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chuckles304
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Looking for system upgrade advice

Hi all,

Been a long while since I posted last. Here's what I've got going -

I am finishing half my basement (26x20) into a dedicated audio room. My current setup is an Aurender N100H into a Holo Audio Spring 2 Dac Level 3, feeding a NAD T758 into four KEF Q900's (and a Q350 center) with two SVS PB-1000 subs. All plugged into an Audioquest Niagara 5000. Cabling is a mix of Audioquest and Wireworld for interconnects, Anticables for speakers, and Pangea and Anticables for power cords.

When I make the move into the new room, the NAD T758 will be replaced by a M17 preamp and M28 7-channel power amp combo. The advice I'm looking for is twofold - I'm looking at Anticables for the interconnects I'll need between the pre and power amps, any thoughts/suggestions? Also, I have been toying with the idea of replacing the KEF's with Monitor Audio Silvers, which I have heard (I have only heard bookshelves). Interested to hear thoughts on NAD/Monitor Audio synergy. Or other speaker suggestions under $5k/pair. I guess my chief complaint with the KEFs is they can sound a little bright, and the MAs I heard were very smooth.

Thanks for any input!

BluesDog
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Revel Performa 3 F208 Suggested

That NAD M17 and M28 is a very sweet combination. If you are willing and able to go somewhat above the $5,000 mentioned, this Revel is an excellent choice for Mains. I have heard this speaker and it is superb. The Focal Aria is also worth checking out but I have not heard it. The Paradigm Founder 100F might also merit a listen. Monitor Audio has certainly updated it’s game with the new MA Silver 500 7G.

For what it is worth, Kal Rubinson bought the NAD M28 for his Revels setup and also bridged 2 NAD C 298’s for his Mains. The importance of this is that the separates and the speakers play very well together as a system instead of guessing what the combined specs of separates and speakers SHOULD do.

Kal Rubinson
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Quote:
Quote:

For what it is worth, Kal Rubinson bought the NAD M28 for his Revels setup and also bridged 2 NAD C 298’s for his Mains.

This is not quite so. I bought the NAD M28 for my CT setup where I use it with Monitor Audio Silvers.

I also bought a pair of NAD C298s which I keep in NYC as alternatives to my Benchmark AHB2s in a system with Revel Studio2s.

BluesDog
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Got It!

Important distinctions duly noted. Without wanting to step in it (or on it!) it would seem that NAD amplifications works well with Monitor Audio and Revel.

chuckles304
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Mr. Rubinson,

Mr. Rubinson,

Are you familiar with NAD's Enhanced Stereo feature? It's what I've been using for years.

chuckles304
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Revels, etc.

I've stared at the Revel line for years, wishing I could afford them.....$5k/pair, I'd need two pairs plus a center is way past what I can do, I think. I just checked Music Direct's site, they have some KEF R11 scratch/dent for $3600/pair. I know I said I wasn't crazy about the KEF Q line, but I wonder if their R series is a noticeable improvement. Audio Advisor has Monitor Audio Silver 500 6G for $2k/pair, vs. $3200/pair for the new 7G. Decisions, decisions....

Kal Rubinson
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Yes, I know what it is but,

Yes, I know what it is but, no, I do not use it. IMHO, its only value is for background music at a party or a dinner.

BluesDog
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It’s The Journey, Not The Destination

If you can’t make ALL the grand moves at once, there’s something to be said for making 1 quality move at a time. If it was me in your situation, I’d start with the main speakers and get the Revel Performa3 F208’s. Then, as time and largesse permit, add the next strategic piece(s) after you gauge the impact of the Revels and further needs in your system.

A friend of mine spent maybe 15 years insisting he would not do a thing until he could do everything the way he wanted. Yet when he had the means to do that, he chose instead to do 1 thing at a time and savor, assess the impact. He started with a new Mofi turntable, later went to a new MAC 5200 Integrated amp and, after much hands on listening, a new set of Revel Performa 3 F206 Mains speakers. What struck me about his system is that it all plays in balance well with each other with no one component way ahead of everything else.

I can’t help but feel this is a better way to do things as you can fully appreciate the standalone qualities of what you’ve done as opposed to an allout audio assault.

Kal Rubinson
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BluesDog wrote:
BluesDog wrote:

If you can’t make ALL the grand moves at once, there’s something to be said for making 1 quality move at a time.
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I can’t help but feel this is a better way to do things as you can fully appreciate the standalone qualities of what you’ve done as opposed to an allout audio assault.

