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Dark/easy-sounding integrated stereo amp sought, circa £600-£700

 

New member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 2
Registered: Mar-12
My current core system consists of a cheap-as-chips Cambridge Audio A5, B&W 685s and a Wharfedale SW150 sub. My source is a Squeezebox Touch fed into a DACMagic (I also occasionally use a NAD T585 SACD player).

I play mainly hi def (24-bit) and audiophile-label classic jazz (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, etc), as well as classical music, and some classic rock (e.g. Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Dylan, Black Sabbath, Doors, Genesis, etc) and some more modern jazz (e.g. Patricia Barber). Obviously quite an eclectic mix, but all very organic (not too electronic).

I'm looking to upgrade my amp, as that is clearly the weakest link. I'm finding the sound at the moment to be a little on the bright side for my tastes. Ride cymbals tend to be a little to the front and I feel like everything needs taming in the top-end. I want a relaxing, easy sound, not an "exciting" one.

I made the mistake of buying a Rega Brio-R without auditioning it first (I know, I know!). It was waaay too bright with the 685s even after much running in, so I switched back to the Cambridge. The Rega is clearly a superior amp (much clearer and cleaner) but it doesn't match well with the 685s. I intend to do some auditioning now, but am not sure where to start - so many amps, so little time.

I am thinking Rotel RA-06SE, but I have read reports of them being a little bass-heavy - and the 685s need no help with bass (other than sub-bass). I have read of other Rotels being a little on the bright side - the last thing I need. Arcam is also a consideration - I could pick up an A38 second-hand within my budget, or an A18 or A28.

Tube amps are not an option - I don't want the weight, the heat and the on-going expense!

Any suggestions (especially from 685 owners) would be gratefully received!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15537
Registered: Feb-05
As an aside...how long did you give the Brio-R before deciding it was too bright.

I have one and for the first hour it was dreadfully dull and then for the next 2 weeks it sounded good but just a bit too bright. 2 mos later and there isn't a hint of brightness unless it gets powered off for more than just s brief moment. Then it goes through an accelerated period like I described above. First hour dull and about 48 hrs until it's settled back in. Every dealer around these parts that I know recommends leaving it powered up 24/7 and I do.

That said if it is too bright there are other options. Simaudio makes very smooth sounding pieces that may be worth an audition.

Other folks may be along with other suggestions such as room treatments so hang in there, help may be on the way.
 

New member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 4
Registered: Mar-12
Hi Art - thanks for the reply.

How strange - your experience was first dull (briefly) then a bit bright, and now fine as long as left on 24/7. I don't really want an amp that I have to leave switched on permanently.

I tried it for about 2 months before quitting. I never experienced any dullness ever - only brightness. I tended to have it switched on all day during weekends (morning till night) and for about 5 hours a day during weekday evenings. I don't think it's necessarily a very bright amp per se - just in combination with the 685s maybe.

Simaudio eh? I will look into them, thanks.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15538
Registered: Feb-05
Every good amp I've owned sounded better left on all of the time (Soneteer, Rega, Unison Research, Creek, NAD and so on). Other than tube amps I would recommend leaving any amp (not AVR) on 24/7.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4955
Registered: Feb-07
That's interesting. I have the 685's as well, and I find them anything but a bright speaker. They are the opposite, smooth and warm sounding. So it's definitely the Rega.

For what you are looking for, I think the Arcam would be a better bet. I've had both the A18 and the A38 in my listening room, and I actually preferred the A18.

One thing I've come to learn (Art and I will respectfully agree to disagree on this one) is that if I don't like the way a piece of gear sounds out of the box, no amount of break in or warm up is going to change my opinion.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15539
Registered: Feb-05
Interesting folks have reported both the 685's and the Brio-R as bright and I don't think either are. It's either that they simply don't work well together or something else. I've actually been thinking about bringing home a pair of 685's for fronts on HT and I wouldn't have considered them if they were bright. In the end I decided to stick with Wharfedale.

Dave is right that we disagree about break in and what not, but I'm sure that he would agree with this...if the amp isn't working for you then it's time to move on. Simaudio is smooth with a liquid midrange and also Arcam is excellent..smooth and a bit drier in the midrange than Sim.

Hopefully you can get some audition time with whatever amp you try.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4956
Registered: Feb-07
I will agree with you Art that most gear does sound better once it's warmed up. For sure.

But yeah, if the amp isn't working for you, warming it up for an hour won't make you say "ahhhhhhh, that's more like it).
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15541
Registered: Feb-05
Never did see what cables you are using, Dave (not David...lol). As another area of disagreement among well intentioned hobbyists...they can also make a big difference in a system.

A system includes all of the components, how they are linked and the space in which the system resides. All of which, together, equal the end product. The sound you get is the sum of how well it all works together and none of it can be taken for granted.
 

New member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 5
Registered: Mar-12
Thanks Art and David for your input.

Cables: Just had a look at my speaker wire. It is an "XR 189" (whatever the heck that is - I got it from my local Richer Sounds some years ago). They're oxygen-free copper, 3 metres long, terminated with banana plugs. My interconnects are Cambridge Audio Pacifics (I think that's what they are - I've had them about 10 years now, they're banana yellow colour but I think the newer ones are white these days) and also QED I-QEDRA-1. The difference between the two (on my system) is not night and day. The Pacifics are a bit tamer at the top end (I've not blind-tested though, so I could be imagining it).

I have read that where speaker cable is concerned (not interconnects) there's a lot of hype with the more expensive ones, and I tend to believe that. That's not to say that appropriately designed ones are not important though.

I also tend to agree with David about equipment breaking in over time - sure it makes a difference, but the sound won't be radically transformed. I know that a very bright sound isn't going to become perfectly neutral over time, even if it might improve. Actually, the difference experienced after breaking in gear is as much adjusting psychologically to the sound as due to any physiological changes with the components (both are factors).

It's nice to read that David preferred the A18 to the more expensive A38 with his 685s. I intend to audition both these amps if possible. Just done some Googling into Simaudio. I suspect that these are somewhat outside of my £600-700 price range. (Ignore the stupid "Ã," that keeps appearing in front of the pound sign!)
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2698
Registered: Oct-07
Dave,
Go to the end of the Minwatt thread here in amps.
Jan and I discuss cables.........
And while cables may be the 3rd rail of stereo, I don't bother with them all that much. Maybe If I had deep pockets and that Pass Integrated?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15543
Registered: Feb-05
I don't have deep pockets just a desire to get the best from my humble setup and I feel that I have...for now.
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1193
Registered: Dec-06
Break in for amps and CD players is much more subtle I think, but for speakers the change in sound is quite large. I have always heard an improvement in sound as break in occurs. Speakers have moving parts that loosen up over time, so the need to break in a set of speakers is a little more intuitive than it would be for an amp and CD player.

