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How to add some zest to a pleasant system


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14 minutes ago, Nordost said:

Crank it up when she’s not home that’s what I do.😄

Ha, unfortunately that never happens. My wife is Chinese and very dependent on me for everything. Tends no to go anywhere without me. Walking on eggshells most of the time.

Edited by MattyW
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How's rock sound when you crank it a bit? Pretty much any limitation in my system goes away with a little added volume.... Heck the main limitation I have is how loud my wife lets me play 

In my experience the awfulness of low Dynamic Range is revealed the more you improve your system. While I agree with Satanica, ultimately the source material can let you down.   Like you luap

One thing to consider is - what you are really trying to add?  Is it:   Visceral chest-gasping bass? Stunningly clear detail and transparency? Instrument and vocal 'presence'?

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42 minutes ago, luapnodyl said:

Very true. To be honest I’m not even sure what I mean by zest other than something other. Given I mainly sense this when I’m listening to rock but not to , say, jazz, acoustic or classical, I’m guessing what I’m feeling a lack of is that visceral excitement you can get when listening to rock music. But it’s ever so slight. To be honest I’ve probably decided it’s there and am now suffering from confirmation bias or an unconscious urge to upgrade that is now manifesting itself on the conscious plane or sue thing like that.

So, since we are all just speculating wildly, I'll come out and suggest you buy a subwoofer and put it right next to you just as an experiment! It might give you some clues?

Also maybe look at room measurement, as an earlier poster suggested 👍

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46 minutes ago, MattyW said:

How's rock sound when you crank it a bit? Pretty much any limitation in my system goes away with a little added volume.... Heck the main limitation I have is how loud my wife lets me play  :(

 

42 minutes ago, Nordost said:

Crank it up when she’s not home that’s what I do.😄

 

That works but recently the music room has become the family lounging room which limits things. I knew there was a good reason to not get married or have children.

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20 minutes ago, tripitaka said:

So, since we are all just speculating wildly, I'll come out and suggest you buy a subwoofer and put it right next to you just as an experiment! It might give you some clues?

Also maybe look at room measurement, as an earlier poster suggested 👍

Got one I can borrow so I'll give it a try. Heard they were a swine to set up though 

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1 hour ago, Peter_F said:

The amp and speaker combination will never deliver a decent rock performance.  Either upgrade them or accept their limitations. 

My head totally agrees with you but my heart is torn at the prospect of stepping off the upgrade elevator

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7 minutes ago, luapnodyl said:

My head totally agrees with you but my heart is torn at the prospect of stepping off the upgrade elevator

No problem, it’s a bit like buying a Hyundai and being disappointed it doesn’t perform like a WRX.  

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10 hours ago, RCAJack said:

From what you've said about your music tastes and listening requirements, different speakers are likely the answer IMO. Your current speakers are great but that doesn't mean you won't prefer something different, nor does it necessarily mean climbing the ladder to something more expensive. I've seen various sub $1K floorstanders in the classifieds that I'm confident would get you closer to what you want. Pity it's such a nightmare to have a demo at the moment but you really need the opportunity to demo equipment before buying.

That could be a solution but I'd have an interesting time justifying it to my other half. The more I sit down and listen the more I'm thinking it's about getting used to a different sound signature from my speakers. Prior to the PMCs I had a pair of Dali Ikon 1 Mk1s. To my ears, the PMCs are better by almost every metric, richer, more detailed and also totally solved a booming bass problem I was having with the Dalis but I do miss that upper range (?) clarity that the ribbon tweeter gave. Ho hum.

Edited by luapnodyl
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Mmmmm, a mate of mine moved on from his Dali Ikon's to VAF DCX-63 when they were on sellout for $1k. Kicking myself I didn't grab a pair then as they're a spectacular speaker which completely obsolete the necessity a subwoofer. It's like having a sub on each side!  :)

Edited by MattyW
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May I add the Cambridge audio edge nq and w to your list. You’ll hear details and keep digging out old tunes, and listen to them once more, with your ears and mouth wide open ;)

for a bit more money the Rotel Michi power amp partners well with the Edge NQ 👍 

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Has anyone any experience with Naim? I've often read of them as being a step up from Arcam and also when reviewing the PCMs Darko tested them with a Nait 5i and was impressed at how they worked together. Funnily enough I almost pulled the trigger on one on Ebay before I bought the Arcam - it went for $700 or so. Saying that I've also read critical musings on the Naim sound. Saying that there's not a brand out there that doesn't seem to provoke differing reactions. I guess hearing is very subjective. 

Edited by luapnodyl
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However if you want a ‘different ‘ sound for less coin, a pair of good cans like the Senns 800 will be sweet, just don’t forget a good amp..

i like a sweet sound so I went with the 650..

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1 hour ago, Peter_F said:

The amp and speaker combination will never deliver a decent rock performance.  Either upgrade them or accept their limitations. 

Definitely.

The Arcam in particular seems to have its customary polite ,inoffensive and lazy sound and your quest for zest  will never materialise while it remains in your system. They have been doing polite and bland for decades and somewhat surprisingly, there is a market for that.

