Matthew is absolutely right in saying that it's the music that's important. I get the feeling that for many posters to this forum it's the kit that's important. I suspect that if you spend say £2k on your hifi setup (and avoid stupid mismatches) you are going to get something that is perfectly good at reproducing music. After that you can doubtless get improvements but they will cost you a lot and get you very little.
Not for me.
There is nothing that I can think of that can be bought with that budget that will do it for me, 3 or 4 times that I would say.
I think the really big step up comes in systems in the £5-10k region, personal I know, and I admit that I am no longer that conversant with that much in the way of expensive gear, but in broard terms those are the sort of figures I would be looking at should I want something new and good.
We do so many shows in a row,
And these towns all look the same,
We just pass the time in our hotel room
And wander 'round backstage,
Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,
And we remember why we came.
Ah yes Chris, but you can spend £40,000 on a brand new two source Linn system and get a fairly decent sounding system. Or you can spend less than £4,000 on a vintage system and get something that sounds significantly, easily noticeably better. Even in a blind test. With a tone deaf listener. With a lot of wax in their ears.
And that to me is THE main point of cherry picked vintage gear. The Linn system is fine for people that want to buy that sort of thing. But for those looking for a bit of magic every time they listen to music at home at a vaguely affordable price...
I've got to be honest, I'm pretty disillusioned with modern, affordable hi-fi. There is always some feeling of it not quite being 'right' which I don't get with some of the vintage gear I've used - stuff like old Pioneer SA and Sansui AU amps, even the lower end stuff.
Anyone else lean towards the vintage stuff?
I used to as you Matthew, but by the same token, it comes with caveats as much as new gear does, just a different set.
If the vintage gear had ticked your boxes, you'd be using it. As it is, you have three very similar Sansui amps in your stable, from the early 70s. They're all perfectly decent, will sound nice, but in the end, you'll come back to whatever level of dissatisfaction that caused you to put them to one side in the first place.
Vintage gear comes with its own issues - the more you spend, the greater the cost of the risk. A thorough service is required, especially for Sansui's amps where the glue they used originally can become a problem and corrode circuit boards. Capacitors, etc, often wear and need replacing. I had an AU-717 and it was a great amp, easily up there with Exposure's 3010s, Harman's HK990 and Leema's Pulse II. Easily.
By the same token, I guess I spent about £400 all in with the Sansui. The Leema, which sounded pretty much identical, was £699 at the time and came with a guarantee.
I think I mentioned the same some weeks ago, but I think you're more caught up with listening to imperfections in your gear and the shortcomings of some recordings than anything else.
I enjoyed trying out some older gear, but in the end, you get the performance with today's gear and the benefits of technological advance - true maybe amps haven't changed that much, but I'm happy with the choices I made in leaving vintage gear behind and reaping the benefits of buying current product.
Try them out again by all means, they'll give you differences in presentation, but not much. I've no idea what to suggest. You've been through more combinations than anyone on here, and could probably put some shop staff in the shade too. Personally, I think it's a mindset issue less than the gear. Maybe not quite OCD, but not entirely unconnected. I doubt running out and just buying active speakers will be the answer as I suspect you risk the same thing occurring again.
So, I think the question you need to answer first is why you change your gear so much; I don't believe the answer is a hifi or music related one, as the underlying dissatisfaction comes from a different place. I think once you've worked that out, you'll be some way to dealing with the problem.
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy Revolution DC4 (bi-amped)
AVI Laboratory Series CD Player
You've been through more combinations than anyone on here, and could probably put some shop staff in the shade too. Personally, I think it's a mindset issue less than the gear. Maybe not quite OCD, but not entirely unconnected. I doubt running out and just buying active speakers will be the answer as I suspect you risk the same thing occurring again.
Totally concur. I touched on earlier that his stock gear is far from advantageous.
Amp: Leema Pulse; Source: Naim CD5i-2, Denon 260MKII, Pro-ject XP I; Speakers: PMC TB2i
Formerly known as plastic penguin
I hear many still saying that old products still better than new ones.
many electronic still made in USA or europe and have good quality.
now many are made in china.
people also saying that old speaker also sound better than new ones.
