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Thread: My SHL5 setup - the end of the hunt for emotional fidelity

  1. #1
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    Default My SHL5 setup - the end of the hunt for emotional fidelity

    I have had these beauties for 5 months now in my main system.

    Source: Oppo BDP83SE
    Amp:Naim XS2

    Sometimes I haul up my groovetracer modded Rega P5 w/ ortofon black MM + PS Audio GCPH phono from my basement rig up to the living room to listen to vinyl.

    The phrase that comes to mind when listening is "emotional fidelity". On both vinyl and digital. Instrument decays, ambience retrival and vocals sound just right! I never knew some old Cds and albums that I had sounded so damn good!

    I have owned a few speakers (quads, B&Ws, etc.) These have really put an end to my speaker hunt/search. If I do buy another pair to replace my 4pi speakers in my basement, it will another set of Harbeths. Either the C7ES3, or the M30.1.
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  2. #2
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    Default Amplifiers

    Dear Rohit, you have a lovely setup and the room looks beautiful....

    Just wanted to know your opinion of the Naim XS and if you could let me know how much of a step up is it from a Rotel integrated.....I have a pair of Compact 7 ES3 and wanted to change my amplifier from the Rotel to a Naim XS or an entry level Luxman integrated....

    Would love to know your feedback on the XS and also if it is significant step up from the Naim 5i

  3. #3
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    Default Why are you thinking of upgrading?

    Quote Originally Posted by panditr View Post
    Dear Rohit, you have a lovely setup and the room looks beautiful....

    Just wanted to know your opinion of the Naim XS and if you could let me know how much of a step up is it from a Rotel integrated.....I have a pair of Compact 7 ES3 and wanted to change my amplifier from the Rotel to a Naim XS or an entry level Luxman integrated....

    Would love to know your feedback on the XS and also if it is significant step up from the Naim 5i
    I used to own a Rotel 1062 before. I had them running B&W CM1s. I dont have the Rotel now to compare but it drove those B&Ws quite well. The Naim XS + SHL5 pairing is very musical. The retrieval of spatial information of instruments and venue is really good (if present in the recording of course) and the sound is cohesive. It gets out of the way to deliver the musical message. I find myself not doing the audiophile nitpicking because it is so easy to get immersed in the music itself. I suspect that my speaker upgrade to SHL5 is more responsible for this than the Naim XS. You know the price difference between a Rotel integrated and Naim XS is quite large. I am not sure if you will see a huge jump in performance. Maybe you can benefit a little but not as large as you would if you upgraded to say an SHL5 or M30.1.

    I auditoned the C7ES3 with Rega Brio R ($750 to $850 and that's comparable to the Rotel Inegrated) and the Naim Uniti (not Uniti 2) and the sound was very engaging on both. The Naim Uniti was subtly better.
    I chose to go with the SHL5 because of my listening room size and found the Naim XS used for a good price.

    Why are you thinking of upgrading you amp? What size is your listening room? What are you using for source?

  4. #4
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    Default Serial Harbeth purchaser

    Nice setup. Harbeth is end of speaker search? Are you kidding? Well, only the owner knows.

    For me, I said this after I got a pair of Harbeth in year 2004 and then another pair in 2007 till now, I think, yes, Harbeth is my last speaker to own and there is no better for me to get. If still want me to list what is next, hmm, only the M40.1 is in my list.

    "Bath in Music"

  5. #5
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    Default 'Upgradeitis' and true sound quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by rohitdev View Post
    I suspect that my speaker upgrade to SHL5 is more responsible for this than the Naim XS. You know the price difference between a Rotel integrated and Naim XS is quite large. I am not sure if you will see a huge jump in performance. Maybe you can benefit a little but not as large as you would if you upgraded to say an SHL5 or M30.1.
    I agree that beyond a certain price/quality point for 2 channel amps, the audible difference will come from speaker and room acoustic upgrades. And most Rotel amps are comfortably past that point - even the budget RA series are very good amplifiers. A now ten year old piece that I gave away to my daughter is still performing brilliantly.

    Upgraditis can have many other reasons to it of course, with little to do with audible sound quality improvements.

  6. #6
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    Default Amps with benign Harbeth load

    Quote Originally Posted by Kumar Kane View Post
    I agree that beyond a certain price/quality point for 2 channel amps, the audible difference will come from speaker and room acoustic upgrades. And most Rotel amps are comfortably past that point - even the budget RA series are very good amplifiers. A now ten year old piece that I gave away to my daughter is still performing brilliantly.

