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My first Roksan experience

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shafesk's picture
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I recently took a trip to Singapore where they have a whole mall dedicated to hi-fi. Prices vary from UK, some brands are much much cheaper but some are more expensive. Before starting the review, I would like to say that I had spent the day listening to speakers around the 3000 pound mark so my ears were very tuned to speakers in that price range. I remained underwhelmed mostly till I entered the Roksan dealer.

The setup was the Caspian integrated and cdp with the Caspian FR-5 speakers. Since everything was from the same range it can be safely assumed that they were all designed to compliment each other. The store had the usual 'audiophile selection' of music, which was terrible. We settled on a cd called The Worlds Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings, but this cd had only great songs on it and was free of the usual gimmicky stuff we hear at hifi shows. I would absolutely recommend the cd, I am still looking all over to find it. 

The speakers came in beautifully finished maple, the finish is the kind you see on luxury cars. Beautifully made and frankly made the similarly priced cm9s look a bit tattered in comparison. The speakers were also very understated. So the music started, with the volume at 9 o'clock. I noticed the speakers weren't of the highest efficiency and is going to need an amp with some finesse but the Caspian did a good jod driving them and 9 o'clock was comfortably loud. What struck me was the vocals, it touched my heart. I could connect with the vocalists, heard her breathing, it was so intimate. The treble was very nicely integrated, even better than the Mezzos and was clean, detailed but never bright. The bass was palpable but didn't stand out from the other frequencies. I could feel the hands on the percussion. In a way, it sounded real. Like full range driver and single ended triode real, but with nicer bass and a less coarser treble. I keep banging on about my Mezzo and Cayin combo when it comes to realism and this one just nailed more of the same but was just better by I would say 15-20%. Some would remember my bryston/dynaudio audition, the Roksan could eat it for breakfast when it came to realism (no offense to any owners). What was even more shocking that this combo was waaay cheaper. I being a tube junkie, never thought that you could get the sort of vocals you get from a tube amp but the Roksan amp really got me thinking otherwise. This is something that 3000 pound amps like the Hegel couldn't muster and this guy coming in at half the price seems to be taunting the Hegel like a highschool bully. 

In short, I fell in love and her name was Roksan. I just couldn't believe how musical a relatively midrange setup could be. After spending quite a frustrating day, being agressively picky, I found a setup I just couldn't complain about. It is a strong case for system matching and shows that a cheaper well matched setup can sometimes better an ill-matched expensive one. I judge all amps against the Gryphone Diablo, while the amp didn't have the absolute power, detail and soundstage of the Gryphone, it had a bit more delicacy and woudn't be totally embarassed in a head to head. If you don't want to fiddle, just buy the Caspian range blind, its perfect for jazz, acoustic, vocals and the ocassional rock. Look elsewhere if you want immense power or listen exclusively to dance although these don't do it bad at all.

 

 

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Hi-fi:

Denon DNP-720AE network streamer, Mordaunt Short Mezzo 6, Cayin A-55 T, Technics-SLQ210, Denon DP-29F turntable, 540p, Dac-magic, Marantz 5004CD and 6025 Turntable, Mac ,Pure AV interconnects, QED Revelation speaker cables, QED Performance interconnects.

Head-fi:

Akg K702, Grado SR60i, UE Triple-fi, Musical Fidelity X-cans, HRT Music Streamer 2+

CnoEvil's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

You would probably get on well with Sugden, Pathos and Electrocompaniet.....as well as MF AMS, Accuphase and Luxman (Mac - note the order! >) )

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shafesk's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

Well you are actually right, I love MF and Electrocompanient stuff....I will have to wait till I hear the rest of these brands. I'm guessing your preferences are also biased towards these?

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Hi-fi:

Denon DNP-720AE network streamer, Mordaunt Short Mezzo 6, Cayin A-55 T, Technics-SLQ210, Denon DP-29F turntable, 540p, Dac-magic, Marantz 5004CD and 6025 Turntable, Mac ,Pure AV interconnects, QED Revelation speaker cables, QED Performance interconnects.

Head-fi:

Akg K702, Grado SR60i, UE Triple-fi, Musical Fidelity X-cans, HRT Music Streamer 2+

CnoEvil's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

shafesk wrote:

Well you are actually right, I love MF and Electrocompanient stuff....I will have to wait till I hear the rest of these brands. I'm guessing your preferences are also biased towards these?

silenced   Wink

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Macspur's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

CnoEvil wrote:

You would probably get on well with Sugden, Pathos and Electrocompaniet.....as well as MF AMS, Accuphase and Luxman (Mac - note the order! >) )

Duly noted...

Shafesk, nice review btw... what other brands were on show?

Mac

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Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I  XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 SC.  Grado SR60I headphones.  HIFI RACKS Podium Reference rack.

Shanka's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

Nice review, I didn't hear the Roksan speakers as couldn't find many people who stocked them, if I get the speaker itch I will certainly try harder to hear some based on your thoughts.

