Has anyone attempted to replace an existing system with a one box solution like this? The NAD M33 perhaps, which has been out longer, or others? Just wondering if anyone has tried and what was the result.
I am always interested in downsizing so a device like this has some appeal to me.
I have a Bel Canto C5i in my second system currently. Wonderful device! Only sixty watts/ch though which gets you a long but not quite all the way with most speakers. It has most everything including phono stage but needs an external streamer.
"...I wish people are not so quick to dismiss a product without learning first it’s capabilities. A good integrated on its own, without a source is just a pretty box..."
A great pair of loudspeakers and a good integrated to drive the loudspeakers is the first step to a really decent system. Add the source of your choice. History has shown, all in one solutions don't stand the test of time and are compromised by their design to do it all.
It probably will sound real good after you add an after market power cable, isolation platform, upgraded loudspeaker terminals, boutique capacitors and a redesigned power supply. Without these tweaks and mods it probably only sounds good. Cambridge is betting that there is a market for people who just want good sound.
Totally untrue separate are always better, the key is how well executed the integrated amplifier is . There are advantages such as less power cords and interconnects,fuses ,that is always a plus
my Coda CSIB integrated is as good if not better then most separates even up to2 x the price. This has a Separate-pure class A preamplifier ,Huge 120 amps on demand , a 3kva potted transformer over 80k in capacitance , compare that with Any amplifier under $8k, and direct coupled-to the thick trace Copper gold circuit boards . Most younger guys don’t even know These are ex engineers from Threshold that Worked with Nelson Pass and in business now 35+ years. Stereo times has a Great current review on it ,it’s a Steal at under $7k, and 3 power choices in % of 1st watts in pure class A.
This discussion is timely for me. I have a McIntosh 6900 integrated amp that I purchased on Audiogon in 2007. It sounds great. In 2018, Paul Seydor of TAS was “besotted” by McIntosh’s then new C52 preamp. It has now been succeeded by the C53 (again just reviewed by Seydor) which is the same except for the latest digital components and an HDMI capable of taking in an eArC capable TV s audio. I had been thinking about the C52 (and now C53) but lacked the funds to spring for one. Seydor describes the preamp as completely neutral – it won’t varnish bad recordings but neither will it exacerbate what makes them bad. He said the engineers at McIntosh would rather eat worms than distort. I have two-fold questions for the forum:
1. By having the C53 take over the preamp function of the 6900 Integrated, would this be a superfluous exercise and waste of money? With all things being equal in my system (good source, good speakers, good cables) and sourcing with the best recordings, is the preamp function of the 6900 good enough that there would be no noticeable sonic improvement by supplanting it with the C53?
2. There has been a C53 listed for sale on Audiogon for some time by a dealer who took it in on trade. It is in its 2nd 30 day run with no takers. I asked the dealer why his customer traded in such a recent model. His answer was: “You buy McIntosh for the blue meters. Performance is never great”. Do you folks agree with that assessment?
The BlueSound Power one 2i has been around quite a while and does much of the same thing, minus the pretty screen that you can't read from listening position and at a fraction of the price, if you're into that sort of thing. Granted, the DAC probably isn't as good the one in the Cambridge.
Might be nice in the kitchen, but I don't need a $3000 all in one to listen to while I prepare meals and clean up afterwards. For that I've got a Bluesound Pulse... not perfect, but streams independently or in perfect sync over gigabyte ethernet from a node 2i in the livingroom and is controlled by a phone app.
Hey, maps....Mho, perhaps a 'leading edge' to smaller 'quasi-hi-end' integrated for the flat screen for merely the better audio they've been told is there for their enjoyment....
...which might get attached to the multi-function DVD-CD they already have...which makes them question the speakers that they got with the home 'stereo' as well...
Ah, the dawn of a New Age Audiophila....*S*
Computers became smallerfasterquicker....why not audio?
What comes after D? Greentooth? DNA2?
("Direct Neural Audio....Become The Music....")
"Scaling down" can give rise to new approaches....has for me. *G* ;)
I use a one box for all solution, the Lyngdorf TDAI 3400. I find it does almost everything I need. It always allows me to feel delightfully emotionally involved with the music.