Amen.

Dorsia777
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@ Blues Dog

That’s the beauty of this odd, expensive yet enjoyable hobby. You hit the nail on the head!

chuckles304
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So I pulled the trigger on

So I pulled the trigger on the Monitor Audio Silvers.....that in and of itself was a moderately tough sell to the wife. I want to break them in a couple/50 hours, and I remember reading in a Stereophile article that the reviewer stated that he wired them out of phase and placed them facing each other. Any idea what that accomplished? If it reduced the volume level needed, I'd be very interested in doing that.

Old Audiophile
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Two Cents Worth

Chuckles, yes, I've read about that method of hooking up speakers out of phase, facing them together and playing them at moderate volume levels for XX number of hours to speed up the break-in process. I have no idea how or why that would work. Most reviewers I've read tend to hook up speakers properly (i.e. in phase) and play them at moderate sound levels as background music for a day or two before actually sitting down to do their critical listening. When I bought my present pair of speakers (Revel Performa3 F206), a reviewer wrote that he thought it took the pair he reviewed 120 hours before being fully broken in. The audio shop I bought my speakers from said to play them at moderate volume levels until they reached 100 hours before cutting them loose. I contacted Revel and they, more or less, agreed. After a little research on the web about this, I didn't find much in the way of what I would consider to be credible consensus or advice. Seems to me, that 100 hours is a general rule of thumb for speaker break-in time. However, I think this depends, to some degree, on the design of the speaker. Some manufacturers indicated there was no need to be conservative with volume levels straight out of the box and to just play speakers as you would normally like, within reason of course. Some indicated you should be relatively conservative with volume levels for however long the recommended break-in period was, if they gave one at all. Recommendations on this seemed to be all over the board. In the absence of any solid guidance from a manufacturer, trustworthy reviewer or audio shop dealer, my approach on this is to unbox the speakers when you get them home, hook them up properly (i.e. in phase), let them sit in your sound room until they get to room temperature (assuming a conventional room temperature) and then play them at moderate sound levels for the first 50 hours or so. Then, I gradually increase volume levels between 50 and approximately 70 hours or so. I continue to do the same from 70 to 90 hours before really cutting them loose. I've done serious seat-time with the MA Silver 300 and 500. I would think your MA would be fully broken-in by 100 hours; probably less. However, it never hurts to contact the manufacturer or speak with your dealer to see what they advise. If Kal weighs in on this, I'd take his word for it.

Kal Rubinson
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Old Audiophile wrote:
Old Audiophile wrote:

If Kal weighs in on this, I'd take his word for it.

Be careful what you wish for. I am not convinced that there are audible changes with "burn-in" and I am convinced that listener adaptation accounts for what is generally reported. Yes, I do listen "casually" for a several days before sitting down and focusing but I see no reason not to let 'er rip, if I feel like it.

manunkind
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The following is an excerpt

The following is an excerpt from the Harbeth User Guide:

"After exercising your new Harbeths for just a few hours they will be fully ready for a lifetime of enjoyment".

Why would any reputable speaker company use materials that deteriorate over time and thus account for it in the design? And once changed, "broke in", tge speakers mysteriously stop changing and no longer "breaking in" further? Sounds like a very silly myth.

BluesDog
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Congrats On Your MA Silver 7G’s!

Looking forward to hearing your experiences with that potent NAD amplification. For me, burning speakers in patiently is more about not breaking anything on stun straight out of the box. To my ears the sound improves as the highs become less fatiguing and the bass starts t wake up. I’ll never forget a neighbor of mine blowing a titanium tweeter (no small feat) on a pair Klipsch towers almost the second he got them. I find it easier to play things safe then I do to be very sorry. Maybe this is less of a problem on more expensive speakers.

Kal Rubinson
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BluesDog wrote:
BluesDog wrote:

For me, burning speakers in patiently is more about not breaking anything on stun straight out of the box.

Do you really think that, unless the speaker (or any component) has been recently subjected to extreme cold or moisture and needs to thaw or dry, that it would gain in power handling capability over time?

Quote:

I’ll never forget a neighbor of mine blowing a titanium tweeter (no small feat) on a pair Klipsch towers almost the second he got them.

I think it is more likely to have been the result of unbridled enthusiasm on the part of a new owner.

Old Audiophile
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Interesting!

