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raye

Looking for An Upgrade - Suggestions?

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So I'm thinking about an upgrade. I like my system, I'm not a tinkerer, and I'm not overly interested in vintage (unless perfect working/cosmetic order) -- just a time thing, really (and a preference, I guess -- I'm a listener first, and not a hobby-er). However, the sound is kind of bright at the top end, especially when cranked. This could be down to the Wharfedales, but I'd be interested in other opinions and definitely welcome any (realistic) suggestions for upgrades. I'm happy with the amp, and the phono stage, and at this point I don't want to buy a new TT.

 

So, I guess we're really talking about the cart or the speakers.

 

Definitely interested in options to add dynamics, tightness, and separation (if that isn't too much of a contradiction).

 

Set up below:

 

Pro-ject Carbon Esprit

Ortofon 2M Blue Cart

Acrylic platter

Cambridge 651A

Musical Fidelity V90-LPS Phono Stage

Wharfedale Diamond 220 speakers

 

Edited by raye

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I try not to have one item in the source amp speaker chain with disproportionately high or low value to the others. You've got nice source components, and a nice amp, it seems like your speakers are the weakest link so if it were me I would start there.

 

and with your cart, I used the 2M blue for a few years before I upgraded to a Dynavector DV 20X2 mc cart. For me, the blue is too clynical and lacks detail, but it's great at it's price point. 

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5 hours ago, Jlegg said:

and with your cart, I used the 2M blue for a few years before I upgraded to a Dynavector DV 20X2 mc cart. For me, the blue is too clynical and lacks detail, but it's great at it's price point. 

Hello Raye changing speakers is the easier option so is worth a try if you can borrow something from somewhere but looking at what you have I'd say the cartridge is where you have a problem, the Ortofon sound is quite particular and not for everyone but luckily is quite saleable 2nd hand.

In that system I'd either try a high output MC like a Sumiko Blue Point or a Benz Micro Silver or go for a proper low output MC as your phono stage is more than capable of dealing with both.

Entry into the world of low output MC isn't as expensive as it used to be as you can go with a Benz Micro Gold or an Audio Technica AT-F2, I haven't heard an AT-F2 yet so that one is a bit of a guess.

Also if going high output MC you use the MM input on the phono stage

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Thanks for all of the above so far -- that Dynavector sound like some serious stuff (£759 rrp in the UK, I think).

Allen -- think I owe you an email/PM -- this is the first time I've been on the site in over six months (I should really set up email notifications ... I'll get around to it).

Any recommendations RE new speakers (and further carts, too? I wish there was an 'easy demo' for this stuff).

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34 minutes ago, raye said:

Thanks for all of the above so far -- that Dynavector sound like some serious stuff (£759 rrp in the UK, I think).

Allen -- think I owe you an email/PM -- this is the first time I've been on the site in over six months (I should really set up email notifications ... I'll get around to it).

Any recommendations RE new speakers (and further carts, too? I wish there was an 'easy demo' for this stuff).

I cant help much with speakers, as I only use floor standing. I am happy with my Klipsch Rf-82 ii's, but I know some people don't care for them.

 

As for the Dynavector, its a bit overkill for your table, but I also really like the DV 10X5, which is a HO MC cart and wouldn't be a bad choice. The other suggestion of a LO MC like the Benz Micro, or Sumiko Blue point is good as well.

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Looking to spend anything up to £800 ish, initially. But I'm not beyond looking at £1000 plus (or £100 minus).

Any speaker recommendations for sheer clarity and, well, a great sound, and I'd definitely be interested.

I'll check out some of the cart recommendations too (I keep hearing good things about the Sumiko Blue).

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A Sumiko Blue in the normal hard bodied variety is getting hard to come by unfortunately but budget around £250 for one or around £350 for the open bodied Evo III variety. A Benz of either Ho or Lo is going to be around £270 to £320 so all are in the same ballpark. The other obvious candidate is a Denon DL103

I haven't had a Denon for a good while but have had all the Sumiko's and the Benz Micro's recently and all are very good value for money cartridge wise and I would take any of them in preference to any MM cart I have heard.

