You'll have to repost sorry..
yet another thread gone weird JD!
Living room: iTunes to ATV 2 (via AirPlay) to Cyrus 8 DAC with KEF LS50 speakers - Tellurium Q Blue cables
Spare room: Marantz CR603, AirPlay, Monitor Audio RX2's - Chord Odyssey 2 cables
Hi Yes. 2 attempts failed so I have written in word!!
After the pains of separation came the joys of hi-fi!
The current owner of a Pioneer VSX-LX55 and B&W 685’s, I have really enjoyed the huge upgrade in performance form the previous Panasonic Micro system.
Before I bought this system I demo’d MA RX1, RX2, and the 685’s with a combination of Marantz PM 6003, (as recommended by dealer, but perhaps the weak link), Rega Brio R, Rega DAC, Arcam DAC and Marantz MCR-603 and my preference, in a big way, was the Pioneer and 685’s. It had so much more muscle, a bigger, fuller sound, great bass and didn’t seem to me to lose anything in detail. In fact I found both the MA speakers to be very bright, to the point that I was happy not to listen to the RX6’s (perhaps a mistake in hindsight, as the MA’s were my favourites at the price point before auditioning.
So, the system I have is big (relatively) and surprisingly full and I have greatly enjoyed this over the last year. (All my music is mp3 or flac and I’m a big fan of Spotify, so currently connecting my laptop via hdmi to the Pioneer).
But, over the last year, as much as I enjoy the system, the bug is there and I find that the highs are somewhat sharp ( eg Alannis Morrissette’s jagged little pill), the bass and mid-range are muffled and less decisive than I would like and it’s time to start planning for the next step…
I was looking to demo the Dynaudio Focus 160, MA GX100, PMC Twenty.22 and Proac D18, but was happy when my local dealer offered MA GX50, PMC Twenty.22, Kef R300 ( heard a lot of good things) and my own 685’s for comparison.
The demo lasted over 2 hours, and I was very happy with the attentiveness of the dealer. Constant swapping backwards and forwards. I won’t forget when purchase time comes.
I asked for the Arcam A38 with either the Rega or Audiolab DAC’s. We used the new Arcam A19 amp and Rega DAC for the demo.
Must say that in my limited experience the new amp is impressive and was able to go loud on each of the speakers, but particular the low load PMC’s.
685’s I know these are good speakers and almost impossible to criticise at the price point, and at first listen I didn’t get the big difference with PMC’s, but they lack openness, clarity, rhythm and reality, and substitute this with greater perceived bass.
MA GX50- Wow. For such a small speaker (I must admit to having already discounted them as I wanted to listen to their bigger brother and a bigger budget), but in hindsight they are very impressive. Clarity and amazing bass. Might have to listen to them again – didn’t really give them a chance…
Kef R300 – After hearing such good reviews was really happy that the dealer had them available. At low volumes they seemed like a better version of the 685’. Tighter, smoother at the top end and with great bass performance, but once the volume creep’d up, the bass boom was intolerable. The dealer said it’s because of the room acoustics, and, moving around the room it was possible to find some sweet spots, but, whilst I don’t have any restrictions on moving rear ported speakers away from the rear wall, I was very disappointed. The dealer blamed the room, but I’m not sure…
PMC Twenty.22 The most expensive and hyped by some margin, I spent most of the 2 hours back and forwards between these and the 685’s. The difference took a little while for me to be clear. The more I listened to them the better they sounded, particularly with acoustic and female voices like Suzanne Vega. They really are very open, airy and clear and the comparison with the 685’s just got better and better. Then Massive Attack and Fluke. Maybe the 685’s bass response is artificially enhanced, but where was the bass? Don’t think I could live with lack or bass (perceived or real). Dealer suggested hooking up a REL 528 to make up the difference and that would be useful with its twin input when I get round to the home cinema setup. BUT. Impressed as I was/am, I just want one speaker to do it all. I know I won’t get FULL range from stand mounts, but a bit closer would be nice.
Looking forward to listening to the Focus 160’s. On paper my ideal speakers but a bit wary about amp requirements to see the best of them.
Other contenders are Proac D18 and ATC SCM19
Thanks for reading. Any opinions very welcome
What is it youre after though as this is an AV amp with a stereo set of speakers...
Are you after a dedicated stereo system or are you building towards a 5.1 surround sound system?
I'm after a decicated stereo setup.
Am prepared tto be patient and think I prefer the DAC route over streamer.
Very convenient whilst living alone and using my laptop. The AV can wait a while longer...