I heard the 685 briefly and would agree that it didn't seem bright at all. Quite the contrary in fact.

As for cables, believe it or not but there are affordable ones! I've heard a bunch and in my opinion there is no question they make a difference. Then again, my amp is more sensitive to capacitance than most amps are. Still, different cables have different properties (capacitance, inductance, resistance) and there will always be an ideal set of these properties for each component the cables are connected to. Your amp reacts a certain way to the crossover in your speakers, so changing the wire that connects the two will have some sort of impact to that interaction. So I think I agree with Art here, it's not about spending as much as possible, it's simply about finding the right cable for your set of gear (and that cable might not cost even hundreds of dollars, let alone thousands).
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2699
Registered: Oct-07
I tried to buy 'good' cables. The best if I bought only once? I don't know. For the $$ I spent, maybe I COULD have done better.
So much opinion about cables, it is really a try and listen proposition. As such, you can go thru hundreds of $$ experimenting. I don't know that pre-owned cable has much resale value...in general.
Art, you've found your cable 'groove', which is a good thing.

Yes, affordable cable exists. But, you could probably go thru several iterations before settling. And spend quite a bundle. I don't know that a couple weeks with a 'borrowed' cable would be long enough before actually buying?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17157
Registered: May-04
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"I don't have deep pockets just a desire to get the best from my humble setup ... "





ATTEN-HUT!

ALRIGHT, LISTEN UP, YOU MAGGOTS!

You're in the army now and you're in this army to become an audiophile!

GOT THAT?!

Anyone who is not an audiophile needs to step forward right now!


ALRIGHT! We're all audiophiles here then.

And as audiophiles we are in this war to get the best from our humble systems! GOT IT?

Anyone not here to get the best from their humble system needs to step forward right now!

ALRIGHT! That's settled.

Except for you Stierer. You're looking a little puny about this getting the best idea. Is that it, Stierer? You don't want to get the best from your humble system? You think you can slide a bit on cables for your humble system and no one is going to call you on it? Is that what you think, Stierer?

Well, let me set you straight, mister, this isn't a war for puny butts like yours. This is a war for the best from all humble systems and the right to tell someone the cable they're using is the worst you've ever had. You got that, Stierer? Now, either you're ready to commit to the best from any humble system you own or you're not. And, if I tell you you aren't committed to the cause, you need to do something about it.

Got that, Stierer?





"As an aside, the Blue Jeans LC-1 is the worst sounding cable I've ever bought. I've owned them for a couple of years and tried them in every setup I've had and with every source and they are just dead, undetailed, muffled with tubby bass and geez I could go on, but why."



Should leo really care, Art? He doesn't own the gear you own or that you have owned over the last few months or years. Leo's in this for the long haul of owning a system that does what he wants it to do and not chasing after another sound every few months. I gotta applaud him for that. Why do you constantly do this? Tell someone what they own is "the worst" you've ever heard or that you thought what they like is horrible? This isn't the first time you've done this. I can't speak for leo but I'd say you've fairly well insulted him. To me it's just rude, particularly this schtick about being "committed". Do you seriously think leo or anyone else on the forum is interested in getting the best from their system?

Knock it off, huh, Art?




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Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1196
Registered: Dec-06
I was lucky enough to have a dealer willing to allow me to bring my components to his store and compare his recommended speaker cable to what I was using. He has no qualms with letting someone borrow his demo gear to try out in their system as well. Clearly this is the best way to try different cables and I was able to find a speaker cable that worked well with my gear with little risk.

With interconnects, I bought two different kinds which weren't great. I got lucky buying my third pair as they were a big improvement. There was some money lost there unfortunately, and doing the same as I did with speaker cables (i.e. a dealer demo) would have avoided this. However, it was not a big sum and I'm now happy with the cables I own.

In short, ask a local dealer if they'd allow you to audition cables in your system at home.
 

New member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 6
Registered: Mar-12
Good quality, appropriately designed cable is undoubtedly important. Expensive cable is not!

As I'm sure all you guys already know, it's all about the physical properties of the materials, and about using those materials that interfere the least with the signal passing through them. Large sums of money spent on wire cannot buy you paradise - although if you've already spent a load you might just convince yourself that it can. If a cable's review sounds like a review of a fine wine, that's when to forget the wine and start smelling the coffee.

Once you go over a certain price you're just being ripped off. I'm not sure what that price is, but needless to say, you shouldn't pay an arm and a leg for a couple of strands of speaker wire.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4957
Registered: Feb-07
I smell a cable war brewing....
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15568
Registered: Feb-05
Nah...I know what I hear and have no interest in trying to convince anyone else. All of the theatrics of old don't interest me a bit.

"Hello Art,

Hey, just wanted to mention that I saw your posts on Blue Jeans Cable (you're no fan!) and as I have some of that cable in my system, I thought "what the heck" and removed the cable going from my turntable to my phono pre and replaced it with some Monoprice cable I had around and guess what? A more lively sound! The difference is not real subtle, either. It was what I was after and I had been scratching my head for a while about this very issue so a hearty THANK YOU!

Happy listening--

Dennis"

I get plenty of PM's like the one above...enjoy the cable war!
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2701
Registered: Oct-07
Jan,
I'm happy Art has found his cable niche. I don't feel in the least put upon that he is not a BJC fan. What am I supposed to do? Go to war over an opinon about WIRE?
I further wish you would take your seat. Nobody is browbeating anyone about cable, cable choice or the minutia of cable here, except yourself. Your original observations about cables over in the minwat thread are good. Lots of hocus-pocus associated with cables as well as simple rebranding. It costs a LOT for a custom run of wire, I'm sure, which may account, at least in part, for some of the uber expensive stuff. Garage builders, do indeed, abound.

Could I make improvements by getting on the cable-go-round? Almost without doubt. Am I going to? Probably not. After having spent decades in a hands on technical field, my stereo is a hands off proposition.

