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About twofires

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  1. With regard to the UDP-205 or 203 option, I had a bit of a muck around with them today while paying off the remainder of the RA-1592. Build quality seems great and all, but one annoyance for CD playback is that they are totally dependant on OSD and the remote for convenient use (i.e. knowing where you are on the CD, etc. etc.). This is an obvious point for a component that is primarily a video playback device, but not one I'd adequately contemplated. Even a cheap and cheerful NAD C516BEE is a more straightforward user experience. Something for me to consider. The network music search interface on the OPPO is a lot zippier than the one on my TV, however. I hear what the pro-music server people are saying, re: ripping everything to FLAC. I have partially done this, however I have two problems. One, many of the CDs did not rip successfully (random dropouts), even though the original discs play back just fine. To do it right I'd need to do it all again, and listen to each rip as I go. That is a LOT of time. The second problem is that the PC I use is primarily a gaming rig, with a very big graphics card that dumps a lot of electrical noise to ground, a lot of fan noise into the air, and a lot of switching noise at random intervals dependant on system load. It's a high quality machine (pushing [email protected] with all the bells and whistles takes a lot of GPU), but it was built for graphics intensive applications, and not audio. I guess these are the pitfalls of having games, movies, and music all in the one room. It seems that I came looking for fidelity arguments in favour of a standalone unit, but am finding far more mundane justifications.
  2. @Moikel I hadn't come across that one - I'll check it out. Cheers!
  3. @Eggcup The Daft That's pretty sound advice. Thank you! A mate of mine made the exact same observation, and I'd have to agree, although it ticks so many other boxes for me (good dac, boatloads of power, floating ground, injects a bit of excitement into the Q700s) that I'm willing to live with it. @NordicNorm That's a good question. Up until recently I was content with the idea of a Q series surround system, but after some time with it I've decided stereo is far simpler and more sensible (no wrestling with HDMI handshake issues etc. etc.). Now, I'm basically feeling out where I might be satisfied. I knew pretty quickly after trialling a power amp that I needed better amplification than my Marantz receiver, but as to whether the speakers will be enough after that... I'm unsure. I can see a future in which I might trade up to KEF R series, or Monitor Audio Gold, or Dynaudios of some stripe, but nothing over $10000. I have a little one on the way, so I have to be realistic!
  4. @NordicNorm I'm just trying to figure out whether other people have had experiences that justify the expense at this level of componentry, before devoting time to the whole audition process. If the difference between cd players is only discernible with speakers $5k and up, there's no point for me at this stage. You know?
  5. Opinions already differing! @Tasebass, what leads you to feel it's worthwhile? I read an awful lot about jitter and power supply noise, but I don't know if any of that is actually audible (the usual dilemma). @NordicNorm - interesting. The Rotel integrated I'm buying already has a decent DAC on-board, an AK4490 or similar (they list the brand and specs, but not the model). The reason I'm not too concerned with DACs is that, as with all external DACs connected with TOSLINK or digital coax, they are limited to the 24/192 throughput of the connections supplying them with bits. Which means that the external DAC you linked, the DAC in the RA-1592, and the Wolfson DACs in the Rotel CD player would all be working at the same resolution, meaning that (assuming the implementations in all three units are good) the DAC is unlikely to be where gains are made, if gains are to be had at all. I think. That's how I'm seeing it from my chair, anyway. If I'm wrong then I guess I could just keep going with the BD player using the DAC in the amp? I do take your point about the value to be had in the second hand market, however. My only concerns there are a) getting a dud, and b) aesthetics. I would get one of the older Rotel units (RCD1570, 1520, etc.) on clearance at the moment (to sidestep both of these issues), but I'm not a fan of slot loading players, at all. Putting the DAC issue to one side, to what extent do people believe (or have evidence to support the notion) that other aspects of expensive CD players or transports improve sound? I'm thinking of the mechanical and power supply components specifically.
  6. Hi all, I'm about to acquire a shiny new Rotel RA-1592 integrated amp to get a bit more oomph out of my KEF Q700s, and was wondering if there's any advantage to getting a nice matching CD player like the soon-to-be-released Rotel RCD-1572. I have a few hundred CDs, but no dedicated player (just an ageing Samsung BD player I've been using as a transport). Considering the mid-fi nature of my stuff, would I see any benefit in going with the Rotel unit (other than the aesthetic matchy-matchy one)? I have no particular interest in SACD so needn't make that leap in pricepoint, and while I'm open to the idea of an OPPO UDP-205, I don't NEED 4k BD that badly either. Thoughts?
  7. @Megawolf Thanks for the tips! Not to worry, I'll make sure the Rotel is put to work SOMEWHERE. Weirdly, I saw a 1075 on eBay that is only 2-prong chassis grounded. Is that true of your 1098 also? Maybe they changed things up for the 10 series, and changed it back afterwards. Interesting.
  8. Hi Ian, To clarify, the Rotel is not tripping at the breaker, the insurge on power up trips the surge protection in the Belkin surge protector it's connected to if it anything else on the board is drawing power at the same time. I think it's a flaw in the design of the older Rotel series. I imagine the 1098 powers on more gradually, more like a modern power amp. Once the RB-991 successfully powers up the unit works as it should. I had the unit tested by Filatronics, and they said it was fine other than the gain being set a touch too high (which they corrected). Cheers, Simon
  9. For me, all-in-one features are designed to take the fuss out of turntables for people who aren't interested in dialling in a system so much as ticking a box - 'can play records', check. Nothing wrong with that - you just need to figure out if that's you. If not, you should probably try and picture your ideal setup (that upgrade in the next couple of years you were talking about). FWIW, I tallied up what I spent on my turntable, cart, and preamp, and it came to roughly what my speakers retail for. Not sure if this is a good rule of thumb or not, but it may give you pause if you are thinking of dropping more than $3000 on speakers some day (or less than $600, for that matter). No point buying something that your future speakers will reveal to be a rumbling or fluttering piece of garbage, nor buying a good turntable and choking it off with a substandard speakers. This is good advice, especially if it's from a specialist store (JB Hi-Fi aren't going to do anything other than hand you a box at the roller door 'round back). If you like the sound in the store, and the store sets it up at your place, and it sounds like crap, that is (all other things being equal) on them to fix. If you set it up yourself, well...
