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6 minutes ago, oxymoron said:

I read similar, I think in threads you and others have posted before. i want that happy medium and found that with the Sudgen stuff and Totem Sky Speakers. I'm going to try to find reviews on the Luxman.

What has got me thinking now - Is the Vincent DAC7 compareable in tone to Sugden DAC-4/Luxman DA-250? It is around £600-£900 cheaper.

I'm just not sure about the Vincent as it is a bit of an unknown and I don't want to make purchase mistakes. I want to get this right first time and be done for 10-20 years, aside from streamer upgrades and I guess a new CD player when it does.

Don’t underestimate Vincent. Someone has one here and seems to enjoy it. I’ve had a few Vincent items inc the tube line CDP and tbh, it was excellent. Resale values are an issue because of their lack of presence but if you get a used one it will be a bargain. Having said that, if you got this right first time, it would be a miracle because we have all swapped and changed but getting it right isn’t about money (although important) it’s about the synergy 

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New to the rack

Hello all Picked up my brand new IA4 yesterday and my room is very warm now. Took me about an hour to pull the trigger after having one on home demo a few weeks ago.  Decided after many years of

So, having been underwhelmed by the ANV-50 and as subsequently reported here: I took my Posselt Albatrosses to Fanthorpes in Hull and heard them driven by A21 Signature, A21SE and IA-4. The IA-4

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I totally agree with RR's comments regarding the Chord. I have had the 2Qute and Qutest in my system and whilst I can see why some would enjoy their sound it is not for me. Both the systems I had them where an Auralic Aries Mini was used sounded better when I took them out and just listened to the Mini. 

The Sugden DAC-4 is the most "old school" of the three you mentioned and would, naturally, offer the Sugden house sound. What may put you off is apparently the USB input is not state of the art and sounds much better through coax so if you are intending to use it with a computer then it may need some help here. Also the DAC maxes out at 96khz and so high res is out of the question. It wouldn't bother me as I listen to predominantly CD quality music in any case. I also think the Sugden DAC is overpriced for what you are getting if you are buying new. 

The Luxman looks to be a great DAC and very flexible too as it can act as a preamp and headphone amp. It will, I would have thought, have stellar, bomb proof build quality and be an endgame DAC assuming you are not looking to upgrade into super high end audio. 

The Vincent looks to be great value. I cannot see anywhere where it mentions which DAC chips it is using. My only concern here would be resale value if you come to move it on (assuming you buy new that is). The Vincent site offers home demonstrations and so you could also get one risk free - as you could with your other two options to be fair within 14 days. 

Hope this helps a little. 

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4 hours ago, HouseElf said:

I totally agree with RR's comments regarding the Chord. I have had the 2Qute and Qutest in my system and whilst I can see why some would enjoy their sound it is not for me. Both the systems I had them where an Auralic Aries Mini was used sounded better when I took them out and just listened to the Mini. 

The Sugden DAC-4 is the most "old school" of the three you mentioned and would, naturally, offer the Sugden house sound. What may put you off is apparently the USB input is not state of the art and sounds much better through coax so if you are intending to use it with a computer then it may need some help here. Also the DAC maxes out at 96khz and so high res is out of the question. It wouldn't bother me as I listen to predominantly CD quality music in any case. I also think the Sugden DAC is overpriced for what you are getting if you are buying new. 

The Luxman looks to be a great DAC and very flexible too as it can act as a preamp and headphone amp. It will, I would have thought, have stellar, bomb proof build quality and be an endgame DAC assuming you are not looking to upgrade into super high end audio. 

The Vincent looks to be great value. I cannot see anywhere where it mentions which DAC chips it is using. My only concern here would be resale value if you come to move it on (assuming you buy new that is). The Vincent site offers home demonstrations and so you could also get one risk free - as you could with your other two options to be fair within 14 days. 

Hope this helps a little. 

I think i will try get an audition of the luxman and sugden. The Sugden dac looks a bit expensive for what it is where the luxman sounds like it has similar characteristics but with modern bells and whistles, plus a remote!!

