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Cafad

Redgum RGM175 Component System

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I know sometimes it sounds like a bit of a cliché when people say "the picture does not do it justice" but in this case it is true.  The system looks pretty good in the picture but the gloss and colour of the timber just does not come across.  The Redgum stack looks 5 times better IRL.
 
post-130663-0-60415500-1368525095_thumb.

 

I wanted to start this review with a little background info since there isn't that much info out there regarding Redgum components (and I did a lot of googling!).  For instance, I am willing to bet that while you can get a fair amount of info from the Redgum website about their choice of volume control (individual channel knobs or single knob) but did you know that you can adjust balance from the remote,  and then reset the balance to 50/50 at the touch of a button? 

What about the fact that there is an info sheet stuck to the base of each piece of Redgum gear that includes not only the model number and year but also the name of the buyer and the details of any personal modifications they requested?  So if you're buying second hand each piece of gear tells a story.  My RGCD5ENR for instance was initially purchased by Tony Wright of Sydney and there is a note that he planned to remove the front panel prior to use.  Now I don't know Tony, and I guess I'm not likely to, but having a name to assign to the player makes things a bit more personal.  (I can deduce one or two things about Tony though, the first is that he obviously likes his music and doesn't mind paying for good gear, the second is that he is no fool, he has vibration dampened the case with two rows of blutak stuck to the underside of the top panel, cheap and effective, very nice!)

 

I have said in the past that the design of the Redgum cd players is a little odd, using a cd rom as a spinner is pretty interesting  cosmetically, philosophically and practically.  I have to admit cosmetically it does make the player look a bit commonplace, it is a definite let down after that gorgeous timber faceplate.  Philosophically it makes me wonder just how seriously I should take all the talk of other manufacturers regarding mechanism stability, cd clamps and custom error correction techniques when this player sounds damn good without any of the above.  Practically I love the idea of a cheap and easily replaced mechanism, but the lack of a screen telling you what is happening is a bit of a bugger which is why I use my Consonance cd120 as a transport and the RGCD5ENR as a DAC.

 

Another thing I wanted to mention, the RG175 mono-blocks have their AC power socket very close to their external heat sink so there is not enough room to use certain types of power cords.  If your power cord has a thick, round plastic end just behind the three pin plug (as many expensive power cords do) then the heat sink renders it unusable.  It isn't a big thing but it was certainly something I noticed as I couldn't use my custom power cords.  I believe the newer model (since mine are 2007 vintage) has the heat sink mounted underneath so this is unlikely to be a concern.

 

And last but not least, Redgum uses Philips remote codes, (as do Consonance and Myryad and many others) so I only need one remote even if I switch cd players.  Yeah, I know it means nothing to most people out there but for me it leaves more room on the armrest for cd cases and chocolate wrappers and I really appreciate that.

 

I'll get into the Pre and monoblock functionality next, and I'll put up a pic of that info sheet I mentioned.

 

Edit:  And here it is.

post-130663-0-57635200-1369018787_thumb.

Edited by Cafad

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Nice. That natural timber finish looks fantastic in the pictures alone. I'd like to see them in real life. Is that a key switch I see there? Has a starter motor I guess?

 

SImon

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Yeah, the key is the on/off switch.  Hence Lucs "Vroom, vroom" comment back in the "is Redgum still operating" thread.

 

There is a way to turn on the pre without the key (just for those of us who manage to lose it, "Honey, I've locked the key to the amp in the car!" :D ) it's a little complicated but then you wouldn't want it to be to easy to break into would you?  It would certainly get you by until Redgum airbag a new key to you though.

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Hi Jeff.

Great to see you with a new amp albeit a pre and mono block combo :)

Would love to hear your thoughts on how this sounds compared to Redgum's integrateds.

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Hi Victor, yep, I'm moving sideways in the audio world (for a while at any rate).

 

The full description of the sound will be along in good time, me and the pile of hardwood are still getting to know each other, but in a nutshell the monos are just as warm, just as smooth and have about 3 times the impact and bass slam of the integrateds. 

Also, and I'll get into this fully in the days to come, it has a different sound for each different IC I try so I'm losing valuable evaluation time just playing with ICs to see what happens. 

