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Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

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megatombomb's picture
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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

CnoEvil wrote:

Hi there

My midlife crisis (49) ended up with me getting my system (and substantially lightening my bank account)....and I don't regret it for a minute.

My advice is to try and avoid any preconceived notions and make a list of good stuff to demo....especially with the money you are looking to spend.

For speakers, as well as ATC, look at Kef (R Series); Focal; PMC (Twenty Series) and Usher

For amps, possibly consider Electrocompaniet; Sugden; Icon Audio; Pathos and Musical Fidelity.

A system is all about synergy and compatibility, so try different pairings.....and try not be influenced by what other people say is good. FWIW. I think ATC should work well with valves upstream.

Let us know how things go.

 

Yes thankyou this is wisdom i can understand now ive matured abit excellent!

I would love to go the whole mono valve power amp route for each speaker as it is exactly the sound i love.  My father had two handmade for his big old wharfdale standmounts and the sound is very seductive which could be endlessly listened to.

His budget was bigger than mine though!

Any other specific recommendations for good amp to drive the ATC's for under £1500?

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

megatombomb wrote:

Any other specific recommendations for good amp to drive the ATC's for under £1500?

I take a different view from some on here about what to spend on an amp, versus that on a speaker.

You have mentioned that you would go up to £3k for the right speaker, and £1.5k on an amp. IMO. You should treat this as a combined £4.5k budget for both.

I would rather have a cheaper speaker driven really well, than an expensive one that is giving nowhere near its potential. I am not telling you to take this as gospel, but bear it in mind when testing.

I see the amp as the heart of the system and not an afterthought when the speakers have been chosen. Once your amp budget rises to £2k - 2.5k, there are some exceptional choices, and would still leave £1.5k - 2k for speakers.

You are likely to get conflicting advice on this, so you will have to test it for yourself.

 

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

Disagree. You should spend the bulk on the speakers. Amps don't make anywhere near that much difference to the sound, and, providing they're in the recommended power band, most amps cope well irrespective of price.

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Disagree. You should spend the bulk on the speakers. Amps don't make anywhere near that much difference to the sound, and, providing they're in the recommended power band, most amps cope well irrespective of price.

Every argument needs a counter-argument to give balance.......which is as it should be......and why this has to be confirmed personally. There is no right and wrong, just preferable and less preferable.

The problem with declared specs, is they can be misleading, and can appear to put the amp in the right power band, without it actually having good reserves of power when impedance drops. Very often expensive speakers need expensive amps to control them properly, even if you do believe they all sound similar.

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

All good advice thanks guys.

Ive been thinking sod it then and having looked online this morning at amps upto £2.5k i could manage budget this i suppose.  Still goto £3k on the speakers if necessary too.  The CDP i assume i could maybe spend less on then?  I do have a growing SACD collection and had considered a Marantz Pearl lite but i maybe not doing other components justice with one of these?

Back on the amp though i like the look/specs of the Musical Fidelity M6i.  The amp manages 200W rms into 8ohms but doesnt say how it manages it?

Is it Class a/b or class D?

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

megatombomb wrote:

All good advice thanks guys.

Ive been thinking sod it then and having looked online this morning at amps upto £2.5k i could manage budget this i suppose.  Still goto £3k on the speakers if necessary too.  The CDP i assume i could maybe spend less on then?  I do have a growing SACD collection and had considered a Marantz Pearl lite but i maybe not doing other components justice with one of these?

Back on the amp though i like the look/specs of the Musical Fidelity M6i.  The amp manages 200W rms into 8ohms but doesnt say how it manages it?

Is it Class a/b or class D?

My 4 favorite amps in that range:

1. Sugden A21 SE (It's more powerful than the specs suggest, being Class A)

2. Electrocompaniet ECI-3 (or ECI-5 ex-dem)....AB amp

3. MF M6i......AB amp

4. Pathos Classic 1 Mk.111.....Hybrid Valve/AB amp.

You will need to still listen to CDPs......I like those from Rega, Electrocompaniet and Pathos......there is also streamers.