One thing to take into account though are all the High Output MC's are a little quieter because of lower output than the average MM. Also as a word or warning the open body Sumiko is very very easy to damage as I found to my cost.

 

Speakers though you can demo so take your pick on a cart and try it with your current speakers for a while, then go speaker shopping with what's left.

 

Below are a couple I've found with a quick search assuming it's still stand mounters you want?

http://www.sevenoakssoundandvision.co.uk/p-9909457-bw-cm1-s2-gloss-black-speakers-pair.aspx

http://www.richersounds.com/showclearanceproduct/FOCA-CHOR-706/Focal+Chorus+706.html

http://www.richersounds.com/showclearanceproduct/FOCAL-ARIA-906-WAL/Focal+Aria+906+Walnut+(Aria+Only)+(Socd+).html

http://www.richersounds.com/showclearanceproduct/DALI-OPTICON-1-BLACK/Dali+Opticon+1+Black+(Sos).html

My money out of those would go on the B&W's or the Focal 906's but it's not my money.

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Hi Allen -- thanks for those -- I'm tempted to go with speakers first, but only because I've never changed a cart before - and I'm short on time at the minute, too. I'm not particularly looking for mounts exclusively -- free-standing are fine too, if you can think of anything that's particularly impressive then I'm all ears.

 

How would you describe the characteristics of the above speakers, and how much audible difference, in your opinion, would you say there is between those and my Wharfedales?

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Raye all of them will have a little bit more in most areas but especially up top as the Wharfedales use the old Wharfedale trick of using what is effectively a mid range speaker for the top and upper mid which gives a nice transition but is at the expense of the top end and the general stereo image, it also can make the top end a little harsh in comparison to speakers using a more conventional tweeter. They should all be more convincing than the Wharfedales although the bass from the Wharfedales may be a little more obvious than on most of them except for the Dali's and better Focals on first listen.

The B&W's will be noticeably better in the mid range and have an edge up top at the expense of a little bass, the cheaper Focals should be similar to the B&W's but with a better top end and stereo imaging, the more expensive Focals will add a bit everywhere to that by being more cohesive throughout. The Dali's will be somewhere between the B&W's and your Wharfedales with a bit more emphasis on the mid and upper ranges again over the Wharfedales.

 

Those Wharfedales you have were always very good value for money and it's not the obvious differences that will be the things you should be listening for between them so ideally you need to go backwards and forwards in your testing to make sure.  And All of them are dependent on what music you play and positioning but from an imaging perspective the B&W's and the better Focal's should have the edge.

 

Floor standers by their nature are more expensive because they generally have more everything so in general until you get into the better floorstanders for the same money you can be better off quality wise with floor standers in an average room but any floor stander should do a better job of filling an average room than a standmounter so if you go floorstander then you need to spend a bit more money than you would with standmounters.

 

There's a couple below from the Richers clearance section so I'd take yourself off down there and waste few hours going backwards and forwards with speakers.

 

http://www.richersounds.com/showclearanceproduct/FOCA-CHOR-726-BLK/Focal+Chorus+726+Blk+(Soc).html

http://www.richersounds.com/showclearanceproduct/MONI-AUDI-BRON-6-BLK/Monitor+Audio+Bronze+6+Black.html

http://www.richersounds.com/showclearanceproduct/DALI-ZENSOR-7-BLK/Dali+Zensor+7+Blk+Ash.html

 

Everything Sevenoaks has is a bit more expensive.

 

And the two other things to keep in mind is that go too far speaker wise and you really will start to show up any limitations in the rest of the system, plus you are getting into the law of diminishing returns territory where you can spend increasingly more money for increasingly smaller gain steps so be honest with yourself with what you actually hear.

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