up4hours

System Upgrade Advice Please

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Hi all,

I hope you can assist me & offer some advice. I am looking to upgrade my current system, my set up is:-

Amp: Cyrus IIIi
Turntable: Rega RP1 (standard with Carbon stylus).
Speakers: B&W CDM1 SE

I also hook up a Nakamichi Cassette Deck 2 and an Astell & Kern AK70 for lossless digital on occasion.

I've had the amp & speakers since about 1997/8 if I recall and these have been teamed up with CD transport plus DAC and iPods etc over the years. After years of collecting records, 3 years ago I finally got myself a turntable, vinyl is now my main format.

I've been very happy with the amp & speakers over the years but feel it's about time to upgrade. 

While in Audio-T recently for a Linn LP12 demo/tease I mentioned that I would perhaps be looking at the Rega P3 as a system upgrade. The chap in the store enquired as to my system and suggested that I upgrade either the amp or perhaps the speakers first as they are much older and things have moved on a lot. He believed that I'd see a real improvement from the RP1 with newer amp/speakers.

Realistically I have £600-£800 for speakers or £800-£1000 at a push for an amp as a budget. I'd be upgrading just the one component with this budget to get the best for my money. I'll upgrade the other components incrementally over the next year or so. 

My questions is.. Do you agree with the Audio-T advice to choose amp or speakers or should I upgrade the turntable? If so, what should I replace first, amp or speakers and do you have any suggestions or recommendations with my budget in mind?

My research (if you can call it that) so far has steered me in the direction of: for amps, the Rega Elex-R (£898) and also the Music Fidelity M3si (£899 ex-demo) as they both have built in phono stage and seem to have good reviews (Rega slightly better on reviews). 

Regards the speakers I had my eye on either the Dynaudio Emit M20 (£599) or perhaps the KEF LS50 (£800).

Thanks for reading and I hope it all made sense :D

Adam

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Super Wammer

Nothing wrong with your speakers. Can you use floorstanders as that would be the biggest upgrade for your money? Second hand from a well established Wammer is OK.

If not go for a  much better TT/arm /cart.  Again Second hand is fine and for £1K you will have a good choice of great decks.  Remember these will have cost a lot of money when new. Don't rush. Consider your long term plans. Even  a cheap starter  MM cart will be fine.

Let us know where you are located. Look out for Bakeoffs in your vicinity where you can meet other Wammers and listen to different speakers.

New is not necessarily THAT much better and amps make the least difference  overall at that end of the spectrum as long as you choose speakers that are not demanding of more power than you have available.

You will receive lots of conflicting advice so do  not be discouraged easily.

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Hi and welcome. It's a rather good budget and you could do a lot with it. Although your setup is at a decent level.

Both amps you mention are a good choice as well as speakers particularly LS50s. You would be able to do a lot more with your budget should you go second hand. Is that something you'd consider?

Regardless, what are the dimensions of your listening room? How far do you sit from the speakers and which way are they pointing? What musical style do you favour? Upgrading speakers usually makes the biggest difference.

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Moderator

I would change the amp.  Pretty much anything will be better than that Cyrus.  I have a £100 Sony ES integrated that would kill it.

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Moderator

Personally I don't think things have moved on where amps and speakers are concerned.

The biggest change will be a speaker change. An amp change will improve things but not by as much. You will get a better product buying second hand.

If you're happy to, I would organise a bakeoff and listen to amps and speakers in your own home.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

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The rega elex r is a super amp,just take in mind aswell it has pre outs ,so a power amp can be added if needed ,lovely sound 

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Super Wammer
On 6/5/2017 at 22:51, up4hours said:

Hi all,

I hope you can assist me & offer some advice. I am looking to upgrade my current system, my set up is:-

Amp: Cyrus IIIi
Turntable: Rega RP1 (standard with Carbon stylus).
Speakers: B&W CDM1 SE

I also hook up a Nakamichi Cassette Deck 2 and an Astell & Kern AK70 for lossless digital on occasion.

