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Everything posted by arb70sok

  1. Not sure exactly. I bought 2nd hand on here 4 years ago. April 2016. I think that it was at least 2 years old at that time so I would guess 6-8 years old - ish ? I have not used it that much as I tend to stream more often than not these days. That said my internet connection seems to get flakier by the week and I am constantly getting drop outs when streaming so I am actually keen to go back to CD's a bit more now. I occasionally play some ancient vinyl on a budget deck.
  2. I bought a 2nd hand CD Xt transport from the classified on here a few years ago. I have been reasonably happy with it up until a month or so ago when it has started having problems loading and ejecting the CDs. If they do load, they generally play OK. It is not one of the models supported for full Cyrus service (which would cost £300 in any case!) but according to the supported models list on link here it might be possible to repair. Should I send it back to Cyrus for a possible repair or cut my losses and get something else? Or maybe even attempt a home repair? I am pretty comfortable pulling things apart and putting them together but can not solder to any sort of reasonable standard. I have an excellent external DAC that i am happy with so only looking for a good replacement transport. If anyone has had experience of Cyrus servicing and repairs or indeed DIY repairs on these units, I would love to hear how you got on. I have lusted for an AudioNote transport for years but can't afford one! Thoughts?
  3. arb70sok

    Angle Audio

    I have an Angle phono stage powered from mains via a small and cheap transformer and am happy with it. I am not a Vinyl chappie though. I have a fairly small LP collection (about 100 total) and a budget deck - project debut. That said I am feeding this into about 5 grands worth of pre-amp/power-amp/speakers that I mostly use with digital sources and am more than happy with the results. I don't feel the need to up upgrade either phono stage or deck.
  4. Presume this is your reaction to the photo of Dave's system ?
  5. Well Dave your current system certainly looks a lot more impressive than mine! I know there is some agreement, on the WAM anyway, that balanced is not a requirement for the shorter cable runs that are found on typical home HiFi systems and that you should try and buy the best amp that you can for the money and not worry too much about whether balanced/single ended. I certainly would not argue against that but have only XLR output on my DAC and only XLR inputs on my mono-blocs. I simply did not want to introduce XLR/RCA adapters into the equation to support a single ended pre-amp. Also the Balanced A2+ including import costs and carriage came in at just £20 over a Grand new and while I don't doubt I may have been able to get something that sounded better 2nd hand, if I was lucky, for a new piece of kit, I very much doubt that I could have got anything better at that price. Maybe "sonic bliss" is verging slight towards hyperbolic but I am very happy! If felt quite risky importing direct from HK. It also felt quite risky opening up the amp to repair the selector switch (for me!). However I do feel the risk has paid off. Now the select is working properly if feels very solid and dependable. The A2+ seems to synchronise well with the Cherries and I am enjoying my music in a way that I have not experienced before. It is lovely. The more I listen, the better it gets and I know it is a total cliche but I am hearing an awful lot of stuff that I hadn't heard before. The texture and tone of the music is very rich. Also really impressed with the sound stage, imaging and the "space" between the sounds. Silent passages continue to be dead quiet. I mostly listen to digital but since getting the A2+ I have felt moved to listen to more of my small and ancient vinyl collection. Experenced St Pepper's in a way I never had before and Neil Diamond's Hot August Night really felt like I was in the Greek Theatre in LA. That with my humble project debut and Angle Audio phono stage! Early days yet (2 weeks in) but at this point in time I am feeling very pleased with my purchase.
