Have your say & ask the experts!

What is the weakest link?

35 replies [Last post]
eliotn's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 19
RE: What is the weakest link?

If there is no perfect system, shall I start from the room, speakers, amp or source to build the ultimate system?

How can I pick the right speakers without having the amp and vice verca?

Lets forget about the budget for a second.

 

Can someone explains please, how do you pick the first component in the system and how do you justify/measure your decsion?

 

 

 

__________________

Thanks

----

Jake Eliasz

Joined: 27 May 2009
Posts: 2357
RE: What is the weakest link?

Surely we start from budget. Either immediate budget or future intention. It is then down to short listing and demo. I agree that speakers and room treatment limits the overall success of the 'project'.

__________________

Mordaunt Short Mezzo System C - 8,5,1,9.Yamaha V2065. SonyS570. Panasonic TX-P42G20B., Sky HD 1TB. Garrard 86SB. PF30. Wii. WDTV Live. Harmony One. STAX300. QED cabling. Galaxy Tab 10.1

System Photos - http://s1051.photobucket.com/user/robinkidderminster/library/?sort=3&page=1

 Base trap Project -  http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/corner-base-trap-completed-project?page=1

moon's picture
Offline
Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 871
RE: What is the weakest link?

Electro wrote:

eliotn wrote:

Thanks davejberry.

This is the main issue.

How can I define what is 'wrong', if I dont have a template what is 'perfect'?

 

I think I've never auditioned what is referred by audophiles - the 'hifi reference system'. 

Shall I take a couple of tracks I know very well and audition systems worth £100k+?

If you need a reference go to Ronnie Scott's or similarly good venue when one of your favourite artists is performing and thoroughly enjoy yourself whilst making a concious note of how you feel.

Then listen to as many makes and types of HiFi equipment in different systems until you find a combination that gives you a similar feeling of musical pleasure to the live music that you heard at your venue of choice .  rockin out

This is what I have done an it has most definitely worked for me , but even if it does not work for you at least you have had a really good evening out . Wink excellent!

nice Cool

__________________

 

moon's picture
Offline
Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 871
RE: What is the weakest link?

eliotn wrote:

If there is no perfect system, shall I start from the room, speakers, amp or source to build the ultimate system?

How can I pick the right speakers without having the amp and vice verca?

Lets forget about the budget for a second.

 

Can someone explains please, how do you pick the first component in the system and how do you justify/measure your decsion?

 

 

 

look ... firstly you won't find perfection. Going down that road will lead to dissapointment. 

Me I would start with making sure the room has lots of soft furnishings. Carpet, rugs, curtains etc. Then within your budget choose some well made speakers. If you need advice on this the ask.  but the likes of PMC, Proac, Tannoy, Dynaudio, Neat would be a start. the rest is down to a good amp, and your source. Remember a great listening environment can do wonders for your musical enjoyment.

__________________

 

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: What is the weakest link?

This is such a subjective hobby, that you will get a lot of advice, half of which is conflicting and the other half, is people pushing what they have.

My advice is to try amps of different Classes (ie. A/B/AB/D/) and types (ie. Solid State/Valve/Hybrid).....IMO. If you just walk into a dealer and listen to a couple of the "usual suspects", you could end up losing out.

You have to truly understand the sound that you like......and the only way to do that, is to try a lot of different kit, as something can sound good, until you hear better.

Whereas amps can sound very different, speakers can sound hugely different.....and an understanding of how different brands sound, along with knowing what type of sound you like, is key to system matching .

FWIW. I have a very rough rule of thumb, which says that you have to double what you pay, to get a very worthwhile improvement...this is provided you selected the right kit in the first place, otherwise a sideways move, or even a downgrade, can bring an improvement ( due to personal preference).

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

eliotn's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 19
RE: What is the weakest link?

CnoEvil wrote:

This is such a subjective hobby, that you will get a lot of advice, half of which is conflicting and the other half, is people pushing what they have.

My advice is to try amps of different Classes (ie. A/B/AB/D/) and types (ie. Solid State/Valve/Hybrid).....IMO. If you just walk into a dealer and listen to a couple of the "usual suspects", you could end up losing out.

You have to truly understand the sound that you like......and the only way to do that, is to try a lot of different kit, as something can sound good, until you hear better.

Whereas amps can sound very different, speakers can sound hugely different.....and an understanding of how different brands sound, along with knowing what type of sound you like, is key to system matching .

FWIW. I have a very rough rule of thumb, which says that you have to double what you pay, to get a very worthwhile improvement...this is provided you selected the right kit in the first place, otherwise a sideways move, or even a downgrade, can bring an improvement ( due to personal preference).

