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    Dave Wiley

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  1. MGTOW

    Blank Canvas

    That should sound terrific, assuming the speakers are as good as their 'press' suggests. I have not heard them though I am familiar with the rest of the system, however the price new is well over budget and buying used has it's own issues. As always the recommendations are for products and systems that are liked by the person making the recommendations, there is no guarantee that they will suit the OP. For myself, I make no bones about my preferences, I want presence and a sense of being there, at more modest price levels this usually involves active speaker systems with sensitive, valve powered systems preferred at higher price points. This may sound contradictory, but these are the best ways that I know to produce the the kind of live sound that I prefer, weird eh?
  2. MGTOW

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    A lot of sense in this, primary modes for average rooms will be under 60hz, so bigger speakers will always be more difficult to integrate than smaller stand mounts. Active types have bass drivers directly couple to their amplifiers so tend to be more controlled, also, many pro types will have roll off or level controls that can often help with this. Dynaudio LYD models for example use sophisticated DSP to alter the bass response to suit near wall placement though most inexpensive types simply offer bass "shelving", though this is often more effective than you might realistically expect.
  3. MGTOW

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    "Real" near field monitors would be balanced differently, but they are incredibly rare and hardly ever used. These days, the term is used to describe any studio speakers that are simply not big or powerful enough to be used as "main" monitors. There is a huge market for "pro" equipment designed for home or modest "project" studio type applications (much bigger market than hi-fi right now), the speakers are designed for largely untreated rooms (ie domestic) and listened to at the sort of distance you have in mind. The market is very competitive, so the better models offer exceptional value and can deliver something very different from conventional systems in the budget to medium price range, the primary issue is getting to try them, music shops do not really 'do' hi-fi.
  4. MGTOW

    Speakers for garage and for bedroom

    For the bedroom system I would seriously suggest a pair of Studiospares/Seiwin actives. Ridiculously cheap at the moment, I had a pair of SN4s on the desktop that were excellent. Even when pressed into service as a 'main system' they managed incredibly well and well above their cost, currently just £90 pr. Bear in mind these are simple active speakers, zero functionality, so you will at least need a volume control of some sort. SN5s or SN6s will fill a bigger space, though a bit more money. For the garage/gym, check out 'disco speakers' on eBay. Don't buy anything that includes the horrible motorola piezo tweeter, the ubiquitous, round, 3 inch model is awful, though the bigger horn loaded models are ok.
  5. MGTOW

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    As, in slightly different ways, are all 3 of my suggestions. They all portray the music in a lively, involving way that is quite rare for 'conventional' systems at these sort of prices. As someone who became bored with the constant fiddling and upgradeitis that was so much a part of hifi life, I 'went active' some years back and never looked back. Of course if you are a regular 'box swapper', then such setups are probably not for you, similarly, those looking for a warm, relaxed 'musical' presentation should look elsewhere. I have looked at a number of 'unusual' solutions, mostly in the £2-3K range and found some stunning setups. For example, if you are lucky enough to be able to play at reasonable levels a Cambridge CXN driving a pair of Adam A7X or A8x (depending on room size) is stunning whilst at little more than half the price, a Bluesound Node driving a pair of Dynaudio LYD5 (Think Neo but without the wireless stuff) is outrageous value.
  6. MGTOW

    Blank Canvas

    Hi marcusB, Interesting to read your original post. Like you i find myself losing interest in many of the traditional 'hifi virtues' of detail resolution, sound staging and the rest and looking more towards a sense of presence, realism and involvement. I think that to really be able to do this, you have to be prepared to step away from mainstream hifi, however highly rated it might be and to think outside the box. You will undoubtably find this very difficult, most enthusiasts do, which is why so few actually step away from the safe, tried and trusted, hifi system building methodology and build a setup that will give them what they really want. Heard are three system ideas that I have some experience of, ranging from slightly different to totally 'off the wall'. Firstly, the most conventional, at fairly modest cost. Run a Bluesound Node into a Croft Integrated or 7 Series power amplifier and some reasonably sensitive speakers that you like and suit your room. With a pair of Focal Aria 906, for example, you can put together a really funky setup for about £2k or a shade over. A speaker that is a personal favourite of mine is the Unity Audio The Rock. A simple two way active designed for the studio, amps derived from original designs by Tim de Paravicini. Describes as "brutally honest", they are anything but in my experience, being incredibly dynamic and involving they are great value at about £2.5k. Add a Cambridge CXN, some balanced cables and a pair of decent stand and you are good to go. Finally, if you are into a state of the art system that you can actually afford (well almost), look at the PMC TwoTwo.5 at a bit over £3k, much, much better than the Result 6, they have sophisticated DSP to perform crossover functions and eminently useable room EQ. Drive them digitally via AES3 pro interface from something like a Auralec Aries, all up a bit over budget at about £5k but as I said, state of the art studio playback.
  7. MGTOW

