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NAD M5 vs Rega Saturn for Pop/rock music

 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 1
Registered: Sep-09
Brought a few CDs and visited the Hi-Fi store to audtion the Rega Saturn. Forgot to introduce, I am using Rega Apollo CDP, NAD M3 Int. Amp, Focus Audio FC7 speakers.

The store owner suggested me to listen to the NAD M5 as well. I don't have much SACDs (maybe 10 or so) so I would focus on the CD feature. But I have to admit that NAD M5 & M3 together looks so cool. Anyway, the audition environment includes NAD M3 Int. Amp, and Sonus Faber Concerto Loudspeakers.

NAD M5 - I found the sound a bit too warm, not wide (open) enough. But the vocal really stands out ~ it seems like vocal is "pushed" to in front of me. Nice.

Rega Saturn ~ oh...Saturn is on special promotion and even the store model is gone. The owner hooked up a Rega Apollo 35th Anniversary for me to listen. Hmm, what can I say ~ could be my perception but it sounds & feels like the Apollo I have at home, except with slightly added clarity. I like the sound as I do at home, as always, but no surprise.

I have a few concerns with both CDP and would like to have your opinions if possible. NAD ~ made in China, the CD tray may not be good, but would it work perfectly with my M3? Rega ~ made in UK (cool), Top loading CD (good), but how much improvement over Apollo, does it worth the extra bucks if I am keeping my Amp & speakers for the next year or so?

Please help :-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3094
Registered: Feb-07
Any way your dealer will let you bring the M5 home to try it on your system. I'm a big believer in component synergy - and getting to check it out in your listening space is a bonus.

Just a guess, though, but I suspect your Apollo would probably sound better than the NAD. I've not heard the NAD, so I could be totally wrong.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13599
Registered: Dec-04
Mike and I did a side by side with these 2 players a while back in Chicago.
After 90 mins, the Saturn left with Mike.
But it took that long, the Saturn was cold.

Listen to both very carefully, and left powered on for a long period of time.

If you want aninstant on player, ignore the Saturn.
Not sure about the NAD, it was warm.

Another stone in the soup...
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 2
Registered: Sep-09
Thanks for the comments.

David, my dealer won't let me bring M5 home unless I paid for it

Nuck, with my Apollo at home, I always turn it on for 30+ minutes before listening to it. Someone suggested me to leave Apollo powered on forever (unless I go for a trip), but haven't done that.

I am not a fans of Jazz/Classics, I like pop/rock songs especially from the 80/90s. I am not too happy with my Focus Audio speakers (but not planning to upgrade until next year).
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Toronto, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1025
Registered: Jun-08
Alan, what don't you like about the Focus sound? Is it too warm and full. I've heard they come across as rich and smooth.
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 3
Registered: Sep-09
George, I had listened to Focus Audio FS788 many months ago, they sounded great on female vocal. Two months ago, I purchased their New Classic series FC7 and until now (over 100 hours ~ should run-in by now) I still not too happy with the sound. The sound is not wide & open, and a little bit to full & boomy.

Could be personal taste, but also it could be that I read about FC7 uses "cheaper" driver from Peerless and Vifa instead of Eton. Sorry this could be psychological effects.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3811
Registered: Sep-04
Peerless is an excellent manufacturer (Naim use Peerless in their Subwoofer which is sublime, so they can't be bad). Vifa have a long distinguished history making drive units and particularly tweeters. True, Scanspeak are the boys to beat with their ring radiator technology but I wouldn't turn my nose up at Vifa.

I've never heard Focus Audio, but if you're getting bass bloom that indicates either that your speakers are too close to a wall, that the speakers are exciting a room resonant mode or that they're simply too big in the bass for your taste. To be honest running in usually takes the form of reducing glare and edge by running in the mid/treble and filling out bass. It's unusual for bass to reduce after running in.

Since you've indicated they're still running in, I suggest looking at room placement first and trying to sort the sound out from a balance perspective. Once you've done that and have worked out whether the speakers are staying, then you can focus your energies on the other parts of the system without trying to hear through the sound balance issues.

Frank.
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 4
Registered: Sep-09
Thanks Frank. I think I am not pleased with FC 7's soundstage (not wide), and the clarity of vocal (not standing out).

