Hi X. What do you feel your system is lacking in the first place as far as performance goes? I believe you really want to put as little responsibility on the salesman to help you decide which component should be upgraded next. I think the best thing to help you decide will be (in a rhyming fashion) "your ears and your gear". Unless you have something that really needs to be upgraded because of it's obvious performance shortcomings, I would really let my ears decide what piece I want to upgrade and then have the dealer help me by showing me different models of what I'm looking for. Your goal as a consumer is to educate yourself to the point that you basically turn the salesman into a showman. As you already know, there are tons of forums that will educate you and people who'll give you opinions on the net so your dealer is but one opinion who may or maynot have a stake in your sale but on line is where you'll find numerous but for the most part, honest opinions on gear. So tonight, listen to your gear. Is it really a cable change that's driving you to want to upgrade instead of that intergrated or CD player? How about some room treatment? Speaker placement maybe? Trust your ears and your gear!!
Unfortunately in this business you can't trust many.You really have to do your homework. Everyone is out to line there pockets at your expense.If you are going to buy new demand a home demo or move on to someone who will allow it. There are stil good people left in this business but they are much harder to find do to the direction this business is going. Good luck!
Maybe someone in the Chicago area could recommend a trustworthy dealer? (is that an oxymoron?)
Xmore. I think you have a nicely balanced system. If you are not happy with the sound, there are a couple of possibilities. You could try different cables or you might want to consider a different sound altogether. I think to do that, is not necessarily an upgrade. You could try tubes in you cd player or maybe an amp that would give a different sound, like a YBA Integre or Electrocompiniet. The problem here might be that your speakers need a lot of power. What kind of music do you listen to and how large is your listening room?
I think you might find that the upgrade of one piece will just be the beginning of a long search, and if as you say, you don't have time, you might find yourself more frustrated.
Angela100, good suggestion. If X will search through the "Digital" forum and look for the thread "SACD Dealers in Chicago" several fine suggestions will be found. I live near Chicago and have had experiences with most of the dealers listed and can honestly say that I do not feel that any of them are "bad dealers".
X, e-mail me if you need additional information.
As far as the system goes, I would think that both the amp and the cd are currently the weak links. So, in a way I guess that makes both dealers correct.....sort of. But, the gear is good. Take a hard look and listen to the room. If you are happy with the room, speaker placement and other such things then start working with the system. I would work on the cd player first. I think you should try to get the source and the speakers taken care of first then the amp. The speakers are good so concentrate on the cd, then probably the amp. Good Luck, Doug
Didn't you ask for advice? I think you did, here's mine. You are going to get the biggest bang out of findin' another amp/pre or combo. The difference between the 7, the 8 and the 9 will be one of degree (though more degrees if you go from 7 to 9).
As for the dealer's contention about no upgrade?? It makes little sense. I feel something has been left out in the translation. It makes a difference! But you gotta be able to resolve that difference.
On the other hand, a new amp/pre is likely to really change your sound, by both kind and degree. For list of recommended components of the members of this site, see recent thread 'amp/pre' or some such, it's recent. Later on you can refine with the CDP upgrades. That's what I think anyway.
My first buying experance was in 1972 at Pacific Stereo. I was getting a MUCH better system than the Fisher system I had given to me.
The salesman talked me out of the smaller KLH's for some big honker cabinets with big woofers. They stayed in my home for two weeks before I could not stand it any longer and took them back.
I had to hassel with the salesman to get him to trade out. I desided at that time that NO salesman would EVER trick me again. I do not buy often, infact hardly ever (can not afford what I want new) but I can a lot of times tell the salesman more about their stuff than they knew. I used to go to shops in other towns and look on used rack. Now with Audiogon that will not happen any more! Just keep asking questions and many will offer help.
I appreciate the advice. In response to some questions, for serious listening, I listen to mostly jazz (mostly small combos). For casual listening, I listen to pop and rock. Once I got the Dynaudios, the system seemed under powered in the dynamics seemed compressed and a sound was bit less refined (cymbals and brass was off were a bit more rough).
I thought of moving to a plinuis (sp?) amp or an Odyssey stratos with a Rouge 66 or 99 preamp. My office/listing room is small. It is about 11x13. So I have done a bit of homework but I could use all the help can get.
I also want to get rid of my MIT’s but I will do that last.
dear mr.X man, the place to start is at the wall! 75% of your problem is coming through your wall socket. check out the "Ensemble" swiss power products. your equipment has much more potencial than your hearing!!
Based on what I've read above, there is some sound advise here. You mention that you want to upgrade your system. What aspect of it are you currently unhappy with? Perhaps that would narrow it down a bit.....
In my experience, the amplifier makes the biggest change. Add lots of high quality power, and your system will come alive....not from a loudness perspective but rather like having veils lifted from the speakers....the will grab your attention even at low power...
As also mentioned above, room placement is critical. Experiment with this if you can; you can change the character of your whole system this way....
Finally, I also strongly agree with the post above regarding take home demos. If your current dealers won't allow this, find new ones that do. The only way to get an accurate idea of how a piece is going to sound is to try it in your system.....
Finally, keep an eye on your interconnects and cables. Again, try different combos from your dealer on loan. Often, the tweaky cables actually harm system performance rather than enhance it. Folks seem allow the cost of these items to color their perception of what they are hearing. Keep the capacitance low.....
Remember, this should be fun!!!!
I have heard the Arcam cd players. My experience is that the 7SE is better than the 8, and pretty close to the 9. I don't beleive that upgrade would solve your problems.
there's a really cool dealer off Lincoln Avenue. It's called Audio Image. give him a call at 773-334-2400.
Does your integrated have preouts? If it does, my first choice would be to get a separate and better quality power amp for your system, the Dynaudios are inefficient and can use the juice. Something like a McCormack DNA series amp, or one of the new Bel Canto Evos would be a couple of nice choices that aren't terribly expensive. You could then upgrade to a nice separate tube preamp later on as funds permit. I would also think some better speaker cables would be worth a try, as I am not at all a fan of MIT.
Due to their use of HEAVY quantities of parts in the crossover circuit, Dynaudio speakers are BIGTIME power suckers. Even with their small speakers you will need a pretty reasonably sized amp for best performance. I would look for something that does well at either 8 or 4 ohms with a reasonable amount of dynamic headroom. If the amp does not go up by double or almost double at 4 ohms as compared to what it was rated at 8 ohms, i would NOT consider it for your specific system. Even though the Dynaudio's are designed to be a relatively stable load, they are not an "easy" load in the fact that they take quite a bit of muscle to play at high volumes with any type of "liquidity" or "lucidness". Using a relatively small amp will require you to push it, reducing its' musicality and "liquidity" even further while introducing a "veil" or slight "haze" to the music. Increasing the power available to these specific speakers in a quality fashion should get you the the dynamics and openness that your looking for. Sean
Try Joe Galanti @ Superior Audio in Chicago. By appointment only. Small selection, but honest and he has a great ear!
While I am unfamiliar with much of your equipment, my feeling is that your cabling could be upgraded. However, a front end is where upgrades really make a difference, it's just that I am unsure about the Arcam line.
Your upgrade path is clear and easy. Buy a 10 power amp and bi-amp the speakers. Lose the MIT and get some Blue Heaven speaker wire. Nordost will terminate the cables at the amp end for free. Until the format war is settled I'd stay with the 7se, but make no mistake the 9 is better. You can have your dealer upgrade the 7se to a 9 for little more then the cost between the two.
Definitely upgrade the amplification - I have two sets of Dynaudios (the 1.1's and the 3.0's) and they both crave the power / current. All of the dynamics you mention losing will come back and then some.