  6. I thought that I would update on my experiences with the Audio Experience - A2 Balanced Plus. Why this amp? To date, not through any particular decision or intention, but rather through ignorance I have been a "solid sate" man. For the last few years there has been a bit of an itch to scratch with respect to tubes. I have borrowed one or two either tube or hybrid amps over the last couple of years from other extraordinary generous Wammers and always liked the sound. About 15 years ago I bought a 2nd hand AudioLab 8000a for £110 off fleabay and was very happy with it. I did not really get into HiFi until it broke and that led me into a bought of upgraditis in which I spent (wasted?) a lot of money and made some mistakes. What I didn't realise when the 8000a broke was that I could get it repaired relatively cheaply. Had I done that I would probably have been quite content and that would have been that! Anyway when the 8000a broke, I thought lets try upgrading to something a bit newer. As I loved the 8000a I stuck with AudioLab and bought an 8200CDQ CD/DAC/Preamp and coupled it with an 8200P power amp. Oops. The CDQ was excellent! Seriously one of the best value pieces of kit ever IMO. If you were starting from scratch with nothing I think this would be a great component to put at the centre of a new system. Excellent CD transport, DAC and both digital and analog pre-amps all in the one box for not that much money. So I was very happy with the 8200CDQ but the 8200P was another matter. There was a distinct noisy hum that came from the torrodial transformer and this drove me nuts! I went on the hunt for a different power amplifier and my key criteria was absolute dead quiet during silent passages. After much research I was drawn to a pair of class D mono blocs and the rather quirky but aesthetically pleasing look of the Maraschino Cherries. I bought them in an unusual way. Digital Amplifier Company, who make the Maraschino's, did a kickstarter project for a new DAC they wanted to develop. By sponsoring through kickstarter to a certain level you got both the mono blocs and either the tube spec or high spec newly developed DAC at a competitave price. So that is what I did and ended up with the mono blocs but also a rather good DAC that I didn't really need as I had the CDQ. The mono blocs were everything I hoped for - as well as being deadly quiet they looked rather good too in bright red. I knew that I was unlikely to be able to sell the DACDAC for anything like it's true value so sadly decided to move on the CDQ as well as the 8200P. I did slightly prefer the sound of the DACDAC to the internal DAC in the CDQ. But that meant I would need both a CD transport and a pre-amp to replace the other components I was going to lose from the CDQ. I bought a 2nd hand Cyrus CD XT SE off another wammer for the transport and started the hunt for an appropriate pre-amp. Choosing a pre-amp is really hard! There is just far too much choice and soooo many good possibilities. By the time you throw passives into the mix it gets totally mind boggling. For reasons that I can not fully articulate I decided that I wanted to go for a tube pre-amp to put in front of the Class D monoblocs. Possibly due to the critism of the over analytic and dry sound that solid state and particularly class D receives. Also with the DACDAC being a fully balanced design with only XLR outputs and the Maraschino's only having XLR inputs I reckoned that a single ended design didn't make much sense. This was quite sad as I would have loved to buy a tube amp from David Coe who only lives 15 mins away from me However Dave's designs are singled ended and were ja bit above my price point. YS audio in Hong Kong build a balanced tube pre-amp at a extremely competitave price ... The Balanced A2 + and I decided that met my criteria at a reasonable price point. My research indicated that other owners of the amp couldn't sing its praises highly enough and despite having never heard it I decided to take the risk and pull the trigger on 15th January this year and ordered the A2 + from the ys-audio website. Nelson, who designs and builds the amps got back to me immediately to advise that the build time would be 21-28 days and shipping from Hong Kong to the UK would be another 6 days or so. The amp duly arrived on 23rd February. It was double boxed with bubble wrap and expanded polystyrene foam between the inner box and the outer. I was seriously underwhelmed by the packaging in the inner box. In constrast to both the Maraschino cherries and DACDAC that came from the states and both were completely surrounded by sponge foam that had been cut precisely to size to fit around the components and tightly into the box, the A2 + had no custom packaging and just a few more rather unconvincing pieces of polystyrene foam. That said the amp itself was well constucted from black painted steel plate with an extraordinary chunky 8mm alloy face plate. The amp came with a simple remote to allow input selection from the four line level inputs and a volume control. This was just as well as the manual input selector on the front of the face appeared not to be working! The manual volume control and left and right gain controls both worked fine. I had read a post from another customer who had received a damaged amp but they reported that Nelson was responsible and helpful with the issue they had so I didn't let this put me off. Having said that it was hugely dissappointing to recieve a product that was not 100%. When I ordered it, I made a bit of an issue about QA stating that this was really important to me as I didn't want to ship a defective product back to HK from the UK. I emailed Nelson about the issue and said that I thought it would be cheaper to repair the amp in the UK rather than ship it back. He was helpful and offerred to ship any parts that might be required. Before taking to be repaired I decided that I would open the amp up and try and diagnose the problem myself. If any soldering was going to be needed my plan was to engage David Coe and and try and recover the repair costs from Nelson. When