 

The PMC speakers, given the constraints of their size OK and I am sure, given a more powerful and transparent amplifier, you will probably see ( hear ) a  big difference.

 

Try something like a Musical Fidelity M5si. I am sure you will be  very surprised and your zest may well be found.

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1 hour ago, rantan said:

Definitely.

The Arcam in particular seems to have its customary polite ,inoffensive and lazy sound and your quest for zest  will never materialise while it remains in your system. They have been doing polite and bland for decades and somewhat surprisingly, there is a market for that.

 

The PMC speakers, given the constraints of their size OK and I am sure, given a more powerful and transparent amplifier, you will probably see ( hear ) a  big difference.

 

Try something like a Musical Fidelity M5si. I am sure you will be  very surprised and your zest may well be found.

The M5si looks like a  good suggestion but, given current financial stresses and strains, a bit out of my justifiable price range at the moment. How about the M3si or similar?

 

I've read equal amounts of reviews praising Arcam as those with your view. I have to admit I am finding myself  tending towards your view. I did like it when I auditioned it but it was far too short a time to really gauge the performance of the amp. It's not bad, certainly better than my previous amp, however when you start touching on the good it becomes easier to notice the bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, luapnodyl said:

The M5si looks like a  good suggestion but, given current financial stresses and strains, a bit out of my justifiable price range at the moment. How about the M3si or similar?

 

I think the M3si would be a great choice.

It will give the PMcs a nice boost and it has  an MM phono stage and DAC built in as well. RRP is $2K but with some negotiating you would probably get one for $1800 fairly easily.

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3 hours ago, petetherock said:

However if you want a ‘different ‘ sound for less coin, a pair of good cans like the Senns 800 will be sweet, just don’t forget a good amp..

i like a sweet sound so I went with the 650..

Yup, I've gravitated towards using a decentish DAP and cans/iems for rock and my system for everything else while accumulating wealth for the next step up the upgrade ladder. Kinda fits as the rest of the family are not big rock fans but can put up with anything else played at volume. 

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2 hours ago, luapnodyl said:

The M5si looks like a  good suggestion but, given current financial stresses and strains, a bit out of my justifiable price range at the moment. How about the M3si or similar?

 

I've read equal amounts of reviews praising Arcam as those with your view. I have to admit I am finding myself  tending towards your view. I did like it when I auditioned it but it was far too short a time to really gauge the performance of the amp. It's not bad, certainly better than my previous amp, however when you start touching on the good it becomes easier to notice the bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMO, do it once, do it good. If $$ is an issue, just enjoy the 'inoffensive' sound now, since it's not jarring. Trust me, if your system is a pain to listen to, then it's no fun. 

Then get an amp / DAC / whatever that you really crave...

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1 hour ago, luapnodyl said:

Yup, I've gravitated towards using a decentish DAP and cans/iems for rock and my system for everything else while accumulating wealth for the next step up the upgrade ladder. Kinda fits as the rest of the family are not big rock fans but can put up with anything else played at volume. 

Yeah, my wife hates rock too unfortunately. 

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1 hour ago, Nordost said:

Headphones are great but a very different listening experience to speakers.i think speakers are much better.

Agreed but needs must etc.

Edited by luapnodyl
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37 minutes ago, petetherock said:

IMO, do it once, do it good. If $$ is an issue, just enjoy the 'inoffensive' sound now, since it's not jarring. Trust me, if your system is a pain to listen to, then it's no fun. 

Then get an amp / DAC / whatever that you really crave...

No, no pain all. In fact quite the opposite.  On the whole very civilised and definitely not jarring. But a bit too nice.  I've found tweaking the sound with my Schiit Loki helps so, as you suggest, not really life or death. 

 

Meantime I'll keep salting the $$ away for the definitive purchase and come to terms with practicing delayed gratification. 

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2 hours ago, luapnodyl said:

No, no pain all. In fact quite the opposite.  On the whole very civilised and definitely not jarring. But a bit too nice.  I've found tweaking the sound with my Schiit Loki helps so, as you suggest, not really life or death. 

 

Meantime I'll keep salting the $$ away for the definitive purchase and come to terms with practicing delayed gratification. 

if you possibly can stretch the budget slightly, buy this. It will last and sound superb for a lifetime.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Satanica said:

Don't change a thing unless you absolutely know it will work :excl:

 

38 minutes ago, Nordost said:

Try to get a home demo.

Agree with you both. Part of my issue I think has been basing a few buys on reviews rather than using my own ears. Good advice from both of you on that.

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show a few photos of your set up - where and how the audio components are placed, the speaker positioning, the seating area, the wiring at the back of your system, the wall mains/distributor where the electricity comes from...

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1 hour ago, jeromelang said:

show a few photos of your set up - where and how the audio components are placed, the speaker positioning, the seating area, the wiring at the back of your system, the wall mains/distributor where the electricity comes from...

Will do - drunk a bit too much wine to do so now. 

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