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Wharfedale Diamond 11.2 Speakers

jls001

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Hi Folks,
I am Joshua from Mumbai. Registered myself on this wonderful forum as it kept popping up in my quest for a budget stereo setup. I started out with a simple enough requirement of a good amp, a pair of towers, a non-pro CD player (at least for now), but as I learned more and took advice from friends and colleagues - I feel more muddled in the head and don't seem to have proceeded much further than when I started out:lol:

But first off, to circumvent the inevitable "what type of music do you listen to?" query, my listening is predominantly rock (but very less of thrash metal), a bit of pop (esp 80s Brit pop), lots of rock instrumentals, and any other interesting material I come across, but no hip hop, jazz, soul, or R&B.

What I look for is a clear and defined sound, with a modicum of bass to balance things. It will be played at mostly low to medium-low volumes. And it must have an FS!

My intention was to have something worthy for about 25K. But I have since learned that that may be an impossible quest:) so am willing stretch a bit further to say 35K.

Have auditioned a variety of floorstanders driven by a Marantz PM5003. Of these the Jamo S406 at 12K was the cheapest, but unfortunately didn't sound any good. There was a really nice Polk Audio but it was way above my budget.

Another shop I visited showed me Denon PMA-510E and Cambridge Audio azur 340A (both 17.5K) to be paired to a Polk Audio TSi 300 (which he didn't have in stock, 21K).

Also auditioned Norge Reference 2000, Concerto Gold 1000 and 2060 paired with Norge TWR 125 towers and also with Norge Millenium BS. I found the lows muddy though mids and highs are fine, but overall it lacked definition. The BS were a bit better.

Next up, auditioned Telome Audio TA-8200 (18K) amp with their BS 200 (13K) towers and found the sound quite well rounded (tight bass without overwhelming), good mids and highs. BS 300 floorstanders was also there but the size and power were overkill for me.

Now the twist in the story is that I also visited Vijay Sales (an electronics retail chain in Mumbai) and they showed me two 5.1 options -

1. Pioneer HTP RS40 consisting of RS319V AVR, S-RS7TB towers, 2 rear speakers, one center speaker and S-RS33W woofer for Rs 40890.

2. Yamaha: consisting of RXV-459 5.1 AVR, NS-8900 towers, 2 rears, 1 center, no woofer.

The Pioneer sounded bright and had the option of a powerful and big woofer when needed. The Yamaha also sounded good. But I need to listen to both again with my own CDs to make a more informed judgement. Both these AVRs can play in stereo mode and therefore meet my music listening requirements. They have the additional feature of surround sound which was not part of my original requirement set. But judging from the overall cost of the above options after adding a Pioneer DV series DVD player, the cost ranges from 36 to 44.5K. It's not as if I don't watch movies but only occasionally.

I even visited the Bose guys at Atria Mall but didn't like the sound of the Acoustimass or Acoustic Wave II. It all sounded sort of artificial to me (no offence meant to owners of these models).

My queries:
1. If I have to plonk my money on either the Pioneer or Yamaha 5.1 systems, then overall cost shoots up to about 45-46K. Are these multi-capable systems good enough for pure music listening pleasure?

2. Has anyone tried pairing a Norge 2000 or 1000 with Polk Audio TSi300 FS? How will it sound for my type of music?

3. Any quality/reliabilty/service issues with Norge or Telome?

4. A better setup for 35K?

If you have read thus far, thank you for your patience. Hope I didn't break the record for longest first post:)

And thanks in advance for your valuable comments.
Joshua
 

ash147

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joshua

first of all welcome 2 one of the best audio-video related forum.

as per my xperience and knowlegde gained thru the forum i wud suggest u to go in for a pure 2 ch stereo amplifier for music instead of an AVR.an avr is good if u intend watching movies but for a good music xperience it is a big no..no...b4 i became a member here with my very limited knowledge i bought an avr wid a set of 5.1 speakers so that i can njoy music...but i was wrong....
hang around 4 more replies 2 ur queries from other highly xperienced n knowledgable members of the forum b4 u buy the stuff...
BTW where in mumbai did u audition the Norge ? i also wud like 2 have a demo of Norge wid my speakers...
 

marsilians

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if your goal is 6.1 and you are planning over a period of time (right thing to do in my opinion). Here is how you build it.

