"What a refreshingly honest blog about listening to music through hi-fi. So happy to see views based upon the enjoyment of music rather than so-called sound 'quality'." - Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Mission / Wharfedale

Wednesday 23 January 2013

The SCALFORD SHOW - 3rd March 2013

Don't miss the Scalford Hi-Fi Show on 3rd March 2013.



Hifi Wigwam Show

Members of the Hifiwigwam forum invite you to listen to their own systems that they exhibit at Scalford Hall  near Mowbray on 3rd March 2013 - you'll not find a more eclectic set of hifi systems at any other show in the UK.  And there's no dealers and no manufacturers so no pressure to buy anything.  Sit back, enjoy the music and find out which systems best meet your idea of audio heaven.

Starts at 10am - best to get there in good time as there'll be over 45 systems to listen to.  Even at only 10 minutes each, that would still take you 7.5 hours.

Pictures from last year's show.

Linn Majik 140 Update

Quick re-cap: I had active Linn Keilidhs driven by Linn Majik Dynamik amps, then went to listen to secondhand M140s and new (but well used) MIsos, having decided that A242 were too deep for my room, and that my pockets weren't deep enough for A242s. I choose the M140s over the M Isos in the shop demo because I couldn't hear where double the money went - I could hear the deeper and better controlled bass of the Isos, but I didn't like the way they recessed vocals in the mix, and I didn't think they imaged very well.

Majik M140 main left and right speakers in position

So, from brand new the active M140s were rather good, but somehow not quite as good as I remember them in the shop (but remember the shop ones were secondhand not new). I put it down to the room. The dealer and I spend a bit more than an hour on positioning them and strangely enough they ended up with the front panel pretty much in exactly the same place as where the front panel of the Keilidhs had been. They had about 5mm toe-in. My room is 18ft by 14ft and the speakers are on the shorter wall.

Now, given they were a massive step up from the Keilidhs in terms of detail, imaging, dynamics etc, that's where they stayed. But over about 5 months, I gradually liked listening to them less and less, but couldn't figure out why, apart from the bass being much more filled out than when they were new. Then my Naim loving mate came round and he hadn't been for a couple of months and he complained that they were boomy whereas they hadn't been boomy before.

So I've messed about with positioning over the Christmas period. They're now an extra 40mm from the rear wall, they're toed-in 27mm. But, more importantly, I've turned down the amps that drive the lower bass driver (200Hz and below only from this driver) by one click, which I believe is the equivalent of 0.5dB, but I'm not sure, perhaps someone will advise - maybe its 1dB.

The difference all this has made is huge - they now sound way better than they ever have, and I'm really enjoying them again. The tune is back, there's no boom, but the bass is still deep and solid. Imaging is hugely improved now too. A really good result. I'm just hoping they've finished running in as I don't want to have to keep repositioning them! According to Majik Isobarik owners 5 to 6 months is about right for running those in, but I've not seen anyone mentioning this for M140s, my experience is suggesting somewhere between 3 and 5 months.

So very happy with my active M140s, and I'm not sure if I would have been able to properly dial them into the room if they'd been passive as I would not have been able to tweak the bass down a touch. The 140s form part of an AV system supported by an M112 and M109s and they're great for that too.

Cheapest Ever Linn Power Amplifier?

A Knekt Roomamp came up on ebay recently.  It was described as "in very good condition, but not tested".  So I put in a silly bid and left the software to its automated bidding process.

A few days later the amp was mine and just turned up yesterday.  Using the "audio out" sockets as the audio input (as described in a thread on here somewhere) I hooked it up to a source and gave it a whirl.  Well, it works fine and does a reasonably good job.

In a system consisting of:

Squeezebox Touch
Chord Prodac Pro Gold
Musical Fidelity V-DAC
Mission 773e

I used the volume control in the Touch and compared the Roomamp against the power amp sections of an original NAD 3020 and a much more recent Cyrus 6 integrated amp.  My conclusion is that the Roomamp power amp sits roughly mid-way between these products in terms of sound quality.  Sharper and more detailed than the warm NAD, not as solid, refined nor bass deep as either the NAD nor the Cyrus.  However, I did think that it is a touch bright and metallic with cymbals (at least into the Missions) compared to the other amps.  In fact, it was a rather sterile kind of sound - I really found it difficult to decide if it was more or less musical than the NAD - their presentations are very different, but I found myself more inclined to enjoy the NAD's warmth and musicality.  Overall, the Cyrus walked it, but then it should given how recent it is and how much it would cost new.

However, if you're looking for an office / study system driven by (for example) Spotify on your computer, or a bedroom system driven by a Squeezebox then the Roomamp does a pretty good job.

And if you're willing to take a bit of a risk on "untested" then you too can enjoy a Linn power amp for as little as £33.35!