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  1. #1
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    Suggestions for upgrading my equipment please

    Hi

    This is my first post on the forum so I hope this is the appropriate place for this. My hifi setup is about ten years old now and due for a bit of a refresh. It was also far from top of the line when it was purchased. I'm not very flash or gadgety, I'm not particularly rich, and I want something that gives me good sounding audio for frequent listening without costing too much or looking too fancy.

    I still listen almost exclusively to CDs, no radio, no vinyl, no PC FLAC-type magic. I am am just looking for suggestions on how I could best refresh or improve this system on a tight budget please if anyone can make any suggestions.

    My current setup is:
    Rotel 965BX CD Player (used just as a transport)
    MSB Link III DAC
    Rotel 971 Preamp (4 RCA outs)
    2 x Rotel 981 Stereo Power Amps (one per speaker)
    2 x Biwired Tannoy R2 Floorstander Speakers, open ports

    My only current complaints really are:
    1. The bass doesn't extend down low enough which is annoying on some tracks where you know there is more bass there. I'm guessing this is because I have only tweeters and mids in my speaker setup.
    2. There is a slight channel imbalance at low volumes which again is a bit annoying when you can hear it.
    2. Overall the sound isn't the last word in clarity which I would like to improve on if possible.

    I have no idea what would be the weakpoint in my current system or where my money would be best spent improving it, so throwing it open to any suggestions.

    Cheers

    Dan

  2. #2
    Super Wammer bmtell's Avatar
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    I'd change the speakers. The imbalance could be the response of the 2 amps. Is it the same if you run the speakers off one amp.
    How tight is your budget?

  3. #3
    Moderator Cambs12's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Wigwam Dan.

    I am not familiar with your kit,but maybe the amp & speakers would be worth looking at first.I know you say the budget is tight,have you a rough figure in mind?

  4. #4
    Wammer Papa Lazarou's Avatar
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    Speakers will almost always bring the biggest improvement.
    My Flickr Page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philnmorgan/

    When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her. (David Bissonette)

  5. #5
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    Hi, thanks for the number of replies already, I wasn't expecting responses so fast. In response to your questions, I am aware this kit is getting on a bit so you might not be familiar with it. The R2s speakers you can see the specifications of here - http://www.superfi.co.uk/P-4183-disc...kers-pair.aspx. They were fairly good speakers for the price when I bought them but they were only 250 or so and that was ten years ago. The power amps you can see basic specs here - http://www.superfi.co.uk/P-4144-disc...power-amp.aspx.

    I haven't tried running off just one amp and seeing if the balance goes away, I will try that, but it seems to occur only at low volumes so I was assuming it was a preamp issue.

    With regards to my budget, I can probably only spend 300 to 500 depending on how much I could sell the R2 speakers for (or whatever component I replaced), and I would only want to spend that much if I was able to hear a good improvement for the money spent. I'm just not sure - are 300-400 speakers of today noticeably better sounding than 250 speakers from 10 years ago for example? It sounds like the consensus is that the money should go on the speakers though. If so, what would some likely candidates I should try and look into please if I wanted to ensure I got both a sound quality improvement plus an extension of the bass into lower frequencies than the R2s can deliver?

    Thanks for the help!

    Dan
    Last edited by dan-dan-dan-dan-daaaaaan; 28-11-2011 at 04:15 PM.

  6. #6
    Wammer
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    If you want low end bass then you will really need some big cone speakers. Tannoy Monitor Golds in 10, 12, or 15". These have very good detail in the top end without edginess. The bass if they are in a decent design and large enough cabinet would astound you. The thump of the bass drum is there in clarity and thump. It amazed me just what a difference they made from my old 6"driver speakers. They do come up on the bay but you have to pay a premium.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have a look into those. I don't want to give the impression I want headache bass or I sit listening to drum and bass or anything, I just enjpy all music more with a really good low bass, and it annoys me when I have heard some tracks elsewhere with the full range and then have to listen to it without on my own system. It just seems to make a big different for me and is the thing that has most bothered me about my system over the years. I don't necessarily want the low fequencies loud, I just want them to be there, if you know what I mean.

    EDIT: just googled, those are just plain too expensive for my tastes and they look to be out pf production and only available second hand in which case I wouldn't be able to trial them or listen to them before buying them, so I don't think those are suitable for me I'm afraid.
    Last edited by dan-dan-dan-dan-daaaaaan; 28-11-2011 at 04:25 PM.

  8. #8
    Wammer Nagraboy's Avatar
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    Definately need new speakers. With your budget I think you're best going the secondhand route. You could get a great pair for 500, many Wammers could suggest floorstanders with deep bass for that price. I can't though, not really my area of interest.

    I think I'd also want to reduce the box count. Transport, DAC, pre, monos - quite complicated. Maybe consider having a total clearout and getting a new CD player and integrated amp from eg. Cambridge Audio. (after you sort the speakers that is).

    Welcome to the Wam Dan!

  9. #9
    aka Tannoyboy HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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  10. #10
    Moderator Cambs12's Avatar
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    Dan,if you can wait a few months,why not come along to the Hifi Wigwam show at Scalford?

    You would hear 50 or so systems,all very different,but all put together with thought.Would be a great way to hear a lot of different approaches to a system.