 

Perfect advice.

 

__________________

Thanks

----

Jake Eliasz

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: What is the weakest link?

eliotn wrote:

Perfect advice.

I know.  Wink

If you ever want ideas, throw in a budget and you'll get some good suggestions.

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

GCE
GCE's picture
Offline
Joined: 31 Jan 2011
Posts: 158
RE: What is the weakest link?

I too have Mara pm 6004 and  changed my 20 Y old  speakers ( little tower on stand)

B&W DM 1800 with II hand B&W 603 S2:

It is a big improvements for me, more bass, sweet mids & highs and awesome spk design for 300 gb pounds!

Although what many people are saying, this amp can drive some big speakers

like and better than more expensive amps...    Cool  So I'll substitute yours little and imho bright-ish Kef with

someting more beefy... 

__________________

MARANTZ PM6004 amp - B&W  DM603 S2 - B&W 610 sub

DUAL 506 tt - SHURE M97XE - PHILIPS cd 

Florence, Italy

eliotn's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 19
RE: What is the weakest link?

Thanks.

The plan is:

1. Replace DACMagic with a better DAC.

2. Bring £2k (my budget) speakers back home from different manuf. - PMC, Proac, Spendor, other suggestions...?

3. Pick "the best" speakers.

4. Replace the amp as tha last component in the system. 

__________________

Thanks

----

Jake Eliasz

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: What is the weakest link?

eliotn wrote:

Thanks.

The plan is:

1. Replace DACMagic with a better DAC.

2. Bring £2k (my budget) speakers back home from different manuf. - PMC, Proac, Spendor, other suggestions...?

3. Pick "the best" speakers.

4. Replace the amp as tha last component in the system. 

Not a bad plan, though before you spend money on a DAC, you should hear what a good Streamer (Linn / Naim / Cyrus) can do.

The other thing to consider, is that by getting certain speakers first, you could be limiting the amps you can choose....ie. Valve amps could well need easy to drive speakers, and SS Class A often need reasonably sensitive speakers.

You might like to consider going on an amp pilgrimage first (even if you don't buy one at this stage)....as what you like, may determine the speakers you go for.....just a thought.

eg. Lavardin make lovely sounding amps, but the cheaper ones work best with speakers, whose impedance doesn't drop through the floor.

 

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

floyd droid's picture
Offline
Joined: 5 Sep 2008
Posts: 2654
RE: What is the weakest link?

Have you got a 'propper' hifi dealer close by, if so use him. Not bloody several oak trees or richer for poorer sounds and the like. How did you arrive at your current set up ( I have a sneaky feeling I know whats coming here).  Get a Dealer to codge a couple of set ups together that give a totaly different sound to what you have got now , showroom dem will do. Then if you prefer a more laid back sound ,work around that. If you like something more in yer face, work around that. Get a good working relationship going with a Dealer who cares about his customers (you) and his music, not a till filler. Ask questions, tell him what you like , more importantly what you dont like. If he does not do home dems,walk away and find another.

If the Dealer starts on the 'this is brilliant dont you think' tread carefully. If he says 'ok you have heard that option , what dont you like about it ' you are halfway there.

 

Where are you based if you dont mind me asking ?.

floyd droid's picture
Offline
Joined: 5 Sep 2008
Posts: 2654
RE: What is the weakest link?

Nice one Cno, you have just saved me a bucket full of typing  good job

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: What is the weakest link?

floyd droid wrote:

Nice one Cno, you have just saved me a bucket full of typing  good job

excellent!

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

eliotn's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 19
RE: What is the weakest link?

I'm based in Bristol.

The current system was put together at SevenOaks (Bristol).

I auditioned 4x different speakers (B&W, KEF, MonitorAudio, Tannoy) with 4x different amps (Marantz, Yamaha, NAD, Rotel) and 2x DACs (CA and Baresford).

 

__________________

Thanks

----

Jake Eliasz

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: What is the weakest link?

eliotn wrote:

I'm based in Bristol.

The current system was put together at SevenOaks (Bristol).

I auditioned 4x different speakers (B&W, KEF, MonitorAudio, Tannoy) with 4x different amps (Marantz, Yamaha, NAD, Rotel) and 2x DACs (CA and Baresford).

There is nothing wrong with those brands per se, but the only way to hear some great alternatives* is to winkle out a specialist dealer.

* Lavardin, Electrocompaniet, Musical Fidelity, Audio Analogue, Sugden, Pathos, Unison Research, Icon Audio, Puresound, Audio Note, Sonus Faber, Audio Physic, Focal, Triangle, Vienna Acoustics, Usher, Epos etc etc

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide