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Decent Music and Film setup.

I have been in to Hi-Fi for over 15 years, but have never owned what I would class as a fantastic set-up. the addition of a family along the way has not helped either. My current seup is one of convenience and consists of the following:

Yamaha DSP-A5 AV Amplifier (I believe at the time this provided decent mucis reproduction alongside one of the best AV amps you could buy for the money)

Phillips CD624 CD Player (Again good for it's time)

NAD 402 Stereo Tuner

Very cheap DVD player (inherited from my partner after my sony died a death)

Castle Surround sound setup (Pembroke Floor Standers Front, Richmond rears on Atacama Stands and a Castle centre speaker).

I have a number of questions regarding improving this system. I would like to keep the yamaha amplifier but I am thinking which of the following would provide the most sensible upgrade route:

1. Add an external DAC to my Phillips CD player. Any recommendations on DAC's?

2. Get rid of the Phillips CD and Cheap DVD player and purchase a newer combination CD/DVD player, This is more likely to be second hand rather than new. Any recommendations?

3. Add a dedicated music amplifier to the setup in addition to the Yamaha amp. New amp to take care of music reproduction through the existing Richmond speakers and the AV Amp to handle surround sound movies. How would I connect these or in fact is it even possible? Again any recommendations for the second hand amplifier?

If I was to add a dedicated music amplifier would i be better to go for option 1 or option 2?

I hope the above makes some sort of sense to someone out there and any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Jason

 

 

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Re: Decent Music and Film setup.

user="jay1403" wrote:

I have a number of questions regarding improving this system. I would like to keep the yamaha amplifier but I am thinking which of the following would provide the most sensible upgrade route:

1. Add an external DAC to my Phillips CD player. Any recommendations on DAC's

No, not really worth doing: any worthwhile offboard converter is going to cost you £300 or more - plus there aren't as many of them around as when adding a budget DAC was fashionable - and less than that would buy you a decent standalone CD player such as the Denon DCD-700AE, Cambridge Audio Azur 640C v2 or even the 540C v2.

user="jay1403" wrote:

2. Get rid of the Phillips CD and Cheap DVD player and purchase a
newer combination CD/DVD player, This is more likely to be second hand
rather than new. Any recommendations?

I'd buy one of the players mentioned above plus the Toshiba SD370, which is very good indeed, and can be found for around £50. To get close to the performance these two together will deliver, you'd need to spend £500 or more in a combination player. Mind you, there are a few secondhand machines on the likes of ebay worthy of a look - just spotted an Arcam DV27 for just under £500, for example, and there are a few Denon DVD-3910s for a good deal less, which might make a suitable compromise solution.

user="jay1403" wrote:

3. Add a dedicated music amplifier to the setup in addition to the
Yamaha amp. New amp to take care of music reproduction through the
existing Richmond speakers and the AV Amp to handle surround sound
movies. How would I connect these or in fact is it even possible? Again
any recommendations for the second hand amplifier?

Probably the best bet, although AV receivers have moved on a lot in the seven years since the Yamaha was introduced, and the usual affordable receiver suspects - Onkyo TX-SR505 (£250) and Sony STR-DA1200ES (£400, but you can find it for £300) - would be worth investigating as a straight replacement for your Yamaha.

On the secondhand market I'd be looking at amplifiers such as the Arcam Alpha 10 or A85, Marantz PM-66KI or PM70001KI, Musical Fidelity X80 and earlier models, or even an Audiolab 8000A - the original version. You can connect this to your Yamaha using a cable from these sockets

 

to a line input on the amp, and connect your CD player, if this is the way you decide to go, and tuner straight into the amp. The amp then connects to your speakers in place of the front L/R speaker outputs on the Yamaha receiver, so when playing movies you're using the amp to drive the front L/R speakers and the Yamaha to drive all the others, and when playing music the Yamaha is entirely out of the loop.

Even if you go for a combination DVD/CD player on the secondhand market, use a stereo analogue connect to the amp as well as the digital link to the receiver: that way you're using the player's converters to play music, and the receiver's for movies.
 

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Re: Decent Music and Film setup.

Thanks for that Andrew,

I think I would go for the seperate CD and DVD player options (if nothing else just for the ease of upgrading in the future).

If I am looking to upgrade bit by bit, due to cost constraints would it be logical to replace the CD player first with something like the CA Azure 640C V2. Would I see noticable differences in quality over the Phillips player connected to my Yamaha Amp? Then add the stereo amplifier at a later date as I find one at the right price and once I have decided what to go for.

 

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