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Advice for system upgrade

 

Anonymous
 
Hi
My system is a Nad C320 amp,Mission m74 speakers and Sony CDP-XB740E. I have gone through a love hate relationship with this set-up for about two years and now is the time for change. I would like to hold onto the Nad amp,but I think the Missions can be a little harsh, sorry bright:-). I know the CD player is the weakest link and I was considering the Nad C521 Bee. Has anyone any views on the Mission/Nad pairing? I mosty like hard rock music ie,Led Zep,AC/DC,Thin Lizzy etc but have lots of different music styles in my collection . I like to hear smooth progression in sound from deep bass( which the M74's handle well) to top end (which the M74's don't). I suppose I just like smooth soft bassy sound for want of a better description. Sorry for going on, but would be keen to hear any ideas anyone might have .

Ps.Keep up the good work everyone, this is a great site
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 164
Registered: 12-2003
Anon:

I would agree with your assessment that the Missions are probably a bit harsh sounding with the NAD amp. I have had a pair of their little brother, the Mission M71s, and they pair up nicely with my Denon because the DEnon is so soft sounding, but they are too forward for the NAD.

Suggestions:

1. Check out the NAD C521i CD player on closeout at Saturday Audio for $199, or the 541i for $299 to upgrade your CD player.

2. Don't know what you want to spend on speakers, but given the fact that you have towers now, I assume that is what you are inclined to stay with. For a smoother top end, without sacrificing the bottom end, I would recommend the following in no particular order:

a. NHT ST-4s;
b. PSB Image 4Ts;
c. Mordaunt-Short MS-908s;
d. Athena AS-F2s
e. Magnepan MMGs

These are a place to start. Good luck!
 

New member
Username: Dearg_doom

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2004
Thanks for ideas Hawk .I think a speaker upgrade may be an expensive option for me,but I'm curious to hear about your Denon/Mission pairing.
I'm living in Ireland and the range of decent equipment here at a reasonable price is pretty restricted . I've seen Acoustic Energy 109's second-hand within my price range,would they suit my system do you think?
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 169
Registered: 12-2003
Dearg:

Well, most of my suggestions are of no use to you since you are not here in the States. Sorry about that. But I would not say that my pairing of my Missions with my Denon was a big success. I have now ordered an NAD 753 to replace my Denon (which is going to a charity I have worked with). While I think the Missions have been a good pairing with the Denon, it ultimately was not very satisfying and not worthy of keeping long term. I won't even keep it for my stereo set up in my Study. The sound is just too dry for my ears.

I have not heard the AE 109s. They don't make it to the States much. Instead, they import the Evo line, but not the 100 series, so I can't help. However, I think a great speaker for you is one I should have thought of before--the B+W DM309s. Now, these are the floor-standing bigger brother to the near legendary DM303s, and they are a very nice speaker. They are very reasonably priced here in the States ($450/pair is the MSRP, I believe, which would only be about 250 pounds in England at the current exchange rate), and as they are an English brand, I would assume they are available to you in Ireland. Very good bass for a budget floorstander, but it also has a much smoother and warmer top end than the Missions. Based upon what you tell me you like, they would fit the bill. They also make a great pairing with the NAD amp.

I hope this helps.
 

New member
Username: Dearg_doom

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2004
Thanks again Hawk for advice I will have a look around for these speakers. As a matter of interest what amp would you recommend to match the Mission speakers. I am budgeting to buy the Nad cd player first hopefully the difference in sound will keep me going till purchase time comes around for speakers. Your description of Denon / Nad sounding dry describes exactly my finding on my present set-up,sometimes the music sounds just dry and flat.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 172
Registered: 12-2003
Dearg:

Well, to match the Missions, I would be looking at the new Cambridge Audio Azur line of integrated amps. It has a softer sound than the NAD which is a better match for the Mission speakers, although it will have a softer top end and will be less dynamic. The softer top end should take the "edge" out of the sound, but you also may miss the dynamics, so you would have to experiment a bit. To get a really liquid sound out of those Missions, you would probably need to get a Musical Fidelity integrated amp, but those are really pricey.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Valeem

Post Number: 82
Registered: 12-2003
To remove the harshness in the treble you could change the internal speaker wire. I did this on my M71i's and found it did the trick. I know it's not everyones cup of tea to play around with speakers in this way but I found it worked for me. There are other improvements to be heard by doing this namely a more real interpretation of the NAD's ability.

