gheckomist

Will this work?

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Hi everyone. My first post here so please forgive any errors. I am 70, have problematic heart, ears not perfect and all bones crumbling and I want to end my days with beautiful music playing! My first system 50 years ago was Goldring deck, Quad 33/303, TEAC A450 cassette, Tannoy Lancaster speakers and Stax headphones. It was wonderful but 50 years later I have ended up with a great mishmash and want to start again. I have a budget of around £20k (lucky inheritance!) and have the opportunity to put cat cable all round the house. My sources are a) load of vinyl b) tons of stuff on QNAP Nas c) subscribed to Qobuz. Given my age and the nostalgia factor my new system looks like:

Linn LP12 (already have)

Quad 80/80 valve amp

Linn DSM Akurate

Tannoy Arden speakers

Electrostatic headphones (Stax again?)

I know that the only real test is to listen but before embarking on this I would really appreciate any advice on my proposed system. I like the Linn Akurate but do not want to go for an all Linn system as I particularly like the Quad amp and the Tannoys. Although I am technically quite competent the new world of streaming does cause me some headaches and it may be that the Linn is over-specced for my purposes. This will be my last system so I would like to get as much right from the start as I can. My musical tastes are quite eclectic but I am a child of the 60's so Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen pop up frequently! Many thanks.

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Hello and welcome!

Nice problem to have, I hope that you get a chance to hear the items before you splash the cash. At this level and assuming you are looking to buy new I would say a home demo is nigh on essential so it will help others to know whereabouts you are so they can recommend better local dealers.

My only opinion so far is I'd watch pairing amps and Tannoys - it ain't easy and there's a wealth of experience (and a lot of entrenched opinion) about this not just here but also on Art of Sound where you might also like to post. Personally I found valves and Tannoys tricky to optimise, so the Quad/Arden combo is going to be a point of interest. There's a resurgence of interest in headphones and of all things these are the most personal due to ear shapes, comfort etc, so if you like the Stax presentation I'd say go for it, but if curious there's a lot of high end options from the likes of Focal and many others.

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Firstly 70 is not old!! 

Any chance of a picture of the room your planning to use the kit in before everyone recommends loads of kit...

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There are some really helpful retailers around, and some others.  Depending on where you live, if it was me I’d be inclined to pay one a visit.  A couple of dealers I’ve bought stuff from have wide selection of used kit.  Best of luck.

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Good choices  all I would say is get to listen to a lot of other loudspeakers, or get a second hand pair of 15 inch monitor golds in Lockwood cabinets (if you loved them before you will certainly love em now).  Find your local wammers and see what they have and invite yourself round for a listen to help with your decision making.

For the money you want to spend the choices are fairly massive so you need to draw a line in the sand or you will be overwhelmed with the choice perhaps.  Hence visiting a few people to listen to their systems may give you some assist in that respect.

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Moderator

James earlier on is being a bit polite. Frankly, I suspect the Quad and Tanny will not be a perfect match and I'm no fan of the newer Quad valve stuff.

With that sort of budget, you could look at seriously good valve amplification that would work beautifully with the Tannoys. I'd also suggest the financial aspect there would support a serious cartridge and phono stage, which would be very worthwhile if your vinyl collection is large enough.

As others have said, take a wide range of opinions about matching with the Tannoys, and try to get around to some listening anywhere you can.

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Moderator

Welcome to the Wam. I have heard the Tannoy Ardens sounding excellent in a few systems and stunning in a few. One at the Wam Harrogate Show with an MSB front end and a set of MSB Class A amplifiers playing. A live recording sounded superb and very realistic. Unfortunately, I have heard the Ardens with some older Quads and they were OK, a bit dynamically flat but they were very even and detailed. Some like that type of sound but they were not for me. Don't let that put you off but do listen before buying.

I own a pair of Stax and if you like that type of sound then there is little that has overtaken them. There are a few dealers now (Hifi Lounge) who have great headphone bars and will give you a chance to hear what newer headphones offer. The newer Stax are still somewhat good.

I like Linn digital set ups (but not their amps) but try the equivalent Naim which will give you an idea of the two ends of the spectrum.

With that amount of loot you will be able to insist on hearing these items in your home but start by talking to a few dealers and hearing them in their shops. Or even better, attend a few bake-offs and you can hear how they sound in a domestic environment. Please keep us informed how it pans out.

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Of course if you venture on to a hi-fi forum people will deluge you with queries!

First of all let me extend the welcome of others. There is a wealth of knowledge here which I have found really helpful. Have a search round the topics on our sub-fora and you may be enlightened. Or confused! If the latter, ask more questions!

Have you listened to a lot of different kit recently (last few years) or is your desire for Tannoys and valve Quads based on nostalgia alone? Or is one brand more desirable than another? An hour or two discussion with a local dealer who is experienced at putting together 20-40k systems would be beneficial. Of course I’m introducing second hand here! Audio Emotion are my go to source and their staff are pleasant, knowledgeable and talkative in spades. They carried the newer Tannoys for a while recently.

I’d echo the good tonearm, cart and phono stage comments, though I presume you are not running a Basik in your LP12 anyway? But I’d also recommend a quality RCM like an Okki Nokki as you won’t believe the improvement this will bring to old records!

