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Tone Malone

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About Tone Malone

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  1. I think it's worth checking the reputation of NBN providers both generally (eg, for customer service) and on a local level (eg, for their connection speed and reliability in your area). Facebook local groups often have discussion threads which can give you an idea of satisfaction levels with the different providers in your area. Of course, all the providers depend on the NBN setup so there are some locations where connections will be flaky, no matter who you go with ... We ended up going with TPG and are happy. It also came with an Archer VR1600v modem/router (one of the better ones you can get via a provider, some of the default modems offered by providers are utter pieces of ****) - but I'm not sure how TPG perform in your area. Telstra was initially a tempting option because they offered a 4g backup system if the nbn went down - but then I read the reports of how bad and slow that 4g backup connection was. They also locked you into to larger upfront cost. It's better IMO to bump up your mobile phone data plan if need "insurance" and then have the freedom to walk and change providers if you don't like them.
  2. I don't know if this will work for your Chromecast devices, but I've generally found my wifi connections to be more reliable when I assign a static IP address to each device I use regularly at home. Find out what the Chromecast's unique MAC is, then give them a static IP address in the router/modem software. Just a thought. Good luck!
  3. When I last auditioned several amps side by side (about 3-4 years ago) the class A/B amps generally outperformed their class D counterparts at the same price point. I understand class D technology is improving all the time, but I'd still need a lot of convincing in a home audition to purchase one. So +1 for A/B from me.
  4. I'd be looking in the second-hand market in the Stereo.net classifieds (lower risk than eBay; the folks around here keep the community in good shape) or try a couple of hifi stores for some trade-in gear. Some shops with second-hand trade-ins seem to put a pretty high markup on them; others just seem keen to clear the stock and the items are priced accordingly. An example of the latter: I was helping a mate with a speaker purchase at a hifi store and noticed a pair of second-hand B&W floorstanders in the corner. We tried them and they blew everything we had tried out of the water. I guessed the store might be asking $1200-$1500 for them and they were $800 - including a sub we hadn't even tried! The store did a lot of home installations and was in an affluent area - I got the impression quite a few of their clients were quite happy to trade up every 5-10 years. All the better for those if us on tighter budgets! Happy speaker hunting.
  5. I have Monitor Audio speakers but not the silver so will keep it general. When looking for amps I had best success with Musical Fidelity (which are often referred to as a good partner for MA but might be too expensive) and Marantz. Good luck!
  6. geez ... tough crowd.😅
  7. Folks, I ended up getting a Marantz UD5007 for $300 and couldn't be happier. A few pointers for anyone else considering one: * Completely understand people may prefer an Oppo over the Marantz. I ended up going the Marantz because (a) I'd heard great things specifically about its sound quality (stereo 2.0) and that was my priority (b) it matched my Marantz amp and (c) I could get one with "lower miles" for the same price point as the equivalent Oppo. * If you want a disk player with streaming services, I can't recommend the Marantz. The only service it still plays is Netflix, after they discontinued YouTube support a year or two ago. I went into this eyes open, but if I had paid near retail ($960) for this player, I would've been pretty peeved at this lack of support. * It doesn't play Blu-ray 4K, but seems to play just about any other format. * Blu-ray video is superb, I'm stoked at how it brings music concerts to life - the musicians' expressions, the detail on the guitars ... awesome. It also seems to extract just about every drop out of the limited DVD format. * I had been warned that Blu-ray players could struggle to do justice to CDs, but the UD5007 exceeded my expectations. I did an A/B test with my Bluesound Node (1st generation) accessing WAV files ripped from CD, and expected the two sources to sound almost identical. Instead, the CDs on the UD5007 had a more open sound. The bass sounded lower and tighter, and there was more definition between the instruments in the mid-higher frequencies. It achieved this while retaining warmth and without sounding harsher on all but the poorest recordings. To put this in perspective, the Bluesound is a decent rather than high-end source, and this difference wasn’t night and day like it can be between different speakers or even amplifiers – I’d rate the ud5007 as a “5-7% improvement”. But the difference was definitely there. * It's a shame you can't use the UD5007 as a DAC - but then even its upmarket sibling the 7007 doesn't seem to offer that. * The UD5007 has a "source direct" button for audio playback. It looks good on its credentials, but unlike the source direct button on my amp, I couldn't tell any difference. * The back panel outputs could best be described as "minimalist"! 2ch stereo of hdmi out to an AV amp should be fine, but it's worth checking before buying that it will work for you. I hope this helps prospective buyers. I think some quality, non-Oppo universal disk players might be flying under the radar on the second hand market (a Denon dbp-2012ud was on Stereonet recently for under $200); and there's a chance to get a high-quality component for a bargain price.
