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radmacd
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My First REAL Stereo!

Im a huge music nerd and see myself as a budding stereophile. I finally picked up my first REAL system... I was just wondering how you guys think I did.

- Pair of B&W DM602 S3
- NAD C352 Integrated Amp
- NAD C521BEE CD Player
- NAD PP2 PreAmp
- Pro-Ject Debut III /w Ortofon OM 5E [Looking at picking up Grado Red soon]
- I've had a pair of Grado SR-60s for about a year that I use for solo "late night apartment" listening.

Im looking at getting some good wire pretty quick. I already have some AudioQuest G-Snake interconnects for my CD player but that is the only thing that's half decent.

Good, Bad, Ugly?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

Jeff Wong
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Congratulations and welcome to the forum and the nutty hobby. Are you enjoying the music more than before? That's the thing that'll determine how you did. There's certainly nothing on your list to be ashamed of owning.

I happen to like Goertz cables, but, the capacitance is rather high and might not be a good match - it's definitely not good as a phono cable. It's hard to go wrong with Kimber - they make a range of good sounding cables at different price points. I haven't heard any of the newer Audioquest stuff.

radmacd
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

I LOVE it... the range, the sound stage, the overall experience is better than I could have hoped. I hear things I didn't notice before in my recordings. The only thing I think I need to address is the flutter echoes in my listening/living room. Its hardwood.

I know I am happy... I just don't want to go talkin' about my gear and have people laugh at me.

Music is my passion, Im a performer, creator and RABID listener.

Jeff Wong
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

It sounds like you'll fit in just fine. If you have questions, ask away. There are some people here with loads of experience and tips.

commsysman
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Most of the Audioquest interconnects are good, but for my connection from CD player (SONY SCD777ES) to my preamp, the Audioquest Diamondback makes a major difference in the sound quality; I recommend it highly for critical connections.

Sounds like you have a very nice starter system there; those speakers will probably serve you well for a long time; if you ever get to where you want to upgrade, though, the preamp might be the place where you should start.

The preamp is the heart of your system and a good one makes it possible to realistically evaluate your sources without deceptive colorations.

RGibran
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Welcome to the forum and thank you for your enthusiastic post. In my humble opinion it's what this hobby is all about.

Jeff said, in response to your search for cables:


Quote:
I happen to like Goertz cables, but, the capacitance is rather high and might not be a good match - it's definitely not good as a phono cable. It's hard to go wrong with Kimber - they make a range of good sounding cables at different price points. I haven't heard any of the newer Audioquest stuff.

I have been a long time Kimber Cable user (4VR

stereophillips
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!


Quote:
I know I am happy... I just don't want to go talkin' about my gear and have people laugh at me.

Welcome to the madness! That's a really nice system and I'm not surprised you're happy. BTW, I once didn't join an audiophile society because I was afraid the guys would laugh at my system. A few a**holes might have, but I'm sure the other guys could have taught me stuff it took me years to learn on my own. And I bet I would have recognized the others as what they were.

At its worst, this hobby can encourage some weird one-upsmanship, such as enthusiasts who believe in the one true thing (the only kind of music to listen to, gear to play it on, format to store it on, or even the proper state to listen to it in). But at its best -- and I happen to think this Forum represents that a great amount of the time -- it's about sharing our passions.

Jazzfan has turned me on to or remided me of tons of good music. Buddha asks the questions a lot of us don't dare to, fearing we'd blow our cool images. Clifton is the leading intellectual, with a wit so dry it could be used instead of silica gel. Jeff's the nice guy, who always has time to share -- and mediate. And DUP, well DUP has that fervor we all harbor within us -- if we could only harness that force for good, we'd all be set.

So dive right in. Ask questions and teach us what you know.

JoeE SP9
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Welcome aboard. The most important thing is, your ears are the only ones you have to please. You will hear that cables are not important and that they are. Investigate and find out for yourself. There are objectivists and subjectivists and every shade between. No matter what, it's really about the music. So, what kind of stuff have you been listening to?

gkc
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Yo, Radmacd -- a belated welcome. I'd bet my soul (if I could just get it back out of the #*&%^ CD tray) your first system sounds a lot better than mine did. I have used Audio Quest interconnects and speaker cables for about ten years now. Even thought mine are outdated, the new ones (costing considerably more than mine did) I have tried either fail to improve the sound or actually degrade it. Mine are the Lapis X3 interconnect and the Argent speaker cable (double bi-wire setup). I occasionally see them pop up on the used market, and (if you can get them for a risk-free trial, a la The Cable Company/Fatwyre.com) recommend them heartily. Cables are VERY system-dependent, and you must try before you buy. Cheers, and happy listening, Clifton

Monty
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

I wouldn't criticize a single component in your system. More money often means difference and not better. Not only that, by balancing your system with components that are designed to work together, you avoid having the one component that messes up the sound of the entire system. I think you chose wisely.

