A different take on hifi

Wharfedale Speakers

non conformist

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Hi all,

I remember the time I got my first proper hifi system bout 4 yrs ago. It consisted of a Cambridge Audio 640C / 640A combo married to Mordaunt Short Declaration 914's. I remember how much better it was than my Pioneer car audio system, or my computer speakers and boom boxes. I loved it to bits, but always knew it wasnt quite high end. Moreover, it never really filled my room properly and I knew it was dynamically lacking something. I was fortunate enough to listen to a few high end systems that are still etched in my memory at my friends places:

Krell SACD Standard, 280 pre and 2250 power, Martin Logan Summits - Amazing imaging, presence, bit dry though

Pass Labs amps, Sonus Faber Stradivaris - This thing literally hung sonic images in space, and had dynamics when called for. Very sweet

High end Tannoy active setup in my friends studio - What immediacy, very direct, very quick

Anyways, I was originally planning to get myself a Benchmark DAC married to a Krell KAV 400xi married to Revel F12's. But then I browsed around a lot and was quite fascinated with active studio monitors. I came across a particular speaker known as the M Audio Ex66. Initially I was very impressed by the specs, and the cost:

36htz to 21khz response
115 db max output
Built in DAC's
Built in analogue volume controls
Lots of connectivity (SPDIF, AES, Balanced, TRS)
Room tuning features

I also came across a really good review on Sound on Sound and decided to take a chance. When I first got it home, I was horribly shocked. It got loud, real loud but I found it stark, cold and jarring with my music. I did a couple of minor adjustments according to my room (toned down treble 2db, toned up midrange 2db and set the bass down to half space as it was placed close to a wall. The speakers started to sing after 3 hrs, here's what I found vs. my old setup:

Treble: Incredibly detailed and dynamic, pleasant but never sweet
Midrange: Very present and alive
Bass: Quick and extremely deep. Much deeper than what I was getting before, the type you can feel more than hear
Imaging: Superb imaging that could easily exceed the speaker boundaries with seemingly limitless depth. Superb instrument separation
Dynamics: realistic dynamics, enough to make you jump off your seat when the recording called for it

In my subjective opinion, the imaging reminded me of the Krell / Martin Logan setup at my friends place. The bass speed was something I was not used to. The detail levels are incredible, I could hear every breath, every pluck of the string with incredible clarity. Anything with a semblance of a rhythm would get my toes tapping

My listening room is quite big, it measures 5m x 8m x 3m ceiling and it comfortably fills it up. What I love most about my system is its ability at low volume levels. Music is still alive and dynamic, it does not lose its vitality.

Just wanted to share my experiences...

M-Audio_ex66.jpg
 

persiflage

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non conformist,

thanks for a most engaging and well-written post, I see it's your first one on this forum, so a warm welcome.

regards
persiflage
 

RB9

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I came across a particular speaker known as the M Audio Ex66. Initially I was very impressed by the specs, and the cost:

36htz to 21khz response
115 db max output
Built in DAC's
Built in analogue volume controls
Lots of connectivity (SPDIF, AES, Balanced, TRS)
Room tuning features
In my subjective opinion, the imaging reminded me of the Krell / Martin Logan setup at my friends place. The bass speed was something I was not used to. The detail levels are incredible, I could hear every breath, every pluck of the string with incredible clarity. Anything with a semblance of a rhythm would get my toes tapping

My listening room is quite big, it measures 5m x 8m x 3m ceiling and it comfortably fills it up. What I love most about my system is its ability at low volume levels. Music is still alive and dynamic, it does not lose its vitality.

Just wanted to share my experiences...

M-Audio_ex66.jpg
[/QUOTE]
Hi Welcome to the forum,
Thanks for sharing your experience with us. i would like to know WHICH one you like more now:that EX66 or your CA setup ? This will give a clear idea to all of us regarding the sound quality of both the setup OR the DIFFERENCE between the two.:)
Regards
RB9
 

dvdmk

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Welcome Non Conformist , So Hifivision is going GLOBAL , a new member from our Neighbour Country , Have a wonderful stay NC

david.
 

RB9

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Welcome Non Conformist , So Hifivision is going GLOBAL , a new member from our Neighbour Country , Have a wonderful stay NC

david.

