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Yoga
21-04-2011, 16:25
Hi, been reading (too much) about £200 range DACs for a few days, and have opted for the Caiman (with Gator). Thank you to those on here who have posted comparisons and tests etc, much appreciated :¨)

I use Sens HD595's (is the Caiman overkill for these?) at night, but, during the day, like to blast out Pink Floyd and lots of acoustic stuff. Yum!

I have £250 to spend on some 2.0 speakers. Currently using M-Audio AV40's, which have done the job, but now looking to upgrade office system and get all my tunes in lossless format.

Mac -> Caiman -> ?

I've heard KRK RP5's are quite good. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Hello too, from a (currently) sunny Norwich :¨)

Marco
21-04-2011, 16:29
Hi Ross,

Welcome to AoS!

When you completed the registration process, did you get the following message (noting the bits in bold)?



New registrations are manually authorised, and so it can take a few hours before your posting rights will be fully active.

Before posting in the main areas of the forum, please pop into the Welcome area and say 'hello', giving your proper first name, basic location, system details and something about your music tastes.


:)

Marco.

Yoga
21-04-2011, 16:47
Hi Ross,

Welcome to AoS!

When you completed the registration process, did you get the following message (noting the bits in bold)?

:)

Marco.

Thank you. Not that I noticed! On it... :¨)

MartinT
21-04-2011, 16:58
2.0? This isn't The Art of AV, you know :)

I rate Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers. They are tonally neutral, have surprisingly good bass and can go reasonably loud, provided they are driven by a good amplifier.

Peter Galbavy
21-04-2011, 17:09
You don't mention an amp in that description... just checking.

Edit: Ah, they're active the ones you mention. Question withdrawn :)

DSJR
21-04-2011, 17:26
I'd have a look at the behringer "Truth" actives. Not necessarily the blingy ones with ribbon tweeter (although I understand they're good), but the actives with 8" bass and dome tweeter seem very good and will take some driving too.

If an inexpensive passive setup looks interesting, the little T amp that Alex(UK) bought for some £60 fun (and with warranty) ain't at all bad (I was expecting far worse, but don't expect an expansive soundstage, 'cos you'll be disappointed) and a pair of these funky passives -

http://www.studiospares.com/studio-monitors/studiospares-sn10-nearfield-monitors-pair/invt/248000/

£200 the lot including some left over for some decent but not expensive cables to hook it all up together. :)

The Vinyl Adventure
21-04-2011, 17:48
Gator caiman into Mini TAmp driven usher s520's work very well if a bit "shiney sounding"

The Vinyl Adventure
21-04-2011, 17:53
Link to reverbed active speakers for you

http://www.whybuynew.co.uk/speakers/

Yoga
22-04-2011, 07:38
2.0? This isn't The Art of AV, you know :)

I rate Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers. They are tonally neutral, have surprisingly good bass and can go reasonably loud, provided they are driven by a good amplifier.

Thanks - I'll have a look into those.

Any recommendations for an amp? I assume amp driven speakers will produce better sound than powered speakers?


You don't mention an amp in that description... just checking.

Edit: Ah, they're active the ones you mention. Question withdrawn :)

More luck than judgement :¨)


I'd have a look at the behringer "Truth" actives. Not necessarily the blingy ones with ribbon tweeter (although I understand they're good), but the actives with 8" bass and dome tweeter seem very good and will take some driving too.

If an inexpensive passive setup looks interesting, the little T amp that Alex(UK) bought for some £60 fun (and with warranty) ain't at all bad (I was expecting far worse, but don't expect an expansive soundstage, 'cos you'll be disappointed) and a pair of these funky passives -

http://www.studiospares.com/studio-monitors/studiospares-sn10-nearfield-monitors-pair/invt/248000/

£200 the lot including some left over for some decent but not expensive cables to hook it all up together. :)

Thanks, now on the research list!


Gator caiman into Mini TAmp driven usher s520's work very well if a bit "shiney sounding"

They look nice, but a bit over budget (especially if an amp is needed also). Handy website - thanks!

