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  1. #1581
    Super Wammer stewartwen's Avatar
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    Proac Tablette are very good as ornaments! Not so good as working loudspeaker tho! Dreadfull little things! Yuch!!!!!!!
    S
    I am just a soul boy at heart.

  2. #1582
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartwen View Post
    Proac Tablette are very good as ornaments! Not so good as working loudspeaker tho! Dreadfull little things! Yuch!!!!!!!
    S
    Stew. You're missing the point of the concept of small speakers. One buys them for the same reason as one does a cute little chihuahua. Not to guard the house but to slip into a handbag. You'll never understand as you only do fugly big speakers.


    Speaking of lovely little things, I'm still vacillating if I need the QC-24 preamp. The 909 on the end of a tubed MF pre achieves the same soundstaging and clarity as the QC-24. It's a preliminary assessment, but it's leading me to look at other preamp solutions like the passive Creek OBH-22. Or MF's M1 HPA headphone preamp.

    And then there is this...



    ^ Project's Pre Box SE. Like the MF M1 HPA, its output stage is biased into Class A. Sounds promising. And what I love most is the reference -dB volume display. That will make up for not having Arcam's A38 which offers this audiophile display option.


    If anyone has any experience of this oh-so-cute preamp, say something!

    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
    PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, Alnico, XERO, DM 2/6, Q 2020i
    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  3. #1583
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Talented Quartet (Sugden Mystro, Arcam FMJ A38, Rega Elicit and Roksan Caspian M-2)

    Jan to May will go down as the most frenetic span of time I have had to endure at work. So much so that evening treats of donuts and gourmet ice-cream could not assuage the stress. What better to perk me up than the narcotic thrill of unwrapping a new piece of audio kit and taking in the scent of fresh metal? I decided thus to bring forward my August amp purchase.

    First stop on the shortlist was the Sugden Mystro. Mystro - I just can't shake off the thought that it is a modern lingo for a bistro that serves high-end miso soup. In the flesh the Mystro looked and felt gorgeous (especially that firm volume knob). Its partnering CDP, although sharing the same chassis, is the fugliest thing I have ever seen thanks to its ghastly inset drawer and display window. Chalk one up for dreary Yorkshire aesthetic sense.

    The Mystro amp, though, is blessed with minimalist good looks. Its limited inputs and lack of mod cons like a preamp out or main-in appealed to me, an addict of MF's X series which offer scant features in exchange for big sound. The Mystro's seemingly meagre 50W/ch is of the same miraculous quality as similiarly-spec'd MF or Naim amps. It goes a long way and was unfazed by high volume levels. I had used the A21a previously to demo my Spendor S3/5R and sound-wise the Mystro shares its elder sibling's traits. But it had an extra bounce in its step and a slight disregard for fine detail that is reminiscent of an Exposure 2010S. I enjoyed its sonics but drew the conclusion that there was nothing it could do that my MF X-T100 could already. The Mystro is a step up from entry-level amps. If I were a starting audiophool, I'll take it over Naim Nait 5i, Rotel RA-1520, CA Azur 840A V2 or Roksan Kandy K2 (my past demos). It sounds more natural than any of them, of whom a couple are afflicted with HF brightness and crudity/thinness in the midrange.

    Any enthusiasm I had for the Mystro was smouldered when I went to revisit the elder sibling of my Arcam FMJ A28, the A38. After five months with the lovely A28, I was now unsure how the A38 is better. The refresher demo showed the areas where the A38 is superior. It had more dynamic clout, an ability to dig out musical nuances (which escaped the Mystro) and a quicker pulse when it came to rhythms. The soundstaging was also bigger with precise placement of instruments. Best of all was its emotive handling of voices. It is a league above other Brit marques I'd demoed.

