Hifi Newbie status report. Any similar stories out there?
Does anybody remember their mental state after their first 2 major upgrades? I mean: Amplifier and Speakers, and care to share that memory?
I’m 13 months into what I would call my ‘real’ Hifi hobby now. First upgraded the amp, and last month my speakers.
Next to that: I am a skeptic. My default position is that I don’t think sound can get any better, and everything that promises sonic bliss is just marketing. One of my favorite threads here was ‘share your stories of contentment’, that says it all really.
But today I need to admit it can, and I am glad my ears are still good enough to notice at 51.
Here’s the story so far.
Step 1, amplification. 3 years ago I had already bought Dynaudio EMITs. I didn’t audition them (I had never heard of that term anyway), I wanted something new for my new office/cave. And the stands looked cool. What triggered the amplification? That’s the Muso QB. How then? Since I moved the stereo from the living to the office, we needed something in the living, small WAF friendly footprint. All our friends are on Sonos, but the Sonos 5 was the only option for me sonically, and I just hated the looks. Googling away I found the QB. That made me wonder if there would be integrated amplifiers out there with similar features, 10 years after buying my TEAC receiver that had internet radio (wow, how cool that was in 2010). Enter the Uniti, March 2020.
SQ shock number one: The Dyns, until then basically getting bored by not getting any challenge from my old TEAC started to light up, and show what they were capable of. Most of the speaker review cliché’s were there. What a great way to survive lockdown #1.
Step 2. By then I was hooked to several forums, vlogs etc. New reviews on speakers speaking of improvements I frankly didn’t believe. Last month my skepticism turned around. It could get better. In my case with the PMC Twenty5.21i. Disclaimer: everyone has a sonic preference. Mine is -in short- bass punch and PRAT but also analytical. The Uniti+Dyns didn’t do bad on items 1 and 2 at all, but boy do the PMC’s provide better separation / soundstage. This after just passing the prescribed 50 hrs of run in. They are in a 2.4 x 4.2m room firing down the ‘long end’ to my seat at 2.8m, with about only 5 degrees of toe in. drivers are 50 cm from back wall, but respectively only 15 and 30 cm from the side wall. Only the floor is so far sonically treated with a rug, and the far end with curtains. If I turn any speaker up too loud, the reflections more or less blow up the room. I’ve got a small sub too, but that is humming along very modestly, mostly I try to configure in a way that it decreases the major 42Hz room mode bump a little on my listening position.
The best way to describe the difference with the Dyns: I loved how Paul Simon’s ‘Take me to the Mardi Grass’ outro showed off the virtues of non-compressed recordings with the Uniti+Dyns combo, thanks mostly to the Uniti, but with the PMC’s I had the odd sensation that I could point my finger to single out the Tuba player. Two months ago I would not have believed that to be possible.
I could go on and on based on all of the listening notes I made to keep track of new amazements, like how this little PMC -which doesn’t have a particulary flat frequency response to be honest- makes me happy by magically stopping the bass frequencies to bleed into the vocals in some psycho acoustic way, but I am mostly interested if there’s other initially skeptic folks out there that had similar revelations after their first major upgrades when they were still Hifi Newbies. Or still are.