A quick system update

Some of you may recall that I reached the end of my tether a few years back.

See End of my tether - #884 by mikehughescq.

Solution was that my ears needed a more relaxed sound and I eventually moved to non-Naim streaming using a very cheap bridge. I committed to very slow upgrades and a longer term plan to replace the Naim amplification and associated cable spaghetti with an integrated.

Bridge plugged into the streamer gave a very engaging and direct sound but was accompanied by considerable noise. The sound of St. Vincent acoustic on MassEducation was nevertheless astonishing. Every creak and shift of position. You were sat alongside her.

Moved the bridge away from the streamer and across the fireplace by inserting 5m of cheap no name Cat 5. Noise dropped but so did the immediacy. At no point did it become less enjoyable overall but at each stage there are trade offs. I’d love that immediacy back but…

Replaced the Cat 5 with Chord C-Stream and have lived with that for far longer than intended as it’s just a lovely listen.

In the midst of this deliberately slow progression I sought advice on changing the bridge.

See Choice of wireless bridge and cable - #31 by Blackmorec

Found myself enjoying music far too much to ever get around to doing it. Last night I finally installed the TP-Link AC2600 RB 650 as suggested by @Blackmorec. It’s significantly larger than anticipated so a bit of plug shuffling went on. Turns out tape is not required to block out the LEDs as there is a button to knock them off.

Initial impression very positive. A lot more (but possibly less controlled) bass; overall the sound has more weight and some of the audiphile detail is back (long reverb tails etc.). Listened for 30 minutes and for the first time in maybe half a decade found myself gently cranking the sound up and up and annoying my tinnitus.

Have since done a firmware update but I plan on spending some time this afternoon and evening. Initial signs very positive though.

I have a power amp audition at home lined up for early next month and I’m hoping to audition a further integrated having loved everything about the Enleum bar the sound.

See Moving on from Naim - #98 by mikehughescq

I stand to be corrected but tubes are looking the way to go.

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Had this the best part of a week now and I am wholly convinced. Nothing is perfect but the TP-Link is a significant step up in detail and accuracy and clearly there is a further drop in the noise floor in order to achieve some of this. It’s nicely balanced and one of the best value upgrades I have done.

Still no switch :slight_smile:

They do have serious disadvantages, which I’m sure you’re aware of.

I had a `Naim 252/Supercap/olive 250 years ago. Now a Moon 340ix integrated. I love the Moon sound. It has a refinement and subtlety that I never got from Naim but also has plenty of drive and dynamics and can hit hard when it needs to. It also has a very low noise floor - no hiss audible at all even from my 99dB efficient Klipsch speakers.

It is a more relaxed type of presentation certainly. But not in the sense that it’s lacking in any way or is too laid back. It just seems to do what the music requires without imposing any overt character of its own. Worth a listen if you’re after that type of sound.

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My experience with tubes amps and pre is that, contrary of the common idea, there is not a same kind of sound, depending on the different brands and technology adopted.
For example, Conrad Johnson, Jadis, Air Tight, Audio Note, …have a nice and rich presentation, but a bit romantic, relaxed, lacking grip, with a bit woolly bass and lacking prat too.
Then you have other brands like Ypsilon and others I forgot the name, that sound more solid state than some solid states like Accuphase for example, which sounds richer and more organic.
Ear Yoshino , I have, sound rich , textured, organic, but also with a wonderful prat and snap.
The speakers you use change also things a lot.
However Conrad Johnson sounds still richer and colourful.


Thanks but I’m now very clear that Zu were right. A very small handful of solid state amps work with these specific speakers but even then they tend to the cool side.

Biggest disadvantage of tubes for me is that they must pass a domestic acceptability test and few do :slight_smile:

Trying to get hold of a Feliks Arioso at present but it’s proving taxing. Have set up a home demo of the English Acoustics power amps which of course on paper look like they meet the more relaxed and domestically acceptable criteria.

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How about a Pass labs INT 25?


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Absolutely love mine. Can’t recommend highly enough.

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Hi Mike , the read of your thread was like some medieval torture or a play by John Webster , very glad that you sorted it out and I am glad you have your Zu speakers

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Sort of remains on my list and is undoubtedly a great thing with the right speakers.

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Looks like no-one wants to find me an Arioso. No dealers have it in stock or want to get it. Manufacturer doesn’t have one to hand.

Maybe Mastersound Duentra SE. Similar price.

I know a page on the internet might not be the same as real life, Audio Emotion in Glenrothes show available, ships in 2/3 days?

Thanks @freenchrooster. Suspect that valve protection doesn’t get past Mrs. H. and I can’t say it especially appeals to me. I’d not heard of them but the only review seems to be 6Moons and it doesn’t compel me to look further. Good but not great seems to be the gist. I’m really looking for a 300B to compare to the English Acoustics too.

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Just for fun and curiosity on how it may pass or not your wife taste.

KR audio VA 830. From Prague. 4X 300 b. Around 7,5 k.

Probably wouldn’t pass mine. It’s a bit plain.

Says a man who owns a 202/200 :slight_smile:

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For me, only for its look, it would be the Ayon Spirit V. Not 300 b, but EL 34. Around 6,5 k. And great reputation.

Pic from Hifi Link.

I have a sense of being sabotaged here :frowning:

Long story short my DAC has to go back to my dealers today and may end up back with Chord. Unless they can loan me something similar then there seems little point auditioning two valve amps next week and I’m in the embarrassing position of having to cancel for a second time.