    I was about primed to buy an A38 in black. But over the years I have learned that it pays to be patient and explore further. A crossover to the Rega dealer paired a Saturn and an Elicit for a test run. Wow, the black-clad Elicit looked so metrosexual and the ring of orange-red LEDs around its volume knob adds to its slightly menacing aura. If Darth Vader had an amp, it could only be the Elicit. Same black sheen, same LED light-sabre colour. Elicit - the choice of Sith Lords. What a handsome amp.

    However trouble was brewing on the horizon. Just like my demo of Spendor's SA1 and Harbeth's P3ESR last year where both inflicted damage on the other through their unique arsenal of strengths and where I ended up buying neither, the Elicit commenced to damage my esteem for the A38. I had heard one Rega amp before the Elicit, the Brio 3 many years ago with the Apollo CDP and was underwhelmed. I was expecting the Elicit, however gorgeous-looking, to sound like a Brio 3 only with more juice. Was I wrong. From the first note, it was evident that its reproduction of bass is very special. Lower frequencies had a startling hear-through clarity! The A38's bass was now slightly veiled and opaque by comparison.

    One track on my demo CDR, Britney Spear's Toxic, revealed the Elicit's LF finesse. I am so familiar with this song already but the way the bass guitar came alive shocked me. Its notes darted about with a delicious agility and it also seemed to acquire a wordless voice of its own, commenting with wry overtones on the lyrics' innuendo. This is the first time I have heard a bass guitar 'sing'. Nuance, clarity and articulation - the Elicit's bass borders on reference quality.

    As promised to Elicit-owner CultureCrammer, I had Mahler's Symphony No.7 on hand and the good-looking Rega handled the Nachtmusik sequences with marvellous finesse. There is a favourable review of the Elicit on 6moons, a 'pro' site I don't rate very much due to its penchant for including reviews of foo items. A strange paragraph from it has stuck in my mind since:

    "the Rega clocked advances with free swing-outs of tones, what's technically called their sustain/release phase. This doesn't pertain to tone body per se which undoubtedly is supported by accurate decays where the Elicit is strong. I want to focus here on a form of audiophile finesse however which might be called the temporal shifts of tone color through complete decays."

    Trying to make sense of that was more headbanging than studying a convoluted physics paper.

    But after finally hearing the Elicit for myself, I think the Rega's finesse in tonal shading can be put this way: Imagine the instruments in a piece of music as pebbles thrown into a placid lake. The water ripples radiating from the sunk pebbles are like the decaying tones/trailing edges of the sounded instruments. In most amps, the trailing edges of the dominant instrument or voice will override those of the backing instruments, just like the bigger water ripples from a heavier pebble will sweep over the ripples from a smaller pebble. Through the Elicit, all these tonal decays are reproduced intact. Depending on where you focused your attention, you could pick out the trailing edges of the vocalist's notes or those of an instrument positioned further back in the soundstage. Neither obscured the other. As such, Mahler's Nachtmusik was reproduced with a skilful care for balance and nuance. The melodies flowed and ebbed like a shifting phantom full of swirling, shimmering unearthly beauty.

    In that way this Elicit is the most nuanced and artful integrated I have heard to date. But all that emphasis on tonal delicacy seems to come at the expense of some dynamic clout and body. 6moons said it had a fleshy sound. I beg to differ. The Elicit sounded sparse and light-weight at times with music that had fewer instruments and performers than classical music (i.e. pop music). Arcam's A38 definitely had the fleshier sound and it strikes back with its ability to make vocals soar. Singers and saxophones are much more enticing, fuller and silkier. If there is a place for the Elicit in solidschateau in the future, I'd use it as a high quality amp to play complex orchestral and non-vocal jazz music during late-night hours. Its agile and transparent bass could be the perfect foil for the ATC SCM11's muscle-bound bass grunt. But for vocal music the A38 is better, but it in turn gets a black eye from the Elicit for its comparatively opaque bass lines. Argghhh...!

