Definitely the amp in my opinion. A warm amp will make all your sources warm, if you ever add a tuner, phono, tape, etc. Getting a warm CD player is really going to limit your choices. I find some CD players called "warm" to be more like "dull". Anyway, why would you want a non-warm clinical amp?
The Complete is a nice amp for the price. I like your CD choices above. A popular choice for many in a warm CD is The Planet.
If you want more detail still on the warm side you could look at some of the Creek amps, or step up to The Complete's big brother, the YBA Integre DT.
Even though you don't include it, I would consider tweeking the warmth with your speaker cable choices. They do matter. Also adding something like the Blue Circle BC62 power cord to the amp, will bring out the warmth.
I agree with Sugarbrie - start with the amp. I'd be careful buying an amp before deciding on speakers, but if I had speakers and wanted to choose the next biggest factor, I'd focus on the amp. -Kirk
Get the CDP that has the tone you want, and then the amplification that doesn't ruin its strengths. This has advantages, especially upgrading advantages, over getting an amp that replaces the sound of the CDP with its own, although this may work. EX. I have a new friend that replaced her Arcam 72 with a $3k Ayre CDP and was astonished by the difference being passed through an $1100 LFD Mistral integreated. And I too have witnessed this, coincidentally enough with another Mistral.
**Please describe your listening experience with the Arcams, including more detail about being too 'dynamic', and the speakers and other gear you may have listened to that was not 'dynamic'.
You all are lost in audio dreamland. The very best a playback system can do is replicate what was recorded on the source material.
Of course the speakers are the prime component for that purpose. Followed by room acoustics. Then the quality of the source material itself. The rest follows. The mystique of cables is at the bottom of the list.
So why does everyone spend so much time, effort, and expense, on the everything else. No component, cable, or tweak will improve the speakers, or the room.
And of course all you can do with the mostly substandard recored material is get speakers that will reveal the truth, and a room that does not keep you from hearing it, is throw it away --or put it on the preowned market and let some other sucker have it.
Ironic, isn't it. If you do not have truely hi-fi reference recorded material you will not know if the speakers are any good. And if the speakers are not any good, you will never recognize material with sonic excellece.
If you ever consider converting, email me and we can talk about some solutions.
Otherwise, continue to argue about the various qualities of perferred distortion, and which that produces what goes with whatever other. And of course do it in a every snooty fashion.
From all my years as an audiophoole I have found that my system is as good as it's weakest link. It has always been the case. I have changed my ideas along the way a little. Everything being almost equal (if that is possible, who knows?) I would prefer to put my money into a killer CD player. You can't reproduce something that's not there. I know all the other counter raps. This is just my humble opinion this year. By the way: If you got an Audio Aero Prima Cd player, you probably would start the ball rolling to replace much of your system. Be carefeul what you wish for: you might get it. This is the nature of this great hobby.
I guess I just wasted all that money buying my high-dollar analog rig and OTL amp setup. If I had only known that getting a CD Walkman, a Technics receiver, and a pair of Sound Labs U-1 would have sounded better, I could have saved myself alot of trouble. ;^)
Thanks, Homedesign, for a newbie you sure are a know-it-all. After you've been doing this for 30 years, come back and talk to me some more.
What does "warm" mean? Is it an absence of detail, an absence of high frequencies, or something else? It seems to me that "warm" and "detailed" are opposites. Joel
Ohlala, I heard the Arcam 72T w/ Diva A75, as well as the 92T w/ the Diva A85, both through Acoustic Energy Floorstanders. I have also heard the 92T/A85 with Vandersteen 2CE's. To me, they sounded to much "in my face", more detail and forwardness than I like. My comparison would be to the Creek 5350SE, 4330r MK2 and Classe CAP-101, all with the Creek CD53, all through B&W CDM 1NT's. I preferred the much more laid back, musical and warm sound I heard with the Creek, and especially the Classe. While it really isn't a fair comparison due to different reference equipment, my listening experience was much more enjoyable with the latter equipment. Especially since I listened to the Creek/Classe at Spearit Sound, Dick, Chris and those guys are the greatest. If at all possible, I want to do business with them, I have never had such a enjoyable experience.
Add on to my original thread:
Would the AR Complete integrated and CD be too much together (towards warm and musical and thus lose detail I want) or since they are made by same company, I am assuming they are made for a synergistic match, and thus be OK.
I know my ears shall decide but was wondering if anybody (ARC owners)can comment based on experience.
then you will probably prefer the YBA line, cd & integre. Also they do synergise VERY well. I have found the YBA a better, if more expensive, proposition. Especially when listening for longer periods of time -- i.e. living with the components. Good luck!
Thanks for answering, Matty. I was just checking to see if there were any confounds to your previous statement.
Joel - IME, warmth and detail are not opposites, they can coexist. When under a certain budget though, they are often opponents.
I am pressed for time so will have to make my comments brief.
I think both the cd player and amp will have equal influence on the sound, but the sound of each should be balanced for optimum voicing.
I am a former owner of an ARC Complete Int Amp.
If by "warmth"; you mean the natural reproduction of the timbre of instruments and voices (without some form of electronic glaze or haze), then I do not think the ARC will do it. You may disagree so by all means listen to one.
That said, I believe there are few ss amps, short of something esoteric and expensive like Rowland that will do what you wish.
I would strongly recommend that you at least listen to a tube amp before making your final decision. It doesn't have to be an expensive tube amp. If money is an issue and you still do not want to try tubes, I would suggest getting an NAD integrated amp and getting a better cd player and Harmonic Tech cables. The NAD won't be quite as transparent as the ARC, but I think it's tonal balance will be more to your liking.
Listen carefully and have some fun. This is supposed to be fun.
Matty....I doubt having both the Complete CD and Amp is "too much". They were designed to go together as unit. If you like the YBA sound, then they should be perfect together.
HD- the 'truth' of the recording can turn in to lies by the time the speakers get a hold of the signal. Ever play the game, telephone? It is more complicated than this (as in this thread), but good components lie less than bad ones. Good components play telephone better.
It may have been a bad idea to post this. I am not debating.
Just a follow up post. Went to NY (Mt. Kisco)today and listened to the ARC integrated and CD w/Hot Rod Kestrals. The ARC's are VERY well built and had a nice smooth sound (a la Kestrals) with Krall, Merchant, etc. However, it didnt do it with rock. With my "From the Cradle" CD from Clapton, It sounded like there was a veil on the music, that I was in the nose bleed seats. With Creed too (yes, I do.) Important find for me out of all of this is that it seems I like more neutral sounding music than I first thought. So, I guess another look at Arcam, Creek, Cambridge, Rotel etc.
One final note, if demoing call and make sure that the dealer you are going to in fact has the brand name you are interested in. The dealer I went to listed YBA in their most recent ad in Stereophile but when asked they said they didnt carry anymore. This is the second dealer I have come across with this issue. Anyway, thank you all for your above comments. On with the hunt....
How about a used Sony SCD-777ES or DVP-S9000ES and a used Manley Stingray integrated. The Sony players are solid in the bass, have SACD capability, very good redbook, and numerous options for modding. Used prices range from $650 for the 9000, to $1500 for the 777. The Manley Stingray is a tube unit that may soften the digital artifacts and provide excellent reproduction, and looks real cool, too. Rated at 50wpc. I've seen used ones for $1199.