Should I get the bug, I'll go to the local emporium and borrow ANYTHING. Than I'll let my ears do the talkin'.

Dan's #1196 post is a good example. He found the 'right' cable for him on his 3rd effort. Apparently, he stayed at the shallow end of the cable cost pool and called himself 'lucky'. Live and learn. I wonder how much his cabling eventually cost him vs what the cost would have been had he gotten 'lucky' first time around?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17158
Registered: May-04
.

No one should be told what they own is "the worst" of anything. That's like telling someone their kid is ugly and their wife is fat. I would have thought that was just common courtesy. This isn't about cables on my end and emails which claim a listener likes this cable and not that cable miss the obvious point. A lot of people like something you don't own. Still, there's no need to say what they like is crap and then go into berating detail about it. Just say "X" never worked for you in your system and leave it at that. Is that so hard?





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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2702
Registered: Oct-07
Jan,
Art noted he didn't like BJC a lot...and a specific model. I didn't take it personally. Art is FAR more critical than I in matters stereo. He has owned far more diffrerent pieces than I, too.

You're humor is a little heavy handed and I guess I'm just not in the mood.

And Jan, to you, I'm Mr. Stierer....
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17159
Registered: May-04
.

Fine, Mr. Steirer, I'll steer clear. Sorry you don't agree with my idea of courtesy.
 

New member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 7
Registered: Mar-12
Now-now, ladies.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2703
Registered: Oct-07
Jan,
with all due respect, it is the 'offendee' who determines if an offense was or wasn't made. We don't know one another well enough to take offense in one anothers stead. I tried that.
I called a member here who was not only vulger but totally out of bounds....and not only insulted the board but you personally. I, infact, demanded an apology which never came. I stay clear of this guy, who is overall maybe a nice guy, but comes across a little heavy at times. I also don't necessarily agree with his choice of gear, either. Bad taste is timeless.
You seemed....if not indifferent, than at least less than concerned. Though I suspect this person was 'marked down' in the book.....I certainly took note.

Humor is very difficult to pull off in an online situation. When I try my mouth at humor, I'm usually looking at the person or people whom I'm trying to amuse. FEEDBACK is very important. Nuck, who can be pretty off-the-wall and immediate is a possible exception. I don't recall him picking on anyone except someone who had already 'picked'. I may be wrong. I'm presuming your long post, above was an attempt at humor....in spots. (#17157).

And yes, I'm 'in it for the long haul'. My system remains stable for years at a time, something which I don't see much of on the boards. Always looking for the 'best' X to go with 'Y'. So, I take the try this and see folks with a grain of salt. They could be right, for all I know. So, for now, I'll stick with what I got. Nobody's first choice, it works for me. I'll be buried in the box my panels came in.

So, I try to keep the humor toned down, overall.
A wacky example. I was in a meeting with my boss and 4 or 5 others. I disagreed with the boss on a matter of science, not policy. I eventually persuaded him I was right, but still seemed upset. When called on it I said, 'I guess I'm not in the mood to take yes for an answer'......That broke the ice and all was good.
'Ya gotta know your audience.

In person / public I'm known to have poor impulse control. Online? I try to be little better......I may or may not be successful.
 

New member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 8
Registered: Mar-12
Sorry Leo (may I call you Leo? I hope so!) strictly speaking it is for the 'offendee' to decide if offence was taken - not necessarily if one was actually made (which is more subjective). Sorry to be picky!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17160
Registered: May-04
.

"I can't speak for leo but I'd say you've fairly well insulted him. To me it's just rude, particularly this schtick about being 'committed'."


Sorry you missed the qualifier there, Mr. Stierer.

Also, sorry you didn't appreciate the humor. It is what it is and was not aimed at you in anyway.


This is not about how much equipment anyone has owned, only what someone has liked. Constantly buying and selling a lot of gear guarantees nothing that would place anyone in any position to criticize what another person prefers in equipment or music - or a wife, a car, which neighborhood you live in, etc. To do so is callous and materialistic - at best. IMO running through a few systems per year or listening to a hundred pieces of equipment in a year's time actually makes it less likely that you have a reference upon which to claim an argument from authority. Most especially when running through a few systems a year is all you can claim. Even more so when you've bounced from this extreme to that extreme along the way. If anyone wants to be the person on the forum who knows what every piece of equipment sounds like, I give way to someone who listens to the sound of alot of equipment. Big F'ing whoop is all I can say! That still doesn't mean you have a reference for anything and, even if it did, it certainly doesn't infer any rights to tell anyone what they own is crap.

It's not cool to tell anyone what they prefer - and especially what they own - is crap.

I don't care if you're Gordon Gow or Saul Marantz or John Atkinson, it's not done in a forum setting. I feel confident saying each of those true to life authorities in audio would be gentleman enough to know what is in bad form.

I've had people attack my system just because they could. One ran a $150 Sony receiver and the other never bought a cable, just used the stuff that came with the gear. But they attacked my gear because they saw "tooobs" as inferior to their stuff with 0.01 THD. If that's what's cool, then I suppose it's also cool to tell someone anything else they own is "the worst" ever. One thing leads to another. It was ofensive when it happend to me and I find it equally offensive when I see it aimed at anyone else.


This isn't about cables and it isn't about a joke that fell flat. This is about simply uderstanding no one gets to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't own or prefer. No more than they get to claim they know when someone is selling snake oil or when a certain object or desire is "ridiculous". I get to spend my money as I see fit and I don't expect to - nor try to - be able to tell you when you shouldn't be spending your own. And it's about an offender who has pulled this BS more than once on this forum. I - me, personally - find it extremely rude when it occurs and I said so. If anyone feels they shouldn't offend the "authority" claimed, then they are in a sorry state IMO. They need to understand what goes into possesssing real authority - not the sort made up of listening to a lot of hifi gear. If anyone feels they should send an email thanking someone for being rude, that's their business just as it is their business which cables they use. Does an email prove to me they have a reference? Nope. Not hardly. That they decided they liked a cable because it - the cable, not the music - was different than what they had been using is not the point here and posting it here is not a defense for the initial rudeness.


I wasn't speaking for you, Mr, Stierer, I was voicing my own opinion and it's not the theatrics of old that is at stake here. Though, in many ways, it is.


Just say "X" never worked for you in your system and leave it at that. Is that so hard? I think not. Or, better yet, just say nothing. 'Tis better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Substitute any word you care to for "fool".