MartinT
22-04-2011, 10:02
Thanks - I'll have a look into those.

Any recommendations for an amp? I assume amp driven speakers will produce better sound than powered speakers?

Not a safe assumption, but beware the many powered speakers designed for computer audio, which are mostly crap. You could do worse than a Mini-T amp to drive the Wharfedales if you don't want to go too loud, or else look at what Richer Sounds can do for around the £70 you have left in your budget - such as a Cambridge amp. They will set up a demo for you if you ask.

Yoga
22-04-2011, 20:39
Thanks guys.

Shortlist is now:

B&W 685 - Too big perhaps?
Monitor Audio BX2
Dali Lektor 2 - £150!

Was very tempted by the MA RX1 but this study is only small. I think the Focal 705v's will be too big also.

Happy to spend £100 ish on a mini AMP. Or is that not enough for good quality? The poor man pays twice :¨)

Tim
22-04-2011, 21:19
Well £100 will buy you one of these;

FATMAN iTUBE VALVE AMPLIFIER (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/FATMAN-iTUBE-VALVE-AMPLIFIER-BNIB-/400200887816?pt=UK_AudioTVElectronics_HomeAudioHiF i_Amplifiers&hash=item5d2dd4ee08)

http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/images/uploads/FATIDA.jpg

Very well reviewed and I have not tried one myself, but I know there are forum members who have them and like them - could be something to consider maybe?

Yoga
22-04-2011, 21:38
Well £100 will buy you one of these;

FATMAN iTUBE VALVE AMPLIFIER (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/FATMAN-iTUBE-VALVE-AMPLIFIER-BNIB-/400200887816?pt=UK_AudioTVElectronics_HomeAudioHiF i_Amplifiers&hash=item5d2dd4ee08)

http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/images/uploads/FATIDA.jpg

Very well reviewed and I have not tried one myself, but I know there are forum members who have them and like them - could be something to consider maybe?

Thats a very cool suggestion, thanks.

Forgive my ignorance here. RCA connections. How good are they?

I only ask as in the AV world there is a hierarchy; composite < component etc.

Ikemen
22-04-2011, 22:12
RCA is fine. Big money high end equipment uses RCAs, so you have no need to worry.

Yoga
22-04-2011, 22:22
RCA is fine. Big money high end equipment uses RCAs, so you have no need to worry.

Cheers :¨)

Werner Berghofer
23-04-2011, 07:53
Tim,


I know there are forum members who have them and like them

Iím one of these members. Here is a photo from my desktop (summer 2009):

http://www.berghofer.com/photos/wp/2009/audio_desktop.jpg

The speakers are Q Acoustics 1000i (http://www.qacoustics.co.uk/1000i/1010i.htm) bookshelf speakers. Under the desk there is a subwoofer (http://www.qacoustics.co.uk/1000i/1000si.htm) from the same company. The Fatman is a fine little amplifier which I can recommend.

Tim
23-04-2011, 08:09
What a perfect size the iTube is to sit on top of Stans DAC, I bet that sounds sweet whilst working on the MAC Werner.

As you know I'm not an Apple fan, but you cannot deny that set-up is very easy on the eye and all you have to do is plug it straight into the Caiman too - simplicity itself ;)

Werner Berghofer
23-04-2011, 08:47
Tim,


What a perfect size the iTube is to sit on top of Stans DAC

well, itís not perfect, but these boxes match pretty good:

http://www.berghofer.com/photos/wp/2009/itube_amplifier.jpg

In the meantime I changed the setup a little bit: The TC-7520 DAC has been replaced by a gatorized Caiman Plus, and the DAC now is located side by side with the Fatman amplifier in the right corner of my desk. I was already very happy with the TC-7520, but the Caiman Plus sincerely does sound better.

I donít know how they sound, but designwise they do match perfectly: Maverick Audio TubeMagic A1 (http://www.mav-audio.com/base/product/tube_magic_a1) and TubeMagic D1 DAC (just scroll down to the paragraph titled ďPerfect companion with Maverick TubeMagic D1 DACĒ).

Yoga
23-04-2011, 09:08
Nice setup.

