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When equipment exceeds your expectations…

Discussion in 'audio' started by Del monaco, Dec 31, 2021.

  1. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    Following the recent thread on ‘doesn’t meet expectations’, what has surprised you?
    For nostalgic reasons and as a refurb project I bought some vintage Wharfedale 505.2s off EBay. The Wharfedales were my very first speakers in my first system bought as a wedding present some …ahem…30 years ago. I managed to get a pair of the deluxe mahogany veneered which were regarded as a little more refined than the vinyl wrapped basic model. Firstly, I forgot how sizeable they were for bookshelf’s. Then I heard them again. What a nice surprise. Still lovely sounding things. Rich and resinous with just the right amount of treble cutting against the substantial bass. It did surprise me even though I’d had fond memories. Other equipment that surprised me includes Rotel 965BX CD player, a Dacmagic 100 and a Thorens TD 166 mk 2.
    What has surprised you?
    Johnjo and Durmbo like this.
  2. Eyebroughty

    Eyebroughty JohnC

    Shahinian Super Elf's and Arcs, you sit them down and they play music without attracting attention to themselves, not many speakers apart from Shahinian do that.
    Linus, Simon s, deserter and 7 others like this.
  3. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    Of course, my Maggies were quite a surprise but I did expect they’d be a different experience after years of boxes. They still surprise me daily.
  4. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    Most recently, a Copland CTA-301 valve preamp, especially when running vintage valves from the 60s. I bought it just to scratch a valve preamp itch, but now it might be staying for a while. It imbues music with a lifelike delicacy, but does not compromise on hifi pyrotechnics like a superbly tight and full bottom-end and truly palpable vocals.

    Less recently, my very own Ergo E-IXs (free space version). I'm still gobsmacked by its coherence and gravitas that defies its DIY origins and diminutive size. I know Scan-speak makes amazing drivers, but the little 5.25" midwoofer plays bass like it's a 10".
    tof, yuckyamson and Mr Pig like this.
  5. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    Sounds nice. I’ve often wondered how the Maggies would sound with a valve amp.
  6. johnacurtis

    johnacurtis pfm Member

    A 20 odd year old Dynavector HX75 amp over a new Naim 250dr amp!
    Not a "Naim basher" by any means, but it surprised me how much more control it had over my Shahinian Compasses, and how it brought them to life!
  7. Durmbo

    Durmbo not French

    The Technics amplifier I wrote about in your upgrade thread earlier. Quite a mindblower. Funny to think it had been my first ever amplifier and that I'd sold it to follow the "upgrade" path. Callow, impressionable youth & all.

    The JPW Gold Monitors after I replaced a faulty driver and added some more stuffing. Remarkable little things, quite revealing of upstream components.

    The Philips CD850 I rescued from my Room of Doom. It has a huge, open soundstage, a slightly warm tone, detail, body, air, and such an easy musicality that I could listen for hours. Too bad the laser's become fussy in its old age. My Yamaha amplifier is the perfect match for it; not so much the A60 or Technics.
  8. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Linn Kairn/2250
    Creek OBH passive
    Behringer A500
    Technics SL1210
    Garrard 301
    Well Tempered Amadeus
    DACMagic Azur
    Audio Technica VM540ML
    Shure M97xE-JICO SAS/B
    SUPATRAC Blackbird (my own product which has far exceeded my expectations)
    Del monaco likes this.
  9. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    That’s a nice varied list. I think Creek produce some serious well thought out products.I think I’d like their phono stages.
  10. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Yes, I spent many weeks coming to terms with my experience that my £150 Creek potentiometer sounded much better than my Linn Klimax Kontrol 1/D. Sold the KK liberating a fistful of cash. Price and performance in any given system is not a predictable relationship.

    I forgot to mention EPOS ES14s.
  11. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    I wasn't expecting much of an ancient Lenco GL75 turntable but that blew me away given its myriad of supposed shortcomings.
    Del monaco likes this.
  12. JezmondTutu

    JezmondTutu pfm Member

    With you on the ES14 front. Proper giant killers in the right system/room.

    Oh, you forgot to mention the LP12 - LOL!
    sonddek and Del monaco like this.
  13. Mike P

    Mike P pfm Member

    Hmm I've got some nice kit that performs as well as I'd hoped for (e.g. Raford and Tannoy) but as for kit that has exceeded my expectations....

    In my dining room I have a little Creek CAS4040 (a fee gift) hooked up to some Wharfedale Super Diamonds which I picked up at a car boot sale for £5. They never fail to put a grin on my face.
    ossy and Del monaco like this.
  14. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    I’ve been on a bit of a roll of late. I expected the ATC40As to be better than SBLs/nap250, they were by a lot but the latter still had a nice turn of foot. However, I ended up replacing a 252/SC2/CDX/XPS2 with an ATC CDA2; that really shouldn’t have happened. I listen to more music than ever, feel my system is more accurate & dynamic & fun!

    SBLs, which I loved for 15 plus years, do tend to be a little fussy & can pull apart poor recordings. The ATCs don’t do this, not what I was expecting in some ways.

    Recently bought a Zen Mini with LPS, this really is a great bit of kit & really transforms how I listen to music.
  15. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    I had the same experience with cheap JPWs and a chip amp. Belied expectations.
    Durmbo likes this.
  16. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    ‘I listen to more music than ever.’

    I think this is the best indicator of a successful system.
  17. Mike P

    Mike P pfm Member

    I couldn't agree more. :)
    alan967tiger and Woodface like this.
  18. guydarryl

    guydarryl pfm Member

    I recently bought an Art Audio Quintet second hand(I had been intrigued by references to it in another thread on here).
    Worried that it might not have enough drive for my mk1 Ela's in my quite large room, although I don't listen at chest vibrating levels.

    I needn't have worried. In a word, beautiful.
    Possibly the most significant change (in an enjoyable way) that I have made to my system in many years. I am really enjoying digging out old albums. Lost nothing in reproduction of bass lines and exquisite mid/higher frequencies.
    My wife is pleased that I have bought something that has made me use my equipment more often :D
    zeon and Tarzan like this.
  19. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    I’ve been listening to the tuner 3 hours straight. Really engaging. And my wife’s gone back to bed after making a cuppa. Great start to the almost new year!
    the caretaker and Durmbo like this.
  20. Neil P

    Neil P pfm Member

    A creek integrated I bought on here from @cartman. Was about £200 (can't remember the model) and it sounded sublime on its own with my rega CD. Very relaxed and musical. I only had to sell it because the speaker terminals didn't allow space for my chunky speaker plugs. Plus the casework rattled like heck which really annoyed me, but SUCH a lovely sound. Ditto the creek OBH-22 pre I had a while back.
    Del monaco likes this.

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