And that's the point. I speak for no one but myself and possibly for anyone else who feels they have the right to prefer what they care to prefer without being told they are an idiot for doing so.



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2704
Registered: Oct-07
Quite right, Dave...
and call me anything but late for dinner.

Now, I've communicated in an off-line way with many people from boards. Sometimes, the 'voice' is quite different when writing for a single person than a group.
No particular conclusion can be drawn from this: I just find it interesting.

And Jan, You, too are quite OK to hold any opinion which you choose....and can provide 'reason' for. I believe you have met this test, at least to yourself.....and that's all that counts. However, I still won't get PO'd at someone for an Opinion, no matter how strongly held, in a hobby/avocation/compulsion.

I have been sent a few links to DIY stuff, which I may pursue. That would be an interesting comparison. I'll search the SD area for someone who has the means to compression weld wire to a connector. Not that I don't trust my soldering!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17161
Registered: May-04
.

"I called a member here who was not only vulger but totally out of bounds....and not only insulted the board but you personally. I, infact, demanded an apology which never came. I stay clear of this guy, who is overall maybe a nice guy, but comes across a little heavy at times. I also don't necessarily agree with his choice of gear, either. Bad taste is timeless.
You seemed....if not indifferent, than at least less than concerned. Though I suspect this person was 'marked down' in the book.....I certainly took note."





Does anyone here actually suppose I was going to get an apology for the vulgar statements made by a few members of this forum? Or, for the one specifically mentioned above? I certainly did not, though I do appreciate the fact most every one of the regular members have stated their opinion regarding the continued skirmishes between members. The way I saw the process was that logic and respect for another member were not going to end the attacks any more than they had already proven to. Which is to say, not at all. I had tried that approach on several occasions and nothing changed. I was flat out told there wouldn't be a compromise. Making more of that single post than I did was only going to satisfy the poster that he had achieved his goal. Why give him that much satisfaction? I saw no reason to do so. There's the common saying that arguing with a pig only lowers you to his level and bores the pig. I am not interested in either.



I don't control this forum, Brian Mitchell does; https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/suggestions/658273.html#POST1910071

I can only voice my concerns to the person who might be able to make a substantial change in the way this forum operates. At one time, Brian seemed to be far more interested in how this forum appeared to outsiders thinking of coming in. There were lines which could be crossed and which would result in an offending member being banned. I suspect with the arrival of numerous forum trolls - those posters who are here only for the sake of disrupting the forum's process, the numerous calls for anyone who might impede their goals have increased to absurd levels. Take a look at the threads in the "Suggestions" portion of the forum and see what you think. I would say the lack of response to the post you mention, Mr. Stierer, suggests Mr. Mitchell is no longer as concerned about forum content - even in its most vulgar form.


I might add I am not calling for anyone to be banned due to recent posts. This should certainly be an issue which can be resolved amongst the members who regularly post on this portion of the forum.


As to the equipment a certain "vulgar" poster owns, it's not of a concern to me. Might someone possess a high degree of knowledge regarding high end audio without actually owning a high end component? Well, I suppose you should ask those folks who own a $150 Sony receiver that question. In the case I mentioned above, they certainly thought they were the final arbitters of what was and was not a decent component for anyone to own. (I have first hand accounts regarding the merits of their respective system's output.) None of that matters. If I had the misfortune to loose or to be forced to sell every component I own and all I could afford was a $150 Sony receiver, that is what I would own. I wouldn't expect anyone to think less of the knowledge I display if, say, I had to sell off my systems to pay for a life saving medical procedure. Judge me on what I say and how I say it, not on what I own or where I live or what I drive. For the most part, none of us know the other well enough to know what their specific situations might be or what their motivations are for doing what must be done. Certainly, saving a life is more important than appeasing those who think they know what good audio gear amounts to. As to a "commitment " towards getting the best out of a system? Well, there are things to which I have a still greater commitment. Audio is solely a means to an end and it is not a means I am primarily interested in given the totality of everything else I might face. And, should such a situtation come about in my life, I still wouldn't expect anyone to tell me what I happen to own, for whatever reason I happen to come about owning it, was anything to be ashamed of or to suggest what I own is "the worst" component they have ever heard. I'm simply not going to judge anyone based on the equipment they own. To the extent I judge them, it is on the knowledge, content and the personal character displayed in their posts. If they owned not a single piece of audio gear but could still discuss the subject with intelligence and respect for others, that would be fine with me. If they are a newbie with a desire to learn, is that better or worse than someone who thinks they know the sound of a thousand components yet doesn't care to learn a single thing about audio? In ten years time which of those two individuals will have more to claim as their own? Real knowledge is something that cannot be taken away. How a certain component "sounded" won't matter one whit to anyone in a very short while. If that person with a desire to learn must, as most of us did at one time, begin with a lowly receiver, so be it. That's not what's important to the entire picture.


I've been personally and repeatedly attacked due to my system components. Or that I simply disagree with someone about the value of, say, better than freebie cables. Or $10k cables for that matter. It's no fun and it's completely out of bounds on a public forum IMO. (Have I mentioned that six years of being attacked for disagreeing about audio on the Stereophile forums literally sucked every bit of enjoyment of this hobby out of me?) I would be a hypocrit if I said anything about anyone who owned a component I didn't care for or thought could be bettered by their simply having a "commitment" to getting the best out of their system. Wouldn't I?


There are numerous reasons why I don't tend to get involved in the recommendation of components, Mr. Stierer. The above statements are just a few of those reasons. I would hope everyone could respect those opinions.




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Silver Member
Username: Mordecai

Fort Worth, Texas

Post Number: 505
Registered: Jan-09
Wow! Sounds like I missed the fun lol. I unplug my amp after listening. It's not plugged into a surge protector. I'm concerned about power surges. Should I leave it plugged in and left on 24/7 like Art suggests?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17162
Registered: May-04
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Mordecai, you and I live in "Tornado Alley". This means we can experience severe weather at any moment. As you know we are now entering that period in the year when storms are most prevalent and have the potential to be most damaging. When I was selling I suggested to each of my clients that they use a very high quality surge protector or isolation transformer to give some protection to their equipment. At the least, I would suggest a Panamax surge protector. Their line has a very good reputation for providing protection while not doing noticeable damage to the sound quality of a decent yet middle of the road audio system. Lesser quality units - your $10.95 model from Walgreens - are more likely to not give any real protection from a lightning strike while squashing dynamics in your music or adding a layer of haze to the overall presentation. Buy adequate protection without harming your sound quality by spending a bit more on a good protection system. Whatever you spend here will be worth your investment in the long run if you choose the device with some knowledge.

