The last 2 months I gradually upgraded my system. The set up I had was 282/hiCapDr/250Dr/NDX-2/XPSdr. Speakers are Focal Kanta 2. The first step was replacing the HiCap with a SuperCapDr. Whereas the system was already quite “direct” and in the face, this behavior got even stronger with the SuperCap. Some might say that this is a bit too much; I never felt that way. The SuperCap brings additional detail and I noticed better placing. Instruments were also slightly better separated. At all times musicality stayed and the same very high level.
Shortly after I replaced the 250Dr with a 2nd hand 300Dr. Again, a nice improvement. What came in was a lot more authority. Even though the 250Dr is a splendid amplifier, it seemed to me that the 300Dr had an even easier job bringing the music to my ears. Music was more relaxed. Differences were not night and day, but they are big enough to make you feel you don’t want to let the 300Dr go again.
And then finally a new 252. This was by far the biggest improvement although I could understand that – given the order of new equipment brought in – it was that same 252 that makes the SuperCap and 300Dr shine. That doesn’t matter too much to me. What matters is that the whole combination is now so refined. It is indeed less direct as the 282 was. Yet it is way more detailed. Imaging, placing of instruments and sound-stage-depth (what a word😊) did all improve a lot. Bear in mind the 252 is 3 days with me so still running-in.
I am gonna enjoy my system now. Really happy. The last year I also brought in Roon running on a decent NUC. Roon is tremendous. I use it with both my NAS, Tidal and Qobuz. Furthermore, I ensured decent UTP cabling and a good HIFI-rack. All settled now.
Only short-term plan is a dedicated electricity lead for the HiFi. I need an electrician to come over to install. And …maybe … at the end of the year, a 555 to replace the XPSDr.
agree on the 300DR, I went from 200 to 300 and then 300DR the control, focus and musicality of the 300 is supberb as I as have said on here on many times
very simliar route also on Pre went from 282/HCDR to 282/SC and 6 weeks ago 252
for me 252/SC/300DR is 4 black magic boxes and complete my journey on electronics - source is NDX and LP12
also found the biggest improvement on demo was the 555 into NDX which I may well look at in the future
enjoy the music!
A great write up Iver. thanks for the insight.
Enjoy your new setup.
Hi @Antz, indeed very similar journey. I also have the feeling that I am fully set with Amps for the next years. This amp-combination is what I always dreamt of and it’s with me now. Indeed replacing XPSdr by 555 for the NDX-2 could be something for the future.
Are you able to swap your racks around - so brawn is on the right as you look at it?
Is that power supply in the middle actually as pink as it looks?
Hi @DaveEngland, I know why you ask. Unfortunately I cannot. My Chord shawline connecting the NDX-2 to the Cisco is too short … would it really make such a big difference swapping the PSU’s to the right side ?
Hi @Eoink, oh no, I am just a very bad photographer
Sorry, wasn’t meant to be a dig, someone else has classic boxes where the anodising was pink.
Assuming the switch is the box on the floor beneath the brain rack and assuming the switch has a standard Ethernet cable running from the router or from a wall socket could you not get a slightly longer run of Ethernet from router to switch to move the switch more to the left and then have the racks the other way round?
It will likely make a positive difference having the noisy transformers in the PSs further away from the sensitive preamp and streamer.
Hi @DaveEngland, that’s indeed an idea I consider. Unfortunately the Cisco holds some other connections too, that I need to make longer. Thanks for the hint; I am going to fix it and swap Brain & Brawn.
Ivan, given the huge improvements you have made to your system, I’d suggest that you now consider a Fraim. It’s expensive but will give a massive lift and will ensure you get the best from your black boxes.
Yet I would never understand how a new system can be better than a run-in system, regardless of its category.
When I went from 282 / SC to 252, I wanted to cry for 86 days!!
Hi @hungryhalibut, it’s indeed a consideration. Fraim is quite costly but if the improvement is really there, I am willing to consider it. Do you believe the improvement of a Fraim over for example a Quadraspire is that big? I never compared so don’t know. Iver
Yep. With the system at the level you have you really need to make sure it’s set up optimally. So, if you need to change lengths of some Ethernet cables etc then it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.
@IvdZ Nice system. I have a similar setup to you - I have Quadraspire SVT racks too but with the bronze upgrade. I’m also curious what difference a Fraim rack would make to sonic performance. Given the expense of Fraim and the looks (which I’m really not a fan of) I’m not inclined to switch to Fraim. I much prefer the look of Quadraspire X-REF to Fraim
Yes, I genuinely believe it’s worth the money. I was using Quadraspire SVT bamboo until I got the Fraim last year and wasn’t expecting that much of a difference, but it was very large. And of course, the SVT is a lot better than your Q4, so you’d benefit even more. The improvement shows as a more open and natural sound and much better musical flow, like the system has blown its nose and can now breathe properly. Despite being more relaxed, the music retains its pace and dynamics; in fact these both improve as well.
It’s expensive though, so maybe you could find a used bargain, though with two stacks and two bases getting a matching set would be more challenging. My base and four standard levels cost me £1,250, which I thought was very good.
Hi @bongoman similar thoughts here I certainly believe Fraims are very good yet still like to hear myself the exact difference to a Quadraspire. Apart from being prett expensive, I am also not exact a fan of the looks. Anyway: testing it myself seems the only way out. Now find out what daler has both makes or which one is ok to leant me a Fraim. Not so easy outside the UK I think
I too was lucky and picked up an ex demo fraim for a great price, very sceptical of the improvement this would bring but it made a big difference and it looks good too.
If you’re not a fan of the looks, there’s Quadraspire X-Ref. But it is even more expensive than Fraim.