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Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

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Walkzinho's picture
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Hi all,

 

Im thinking of streamlining my system a little. I bought the P38 to boost my system in the power department and also because it was a way of staying faithful to Arcam after 15 years of having one of thier amp's at the heart of my system. I love the warm sound and they way I can just sit there and listen for long periods of time, but that doesnt happen too often these days. Im finding my listening habits tend to swing towards more of the occasional attack at my latest downloads, the odd DJ mix using my Traktor system and background music when im doing paperwork.

 

As my music collection increases in quality (.WAV's as oppose to .mp3's) there seems to be more of a propensity for me to pick holes in the system. The bass sounds a touch wooly and lacks what i'd deem real depth & punch, even an old 70w NAD C355BEE beats the 105w P38 in that department hands down. I listen to melodic house/techno, so high's and mid's are terribly important, moreso than outright bass. There seems to be this misconception that people that listen to dance music just want bass in our face, not true. I would rather experience bass that is tight, controlled and because im a drummer and have a keen ear for it, impeccable timing.

 

My local hi-fi shop is a Naim dealer. Ive always had a softspot for Naim products ever since hearing my uncles NAIT teamed up with some Dynaudio Contour's and a Rega Apollo. Im now in a position where im fortunate enough to afford a decent midrange amplifier (£1500 max) and naturally the Naim product range interests me, more speficially either a NAIT 5i-2 or a NAIT XS. It will be paired up with my Rega RS5's, which I love, very musical speakers indeed. 

 

What im wanting to know is if im EDITED into the proverbial wind with this change? My source isnt a £1000 DAC or CD player, rather the humble Arcam rDAC wireless which I use with the rWAVE dongle in my Macbook Pro. Does one need a source more befitting of a £1500 amplifier?

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

Certainly Rega speakers are a better match with Naim.

Personally, given you like a smooth/warmish sound, I'd be looking at Creek Evo2. I have described Creek as "Arcam on steroids". By that Creek has the subtlety and smoothness of Arcam, but is far punchier. Also, IMO, Creek is better match with Arcam than Naim.

Arcam source and Naim isn't a good match, so you could have an imbalance, but you'll need to dem the combo to decide.

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Ben K.'s picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

I'm surprised your p38 lacks depth and punch in the bass. I mainly listen to dance and hip hop and my system has very deep punchy bass. Maybe it's down to synergy or other components?

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

Ben K. wrote:

I'm surprised your p38 lacks depth and punch in the bass. I mainly listen to dance and hip hop and my system has very deep punchy bass. Maybe it's down to synergy or other components?

I'm not surprised, Ben. He is using the A65+ as a preamp. I love the A65 but it does have its limitations, like any component. Personally I would change either the P38 or the A65.

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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

plastic penguin wrote:

Certainly Rega speakers are a better match with Naim.

Personally, given you like a smooth/warmish sound, I'd be looking at Creek Evo2. I have described Creek as "Arcam on steroids". By that Creek has the subtlety and smoothness of Arcam, but is far punchier. Also, IMO, Creek is better match with Arcam than Naim.

Arcam source and Naim isn't a good match, so you could have an imbalance, but you'll need to dem the combo to decide.

 

Yes the Creek Evo 2 amp is a cracker, and well worth consideration.  You can actually still buy a brand new Creek Evolution 5350 amp from Lintone Audio for £679, thats £70 less than a new Evo 2. It's a great deal, they are over £1200 everywhere else.

 

 

.

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Ben K.'s picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

Could try an A38 or C31 as I'm sure in combo with the P38 both would give other 1500 integrated amps a good run for their money.

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AV: Sony KDL37w5500-Yamaha RXV2065-Monitor Audio RX8 AV12-Pioneer BDP320-Chord & QED cables and connects-------------

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

Naim may be the answer, but make sure you listen to the suggestions above - I would have Creek, Leema, Musical Fidelity and Electrocompaniet on your radar.

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Walkzinho's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

So what other solutions are there out there that will enable me to just press play in iTunes like I do at the moment (albeit with dongle attached to laptop)..?

 

If I change my pre-amp for say a C31, will I still not have the problem of that Arcam safety net?

