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What were your upgrades of 2021?

Discussion in 'audio' started by wylton, Dec 25, 2021.

  1. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    I’ll catalogue the changes as they happen. Awaiting release and final price of the Yamaha first so first purchase is likely to be the Rega and cart. Then I’ll have a look at the Maggies. I’ll hold off on the phono stage until I hear the Yammy’s stage. Cart wise I’m thinking of 2M Black or maybe one of the new ATs that get such good feedback. I may even go for an MC.Funds should be available within the next month or so I hope.
    PhilofCas likes this.
  2. flutteringwow

    flutteringwow Never trust a Tory

    The cartridge change was monumental. I've never been a massive fan of the ML , the SL yes, the ML, no, I always found the ML fairly dull and clinical without the magic of the SL, - and I owned 2! the Umami Red has all of the detail of the ML, all of the body of the SL, and just a majestic and magical sound - way better than my previous Koetsu's. Its perfection, but at a price. The proper stylus cover it comes with certainly helps the butt clenching worry about it being exposed in the living room. Cart for life for me.

    The amplifier change, huge step up, but more specifically very different to PL. The Luxman, for me needs to be paired with a DAC and speakers that have 'body', otherwise it could sound a little clinical to some. The PL has a huge body but the top end is just too excitable - sure, dulling it down with some NOS Mullards really helps, but it then the sound became too 'thick' and exhausting in its own right, this prompted the change.

    If you pair the Luxman with something like an Aqua DAC (R2R NOS) and a good streamer, then the reward is a sound that has depth, width, clarity, body, separation - completely enjoyable, no exhaustion and looks brilliant - theres no substitute for VU metres! Amp for life for me.
    Miss Ariel, badger748 and Tarzan like this.
  3. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    flutteringwow likes this.
  4. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    ‘Cart for life for me.’

    Until the next cart for life,;)
  5. NickofWimbledon

    NickofWimbledon pfm Member

    2022 saw more changes than 2021 or just about any year - thanks to all here for the help that made this (a) possible and (b) successful. Taking the newest first: -

    Isoacoustics Gaia II feet under B&W 804 D3 speakers. 2022 2
    Naim 300DR replacing Naim 250 power amplifier. 2022 2
    New radial for mains supply, 8 sockets 2
    Add SRM base and isolation platform to LP12/ Targett stand. 2022 3
    Witch Hat Morgana complete loom to replace Naim standard and Hi-Line. 2022 3
    Anti-vibration rubber bits from HRS for Naim kit, esp Superline and SC. 2022 3
    Airplug Z replacing standard plug in Superline. 2022 3
    Superline power to 52 from Hicap. 2022 3
    Ethernet cable and switch for NDX2 in place of wi-fi. 2021 3
    Karousel and Lingo 4 replacing Cirkus and Lingo 1. 2021 1
    XPSDR for NDX2. 2020 2
    Naim 52 in place of Naim 82. 2020 1
    Supercap to replace 2 Hicaps on Naim 82. 2020 3
    Superline to replace Linn Linto. 2020 1

    The numbers at the end are crude scores. '1' is a big improvement, and '3' is definitely real but not at all dramatic IMHO. I'd willingly hand out a '4' for 'any improvement was all in my head' and a '5' for definitely worse'. Fortunately we haven't had any of either recently - as confirmed by blind testing with multiple listeners wherever possible (thankfully, people humour me on this).

    What else could I change?
    Krystal cartridge? I'll wait until next year, when it will need doing.
    LP12 top plate? Not easy to assess for the sceptical and resolutely '0% DIY' among us?
    Keel to replace Kore? Price versus size of upgrade?
    552 to replace 52/SC? Have you seen what they cost?
    555/555PS to replace NDX2/ XPSDR? Ditto, but worse.

