Do I really need an upgrade?

the thin end of the wedge
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Nadguy
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Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by Nadguy » 15 Jun 2019 00:33

I doubt it. Here’s why. I have been a very pleased owner of this stereo system since the mid 80’s so needless to say we are talking vintage. It started with the Linn LP 12 that has had many upgrades with Circus, Linn Lingo and an original Ekos tonearm(2ndhand). It plays through a NAD 3020 integrated amp connected to ESS Monitor speakers. Needless to say the Linn is the most expensive item in the chain of my modest system. At the time I had the Ekos installed I had it mounted with an original Rega Elys cart because I had limited funds and intended to get a higher end cart in the future.

Now the Elys cart is often slammed in these forums but to my ears is sounds so good that I never bothered to upgrade. It has convinced me that Ivor Tieffebrun, of Linn fame, really was right that the cartridge is the third or fourth most important element in the audio chain. I do have several other turntables, Pioneer , Dual(played through same system) that can’t come close to the sound of the Linn so I’m in agreement that the turntable and arm really determine the audio quality. Or is it that the Ekos arm matches very well with the Elys cart?
I am sure many will suggest upgrading to more highly regarded MM or MC carts and while it may sound better I expect the improvement would be negligible at best. Doubt I would upgrade the NAD 3020 either as I love that little amp. I welcome your thoughts.

lenjack
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by lenjack » 15 Jun 2019 03:58

Save your money.

AsOriginallyRecorded
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 15 Jun 2019 04:15

The entire process in this hobby is geared toward achieving a synergy between all components. There is no single product that can guarantee to magically transform the musical experience as produced by a relatively random assemblage of components. If you enjoy the sound produced by the particular setup combination that you have right now, there is no valid reason to change it at all. Other than money burning a hole in your pocket or some vain envy of other systems, like lenjack advised....save your money....buy some nice albums! 8)

Geof777
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by Geof777 » 15 Jun 2019 19:24

if its making the right sounds for you and you are enjoying the music (not the HiFi!) then keep it - just get a replacement stylus when you need one

1Cheesestkman
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by 1Cheesestkman » 16 Jun 2019 06:40

I’m of a split mind. I don’t have a nice Linn but I’ve been asking myself the same question, do I NEED to upgrade or just want to? Is there much better without going to the poorhouse?

Tonybro
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by Tonybro » 16 Jun 2019 07:48

There's a lot to be said for the leaving it alone if you enjoy the sound.

That said, if you have a few $ spare you could look at grabbing a different cartridge just to see what difference it makes, you might like the different sound more.

It's one of those things that can cause an itch you just want to scratch - until you try a different cart, you'll never know...

davidsss
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by davidsss » 16 Jun 2019 09:27

I tend to agree with Tonybro, I would think about another cart just to see what the difference is. The best thing would be to borrow a cart, then you're not committed to the change. I think the cart is vital myself, then again nothing wrong with the one you have so no issue there.

TT, Amp and speakers are all well regarded from what I've heard. Could you do better? Sure, but unless you have a lazy large pile of money and are willing to spend it knowing the improvement would likely be slight, hardly sounds worth it.

If you enjoy the music that is the whole purpose of this exercise, so, worth investigating options but not worth spending a lot of time, effort and funds to do so. Buy more records!

DS

cats squirrel
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by cats squirrel » 16 Jun 2019 13:29

I believe the 'secret' to a good sounding system is quality matching, so that no one bit of kit is the obvious weakest link. [I don't subscribe to the idea of 'synergy', (I came from a science where synergy has a specific meaning) I believe in kit letting other bits of kit give of their best].

That being my rationale, I would say your amplifier is holding things back, although I have nothing against the NAD, I bought one for my nephew! BUT, every bit of kit must be of similar quality if you are to get the most from what you have.

And there is no point in showing quality tables/ladders, as audiophiles will always disagree (except to agree that they all disagree!) ps I am a music lover, not an audiophile!