Just my two cents.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Valeem

Post Number: 83
Registered: 12-2003
Oh, and another amp to consider that will match very well with your M74's is the PM7200 from Marantz. I do believe this amp is not available in the states (poor show Marantz!) but may well be in Ireland. It gets rave reviews.

For info and a full review look here:

http://www.marantz.com/hifi/europe/
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dave_h

Post Number: 14
Registered: 01-2004
Another consideration for major A/V receiver-amp system upgrades are the digital receiver-amps that are coming out in the near future. I only know of one that is out at this time, the new top-of-the-line Sony STR-DA900ES, which even has DVI video switching. This system is very $$$, but cheaper digital A/V receiver-amps should be coming out in the very near future. If one is serious about a major A/V receiver-amp upgrade, it may be a good idea to see what coming out in this area.
 

Anonymous
 
Now this is strange--we have a string going about improving a stereo system (not a HT system) and suddenly, out of the blue, comes a plug for an AV receiver. When I was a kid, we called comments like this that had no relation to the going conversation a "dead bird." Did this get routed to the wrong string or something?
 

New member
Username: Dearg_doom

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2004
Hawk, I've listened to the Acoustic Energy 109's and found them okay but they don't go as deep as the Missions and can sound a little 'boxy' with some types music, imho. I've found a dealer who stocks B&W DM309s but there are two types of them,floorstanders(545 euros)and standmounts(330 euros). Which do you recommend?

Valeem
Thanks for your thoughts also. I'm curious about your inner speaker adventure, what exactly did you do to those little speakers ?
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 209
Registered: 12-2003
Dearg:

Your comments on the AE 109s echoes the comments I have read in the audio press about AE speakers. I will not comment on gear I haven't heard for myself, so I could not help you on the 109s. As for the B+Ws, I like both the 309s (the floorstanders) and the 303s (standmounts). I do think the floorstanders are worthy of the difference in price, but price always controls these things, so you will need to determine if you can afford the more expensive speakers. Both are very, very good at their price point. Take some time to listen to them with your NAD amp to see if you like them as much as I do. You may discover one stands out as the better speaker for you.

Good luck!
 

New member
Username: Dearg_doom

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2004
Hawk
I intend to try and audition the B&W's as soon as I can and will report back. Valeems recommendation of this Marantz amp http://www.marantz.com/p_product.cfm?id=2401&continent=EU&single=1 interests me I must say . I will try and give it a listen soon. This upgrade buisness is really starting to take shape , I have three products to look at, Nad cd player,Marantz amp, and B&W speakers. The thing that worries me is which one would make the best first choice to fit my present system so that maybe I don't need to change everything else to match up straight away.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Valeem

Post Number: 86
Registered: 12-2003
Dearg:

I replaced the internal wiring on my M71i's with some QED original cable. I have only done this to one speaker yet just to see how the amps I am currently evaluating respond to the tweak. I will be trying the silver version on the other speaker once I decide on the amp.

Some soldering is required to do this tweak and I also found I had to drill slightly larger holes to get the new wire to fit the existing ones. There's probably no going back once you drill the new larger holes. I wasn't sure which solder to use so I used some silver solder, just to be sure, supplied by White Noise Audio as it has quite low melting point for silver solder.

I just about got away with using a 25W Antex soldering iron but I think a 40W iron is ideal so as not to heat the board or drivers (optional) for too long and I was very careful not to burn or damage the drivers in any way. You can leave this to an electrician if you are not confident with a soldering iron.