  11. #11
    Deaf Wammer Tel's Avatar
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    Flog your speakers pre-amp and power amps.

    Add the 500 you were going to spend.

    Buy a decent 2nd hand integrated and you should be left with enough for some good 2nd hand speakers.
    "We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap" Kurt Vonnegut

  12. #12
    Super Wammer leenorris78's Avatar
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    If you are after those lower octaves you could always add a sub. If you live in a flat, this could be more preferable as you are able to tune the sub volume so you can hear it and not annoy the neighbours. Also, sometimes a sub can be a pain to integrate with the main speakers.

    Full range speakers are my preference but I will have to wait until I live in a proppa house. For now, my sub fills in the lower registers.

    Best of luck, Lee

  13. #13
    Super Wammer robin's Avatar
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    a floorstander i owned and thought very good for the money are a e alite 3s they will give you the bass and lots more besides, ae sell direct from the factory, or did have a look into them
    django pre leak st 20 snell c

  14. #14
    Wammer belloire's Avatar
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    Where are you based Dan?

  15. #15
    Happy Wammer pgarrish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan-dan-dan-dan-daaaaaan View Post
    Hi

    This is my first post on the forum so I hope this is the appropriate place for this. My hifi setup is about ten years old now and due for a bit of a refresh. It was also far from top of the line when it was purchased. I'm not very flash or gadgety, I'm not particularly rich, and I want something that gives me good sounding audio for frequent listening without costing too much or looking too fancy.

    I still listen almost exclusively to CDs, no radio, no vinyl, no PC FLAC-type magic. I am am just looking for suggestions on how I could best refresh or improve this system on a tight budget please if anyone can make any suggestions.

    My current setup is:
    Rotel 965BX CD Player (used just as a transport)
    MSB Link III DAC
    Rotel 971 Preamp (4 RCA outs)
    2 x Rotel 981 Stereo Power Amps (one per speaker)
    2 x Biwired Tannoy R2 Floorstander Speakers, open ports

    My only current complaints really are:
    1. The bass doesn't extend down low enough which is annoying on some tracks where you know there is more bass there. I'm guessing this is because I have only tweeters and mids in my speaker setup.
    2. There is a slight channel imbalance at low volumes which again is a bit annoying when you can hear it.
    2. Overall the sound isn't the last word in clarity which I would like to improve on if possible.

    I have no idea what would be the weakpoint in my current system or where my money would be best spent improving it, so throwing it open to any suggestions.

    Cheers

    Dan
    Dan,

    I run a 965BX CDP and a 930AX integrated amp and have just bought some Tannoy Cheviots. They go far deeper than my old Gales (which had 2x4" ish drivers and ports) and the wee Rotel drives them easily. Worth a look and bob-on your 500 budget. If you're in the North West you're welcome to pop round for a listen - pm me.

    Paul

  16. #16
    Pac67
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    Welcome Dan

    I like your source. The Rotel RCD965 was, and still is a very fine spinner of discs. I think in your shoes, I'd echo some of the comments above and do away with your speakers. This is where you'll get the best upgrade to the sound you're after. Look for good used speakers. Some stand out bargains on the used market include the superb Lumley Lampros 200AB's (new 3k and now can be had for 500 in good used nick), some of the Tannoys mentioned above (although IMHO the gold monitor drivers are fetching silly prices these days), Dali's, Castle Severns or Harlech floorstanders or some of the Rega floor standers. All should be within budget. Best advice is to audition in your own room if you can, with your own kit. I think before long you'll be wanting to tidy up your amplification, so i'd be tempted to sell your amps and look for a good integrated. Loads to choose from. Once you've settled on some loudspeakers (this is important) and you know what load they present, then look for an amp that'll drive them without fuss. Speakers are the hardest to get right and it's worth auditioning as many as you can, before looking to change the amp.

  17. #17
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    Thank you very much to all for clarifying what I suspected, that I need to concentrate primarily on updating my speakers. There seems to be a pretty universal consensus that this is where the money would best be invested. I'm not sure I'm brave enough at the moment to just sell everything and start again, and I'm not sure I'd necessarily be able to appreciate upgrades of all the components, I want something better than I have now without straying into wallet-busting territory. I appreciate the various recommendations of speakers and I will be sure to research them all.

    Cambs12 - I think that's probably not a bad idea, I'm certainly not in any rush to go out and buy something today and that might not be a bad opportunity for me.

    belloire - I live near York. Must fill in that profile...

  18. #18
    Moderator myrman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Lazarou View Post
    Speakers will almost always bring the biggest improvement.
    Dan these Hecos are well worth a try if they are still available. A bargin at the price. I use the smaller 300 standmount model and they have excellent bass.

    http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread...nding-Speakers

    Guy is a top bloke to deal with too.
    Last edited by myrman; 28-11-2011 at 08:31 PM.

  19. #19
    Wammer
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    Dan,

    I cannot recommend Tannoy Cheviots highly enough. Just make sure you hike them up about 300mm off the floor so that the centre of the drive units are at about ear height. If they don't work out for you, move them on. You won't be out of pocket.

    Keith

  20. #20
    Super Wammer robin's Avatar
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    i second the hecos, i too had the 300s, they had too much bass for my room- it is bass heavy, but terrific build quality for the price
    django pre leak st 20 snell c

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