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Classical music
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System: Marantz CD 5001 player, Marantz PM4001 amp, Mordanunt-Short Avant 902i speakers.

The above budget system was recommended in What HiFi? and I bought it in April 2007 after auditioning.

I listen mostly to classical music, from Vivaldi to Rachmaninov.

The budget system handles classical music reasonably well. However, I am not oblivious to some of its shortcomings.

For instance, when I tested Abbado's 1996 recording of Beethoven's Choral Symphony (no. 9) with the Berlin Philharmonic in the CD store, Bryn Terfel's bass entry in the finale was commanding, sending chills down my spine. At home with my system, Terfel's bass entry seems rather lacklustre. Also, some of the bass parts from the brass section, which I heard in the CD store was inaudible when I played it on my system at home. Turning up the bass tone on the amp does not help.

Any advice on improving my current system? Or any suggestions on a budget/midrange system which handles classical music well? Thanks.

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Re: Classical music

Andrew is a classical buff so he's the one that can help you but when ever you need a heavy rock system...just ask!

bump

Anonymous
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Re: Classical music

Yes, I have been trying to get to the bottom of this sort of question too here: http://whathifi.com/forums/t/1708.aspx

 

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Re: Classical music

user="thai" wrote:
When I tested Abbado's 1996 recording of Beethoven's Choral Symphony (no. 9) with the Berlin Philharmonic in the CD store, Bryn Terfel's bass entry in the finale was commanding, sending chills down my spine. At home with my system, Terfel's bass entry seems rather lacklustre. Also, some of the bass parts from the brass section, which I heard in the CD store was inaudible when I played it on my system at home. Turning up the bass tone on the amp does not help.

Any advice on improving my current system? Or any suggestions on a budget/midrange system which handles classical music well? Thanks.

The system you have is an extremely good budget set-up, but it like all entry-level combinations it has its limitations. And playing Beethoven 9 on it is an extremely good way of finding those limits. It's not what you'd call an undemanding piece of music, and with the massive orchestral and choral forces involved it would challenge many a system costing five or even ten times as much.

The best suggestion I can make, short of buying a more powerful amplifier and a much larger pair of speakers, would be the addition of a subwoofer to fill out the bass a bit, giving you the kind of scale you're after. It needn't cost you a fortune - something in the region of £200-300 would do the trick.

An obvious contender would be one of the less expensive Mordaunt-Short subs, as this will work well with your existing speakers. 

Anonymous
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Re: Classical music

I like to ask Andrew the following:

1. Which 3 to 5 classical music CDs would you use to test a system?

2. Are there any cons in using a very well-recorded CD to test a system? For example, Trevor Pinnock's very well-recorded Handel's Messiah sounds great on almost all systems I have played it on.

 3. The Best Buys pages in What HiFi? list 3 recommended systems for budget, midrange and high-end buyers every month. Can I say that these recommended sytems are best for people who listen to a wide genre of music and may not be the best recommendation if one listens mostly to classical music?  

Cheers.

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Re: Classical music

user="thai" wrote:

Which 3 to 5 classical music CDs would you use to test a system?

1. The re-released Nigel North Bach on the Lute box-set from Linn.

2. Any Kronos Quartet recording

3. The DuPre/Barbirolli recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto

4. Philip Glass - Akhnaten on RCA Red Seal

5. Murray Perahia's recording of the Goldberg Variations on Sony Classical

6. The John Culshaw et al. recording of Britten's Peter Grimes, on Decca, conducted by the composer

user="thai" wrote:

Are there any cons in using a very well-recorded CD to test a system? For example, Trevor Pinnock's very well-recorded Handel's Messiah sounds great on almost all systems I have played it on.

No, but be prepared for a very good system to make some recordings all but unlistenable.

user="thai" wrote:

The Best Buys pages in What HiFi? list 3 recommended systems for
budget, midrange and high-end buyers every month. Can I say that these
recommended sytems are best for people who listen to a wide genre of
music and may not be the best recommendation if one listens mostly to
classical music?  

Yes - that's why we have audio pages in Gramophone. 

 

Anonymous
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Re: Classical music

Andrew or other experts needed again.

System: Marantz CD 5001, Marantz PM4001, Mordaunt Short 902is.

My query started when I shared that some bass parts from classical pieces played on my system are not as discernable/rich as I would like them to be. But yes Andrew, the above is a very good-value budget system, no complains for the money spent really.

Andrew, you suggested that I add a 'subwoofer to fill out the bass a bit' and that would cost  200-300 pounds. If that's the case, I rather go for another set of speakers in the region of 300-400 pounds (and with the possibility of upgrading my CD player and amp at a later stage).

Reading What HiFi? throws up some models: MA BR5, MA SilverRS1s, Epos M5s. Would they be compatible with my budget Marantz CD5001/Marantz PM 4001? I listen mostly to classical music.

 My room size is 3m by 6m or 9ft by 18 ft.

Thanks to all who have replied.

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Re: Classical music

I'd still go for a subwoofer...

 

Anonymous
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Re: Classical music

 And before you do anything else, Thai, make sure you have good cables. Some old people say changing cables makes no difference - but that is not my experience. I made my cheapish system sound twice as expensive by upgrading speaker cable, biwiring, and adding new power cables. That 300 quid upgrade may not be necessary if you get the last ounce of performance out of what you've got. And if you still decide to upgrade, then you know you'll be getting the best out of the new kit.

I used QED biwire speaker cable and QED interconnects plus Krystal Kables power cords.

Anonymous
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Re: Classical music

Thanks LDW. I am using QED speaker cable and interconnects- 5-star rated ones by What HiFi?

My posts here started cos I heard the sound system in a CD store doing better than my current system. When I played the CD I bought from the store at home, classical bass singer Bryn Terfel's voice wasn't as rock solid as what I heard at the store. And, some bass parts from the brass section which was discernable at the store was inaudible with my system. The piece was Beethoven's Choral symphony.

Having said that, I have to agree that my current system is very good value for money. But I am aware of its shortcomings. 

Anonymous
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Re: Classical music

Looks like you've got it covered then - except for the mains cable. Talk to Krystal Kables and twist Frank Marshall's arm to let you have a power cord on appro. Start with the amp and see if it makes a difference. I did this and ended up with three power cords - amp, cd, and dvd.

EDIT: My favourite reference disc is  Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite with Dorati and the Detroit SO. BIG soundstage! FWIW

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Re: Classical music

Can I ask whether the CD store was the likes of HMV or Virgin with headphones mounted on the wall, or a proper independent store who will put the CD in the machine and let you enjoy it properly?

The reason I ask is that HMV or Virgin might have all the tone controls ramped up high to make stuff sound more lively.

If it's in an independent store, try asking them what gear they use. We have a second-hand vinyl store in Sheffield and you can clearly see the turntable and other gear in use behind the counter, so if you were in any doubt it's all there to see. Your CD stores setup might just provide a clue as to what's missing in yours.

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Re: Classical music

user="LDW" wrote:
Talk to Krystal Kables

Frank is a real nice guy and well know in a lovely cornwall with very good knowledge in Hifi.....I have a lot of time for him and I have a pair or two of his interconnect cables....:-)

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