Kal, no disrespect intended here but I am compelled to say that with the Revel F206 I bought a while back, I'm convinced their bass response became noticeably fuller and more distinct with additional play time. Midrange was, pretty much, great right out of the box. High frequencies, also, became a little sweeter, I thought, and a tad less bright with additional time. In retrospect, however, I don't think they needed much more than 40 or 50 hours to come into their own. I'm also relatively certain this was not a factor of listener adaptation. During the break-in period I pursued, I would periodically ask my wife what her ears were telling her, without using leading statements or language that might influence her observations. Of course, this was a totally unnecessary precaution because She Who Must Be Obeyed has never been shy or reticent about telling me when I'm full of crap.

I certainly don't think reputable speaker manufacturers use materials that deteriorate over time and account for this in their designs. However, conventional drivers, especially large woofers, do pulsate as the music is playing. Wouldn't it be plausible to assume that a little play time would loosen the tensile strength of the materials involved?

Kal Rubinson
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1. Women are not immune to

1. Women are not immune to the mechanisms of sensory adaptation.
2. All mechanical devices will deteriorate with use over time.
3. There's no reason to that a reduction of tensile strength over such a short time is significant (especially in tweeters).

Old Audiophile
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Makes Sense!

Kal, given your skepticism of burn-in time for speakers, why do you bother listening "casually", before listening critically, for a review? Do you believe burn-in time benefits any components? I'd have to dig out my McIntosh amplifier's owner's manual to make certain of this, but I believe it says something to the affect that it will sound gradually a little better with time. I've always been skeptical of burn-in time for anything other than speakers and, frankly, I've never noticed an improvement in fidelity with my MAC or any other amp I've owned in the past. When manufacturers make such statements in their owner's manuals, is this just their way of saying give the equipment some time and it will grow on you?

Chuckles304, I'd be interested in your (and, possibly, your significant other's) take on this.

Kal Rubinson
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Old Audiophile wrote:
Old Audiophile wrote:

Kal, given your skepticism of burn-in time for speakers, why do you bother listening "casually", before listening critically, for a review?

Simple. Mostly, it is to pass through the period of my early neural adaptation before getting to a critical assessment. It is, also, possible that all the components may be cold and could benefit from equilibrating to normal domestic conditions. I can almost always do an A/B switch with another speaker to help me focus on the differences.

Quote:

Do you believe burn-in time benefits any components?

Not really.

Quote:

I'd have to dig out my McIntosh amplifier's owner's manual to make certain of this, but I believe it says something to the affect that it will sound gradually a little better with time. I've always been skeptical of burn-in time for anything other than speakers and, frankly, I've never noticed an improvement in fidelity with my MAC or any other amp I've owned in the past. When manufacturers make such statements in their owner's manuals, is this just their way of saying give the equipment some time and it will grow on you?

Yes and, generally, it will.

Quote:

Chuckles304, I'd be interested in your (and, possibly, your significant other's) take on this.

I do not think she has any take on this nor, in fact, any interest in it at all.

chuckles304
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I didn't get 7Gs due to the

I didn't get 7Gs due to the fact that Audio Advisor had 6Gs for $2k/pair vs. $3.2k/pair for the 7s. But, nowhere could I find a 6G center, and I was forced to purchase a 7G center to go with the 6G towers......

chuckles304
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The only time I've ever

The only time I've ever experienced what I would call "burn-in", was when my Holo Audio Spring 2 DAC finally arrived, I connected it, and listened for maybe 5 minutes once a day for 3 or 4 consecutive days while constantly running music through it at a low volume when I wasn't around. I noticed the sound changing; I would say it became more open or expansive. After the 4th day I didn't notice any further change.

My assumption is that due to my short listening periods what I was experiencing was burn-in since I'd argue that I didn't listen long enough to get accustomed to the Spring's sound. However, I am the student and Mr. Rubinson et al. are the masters, and I would no more look to tell you/them burn-in is real than expect the teenager I just hired to tell me how to run my construction company.

That is the extent of my interest in it.

Old Audiophile
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Very Interesting!

This is what I love most about forums like this! Learning! Thanks for the back & forth!

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Will3

I purchased my MA Silver 5007G's in March and would estimate after 70-80 hours they have broken in pretty well. BIG Difference from new! Not as bright, more detailed midrange. These love good upstream sources.
I've usually bought speakers used and never noticed this before. They broke in nicely btw. Very happy now.

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