    The biggest upgrade of the last year or two isn't on the list at all, because I also have a record cleaner. Running a few hundred LPs through it, and replacing the 30-ish most enjoyed/ ruined and least cleanable with new vinyl really was a bigger SQ upgrade than any of the above.
    Miss Ariel and flutteringwow like this.
  6. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    2021 was mostly the more modest bits

    Quadraspire SV3T; sounds a bit better and looks so much better than the3 Atacama Equinoxes it replaced.
    Synology NAS, more convenient than external HDs attached to the Mac, sounds a little better too.
    Nordost Sort Kones and a 2 pairs of TYR 2 XLR
    Traded two Frey 2 power cables (too long for current needs) in against two Tyr 2 power cables (unless that was early 2022)

    2022 has been more about the bigger bits

    2 pieces of Simaudio Moon Evolution series replacing 2 pieces of Aesthetix to be precise
    - 760a power amp replacing Atlas Signature in need of repair
    - 810lp phono stage replacing Rhea Signature which is still in perfect working order
    Both Moon boxes perform really well, with no annoying ergonomics and great sound.

    Chord Signature interconnects for tonearm and phono stage to pre (XLR) repacking Cardas Golden Reference (which I must get around to selling). Nearly as good as Tyr 2 while a little cheaper than Frey 2 (here, in France, anyway); ideal for the secondary source.
    Audio Technica 33 PTG II replacing duster-destroyed Grado Sonata 2: a definite improvement.
    More Nordost Sort Kones

    Projects for the mid-term

    Watch the 2nd hand market for 2-3 Nordost power cables (Frey 2 or above)
    dCS Apex upgrade ("Ouch", went the piggy bank)
    Find a truly silent NAS before the Synology reaches 90+% of its capacity and I have to insert another SSD or two
  7. mellow_yellow

    mellow_yellow pfm Member

    Had my NAIM pre/power amps serviced and upgraded. Impressed with the results – noticeable uplift in performance.
    Dark Lord and NickofWimbledon like this.
  8. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    2021, nothing, 2022, quite a bit.
    chiily likes this.
  9. mikebirtill

    mikebirtill pfm Member

    Linn sub for my ackiv ninkas, and a ton of vinyl. Im looking for a Victor QL-Y55F Direct Drive turntable with an s shaped tone arm to replace the Notts Analogue...
  10. Jag Audio

    Jag Audio Jag

    Bought or upgraded too much in 2021 and probably more in 2022, now I am upgrading myself to buy less in 2023.
    NickofWimbledon likes this.
  11. ACM

    ACM Vinyl Junkie

    2021: EAR 88PB phono stage (replacing Dynavector P300)
    2022: Benchmark LA4 pre-amp (replacing Dynavector L300)

    The LA4/88PB work very well together and I found them to be an order of magnitude improvement over my trusty L300/P300...
  12. dave charlton

    dave charlton <><><><><><><><><>

    A brief but enjoyable moment of madness in the last quarter of 2021.

    Out went HD800's driven by a Lehmann Linear and in came Rega Kytes (new version) driven by an IO. Sourced some Target stands off Ebay, customised the tops (and bases) using 18mm ply to suit the Kyte stand adaptors, added some Chord speaker wire and good to go. Great sound (near field) and way better than Ela's back in the day IIRC (Rega Reference power leads in the mix). Just not practical in the end (neighbour, Mrs etc).

    So back to the drawing board first quarter of 2022.

    Out go the Kytes, IO, speaker cables and Ref power leads and in comes a Rega Ear mk3 and HD 650's using standard power leads. Bit of a disappointment compared to previous headphone set up. So Ear out and bought a nice used Linear giving me a chance to look at the mains leads on all components (ttpsu, phono stage and headphone amp). With short runs between wall sockets and equipment I halved an old Russ Andrews Ref Kimber cable, bought a similar lead off eBay and added two new MS mains plugs, two new Wattgate IEC's plus used a Wattgate that I already had along with an MK mains plug already fitted. Now it's sounding something like imho.

    Further changes in 2023 could be fuses, RA Super or Ultra. Lehmann offer an upgrade for the Linear to SE spec and icing on the cake would be a minty used pair of HD 800S. All a bit on the expensive side though.
    Miss Ariel likes this.
  13. waxkinglyrical

    waxkinglyrical pfm Member

    An original LFD NCSE replaced with an LFD LPCD integrated amplifier.

    Finally got a hold of some XLO Unlimited interconnects that I believe has made a difference…and not to my wallet.
    I know hard to prove, controversial even but happy to have them.
    NickofWimbledon likes this.

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