Why not so many development on speaker ? meanwhile other part is evolving fast
Speakers have developed quite a bit over the last 20 years, just look at the new driver materials, different shape of cabinets, more active speakers available. What other parts do you mean? Amps and cd players are hardly changing.
Yes there is development in speaker: material and shape, but it is not as big different compared to other development.
we see big leap on storage, dac and other area.
We already know for long time that only about 1% energy converted to sound.
anybody working on this ? to make it more efficient ? 1% is very small. If somebody can increase it to 5 or 10% it will become huge news and money
just my 2c
I try not to think of what level of kit he could have bought using the funds from all those "upgrades" that were probably just sideways moves to similar budget kit...
Observe the signature in its natural habitat.
For many enthusiasts 'box swapping' is an integral part of the hobby as is the pursuit of a better sound. People in the industry are often the worse offenders, changing equipment on a weekly basis but eventually, if you really like your music, you come out of the other side.
The downside, for some of us anyway, is that during our hi-fi travels we have come across products that are simply on a different plain from everything else and I have touched on this elsewhere. The problem is simply that having heard what these products are capable of, it is hard to be satisfied with anything else.
This is not entirely a price thing, though the really good stuff is not cheap, but an ability to cut through the technical limitations that effect all hi-fi and simply get straight to the music. Just a quick example, Electrocompaniet, Sugden and Devialet do it for me but Chord, Krell and Bryston do not.
There is some fun to be had in finding cheaper equipment that can come close (in some respects at least) but there is an awful lot of very ordinairy equipment out there and the real gems are hard to find. Back in the 90s, the Onix OA21 paired with the mark 1 Epos ES14s was a great example of such product, fantastic for the money.
To give some perspective the combination cost slightly less than a Nait 2 and Kans, a very popular combination at the time.
Seems we have similar preferences. Whenever I've heard Chord I've wondered what all the fuss is about. I haven't heard Devialet but I've loved the sound of Electrocompaniet and Sugden when I've heard them. Just way outside by pocket.
The box swapping has always largely been self funding - selling kit to buy kit.
Rega RP3/White Belt/Elys2 - Pioneer A-30 - Dali Zensor 3. (+ Denon DCD720AE for CDs)
Pioneer PL12D II - Sansui AU2200 - Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (+ Philips CD840 for CDs)
I'm not convinced, having tried amps ranging from a couple of thousand to a couple of hundred with my current speakers. The amp that sounded the worst was one that didn't match the speaker power specs, all the rest, if I'm honest, sounded not a mile different.
This leads me to think, and it's logical really, it's best to put the money into the speakers because these have 95% of the influence a component has on the sound. This was demonstrated to me with the Electrocompaniet up against a Naim. If it was marginally better, then it wasn't 3 times better (the price difference), more .01%.
Next time round I'll sink all my money into the speakers and buy the cheapest NAD that matches their specs!
We will have to agree to differ then!
I think part of your problem is your amp. which maybe a good amp. for its price but its about £250, the problem is getting something much better you will probably need to spend 2-3x that amount. Have you heard the Creek 50A? Your speakers are also budget ones. It all depends how much you want to spend. As others have suggested I would try to hear something different like valve amps and an active system.
I have heard lots of £2-£3K systems, to me most of them had problems, many were unbalanced and unmusical, you make it sound so easy to get a good system for £2K.
So what would your recommended £2K systems be?
Sorry for the hijack, but Magnepan MG 12/NAD 356BEE/NAD CD player or Sony Blu-ray.
But Maggies need some space and the right size room, so maybe not suitable for many people. Also I hear they benefit from a powerful amp.
Just to expand slightly, in case my original post came across as a bit arrogant or elitest which was not meant, (you just have to draw the line somewhere as Mason said to Dixon).
I have no doubt that you can put together a technically very decent system in the £2-3k region and in fact £2k-ish was what I was budgeting for my playback system last year when I thought, erroniously, that I was going to be able to to buy a new setup.
That was the reality I was faced with and I am pretty sure that I could have come up with a pretty decent amp/speaker combo for that sort of money but I knew that It would not be as capable as some of the really top class components that I have heard over the years and that the difference would be considerable.
If I had the funds and was buying now I would start with something along the lines of an Electrocompaniet integrated and SF Venere or Liuto models and go from there.
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