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ssm4ssm4
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Opinions on this system

Hi All,

So I finally got to listen to a bunch of speakers and amps at a a high end store. The system will be located in a large room -- 750 sq ft with 9 ft ceilings. Here's what I listened to:

speakers:
Dynaudio Excite X34 speakers -- $2800 -- my favorite speakers so far. super high clarity, great base, i felt that the musicians were right in front of me
I also listened to Totem Accustic Staff and BMW CM10. The Totems had a muffled sound to me and the BMW's were too bright.

Amp:
Musical Fidelity M5si -- $1999 -- sounded great but really outide my budget. at 150 watts per channel, will be more than enough for the large living room. Question: can I go with the Musical Fiedlity M3si at 95 watts per channel for a 750 sq foot room? I don't want an underpowered system.

CD player:
NAD C546BEE -- $499 -- I did not listen to any others but this sounded fine

The salesman was trying to push the Furman ELITE 15DMI at $558 for a surge protector and a noise reducer. Is this necessary?

I appreciate the advice on this forum.

David Harper
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Furman

IMO do not pay 558 dollars for a surge protector/noise reducer. It' snake oil. you can get a good surge protector outlet strip an any home center for like twenty bucks. The 'noise reducer' is almost certainly BS.

bierfeldt
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Thoughts

I am a big fan of the Dynaudio Excite Line. The x34 is a nice speaker but with a relatively low sensitivity. My experience is that Dynaudio speakers are relatively hard to drive and that is a big room. To get them to open up a bit and sound really good, a bit more power will likely serve you well with those. Others may have an opinion, but 95w might be a bit light in power all things considered.

You might want to try and get out and listen to the new Peachtree Nova 150. I have not heard this unit yet but I have always been a fan of Peachtree and this one looks like a strong value at $1499. It should be worth your time to see it. You might also find that dealers will have the 220se on clearance since it was recently discontinued.

A few other speaker options:

These won't be easier to drive but you might want to try and find a dealer to hear the Revel Performa3 F206s at $3500. They are very nice speakers and are very directly competitive to the Dynaudio's like the B&W CM line is.

You might also want to try and hear the PSB Imagine T2s which are much easier to drive. I think they are tremendous speakers and deliver a big clear, neutral sound.

Finally, music direct has the Wharfedale Jade 7s which are on deal for $2500. They are marked down from $5K and when they were introduced by Wharfedale directly competed with the Dynaudio's and Revels. These are a steal at that price point and again are worth your time to listen too.

I own the Revel Performa3 M105s which are standmounters and am thinking that if I was to go with a floorstander that the PSBs would be the way to go because I only have a 100w power amp. Otherwise, if I had 200w I would seriously look at the Revels or the Wharfedales.

Regarding the Furman, it is quite debatable whether a line conditioner is really worth it. There are people that swear by them and others who think they are snake oil and its just a really nice power strip. In general, the better the wiring and power in your house is, the less valuable a line conditioner is. What is undeniably valuable IMO is a "voltage regulator." A voltage regulator will stabilize your power and keep it from fluctuating from changes in power draws. For instance, when the AC clicks on you might see your lights dim for a second, a voltage regulator will protect against that. The least expensive one I am aware of is the Panamax MB1000 for $799. It is something I plan to add to my system longer term.

Regarding a CD Player, if you have a DAC in your integrated amp like the Musical Fidelity or the Peachtree will have, a higher end CD player is a waste because you can use the DAC that is in the integrated. I would get the $299 NAD instead and a digital cable or if you want to go a little higher end, the Cambridge CXC is a very nice transport (No DAC) for $499.

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

[quote=ssm4ssm4]Hi All,

So I finally got to listen to a bunch of speakers and amps at a a high end store. The system will be located in a large room -- 750 sq ft with 9 ft ceilings. Here's what I listened to:

speakers:
Dynaudio Excite X34 speakers -- $2800 -- my favorite speakers so far. super high clarity, great base, i felt that the musicians were right in front of me
I also listened to Totem Accustic Staff and BMW CM10. The Totems had a muffled sound to me and the BMW's were too bright.

Amp:
Musical Fidelity M5si -- $1999 -- sounded great but really outide my budget. at 150 watts per channel, will be more than enough for the large living room. Question: can I go with the Musical Fiedlity M3si at 95 watts per channel for a 750 sq foot room? I don't want an underpowered system.

***********************************************************************
The M3 might be just a bit small for the 86 db/watt speakers.

The M5si would be perfect. I don't understand spending $2800 for speakers and balking at the $1999 price of the M5si; pennywise and pound foolish.

I don't know of any other amplifier that would do justice to those speakers that wouldn't cost a LOT more money. I think the M5si is a bargain, for an amp that sounds so good and has the power required.

sphinxsix
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BASSSS

My only concern is whether the Dynaudio speakers (which I like in general) in such a big room will satisfy your ears as far as the bass response is concerned. Beware that if you listen to the speakers in a smaller dealer's listening room you may have enough bass for your taste but when they are moved to a much bigger room there may be not enough low end. Maybe you should consider adding a good subwoofer or two if you (like me) don't like the idea of mono bass. My room is 40m2 (a diagonal ceiling from ca 1m to 3,8m) and two subwoofers (13 inch polikevlar Focal Audiom drivers) as an addition to 3-way floorstanders (Tc120TDX tioxid tweeters and polikevlar Focal Audiom drivers too) do just fine.

ssm4ssm4
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couple more questions

Thanks for all your advice. I have a couple more questions.

