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  1. #1161
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    notaclue wrote:
    If it were me, I'd check out http://www.weymouthhifi.co.uk/Images...wo%20large.jpg as it looks really smart.

    That plus the Dalis would make one smart system.
    Nice NAD NAC. I've heard nice things about the synergy between NAD and DALI. However the new amp will be coming in to feed my SCM11s, not the Xero(or Mentor Menuet by then?) The Viso is likely to have its innards melted if it's ever harnessed to any ATC.

    SS


    CONRAD-JOHNSON ET3SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII, NAIM NAP 100, 7 DACs
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  2. #1162
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    notaclue wrote:
    That Creek amp is no longer listed on their website.

    It looks like it has changed to this http://www.creekaudio.com/products/evolution2_amp.php

    Getting rid of the funny button group improves the design, though I quite like the plain look of the Naim.
    STOP PRESS!!!


    Naim has revealed the new revised styling for the Nait XS. The current XS shares the same drab(imo) plasticky matte finish as the entry-level Nait 5i.




    The new XS front-plate is anodised. That is much more befitting for a £1350 amp.

    My granddaddy taught me the virtue of patience. Good thing I didn't rush to demo and buy the XS. I'll be kicking myself now. Now the question is: when do the new-look XS units arrive in Tipoca?



    As for the Naimites who snapped up the original XSes...



    ^ SS:green:




    CONRAD-JOHNSON ET3SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII, NAIM NAP 100, 7 DACs
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  3. #1163
    Wammer notaclue's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    You will have to endure the cries of "sheep" from the Naim bashers... but you also bask in the glow of exclusivity that comes from owning the UK's most prestigious hi-fi marque.
    Steepletone Rock One Jukebox



  4. #1164
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    notaclue wrote:
    You will have to endure the cries of "sheep" from the Naim bashers... but you also bask in the glow of exclusivity that comes from owning the UK's most prestigious hi-fi marque.
    Thank St. Julian for the Naim forum.
    I doubt I'll be offering any Nait write-ups here.


    SS




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  5. #1165
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    Post imported post

    ^ Chicken!

    Stand up and take it like a man!

    `S mostly the speakers I don't like....and some of the older amps....and....

  6. #1166
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Cambridge Audio DacMagic - under sscrutiny
    (preceded at solidschateau by Musical Fidelity's V-DAC, to be complemented by Stello's DA-100 Signature)

    This is my second Cambridge Audio product and second USB DAC after the MF, and after half a year's usage of such devices, my consumption pattern for digital sources has undergone a radical shift. Gone are the future days where I'd be splashing over £1k on a standalone cd player. The surprising performances of the V-DAC, this versatile DacMagic, and undoubtedly, the incoming higher-spec'ed Stello DA-100S has put me firmly in the DAC-as-source camp.

    Apart from the absence of a transport mechanism in this DacMagic, it uses the same Wolfson DACs as my first CA product (the Azur 740C), also in a dual-differential layout. The upsampling facility goes up to only 24/192kHz compared to the 740C's 24/384kHz. Does this lower spec consign the DacMagic's performance as being inferior to its senior stablemate?

    To my ears, no.

    I had to sell the 740C as it was beginning to fail the long-term fatigue test, which grew increasingly when I upgraded to speakers with higher resolution tweeters (Dali Ikon 6s). The 740C and DacMagic have an identical tonal signature but the differences are the 740C's more upfront punch across the midrange, its thicker bass, and its very strong treble presence. This presentation was simply too OTT and relentless: a lot of the times it felt like the 740C was bathing the music in a nauseatingly strong and unromantic flourescent light.

    To its credit (or detriment, depending on your audiophile expectations), the DacMagic retains the same tonal palette as the 740C but is more laid-back and even in its presentation. Music has a better sense of flow and smoothness but without any loss of fine detail. The bass is not as strong but still retains good timing and punch for more energetic music types. It isn't a master of PRaT like my Creek EVO or the Naim Nait CD5i (two rockin' cdps!) but has more clarity across the registers than either. The V-DAC has more body and slam in the midrange than this DacMagic and would be a better choice for DAC-users who lean towards classical music as it has a richer tonal palette. The DacMagic though gives the impression of greater extension at the frequency extremes and again, has greater clarity.

