Hi-Fi Update: Which Speakers to buy?

SrPerplexo

Wammer
New Wammer
Oct 21, 2013
8
1
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Lisbon (Portugal)
AKA
José
Hi,

I have a Cambridge Audio Azur 640a & 640c (AMP & CD), Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (with stand Atacama Nexus 6), QED Silver Anniversary XT & Atlas Element Integra (Analogue Interconnect).

The changes/adds that i am planning are: Arcam irDAC (already reserved) and new speakers.

My musical taste is mainly classical, jazz, voices, alternative and also some electronic and pop/rock music.

I'd like someone to help me with the speakers' choice. I'm thinking to buy the new Focal Chorus 714 (floorstanding) or the B&W CM1. Focal are my first choice. (budget = 800£ or 950€)

Do you think the Cambridge Audio Azur 640a will be able to drive those speakers properly?

Thanks

 

68rednose

Wammer
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Mar 11, 2013
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SrPerplexo, welcome to the Wam!

I can't advice on these particular speakers, but for the process:

the amp-speaker combination will largely determine the signature of your set.

So, for auditioning, it is very recommendable to use the same amp as you have.

If the retailer does not carry your brand, bring your own amp with you.

Another thought would be to buy used equipment.

You can have 2-3 classes better/higher performence for the same amount of money.

 

silencio

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 12, 2010
2,701
10
0
Sofia, Bulgaria
AKA
Chris
The B&W are the better speakers to my years, but need more juice to sing to their best. The Focal, imho, are terrible! I'd suggest you expand you search and look at other options too, including a two/three year old S/H.

 

JamPal

Content Provider
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Jul 19, 2005
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James
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Hi,I have a Cambridge Audio Azur 640a & 640c (AMP & CD), Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (with stand Atacama Nexus 6), QED Silver Anniversary XT & Atlas Element Integra (Analogue Interconnect).

The changes/adds that i am planning are: Arcam irDAC (already reserved) and new speakers.

My musical taste is mainly classical, jazz, voices, alternative and also some electronic and pop/rock music.

I'd like someone to help me with the speakers' choice. I'm thinking to buy the new Focal Chorus 714 (floorstanding) or the B&W CM1. Focal are my first choice. (budget = 800£ or 950€)

Do you think the Cambridge Audio Azur 640a will be able to drive those speakers properly?

Thanks
Certainly yes, The Azur 640a is a very capable amp. The B&W CM1 would be my choice all the way. Not only are they sexy, they sound really nice too.

Actually that's not quite true, I would be buying second hand through the Dealer and/or Private classifieds here. Get a LOT more for your money.

 
G

Guest

Guest
Not sure where about's your based but I have some lovely B & W 705 including stands in the classified (my Dads actually).

Welcome to the Wam, it' a very silly but helpful place:^

 

SrPerplexo

Wammer
New Wammer
Oct 21, 2013
8
1
0
Lisbon (Portugal)
AKA
José
SrPerplexo, welcome to the Wam!I can't advice on these particular speakers, but for the process:

the amp-speaker combination will largely determine the signature of your set.

So, for auditioning, it is very recommendable to use the same amp as you have.

If the retailer does not carry your brand, bring your own amp with you.

Another thought would be to buy used equipment.

You can have 2-3 classes better/higher performence for the same amount of money.
Thanks for the reply.

They have the brand Cambridge Audio, but not this old model. I may ask for a CA 651 to listen to some speakers or i'll take my AMP with me (safer option).

The B&W are the better speakers to my years, but need more juice to sing to their best. The Focal, imho, are terrible! I'd suggest you expand you search and look at other options too, including a two/three year old S/H.
Thanks for the reply.

Why do you think Focal Chorus 714 are terrible? Lack of bass? I haven't hear them, yet...

When you say B&W CM1 need more juice to sing, you're saying i need a better amplification. Which amp would you suggest? Arcam A19, Rega Brio R, Marantz 6005?

 

silencio

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 12, 2010
2,701
10
0
Sofia, Bulgaria
AKA
Chris
Hi Jose,

The Focal are terrible to my ears - metallic sound, screechy treble, very fatiguing to listen to. Now, that is a personal opinion - there are people who like them. The CM1 were more agreeable to my ears and the CA should drive them well. My point about B7W speakers needing more juice came from my experiments, when I owned the 683 and tried most of their 6,7 series and the CM1 and 7. Example - my Denon PMA 1500AE was rated 70@8ohms/140@4 ohms and it clipped at higher volumes with the 683 and could not provide enough control for the 7 series. Sounded very good at moderate volumes though. Funnily my 40 w/c valve amp drove the 683 to higher volume with no issue. So just a warning to try with your amp and to try the speakers at your max listening levels. As far as your current setup is concerned - I think the CA combo is pretty good for its price and would suggest you keep it and look for speakers that partner well with it and your room and music tastes. What other speaker options do you have around? What's you room size and music preference?

 

SrPerplexo

Wammer
New Wammer
Oct 21, 2013
8
1
0
Lisbon (Portugal)
AKA
José
Hi Chris,

The room is about 30 metres square.