2.0
2.1
3.1 (centre channel)
5.1
6.1
7.1

You are better off buying quality components than spreading your budget on quantity as you venture into this never ending quest.

Used is also a very good option.
 

jls001

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joshua

first of all welcome 2 one of the best audio-video related forum.

as per my xperience and knowlegde gained thru the forum i wud suggest u to go in for a pure 2 ch stereo amplifier for music instead of an AVR.
...
BTW where in mumbai did u audition the Norge ? i also wud like 2 have a demo of Norge wid my speakers...
Thanks for the advice. I also thought that a stereo is dedicated purely for audio and hence better suited for the purpose compared to a 5.1 setup.

You can go to the manufacturer Mr Shyam Bajaj, Eastern Electronics, 225, Hammersmith Industrial Estate, Sitladevi Temple Road, Mahim, Mumbai 16, Tel: 24466627.
Joshua
 

jls001

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Your overall opinions seem to coincide with the general observation on this and most other forums.

Is 35K your total budget for amplifier and speakers?
It would have been nice if I can throw in a Pioneer DVDp (like DV510) at this price (can't afford a proper CDp yet). Based on the advice of the forum, I am willing to stretch that a bit. To, say, 40K max. Not too long ago, I invested in a dSLR and I am quickly realising that an audio system is an iceberg as well:) - what you invest now is just the tip of the iceberg.
Joshua
 

jls001

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if your goal is 6.1 and you are planning over a period of time (right thing to do in my opinion). Here is how you build it.

2.0
2.1
3.1 (centre channel)
5.1
6.1
7.1

You are better off buying quality components than spreading your budget on quantity as you venture into this never ending quest.

Used is also a very good option.
To start with, my target was to get a good audio-centric setup. I got distracted by the Pioneer and Yamaha 5.1 systems.

Where does one look for used systems? I am quite open to this option as well, provided it is from a reputable source/seller. A friend also advised me this route (good system at cheaper cost, is his take). In Mumbai, we do have Mohammed Ali Road for such stuff but I am not too keen to go there as I am told the antecedent of some (if not most) of the stuff there falls in a grey area. The informal name of the area itself is not great. Sorry to be asking a DQ - does this forum also have a buy/sell page?
Joshua
 

jls001

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Yesterday I managed to audition this setup:

1. Cambridge Audio azur 340C CDp (17.5K) - ready to give 10% discount
2. CA azur 340A SE (19.6K) - ready to give 10% discount
3. Polk Audio TSi300 (21K) - ready to give 5% discount

Overall impression for me was very good indeed. For such a budget setup, it had a very well defined soundstage. The bell in the intro of "Woman in Chains" (by Tears for Fears) sounded like it was being played somewhere between the center and right speaker. Imaging was also good. The hyena-like laughs in the intro of Michael Jackson's Thriller rolled from left to right. Stereo separation also came out well. The midrange and the highs were strong and clear. What was not strong enough was the lows. It's definitely there, but could have shown a wee bit more energy on some tracks. But I guess that's why they make the bass knob. But this suits my listening style quite well. I also tried some songs of "America Salutes The Beatles" country tribute album. This is an amazingly mixed album. I especially liked how Tanya Tucker's husky voice came alive in "Something". In short, I really liked it.

The shop tried to palm off an Onkyo CDp which they claimed usually cost 25K for 12K. Tried that as well but the tray refused to come out while we were auditioning. Later they also showed me a Rotel which they claimed cost 60K for 22K. I am not too sure after the Onkyo episode.

I will try the Yamaha NS7900 and NS8900 with their stereo amp this weekend if possible.
Joshua
 

vinod_david

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That 340 from CA is an excellent budget gear for a standmount. If you replace the Polk BS with something like MS Aviano 1 or MS 902i, it would very very musical, got that synergy.

:)
 

jls001

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That 340 from CA is an excellent budget gear for a standmount. If you replace the Polk BS with something like MS Aviano 1 or MS 902i, it would very very musical, got that synergy.