Now, cables...heh heh heh.

I think the Kimber PBJ interconnect and Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables are da bomb in affordable wire. You can find tons of cables that will do the lower and upper octaves better, but with budget systems it's easy to over cable and reveal things that take from the magic of a well balanced system. Besides, you are going to become a better listener over time and will more likely be able to judge real improvement after you get accustomed to the sound you have.

Welcome aboard!

Buddha
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Yup, welcome aboard!

I think that sounds like a great system!

Watch out for cables, they can drive you crazy.

This is a case where buying from a dealer who will allow home auditioning can be a great money saver!

Your ears are the most important two (usually two) here, and the only way to know which is best for you is empirically.

To paraphrase that old joke about Carnegie Hall...

"Hey, which is the best way to audio Nirvana?"

"Listen, listen, listen!"

Trial and error is a completely fine way to suss out cables.

Welcome, again!

radmacd
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

I'm thinking of getting audioquest type2 bulk speaker cable from my local hifi shop custom terminated with banana plugs. The problem is that the way my room is situated I will need 10 meters of speaker cable per side. Will this length cause any distortion?

gkc
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

It depends. Seems like it always "depends" in this loopy business. I have had mixed results with long runs. I had 25' runs of Tara Lab (I can't remember the model -- Reference Generation 2, I think -- it was their next-to-top-of-the-line, at the time...) with my old Mirage M1-si's, and the longer run (compared with a shorter run of Monster, of all things) exaggerated an already too blowsy bass. With the Triangle Celius (which has little bass below 45 Hz), the Tara sounded better. I suspect it may work out with your B&W's, since the AQ, even the cheaper stuff, is a better cable than the old Tara I had. The AQ is neutral, that's for sure. Try to borrow a short run from your dealer, if possible (say, about 10' max, or even shorter) and compare. Sometimes long interconnects between your power amp and preamp, which allows you to put the power amp close to your speakers, and a short speaker cable-to-power-amp run is preferable, rather than the other way around, but who knows 'til you try it. It is good to experiment with the less inexpensive cables, concerning various lengths, so you don't waste money. I believe ALL AQ cables are low-capacitance, so this could work in your favor on the longer runs. Good luck -- let us know. Clifton

Monty
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Ouch! 80 ft. of cable makes my palms sweaty.

RGibran
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Lets see....that's approx 33 feet per side so a 16 guage wire would suffice, although I would feel more comfortable with a 14 guage. I believe the AQ type 2 is a 17 guage.

RG

commsysman
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

The Audioquest Indigo or whatever they call it now is great (the stuff with 8 16 gauge solid wires), but over 10 feet on any speaker cable is a bad idea, as is any unbalanced interconnect over 6 feet or so.

If your speakers absolutely MUST be a long distance from the equipment center, the only really satisfactory solution is to locate the power amp near the speakers and configure your system to run balanced interconnects from preamp to power amp; nothing else is going to be free of problems.

Yiangos
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

He hasn't got a power amp. The NAD PP2 is not a pre. At first i thought he was using an integrated as a power amp but if i remember well,the pp2 is a phono stage.My advise is , do not spend too much money on speaker cable.Live with the "noise" because with such long speaker cables,you'll get plenty,and eventually get a power amp and locate it as commsysman says.Believe-it-or-not,even 1 foot of speaker cables makes a lot of difference.

ohfourohnine
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

We all make some compromizes with room decor etc., but speaker cables that long present horrendous problems. You've made good choices of equipment, but you need to do some serious thinking about the physical arrangement of the equipment/speakers or lots of goodness will be wasted. Please see what you can do to get the equipment lots closer to the speakers.

jazzfan
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Hi Rad,

Welcome aboard and isn't wonderful to get hit full on with a double barrelled blast of that often debilitating disorder known as audio neurosis. Seems that many of my fellow forum members have, in addition to offering their congratulations on your fine choices of audio equipment, taken to projecting some of their neurotic symtoms upon you as well. Don't worry they can be helped and you do not have to suffer the same fate as they have but you must act firmly and with strong resolve.

