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April 2010 issue
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CRAZY HOBBY
It is now some 10 years I am seriously involved in this crazy hobby and I come to a point of (most likely temporarily) satisfaction. I have gradually built a system which looking back at all the expensive mistakes has cost me an arm and a leg. I only got to know your magazine some years ago and I have to tell in all honesty your guidance has been very helpful.

Controversially, my actual system is built around components that have never been reviewed by yourself. I think this is the ultimate proof that good quality journalism is not biased by commercial elements. So, please take this as a compliment.

To give you a flavor, I use Analogue Audio amplification and CD player, the Maestro 200 integrated and Maestro 192 CD player. The choice of amp has been heavily influenced by your reviews of Sugden, Jungson and Icon Audio 845 the CD player as a package deal is the first item ready for future upgrades but still a very natural and fine match using Synergetics XLR interconnects.

My speakers are ProAC D80, not to criticise but I have really missed ProAc in your magazine. In my opinion they are simply the single best speaker in the world and the D80 has it all.

As for analogue I have a Gyro SE with Never Connect power supply, a Koetsu Black, Techno arm and a battery phono stage from Nagra. This is a killer combination and I think it will be very hard to get comparable results from digital.

Suggestions from your side for future improvements are welcome, but I will never leave the Koetsu as this has added a sense of musical magic incomparable to anything else I have experienced ('heard' would be the wrong expression here).

It is only recently that I have started experimenting with clean power and the main reason for my letter is why has Hi-Fi World never looked into clean power solutions (or I have missed it completely). I have bought an active power regenerator from a brand called PurePower from Canada. I was very sceptical as enthusiasts told me I would loose on dynamics and musicality. Now, after a week of listening I can only tell this is the single biggest “upgrade” I have ever made. As I am not a writer I will refrain from trying to describe differences but I can only tell I keep listening to my music collection and I have suffered from serious fatigue since this device is on my rack.

Next up is a room correction system (another controversial I would like to see your respected opinion on).
Keep up the good work and please feel free to advise on any upgrades you see in my system. Also apologies for the errors in the English language.
sincere regards,
Bert van Dijck
Gent
Belgium

pure_power_2000

Pure Power 2000 mains conditioner from Canada was "the single biggest upgrade" says Bert van Dijck.

Hi Bert. Thanks for your letter and observations on the importance of clean mains power. Many readers have expressed a similar view, that improving the quality of mains power makes a big difference to sound quality. Hi-Fi World suffers a small disadvantage here in that its offices are based in a part of London that seems to have a clean, high voltage supply and we had a long explanation about this from reader and EDF engineer James Watson in our February 2010 issue. However, a manufacturer of World Audio Design output transformers who also makes mains distribution transformers explained that rural supply lines were often long, subject to heavy industrial and agricultural loads, and noisy as a result, and more in need of supply conditioning. As our editor, David Price, has just moved to such a location perhaps he will be letting us know more about all this in the near future. NK


FRUSTRATION!
I would like your advice and views regarding my current system which although good is not at a point to say "yes, that’s it". I have spent countless thousands on the hi-fi trail and still I find I’m not satisfied. Perhaps it’s a hopeless case of looking for nirvana. Anyway, my current system is set up as follows. The power end is an Icon Audio Stereo 40i that has been modified to take KT88s and the equivalent 6550s. It is backwards compatible to EL34s so I can go back there if I choose. It is currently running New Sensor 6550As and Mullard/Sovtex 12AT7/12AX7LPS.
The pre-amp is a modified Yamaha DSP-E800 Surround Processor, having upgraded components. This unit is incredibly versatile and I would be loath to get rid of it.

The flat earth end is a venerable Technics SL-BD21 with an Ortofon OCP-20 (T4P). The silver disc is a Rega Planet, used as a transport and a Tom Beresford off-board DAC which has been modified by AudioUpgrades with a custom designed power-supply and better components. A Musical Fidelity X10D sits between the DAC and the pre-amp. Lastly, I use a rather nice pair of B&W DM602 S3 standmounts mounted on Apollo Olympus stands. The whole thing is connected using Chord Odyssey 2 cables and Chorus interconnects.

