me under £400 and is something totally different. It's made of serviceable components and I can roll the OP amps too. The thought of spending >£1k on a power amp to get the same result just doesn't cop it now I've got hold of this new block
My speaker purchase last year was somewhat less considered. I decided on the Tuesday that I'd had enough of MA's speakers and their brightness so I booked a slot with Lincoln 7Oaks for the Saturday. Having spent four hours listening to speakers I placed an order. I don't like beating around the bush...
The improvement in sound quality alone had me hypnotized. I had to buy them. Now I'm afraid to step into a hifi shop, another reason for having a Quad rebuild...
1. The price dropped nearly 50% last year in preparation for new models
2. At the new price i couldnt find anything that really beat it for quality and sound - but i admit i only demo'd about 3 others (i tried one or two more after i bought them and still havent been dissappointed by my purchase)
3. I like the way they looked
The Neat speakers i did this properly and demo'd 6 comparative speakers in an afternoon session with a good dealer and chose the ones i liked best.
I am still intruiged to try other makes - for instance i still have never heard a Naim system but i dont get the impression from many forum posters that i will like it - one day i will give it a listen.
Believe it or not looks played an important part in my purchase - I love the minimalist and timeless design of the cyrus boxes and the fact that no matter what I upgrade with (as long as its cyrus) it looking the same.
My girlfriend would also have struggled accepting full size gear if it wasn't locked away in a cabinet.
I bought my hi-fi because I'd tried several fairly expensive new systems and found something lacking. I got to the point of frustration with Arcam CD73/A70, Cambridge 740C/740A, and Denon DCD1500AE/PMA1500 and needed to cut loose.
The CD player and amplifier I bought second hand because of their reputation for getting on with making music, and the speakers I bought a long time ago but, for some reason, had kept hold of them. Together they are brilliantly musical and beat everything else I've had here hands down.