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merkaels
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NAD c375bee or Exposure 2010s2

Looking to upgrade my stereo and I'm very new to this. I currently have a Thorens 126mkII(Denon DL160 cartridge), NAD 5100 CD player, and my laptop as sources playing through a NAD 7240PE Stereo Receiver to B&W DM110i speakers.

It seems like upgrading the 7240 would be the first move. I don't need a stereo receiver, just an amp, and the c375bee or 2010s2 have been reviewed well(and fit my budget).

I listen to rock, jazz, and electronica. The room is about 15'X20'.

Figure my next upgrade will be the speakers and I'd like to keep that purchase around $2,000. I've been looking at the Salk Songtower QWT, B&W cm8, Paragidm Studio 60, but would welcome advise here as well.

jackfish
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The Shanling A3000 is a little more in price

but a lot more in performance.

commsysman
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Music Fidelity m3i...marvelous!

I recently was considering the Exposure 2010 for the system in my second home, since it was rated Class A in Stereophile, but the one that was rated so highly no longer seems to be available. I also wanted a remote since there is a TV in the system, and it seems to not have one.

I was using a NAD 356BEE amplifier with the PSB Image T6 speakers and a very good turntable and CD player, and was very unsatisfied with the sound; weak, poor quality bass, and a general lack of dynamics. The amp seemingly had to be the weak link.

I got a Musical Fidelity M3i, and this is a wonderful amplifier; it has tremendous bass and dynamics and is generally extremely listenable. It gets the balance between instruments perfect with orchestra, band music, jazz combos, vocals...you name it.

I have one recording that has NEVER sounded quite "right" to me on any system; a Deutsche Grammaphon LP recording of transcriptions by Schoenberg and Weber of Johann Strauss pieces by a small group of the Boston Chamber Players. This amplifier gets it perfect; the harmonium, cello, piano, and violin all come through in perfect balance and harmony; almost like hearing it live in a small hall.

THis amplifier gets the tonal balance and details of so many recordings just perfect that it is truly amazing for $1500. 

My other home has a $30K system with a Audio Research LS-26 and a Bryston 3B-SST power amplifier driving Vandersteen 3A speakers and 2W subs, and while that system definitely has wonderful sound, this 90W $1500 amplifier comes quite close to equalling it in many respects; quite a trick for the price. I have been an audiophile for over 30 years and this is certainly the most listenable integrated amp I have ever heard for less than $4000. If you can spend $1500 on an amplifier, I would recommend it very strongly; it's a gem.

The speakers I am using, the PSB Image T6s, got rave reviews from both Stereophile and The Absolute Sound...and they get rave reviews from me too...lol. They cost me $1300, if I remember correctly. They are not quite as good as my Vandersteens...but they come close...and those are over $4000 these days.

 

 

merkaels wrote:

Looking to upgrade my stereo and I'm very new to this. I currently have a Thorens 126mkII(Denon DL160 cartridge), NAD 5100 CD player, and my laptop as sources playing through a NAD 7240PE Stereo Receiver to B&W DM110i speakers. It seems like upgrading the 7240 would be the first move. I don't need a stereo receiver, just an amp, and the c375bee or 2010s2 have been reviewed well(and fit my budget). I listen to rock, jazz, and electronica. The room is about 15'X20'. Figure my next upgrade will be the speakers and I'd like to keep that purchase around $2,000. I've been looking at the Salk Songtower QWT, B&W cm8, Paragidm Studio 60, but would welcome advise here as well.

jgossman
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I don't think you're addressing your weakpoint

Your NAD is a champ.  It's plenty resolving to warrant absolutely top notch sources.  I'd upgrade your cartridge and CD player and possibly power cables and interconnects.  Speaker cables are usually being driven well enough to deliver only marginal, although important differences - barring a gross mismatch in synergy.  Crap in, crap out.  If you have a good integrated from NAD, Arcam, Cambridge, etc., you can really destroy your existing setup by swapping out your amp when you are really just wanting to bring it together and make it gel.  Just for fun, run it pretty hard and grab hold of your power chord(s).  Is it warm near the outlet?  Also, make sure your not running too small a total AWG cabling system from amp to speakers.  Geometry, termination, and placement all matter but basic resistance, inductance, and system capacitance are your starting point.

I've personally heard NAD amps sound great with Nordost, Wasatch, Kimber and older Audioquest (darker and less zingy than new).  Don't underestimate how good that amp is.  Don't be afraid to throw a couple hundred bucks at either buying or building great cables for that little guy.

commsysman
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Way off target

I think it is kind of silly to asume that my sources are inferior when you don't know what they are. In fact, you happen to be very much mistaken.

I have a Music Hall MMF-7 turntable ($1300)  using a Benz MIcro ACE cartridge ($700), and I have had this in my $30k system and it sounds excellent there. The phono stage is an Audio Research PH-5 ($2000).  If you think this is the weak part of my system, you are very much mistaken; it is possibly the very STRONGEST part; unquestionably excellent!

MY CD/SACD player is the Sony SCD-XA5400ES player, which is one of the VERY BEST IN THE WORLD at ANY price, which is why Stereophile has ranked it A+ in recommended components for 3 years running (the Ayre C5-xe/mp, which I have in my big system, cost $6000, is also A+ rated, and these units both have sound that is pretty much unequaled at any price whatsoever).

I would probably have to spend AT LEAST $6000 on an amplifier before it would be on a par sonically with my source components! MY source components are superb!

