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New system help please

SeNtIeNtMiNoRity

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Hello all,

First and foremost thank you for having me in the forum!

Also thank you in advance for any guidance you can offer.

I’ll try not to ramble but have a lot to cover, so please humour me.

I’ll be moving house in the next couple of months and will have a little money left over, some of these funds will be available to go towards a new sound system (around £3-£4k).

I’m a diehard music fanatic and have for the last few years been using a gen 1 Naim Mu-so Qb which has been fine, but no more than that.

I tend to use Apple Music for streaming as I have built an extensive playlist and like the platform, this is my primary source of audio (I also do a lot of driving).

I’m unsure as to whether I can benefit from Apple lossless without using a wired connection and DAC, perhaps you could fill me in on this…

I’m currently giving consideration to the below options and I only wish to purchase new:

*Naim Mu-so 2 (or equivalent)
*Naim Uniti Adam & speakers (or equivalent)
*Kef LS50 Wireless ii
*Amplifier, speakers and device for streaming

I‘m leaning towards the last option for a couple of reasons, I’m not convinced that the all in one Bluetooth/AirPlay solutions won’t become obsolete in due course and should any internal component fail I‘ll in turn have an expensive paperweight.

Obviously if any part of the amplifier, speakers and Bluetooth system fail, I just replace the offending component.

I have been looking at NAD, Arcam, Musical Fidelity and Naim for the amplifier side of things (I have always coveted Arcam for some reason), but after this I’m clueless as to good speaker and Bluetooth options.

Maybe something like:

Musical Fidelity M3Si
Triangle Borea BR09
Bluesound Node

I make music myself which I’d like to audition/enjoy on this system outside of my studio, I am not looking to colour the sound in so match as hoping for a good reference point.

The system will be present in my living room and will be central on the long wall of a rectangular room which is 18’5 X 11’5.

I prefer to listen to music rather than watch TV but if I can hook up the system to the idiot box, my family would appreciate it.

Just a point of note, I mainly listen to and make electronic music but love a bit of everything from metal to classical to jazz.

Any advice and recommendations wholeheartedly appreciated, sorry if this post is long but I wanted to give as much information as possible to get the best help!
 

DomT

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A good question to ask is what monitors you use in your studio and also what digital interface if you use one (you could be dawless as I am). What do you think of the quality of these? Are you seeking something of the same quality or better? £3-4K will get you a good system especially if you look for stuff secondhand. Also you don’t need a wired streamer. Auralic work well vía wifi as do some others. Will comment some more once you have responded. Fellow studio guy here.
 

pmcuk

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Dom's a musician so his posts are always well informed. I'm a musician too and do songwriting in Garageband. I've archived my CDs to an external hard disc. I've relied on iTunes playlists for a long time and don't see any reason to change. The Garageband tracks are converted direct into iTunes. The only streaming I do is YouTube and occasionally Spotify. I'm completely ignorant of all the dedicated streaming options but I get by fine with my system. Source is a Mac Pro and all internet and TV channels go through the Mac and out into a DAC and then my valve amp. No preamp and volume in software on the Mac. One way to do it!
 

SeNtIeNtMiNoRity

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A good question to ask is what monitors you use in your studio and also what digital interface if you use one (you could be dawless as I am). What do you think of the quality of these? Are you seeking something of the same quality or better? £3-4K will get you a good system especially if you look for stuff secondhand. Also you don’t need a wired streamer. Auralic work well vía wifi as do some others. Will comment some more once you have responded. Fellow studio guy here.
In the studio I use some little Tannoy Reveals and recently auditionEd some Yamaha HS8’s which are now on the horizon also. I am using headphones until we move so as not to annoy the family, they are Audio Technica ATH M50’s but are a little bass heavy. My sound card is an RME RayDAT which I have running tandem with 2 Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre Dynamic ADAT expanders. Like yourself I’m a fan of dawless also. Have an OP-1, OP-Z, Analog Rytm, Analog Four, Avalon Bassline, Moog Grandmother, SP-404, Prophet 12 and plenty of other bits (as well as plenty of guitar stuff).
 
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SeNtIeNtMiNoRity

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In the studio I use some little Tannoy Reveals and recently auditionEd some Yamaha HS8’s which are now on the horizon also. I am using headphones until we move so as not to annoy the family, they are Audio Technica ATH M50’s but are a little bass heavy. My sound card is an RME RayDAT which I have running tandem with 2 Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre Dynamic ADAT expanders. Like yourself I’m a fan of dawless also. Have an OP-1, OP-Z, Analog Rytm, Analog Four, Avalon Bassline, Moog Grandmother, SP-404, Prophet 12 and plenty of other bits (as well as plenty of guitar stuff).
Incidentally my monitors are a bit naff but the PCIe RME card is perfect.
 