I don't know what they use in the M74 but I would hope they use better wire as they cost considerably more. To check unscrew the six or so screws that hold the speaker terminal housing in place and prise out. To gain access to the drivers prise out the plugs that hold the baffle in place to reveal the screw heads. Also make a note of which wire goes to which terminal on the drivers.

I found that the NAD responded best to the tweak as it sounds more warm and has a less harsh treble with a smoother, more revealing delivery with less background noise too.

If you decide to try remember safety first. Need any more info just ask.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Valeem

Post Number: 87
Registered: 12-2003
This of course invalidates any warranty.
 

New member
Username: Dalero10

Post Number: 1
Registered: 02-2004
Hi all, I just stumbled along on to this great site. Do any of you know how a pair of B&W 602 s3 would match up with my NAD C370? Both are rated for 120 watts. I'm looking to replace my very large Cerwin Vegas with something smaller. The roon is 12x20 ft. Thanks!
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 216
Registered: 12-2003
Dale:

Should be a very good combo. The B+Ws will be a big step up from your old Cerwin-Vegas.
 

New member
Username: Dalero10

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2004
Thanks Hawk. I'm glad to hear that because I just bought a pair off of Ebay. These will be the first biwirable speakers I've owned and would like to try it. Any suggestions for affordable wire and anything else I should be concerned with? Thanks for your time.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 227
Registered: 12-2003
dale:

Speaker wire and interconnects are best bought from Parts Express (www.partsexpress.com). I highly recommend their in house "Dayton" brand. It is top quality and very reasonably priced (cheaper than Radio Shack). For the speaker wire, a good 14 gauge with 4 leads would be best for your bi-wiring experiment. Check it out.

Cheers!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Valeem

Post Number: 90
Registered: 12-2003
Are they using Belden or Canare cable to make up their interconnects? I've heard its excellent stuff and costs very little.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Rick_b

Post Number: 12
Registered: 12-2003
Hi Hawk,
I'm sorry to jump in here but, you got my attention with the Dayton Audio advice to dale.

Dayton Audio????? 10' pair $40?????

Now I'm not big on spending silly money on interconnects and speaker cable, but $40 ????

Have you stumbled onto the find of the century? Tell me more.......

PS The Maggies(1.6's) are going to arrive next Tuesday....

Rick
 

New member
Username: Dearg_doom

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2004
Hawk & Valeem, sorry guys just found old thread about the Marantz amp .Valeem, have you decided on an amp or have you auditioned the PM7200 yet?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Valeem

Post Number: 91
Registered: 12-2003
Sorry Dearg, not a reliable audition. I did hear the amp as part of a system at an AV show but there was a fault somewhere as the speakers were emitting lots of pops and crackles. Not sure which component was to blame.
 

New member
Username: Dearg_doom

Post Number: 6
Registered: 02-2004
Sorry about delay in posting back here, but I just can't believe the lack of any sort of mid range hi-fi dealers in Rep.of Ireland. One of my favourites Richer Sounds have closed down their Dublin branch and now deal from Belfast in N.Ireland .Richer Sounds are the only Nad stockists I know of in Ireland. Belfast is a long way to travel for me, but R.S.do mail order but this then means I can't audition before I buy:-(
On a more positive note I cut my Qed speaker cables to half their length for shorter runs to speakers and bi-wired them. This small tweak has improved systems sound beyond belief and I am listening to my music with renewed enthuasism. My next purchase will be a better interconnect. I should point out there are many Sony,Yamaha dealers around,and Cloney Hi Fi in Dublin is one of the best shops in the country,but they really only deal in very upmarket names Quad,Naim,Arcam,etc which are all very expensive to buy new, but I am watching their pre-owned stock for something within my budget. Will post back soon.
 

Anonymous
 
Marantz goes very well with Mission. I'm using Marantz SR6300 receiver with a pair of Mission m53 and this just gives you a hell of detailed performance. If you play jazz or pop, this is the right pairing. Some feel it lacks a little bass but you can really improve this with speaker placement (closer to the back wall) or invest in a subwoofer. Just my humble opinions. - COCO
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