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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:09 pm 
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So I'm currently using a Rega Brio-R (original) through a pair of Paradigm Studio 20 v.3s as the centre of my system, which has a Rega P3-24 w Exact cart as the analog source, Marantz CD6004 as the digital source, and PS4 via HDMI into a Toshiba 40" TV via TOSLINK to FiiO TAISHAN-D03K DAC as my TV/streaming source (using Spotify on the PS4).

This has served me well for a number of years but I've recently gotten a raise and am wondering if there's anything there that I should look at upgrading without getting too far past the point of diminishing returns. I was looking at 2-channel receivers with HDMI switching (NAD C368/Onkyo TX-8270/Pioneer Elite SX-S30) to allow me to streamline my audio and video hookups, but suspect that I'd be taking a sound quality hit versus the Rega as far as the phono stage and amplification goes, though I could also just get a better outboard phono preamp to mitigate that. I also like how compact the Rega is.

A new TV is most likely also in the cards, but requires more planning as it'll require some furniture and whatnot to be moved around.

any suggestions appreciated!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:20 pm 
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You are nowhere near the point of diminishing returns. Any of those components could be upgraded with big leaps in performance if you have the budget to support it. The amps you listed aren't really a step ahead of the Brio-R but the NAD would be a bit more detailed and powerful. As it stands your little system is well matched. What specifically would you like to improve?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:49 pm 
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I agree that your system is a nice little system, and well matched. Be careful! Upgrading can be a slippery slope. Lateral moves are common (even when spending more $$), and, at times, a lessor sound quality is the result after a hoped for upgrade. Upgrading means "wow, that's a lot better", but can be tricky. Synergy between components is so important, something that took me years to figure out. And yes, I do think that you would be taking a hit by moving into a receiver and dropping the Rega Brio. Generally speaking, spending more "should" and "may" offer better sound quality, but there are no guarantees. And if you do decided to spend your hard earned $$, try your best to audition a given piece in your system to see if that (somewhat elusive) synergy exists and whether a change in speakers work with your room acoustics.


Last edited by cyrus on Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:49 pm 
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Well said James. I was thinking the same thing. That is a really nice, balanced system. I have owned many of the similar components myself.

What I would do is go visit a good dealer and hear some better systems to figure out what kind of sound you like, see how it differs from your own system and work with them to move towards closing the gap.

Your room and the type of music you like will also make a difference. My own journey has really focused on my enjoyment of classical records but I also love jazz, prog and new wave. I prefer the UK sound so if I had your system for example I would choose different speakers such as Proac, Spendor or Kudos.

Or get Canadian speakers that are a bit more engaging (at least to me) such as Totem or move up the Paradigm line - they make great stuff.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:49 pm 
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yeah I put together this system maybe 5 years ago and at the time, Rega was about the top end of my budget. I'm not looking to move into super high-end or anything, but am interested in finding out what the next steps up would be.

Musically I listen mostly to vinyl for critical listening - tastes run to indie rock of the post-rock/shoegaze/dreampop variety. Not necessarily the most well-recorded, but dense and dynamic (what Spotify gives me via the PS4 is fine for casual background stuff). I like hearing detail and depth and soundstage.

from another front, I'd also like to simplify the amount of cabling and outboard stuff I have messing up my entertainment unit, hence my leaning towards a receiver of some kind, but I don't think a unit that has a good DAC, streaming connectivity, phono stage, and HDMI passthrough exists.

Mostly I feel like doing some shopping research to refamiliarize myself with what's on the market, but I'm not sure what to look at.

Say I was looking to throw $2k-$3k at my system. where would I see the greatest return?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:50 pm 
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James is correct, you are not even remotely close to the point of diminishing returns.

I would upgrade speakers first, sticking with a standmounter.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:54 pm 
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( I also love shoegaze/dreampop )

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:56 pm 
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Forbes_2 wrote:
( I also love shoegaze/dreampop )

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excellent. maybe I should rephrase my question as "how do I make 'Heaven or Las Vegas' sound even better?"


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:05 pm 
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chromewaves wrote:
Forbes_2 wrote:
( I also love shoegaze/dreampop )

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excellent. maybe I should rephrase my question as "how do I make 'Heaven or Las Vegas' sound even better?"
I love that album on vinyl!!!!!

The answer to your question is Dynaudio ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:26 pm 
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The first thing I would do is drop the Paradigms and get one of the below speakers if you want to keep the budget under $2k. Get new speakers in to your listening room and decide if the amp needs to be changed.

KEF R300 or LS50
Dynaudio Focus 160
Totem Hawk, Sky or Forest
Proac Response 1.5
Revel M106 or F36

Magnepan 1.7 or 1.7i are an easy recommendation but an amp change would be mandatory. As you get close to $2k and above there are other speakers I'd recommend.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:33 pm 
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yeah I'm thinking the speakers might be the best return on my money. I've had the paradigms for 15 years now, maybe time for a change. I've been afraid of going down the speaker rabbit hole because it's so much deeper and labyrinthine than components, but could be worth spending some time.

thanks for the initial recommendations as a starting point!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:26 am 
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Forbes_2 wrote:
James is correct, you are not even remotely close to the point of diminishing returns.

I would upgrade speakers first, sticking with a standmounter.

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+1....

You can do a whole lot better with better speakers


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:58 am 
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Treating your room should be first if you haven’t yet. Admittedly shopping for accounting panels and bass traps isn’t as much fun, but the room is actually the most important part of your system.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:49 am 
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James_W wrote:
The first thing I would do is drop the Paradigms and get one of the below speakers if you want to keep the budget under $2k. Get new speakers in to your listening room and decide if the amp needs to be changed.

KEF R300 or LS50
Dynaudio Focus 160
Totem Hawk, Sky or Forest
Proac Response 1.5
Revel M106 or F36

Magnepan 1.7 or 1.7i are an easy recommendation but an amp change would be mandatory. As you get close to $2k and above there are other speakers I'd recommend.


All of those speaker choices would require an amp upgrade. Can you give him a suggestion that would let him keep his amp? Musicality is really the Paradigm's failing. There are better choices (and cheaper) that would suit the brio more.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:52 am 
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hollinger wrote:
James_W wrote:
The first thing I would do is drop the Paradigms and get one of the below speakers if you want to keep the budget under $2k. Get new speakers in to your listening room and decide if the amp needs to be changed.

KEF R300 or LS50
Dynaudio Focus 160
Totem Hawk, Sky or Forest
Proac Response 1.5
Revel M106 or F36

Magnepan 1.7 or 1.7i are an easy recommendation but an amp change would be mandatory. As you get close to $2k and above there are other speakers I'd recommend.


All of those speaker choices would require an amp upgrade. Can you give him a suggestion that would let him keep his amp? Musicality is really the Paradigm's failing. There are better choices (and cheaper) that would suit the brio more.


what are the shortcomings of the Brio? Does it lack the power to properly drive them? I've been reading about the Dynaudios and Totems and they seem to be a good match for the Rega.


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