    It also has sufficent dynamic ability to cope with massive orchestral chords without sounding confused. This aspect really amazed me as I was not expecting a smallish DAC bereft of any onboard toroidal transformer to have such dynamic confidence! (the Beresford 7510 6/3 I had was caught out by such demanding music) I had to ask myself if those fancy toroidals in dedicated cdps add any improvements to the dynamism of the output stages at all.


    Re: the selectable filters. Their effects on the DAC's sound isn't that distinctive from one another but I totally avoid using Steep as it seems glassy and fragile to my ears. The Linear offers fuller bass than the Minimum while Minimum appears to reduce treble sibilance better than Linear. As such I employ Linear when using the DacMagic with the DVD player and Minimum when streaming radio stations via the USB. These radio feeds often have tipped-up trebles and the Minimum filter does a good job of taming this HF excess.


    I would rate this DacMagic sonically on par with £500ish cdps like my Creek EVO or Rotel's RCD-1072. The difference between it and dedicated cdps that hover at the £1k mark is the greater dimensionality offered by the latter. My MF X-Ray v8 and Roksan's Caspian(a cdp I regularly choose when demoing at the showroom) give more palpable presence to performers and stronger sense of the music emerging from inky black backgrounds. But you really have to be in a critical listening mood to pick out this disparity. Most of the times when I'm sending music files to the DacMagic from my laptop or movie soundtracks from the DVD-player, I'm revelling in the very excellent sound.

    This is a great product and a superb bargain given its modest price.

    SS


    Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic

    : wonderful clarity and detail. Sounds anything but cheap.
    : equipped with every connection facility you'll ever need
    : other DACs and cdps offer more slam and body in the midband
    : requires some ventilation space; it gets very warm during use
    Last edited by SSM; 25-01-2011 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Vanity;-)
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  7. #1167
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    The two SSes in SSM will no longer stand for 'solid state' come next month...

    I have auditioned a couple of integrated amps this summer, as replacement for the Creek EVO, but have been hedging on any purchase... I have come to attribute this reluctance to the aural conditioning received from the tubed preamp stage in my MF X-T100. Plus, I recently swapped the X-T100's stock tubes for Electro-Harmonix 6922 gold-pins and been amazed by the increased transparency and airiness. I can only conclude that I prefer tubes in my future preamp stages. In comparison, all of the solid-state integrateds I'd been looking at in the £1-1.5k bracket have a slight trace of hardness in the top end. All except the Sugden A21a (a class Aer, surprise surprise), but its overall sound is not to my taste (where's the rhythm?).

    Hence the option of going the pre-power route became more attractive. I knew I needed a valve pre-amp that comes in a tidy box with no phallic tubed protrusions. Look around for another X-T100 (now discontinued)? The answer came from another MFian on another forum: check out the newish version of MF's X-Can v8 ---> the X-Can v8P.

    I haven't been paying attention to new MF products for a while, but damn I can't ever seem to fly away from the MF henhouse. Help me!

    MF-god A.M. (not Andy Murray) always comes out with a product that fits my needs.



    ^ The v8P (£400) is a full-fledged headphone amp with a ECC88 tubed stage and pre-out terminals for connection to a power amp. It has been favourably lauded by Stereophile already. And the specs on the pre-outs are very good. It even has a USB DAC for PC hookups. The downside is it has a single line input and no remote control facility. Neither matters that much for me. An external DAC will be the only line connection anyway.

    A.M. recommends a pair of SSuperchargers for the v8P, of course. I'm not ready for this level of coMFmittment yet. My speaker swapping days are over, but my power amp swaps are about to start. Sleek silvery slabs like Rotel's RB-06, Audiolab's 8000P and Roksan's Kandy LIII are on the shopping list. The integrated amps of these marques suffer from hard-sounding pre-amp stages IMO - I believe the marriage of a valve pre-amp with an energetic power amp will give me that alliance of top-end smoothness and PRaT which I crave and not been able to find in a £1k-ish integrated.

    Cyrus's X Power is another tasty proposition: it's also a half-width and you can never have enough X'es at solidschateau. Popping over to the cyrusforum for enquiries now.

    Time to put out an irresistible deal for the EVOs. And time to browse the tube boutique for something delicious to upgrade the v8P's stock tube with.

    Oh, A.M.!!! I hate you.