If you feel a speaker (like this) has potential, a home demo with your amp is worth trying. Also consider the R500......remember, they have a versatile bung arrangement that can offset the problem.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
The Twenty series really are very good, and they're just as adept with movie soundtracks as they are with music. They can take a bit of adjusting to though as initially they can sound a little lean.
Doesn't sound like a very good dealer to me. Did he use the bungs in any way to tune them more to the room? The whole point of going to a dealer for a demo is to hear the speakers as good as they can sound in the dealer's environment. If he can't make them sound half decent in a room he knows, he's not going to be able to advise you on how to get the best out of them in a room he knows nothing about! Here, I have every single model of speaker you have mentioned in your initial post - yes, some will have more bass than others, but if someone complains to me that a speaker sounds too bassy, I'll try and do what I can to reduce it. If you can make GX and 600 series sound good in a room, you can make R Series sound good in a room too. It just takes a little effort.
I thought the recent recession was getting rid of dealers like this...
David @Frank Harvey Hi-Fi, Coventry
David makes some valid points, however, you'll never replicate the sound of a dem room in your own living room. I agree the dealer sounds a bit of a damp squib.
When going to a dealers you need to make absolutely clear your requirements, almost to the point of being pushy. Once the brief is given then it's down to the dealer to direct you in the right direction.
Amp: Leema Pulse; Source: Naim CD5i-2, Denon 260MKII, Pro-ject XP I; Speakers: PMC TB2i
Formerly known as plastic penguin
Agreed, but the provision of a demo room at the dealer will allow a direct comparison between products, regardless of any issues the room might have or its differences to the customer's room
Just going back to my question above...
If youre aftewr a dedicated stereo system why are you using an AV amp?
You'll get better results for a dedicated stereo amp over an AV amp for a stereo set-up IMO...
Have you any decent stereo amps that you've already demo'd or considering to demo?
Last week I did a somewhat similar shoot-out. I heard the Kef LS50, the PMC Twenty.21 and the MA GX 100. Electronics were NAD (CDP and integrated amp). I preferred the MA's, and that by a large margin. They sounded very rich and precise, with generous, taut bass. The Kefs were boomy at higher volumes, while the PMCs sounded accurate, but rather thin (the Twenty.22 might of course better them in that aspect).
But for me - so far - the MA GX 100 takes the lead. Try and hear those before deciding.
Any speaker can sound boomy when driven insufficiently.
The R300's may be worth a listen at home, but the dealers listening room is a pretty similar shape and they were at least 60cm's from the rear wall.
The dealer never mentioned bungs to tune the bass, and it never occured to me either. It did make we wonder how they can succesfully demo much bigger speaker's in that room, which is the larger of two.
Maybe being pushy comes with experience. At the moment I have'nt listened to enough equipment to really know what my preferences are, so was grateful for the time and effort of the dealer.
I'm using the AV amp because I was originally looking for a system around £1k, when I tested the seperates above and thought that this av amp sounded better than any combination of them in stereo. I wasn't looking to buy an av amp, but will be looking for a 5/7.1 set up one day, so the extra versatility made it an easy choice.
I haven't listened to any amps other than the Rega, Arcam A19 and Marantz. I dont have the money to buy right now, but things are on the up and I will. Figure its best to start with the speakers, which i'd like to buy new. Would be happy to buy a 2nd hand amp though. Am intersted in the Arcam A38 but haven't heard it. Something around that level, that isnt upgradeable might help me keep my hands in my pockets later on...
DocG. That sounds interseting. Definitely want to hear the MA 100's. If they're 20% better as well as bigger than the 50's, they should be great. Good looking speakers with thier stands and the right size I am looking for.
Thanks for all your comments
I have read several reviews, where the sound was too boomy with the R300 until the "part bung" was used. The whole bung strangled too much life from the speaker......It got a 5* in HFC recently, where they commented on its "Superb imaging and soundstaging, with sweet treble", but said, "While users do need a reasonable amount of care in terms of positioning of the R300s, making judicious use of the port tuning bungs in order to optimize their interaction with their listening environment, the rewards are plentiful."
With the part bung in and the speakers pulled a little further into the room, they said "Bass was now very fulsome, but much better controlled, and superbly tuneful".
In the dislikes section, it mentions bass that can be overblown and needs a powerful amp to help keep it under control....they used a Naim SuperNait.
... which could go some way to at least explain part of the problem.
Pretty ... and pretty proud of it
AV amps....lol.... I agree the stereo amps 700poundish I've heard don't sound as good as a 500pound+ AV amp, its the power on tap that the psu's can handle, I'm sure of it.
I wounder how WHF set them up when they did their reader challenges......
© 2013 Haymarket Publishing