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About Al.M

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  1. Recent example, of same speaker sounding so different in different rooms is a VAF I66, which I had 15 years ago in a larger room and I thought is was merely Ok good but lacked bass, thin sounding and cold so I sold it. Acquired another pair of VAF I66 a few months ago this time in a smaller room and my sound experience completely different, much more bass, warm sound, musicality, great tone, incredible focussed midrange, imaging and sweet highs. I now rate this speaker in the top 5 of my experience. It uses some of Seas drivers speaker manufacturers top line expensive Excell magnesium cone midrange units with decent tweeter and 8 inch paper cone woofer in solid cabinet and Australian made.
  2. I may have missed it but don’t think we know what the OP’s room is like (size, seated stereo position, acoustics) because while the speaker choice is important, the room maketh any speaker warm, cold or fuzzy no matter how one wishes it to be. You get warm speaker in a warm sounding room and have a runaway greenhouse effect, cold speaker in cold sounding room and then an ice age, warm + cold or reverse = potential bliss. Other issues like too small a room with a big speaker or the reverse can cause issues for speaker choices. The above issues will be plaguing you with every different speaker in different showrooms, and even with the same speaker in different rooms, so it won’t be apples vs apples. It would be good to understand this when auditioning.
  3. If you end up with the Ns5000 I’m sure I can gather a small posse in Perth to help carry and open the box for you and lugg some spare NS1000 laying around for a decent shootout plus mow the lawn and wash the car for you 😀
  4. Yes Midland Westcoast hifi has the Ns5000. It can generally only be appreciated with the frame of mind such as: 1. If one is familiar with what the NS1000 can do more than, which is what it seeks to follow (refer to Yamaha literature) and a much warmer and musical sound ( judge for yourself and partner with correct gear) 2. Yamaha as a brand name vs other fancy hi end brand naming and pricing is not to be looked down upon and therefore affecting judgement 3. It is in terms of significant and major material and design advancement for a box cone driver speaker over the usual hum drum - merry go round - reinvent the wheel - change cosmetics - keep the customer guessing - one up man ship design formulae brief (e.g. Magico, B&W and SF etc) 4. Suits your music style of course and room size 5. If not a completely panel, open baffle or horn speaker convert
  5. These are interesting, but unseen and unheard could be very high risk candidate.
  6. Heard these recently and they are quite good with lively highs, midrange, good imaging and punchy bass, nothing boring and typical SF high class looks. Not as good sound as a VAF I 66 ($8k) or I 93 ($12k) or no where near as good as Yamaha NS5000 ($20k). Heard Spendor D9 and they are better than SF Olympica but not over VAFs or NS5000. I highly recommend the NS5000 it’s got everything except panel speaker attributes and even then images very well, extremely detailed micro mids and highs, beautiful tonality, massive deep punchy bass. Way better than even a $70k SF, IMO. The latest midrange driver design and technology (made of Zylon superior to beryllium) is streaks ahead of an ATC midrange unit although that is very nice indeed.
  7. Can you try to find impredance test measurement sweeps for both the amp and speaker and post a picture here and people can advise more accurately.
  8. Your budget of $500 to $11k used is very broad. The cheapest used speaker that could do that is a Spendor BC1 $700 or Yamaha Ns1000 for around $1500 or Linn Kan monitor with subwoofer $1k, if lucky find an Acoustat ESL 30 year old model with robust panels that last nearly for ever, panel speakers like Magnepan ribbons, Ambience hybrid ribbons for $1200, and still good condition MLs are worth considering. Otherwise lookout for any of these coming up used, some $30k may come down to $10k
  9. For that money something like this made right here in WA Margaret River http://www.supratek.com.au/order-price-info.html would absolutely do it with jaw dropping results but if you want more conservative gear (and sound) whether solid state or tube design with more bells and whistles then consider the usual commercial candidates https://www.westcoasthifi.com.au/product-category/2-channel-audio/?product-category=pre-amplifier-2-channel-audio perhaps the Prima Luna tube preamp or Vincent units. Another alternative is consider used gear and trial some sub $1000 items that are less risk, try and buy to see if there is a difference, if no good onsell them and little or no money lost. Older used preamp items in the Gumtree or other places like Audio Research Ls7, Conrad Johnson, Musical Fidelity etc may do (these are just ones I know but obviously much more out there). Looking more widely in your price range consider these options, many on eBay such as Schiit Audio Freya tube (Addicted to Audio Perth), Sonic Frontiers, Audio Research SP 14 & 16 etc https://www.stereophile.com/category/solid-state-preamp-reviews For streamers any of these are good https://www.whathifi.com/best-buys/streaming/best-music-streamers personally I’d be going for the CA, Yamaha and Pioneer units with good reviews.
  10. In addition to getting a streamer, I would be aiming for a better preamp. What you have are $4400 capable speakers, $1500 mediocre preamp, good enough current $2500 power amp vs potentially slightly samish or better $3000 mono power amps based on the same $2500 amps in separate chassis perhaps with not much improvement or better still $4500 power amp with better chance of improvement. Edit: The $4500 power amp spend would be my choice if retaining the preamp in that set of options and a power amp upgrade is decided upon. If you held onto the current preamp there would be a price point and potential quality imbalance. Some people ditch the separate preamp and instead use the preamp functions within the streamer and this may be another way to go. Many people recommend a ratio of 50-60% preamp spend and 40-50% power amp spend is the way to go. Ultimately best to try these in the shop before deciding.