I'm also stuck on the question of what to do first, put the monos through their paces with the Burson as a pre and write them up as power amps or write everything up here as a system?  I think I'll give the cryo treated ICs a go while I mull over that question! 

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Interesting as always Jeff and the bass slam...that's what I've read online in regard to RG mono's. I think you'll have to do several write ups to be honest as you most definitely have to write up the RG system on it's own and then you could introduce other pre's into the mix. Are you running RG IC's+S/cables btw?

 

The lack of a screen is a really bad oversight by RG and it stopped me in my buying tracks at the beginning of this year, which in hindsight was a blessing as I'm sure one chunk of redgum would of followed another and the Handbrake wouldn't be impressed I'm thinking.

 

Have you been able to really pump some high volume through your Lenehan's with these to put them under test as well?

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Well, the high volume can actually get a bit oppressive, but there isn't much of a need for it, that bass slam is obvious even at an average listening level of 70 to 75dB.   Or, to put it another way, 70dB has never sounded so loud before!

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Thanks Jeff. I also just returned to a pre power but won't divulge in your Redgum thread :)

 

Ah yes. With different ICs and perhaps power cords you are going to have fun. Looking forward to your further thoughts mate.

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Well it has been a while, and quite a ride (details to follow) but I think I have finally got the Redgums by their little hardwood short and curlies.

 

This has been a long and very harrowing road, from operating just fine to both monoblocks turning into DC generators and trying to destroy a pair of B&Ws, and actually destroying a pair of bookshelfs of mine when I tried to troubleshoot) to getting them back from Redgum, all repaired and operational again but giving me a sound like frying bacon out of the right channel :eek:  :confused: .  I think I have finally got things sorted out.

 

I have no idea what caused the monos to go DC, Lindy and Ian seem to suggest that I did something wrong while setting them up and while I don't know what that could be (I do this 2 or 3 times a week after all) I don't see any other possibility (I know the car wasn't struck by lightning on the way to Mackay that day, I'm certain I would have noticed that happening)  that would cause 3 out of 4 FETs to blow.  And then yesterday evening the frying bacon sound was almost too much for me, I was very close to junking the monos and calling it quits, there is only so much uncertainty and frustration I can take from one set of amps, however I did not give in (bloody close call though!) and I found that I had a bad connection on one of the binding posts.  While the banana plugs would push in nice and firm it would only take the sound of a cockroach belching at the other end of the room for the negative post to pop back out again, this is very, very bad!

I sought to change from banana plugs to spades but the monos don't accept spades, so, bare wire it was then, all the way!  And now there is no background noise through either speaker, not even that light hiss that many amps put out when there is no signal being fed to them.

 

Finally I can just sit down and enjoy!  Until Monday when the listening room is destroyed and rebuilt and I have to start again with the running of electrical wires and the treating of room surfaces and such. 

I'm off to listen to a little Evanescence before bed.

Edited by Cafad

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Nothing quite like a little Lithium before bed !!

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I thought you were still on the good stuff there AJ, did they downgrade you back to the Lithium?

 

When you get here Dave, I'm a big fan of the Redgum cd5 but I was always wondering how it compared to the cd2 (or the DACs of each anyway), how much of the performance of the cd5 do you get for the price of the cd2 is one of those questions that keeps me up at night, I wasn't in a position to find out before now.  But since you have one of each, I finally have someone I can ask!  So mate, what do you think?

 

I've also been wondering about the RGi120 and how it compares to the RG175 monos, any opinions to share on that subject too?

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Alrighty... I'm over here now, but it's late and I need to sleep for a wee while. No lithium for me thanks, I have a 'leccy blanket instead.

I've done an A-B listening comparison today between the CD2 and 5, my observations on that tomorrow.

Plus random assorted comments re the various Redgum amps.

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Just dropping in to let you know I'm still here. A pesky thing called employment has curtailed my dedication to the internet. I'll add some thoughts on the amps soon.

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Okie dokie, I'm back...

Re the amps - I've found all the Redgum range of amps sound much the same, with the obvious differences being for any given set of speakers, the bigger the amplifier, the more headroom and slam and louder they will play. The smaller ones can overheat and shut down earlier than the bigger ones, and there's a little fan noise from the bigger amps when they've been driven hard and then the volume is turned down (my bigger amps are the older models with cooling fans, rather than the newer ones with the wave-style heatsink underneath).