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2 hours ago, oxymoron said:

I think i will try get an audition of the luxman and sugden. The Sugden dac looks a bit expensive for what it is where the luxman sounds like it has similar characteristics but with modern bells and whistles, plus a remote!!

Audio Affair stock both but wether they have demo stock is another matter but most will ship for a home demo but be mindful that they will ask for a hefty deposit. 
If you like what you hear, don’t be frightened to ask for a deal. I’d expect at least 15% atm or if they do have a demo model they can sell, find out the deal price on that. 
Hifi corner in Scotland will let you have a demo on Sugden at home for 50% deposit but they will pay the shipping there and back but they don’t do Luxman.

Audio Emotion in Scotland do both I think but I don’t know their terms

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55 minutes ago, radiant red said:

Audio Affair stock both but wether they have demo stock is another matter but most will ship for a home demo but be mindful that they will ask for a hefty deposit. 
If you like what you hear, don’t be frightened to ask for a deal. I’d expect at least 15% atm or if they do have a demo model they can sell, find out the deal price on that. 
Hifi corner in Scotland will let you have a demo on Sugden at home for 50% deposit but they will pay the shipping there and back but they don’t do Luxman.

Audio Emotion in Scotland do both I think but I don’t know their terms

Thanks for the advice, I got a deal on my used gear and knocked a £250 off for buying the sugden amp and CD player. Also got the Totem speakers exdemo so got a few hundred off again.

Don't laugh, but I have a Topping D50 DAC I got 2 years ago for my PC for some gaming and a little headphone amp setup. For a short period I will plug this into the Sugden AMP to get Roon running with it and my raspberry PI.

I will research both these DACs properly but over the next couple of month I will get settled with my lovely new setup so I know the sound before shelling £2k on a DAC right up front.

Is this a more sensible approach?

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2 minutes ago, oxymoron said:

Thanks for the advice, I got a deal on my used gear and knocked a £250 off for buying the sugden amp and CD player. Also got the Totem speakers exdemo so got a few hundred off again.

Don't laugh, but I have a Topping D50 DAC I got 2 years ago for my PC for some gaming and a little headphone amp setup. For a short period I will plug this into the Sugden AMP to get Roon running with it and my raspberry PI.

I will research both these DACs properly but over the next couple of month I will get settled with my lovely new setup so I know the sound before shelling £2k on a DAC right up front.

Is this a more sensible approach?

Can’t disagree with what your saying, many people on here are willing to spend your money with little or no experience with items recommended. I’ve had experience of the Sugden DAC and the Luxman, I have a local Luxman dealer who has lent me the 250 and the 06 and both are impressive. The 250 is at least the DAC I would need to better the Cambridge DAC inside my streamer and to oust the meridian DAC on my transport.

The key is, get to know what you have now and listen to it inside out so when you do get a DAC, you can instantly and hopefully see it’s merits. You need to take all the time you need to spend your money wisely 

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10 minutes ago, oxymoron said:

Thanks for the advice, I got a deal on my used gear and knocked a £250 off for buying the sugden amp and CD player. Also got the Totem speakers exdemo so got a few hundred off again.

Don't laugh, but I have a Topping D50 DAC I got 2 years ago for my PC for some gaming and a little headphone amp setup. For a short period I will plug this into the Sugden AMP to get Roon running with it and my raspberry PI.

I will research both these DACs properly but over the next couple of month I will get settled with my lovely new setup so I know the sound before shelling £2k on a DAC right up front.

Is this a more sensible approach?

Which Sugden CD player do you have?

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4 minutes ago, HouseElf said:

Which Sugden CD player do you have?

I got a SUGDEN CD21 SE according to the invoice, when I am at home I will confirm the exact model number.

Now, interestingly regarding the Cambridge Audio CXNv2, I did look at that, is that good enough as a DAC (and streamer)?

I didn't actually intend buying a CD player originally as I don't have many CDs at all but when I checked all the Sugden retails I saw that a hifi shop near me had the amp and cd player in used for sale, I couldnt resist.

I am very glad I got it... this may sound silly but taking the sound to one side, the CD player allows me to stick on a whole album, crack a beer and just listen, no other distractions.