    Impressions of KEF LS50?

    A couple of thoughts.. I have heard LS50s on a number of occasions, though not in my own setup. Performance was very variable often for quite obvious reasons of setup and partnering equipment. My conclusions are simple enough, if you want then to give of their best, they will need rather better amplification than you might expect given the relatively modest cost of the LS50. Stands and setup are critical too, though if you just pop them on shelves and use more modest amplification they are not good, in fact they can be pretty unpleasant in these circumstances. A few days ago I was able to try a pair of LS50 wireless. After a couple of obligatory hifi dem tracks, I was left to play with a Bluesound Node streaming Tidal (hi-fi) driving the LS50w via analogue connections. So naturally I threw some rather more difficult tracks that are very much in the style that I play. Some pretty complex material, some very raw, a lot of it live. Most of this was handled very well, clarity and transparency was of a high order and despite a less than than optimum setup, bass was tight and pretty well defined, important for me. Downside was that some vocals were quite recessed, something that I have heard before from Kef's dual drivers, though strangely not on every model or every occasion. At £2k I thought them quite expensive, lacking both scale and presence, if the functionality suits, then I can see the attraction but overall, just a little bit 'meh'.
  8. MGTOW

    To preamp or not

    Point of order. Modern digital processors run at 32 bit or greater. The chances of volume reduction in the digital domain affecting sound quality by reducing bit depth is non existent. Analogue pre-amps may well alter the sound signature and the subjective appraisal of these changes may well be positive but the changes are, by definition, distortion of one sort or another. Active pre-amps may well increase the overall gain of the system, in the context of this discussion, it will mean that other components are working less hard, ie providing less gain. This may be audible. Far more likely though, in this scenario, is that the setup with the higher gain is played just a touch louder, unless you take great care to match levels.
  9. MGTOW

    To preamp or not

    Given the settings you are using I think you could usefully reduce the max output by at least 1, possibly 2 levels. Do you know what they are set to at the moment?
  10. MGTOW

    To preamp or not

    Two very simple facts come into play here, and explain most of the subjective differences. Firstly adding an extra gain stage to the system does tend to encourage playback at slightly higher levels. This is highly subjective and very difficult to counter unless you are prepared to measure outputs and level match. Secondly, this will also change where the gain is applied in a system. Simple case, if you have a conventional pre-power combo where the power amp has its own level controls, then turning down the power amp and running the pre-amp harder may sound quite different from turning the power amp up full and turning the pre-amp down. (This is a good experiment as there are no changes to the equipment in use, just the stage at which most of the gain is generated.)
  11. MGTOW

    To preamp or not

    What max output settings are you using on the 861? Good though this player is, the dac/processor only runs at 24bits so it is important that the attenuation by the digital volume is as small as possible. I have some experience of this player and getting the settings right does seem to make a difference, even a standard Red Book resolution.
  12. MGTOW

    What to upgrade first?

    I was lucky enough to be able to try the A7x and several other 'pro' models in my home, courtesy of a couple of mates who work for a London pro audio dealer. Plenty of pro audio/music shops have them, though their dem facilities often leave a lot to be desired hi-fi wise. (That said the standard of demonstrations at most mainstream hi-fi shops is pretty mediocre in my view.) Try and borrow their dem pair over a weekend, stick them on a credit card so that they are covered. Looks apart, the performance was way beyond any conventional passive system at similar cost, particularly in terms of bass articulation. The OP made a point about bass performance and as someone who was playing (and learning about) a lot of Jazz at the time, it kind of resonated with me. The difference between different (bass) players, sometimes even in the same band was laid bare in a way that no passive setup of remotely equivalent cost could come close to. It is hard to describe, but I found the difference to be crucial, the shear transparency was something i could not live without. As it happens, I was about to buy the A7x when a pair of rather prettier Adam floor standers became available, a little less punch, but for the sake of domestic harmony the elegant Artist 6 became a feature of my system that is going nowhere anytime soon.
  13. MGTOW

    What to upgrade first?

