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crusaderlord's picture
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Latest System Changes

Earlier this year i replaced my speaker cabling and interconnects and this summer has seen my system upadated via a new Blok Stax 400 rack (the Arcams used to stand on a solid oak sideboard) and this has really helped improve the focus of the system. I have also managed to bring the speaker away from being squeezed against the wall which was good news. Out went my vinyl experimental return as the Rega P3-24 was sold along with my V-Dac and half of the proceeds were invested in Arcams rDac instead. A few weeks in and improvements here are significant with the rDac showing its extra price on build / looks and most importantly the sound is much fuller than the Musical Fidelity dac, with deeper and better bass and a smoother treble and much more in keeping with my CD player now. I cant think of too much more to change now in hardware terms - but i will be upgrading some of my older downloaded tracks that really show up as constricted quality now. Link to larger picture... http://www.crusadersgolf.co.uk/hifinew.JPG

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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Re: Latest System Changes

Hi crusaderlord,

Nice and neat set up you have. I agree with with u that vdac was not MF's greatest DAC offering.

Curious to know how are u planning to upgraded your older downloaded tracks?

Anonymous
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Re: Latest System Changes

Nice set up Smile Well done

crusaderlord's picture
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Re: Latest System Changes

Upgrading the old downloaded is nothing clever - just deleting them and re-purchasing them from itunes as the quality is better than it was when i first got some tracks.

I have tried a couple and there was a significant improvement over the old 128 bit files - that and a bit of remastering on some tracks since has helped as well.

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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Re: Latest System Changes

Crusaderlord,

That is a very elegant looking system. Well done.

Ronald

crusaderlord's picture
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RE: Your system

Latest system updates this year were relatively minor - i toyed briefly with another turntable but it just wasnt for me so i am sticking with the cd and dock set up now. Selling the turntable on plus the records gave me some funds for tweaks which went as follows :-

1. My Arcam rdac was replaced by a Musical Fidelity M1 dac. This was if honest more about the style and look but also the MF has better power supply set up. Performance change is marginal really but the dac feels more substantial. Given time it may come on song even more but sounds great with the wadia dock.

2. Airport Express added. This was an extra to enable me on lazy sunday afternoons to sit and switch tracks via the itouch without having to go to and from the dock (which i am happy to use most of the time). So a convenience item but also my itouch memory is full so my pc is starting to contain a larger library than the itouch and so the remote application is becoming more useful.

3. My Arcam CD36 player was traded for a CD37. I got a great price on a 2nd hand CD37 so the outlay was minimal. I am very pleased with the performance increase though, and although i really liked the CD36 it is surpassed especially in vocal presentation by the new model. Also SACD's do sound better with the CD37. This was my best of the new tweaks.

New picture - which is hardly much different than before really.

hifi picture

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

crusaderlord's picture
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RE: Latest System Changes

For the summer i have added an improved Russ Andrews power supply for the wadia and mains cables for both the wadia and M1 DAC - has really improved the sound from the dock.  That will probably be it for this year as nothing is falling short now. 

A dedicated streamer is always at the back of my mind (but i just cant see where it adds much to the wadia given that i have internet radio and lossless files via the itouch now) and the Neat Petite SX speakers will be on my listen list next year just to see if they are any better. 

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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RE: Latest System Changes

crusaderlord wrote:

For the summer i have added an improved Russ Andrews power supply for the wadia and mains cables for both the wadia and M1 DAC - has really improved the sound from the dock. >

Welcome to the Darkside my friend. >) Smile

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Latest System Changes

Latest changes - oh dear......

First off there wasnt really anything much wrong with what i had > Arcam FMJ CD36 and A32 - but as i had successfully tried out the CD37 this summer on a whim and found out it was simply stunning, i decided to at least see the A38 in action with it. 

I did in fact try out some other makes just in case as well including Naim, Roksan and Cyrus but none i felt topped the Arcam A38 so i stayed with what i like.

And so another bit of trading later and my older Arcam A32 has been replaced by the A38.  Overall given the net upgrade price wasnt very much (a mint ex demo) i am really pleased with the results. The newer Arcams have come a bit more forward in their presentation and are clearer albeit retaining what i like about the earlier editions in smoothness.

