To return to the question in the OP:
I have Marantz PM6400, CD6400 and Kef Q500s. This reproduces all types of classical music perfectly satisfactorily. The whole set up (with headphones) cost less then £2000 and whilst I'm sure I could get improved performance if I spent more I don't think I need to. I would recommend listening to this combination as I chose it sepcifically for classical music.
Can you tell why this system is ok for classical and his sound characteristics? Thanks.
If you want a technical explanation I'm afraid I don't have one. I suspect that at any price point the key factor in a system are the speakers. I chose the electronics pretty quickly starting from reviews and forums to get a short list and then auditioned pretty quickly. I then spent a long time listening to speakers. I used a very wide range of music (including some "popular" music). To my ears the Kefs were the only ones that reproduced classical music "properly".
I am very happy with my KEF LS50's for classical -they wouldn't have your bass though. I was interested in your choice of Marantz amp and source. My short list began with the Music Hall 15.2's, but they are not easy to get hold of so now looking at NAD 326BEE and Cambridge Azure 351A, with accompanying CD players...many reviewers suggested the Yamahas and Onkyo's are too bright.
a few days later..now going for the Rega Brio-R and the rega cd player - very detailed and honest-hopefully they are a good match for the so detailed and honest kef ls50's..
Rega Brio-R integrated amp, Rega Apollo-R cd player, Tellurium Q Green speaker cables, Tellurium Q Black interconnects, Rega Isis/Osiris mains power cables, KEF LS50 speakers.
Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to contrbute to this thead - for your generosity in sharing your knowledge and experience; I'm a bit less ignorant now than I was several days ago.
There's been a bit of sidetracking, I suppose: interesting, but the most useful for me as the OP have been those contributions which were directed at my particular need and then offered specific practical ideas and suggestions; I'm surprised that no-one actually said "If that's what you want you'll have to pay a lot more". The variables are hard to balance : quality of recordings, different system variations, different tastes; and reading reviews from overseas sites is quite informative too, & via Google Translate I have compared opinions from Germany, Australia, Norway, France (gse) etc. and sometimes found significant differences in opinion.
I came to the conclusion that an older amp, secondhand (and so likely to be at budget price but not originally 'budget' ), is probably the answer for me, so I'm busy scouring the usual sites for an Arcam, hoping compatibilty (with my Dynaudios) won't be an issue.
I hope things turn out well for you francophile. I know from painful experience how frustrating it can be when it is hard to sit down and enjoy your music. The A85 and A32 are both worth exploring IMO and if you buy carefully you should be able to sell on with minimal loss should you find your purchase isn't to your liking. That really is one of the big advantages of quality used gear, particularly when you are still experimenting.
I'm currently listening to the Beaux Arts Trio recording of the Brahms G Minor Piano Quartet. Out of interest I decided to pull out an old pair of KEF C30 speakers and hook them up to my Denon. They are a 1980s sealed box design with the tall, wide and shallow cabinets that were popular at the time and I have to say they sound quite remarkable. Very natural. Something like this is always worth a try at some point if you wish to experiment with different concepts at the more affordable end of the second hand market.
Do let us know how you get on!
Rega RP3/Elys2 - Marantz CD63SE - Exposure 1010 - Dynaudio DM2/6
PC/Qobuz Hi-Fi - NAD C521BEE - Musical Fidelity V90HPA - Sennheiser HD595/Beyer Dynamic DT770PRO
Actually, I don't completely disagree with you. If someone held a gun to my head, demanding to know if I was an objectivist or subjectivist, I'd answer the latter (well, most of the time)! For instance, I have grave doubts regarding the effectiveness of ABX testing done over any period less than a week due to the fact that short-term memory is too unreliable & the lack of control over false negatives skewing the results.
My new amp has hilighted one aspect of presentation relavent to this thread that might be considered to contradict my statement regarding asking people what sort of music they listened to as being absurd. The Primare takes no prisoners regarding recording quality. This means about 70% of my music sounds stunning - fabulous detail, imaging & depth, extremely well-controlled bass, natural mids & treble like I never heard before. The other 30% now sounds worse: distorted, compressed or far too bright. It's a matter of choice whether one is willing to tolerate a not insignificant part of one's collection sounding sub-optimal but good recordings sounding breathtaking or smoothing out the warts but rounds the edges off the good.
Perhaps we need to ask a different question of those asking for advice - do you want realism that will also highlight poor recordings or do want something that will be less revealing & often less exciting with decent stuff?
You my friend, are suffering from cognitive dissonance.
The fact you originally chose Celestion SL6s, tells me that you have a side that listens with your heart, rather than your head.....they are lovely speakers, but imo, not exactly neutral.
I think the right kit hides little, but doesn't make bad recordings worse......if you don't believe me, try and get a listen to the AMS35i, which imo loses nothing in detail, but is always musical. My view, which I have been stating a lot recently, is that it's due to the removal of switching distortion.
Cognative Dissonace - wot me?! I hope the irony is not lost on you! I will pull out my SL6s soon - I'd expect them to sound better than they did before & they also respond well to great amplification. As for the right kit. that depends on one's priority. I'm getting the best out of most of my music & remain unconvinced that poor recordings will always sound better with better equipment. My system now sounds very dynamic & very detailed so it's no surprise that some failings in the recording will be unmasked, therefore more noticeable. What priority people give to detail v tailoring is a personal choice.
"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds - the pessimist fears this is true."
James Branch Cabell
MAIN: Apple TV2, Mac Mini (controlled from various iThings using Remote), CA Azur 751BD & Panasonic P42V20B into audiolab M-DAC, feeding a Primare A34.2 class D power amp via XLRs, 2x 5m of Atlas Ascent 2 firing up Totem Arros. DALI Kubik Free in my kitchen
ON THE HOOF: iPhone 5S/Sennheiser MM450.
Cognative Dissonace - wot me?! I hope the irony is not lost on you!
I will pull out my SL6s soon - I'd expect them to sound better than they did before & they also respond well to great amplification.
Please let me know how this goes.......if any amp will make them shine and give them the kick up the backside, yours will.
......& remain unconvinced that poor recordings will always sound better with better equipment.
I am certainly not saying this. I am saying that by removing switching distortion from the equation, you are not making the bad recording sound worse.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Thanks again, mattthewpiano.
You're absolutely right about the 'frustration' (now veering towards desperation!); it is easy to take for granted the easy access we all of us have to so much wonderful & varied music, but being without it will enhance the joy of getting it back again.
Your comment about 'quality used gear' is very good advice. I just missed out on a couple of A85s on ebay (outbid - not quite canny enough), so I'll have to be patient - of course I'll let you know, but don't hold your breath.
As promised ....
I bought a 2nd hand Arcam A85 about 10 days ago and am very happy with it; it's in excellent condition and has a phono stage fitted so I can also listen to my old LPs and, to my ears at least, it makes a good partner to my Dynaudios.
Prior to that I tried a Yamaha AS700 which certainly suited me better than the AS500, but I still experienced a similar 'brightness' in some recordings, especially the (Mosaïques Quartet) original instruments recordings of Haydn and to a lesser extent in the Takacs' Beethoven recordings I mentioned earlier. I had begun to doubt my own hearing apparatus and asked madame (she's French) to listen & she said it sounded 'acide'.
I can't see myself changing my set-up for a long time now, though I am wondering whether a P85 might be a worthwhile addition.....
Thanks again to all who contributed.
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