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A/V Me and my silly hifi - amp acquired!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Mister_Tad, 21 Jan 2006.

  1. Will

    Will Beware the judderman...

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    I'd be looking at second hand/ex-demo, even with a grand to spend the difference in what you'll get second hand and what you'll get new still means it makes more sense to buy s/h. Problem though is demoing stuff, or getting a good idea of what components go together.

    If you were to ask on the Zerogain forums (google for 'em) I'm sure they'll find you a s/h amp and pair of speakers that will blow the B&Ws into the weeds! Whilst I like B&W speakers, and have a pair of 602s myself, past the £500 or so mark I'd be looking at something a bit more exotic from the likes of PMC, Dynaudio, Castle or Epos....B&W are damned good, but they're not necessarily the best or to your own preference at any specific price point.

    :)
     
  2. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    :read:
    Using a modified Marantz CD63 KI

    Im still going for a stereo amp/receiver, as I'm really not fussed about uber quality in surround and will spend around £500 or so on a AV receiver at a later date when i expand the system, no need now though

    I *may* be able to get some Synergistic cables for relatively inexpensive from the states, maybe. Otherwise, Ill be sticking to the original plan, focussing on the actual hardware first.

    I've heard £100k+ systems that would beg to differ with that point
    Have a listen to some JMLabs Grand Utopia Beryllium or Nearfield Acoustics Pipedream R21s if you ever get a chance :thumb:


    Have definitely decided on second hand stuff, as there really isnt any difference to new anyway, other than the price.

    I've decided to up the budget a bit, don't really have a specific figure in mind (probably a bad move). Going to try to get something a bit more exotic with both the speakers and the amp. Possibly trying to get my hands on an entry level Krell integrated amp (like the KAV-300 or similar) and possibly some definitive technology supertowers. Have heard the 7001s in a few system and theyre phenomenal for the price. They may be a bit tougher to find though. Have a had a closer look at some of the dynaudio ranges and the B&W 8xx series as well, but The Nautilus range seems a bit unnecessarily overpriced tbh.

    Its been decided that myself and the missus are moving house in the next couple months, so this will take a back seat for a bit (which isnt necessarily a bad thing, as then a have an excuse to up the budget :D ). I guess I now have a bit of time to think about it as well and do my homework


    EDIT: also want to wait until after the move to buy kit, as I dont want to spend £2k on stuff only to move somewhere without any decent sized rooms.
     
    Last edited: 25 Jan 2006
  3. Will

    Will Beware the judderman...

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    Have a look for a NAD Silverline S300, yes its a NAD, but supposed to be a fair bit better than the Krell KAV-300ix. Its based on the Gryphon Tabu Century. The NAD is essentially the same bar the casework, but having a relatively low end brand name isn't as revered and as such is far cheaper (it was much cheaper when new, even more so second hand). Should be doable for ~£800 second hand if you can find one...if you do I'll be immensely jealous though :waah:.

    Also consider Bel Canto Evo 200.2 power amp and a suitable pre amp, theres one second hand on Audiogon for only $725, which is crazily cheap for how good it is! I know you're in the UK, but voltage conversion is pretty easy on these amps due to their topology (speak to Tony at Coherent Systems), and with your relatives stateside you could sort out shipping and handling to get it over here fairly easily.

    Personally given a lottery win I'd be starting with a system of Meadowlark speakers and Bel Canto amplification (and a Wadia 861SE cdp), a rare combo this side of the pond but in the US both brands are far more quite common, and s/h prices via Audiogon offer superb value for money if you're willing to consider shipping stuff over.

    The guy Tony at Coherent systems (who i've met personally, decent bloke, got a cd player with him for repair at the moment :)) does import quite a lot of second hand kit as the markup from UK dealers for these brands is so high compared to American prices. Given a £2k budget its definitely amongst the first options I'd be investigating...
     
  4. dom_

    dom_ --->

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    Wadia are awesome.
    Was listening to a wadia (not sure which, but it was a two boxer) on the end of a Stax Omega electrostatic headphone system. Was one of the best things i have ever heard.

    Now if i won the lottery it would have to be Conrad Johnson top of the line mono blocks, preamp. Source would be a Nottingham Analogues Anna Log with Len Gregory's (The Cartridge Man) new parrallel tracking arm (should be in this or next months hifi mags) with his musicmaker cartridge. The phonostage would probably have to be the Clearaudio Balance Referance phonostage.
    As for speakers i would probably have to have two sets. Some avalon Sentinels for rock and busy/heavy music and some OneThingAudio refurbed Quad electrostatic esl57's for classical.

    Im part of my way there, i already have the cartridge :) and im trying to sort the esl57's out at the moment.
     
