Confused...not satisfy with my system :

Hi all,

I have Sonus Faber EXTREMA ,
AMP:Meridian 557 .
PRE:Meridian 502.

I sold my CD ARCAM A9 - I loved this CD with my previous system ( Was ARCAM ALPHA8R with SF Concerto) ,The sound was warm and detailed.

Right now the sound is realistic and deep but not exciting... The mid is great The bass is OK but not kicking.
I think the speakers should stay but not sure for the AMP and the PRE .

I thought to change to Tube or hybrid , I tried the Unison Research - Unico Secondo.
The sound was kinda better but the MID is away too high and a bit annoying so it's not that better alternative.
Some suggesting to add another 557 cause the EXTREMA are really hard ...but I don't feel the AMP is not pushing them well.Maybe not pushing them right ( matter of taste of course).

I have a chance to buy Tube AMP Conrad-Johnson MV60 instead of the 557 (the 502 will stay).

or I should i look for other PRE?

Really confusing situation cause I can't really point on the weak chain .

please advice
the conrad johnson will work its magic with SF's.
I sold my CD ARCAM A9 - I loved this CD with my previous system ( Was ARCAM ALPHA8R with SF Concerto) ,The sound was warm and detailed.
What was your original system. Maybe I missed something but what is your source? I thought I loved the SF line of speakers (and the 'm' series is better IMHO) but then I heard the Dynaudio C1's. To me it's not even a close comparison. The Dyn's are so much better in every way. If you have a chance to demo them you owe it to yourself to hear them. Of course everyone has their own taste.
sorry if i was not clear.
My previous system : SF Concerto not the Home version.
with Arcam source (CD) and int amp.

as I mentioned My current system :
SF EXTREMA- there are amazing speaker with a lot style and they are one of the best speaker i have ever heard.
I think i should keep them and should find where is the problem.
I also find the Dynaudio great speakers .
Try a tube pre or tube dac.
hmm... maybe crossover the mids to the SF and get a nice subwoofer to help with the bass? i dont think a second 557 amp would help 'drive' the SF, because it has decent efficiency, although if you (biamp) have one amp for the highs and mids and a second for the lows you might find that driving the lows harder gives them more 'kick.' I think your SF had some slight crossover issue that this might clear up. switching the 557 for a mv60 would probably get you back to your 'arcam cd' sound by warming the sound. ... might be sexy to have the mv60 power your highs and the 557 your lows. :)
Sorry it's still not clear, are you using the Arcam player with your new system, or do you have a new player you haven't mentioned? If you are still using the Arcam your new higher rez gear may be bringing out it's limitations. Upgrading a source is always a good idea, consider that. I have to agree with Jaybo though, the c-j MV-60 and your Extremas should sound amazing! Of course I'm a tube man all the way. Whatever you decide to do, have fun!
Just curious -- what speaker cable are you using?


You didn't mention what kind of powercords you are using but I've found that powercords make the single most significant improvement in sound, without changing components. Speaker cables and interconnects are important as well but if you have decent cables, then I would look at the powercords. Particularly something in the fusion, shunyata or purist line.
I don't think I be able to do some extreme changes like bypass the Crossover and add a external crossover... or make any physical change to the speakers itself ,I trust SF and far as i understand the crossover in the Extrema is well design .
I just read in the forum that the MV60 is not recommeneded for hard speakers.
The feeling I get from the 557 (or maybe it's the PRE ...)
that it's not that romantic sound ,not sure the AMP not have sufficient power it just "not it".
The cable speaker I use is Audioquest, don't remember the specific model but I checked with SF before and the recommendation I got that Audioquest one of the Not flexable cable should be good enough.
I'm not that big fan of Cable ,I believe it should be good but really don't think it must be pricey.
Right now I don't have a CD , I sold the Arcam (and I regret),the Alpha9 is awesome cd,
In general I a big fan of the Arcam sound - in particular the old Alpha ones....funny that Arcam i had is 10 times cheaper than amplification im having now , But really feel It's not it.
I tried meridian 508 , 506, sorry but I something in Meiridan are not my taste ... It's "Fat" sound and very detailed but NOT exciting with warm and sweetness .
Sorry buddy but for my ears power cable is not making any difference,

So frustrated:(...I spent a lot if money and time but feel like I can't enjoy my Stereo system.
I thought about starting from scratch...
but it such wasted of money,I thought maybe changing the PRE ,people always telling me the things that bothers me is in the PRE.
If you don't have a CD player now, what source are you comparing against your old system with Arcam CD player?

FWIW, Meridian is famous for its DAC and CD player, not for the amps. I used to own G68XXV and it was fabulous.

It takes a lot of time and effort to get the system to the level one can enjoy. All the components in the chain will affect the sound. You should really change one component at a time, otherwise you won't know what positive effects came from which component.