Agrippa
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by Agrippa » 16 Jun 2019 15:38

If you're happy with the sound of your current system, then that's all that matters. End of story.

That said, to think that only negligible improvements in audio reproduction are possible compared to what you are currently hearing suggests a fair degree of wishful thinking.

Solist
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by Solist » 16 Jun 2019 18:49

As already other mentioned, its all about matching components. It might not be the best comparison, but I like to think of cartridges as equalizers same could be said for any other piece of equipment in the link. If you know what you want/missing/ or would like to hear more, you pick an appropriate cartridge, piece of equipment.

Those who think that spending more money will result in an improvement in sound quality, usually have no idea on the topic. Same with instruments, especially acoustic ones. You can find a Chinese guitar that will rival or even beat an European luthier one. Its just a matter of trying a bunch of things and figure out what sounds best to your ears.

Pauw
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by Pauw » 16 Jun 2019 19:37

It is always important to remember why you came into this hobby.....for most, it was to enjoy your music and as Alec says to do so in the best possible seat in the auditorium you can....................when, however, you stop enjoying the music and start worrying about how well your seat is constructed and how well its legs are designed , is the material the right colour ?........you are losing the idea you came in with, which, was centred around enjoying the music......when that idea is no longer central ....................

lenjack
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by lenjack » 16 Jun 2019 19:56

Sometimes it's not about an upgrade...sometimes it's just an "itch" to get that hot new component you're drooling for, and just got to have., like when Dynaco, or Hafler came out with a new preamp, and I knew it wouldn't sound any better, but I had to have it. We're not always rational about this hobby. #-o :wink: :roll:

Solist
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by Solist » 16 Jun 2019 20:38

There is something about home stereo audio that acts like a magnet. Never had this issue with headphones, and it took me a while to learn to let it go.

I like the idea of what a turntable has to do to get sound going through the speakers, and will do everything to make sure all the "settings" are correct, but after that, I am off to buying records.

I think the moment for me was when I went to a jazz festival, small concert hall but with very good acoustics. Instead of listening to music I though about the bass freq etc..Nonsense. You can quickly get to a point where your system will sound as good as going to a live concert. But it takes some brains to figure that out.

And if you really think of it, its not just about the quality of the equipment, but also about the quality of the recordings. Its just a matter of how well your equipment matches or compensates the curve that are the groove modulations. So you can quickly start chasing your tail without knowing it. I bet you could find 2 high end systems and put the same record on both, and 1 will sound vastly superior to the other. Then repeat the process with a different record and that one which sounded bad before might sound better now.

lenjack
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by lenjack » 16 Jun 2019 20:46

We should have our heads examined. :?

cats squirrel
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Re: Do I really need an upgrade?

Post by cats squirrel » 16 Jun 2019 21:01

Solist wrote:
16 Jun 2019 20:38
There is something about home stereo audio that acts like a magnet. Never had this issue with headphones, and it took me a while to learn to let it go.

I like the idea of what a turntable has to do to get sound going through the speakers, and will do everything to make sure all the "settings" are correct, but after that, I am off to buying records.

I think the moment for me was when I went to a jazz festival, small concert hall but with very good acoustics. Instead of listening to music I though about the bass freq etc..Nonsense. You can quickly get to a point where your system will sound as good as going to a live concert. But it takes some brains to figure that out.

And if you really think of it, its not just about the quality of the equipment, but also about the quality of the recordings. Its just a matter of how well your equipment matches or compensates the curve that are the groove modulations. So you can quickly start chasing your tail without knowing it. I bet you could find 2 high end systems and put the same record on both, and 1 will sound vastly superior to the other. Then repeat the process with a different record and that one which sounded bad before might sound better now.
I wonder who's system the BBC are trying 'equalize' when they broadcast live concerts, then?

Trying to compensate for non-linear kit is a fruitless task.

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