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The Stereo Conundrum....

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AVcrazy

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2015
Messages
76
Points
8
Location
Mumbai, Maharashtra
Background:
I recently lost my Yamaha DSP-A1000 while moving to my new place. I was using that amp both as an AVR and a Stereo amp for a long time. Other than the A1000 I have owned (and sold) the DSP-A3090, DSP-A2070, a NAD 3020, a Pioneer SA-8500, Marantz SR7400 AVR, A Rotel Pre-power, Arcam FMJ A28 and some other integrateds over the course of time.
Interestingly of all the Amps I've heard; the A1000 holds its own when it comes to stereo performance. I mean this amp IS A BEAST. Rated at a mere 80WPC, this kid could drive almost anything I threw at it.
Even though it is an AVR; meant for cinema more than it is meant for pure stereo use, it's odd and interesting that the A1000 was so darn good at both (overall better for the stereo, DSP-A3090 being the AVR champ).

The Setup:
Before I moved, my setup was as follows:

Stereo:
Amp - Yamaha DSP-A1000 (2ch Stereo Mode)
DAC - Beresford TC-7520
Speakers - Custom 3-way floor-stander with Peerless (not the Indian brand) drivers.
Source - FLACs and digital content played from the PC.

HT:
Amp - Yamaha DSP-A1000
Player - PC /Sony BDP-S1500
DAC - Beresford TC-7520
Speakers:
->Front - Custom 3-way Floor-stander
->Rear - JBL ES10
->Center - JBL ES25c
->Sub - Astonia DF-10

The Dilemma:
Since the past few years my passion towards music has grown more and I have been watching less and less movies. I'd say my use has come down to 75% music and 25% movies.

So I have made a decision to move to a pure stereo set-up and get rid of all my gear (except the DAC and/or the custom speakers). I think I can watch whatever movies I want on a stereo too (which is what I was doing most of the time anyway). Doing so is netting me somewhere around 70k total available cash to spend on component(s).

Now the thing is that I'm getting some killer deals at the moment. There's a friend whos' selling his krell amp (somewhere around my budget, condition is so so), A few pre-powers, some good speakers, etc. But all these items will completely swallow my 70k on their own (ie the speaker or the amp costs as much as or near to 70k). And thus I come to my problem(s):

Q1. If I have a budget of around 70k, what should I buy first? A good amp (keep the speakers and the DAC)? Or a good speaker (Let's say which takes away 75% of the money~52k) and rest for amplification? This is keeping in mind that I'll upgrade the weaker part as and when I have the means.

Q2. My speakers are pretty old, if I am keeping them; would getting them refurbished from someone improve them a bit? (Getting the drivers reconed, changing the binding posts, general maintenance etc?).

Q3. If I should be spending the maximum dough on speakers then which ones should be on my audition list? And what amp to go for in that case?

Q4. If I'm supposed to make a more symmetric investment, can someone please advise me what combinations would work well?

Q5. I've recently taken a shine towards tubes. Is there any Indian manufacturer offering a Speaker-Amp combo in the above budget?

Some Pointers which may help you help me:
1. My room size is 14ft*16ft*11ft (b*l*h).
2. Room will be used mostly for music and thus would have minimal furniture apart from the audio rack (a sofa cum bed, a small study table and a chair).
3. My taste in music is quite wide. I like Dimmu Borgir as much as I love Diana Krall. Also I would want as much detail in my music as is possible.
4. I have tried bookshelves in the past (Dali Zensor 1) but I guess bookshelves just can't give me the bass I need for listening to certain tracks by artists like Archive, Portishead, Massive Attack, etc. I need that visceral feeling while listening to music. However at the same time I would not want boominess and bloated bass.
5. My total listening time goes over 1hr/day. Sometimes well over 4hrs (esp. weekends).
6. On the source front; All my collection is digital and I don't like collecting hard copies of my tracks. If I buy CDs I rip them and store it to my HDD. Thus I wouldn't care if my amp did not have many inputs (esp. phono).
7. I already have good interconnects and cables so would be using the same.
8. I will definitely be upgrading my system components as and when I can.
9. I don't mind buying used gear/refurbished stuff/indigenous brands as long as they can give me the satisfaction I need. In other words I don't care for the "brand".