First don't obsess about the wire. Long runs of wire are fine as long the gauge is large enough. Just ask Kal Rubinson, the Stereophile writer who covers multi-channel sound. Most surround sound systems have the rear channel speakers connected to a multi-channel amp via some pretty long runs of speaker cable. I know that my rear speakers have about 35 to 40 feet of cable between them and my home theater receiver and they sound just fine.

Now let's get down to business. For some crazy reason you went out and got yourself a nice vinyl playback system. I say "crazy" because unless you're an old (I'm 51) guy like me and have a good LP collection (I have over 2000 LPs) finding good, reasonably priced, playable vinyl is becoming harder and harder these days.

Now Wes built me up by writing: "Jazzfan has turned me on to or reminded me of tons of good music." So I'll try not to disappoint and pass along a recommendation. The new Sonic Youth recording "Rather Ripped", which is quite good, is available on vinyl and for a very reasonable price - no, it's not 180 gram virgin vinyl but then again it's only $14 not $60. Such a deal! Hope this is to your tastes.

smejias
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!


Quote:
The new Sonic Youth recording "Rather Ripped", which is quite good, is available on vinyl and for a very reasonable price - no, it's not 180 gram virgin vinyl but then again it's only $14 not $60. Such a deal! Hope this is to your tastes.

I second that emotion. And: welcome.

JoeE SP9
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Jazzfan, does this one get Mrs. Jazzfan's approval? Rad, I've learned jazzfan makes good reccomendations with music. Rather Ripped is now on my buy list.

jazzfan
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!


Quote:
Jazzfan, does this one get Mrs. Jazzfan's approval? Rad, I've learned jazzfan makes good reccomendations with music. Rather Ripped is now on my buy list.

Sad to say that Mrs. Jazzfan, as lovely as she may be and she is quite a wonderful woman, falls somewhat short when it comes to certain kinds of loud electric guitar music. For example, she loves Richard Thompson's acoustic guitar work but doesn't care for his all out wailing electric guitar solos, like on the live "You Can't Win", Hendrix drives her crazy and Sonic Youth's glorious guitar noise is guaranteed to drive her from the room screaming. Even something as tame, for Sonic Youth, as "Rather Ripped".

By the way, every new Sonic Youth recording is alway available on vinyl when it is first released. I know because I have just about all of them. "Murray Street" is one of the best post 9/11 albums put out by anyone and yet never gets mentioned in any discussion of 9/11 influenced works. Now why is that?

RGibran
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!


Quote:
First don't obsess about the wire. Long runs of wire are fine as long the gauge is large enough. Just ask Kal Rubinson, the Stereophile writer who covers multi-channel sound. Most surround sound systems have the rear channel speakers connected to a multi-channel amp via some pretty long runs of speaker cable. I know that my rear speakers have about 35 to 40 feet of cable between them and my home theater receiver and they sound just fine.

Great post Jazzfan. Although others have offered many valid points concerning long speaker cable runs, there is a time, place and context for keeping it real.

RG

RGibran
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!


Quote:
I've learned jazzfan makes good reccomendations with music.

Ahem, as with all things audio hardware related, the sound advice of "try before you buy" is highly applicable to Jazzfans' music recommendations!

BTW Jazzfan, I do think you knocked one out of the park with your Michael Moore "Jewels and Binoculars" recommendation, but his Clusone "I am an Indian" just falls in the realm of noise and sound effects for me, but hey, please keep em comin', I know you will!

RG

jazzfan
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!


Quote:
BTW Jazzfan, I do think you knocked one out of the park with your Michael Moore "Jewels and Binoculars" recommendation, but his Clusone "I am an Indian" just falls in the realm of noise and sound effects for me, but hey, please keep em comin', I know you will!

RG

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, the "Jewels and Binoculars" disc should have been on way more "10 Best Lists" the year it was released, so much for music critics knowing wtf they're writing about.