  5. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    Right, ive been doing some homework and a combo that I think I'd like is:

    Pathos Classic One Integrated amp
    Sonus Faber Domus Concerto speakers

    The thing is, I'm a bit worried about the speakers for heavy rock, apparently theyre not the best for it. I'm more interested in them sounding great for everything else, it just needs oomph, but at the same time I dont want something that sounds phenomenal for classical, jazz, rock etc and then weak when I throw some heavy rock at it

    Is there anything out there that does everything well? :sigh:
    Any opinions?
     
    Last edited: 31 Jan 2006
  6. SpeedFreak

    SpeedFreak What's a Dremel?

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    People's comical obsession with speaker cable...

    B&W is nice kit - definately have a good listen to their stuff.

    As for amps, Arcam, Rotel, NAD make some nice stuff in your range. Cyrus is great if you have a bit more cash.

    As for cable. Interconnects are worth spending money on to some extent - line level signals are of course a tiny fraction of the voltage of speaker signals and so such a 'small' signal is far more succeptable to interference and degradation than the signal coming out the back of an amp. What you want to look for here, is not silver or gold or plutonium or any other silly metallic property - but a low capacitance cable with a decent amount of conductor, but most importantly, good screening. Braided stuff being the best here, great if its double braided or combined with a foil screen aswell. Maximum screen coverage is important. Please dont be mislead by some magazines and companies trying to sell you silver/gold/plutonium speaker cables - its the way the cable is made and its design which is far more important than whether its silver or copper in the middle. Gold plated connectors are good though, merely because gold doesnt readily oxidise.

    Speaker cables, on the other hand, are another kettle of fish.

    Let me clear one thing up right now. People who try and sell you pure silver speaker cables for £50/mtr are completely ripping you off.

    Electrical signals capable of driving speakers carry some fairly markable current and voltage - whats most important here is the cross-sectional area of the conductor - not whether its gold/silver/copper or whatever else. That said though, domestic hi-fi speakers are not being driven by a particularly substantial current and so a huge cable is not necessary. 5A mains cable would most likely be fine (unless you are running a huge system) in which case mains cable is typically available all the way up to 500A or so :p
    But seriously, this all coming from a sound engineer, dont waste money on fancy speaker cables - its a waste. you wont find 'QED super silver platinum double helix spiral whatever' speaker cable in any professional studio. If the staff of the magazines that tout these stupid cables cant tell the difference between £50/m speaker cable and £0.2/m 5A mains cable then im sure you cant! You will never hear the difference between copper and silver - you may however hear the difference between 0.5sqmm and 1sqmm speaker cable (depending on the power rating of your amp), or hear the difference when bi-amping your speakers.
    Nobody in the pro audio industry uses silly QED silver speaker cable, so dont you start, take that money, buy some sensible cable and get a better amp/speakers.

    Hell if you want good quality interconnects and speaker cables i'll make you some out of van-damme black series stuff with neutrik gold phonos etc..

    Dont get sucked in by marketing people. You cant hear the difference between copper and silver!
     
  7. dom_

    dom_ --->

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    "Nobody in the pro audio industry uses silly QED silver speaker cable, so don't you start, take that money, buy some sensible cable and get a better amp/speakers."
    Complete rubbish.
    I personally know people who do use different speaker cables.
    Also the cross sectional area is only one out of many many reasons why cables change sound quality. You have the resistance on the cable, the capacitance the dielectric surrounding the wire etc etc etc.

    You have obviously never heard the difference different cables make.
    You can not simply dismiss this out of hand because you're a sound engineer or because you don't know anyone who has heard the difference. Not hearing yourself is not proof.

    Edit: You are correct how design is more important and so forth, also the gold plating as 24 carat gold does not oxidise under the atmosphere. But it is not the best conductor. Silver is, surely making it better for connections. It does oxidise but the areas in contact will not oxidise as the atmosphere (specifically sulphur) does not come in contact with the contact areas. The small area where oxidation can occur can easily be removed by simply removing the plug and replugging it in every few months.
     
  8. N4N01D

    N4N01D What's a Dremel?

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    hmm, I upgraded from cheap cable to silver and there was a noticible difference and that was with a Pioneer 514 and B&W 602's
     
  9. SpeedFreak

    SpeedFreak What's a Dremel?

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    Firstly, the issue is not whether cheap cable is better than expensive cable. Its whether good quality £1/m professional speaker cable (which has a copper core) is as good as £50/m silver stuff.

    Silver has a conductivity of around 63 10^6/(m·ohm), copper is 59.5 10^6/(m·ohm) - this is not a huge difference and becomes even less relevant if ample conductor is provided. When you also consider the relativly low electrical sensitivity of a speaker driver (in hi-fi speakers, anywhere from 4-16 ohms, typically 8-16) then it becomes even less of an issue.