    SS... who may also be in the market for good headphones soon




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  8. #1168
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Things that have gone in and out of solidschateau last weekend

    OUT:
    1) Creek EVOLUTION cd player and integrated amplifier

    My heart is bursting!!!
    It feels like part of me has died. This duo had been with me for 37 months and I have never used any other audio product for as long as that. Really, really love them. There were earlier chances for them to be sold last year, but I insisted that they be purchased as a pair. They have been together so long I can't bear the thought of them going separately to different owners.

    Farewell.

    I shall assuage my sorrow with an upcoming Moratorium.


    2) Stello DA-100 DAC
    This relationship just didn't work out for me. All my life, I don't have much karmic affinity with korean products. If I had to sum it in a phrase, the DA-100 is like a DacMagic on steroids. HFW quipped that its elder sibling the DA-100 Sig was perhaps "mechanical"-sounding at times. That is also my impression of the DA-100. It sounds more imposing than any of my other DACs but to me it is just a machine, not a music-maker.

    Grateful thanks to DB(of Arabia) who owned both the standard DA-100 and the Signature and who informed me they sounded quite identical through the RCA outputs. That made me opt for the DA-100 and as a consequence my cash outlay was lesser.


    IN:
    1) Musical Fidelity V-DAC (again!)
    This is the second time I have purchased this little beauty. I had been too hasty to sell off my first one.The dalliance with a more expensive DAC only made me miss the V-DAC's winning qualities more. So price isn't everything. I'll be following other V-DAC users' tips on how to maximize the V-DAC's performance (apparently it is very sensitive to the transport's quality). Meanwhile, with the leftover from the Stello sale I'll be trying to entice owners of the discontinued X-DAC v8 to sell me theirs. I should have grabbed this one when I had the chance...

    Anyway, to celebrate my entry into audio pedantry I shall be scrutinizing the V-DAC against the DacMagic using a more diverse range of musical genres this time. How bad is my audiophool geek-ery affliction?

    One is WHF's darling DAC, while the other recently beat it out for an extra globe in HFW's supertest. Which mag got it right?




    ^ the MF is Blu-Tacked to my Corras behind the telly while the Cambridge Audio lives on the ground-flour apartment.


    SS




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  9. #1169
    Wammer oldfogey's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Sorry you didn't get on with the Stello, SSM. I know I like a less "romantic" presentation than you, but on, say 50's closely miked vocalists much loved by valve / vinyl afficionados, I think it sounds wonderful. If it's there on the recording, you'll get it with the Stello. I'm currently comparing it to an Esoteric and preferring the DA100S on CD.
    TAG / ATC SCM50A / M&K / Esoteric DV60 AV system; Stello DA100 transport and Sig DAC, ATC SIA2-150, Geddes Nathan 10 two-channel.

  10. #1170
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    I'm a Romantic alright, OF!
    (have a rose on me, I'll waive the 80cts cost price)

    There is nowt wrong with the Stello technically. It is a fine piece in digital design. However every person's ears perceive things differently. I always look for that ineluctable ease of musical flow that makes a spinto soprano voice like La Tebaldi's glide from her lowest register to the highest with ineffable ease and to end on an ethereal pianissimo that, in the diva's own words, is like "a drop of oil floating on water".



    The Stello behaved rather matter-of-factly with my opera divas.


    I am afraid to say so far I have found few marques that do the musical flow thing as well as Quad or MF. Quad gear is ugly so I am reduced to being a Michaelson slaveboy for the rest of my audiophool career.


    cheerSS











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  11. #1171
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    Have you ever tried a Quad 909 with a decent pre? It sounds like it might work for you! If one's not enough, get two! You know it makes sense...

  12. #1172
    Wammer Lefty's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Hey SSM,

    Looking forward to the shootout between the DacMagic and V-DAC. I'm still enjoying my DacMagic immensely.

    Lefty
    Turntable: NA Ace Spacedeck / OL Conquerer / Kontrapunkt A / DV P75 mkII| Digital: Sonos / Young DAC | Tuner: Naim NAT 03 | Amplification: Silvercore One / Audion Silver Night mkII 300b | Speakers: Audio Note AN/J

  13. #1173
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    Post imported post

    Lefty wrote:
    Hey SSM,

    Looking forward to the shootout between the DacMagic and V-DAC. I'm still enjoying my DacMagic immensely.
    The report will be my first foray into extreme audiophool geek-ery.