The M6i is a very powerful amp that can double its power into 4 Ohms and again into 2 Ohms (800W). It does this with 45 amps of current and a big transformer. It is an AB amp.

Class D amps would be the likes of Bel Canto, Primare and some from Nad.

 

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

Not a fan of Musical Fidelity, though haven't heard their latest. Naim give you more dynamics, as does Myryad and a few others. £2500 on an amp for £3000 speakers is overkill - maybe £1500 - £2000 would be more than enough. That leaves a decent amount for the source.

Edit: had an Electrocompaniet for a short while. A bit bass heavy, preferred the Naim for Classical music, my main interest.

By the way, if you haven't auditioned the ATC speakers, you need to ,they're not for averyone, mate. I found them a bit tiring the only time I heard them. Harbeth are good with classical, as are Totem, Martin Logan and (of course) Magnepan.

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Not a fan of Musical Fidelity, though haven't heard their latest. Naim give you more dynamics, as does Myryad and a few others. £2500 on an amp for £3000 speakers is overkill - maybe £1500 - £2000 would be more than enough. That leaves a decent amount for the source.

 

Edit: had an Electrocompaniet for a short while. A bit bass heavy, preferred the Naim for Classical music, my main interest.

I would certainly agree that you could get an amp in that budget to do the job (nearer £2K), but that doesn't help if you prefer the more expensive one....which does happen.

I also think that leaving enough for a good source is wise.

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

Surely the Sugden A21 SE with its 30wpc isnt going to move the AC scm 40's very well though?  The speakers poor sensitivity 86db so must be better with M6I?

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

megatombomb wrote:

Surely the Sugden A21 SE with its 30wpc isnt going to move the AC scm 40's very well though?  The speakers poor sensitivity 86db so must be better with M6I?

I used my Masterclass with the SCM40 and personally I didn't like it, but my source at the time didn't help matters Naim CDX2.

However Sugden with Harbeth is a superb match.

Mac

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

If you live anywhere near Gloucestershire, you really should get over to AVI to hear the ADM40s. 

The amp speaker matching is done for you. The ATC actives appeal but the price takes your breath away. 

 

 

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

There are also retaillers around the country, where you can hear AVI in direct comparison to other hi-fi set ups. That will make it far easier for you to make a comparison. 

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

Not the 40s though.

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

megatombomb wrote:

Surely the Sugden A21 SE with its 30wpc isnt going to move the AC scm 40's very well though?  The speakers poor sensitivity 86db so must be better with M6I?

I have a 35W Class A amp (same as Roby and Iceman), and it sounds more like 200W.....so it's best not to make generalizations.

I suspect it would be fine, if you listen at moderate levels, but either Rick or David might comment further....or you could ring Sugden / ATC to check, as well as listen for yourself. It is often matched with Spendors which can have a lower sensitivity.

There is also the possibility that you will prefer other speakers, which you won't know until you start listening....as I said, do not make assumptions.

The M6i is much more powerful, but you may not prefer the way it sounds....then again you might!

I would pick the Sugden or Pathos followed closely by the Electro.......but what I like is irrelevant.

As has been said, the Active solution is neat, good value, and the matching has been done for you....but like everything else, it is down to personal preference. I like the versatility of having amp and speakers separate.

 

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RE: Suggested Hi-Fi system for a near-midlife crisis!

CnoEvil wrote:

altruistic.lemon wrote:

Disagree. You should spend the bulk on the speakers. Amps don't make anywhere near that much difference to the sound, and, providing they're in the recommended power band, most amps cope well irrespective of price.

Every argument needs a counter-argument to give balance.......which is as it should be......and why this has to be confirmed personally. There is no right and wrong, just preferable and less preferable.

The problem with declared specs, is they can be misleading, and can appear to put the amp in the right power band, without it actually having good reserves of power when impedance drops. Very often expensive speakers need expensive amps to control them properly, even if you do believe they all sound similar.

 

Quote: "There is no right and wrong, just preferable and less preferable"

Forgive me for being aghast and taking you to task on this, but with the greatest of respect, I disagree on your opinion here, completely.

