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Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help please.

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aleskb's picture
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Hi!

I have a complicated case to submit. I live in DRCongo where I obviously don't have the chance to try components out, and have to buy from the internet as I need the 3x payment facility some French sites offer when ordering by visa card. 

While I spend a LOT of time listening to music, I've mostly done this using 2.1 sets, the latest being the Focal XS, which died out on me a couple of months back. As replacement, I am thinking to dive into the hi-fi world for the first time, but have a few questions.

I listen to 70% reggae, 20% dancehall, and 10% other stuff from opera to French music. But the main kinds really are reggae and Dancehall. This requires some decent and well controlled bass, as well as clarity in the voices, at least these are the 2 things that usually catch my ear when listening to reggae. Mids also need to be decently present for the guitar riffs. My main source is digital downloaded from the itunes store, as CDs are hard to find where I live, but if I start a hi-fi system I am planning to gradually go back to CDs where I can. First question would be: 

- Is there a serious gain in sound quality between powered A5 speakers and an entry level amp + speaker set? In digital music and from CD source? 

Next becomes more technical. I've spent HOURS reading reviews and managed to limit my selection (mainly linked to budget and reviews), but none of the tests were made listening to reggae kind of music, so I am not sure which way to go. The speakers that caught my attention are the following (I am not planning to get a sub, I don't like the balance they usually have): 

- KEF Q300

- MA BR2

- MA RX2 (if really MUCH nicer given price tag)

- MA BX5 (if really MUCH better given space taken, smaller speakers would be nuch easier for me to carry back home)

- Dali Zensor 5 (same as for BX5)

- B&W 686

As for the amps, the one I've seen in my budget for pairing with the amp I'd settle for are: 

- NAD C326BEE

- NAD C356BEE

- Marantz PM6004

- Yamaha S500 or 700

 

Which combination do you think would be best for long reggae/dancehall listening sessions at medium level, without sometime a little high level craziness if I feel like throwing a couple of dance steps? Also, if you could advise me on cabling for the suggested kit it would help a LOT as I am really a newbie to hi-fi, as you probably understood reading me :) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aleskb's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help pleas

Sorry for double posting also, first time I use this forum and got confused as I had a "save" and a "preview" button but no "post" one. Apologies. 

aleskb's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help pleas

Bouncing it up, I really need your advices! 

aleskb's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help pleas

Not many reggae listeners out there or? Smile

6th.replicant's picture
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Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help please

IMHO, NAD or Marantz + B&W or KEF would be good combos.

MAs have chunky low-end bass, but can also have a very metallic-sounding top-end and a 'thin' mid-range, which IME doesn't suit early/roots reggae, such as Burning Spear/Marley/'Uhuru et al, ditto MC Solaar and J-P Rameau.

This forum has a member called Reggae Dave, he might see your kindred post...

EDIT: If space is an issue, maybe consider a Marantz M-CR603 - plays CDs, iTunes downloads, radio etc, etc - with a pair of Neat Ioatas, which are tiny but sound huge.

aleskb's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help pleas

Thanks a lot for this reply! Space is no issue really, my living room has enough, the issue is more about carrying it from Belgium to Congo, but that's a one time trip and am willing to go through the pain if it's to get deeper basses. 

I also more and more leaning towards the Kef, many reviews say they have good bass and clear trebles. Looks like a good price/quality balance. 

 

For amps, I have considered the M-CR603 for budget reasons (CD player and DAB included I think?), but on paper it looks much waeker than the PM6004, in particular 6 ohms versus 8, and I am worried that this would be a less versatile choice for future speaker upgrades? Also I am wondering how it competes in strict sound quality with same speakers with a 6004. If the difference is not too big, I might go for it (budget) and spend a little more on speakers? 

 

I've read a lot of good stuff on the PM6004 + Kef combination, but am a little worried about the 2x40 watts output for a room this size. This is mainly what pushes to me consider NAD, they are said to be muddy and I wonder/hope if the Kefs can balance that or not. Yamhs also have a good review and higher output, but the sound quality is said to be below the PM6004. Which amp would you recommend specifically with the Kefs? Thanks again!

