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Garbage in, garbage out

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matthewpiano's picture
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Reading hi-fi mags as a teenager in the early 90s, common advice was to spend the most money on the source component, followed by the amp and speakers. Largely thought to be a relic of those years more dominated by vinyl, this attitude seemed to change over the yearsto one of apportioning roughly equal amounts to source, amp and speakers. Trouble is, I've never found any proper satisfaction through this approach and now, with a CD player which is nearly three times the price of my amp and nearly four times the price of my speakers I've found a system that really works as an entity. Not many people will be familiar with the Sony SCD-XA1200ES but it is a battleship of a player with the kind of resolution, dynamics, and musicality very rarely heard and I'm sure its uprated power supply and heavy build are vital in giving it such a big edge over cheaper players. Everybody attributes so much to speakers, but maybe the best idea is to wring the absolute best out of something like the MS902is by feeding it with a strong amp (like the NAD) and a more upgraded source. After all, garbage in - garbage out....

Anyone else have any thoughts on this one?

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fatboyslimfast's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

I also subscribe to the g-in g-out school of thought. it makes perfect sense that anything lost from the source can never be recovered.

I once listened to two systems costing around £700 (the actual systems fade from memory), the first where the Turntable (a manticore from memory) was paired with a £150 amp and £100 speakers, and secondly a Revolver TT with £250 amp and speakers.

I noticed that while the "balanced" system seemed to have a more tonally accurate sound, the difference in detail of the "top heavy" system was staggering - the sense of separation of the individual instruments and voices was a revelation, compared with the amalgam of sound of the balanced system.

However, it should be noted that in the case of really low cost systems i.e. below say £400, then it may be better to balance things, as a £250 CD player will never shine properly through a £75 amp and speakers, and you would get a better sound from a £150 CD/£150 Amp and £100 speakers.

So the theory stands...but I never seem to fully follow it in practise!!!

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Joined: 29 Oct 2007
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

while i certainly agree with your garbage in garbage out theory it isnt quite as simple as you might think. a great source is all well and good however, if youre loosing too much of the source because of a cheap amp and then your signal reaches cheap speakers im not so sure it will sound great... and thats not too mention cheap cables... if i had to produce some kind of guide to budgeting for hi-fi i think it would look like the following: speakers 30%, source 25%, amp 25%, stands 10% and cables 10%.
there is no easy solution i guess and its even more complicated if you include secondhand equipment.

vinod_david's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

I was reading about source being very important, actually recently bought CA Azur 640C V2 CDP, and planning to get Azur 540A V2 amp; MS Avant 906i; is this pair 640C and 540A good or i should pair 640C with only 640A. Pls suggest.

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Setup I: Denon DM38DAB → Q Acoustic 2020i
Setup II: PC → FLAC → J.River MC16 [asio4all] → Furutech Formula 2 → Micromega MyDac → Chord Crimson Plus [VEE] → PrimAcoustic Recoil Stabilizer RX5 → Focal CMS40 [Active]
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matthewpiano's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

user="vinod_david" wrote:
I was reading about source being very important, actually recently bought CA Azur 640C V2 CDP, and planning to get Azur 540A V2 amp; MS Avant 906i; is this pair 640C and 540A good or i should pair 640C with only 640A. Pls suggest.

Try to listen to the Azur amps before you buy. I think the 640 CD player is superb for the money, but I can't stand the Azur amps, finding them tonally poor and lacking in real 'grunt'. Depending on your tastes you might find a NAD amp does much more justice to the CD player and those excellent Avant speakers.

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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

user="matthewpiano" wrote:
user="vinod_david" wrote:
I was reading about source being very important, actually recently bought CA Azur 640C V2 CDP, and planning to get Azur 540A V2 amp; MS Avant 906i; is this pair 640C and 540A good or i should pair 640C with only 640A. Pls suggest.

Try to listen to the Azur amps before you buy. I think the 640 CD player is superb for the money, but I can't stand the Azur amps, finding them tonally poor and lacking in real 'grunt'. Depending on your tastes you might find a NAD amp does much more justice to the CD player and those excellent Avant speakers.

wow, someone else who hates the CA amps! i have owned 3 different models bought solely on the reviews i read and was thoroughly dissapointed. tonally they were merely ok while the most annoying trait was the fact that none of them could acheive a balanced output (both channels at same volume) until the amps had been turned up to about 20% volume! useless for late night listening and listening through headphones... Sad

matthewpiano's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

user="ifitsoundsgoodlistentoit" wrote:
user="matthewpiano" wrote:
user="vinod_david" wrote:
I was reading about source being very important, actually recently bought CA Azur 640C V2 CDP, and planning to get Azur 540A V2 amp; MS Avant 906i; is this pair 640C and 540A good or i should pair 640C with only 640A. Pls suggest.