If you want the best available protection, head to a place like Graingers and ask them about their Tripplite isolation transformers. Not cheap but worth the money in the long run. Isolation transformers have a very long life in constant use whereas surge protectors use lower quality components which will wear out over time as they constantly absorb and release the small over Voltages common to most AC service systems. Even a high quality surge protector should be replaced or rebuilt every few years to maintain an adequate level of protection.

Furman also has a very high quality line of products geared more towards audio use. You'll see connectors on the Panamax and the Furman gear which will also isolate your incoming satellite and telephone lines. These are two very common entry paths for weather related surges which are easily overlooked by many users. A high quality device from any of these lines will not be inexpensive but the protection they provide can be worth every penny you spend when the Spring storms roll through. Those three lines are about all I recommend nowdays though I will give a nod to the PS Audio line of conditioners. Lesser protection from AC surges than you'll find from either Furman or Tripplite but no damage to sound quality.

Be wary of "AC line conditioners". These will normally not protect your electronics as they are typically constructed with a few VOM's and some small transformers and caps.

When you look at an AC protection device, look first at the clamping voltage. Buy as a high a number as you can afford. However, be aware that lightning is our #1 risk here in this area. The old saying that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place is actually false. Lightning strikes are typically a series of incredibly high voltage jolts which are occurring in such rapid succession that the bolt appears to be one single strike. A danger with most lower priced protection devices is their inability to clamp the first jolt and stay clamped or release and then clamp again for the next incoming surge in voltage. The lines I mentioned above are those I know will provide protection for those second, third and fourth strikes which will be coming. Nothing can protect you from upwards of 70,000 Volts if you happen to incur a direct strike but for those times when you experience the surge through your AC lines, that Voltage has largely been disippated by the transformers outside your home. The transformers can blow out though which will still send a powerful surge of Voltage through your house wiring.

You should also know that any protection to your electronics will depend upon your AC lines and how they are routed in and around your home. Surge protectors and isolation transformers must have a three conductor AC line for maximum protection. If your wiring doesn't include a discrete ground line, the surge protectors have nowhere to adequately dump the incoming voltage. In other words, a two conductor AC line (with a combined nuetral/ground) will efffectively halve the potential protection of any device and risk the Voltage is still sent through your equipment. On the outside of your house, a dedicated earth ground is your best choice. Ask a qualified electrician about installing a proper grounding rod and running a 12-14 AWG ground cable directly to it from your service panel. If you have an outside TV antenna, satellite dish or cable TV line coming into your home, it too should be properly grounded to the earth grounding rod. Running a ground to a cold water pipe isn't sufficient for the type of protection you'll need in this area and is actually against code in most cities.

Think of this as an insurance policy on your home's electronics. The investment you make today will likely pay you back in the future.

Otherwise, I wouldn't bother unplugging all your gear after each listening session. If you're going to be away from the house and you haven't bothered to buy a good protection device, then that is your only protection against a lightning strike I would agree. 70k Volts plus can easily make it through the switches on your equipment and into your electronics. However, the benefits of having a high quality isolation device are worth the money. Even with my surge protectors in place, I still unplug sensitive gear when the weather reports suggest the really damaging weather is headed our way - the kind where you're thinking about just where in the house is the safest if the roof lifts off.

As to sound quality provided by leaving your gear powered up at all times, you decide. IMO a minority of solid state gear benefits from a 20-30 minute warm up before reaching its best sound quality. Tubes still want that warm up and will sound not so great until the entire unit has reached thermal stability which, with output transformers can take a good while. Otherwise, the overall construction of most transistorized gear built today is made up of large scale integrated circuits which run on extremely low Voltages. The time required for those circuits to reach thermal stability is minimal. I won't say you will or will not detect a slightly higher sound quality if these components are powered up 24/7. For modern day consumer audio gear, I would simply suggest you leave your system powered up for two days and give a critical listen at the end of that time period. However, the noise and all the assorted crap which exists on the AC lines of a large city along with the basic weather conditions which can affect the performance of both your system and your emotional receptivity to music's sound quality will be so variable that one test over a single two day span might not tell you much. To put that another way, there are so many variables - many of which are due to your day to day perception and most of which are out of your control - that might affect the performance of your system, that changes due to having your system powered up continuously might be swamped by other forces at play. Here I would definitely warn against the placebo effect of thinking you perceive an improvement due to one change when, in fact, a dozen changes you are less likely to notice have taken place.




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New member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 9
Registered: Mar-12
Jan said: "Have I mentioned that six years of being attacked for disagreeing about audio on the Stereophile forums literally sucked every bit of enjoyment of this hobby out of me?"

Jan: how does enjoyment for a hobby get "literally" sucked out of you? Unless the hobby is... I won't go there.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17163
Registered: May-04
.

If you had been there for those six years, you would understand how it "litterally" got sucked away. Since you weren't there, it's probably best that you not go there. Which can be taken to mean don't go "there" - where your mind was trying to take you since "there" has no reward at the end of the journey if you're left chuckling to yourself in the lonesome, solitary glow of a computer monitor. Or it could mean don't go "there" with "there" being the Stereophile forums which do suck. Either way, avoid temptation. The former isn't worth it for the payoff and the latter ... well, it's definitely not worth it for any reason.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17164
Registered: May-04
.

"My source is a Squeezebox Touch fed into a DACMagic (I also occasionally use a NAD T585 SACD player). "


Is the output from the NAD as equally "bright" as when you are using the Squeezebox and the DACMagic?



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2705
Registered: Oct-07
I can vouche for the Panamax.
I have an older, but upper line model with a 400va iso transformer which works fine on low current devices.
My CD, PS3 and DVD player are all thru that circuit.

My amplifier(s) didn't like even the hi-power outlets, so they have their own circuit with a PSAudio Soloist outlet...

The MOV devices are replaceable. Look 'em up at DigiKey and you'll see they are inexpensive. A competent shop should be able to fix you up every couple years.....(Note to self, get it done)
MOV stands for Metal Oxide Varister and a single ZAP will render it useless. Smaller zaps accumulate over time with the same result.

