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What were your upgrades of 2021?

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

  1. vinylslug

    vinylslug pfm Member

    Ooh. Happy to give it a try. I have a recently acquired Colin Wonfor Magnum 250 that sounds delicious. It’s great amp to a/b yours against. (And, given that I live five minutes from you, might be mutually beneficial experience.) It might also provide us with that pre-cOvid meet up we’ve promised ourselves.
    CJ14 likes this.
  2. vinylslug

    vinylslug pfm Member

    January saw the addition of a pair of Larsen 4’s. They’re everything I hoped they’d be. Then mostly records for the rest of the year until an addition of a Colin Wonfor Magnum MF250 in October (from the PFM Classifieds), which has introduced me to the delicacy and musicality of class A. Also, the addition of a Schiit Eitr to connect my Mac mini to my dac. …and more records! A good year in the whole I’d say.
  3. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    This time last year I never dreamp I'd have the set up I've got now.
    After an ongoing issue with some B grade Harbeth 40.2 they admitted defeat and very kindly let me have a pair of 40.3XD's for no extra cost, then in the Summer I got the urge to upgrade my DAC so tried a DAVE, but didn't do it for me, left it for a few months until I started to read about the dCS Bartok, heard one and had to have one! arrived a couple of weeks ago.
    That's me done for a long while.
  4. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Not for sale and not cased up so a little awkward to transport (but doable). It's a possible and it could be useful to have another set of ears and a different system in different acoustics with which to test yes. I don't have transport though so you would need to be willing to bring myself and the amp to your place and then return us home later...
    vinylslug likes this.
  5. yeti42

    yeti42 pfm Member

    No new kit this year but some improvement nevertheless from fine tuning the setup since moving last year. The NBLs really like their new home in a room 7m by 6 but a tweak of positioning, increasing the distance between by 10cm had a remarkable effect on the impression of scale.
    I’ve also been refining the setup of the SPU Royal N set up in the Schroder Reference tonearm. Get it slightly wrong and it has a tendency to plod, in a somewhat stately manner which still works for a lot of classical records as it has good scale and weight but hit the spot and this sucker can boogie. On the back of this and on something of a whim I’ve decided to have a Guger S stylus fitted to the Proteus in place if the original Ogura PA when it was rebuilt. Gyger S has minor and major radii of 6 by 120, Ortofon Replicant 5 by 100, Ogura PA 3 by 30, all in μm. It’s done but I’ve yet to receive the cartridge back from Ana Mighty Sound so really that will count as next year by the time I’ve got it fitted, possibly a few months in as I’m moving again and won’t disturb the current set up till then.
  6. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    Mine's more a change of flavour than upgrade, although there were two or three (time blurs) additions. I'll start with the new:

    Got a minty Copland CTA-301 valve preamp, which I've been tube-rolling with a selection of vintage 12AU7s and 12AX7s from @The Bish. Given its Danish origins, it seemed natural to pair it up with my existing Densen B-350 mono-blocks that have been in storage for a while. And since I'm on Danish streak, I brought out my original Ergo E-IXs to play for the first time in a few years. The previously resident Pioneer C-21/M-22 and Yamaha NS-1000M combo will take some leave in storage for a while.

    My 1987 LP12 has been on its original pre-Cirkus bearing since new, and the chatter about what the Karousel does was too difficult to ignore. I'm pleased to say the Karousel is a fantastic upgrade. Earlier in the year, or was it towards the end of last year, I got a Hana ML cart. It is fabulous VFM.

    I think my Node 2i was last year's addition, so won't count it here.
    The Bish and Tarzan like this.
  7. monya

    monya pfm Member

    Suffered a severe hearing issue in November (left channel degradation) so more likely to be downgrading next year. Fun whilst both lugs were working though….
  8. vinylslug

    vinylslug pfm Member

    Picking you up wouldn’t be a problem. We’ll sort something out in the new year if you like. :)
    Arkless Electronics likes this.
  9. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    My much loved SuperUniti was moved on as I no longer had box count restrictions and I started to play around with alternative streaming approaches - initially inspired by John Darko.

    I eventually ended up with an Allo DigiOne Signature + Shanti PSU. And I started to run Roon for the first time. This was a pretty big upgrade in sound quality and day to day experience. In all honesty I was surprised that I could improve on the Naim streamer section so significantly.

    Next up was the DAC section. Tried the RME and loved it. Again the performance difference was significant but at least here I wasn’t quite so surprised. Ended up with a Qutest which just edged the RME for me with a little more soundstage depth but I might be imagining that. Not really sure I could pick the difference in a blind test. The choice of Qutest was really clear simply because others have to switch the DAC over to the TV when I’m not around and whilst I loved the RME it’s interface complexity was not universally appreciated (understatement!).

    With streaming and dac section of Superuniti becoming redundant it’s sale was inevitable as a separate amplifier seemed obvious. The SU with the Qutest and Allo was sounding great so there was no desperate need.

    I tried a few things and eventually spent time with a good local dealer and an Aethos. It’s a lovely thing but that volume control ruined it for me. The subtle differences in volume between streamed content just could not be managed by the remote volume control. The steps were too big and it drive me nuts. SQ wise the Aethos is wonderful but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it.

