Start from Zero

Hello music lovers,
I currently have a fairly simple music setup (Nucleus +, Devialet speakers), but we would be moving in the course of next year.
The intention is to purchase something decent (I am now 72, and will probably be my last purchase) (not to say that what I currently own is not good).
had in mind an Oladra, an Accuphase A-300, and a pair of BOWERS & WILKINS 804 D4.
Are there alternatives for this price range?
I would like to hear from you what you think, and hopefully I will receive some counter-proposals from “experts”.
In any case, thanks

The Oladra and the A-300 are both excellent choices and tough to quibble with. As far as the speakers though, while I’ve not heard these I would encourage you to try to see if you can audition the Wilson Sabrina X.

A local dealer carries Focal, B&W and Wilson. Every time I find myself enjoying any of their speaker priced just below the Sabrina X, I have always come away thinking that the Sabrina X more than justifies its higher price. This was true about the original Sabrina as well.

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Hello @jacquesdewilde ,

I absolutely cannot quibble with you thinking of the Oladra as I own one myself and think it is stunning.

Unfortunately I have no experience of that amplifier or the speakers but what will you be using for the Dac?

After having many years (I am perhaps 5 years younger than you) of separate amps and speakers I am now well and truly won over with the concept of active speakers in terms of sound quality and I have ATC SCM150ASL active speakers which I run directly off my DAC using the DAC volume control.

With the Oladra I find that the sound from not using Roon is sublime whereas with Roon it is downgraded to merely being stunning but the good thing about the Antipodes range is that they can run a variety of playback software so one can try and select the one that best suits the use.

Thanks for your suggestion, I didn’t had these boxes in mind, I’ll definitely look into it

Hi, NickBacon

What kind of DAC you use?

I use a Chord Dave and Mscaler, both modified to accept external LPS (the box under the Dave in this photo). I use the BNC output from the Oladra although another advantage is the range of outputs available.

The Oladra has a PhoenixNET switch sitting on it.

The Dave is connected directly to my ATC 150 actives.

Since getting the Oladra the system has really blossomed.

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Thank you very much, I will look into all this and I think you have helped me a lot

Its a big installation you have, and I am not a big audio expert.
What do you think about the AGD ANDANTE Preamplifier

I agree with your assessment.

I’ve had both the original Sabrina and the SabrinaX. I liked them both, but couldn’t resist an excellent deal on a new pair of Alexia V’s, which are simply sublime in my system.

I appreciate that the Alexia V’s are a much bigger investment though…

Hello Nick, I don’t want to be rude. But am I correct that your high-quality, expensive devices are placed on the floor? Don’t own a hi-fi rack? I think I’m speechless.

@Christian Indeed my Oladra is on the carpet on the floor. I can’t think that any expensive hifi rack could be any better and most will probably be much worse! (The floor is a non resonating solid concrete floor).

I have thought about having the Oladra on the table above and the Dave and its power supplies on the floor but I think the Oladra is best protected where it is in the photo.

You will have noticed that the Mscaler is also on the floor and I have suggested that same option to many of my Wave Storm dual bnc cable customers who have followed my advice and report best ever sound from their system.

I am much more concerned with cable layout and separation than I am with hifi racks.

Is concrete really non-resonant?

My understanding is that while concrete floors can keep the energy generated by speakers from entering other components, it can reflect energy from the speaker right back into the speaker - especially if metal spikes are used. Using a support that can drain that energy off (by converting it to another form of energy) can provide some musically-important benefits. This is true for components too as many components generate vibration themselves - but of course this is dwarfed by the airborne vibration if one uses speakers.

I react the same way @Christian did when I see components sitting flat on a surface without any attempt at resonance control. That’s my own bias speaking of course.

I’d consider Dynaudio Confidence speakers (they have different sizes so whatever suits your room. I have Heritage Specials and they are amazing), but I’d also second the idea of Wilsons, and look at Magico. Magico can be a bit clinical but I don’t think anything beats them for soundstage. I’d also look at other amps - Pass Labs are worth a look. I also have a valve pre-amp to go with my Pass Labs power amp and it allows you to “tune” the sound of the poweramp.

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@kennyb123 I am an architect and prior to manufacturing my digital cables I dealt with acoustics and noise transfer through building structures and the differences and effects on this from various materials on a weekly basis over several decades. Concrete floors can resonate and transfer sound but these are usually structures that have a void underneath the concrete or a lightweight thermal insulating layer under the concrete. My concrete floor is directly on the hardcore under it and the earth under that. Unfortunately for thermal efficiency we have no insulation in our ground floor but for acoustic performance this is a fortunate thing and my concrete floor is acoustically dead. If we had a nearby highway or train track etc near us then very low frequencies might travel through the earth and be low enough frequency to make the concrete move but luckily we do not have that problem in the very rural location where I live.

In other words not all concrete floors are the same, not by a mile. Other concrete floors can and do affect speakers when spiked but not mine. I experimented with several well known speaker isolation systems and all were sent packing compared to the much better sound of using spikes with my speakers into my concrete floor. My friend in a different house with a different concrete floor construction had a completely different result and I heard the differences when he compared speakers spikes and speaker isolation mounts.

One needs to understand the mechanics of what is going on in order to be able to compare what is being seen in a photograph. I am entirely content that my Oladra is ideally placed for minimum physical noise transfer.

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Hi, NickBaron

Thanks again for your expert explanation.
I’ve been busy on the internet the last few days, and I think I’ll buy what follows
The Oladra
The Hugo M Scaler
The Chord Dave
And a pair of Active ATC SCM100P SE

Once installed and experimenting for a few weeks, I will let you know about my satisfaction

Hi Jacques

May i suggest you look into a Soulution 330 amp with the B&W speakers and the Oladra. Where are you located? Are you living in the BeNeLux region?

Hi, Tuba67

Yes Belgium, but as told in the post a little bit earlier I will go for the Chord Dave and active ATC 150

Great choice also, for the Oladra, i represent the products in the Benelux… more than happy to help you.

Thanks, good to know, had the intention to buy it in Germany, give a good price.
For information, how much are you asking for the Oladra G4
Please note that I will only purchase it in the course of next year (moving in the plans)

Hi Tuba67
I did not receive a price for the oladra until now.
If you’re interested in delivering one, I would like to receive your price first.