    So, two bruised combatants already. I wasn't expecting the Elicit to put up this much of a fight as it was the next integrated I'd sized up to be the one to beat off the A38: the Roksan Caspian M2. I had used its predecessor, the Caspian M1, as demo amp when I bought several of my previous speakers and so the Caspian sound is very familiar and well-liked. Firstly though, the looks. I almost did a sex wee upon beholding the black M2 with its shiny chrome knobs. It is the perfect visual complement to my gloss black ELACs with their silver-trim JET III tweeters.

    Sound-wise the M2 continues the Caspian sonics of the M1, but with significant improvements. The M2 has superb definition throughout its entire frequency range. Those wammers who go on and on about all amps sounding identical if played at the same levels should be presented with the M2 and the A38. In the M2's company the A38, nominally firm in tone, will sound comparatively slack and loose. The M2 doesn't have the A38's silkiness in the midrange though; here it is sinewy and taut. But it has a rugged rough-hewn quality that is textured and peculiarly appealing. It is not the most relaxed sounding, and once again I pick the A38 as the better performer with voices.

    The M2's bass reproduction sits between the A38 and the Elicit - neither as opaque as the former, nor as nuanced and transparent as the latter. Where it trumps both is in rhythm. This is a master of PRaT. The sheer drive in the bass. I put on Scissor Sisters' 'Any Which Way' and heard it reproduced to perfection for the first time. The propulsion given to the synthesizer basslines! My toes were dancing about inside my shoes. The previous champ in the PRaT stakes was the NAIT XS demo of last year but Flatcapped or not, it wasn't as good as the M2. The XS's low damping factor (15, according to HFW Feb'09) must be responsible. I dunno the M2's figure but its grip of basslines was so tight and fast, better than the XS's. One salsa music extract played with an immense 'live' feeling and the rhythm section crackled with energy.

    However, the M2 isn't the right amp for my speakers. Its quest for utmost definition gives its treble a 'take-no-prisoners' quality. It is not sibilant per se, but with treble-rich material like massed violins, I noticed a sand-papery quality emerging. I can only intuit that the M2 won't flatter my ELAC's JET III ribbons. Had I gone for the Spendor SP 3/1R2 instead of the ELACs, the M2 would be the perfect match. Spendor's smooth soft-dome tweeters would complement that treble while the M2's bass grip would make the 3/1R2's slightly fruity bass dance. Plus, the Spendorian talent for big midrange would help fill out those sinewy Caspian mids. If I do invest in a pair of bigger Spendors next time, this M2 amp would be my first port of call.

    With the day's demos concluded, the M2 and Elicit were KIVed for potential future addition. Neither quite fit my needs at the moment. So it was down to the A38 but I couldn't bring myself to buy one now after hearing the talents of the Rega and Roksan. That's the peril of demoing other alternative amps which are so fiercely competitive.

    With some time to spare and procrastinate, I saw the well-formed QUAD 909 and asked to hear it with the QC-24. The glorious midrange that poured forth was superior to the four integrated amps'. While the Caspian and Elicit had special attributes going on in their bass, the QUAD combo's mids were just so superior I decided to go with QUAD. Part of me is actually a bit miffed that on this trip for a shiny new amp I ended up with a 12-year old design that isn't the most metrosexual-looking. The other part of me is a bit tickled to learn that 12 years aren't such an eternity in the evolution of amp design and that it is possible for an older model to still trump the latest hot kit in certain areas.

    This 909 will keep me entertained until Dec where I'll no doubt feel the need to scratch the upgrade itch. Day Four of running in and the sound is so good, I wonder if it is possible for me to find an integrated amp on the right side of 2k that can match, let alone surpass, the 909's superlative midrange. Gulp.


