Next Upgrade to My Totem Arros Setup - Need Help



Hi,

I need your expert help in uprading my stereo set-up. I like my current set-up immensely, but also has the upgraditis to make it better by adding a CD Player and a Sub-Woofer to my system. But I can afford only 1 upgrade currently.

My System: Totem Arros, Primaluna Prologue 2, Signal Cable, old Sony DVD/CD Player.

My upgrade plan is to add a CD Player & Sub-Woofer.

CD Player Options: Rega Appollo, Naim CD5i, CA Azur 840C, Cairn fog V2 (not easily available), Simaudio Moon Equinox , Sony dvp-ns999es, any good tubed CDP (All Pre-Owned)

Sub-Woofer Options: REL Strata III, REL Storm III

So I need your help for the follwing questions:

1. Which change will make more positive impact on the sound system....CDP or Sub ? ( I will go with the second one few months down the lane ).

2. If CDP needs to be upgraded, what would you recommend between Naim, Rega, CA, Cairn Fog, sim and tubed cdps for my system (primaluna 2 and Arros) ? I like warm organic music with excellent vocals, instruments and strings with good BASS. Just want to remind again that I am using tube integrated (primaluna 2) for this same reason and planning to add REL Sub for the quality BASS.

3. Since I already have a tube integrated in the line, should I be looking for a CDP that delivers excellent PRAT and Bass like Nait CD5i / Simaudio (or) more warm presentation of Rega / CA (or) more warmer tubed cd players?

4. I read great reviews of 840C and it was being compared to Naim CD5i. I would like to know the system harmony of CA 840C with Primaluna 2 and Totem Arros for my listening preferences. Can you please comment ?

5. Since I would like to add more Quality BASS into the system by dialing-in REL, which of these CDPs make more sense ?

6. How does a modestly priced Sony dvp-ns999es (pre-owned) compete with the likes of Naim, Sim, Rega, etc ?

I will be eagerly awaiting your feedback for improving my 2 channel system. Thanking you all in advance

Mike
willmi
Any feedback please ?

Thanks
Mike
Just my 2 cents... Your integrated amp won't allow you to take the bass load off of your main speakers. I'm a big fan of subwoofers. I think they offer the biggest bang for the buck in improving a typical system. However, to gain the full potential of a sub speakers with small woofers should let the sub handle the bass.
IMHO your best option by far is to add a subwoofer. Either of the Rel subs will integrate nicely with your Arros. I have a Rel Storm III and used it for as while with Totem Sttafs - the result was an entirely different listening experience.

While I'm not familiar with the Sony DVP-NS999es, I own the DVP-NC555es (2 of them) and they approach the quality of my Meridian 508.24 which is in the league (or better) with the others you mention.
Bdgregory,

Does SONY CDP/DVDp work with warm tubed integrateds like Primalula Prologue 2 ? I heard people saying SONYs sound cooler and may not work well if someone is looking for warm and sweet sounding mid-range and vocals.

Mike
Willmi ;
I too have the Prologue 2 and tend toward the warmer side of things with body .
Have you rolled any input tubes yet ?
I have , using Upscales recommendation . A noticeable improvement !

I am using a CDP that has two outputs , one SS and the other tubed . I prefer the tubed output . I am not a big fan of subwoofers with music . Quite difficult to blend them seamlessly .

Just my opinion .

Good luck .
Saki,

Can you let me know your system (CDP, Seakers, ICs, Spkr Wire) ?

I have not done any tube rolling yet. I would like to know more about your tube rolling experiments and observations. I was thinking of using Electroharmonix KT-88 and also some good EL-34s.

I do agree with the sub-woofers blending in a 2ch system...But several folks have done this successfully with REL subs for Arros system. So I am planning to do that as well.

Thanks
Mike
Does SONY CDP/DVDp work with warm tubed integrateds like Primalula Prologue 2 ? I heard people saying SONYs sound cooler and may not work well if someone is looking for warm and sweet sounding mid-range and vocals.
I run a tube preamp with ss amps (which are warm) and it works great for me. I have swapped in a Tube amp for periods of time and it works equally great. I wouldn't worry about that.

I am not a big fan of subwoofers with music . Quite difficult to blend them seamlessly .
I respectfully disagree . . . at least with regard to the Rel subs. I've used other (cheap) subs that were hard to integrate, but the Rels are so seamless you don't even know they are there, except for the fact your soundstage, dynamics, and everything about the listening is transformed. Yes - in 2 channel music especially.
Bdgregory,

Thanks for clarifying my questions about sony CDPs. I have read the same about REL subs from many people.

I am surprised on a CDP forum, the only recommendation I got is Sony ES range. May be SONY ES range is that good and I was not completely unaware of them.

Saki: Can you please let me know your tube rolling experiments with Primaluna Prologue-2 ?

Thanks
Mike
Willmi ;
I used the recommendations from upscale Audio . Just call and ask .
They advised some Radiotechnique 12AU7's and Mullard 12AX7's , both vintage stock .
I was told that the stock KT-88's were pretty good already . I am satisfied , for now . If I were to proceed with more tube rolling , I believe that I would try EL-34's next .

I am using a CDP that is rarily available used...Granite 657 with the original tubes going through some au/au 24 IC's . The speaker cables are copper ribbon from Kimber biwired to Reference3a De Capo i speakers .

Another CDP that I've heard and liked is the Cary . I don't remember the model# but it too has a tubed output and a SS output . It is switchable from the remote but I don't know if the tubed side has its own volume control like the Granite .

The sub , that I tried to use , was a Velodyne DD series .
I have read where some say that it is a good one to integrate for 2 ch. ! I did not think so .

Good luck .
The sub , that I tried to use , was a Velodyne DD series .
. . . no slouch of a sub, and I certainly didn't mean to imply by my statement that you tried a "cheap sub".

I guess the proverbial "YMMV" disclaimer applies to sub integration in a 2 channel system.
Bdgregory ;
No offense taken...just wanted to offer up my personnal experience with a particular product . I don't put much stock in across-the-board statements ! There are just too many variables involved . "YMMV"
The Totem Storm sub is pretty killer, and would integrate perfectly. I'd check it out. It's got a powered 8", and two 8" radiators.
Audiobroke,
Im thinking of getting Arros and a Storm sub. Looking for integration and musicality and not too concerned about really low freq response.

Just wonder if you have any detailed thoughts on the Totem Storm and any comparisons to make to other subs.
Totem storm is very powerfull, and musical. It plays deep too, even if you don't need it. Another option is the Dreamcatcher sub. It's a 6.5" driver with a 200 watt amp, and is very quick. It will fill in the bottom end musically without shaking the room. If I had Arros, I wouldn't even look at another brand.