I now realise that streamers will need to be accessed via a phone app, I know the Cambridge has a screen but it looks tiny and 10ft away I wont be able to read it. When I am on my phone, I will get personal emails, facebook, whatsapp, Teams and text messages then on top work emails pinging through. I am now thinking it could seriously distract me from relaxing and actually listening to the music.

What do you guys think?

I don't know where to go now hehe, maybe I could get a tablet and use a different andriod account and not link it to any social media and outlook?

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1 hour ago, oxymoron said:

I got a SUGDEN CD21 SE according to the invoice, when I am at home I will confirm the exact model number.

Now, interestingly regarding the Cambridge Audio CXNv2, I did look at that, is that good enough as a DAC (and streamer)?

I didn't actually intend buying a CD player originally as I don't have many CDs at all but when I checked all the Sugden retails I saw that a hifi shop near me had the amp and cd player in used for sale, I couldnt resist.

I am very glad I got it... this may sound silly but taking the sound to one side, the CD player allows me to stick on a whole album, crack a beer and just listen, no other distractions.

I now realise that streamers will need to be accessed via a phone app, I know the Cambridge has a screen but it looks tiny and 10ft away I wont be able to read it. When I am on my phone, I will get personal emails, facebook, whatsapp, Teams and text messages then on top work emails pinging through. I am now thinking it could seriously distract me from relaxing and actually listening to the music.

What do you guys think?

I don't know where to go now hehe, maybe I could get a tablet and use a different andriod account and not link it to any social media and outlook?

I suspect the Sugden CD21 SE will be great for CD replay. Some Sugden CD players have a digital input hence my question. 

As for streamers I had the Cambridge CXN V1 a few years ago and it is a very competent streamer and DAC - in the context of your system I would have thought the V2 would be great from a sound quality perspective. You can get better but then it will depend on how much you will stream music against CD's. It will also depend on your budget obviously.

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32 minutes ago, HouseElf said:

I suspect the Sugden CD21 SE will be great for CD replay. Some Sugden CD players have a digital input hence my question. 

As for streamers I had the Cambridge CXN V1 a few years ago and it is a very competent streamer and DAC - in the context of your system I would have thought the V2 would be great from a sound quality perspective. You can get better but then it will depend on how much you will stream music against CD's. It will also depend on your budget obviously.

The trouble I have is lack of reference to go on, money side I would like bang for buck. I guess what I mean is the CXNv2 95% of the DAC/Streamer compared to say the Luxman Da-250 which is c120% more money for 5% more sound quality.

Essentially I feel I am fool at the moment that knows nothing. All I know when I started I didn't like hard, bright, harsh sound like my old Monitor Audio Home Cinema setup I had, which occassionally I would turn into 2.0 stereo mode to listen to music.

When I started ready up on hifi I came realised I would like a balanced sound, then discovered brands like Audio Note first, but that was serious money and didn't look like it would come with bells and whistles like remote controls etc. So I kept looking as keen to hook my TV into System, CD player and a streamer. I then discovered Sugden and how they matched very well with Proac and Totem speakers, found a used sugden, went and heard and came away with a CDplayer and new speakers to boot (Totem Sky Bookshelfs). That CD Play > A21SE > Totem Sky speakers just sounded a joy to listen to music, very wide sound stage, tight bass, excellent seperation, enough detail and clarity for me without being harsh.

The only piece missing now is a "proper"streamer to replace the Raspberry Pi and a DAC. I need to be careful with these final parts as I want it to sound the same or could settle with slightly warmer but definatily not any more brighter/harsh/detailed/clearer.

Maybe later in the year I could ask fellow forum members in the South East to listen to thier sugden kit and dacs to get a better feel for things, obviously once we get a jab!

My CD player is this model:

https://2ndhandhifi.co.uk/product/sugden-a21se-cd-cd-player/

It has a digital output so could act as a transport if I prefer it through my DAC? In any case the combo I bought sounds bloody amazing to me and is the best thing I have ever heard.

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No need to feel foolish. We all 

3 minutes ago, oxymoron said:

The trouble I have is lack of reference to go on, money side I would like bang for buck. I guess what I mean is the CXNv2 95% of the DAC/Streamer compared to say the Luxman Da-250 which is c120% more money for 5% more sound quality.