:)
I had kinda set my mind on a floorstander:) I've got one more setup to try (Yamaha stereo amp + NS7900 or NS8900). Let me see how this sounds.

Anyway, I still wonder if anyone has tried pairing a Norge 1000 or 2000 to a Polk TSi 300. I don't doubt the Norge amps. I think they were let down by their tower and BS.
Joshua
 

jls001

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I will try the Yamaha NS7900 and NS8900 with their stereo amp this weekend if possible.
Joshua
Went to audition these speakers but the shop didn't have them, though they gave the impression over the phone that they have them stock. So ended up pairing Yamaha AX 397 to Jamo S406 and S606. Didn't like them as much as the CA 340A SE - Polk Audio TSI 300 pairing. Also Jamo S606 has side firing woofers which is not really suited for my room as one speaker needs to be placed close to the wall.

Any idea how good are Sonodyne's offerings in stereo systems? I have experience only with their near-field studio monitors.
Joshua
 

sydneyvj

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Mate,

IMO a good 2 channel integrated amplifier will beat the socks of most mid-range AVRs when it comes to SQ. CA, Marantz, Yamaha, denon, etc make good 2ch integrated amp. You won't go wrong with any of them. If you plan to integrate your 2Ch pre/integrated into a HT system make sure that they have a HT bypass. I suggest that you if your going for a 2ch setup invest in a decent floorstanders. All the best.
 

jls001

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Mate,

IMO a good 2 channel integrated amplifier will beat the socks of most mid-range AVRs when it comes to SQ. CA, Marantz, Yamaha, denon, etc make good 2ch integrated amp. You won't go wrong with any of them. If you plan to integrate your 2Ch pre/integrated into a HT system make sure that they have a HT bypass. I suggest that you if your going for a 2ch setup invest in a decent floorstanders. All the best.
After some retrospection, I am not sure if the CA azur 340A SE at 45W and the Polk Audio TSi 300 capable of 150W is a good pairing? So much of the speakers potential lie unused. I thought an amp with at least 100W would be more like it. Of course this is not to say that I will be regularly using those kind power.

Also, the TSi 300's lows are lower than what I would ideally like. I read somewhere that TSi 400 has better low freq response. Of course the price also goes up almost 10K. Anyone with experience of TSi 400? How's the bass (I don't need something overpowering - just taut and there), mids and highs? More importantly how is the imaging, separation and definition?

Soliciting your kind advice for the TSi 400 and a higher powered amp.

Will call ProFX tomorrow for TSi 400.
Joshua
 

sydneyvj

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I am not sure if the CA azur 340A SE at 45W and the Polk Audio TSi 300 capable of 150W is a good pairing?
Joshua
Personally I used a 50w/Ch twim mono amp for my 2 ch duties with the Jamo S418 S 418 Floorstanding Speaker - Specs. CA rate their output conservatively. Wattage matters, but what matters most is how that wattage is delivered. You can go for a CA 650A/740A if you budget allows. IMO lower the frequency response of a speaker better it is for 2ch especially if you don't plan to use a sub.

cheers
 

jls001

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Personally I used a 50w/Ch twim mono amp for my 2 ch duties with the Jamo S418 S 418 Floorstanding Speaker - Specs. CA rate their output conservatively. Wattage matters, but what matters most is how that wattage is delivered. You can go for a CA 650A/740A if you budget allows. IMO lower the frequency response of a speaker better it is for 2ch especially if you don't plan to use a sub.

cheers
I am very keen on avoiding a sub for a music setup - not due to cost or space constraints, but my personal take that the deep thump subs produce is not what most musicians or producers intend their music to sound like. Of course there are notable exceptions (like the unlistenable, bass heavy remixes most in-house DJs in pubs and nightclubs dish out night after night). My preference is good mids and highs with a modicum of bass.