I would really appreciate any help. Please forgive me for my ignorance as I'm nowhere near as experienced or knowledgeable as most members on the forum.
Thanks and regards,
AVCrazy.
 

arj

Arj
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2008
Messages
3,729
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
Hi AVCrazy,
how well do you rate your speakers ? since you have liked them in the past i presume you will like them going forward. as a first test would you be able to listen to them with any amps your friends have
My suggestion would be to get a Good Integrated amp for now (or a pre power combo) . I think one of the members here was planning to sell his A21a Sugden..which is a fantastic amp. having owned one I can Vouch for it.
The only condition is that your speaker must be at least 87dB else you will not get enough juice in your room

Your Dac/Source are good enough for now.

For the speaker, based on your budget keep your eye out for any good used speaker sale here in this forum :)
you could check used speakers here as well..
You searched for - HiFiADS.com. the cadence Avitas are good..there is also a nice Focal for sale..am sure you can negotiate the right price and both of them work well with low powered amps
 
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AVcrazy

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2015
Messages
76
Points
8
Location
Mumbai, Maharashtra
@Arj: Hey, my speakers are quite okay. They lack overall detail but on the plus side they match very well with most amps and have a nice mid range.

I thought I'll update my thread. Here's what I have as options:

Amps:
1. Krell s300i @70k
2. Marantz PM8005 @ 55k
3. Alchemist APD15A @ 88k
4. Dared VP300 @ 55k
5. Dared i30 @ 60k

All the above amps are used but are in a good condition, both aesthetically and functionally. I auditioned them all. The best one was definitely the APD15A. It's a true audiophile amp. Powerful and insanely detailed. The Krell and the Marantz sounded fine, Krell was slightly more refined I guess but the Marantz is that much cheaper.
The Dareds are tube amps and sound different but very sweet. Just not as detailed as the Krell or the Marantz. The Alchemist is in a different league.

Speakers:
1. JBL 4312E @50k
2. Bose 501 Series IV @30k
3. Quad 12L Classic @35k
4. Quad 22L Floor standing @yet to finalise price

Again; all these are used but in mint condition except for the JBL which is unopened. The set is with a dealer in Delhi. I have heard the JBLs before on a old McIntosh amp and these were great. Quite punchy.
I liked the Quad 12L too but it was slightly bright. The 22L was best overall but I don't think I can afford them.
The bose was a surprise. Very warm and detailed. Only thing is that these don't seem to be 'conventional' in terms of design. I heard them at an friends place and they sounded lovely on his Arcam amp. The guy said that you need to set them up properly for the best output. Don't know if I should risk getting them, esp considering that they are not audiophile grade and also very placement sensitive.

I used my DAC and source for testing all of the above gear with as close to ideal condition as was possible.

At this point I'm more confused. What should I get? A great amp or great-to-nice speakers with a okay amp? Also, are the prices that have been quoted to me fair?
 
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arj

Arj
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2008
Messages
3,729
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
if you can the JBL monitor is really good- but it is a studio monitor and these need really good and clean amplification so if you get the JBL you will need an amp which is not listed in your options
The alchemist is a great amp no doubt - on of those classic british electronics. bit the company ceased to exist in the early 2000's so unless you are getting it at half the quoted price, i would saty away from it unless you know a really good mechanic and are 100% sure you will never want to sell it off.

I would also not go for Dared..in the end they are Chinese amps - no doubt will be well made but Chinese companies are know ot cease to exist pretty soon. you are better off buying a good amp from Lyrita audio/Viren

that leaves you with the Krell unless you have any other options .
Incidentally if you like the sound to be more on the aggressive side than the mellow- you may ind the JBL + Krell to be good

the Quad + Krell is also a good combination although Quads are a lot less resolving in terms of details..go for the Floorstander if you can

But do compare that with your speaker, If you can,even if it means hauling them to the place..it is usually well worth the effort and will give you the right picture
 
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