Pakistan & India came from Hindustan , he is one of us only but staying the other part of the border:)...........its us who acted like donkeys while ppl from far away took everything from us and left us to fight with each other confused: ..........anyways lets spread luv by music through HIFI....:D
Regards
RB9
 

persiflage

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No offence to anyone, can we keep off these complex geopolitical/ historical issues, am sure there are many other fora much better suited to this purpose. My request applies not just to this thread, but to the entire forum.

Music is universal, and love for it is something we on this forum share irrespective of our backgrounds, provenance et al. So let's keep it simple.

Heavy message over; keep rocking folks!

non conformist: what's the rest of your rig like? Have you had a chance to try the more upscale CA CDPs (740c and 840c)? Am told they are in a different class altogether as compared to the 640c..
 

non conformist

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No offence to anyone, can we keep off these complex geopolitical/ historical issues, am sure there are many other fora much better suited to this purpose. My request applies not just to this thread, but to the entire forum.

Music is universal, and love for it is something we on this forum share irrespective of our backgrounds, provenance et al. So let's keep it simple.

Heavy message over; keep rocking folks!

non conformist: what's the rest of your rig like? Have you had a chance to try the more upscale CA CDPs (740c and 840c)? Am told they are in a different class altogether as compared to the 640c..



Hi Persiflage and the rest of you,

I do agree that there are more similarities than differences between us and have a lot of Indian friends as I am in Dubai half of every month due to work. Before I benchmark my new system with my CA system, I just wanted to let you guys know that I have heard what big buck high end rigs are supposed to sound like: Krell / Martin Logan Summits, Pass Labs / Sonus Faber Stradivaris, Parasound amps / Totem Forest speakers. I believe my current rig belongs to the same ballpark in terms of audio quality.

When comparing to my old rig, here is what I have found:

Treble: Far more dynamic and open, but less sweet
Midrange: Far more articulate and alive
Bass: Much more extension and speed than was there before
Dynamics: No comparison, you get massive dynamic swings on rock material than easily go beyong 100db in listening position when listening to music at 90db continuous ( I have an SPL meter handy at home)
Timing: The new system times much better than my old system, it reveals music as being far more complex and exciting
Imaging: I believe this is the best quality of the system. When you position the tweeters correctly at ear level, the depth is almost limitless and the breadth easily exceeds the speaker boundaries when called for. Instrument separation is outstanding
 

RB9

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No offence to anyone, can we keep off these complex geopolitical/ historical issues, am sure there are many other fora much better suited to this purpose. My request applies not just to this thread, but to the entire forum.

Music is universal, and love for it is something we on this forum share irrespective of our backgrounds, provenance et al. So let's keep it simple.

Heavy message over; keep rocking folks!

Hi this comment was not required as i tried to make everyone in a comfort zone .
Regards
RB9
 

non conformist

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NonConformist,

What source and amp are you using?

Cgeers


Hi, in my old system the source was a Cambridge Audio a 640C V1 and the integrated amp was a Cambridge Audio 640A V1.

In my new system, the digital transport is my Cambridge Audio 640C, the DAC, Pre amp and power amps (2 per speaker) are built into the speakers
 

RB9

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In my new system, the digital transport is my Cambridge Audio 640C, the DAC, Pre amp and power amps (2 per speaker) are built into the speakers[/QUOTE]

Hi Nonconformist, I would like you to share few more things .....how old is your new setup (MA-EX66) and how much you rate it against the old one ? How much did you pay for MA-EX66 ? This is for ref only as we have some importers who keeps MA stuff here in India.
Many Thanx, RB9
 

non conformist

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In my new system, the digital transport is my Cambridge Audio 640C, the DAC, Pre amp and power amps (2 per speaker) are built into the speakers

Hi Nonconformist, I would like you to share few more things .....how old is your new setup (MA-EX66) and how much you rate it against the old one ? How much did you pay for MA-EX66 ? This is for ref only as we have some importers who keeps MA stuff here in India.
Many Thanx, RB9[/QUOTE]


Hi, my new setup is about 2 weeks old, I would rate it 8 / 10 vs 4 / 10 for my new setup. 10/10 being representing the best cost no object systems available out there.

