Troubleshooting SQ - Are you ever tempted to go completely back to basics?

The law of diminishing returns is one thing, but I really can’t fathom why the more I upgrade on paper the less cohesive and enjoyable it all sounds. It’s just too harsh on too many albums that never used to sound that way.

Expectation bias? Deteriorating hearing? An unidentifiable unifying factor?

Maybe back to the ancient Arcam alpha+, the Linn Intek or NAC 72/NAP 250/HICAP and Epos ES14 or earlier/worse.

Could it be the NAC 282 (ex-dem)???


A pair of bell-bottoms and a tie/dye t-shirt might help.



Not my kind of clothes! Sorry !

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I had a similar feeling about my system when I got to the CDS3/XPS2/252/SC2/250-2. For the money and effort it just didn’t sound as good as it should’ve to my ears.

I ended up taking a break for a few years to travel on my motorbike and that kit paid for most of it. I started over with a SU and have found happiness again with a 272/555PSDR/250DR. Much happier with this set up.


A nudge for the Arcam…but im biased.


A Rega Planar 3, Nait 2 and Kans I could understand.


What is “completely retro and back to basics? Crystal radio? Wind-up gramophone with 78s?

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Absolutely not, i personally would hate to give up my sound i have now. If i did have to give it up, it would probably stop me listening to my music as much as i do now.

…no temptation to go backwards.

There are some days when the music sounds off or not as good as my memory says it should be. Then the next thing I know my hearing is quite happy with the music. I put it down to aging, mind on other outside issues, the weather, the results of an event that may have not met my expectations: theater, live music, sporting event, family, friends, strangers…

…did I mention aging?

Life is sweet and so is the music!


That’s rather pedantic with respect. Admittedly retro is probably the wrong phrase to use , thanks for pointing that out.

Simply looking to figure out why I’m not happy with the system which I think has to take a more basic approach to try to ascertain the issue.

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That’s fine assuming you are content with how it should sound.

While it may well be ageing or distractions if that really is so I could probably have a far more basic setup and enjoy it. I honestly something or things aren’t quite right.

Have you tried reverting to passive just to simplify things a little?


Very much so, easily the best system i have owned and had the pleasure to listen too

That’s a good suggestion. I replaced an old NAXO with a SNAXO 242 recently and the NAP 250s were serviced 3 years ago along with HICAPs though the 282 is currently powered by a new SC DR.

It possibly boils down to the SBLs or the NAC 282.

I”ve been using a Nova as a suboptimal streaming source but could go passive with that into the SBLs to see if the 282 might be the issue.

The LP12 as source ought to be excellent.

Thread title may be misleading - trying to see how to revert to older setups to try to fathom what’s jarring.

I remember @mikehughescq and his long thread where he struggled with the sound of his system…


So do I :neutral_face:

Not that I can recall the specific solution or outcome.

I’ve found in the past that spending more money on equipment doesn’t necessarily equate to greater listening pleasure as you then enter the realms of room acoustics and diminishing returns. Sometimes less is more. My system is far from basic to the regular Joe but compared to most it’s fairly modest and since taking a step back I’ve never really wanted for a change. It’s been the same for some years now. I had some posh B&W 803 diamonds for a while some time ago but they just didn’t work in my room so sold them on, hence the reference to room acoustics. Also having a child means I was worried about them being damaged so I got the IBL’s as a good speaker that wouldn’t break my heart if they were damaged. Actually have been loving them. Like the SBL’s which were my favourite speaker just a tad less punchy. Very fast crisp and dry though. Lovely stuff. If money is no object and you have a huge space then it makes more sense to invest more heavily in nicer equipment as you can address the acoustics properly and gain more from the electronics. I see some systems on various forums and do wonder how on earth they must sound I.e. monsterous expensive speakers in a shoe box room. Makes no sense to me but if makes you happy then who cares I guess!


I’ve only more recently (since joining this forum) realised that room acoustics are a big part of the experience. But I also find I’m not always as receptive as I can be, or sometimes the sound just doesn’t seem the same as it was 24 hours earlier, or sometimes I’m convinced I need a sub and sometimes I think that’s the last thing I need. I ask sometimes if it’s the quality of the mains, or me. I do find the system better if left on for a bit (week plus) before playing and I also believe that fully getting up to speed can take a while after initial plugging in.