My musical taste is mainly: classical, opera, jazz, alternative, electronic, synthesizer and some old pop/rock (Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, etc).

I don't hear music very loud, far from that, actually.

Thinking of maintain the actual set (CA 640A+C), although the Arcam irDAC will change the dynamics of the combo. The more important is to fit the new speakers to the CA amplifier (for now). I'm not against changing the amplification as well, but...

About other speaker options: i was thinking, from the start, to acquire the KEF LS50 (heard wonders about them and the awards they received), but then talked to some guys at a Hi-Fi store and they recomended the B&W CM1 and Rega RS3 (with Rega Brio-R). I was searching info about Monitor Audio Silver RX6.

I loved the looks of the Focal Chorus 714...but if they are so metallic and screechy treble as you say, i think i wouldn't like them as well, unless the amplifier compensate those metallic and screechy characteristics.

 

RobHolt

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 28, 2006
940
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East London
AKA
Rob
Loudspeakers must be auditioned - by you. One person's thin and screechy is another's light and projected.

The best options I've found are:

- Find yourself a decent dealer and go listen to some alternatives. Best if buying new kit.

- Use forums such as this to network, visit others and listen to a variety of alternatives.

- Buy wisely on the used market and try lots of alternatives, in the knowledge that you can sell on good used equipment with little or no loss, sometimes even a profit.

The Cambridge amp is neutral, solid and pretty load tolerant. It'll drive most things well enough.

 

silencio

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 12, 2010
2,701
10
0
Sofia, Bulgaria
AKA
Chris
What I'd do in that case - go out and audition as many as you can. Best way to go about it. also see for any good quality S/H speakers locally. Don't rush it!

 

SrPerplexo

Wammer
New Wammer
Oct 21, 2013
8
1
0
Lisbon (Portugal)
AKA
José
Loudspeakers must be auditioned - by you. One person's thin and screechy is another's light and projected.The best options I've found are:

- Find yourself a decent dealer and go listen to some alternatives. Best if buying new kit.

- Use forums such as this to network, visit others and listen to a variety of alternatives.

- Buy wisely on the used market and try lots of alternatives, in the knowledge that you can sell on good used equipment with little or no loss, sometimes even a profit.

The Cambridge amp is neutral, solid and pretty load tolerant. It'll drive most things well enough.
What I'd do in that case - go out and audition as many as you can. Best way to go about it. also see for any good quality S/H speakers locally. Don't rush it!
I was thinking the same. My hears are the only ones that can choose the "best" speakers to match the Cambridge Amp i've got.

Thank you very much for your help.

Later i'll update my Hi-Fi choices and tell what i chose.

 

68rednose

Wammer
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Mar 11, 2013
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93
Mainland Europe
HiFi Trade?
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I was thinking the same. My hears are the only ones that can choose the "best" speakers to match the Cambridge Amp i've got. Thank you very much for your help.

Later i'll update my Hi-Fi choices and tell what i chose.
:^ Have fun and happy hunting !

 

SrPerplexo

Wammer
New Wammer
Oct 21, 2013
8
1
0
Lisbon (Portugal)
AKA
José
Hi there,

After a couple of hours listening, at the dealer, to the Focal Chorus 714 with my amp Cambridge Audio 640a and Arcam irDAC (with my rca cable), i've decided to buy them. The definition is very good, bass is very controlled and the high notes are pleasant to hear.

With voices and jazz, they're just terrific.

Next week i should have them at home. :)

 

craigmclellan

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Jun 17, 2011
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Craig
I had Focal Chorus 714 floorstanders for a while. I've tried to find them online but I can't, they all look different to the ones I had which is bizarre. I'll get a photo from my AVForums setup thread if you need it.

Ultimately, I went back to my old B&W speakers as the Focals sounded particularly dry and I found them to be very lightweight in terms of bass. The B&Ws I went back to were DM602S2. Then I upgraded to B&W CDM-1NT and now those live in the bedroom as I have upgraded again to a restoration project pair of Yamaha NS-1000M.

All speakers benefit from extra power, in my experience. Even cheap budget ones sound better, but the higher up the range you go, you will find the power is essential to make them actually be a worthwhile purchase. The CDMs sounded nice with a Sony TA-N55ES, but a bigger amp (turned out to be the VA555ES' own amp internally!) made them sing. The TA-N80ES turned it into a wall of sound.

I'm not a bass head by any means, but those Focal Floorstanders did not sound right. I had a Musical Fidelity F-15 on power duties back then too, so it isn't like they weren't being powered sufficiently.

 

SrPerplexo

Wammer
New Wammer
Oct 21, 2013
8
1
0
Lisbon (Portugal)
AKA
José
Thanks all.

Hope i wasn't wrong at the store. I only had some doubts when i listened to AC/DC's "Back In Black". But after listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Puccini's "Turandot", Enya, Frank Sinatra, Ice-T's "Reckless", some violin and piano works, i've made my decision.

I'll see, after 100+ hours of listening to some music, if i was right.

 

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