Best Sounding One Make Separates System [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-04-2010, 07:49 AM
I was reading the review of the Electrocompaniet CD/PreAmp/Amp combo in the December Absolute Sound and I was intrigued by their point about certain lines of components from certain makers being MORE than the sum of their parts. I always read about mixing and matching, but seldom about the one make approach. I was wondering if anyone had any examples of one-make separates systems that might sound better together than if one mixed at matched at the same price range. Thinking of stuff like the SimAudio i3.3 integrated/CD player, the Cambridge 840 series, Naim, Rotel Bryston and some others than make a nice range of products in the $1500-$3000 apiece range.

Has anyone gone this route?

01-04-2010, 10:47 AM
One make approaches are not that new. Linn has been doing it for years. Yes there are some that are better than the some of their parts. Audio Note is probably the most extreme example of the "system" approach on the market over the last couple of decades. They make low powered amplifiers that are not suited for the majority of low efficient speakers on the market - so they sound much better in an Audio Note system.

I mentioned extreme examples because it is more than name brand matching like Linn - it is matching appropriate levels of gear within their line-up. They make several amps, speakers, turntables cables, cd players etc and they have set the components up into levels. So if you buy a level two speaker you should not have a cd player more than one level above or below that.

And of course levels are quality price based. A level Zero system may run $6k - a level 6 system will run well over $500,000. More and more companies are doing it. It makes sense because the maker has ultimate control over the end results. If you build for the lowest common denominator - that's the sound you will get. The system approach allows them to get the sound they want and not let some other maker's gear negatively impact their creations.

01-04-2010, 11:22 AM
My local dealer sells NAD and has a couple of systems all set up. I auditioned the latest tube phono stage through a NAD set-up and it sounded REALLY nice. I would have to ask him the specific models, but it's a great way to go for an easier purchase method. I have also heard Cambridge gear all linked together and it sounded great as well. I think both of these brands would suit your budget.

01-04-2010, 11:56 AM
Van Alstine equipment is very synergistic and sounds best when paired with each other and especially well with Salk speakers.