I opened the amp up I found the repair was trivial and didn't require soldering and that I could do it fairly easily myself. The selector switch was a digital switch and was mounted on a small board on the other side of the front plate along with the IR receiver for the remote and the input selector LEDs. There were four steel legs that should have been holding the main body of the switch in place but these were not gripping the switch as tightly as they should have been. Very gently I squeezed the legs with some fine nosed pliers so that they had a good mechanical grip on the selector switch. With the amp dissembled I switched it on and tested the repair. Way Hay! The switch was working perfectly. Phew. No 3rd party repair or expensive shipping costs back to HK would be required. All in all to dis-assemble the amp, diagnose the repair, fix it, test it and re-assemble the amp took just over 1.5 hours. So apart from the initially dodgy selector switch what are my impressions of the amp? It sounds very very good. Sadly I am not a HiFi buff and don't feel I have the right knowledge or vocabulary to convey the character of the amp to those who are more knowedgable. All I can do is compare to other things I have known and I feel that it is as good as, if not better than, anything I have owned or borrowed previously. This includes the "basic" Croft amp, a hybrid Copland CSA 14, an early prototype of Dave's Satchmo single ended tube amp (I know that Dave has done a lot of improvements to the Satchmo since I borrowed it) and the 8000A and 8200CDQ. I was offerred the loan of a Research Audio Company LS27 a while back. Sadly for one reason or another that didn't work out logistically as I would be very keen to see how the Balanced A2 + compared to that or some other higher end tube amps (BAT, AudioNote etc). It must have been 2 or 3 years ago that my original 8000a broke. Prior to that I wasn't much interested in HiFi, I just enjoyed music. I am rather hoping that I can now return to that happy state of affairs. My final system looks like this ... Analog Input Project Debut turntable into Angle Audio phono into Balanced A2+ Digital Inputs Cyrus CD XT SE into Audio Authority Digital Switch Sonos Bridge into Audio Authority Digital Switch (Spotify is streamed through Sonos) PS4 into Audio Authority Digital Switch Humax Settop box into Audio Authority Digital Switch Audio Authority Digital Switch via coax digital to DACDAC DACDAC via XLR to Balanced A2+ Balanced A2+ via XLR to Maraschino cherry mono blocks Maraschino cherry mono blocks via chunky but cheap speaker cable to Rubicon 2 speakers on unknown but perfectly adequate stands. This is a picture of the Balanced A2 + in my living room with the DACDAC and Angle Audio phono stage sat on top of it (I know not a good idea!) and the Audio Authority digital switch underneath.
  7. I have taken the plunge and ordered the A2 Balanced Plus from YS Audio. Scheduled to arrive mid February 2018. I will be running a balanced Digital Audio Company DAC (high spec) into it and it will be driving two Digital Audio Company Maraschino Cherry class D monoblocks into Rubicon 2 speakers. This will be my first venture into the world of valves (although I borrowed a Croft for a few months and a Copland hybrid for a few months too - liked both of those). The balanced architecture swung me towards YS Audio along with the (relatively) inexpensive price coupled with some good reviews. Will update here with my impressions when it arrives.
  8. Hi Diviy - it is yours for the cost of the postage. No donation required. Though if you would like to donate something to a charity of your choice I am not going to argue with that! I would wait until it arrives and you satisfy yourself that it is what you want. If you PM me your contact details I will put in the post as soon as I can. Probably next week sometime.
  9. Sorry didn't work out for you. I used Redhill Audio a number of years back - replaced all of the phono connectors and fixed a "down" channel in an AudioLab 8000a. Didn't have any problems at all and I don't remember it taking more than a week or so to sort out. Now I put all of this type of work to Juancho, here on the WAM. I find him very easy to deal with and he is based only a 20 minute drive from where I am.
  10. CD player is on its way to complin but the Tuner is still available if anyone interested.
  11. CD player has gone to Complin but the tuner is still available. Ah Complin - I have just read the Spirt of the WAM Thread in this section. I did not read it before putting the bits up here. The protocol is that you need request and I need to agree on this thread, only then do we exchange details via PM and I stick it in the post. I think that we had best stick to that protocol.
  12. I was going to sell these on fleabay but I am so disgusted at fleabay 10% commission (as well as what PayPal skims off if buyers pay that way) that I would prefer to give them away to a good home on here ... Ideal for someone on a tight budget. There is an areal with the tuner but the plastic bit where it attaches has broken - still seems to work though also has a UHF socket for plugging in a "proper" FM areal. Would prefer collection from my home in Kingston upon Thames but happy to post provided "buyer" covers postage cost.
  13. Thanks for the update Spen. I do believe that my Rubicon 2's are mellowing! I thought I had made a big mistake with them, but the more I listen, the more I am enjoying them. They definately are more revealing than the Rogers. I bought the Rubicon 2's brand new and I have heard people say that several 100 hours are required before making judgements. Well I am probably getting near that now and I do believe I am beginning to really enjoy them. I have class D mono blocs with an AudioLab 8200CDQ pre-amp in front of them. Sometimes I find the treble a little too forward and bright but I suspect this may be more of a characteristic of the AudioLab than the speakers. I am very keen to try a good quality passive (Music First) or tube pre-amp in front of the mono blocs to see if that helps.
