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admin's picture
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Amplifier & Speaker upgrade

Hi all,


So, I've recently been bitten by the lovely creature that is the upgrade bug and was hoping to seek some buying advice as I am interested in upgrading both my amplifier and speakers. 

I currently have a pair of wonderful Heybrook HB1 speakers on their original stands that were handed down by my father after he purchased some Mordaunt-Short MS908s some years back. The Heybrooks suffered from the dreaded foam-rot a couple of years back so I bravely re-foamed them myself, to which has kept them going for some years to come, however I was looking to get some smaller standmount speakers but don't want to risk taking a step backwards from the Heybrooks which are really tonally balanced, especially with the great Chord carnival cable which ensures no frequency stands out too much. 

My Trio-Kenwood amp is a great little amp that drives the HB1s effortlessly, and has that typical old-school Japanese warmth similar to that of an old Marantz. I am, however, in desparate need of upgrading the Trio which shows signs of age when listening to vinyl, because the phono stage lacks alot of detail and doesn't really do my Rega RP1 any justice. The best replacement amplifier I've seen so far is the Rega Brio R, which sounds like a steal for a sub- £500 integrated amp, but don't really know where to go with the speakers. I understand that Wilmslow audio provide an upgrade service for Heybrook HB1s, bringing them a bit more up to modern standards by upgrading the tweeters to later Vifa units and re-capping the cross overs, and this will probably cost around half of my £500 budget for a pair of new speakers. 

Does anybody have any experience of entry-level Rega standmounts/Dynaudio speakers, and would it be a worthy replacement for the old Heybrooks? 

Any help is appreciated- apologies for the lengthy post! 

matthewpiano's picture
Last seen: 2 months 6 days ago
Joined: 23/11/2007 - 22:23
Posts: 9166
RE: Amplifier & Speaker upgrade

If you want to keep some of that warmth but add a good dose of detail and get a surprisingly competent phono stage as well, give the Denon PMA720AE a try.  It is a wonderful amp and, in the latest issue of another magazine, Ed Selley rated it as the other amp, alongside the Rega Brio-R, that has really excited him under £500.  Alternatively, the Brio-R is a cracking piece of kit.  I don't think you could go wrong with either.

If you really love the Heybrooks it might be worth having the upgrades done to them.  However, you may also wish to consider the new Wharfedale Dentons (designed by Peter Comeau who, IIRC, also designed your Heybrooks).  I haven't heard these myself but all the descriptions I've read suggest they retain some of the qualities of older speaker designs but with the extra clarity that improvements in technology have allowed.

As ever, auditions are essential to ensure you get the sound you want.

Pioneer PL12D II / Audio Technica AT-95E / Rotel RCD-965BX / Pioneer A-400 / Dynaudio DM2/6





AL13N's picture
Last seen: 6 days 12 hours ago
Joined: 29/11/2009 - 21:07
Posts: 567
RE: Amplifier & Speaker upgrade

If you do decide to go with the Rega Brio-R amplifier then definitely audition some Rega speakers with it.

Alternatively, you could look at the Rega Cursa preamp (available with either MM or MC input) and a pair of Morgan Audio RMS11 speakers.  Like Rega, the latter are made in Britain and are just within your speaker budget at £499.

Rega Cursa MM: https://www.emporiumhifi.com/shop/article_1293/REGA-CURSA-PREAMP-WITH-MM-PHONO-BUILT-IN.html?sessid=YcoBcGWLegMWECd3ZoOk9AGUo5ctVswlSGtJHwyiDxPaaAKQFcQgLfiCNrpFFrPa&shop_param=cid%3D15%26aid%3D1293%26

Morgan Audio: http://www.morgan-audio.co.uk/index.php/active-loudspeakers.html

stevebrock's picture
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: 13/11/2009 - 11:16
Posts: 4678
RE: Amplifier & Speaker upgrade

Rega goes very well together!


Primare i32 / r32 - RP8 - Chord 2Qute - ATC SCM11




Anonymous's picture
RE: Amplifier & Speaker upgrade

Wow, thanks for the prompt replies! 

Some great advice all-round so much appreciated. 

I was thinking of sticking with some speakers designed by Peter Comeau who designs for alot of brands under IAG including the new Quad 12L Classic standmounts which sound like good contenders- However I soon realised that most of the stuff Peter designs now is built in China  :cry: 

I'll definitely give the Denon Amp an audition against the Brio R, but might have to shop around because my first port of call, Radlett Audio, only usually stock Rega/Naim/Harbeth products which is quite a limited brand range. 

I originally wanted to replace the Heybrooks because I'm now living back with the parents (just graduated) and they take up alot of space in my box-like bedroom so some smaller standmounts wouldn't go amiss! If I do decide to keep them, however, I will probably replace the drivers that I re-foamed because although not obvious, the fact that I didn't re-align the voice coils to within thousands of an inch, the sound quality has probably been slightly compromised. 

The phono stage on my Trio also has an incredibly annoying background buzz, which I'm sure cannot be anything related to my turntable as when I auditioned it at Radlett audio on their Naim/Rega set-up there were no audible background noises! 

I was thinking of giving the Rega RS1's a try, but didn't know how they'd stack up against my Heybrooks or equivalent Dynaudio speakers. I'd love to stretch the budget and get some PMC DB1s or ProAc studio's, but unfortunately I'm going to have to wait quite a few years until that can happen!

Thanks for the great advice, it's some food for thought! 

Anonymous's picture
RE: Amplifier & Speaker upgrade

Thanks for the links... an alternative set-up but definitely worth considering, but don't know where I could find a place to audition the RMS 11's ? 

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