I haven’t heard an Akurate but streaming options abound. Partly depends on your views on box count though. And not just for streaming!

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Posted (edited)

Hi There...and welcome.

Personally, I like the system you are putting together.

I used to own an LP12 and am about to upgrade my Majik DS, to an Akurate DS.....I think Linn excel on the Source end, though I'm not so fond of their Amps/Speakers.

I would have thought the Quad/Tannoy should work out nicely....but i haven't heard them and would bow to the superior knowledge of others on here.

What sort of music do you like to listen to?

Edited by CnoEvil

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 How about starting with the Akurate DSM and upgrading it to the latest Katalyst spec. Apparently  this will make it better than the early generation Klimax players that cost a fortune when new. Not 100% sure Linn are still offering this option but could be worth checking. After streaming I couldn't imagine going back to cd , and I haven't owned a vinyl player for many years. The streamers are great , but I do understand they can be a pain when you have a problem with the network or whatever, has caused me a few headaches over the years. I still wouldn't go back though......

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Rayymondo said:

 How about starting with the Akurate DSM and upgrading it to the latest Katalyst spec. Apparently  this will make it better than the early generation Klimax players that cost a fortune when new. Not 100% sure Linn are still offering this option but could be worth checking. After streaming I couldn't imagine going back to cd , and I haven't owned a vinyl player for many years. The streamers are great , but I do understand they can be a pain when you have a problem with the network or whatever, has caused me a few headaches over the years. I still wouldn't go back though......

Linn are still doing the Katalyst upgrade on all versions of Akurate.....and it is generally thought that the upgrade equals (or even exceeds) all but the Katalyst version of the Klimax DS.

Edited by CnoEvil
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First off, welcome.

Second - at 70, you need to be thinking that you might need to listen and enjoy the music for about 40 or so more years. What else in life lasts forty years?

You are still on a journey, and the desire for great sound, the love of the music and the need to feel that the listening process is at least partly interactive, in as much as you have expressed  your preference for a particular mix of kit, all matters.

Enjoy the search, enjoy the results, and keep on looking for the last per-cent. That is part of the game. And there is no escape.

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Super Wammer

Welcome to the Wam and kudos for starting a thread . I would add my weight to all those that have said hear this at home before you buy , this is a very long term choice you are making and should be made from a position of full knowledge leave nothing to chance .

Firstly my only arguments over your choices are the streamer and the speakers .

If you loved your original Tannoys then be patient find a very good original pair and then take them to one of the specialists and have it worked on to make sure it is the best it can be . You loved this speaker then and I am sure once fully serviced and finished you will love them again .

New Tannoys are very good but in my (limited) experience they are not the same as the originals . If you loved the originals then you may not love the new versions and vice versa . This is not me saying one or the other is better just that they are voiced differently and it is down to personal preference .

Streamers now this for me is a different matter if only used as a streamer then there in my view little difference and the digital signal they put out in as far as I have seen to date is a perfect digital copy of the original file so there is nothing to be gained by paying huge sums for one.

In your case it looks like you will also be using the DAC as well and this is the most influence on sound . If you like the Linn and it sounds then fine nothing to add from me . I would rahter be looking at a cheap but good quality streamer only unit then pick from the huge range of DAC's that are available .

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@gheckomist  Given your choice of headphones ( Electrostatic headphones (Stax again?)) and your main musical choices ( Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen pop up frequently! ) I'm surprised your first choice of speakers would the be Tannoys? You may have already listened to them, but would suggest if you can accommadate them a pair of Quad ESL's (57's, 989, 2805) would be sonically more aligned to your musical diet? Vocals are just stunning on stats, especially with good recorded material.

If you are wedded to the Ardens then Tannoy folklore would have it that you need an amplifier with a low output impedance something like a Radford if valves are your chosen technology.

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Thank you so much to you all for the welcomes and the advice. I was dreading getting a message "total crap, you are banned from this forum!" When I first posted here I was confused: I am still confused but at a much higher level! A bit more background - I am moving house in 2 or 3 months so one of my priorities is a large room for my music, library and stamp collecting! Nostalgia - yes there is a bit of that but more to do with how the music felt to me at the time. Given all your comments I am still exploring and since posting I have:

  • not given up on the Ardens but going to explore the Quad Esl - heard them 10 years ago and they were very fabulous and different.
  • given the price and questions about the Quad 80/80 could anyone direct me to any sites that focus on their ability to drive Ardens or ESL
  • looking at amp alternatives for both Arden and ESL and quite intrigued by the Radford Revival amps (thanks Eaton Mess) and I have written to them for more details. I remember Radfords being talked about in hushed and reverential tones.
  • having been brought up despising integrated amps (bad parenting) I started researching these as an alternative and I am intrigued by the Peachtree Nova but perhaps 500 watts per channel is greedy!. Trouble is I am now trying to find out whether a class D amp is "better" than it used to be.
  • also starting to question the streamer solution - it may be the Linn is too much for my needs as I am not interested in the Linn ecosystem in its totality.

I obviously have a bit of time to explore and audition and whilst I have opened a little can of worms I am after the biggest and best worm in the can! Thanks again for your comments - they have been enormously helpful and I would welcome any further advice. 

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