I guess I should ass that I primarily listen to jazz on this system. I also listen to light vocal stuff, and occasionally I get into rock and roll. I'm not really looking for a genre specific system, rather something that performs pretty well across the board.
My gripe right now is that the system sounds too bright. The highs are just too sharp for me to really enjoy.
Since NAD gear is known for sounding warm and somewhat soft up top, the primary culprit for the brightness that you complain about would probably be your speakers. If you sold the NAD gear and went to more neutral sounding components with these same speakers in two channel mode, it would be even brighter. The logical deduction is that you may not only end up selling your 5 channel electronics, but also the speakers that went with it. Think of this as a chance for a fresh start : ) Sean
I am willing to take the leap, at this point. I've had all this gear for just over a year, and I can't quite adjust to it.
Problem is, I don't quite know where to start.
For speakers, I haven't heard anything but raves about the Green Mountain Europas, so I'm considering them as a starting point.
Depending if you want a floor stand or monitor. If a monitor I would go with something like a used Green Mountain Europa (Great monitor that punches well above it's price) $600.00 . You can get some decent stands around $150 to $200 if you look hard. For a preamp maybe a used Eastern Electric Mini Max (giant killer among tube preamps)for $750.00.This has you up to $1550.00 on the high side.For amps.. a pair of used Monarchy Audio Class A SM70 wpc monoblocks for $750.00. to $800.00 tops.Ok we're at $2350.00.Put another $100.00 with whats left and pick up a Scott Nixon Dac. Keep the NAD DVD/CD player and use it as a transport. You won't lose any money on this combo and it will sell for roughly what you have in it if needed.
If a floorstander checkout the Soliloquy 5.3s new for $900.These speakers are very smooth but have great detail.Their very efficient and dip down to around 30 hz. All of this will also depend on the room you have to work with as well.Another speaker to look at is the MMGs for $550.00 new from Magnepan with a 60 day money back policy.You would be looking at maybe $50.00 for shipping.So your back to $600.00 for speakers.This will leave an extra $350.00 after buying the Minimax and SM70s monoblocks. You could get the Dac and still have $100.00 left over.
Just Thinking! Good Luck!
Thanks for the recommendations. I am curious about tubes, and I think I might be more comfortable going tubed one componenent at a time - probably the pre-amp. Any other amp suggestions for the GME? I doubt I have room for the Maggy's, though they look great.
I'm all for separates, more than most people for sure, but with your budget, you'll most likely get better sound with an integrated amp. Maybe a tube one...ask Roy at Green Mountain about what he likes as a mate for speakers. He seems like a really nice guy.
(I also thought "Magnepan" when I first read this thread)
I have a budget system. I started out with B&W. I really liked them, but something was'nt quite right. I've gone to PSB and I find them a bit less bright, but every bit as detailed. As a bonus, they are better at low volume levels, which I enjoy. I had to have the B&W's too loud to get the same detail. Just this week I added a subwoofer and it has made a big difference. The system is much more enjoyable.
Hey Dubzilla the Monarchys are solid state amplifiers.Also you may want to checkout the new Panasonic SA XR 50/70 from $250.00 to $350.00. The 70 model isn't out yet. Then all you will need is your cd player.
If you go with separates the Mini Max for a preamp will be hard to beat. There are some guys with mega buck systems replacing their preamps with this thing.I know of a dealer that replaced his multi kilobuck Conrad Johnson with this little preamp. Yes it is that good..simple and to the point.
Mini Max will be releasing a new tube integrate in the future. I think it's suppose to be 35 wpc. Also a 70 wpc tube amplifier is in the works from what I've been told.If they are anything like the Mini Max they will be big hits.
There's plenty of guys on this site using Europas ..hopefully they will give you some advice.