What's the Caiman Plus? The USB version?

Reid Malenfant
23-04-2011, 09:18
What's the Caiman Plus? The USB version?
No, Caiman+ has dual S/PDIF & dual Toslink inputs - no USB input ;)

Tim
23-04-2011, 09:20
This is the Caiman+

http://www.homehifi.co.uk/PP/CAIMAN_PLUS.html

Yoga
23-04-2011, 09:39
No, Caiman+ has dual S/PDIF & dual Toslink inputs - no USB input ;)

Roger that :¨)

Yoga
24-04-2011, 14:40
Caiman ordered. Stan was patient and helpful.

Now to find a mini amp and bookshelf speakers for office....

DSJR
24-04-2011, 17:43
The Gator/Caiman is worthy of far better than those tinny little T amps you know. The T amp I heard the other day was as flat in perspective as a pancake and sounded a bit like a transistor radio - the very opposite of what "we" try to achieve on here...

You know, a good working Quad 303 can be bought for not that much more and can be taken much further later on. It's not too huge, has plenty of protection and can be hidden away. So much more capable and will reproduce into small speakers far more of what the Gator is giving IMO.

Sorry to thread cr@p :)

Yoga
24-04-2011, 17:59
The Gator/Caiman is worthy of far better than those tinny little T amps you know. The T amp I heard the other day was as flat in perspective as a pancake and sounded a bit like a transistor radio - the very opposite of what "we" try to achieve on here...

You know, a good working Quad 303 can be bought for not that much more and can be taken much further later on. It's not too huge, has plenty of protection and can be hidden away. So much more capable and will reproduce into small speakers far more of what the Gator is giving IMO.

Sorry to thread cr@p :)

Dude no need to apologise, that kind of opinion is why I joined - you guys know your stuff.

How does this look?

http://www.quadfidelity.co.uk/quad-303.html

How does that compare to the iTUBE posted on this thread earlier?

Speaker wise, I'm now considering...

Wharfdale Diamond 10.1 / 9.1
Quad 11L (not convinced)
Arcaydis DM1
MA BX2
Epos Epic 1

Edit: DALI Lektor 2 also

Biggest thing to figure out is which can offer quality sound with only 20cm clearance behind them, and a wall on each far side (they will be in a window recess).

WAD62
24-04-2011, 18:10
Dude no need to apologise, that kind of opinion is why I joined - you guys know your stuff.

How does this look?

http://www.quadfidelity.co.uk/quad-303.html

How does that compare to the iTUBE posted on this thread earlier?

Speaker wise, I'm now considering...

Wharfdale Diamond 10.1
Quad 11L
Arcaydis DM1
MA BX2

Biggest thing to figure out is which can offer quality sound with only 20cm clearance behind them, and a wall on each far side (they will be in a window recess).

There are class-T amps, and there are class-T amps...

There's also a lot of folk on here that have quite a fondness for some class-t amps, the Mini-T in particular at £65, gives the sort of sound that "we" ;) are looking for ...there's a few more points or opinions on this thread

http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=6050

...all in the interest of balance of course :cool:

Yoga
24-04-2011, 18:20
There are class-T amps, and there are class-T amps...

There's also a lot of folk on here that have quite a fondness for some class-t amps, the Mini-T in particular at £65, gives the sort of sound that "we" ;) are looking for ...there's a few more points or opinions on this thread

http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=6050

...all in the interest of balance of course :cool:

Thanks. I was wondering how these are also:

http://www.templeaudio.net/bantam.html

Think a couple of members here have them.

The Vinyl Adventure
25-04-2011, 09:31
The Gator/Caiman is worthy of far better than those tinny little T amps you know. The T amp I heard the other day was as flat in perspective as a pancake and sounded a bit like a transistor radio - the very opposite of what "we" try to achieve on here...


Chuff!

With the right kit they sound great!

The Vinyl Adventure
25-04-2011, 09:34
Thanks. I was wondering how these are also:

http://www.templeaudio.net/bantam.html

Think a couple of members here have them.

