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 Post subject: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:23 am
Posts: 6
Location: Kelowna, BC, CA
Hi Everyone,

I have been following CAM posts and ads for a while, this is my first post.

Started with a vinyl based stereo system about 4 years ago but I think now is time to get some upgrading going. Living room is about 16x22 feet and I listen mostly to rock and some Brazilian Jazz. My current set up is:

Rega RP3
NAD PP4 Phono pre-amp
NAD 3020 v1
Totem Dreamcatcher
Sonos Connect

I would like to start by upgrading the integrated amplifier and eventually I may upgrade the speakers. I am looking for one with a good Phono stage since I want to decluter my space.

I’ve tried the Rega Brio and although more powerful and clear, it was not night and day kind of improvement. There is also a Rega Elex-R that I could audition but guy at another hi-fi store mentioned Rega wouldn’t be a good match for the Totems (although I have read otherwise) since they are low efficiency speakers.

Looked at a number of other ones (Peachtree 125Sky/150, NAD 368/388, all the way to the McIntosh MA252). I read the specs but they are not available in town for a demo. So I am looking for suggestions and personal experiences. My budget could go up to 5K if well worth the upgrade.

Cheers

Rafael


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:28 am 
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Welcome to the forums!

You are going to get a ton of answers.....all over the map....

So I will start with what I would do. Go class A!

Sugden A21se Signature, and then just hide the A21 phono somewhere

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:17 pm
Posts: 2956
Location: Winnipeg, MB, CA
Welcome to the forums.
Look as this as a system upgrade as opposed to a component. A significant upgrade in amp could well be held back by your speakers. You would also do well with a better dac for the Sonos.
The Peachtree 150 is a great unit for the used price and it provides a phono and dac. That leaves some money for speakers. When I had mine I found it matched well with the Paradigm 15b. Your listening preferences will also come into play here though.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:55 am
Posts: 395
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I suggest you make it as big an upgrade as you can--go the whole 5 grand. Small upgrades are usually sideways moves that don't keep you satisfied and end up costing more when you upgrade again.
Have you considered tubes? A must with (Totem) metal dome tweeters in my opinion. Lots of options for $5K including Rogue, Prima Luna, and Copeland.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:07 pm
Posts: 214
Location: Waterloo, ON, CA
I am in the middle of downsizing and have been keeping a close eye on the used integrated market. There have been a few interesting options that have (or are capable of having) a phono stage built in:

VAC Avatar - $2500 USD on the 'gon, this is a tube integrated and the VAC phono stages are pretty good

ModWright KWI-200 - $2300 on AC, this one doesn't have a phono but one can be easily added

Bryston B135 SST2 - $2900 CAD, this one doesn't have the phono but one can be added (at least the phono was an option when new so I assume you can add one aftermarket)

Luxman L-507u - $4000 CAD recently sold on CAM, there are similar models out there

Good luck with the upgrade!

Todd

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:43 am
Posts: 1177
Location: Stratford, ON, CA
Hi,

Add a Roksan Kandy to your system or an Exposure 2010 or 3010. I think you might be surprised.

Cheers,
David Neice

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:23 am
Posts: 6
Location: Kelowna, BC, CA
Forbes_2 wrote:
Welcome to the forums!

You are going to get a ton of answers.....all over the map....

So I will start with what I would do. Go class A!

Sugden A21se Signature, and then just hide the A21 phono somewhere

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk


Thank you for the reply. Looks like a nice unit, I can definitely hide the phono stage as long as I don't have to keep turning it on and off. Do you think the 40W into the 4 Ohms channel is enough for the speakers? This is the part I am still trying to understand. I was recommended to use an amp with min 100W for those little Totems.

-- 06 Nov 2018 21:12 --

mpublicover wrote:
Welcome to the forums.
Look as this as a system upgrade as opposed to a component. A significant upgrade in amp could well be held back by your speakers. You would also do well with a better dac for the Sonos.
The Peachtree 150 is a great unit for the used price and it provides a phono and dac. That leaves some money for speakers. When I had mine I found it matched well with the Paradigm 15b. Your listening preferences will also come into play here though.


Thank you. How did you like the Phono stage? What are you current setup for Vinyl now?

I definitely need a better DAC. I do have an Oppo HA-1 headphone amplifier attached to my computer at the moment but one day I would love to have it integrated in my set up in the living room. It's a nice looking machine and does perform well with the Oppo PM-1.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:47 pm
Posts: 1553
Location: GTA
Hegel H190


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:28 am
Posts: 943
Location: mississauga, ON, CA
buybye88 wrote:
Hi,

Add a Roksan Kandy to your system or an Exposure 2010 or 3010. I think you might be surprised.

