Future Plans and Getting the Best out of the current system Having said I was postponing the upgrade, an FMJ A19 came up on eBay in immaculate condition and with a low reserve starting price. So I was tempted to go for it... there was a lot of interest - 72 people watching - and, unsurprisingly, the price went up quite quickly. I checked out what A19s have been selling for, here: https://www.hifishark.com/model/arcam-a-19. So, it seems £250 is unusually low, mostly around £300..? I took my max. bid to £250 and looked like I was getting it... until £255 came in 5 seconds from the end of the auction..! A bit disappointing, but really just as well for now. I think that auction, and the feedback here, has helped clarify what I might do when I eventually go for the upgrade... The FMJ models look like the best if I stick with Arcam: either an A19 (What Hi-Fi Product of the Year in 2013 and 2014 and several other very good reviews, including one in Stereophile) or if I wait longer go up to an A29 or even an A39... Am I right thinking those were the last FMJ models, superceding the A18, etc..? Where and when did the A32 fit into the range..? I could put together a list of amps to hear, including those FMJ models but maybe also others like the Leema, Creek and Cyrus One, but I've got the idea that I'd have to hear them with my own setup - my own sources, speakers and room - to know how they'll sound here... and in an ideal world I'd maybe even live with them for a while to really appreciate the differences... Also, as we're still renovating there are things that I haven't done to get the best out of the system as it is. There are no dedicated shelves - the amp and CD player are on a window seat - and the turntable is still tucked away in a box. The speakers aren't secured to their stands. I've used blu-tack in the past... I can't remember what the advice used to be, but I'm guessing that's probably not the best thing to do..?! Also the stands themselves are filled with sand, but they aren't spiked to the floorboards... I've got the spikes, and I do remember that's better than just resting them on the floor... I was also going to buy a bulk load of lead shot to mix with the sand at one time, but I'm not sure the floor here could take the weight..!). The other thing is that I haven't used really good quality speaker cables. They're Chord Ley Line 2, which look like fairly ordinary - albeit not copper - electrical cable to me. They don't look as good as the QED 79 which I think I've still got somewhere, but there's probably something better I could use as long as the price isn't astronomical. What's reasonable? They'll be running 4m across the full width of the room, plus say a metre at each end dropping down from the amp through the floor (for tidiness, but also not running in front of a woodburning stove) and back up to the speakers. (Turntable is a Thorens TD160S with Rega RB300 arm and Goldring 1042 cartridge. It's probably going for repair / service when I'm close to getting the shelves sorted... arm raising/lowering lever is 'tight' so it jogs the arm when I use it, the motor 'knocks', and the speed change has never worked properly..! I'm thinking of taking it to these guys: https://www.hifihangar.co.uk/. Has anyone here used them?) Further advice about any of this would be very welcome. I appreciate there are a lot of issues and questions here, and I did think of starting another thread or two, but decided to keep it together...
Haha... there're always differences of opinion to be weighed and sifted through.! If older Arcams, including my Delta 60, are warm and newer ones more 'open' - and maybe that's what I'm looking for in pursuing 'clarity', 'detail' and more precise imaging - was that transition a gradual one? Where did the FMJ series fit? A18.. A19... A28... A39..? Maybe I need to sort home demos with my existing kit and a range of current amplifiers to hear what's possible, then either work backwards from there or wait..?
Hi Martin, Yes, at some time I'll look at the sub-woofer, and I'll have to find out how to wire that. Interesting re bi-wiring. A couple of those reviews (a fair number are for the CDM.2s not SE versions) are from 2008-11, but most are late 90s - 2003. The "must bi-wire" comments are all from that period: 2003: "Mine is CDM 2. To bring out the fullest of this speaker, you must first biwired it with a reasonable speaker cable." 2002: "...9 months ago, I shifted house and up-grade my amp to a pre/power (150W), got 24" speaker stand (sand-filled) and bi-wired the CDM2. It's was like the first time I heard the speakers. Fair enough, the CDM2 is not the last word in bass. But mid-bass is tight, very tight...you can feel 'balls' of bass pumping from the speakers. And the soundstaging is incredible for speakers of this size." 1998: "This is lovely speaker BUT you MUST bi-wire it and put it on stand or wooden cones. For a small listening environment like mine we'll need to plug the port at the back. Then it is very lovely for classical music of all types and delicate pop songs. (If you don't biwire it, speakers of much lower prices may outperform it. Very low cost biwiring is already very good.) 1999: "... I agree with the other reviews regarding bi-wiring. I was ready to change them or my amp - something wasn't quite right with the setup. Then I bi-wired them and couldn't believe the difference! Vocal,strings etc are so vivid." 1998: "... I'm probably not getting the full potential out of these beauties yet. I have yet to biwire which is said to make quite a difference." I haven't read anything about bi-wiring recently, although admittedly until the last month or so I haven't read anything about hi-fi for ten years or more..! Has bi-wiring gone out of fashion / stopped being perceived as important..? Was it a 'fad' in hi-fi for a period, during which people became convinced (fooled into thinking) that it made a difference - something like the placebo effect in medicine - and have since realised it wasn't real? And similarly what's the current thinking on how much difference very expensive interconnects, etc. can really make..? Maybe I need to read more... I guess there must be a wealth of material published on the extents to which perceived differences in sound are 'real', i.e. objective vs subjective, tangible difference 'thresholds' and agreement regarding perceptions of those differences, and methods of measurement...
Hi, I'm not thinking of changing the speakers... no space - or dosh..! - for bigger/better ones, but I may think about the sub-woofer at some point... several of these folk agree about that: http://www.audioreview.com/product/speakers/bookshelf-speakers/b-and-w/cdm-2se.html So, the amp is the priority... I've been questioning the wisdom of forking out for something that might be 20 or 30 years old; it really depends on condition and price. It just seems to get consistently positive reviews from most people who've owned it. I'd really like to know how much difference changing the amp - and bi-wiring the CDM.2s - might make. Wondering if it's just the old 'itch' having got the system up after so long without it, or is there a significant improvement in clarity, detail, stereo image to be had for a relatively low outlay..?
Hello, new here so first post... I've also posted this on AV Forums, but a search for more info on Arcam Delta 290 found several references here, so I'm hoping there are a few knowledgeable folk about We've been rebuilding this house for six and a half years (!), finally got the sitting room usable last November, and got part of my stereo back together a few months ago, temporarily housing the CD player and amp on a window seat behind the speakers, while waiting for me to build some shelves... then I can get the vinyl back..! I've had this system since Arcam brought out the Alpha 5 CD player and B&W brought out the CDM.2s... the amplifier is Arcam Delta 60. Vinyl, when I get the shelf for it sorted, is Thorens TD160 Super + Rega RB300 + Goldring 1042. I've always had the impression, from reviews, comments I've read, etc. that the amp is probably the weakest part of the system. So, I'm wondering about changing it, and have read a lot of positive things about the Delta 290. I've also heard to look out for issues with the input selector switch. I think I've found a good example without that problem. How much, and what sort of difference, is it likely to make - e.g. clarity, detail, stereo image? In very good condition, how much is it worth? I've read somewhere, possibly here, that the Delta 290 was essentially repackaged, first as the Alpha 9, then as the FMJ 32? If that's right, what were the other FMJ models - A18, A28..? I've also heard good things about those, so those are other (newer) options. Would they be better?
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