With the Osborn Eos, I started with a RGi60, then the 120, and currently the 175 watt monoblocks. Each step up had two main effects: being able to play the Osborns a whole lot louder, and at quieter volumes the bigger amps have more in reserve to give. This shows itself most in the bass, where I'd say it's more dynamic and involving. There was nothing wrong with the 60 or 120 at quieter listening levels, but with the huge extra power of the 175s, it's like driving a Ferrari in the suburbs - it's effectively the same as a Peugeot, but you know what's under the hood, and what's going to break out and boogie when you go to overtake.

The downside of the 175s would be the fans and some amp hum (from the amps themselves, not through the speakers). I thought I'd collected enough Redgum gear, but I'm thinking a current 120ENR is on the cards for a trial or purchase. No fan, hopefully lower transformer hum, and still bucket loads of power in reserve.

As for my preference for integrated or monoblocks, I think Redgum's integrated amp architecture is beautifully simple and their dual-mono design means fewer cables and interconnects than separates, so (again, going on the likely benefits of the 120ENR) I'd probably stick with the integrated setup.

Re the CD players. Don't worry Luc, although they have no display and can be used as standalone players, I'm pretty sure they're mostly used as DACs, with everyone having different preferences for transports. It'd be more problematic if they were players only, and there was no user-accessible DAC feature. I've used mine with a Marantz CD63se, generic DVD player, laptop with USB/SPDiF converter, and the Purei20 iPod dock. With 2 digital inputs and a great DAC inside, it really doesn't matter that there's no display (there is an aftermarket option available, but it's impact on the audio quality is as yet untested). I love my DACs, and besides, they serve to add a couple more slabs of facia to my setup.

And the CD2 compared to the CD5? I was sceptical that I'd be able to feel and enjoy any improvement present in the CD5 over the 2 without some serious critical listening, which isn't how I like to listen to my music. But having done a direct A-B test recently, I can report the improvement is clear. And by clear I mean despite the CD2 being a DAC I've enjoyed for some years, that brought out a whole lot more in the music than the good old Marantz could, the CD5 is like lifting a fine veil from the speakers, or after watching a beautiful landscape and the light drizzle stops and there's more detail to be experienced. Or viewing the scene through a Nikon lens then swapping to a Leica. Or driving a Carrera then moving up to the S model. All are fine in their own right, but there's always that thrilling extra available, in the next model up. In the case of the CD5 it's a little more detail, a little wider soundstage, a little more air and separation and a bigger smile from the listening chair.

I hope there's some useful info there amongst my ramblings. Cheers :)

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Interesting. I have an identical set up nearly. The 175s from around 2005, the cd2 and Eos. While it had great detail and slam I've always found this set up to be overly bright, especially with busy rock or very high registering female vocals. I will admit my living room is not ideal and may be a lot of the problem but this system seems very unforgiving in that respect. Before moving to Eos, I had F4s less bright and before that Krix lynx( warm but not as revealing as either Osborne. I am by no means an audiophile, I just bought some good gear. How have you found your pretty much identical set up. Do you have the same brightness problems. If not it would indicate that my room is all of the problem or the fact I like listening to many not well done recordings. Perhaos tbe gear is just too revealing for my likes.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by Mullet

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Hi Anthony, the EOS are most likely the reason everything is bright, they are clinical in the higher registers, especially if you have the early reference model with the Focal Be tweeters. I've found they work best with a sweet tube amp. I'm currently using a 15watt class A triode amp, and the EOS are pure magic with that setup. I'm still using a Redgum DAC to feed the amplifier, and although it's getting on a bit, it still holds its own.

The 175s are so much better matched to bigger speakers. My brother has them with a pair of Osborn Interludes and that setup seriously rocks!

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Ive bought a pair of Adelaide Speakers and they are lovely.As well Ive moved over to a JAS Musik 2.1 CD player that uses tubes. Still using the 175's but have on order a Topaz 120 Amp from Earl Weston.Will be having all the Redgum gear up for sale but probably keeping the EOS for a future 300b set up.

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