Cheers,
David Neice


Having the chance to own all three at different points I can agree. They are similar in sonics only if you want to come closer in range of the kandy's power the 3010 is nearer terms of sound and power. Healthy high current power supplies in the Roksan creates very punchy well defined bass. That and detailed without bright edge.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:17 pm
Posts: 2956
Location: Winnipeg, MB, CA
perinirf wrote:

Thank you. How did you like the Phono stage? What are you current setup for Vinyl now?

I definitely need a better DAC. I do have an Oppo HA-1 headphone amplifier attached to my computer at the moment but one day I would love to have it integrated in my set up in the living room. It's a nice looking machine and does perform well with the Oppo PM-1.

cheers

the phono in the 150 suited my purposes though it was used in a system that is largely for streaming.I didn't feel the need to upgrade to an external one for the Teac TN300 table with Ortofon I had on that system at the time. my serious vinyl playing is on a different system where I use a Gold Note PH10 currently but may change to a tube based pre.
You had mentioned the MA252 as an option you looked at. I just purchased one last month while in Calgary and had the chance to first hook it up to my daughter's Totem Staff's. Paired very well however it wasn't until I brought it home and connected to my Thiel's that I was able to get a better sense of its capabilities. I purchased it for the same streaming system I once had the 150 for but although it makes my Audio Physic Compact Classic speakers sing,(a fine speaker but entry level to the AP line), it is left wanting a better speaker. I actually placed the previous amp back as it is a better match and will forgo that upgrade as I have no desire to change speakers. I prefer what a balanced system provides over having a single great component without the support from the associated equipment.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 6:35 am
Posts: 893
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Budget?

Anyway, I will wade in...

Now, I've only heard Dreamcatchers a couple times and one of them the person was like "Hey, watch how loud these little suckers will go" so obviously what I'm about to say is biased a certain way....

But, IMHO, trying to "fill" 16x22 with these speakers is not really what they're meant for - 4" "woofers", no matter what the possible excursion, just won't do much for the space. So I suggest that now you are considering next steps speakers would actually be at the top of my list. Unless you are sitting very close to them in the room layout...

And I also have to ask: NAD D 3020 V2??? Right?

Attachment:
File comment: NAD D 3020
3020 D.jpg
3020 D.jpg [ 11.93 KiB | Viewed 1031 times ]


That can be bested by just about any full-sized integrated I suspect. It's nifty but again, like the speakers, more intended as a bedroom or office component.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:14 am
Posts: 272
Location: Windsor, ON, CA
Welcome the to the CAM Forum Rafael!

You have posted a very interesting, balanced and reasonable question. Personally, I too 'think' that you will also eventually want to change your small Loudspeakers. Therefore, I would not necessarily go all 'hog in' ($5K ?) with your Budget on an Integrated Amplifier at this time.

I too agree, with what @mpublicover said below:

mpublicover wrote:
... I prefer what a balanced system provides over having a single great component without the support from the associated equipment.

You have received, some very good IA recommendations thus far. I too think...
That an Integrated Amplifier 'like' the Roksan Kandy or Exposure 3010 would serve you very well.

Therefore, I will throw into the mix at this time... The YBA Integré DT Integrated Amplifer.
Thank-you!


Last edited by Takira71A on Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:36 pm
Posts: 4508
Location: Vernon, BC, CA
To truly upgrade it's going to require changing the amp and speakers. With your budget that won't be very difficult. If you are ever in Vernon drop me a line and we can have a proper discussion and listen to some good gear.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 6:35 am
Posts: 893
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Takira71A wrote:
Welcome the to the CAM Forum Rafael!

You have posted a very interesting, balanced and reasonable question. Personally, I too 'think' that you will also eventually want to change your small Loudspeakers. Therefore, I would not necessarily go all 'hog in' ($5K ?) with your Budget on an Integrated Amplifier at this time.

I too agree, with what @mpublicover said below:

mpublicover wrote:
... I prefer what a balanced system provides over having a single great component without the support from the associated equipment.

You have received, some very good IA recommendations thus far. I too think...
That an Integrated Amplifier 'like' the Roksan Kandy or Exposure 3010 would serve you very well.

Therefore, I will throw into the mix at this time... The YBA Integré DT Integrated Amplifer.
Thank-you!



Original 3020 had a phono preamp. I know since I owned a similar: NAD 7240pe. Those were good IA, IMHO...Again, I know since my 7240pe drove a pair of Mission 770...