    Hi Nifkin, A really 'off the wall' suggestion, or two. Nothing much wrong with the advice given but I offer a somewhat different option. Like you I listen to a fair amount of jazz, some classical, mostly opera, and very little in the way of mainstream pop/rock. I also found that I had huge issues with the bass on most of the more affordable systems, I find there to be a looseness and a lack of focus on bass instruments that I find near impossible to listen to. Generally speaking, at budget price levels, the bigger the speaker the worse the issue becomes, 'affordable' floor standers such as those by Q Acoustics, Monitor Audio, etc provide some of the more obvious culprits. (Be aware, these are my personal views, I have been around the hi-fi block a good few times but other views are available.) To overcome this I found a relatively simple solution. I moved to inexpensive active loudspeakers, specifically those models designed for near field use in 'professional' applications. These speakers are sold through music shops and 'pro-audio' dealers, prices in this market are ultra competitive and the 'retail model' of these dealers seem to rely on large volume and low margins. This market, largely unknown to hi-fi enthusiasts, is huge, much bigger than the current hi-fi market and value for money can be exceptional. Given the specifics of the existing setup, the budget and the performance issues, I have a couple of obvious recommendations, both just break your £800 limit, though open box and 'B' stock items are often available. Take a look at the Dynaudio LYD 7 and the Adam A7x. Both can be driven easily from the pre outs of the A65+ and offer a substantial upgrade in terms of the power amps and of course the advantage of them being directly coupled to the bass drivers. The result is a clean, precise bass that will play bass instruments with power and definition that is unusual at these price levels. (Having made the change, to Adams, I would only go back to conventional passive setups at significantly higher cost.)
  14. Hi Sotosound. A lot really does depend on how loud you want to play and, perhaps, how often. I would expect your setup to go amply loud in normal listening with a couple or three people listening and if, as you suggest you like the sound you are getting, i would be loath to change much. The real issue is that most users have little or no idea of the power required to turn a sensibly loud system into something that will play in a 'party' situation. A couple of 'rules of thumb' that might help... A single deciBel increase in level is often cited as the smallest change in level that the ear can identify, whilst perhaps true, this would only really be the case under test conditions, using simple tones and listening very carefully. On a music signal you would need a more substantial change, difficult to be precise as this is a subjective evaluation and everyone is different, my view is that, on a music signal, for the listener to perceive a small but definite change in loudness, the level would need to be increased by 3dB. Increasing the output of a speaker by 3dB requires twice the amplifier power. To increase the measured output level of a system by 10dB requires the amplifier to deliver 10 times the output. If the output remains largely undistorted, this is perceived as roughly twice as loud. Get a few people in the room, just chatting and having a good time and the output levels required to maintain the perceived loudness increases dramatically, amplifier power requirements go through the roof. In years past I always had a 'party system', it used to live in my office when not needed as the speakers were quite substantial, these days it is much easier, something like a pair (or two) of active studio monitors with 8 inch or larger bass drivers will do the job. Yamaha HS8s for example will really get a party going, drive them from your preamp with your regular power amp and speakers safely tucked away. A very modest £450 plus stands and cables.
  15. MGTOW

    I broke my cartridge :(

    Gaffer, I do feel for you. One monday morning, a few years ago now, a friend got in touch and said that he thought he had damaged the 'needle' on his flatmates hifi. He explained that he had been out clubbing at the weekend and that, when he got home he had to try a bit of DJ style 'scratching' and had caused a bit of damage. He had indeed, completely wiping out the cantilever. The cartridge in question was a Kiseki Purple Heart Sapphire, the bill, for an 'exchange' cartridge was a cool £1200. Expensive night out.