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System upgrade for Rega P5 source

 

Bronze Member
Username: Danonc

Post Number: 29
Registered: Oct-07
Howdy folks,
I am interested in upgrading my current system and am unsure where to begin looking first. My current system in a Rega P5/Dynavector 10x5 (which I love) connected to a Rotel 1062 integrated and B&W 685's. I like my current system but what I'm would like more of is palpability, more musical flow, more harmonic richness in vocals and acoustic instruments. Also, more space around individual instruments would be great.

My budget is not huge as I'm buying a house and moving. But I can see spending 2k on one piece (amp or speakers) in the near future or maybe 2-2.5k on and amp and speakers if that might be an option. I don't mind buying speakers used, but I like to buy electronics new.

My listening tastes are primarily acoustic jazz, bluegrass and old country. I listen at moderate levels and although I like to be able to follow stand up bass lines, I don't need a speaker that delves into sub-40hz territory.

Right now, I'm just looking for options - things to get out and listen to. Plus any advice on amps/speakers that are synergistic would be great. Also, I'd love to find an integrated with a great phono preamp, but I'm not sure if that is realistic.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Dan J
 

Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 2407
Registered: May-06



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkEC1xlBL_w

If you have any questions Nuck is just around the corner and he is interested in selling
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3907
Registered: May-05
Dan, there is a ton of stuff out there that'll fit your budget. The P5/10x5 combo deserves a better amp and speakers than you have. Not that either piece is bad, but your table and cart are capable of so much more IMO.

Before I suggest buying anything, are you sure everything is set up and maximized? Speaker placement, component isolation, and proper cart alignment are things that should be addressed before money is spent IMO.

That being said, what do you have access to? If you like the Rega sound, a Rega integrated and speakers should work. Naim is another great pairing to my ears. A bit better, but more expensive too.

You should be able to get a Naim Nait 5i and a decent phono stage for your $2k ish budget. Maybe a used Dynavector P75 phono stage? The Simaudio LP3 is a great phono stage as well, retailing for about $500 new.

In your shoes, I'd get the integrated and phono stage, then save up and get better speakers.

I know you want to stay away from used electronics, but would you make an exception for Bryston? It has a 20 year transferrable warranty, making it probably the safest bet for used gear there is. A typical used B60 can be found for about $1k, give or take a few bucks for amount of warranty left, and remote control and phono stage options. If it doesn't have the phono option, Bryston can install one for I think $350. I own a B60 with internal MM phono stage and a 10x5. The combo works very well.

Bryston and B&W sound very good together. There's better speakers out there, but your 685s and a B60 should sound good enough together to let you hold off on buying new speakers for a while.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3908
Registered: May-05
There's a dealer or two selling refurbished Arcam integrateds on Audiogon with factory warranty for good prices. If you're familiar with Arcam stuff, it's worth looking into IMO.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 975
Registered: Jul-07
Lots of options in the 2-2.5k range. Given your description of what you're looking for I might suggest looking into a tube amp. If "harmonic richness" is your game, that's an option to explore. Your taste in music would also align pretty well with what tube amps do well. You'll need to ensure your speakers do not present a difficult load which would preclude this as an option though. I could only find their efficiency rating and nominal impedence (88db, 8ohm) which doesn't tell the full story. I could easily imagine a Rotel amp and a bookshelf speaker with an aluminum tweeter being less than "rich".

That being said, you don't need a tube amp to get where you're going. What is available in your area to demo ?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 12935
Registered: Feb-05
Dominic Mihovich at Hawthorne Stereo in Seattle may be selling (if they aren't sold already) his DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3's. He still loves them however he has moved and his room is too small to support them. I would give him a call immediately (run don't walk) as Gibbon 3's simply don't come up for sale often. They are a fabulously full sounding standmount. The Gibbon 8 and 3's are really the only DeVore speakers that work well with both solid state and tubes as DeVore's generally prefer tubes. I listened to these little miracles on the business end of a Naim Nait XS and the sound was wonderful.

For an amp I would recommend a Unison from TSTO (they have great prices on them) or a Naim Nait 5i-2 (if the XS is out of budget). For a phono preamp, staying within a limited budget there are the aforementioned Sim and Dynavector's as well as the Clearaudio Nano and Naim Stageline N & i-supply. You would not need the i-supply if you owned the XS as you could power the Stageline directly from it.

My first recommendation for an amp is the Sonneteer Alabaster...it's better to my ears than the Unison and XS, but it appears to be out of budget and doesn't come with a remote. I may know where there is a used Alabaster if you have any interest PM me, however I know that you are looking for new electronics...

Back to work
 

Bronze Member
Username: Danonc

Post Number: 30
Registered: Oct-07
Wow! Thanks for the info everybody. The first step is to move and settle into my new listening space (which, as we know are all different). Art, that's a great suggestion on the Devore 3's - I haven't heard anything by Devore that I thought was less than magnificent.

I'm moving to southern Ohio and the closest big city will be Columbus, so it may take me a little while to figure out who carries what.

I have considered an all Rega system, but haven't auditioned one yet. I do kind of agree that getting an amp that I like first might be the first logical step (although Art's mention of the Devore 3's could also be a good place to start). I don't know how I feel about Naim and Bryston in general as Naim seems to be a bit finicky when it comes to system matching and Bryston seems to be a bit too detailed (maybe analytical) with certain speakers. I suppose I just need to trust a dealer with assistance in system matching. Dale and Chris at Eugene Hi Fi are incredible at just that, but most of their stuff is a but out of my price range. Hmmm. More to think about. But again, thanks for the suggestions.

Dan
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 12936
Registered: Feb-05
Don't underestimate Dale's creativity...he may have a solution. Give him a jingle, never hurts. First things first, see if those Gibbon 3's are still available.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 981
Registered: Jul-07
I wouldn't necessarily pick the amp first, or by itself at least. Picking either speakers or an amp alone limits your options on the other. It might not be a bad idea to consider both at the same time, even if you only have the scratch to pull the trigger on one right away. At least you'll have a plan for where you're headed.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 12937
Registered: Feb-05
Breaking news, Dan. I just learned that the Sonneteer Alabaster's little brother the Campion is still available. The fella's at Sonneteer say it's still in production and selling well. This is s wonderful amp with the same sonic signature as the Alabaster and it comes with a wonderful MM phono stage built in. If the Gibbon 3's are available this would be a wonderful system with your P5. It's a combo that you would never have to look back at. Knowing that the Campion is available will change my default recommendation for anyone looking for a highly musical amp to drive either efficient or easy to drive speakers that do not need earth shattering volumes.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Danonc

Post Number: 31
Registered: Oct-07
Art,
The Campion is at the very top of my list (I talked with Dale about it a couple of weeks ago). I especially like the fact that it has a great MM phono built into it. With Gibbon 3's, I 'll bet it would be sweet. Unfortunately,
I can't buy now, but am looking to buy in 6 months or so. But that combo would likely be a great fit for my listening tastes.

Dan
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 12938
Registered: Feb-05
That is unfortunate as 3's don't come up used very often. Good luck.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15193
Registered: Dec-04
A few dollars down might rent a clean corner with Dale for 6 months safekeeping...
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