  14. Ditto - enjoyed the music and company. Fascinating for me to see so many phono stages being pretty much a digital only kinda guy. Oh and big thanks to whoever brought the Nils Lofgren album (orbscure?). I am currently listening to the whole album on Spotify via Sonos via my own DacDac on my own 2 channel system and really enjoying it. I hadn't come across him before.
  15. Has anyone tried or had any experience of DALI speaker stands ...?
  16. I am in Kingston upon Thames and happy to provide lift if/when required. You can either go pillion on the back of my motor bike or if you prefer I might be persuaded to take the car!
  17. No answer since 15th May so you may have lost interest now! I tried to stream from my 2 channel HiFi to other rooms using Sonos by taking a Tape Out from my pre-amp to the Sonnos Connect analog in. This way I could play LP's CD's etc through my main 2 channel set up and in theory also listen to the same music on Sonos speakers in other rooms. Hmmm. Never really worked very well. It sort of worked but then you would get frequent drop outs that just made it too annoying to be bothered with. Not really sure why. I guess that the Connect has to A To D and then at the speaker it has to go back to D to A. Theoretically don't think this should be a big deal but practically never worked well for me so I gave up on it. My main use for the Connect is to stream Spotify and Radio stations to my 2 channel HiFi and this on the whole works well. I take the digital out from the Connect to my DAC, as it is a better quality DAC than the one in the Sonos Connect and from there to my preamp. Works a treat for the most part. One minor niggle is that if I have Sonos selected on my DAC but am not streaming anything, I get annoying crackles and pops and such like. It is as though the Sonos digital out provides random crap and static when it is not streaming. I have read that this is a common problem for folks that stream from Connect to 2 channel HiFi. As my DAC only has a single coax input, I have worked around the problem by putting a Digital Switch in front of the DAC. The Switch can accommodate up to 4 inputs that can be prioritised so by putting the Sonos on the lowest priority input if I switch any other device on (CD transport, playstation, TV set top box) it is prioritised over Sonos and I don't get the horrible crackles. Seems like a kludgy work around but needs must. If anyone knows a more elegant way to prevent Sonos Connect digital out from creating crap when it is not streaming, please let me know.
  18. I am currently using a pair of Rubicon 2's. I auditioned them against 6 other pairs of speakers. Very close run with Kef LS50's and the LS50's were half the price. Unfortunately LS50's are bloody ugly aesthetically, although they sound great, so I went with the Rubicon 2's instead. Detailed and revealing but I reckon they need considerable time to break in from new. You need to be patient and give them a couple of 100 hrs before they begin to mellow. At first I found them quite fatiguing. They have begun to mellow now and I am beginning to really enjoy them! I almost lost patience with them and was going to try and move them on but I am glad that I kept them now. At the moment I am using Class D monoblocs to drive them with an AudioLab 8200CDQ in front of them and am very pleased with the results. However if I can ever afford it, I am hoping to get a good quality tube or passive preamp to put in front of the mono blocs and will be interested to see how they perform then.
  19. graham67 loaned me his Copland csa14 for a month or so I thought it sounded really good: clear refined and plenty of punch! Was tempted to buy it off him but had some logistical issues (didn't quite fit on my HiFi shelf) that prevented me from doing so.
  20. I would be up for this if it is not too late and there are still spaces. Happy to bring any of my gear if anyone is interested but just as happy to listen to other peoples kit if they are not. If I don't get a specific request to bring stuff, I won't. That means I can come on my motorbike (assuming it passes the MOT this week) but very happy to come in car and bring gear if there is any interest. I would be keen to hear tube and/or passive pre-amps if anyone has those and doesn't mind bringing them along.
  21. Shadow - thanks for your write up. Enjoyed it a lot and am still pondering what it means to be fanatically viable! Seriously it was a good write up that I enjoyed and I assume that this is a typo but you get good typos and indifferent ones and this was a particularly good one. I am getting a bit fanatic about it but that probably is not viable.
  22. Nice one! I was very tempted by the Leema Pyxis pre-amp but again too pricey for my budget! I am a serious cheap skate and bargain hunter! Class D usually means small, light and neutral and does not need a lot of power from mains to drive. I believe that Class D is used a lot in car HiFi's for these reasons. It is wonderful when you hear something and know it is just the right thing for you! Nice bike BTW. I ride a CBR-600FY.
