System Pics 2020

(must tidy up those other cables :grinning:)


Hi what size is your room and what speaker did you upgrade from.

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Lovely Danes. Confidence 50? Give us a mini review? :grin:


I second that @xcentric. Love to hear move about your system and why the Confidence 50.

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I got the CDS3 as I felt something was missing from my system. When I got the NDS and 555 PS I sold on my CDS2 and XPS due to funds.

The NDS with 555PS is very good. The CDS2 and CDS3 adds something extra.

First impressions of the CDS3 is that it is more analogue but less fuzzy and warm than the CDS2.

thanks for the enthusiasm guys. Some info in another thread linked at the bottom, however, the version without the threading through of comments follows…

This is the end result of what was just going to be a speaker upgrade on my 272/XPS DR/250 DR setup, into Ruark Crusaders - a step or few beyond what I started out looking at, but (a) my wife got into hifi too - and has a much more articulate view on what different things sound like than I could ever muster - and (b) I maybe won’t have upgradeitus for a millennia…

So I had been looking for an upgrade to my Crusaders since I’d had the 272, about 18 months to 2 years. Lockdown hit, but I found a dealer who was prepared to send me stuff if I paid in full, on a sale or return basis. Looking to simplify the system I’d read good things about the dCS Bartok, and so got one of those sent to me along with ATC SCM40a’s - active ATC’s. Advantage of that approach was that I had no preamp, which was good as I didn’t have one.

That system was lovely - airy, detailed sound from the Bartok, and great presence and timing from the SCM40a’s, and they both looked good too. It was nearly a winning combination, but I’m a bit particular about checking out the competition, so we got to discussing the Bartok. Better with a clock, apparently. And the Rossini was better still. And he could do me a deal… So both duly arrived through the post. And definitely better. Quite Naim-like, with good PRAT - loads of information and musicality there.

Would the 40a’s be cramping the Rossini’s skills though, I was foolish enough to wonder aloud. So along came a pair of ATC SCM50a’s - an altogether bigger and squarer box like lump of a speaker, weighing in at about a human each, which caused some consternation as we tried to unpack them for the first time on the living room floor.

I didn’t like the aesthetics as much, and not did my wife- but the treble was better, the midrange to die for, with okay bass.

At this stage I was nearly sold, especially when there was a pair of factory seconds for a bargain price and minor marks on invisible parts only - but now I had moved into a different level of hifi and so decided I owed it to myself to check out other speakers and systems at this level. The Rossini had been so excellent that it was (almost) a fixed position - worth trying other top end DACs but I was pretty sold. Even Mrs Xcentric was too, tough she did delight in us having a clock for it that didn’t tell the time…

And having been a Naimite for a long time (still got chrome bumper kit kicking around) we gravitated to Acoustica in Chester to listen there, just after they opened again. Mostly to listen to speakers. Listened to Focals (treble too bright), B&W’s (ditto, perhaps even sharper), Kudos (lovely, especially as you go up the range) and they also had in the Dynaudios. We started at the bottom, and moved up. We had discussed that we’d not want to like the 50’s given the price tag, but they were a standout winner in the room. No speakers present, just musicians playing. Great clear highs, controlled bass, soundstage and spacing and stuff. I don’t often find hi-fi choosing obvious, but there was a clear winner…

But not one to make rash decisions, we headed with the kids and dogs down to Kent to visit my friendly Covid-19 delivery dealer, to listen to Magicos and the Dynaudio 40s and a couple of others. I’d expected to like the Magicos but within 2 bars my wife said she didn’t like them - after telling her off for making her mind up so fast, I found I agreed with her - quite American in style - boomy and a bit uncontrolled. The 40s were the best there - they didn’t have the 50s.

Acoustica are much closer to me, but I gave the Kent dealer a bottle of wine and the chance to do a deal on the kit I was looking towards, but Acoustica won on both price and proximity. Did I feel bad? A little - though I would have bought from my original source if the price had been right.

So chatted more to Acoustica, who were convinced the 50 was the standout value version in the range - the 60 is even larger, and much more money, and 50’s are plenty big enough for our room (and budget!). They also convinced me that a 300DR into them would make them shine, and that if I upgraded in the future they would be ore than up to the task. Which left the pre-amp… I;d been looking ast the 282 and 252, both used, and nearly bought a 252 a year or so ago as it was a good deal, but didn’t. And was kicking myself. Then Pete (Acoustica) came up with a suggestion that if I bought s new 552 from him, as well a the Dynaudios, he’d work out something on an ex-demo Fraim and Super Lumina cables… He’s good at spending my money, but also at saving it, as we came up with a decent package we were both happy with, including trade-ins on my 272/xps dr/250dr.

