A well balanced set-up


New member
Username: Dcb

Vilanova i la Geltru, Barcelona Spain

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-04
Hi, Folks

These last weeks I have been doing some research about a medium priced hi-fi system based on solid state amplification.

OK, first things first. I will place the system at a 12m2 room I use for the computer and books/music (I call it the studio-room). I listen almost exclusively to heavy metal music of the roughest kind (death metal and the likes).

I have a collection of about 750 vinyls and 750 CDs. You see a good phono is a must.

As of know I have two options:

option 1:
1 amp Harman-Kardon HK 670
1 CD player HD 750


Prev Rotel RB03
Amp Rotel RC03
CD Player Rotel RCD02

For both options I'd go for B&W speakers: a pair of DM603 S3 seem to fit in very well. Same goes for Thorens (TD 190) as the phono stage, although I have read really good reviews/comments about Rega.

I'm somewhat biased towards the second option since my dad had an old Rotel system - it sounded like magic to my ears when I was a child.

OK, I hope some of you can throw some wisdom over the darkness surrounding me.. Suggestions are welcome as well.

Thanks again.



PD: Please excuse my poor English!

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Highlands Ranch, CO USA

Post Number: 643
Registered: Dec-03

Your English is quite good and you communicate your needs very well. Thank you for asking--I hope we can help you.

Between the two systems you are considering, I would definitely favor the Rotel, especially with B+W speakers. That is a combo that works very well.

As for other options, look for Arcam (A65+ and CD73T), Cambridge Audio (Azur 640A and Azur 640C) and NAD (C320bee and C542) which would also make for a very fine system, using an integrated amp and CD from any of these brands. There are a number of good products out there and each either has a phono stage or it is easily added through plug in board or outboard phono pre-amp. Each of these amps will work well with the B+W speakers, as well. I can't be much more specific as I don't know what is available in your area.

Good luck!

New member
Username: Dcb

Vilanova i la Geltru, Barcelona Spain

Post Number: 2
Registered: Oct-04
Hey, Hawk

Thank you very much for your comments and suggestions.

This afternoon I will do some "test" for the Rotel option at a store in Barcelona. I will be listening to some CDs I selected, a mix of different productions and styles but all them very familiar to my ears so that I can feel the differences.

OK, I will post again to let you know my impressions...

Thanks again.

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 108
Registered: Sep-04

Is it possible to listen to some European makes in Barcelona? We have a very good industry that makes quality HiFi at keen prices. For example:

Rega Planet CD player (£500), Rega Brio (£300) or Mira (£550) amplifiers each inclusing a very good quality MM phono stage. Of course, Rega make excellent record decks varying in price from £200 up to £2200.

Arcam Diva CD73T (£400), an excellent CD player for the money and the Arcam 65+ amplifier (around £400).

In competition to the B&W 603 try the little Dynaudio Audience 42 on Dynaudio stands for the same price as the B&Ws. You don't get the very big sound of the B&W, but you also don't get the cabinet colouration that it comes with! The Dynaudio is pacey, fast and goes very deep considering how small it is. In fact, even if you don't consider how small it is, it still sounds pretty big. Any of the above amplifiers should be able to drive it. I fill our 24m2 room easily with these little speakers.

Try to make sure you get appropriate cables for the system too. You're looking at anything up to £100 for the interconnect and anything up to £10/m speaker cable.

If you can find a specialist dealer in Barcelona, you might be surprised how good a system like this will sound.


Bronze Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 34
Registered: Sep-04
I too think his English is extraordinarily good - for a death metal fan!

Hey - before anyone jumps on my case, I'm joking and love a lot of heavy metal 'slam' meself :-)


New member
Username: Dcb

Vilanova i la Geltru, Barcelona Spain

Post Number: 3
Registered: Oct-04
Hi, again

So friday was my first "hi fi listenning experience". Both options were tested although the second one consisted of the 540 series. It seems the only difference is power (50W for the 540 and 65W for the 640).

Music (CDs) played:

Watchtower "Control and Resistance"
Rainbow "Rising"
Slayer "Divine Intervention"
Theory in Practice "Colonising the Sun"
Immolation "Unholy Cult"

I started the listening with the Cambridge Audio system. At first, I didn't notice a big difference when compared with my old stereo. For Rainbow it somewhat changed with a warmer and fuller sound, although the difference was not spectacular either.
Maybe I had been expecting too much...
Slayer was almost the same, while Theory in Practice - a very technical band - was given a good tretament with lots of details and overall powerful dynamics.
And the time came for Immolation, which is one of my fave bands. Just with a few notes I knew that something special was going on. Being a very dark band itself, the system managed to mantain an amazing level of clearness and detail while retaining an extremely heavy bottom-end. I was amazed!

Then it was time for the Rotel system to speak up. While listening to the first 4 CDs - I kept the order - I detected a general brightness that wasn't present with C.A.;their difference was not obvious though. Until I played Immolation again... The feeling I had with C.A. was lost. And I had been won over...

So you see Immolation leaned me towards Cambridge Audio. Finally, I was just amazed when the seller told me the whole "pack" was 500+ euros chaper than the Rotel. It doesn't feature a phono stage but a very good one would be about 130 euros.

As of now, my option is Cambridge Audio. Now it's time to listen to some NAD and REGA (thanks, Frank! I take good note on your suggestions).

More news as they become available...


To Varney -> nice joke, no bad blood
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