Used a 7520 - bantam - dynaudio audience 42's ... Very good!
Not the loudest of systems, but it worked very well ...

WAD62
25-04-2011, 11:10
Thanks. I was wondering how these are also:

http://www.templeaudio.net/bantam.html

Think a couple of members here have them.

As Hamish says the Bantam and the Bantam Gold are very good too...I think there are others on here with experience of the monoblocks.

It all depends on your budget, and power requirements I suppose, they're all good value IMHO, but at £65 delivered the mini-t is a steal.

Apparently they'll be available again from the UK ebay seller on the first of May, I've been trying to source one for my mate :)

DSJR
25-04-2011, 14:22
Alex'll kill me, but it was the Mini-T of his that I heard and I thought it was very poor in the final analysis, hard, strained on vocals and spacially flat as a pancake with little real bass extension. give me a gentle, sweet and tippy-toed fettled 303 any day, but not necessarily for over £200..

DSJR
25-04-2011, 14:26
of the speakers mentioned, the MA BX2 is alright for £200 or so and doesn't draw attention to itself. The Quad 11L's can wallow badly in the bass if one isn't careful and stories as to their real low cost when imported linger with me I'm afraid (the £ was very much stronger back then)...

These are a bit bigger, but the likes of Maudaunt Short MS20's and Wharfedale 505's were superb and easy to drive, the former becoming a bit of a giant killer at the time.

Yoga
25-04-2011, 14:52
Used a 7520 - bantam - dynaudio audience 42's ... Very good!
Not the loudest of systems, but it worked very well ...

Those bookshelf appear to get very good reviews/feedback. Can't seem to find any for sale though!


As Hamish says the Bantam and the Bantam Gold are very good too...I think there are others on here with experience of the monoblocks.

It all depends on your budget, and power requirements I suppose, they're all good value IMHO, but at £65 delivered the mini-t is a steal.

Apparently they'll be available again from the UK ebay seller on the first of May, I've been trying to source one for my mate :)

I'll keep an eye out also, thanks for the heads up :¨)

Yoga
25-04-2011, 14:54
Alex'll kill me, but it was the Mini-T of his that I heard and I thought it was very poor in the final analysis, hard, strained on vocals and spacially flat as a pancake with little real bass extension. give me a gentle, sweet and tippy-toed fettled 303 any day, but not necessarily for over £200..

Would I have to source one that's been updated using more modern components?


of the speakers mentioned, the MA BX2 is alright for £200 or so and doesn't draw attention to itself. The Quad 11L's can wallow badly in the bass if one isn't careful and stories as to their real low cost when imported linger with me I'm afraid (the £ was very much stronger back then)...

These are a bit bigger, but the likes of Maudaunt Short MS20's and Wharfedale 505's were superb and easy to drive, the former becoming a bit of a giant killer at the time.

Thanks, will do a bit of research on said models :¨)

Alex_UK
25-04-2011, 15:03
Alex'll kill me, but it was the Mini-T of his that I heard and I thought it was very poor in the final analysis, hard, strained on vocals and spacially flat as a pancake with little real bass extension.

Hee hee! :guns:

In the context of the Croft Integrated and the Albarry Pre/Power combo to which we had been listening previously I would definitely agree that it was "very poor" - and certainly compared to these I wouldn't disagree with what you've said.

For my specific purpose (to hide behind an ornament on the sideboard for background dinner music) it is perfectly acceptable, but I must admit I did wonder what all the fuss was about when I connected it up to my main system - I can't really see why people are chucking out "proper" amps in favour of these... Great in their place, but for me just not enough oomph or finesse.

Yoga
25-04-2011, 16:20
Used a 7520 - bantam - dynaudio audience 42's ... Very good!
Not the loudest of systems, but it worked very well ...

After some more searching, pretty impossible to find any DA 42's on sale. Shame, they looked extremely promising!

Update: the Dynaudio DM 2/6 looks to be its older brother, and gets awesome reviews. Would need a decent hi-fi AMP to power them though, gah.

