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Music system, demo CD recommendations wanted

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to dip my toe into the audiophile wading pool. Space and finances dictate that I buy an all-in-one mini-system like the Arcam Solo or Linn Classik. I listen to everything from Madonna to Mozart, but primarily to classic jazz (e.g. Miles, Coltrane) and acoustic. Are there any other music systems I should be looking at? What are good CDs to bring to a store to demonstrate a music system's strengths and weaknesses?
post #2 of 18
I'm going to be very little help with suggesting hi-fi audio systems, but very much help with ruffling some feathers. My opinion is, if you feel like you need a $10,000 CD player, buy a $1000 CD player and spend $9,000 on room treatments. The best audio system in the world will still sound like garbage if there are standing waves in the room with it. Mixing and mastering studios make records that are intended to be played on anything from a boombox to a theater's house system. Nothing is optimized for these $50,000 home stereos. At the risk of sounding like a heretic, much of what the critics are hearing are simply EQ shifts due to different amplifier characteristics. The factor that lets engineers hear everything separately in a jumble of music is the room they're sitting in. And, accordingly, the room costs far more than the equipment.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser View Post
Linn Classik.

I love all things Linn -- have you been to the Gifted Listener in Centreville, Virginia?

I would bring cds that you are intimately familiar with... and bring your favorites. Personally I bring acoustic music and solo violin music.
post #4 of 18
I agree: bring stuff that you're familiar with and have been listening to recently. It's kind of pointless to use an audiophile CD, when you don't listen to such things on a regular basis. Have fun, take your time, and try things out that you may not consider just to get some perspective. --Andre edit: you may also consider cutting a CD-R with your favorite tracks --- it makes the whole process more convenient.
post #5 of 18
no brainer, the fight club soundtrack... Dust brother, high highs and low lows
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser View Post
I'm looking to dip my toe into the audiophile wading pool. Space and finances dictate that I buy an all-in-one mini-system like the Arcam Solo or Linn Classik. I listen to everything from Madonna to Mozart, but primarily to classic jazz (e.g. Miles, Coltrane) and acoustic. Are there any other music systems I should be looking at? What are good CDs to bring to a store to demonstrate a music system's strengths and weaknesses?

If you're really serious, first buy a good pair of headphones (e.g. Sennheiser 600 or 650, AKG 700, Etymotic ER-4) and a headphone amp (the HeadRoom BitHead is a good value, especially if some of your listening is on a computer) and some better recordings of audiophile standards such as Dark Side of the Moon (I'm partial to the Mobile Fidelity remaster). While headphones are crap for spatial cues, good headphones will otherwise let you know what's on the disk. Then you can look for speakers that do the same things, while throwing a solid image.

Oh, and when you get down to it, spend as much as you can on speakers, and as little as you can bare on electronics...
post #7 of 18
Surround with a DTS decoder? I'd go Darkside of the Moon as mentioned or Radiohead's "OK Computer" as you can test the spacial effects. "OKC" is all over the map sound-wise as it's loaded with instrumentation and ranges.
post #8 of 18
Slightly off topic -- since the Linn doesn't come with speakers (and I assume the Arcam won't either), what speakers will you be looking at?
post #9 of 18
I'm running the Arcam Solo with B&W DM 602s and I am really happy with the pairing and results.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aportnoy View Post
I'm running the Arcam Solo with B&W DM 602s and I am really happy with the pairing and results.

I didn't realize you were an audio fran. Have you and AF talked?
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
I didn't realize you were an audio fran. Have you and AF talked?

Not.

I just like shopping in hoity toity shops where I don't have to deal with anyone wearing a nametag who is pestering me endlessly to buy an extended warranty.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aportnoy View Post
Not.

I just like shopping in hoity toity shops where I don't have to deal with anyone wearing a nametag who is pestering me endlessly to buy an extended warranty.

I'm actually kinda surprised you settled for the 602s given your propensity to seek-out the best. Did you have no inclination to try more expensive speakers? I listened to them vs. paradigms reference studios and I thought the 'digms were more neutral. I found the 602/603s forward & bright if memory serves me correctly.

One speaker manufacturer I lust over is Sonus Faber. They produce works of art imo. I haven't found a place to audition them but I intend to one day. Look at their Homage line of speakers.

For the OP: depending on your budget you cna look at revel concertas or paradigm studio 20s for your speakers. both are very small speakers that sound fantastic. Or you can get Sonus Fabers Cremona Auditors, have something beautiful to look at, and give me some feedback on how they sound. :P
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
I'm actually kinda surprised you settled for the 602s given your propensity to seek-out the best. Did you have no inclination to try more expensive speakers? I listened to them vs. paradigms reference studios and I thought the 'digms were more neutral. I found the 602/603s forward & bright if memory serves me correctly.

One speaker manufacturer I lust over is Sonus Faber. They produce works of art imo. I haven't found a place to audition them but I intend to one day. Look at their Homage line of speakers.

For the OP: depending on your budget you cna look at revel concertas or paradigm studio 20s for your speakers. both are very small speakers that sound fantastic. Or you can get Sonus Fabers Cremona Auditors, have something beautiful to look at, and give me some feedback on how they sound. :P

I did preview the Sonus Fabers at Harvey and they were lovely but exponentially more expensive than the B&Ws.

I'm no audiophile and ended up with Arcam because my wife thought it to be the least offensive looking of all the options. The B&Ws were highly rated and the right size for our built-ins.

Not too scientific, I know.
post #14 of 18
Did they have the Stradivari Homage? Which models did you listen to?
post #15 of 18
With speakers, it often comes down to personal preferences. I like the little B&Ws more than Paradigms. Paradigms can sound dull and plodding.

--Andre
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