Essentially I feel I am fool at the moment that knows nothing. All I know when I started I didn't like hard, bright, harsh sound like my old Monitor Audio Home Cinema setup I had, which occassionally I would turn into 2.0 stereo mode to listen to music.

When I started ready up on hifi I came realised I would like a balanced sound, then discovered brands like Audio Note first, but that was serious money and didn't look like it would come with bells and whistles like remote controls etc. So I kept looking as keen to hook my TV into System, CD player and a streamer. I then discovered Sugden and how they matched very well with Proac and Totem speakers, found a used sugden, went and heard and came away with a CDplayer and new speakers to boot (Totem Sky Bookshelfs). That CD Play > A21SE > Totem Sky speakers just sounded a joy to listen to music, very wide sound stage, tight bass, excellent seperation, enough detail and clarity for me without being harsh.

The only piece missing now is a "proper"streamer to replace the Raspberry Pi and a DAC. I need to be careful with these final parts as I want it to sound the same or could settle with slightly warmer but definatily not any more brighter/harsh/detailed/clearer.

Maybe later in the year I could ask fellow forum members in the South East to listen to thier sugden kit and dacs to get a better feel for things, obviously once we get a jab!

My CD player is this model:

https://2ndhandhifi.co.uk/product/sugden-a21se-cd-cd-player/

It has a digital output so could act as a transport if I prefer it through my DAC? In any case the combo I bought sounds bloody amazing to me and is the best thing I have ever heard.

No need to feel foolish. We all have to start somewhere and with hifi there is not a lot to learn - you either like the sound of something or you don't. It is that simple. 

To be honest it sounds to me like you are well on the way to where you want to be. If you are enjoying the sound of the speakers in your room and the amp works well with them then I would suggest that have done the difficult bit of building your system. Everything else is adding flavour to what you have. The fact you know what sound you are looking for helps too. 

I would suggest that you enjoy what you have for a while and then look to borrow some DAC's to go with your Raspberry PI and see what suits.

The only thing I would suggest now is that you change one thing at a time to establish the effect of that new bit of kit before changing anything else. You may find you reach your goal quicker than you thought. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last night I found an interesting view on the Sugden A21SE compared to the MK1 Leema Pulse. I could paste it on here but as it's with the other forum, not sure I'm allowed to. It has a number of well-known contributors, such as CnoEvil, Chebby, yours truly blah blah blah

One of the interesting comments from the OP was the Sugden had brighter vocals

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11 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

Last night I found an interesting view on the Sugden A21SE compared to the MK1 Leema Pulse. I could paste it on here but as it's with the other forum, not sure I'm allowed to. It has a number of well-known contributors, such as CnoEvil, Chebby, yours truly blah blah blah

One of the interesting comments from the OP was the Sugden had brighter vocals

Could you give the identity of the other forum?

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35 minutes ago, HouseElf said:

Could you give the identity of the other forum?

I could but...

Let's just say it's one where we migrated from.

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56 minutes ago, plasticpenguin said:

I could but...

Let's just say it's one where we migrated from.

I would agree that the A21Se has a greater dynamic sound in the vocals, I would put that down to a greater accuracy than the pulse. In 2009 I had a Pulse on loan for a few weeks and thought it was a great amp. When I had the SE after, it was streets ahead on texture, soundstage and accuracy. Like all amps, they strive for tonal balance but not always do they satisfy in all areas. 
Both the Sugden and the Leema were driving the Harbeth C7s and given these two amps as the only choice, I’d choose the Sugden. In those days, they were both cheaper. The Sugden was under 2k and the A21a was around 1.4K. This is the reason I went for the A21a as imo, it was better all round than both the aforementioned amps, it’s why it’s stood the test of time over the years. Barely does the dial go past 9 on volume and provides ample current to deliver the sweetest textured sound your going to hear and in some cases, better than amps at twice the price.

The Signature version of the 21se is said to be more in line with what I’m looking for. 
Take nothing away from the Pulse, it’s a great all rounder and imo, better than the following amps that replaced it.  

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