Try to listen to the Azur amps before you buy. I think the 640 CD player is superb for the money, but I can't stand the Azur amps, finding them tonally poor and lacking in real 'grunt'. Depending on your tastes you might find a NAD amp does much more justice to the CD player and those excellent Avant speakers.

wow, someone else who hates the CA amps! i have owned 3 different models bought solely on the reviews i read and was thoroughly dissapointed. tonally they were merely ok while the most annoying trait was the fact that none of them could acheive a balanced output (both channels at same volume) until the amps had been turned up to about 20% volume! useless for late night listening and listening through headphones... Sad

I found this as well. I purchased the 540aV2.0, took it back and swapped it for the 640aV2.0, and then ended up selling the 640 and giving the CA amps up as a lost cause. I'm glad somebody else noticed the lack of balanced output at normal listening levels. I found it very disconcerting. A friend has the 740a and the volume control on that is awful. Don't think I'd ever consider one again unless I could audition at length and be really sure about it.

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Hughes123's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

I'm one for the garbage in - garbage out. Although I always would spend more on speakers than an amp.

Alec's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

Doesnt the garbage in...saying apply more to what you feed the source, rather than the source itself?

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Joined: 29 Oct 2007
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

user="al7478" wrote:
Doesnt the garbage in...saying apply more to what you feed the source, rather than the source itself?

hmmm do you mean what cds you play through it or what mains cables you use to "feed" the cdp?

vinod_david's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

So I have to dump my idea of buying CA amp then, actually i did demo 340A amp and was not impressed with volume coz i found for normal listening i had to increase to 50% with 906i, and in my part of the world i dont have the option of listening to 540A, 640A etc..., so i thought i would go by the review here in What HiFi, and indeed reviews were great for those amps here, until the above reviews, now am confused to the core. pls suggest an amp for my 640C V2 and Avant 906i, thanx much.

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Setup I: Denon DM38DAB → Q Acoustic 2020i
Setup II: PC → FLAC → J.River MC16 [asio4all] → Furutech Formula 2 → Micromega MyDac → Chord Crimson Plus [VEE] → PrimAcoustic Recoil Stabilizer RX5 → Focal CMS40 [Active]
PC Config: Intel Core i5 2310 • Windows 7 64 bit • Gigabyte Mobo • Corsair Vengeance 4 GB x 2 • SeaSonic S12II 430W • CM Elite 311+ • Seagate 1 TB + FreeAgent GoFlex Drive 500 GB
Old Setup: Cambridge Audio 640C V2 → Cambridge Audio 640A V2 → Squeezebox Classic → Merlin Mozart → Van Damme Studio Blue → Monitor Audio RS6

matthewpiano's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

You can't go wrong with a NAD C325BEE. Stunning amp which punches well above its weight.

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vinod_david's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

will 640C v2 + 325 BEE + 906i go great, pls suggest.

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Setup I: Denon DM38DAB → Q Acoustic 2020i
Setup II: PC → FLAC → J.River MC16 [asio4all] → Furutech Formula 2 → Micromega MyDac → Chord Crimson Plus [VEE] → PrimAcoustic Recoil Stabilizer RX5 → Focal CMS40 [Active]
PC Config: Intel Core i5 2310 • Windows 7 64 bit • Gigabyte Mobo • Corsair Vengeance 4 GB x 2 • SeaSonic S12II 430W • CM Elite 311+ • Seagate 1 TB + FreeAgent GoFlex Drive 500 GB
Old Setup: Cambridge Audio 640C V2 → Cambridge Audio 640A V2 → Squeezebox Classic → Merlin Mozart → Van Damme Studio Blue → Monitor Audio RS6

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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

I too cannot stand CA amps, too bright and harsh, power output specs are very overated.

 No one can disagree with the GIGA philosophy, you simply can't better what you put in...BUT when I upgraded my system a few months ago the amp made by FAR the bigger improvement to my system. Also when I replace the cd and then amp one at a time with my sister's lesser equipment, the quality is degraded the most when her amp is in my system as opposed to the cd player. So...meh i dunno! I would be inclined to split 30 30 30 with 10% for cables...not that i have with my current setup...ConfusedConfused

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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

user="vinod_david" wrote:
will 640C v2 + 325 BEE + 906i go great, pls suggest.

why not. but i think you may want to change the CDP later on Wink

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Alec's picture
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Re: Garbage in, garbage out

ifitsoundsgoodliste - yes, i mean the quality of the music, in short. Ive heard the phrase in reference to digital music files, you see.

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HC: Panasonic PXP 42 V20; Panasonic DMP BD35; Humax Foxsat-HDR

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