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Thread: Pleased to be here

  1. #1
    Join Date: Sep 2017

    Location: Northampton

    Posts: 89
    I'm Chris.

    Default Pleased to be here

    Hi, I'm Chris and I live near Northampton in the U.K. I joined this forum to browse, share info and offer advice if I feel qualified.

    Only in the last year or two have I had enough money and time to finally set up a HiFi system, which although "budget" by some peoples' standards, sounds great to me!

    I like pop/rock mainly - anything from ABBA through Bowie, Extreme, Marillion, Rush, Radiohead, Queen, Supertramp, Yes. You get the picture. Preferably real people playing proper instruments!

    My " main system" is as follows:

    Cambridge Audio CD transport
    Music Fidelity V-90 DAC
    Little Dot MK IV as pre-amp
    NAD 214 power-amp.
    QAcoustics 3050 speakers (my second and third wives)

    I have a little setup just for headphones for the late evenings:

    Marantz CD 5005
    Cambridge Audio DACMagic (not the expensive one)
    Little Dot MK II
    Beyerdynamic headphones (with 3m Grado extension for the full air guitar/lead-singer/poser experience).

    Why the DACMagic with Marantz? I Dunno. The built in DAC in the Marantz is probably fine.

    New cables made a massive difference to this kit and I have spent as much as I can on my budget on interconnects and speaker cables. I also invested in power accessories which were recommended from a magazine. It really cleaned up things and the bass tightend up and got deeper. Amazing.

    The Little Dots were a recent addition and are my first experience using valves. I took a chance with the MK II first and, after changing the stock tubes for something a little better, I discovered this was the sound I wanted - relaxed and detailed, but somehow also good for rock. Then I got the MK IV and I am not going back to solid state (at least in a pre-amp).

    I am really pleased with this setup and have no plans to change it except maybe get a second hand power amp - the NAD 214 has apparently got a bad name for dry solder joints, not that I have had problems in 17 years. When the right power amp comes along I might just snap it up. No haste yet.

    This is my main hobby now and I'm just loving my music all over again and buying some more. I also do a bit of cycling, walking and reading. The kids have grown up and left. The wife had an affair and left. Therefore I, UG UG, have man cave. Good. Chris like.

    You've been a great audience! Thank you! Goodnight!
    Last edited by Lerxst; 10-09-2017 at 09:36.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 30,009
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Hello Chris. Welcome to AOS.

    You'll find there's plenty going on here. Take a look around and join in the chat. Everybody is friendly.

    If you want to, you can start a blog in the Gallery section and feature your system with some photos. We like to see what everybody is using.


    Enjoy the forum,
    Geoff.
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

  3. #3
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 18,296
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Hi Chris, welcome from me. A great intro, thanks for joining. Let's see some pictures of your system and man-cave at some point
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Sony X505ES CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / NVA A30 Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Surrey

    Posts: 5,885
    I'm Rob.

    Default

    Hi Chris, a great down to earth first post. Have fun here.
    Buy Bose...And get your parking validated!.

  5. #5
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Gloucestershire

    Posts: 150
    I'm John.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lerxst View Post
    Hi, I'm Chris and I live near Northampton in the U.K. I joined this forum to browse, share info and offer advice if I feel qualified.

    Only in the last year or two have I had enough money and time to finally set up a HiFi system, which although "budget" by some peoples' standards, sounds great to me!

    I like pop/rock mainly - anything from ABBA through Bowie, Extreme, Marillion, Rush, Radiohead, Queen, Supertramp, Yes. You get the picture. Preferably real people playing proper instruments!

    My " main system" is as follows:

    Cambridge Audio CD transport
    Music Fidelity V-90 DAC
    Little Dot MK IV as pre-amp
    NAD 214 power-amp.
    QAcoustics 3050 speakers (my second and third wives)

    I have a little setup just for headphones for the late evenings:

    Marantz CD 5005
    Cambridge Audio DACMagic (not the expensive one)
    Little Dot MK II
    Beyerdynamic headphones (with 3m Grado extension for the full air guitar/lead-singer/poser experience).

    Why the DACMagic with Marantz? I Dunno. The built in DAC in the Marantz is probably fine.

    New cables made a massive difference to this kit and I have spent as much as I can on my budget on interconnects and speaker cables. I also invested in power accessories which were recommended from a magazine. It really cleaned up things and the bass tightend up and got deeper. Amazing.

    The Little Dots were a recent addition and are my first experience using valves. I took a chance with the MK II first and, after changing the stock tubes for something a little better, I discovered this was the sound I wanted - relaxed and detailed, but somehow also good for rock. Then I got the MK IV and I am not going back to solid state (at least in a pre-amp).

    I am really pleased with this setup and have no plans to change it except maybe get a second hand power amp - the NAD 214 has apparently got a bad name for dry solder joints, not that I have had problems in 17 years. When the right power amp comes along I might just snap it up. No haste yet.

    This is my main hobby now and I'm just loving my music all over again and buying some more. I also do a bit of cycling, walking and reading. The kids have grown up and left. The wife had an affair and left. Therefore I, UG UG, have man cave. Good. Chris like.