    SS...I love QUAD() ahhh...


    ps: for pedantic sake, here are my beauty pageant scores for the various amps (the Naim and Cyrus were demoed on earlier occasions) All IMO and IME, of course.

    pps: the ones listed below the QUADs have zero chance of entering solidschateau

    (Treble-Midrange-Bass / PRaT-Soundstaging)

    Caspian M2.....88-90-93 / 97-90
    Elicit................90-92-95 / 87-90
    QC24+909.....92-99-88 / 85-95
    FMJ A38.........90-95-87 / 90-95
    NAIT XS..........75-85-87 / 95-80
    Mystro............78-85-80 / 88-85
    8XPd...............45-50-55 / 85-70
    Last edited by SSM; 09-06-2011 at 06:33 PM. Reason: Vanity ;-)
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
    PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, Alnico, XERO, DM 2/6, Q 2020i
    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  4. #1584
    Wammer
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    You could try a Quad Elite Pre to go with that 909...

  5. #1585
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikedefacto View Post
    You could try a Quad Elite Pre to go with that 909...
    Thank you m'luv, you took the thoughts right out of my helmet.

    Been looking at pics of the Elite Pre all week and it has turned from NAD-esque matte-black-bleh to classically understated. The lozenge buttons are similar to the ones on Arcam's Alpha One cdp and aesthetically better than the 99Pre. A week on and the 909 has given me so much pleasure already that a purchase of the Elite Pre becomes ever more inevitable. I could live with this combo until the reincarnation of the 909 into the Elite series which I will be very interested to have. And then I will have two versions of the 909 and be a certified Quadist. Can you imagine it: me turning from MF's product ranges (each lasting as long as a butterfly's fart before being replaced) to Quad, whose models run for a decade at least.

    This may be a sign that the world is coming to an end next year.

    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
    PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, Alnico, XERO, DM 2/6, Q 2020i
    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  6. #1586
    Wammer Butuz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by It Cost How Much!?! View Post
    That is the PMC pro finish, a sort of black hard plastic, not rubber or latex
    It might not be rubber or latex but it still feels reeeeeeeel nice when I rub my nob up and down on em

    Fairly easy to wipe clean too which is handy..

    Butuz
    Traditional System: Wadia 15 >> XTZ AP-100 >> PMC GB1i
    Next Gen System: PC >> Zut Alors Sacre Bleu Lifestyle Footballs??!

  7. #1587
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Yeah! The man knows how to really use a sexy small speaker.
    I myself too have marked my territory with all the ported standmounts I'd previously owned and sold on. Blessed by Solidstouch.

    Twas scouting the Myryad site for the MXP2000 preamp and saw this:



    ^ Myryad's A170 speaker. Intended as a partner for the all-in-one Mi component. Lovely clean lines. Matched with the Mi, Myryad christened it the 'Ami'. Is this the advent of celebrity-styled hifi monikers a la 'Bennifer'?

    Retails for a sweet 350 only. Don't think it'll be an upgrade for me now, but if I were a noob starting out, I'd love a pair.

    SS
    Last edited by SSM; 16-06-2011 at 06:16 AM. Reason: Vanity ;-)
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
    PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, Alnico, XERO, DM 2/6, Q 2020i
    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  8. #1588
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    guess who makes them for myryad?

  9. #1589
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    Bets on it being a re-badged Q-Acoustics (all owned by ArmourHome)

  10. #1590
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    350 not soo sweet now...but they do look great!
    Last edited by pa79ul; 17-06-2011 at 12:04 PM.

  11. #1591
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, they sure do! Pure metrosexual chic.

    HoopsBoy, your time spent at Frank's has made you an astute observer of the brit-fi industry. You could well be spot on - chances are high Q Acoustics may have had a hand in the design of the A170. If so, it's all good. Q Acoustics' '10 and '20 series have been well-reviewed and commended for punching above their price bracket, performance-wise. Even if the A170 is a 2020 in nicer clothes (and fitted with a more phallic phase plug, squeeeeee!!!), its modest rrp is still reasonable IMO.