Jazz is a pretty wide category. Do you like the more up-tempo experimental stuff or the smoky, sultry female singer in the lounge type? Both??? Sean
You might consider trying some MIT or Audioquest speaker cables. Both go a long way (in most cases) to eliminating the bright top end that is bothering you right now. I think McIntosh is a great match for B&W, but probably not in your price range right now. I did see an MC502 amp for sale on A'gon for $400 with a case. If the aesthetics don't bother you, give it a try - tough to lose money on McIntosh stuff too. I have also found the Kimber Kable ic's and speaker wire to be exceptional. The 4TC and PBJ's are great, economical choices. They seem to be on the opposite end of the technological spectrum compared to AQ or MIT, but the results are impressive indeed. Good luck and enjoy!
One last note - A while back I read an article detailing an economical system that promised to deliver the goods. It consisted of Antique Sound Labs Wave amps (8 watt models) modified with Auricaps, and ASL preamp (currently $249), Paradigm Atom speakers and I think a Sony source. Total cost with mods was $1000. The amps are no longer in production, but you can pick them up here for about $300. Everything else is either in production or readily available on A'gon.
found that link for the ASL setup.
it is :
Thanks for all the advice guys. For now, I'm selling my speakers (B&W 602 s3, 600 s3, and ASW 650 sub all in classifieds section ;) ).
I'm also going to be listing my NAD T752 soon as well, but I want to settle on an amp before I do so. I think I will try the Mini Max, if I can find a good deal on it, GMood.
I just want to bump this thread for other people that might have some feedback. The more I read about the GMA Europa, the more convinced I am that they're the speakers for me.
I'm considering a tube integrated, like a Consonance or a Jolida, but Ray of GMA recommends about 70 watts per channel out of tubes, which puts most of the Consonance gear out of my price range. I guess it's Jolida for me.
Or maybe I should just invest in a DAC. Decisions decisions...
Dubzilla- the 70Watts for tubes is for playing loudly (well above 95dB peak) in a medium-sized room where you are 12+ feet distant, in my opinion. I have heard extraordinary results from as little as a 17W/channel EL-84 push-pull amp, and have reports that the 7 Watt Wavelength Audio amp is extraordinary if you are not going to play above 92 dB peak inside of 12 feet. Which is still loud enough to have to raise your voice to speak.
The units GMood recommends are excellent, along with Blue Circle amplifiers, I should mention. Lots of good choices nowadays. Play a wide range of music and recording-qualities to audition, even music/poor recordings you rarely listen to- a good amp, a good cable, etc improves them all IN THE SAME WAYS. I wish more reviewers would spin a really wide range of music to judge any component...
The NAD, if it's high power model, is probably very liveable- it would benefit from a better input signal, for which I find the best bang for the buck to be from Audio Magic interconnects, used on the CD player, assuming it is not used as just a transport. Then isolate the CD player on Black Diamond cones, next. Probably followed by some knid of power conditoning for electrically isolating the CD player.
Anyone agree? Don't keep up on power conditioners like I should, but this sequence of upgrades I think makes the most music, followed then by changing the amp, followed by the speaker wires someday, if necessary. Remember the Europas are a 4 Ohm load, so the power supply of any amp is important. Which is why I asked if the NAD had high power.
Green Mountain Audio
Thanks again, Ray, for all the info. I've found it very useful. This is where I've ended up:
kept my NAD CD/DVD Player and I use a digital coax cable that I bought last year (am considering upgrading to Audio Magic) to connect it to my Birdland Odeon Lite DAC which connects to my Belles 150 amplifier (125 watts @ 4 ohms, I believe) via Audio Magic Excalibur II RCAs, which then connects to my new Europas via AM Excalibur II speaker cables.
This system sounds great. I've found myself buying music instead of eyeing gear lately. My appreciation for a beautiful voice has really increased. And the soundstaging is much better than it was in my prior system.
Now, I can't help wondering what my weak link is now. My guess is probably my digital coax cable. I will also look into the Black Diamond tweaks you've suggested as well. At this point, what do y'all think the best upgrade would be? Power Conditioning, a new transport, tweaks, or what?
Thanks again for everyone's input.