(Took me a while to decide to chop in the 272 as we also had a system we needed to create in the other sitting room, but I’ve used a Hifi Berry on a Raspberry Pi into a World Audio valve amp - info here

which works so well (audible difference but not substantial, and a lovely different sound)

Which meant a nearly done deal - but I’m an inveterate deal-hunter, and located a year old 500DR that was an estate sale and so was up for not that much more than the 300DR was new - so we chopped and changed again, and the deal was done. New 552/PS, 1 year old 552DR/PS, new Rossini DAC and clock (but from a trade contact, so discounted), on a Fraim, with Super Lumina cables and the Dynaudio 50’s.

Installation by Pete from Acoustica (Fraim, Naim kit) and Bill from Dynaudio (speakers) - these guys know their stuff. And I clearly don’t know one end of a tape measure from the other as I’d ordered not long enough speaker cables (partly because the Dynaudios like more space around them than I’d expected so the rack is further away)…

We have decided we will move the rack to the other end of the room (so will need a few more meters of speaker cable) which also means I’ve taken the wrong radiator off the wall, but that’s easily fixed. Fixable too is that the wood burning stove which hangs on the wall is too near the other speaker, we all think, so that needs to move over a metre or so… And the bespoke electrical circuit that terminates near the new rack will be tapped into earlier so the plug sockets can be in the right place once the rack is moved. Yes, I did have a dedicated mains put in - as we were tearing the room apart to fit studs like this (and a separate AV surround sound system in) it was a good time to do it. And if you’re going to blow the budget, do it in style…

So now it’s running in - been on constantly and playing constantly, 24/7, for a week. Sounds better (mostly) every day. Sometimes it’s on in the background and I get those ‘oh, wow’ moments, and sometimes I just stop, turn it up, and boogie…

Next steps are to take off the other radiator, work out where to put one back, pull some more cables through walls as I’ll need a remote repeater as the rack will now be behind me, and I want a dedicated ethernet connection from my switch to the Rossini without a wall connector, then move the rack and the stove. Then patch the walls, and call back the experts (actually they volunteered) to do the final setup with things in their hopefully final position and more run in.

Brilliant service from Pete - knowledgeable, enthusiastic, friendly and Bill - font of interesting stories from his days at Linn and nw at Dynaudio, and excellent ears - yes, he does use a laser rangefinder to sort up speakers initially. Then he sits there, plays a couple of bars through them and says ‘oh, that’s not right’, and gets up to move Neil Young back to where he should be… I can hear a difference each time, but couldn’t tell you how to change the alignment to make it better…

Oh, and I’ve been instructed to rehang my curtains (the curtain pole went back up at the last minute but was in danger of coming down unexpectedly so I took it back down) as this will clearly help. And I have to buy a plant for the corner. Not sure that’s for acoustics, but it’ll look nice.

So, are they worth it? Absolutely They partner really well with the Naim kit, and are musical, involving, good at lower and higher volumes, give great sense of being there, and decent sized soundstage and so on. They just work. The dCS Rossini is equally a great match - am sure there’s a slight usability convenience if I’d had the 555, but it would have been more and the dCS is slightly more future-proofed in architecture. I slightly prefer its sound too, but at this point it’s preferring, not a case one being better…

Would I recommend the Dynaudios? Absolutely - all of the Confidence range, but I did prefer the larger ones to the standpoints. Finish and quality control is superb, sound is to die for. 50s are the sweet spot. They’re not cheap by any means, but I doubt I’ll have to change speakers for a very, very long time…

Some other info here:


Whoa :fearful:, it’s a nice balanced system in a spacious room

Nothing lowly about it. 99% of the systems owned by people on this forum ( including yourself) are far better than many people would ever aspire to.

Please believe me when I say multiple boxes :package: are on a path of decreasing returns


Have you tried the CDS3 with the 555PS yet?

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Lovely wind-up HMV Gramophone playing 78s at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. Sounded excellent.

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Great story xcentric and enjoy your mega system in that lovely space :+1:t3: ATB Peter

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On the recommendation on this thread, I have tried Dark Days Exit on tidal. I spent most of Saturday listening it to, stunning music. How did I miss it until now !!

Just trying to find a physical copy now (which looks like it may be hard).

Makes it easier to see.


Thanks, how did you do that?

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Thank you so much for your reply. A friend of mine plays his music through Dynaudio C2 Platinum and a lot of what you describe I hear with him as well. Very, very nice and definitely an upgrade path I would like to follow if the funds become available in the future. :blush:

Will do that on friday as am snowed under with work commitments. Look forward to doing the XPS2 vs 555 comparison.

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Your iPhone or other type has an edit function, on the iPhone it’s an icon on the top left hand side. :+1:

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Anyone fancy trying spot the difference from last Saturday’s shot? :grin:

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The top right light is in a different position?

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I should have said differences! You’re very warm but only half way there :grin:

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:sweat_smile: :rofl: :joy:

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