 

edit: surely at this stage in the proceedings, a £300 DAC will be letting down a £2000+ ampspeaker combo?

edit no.2: Creek looks nice although they don't look anything special and im fickle like that!

 

 

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Ben K.'s picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

I have an A75 upstairs in my second system and can say my A38 is more neutral, much cleaner sound, much tighter and deeper bass and much better separation with a larger soundstage. All in all a much better sounding amp as you would hope, for the price difference. I'm not saying it will be to your tastes but it will sound very different from your A65. Well worth an audition if you can get one.

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AV: Sony KDL37w5500-Yamaha RXV2065-Monitor Audio RX8 AV12-Pioneer BDP320-Chord & QED cables and connects-------------

HI-FI: Arcam A38-Arcam CD37-Monitor Audio RX8-Chord cables and connects

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

Walkzinho wrote:

So what other solutions are there out there that will enable me to just press play in iTunes like I do at the moment (albeit with dongle attached to laptop)..?

 

If I change my pre-amp for say a C31, will I still not have the problem of that Arcam safety net?

 

edit: surely at this stage in the proceedings, a £300 DAC will be letting down a £2000+ ampspeaker combo?

edit no.2: Creek looks nice although they don't look anything special and im fickle like that!

 

 

I just feel the Naim might be a step too far sonically, hence why I mentioned the Creek. Agree with Ben if you want to up the ante then the A38 could be the perfect solution - ideal match for the P38.

With a £300 Dac you won't make the most of a £2k upgrade, but it'll sound darn good regardless. I only have with Arcam CD73 with £1200 integrated and £600 speakers, and in isolation, it's cracking.

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Walkzinho's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

I hate my inquisitive nature, maybe I should just be more appreciative of what I already have.

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

plastic penguin wrote:

I just feel the Naim might be a step too far sonically, hence why I mentioned the Creek. Agree with Ben if you want to up the ante then the A38 could be the perfect solution - ideal match for the P38.

With a £300 Dac you won't make the most of a £2k upgrade, but it'll sound darn good regardless. I only have with Arcam CD73 with £1200 integrated and £600 speakers, and in isolation, it's cracking.

It is also worth remembering that Arcam are upgrading their amps. The A19 is now arriving, and a replacement for the A38 (A39?) is a poorly kept secret....though I have no idea of the timeline.

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Walkzinho's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

Ive been having a good listen today. My attention keeps on being drawn to the A65+ and the rDAC. The speakers I know are good, as is the amp, i just need to decide whether I want to do away with the whole lot and go Naim or upgrade the pre-amp. #firstworldproblems

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

Walkzinho wrote:

Ive been having a good listen today. My attention keeps on being drawn to the A65+ and the rDAC. The speakers I know are good, as is the amp, i just need to decide whether I want to do away with the whole lot and go Naim or upgrade the pre-amp. #firstworldproblems

Well you could look at one of the Unitis. They seem to cover most bases, whichever route you decide a good home dem will be essential.

Personally I have a love/hate relationship with Naim: Fantastic with own source and PMC speakers, but absolute headache - literally - with Arcam and MAs.

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

CnoEvil wrote:

plastic penguin wrote:

I just feel the Naim might be a step too far sonically, hence why I mentioned the Creek. Agree with Ben if you want to up the ante then the A38 could be the perfect solution - ideal match for the P38.

With a £300 Dac you won't make the most of a £2k upgrade, but it'll sound darn good regardless. I only have with Arcam CD73 with £1200 integrated and £600 speakers, and in isolation, it's cracking.

It is also worth remembering that Arcam are upgrading their amps. The A19 is now arriving, and a replacement for the A38 (A39?) is a poorly kept secret....though I have no idea of the timeline.

That's the first I've heard about an upgrade to the A38.

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Amp: Leema Pulse; Source: Naim CD5i-2, Denon 260MKII, Pro-ject XP I; Speakers: PMC TB2i

 

Formerly known as plastic penguin

CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Out with the Arcam, in with the Naim?

plastic penguin wrote:

That's the first I've heard about an upgrade to the A38.

That's cause it's a secret!  shifty

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