Welcome to my HiFi walkthrough ..
Had a bit of a move around on ye olde hi fi. Added another shelf, so I’m now using the full compliment of Soundstyle racking that I bought in the mid ‘80’s (too tight to ever buy anything newer. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?). Reason for the change? Purely aesthetic and I’m not a fan of overly cramped equipment .. hi fi needs to breathe .. maaaan. So, from top to bottom ..
Technics SL1210 Mk.2 turntable with Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. Without doubt the best turntable I’ve ever owned (could do with a 2M Black cartridge though). Unlike 90% of the turntables on the market which are belt driven, this is a Direct Drive turntable. No belt to wear out and it has a lock-solid grip on the sound .. no wavering .. perfect!
Meridian 563 Digital to Analog Converters (DAC). Bought from new, old technology now; but all my non-MQA (I’ll come back to that shortly) Digital tunes (fed from 2 x 2TB HDD’s discreetly tucked away in the Man Cave) are fed through the 563. The reason why? ..
.. it sounds so much better than the (very much newer) DAC in the Sonos CONNECT. More open, a nice, full bass (without sounding ‘bloated’) .. great midrange (that’s where the vocals lie, folks) and a super sweet treble (cymbals and hi hats have never sounded crisper or more distinct).
IPhone 5S, paired up with an AudioQuest Dragonfly Cobalt Blue MQA DAC (plus Apple Camera Adapter. Very important, as this keeps the iPhone on charge). Sometimes I swap-out the iPhone for an iPad .. purely for a bigger touchscreen. Software on both the iPhone and iPad: ROON and TIDAL. ROON is a music management system that collates all my digital files into an easy place .. trust me .. it’s awesome, and TIDAL because of MQA (which stands for Master Quality Authenticated) and delivers to your HiFi, the highest possible digital quality file .. what you hear in the artists studio is what you get delivered to your HiFi system. The AudioQuest DAC (with the help of ROON) is able to deliver that MQA file 1:1. I’ve précisd’ my explanation, but there’s so much more to talk about regarding MQA, I’d need multiple posts to do it in. Needless to say, this configuration goes directly to the next piece of equipment .. bypassing the Sonos CONNECT (as the Sonos has a CD 16bit quality ‘ceiling’ ... MQA goes up, up, up 💕💕💕
Denon DVD1930 multi format SACD player. Because, the past was the optical 5” disc and there are many flavours. Why not use what’s available? This thing plays just about everything except Blu Ray discs. Old technology, bought from new to play Region.1 DVD’s. Easily 30 years old. It’s never skipped a beat.
Naim NAC82 Pre Amp. Part of Naim’s Olive series. The heartbeat of the system. All inputs are fed through this beast. There is the Naim NAC52, which is the next pre amp up in the range, but .. unless I win the lottery .. the NAC82 is where my pre amp upgrading ends.
Teddy Pardo Dual Teddycap. Weird name, but Teddy Pardo is a person (sorry, Teddy) and this bit of equipment is a power supply and feeds a clean current to the pre amp. Some Naim fans use Naim’s Hicap, which is very, very good .. this is a step higher.
Naim NAP250 Power Amp. Sill in the Olive range, but a Chrome Bumper edition. Bought because the transformer inside is a better one than the one they replaced it with in the later non-chrome bumper model. This power amp provides the muscle behind the system. .. and for me .. journeys end in the power amp upgrade path.
Human freesat box. Used as a backup, in case the Roku streaming stick in the back of the tv fails.
Panasonic Blu Ray player. Very rarely used for films, as I’m more than happy watching 1080p quality films through Ple￼x on the Roku. .. but .. there are some great hi resolution audio discs available on blu ray .. I’m looking at you XTC .. and ‘that’s’ why the blu ray player is still part of the system.
KEF Q900 Loudspeakers .. showing the left speaker in the picture. Beautiful floorstanding speakers .. the finest I’ve ever owned. Thank you to an outgoing KEF Rep at the time (who better remain nameless) who did me a ridiculously great deal on the .
* not shown, but with Sonos, I have the house networked. In the Man Cave there are 2 x Sonos PLAY:5 in a Stereo configuration. It may only be 16bit CD Quality up there, but (out of the main HiFi system) .. they sure sound good.