    Plus, the brains behind Q Acoustics are ex-Mission engineers who split after Mission came under the IAG umbrella. The A170 could have truer Mission legacy in its veins than the current Mission company's piddling models. Hmmm, now I reckon I'd better hear the A170 if poss. when I go demo the MXP2000 preamp.


    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
    PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, Alnico, XERO, DM 2/6, Q 2020i
    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  12. #1592
    Wammer ultrawomble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSM View Post


    ^ Project's Pre Box SE. Like the MF M1 HPA, its output stage is biased into Class A. Sounds promising. And what I love most is the reference -dB volume display. That will make up for not having Arcam's A38 which offers this audiophile display option.


    If anyone has any experience of this oh-so-cute preamp, say something!

    SS
    I ran into that a few months ago (along with the Class D mono's which are Hypex modules in a nice tin) - a German review here.

    Not much inside:


    Shame it's got a fixed 12dB of gain - too much given the high output levels of modern sources IMO.

  13. #1593
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    What's wrong with 12dB? MF puts 18dB+ into most of its X integrateds and headphone amps. The results are the sonic equivalent of a large pair of bollocks. The Exposure 3010S2 Pre on my Xmas wishlist has got 18dB too.

    Thanks for the tip-off on the Pre Box SE. I haven't been able to find any Inglish reviews of it. Its innards looks pretty sparse. Now relegated to the No-Chance list.

    Day 12 of 909 ownership... Most of the music-making has been splendid... but tonite I clicked on the FLACs of BWB's Groovin' album and can't help feeling that the bass guitar could bounce and pop to perfection if... I were playing the music through Rega's ELICIT. Oh, that gorgeous ELICIT.

    What is it with me?!! This effect of "the grass looking greener on the other side" seems to come into effect ever more quickly as I get older and more jaded. I can't sit on my couch in peace now.


    Will see how many flowers I shift on Father's Day to replenish my toys fund. But I'm not hopeful. Fewer sentimental dopes buy flowers for Daddy, compared to Mummy.

    SSigh
    Last edited by SSM; 17-06-2011 at 04:20 PM. Reason: Vanity ;-)
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
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    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  14. #1594
    Wammer nsherin's Avatar
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    SSM,

    Interesting that you preferred the Quad over the A38. I've only heard Quad kit at hifi shows and my experience from casual listening was pretty positive. they certainly have a big following and a long legacy.

    Are you going to get one of their CDP/Pre amps at all?

    Still loving the FMJ A18/rDAC combination - smooth. detailed and a very enjoyable toe-tapping listen. I've got to the point that I'd have to spend considerably more to better what I have. If the funds were there, I'd be buying more Arcam, as I find the sound so damn addictive!
    Living Room: Apple TV 3, Cambridge Audio 640C, Pioneer CT-F600/SA-510, Rega P1, Rotel RT-426, Sony MDS-JB980/PS3 Slim, Samsung UE40D5520, Wharfedale Diamond 10.3
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  15. #1595
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Hi Neil,

    You are a model example of a Capricorn audiophile. Appreciative and loyal to the kit you have chosen carefully with long-term pleasure in mind. I, on the other hand, am a fidgety Gemini and must flit from sidegrade to sidegrade for an eternity it seems.

    Yes I can envison you being on cloud nine forever if you move up the Arcam ladder. The CD37 and A38 is a beautiful combo dripping with musicality. However, there's a possibility Arcam could up the ante and deliver a stunning successor to the A38 in a couple of years' time. Maybe you can keep enjoying the rDAC/A18 combo for a while and let your funds grow for that flagship Arcam integrated. Arcam goes 6 years between updates, so the current 8 range is due to be replaced by end of 2013.