I've had the amp & speakers since about 1997/8 if I recall and these have been teamed up with CD transport plus DAC and iPods etc over the years. After years of collecting records, 3 years ago I finally got myself a turntable, vinyl is now my main format.

I've been very happy with the amp & speakers over the years but feel it's about time to upgrade. 

While in Audio-T recently for a Linn LP12 demo/tease I mentioned that I would perhaps be looking at the Rega P3 as a system upgrade. The chap in the store enquired as to my system and suggested that I upgrade either the amp or perhaps the speakers first as they are much older and things have moved on a lot. He believed that I'd see a real improvement from the RP1 with newer amp/speakers.

Realistically I have £600-£800 for speakers or £800-£1000 at a push for an amp as a budget. I'd be upgrading just the one component with this budget to get the best for my money. I'll upgrade the other components incrementally over the next year or so. 

My questions is.. Do you agree with the Audio-T advice to choose amp or speakers or should I upgrade the turntable? If so, what should I replace first, amp or speakers and do you have any suggestions or recommendations with my budget in mind?

My research (if you can call it that) so far has steered me in the direction of: for amps, the Rega Elex-R (£898) and also the Music Fidelity M3si (£899 ex-demo) as they both have built in phono stage and seem to have good reviews (Rega slightly better on reviews). 

Regards the speakers I had my eye on either the Dynaudio Emit M20 (£599) or perhaps the KEF LS50 (£800).

Thanks for reading and I hope it all made sense :D

Adam

What is wrong with your system?  What is it you do not like about it?  Is it just you fancy a change?  If you are happy with the sound you have spend the money on more music.

Edited by uzzy

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Guest

Absolutely on the money with those kefs, probably about the best you are going to do Adam. Don't agree with the previous poster on Cyrus. My Cyrus signature system sings but it is expensive. But nothing wrong with amps like the 8dac which are very decent and you could get used for around £700 plus I reckon. That would probably out compete a rega amp of the type you are looking at , but the new rega amps are fantastic. You can't go far wrong with kef ls50s and rega, if you are doing that look at the kef active ls50s too around £2k and all the gubins for turntables and streaming too. If I were you take your speakers into a dealer and compare with something like ls50. I'm sure you'll find the dealer is spot on about amps and speakers first because things have moved on for what you can get for your money compared to 1997. Im sure you'll find the ls50 will take your speakers apart. They are still about the best at £800. Btw I don't own them - pmc 25.23s are my speakers. 

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Super Wammer

I must be a dinosaur - I haven't change my power amp in 38 years (I bought another two so I would have enough spares to keep one going forever which was a wise move as Hitachi Mosfets are no longer available) .. I only changed my preamp because the phono stage on the audionics packed up and was not repairable (70s designer fad to put it in potting compound to stop other copying) .. I only changed the speakers because someone brought round the Impressions and hearing them next to my loudspeakers I just had to have them .. I have used the same cartridge for the last 38 years (Decca Super Gold and a Silver rebuilt with a fine line stylus .. which sounds the same well as same as two Deccas can sound :) )  I have had the same turntable for over 30 years and I changed the arm from an AT1100 to a Mission 774 cos the AT was dying (long story) .. 

So I cannot understand why someone feel like a change - unless there is something about the sound of their system they dislike or they know is severely lacking :( ... perhaps it was working in the trade and getting to play with all sorts that stopped me hankering (but perhaps not cos i know of others in the trade that are always changing equipment) so good luck in your search - go to a good dealer and use yer ears and don't buy anything new without a home demo .. other than that visit wammers and listen to their systems and get to bake offs and shows to hear as much as you can :) 

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Super Wammer

I would change the cartridge to a Rega Elys and possibly upgrade the Rega Deck to the RP3.

Alan

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I don't think speakers have progressed that much over the years. Yes, they've got a bit better, but no more than other components.

If you changed speakers, you may well get a tonally different sound, but not necessarily a much better one.

A better TT & cart should get you more detail, sound quality etc. A better amp would drive your CDM1's to give their best.

I'd probably split your budget approx £600 for a 2nd hand tt/a new cart/possibly a seperate phono stage, & £400 on a 2nd hand/ex-dem amp.