  11. I had a good listen to a functioning 2905 about 6 months ago in a familiar setup and they are an all round good ESL sound, quite full range, robust, with good enough impact and deep bass, beautiful musicality, with the expected ESL imaging and voicing that cone speakers cannot match etc. It too has started to give trouble in the panel somewhere. From my memory of the old ESL 57 the 2905 is overall better except for the extra magical reality, voicing and imaging. I’ve also heard ER Audio ESLs in the past and it is true they excel over the 2905 in reality, fastness, sharpness and extra detail of sound in a good way, but do not have the bass depth, higher drive and loudness, and breakup at higher levels, and have a very low impedance that is very demanding on amps which literally get very hot. While the 2905 has much less detail retrieval, speed and can sound tame by comparison, if you let the ears adjust and forget the ER Audio sound they will be fine. I have also owned Nakamichi dragons which are very good but due to the hybrid design and small panel area they do not sound like a full panel ESL and one only gets about half the effect though much better bass response obviously. I have a pair of Acoustat 121 ESL for the last 15 years and they are another good compromise among all of these, with the sound robustness and bass impact of nearly a 2905, great reliability, with enough detail, imaging and voicing and easy to drive with most amps. Among all of these I would rate the ESL 57 and ER Audio as having the most uncanny special sound in what they do best despite each having their own set of cons. All of these ESLs display typical ESL sound attributes in their design with each emphasising something that the other does to a lessor extent. Reliability aside, if one had to live with an everyday sound speaker the 2905, Acoustat 121 and Nakamichi would be perfectly fine. If one wants to go to the the ESL Olympics sound gymnastics that turns your brain inside out the ESL 57 and ER Audio are the ones to use. It’s quite interesting having some people not used to listening to an ESL, they often get confused with the sound presented to them, it’s as if they don’t seem to have the prior neural experience to interpret the sound
  12. For critical speaker listening sessions and discerning which setup is better sounding by smaller margins, only the sweet spot in the narrow equidistant listening triangle is relevant. Unless you have a truly omnidirectional or other speaker system. Dont laugh at one of the pics below
  13. There are number of problematic variables so far mentioned to make proper sense of things. In no particular order: 1. Good headphones in general can tend to make everything sound quite good particularly where both sources are already close and good to start with so it can be difficult. Beats headphones by common product review are more popular due to marketing and fashion than great sound quality, though they are satisfactory like many other headphones to assess things. 2. Most basic low cost DACs have the technical ability to discern differences here. The issue is definitely not DAC quality. There are many reviews of 320kbs vs higher formats and it is commonly said that there is about 10% subjective difference and this is perceived differently by each listener. Some people might rate the 10% as significant game changer while many like you say it is small. 3. Changing from headphones to a good speaker and amp system can start to show differences in sources. Not that headphones are lessor devices, but different SQ issues become apparent. 4. The reason why an iphone 5 with an old audio system (Music labs amp and Trevor Lees speakers) can be very good is that iPhones and iPods are quite good convincing devices and on highest settings are very good at a low to mid fi level - as good as a budget CD player, see here https://www.cnet.com/news/expert-audio-quality-test-5th-gen-ipod-vs-ipod-classic/ and when played with Music labs gear which is very good and Trevor’s earlier Speakers often based on copies of good Proac speaker designs using high quality drivers and design at 20-30% cost, that old system would be equal to about a modern day $10-15k setup. 5. If your main music genre is metal then you will not hear much difference no matter how good the system as metal is just inherently cluttered SQ to assess anything and you need not explore options any further. Blues, jazz and other genre is more detailed to assess things with. Also, among recorded music there are vast differences in sound quality despite the bit rates. For example, crappily recorded music on ultra high rez through the best system will still sound crap vs well recorded music on less high rez will sound vastly superior.
  14. Your OP seems to only be looking for speakers and not AV amp? If so the budget can be focused on speakers. Since HT is the majority use and with some music in mind try to get a speaker that has good midrange voicing meaning speech is very clear when watching movies and TV programs etc. Music oriented speakers can tend to be less suitable with recessed voices and one struggles to hear conversations and other details.. With 3.1 there is less chance of finding a perfectly same brand centre speaker matching the main speakers unless you are happy mixing it up if that doesn’t bother you. There are lot of good budget subs that were worth $400-2000 that devalue to 20-30% or less over the years so you needn’t wait until later as such. Subs provide the foundation to a good HT sound. Typical options are Sony SAWM40 ($50), Mirage, Yamaha, Krix, B&W, Focal etc. Typical used speaker options both floorstanders and standmount are B&W 601 & 602 series, Krix, Kef Ls50 ($800) and their cheaper line, Monitor Audio Bronze, Dynaudio, Mission etc and others mentioned so far.
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