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Scornfulheal
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Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Mar 27 2013 - 11:31am
Just getting into hi-fi, inherited an NAD stack

This is my first post, so a hearty hello to everyone here at Stereophile.

I hope this isn't too lengthy of a post. Jump to tl;dr if necessary.

I have been an up and coming audiophile for some time now, browsing all sorts of websites and forums to get an idea what this crazy hobby is all about.

I'm a stickler for quality, and also value since I am a college student on a budget. I realize that in audio, once you get to a certain level the improvements are minimal relative to the amount of money spent.

This is just my first step into the area, so I'm not in need of reference standard devices and cables. However, as close to reference as possible while maintaining value is the goal.

I inherited an NAD 2200 power amplifier and an NAD 1155 preamplifier from my father which he got back in the '80s. I also inherited his two loudspeakers he had used. However, after storage, the speakers were shot (in need of repair).

I took the speakers in to get repaired, and ended up upgrading the drivers and replacing the tweeters. The speaker housings were custom built back when my dad got them, and I cannot recall the drivers that my tech put in (it was done in Austin, TX). I hope to figure this out soon when I can get in touch with the shop.

The NAD 2200 was taken in to a shop as well, and was found to be in perfect working condition. I did not take the 1155 in since i felt it would not be likely that it would have any damage, and would not be worth the money to bench.

---------- tl;dr ----------------

Right now I run Galaxy Note II > 3.5mm to RCA cable > NAD 1155 > NAD 2200 > Speakers

The 3.5mm to RCA is just some shoddy cheap cable that should probably be upgraded. The cables running from the amp to the speakers are custom cables I just got for Christmas (10ft each, I believe copper but not sure).

I love music. Cant get enough of it and the higher quality the better. What do you guys think of my current setup? What do you think would be a great addition or the next logical step?

I've been looking around at options such as a turntable (maybe a Project Debut III with a new cartridge), a DAC, a DAC/amp combo, and other such ways to complete my system.

I love the idea of a turntable, and my NAD 1155 already has a phono stage (although I'm not sure of it's quality/sound). But I have no vinyl yet. Then this makes me think of a DAC. Well I mainly play out of my Note 2, which apparently has a decent DAC on it, not necessarily worthy of spending $100-300 to get a standalone.

One thing to note is I have a pair of Yamaha EPH-100 IEMs as well. I'm not sure if they enjoy amplification or not while being sourced by a Note 2. I also have a laptop that would benefit greatly from a DAC or DAC/amp.

Any advice or discussion would be greatly received!

Sincerely,
Scornfulheal

jackfish
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Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
If you are playing music from your phone it is likely

you are using lossy music files like an mp3. This is sure sound degradation from the start. I'd begin acquiring lossless music for storage and serving on your laptop feeding a decent DAC. While the Galaxy Note II uses a Wolfson WM1811 HD Audio Hub, it is not as good an implementation as what would be found in a good standalone DAC.

Scornfulheal
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Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Mar 27 2013 - 11:31am
I don't mean to sound rude,

Edit: I am new to this forum. After rereading, I realize your reply starts with the bold text in the header of the reply. I apologize  for the misunderstanding.

 

I don't mean to sound rude, but where did you get off assuming I was using only lossy music files like mp3? The majority of my digital collection is 24/96 flac. Albeit, I do have V0 mp3s or similar of tracks unavailable at 24/96. 

And thank you for the comment on the Note II's DAC. I realize DAC's in devices not designed solely for the purpose result in design limitations and the likes (interference with other components, etc). Is it however worth 150-250 USD just to get a standalone DAC? Or would I benefit better from say a new pre or power amp.

jackfish
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Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
That's OK. I have this habit of doing my posts that way

because one is required to put something in the Subject box, and we all usually know what the subject is already.

Regarding your equipment, if you still like the sound of the NAD stuff you should keep it, but it is probably a good idea you took the power amp into the shop, leaky capacitors are usually the main concern. It could be a concern a for the preamp as well, but usually just cleaning the pots on those is enough.

Most of what a good DAC provides has more to do with the complementary circuitry surrounding the DAC chip than the DAC chip itself. I would think you would hear a big difference with perhaps an Audioquest Dragonfly DAC. SalesAvo has them right now for $204. So it fits your DAC budget of $150-250.

If you were to upgrade your preamp or power amp what would your budget be for that?

commsysman
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Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
TURNTABLE

I suggest that you consider a Music Hall MMF-2.2 turntable.

It runs $450 complete, and the other turntables you can get for under $700 simply do not perform as well. It is a very nice unit.

The phono stage in your NAD is surely worth trying, but few built-in ones are all that good.

The Musical Fidelity V-LPS is under $200, and you probably cannot find a better one for under $500.

 

 

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