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David Walker

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  1. +1 for the RELs, with only an old Sansui sub for comparison. You can dial it down for music and up for movies. REL actually recommends you wire it up to your normal speaker connections using the Neutrik Speakon cable, so make sure that's included (or budget $80 to buy one).
  2. FWIW and IIRC, the Neutrik Speakon cable’s recommended config is to wire it to the same posts as the stereo speakers.
  3. Looking at this a bit more - because I too covet those LS50s - KEF's specs say they measure +/-3db at 79hz. Below that, according to published figures, they roll off fairly quickly. All that suggests a sub, set low and with the right crossover, might add a lot. Warning: I'm not an expert in anything here. But here's some evidence worth looking at: Amir Majidmehr notes that despite their reputation he can measure "a good sized drop in bass frequencies between 50 and 150 Hz" on-axis and concludes "a subwoofer with proper EQ is well advised": https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/kef-ls50-bookshelf-speaker-review.11144/ From the Sound and Vision review of the LS50s: "The bass is excellent for a small speaker, but if you want to crank the hell out of it you should add a sub. Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart” sounded clean at 93 dB (measured from my listening position about 10 feet away), but a little thin." https://www.soundandvision.com/content/review-kef-ls50-speaker In a long Steve Hoffman thread, plenty of other LS50 owners say a sub or two made a big difference, with the music-directed RELs the popular choice: https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/a-sub-woofer-for-kef-ls-50s.322617/ Ears and brains vary too. My taste is for a little more deep bass than my 20-year-old son hears as ideal. A small REL made a big difference to my own nearfield listening, even though I liked my speakers. If you opt for a sub, it won't need to be that big for nearfield. REL T5i? T7i? Or if you bought a Hegel, maybe you can run to REL's S line, reportedly faster and more dynamic. Then you'd have all that LS50 clarity and dynamism, plus the bass extension you might be seeking. Note to self: If you ever buy the LS50s or even the Q150s, keep the REL.
  4. Hi snub from another ex-lurker. Experimenting with the placement of the KEFs is a good idea, but you might also try borrowing a friend’s amp and speakers for a few hours to see what’s off in your system. Even pretty cheap gear would tell you something. And before you do that, two silly ideas: Have you checked that the speakers are wired + to + and - to -? (I once made this mistake). Have you tried the whole setup in a different room? Rooms make a big difference that can go overlooked in all the tech talk. The REL sub is a great notion for music. I added an old REL T2 a while back and found it a subtle but terrific addition.
  5. "Wife is keen for me to upgrade ..." Quality partnering is vital for a good system.
  6. I'm not surprised that this sounds great. It's an extra-output version of NAD's 7020 receiver, with the power output boosted from 20 watts to a very conservatively claimed 25 watts per channel. The "PE" stands for Power Envelope, a technology that NAD claimed would allow the amp to handle greater power loads for a brief period. And the 7020 is essentially an early 1990s version of the legendary NAD 3020 amplifier, with a nice 4020 AM/FM receiver attached. There are people who swear that the 7020 family sounds even better than the 3020. I doubt that's true, but it certainly sounds as good as the 3020. NAD claimed that the Power Envelope design "produces bursts of up to 60 watts/channel at 8 ohms and 80 watts/channel at 4 or 2 ohms". Regardless of marketing, they were famously able to drive difficult speakers at decent volumes. The bang-for-buck was extraordinary in its day. One of the NAD founders is alleged to have called the 7020 "the best thing NAD ever made". They also age well. My 7020e is still the heart of my main system, now attached to all sorts of technology that wasn't even invented when it was born (wi-fi, subwoofer, NAS). It was pretty dirty inside when a pro cleaned it up for the first time last year, but otherwise it was fine. Specs here: http://www.nrpavs.co.nz/pdf/NAD_7225PE_brochure.pdf Review here: https://www.tersaudio.com/nad-7225pe-review/
  7. I'm coming around to the "no need to rush and find a replacement" view, not for the first time in the past three decades. Contrary to my expectations, the bloke who cleaned it out for me last year - Dick at Fairfield's Open Ear Audio - recommended against me paying him to recap it. His report ended: "Reassemble, clean exterior and run tests. All channels perfect." He was running a 7225PE in his office for day-to-day listening, while surrounded by one or two hundred thousand dollars worth of other people's gear, and he seemed to know what he was talking about.
  8. I'm a MusicBee user, because it has the odd but likeable quality of not getting in my way once I set it up to my liking. (It's very customisable.) That said, JRiver worked nicely for me as well.
  9. Hello. I'm a newcomer who has had basically the same system for 32 years. Yes, I am starting to think about upgrading more of it. I'd really welcome suggestions. But it's also possible I won't take them, because ... well, it's complicated. Back in 1988 I bought a NAD 7020e and a pair of 8020e speakers. I considered it a starter rig that I would replace a few years down the track. The 8020es are front-ported 2-way bookshelves actually made by KEF. The 7020e is a sleeper, a 3020e with a no-drift tuner added; the late Martin Borish, long-time NAD MD, is said to have regarded it as the best thing the brand ever made. Count me as a believer: I replaced the NAD 7020e with a Cambridge Audio Azur 540R in my main listening room for a year, then listened carefully to the two of them side-by-side, and went back to the NAD. I now feed the 7020e from a silent PC running MusicBee, and a Synology NAS full of FLACs and MP3s, via an Audioquest Dragonfly Black. I recently added a REL T2 subwoofer to the mix, connected via the Neutrik Speakon cable to the NAD's speaker terminals. It has made a real difference, dialled down low enough to almost disappear - until you turn it off. I also had the terrific Chromecast Audio plugged in for a while. It's impressive what you can feed an older amp. My next obvious change is probably to move the speakers to the family room. I auditioned some replacements about 15 years ago, and didn't like any of them quite as much as the NADs I already owned. But now there are affordable KEFs (Q150s? 350s?) and secondhand Dynaudios (Emits? Excites?). I should probably also find the 7020e's natural successor, maybe a secondhand Cambridge Audio CXA60 or a Marantz. But while the NAD may not have the world's best audio, it has proved remarkably adaptable and durable. I had the internals cleaned up last year by a specialist. And I'm so used to its sweet, warm sound that I suspect it's possible I won't like anything else.
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