Hello everyone. I have a cancer diagnosis which is being managed with monitoring. I have decided to take a pension early from a previous company I worked for for 19 years. I will receive a lump sum on 1st July this year , my 50th birthday. With the lump sum I will pay off debts and will effectively be £3k better off each month. My current system is pretty good but I have considering some upgrades on a budget. I am working full time as a builder and am bringing in good money for future upgrades.
So my current system is 82 Supercap 2, 2 x 135s, NDS with 555PS, CDS2 with XPS2, Linn LP12 Kore, Cirkus, Lingo 1 serviced, Dynavector 10X5, Graham Slee Reflex M phonostage, Focal Aria 936 speakers.
Naca 5 speaker cables, Powerline lite mains cables, matrix 2 distribution block.
System sounds very good. However, I wanted to improve the preamp and LP12 further.
My suggested upgrade possibilities are as follows:
52 or 252
Radikal 1 and Urika and MC cartridge
Upgrading to powerlines and upgrading distribution block
I have separate radial circuit for system and hiline for NDS. I am happy with system but want more. I am happy with NDS and CDS2 sources. Linn Lp12 sounds great but obviously could be improved.
Current thinking is get 52. Then Radikal 1 and Urika and change cart to MC and get Karousel upgrade done.
A 552 would be nice but thinking build up more funds in future and see what happens with my illness going forwards.
I appreciate all the previous comments about my cancer diagnosis and strong support.
500 series is absolutely fabulous but will absorb a huge amount of budget.
Finding a good 52 these days is a bit tricky but doable, and very nice to enjoy a classic olive system whilst blinging out the Sondek.
Rad2 with Urika1, MC cart, Karousel are all top-drawer upgrades (but may beg a new arm + Keel too…)
First port of call is your trusted LP12 dealer in Leicestershire.
Let him know your budget and maybe the upgrades can be stretched with pre-owned?
Rad 2 nice, but alot extra. I guess with doing all LP upgrades might be better to go new turntable as the price keeps inching up. Karousel, Rad 2, Urika, new cart. Then looking at new tonearm. Where does it stop. Signals have Rad 1 for reasonable money.
Thinking first thing is 52. See how that performs. What are your thoughts on Supercap DR over Supercap 2 with my system. Or go 252. With Supercap DR would that be better than Supercap 2 52 with 2 x 135s?
From your first post I suspect that your endgame might be a 552/500? If it were me I’d forget about the lp12 for now and push the boat out for a 552. They can be had for around £10k. Then do the lp12. Then get the 500. Skip the middle men
Having been roughly where you are in hi-fi terms, I’d vigorously endorse getting a 52 first - it will let you hear the full benefit of other changes. I really like the 82 (my old 82/ HC/ 250 is now in Tasmania) but the 52 will make the 82 seem a bit blunt/ crude/ indelicate/ flat in soundstage.
I ended up pairing a 52 with 300DR instead of the expected (at least by me) 135s, but either option (or even 52/500!) is great. Some pair a 52 with SCDR - I might try that at my house, but I definitely wouldn’t spend money to swap olive/ CB 52/SC for 252/SCDR.
A Radikal is audibly better than a Lingo 4 even to my old ears, but the gap from L1 to L4 is imho a good deal bigger in SQ than L4 to R1.
A Urika is good and a tidy solution, but for max SQ I’d suggest a Superline, unless your focus is strongly toward accurate rendition of (mostly) classical music.
For max VFM and very good SQ I’d suggest at least hearing a Dynavector P75 mk 4 against Urika or Rega.
You can power SL from 52 or from another Supercap if really pushing things toward the limit. If getting SL, don’t ignore Z-foil airplugs as an upgrade to the standard plugs.
I would agree with others that a Karousel is well worth it in SQ pr £.
I am not sure that you will get the most from all this turntable spending without getting a Keel and an Ekos along with the Karousel (and ahead of some other things). As far as I can unravel what I have heard at various points, I’d guess that a Keel probably makes more difference than the step from L4 to Radikal (but perhaps not a bigger step than moving to Radikal from L1 though).
Unlike the Karousel, you can find both Ekos and Keel s/h - a few well-known dealers will be happy to help.
Cartridges? Krystal is good, but the exchange terms when it gets tired are not great. I’d encourage hearing DV and Lyra options too, and others will have suggestions too.
Power for Naim boxes? Lots of threads on this, but imho it is very hard to beat a single Hydra for all Naim boxes and keeping the LP12 power away from it. That will probably matter more than loads of Powerlines or £3K of distribution block.
Mind you, the thread on Sean Jacobs cables is interesting reading too.
Also on cables, you can beat your current interconnects and XLRs too, but not by much - if you think the gap is big on auditioning new cables, try a blind A/B test.
I don’t know what supports your hifi. I am a big fan of wall shelves for many TTs, especially LP12s, even if you don’t think you have a footfall/ bouncing needle issue. You may find that no base or no Trampolin sound better on a wall bracket, but it won’t be a big gap. For the Naim boxes, a Fraim is not the only good option, but they do work very well.
I also don’t know about your floor, but give a read to the thread on Isoacostic Gaias. On a wide variety of floors, and with many different speakers, most people (including me) report that they are a surprisingly big upgrade for the money.
I tossed around how to upgrade from Kore/L4/ Krystal at length. The answer was to buy a s/h LP12 with Keel, Radikal, Kleos plus full Stiletto and Skorpion base, given its asking price. Even non-turntable-fans notice! The option to buy a complete s/h unit with all the bits you want (and to move on your complete LP12) should not necessarily be ignored.
My old one will probably be sold one day, or shipped to Tasmania - what do you mean ‘indecisive’?
Finally, and most contentiously, I’d encourage enjoying the audition/ upgrading process but getting it over with quickly. The sooner you stop having to listen to boxes and get back to listening to all your favourite music, the better.
Of course, upgrading the preamp would benefit every source, so there’s some logic in doing that first. I’d go for a NAC52 any day rather than a NAC252. I enjoyed 52 and 135s for many years, albeit all olive, but I think it’s a sweet spot in the Naim Audio amplifier hierarchy.
Regarding the LP12, I’d support the suggestion to talk it through with an expert LP12 dealer who will be able to guide you. I’d only consider an all new LP12 if yours is looking a bit tired, since the LP12 is effectively purchased as an assembly of options these days.
Radikal 1 is obsolete and no longer supported the Rad 2 is a huge step up trust me.
Much better electronics and the motor is better and being held in place with metal threaded bushes and screws instead of the Rad 1 screws into the composite motor casing.
1st Urika here too analogue only.
Sound advice, I would also suggest a nice 52 and live with that for a while before doing anything else
I don’t know about ARO and Armageddon, but consider your deck to be worthy of an Ekos2 mk2 and a Kandid (this is what replaced the Akiva). These cartridges just sing compared to the likes of a Klyde. Don’t know the Krystal but assume it’s a bit better than a Klyde and for sure it’s no Akiva or kandid
I have also heard in the past the Linn troika in an Ekos2 arm into the k-boards of a 52 and it was absolutely fab. Not sure but I do see a lot of people getting their troikas rebuilt but can’t advise on the best ways to do that, but I’m sure there are some on here that would happily advise