I paid the equivalent of USD 1,200 for a pair of speakers (that include the DACs and preamps). In additional you will have to invest in a decent paid of SPDIF digital cables (one to connect the master speaker to your source and the second to connect your master speaker to your slave speaker) and a decent pair of speaker stands. In case you dont already have a CD player as a digital transport, I suggest you invest in one with a low jitter rating (mine has a jitter rating of 300 picoseconds which is very good).

Cheers
 

RB9

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Hey NC, Thanx for the info........but which DAC and Preamps you are using
Regards
RB9
 

non conformist

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The DAC is a proprietary M Audio 24/96 DAC, the pre-amp is an analogue pre-amp built into my speakers.The beauty of some of the new active systems is that you get perfect system synergy (DAC/Pre/Power/Speakers) and you don't need to invest additional funds for separate boxes and cables.

What I can tell you based on my subjective hearing is that the DAC and Pre reveal a huge amount of more detail than the Wolfson Dacs used in my CA 640C player which has been rated very well in hifi mags and my CA 640A amp. They also time MUCH MUCH better.
 

neo

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Hey! NC, Nice to find some one on the same boat, as i've aslo get a studio montior the tannoy system 1200 & Reecently got a PA/Studio amp T1000 by a british compnany called MC2. The rest of the set up is still being figured out.
Is Bechmark available in dubai? What is the price for the PreDac1?
Also have you tried other DAC's??
Regards
 

neo

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Hi Nonconformist, I would like you to share few more things .....how old is your new setup (MA-EX66) and how much you rate it against the old one ? How much did you pay for MA-EX66 ? This is for ref only as we have some importers who keeps MA stuff here in India.
Many Thanx, RB9


Hi, my new setup is about 2 weeks old, I would rate it 8 / 10 vs 4 / 10 for my new setup. 10/10 being representing the best cost no object systems available out there.

I paid the equivalent of USD 1,200 for a pair of speakers (that include the DACs and preamps). In additional you will have to invest in a decent paid of SPDIF digital cables (one to connect the master speaker to your source and the second to connect your master speaker to your slave speaker) and a decent pair of speaker stands. In case you dont already have a CD player as a digital transport, I suggest you invest in one with a low jitter rating (mine has a jitter rating of 300 picoseconds which is very good).

Cheers[/QUOTE]

How or where did you find a jitter rating?? What would be considered a good score??
Thanks
 

non conformist

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Hey! NC, Nice to find some one on the same boat, as i've aslo get a studio montior the tannoy system 1200 & Reecently got a PA/Studio amp T1000 by a british compnany called MC2. The rest of the set up is still being figured out.
Is Bechmark available in dubai? What is the price for the PreDac1?
Also have you tried other DAC's??
Regards

Hi, like ur system, do tell how it sounds vs other systems you would have heard.

As far as I know, Benchmark products are not available in Dubai but should be easy enough to grab over the net. No I have not tried other DAC's but have heard great things about the Benchmarks. They have reviewed very well in the pro mags and on stereophile.
 

non conformist

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Hi, like ur system, do tell how it sounds vs other systems you would have heard.

As far as I know, Benchmark products are not available in Dubai but should be easy enough to grab over the net. No I have not tried other DAC's but have heard great things about the Benchmarks. They have reviewed very well in the pro mags and on stereophile.

I just remembered hearing a Tannoy system 1000 setup with TASCAM power amps at my friends studio. Really liked the sound, so much immediacy and power, but it never got unpleasant. And yeah, it was very quick
 

neo

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If you liked the system 1000 than you'll def find the 1200 to be better in every respect.
But the best tannoy or may be the best spk that i've ever heard is the tannoy system 215. Infact with my choice of music, I prefer them over the tannoy westministers, B&W 800/801/802 or AvantGarde Duo's. Which I feel though very exp are still real world spks & beyond which things just keep on getting insane.

As for MC2. I??ve had the amp only for a few days & so it??s still being broken in. But my initial impression is that it is extremely neutral & has awesome power (300 @ 8ohms). The sound goes through a major change & displays the character of the pre/ source & cables etc.

The pre that I??m looking at is the quad, primare, krell, or if I kill myself the gamut.:D

I??ve not yet fig out the cables but I??ll mostly go for some transparent.

As for the DAC I??m thinking Apogee mini, as it??s the only reasonably priced stuff available in India.
Cheers
 
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