Critique This Please (my planned system)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Still, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Still

    Still New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I am starting fresh! New room, new system. I believe there are many pitfalls that can be successfully avoided without spending a dime. It requires reading and listening. I have learned much reading threads, now I want to put forth my planned system so that it can be thoroughly vetted by those who know more than I do. I am especially interested in system synergy (impedance and sensitivity matching, etc), appropriateness given my preferences, and possible cheaper alternatives. I appreciate the help in advance!

    History: Had a complete Decware system and loved it. Sold it to move and to try new.
    Room: Dedicated, treated 14' x 20' x 9', carpeted floor, no windows. 8 foot equilateral triangle
    planned with speakers on long wall
    Taste: Eclectic... singer/songwriter, folk, reggae, pop, choir
    Priorities: Vocals, imaging, soundstage, system disappearance

    Equipment:
    Already have: W4S modified Sonos, Schiit Modi Multibit dac, Denon DL-110 cartridge

    Planned purchases
    :
    TT: Project The Classic (plan to upgraded in a few years)
    Alternative: Well Tempered Simplex
    Preamp: PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium Preamp - with phonostage
    Alternatives: Decware CSP-3 with ZP-3 phonostage,
    Integrated alternatives: Parasound Halo, Rogue Cronus Magnum II
    Amp: Odyssey Stratos monoblocks
    Alternatives: Stratos stereoamp, PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP, Parasound A21, Decware Zen
    Mystery Amp
    Speakers: Harbeth C7es3
    Alternative: Harbeth P3esr with Rythmik F12SE x two

    Thanks for your input!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
    Mad shadows likes this.
  2. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    That's a lot to contemplate brother, it all looks like good stuff. If it were me I would ask my dealer or product company about comparability with speakers etc. looks like some fun in your future peace.
     
    Helom likes this.
  3. Helom

    Helom Active Member

    Location:
    U.S.
    Yes, a lot to consider. If it were me and I was looking at separates, I'd probably try to stick with the same brand for the preamp and amps. Matching different brands can tricky.

    I think your listening space deserves speakers with good sized cabinets, so the C7Es3 is probably the better choice. You could also go with even larger speakers and not need subs. No subs are the best subs.

    Parasound Halo is just a bit too warm and smooth for British monitors IMO. My Epos speakers pair well with Yamaha amps, not as well with the Halo. It's best suited for fast and lively speakers, especially if you listen to a lot of electric guitar. I prefer a very neutral sound, so my Maggies balance out the smooth character of the Halo.
     
  4. As @Helom said I'm inclined to also suggest buying the matching power & pre from the same brand. I don't know how they would pair with Harbeth speakers as I've never heard them.
     
  5. MaxxMaxx4

    MaxxMaxx4 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Winnipeg Canada
    Same brand components makes it easy but if you have the time and resources a better match can always be found.
     
    tmsorosk likes this.
  6. True enough, but that can take years.
     
  7. Still

    Still New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Thank you all for the help! In hindsight, it is a lot to consider. It's just that I have come to these final selections after reading hundreds of separate threads and wanted to see if these components might play well together. It certainly makes sense to stay with the same manufacturer for pre and power. I have considered the Odyssey Candela, but I could not find many confident reviews it. I generally do not enjoy dealers, but I think you guys are right that it is time to go have a listen... at least to what I can find. Sounds like if I am set on the Harbeth (which I am based on reviews and hearing them at RMAF), I can probably pass on the Halo - thanks for the advice Helom.
     
  8. mkane

    mkane Well-Known Member

    I would learn to solder and go with DIY.
     
  9. Clay B

    Clay B Active Member

    Don't know the Odyssey amps but all the other choices all seem very nice. Matching components will be key. I thought Primaluna made a high end integrated with phono stage option. If I'm not far off in that recollection, then that integrated plus the C7es 3's would be a first rate compact system avoiding the need to play too much of the interconnect game. The WT Simplex has a glorious sound but frankly looks rough and ready compared to the Project. Maybe look at WT Amadeus. WT turntables are very easy on cartridges and take a lot more money to beat sonically.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    If I had the bucks I would pass on the Halo, separates if i had the bones.
    The odysseys would be on my shortlist for sure.
     
  11. Dream On

    Dream On Active Member

    Location:
    Canada
    The thing that I notice is you are considering a Primaluna preamp and Primaluna power amp. One of their integrateds would then seem like a logical option but it appears these have not made your short list. The Prologue Premium looks like a really nice integrated option and if I was buying a p/p tube amp it would likely be at the top of the list.

    The amps you list aren't low powered (Decware may be the exception, not sure). I would think they should all be able to drive those Harbeths with ease. Which sounds the best will be subjective but I don't think any would be a poor match as far as their ability to drive the speakers.