    RE: Arcam vs Quad
    I reckon the sonic signature of their amplification fall in the same camp of being tonally uncoloured, smooth and 'cultured' sounding. The difference I've noticed between the A28/A38 vs 909 is that the former has a sleeker midrange presentation while the latter is lusher and highly-resolved. The A28 is sweet with jazz ensembles, with its nimble bass and rhythmic timing. The 909, on the other hand, is jaw-dropping with orchestral and opera! My 4-ohm ELACs are sucking 250W per side from it and... the sheer scale of the sound. But it's capable of surprising delicacy too.

    btw before moving the A28 to my office, I tried its pre-outs into the 909. Mmm... not bad. The sleeker FMJ sound slenderized the effusive Quad output. It's like an extension of the Arcam sound but with greater depth to the soundstage, plus... unflappable power! Another option for you to consider if you want to extract the last ounce of soundstage depth from your Waffies.

    cheerSS





    ps: the Elite Pre is on my radar but the Tipocan dealer hasn't stocked any yet. As for a Quad CDP, nah. I have gone all FLAC and Rega's DAC is more desirable. It's garnering raves everywhere.
    Last edited by SSM; 20-06-2011 at 06:49 AM. Reason: Vanity ;-)
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
    PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, Alnico, XERO, DM 2/6, Q 2020i
    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  16. #1596
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Update: The Elite Pre has arrived in Tipoca and I am in danger of popping down today for a listen. The even bigger danger is that I will like its compatibility with the 909 and buy one! The unique 'Tilt' function may be exactly what I need to ameliorate 50yo classical and opera recordings that suffer from tape hiss, recessed midrange or lean bass. Quad amplification does seem to be designed with classical music fans in mind.


    ^ it looks nicely-built to last for ages, but the un-sshiny front panel... It doesn't exactly scream "SSM" now, does it?

    I can forsee myself staying with Quad amplification for many years if I do make this second Quad purchase. Quick! I leave work in 90 minutes' time and will be at the dealer's in another 60. If anyone objects to me and Quad being joined in holy audiophony, please suggest other alternatives now.

    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
    PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, Alnico, XERO, DM 2/6, Q 2020i
    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  17. #1597
    Moderator HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    The new Audiolab stuff i thought went well with the ATC's, especially the big monoblocks!

  18. #1598
    Wammer
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    Buy it, if only cos I want to read your report on it ;)

  19. #1599
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoopsOnToast View Post
    The new Audiolab stuff i thought went well with the ATC's, especially the big monoblocks!
    Ooer, I don't think I'll ever go the monoblock route. Too much power for my needs and my listening confines. Neither do I want to create a metropolis of power amps on my rack with their resultant "alleys". Dust city! It'll be a pain to get my plastic feather duster in there for a wipe.

    Audiolab is nice and sshiny though.

    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
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    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
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    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

  20. #1600
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikedefacto View Post
    Buy it, if only cos I want to read your report on it ;)
    Oh my. You want me to blow 899 from my pocket just for your reading satisfaction?

    Anyway, here is the preliminary assessment. This is the first time I'm demoing/looking at active preamps, and so, unlike integrated amps, there is an extra variable involved - the power amp (the Elite monoblocks in this case).

    In the flesh the Elite Pre looks and feel nice. The un-blingy Elite colour scheme is not really up my alley but I can appreciate why Quad styling always stays discreet and understated. I can certainly cohabit with this Pre if need be. I do not like that canopy hood thing at the rear panel though. It makes the Pre's rear look like the dirty arse of a Star Trek spaceship and will be a hindrance if I need to plug in additional sources asap, as I'll have to really pull the rack way out. A flush rear panel which turns the Pre into a perfect square is preferable IMO.

    The sound? Wonderfully Quad. Smooth, detailed and neutral with oodles of power and finesse, and well, quite beyond reproach actually. The midrange has to be the full, full, full cream milk version of midrange reproductions available - it's a luxury bath for the ears and I can prolly listen to it for hours without fatigue setting in.