The over / under voltage protection is a little talked about feature. My protection dropped out a couple weeks ago, a microsecond before I noted a brownout. The circuit is supposed to trip at 95v, which should protect most electronics. Overvoltage kicks in at about 135v.

For places with Tornados and the major summer storms, even down into Florida, I'd recommend anyone who OWNS a house to have a surge protector wired in at the breaker panel. They are inexpensive and do not wear out like MOV based devices.
 

New member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 10
Registered: Mar-12
@ Jan: Yeah - the NAD and the DACMagic are actually quite similar in terms of tonal balance - I can switch between them and experience no particular shock of EQ difference. The NAD is undoubtedly more detailed than the DM (as one would probably expect) but about the same brightness. One thing I didn't mention is that I also have a cheap and cheerful Pro-Ject Debut turntable. This suffered worst of the lot when connected to the Rega's phono inputs: again, too bright and very thin, weak bass. Not pleasant at all. This was surprising because all reports I have read say that the Rega's built-in phono amp is very good (for what it is, of course). The problem is definitely due to poor matching of amp and speakers as the over-brightness is so consistent across all my source components. The Cambridge amp matches far, far better. Just a shame it's not the last word in clarity and transparency. But then it was less than half the price of the Rega.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17166
Registered: May-04
.

Other than chasing new gear, what else have you tried in order to tame the "brightness" issue? You've described your gear, your "non-organic" audiophile recordings and your problems but not your set up or other approaches taken to dealing with what you perceive to be an "exciting" sound quality.

Certainly, not many of us would anticipate the results you've reported given the equipment you've tried. The phono section of the Rega amps is generally considered to be good enough that the result shouldn't be "too bright and very thin, weak bass". This, of course, would depend upon the cartridge you are using but, lacking a complete mismatch in cartridge to the rest of the system, no well matched cartridge should give those results through a Rega integrated amp.



"The problem is definitely due to poor matching of amp and speakers as the over-brightness is so consistent across all my source components."


OK, but look at your experience with various amplifiers. Virtually every amplifier you say you've tried has been similar in nature to every other amp you've tried, right? Every amp has, in your words, been a mismatch of some sort with the 685's. You claim, "the NAD and the DACMagic are actually quite similar in terms of tonal balance". I would say, then, the mismatch is not with your source components. Correct? Even amplifiers most people would consider to be of sufficiently high quality to drive the B&W's have had similar results. Right?

Do you have any idea why that would be? If the 685's are the source of the problem - causing the mismatch over several gear swaps, what does that tell you about the 685's? Tell me this, have you researched the 685's enough to know why they might cause a mismatch with various amplifiers? One that would result in excessive "brightness"? There must be a reason, have you tried to find what that might be in order to give better direction to your amplifier search instead of just jumping from amp to amp until you land on one that suits your present set up?

When certain results continue to show up despite equipment changes, then I tend to suspect something other than just the gear is at fault. Describe your room and your system set up in the room. What does the room look like (specific characteristics which might result in a too exciting sound, measurements and lay out) and how is it set up in relation to your system and speakers? Do you have your speakers mounted on high quality stands? What about your other gear? How are the system components situated to produce high quality results? Have you established the proper speaker locations through a specific loudspeaker set up routine? Or, just plopped them where they fit? Where's your listening chair located in the room and in relation to the speaker location?

Looking for a "dark" sounding amplifier in order to solve a problem which exists somewhere else in the system isn't, IMO, the best way to resolve your problems. It's sort of like having a car that pulls to the left so you let out a bit of air pressure from the right side tires. I would guess others have run the Rega amp with the B&W's and not been worn out by excessive brightness. Not been overly excited by their "organic" sound quality. By the way, what is "brightness" in your mind? Overall, how would you describe the personality of the B&W's when you auditioned them? There must have been a reason they seemed like the speaker to buy. What was that reason? And, what gear did you audition them with? If they seemed appropriate in the showroom, what might have changed between there and your room other than the amplifier?





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Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3696
Registered: Jun-07
Your the 7th or 8th guy on random forums claiming their Brio-R is bright. Although my dealer claims it is not. The DACMagic and NAD are not typically bright sounding units, and neither is Rega Phono units. The 685's are surely a laid back, and typically warmer sounding speaker.

Jan is right, and is stearing you in the right direction IMO. You have issued elsewhere. Room? Cabling? Power? Something is causing your system to be perceived as being bright.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15609
Registered: Feb-05
Nick, If you look carefully you will see that several of the folks who are claiming that the Brio-R is bright are the same person. I just recognized that this morning.

I find that CA sources can be edgy and the Brio-R is very open so that could also contribute. On another forum, Dave states that he uses the NAD unit primarily as it sounds better than the CA/Squeezbox. What is the difference in sound?

Also I have read more than one complaint about the B&W 685's being perceived as bright...not sure how because my recollection of them doesn't bear that out.

Cables, room and source is where I would look for trouble.

If you find that you are still looking for an amp, I think that the NAD line is on the warm side while being nicely detailed.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 11
Registered: Mar-12
EDIT - ignore this - I back-arrowed and ended up posting my reply twice! See below.

 

Bronze Member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 12
Registered: Mar-12
OK, but look at your experience with various amplifiers. Virtually every amplifier you say you've tried has been similar in nature to every other amp you've tried, right?

Wrong. I've only owned two amps since I got the 685s - the Cambridge and the Brio. The Cambridge is fine. Oh, actually I should mention I very briefly owned a cheap Chinese-manufactured tube amp but that had the opposite problem - no top-end even after being warmed up for hours. And it had supposedly been pre-broken in by the supplier. Dull as f***! I sent it back whilst it was within the guarantee.

Do you have your speakers mounted on high quality stands?

I don't know about "high quality" but I do use stands - tweaters at ear-level. The stand manufacturer is BTech (doesn't mean much to me). I haven't filled them with sand or anything, but that's not going to be a cause of brightness is it?

My room is not ideal - but then, who's is? It's rectangular, about 7m wide by 4m deep. The ceiling is about 2.5m high.The speakers are about 12" away from the back wall. Yeah I know all about standing frequencies and all that stuff, and it's true. Not sure I want to spend a fortune on acoustically treating my room. Given that my room is full of soft furniture and I'm only sat about 2.5m away from the speakers, I don't think the room is having a massive effect on the sound I hear although I don't have curtains ("drapes" to the Yanks?), I use blinds, so that probably doesn't help, I suppose. Any suggestions?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 13
Registered: Mar-12
Correction to the above: I said the tweeters were at ear-level. Actually, the tweeters are bit higher than my ears when I'm normally seated.