    Of course there are other factors affecting how a cable alters a signal. But the ones that i mentioned are the main ones, and without going into much depth the precise construction of the cable and therefore how much impedance it has per metre is relativly irrelevant in the short cable runs of home hifi - if we are running cable runs of >100m then this does start to become an issue.

    Silver readily tarnishes and so is not commonly used for removable connections (phono, XLR, jack plugs etc...).

    My issue is with people buying consumer orientated QED silver whatever (this is not a brand bashing, its just the one that springs to mind) and believing it must automatically be better than pro grade speaker cable, containing no silver conductors and being sheathed in rather un-inspiring black rubber merely because of the outrageous pricetag.

    The brand name doesnt affect the sound, the fact is that manufacturers would like to tell you that a precious metal is what is a major factor - which is not so...
     
  10. FIBRE+

    FIBRE+ Minimodder

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    I got a pair of 603 S2 floorstanders for £200, im quite happy with them so far. They sound great for the money, imo. Im an audio noob though so dont take my word for it :blah:
     
  11. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    I've decided on what I'm getting now, after listening to a whle bunch of kit there was a very very clear winner.

    Pathos Classic One mk2 amp
    ProAc Response 1SC speakers
    DH Labs Silversonic Q10 cables

    Just a matter of waiting a couple weeks until after I move
     
  12. dom_

    dom_ --->

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    OK so your issue is with branding not making a cable better... this applies to everything. Not just cable.
    I fully agree that some cable is overpriced off the shelf rubbish that isn't even made for the hifi industry. I know of several companies who make speaker cables based on cable anyone can get from the likes of rs components. It just has the sheathing over the top to hide the sins.

    As i said the metal used is only one factor of many.
    What makes a cable expensive is when you take it to the extreme. So you use silver because its marginally better, you create a way to have an air dielectric, you make a mesh cover not touch the conductor, etc etc etc there are hundreds of ways in which you can make the theoretically best cable. Every extra step you take pushes the price up and up. Yes you get diminishing returns but when you have a system costing £50k you do everything to get it sounding the best you can.

    That is why you have expensive speaker cables. Why would you spend £1/m on a cable in an expensive system when you can see an increase in sound quality for a small fraction of the cost of the system.

    edit: sorry for thread hijack!!!!
    Mister_Tad you wont regret going the pathos way. Its a great amp for the money.
     
  13. P2D

    P2D 99.999% Pure Spam!

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    Ever heard Of Nordorst "Valhalla" Cable? That stuff is £650 a METER! I'm pretty sure theres a reason for that. Rated as "the best cable money can buy", So what would you rather have? given amoney no object scene, £1/mtr or £650/mtr. eh?

    http://www.nordost.com/Cables/speaker-reference-valhalla.htm
     
  14. dom_

    dom_ --->

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    Of course it wont be 650 times better.
    But if i was connecting my £200,000 amp to my £250,000 speakers i think i would stretch to a few metres of valhalla.

    Which is regarded by the high end reviewers as one of the better cables in that price range.
     
  15. warchild

    warchild What's a Dremel?

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    I don't understand one thing. First you starts with good mid-range price setup and sunddentaly you move to a high-range price setup...why ?

    Of course the Pathos Classic One mk2 amp it's one hell of an amp, but to the kind of music you're listen to, i think imho is a bit dry in the bass, too much controlled and not exactly punchy for today's pop-rock music.

    IMHO if you choose the Pathos you should try listen to it with Klipsch Speakers. :naughty: Very good sinergetic with tube or hybrid amps.

    The discussion about copper vs. silver is pointless. Depends most of all of what kind of source, amp and speakers you use.
     
  16. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    I decided to go with the higher end stuff because I wasn't all that impressed with the mid-range stuff I listened to. I went into this not having much of an idea of what I would need to spend for what I wanted, now that I have had a demo of just about everything under the sun from £500-£5000 I decided on what I needed to spend to get what I want from it.

    Having listened to the pathos with every kind of music I listen to, I've decided that it is worth the compromise of punchy bass in a couple genres for the way it blew me away in others. There were plenty of amps and speakers that blew me away when it came to lots of oomph with the bass, but they fell far behind the pathos/proac combo when it came to literally everything else. I want it to sound the best it can with music I actually "listen" to, as opposed to music I'd just put on loud while I do stuff in another room (metal for instance)

    I did listen to the pathos with a few different Klipsch speakers, to my ears the ProAc speakers trounced them.
     
  17. warchild

    warchild What's a Dremel?

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  18. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    I sure as hell will :D

    counting down the days :thumb:
     
  19. warchild

    warchild What's a Dremel?

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    I hope when you get all the "things" together you could tell us more about that it.
    Maybe some pics...?!
     
  20. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    you can count on it ;)
     

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