Need advice for an upgrade

 

Bronze Member
Username: Black_octagon

United Kingdom

Post Number: 11
Registered: Oct-06
Hi all. This is my current set-up, bought 5 years ago with the valuable help of folks on this forum:

CD Player: Cambridge Azur 640C V2
Amp: NAD C320BEE
Speakers: Wharfedale Diamond 9.2
Speaker Stands: Atacama Nexus 7

This has served me very well as an entry-level system, especially in recent years as I've left student accommodation to put the set-up in a proper sized living room.

However, now I feel myself wanting a bit more 'punch' and would like advice for an upgrade. To my knowledge, this will involve replacing either the amp or the speakers with something more powerful. But:
1) Which needs upgrading more, the amp or the speakers?
2) What specifically would you recommend I get?

My budget is up to 1 grand, and at this stage I'm only interested in replacing one of the two pieces of hardware.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4806
Registered: Feb-07
Do you plan on keeping the Cambridge CD player? This is a pretty good CDP, actually. Everyone here knows I'm a big CA fan.

Sell the NAD and pick up a CA 840A V2 integrated. BAM. Done and done.
 

Gold Member
Username: Soundgame

Pickering, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1212
Registered: Jun-08
I'd agree with Dave that the weakest link is the amp - replace that first.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4808
Registered: Feb-07
I think Nuck had the Wharfs for awhile. I remember him saying they had sumptuous bass. Not that Nuck would use the word sumptuous. Well maybe he would.....
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14546
Registered: Feb-05
The Diamond 9.2 is the weak link. Put aftermarket jumpers on the NAD and sell the Wharfedales. My NAD can make my Harbeth's sound excellent but nothing I've owned could make the Diamond's sound acceptable over the long haul.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Black_octagon

United Kingdom

Post Number: 17
Registered: Oct-06
Argh, conflicting suggestions! Thanks all for the input.

David: Yes, definitely keeping the Cambridge CDP since I also love it. Some friends with far higher-end systems than me constantly approve of it, so that's in.

Art: I just put aftermarket jumpers on the NAD this week. I'm already hearing an improved sound, though I understand that even for a small change like this there will be a burn-in period after which it should sound even better?

So, still unclear whether the amp or the speakers are the weakest link...does the size of the room make any difference? It's a living room, 4.8 x 6.1 (metres), and in an apartment so I almost never turn up the NAD beyond a quarter volume, which is already very loud...I guess I'm just after a slightly 'warmer' and 'musical' sound, since right now the system sounds almost so technically exact as to not really sound emotive.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1362
Registered: Jul-07
To get a significant improvement in sound quality you're probably going to have to replace both the amp and the speakers. You'd notice the biggest difference perhaps with a speaker swapout, so perhaps start there and then reevaluate. That said, I would recommend shopping for a amp/speaker combination that provides you with the sound qualities you are looking for, even if you are only replacing one component for now. That way you'll know what amp will go well with the speakers you purchase.....or vise versa.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4809
Registered: Feb-07
The burn in period on jumpers would be negligible at best.

The NAD house sound is typically warm, so if you're still finding your system clinical then maybe you do need to try some new speakers after all. Or better yet, try a tube amp that has a warm presentation. I had a Jolida amp for awhile that was pretty syrupy smooth.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14550
Registered: Feb-05
For the jumpers they opened considerably after a couple of weeks. The burn in was more significant than I thought it would be.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3530
Registered: Jun-07
Got to remember too Art that the 320 is NOOOO 326bee by a long shot IMO. Although in my experience I would say the culprit for a sound that is too fatiguing would be the Warfedales based on the current system. Or room.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14553
Registered: Feb-05
You make a good point, Nick. We have a C325BEE in the house as well (my wife's setup) and it is similar to the C320BEE.

The problem with the Diamond 9 series is that they leave a lot of the music behind...lack of appropriate detail. I find the 9.1's to be boring and a bit unbalanced. My wife had the 9.1's in her setup with the C325BEE and it just never got off the ground. The Era Design speakers sound much better with that amp.

Add Your Message Here

Bold text Italics Create a hyperlink Insert a clipart image Add a YouTube Video
Need to Register?
Forgot Password?
Enable HTML code in message
   
Jump to: Home Audio Forum | Home Video Forum | Home Theater Forum | Car Audio Forum