    Pop back here sometime in late Aug.:sorry:


    cheerSS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON ET3SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII, NAIM NAP 100, 7 DACs
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  14. #1174
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    igglebert wrote:
    Have you ever tried a Quad 909 with a decent pre? It sounds like it might work for you! If one's not enough, get two! You know it makes sense...
    I respect the Quad 909 for its longevity and very good sound. However I'm having difficulty visualizing it sitting on my rack. The homely aesthetics are so... unmetrosexual. It really looks like an amp a village vicar would use in his cottage. If I buy one, I'll have to find a hiding place to keep it out of sight.


    I've got the "decent pre" bit sorted out already. MF's X-CAN v8P - and it should get even better with an aftermarket toob-job. It has become my belief that one needs to use valves in the pre-amp stage; for their ability to handle headbanging sessions without hurting the ears with hard loud treble.

    I'm in a bit of a quandrangle about how I'm going to dice and slice the rest of the amp. The X-CAN v8P with Rotel's RB-06 power amp is the most value-for-money starter combo IMO. But I also need to incorporate HT and TV duties into the system. I watch a fair bit of tennis when the season's on and don't want to have Sharapova's on-court moans eat up my precious valves' life! So I'm also looking at an integrated amp with a HT bypass feature which offers direct access to the power amp. I can use the X-CAN Pre for serious music listening and the integrated's solid-state pre-amp for TV and DVD use.

    But the bloody prices of UK brand integrateds keep going up up and up since spring.... Maybe I should be fiscally conservative and try out Marantz's PM-8003. It fits the bill. HFC says it lacks fine detail but that's down to its preamp. I'm sure it'll perk up significantly when the X-Can is introduced to its power amp section. It is well-specced down there.



    SStill juggling all options




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  15. #1175
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    You could take a gamble on a nice Exposure power amp. Fairly feisty sounding bits of kit that might fit your philosophy.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/EXPOSUE-3010-P...d=p3286.c0.m14

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Brand-New-Bxd-...d=p3286.c0.m14

  16. #1176
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Post imported post

    Tipoca is not a county in Blighty.

    cheerSS


    [line]ps: mind trimming the links? The stretched width will affect the format of my next entries. I'm on Firefox.



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  17. #1177
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    No but it gives you something to consider...

  18. #1178
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    Post imported post

    igglebert wrote:
    No but it gives you something to consider...
    It does, ta! I have always liked Exposure's 2010S, so how could I have overlooked the 2010S power amp? I'll probably prefer this over the 3010S (Stereophile has commented on the 2010's better PRaT over the 3010s).

    X-Canv8P plus 2010S P makes up a £899 combo - wonder how it'll stack up against Naim Nait5i?


    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON ET3SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII, NAIM NAP 100, 7 DACs
    GENESIS M60 & I60, ELICIT, A38, X-T100, X-A2, TA-F246E, K-5xeMP, QUAD 909

    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, Q 2020i

  19. #1179
    Wammer
    Join Date
     Jan 2008
    Posts
     111
    Location
     , ,

    Post imported post

    ...better...

  20. #1180
    Wammer tones's Avatar
    Join Date
     Apr 2006
    Posts
     2,955
    Location
     Baselland, CH
    Real Name
     Tony
    Turn Table
     Linn LP12/Armageddon
    T/Arm & Cart
     Ekos/Klyde
    SUT/Phono
     Creek
    Digital Source 1
     Meridian 588
    Digital Source 2
     Sony Universal
    Speakers
     Quad ESL-57, LS3/5a
    Pre Amp
     EAR834, Quad 44
    Power Amp
     Quad II, Quad 606
    In the Hi-Fi industry?
     No

    Post imported post

    SSM wrote:
    I respect the Quad 909 for its longevity and very good sound. However I'm having difficulty visualizing it sitting on my rack. The homely aesthetics are so... unmetrosexual. It really looks like an amp a village vicar would use in his cottage. If I buy one, I'll have to find a hiding place to keep it out of sight.
    Well, why not hide it? I have a 606, which looks similar, and it lives on a special shelf under my desk. Power amps don't need to be on display, and you'll have more room on your rack for audiophoolic jewelry. Add to that the fact that the Quads are virtually bulletproof and last (nearly) forever - my 303 lasted for 28 years before dying. (It's been refurbished, so it's ready for its next 28).

    Rev. Tones, the Vicarage, St. Mugwumps, Lower Wallop
    The man with the golden ear trumpet

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