Will try TSi 400 as soon as possible. Assuming that goes well, that still leaves the amp question. Now I am wondering if I should try pairing a TSi400 to a Norge 2000 or 1000?:confused: Frankly I dunno how that'll sound but power-wise they are a much better match (and will save me 8-9K which I can plough back into a good CDp).
Joshua
 

jls001

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After some more days of travelling all over the city, I managed to audition the following:

1. Polk Audio TSi 400 driven by a very high end Denon (PMA 2000, I think). They didn't have a 510, but they did have a 710 which they told me as I was leaving.
2. Polk Audio TSi 300 driven by same setup.

I didn't find any substantial difference between the TSi300 and 400, only that the bass in the 400 was definitely stronger. For some reason, the 300 sounded more musical to my ears. As per the shop, the TSi400 was unpacked just 3 days ago and haven't really opened up, whereas the TSi300 has been demo-ed for quite some time. As per them the 400 will also open up after some 36 hours of play. How true is this? In my earlier listening of TSi300 driven by a CA 340A, I felt that bass could be better. Driven by the Denon amp, the 300 didn't feel particularly lacking in bass. It was certainly enough for my taste.

I also went and checked out the Harman/Kardon HK 3490 amp paired to an Infinity Primus 250 floorstanding pair. To my ears, the Polks sounded better. But I somehow liked the HK amp as it has built-in FM and AM tuner, two woofer outs (for future expansion), and Dolby Virtual Speaker and Dobly Headphone modes. Also it has a mind boggling number of audio inputs (7) and even 4 video inputs (will serve as video source switch - not video processing like an AVR). These virtues somehow tilt the balance in favour of the HK, compared to any other CA, Denon, or Yamaha amps I had seen.

So a Harman/Kardon 3490 amp paired to a Polk Audio TSi400 FS is sort of my "semi-final" shortlist. CDp to be either a CA 340C or Denon DCD 510. I am becoming fatigued of all these searching and actually want to go book it tommorrow (Monday, 22 Feb). Trouble is I have not heard this pairing as none of the shops have it together, but I believe that it will be a sensible pairing. The only guy who deals in all brands don't have HK3490 in stock, neither Polk TSi400. One shop who deals in Polks and Denons assured me that HK 3490 paired to the Polk 400s would sound great.

What do you guys think?

Just to put things in perspective again, my listening is mostly softer rock, pop, a bit of classical and lots of guitar instrumentals, and country. I value clarity in the mids and highs above all else, and need proper soundstage and imaging.

The numbers are:
HK 3490: 30000 (not bargained yet)
PA TSi 400: 26900 (may be bargainable some more, another shop offered me 24500)
CDp: about 16000-17000 (may have to postpone this part of the purchase, though:sad:)

Your valuable opinions, please.
Joshua
 

iaudio

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I would suggest the Mission m35i(or even m34i,m33i), Q acoustics 1030i( or the newer 2050i) as alternatives for the Polk FS. Please do check these out before taking the final call.
 

spirovious

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I found recently new PSB BS not giving as good vocals as Tannoy with Nad.
 

iaudio

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The OP is specific about wanting FS rather than BS, thats why I mentioned Mission and QA FS.
 

marsilians

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Hi

It looks like you have taken the right approach to audition before jumping in with a bunch of money.

I would stay away from the Polks esp. if you are looking for musical systems at your budget. Also, i woudl stay away from Onkyo DVD or CDPs at this time. Finally, why are you so bent on getting a floorstander? A decent pair of bookshelves that are paired and provided quality input will sound just as fine as the floor standers esp. for the genres of the music you listed.

Having said all this I woudl recommend the Paradigm monitors or minis as they are one of the most musical speakers at the price range. In addition, you may also want to audition Mission and Tannoy brands with the Cambrridge audio gear

I am assuming that you ahve put some money out for the cables and interconnects as otherwise you may want to up your budget by a couple K more.
 

jls001

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For a more musical experience than the Polks within the same budget, I would suggest you check out the PSB Image B25, Usher S520, and Epos bookshelves. Even the KEF iQ30 is not bad at that budget.

All of these have less bass than the Polks, but better musicality and details - the tonal balance is very different between them.
All these are BS, right? I am keen on FS. I understand a BS can sound as good and loud an FS, but I had always wanted FS. I auditioned a Quad 2L2 but at 35K it went above my mental budget.
Joshua
 
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