SeNtIeNtMiNoRity

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Thank you @pmcuk

I get through around 6-8 albums per day whilst on the road so streaming is a must for me.

I’m as bad when I get home!
 
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lazycat

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As you're used to studio monitors maybe this would be a better avenue than hifi separates?

For your budget you'll get a thousand different answers otherwise. 😂

It may help narrow the search and there are plenty on here who have experience with studio alternatives.
 
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SeNtIeNtMiNoRity

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As you're used to studio monitors maybe this would be a better avenue than hifi separates?

For your budget you'll get a thousand different answers otherwise. 😂

It may help narrow the search and there are plenty on here who have experience with studio alternatives.
I think @DomT would agree that auditioning your own finished music on as many types systems as possible is useful.

I usually listen to my completed songs in the car, on my Muso Qb, crappy Bluetooth speakers, earbuds and headphones before signing off on them.

I’d like a detailed system in the living room that acts as a good reference point, when I get used to the way it sounds it will help with my own creations for Comparative purposes (volume, tone, dissonance, peaks and frequency).

I’d rather not have another set of monitors.
 
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lazycat

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I think @DomT would agree that auditioning your own finished music on as many types systems as possible is useful.

I usually listen to my completed songs in the car, on my Muso Qb, crappy Bluetooth speakers, earbuds and headphones before signing off on them.

I’d like a detailed system in the living room that acts as a good reference point, when I get used to the way it sounds it will help with my own creations for Comparative purposes (volume, tone, dissonance, peaks and frequency).

I’d rather not have another set of monitors.
I can understand that. I'd try and think outside the British box when it comes to amps. After decades of Naim and Exposure I settled on, and continue to be delighted by, my Denon. I listened to many of the usual British suspects and for me it came out on top, and then some.

Can't deny that I was surprised. So I'd recommend a wider range to dem.
 

DomT

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In the studio I use some little Tannoy Reveals and recently auditionEd some Yamaha HS8’s which are now on the horizon also. I am using headphones until we move so as not to annoy the family, they are Audio Technica ATH M50’s but are a little bass heavy. My sound card is an RME RayDAT which I have running tandem with 2 Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre Dynamic ADAT expanders. Like yourself I’m a fan of dawless also. Have an OP-1, OP-Z, Analog Rytm, Analog Four, Avalon Bassline, Moog Grandmother, SP-404, Prophet 12 and plenty of other bits (as well as plenty of guitar stuff).
You have some great gear! In home audio you should be able to equal your current converters and also to better your monitors including the Yamahas within budget.

A streamer like the Bluesound Node or a secondhand Auralic Aries Mini (that will take a hard drive) will be good enough although later you should consider upgrading the power supply.

If you want to use your HiFi as a reference point then I would strongly consider the ATC SCM11. I chose a pair after a mega standmount shootout (there is a thread about it) including home demos. I chose the ATC for their midrange but understand that others will have chosen the Proac for their more extended treble. In your shoes the mid range will be more important.

@Ian is selling a pair of Falcon Q7s in the classifieds. I heard them at my place against the ATCs and they were amazing but clearly don’t have the bass extension of the ATCs. Falcon also do an IMF100 that I haven’t heard but they are bigger than the Q7 and comparable to the ATC and could be another option.

If you have a decent amount of space then KEF LS50 could be a good idea. I used to own some but most people say that they need a lot of room. I personally prefer the ATC but everyone’s tastes are different.

You will have now consumed £2000 of your budget and for £1-2000 should be able to get a good amp, more so secondhand, and you will need to as the ATCs need a good amp. I used a Quad Artera power amp that was very warm sounding and an Audio Research D130 with mine. If I wanted to check a mix I would get something less warm than the Quad. Am not sure about new integrated amps in this price range but others should be able to help. If secondhand then I would consider a Marantz PM11S2 c£1700 or a Denon that could be similar. I have owned my Marantz PM11S2 for over ten years and it is completely linear and I will never sell it.
 

DomT

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You have some great gear! In home audio you should be able to equal your current converters and also to better your monitors including the Yamahas within budget.

A streamer like the Bluesound Node or a secondhand Auralic Aries Mini (that will take a hard drive) will be good enough although later you should consider upgrading the power supply.

If you want to use your HiFi as a reference point then I would strongly consider the ATC SCM11. I chose a pair after a mega standmount shootout (there is a thread about it) including home demos. I chose the ATC for their midrange but understand that others will have chosen the Proac for their more extended treble. In your shoes the mid range will be more important.