  8. I'd be keen to hear opinions of how the Node 2i's sound quality compares with the gen 1 & 2 Node. I have the gen 1 Node and while it has a nice analogue sound, the DAC could do with a bit more clarity.
  9. This is the one by the way. Not even sure it was released in Australia!
  10. Agreed @eltech. The only reason I'd like DAB+ is to get ABC Grandstand and ABC News from time to time - and to futureproof if some clown in charge decides to shut down AM/FM stations. But on balance, if the elusive Tivoli DAB hybrid from 10 years ago doesn't turn up, I'll take my chances on a Model Three.
  11. Thanks @Batty. To give more context, I first used a Model Three as an alarm clock when staying in a hotel several years ago and it was awesome both in terms of sound quality and usability. I have been eyeing off both the Model One and Model Three ever since. I finally bought a Tivoli Model 10 thinking it was a "sensible" purchase as it had DAB+. Sadly, no ... the interface is too complicated and it relies too heavily on the remote. Then I went down the plasticky route of Sangeans only to have the buttons play up like crazy after a while (this has happened with both a Sangean alarm clock and a radio). I understand with digital radio there are a lot more stations and the interface needs to accomodate this, but I can't help thinking we were better off before it arrived. So was hoping the seemingly rare Tivoli "Model DAB" from about 2007 might be the sweet spot, offering both the old and new, and an alarm.
  12. I'll tell you one thing, if an interior designer ever gets to go through your house and provide furniture options, you'll wish you had gone active. The one who advised us coneniently assumed the existing one was empty 😕
  13. Hi all, I've always had a soft spot for Tivoli radios but like the older models with the large dials. In particular, I've been keeping an eye out for this early DAB one second hand, dating back to about 2007. https://www.techradar.com/au/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/radio-tuners/tivoli-model-dab-100663/review Can anyone advise: - Did they release a DAB+ version in Australia? - Is it user friendly as an alarm clock? If it isn't, I'll just bide my time for the more common Model Three. No DAB+, but at least it sounds good and is simple to set as an alarm.
  14. Yes, the second hand option is daunting, I only felt more confident about it once I had already bought new! Half width amps are coming back into favour. Others to consider are Rega Brio and Cyrus One (a new Cyrus One HD has just been released). Another thought is the compact Quad Vena amp, which you could match up with the Quad S1 speakers ... I think you can get the combo for about $2k. Some half-width amps especially are "class D" ... it helps them generate a lot of power from a small box but they can have a different sound profile which isn't to everyone's taste. Regardless, if you go an amp and passive speakers, I'd find the speakers you like first and then check the amp complements the sound profile.
  15. A few other considerations: - How many boxes do you want? It's not just sound related if you or your household members get frustrated by the space taken up by components and extra wires. There have been some great gains recently in active speakers with built-in amplification. For instance, Triangle were offering an active speaker and turntable package which I think would leave you more than enough left over for any other components. If I were starting over, I'd be seriously tempted by the active speaker route. It also takes care of the challenge if amp/speaker matching. - The user-friendliness of your network player app is crucial IMHO, as it could likewise affect how often you actually enjoy music. I'm a +1 for the Bluesound, it's user friendly and quality is decent for the money. Also, streamers are likely to be superseded more quickly than many other components, so when the time comes you can just swap it out. There are also some great second-hand Bluray/universal disc players out there, if you can forego 4k Bluray. Check out Oppo, also Marantz and Denon. (Some may also meet your audio streaming needs.) I got a Marantz ud5007 for $300 and while it's a poor streamer, the sound and visuals are well beyond what I anticipated. That would take a lot of pressure off the budget for the other components. Good luck with your system building, trust your ears and enjoy the experience 😊
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