The streaming function built-in works great for Int. radio and for general listening from Qobuz or local music, but adding the Bricasti M5 connected to the USB input of the Lyngdorf brings an even greater connection to the music that I love.
so a £5000 one box solution can still be improved upon significantly by adding a £2500 (+ £595 USB) streamer!
@mapman Good to know this category continues to grow. More options leads to better pricing and fit for each use case. I’m a believer in these integrated one-box solutions as a stepping stone to the future. When we look forward in time, and I’ve been saying this for many years, where we are headed is everything will eventually be on the speaker cabinet. I see a future where each driver has integral amplifier specifically designed to work as one in complete harmony with driver physics. DSP crossover and DACs receiving, directing and converting wireless signals of audio streams, and potentially phono with built-in wifi (for the vinyl lovers). Topologies with no cables, keeping the signal digital to within inches of the drivers eliminates the possibility of cable and connection noise and maximizes efficiency. Speakers capable of flat linear full-range response. DSP means the user can tweak and adjust output properties however they wish, in real time from myriad devices and correct (automatically) for room response. And here’s the kicker... all elements needed to make this ’future system’ exist already. There is no technical obstacle remaining to overcome. It’s only a matter of time now, time for the industry and consumers - our slow minds - to accept this eventuality. The real question is, why do we (humans) clutch old ways. Is it because of our investment in the past, tradition, conspiracy, fear, or something else?
I think this newish all in one solution is great for what it is. The new BlueSound Powernode is supposed to have more power and HDMI ARC. Everyone has their phone with them anyways so you can control the App. From your portable device. Do you really need a screen on the components? As far as the NAD M33 goes, it is amazing! It should be for $5k. Especially because of Dirac. If you really want to have the best, you can go with the Ayre EX-8 2.0 fully loaded. This is a true all in one Audiophile solution. A system does not impress me by how loud it plays. My Amazon Alexa does that just fine. It’s playing at very low volume levels and still hearing the full dynamic range. It has to have a killer preamp section. Try this out for yourself. If you live near the Chicagoland area this Hifi store has most or all of these brands. https://holmaudio.com/
If you do audition, Ask how low can you go. This will separate all of these brands very quickly. Ayre EX-8 2.0 is so good you don’t even need to add a subwoofer, but you can if you want.
Long ago, when I could still hear the differences I no longer easily can, I tried a Marantz 7C with a Sansui AU5500 amp section, bypassing the Sansui preamp. Astonishingly better...no comparison really. Then using the Marantz 8B amp instead of the Sansui amp...not much difference...the preamp was the key. That, and the Sansui amp was way better engineered than their preamp.
As for McIntosh being all show and no go, that was true in the 70s and 80s. Now, they are quite competetive with the spartan brands on basic sound quality. Ayre is a cut above, IMO.
If you've read Paul Seydor's reviews over the years, have you come to respect his opinions? Who are you going to trust, a dealer or the reviewer? Both have agendas, albeit different ones.
@Mapman - I've owned 2 all-in-one systems for a second home. A NAD M10 that I recently replaced with a Boulder 866.
The NAD M10 is truly a lifestyle product as it can play just about any digital source known to man including streaming music via Bluetooth from your mobile device. The SQ via Bluetooth seems compromised compared to streaming via a Qobuz Studio Quality subscription. It also comes with Dirac Live and a microphone to perform some basic room and bass correction. The BluOs mobile device app is intuitive and provides all the functions needed. Overall, the NAD M10 sounds OK but it isn't close to the SQ of high-quality separate components.
As to the Boulder 866, Boulder has checked all the boxes for anyone looking for a single box solution that sounds comparable to a high-end amp, pre-amp and streamer. Not sure how Boulder has pulled this off but the amp section of the 866 seems to have more meat on the bones compared to some of their legacy iconic stereo amps. As you increase the volume of the 866, there's no straining of any frequency range, just higher levels of the same SQ. The Class D amp section of the NAD M10 can't make this claim.
The 866 is in a different price range than most other all-in-1 systems. But for anyone looking to simplify their system while retaining high-end SQ, you'd likely have to spend twice as much in separate components and all the power and interconnect cables to match the SQ of the 866.