Update 2: Audio Note AX Two's also get rave reviews from people...

http://www.audionote.co.uk/products/speakers/ax-2_01.shtml

The Vinyl Adventure
25-04-2011, 17:17
This bloody hobby ... To much opposing opinion

My experience of "t-amps" differs greatly from yours (Alex and Dave) ... Could this be down to speaker mismatch Alex?

My office system has been powered by a t-amp in one form or another for a long time and I find them remarkable for the money ... If someone put a mini-t in a big box with an input selector on it and sold it for £a-good-few-hundred I'd not quibble with the quality!
I'll happily admit that they lack in "guts" and with some speakers the bass is a little shy... But I'm well on board with all the hype they receive, and a lack of "finesse" is a polar opposite of my opinion ... That's exactly where I feel they excel! Effortlessly delicate in their presentation IMO
My office setup that I change quite often is at it's best with the ushers driven by caiman - modded x10d - mini-t ... It's a really stunning combo for the £££

No idea about dm 2/6 Ross ... I am told that the 42's work so well with t-amps (the bantam at least) because they are 4ohm and the bantam likes 4ohm speakers ... ... That might be the same for the dm 2/6???

If you can find some speakers that work well with a mini-t ... Regardless of the mixed opinion ... It would be a damn good starting point for amplification at only £60 ... If you have a budget of £250 for a amp and speakers now a mini-t or similar would be a great starting point that won't eat into much of that budget allowing you to spend more on speakers to start with ... Split that budget more equally and your more likely to end up with 2 components that need upgrading sooner ... IMHO of course ...

Yoga
25-04-2011, 17:34
Thanks for the info. I'd snap up a second hand set of 42's if I could find any. Like you say, can't go wrong for £60. Although I do usually heed the term 'the poor man pays twice', as I'm the kind of person to want an upgrade quite sharpish if it doesn't feel 100%. The Bantam gold seems reasonable at £180.

The DM 2/6's are 6 ohms :¨(

Edit - found another possible set of speakers...

http://www.mordauntshort.com/summary.php?PID=99

£200 at RS.

Too many choices :¨)

Alex_UK
25-04-2011, 18:44
My experience of "t-amps" differs greatly from yours (Alex and Dave) ... Could this be down to speaker mismatch Alex?

Of course - but as I eluded too, we were comparing the Mini-T after being spoilt with a £1k integrated valve hybrid, £5k pre/monoblocks, fed by a £5k CD player or £900 CD player and Caiman/Gator, into £2.5k Harbeth Speakers - hardly a fair comparison, and not surprising the "shortcomings" of the Mini-T are exposed... I suspect they are masked by less revealing speakers, not necessarily a mismatch as such, but in the real world - well, you wouldn't use a Mini-T with speakers of that calibre, would you...?

Yoga
25-04-2011, 22:27
Thanks so far guys, really appreciate the feedback.

It's quite likely I'll go for the Bantam Gold with some Monitor Audio BX2's. Or possibly some Arcaydis DM1's.

This looks quite promising also...

http://poppulse.com.hk/T150.html

WAD62
26-04-2011, 06:41
Thanks so far guys, really appreciate the feedback.

It's quite likely I'll go for the Bantam Gold with some Monitor Audio BX2's. Or possibly some Arcaydis DM1's.

This looks quite promising also...

http://poppulse.com.hk/T150.html

I was looking into the poppulse prior to buying the bantam classic, but decided against it as there was no UK availability at the time (Italian import only then). I was only looking to use it in a secondary system so the extra power was unnecessary, and it is more than twice the price of the bantam classic ;)

I'm sure I've seen someone on here with one in their kit list, they seem to get good reviews...:)

With the right speakers the Gold can sound excellent...although I've no experience of the ones you mention, there's a few other Gold owners on here so they might be of more help...

The Vinyl Adventure
26-04-2011, 07:40
If it's out of those 2 speakers, having not heard either, I'd still go for the arcaydis! They look to be better value as your not paying a second set of profit margins ... Same deal as why the caiman is such good value!
Something a little different too!
You seem to have raised your budget? O

The Vinyl Adventure
26-04-2011, 07:54
Hmm ... Something odd has happened here ... Why has my thread been edited?