6th.replicant's picture
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Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help please.

Sorry, I've no knowledge or experience of Yamaha amps.

I used to have KEF iQ7SEs with an Arcam A38 - and IMHO reggae and classical/opera sounded very fine. 

Arcam has a new amp, the FMJ A19, which might also work well with KEFs?

What is your overall budget? 

 

 

 

aleskb's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help plea

Yes I've read a lot of good stuff about Arcams, but I think they are a price range over what I am looking for? I'd like to stick to 600 or 700 euros top for the amp, possibly less if feasible so I can spend more on the speakers. Ideally I'd like to avoid going above 1,200 euros. 

Thompsonuxb's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help plea

Reggea/dancehall is really hard to produce on these 'hifi' systems and small coned speakers - it loses alot of zip. If listening to reggea produced for the pop industry you may be o,k, but digging into the 'real stuff' out of the jamaican studios by jamaican producers alot of the feel you get from the dancehall goes missing - I maintain distortion and lots of it is what reggea needs to work, even in the home.

Buy the above systems and I garantee you'll be listening to R&B this time march......Wink

If you can get yourself some old shallow big coned speakers with an old school equaliser and old Technics amp one of the old SE's with the big wattage, you could be in bizniz though.

aleskb's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help plea

Thanks for this advice. So if I understand you well, maybe I should go for a cheap interim solution such as the powered A5s and then save enough to get a larger system at a later stage? Could be an option if the sound coming from the combinations I mentioned really wouldn't work. I want to go hi-fi but only if real gain over some simple A5s or B&W Zeppelin that would cost me much less and take less hassle to bring back to Congo. 

6th.replicant's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help plea

aleskb wrote:

Yes I've read a lot of good stuff about Arcams, but I think they are a price range over what I am looking for? ...

Have you considered buying 2nd-hand from a reputable specialist, which offers a warrany? For example, have a look at this tempting selection - click (But I'm not sure re shipping to DRC, but Belgium might be OK?)

aleskb's picture
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Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help plea

I'm unfortunately tight on budget ("new" used car+baby on the way) so I have to rely on the 3x payment by credit card some French websites propose to buy the kit. 2nd hand is therefore not an option. 

Thompsonuxb's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help plea

aleskb wrote:

Thanks for this advice. So if I understand you well, maybe I should go for a cheap interim solution such as the powered A5s and then save enough to get a larger system at a later stage? Could be an option if the sound coming from the combinations I mentioned really wouldn't work. I want to go hi-fi but only if real gain over some simple A5s or B&W Zeppelin that would cost me much less and take less hassle to bring back to Congo. 

 

That makes more sense, turn it up loud, let them old speakers buzzzz and boom and the tweetters splash till you're sure you really want to 'grow up' and go 'hifi'.......Smile

6th.replicant's picture
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RE: Advice for new startup kit on reggae / Dancehall. Help plea

aleskb wrote:

I'm unfortunately tight on budget ("new" used car+baby on the way) so I have to rely on the 3x payment by credit card some French websites propose to buy the kit. 2nd hand is therefore not an option. 

OK. 

I thnk the KEFs will sound too 'thin' in the mid-range and top-end when playing reggae and classical/opera?

A few years ago I demo'd some B&W 685s with an Arcam amp. Reggae and classical/opera sounded good, but a bit too 'warm' - the 685s needed an amp with more punch and 'sparkle', IMHO. 

So, I suspect that the B&W 685s would work very well with a Marantz PM6004 or a M-CR603? Which will sound infinitely more superior compared to a Zeppelin.

And the combined cost of the B&Ws and the Marantz would leave enough budget for a subwoofer  excellent!

lindsayt's picture
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. Help please.

Aleskb, don't you know anyone in the EU that you can trust? Someone who could buy you a pair of 2nd hand Goodmans Magisters (or something even bigger) and ship them out to you? All the speakers you've mentioned so far would be pretty hopeless for Reggae.

plastic penguin's picture
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This is one that's slightly

This is one that's slightly left-field. I would look at Exposure and Monitor Audio RX6 (RX2 if you have room restrictions) combo. Exposure has a very big-boned sound and is good for most types of styles.

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