    Other components to possibly consider:

    - a phono stage from Tavish Design - never heard one but from what I've read they are great value for money. I'll be trying one this year. I think in many cases an external phono stage is preferable.
    - integrated option: Sugden A21SE - might be too much of a good thing with Harbeth but I suspect the pair would sound incredible, especially with the music you are into.
    - turntable option: Rega RP6 or P3-2016. Check out the reviews of the P3 - it looks like Rega really took it to the next level and with some common upgrades many seem to feel it will surpass the stock RP6. I am a big fan of the Rega sound (well, their turntables at least).
     
  12. Helom

    Helom Active Member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I heard some Harbeths powered by some Exposure 3010S2 amps (in mono block configuration) and they were a match made in heaven.
     
  13. Still

    Still New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Lots of worthwhile stuff here!
    Mkane - my RC car soldering leaves a lot to be desired to be honest. I have longed after making my own glorious sounds with a Bottlehead or ANK but simply believe I am more likely to muck it up than succeed. Though it would be fun either way!

    Clay B - PrimaLuna makes several nice integrated amps that are tempting for simplicity but I like the idea of flexibility afforded by a preamp with multiple outputs to run different amps and possibly a second pair of speakers. Also, I am not sold on tube amplification as much as tube pre-amplification. My last amp was a beautiful Decware Torii Mkiii which had 12 tubes (4 of which were EL34 outputs) and it chased me out of my room in the summer after an hour (albiet that was a smaller room). The PL integrated that I would want is the Dialogue HP and it has 8 output tubes (up to kt150s if you want!) Nice in the winter for sure. Truth is though I do love tubes and believe, even if not scientifically provable, sound better in the mids than SS, giving the voice a real life in the room character. Regarding the TT, the Amadeus is very nice but I'm keeping the TT budget down to save for a long termer - thinking Clearaudio Ovation or SOTA Cosmos.

    Dream On - Thanks for all of the suggestions and input on amperage (HUG has many extreme opinions regarding Harbeth power requirements, so it is always good to hear an opinion from someone outside that circle). I agree on external vs integrated phono stage and I have read the SP review of the Tavish and was impressed. Someday I plan to own a superb phono stage. But as I am starting from near scratch again I am trying to remember a few things I learned from my first go around. 1) This is not going to be my final system (still have a few years to live I hope). 2) Match components reasonably by price and performance. So since I am looking at an entry level TT I am probably going to skimp on a cheaper phono stage for now... I think:) Regarding the Sudgen, I have read on other forums good synergy with Harbeth and absolutely love the look but whenever I consider expensive class A with relatively low power I revert back to thinking "why not just buy a gorgeous tube amp and have some fun with toying." If I am going to feel the heat I want to see the source I guess (missing the glow of my Torrii I suppose). Regarding the TT, I will look at the RP-6 and 3. I thought I read a recent review of a Rega (favorable) that indicated the brands inherent PRAT is actually just a slightly fast motor which they measured and is reported to be a commonality... maybe. I actually have never heard one but I think I am subconsciously against them because I used to own a Michell Gyrodec and if you have one you must hate the other for some reason:) The Gyrodec did at times seem a little slow or at least unsteady. Please tell me what you like about Rega though. Is it the PRAT? If so, is it still a balanced sound? I like energy well enough but not at the expense of texture and depth if that makes sense. I am open though and I bet I could audition a Rega easy enough.

    Helom - Thanks for the Exposure rec. I read about them a year ago and forgot. I really like the look and I bet you are absolutely spot on that they made the Harbeths sing. I would have to step out on that one and buy unheard as the nearest dealer is in UT... though I would with Odyssey too. Which Harbeths did you hear with them? Is there a sound signature you would give the Exposure? For some reason (probably not based on too much evidence) I am someone that believes heavier is better. More iron, more foundation, more value. C/T the Odysseys, the Exposures are fairly light weight. Perhaps I need to get over that one... If they sing, they sing. Exposure is English if I am not mistaken so that makes sense with the Harbeths.

    Thanks again for all of your recommendations. There are so many wonderful options out there. Just need to settle on something and start listening again. Can't wait because headphones are not cutting it.
     
  14. Helom

    Helom Active Member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I heard the Exposure amps at Acoustic Sounds and I'm fairly certain it was with Harbeth 40.1s. They were using a megabuck SME turntable for the front end. They apparently thought the Exposures were good enough to be paired with gear totaling $20,000 plus. The midrange was superb with great imaging, and every tone was well balanced.


    I also tend to lean toward the belief that heavier is better, but some amps are only heavy weights because they use thick case metal. If you used two Exposure 3010s, you'd still have 60 lbs worth of amplifier.

    Of course, the best way to buy gear is to audition with your gear. There's many great options in this price category and I don't think Harbeths are too particular until you attempt to get club level SPLs out of them. I would loosely claim that Harbeths the speaker equivalent of AutoTune.
     
