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Austin Bob
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Joined: Sep 11 2012 - 8:10am
Here's what I purchased - I'm blown away!

I posted some entry-level questions a few weeks ago so thought I would send an update. 

After some excellent input from several of you, I initally decided to go with a MH 15.2, Monitor Bronze BX2's and was considering the OPPO 95. However, due to some budget issues (long-term unemployed boomer and I was unwilling to raid my retirement savings...), I decided to go with a totally different system, funding some of it with a lot of AmX points I've accumulated:

  • NAD 326BEE (from Crutchfield w/ AmX points)
  • KEF IQ30 (on sale for $349 from KEF Direct)
  • Sonos Connect (from Crutchfield w/ AmX points)

Out-of-pocket was $349! 

I am absolutely blown away by the expansive and detailed sound using only the Connect. I wanted access to streaming music services and was concerned about about the sound limitations I'd read about the Connect (but don't fully understand yet...), but it has been so much fun exploring artists I've not heard before using Pandora (haven't added MOG yet, but that's next) and playing ripped CD's in wav format from my computer.

I previously auditioned the PSB Image B6's at a local dealer and think the KEF's are far superior. Properly positioned, it sounds like almost three-dimensional (what I guess is called "imaging").  

I am still quite curious about substituting the MH 15.2 for the NAD (Crutchfield has a 60-day return policy). Also, why do I need a CD player? If my ripped CD's are played back in wav or flac formats, would a good CD player be superior? 

In the meantime, I am thrilled to be spending less time in front of the TV and instead regaining my long-neglected love of music! 

jackfish
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NAD makes competent pieces for sure. The Music Hall A15.2

is also very good at its price point and is often recommended here. If you are ripping CDs to a lossless format there should be little difference between listening to the CD vs the lossless digital file, given the DAC and its implementation are comparable.

Austin Bob
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I may swap the NAD for the MH

I may swap the NAD for the MH amp. This may not be the forum for this question: wondering whether a seperate DAC (on the budget end) would signficantly enhance the Sonos Connect. I was more interested in the Squeezebox, which was supposed to have a better internal DAC, but Logitech discontinued it. The Connect is pricey, but it gives me so many options, I have to say I'm quite impressed with it right out of the box.

DarkStar_64
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Keep the NAD!

Keep the NAD, you will LOVE it!  I am using my original NAD 7150 Reciever I purchased new in the spring of 1984, it's never let me down!  Ok so the tuner gave it up a while back, but I purchased an NAD C 425 tuner and am using the 7150 as more or less an integrated amp these days.  Interesting you have the iQ30's, I am currently waiting for a pair in transit as we speak. I am using them to replace a pair of Pardigm Titan, V2's  a freind gave me last year when he was cleaning out his collection. 

jackfish
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The DAC in the Sonos is pretty good.

You might have to spend a couple hundred in a standalone to do much better. I think the Music Hall A15.2 is a better value than the NAD 326BEE.  However, the price was right on the NAD.

Austin Bob
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Thanks - the 326BEE reallly

Thanks - the 326BEE really packs a punch. My long untrained ears may not be the best judge, but I am Using the Sonos Connect, so I really don't have the need for a tuner. But, I have read so many good things about the MH 15.2. What ultimately swayed me was the fact that I could use my AmX points and return no-questions-asked at Crutchfield. 

Re the IQ30's -- all I can say is that I was ready to buy a pair of Monitor Bronze BX2's, but KEF direct was selling the IQ's on closeout for $349 (was retailing for $600), so I decided to take the chance. I am quite, literally, startled by them. Been playing everything on Pandora - Mumford & Sons is one of my fav stations, and also ripped a lot of my old CDs ranging from the Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Van Morrison (sorry to the younger folks, but he's a genius...) to Puccini.  

I can see why you all get the bug -- guess I'm not quite in the audiophile category, but I am sure enjoying my entree back into music. 

Austin Bob
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jackfish, I have been

jackfish, I have been following your posts more than any on the newbie page so I may do it. The specs on the MH just don't seem to stack up against the NAD, but I'm learning that they don't tell the whole story. The THD and Signal-to-Noise ratio on the NAD is better than the MH -- although I am still trying to understand the import of all these specs compared to acutal performance. 

I have time to return the NAD to Crutchfield by early Dec. and could purchase the MH from Music Direct. Basically, no out-of-pocket expense to me since I'll just be credited with $ on my AmX account. 

Hence, my query: do you have the 15.2? Have you auditioned it? What is it that makes it "better." I'm not challenging you -- just trying to understand. 

B

jackfish
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I don't not have the Music Hall A15.2. However, I have heard it

on many occasions, even side by side the Music Hall A70.2, Cambridge Audio 640A, and NAD C 356BEE. I don't think there is anything out there for $500 that offers so much, and so little. I was impressed by its simplicity and its guts. High current and low impedance, just what one needs in an amplifier.

Here is what I ended up with:

13.3" MacBook Air, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD, iTunes/BitPerfect
MacBook Air SuperDrive
Western Digital My Book Essential 2TB USB HD
Schiit Bifrost USB DAC
Emotiva ERC-1, USP-1 and 2 x UPA-1
Pro-Ject Xpression III and AT440MLa
Grado SR80i
Magnepan MMG Magnestand
Rythmik Audio F12

DarkStar_64
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Ok, rec'd my iQ30's today. 

Ok, rec'd my iQ30's today.  Very, very nice.  Am listening to Bill Evans (At the Village Vanguard), via iTunes through an Audioquest Cinnamon Optical line to my NAD C565BEE optical input, thus utilizing the NAD's DAC with sample rate converter set at 192kHz.  Sounds incredible with NAD 7150.  System is as follows:

  • NAD 7150 Receiver
  • NAD C565BEE CD Player
  • NAD C425 Tuner
  • NAD 6050C Cassette (yes cassette!)
  • KEF iQ30's in beautiful Dark Apple finish
  • Technics SL B2 turntable, with newer Audio Technica 3003 cartridge (original owner from 1979)
  • Kimber Timbre interconnect b/w CD and Receiver
  • Morrow Audio 1.1 RCA interconnects for the tuner
  • Morrow Audio SP3 Reference speaker cables

So until I can put my ears to a MH unit, I am convinced you stick with the NAD...  :) 

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