Is there a reason you didn't get a CD player? To me it looks rather obvious that what you are missing is a good CD player, not a replacement amp.
I have a client who has the Sonus Faber EXTREMA and I set him up with a DeHavilland UltraVerve Preamp and NuFORCE Ref 9v2 monobloc and he is in heaven.
I didn't want to mention this and confuse things further but I am one of those "Pre people", that is in my opinion nothing influences a stereo's sound like a preamp. I can still remember my first tubed preamp years ago, an Air Tight ATC-1, it was a revelation, the sound just opened up, becoming warmer and more detailed at the same time. I've since moved on but I will always used a tubed preamp. Perhaps you can borrow one from a friend/dealer to try in your system? You may be amazed and find the rest of your gear is suddenly satisfying.
I agree with Jond.I feel a preamp is a "must" and it should always be "tubed"

I always start to think in this way - Can you please recommened for Tube preamp (with the 557?or u think i might consider something else?)
I like really warm sound and yet detailed and deep.
Avico , I hope you didnt read my post as a suggestion for you to get a new preamp.My preference happens to be for tubed preamps.Your last post indicates that you may prefer tubes as well.I will say that matching a tubed pre to a SS amp is not as simple as it may seem.Also the sound that you dislike from your amp may lessen but will always be heard.
If you do want a change and are buying NEW then visit your dealer(s)and try to have a home demo.If this cant be arranged then read everything you can from the credible posters here and try to find a dealer that has a product that interests you on display.
Only you can decide what is best for you.
Best of luck
For a warm sound I suggest conrad-johnson, Cary, or the aforementioned Air Tight though they are harder to find. I would also recommend the brand I currently use, Deja Vu Audio a small custom builder, but their stuff is nearly impossible to find. Plenty of good choices though, what's your budget?
Avico, you said that you have tried power cables and did not hear a difference but you did not say what power cords you have tried?
Respectfully,if you have not tried the ones I've mentioned then I think you are doing yourself a disservice.
I too use to feel powercords didn't make a difference until I had the opportunity to hear really good ones!
The biggest mistake many audiophiles make(and you can tell by the responses to this thread)is throwing more money at components when the biggest problems most systems incur that make them sound dull and lifeless is EMI/RFI,power conditioning and vibration control.
Having good powercords and a good power conditioner can improve a system dramatically! without changing components.
A Tube amp or pre-amp will not help you in increasing bass for sure. Tube amps do not have the high damping factor, so they cannot control the movement of the woofer, which results in poor bass.

If you are happy with the midrange and high-frequencies of your speakers and system; it is better you buy a musical subwoofer.
Sonus faber Extremas are inneficient and very difficult to drive because they used series crossovers with no caps, only inductors. The bass inductor dissipates so much power that it has its own heatsink at the back of the speaker enclosure.
You need muscle amps to push them. IMO no tube amps should apply, except for ARC's and McIntosh's top models using the 2 ohm output tap.
Look for an amp that will consistently deliver 200 W into 4 ohms or less. They should mate very well with Gamut D200 or McIntosh MC402 amps.
Here is the original factory blurb:
A "high technology" speaker, Extrema was designed with the aim of handling high dynamics with the lowest possible distortion. It is the first speaker without capacitors in series with the signal (sine cap). It cannot be purchased without commitment because it demands absolute excellence in both the partnering electronics and the installation. The need to calibrate this speaker is paramount if its talents are to be exploited. The cables used must harmonize with the various elements of the system: source, amplification, speakers and environment. .....
BTW Sonus Faber's current speakers are much easier to drive.
Good luck
I tell you my experience, require a power Extremely high power and excellent quality, and combine with a wire handle cran amount of current and of good quality, I to mine the probe 1 with a Krell KSA-50S and the sound was really unfortunate that gave, now when you buy the Krell KSA-300s is another world, I realized there that have absolutely crosover current applicant, in short all the electronics associated with these speakers should be of high quality, in order to maximize the enormous potential of a once achieved, is obtained to get the most complete musical nirvana!
Greetings Adrian
A top tier tube pre amp will most definitely increase and articulate the bass presence.
Adri is on to something,believe it or not--Some years ago I heard the Krell 300I integrated and matching Krell CD player with Sonus Faber bookshelf speakers and Audioquest cables. The sound was warm, incisive and exciting at the same time.
BTW to me Krell and Arcam are in the same boat soundwise, more or less..That is, incisive and dry, wth a wide dynamic envelope.
Maybe this type of electronics synergizes with your warm sounding speakers and neutral sounding cables.
Avico, if you are considering changing the amplifier, one I would certainly consider is the Parasound Halo A 21 designed by John Curl.This amp puts out 250watts into 8 ohms, 400watts into 4 ohms and has huge current capability and is very musical. A friend of mine just replaced a pair of Mac. amps and Mac. preamp with this amp and a Halo JC-2 preamp also designed by John Curl, and the results are astonishing. His speakers are Duntech Soverigns.
Give these a listen if you can. I think that it would be well worth it.