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Starter system, £400. What to to upgrade?

colmans

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 2, 2009
33
0
0
Nottingham
AKA
Johnny
Hi Guys,

First real post so apologies if this is all pretty basic :)

I'm looking to upgrade my system and wondering where I'm going to get the best bang for my cash and also which would be the best buy to lay the foundations for a future system.

So, current system is laptop/foobar or laptop/spotify/Fidelify to Fio e17 to Aracam Solo Mini to Leema Xeros and Super Dreadnaughts.

I'm wondering whether a dedicated DAC makes the best option, a power AMP for the Mini or maybe a nice valve power amp. Who knows? :)

The room is around 15 x 13. I've heard the Leemas are hard to drive but I've only driven them through the solo so don't really have a comparison.

Happily go secondhand to get me started on the right path!

Cheers

Johnny

 

unclepuncle

Wammer
Wammer
Apr 11, 2007
14,659
382
143
Northants
Do you just us the Arcam as an amp ? Maybe sell it and buy a better integrated amp with a built in DAC? Wadia 151, Nuforce DDA-100, NAD D3020 etc

 

colmans

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 2, 2009
33
0
0
Nottingham
AKA
Johnny
In all honesty I'm not too sure :) . I know that's probably too open ended but I was hoping maybe there was some experience out there that could help. My thoughts are that I'm not getting the best out of the Xeros from the mini or maybe the DAC isn't providing the clarity.

Apologies again if it's a bit vague! Give me another year and I might be more specific :)

Cheers

 

meninblack

Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Jul 20, 2005
24,222
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HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
Your Xeros are 85 dB/W and 6 ohm, so not an easy load. Leema recommend a minimum of 50 watts, the Solo only has 25. Worth trying a more powerful amp. Your Solo has pre-outs, so you could add a power amp if you didn't want to replace it.

 

colmans

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 2, 2009
33
0
0
Nottingham
AKA
Johnny
Do you just us the Arcam as an amp ? Maybe sell it and buy a better integrated amp with a built in DAC? Wadia 151, Nuforce DDA-100, NAD D3020 etc
Yep, just used the amp essentially now. Do you think those three would up the power to the speakers at the same time as improved DAC?

Cheers

- - - Updated - - -

- - - Updated - - -

Your Xeros are 85 dB/W and 6 ohm, so not an easy load. Leema recommend a minimum of 50 watts, the Solo only has 25. Worth trying a more powerful amp. Your Solo has pre-outs, so you could add a power amp if you didn't want to replace it.
That was my other thought. Any thoughts on what could drive them well for £400 on the seconhand market?

Cheers

 

cjr

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 8, 2005
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UK
You don't need £400 on a second hand PA. £100-150 will buy you a beast of a stereo power amp. Rotel/Sony ES/Exposure etc.

 

tuga

. . .
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Aug 17, 2007
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Ric
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I'd start by replacing the "toy" speakers with something that sounds a bit more full.

R

 

pgarrish

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Feb 13, 2011
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Paul
Try some different speakers first. If you still like the leemas then look at amps but easy drive speakers will make a hell of a change to the sound without changing anything else - note I said change, you might not like the results.

 

colmans

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 2, 2009
33
0
0
Nottingham
AKA
Johnny
Damn it! Speaker change/power amp and new DAC options! This doesn't sound quite as simple as I though :) Any recomendations on the speaks at around £650 used if the Leemas go?

 

68rednose

Wammer
Wammer
Mar 11, 2013
1,839
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HiFi Trade?
  1. No
This doesn't sound quite as simple as I though :)
Welcome to a hobby that might bring you a lifetime of joy and challanges.

Just never forget it is the joy that should prevail.

The speaker/amp combination determines the signature of your set.

And the speaker has most influence.

(Like, a dynamic speaker will not sound like a horn speaker no matter what you change upfront in the chain).

You should determine what speaker type has your preference. (Dynamic, horn, electrostatic, magnetostatic)

Then, different manufacturers have products that have their own signature.

The difficulty is, that the speaker/amp combination should be chosen well, to bring out the best of both products.

I suggest you audition (bake offs, dealers with interesting used equipment) as much as possible, to get an idea 'what's out there'.

Try to make the final audition at home, most kit sound different in different places (due to acoustics and associated gear).

Something impressive is impressive, but might get annoying in the long run (like thunderous bass, crystal clear highs, or whatever).

So, if you get carried away by something, audition for a second time if possible, to make sure you make the right choice.

Hope this helps a bit, good luck with your search.

 
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kabayiri

Wammer
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Jul 12, 2013
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Stockport
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Dave
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Where are you in the country Johnny?

I reckon a few of us have a couple of things we could lend you. I can lend you an Arcam power amp if you want to see if it peps up the Xeros a bit.

Dave

 

colmans

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 2, 2009
33
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Nottingham
AKA
Johnny
I'm in Nottingham Dave, a bit too far away from you by the looks of it unforunately! I was going to pull the trigger on an arcam power amp at the weekend but then thought I'd seek advice first. Without realising I was going to have even more things to think about!

Cheers

Johnny

 

silencio

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 12, 2010
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Sofia, Bulgaria
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Chris
Don't panic:) Take the "upgratidis" one step at a time. Start with the amp - the Solo does not have enough "juice" to do most speakers justice. Either look for one of the suggested power amps, look for a S/H Pure Sound 30 or AI 500 valve amps or get a S/H XTZ integrated with a built-in DAC. Then get better speakers for Easter next year:)

 

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