I also said the Cambridge is "fine" but to clarify: it does sound a little brighter than I would like, but it is nothing like the Rega in terms of brightness.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17168
Registered: May-04
.

Dave, please respond to a few of my other questions before I proceed.


Tell me more about your system set up and your room. You say, "Yeah I know all about standing frequencies and all that stuff, and it's true." So, what do you know? What about standing waves would account for the "brightness" you perceive? What is "brightness" to you? How does it affect the music? What frequency band makes for a "bright" system sound?

I ask because you're not the first person to listen to lots of audiophile oriented, hi rez recordings and find the system to be too ... "exciting".


"Not sure I want to spend a fortune on acoustically treating my room. Given that my room is full of soft furniture and I'm only sat about 2.5m away from the speakers, I don't think the room is having a massive effect on the sound I hear ... "



I would say you're wrong on that count. The room is exactly what you hear. The pressure waves created by the speakers are enclosed by the room and just as a speaker enclosure determines many of the attributes of the speaker's performance, so too will the room be responsible for as much as 80 to 90 percent of what you ultimately perceive as the quality of the system. In a room roughly 21' X 12' X 8', speakers located 12" from the front wall should be fairly bass heavy. I'm going to assume you haven't set the speakers up using any type of placement guidlines. Just sort of put them where they should go based on your knowledge of standing waves and all that stuff I assume. Are the speakers located on the long or the short wall? Have you walked the room to hear how tonal balance shifts in various locations? Have you tried the speakers in other locations in the room? How about your listening chair. Tried it in other locations?

Soft furniture can't make up for the basic qualities of the room. Room treatments needn't take over the room or your budget. However, trying to overcome the room sound by buying amplifiers isn't the answer either. Room treatments and soft furniture get sold in different stores because they have different purposes and applications.


("Dull as f***! I sent it back whilst it was within the guarantee."

Sorry to hear "F***!" is dull to you. At least equipment comes with a guarantee.)



Which cartridge did you use with the Project table? Once again, Rega integrateds have generally had sufficiently high quality phono sections and would be unlikely to have produced the thin sound you have described.


Let's get back to your speakers also. Please address ...

"Every amp has, in your words, been a mismatch of some sort with the 685s ...

Do you have any idea why that would be? If the 685's are the source of the problem - causing the mismatch over several gear swaps, what does that tell you about the 685's? Tell me this, have you researched the 685's enough to know why they might cause a mismatch with various amplifiers? One that would result in excessive brightness? There must be a reason. Have you tried to find what that might be in order to give better direction to your amplifier search instead of just jumping from amp to amp until you land on one that suits your present set up?


Overall how would you describe the personality of the B&W's when you auditioned them? There must have been a reason they seemed like the speaker to buy. What was that reason? And, what gear did you audition them with? If they seemed appropriate in the showroom, what might have changed between there and your room other than the amplifier?"





Thanks to our forum gadfly, I understand you are posting this same question on other forums. True? If so, what, to this point, are the responses from the other forums? Lots of suggestions for equipment I suppose?

I'd like to know because, if you're dead set on buying an amplifier, then I should just let the others direct you toward dark sounding amps. Personally, I don't know of any dark sounding amps I would ever recommend to anyone, so I'm sort of out on that one. I prefer balance in my systems and I tend to try for that overall.




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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17169
Registered: May-04
.

"I find that CA sources can be edgy and the Brio-R is very open so that could also contribute."



Contribute to what? "Open" is equal to "bright"?




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Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15617
Registered: Feb-05
Contribute to his stated problem. Open does not mean bright, to me. When I stated that the Brio-R is open I was implying that because it is open it may show other problems in the system more clearly than the CA model that he was and is using. That doesn't necessarily mean that Dave wants to solve any other problems that may be in the setup. He may be content to find a piece that is better suited to what he has and his room setup. Not what I would recommend but it's not my system or money.

Dave, hope you find the sound you are looking for.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17170
Registered: May-04
.

OK, I've read that a few times now and I'm pretty sure it doesn't make a lot of sense.


Are we just going to suggest he lets a few lbs. of air pressure out of his right side tires?



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Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15619
Registered: Feb-05
Dave if it doesn't make sense to you feel free to PM me.

 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17171
Registered: May-04
.


RTFLMAO!!


Geez, Art!

Maybe you can get Dave to PM you about how your cable suggestion worked out too. That should work out real swell.




Get over yourself, Art. This is a public forum. You know? Like "public" not "send me a private PM" forum?


You really got a stick up there this time, huh? Probably "the worst" I've ever seen.

LOL!



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Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15622
Registered: Feb-05
Not going there, Jan. You can keep trying to get me involved in these types of discussions but I will not participate. This thread and any other thread that you would like to have belong to you. Enjoy.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17172
Registered: May-04
.

Art, how can I possibly enjoy a thread when I know you've tried to claim the moral high ground by saying after the fact that you're "not going there"?

You already did, man, you already did! You not only went there, you wallowed around in "there" for awhile.


Look at what you posted for crimeny's sake!


"Open" isn't "bright" but "open" isn't "open" either?! What, then is "open"? Here's how Holt defines "open";
"open; Exhibiting qualities of delicacy, air, and fine detail. Giving an impression of having no upper-frequency limit." I don't know what you think that means but I wouldn't say that's a word or a definition of a word I would use to describe the ability to reveal problems upstream or downstream in the system. What exactly do "delicacy, air and fine detail" mean to you, Art? How would they contribute to Dave's problems? That's what I was trying to get out of your nonsensical post. An amplifier exhibiting "delicacy" or "air" isn't a problem in my book.

If the "delicacy, air and fine detail" aren't available to the amp from the sources upstream, then the amp isn't likely to display those characteristics unless it by itself has a problem which deviates from linearity - which then isn't likely to translate into the amp sounding "open". And, even if those qualities are available from the source players, they don't mean the amp might be revealing problems upstream. I mean, "open" is a desirable quality, right? And if the source players and the amp are "open" - meaning they exhibit fine detail and air - how does that contribute to Dave's problem? After I had asked you - without malice let's make clear - "Contribute to what?", you posted, "Contribute to his stated problem." His stated problem is, as I see it - and as Dave posts, "brightness". Not "openess". But asking you to clarify how an open amp might be problematic gets you all hinky and not going "there". You're a piece o'work, Art, you really are.

