I can't comment on the Rega; however, I've always considered Creek to be an outstanding brand for a budget conscious audiophile. I had a 5000 series Creek at one time so I'm probably biased. However, in my opinion, it's a step above the NADs and Rotels, etc., and it is reasonably priced. You can build a very satisfying musical system for a small room with a used Creek in the $400-$800 range. You have quite a substantial budget. I would say you could build a very good system for only half of what you're considering to spend, unless of course you want to spend 9K.
Before buying a new system ... any chance of you two getting back together? It was almost 20 years ago, but a breakup was how I went from a Pioneer receiver with EPI speakers to Adcom separates and KEF speakers.
If you are intent on spending $9K, go out and listen to stuff. Indulge yourself. Purchase as high quality as you can afford, no one is around to comment or criticize. These opportunities don't happen all that often.
I've had two Rega Mira's, one is the 3; they sound better than they should for their price range. Only Issue I have is their build quality does not hold up to other costlier integrateds. In comparison, check out the Creek Destiny; rave reviews, but it is $2500, over twice the Mira's cost.
Since you're starting from scratch, I'd consider some of the very reasonably priced 2.1 active speaker systems -- JBL, Blue Sky, Mackie, Genelec, etc.
Go listen to something like these and see what you think.
Musical Fidelity A5.5 integrated amp and CDP
Revel M22 stand mount speakers
VPI Aries Scout turntable with Grado Platimum cartridge
Naim Nait 5i integrated amp, CD5i CDP and NAT 05 tuner
Totem Forest floor standing speakers
Pro-Ject RPM 5 turntable with Sumiko Bluepoint No. 2 cartridge and Pro-Ject phono amp
Creek Destiny integrated amp w/ phono card and CDP, and Evolution tuner
Usher BE-718 stand mount speakers
Pro-Ject RM-9.1 with Dynavector Karat 17D3 cartridge
Rega Mira 3 integrated amp, Saturn CDP and Radio 3 tuner
DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 8 floor standing speakers
Rega P5 turntable with Rega cartridge
ProLogue Three preamp and ProLogue Seven monobloc amplifiers
Cambridge Audio Azur 840C CDP
Dynaudio Audience 52SE stand mount speakers
Rega P3 turntable with Rega cartridge
NAD M3 Dual Mono integrated amp and M5 CD SACD player
Magnum Dynalab - DT-5 AM/FM Digital tuner
Dali Ikon 6 floor standing speakers
Clearaudio Emotion turntable with Satisfy tonearm, Clearaudio cartridge and phonostage
Any of these systems should provide you with lots of enjoyment.
Thanks for all the replies. I'm looking at a used Creek 5350SE here on AG. The seller is in the same area, so I'm going to try to check it out in person. I could pair that with either a CD50 MKii or a Rega. Add a Rega P5 and a tuner. Speakers......Hmmmm.... That's where it gets tricky, and very subjective...
Actually I'm about to set up a Mira 3 that I got on loan from a friend. I'm not expecting it will compete with my Cary SLI-80, but if it does I'll make that loud and clear.
I've tried to get away from tubes for my main system for a LONG time, many years, but somehow just can't.
Please do. I was thinking the Audio Research V55 integrated at one time, but I'm also limited on physical space. So, by the time I did a phono stage, CDP, TT, Tuner and the speakers, I'd be out on the patio......... Basically anything will be better than what I'm listening to now, jam box. Plus, the system I am replacing consisted of a modded Hafler, NAD CDP, and Thiel CS1.5's.
Naim n-Vi integrated CD/DVD player/processor/amplifier. All-in-one unit - costs like $6K. Get some good $2-3K speakers and some speaker cables and you are good to go at your budget. Plays movies too.
Well, that sounds good. Only one prob....... No TV here.... Don't miss it either, not planning on replacing it anytime. Funny, I have no prob dropping 5 - 10K on audio, but 2K on a TV????? Never.....
One thing that bothers me about the Creek. The idea of seperate PCB's for the pre-amp, amp, etc. is great. The use of "computer" grade flat ribbon cables to interconnect them is where the problem lies. 1's and 0's aren't the same as analog audio signals....
I'm a circuit board designer.... have been for over 20 years...
Weellll... The Rega Mira 3 is sounding quite nice :)
It has a sweet, delicate, polite but lively sound.
Not a trace of harshness. Even seems a bit palpable. Definitely lacking in authority compared to some other amps. It has a hint of grain, but less grain than other solid state I've had in my house. I detect some congestion.
I'm driving Silverline Sonatina II's in a room probably larger than intended for the Mira. I do use a REL Strata II subwoofer, which augments the low end. This might be an important ingredient. But I'm on a big subwoofer kick these days (I've got a REL T1 on my Monitor Audio iDeck in bedroom :-o )
I'm only two hours into it. Will update if changes. Right now I'd say that I could easily live with the Mira (if tubes were not an option) and get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
As an afterthought, I swapped in my Audience powerchord in place of the generic. This is what I use on my Cary, and damn, if that Mira isn't starting to sound like the Cary. The powerchord made a SCARY differnce. Ok, everything boils down to system synergy etc... and do you really want a $600 powercord on a $1200 integrated. (Yes!!)