    There is a niggle though. The strengths of the Quad presentation veers towards the portrayal of tone and texture, rather than the crisp reproduction of leading edges. The Roksan Caspian M2 I demoed in June couldn't be more different in its approach. The crack of the sticks on the snare drums in Sade's "Soldier of Love" track (from her wonderful album, see my thread) rang out through the Caspian with thrilling metallic force that commanded attention. Through the Quads, these hits retain their tonal quality but they don't leap out with the same visceral impact. The M2's sound is more 'grippy' while the Quads are relaxed and spacious. If the former is a slick F1 car, the latter is a Volkwagen (and by extension of comparison the Naim Nait XS is like a safari jeep with its accelerator pedal jammed down with an umbrella.)

    Ah but once the opening hits on the snare drums subsided, Sade's voice came on and how smooth and lush she sounds. Perfecto! Ditto for the other pop and opera singers on my test CDR. Quad really knows how to put flesh to sounds. I'd also begun to appreciate why some audiophools champion the pre-power option with an active pre on board. The Elite Pre may cede extreme crispness of leading edges to the Caspian M2 integrated but it seems this apparent weakness allows it to expand the sound gloriously without constriction or treble squally-ness when the wick is wound up. The soundstage is very spacious and performers on the music are graciously arrayed on this generous backdrop. And they get frighteningly more 3D as the volume is turned up. It's like watching molehills morph into mountains in front of you. If the Caspian and other PRaTty amps had amazed me with their crisp delineation of leading edges, the Quads overwhelmed me with the sheer physicality and presence they imparted to musicians. I'd hate to give the impression that the Quads aren't all-rounders, but their performance sounds a million dollars with symphonic and operatic music. Possibly one of the ideal Brit marques for the classical music connoisseur.

    Many years ago when I was in my early 30s, I read an online mag's editor comically describe his previous stint as a hifi salesman. He characterized his clientele for Quad amplification as being uniformly: men in their forties and above, overweight, with receding hairlines or comb-overs who listen predominantly to classical music. Now, I am in this fuckin' age demographic with the same musical tastes and contemplating going all-Quad. SSigh. Is this the death of metrosexuality and the commencement of decrepitude?

    Ah well...

    I didn't purchase the Elite Pre but it does look like its headed for my Xmas stocking. I luv my 909. It's all the power amp I'll ever need and it's almost a sure thing that I'll be buying its reincarnation as the Elite QSP in five years' time. So having a matching Elite Pre will be such a no-brainer.



    ^ the forthcoming Elite QSP. At last! A 909 with a handy power button in front, squeeeeeee!!!


    Before the Quad takeover of solidschateau happens, I'll try to stage one last act of resistance by checking out other preamps which look snazzier and have more snap and thwack to their sound. The other preamp on my radar is ATC's CA Mk2. Many good things have been reported about its dynamism and neutrality (famed ATC traits), and its only 200 more than the Elite, so I owe it to myself to check it out.

    SS


    NB: the volume step calibrations on the Elite Pre are a bit too sudden. The increase of one digit is akin to four on my Arcam A28. It could pose a problem if I need fine control over sound levels when listening late at night. Then again, with a Elite Pre-909 combo, who wants to play it softly?!! I'd want to raise the rafters with my symphonies during early evenings.
    Last edited by SSM; 04-08-2011 at 07:36 AM.
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3 & ET3SE > SUN SV-2A3 L.E. 25th Anniv. SE Class A | NAIM DAC V1 > C-J CLASSIC 60SE PP
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > 6V6GT SE Class A | audiolab M-DAC
    > ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > EL84 SE Class A
    MUSICAL FIDELITY X-T100
    (modded valve pre) > GENESIS Advanced Tech. M60 (& I60) PP | PRIMARE A34.2 Class D
    OMEGA SUPER ALNICO & 3i Monitors |
    PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, Alnico, XERO, DM 2/6, Q 2020i
    SS relics: REGA ELICIT, ARCAM A38, Musical Fidelity X-A2, NAIM NAP 100, QUAD 909, SONY TA-F246E | (reserved)

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