@Ian is selling a pair of Falcon Q7s in the classifieds. I heard them at my place against the ATCs and they were amazing but clearly don’t have the bass extension of the ATCs. Falcon also do an IMF100 that I haven’t heard but they are bigger than the Q7 and comparable to the ATC and could be another option.

If you have a decent amount of space then KEF LS50 could be a good idea. I used to own some but most people say that they need a lot of room. I personally prefer the ATC but everyone’s tastes are different.

You will have now consumed £2000 of your budget and for £1-2000 should be able to get a good amp, more so secondhand, and you will need to as the ATCs need a good amp. I used a Quad Artera power amp that was very warm sounding and an Audio Research D130 with mine. If I wanted to check a mix I would get something less warm than the Quad. Am not sure about new integrated amps in this price range but others should be able to help. If secondhand then I would consider a Marantz PM11S2 c£1700 or a Denon that could be similar. I have owned my Marantz PM11S2 for over ten years and it is completely linear and I will never sell it.
Just to add that I specifically didn’t recommend a DAC. Some people say that there isn’t a significant difference. As you have DACs then you can try one of your own and make up your own mind. I just sold a Benchmark DAC1 for £300 that I had owned for 13 years and thought excellent and it’s a bargain at the price. It also has a very good headphone section and it has a preamp. If you consider a DAC with a building preamp then you could just buy a power amp but you would probably lose the ability to have analogue connections.

Lastly I used to own a Muso QB and will be buying some again but as a main system I am confident that you will prefer separates.
 
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SeNtIeNtMiNoRity

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You have some great gear! In home audio you should be able to equal your current converters and also to better your monitors including the Yamahas within budget.

A streamer like the Bluesound Node or a secondhand Auralic Aries Mini (that will take a hard drive) will be good enough although later you should consider upgrading the power supply.

If you want to use your HiFi as a reference point then I would strongly consider the ATC SCM11. I chose a pair after a mega standmount shootout (there is a thread about it) including home demos. I chose the ATC for their midrange but understand that others will have chosen the Proac for their more extended treble. In your shoes the mid range will be more important.

@Ian is selling a pair of Falcon Q7s in the classifieds. I heard them at my place against the ATCs and they were amazing but clearly don’t have the bass extension of the ATCs. Falcon also do an IMF100 that I haven’t heard but they are bigger than the Q7 and comparable to the ATC and could be another option.

If you have a decent amount of space then KEF LS50 could be a good idea. I used to own some but most people say that they need a lot of room. I personally prefer the ATC but everyone’s tastes are different.

You will have now consumed £2000 of your budget and for £1-2000 should be able to get a good amp, more so secondhand, and you will need to as the ATCs need a good amp. I used a Quad Artera power amp that was very warm sounding and an Audio Research D130 with mine. If I wanted to check a mix I would get something less warm than the Quad. Am not sure about new integrated amps in this price range but others should be able to help. If secondhand then I would consider a Marantz PM11S2 c£1700 or a Denon that could be similar. I have owned my Marantz PM11S2 for over ten years and it is completely linear and I will never sell it.
The ATC’s look promising, at 8 ohms what do I realistically need from an amplifier in terms of output wattage and ohms?

Also where does class factor in (A, A/B etc.)?

Would I do well with DIRAC to set my room out and if so how does it work/what do I need?

Finally do I need a 4 way amp to bi-wire the speakers or should I use the bridges, are there pro’s and cons?

Thank you btw 👍🏻
 

russell2010

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I have a similar setup using Genelecs in home studio. Have upgraded my desktop system for editing and auditioning mixes to now include the RME ADI-2 FS DAC. This DAC will offer you everything you need for playing files from your mac. I would second the ATC SCM11 for this type of monitoring. Having tried an assortment of power amps with the ATCs I'm now using a Nord Hypex which has plenty of power for the speakers uses less mains wattage than Class A/B amps. If my budget had been higher I would ideally go for active ATCs which would remove the need for a power amp. Edit: Also, don't bother with bi-wiring.
 

SeNtIeNtMiNoRity

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I have a similar setup using Genelecs in home studio. Have upgraded my desktop system for editing and auditioning mixes to now include the RME ADI-2 FS DAC. This DAC will offer you everything you need for playing files from your mac. I would second the ATC SCM11 for this type of monitoring. Having tried an assortment of power amps with the ATCs I'm now using a Nord Hypex which has plenty of power for the speakers uses less mains wattage than Class A/B amps. If my budget had been higher I would ideally go for active ATCs which would remove the need for a power amp. Edit: Also, don't bother with bi-wiring.
Cheers for that, my studio and living room will be many metres away from eachother.