Now the thousand dollar question: can you suggest which component I should change to produce a clear but airy treble, warm but informative midband and tight bass? I find the B&Ws have a slightly etched, cold treble that whilst revealing is not what I’m looking for. I have a large collection of CDs and a fair bit of vinyl. My musical tastes are largely Classical but I do listen to other genres as well. I am happy to consider older equipment and would prefer to keep costs reasonable. I might be able to afford a higher budget but the maximum I would have to play with is £2000 and this would not be for the next four years. Your thoughts and advice are very welcome.
regards,
Nigel Masters

monitor_audio_rx8

Monitor Audio RX8s, a great modern sound for £999, says Noel.

Hi Nigel.  You say the B&W DM602 S3s are "rather nice" but you don't like the cold treble.  B&W pulled the treble down a bit and smoothed it too, in the B&W CM9 (reviewed in our December 2009 issue) and the CM5 standmount is similar, so you might well find this is just the sound you are looking for. B&Ws are on the bright side though, as are most loudspeakers these days. Alternatively, try auditioning a few Monitor Audio loudspeakers. The new floorstanding RX8s (£999) were pretty impressive I found, when I reviewed them in our January 2010 issue. NK

NEW SPEAKERS

After purchasing a Nu Vista M3 amp and Nu Vista 3d CD player my system has taken a huge sonic leap. The speakers I am using are Ruark Equinox piano black which are wired with silver. Also I added a pair of Townshend Super Tweeters. Unfortunately, one of the bass/mid drivers has stopped working on my Ruarks. I have contacted Ruark regarding this and can have the damaged driver replaced for around £150.

I was thinking of buying new 'speakers, a pair of Cremona Auditors M series as I thought the Ruarks were too big for my room, 13ft x 10ft. How do you think matching the Sonus Fabers and Musical Fidelity will sound? After all I paid just £500 for the Ruarks and they are going on for 10 years old now and I don't think it would be proper to replace just one driver and have the possibility of a failure in another over time. I don't mind forking out on decent speakers as I would like a pair that I can grow old with.

Also, I plan on holding on to my Nu Vista setup as I have contacted Musical Fidelity on having the units upgraded.
I am sending for some silver cable for the 5 pin PSU-to-preamp connection on the back of the Nu Vista M3 and  the small amp jumpers inside the main amp., plus shielded copper for the large power cables from an Ebay seller in Hong Kong who makes Nu Vista cables called Sweetcome. Have you any knowledge of this company? I read that the improvements are noticeable.

Rest of my setup is VPI Scout turntable with a Goldring 1042 cartridge, A5 tuner and Nakamichi DR-3 cassette deck and Tci cables.
If you can be of any help that would be great as I can't have the Auditors auditioned at my home. I would consider any other 'speaker in this price range but I think I have my heart set on the Auditors ....
Alan
cremona_auditors

Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors are what I want, says Alan.

Hi Alan - well, it seems you just want me to give you the green light for the Sonus Fabers, don't you? The trouble is, the best I can really do is go to orange! Yes, they're superb speakers, excellent in their price bracket - but only if you like that sort of thing. The trouble is, the difference between the Cremonas and any of the handful of excellent price rivals is like that between £35,000 cars. Do you want the silkiness of the Jag, the tautness of a BMW or the go-anywhere capability of the Landrover Discovery? My point is simply that you need to try a range of options first; just buying 'sight unseen', as it were, is like buying a new car online then finding you can't reach the pedals when it's delivered!

I can merely speculate that the Sonus Fabers should be a good general match. The Musical Fidelity amplification just errs ever so slightly on the warm side, whereas the Sonus Fabers are a teensy bit on the dry side. You should end up with a nicely balanced combination. The only thing that worries me in theory is that you've come from Ruarks, which have an altogether more visceral sound; less subtle and delicate, more emotive and bombastic. If you liked their character when you bought them, I wonder if you'd find the Sonus Fabers a little cerebral now? They are very much a clean, dry, super finessed speaker that excels on classical music but lacks the heft or exuberance for the likes of rock or pop. If you've set your mind on them, and have actually heard them elsewhere already, then go ahead and come back to us with your thoughts; we can then tune the rest of your system to give its best with the new loudspeakers. DP



 

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