I bought my M2 very shortly after it came out after listening to many amps and getting a little frustrated thinking I am not finding what I was looking for.
As soon as I heard the M2 I was sold, it just ticked all the boxes for me especially in the bass and speed of the amp but it is all a matter of personal preference.
Every other amp I heard was slightly lacking in some area but as soon as I heard the Roksan I just smiled and knew I had found the right amp as was just wanting to keep listening to the music and stopped listening to the amp, even a friend of mine was staggered when I played him Voodoo Ray on it last week saying it was like he hadn't heard the song before such was the delivery so it can manage a go at dance music but maybe because it's old music and we are old farts ( my friend and I, can't comment on the rest of you) .

Although I would love to hear a Sugden Masterclass and a Naim classic pre/power combo I can't see me really changing the amp in the forseeable future.
I would like to thank Cno for the urge to hear the Sugden.

Anyway nice review, hope I can be as eloquent after my dac demo this week but I doubt it !

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

Shanka wrote:

Although I would love to hear a Sugden Masterclass and a Naim classic pre/power combo I can't see me really changing the amp in the forseeable future. I would like to thank Cno for the urge to hear the Sugden.  

.....I would stay away from the Masterclass then.  shifty  Wink

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shafesk's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

Macspur wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

You would probably get on well with Sugden, Pathos and Electrocompaniet.....as well as MF AMS, Accuphase and Luxman (Mac - note the order! >) )

Duly noted...

Shafesk, nice review btw... what other brands were on show?

Mac

 

Well that particular day I had listened to BMW CM9, Aperion Intimus (I didn't care to take down the model number), PMC twenty.22 (great speakers, review coming up soon, great match with electros), Tannoy precision 6.4 (matched with the Cyrus 8XP series, or should I say not matched to the Cyrus Tongue

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Hi-fi:

Denon DNP-720AE network streamer, Mordaunt Short Mezzo 6, Cayin A-55 T, Technics-SLQ210, Denon DP-29F turntable, 540p, Dac-magic, Marantz 5004CD and 6025 Turntable, Mac ,Pure AV interconnects, QED Revelation speaker cables, QED Performance interconnects.

Head-fi:

Akg K702, Grado SR60i, UE Triple-fi, Musical Fidelity X-cans, HRT Music Streamer 2+

nopiano's picture
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RE: My first Roxanne

 

I loved you since I knew ya

I wouldn't talk down to ya

I have to tell you just how I feel

I won't share you with another boy

I know my mind is made up

 

Smile

 

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Hi-Fi: Krell KAV-300cd, Michell TecnoDec/RB250/Grado Prestige Black1, KAV-300i amp, Transparent balanced interconnects and bi-wire to Sonus faber Concerto grand piano speakers, Nakamichi ZX-7 cassette deck, Logitech Squeezebox Touch, Hitachi FT-5500 and Sony S570ES tuners, BCD Engineering stand, RA Powerlink, Chord powerchord, Grado SR60i cans.

AV: Sony Bravia KDL-32EX503 telly, BDP-S370 player with QED HDMI. Currently unused: Denon AVR-1705, DVD-1710, KEF KHT1005.2 

SteveR750's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

Interesting and nice review. I've not heard any Roksan speakers, but as Shanka knows I am a huge fan of the brand, well most of it. 

Here's an interesting interview with Tufan:

 

http://roksan.co.uk/blog/interview-tufan-hashemi/

 

I'm not sure I want to pay so much for complex machined aluminium casework unless it adds to the sonic performance, I do hope Roksan are not trying to evolve into some uber  version of B&O.

The interesting part is the USB DAC, which I have talked to Roksan about some time ago. Whether it's dressed up in Oxygene clothing or not, it will be a must audition for me.

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JRiver MC17 -> Cambridge Audio DACmagic+ -> Roksan Caspian M2 -> ProAc D18 

shafesk's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

thank you all for the comments on the review, now I don't know if its against the rules and mods please delete this if it is....I have more reviews on my blog, you can google audio fixation and blogspot to go to it. Would be grateful for the visit and a follow would be sweet Smile

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Hi-fi:

Denon DNP-720AE network streamer, Mordaunt Short Mezzo 6, Cayin A-55 T, Technics-SLQ210, Denon DP-29F turntable, 540p, Dac-magic, Marantz 5004CD and 6025 Turntable, Mac ,Pure AV interconnects, QED Revelation speaker cables, QED Performance interconnects.

Head-fi:

Akg K702, Grado SR60i, UE Triple-fi, Musical Fidelity X-cans, HRT Music Streamer 2+

SteveR750's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

here?

 

No mention of Roksan, so assume I've come to the wrong house?

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JRiver MC17 -> Cambridge Audio DACmagic+ -> Roksan Caspian M2 -> ProAc D18 

shafesk's picture
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RE: My first Roksan experience

Yes, that is the website. I haven't posted the Roksan review yet as I have to polish it up before. Will have it done by Sunday. Cheers for checking it out.

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Hi-fi:

Denon DNP-720AE network streamer, Mordaunt Short Mezzo 6, Cayin A-55 T, Technics-SLQ210, Denon DP-29F turntable, 540p, Dac-magic, Marantz 5004CD and 6025 Turntable, Mac ,Pure AV interconnects, QED Revelation speaker cables, QED Performance interconnects.

Head-fi:

Akg K702, Grado SR60i, UE Triple-fi, Musical Fidelity X-cans, HRT Music Streamer 2+