I'm slowly starting to upgrade my (extremely) budget hi-fi system (cambridge audio A5 & CD5) bit by bit. i'm going to start with the speakers and at the mo' i've got a pair of rather nasty £50 wharfedale's but i've got a budget of up to £150 to spend. Could anyone recommend a pair of speakers (bookshelf) for about this price range? Please help this hi-fi novice!
Hi Dave, I have been into hifi for 30 years now and I can tell you that the secret is rubbish in rubbish out. What I mean is if you connected your current speakers to £5000 worth of amp and cd player you would be amazed at how good they sound. If you upgrade your speakers first you will probably you will probably be less than amazed by the improvement. Strangely enough I started my hifi experience all those years ago with a pair of "cheap" wharfdale lintons with an old radford valve amp (now fetching 6-800 pounds on ebay) and an old garrard record deck which is also now highly sought after by hifi nuts, and the sound from that set up used to give me many an enjoyable night just listening to the music. The moral of this story Dave is that the lintons are not highly sought after these days but the other 2 pieces of equipment are, which means that it was the great musical sources that provided the great music not the speakers. There are some great bargains on ebay Dave if you know what to look for. I will be glad to help if I can. Paul.
I've got an Azur CD, A5 amp and DAB 500 all from Cambridge. Not being able to boast the many years of experience many of the other contributors have here , I've been swayed by magazine recommendations. Consequently I bought the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1's reduced to £160 from £180 at Superfi. I can honestly say they were a sound investment. To my untrained ears they've brought a richness and detail that wasn't there before. I don't know what others think, but I'd recommend them! You'll enjoy the improved sound long after you've forgotten the extra bit of money you had to spend.
Thanks Paul/Patrick for your advice. So, starting with upgrading the speakers is the wrong way to go you reckon? Paul, you reckon an amp might be a better place to start?
Interesting stuff Patrick on the Diamond 9.1's. I've heard lot of good things and then lots of not-so-good things. I suppose I'll need to test them out, but I'm sure they're better than what I've currently got. BTW, what's the Azur CD like?
Very pleased with the Azure 640CD. I improved a few things at once, so I probably can't say where exactly the improvement came from. Ultimately lots more detail, and richness in the sound than I had before. A good soundstage too. Even the real vinyl orientated magazines, accept it as being a star at this price range. One funny thing though, when listening to it, after a bit of time the quality seems to take a huge step up! I suppose that must be the warming up process. Sorry if my inexperience doesn't do justice to your question.
LOL! Hmm, well I've always found the A5 to be a functional piece of kit although I'm guessing the Azur A540/640 would be an improvement unless Paul knows of something better in that £250 price range to pair the 640CD with?
Firstly to Patrick, yes I do know of a great bargain to be had on ebay second hand. The best amp I had a few years ago was an audio research D110 power amp coupled directly to my pioneer PD91 CD player. It was superb. Just recently after having all my stuff pinched I bought a John Shrearne Integteated amp for £280 which after I bought it I realised it was on sale for £150 but there were no bidders, (sode law ). This amp is truely superb with current storage for transients to rival valve amps. Patrick, I honestly do not think that amplifier technology has improved over the years as CD technology has so a used amp for a fraction of the cost would be a wise investment.
Hey lads, I seem to have stirred up a hornets nest here. What I am saying is that any change of equipment does alter the sound. Whether it is just different or better is subjective. Me, I like a sound that is on the warm side of what I call accurate but it has to come out with all the information that I think I know is there. Bearing in mind that is my idea of accurate. I will say I have often disagreed whith what the mags tell me is best, make up your own mind, what you like, I may not like. My 16 year old son thinks that the only notes in music are bass notes, I hate it, he loves it. Nough said "BRO". Its good to talk. Cheers. Paul
I've just read one or two reviews and they do suggest that timing isn't it's (John Shearne 2 integrated)'forte. A problem for me is that I don't have a great deal of experience with hi-fi and this means I have little to guage things against.
What I have at the moment feels "warm" and rich to my ears, I suppose this would take it further down that road.
It might be too rich, although I wonder if you knew of anywhere I might stand a chance of getting to listen to this type of kit, events or specialist second hand dealers?
Hi Patrick, I really do not know what to advise. No, there is no-one that I know that could arrange such a demo, but as i've said amplifiers have not changed that much over the years. An expensive amp of 5 years ago will still be good by todays standards compared to a mediocre amp of today and you can get it a lot cheaper. To put things into perspective, I am going for a demo of SACD reproduction over normal high quality CD production on Wednesday. I was asked what equipment I had for the demo but that really makes no difference, its what it sounds like at home that matters. Listennimg in a demo room is not the same. As far as the Shearne is concerned you hve not read the same articles as I have. That is by the by, all I can tell you is that I was amazed at the valve like quality of my amp. To summarise, it depends on your system, with a site like ebay you can buy and sell, if you don't like you can resell. I'm sorry that I can help no more than this as quality of sound is subjective, but if it were me I would go for older second hand quality than brand new midrange stuff as far as amplifiers are concerned but not with CD/DVD players as that is where the great strides have been made. Hope I've helped. Cheers> Paul.
I have for sale a Marantz pm 7200 amp, 3/4 months old, as new, box etc cost me 3330, sell for around £210...read the reviews..hifi choice....hifi news, and even the "red top" hi fi mag, whf , rate them very highly..let me know.