....

Another idea if you have more cash to spend ... Active dynaudios or the cheaper active Adams?

Jason P
26-04-2011, 11:14
Don't dismiss the Dali Lecktor 2s. My F-I-L has a pair and I'm very impressed by them - great bass for their size and easily placed as they're front ported. Most importantly for me they have a broad, expansive soundstage that makes them 'dissappear' easily. I'd go for these in your shoes.

Jason

WAD62
26-04-2011, 12:08
Don't dismiss the Dali Lecktor 2s. My F-I-L has a pair and I'm very impressed by them - great bass for their size and easily placed as they're front ported. Most importantly for me they have a broad, expansive soundstage that makes them 'dissappear' easily. I'd go for these in your shoes.

Jason

I've not heard them and they may be lovely, my only concern would be that at a sensitivity of 85dB they might not be a good match for a T-Amp. The same could also be said for Wharfedales, which I think are around the 86 mark too, I tried a pair of 9.0 diamonds with a Bantam classic, and it's not a good pairing, certainly volume wise...:)

Ali Tait
26-04-2011, 13:20
Yep, I have a pair of Golds running my OB's actively. Sound pretty bloody good for the money. Get speakers that are easy to drive though for the best sound from these amps.

Yoga
26-04-2011, 13:29
I was looking into the poppulse prior to buying the bantam classic, but decided against it as there was no UK availability at the time (Italian import only then). I was only looking to use it in a secondary system so the extra power was unnecessary, and it is more than twice the price of the bantam classic ;)

I'm sure I've seen someone on here with one in their kit list, they seem to get good reviews...:)

With the right speakers the Gold can sound excellent...although I've no experience of the ones you mention, there's a few other Gold owners on here so they might be of more help...

Thanks, I'll do a bit of searching.


If it's out of those 2 speakers, having not heard either, I'd still go for the arcaydis! They look to be better value as your not paying a second set of profit margins ... Same deal as why the caiman is such good value!
Something a little different too!
You seem to have raised your budget? O

As always, hard to stay on budget :¨)


Another idea if you have more cash to spend ... Active dynaudios or the cheaper active Adams?

Cheers, will have a look.


Don't dismiss the Dali Lecktor 2s. My F-I-L has a pair and I'm very impressed by them - great bass for their size and easily placed as they're front ported. Most importantly for me they have a broad, expansive soundstage that makes them 'dissappear' easily. I'd go for these in your shoes.

Jason

Yeah, especially considering you can grab a set (new) for £150 from RS, but as mentioned here...


I've not heard them and they may be lovely, my only concern would be that at a sensitivity of 85dB they might not be a good match for a T-Amp. The same could also be said for Wharfedales, which I think are around the 86 mark too, I tried a pair of 9.0 diamonds with a Bantam classic, and it's not a good pairing, certainly volume wise...:)

... they might be pushing it for the Bantam Gold. Probably best suited at speakers that are easier driven, which is why the Pop-pulse is also an option :¨)

MartinT
15-06-2011, 06:50
I recommended Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s in an early post. My girlfriend has a pair and I know how good they are. They have just had an excellent review in Stereophile:

"Wharfedale has a winner in the Diamond 10.1. In today's market of stiff competition among affordable loudspeakers, the 10.1 presents extraordinary value for money, with many strengths that suggest a considerably higher price, and no meaningful weaknesses."

Yoga
15-06-2011, 09:52
I recommended Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s in an early post. My girlfriend has a pair and I know how good they are. They have just had an excellent review in Stereophile:

"Wharfedale has a winner in the Diamond 10.1. In today's market of stiff competition among affordable loudspeakers, the 10.1 presents extraordinary value for money, with many strengths that suggest a considerably higher price, and no meaningful weaknesses."

Thanks Martin, I opted for the Dynaudio MC-15's a few weeks ago :¨)

MartinT
15-06-2011, 12:37
Thanks Martin, I opted for the Dynaudio MC-15's a few weeks ago :¨)

Ah ok, enjoy! :)