Try out Tannoy's Revolution DC4 or DC6, depending on your room size. I felt they left the R100s standing on demo and I know KEF are flavour ot the whatever around here, but the truth of it in my room is that the Tannoys deliver a sound that's way above their price.
Clarity without harshness, bass which is accurate instead of being lumpy (something I'd accuse the R100s of incidentally) and a midrange that's as good as any I've heard. They work best awway from a rear wall (mine are about two feet out), and well positioned. They're not fussy, but five minutes trying them out in different alignments works wonders - this applies to any speaker of course.
Assuming your room isn't massive, you'd be recommended to try them out, if only to later disregard them.
IME. The R100s are bassier than the Tannoys, which have a slighter cleaner presentation, with a less golden mid-range. I also think the Tannoys are a little fussier with amp matching, as they are more likely to show up bright electronics.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Current room is pretty small (bedroom) - 11ft x 9ft. And it's pretty softly furnished. Used to have the set up in a room twice the size and the bass response was much cleaner in that bigger room. Currently the speakers are about 1.5ft from the back wall and the same from the side walls. Yes, I can use the bungs but the bass has never felt properly integrated with the mids. As previously touched on, it's those tracks, which are mid-range heavy, which delight the most. Synth sounds and strings sound superb. But vocals...ergh...constant irritating sibilance. S and T sounds are so pronounced. Perhaps a side effect of more revealing, crisper speakers, or perhaps a trait of the source (marantz NA7004), but would the source REALLY make that much difference to the edges of S and T sounds?
Again, I am thinking of selling the R100's and taking a sideways step. Do you think the ATC SCM 11's might be a good bet? Firstly the bass should be a lot cleaner with the sealed design and Iv'e also read that the treble is understated if anything. Can get the old ones on ex demo for £600, or of course the new ones for £1200. How the 2013, new model compares though, I don't know as they don't appear to be out yet. Thoughts?
Arcam A19 - Kef R100's - Marantz NA7004
To the OP, if you read WHF's review you'll recall they said the Marantz NA7004 can sound harsh. It may well be that is the culprit, and not your amp/speaker combo.
Before you change the Arcam/Kef, borrow a good CD player and test.
Arcam Solo Mini/Monitor Audio RX1/Cambridge Audio 751BD/Samsung 37” LCD
The source can make the difference if you are close to what you're after, but no cigar.
The ATC will be tighter and cleaner, but also a warts and all presentation.
As has been mentioned, imo you need to be looking at Spendor, Harbeth and Sonus Faber.
Fwiw. I found the LS 50s to have a much more natural presentation than the R100s, with a bass that was tighter and more controlled.
The R100s and R300s can both sound lumpy if the amp doesn't keep good control over them, or they are too close to the wall.....the outer bung greatly helps though. IME. The R100s are bassier than the Tannoys, which have a slighter cleaner presentation, with a less golden mid-range. I also think the Tannoys are a little fussier with amp matching, as they are more likely to show up bright electronics.
I'd used them with the Onkyo TX8050, and then I think they went through a Linn DS player afterwards. Neither made them sound good. I've used the Tannoys with three or four amps now and "fussy" isn't a word I'd use to describe them. Positioning, however is important in as much as they don't do well close to a rear wall. A couple of feet out and they shine.
Bass, as I have mentioned umpteen times, is not an issue in the right room. In mine, where they fire across the width of the room, they are excellent. Neither light nor boomy. Get the balance right - as with any setup really - and they'll work a treat. Which they do, fortunately for me!
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy Revolution DC4 (bi-amped)
AVI Laboratory Series CD Player
I should probably experiment with the source in first instance then. However, would adding an external DAC to the Marantz's digital out constitute a completely 'new source'? I.e. would it entirely bypass any influence of the Marantz at all? Or would some residual influence still remain?
Goat, that's difficult to say, especially since the WHF review thought USB playback was better than network playback. So maybe the Marantz's DAC isn't the fundamental issue. Also, to put it through an external DAC would rather defeat its purpose - note at launch this was a 700 quid device - so I don't think they skimped there,
My idea to test with a CD player was to reduce unnecessary obfuscation to determine whether your amp/speaker combo is the culprit. If you're going to get an external DAC to test - then don't play it through the Marantz. Rather make sure it's got USB, and then test with a laptop if you have/can acquire one.
It's probably me that's fussy, as any hint of brightness puts me off. I've heard the Tannoys sounding clean and dynamic without brightness, and I've heard them sound a little edgy for my taste, when turned up. Their bass has always been in proportion and controlled.....it's the R Series that have a bass that can get overblown, if care is not taken.
Yes, sorry, I should've been clearer. I know the R100s are a bit keen in the lower registers, I guess the comment I read most often about the Tannoys is they lack bass. My preference is for clean and accurate and less for the bloomy and boomy. Sorry if it seemed a tad aggressive in my reply!
This is one that you will have try for yourself....Fwiw. I think the transport influences the sound, but not all agree. The reason I suggested the Sneaky DS, is IMO it sounds better than anything else at it's price.....I just reckon it's worth a shot, as it would be a simple solution.
Definitely try to have a listen to a valve Amp.
This may be your path to Audio Heaven.
It was for me.
Roksan Caspian M2 CD Player, Unison Research S8 Amplifier (Psvane 845, Brimar 13D4 valves) Focal Electra 1008Be speakers, Atlas Titan interconnects, Atlas Hyper 3.0 speaker cables.
Thank you for all your thoughts, I shall investigate each solution in course and let you know how I get on.
Last thing – how about the PMC twenty series?? By all accounts very fast and agile (something the R100’s are not!). Are they typically ‘brighter’ in presentation though? Very expensive, but I’m willing to investigate them further. Of course it may be that they become a bit disproportionate to the modestly priced arcam A19.
I haven't heard the Twenty series, but I suspect they will sound "clean and lean" compared to the R100s.......FWIW. I found the LS50s sounded much cleaner than the R100s, as well as more agile, so might be a happy medium.
I actually owned the LS50's for a few days, after trading up the R100's, but quickly returned them for the R100's. I found the LS50's to be too forward and harsh - the upper mid and lower treble in particular seemed to have quite a nasty spike and the treble itself had a poorer, more edgy quality. In my opinion. However, the bass was definitely cleaner.
Might demo the PMC twenties alongside some R100's at Sevenoaks - they stock both and should also have the Arcam a19 to run alongside.
I did not find that with the LS50s, so it maybe worth checking that your amp. is not the problem, also do you only have one source the Marantz 7004?
Amps you could try the Roksan Kandy and/or Musical Fid. M3i.
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