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrade Advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:23 am
Posts: 6
Location: Kelowna, BC, CA
MENDEL24 wrote:
I suggest you make it as big an upgrade as you can--go the whole 5 grand. Small upgrades are usually sideways moves that don't keep you satisfied and end up costing more when you upgrade again.
Have you considered tubes? A must with (Totem) metal dome tweeters in my opinion. Lots of options for $5K including Rogue, Prima Luna, and Copeland.


The Prima Luna's are beautiful units and read a bit about them (not sure if . They will require a good phono pre-amp though. I will definitely take a look at the Rogue and Copeland (this one seems to be a bit above my budget!). Thanks for the reply!

-- 07 Nov 2018 01:07 --

toddc2 wrote:
I am in the middle of downsizing and have been keeping a close eye on the used integrated market. There have been a few interesting options that have (or are capable of having) a phono stage built in:

VAC Avatar - $2500 USD on the 'gon, this is a tube integrated and the VAC phono stages are pretty good

ModWright KWI-200 - $2300 on AC, this one doesn't have a phono but one can be easily added

Bryston B135 SST2 - $2900 CAD, this one doesn't have the phono but one can be added (at least the phono was an option when new so I assume you can add one aftermarket)

Luxman L-507u - $4000 CAD recently sold on CAM, there are similar models out there

Good luck with the upgrade!

Todd


Todd, thank you for the suggestions. Except for the Luxman, I haven't come across them before. The VAC Avatar looks like an interesting amp. It is a big black box and WAF may be a problem since this will stay in the living room. Nonetheless take a look at it! The Luxman is a beauty...

-- 07 Nov 2018 01:13 --

mpublicover wrote:
perinirf wrote:

Thank you. How did you like the Phono stage? What are you current setup for Vinyl now?

I definitely need a better DAC. I do have an Oppo HA-1 headphone amplifier attached to my computer at the moment but one day I would love to have it integrated in my set up in the living room. It's a nice looking machine and does perform well with the Oppo PM-1.

cheers

the phono in the 150 suited my purposes though it was used in a system that is largely for streaming.I didn't feel the need to upgrade to an external one for the Teac TN300 table with Ortofon I had on that system at the time. my serious vinyl playing is on a different system where I use a Gold Note PH10 currently but may change to a tube based pre.
You had mentioned the MA252 as an option you looked at. I just purchased one last month while in Calgary and had the chance to first hook it up to my daughter's Totem Staff's. Paired very well however it wasn't until I brought it home and connected to my Thiel's that I was able to get a better sense of its capabilities. I purchased it for the same streaming system I once had the 150 for but although it makes my Audio Physic Compact Classic speakers sing,(a fine speaker but entry level to the AP line), it is left wanting a better speaker. I actually placed the previous amp back as it is a better match and will forgo that upgrade as I have no desire to change speakers. I prefer what a balanced system provides over having a single great component without the support from the associated equipment.


Interesting, the MA525 was actually one of the units I was very interested about. Totally agree that it's the entire system and not just one component that makes the difference. The main thing for me now is I want to make one upgrade at the time but need one Integrated Amplifier that won't blow my little Dreamcatchers for the time being. Eventually some larger floor speaker will make to the room.

How did you like the MA525? I read somewhere that the Phono stage is solid state, does it mean it does not make use of the tube pre-amplification?

-- 07 Nov 2018 01:18 --

fifthbusiness wrote:
Budget?

Anyway, I will wade in...

Now, I've only heard Dreamcatchers a couple times and one of them the person was like "Hey, watch how loud these little suckers will go" so obviously what I'm about to say is biased a certain way....

But, IMHO, trying to "fill" 16x22 with these speakers is not really what they're meant for - 4" "woofers", no matter what the possible excursion, just won't do much for the space. So I suggest that now you are considering next steps speakers would actually be at the top of my list. Unless you are sitting very close to them in the room layout...

And I also have to ask: NAD D 3020 V2??? Right?

Attachment:
3020 D.jpg


That can be bested by just about any full-sized integrated I suspect. It's nifty but again, like the speakers, more intended as a bedroom or office component.


Budget for the Integrated Amp is $5K. My current setup is the NAD D 3020 V1 (no Phono stage, I use a NAD PP4). Agree that those speakers are small for that space and any other amp will pump more than the NAD. I have to make one upgrade at the time so I can maximize the Amp and then the Speakers. At the end I will not be listening to music very loud, I want more the quality and definition. Thanks for your comment!


Last edited by perinirf on Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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