So far as the Clusone Trio goes, I have to agree with you there also, they do fall more into the noise and sound effects area than the Moore's Jewels and Binoculars trio. The Clusone Trio is as much about "deconstructing" the song as they are about playing the song, plus it doesn't help things along that the drummer, Hans Bennink, is one of the greatest free jazz drummers there is. I like to refer to his drumming style as "falling down the stairs" drumming. Perhaps a better phrase would be controlled anarchy. If you ever see him play live, beleive me, his playing is very controlled and very deliberate. Quite a sight to behold.

Hey, shouldn't we be having these discussions in the somewhat (recently) dead "Music" section?

gkc
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

I agree -- no sense in getting neurotic until you actually hear bad results. We old timers can remember the pre-exotic cable days, when stock interconnects were called "jacks," and you hooked up speakers with zip cord. Most amp/speaker manufacturers recommended 18-20 guage "lamp" cord, while a few said 16 for longer runs. Many fine systems used 30'-50' runs, with electronics and speakers in different rooms. Now, wire has become an obsession -- that's what infinite choice will get you. Rad should just try the AQ long runs, if that is what decor or practicality demands, and go from there. With his system, it might sound just fine. If he gets RF noise, rolled-off highs, or any other sonic degradations, he can join the rest of us, tweaking to the nth. Let the experiments begin! But if it ain't broke, don't fix it, for cryin' out loud, because life is too short to join the ranks of the eternally obsessed without good reason. My hunch is that Rad's system will sound pretty good with the long runs of AQ, as long as he doesn't listen for problems that don't exist. Cheers, Clifton

JoeE SP9
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

I'm with Mrs. Jazzfan. I have never liked Hendrix. All the guitar players I played with loved him. I just didn't get it. I never liked any gadgets at all. Wah wah pedals and fuzz boxes give me a headache.

rhapsodybrew
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Love all the B&W Speakers - they very rarely disappoint. As far as cables go, I've found that amongst their entry level competitors, Kimber stands out.

Enjoy the Music!

rhapsodybrew

imispgh
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

You stated the Celius has a litle bass below 45hz. In room it has much more. I get them flat, using an RTA, to 35 hz and only 3db down at 30hz. This speaker and the Mirage 3si I had for a very short time have taught me that most speakers wind up being bass heavy unless one is in a very large room. As a matter of fact if i knew this when I bought the Celius I would have saved a bit and bought the Antal. I think way too much attention is paid to out of room measurements - especially below 300hz.

gkc
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

Hi, imispgh -- yes, all speakers change with different boundary-reinforcement setups. I had the Celius quite a bit further out into the room than I suspect you do. About 7'. This is where I percieved the smoothest midrange and highs, and the best soundstaging. My guesstimate of 45 Hz was based on my listening, not so much any published statistic. My Mirage M1-si speakers, which are quite similar to the M3-si you mention, were also quite bass-heavy, forcing me to put them about 8-9 feet out into the room. The bass was great on about half of my software, but intolerable on the rest. The Celius did a better overall job with all my program sources, at less than a third of the Mirage's MSRP. I suspect some speakers actually react better to smaller rooms than others, and the width-to-length ratios can be very important, too. I'm glad to hear you're getting good results with one of my all-time favorite speakers. Cheers, Clifton

imispgh
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

I actually have my speakers about 9ft from the rear wall and about 15ft from the rear wall. (This puts them nearfield 8ft from me - I sit with my back to the rear wall which is treated) When I reversed this scenario I had no bass. I assumed this was due to the front firing port?

imispgh
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

You might want to try the Goldring 1000 series. Wheich are MM with a removable stylus as well. I owned the Grado prestige Silver and found it was too noisy (they are one of the only unshielded cartridge makers). It interacted poorly with my Systemdek IIX because of the motor location. Additionally the Goldring stylus is much smaller than the Grado - which is one of the reasons why i think my 1012GX sounds much better.

gkc
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Re: My First REAL Stereo!

It sounds like your room's dimensions are similar to mine. It's amazing how different rooms, even of similar dimensions, can interact so unpredictably with the same pair of speakers. I got the deepest bass with the speakers about 3' from the rear wall, but I didn't like the midrange and treble response, so I moved 'em out to 7' or so, where the overall sound improved greatly, even though I lost a little bass. When I sit close to the front wall, with my head only a foot or two from this boundary, the bass gets boomy and loses some definition. What a hobby we're in!

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