    You've been a great audience! Thank you! Goodnight!
    Howdy & Shake, Chris.

    How would you rate the LD IV against the LD II? I have been thinking of trying out some valved components, and the Little Dot range have caught my eye partly because of their price and partly because people seem to speak well of them.

    Since you own two of their range any observations you might be able to make would be welcome.

    John.
    Powerbook G4 > Beresford Caiman II TC7534/SWF > Bersford Capella > Grado SR80 or Sennheiser HD650

  6. #6
    Join Date: Sep 2017

    Location: Northampton

    Posts: 89
    I'm Chris.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Landloper View Post
    Howdy & Shake, Chris.

    How would you rate the LD IV against the LD II? I have been thinking of trying out some valved components, and the Little Dot range have caught my eye partly because of their price and partly because people seem to speak well of them.

    Since you own two of their range any observations you might be able to make would be welcome.

    John.
    Hi John,

    Landloper - do you have Dutch family?

    I must say I was really impressed with the sound the of the LD II. The mids were lovely and the top end was really silky. Bass was a bit light but has improved over time. I swapped out the Chinese valves for some recommended at Watford Valves (they have a list of LD models on their site and the upgrades). The LD II can also be used as a pre-amp so I carefully connected it to an old NAD power amp I had. I don't think it is really suitable as a pre-amp because the gain is set too high, for my gear at least, and there was background noise - re-seating the valves sorted that out though. First thing I put on was a track I have listened to for over 30 years and I can say I had never heard it so good. The rest of the collection followed with same result. I do have quite a nice pair of headphones which helps but these never sounded this good with my Cambridge Audio CXA 60, which I was also just using as a preamp.

    I am running just from CD so a bit different from you. I am not quite sure what you have exactly from your equipment list - it may be that you notice less with an analogue front end.

    On the strength of the MK II I ordered the MK IV online. It is smoother, a bit more refined and a few components are said to be higher quality (not investigated this however). The stock valves are very decent. The gain settings are right now - it has better control.


    The MK IV had a bigger impact overall than the MK II and if I were to do it again I would just get the MK IV.

    If you just want a headphone amp try the MK II, if you want a preamp I would go for the MK IV - you get a decent headphone amp as well. Remember my price range - cd transport (£350), DAC (240), LD MK IV (£350) NAD (£350 back in the day). I wouldn't use it with a £1K power amp.

    Of course, I cannot say I have tried other manufacturers. I think the Little Dots have been around for almost a decade now judging from review dates so I reckoned they have a bit of experience.

    I do go on a bit don't I? :-)

    Hope that helps

  7. #7
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Dagenham Essex

    Posts: 7,341
    I'm I'mteachingmarcotheartofpishanto.

    Default

    The wife had an affair and left.

    Well thats a big result sounds like you are in the " I was married and now I have a life again club " Arnt we lucky

    A pleasing hifi does not nead to cost a fortune , Pleased you are happy with your system

    Welcom to AOS
    Music , fills the gaps between silence !

    TAT Sale post Leader " Marcos Mentor "

    Also a pishanto specialist confirmed by Head Daftee

    Real name " Allen " or "Zoomer Nut”, “Numpty Napper”.

    ±± KEEP IT REEL

  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Gloucestershire

    Posts: 150
    I'm John.

    Default

    'Landloper - do you have Dutch family?'

    Nay, perpend the following refrain:

    'Now some may call him Ragamuffin,
    Rambler, Alley-sloper.
    Vagrant, Scatterling, Ne'er Do Well,
    Vagabond, Landloper.
    Stroller, Wanderer, Rover,
    Scruffy 'Erbert, Vicious Sid,
    But folks round here just know him
    As The Dancing Did
    .'

    [The Dancing Did, The Dancing Did, Fruit & Veg Records, 1979]


    'I do go on a bit don't I? :-)'

    I'm glad you do, Chris. Your comments on the Little Dots have been useful, the CD replay is the part in my set up where I was thinking of adding some tubery. Perhaps the MK III as the best of both worlds. Most of my listening nowadays is over headphones and I'd like to try a tube amp.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply.
    Powerbook G4 > Beresford Caiman II TC7534/SWF > Bersford Capella > Grado SR80 or Sennheiser HD650

  9. #9
    Join Date: Sep 2017

    Location: Northampton

    Posts: 89
    I'm Chris.

    Default



    I don't know if all valve amps are the same, but these things do produce some weird power surges when they turn on, so turn them on disconnected and let them settle for 5 mins at least before connecting headphones, DACS, amps or speakers.

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Gloucestershire

    Posts: 150
    I'm John.

    Default Little Dot Posse...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lerxst View Post


    I don't know if all valve amps are the same, but these things do produce some weird power surges when they turn on, so turn them on disconnected and let them settle for 5 mins at least before connecting headphones, DACS, amps or speakers.
    Thanks for the advice, Chris. I bought a III off eBay early this morning.
    Powerbook G4 > Beresford Caiman II TC7534/SWF > Bersford Capella > Grado SR80 or Sennheiser HD650

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