    Next up was a home trial of a Luxman 505. Oh my. I fell for this amplifier in a big way. Everything about it from the way it was packaged to the build quality and to these eyes at least, it’s sheer beaut, had me hoping it would sound half as good as it looked. I needn’t have worried. I had been a Naim addict for more than 30 years and was wondering whether anything other than more Naim amplification would do it for me. The Luxman simply took music to a different place for me without losing the excitement I enjoyed from my Naim systems over the years.

    I genuinely want for nothing more than the Allo/Qutest/Luxman into ProAc D20R’s that I’m running. Except perhaps it’s time to look at my 1983 LP12 which has no mods. I’m really tempted to go fuss free bullet proof Japanese DD but can I really bring myself to move on the LP12. It’s a daily debate with myself!

    This journey wouldn’t have happened without help and support from @Amber Audio of this parish. Gus, you are a gentleman and have helped me enormously, thank you !!
    joe9407, Fretbuzz, Miss Ariel and 3 others like this.
  10. Jono_13

    Jono_13 Duffer

    Good to see the love for Yamaha is still going strong.
    Ponty likes this.
  11. Jono_13

    Jono_13 Duffer

    The only new item this year has been a Rega P6/Exact/Phono MM
  12. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    2021 was also the year that I got full to capacity with LPs, CDs and cassettes, so I will have to be somewhat inventive in 2020 to house them all. I have one of the 4 x cube Expedit units upstairs in the office/study upstairs with other stuff in it a the moment. If I clear that out it will house around 280 more LP's. My 12" singles are all housed in record boxes and I have enough room for 2 x more of those. I also have an increasing number of cassettes too, currently taking up room in the CD rack, so if I put up a cassette rack, then that will clear more CD space.

    I received quite a lot of new vinyl and CDs for Christmas too, so still very much enjoying this hobby and listening to new music!
  13. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Glad you’re enjoying the new gear, I had both the Qutest and RME here head to head, sound wise I reckon the Qutest just edges it by a hair, maybe. The RME has it nailed for features and vfm which is why I kept it and sold on the Qutest.

    A Technics 1200 would be an interesting listen against your LP12, I’d keep the LP12 whatever, I kept my PT despite favouring a 1200GR in the office now, can’t bear to part with it after nearly 40 years molly coddling it, the Mrs has nabbed it for her system now anyway.

    ATB for 2022!
    Miss Ariel and clownfish like this.
  14. Ponty

    Ponty pfm Member

    Oh yes. I’ll probably go from 4 Yamaha based systems to 2. The 803 / LP12 / DCD1600 will still form the basis of the main system. If the current speakers work in the new room then great, if not I’ll swap them.
    Jono_13 likes this.
  15. Jono_13

    Jono_13 Duffer

    Your Castles are still doing great duties in the dining room with my Nait 3 and WXC-50 combo.
    Good luck with your move.
    Ponty likes this.
  16. gaunaik

    gaunaik pfm Member

    I have been working from home now for over 22 months. My priority in 2021 was to get a great sounding desktop system. After a few iterations I ended up with a system i do like the sound of;

    Chord Hugo2 and 2go
    iloud MTM monitors (comes with mic for inbuilt auto room correction)
    Mark Grant Cables
    Audioquest Nighthawkes Carbon

    The best sound is heard playig files on the SD cards, using Rigelian App on ipad, closely folllowed by squeezebox server using the UPNP bridge. Radio Paradise in FLAC sounds so good, that I have to stop working and just enjoy the music.

    Along the way i tried usbridge signiture and shanti-power supply, node2i with power supply upgrade, Curious Hugo2 link, Oyaide silver coax cable.
    The 2go is a bit pricey, but a must to partner the Hugo2 and keep the space saving trasportable aspects, and retain a very high standard of sound quality.
    The earlier teething problems with its software have now been resolved.
    clownfish likes this.
  17. Barkiss

    Barkiss pfm Member

    Two purchases this year:

    1) ATC SCM 11s - have taken a while to get used to them, but they're really growing on me

    2) Quad Artera Stereo - Impulse buy, but the jury is still out on whether I prefer it to my recently serviced QSP

    But the biggest difference to my listening experience? Hearing Aids ... I kid you not - transformative.
    effinity likes this.
  18. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    was in a showroom recently with all the Larsen models . Must admit they were tempting to have a listen to as they save a lot of space going near walls
    TimF and vinylslug like this.
  19. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    It was all change for me in 2021.

    In came a Rega P10, Rega Ania Pro, Rega Aria 3, Rega Elicit-R, Rega Saturn-R, Magnepan LRS.

    So a Rega year!

    Oh and a proper Roon server using a nippy intel NUC in a fanless case.

    2022 plans, probably dealer trade the Elicit for an Aethos and go up the Rega cart line.
    Darren L, Miss Ariel and gavreid like this.
  20. brumjam

    brumjam pfm Member

    2021 saw Tannoy Berkeley’s replaced with Proac D15’s which suit my listening area better. I continued to refine my DAC/streamer by adding an Allo USBsignature and some improved linear power supplies.

    The most surprising purchase I’ve made this year is a vintage, Trio (Kenwood) KA-6100 for the princely sum of £175. It effortlessly drives my Proac’s and has a brilliant MM phono stage, not to mention some rather hypnotic VU meters. It has resigned my other amps to the spare room for now. Next year I will restore it and possibly seek out one of Kenwood’s top of the line amps from the same era.
    effinity and Durmbo like this.

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