  15. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix
    That system is going to sound terrific! You should go buy that right now and report back about it's awesomeness.
     
  16. Dream On

    Dream On Active Member

    Location:
    Canada
    I understand the allure of tubes - I have the same affliction. I really don't know yet what I will keep for the long run...got a Sugden A21aL and an Audio Space Galaxy 34. Both sound superb and I can live with either one as far as that goes so I'll likely just choose the one I find myself enjoying most without thinking about it too hard. But I can't sell the Sugden short just because it has no tubes. Resolving detail is what the Sugden does better than the 34, with a richer and more vibrant midrange. The 34 I'd say sounds livelier overall, a bit leaner but faster sounding and more open. At some point I will just have to choose and know that no matter what I pick it will sound excellent so there is no point obsessing (too late!).

    Regarding Rega, lately I have begun to really appreciate their simple and elegant design. And of course the sound...tight, punchy, cohesive, and engaging. I don't think the Rega's suffer in terms of texture and depth. I've liked every table I've ever owned (there are many good options out there) but I'm thinking I may just permanently land in the Rega camp as there seems to be an overall rightness when I listen to their turntables (and if I had to be honest, the table I've probably enjoyed most was my P5). I like the many inexpensive upgrade options as well. Lets one tinker and then choose what works best for that person.
     
    bhazen and Still like this.
  17. MaxxMaxx4

    MaxxMaxx4 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Winnipeg Canada
    Many of us have been at it for years.
     
    tmsorosk likes this.
  18. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Harbeth C7ES are a no brainer speaker- they are incredible and a great value at their street price. These will be a good match for your room size.
    I would also strongly recommend a tube integrated vs. mixing and matching tube and solid state preamps /amps. Consider the Raven Audio Nighthawk (many reviews online, a true high end sound). It does not come with a phono preamp though. The Cronus Mag II is a strong second choice but does not sound as good out of the box. You can swap some of the small signal tubes down the road and it will sound awesome.
    Solid state amps give you heft and drive but cannot compete with tube amps for soundstage and natural, lifelike sound quality.
     
    Still likes this.
  19. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    And some of us have given up trying and have settled on good enough for me systems and are quite happy to be hearing the music, not the equipment.
    I fall in that category! :wiggle:
     
    Tim Irvine likes this.
  20. Clay B

    Clay B Active Member

    I like your outlook. Your equipment is just fine but I do think you need/deserve a real turntable!
     
    The FRiNgE, Bingo Bongo and MaxxMaxx4 like this.
  21. MaxxMaxx4

    MaxxMaxx4 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Winnipeg Canada
    I agree we should all be in it for the musical aspect but I enjoy trying different equipment and learning new things about audio.
    First thing I do when I change a piece of gear is dig out my old favorites and enjoy them all over again and in a new way. :pineapple:
     
    tmsorosk likes this.
  22. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Ya, that's a double edge sword. Then I would have to start buying records again......:shh:

    Sorry to the op, I don't want this thread to go off topic, I wish we could all go over to his place and listen to his new system together! :wiggle:
     
  23. Still

    Still New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    No worries Bongo.
    I'll check out Raven Audio - heard the name but haven't checked em out. (ok, couldn't wait. Looks solid, like something I would appreciate. I have heard splendid things about the 6L6 too, but have never heard. I wonder how the Nighthawk would compare to something like the Line Magnetic 211ia...?)

    I like the idea of a tube integrated (if it were enough to keep me from looking for more in a year or two). That's the conundrum. Honestly, I really have a love for Decware but I want a remote for volume control (and I don't really care if that sounds lazy). Even with 93 dB sensative speakers though, I thought my Torrii mkiii with 25 tube watts was not cutting it in a 10x14 foot room for dynamic pieces. It never hard clipped (thanks to tubes) but it did compress with volume on rock. So I am a bit leery of lowish tube watts for Harbeth. I think something like that would work remarkably well for 85% of what I listen to though. So then it's a matter a priorities. Choices. That's why I thought of trying out the ageless recommendation of tube pre with solid amp.

    Thanks again to everyone for helping me narrow things down.
    One of my pet peeves is when people say they will let everyone know what it all sounds like and then never show up again. I hate not knowing what people chose and whether they were happy with their selections or not. So I will definitely give feedback on the system once I get my act together. Heck, even my wife is asking when I am going to buy my new system. Ha!
     
    alan967tiger and Bingo Bongo like this.
  24. Mike 33

    Mike 33 Member

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Up the turntable from the get go and consider MC.

    So what about a Clearaudio Concept MC with Jadis Orchestra Reference and matching phono amp.
     
  25. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix
    I'm not sure why you are so worried about the system you are starting with. Odds are it will change sooner than later. And it won't be the system you finish with.
     

Share This Page