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£3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

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Nimrod79's picture
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Hi,

I'm new to this forum but have been into hifi for as long as I can remember.  In the past I've relied on what was available at my local dealer (I'm in Jersey so this is limited Crying ) but have been trawling the internet recently for some inspiration for something new and am bewildered by the amount of seemingly top end equipment currently available.

I have decided to treat myself and my B&W 683s to something a bit tasty to replace my Rotel separates; currently:

RC-1580 Pre-Amp

RB-991 Power Amp (2x200w)

RCD-951 CD Player

I have set a budget of £3-4k and I am looking for pure stereo at this time and have taken a shine to the Audiolab range; specifically: 

8200-CDQ

8200-MB x 2

As I won't be able to listen to these items because of where I'm based I'd be really grateful for some advice on whether this seems like an adequate replacement for the Rotel power; and in your experiences whether you could point me in a different direction to Audiolab (if necessary)?  I'm also interested in your opinion as to whether I should be looking at a separate DAC and pre-amp rather than than Audiolab's "all rolled into one" offering.

Thanks a million.

 

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busb's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

I use an audiolab M-DAC straight into my power amp, saving myself £2k on a preamp. Need analogue inputs? Buy a DAC with those inputs or a preamp with built in DAC! audiolab do one  as do others.

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Nimrod79's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Thanks busb.  I suppose that is my dilemma, do I buy a standalone DAC a standalone CD Player and a standalone Pre-Amp or go for the whole combo such as the Audiolab 8200CDQ?  Does anyone have any views?

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jjbomber's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Naim Uniti 2 would be my weapon of choice. On that budget I would put £150 to one side to pay for flights to London to demo a few of the suggestions that people make.

 

CnoEvil's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

I believe that this is the wrong time to make a substantial investment in a CDP, as I think that streaming is the way things are heading......so is this a possibility for you?

One way to go is get something like a Bel Canto C5i, which has a good built-in Dac, and feed it from a laptop; or get a dedicated streamer along with a good amp like the Electrocompaniet ECI-3; or a streamer / amp combined from Linn / Naim / Cyrus.

I don't envy you having to buy blind........so read as many reviews as possible, describe how you like your sound presented as well as the sort of music you like.

Have you heard any other brands that you liked?

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Nimrod79's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Thanks jjbomber.  I'm actually in London in 2 weeks, any idea on a decent shop to go and listen to audiolab/naim/cyrus and other decent equipment?

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Nimrod79's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Thanks CnoEvil.  I think I agree that this might be the wrong time for a CDP and have been considering the streaming option as well.  I'll have a look at other posts regarding streaming as I have many more questions about this subject alone which I am sure will have been covered (e.g. which is the best software for lossless uploading? which hard drive should I buy? etc.).

In terms of a DAC which can be connected direct to a power amp, do you have a view on the benefits of splitting this set up further by having a standalaone DAC and a standalone Pre-Amp? And any idea on some decent HiFi stores in London where I could go and listen to the various options we've been discussing on this thread?

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Craig M.'s picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Nice budget, as a slightly left-field suggestion, if it was me, I'd take a look at the AVI ADM40s.  They are active speakers with built in pre-amp and dac, so you would just need to feed them from the digital output from a cdp/dvd/bluray player/laptop/etc.  I'd suggest, having heard a pair recently, that they'd improve on just about anything you could plug into your current speakers.

 

Some owner opinions here.

More info here.

 

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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Are you open to keeping the RB991?

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Nimrod79 wrote:

Thanks CnoEvil.  I think I agree that this might be the wrong time for a CDP and have been considering the streaming option as well.  I'll have a look at other posts regarding streaming as I have many more questions about this subject alone which I am sure will have been covered (e.g. which is the best software for lossless uploading? which hard drive should I buy? etc.).

In terms of a DAC which can be connected direct to a power amp, do you have a view on the benefits of splitting this set up further by having a standalaone DAC and a standalone Pre-Amp? And any idea on some decent HiFi stores in London where I could go and listen to the various options we've been discussing on this thread?

I have never heard a DAC -> Power amp set up. I have read of some who are delighted and some who much prefer going through a pre-amp........I suspect I would agree with the latter group, but can't confirm it.

I personally prefer the Streamer approach (as that is what I went with), but failing that, an integrated amp with a decent dac (eg. Bel Canto) is a neat solution.

I agree that setting up some demos in London prior to your visit, could prove invaluable.

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jjbomber's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Nimrod79 wrote:

Thanks jjbomber.  I'm actually in London in 2 weeks, any idea on a decent shop to go and listen to audiolab/naim/cyrus and other decent equipment?

 

I'm 200 miles away so no idea really. I'm sure there are a few Cockneys on the list who will be able to say where the good service lies in London. I'm not sure if they do tax-free sales for export either, as you live in Jersey. A bit of forward planning there may help.

 

Overdose's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Nimrod79 wrote:

Hi,

I'm new to this forum but have been into hifi for as long as I can remember.  In the past I've relied on what was available at my local dealer (I'm in Jersey so this is limited Crying ) but have been trawling the internet recently for some inspiration for something new and am bewildered by the amount of seemingly top end equipment currently available.

I have decided to treat myself and my B&W 683s to something a bit tasty to replace my Rotel separates; currently:

RC-1580 Pre-Amp

RB-991 Power Amp (2x200w)

RCD-951 CD Player

I have set a budget of £3-4k and I am looking for pure stereo at this time and have taken a shine to the Audiolab range; specifically: 

8200-CDQ

8200-MB x 2

As I won't be able to listen to these items because of where I'm based I'd be really grateful for some advice on whether this seems like an adequate replacement for the Rotel power; and in your experiences whether you could point me in a different direction to Audiolab (if necessary)?  I'm also interested in your opinion as to whether I should be looking at a separate DAC and pre-amp rather than than Audiolab's "all rolled into one" offering.

Thanks a million.

 

You will get a far better return for your money by replacing the speakers. The rest of your system might be old, but is rather good.

As mentioned, you could go for a Pre-amp/DAC for a bit of future proofing and the 8200CDQ would fit the bill, whilst retaining CD playback. This might be preferable to another Pre-amp/DAC and keeping your existing CDP.

My advice, if you actually feel you want to spend your entire budget, would be to take a very close look at the ADM40's. They will tick all the boxes. Selling your existing kit would then release a fair bit of cash for more music or a streaming solution of some description.

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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Upgrade the speakers. If you spend big on the electrics, you've unbalanced your system, whereas your current gear can take better speakers.

AlmaataKZ's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Speakers first. Spend up to 90% here aiming for highest  objective performance.

Then amps that suit them well. The hit the nail approch is actives as amps are matched to each driver.

choose source on functionality and ease of use as the difference in sound is negligeable these days.

adms recomended above have most of that covered for you so are a very good option! Just get a modern source e.g. A streamer with a nas.

John Duncan's picture
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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Agreed that a new pair of speakers on the end of the kit you already have could provide you with what you're looking for.  Also agreed that the ADM40s are something that you should look at, though auditioning them will be a case of going to the factory, and I couldn't have them in the house because - inter alia - I think they're fugly.

A NaimUniti and some PMC floorstanders like the GB1 or FB1 would also be worth consideration if you really must have something new.

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RE: £3-4k to replace old Rotel Amps & CD player

Never judge a book by its cover and I appreciate the clever stuff has been put inside but I have to agree with JD there, innovation didn't extend to the looks of AVI's top active. A plain box is fine for a few hundred pounds but I'd expect a little more at that price.

regards

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