A second high-end journey
Hello connoisseurs and enthusiasts,
Today is my first day as a member here and being my first post, it can perhaps get a bit long . Having procrastinated my signing-up for quite sometime, a much familiar restlessness got the better of me this morning and here I am putting down my first post. I say familiar, 'coz this sort of a feeling is a certain déjà vu for me. About 6 years ago, I was in the pursuit of that elusive synergy that many of us have been been 'tormented' with when foraying into the realm of premium end AV. At that time, after 4 tumultuous months of fear, uncertainty and doubt (a.k.a FUD), the deed was done and I had my first 'high-end' home theater rig. It was an all ARCAM (DV-137 & AVR-350) and an all ProAc (Studio 140, 110 and Center) combination backed by a REL T-5 sub-woofer and a Panasonic plasma. And did I say that I have enjoyed every day of my life with her ever since?
I am about to embark on my second AV adventure, but this time it would in the realm of pure 2-channel hi-fi. However, some things have changed over the past 6 years. My need back then was for a 'musical' multi-channel system that could do justice to my burgeoning collection of concert / music DVDs. With ever diminishing time to spare from my profession of software development, I seldom have time to watch music videos (or any videos) anymore. With the explosion of digital media world over, my primary source of music now is a 2 TB NAS that is stuffed with FLACs of various configurations and that adds to a 'slappa' full of XRCDs.
As for my musical preference, I am NOT into classical, never have been. Its predominantly rock, blues and jazz for me. In terms of my preference to sonic signature, I have realigned from being an aficionado of very warm sound to that of being appreciative of detail, accuracy and PRaT (Pace Rythm and Timing), but on a largely warm-ish foundation leaning towards neutrality. An important aspect of the sound is in the bass front. I need the snare drum to be attacking and a pedal drum to be deep (not wallow), tight and fast. Finally, on to the budget. I have got to restrict my buy to under 5000 GBP or 7500 USD.
Contrary to the recommended approach of travelling from source to the monitor, I am always more comfortable in the reverse order. This is because, I feel that the biggest contributor to the sonic signature in that chain is the monitor. To that end, my first shortlist is the ProAc Response D2 (or D1?) and the Kef LS-5. I am leaning towards the former as I am getting a sweet deal on it on account of being a ProAc loyalist from my previous buy. Did I mention that I am looking for a book shelf or a stand mount only for a room which is 14x16 feet.
Now having done an elaborate context setting, my first question would be:
• If I am going to be way off with the ProAc D2's with respect to my desired sonic signature? Which among the 2 (D1 or D2) would you recommend?
I am hoping I wouldn't be. So then the followup question is of the following brands available here in my city what integrated amp do you think would make the best pair?
• Creek Destiny 2
• Cambridge Audio Audio 851
• Arcam A38
• Cyrus 8a (or perhaps X Power if I were to use a Streamer/DAC/Pre from them)
• Naim Super Nait
• Roksan M2
• Musical Fidelity M3i
• Primare I32
Next, coming to the front-end, as I had mentioned before I have tons of FLACs and 150 odd working XRCDs. So the arrangement that works for me is a DAC (or streamer) and transport combination or separates. Hence the question next obviously is:
• What or what combination of source front ends ?
Finally, let me mention here that in this country there is limited access to audition demo let alone home demo. There are a few products on demo for some brands but very very sparse and limited. So as before, it would largely again be a blind buy on my part with the only source of neutral help from you folks.