There is absolutely no question that the NAD was the weak link in my system. I have had several NAD amplifiers in my various systems over the years, starting with the 3020 in 1980, and this particular model is unquestionably not up to par sonically. The 325BEE and 326BEE sound better than the 356BEE. The 356 is NOT a champ; it is a dud. NAD somehow dropped the ball on this one (I am currently using a 325BEE in my A-V system in my den at the big house with KEF iQ9 speakers).

The Musical Fidelity M3i, in conjunction with the VERY HIGH QUALITY SOURCES  I am using, is delivering very high quality sound now through the PSB Image T6 speakers.

(these speakers, by the way, are amazing for only $1200/pair; both The Absolute Sound and Stereophile recommend them in the strongest terms)

The ONLY change was REMOVING the NAD 356 and INSTALLING the M3i, and the DIRECT RESULT of this single change was to improve the sound quality dramatically.

By the way; spare me lectures on cables and electrical fundamentals; I teach electrical engineering and have 600 pages of my own technical test results on audio cables accumulated over 30 years of work in my lab to go with 40 years of critical listening to hundreds of cables. Leave the lectures to me, please...lol.

In the future, you would be well-advised to get some facts before you make totally incorrect assumptions that turn out to be completely unfounded.

P.S.-Since you are so sure that the 356BEE is so good, I'll make you a great deal on it; it's less than a year old and just like new.smiley

 

 

Your NAD is a champ.  It's plenty resolving to warrant absolutely top notch sources.  I'd upgrade your cartridge and CD player and possibly power cables and interconnects.  Speaker cables are usually being driven well enough to deliver only marginal, although important differences - barring a gross mismatch in synergy.  Crap in, crap out.  If you have a good integrated from NAD, Arcam, Cambridge, etc., you can really destroy your existing setup by swapping out your amp when you are really just wanting to bring it together and make it gel.  Just for fun, run it pretty hard and grab hold of your power chord(s).  Is it warm near the outlet?  Also, make sure your not running too small a total AWG cabling system from amp to speakers.  Geometry, termination, and placement all matter but basic resistance, inductance, and system capacitance are your starting point.

I've personally heard NAD amps sound great with Nordost, Wasatch, Kimber and older Audioquest (darker and less zingy than new).  Don't underestimate how good that amp is.  Don't be afraid to throw a couple hundred bucks at either buying or building great cables for that little guy.

[/quote]

jgossman
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??

I was referring to the original post.  But we're all thoroughly impressed with the systems you so thoroughly delineate at every opportunity.  At your current rate of expansion, you'll have to build yet another vacation home just to house your stereos.

 

I apologize for not quoting.  It's fair to assume that in any forum, however, unless a reply directly quotes a previous reply, that said reply is referring to the original post.

 

Lighten up.  It's just stereo equipment.  Really, seriously.  You should get a puppy.

commsysman
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Vacation? Nahhhh

Actually, my big house is on a ridge out in the desert where it is very quiet and somewhat remote and I have the big system there plus an A-V system in the den (plus live coyote concerts at night....rofl). That setup took over 20 years to build, so the rate of expansion was not all that dramatic.

The second home is not actually a vacation home, but a smaller home in a somewhat more urban area that we recently purchased to be closer to golf courses and various services, shopping, etc. We are finding ourself staying in the city house more and more, but I don't have the huge living room here so its not really practical to bring the big system here; limits...limits...lol.

 

jgossman wrote:

I was referring to the original post.  But we're all thoroughly impressed with the systems you so thoroughly delineate at every opportunity.  At your current rate of expansion, you'll have to build yet another vacation home just to house your stereos.

 

I apologize for not quoting.  It's fair to assume that in any forum, however, unless a reply directly quotes a previous reply, that said reply referring to the original post.

 

Lighten up.  It's just stereo equipment.

jgossman
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haha

I'm glad you saw the humor in my sarcasm.

I'm sure your big rig is quite good.

jgossman
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Back on target

I really don't think your weekpoint is your amplifier.  If anything, being familiar with your components, I think it might even be your strength.

merkaels
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Thanks everyone

I've been taking advice and am looking at speakers instead. I've liked the Paradigm sound over the Kef so far, but haven't heard much else. 

My NAD & Thorens are at the shop getting fixed (left channel was cutting out intermittently/cue arm issue). I got some new speaker cable today, nothing fancy but better than before.  I plan on keeping the old system, so these little fixes are worthwhile.

Ultimately, I'm imagining a wireless dac for using my laptop and the Thorens.  I rarely listen to CD's so that source is last on the list.

Thanks for all the help so far, and keep it coming.

jgossman
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Paradigm

I had a pair of Paradigm for my first "real" speakers and they were really fantastic.  I thought I was upgrading going to bigger more expensive Definative Tech's.  What a mistake.  It took 3 years for me to go to a set of Focal 706's to bring my system back to balance.  Good luck with your search.

You might also look at a set of PSB's or old late 80's early 90's B&W. 

commsysman
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PSB

I think PSB is doing some really nice speakers these days, at almost every price and performance level.

The audio press (Stereophile, TAS) is certainly handing them a lot of raves.

I love the PSB Image T6s for the money; very nice.

KEF is also nice, but their higher-priced speakers might be a little pricey for what you get.

commsysman
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Interesting...lol

Based on years of experience with these particular components, I certainly would have to disagree.

Thanks for the opinion, though.

 

jgossman wrote:

I really don't think your weekpoint is your amplifier.  If anything, being familiar with your components, I think it might even be your strength.

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