  23. Accuphase e-470. Expensive to buy is a bit of an understatement! > £6000 for a new one! I live in London and there are shedloads of HiFi shops around but none of them seem to sell the sort of kit that I want to buy. Usually when I have bought new kit from a dealer I have ended up disappointed. Usually when I have bought 2nd hand kit from a Wammer or off the bay, I have been happier! The WAM bake offs are great as they give you a wonderful opportunity to hear and experiment with other people's kit, however even that has its limitations. There is only so much time in the day and only so many combinations are possible to try. I have never been to Scalford but that seems like a great opportunity to listen to systems that have been carefully put together with good synergies. I bought my mono blocks "blind" from the states based on their specification. Aesthetically I think they look better than the Nords but that is a personal thing. Aesthetics, while secondary to SQ of course, are quite important to me. I bought a DAC (the DACDAC) from the same company, again based on spec and I am very happy with both the mono blocks and the DAC. The preamp that I would like to put between them is this one ... Again based on the specification and reviews that I have read on Audiogon and the AudioCircle (no one on the WAM seems to have any knowledge or experience of this particular preamp - pity) and also the fact that it seems to represent excellent value for money being a fully balanced tube amp and if you go for the basic version, it is under £1000. Currently I have an AudioLab 8200CDQ in front of the mono blocks. The AudioLab has XLR outputs that work well with the mono blocks but I don't think it is a fully balanced design and it is not a tube amp and I know tubes sound good in front of the Class D monos. Also I have a fair bit of redundancy in my system as the AudioLab has a CD transport and internal DAC, as well as a good digital and analog pre-amp. I already have a good external CD transport (Cyrus) and the DACDAC mentioned above, which I personally prefer ever so slightly to the internal DAC in the 8200CDQ. I am minded to sell the AudioLab 8200CDQ along with an AudioLab 8000a that I also have, to try and raise the funds for the YS Audio tube pre-amp. That would remove the redundancy in my system (I am paying for a lot of stuff I don't need) and give me a fully balanced system from the DAC downwards. I have little exposure and experience with HiFi (particularly tubes) and am not prepared to fork out thousands as the one thing that I have learned (through bitter experience!) is that the more expensive kit is not necessarily "better". I have a hunch that having a balanced system from end to end is a good thing and that a tube pre with SS power amp (my class D monoblocks) will work well. But it is just a hunch and at the end of the day I think all purchasing decisions are a risk. You do your research. If at all possible you try to listen to and sample the kit you want to buy before you buy it. However often it is not possible and even when it is that doesn't always work. I spent hours in a HiFi shop listening to 6 different tracks on 6 different sets of speakers and then made a choice, which in hindsight I don't think was a great choice - there were just so many other speakers that I was unaware of at the time that would probably have suited me better! I later bought a pair 2nd hand for a quarter of the price that I like better. Finally you take a punt and live with the consequences! The Accuphase e-470 looks like a serious bit of kit weighing in at 25 Kg (31.5 in the shipping carton)! To me it looks like Japanese kit from the 70s and 80s (Panasonic, Technics, Sony etc) with the VU meters and dials. That rather puts me off but if that is what floats your boat and it sounds great (and you can afford it) go for it! I suspect that you will never need to change it and that would be a testament to its quality and reliability but then again it can be fun to try new things and chop and change. That is why I tend to prefer a separate pre-power set up to an integrated. More boxes and arguably more hassle to set up but also you can try different combinations and options more easily. Hmm think I have waffled on enough. Good luck with whatever amp(s) you go for and do keep us posted. Also some feedback on how you are getting on with the Grahams with whatever amp you use would be great. They look lovely. A more 'modern' version of my Rogers Studio 1's (currently up for sale, although I prefer them to my Rubicon 2's).
  24. Sorry! Not been hear in a while, so probably too late with this. I use class D mono blocs and think they are great! I think Nord, mentioned above, produce a similar mono block. I am driving Rubicon 2 speakers at the moment and have tried them on a number of other speakers and never had a problem with them. Specifically I have used them with Rogers Studio 1's (which I think are a BBC derivative - someone please correct me if I am wrong about that!) to great affect. They are completely quiet when nothing is playing (put your ear right up to the speaker and you will hear nothing!) which was what drew me to them. Currently I have a SS pre-amp in front of them but have also put valve pre-amps in front of them and got some nice results. I bought mine from the states which makes them pretty much un-resale-able here in the UK but that isn't a problem for me as I don't want to sell them. Did you go for class D in the end or are you still ruminating? Do let us know and update here. Would love an excuse to visit the Faroes! My sister went there a long time ago and knitted me a very classy jersey, inspired by the designs she saw there!
  25. I am asking the same question. I guess if there have been no replies in more than 4 years there are unlikely to be any now!