OK, here's another one to throw in. What about either of the Primare integrated's?
My experience is that they are towards the warmer, more musical side of ss integrateds and they would be on my personal short list (I've heard them for brief periods, never had them in my home, also studied their reviews.). The more expensive one gets you a little more detail in the sound.
May have to find a dealer and give them a try. Sounds like what I'm looking for.
Since you like the British sound check out the Arcam music solo. Very nice all in one unit for 2K new. Takes care of any space problems and less cables. You can use it with your Ipod. They make a Rdock of their own. I like Arcam more than Rega but they are both nice.
Well, that's just it. Not sure if I do like the British sound. I'm trying to get ideas from here. Haven't been out to audition anything yet. One of the local dealers carries, Naim, Rega, Linn, ARC, Rotel and a few others I can't remember. Haven't been able to locate a Creek or Primare dealer locally... I'm in the Dallas area if anyone knows of any.
Audiogon is a great way to try out gear at relatively low depreciation cost. I mostly stopped going to dealers because I don't want to use their time unless I play to buy from them, and I find that I need much more than a quick demo in the shop to determine the character of a piece. Also, as a hobby-est in this area, I like to change gear a lot, and I'd get killed with depreciation if I bought new all the time.
That said, if this were not my hobby, if I just wanted to get a nice system set up and forget it, I would definitely work with a dealer to get a nice system with proper synergy put together. I recommend dealers all the time to friends that want to do that. It can save you a lot of time and grief and experimentation.
So, IMHO, if you just want to set up a system and get on with life, find a dealer with good gear to compare and work with. A dealer with Naim, Rega, Linn sounds fine to me. If you see yourself getting itchy to change systems every year or two... welcome to the club :)
1. The Naim n-vi is a great piece even if you don't use all the channels or the video. A simple one box solution with very good sound.
2. The Arcam Solo is very slick looking, but the sound is not up to the same level as the Naim in my book, or any of the systems I suggested above. I listened to the Solo carefully with some B&W 705 and 805 speakers, and it could drive the 705 all right, but its flaws started to show with the more revealing 805s. Naim on the other hand seems to punch well above its modest power ratings with a signature sound.
3. Linn makes an all in one system as well, although I haven' heard it. Go have a listen.
4. I visited a store in Austin when I was there that carries Primaluna and Dynaudio. If you are ever in town, you should check it out. Primaluna has managed to engineer in many of the benefits with few of the drawbacks of tube amplification. If space is a major issue, I would listen to one of their ProLogue or DiaLogue integrateds before you purchase if possible.
The dealer here in Dallas also carries Primaluna. I need to go listen to things.
04rdking - I just picked up a Cyrus integrated from whetstoneaudio in Austin. The Cyrus chassis is perfect for small spaces, and I really like the sound (replaced a McIntosh integrated).
Thank's for all the information. I have decided to go with the Primaluna Prologue two. Picked one up here, just waiting for delivery. Now, the search for the rest of the "stuff".......lol
The Prologue 2 is a great piece to start with. I have been using one for three years now very happily. The stock tubes are good, but the sound can be bettered with some tube rolling. Svetlana Winged C KT-88, Electro-Harmonix 6550, Svetlana Winged C EL-34, NOS Mullard 12AX7, NOS Sylvania 12AU7 will all do nicely.
I have used the PL2 with a number of speakers in both smaller and larger rooms. Some equipment that I can recommend:
Rega R1 (monitors) - currently used with PL2
NHT SB3 (monitors)
Omega Super 3 (monitors)
Opera Platea (small floorstanders) - currently used with PL5
Rega Apollo - currently used with PL2
Music Hall CD25
Musical Fidelity A3.2 (now the A5) - currently used with the PL5
The PL2 runs hot, so it will need some room to breath. Other than that it is a very fuss free piece to own.
Knownothing, what were the flaws with the Arcam?
I think Arcam uses a chip amp so would not expect deep, punchy bass and I do not think it would do well with a 4 ohm/tough load speaker like the 805's. Could that have been the problem?
"I listened to the Solo carefully with some B&W 705 and 805 speakers, and it could drive the 705 all right, but its flaws started to show with the more revealing 805s"
That was about 1.5 years ago so I have to reconstruct what I heard as best I can remember. I remember was listening to "the great audio experience" disk with various artists - many hifi shops have this well recorded mostly jazz compilation CD.
The 705's sounded slightly louder (89db sensitivity vs 88db for the 805S) and smoother through the Solo, more musical to my ear. With the Solo, the 805S tweeters sounded hollow in comparison, noticeably grainier and the overall presentation from top to bottom was thin sounding and overly analytical. Whether it is the chip amp, or the overall package (source + amp), the Solo just couldn't get the 805S's "up on plane" like the large Classe amp and source available in the same store that could have been used for demo but wasn't. The poor salesman was trying to convince me that the 805S was $1000 better than the 705. I know the 805S is a better speaker, but it wasn't in that set up.
I like the Solo for what it is, an elegant and quality built low to mid-fi all-in-one desktop stereo system. Get some good $500-$1000 stand mounts and you are in business. The B&W speakers I would choose for this system are actually the 685. The 705 sounded better than fine with the Solo, but that is as high up the line as I would bother to go.
Thanks, your description sounds accurate.