Bierfeldt I looked at the NAD C516BEE CD player for $299. I think I'll go with this one. Basic question: so this CD player has no built in DAC right? So which input on the amp do I plug this into? Will go with the Musical Fidelity M5si with built in DAC based on everyone's comments. Inputs are CD USB and phono. I'm assuming the CD input is the correct one? Also from a previous post you recommended the Audioquest Cinnamon coaxial cable which I'll go with if you still recommend.

The salesman was pushing the Audioquest Type4 speaker cable which seemed expensive. Is Monster speaker wire just as good?

If I go with a turntable in the future can i just plug this into the "phono" input on the Musical Fidelity? What cable would I use?

The salesman showed me the Bluesound NODE2B wireless streaming music player which looked sweet but was expensive at $499. Any advice about preferred high quality music downloading services and how to organize downloads on a laptop?

Thanks again for the excellent advice.

bierfeldt
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My mistake

The NAD C 516BEE does have an internal DAC and is a pretty good CD Player. The Musical Fidelity does have a pretty good DAC but only has a USB in, no digital coax or optical in. My apologies as I should have checked that on the MF. You would have to connect via RCA cables and use the CD Player DAC or an external. In which case NAD still makes a nice CD player for the money. Marantz also makes a very good CD player and the Oppo BDP103 is excellent.

In that case, for an unbalanced cable I like the Audioqust Golden Gate line. I am not a believer in hight end speaker wire. Others feel differently. I use 12 gauge monster cable.

You can plug a turntable into the phono input on that MF unit so long as it has a Moving Magnet type cartridge, Most entry level to mid level tables (under $1500) will come standard with a MM cartridge, moving coil cartridges tend to be more expensive.

Regarding streamers, this is a matter of preference. I personally have a Marantz Network Player that I use as an external DAC and I plug my CD player into it. Others will get streamers like the Bluesound or I think Aurender or Auralic that plug into the USB DAC. If it has the features that you like and want, feel free. I love my Marantz unit. But it is not essential.

JRiver is good software and links nicely to HDTracks if you want to buy. Tidal and Deezer both sound great, question is whether they have a catalog that meets your music needs if you do a subscription service.

Good luck to you.

sphinxsix
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Some more opinions.

1. JRiver is fantastic!
2. Musical Fidelity M5si can convert only 24/96, I believe. You will have to forget 24/192 or DSD (SACD format) for that matter.
3. Cables quality matters. I'd absolutely prefer Audioquest to Monster. BTW I have some Audioquest cables that I don't use anymore (I think it's Type 6 amd some interconnects too) if you would be interested (ca half of original price lt's say) I can sell them to you. Audioquest has a very good bass BTW..

commsysman
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MQA
ssm4ssm4 wrote:

Thanks for all your advice. I have a couple more questions.

Bierfeldt I looked at the NAD C516BEE CD player for $299. I think I'll go with this one. Basic question: so this CD player has no built in DAC right? So which input on the amp do I plug this into? Will go with the Musical Fidelity M5si with built in DAC based on everyone's comments. Inputs are CD USB and phono. I'm assuming the CD input is the correct one? Also from a previous post you recommended the Audioquest Cinnamon coaxial cable which I'll go with if you still recommend.

The salesman was pushing the Audioquest Type4 speaker cable which seemed expensive. Is Monster speaker wire just as good?

If I go with a turntable in the future can i just plug this into the "phono" input on the Musical Fidelity? What cable would I use?

The salesman showed me the Bluesound NODE2B wireless streaming music player which looked sweet but was expensive at $499. Any advice about preferred high quality music downloading services and how to organize downloads on a laptop?

Thanks again for the excellent advice.

MQA is going to be a complete revolution in audio sound quality. The impact of this is going to be the biggest improvement in audio streaming sound quality in the last 20 years IMO.

Bluesound is now putting out units that have MQA, or can do software upgrades to utilize it. Don't buy one that does not have it.

I think that within 2 or 3 years anything that does not have MQA capability will be considered obsolete, and you won't be able to give it away (and for good reason). MQA will make the difference between the poor to mediocre quality available now and excellent quality with it.

Tidal and a couple of other companies are starting to put out MQA encoded music, and others will surely follow before the year is out. I am very interested in the NODE, but my conservative side says wait at least a few months and see what other MQA components become available. They should come very fast.

As for a player. I suggest that you look hard at the OPPO BDP-103, which is an excellent-sounding universal player, plus it has a DAC and many many features and can actually function as a system preamp also. For $499 it is an incredible bargain.

I have used Audioquest cables for years for my audio interconnects, but I suggest that you use the Monoprice 12 gauge speaker cable for the speakers; it is pure copper and nothing works better; nothing! (Monoprice #2747 is 50 feet of same for under $20). I use plain copper wire for my $7000 Vandersteen Treos, and nothing I have ever tried, no matter how expensive, has ever sounded better. Expensive speaker cables are just so much horse manure being sold for the price of gold, as far as I can determine.

For the phono to amp connection, just make sure you keep the length of the cables under 2 feet to avoid excess capacitive loading of your phono cartridge. The Audioquest Chicago should run under $100 for the length you want. Audio Advisor has them.

sphinxsix
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commsysman][quote=ssm4ssm4
commsysman][quote=ssm4ssm4 wrote:

MQA is going to be e a complete revolution in audio sound quality. The impact of this is going to be the biggest improvement in audio streaming sound quality in the last 20 years IMO.

Bluesound is now putting out units that have MQA, or can do software upgrades to utilize it. Don't buy one that does not have it.

I think that within 2 or 3 years anything that does not have MQA capability will be considered obsolete

Only time will tell whether MQA will become one of popular audio formats. I'm not so sure about it.

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