    Upgraditis can have many other reasons to it of course, with little to do with audible sound quality improvements.
    Pandit - true that about Kumar's comment on the Rotel RA series ... I had the RA 1062 and it rocked and could unravel subtleties when the recording contained the information. This especially applies to speakers like Harbeth which are designed be to be benign loads to amps. You couldn't say the same about speakers like B&Ws, Maggies or Martin Logans. Those are some current hungry behemoths.

    Kumar - I like your C7 setup ... looks neat and impressive. Nice Stands. Did you make them yourself? Mine are DIY. Where are you residing?

  7. #7
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    Default Locally made stands

    Quote Originally Posted by rohitdev View Post
    Kumar - I like your C7 setup ... looks neat and impressive. Nice Stands. Did you make them yourself? Mine are DIY. Where are you residing?
    Thank you - Pune, India.

    Got a local carpenter to make the stands, to my design. Rs 4000 for the pair, and they do the job.

  8. #8
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    Default Satisfaction from C7 and Sonos

    Quote Originally Posted by Kumar Kane View Post
    Thank you - Pune, India.

    Got a local carpenter to make the stands, to my design. Rs 4000 for the pair, and they do the job.
    If I was to put together the system based on what is in use over 95% of the time, it would be even simpler. Nothing on the top of the rack, just Sonos Connect wired into the preamp, and the CDs and LPs in storage. The sound from the C7s, sourced from a hard disc that now has all my music residing in it in lossless file format, wirelessly transmitted to Sonos, and amplified via 10 year old Quad amplification, is most satisfactory. And I can access/control it all from a little iPod touch.

    Icing on the cake are the thousands of free internet radio stations, many of which deliver streams that, from the C7s, sound as good as CDs.

    If I was buying new amplification, I wouldn't even bother with the pre/power boxes, but go with a simple integrated of around 75wpc. But I happen to have the Quad pair, and it seems good for another decade.

    PS: At times, I do miss the glow of the tube amp I grew out of:-)

  9. #9
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    Default Considering Sonos route

    Quote Originally Posted by Kumar Kane View Post
    If I was to put together the system based on what is in use over 95% of the time, it would be even simpler. Nothing on the top of the rack, just Sonos Connect wired into the preamp, and the CDs and LPs in storage. The sound from the C7s, sourced from a hard disc that now has all my music residing in it in lossless file format, wirelessly transmitted to Sonos, and amplified via 10 year old Quad amplification, is most satisfactory. And I can access/control it all from a little iPod touch.

    Icing on the cake are the thousands of free internet radio stations, many of which deliver streams that, from the C7s, sound as good as CDs.

    If I was buying new amplification, I wouldn't even bother with the pre/power boxes, but go with a simple integrated of around 75wpc. But I happen to have the Quad pair, and it seems good for another decade.

    PS: At times, I do miss the glow of the tube amp I grew out of:-)
    Pune is nice city. I like the weather. Much like Bangalore used to be ...

    I am thinking about going the Sonos connect route myself and am hunting around for a used / budget DAC like Benchmark DAC1 to take up the stream from a device like Sonos. Are you using the DAC of the Sonos or does the quad preamp accept digital inputs? I have read some good things about the new quad elite cdp which has 6 digital inputs and can feed directly to an amp like the 909 or the new quad elite amp. But I do listen to a good deal of vinyl too. So thats why I haven't changed my setup as yet.

    Oh and regarding tubes ... I sometimes take my SHL5s to the basement and hook them up to my primaluna tube amp. Sounds sublime because I can position them well away from room boundaries and yes and I love the warm glow of those tungsol 6550s.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rohitdev View Post
    I am thinking about going the Sonos connect route myself and am hunting around for a used / budget DAC like Benchmark DAC1 to take up the stream from a device like Sonos. Are you using the DAC of the Sonos or does the quad preamp accept digital inputs? I have read some good things about the new quad elite cdp
    The Connect has a pretty capable DAC inside. I am using the digital outs from it, into the DAC of my Marantz SACD player, just to give the latter something to do. A very expensive DAC may yield audibly better sound than what the Connect delivers from its analog outputs, but I doubt that any budget DAC will make a difference, so before buying a DAC, be sure you can hear improvements from its presence in the signal chain.

    I had the Quad CDP for a few years. I wasn't too happy with the build quality of the CD transport/tray, it did not have the robust feel that is typical of those in Marantz players, for example. I had to get it repaired once, but it had never the slick smooth feel about it. The only thing the Quad preamp lacks is digital inputs. It has lots of analog inputs, phono inputs that can take MM and MC, and a neat tilt control for tweaking the treble/bass around the midrange.

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