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Thread: Nice Surprises. Equipment that sounded way better than expected!

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 33,563
    I'm Geoff.

    Default Nice Surprises. Equipment that sounded way better than expected!

    We've probably all been there. Chopping and changing gear or buying something on a whim. It can be a disaster or a pleasant surprise.

    Mostly, I buy stuff I'm pretty confident is good and am seldom unhappy with my choices, but the odd piece of equipment fails to impress.

    However, occasionally, a real gem comes along that surprises.

    Being a tightwad (on a pension), I tend to buy second hand these days and in the last few years, the following have impressed me very much.

    The Toshiba SR-370 direct drive turntable. Available at very sensible prices and offers remarkable sound for the money. I admit I've had mine some years, but was knocked out by the sound quality when I first rigged it up with one of my Mission 774 arms.

    Goldring Eroica LX moving coil cartridge. What a pleasant surprise that was. So musical and enjoyable, far better than I'd expected!

    The Quad 306 power amp. Definitely bought on a whim, but I'd heard them sounding good elsewhere. It's a damn nice sounding unit, much better in my system than I'd anticipated, it simply does nothing wrong and is very musical. Needs careful pre-amp matching though.

    Most recently, the KEF Corelli speakers, part of the classic 'C' series from the seventies. Also bought on a whim, just for a bit of fun. They were decent when I got them, but with minor renovation and a recap, they sound quite amazing. Seems I'm not the only one who thinks so.


    What have you bought that exceeded expectations or even came as a total surprise?

  2. #2
    Join Date: Dec 2012

    Location: Stoke on trent

    Posts: 396
    I'm Steve.

    Default

    Quad 909 - fantastic amp for not a huge amount of money.
    Dali 104s- pretty high end sound for the cost of a pub meal

  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 33,563
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourney View Post
    Quad 909 - fantastic amp for not a huge amount of money
    Yes. I've a feeling one of those may make an appearance in my system at some time.

    I'd need to flog a few bits first though and it would have to be a black one.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Oct 2017

    Location: Ontario, Canada

    Posts: 451
    I'm Svend.

    Default

    My Sony TA-E86B preamp, but only after being worked over by Dan Santoni (Blackdog here on AoS). I first ran it stock (very good sound, not great); then modded it to run passive (mistake! my Belles power amp needs a good strong feed); then handed it over to Dan giving him free rein to do whatever he wanted. I was blown away by how good it is after he worked his magic. It now sounds outstanding. Definitely a keeper!

    Edit: a close second would have to be my Heybrook TT2. It never ceases to impress me with how good it sounds. And it just keeps getting better...the more I tweak it and work with it, the better it sounds. Wonderful piece of kit!

  5. #5
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Much Wenlock

    Posts: 463
    I'm Gary.

    Default

    Audio Analogue Puccini, bought as having problem on left channel, Firebottle worked his magic, great musical amp.

    Ruark Templar speakers, a great bargain, again musical speakers.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 42,928
    I'm Grant.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stryder5 View Post
    Audio Analogue Puccini, bought as having problem on left channel, Firebottle worked his magic, great musical amp.

    Ruark Templar speakers, a great bargain, again musical speakers.
    used to have a puccini. nice amp
    Regards,
    Grant ....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
    OPPO BDP-103D DARBEE - JBE SERIES 3/M55E/EMOTIVA XPS1 - TWIN PRO MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIERS - XIANG SHENG DAC\PRE\HEADPHONE AMP - TWIN AVANTREE OASIS CLASS 1 BLUETOOTHS - AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7 & OPPO PM-3 PLANAR HEADPHONES - WIN10 JRIVER23, DEEZER HiFi - ECHO DOT - SMSL M6 MINIDAC - RPI/AUDIOPHONICS - FULL RANGE TWIN TELEFUNKEN/Q ACOUSTIC BT3/CANTON SUB - P.INSPIRED MAINS REGENERATED.

  7. #7
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Surrey

    Posts: 6,022
    I'm Rob.

    Default

    Google Chromecast...20....ridiculously competent for the price of a few beers. Behringer Ultramatch Dac. variable sampling rates, analogue balanced inputs (ADC conversion) balanced out, Analogue RCA out. Coaxial and Toslink Out 3 Digital - In's balanced, coaxial and Toslink, Jitter and other stuff to play with, oh and it has a nice AKM Dac....to you Sir....100.
    Buy Bose...And get your parking validated!.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 2,923
    I'm Robert.

    Default

    Mission 752 Freedom - Excellent, balanced, musical and detailed speakers that go for small change in hifi terms.

    You can build a great sounding system around these (I should know )

    http://forums.naimaudio.com/topic/th...51091079905084
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-919 Complete overhaul, upgraded, re-capped. Caps upgraded from 4 x 15,000 uf to 4 x 20,000 uf-inside original oval caps. All glue and 'black flags' removed
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Mission 752 Freedom
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jul 2014

    Location: Shropshire

    Posts: 1,892
    I'm Anto.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieGong View Post
    Mission 752 Freedom - Excellent, balanced, musical and detailed speakers that go for small change in hifi terms.

    You can build a great sounding system around these (I should know )

    http://forums.naimaudio.com/topic/th...51091079905084
    I have a pair , and was going to move them on after I purchased my Tannoy 635's!
    But having seen how they are appreciating ,I have put them into my AV system in place of some Mission 733's!

    I must swap them over now I have the Yamaha A-S500 (which I nominate as my ground breaking tweak at a smallish cost , when I was at first dubious !), they may suprise me
    I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work

  10. #10
    Join Date: Oct 2015

    Location: Pulborough, West Sussex, UK

    Posts: 743
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    I'd been living with my Harbeth Compact 7 speakers since Noah was a boy and thought I'd never get rid of them. Then Jamie decided to sell his Mordaunt Short Signifers and I thought let's give them a go. The difference was immediate, the music came alive. It was as though a heavy curtain had been put in front of the Harbeths and over damped everything and the music flowed from the Signifers without any hindrance at all. Yes I hoped they would be better but by how much was a proper surprise.
    My stuff; Toshiba SR-370/Mission 774 /Ortofon Quintet Black, Cambridge CXC CD transport/Musical Fidelity X DAC/Musical Fidelity X10v3 tube buffer, Musical Fidelity A3, Nakamichi CA-5E pre amp, Acoustic Solutions FM/DAB tuner, Mordaunt Short Signifer, Klotz MC5000/MS audio, NVA LS5

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