Either there's a goal to all this box swapping and fiddling about, or there isn't.

HiFi or 'High Fidelity' used to mean the closest approach to the original sound, not the sound that most pleases me, like wine tasting or something.

So, for example shouldn't the pursuit of the lowest possible distortion and the least added colouration to the kit be a lauded goal?

If not, I say that Bose is better than anything you or your favourite dealer can offer, because I say so, and my opinion is just as valuable and great as yours, this being the internet and all, and given that we are all experts.

I also say so, because I heard it, and believe it as my ears never lie, and in the light of any confounding objective facts to bear on the matter, I'm therefore completely and unassailably right, and you've wasted a shed load of money - because when I hear your system, I will tell you it's c**p and you need to upgrade etc, etc, and etc., and sell it all and buy BOSE!

Especially If I'm a dealer selling said BOSE upgrade, or a HiFi writer lacking an education in physics, electrical engineering and psycho-acoustics, caught up in the same silly circle of consumer level mixing and matching to mask the various faults of connected equipment in the pursuit of the art of wine tasting re sound.

Now, I'm being rather tongue in cheek here, and stirring the pot, so please don't go and have a hissy fit or such...lol... by taking me too seriously, but I make the naughty comments to draw attention to how in my view, these sorts of discussions are about sound 'flavours' and nothing to do with HiFi per se.

Imagine if you will, if you were expected to purchase a brand new car by buying a bodyshell from say Ford, and then being expected at a consumer level, guided only by biased dealers, to try out say a Honda, or Toyota, or Peugeot engine with it perhaps; maybe some wheels and tyres from Toyota? - how about a transmission from a Smart Four x Four? - would that work OK in a Ford Mondeo bodyshell??  See how silly it all sounds?

I actually find this whole mix and matching of equipment at a consumer level to be a frankly hugely outdated and self defeating way of purchasing a HiFi system in the 21st century; the mix and match building model belongs in the 50's with the DIY industry from which HiFi has grown to be a large commercial enterprise profiting from the inexperience and relative ignorance of the general punter, and the touted but unsustainable notion that individual cottage industry specialists can somehow build a better mousetrap than a company who builds the whole box and caboodle using the most up to date design and construction methods, along with tertiary trained staff at the very highest levels, as against enthusiastic amateurs come business entreprenuers.

Frankly, I would buy a complete Yamaha, Sony, AV system for example, or BOSE...lol.. before any of these cottage industry so called 'high end' products in a suck it and see, mix and match fashion.

I respectfully suggest the OP, and anyone else starting from scratch to build a HiFi, and with a good budget as the OP has, do some reading of the likes of Floyd Toole, Sean Olive etc, and find out a thing or two about what REALLY works in a HiFi and acoustic/room context, and investigate some sort of properly finished and matched system by tertiary trained experts at the highest levels - not amateurs at an retail HiFi store level, or amateurs like myself on a HiFi forum giving otherwise well meaning advice  - or for that matter the amateurs who also write about mixing and matching in the mainstream HiFi press, for clearly most are no more knowledgeable about electrical engineering, physics and psycho-acoustics than the buyers either.  It is a case of the blind leading the blind in far too many cases in my humble opinion.

Of course, if mixing and matching kit to achieve a 'flavour' of sound, like wine tasting, is what you REALLY want in a system, then by all means ignore my comments, as it's a more than fair enough aspect to the hobby for a lot of people, and good on them for having that interest, only, don't tell me the results are about 'HiFi' and the closest aproach to the orignal sound unless you have some facts to back up the claim.  And as I say, if it's really about wine tasting or sound 'flavour's I say save yourself a lot of money and buy BOSE - an awful lot of people do, and most of them are very very happy with the product.  Most of them almost certainly don't read Hifi magazines either, and obsess endlessly about the kit and possible 'ugrades' - it does a job and they're very happy with the flavour of sound it offers - end of story really....Wink

Heheh, I'll get off my soapbox and stop stirring now...lol Cool

Best regards

John...  beauty, eh