  10. Aaaaaand my hifi store of choice does quite a bit of business with Audio Active. This is great! Now to cut back on vinyl to save for the dang thing.
  11. @Sir Sanders Zingmore The way I understand it, you can earth to the chassis, or you can earth to the mains (I'd have to hit the books to understand the hows and whys). All I know is that I'm after the former, as the latter causes issues with my system (as far as I can tell). @Janjuc That is some good news (re: Audio Active)! I think that addresses all of my Emotiva concerns. Thank you! Unless anyone has any other strong power amp opinions they'd like to share...
  12. @Janjuc That's handy! I still have concerns about reliability and warranty issues now that Emotiva are distributing direct, but every little thing off the 'cons' column helps. How do you find the XPA-2 generally? Any issues? What are you using for a pre, which speakers etc.? I have to admit, if they were still available here through a distributor (and $1799 rather than $2300) I'd grab two and never worry again. The issue is that if I have deal-breaker problem with it like I had with the Rotel... well, I imagine a trial would be expensive once shipping is factored in. As it is I'm leaning toward the Anthem MCA225 (or A2 if I can stretch to it), although I don't know if the low input sensitivity is going to cause issues. Any Anthem users here?
  13. Hi all. I'm looking for a stereo power amp to replace a Rotel RB-991. The Rotel is going because, long story short, it's mains-grounded (3 prong power cable), and so is my HTPC. Adding a second mains-grounded component to my system, it turns out, introduces a loud ground loop hum that no amount of cable-swapping and re-configuring can tame. If I leave the PC off and listen to vinyl only, everything is fine - buuuuut that's not going to do, and so the Rotel has to go. So, I'm looking for recommendations for a chassis grounded (2 prong cable) power amp, ideally with 150wpc+ at 8ohms, preferably rated down to 4ohms. Some relevant info: System TV: Samsung 4k HDCP 2.2 thing that loathes handshaking with my AVR AVR: Marantz SR6010 HTPC: custom built Windows 10 machine (mains-grounded) Turntable: Technics SL1210mkII Phono Preamp: Emotiva XPS-1 Speakers: KEF Q700s, Q600c, Q400, and Q300s at the rear Budget Up to $3500 for a good solution. This may mean higher RRP, depending on which stores I can source the unit from (some being more flexible than others with price). What am I looking for? 150wpc+ into 8ohms stereo power amp (or comparable solution), capable of handling 4ohm loads, with a high enough damping factor that the bass is tight and snappy (like the Rotel). Unlike the Rotel, I need something without overly harsh or sibilant treble, and it absolutely cannot be something that is mains grounded. In my price range, that last proviso alone rules out: Rotel, Cambridge, Parasound, and Exposure. I'm sure they're all good amps, but they're not going to work for me. What I'm considering Emotiva XPA-2 Pro: heaps of power, good price, similar input sensitivity to Marantz power amps, suggesting it will work well with my SR6010, high damping factor Con: no longer distributed in Australia so there's hundreds or dollars in shipping if it breaks, and there are many stories of them breaking, also, the blue LED aesthetic is a bit too early-2000s Nokia 8250 for me Emotiva BASX A-300 Pro: cheap, could easily get 2 and bi-amp the Q700s and get better channel separation, high damping factor Con: audio quality(?), no longer distributed in Australia so there's hundreds or dollars in shipping if it breaks, and there are many stories of them breaking, blue LED aesthetic Marantz MM7025 Pro: cheap, could easily get 2 and bi-amp the Q700s and get better channel separation, guaranteed to play well with the SR6010, I know I like the Marantz sound, my preferred stockist is flexible with pricing Con: barely more power than the SR6010 (if only one used, not sure about bi-amping), not rated to anything below 6ohms, el-core transformer (does this even matter?) Marantz MM7055 Pro: more channels, guaranteed to play well with the SR6010, I know I like the Marantz sound, my preferred stockist is flexible with pricing Con: essentially a 5 channel version of the MM7025, with all the same flaws, bi-amp likely not as good as with 2 MM7025s because it's a shared power supply and is essentially bi-wiring Marantz MM8077 Pro: heaps of channels, guaranteed to play well with the SR6010, I know I like the Marantz sound, toroidal transformer, my preferred stockist is flexible with pricing Cons: a lot of money for seemingly very little gain over the SR6010 Anthem MCA225 Pro: a tonne of power, especially into low ohms (rated down to 2ohms!), my preferred stockist is flexible with pricing Con: a lot of money for the spec, 225wpc is at <1%THD, rather than a more listenable 0.08% (will this matter if the overhead is just for transients?), much lower input sensitivity than other brands (10kohms vs 22+) which may(?) mean a bad match with the SR6010 NAD C 275 BEE Pro: good price, two sets of terminals for bi-wiring Con: not much more power than the SR6010, reliability issues, harder and harder to find, low input sensitivity like the Anthem Any thoughts or additional suggestions appreciated, especially from those with first-hand experience of any of the above equipment. Cheers, Simon P.S. I'm not going to bother with ground loop isolators to bodge the Rotel into working, as it has other issues (massive draw on power up that occasionally trips the protection on my surge board, brightness, lack of remote trigger) that means it's ultimately better if I replace it.