The 866 from Boulder is outstanding. I had a M10 sold it after a few months was way to glitchy for me. Then bought the Moon ACE and my Mother really liked it and off it went to her house... thought about getting another one but decided on getting the Quicksilver Integrated and a streamer for the office, glad I did.
I’m a Cambridge Edge (their flagship line, compared favorably to Hegel H590 by Hi-Fi News) owner, as well as owning the 851n streamer/dac in another system, and I followed the release announcement of the Evo line closely.
It was fascinating to me in the way that they did it, and what they focused on. In particular, they (CA) actually led in the press release with the aesthetic value of the product, focusing prominently on the removable side panels (wood look or the textured look).
Okay, so what is interesting about that? Well because they spent comparatively LITTLE time discussing the sonic merits of the product. They mainly focused on the look and feel of the product. This is just a very different marketing approach than most companies take.
As to the sonics, they use the NCore class D modules rather than the latest and more expensive Purifi class D modules, fwiw.
It’s targeting a different demographic, with a different focus, and maybe it is the right approach. Time will tell. But the approach was very interesting to me - not in an "I’m interested in purchasing this" way (I'm not in the market for a product like this now), but in an "wow, this is a completely different marketing strategy" way
Was not familiar with that Boulder unit. I bet it is the bomb!
NAD m33 gets similar rave reviews supposedly upping the ante from prior models. I wonder how the two compare? Or the CA evo if anyone has heard one yet. Same league at least?
FWIW I own and concurrently run BEl Canto c5i integrated in my second system and the much beefier ref1000m monoblock amps in my main system. Both are very good, in the same league I would say, but the 60w/ch c5i cannot match the ref1000ms in terms of overall muscle and authority, at least in larger rooms.
Also the c5i is a true digital integrated amp like the NAD I believe whereas I run an Audio Research tube pre-amp with the ref1000m’s. The two do not sound radically different but the tube pre-amp with the Class D amps is a good pairing I would say and many agree. There is a difference, but not night and day, and both sound very good and hard to fault on their own. I am happy listening to either though the c5i and its 60 w/ch does impose some limits in terms of spl in a larger room but nothing that would matter most likely for many.
After 50+ years of separates, many brands and many price points I moved to a simpler set up this year with a NAD M33. Sold the preamp, the two monos, the DAC, the phono stage, the laptop storage, the transport, an equaliser, a tuner, the Revox A77...
Now it’s a Rega P6, M33, a NAS, an Oppo player, wires and a pair of GoldenEar Triton Ones.
It suits my trimmed down lifestyle and the fact that I’ve had my years of playing with heavy ’boxes’ and while I enjoyed it all, it's now, "been there, done that". So, I guess it depends on where you are and the depth of your pockets - it’s the future for me (what’s left of it) but maybe not for everyone.
Now I’m going to borrow a ripper and transfer the CDs to the NAS to sell the Oppo - that will take time. Happy camper.
I love my Devialet Expert 400 not just for the sound but also for its numerous features. Flexible MC/MM phono section, built-in Roon compatible streamer, bass management with four different slopes for both hi-pass and lo-pass along with time delay, and adjustable-frequency tone controls. The Expert Pro models have a multi-band parametric equalizer that, while not as convenient as you find in true room correction devices (e.g., Lyngdorf or Anthem), can ameliorate some room problems. The multiple and flexible analog and digital inputs and outputs are second to none, although there are no balanced connections. The remote is a joy to use and can be programmed to allow for phase inversion, subwoofer on/off, and other features to alter and tailor the sound.
You can get a used D200 for around $3000 USD.
..and now for something completely different ....
That’s no moon: veteran Apple designer unveils $1,799 Cell Alpha speaker - The Verge
These are the kinds of clear new innovative products FBOFW that interest me and I would want to audition. Not the latest nebulous/magic tweak product of the month that is always being shilled around here that nobody should even care about in most cases if you just do things right to start with. You know, the things most anybody can come up with that are pitched to neurotic consumers that cost a fortune to solve what are otherwise the simplest and most mundane issues out there that knowledgeable people resolve easily and cost effectively, like fuses, wires, contacts, isolation, etc.