Review of new DAC, amp & speakers
I've got a pair B&W DM601 speakers and Denon PM-250SE amp which are approx 13 years old now, so I had a gander on eBay to see if I could find some newer equivilant hardware, I managed to get a pair of Mission M33's (with sand filled bottoms) for £80 and a Cambridge Audio A5 for £36 (both boxed in perfect cond), I thought I'll mix them with the Denon and B&W's and keep whatever is best, also last Friday I bought a CA Dacmagic 100 from Richer Sounds after testing that an the Arcam rDac
I tried the speakers with the Denon and found the Missions a nice big sound compared to the B&W's, them I hooked them up to the Cambridge Audio amp and couldn't believe how bad the sound was, it was washed out with a terrible soundstage, the bass went from solid on the Denon to really really lackluster on the CA, I boxed it straight away and thats going on eBay.
So I settled on the existing PMA-250SE and now was time to see what speakers I prefered, bare in mind I love the B&W from back when I bought a pair in 1999, the Missions have a really nice big sound which are time can be a tad boomy on Hip Hop & Dubstep but sounds detailed with punch on the likes of Pink Floyd, Stan Getz, Tubular Bells, etc., so I moved over to the B&W which has a crisper sound but lacked the sound stage and depth of the Missions.
Amp: The CA A5 was a serious dissapointment which is saying something as I didn't expect much from it, the Denon is a great amp but is only a stop gap until I can get something like a Musical Fidelity X-A1 or a Cyrus amp.
Speakers: The B&W's are a great speaker and will also hold a special place in my heart but I think I'm going to keep the Missions as they are better as an all rounder, I was really impressed with the Mission's with The Dogs of War by Pink Floyd, I realise these speakers are budget floorstanders and may be frowned upon but I thought they were a bargain, I'm going to buy another run of Chord cable and bi-wire and test again before getting rid of the B&W's
DAC: I listened to the Arcam and the CA and found that althought the Arcam was slightly warmer and had more precision the Dacmagic was more dynamic and had a tighter bass, I have to say this upgrade has made the biggest difference to my setup, it's totally made my music come back to life and now when I play from Spotify on my iPad via my Airport Express I can hear a clear difference
By the way I used Chord Carnival Silverscreen speaker cable and Cambridge Audio AUD700 interconnects
The Dogs of war by Pink Floyd
Express Yourself by Diplo
Dark Star by Mike Oldfield
Moondance by Van Morrison
Paradise by Coldplay
Love me two times by The Doors
Come together by The Beatles
Hope I didn't bore everyone, thanks for reading.