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manunkind
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Advice on Focal Aria 948 (used) and Accuphase e-280 amp

Hello everyone,

I've had my shy but trusty Wharfedale Diamond 250/Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 system for some time, and I fancy an upgrade. I've gone to a few music shops and heard a few various setups, and fell in love with two: Focal Aria speakers and Accuphase e-280 integrated amplifier.

Now to be frank, I simply cannot afford this combination new... But i did find both being sold used, in "mint" condition...

Wanted to ask two questions: is there anything I'm overlooking in this speaker/amplifier combo that isn't quite perfect? And.... what are the pitfalls of buying used speakers? Anything i should look for besides the obvious external damage?

Thank you!

hoytis
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All good

I see nothing wrong with that pairing. I think you'll be in heaven...both stellar components. 90w into 8 ohms should drive those efficient speakers brilliantly. I've never had issues with buying used speakers. Other than what you said, visually checking the domes and tweeters for damage and making sure the rubber/foam surrounds aren't dry or cracking, I would definitely take them for a test run before purchasing.

manunkind
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Double misfortune

Thank you!
Two days ago I made a 4-hour trip to pick up that Accuphase, my dream amp. It was in "like-new" condition and the seller was eager to reply to all my messages. When i got to his town, I received the following sms: "I've been doing some thinking, and I reckon I did not realise the emotional attachment I have for this machine. I'm sorry to do it to you, but I feel only a serious increase in the amount you're willing to pay will make a difference. As it stands, I am no longer willing to part with it for $2300 (listed price).
Can you believe it? I was about to offer him $500 more, but the I didn't feel like I can trust someone like that at all. Now I felt that I'd get home and find that the amp isn't even working.
These things are rare at a reasonable price, so I'll continue to look or try to find a compatible McIntosh.

Meanwhile, the Focals are sold. These I'm not tok worried about, they come up for sale reasonably often.

hoytis
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Bummer

Man, that is truly a painful story. What a bummer. It was too good to be true, as it sounds like the guy finally clued in that he was underpricing it. That's like half the price of what they're going for.

Oh well, onward!

manunkind
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$3200

It was actually $3200, i made a typo. And i am willing to pay a little more, but I felt insulted. "Personal attachment", seriously?
I'm going to look at McIntosh MA5200 for the same price this weekend. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Old Audiophile
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Two Cents or Two Pence

So sorry to hear about the jerk who was obviously trying to squeeze more money out of you! After a 4 hour excursion, I would have had a few choice words for a person like that! While I understand a fully appreciate the emotional attachment to certain audio toys (I still have a Sansui 2000X I purchased new in 1972), such behavior in inexcusable!

I've spent serious seat-time with both the Focal Aria 926 and Aria 936, the latter powered by a McIntosh MA5200 and, immediately thereafter, by its Luxman integrated competitor. That combination, with either of those integrated amplifiers, was awesome! I demoed the Aria 926 last year, paired with an outrageously powerful and outstanding Classe Delta stack. That was outstanding, as well! However, of those 2 experiences, I much preferred the Aria 936 & MAC MA5200 pairing. The Classe Delta stack was/is just too much power for the Aria 926. That being said, I'm certain the Aria 926 would sound very nice with either the MAC MA5200, its Luxman integrated competitor or something of roughly equivalent quality & specification(s) (e.g. Simaudio Moon NEO 340IX; Musical Fidelity M6si; etc.). If your ears are anything like mine, I'm confident you'll find the Aria 936 to be significantly better performers than the Aria 926.

With the MAC MA5200, which I own, I would advise that you stick with 8 ohm nominal load design speakers. While the MA5200 is conservatively rated at 100 watts RMS into 8 ohms, it's been bench tested at 130 watts into 8 ohms. McIntosh tends to rate their equipment very conservatively. However, its power supply is relatively limited. As such, it very likely will not get everything out of 4 ohm nominal load design speakers that they are designed to deliver, even very efficient ones. It will be quite capable of driving many speakers like that but there is a big difference between just being able to drive speakers and being able to really make them sing. The Simaudio Moon I mentioned may be an exception here because it has a huge power supply. As in all things audio, you really should listen and let your ears decide. Speaker and amplification pairing is very important in this regard.

Since you like the Wharfedale sound signature, my guess is your ears may like speakers like Monitor Audio and B&W. You might like to put those on your shopping list. There are many fine speakers. The challenge is really doing some critical listening with as many as you like, under controlled conditions or as controlled as you can get them (e.g. as similar to your home sound room as possible; same or similar equipment; dimensions; speaker placement; acoustics; sweet spot; etc.). I have the Revel Performa3 F206 paired to the MAC MA5200 and, as far as I'm concerned, that is a marriage made in heaven! Take care in orchestrating your critical listening expeditions and your ears will steer you in the right direction.

Best of luck!

manunkind
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It was 4 hours one way!

Thank you so much for the advise! I will certainly expand my search into Luxman, Simaudio and MF....
I fell in love with Focal Aria having listened to it paired with Accuphase e-280, so at first I told myself I will get that exact combination. This is the first time I cane closed to actually buying Accuphase e-280, since they appear to be as rare as hen's teeth in Canada. Of course I can order the new one, but it costs nearly $7k, which is more than double of my amp budget.
I'm willing to open to different amp options, but I think I'll stick to Aria 936 or 926. Not because I don't believe that these are simply the best, but because I'm afraid that any more audions will be impeded by time, opportunity and a notion that those Focals seem to have engraved in my memory. I tried B&W 803 s3 with a newest Yamaha integrated amp (it was very expensive so i didn't bother learning the name)- they sounded as a crystal, very clear and cold. I played Dark Side of the Moon (the only thing they had in the store that wasn't noisy) and it sounded a little sterile. I also heard Paradigm Signature S8v1 that were run by a PrimaLuna amp bristling with tubes like a porcupine, and it didn't sound quite right- albeit I admit that the room the setup was in was L-shaped and had a suspended ceiling.
I'll keep the lookout! Now I have a few more things to try. Thanks again!

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