I don't think keeping your existing TT, but spending £600-800 on speakers or £800-£1k on an amp would be the best route. LS50's are very good, but i wouldn't pair them with your present TT & cart for example.

Only my opinion!

Matt.

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1 hour ago, manicatel said:

I don't think speakers have progressed that much over the years. Yes, they've got a bit better, but no more than other components.

If you're talking about sound then if you go far enough back it can be argued that they have. By the second half of the 1950's we had amps available which, 10-20 years later, professional audio critics couldn't distinguish in a blind listening test from 1970's ones. The latter were more reliable, cheaper to build, lighter in weight (watt for watt) and capable of more power from a given sized box. They also ran cooler. All of this represented real progress. But listeners couldn't hear any sonic difference (actually there was a measurable improvement, but it was beyond what the pros could hear). They had reached the pinnacle of low-distortion, fast-transient reproduction and the only way from the top was down (a surprising number of subsequent manufacturers went that way :), aiming for a 'nicer' sound rather than an accurate one).

Late 1950's speakers, on the other hand, were not in the same league as those from the 1970's/80's or those available now. With one exception their audio output was seriously coloured. The choice of cone and surround materials was very limited. The understanding of cone breakup was minimal. The best ones could be electrically difficult to drive. The understanding of advanced enclosure design (transmission lines, edge diffraction, even porting) was at a very early stage. Efficiency was really important (high power amps were a challenge). Active speakers (by which I mean separate amps handling the frequency-separated signals to individual drivers) were non-existent. We still have a way to go when it comes to managing speaker/room interactions. But apart from that we have made a lot of progress.

Just my two penn'orth of course, and it's worth saying that the choice of timescale is everything - amps made huge progress between the late 1930's and the 50's and maybe speakers haven't changed nearly so much if we restrict ourselves to the last 20 years.

VB

Edited by Valvebloke
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I don't agree with this idea speakers haven't moved on. You can nearly always get better speakers for the same money as markets develop, companies get more efficient etc, more competition to before, firms eek out more performance per pound keeping up with competition. But with emerging markets from countries like China, who are making components etc, the cost to produce goes down. So what you tend to find is the speakers offer so much more sound quality at their price than the same speaker would do 20 years ago. It's a competitive market and they are all getting better at the price. So the speaker tech may not have moved on much, or at all, but that's a different issue. What you are comparing is what is possible at the price, for a £1000 speaker will sound better than a £500 one invariably. 

I had tannoy m3 floostanders in 1997, about £230 then and around £400 now adjusted for inflation. But the current Tannoy Eclipse 3 at £300 I've heard are so much better. I owned tannoy d6t's floorstanders around 6 years ago. They were £1k new, but the new current tannoy xt6f floorstanders at £1k which I've heard, which would be the dc6ts current equivalent, are infinitely better in sq terms for the money. 

It's the same with pmc's I've owned. Everyone I read is saying they are better at their price as new versions have been brought out. My dads castle speakers bought in the 70s were expensive then but are really not up to much now. 

I'm not saying keep buying new designs as it's probably a false economy, but to the original poster, I can almost guarantee you will get more value and sound quality at the price now as you once could. That's why the dealer is bang on the money as regards original question. 

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Super Wammer

Another thought....

If you have a lot of Vinyl, then a record cleaning machine is a must. It has made a huge difference to my collection, both new and s/hand. Something like the project is very good value for money.

Alan

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typically the biggest bang for buck comes from upgrading transducers - how old is your cartridge and how much use has it had,

Speaker technology hasn't fundamentally changed over the years, yes there might have been some small changes in the materials used and design techniques, but they have little impact.  What is wrong with the sound your system produces?  is it lacking to your ears?

How do you position your speakers?  against the wall, in an alcove, on stands or on wall brackets.... I'd say we need to know a lot more about what you dislike, your room and your taste in music before anyone can recommend changing the speakers.

You could throw your money at an amp - I have never like the sonic signature of cyrus amps very much.

I like the recommendation of an RCM an excellent upgrade if you listen to a lot of vinyl.....so an RCM and a new cartridge....... 

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