My listening area is 10 x 15 feet - the speakers were 2 feet from the back wall, and 6 feet apart from each other. I am sitting approx 6 feet away from the speakers. According to http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/focus_fc7.htm, my speakers did not toe in at all.

I wonder if upgrade speaker wires will help at all (now I am using Kimber 4TC).
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 3098
Registered: Feb-07
Speaker cables can definitely make a difference, I've found. Well, at least I can hear a difference between some cables. If you don't like the sound of your speakers, maybe changing your speakers instead of the CDP might be the ticket.
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 5
Registered: Sep-09
Thanks David.
Frankly speaking, I really hope to sell my speakers and find a better one (even bookshelf). But my wife will for sure kill me since she knew I bought this new pair of speakers for less than 2 months...so have to wait until Christmas, or next year

Regarding CDP ~ Saturn "was" my dream CDP. Recently there is a promotion and price was reduced by 25% - thus I wanted to buy it to take advantage for this promtion. Then I discovered that NAD M5 is already has a 20% discount....tough decision. I am more towards Saturn (at least for now since I like the Rega sound), but NAD is not bad and may work better with my NAD M3 Int Amp (indeed they look cool together).

I am keeping Apollo for my 2nd system in bedroom.
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 6
Registered: Sep-09
A question for Nuck (since you had a long comparsion between M5 & Saturn, while I only had 15 mins in the showroom) - how would you compare the vocal in both Saturn and M5? It could be my perception - but I felt that M5 vocals were pushed to the front, where Rega (Apollo) is slightly laid back. Is Saturn's sound laid back as well?

I am looking for something brighter than Apollo, with more clarity (but not as bright as CA).
Which player handles old (poorly recorded) CD better? Most of my CDs are not audiophile standard :-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3817
Registered: Sep-04
Alan,

Kimber is good cable. It's not particularly bass-heavy so it's not your problem.

I think you're sitting very close to the speakers. Is it possible to either get a bit more distance from them or bring them in a bit closer together? I don't know the speakers but with all due respect to goodsound.com my experience with speakers is that you can never tell what will happen until you get them into your room.

Also, are you shooting across or down the length of the room?

I would start as they say with no toe-in. Keep moving them around until the bass response is right (don't worry about imaging until bass is right first). Once the bass is good check the image with a vocal track. If it's very vague, toe in by 1 to 2mm, almost so little that you can't see it, and you should see the vocal snap into focus without killing the bass or loading it up.

But I would start a bit closer together, say 5ft apart, and work my way outward. Hey, it's only a bit of moving around and a bit more patience...no real cost to you...

Regards,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 7
Registered: Sep-09
Thanks again Frank. I am attaching a layout of my basement room and would love your comment. The Focus Audio speakers are rear ported so I am giving slightly less more 1 feet to breath. The speakers are on the short wall (10 feet) of the room.
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 8
Registered: Sep-09
This is the layout. Upload
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 9
Registered: Sep-09
A snapshot of my room
Upload
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13607
Registered: Dec-04
Bass traps in front of the cabinets.
 

New member
Username: Mpact

Post Number: 10
Registered: Sep-09
Thanks Nuck. But how would you compare the vocal in both Saturn and M5? I've read that Saturn is a little too smooth and laid back, may be better for Classical than Rock/Pop songs?
 

Silver Member
Username: Nmytree

Post Number: 315
Registered: Aug-04
I've never had a problem with my Saturn or Apollo, with Pop/Rock music.

They both do all kinds of music, wonderfully.

Maybe there are players that different presentations. But those Rega players don't have a problem with any kind of music.
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2174
Registered: May-06
It is not so much about how the M5 or Saturn does with certain music as it is with how you like their sound. If you like the Apollo think of Saturn of the same but with more weight and presence. Some acoustical or non-amplilfied music can sound better on the Apollo. Pop/Rock IMO would sound better on the Saturn.

You will not get what your system can do for you until you fix your room issues, be it bass traps or diffusers. Without doing too much you can improve on what you have, stagger the books on you shelves so you have diverse surfaces. Any willingness on you part to move your system to the opposite wall? These things take a little time, cost no money, yet could prove invaluable in gaining the most from the system you have, speakers included.

That and do what Frank said in terms of placement.

Cheers!
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