<img src=" http://www.crusadersgolf.co.uk/hifib.JPG" alt="" />

The other issue was my dedicated listening area needed to return to a dining room (sigh) and so it was back to living room listening.  However in the end this proved quite a success. Out for sale went my old Sony all in one dvd and 5.1 surround with the Arcam and Neats taking over the Sky amplification duties.  I find i dont miss the surround element at all and in fact voices are much easier to hear and bass just as good if not better. Overall it worked for me anyway and reduced the amount of kit i needed to keep. 

Hi-Fi wise the move enabled me to open the gap between the speakers and also both side walls which has really helped the soundscape and improved listening. 

<img src=" http://www.crusadersgolf.co.uk/hific.JPG" alt="" />

Another tweak on the way as well which is the sale of my airport express to be replaced by Squeezebox Touch which will take over some streaming duties, albeit nominal at this stage as i love the CD player at the moment, but it will enable me to dabble in 24 bit alongside SACD.

Any questions, i am happy to answer :grin:

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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RE: Latest System Changes

From a personal perspective, I too would rather have quality 2 channel, than budget 5.1 (and have said so on here).....and the slightly more forward presentation of the newer Arcam will also help.
Can you go 2.1?

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

crusaderlord's picture
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RE: Latest System Changes

Try those pictures again

 

Room View

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

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RE: Latest System Changes

Hi Crusaderlord,

Nice to see your system, looks biz! Love the Neats, they amaze me how punchy and really good quality bass can come from such tiny speakers.

I wondered how you found the Squeezebox Touch in terms of SQ vs Arcam CD37 & Wadia.

I am looking for cheap (as possible) source for streaming music, most likey from PC upstairs.

Have a Dac magic fed from Marantz DVD 6001, which isn't that bad sounding but want to have better SQ and access my music collection.

SQ Touch is obvious choice from price point of view.

Cheers

Ambrose

 

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RE: Latest System Changes

CnoEvil wrote:
I too would rather have quality 2 channel, than budget 5.1

+1

 

CnoEvil wrote:
Can you go 2.1?

+1 (or should that be +.1 )

If your using your hifi with the TV then adding sub would be a big bonus with movies.

It's a great looking setup you've got there BTW crusaderlord.

Hi-Fi        AVI DM5 > AVI Neutron sub

Head-Fi  Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2Di > Sennheisser HD700

Portable Sony NWZ-A847 > Westone UM3x

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RE: Latest System Changes

Very neat-looking system and layout!

crusaderlord's picture
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RE: Latest System Changes

Thanks for the comments. I just noticed the 32 inch tv looks smaller than in real life in the pics - all down to angles.

The squeezebox touch is installed now and i have to say for ease of use is a great gadget. Direct comparison through the M1 Dac is that it beats my old apple airport express easily - vocals in particular really do feel more alive and clearer.  Compared to the Wadia is a different call, i would say that objectively the squeezebox is a more expansive mid range sound and has deeper bass, the wadia is a touch leaner overall - quality both are really good and best may be a matter of taste. I am not using any 24 bit files yet which is where the squeezebox should excel but simply that i can sit on the sofa and select tracks more easily means it is much more user friendly. That said i quite like having the dock as well for its charging ability and for quick listens when my pc is off (i dont leave it on as a matter of course).

Finally nothing quite beats my CD37 for me which i love for its tone and overall ability and is my favourite source. I have recently also noticed the benfits of sacd. I didnt get the CD37 for its sacd ability but realised a bit belatedly that i had managed to buy historically a few compatable Genesis and Depeche Mode without trying and these sound amazing and are better than the CD version.

Anyway i feel pretty much sorted out now (fingers crossed) - i think my future playing will be covered by the CD37 and Squeezebox. I am a bit old fashioned, if i like a whole album then i will get on CD as i like to listen in original track order (old habits die hard) but if i like just a couple of tracks then these end up on a download a bit like the old vinyl singles collection.

Overall for £175 the squeezebox touch is a bargain for what it does especially alongside a DAC (sorry not tested without yet).

Arcam A38 Amplifier > Arcam CD36

Arcam irDac > Squeezebox Touch

Neat Motive 3 Speakers > Partington Super Dreadnought

Anonymous
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RE: Latest System Changes

lovely set up..

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