ATC SCM11’s will be a definite audition.
 

DomT

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The ATC’s look promising, at 8 ohms what do I realistically need from an amplifier in terms of output wattage and ohms?

Also where does class factor in (A, A/B etc.)?

Would I do well with DIRAC to set my room out and if so how does it work/what do I need?

Finally do I need a 4 way amp to bi-wire the speakers or should I use the bridges, are there pro’s and cons?

Thank you btw 👍🏻
Great question about the amp. I had Audio Research, Quad and Accuphase at home and the SCM11 sounded different with each and the Audio Research having more punch and deeper bass yet they were all the same power output. And so it’s difficult to make suggestions as specs alone don’t tell the whole story. And don’t worry about the class of amp. I have used class A/B and Class A and you will be happy with either but if you like the ATCs then class A will be out of your budget. And my Marantz PM11S2 is similarly punchy.

Don’t worry about bi-wiring. For what you will be buying it’s not important. If your room is reasonably benign then you will not need DIRAC. @karlsushi and @tuga have a thread running about DIRAC and DACs right now. In my view you would be better to have a DAC with built in parametric equaliser so that you can just target the frequencies that you need. The vast vast majority of HiFi users don’t treat their rooms or use DIRAC or equivalent and are quite happy.
 
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tuga

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The ATC’s look promising, at 8 ohms what do I realistically need from an amplifier in terms of output wattage and ohms?

Also where does class factor in (A, A/B etc.)?

Would I do well with DIRAC to set my room out and if so how does it work/what do I need?

Finally do I need a 4 way amp to bi-wire the speakers or should I use the bridges, are there pro’s and cons?

Thank you btw 👍🏻

If you have the chance visit a couple of hifi dealers which stock a decent variety of speakers and electronics.
None of us has the faintest idea of what your preference is so recomendations are a bit like playing battleship.

As for room correction, some of us will testify that it produces big improvements particularly when optimal positioning is not feasible or in acoustically difficult rooms.
Others will claim that it kills sound or that they simply don't like the result.

In audio all is subjective except measured performance.

Some room measurements will provide good insight on the acoustic characteristics of your room and help with the positioning of the listening spot and speakers.
 
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newlash09

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Hi sir :)

Even I would recommend the ATC's. I once tried the SCM19 at the end of a parasound halo integrated which had 160 watts into 8 ohms. But felt the amp didn't do justice to the speakers. Subsequently, in my friends place, I've heard both the SCM19 and SCM40, driven by the nuprime STA-9 mono blocks in bridged mode, outputting 295W each. The sound was awesome. I infact bought a pair of these amps for my own PMC speakers. And having tried devialet, parasound and a lot of tube amps on my PMC. I can vouch that the nuprimes really deliver with power hungry speakers.

Iam a big bass head, and I listen mostly to EDM, Techno and electro punk. I can vouch that these nuprimes have the power, speed and slam required for this genre of music. Especially when paired with neutral speakers like ATC &PMC.

Since it might be difficult to find these amps used in UK, I would suggest to keep an eye out for high power class-D amps from KJF audio or Nord. Both are built in UK.

Iam unfamiliar with apple territory, so I can't suggest on that front. All the best
 

tuga

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I tend to use Apple Music for streaming as I have built an extensive playlist and like the platform, this is my primary source of audio (I also do a lot of driving).

I’m unsure as to whether I can benefit from Apple lossless without using a wired connection and DAC, perhaps you could fill me in on this…
If you are an Apple user then this topic may be of interest:


Alternatively you can control the Music programme on a Mac (connected to a DAC) from an iPhone, iPad or even Android wirelessly.
 
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SeNtIeNtMiNoRity

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Thank you for your help everyone, I’ll get some auditions done and go from there.

If I have any questions I’ll return and will share pictures of anything I purchase further to assistance received.

🙏🏻
 
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I've got both the LS50 WII and a modest system that uses the bluesound node. I will say that blue OS app is a better interface than the KEF APP if that matters to you. The bluesound is a pretty darn good sounding dac. You would have to spend 2x-3x more to even notice a difference with some very good speakers.

For high value speaker brands I always end up at Monitor Audio. They are not very fussy about placement and pair well with all kinds of amps. You could put together a nice system with a bluesound node, musical fidelity M35, and of pair Monitor Audio Silver 300. Speaker preferences vary wildly though so I definitely recommend going to a dealer and listening with songs you like.

And if hi res matters to you apple's music streaming service won't be great since airplay cannot do 24/96 and above. Though file format matters less than the recording/mastering quality of song in my opinion.
 
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