What do you mean by mid range i.e. what price are you talking about?
Mid range as taken from the What Hi Fi mag is around £750-£1000 Amp £750-£1100 Speakers £750-£1100 CD player
Alternatively don't accept magazine 5 star reviews at face value and spend some time at dealers to listen properly to well run in products. I guess we all spend relatively more on hifi than would find easy to justify to work colleagues so worth investing in a half a day's leave to demo gear mid week when dealer's have time on their hands
Fair comment. But...
Most dealers only specialize in certain speakers or certain amps, so you can only buy what limited stock the Hi Fi shop has in store. So if we cannot trust the magazine who can you trust. They say they have spent 1,000,000's on research and facilities. Would it be to much to ask for a page about partnering Amps and Speakers.
The saying says ' You can please some of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time'. A article pointing us in the right direction would suffice!!!
Shhhhhh....there's a conspiracy to make us spend money.it's good for the economy.
Sorry sewage man but playing devils advocate, such an article would almost certainly result in numerous disagreements and dissatisfied readers 'but you said Arcam goes with B&W' etc etc. A lot of the information you ask for is there in the reviews and buyers guide. But that is just it, it is a guide. I use What hifi as a guide to research and then find a dealer with roughly what I am looking for and then audition. Sometimes you have to creative. There is no hifi dealer near me who sell AKG headphones, a brand that appears to go well with Musical Fidelity. One of the reasons I know that is by reading through signatures on this and other forums and I have seen a lot of MF with AKG. So I went to a dealer who sells Sennheiser, as I already have Grados and know the sound. I politely explained that I was killing time, but could I have a shot of the Sennheisers. The answer was no problem and they had a couple of CDs with the tester tracks I use to audition new kit. So I sat and listened and decided that the Sennheisers were good, but did not do it for me. So I thanked them and left. I will be getting the AKGs. I also got lucky and the latest issue has a headphone test and forget the stars, it is the description of the sound that I go by.
By the way that dealer is The Audio Merchant, Howard St, Glasgow and they have some excellent stuff and great customer service.
Thank you for that lenghty comment. But I am just talking about general guidelines. In What Hi Fi there is some general 'guidence' regarding system matching and yet that does not cause a wave of protest. I think a page a general guidence for matching systems would be in everyones interests.
I think that to rely on other peoples ears/rooms is over the top of what the magazines reviews are about. All that they can do is give a outline picture of what something sounds like to them, in the listening room they used. You can not beat sitting in a dealers dem room and making mistakes for your self. While I accept that few dealers can offer a huge range of choice, you are sometimes better making a choice from a restricted list of options, but at least hearing them together. If you build a relationship with one of the better dealers, they have often taken some of the mis match problems away for you, and the chance of home dems is greatley increased. As a number of people seem to be finding out, a mix and match of 5 star reviewed components does not always add up to a 5 star system, but a well balanced system of lesser star's can add up to a 5 star system.
Unfortunately, auditioning kit really is the only way forward. I completely understand the point about dealers only stocking limited brands and it can become difficult and annoying, but you just have to be prepared to travel round to different dealers to hear all the kit you have shortlisted.
Personally, I think home demos are absolutely essential, particularly when it comes to speakers. Some dealers won't do it, but many will and my view is that if a dealer won't allow a home demo (or at least some element of flexibility like Richer's 14 day exchange policy on speakers), then they are not providing the extra service you expect from a proper dealer.
In terms of the magazine, there are often box-outs in reviews where the team make matching recommendations for a particular product, and every supertest ends with a recommend system, based around the winning product. They also list their favourite budget, mid-range,and high-end systems towards the front of the magazine.
Synergy, however, is a black art. It is absolutely crucial to the performance of a system but it isn't a science. The only way to really tell is to listen to things together.
On 25% volume its ok, all tracks sound good. Tone midrange and bass are nice.
On 45% again volume all is ok. Tone and bass and midrange are ok nice.
On 50% volume The bright high sounding piercing starts to come through.
On 60% The high pitch piercing tone gives me a headache.
Just read all the posts in this thread - a long but interesting read!
How many of us really turn it up above 50% volume? Especially those with 70+ wpc amps?! I tried Sat night when friends were over and my system sounded ear-piercing when dial passed 12 o'clock - but isn't that just simply too loud?! The nature of sound is such that first to hurt our ears are high and high-mid frequencies - so maybe that's why it sounds 'bright' to you? I think if at normal volumes it sounds fine, then there really isn't a problem. If you want to dj a party at home, then look at pro speakers.
Second, don't judge your amp or speakers before you put at least 60-70 hours of playback time. Sound 'matures' quite a bit. Initially most systems sound bright.
EDIT: At 6 ohms (MAs are rated at 6) my amp puts out about 120 wpc per tests done by an Australian mag. 50% volume indeed is very loud.
Agree totally with this. I am amazed that anyone would spend more than £500 on audio kit without listening to it first! If the dealer dosnt have what you want to listen to, then go find one that does! Each of us has some very specific and often different requirements or criteria as to what constitutes a good sound - magazines can only give you a clue as to what shortlist you migh start off with. Interestingly, to my ears the Naim Nait CD and amp were much brighter (maybe leaner, faster etc all related timbral nuances) than the K2. Then again, I think that Spendor S6e's are perfectly matched for rock music, whereas most wouldn't. There is no right or wrong, just what your ears hear and you like.
J River MC19 ->Amazon Essentials USB cable -> Dacmagic+ -> Neutrik Mic XLR -> Caspian M2 -> Chord Carnival Silver Screen -> D18
MF M1 HPA -> BeyerDT880.
........ But I am just talking about general guidelines. In What Hi Fi there is some general 'guidence' regarding system matching and yet that does not cause a wave of protest. I think a page a general guidence for matching systems would be in everyones interests.
The sewage man. My response was in response to 'so surely What Hi Fi could do a 'not carved in stone' article about which amps and speakers go together! which would have been a better quote for me to use. What hifi provide loads of system matching advice, from best buys to the end of group tests and super tests to sound advice to the buyers guide. I don't object to such an articlre. But would it help you? 'Rocksan amps go with Rega CDPs' say What hifi, so out you go and buy a Rega and back home gone is the brightness, but in its place is a muddled, light bass or recessed midrange etc.
My attitude over the years has been there is no such thing as the perfect system, I balance advice with listening to other people's hifis to auditions in shops. And I don't just mean specialist dealers, I also mean the likes of John Lewis. I have also brass necked it in Curries, HMV, Comet and my best was getting a listen to £20,000 of Linn.
Just read Chainrock's response about volume levels and, I have to say, I agree completely.
The most I turn my amp up is the 10 o'clock position, and that is very loud (75wpc amp). I wouldn't want to listen any louder and I'm sure my neighbours would have issues if I even used that volume consistently.
Any system that is going to sound good at the sort of high volumes the OP is talking about would have to sound pretty flat and dead at low volumes. I think this is a search for the impossible, unless you really have money to burn on some very expensive amplification and speakers and a huge room to put them in.
Sorry to sound like a broken record but it's apples and oranges when comparing the volume dials of different amplifiers. Having made an A-B test between NAD C352 and Roksan Kandy K2, it's apparent that you need to turn the volume to at least 12 on the roksan to get around the same volume output as you do when turning the NAD C352 to just before 10 o clock. Even then really you need to turn the roksan a little further.
Having just upgraded from a 352 to the K2 I can concur with this! The NAD was all but ear splitting at a position of around 10pm. The K2 needs to be at around 1 am to achieve the same perceived levels (through DM602's).