"I also said the Cambridge is 'fine' but to clarify: it does sound a little brighter than I would like, but it is nothing like the Rega in terms of brightness."

This is the same problem we have on another thread, people don't care if the words they use have any meaning to the reader. You want to act as if you're the go-to person for how every component sounds, Art. But that doesn't solve a problem that amounts to slapping a huge BandAid on a mismatch in components or on a problem dealing specifically with the system set up.


"That doesn't necessarily mean that Dave wants to solve any other problems that may be in the setup. He may be content to find a piece that is better suited to what he has and his room setup. Not what I would recommend but it's not my system or money."


Well, don't you think that's why Dave is asking for advice? Because he wants to solve the problem he perceives? He did post, " ... I use blinds, so that probably doesn't help, I suppose. Any suggestions?"



Any suggestions, Art? That's what I was asking about when you posted what seemed to me to be utter nonsense. Sounds as if Dave is "open" to other suggestions beyond his Rega was too "open" and therefore it was the problem. I asked you to clarify what you had posted and now you go all hinky on me. Either you can use words that have a meaning which we can all understand or you can't. If you can't, then I would probably say what you've posted isn't going to make much sense. If what you've posted isn't making sense, then I think I have the right - on a public forum - to ask you to explain what you meant to say but didn't manage to say.

Art, you've done this for years. Whenever someone - me specifically, tries to get you making sense, you declare, "I'm not going there". Well, guy, when it comes to making sense, you didn't go there! What you posted still makes no sense because what you said has nothing to do with a "revealing" amplifier. And, even if it did, Dave's NAD isn't likely to be too "bright", is it? And an amplifier exhibiting "air" and "delicacy" isn't a quality that would show that in the source anyway, is it? Is there an over abundance of "delicacy" that you think might be Dave's problem? That makes no sense to me, Art. Please explain what you meant without the hinky attitude this time.

Dave's asking for suggestions, not attitude from you. If you've run out of suggestions because all you know are words that don't mean anything about all the gear you've listened to, just say so. But don't make this my problem - again!

"Open" don't mean sh*t to this discussion.

Now, you can tell me how horrible I am - again! You can tell Dave to PM you so you can have someone else dependent on your great knowledge of how all audio products sound - except you can't really tell them 'cause you don't know what words mean what. You can do all the hinky things you do when you do this fake indignation crap you pull. We've all seen every bit of it before. Art's not going there because he can't go where the solution to the problem is. Been there, done that!


I don't know exactly why I'm having such a problem with you in this thread, Art. Your BS about telling people what they own is "the worst" and now this. But I do think it's you and not me - and it's you again!


And none of "these types of discussions" are solving Dave's problem.



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Bronze Member
Username: Dave54321

Post Number: 14
Registered: Mar-12
@ Art: Thanks - yes, it does make sense. The next step is to do some serious auditioning and not stop until I find an amp that works in my home with the 685s! I'm going to start with an Arcam. I've also decided to try some shorter speaker stands as I did notice a small improvement when I angled the speakers downwards by wedging objects under them to the rear (not recommended long term - made me nervous to see them looking like they were about to slide off!). Thanks to all for your help.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 15627
Registered: Feb-05
I think that Arcam is a great place to start. Good luck, Dave.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4959
Registered: Feb-07
The Arcam is definitely a good place to start. If you are looking for a smooth sound, the Arcam/B&W combo will fit the bill.

Which model are you looking at Dave?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17174
Registered: May-04
.

Good luck with your purchases, Dave. I feel you're headed down the same path I've seen in others who have a slightly upgraded system and a collection of audiophile recordings. You are ignoring what I consider to be the primary rule of constructing a well functioning system that isn't the result of constant equipment swaps. A CD player today, two months later another CD player or a new amp is a very expensive way to go about building a system even if you exclude the actual monetary costs. A system built around a synergy of purpose - what I label as "priorities" in music - running throughout all components - one where each component plays on the strengths of all others and dowplays the faults of any - is, IMO , a system which can transcend far more expensive systems due to the understanding of what each component does and does not achieve. Sins of ommission are generally more acceptable than sins of commission but put together in one system they tend towards a muddled mess. IMO "warm" or "dark" components paired with speakers such as the B&W's will achieve the exact opposite of synergy. An excess of warm or bright components - whatever those words mean to you - will typically have an end result which has swung too far to one side or the other and the solution is to tear it down and start over again. One component's personality will ultimately be at odds with the personality of another. One designer's goals will in the end defeat another designer's goals. But the end result is yours to decide and yours to discover.

When someone isn't too interested in answering my basic questions about set up or why they purchased a specific component/speaker, I can tell they are caught up in more equipment purchases. Well, it's your money to spend. When someone professes to know all about certain things yet can't or won't say what they know, then I know certain things about how they are going to react to my advice. If you spend time thinking about how components and speakers perform their tasks, it's relatively easy to predict the outcome of a set up. There's far less cut and try, hither and thither methodology to system building and far more success with each alteration to the music's presentation. Pressure waves travel in specific patterns within an enclosed space and no amount of "soft furniture" will assist a basic problem in set up. Loudspeaker drivers act in certain ways which are always predicted by their design. Amplifiers "sound" a certain way due to the designer's choices and priorities. Though the total result may be subjective the patterns are quite predictable.

You are presently engaged in buying equipment and that's your choice. It's very difficult to deter someone with a new amp telling them it will solve their problems. But I can assure you the Rega did not present a problem with your B&W's due to an excessive amount of "delicacy" exhibited by the amplifier.

By now you're likely finding me boring and possibly rude. That's fine, I wasn't out to win you over with easy answers. Here are a few threads which might assist you in the future. You get to decide their worth to you. IMO any system can and should benefit from good set up before you begin chasing upgrades which will ultimately be swamped by poor set up and lack of attention to small details which can elevate the performance of the system. BandAids eventually get ripped off and when they do they most often reveal a scar.

As I said, Dave, good luck with your purchases.


https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/676769.html#POST1946124

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/672623.html#POST1937065

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/698793.html#POST1981862




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