Greetings [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Tony M.
07-22-2010, 07:49 PM
Hi, I'm 3 days new to this site. I hope this is a good place to introduce myself. I'm having some trouble posting a review of my speakers (Cambridge Soundworks Newton T500) and keep receiving a message that my review cannot be processed at this time. I thought I'd post it here to give an idea as to my audio experienceso far. I've always been a frustrated audiophile limited by budget. But what I've lacked in budget I've made up for in obsessive compulsive speaker placement. I began in 1994 with used Carver electronics. Little by little I upgraded to "bang for your buck" components trying to replicate a system sold at my local high end dealer (Rega Planar 3, Arcam Alpha7 cd player, Conrad Johnson PV10 pre-amp, Parasound htc115 power amp, and Synergistic Research Sterling Active bi-wired cables and interconnects). The last piece of the puzzle would be speakers. I auditioned Paradigms. But in order to get floorstanding with a cherry finish the price was just too much (I wanted bling and fidelity). I'd purchased a small pair of CSW Newton bookshelves. It took 30 plus days for them to open up, but when they did it was like night and day. I was like "wow". I almost could have been happy with them, but it seemed like the speakers in my "final" system should have more presence (and a slightly more comparable price tag). When I told my high end dealer he just kind of shrugged. Well one day I happened into the CSW store and started listening to the T500s. I was bowled over by the furniture grade finish. The sound was impressive, but I felt it was limited by the rest of the store's demo system. Timing is everything. The T500s were on sale and they offered to let me trade in my bookshelf Newtons for full credit. Can you say $1300.00? My family refers to them as my other set of children. It's been more than five years now and I'm still saying "wow". I swear they are still opening up, revealing more and more sonic rightness. I compared the T500s and the Paradigms on identical systems (although listening rooms were different) and the Cambridge sounded as good or better (listening for separation, background silence, timbre, imaging, etc.). Whether listening to Keith Jarret, Duke Ellington's orchestra, or solo Spanish guitar, they provide plenty of that high end sound that draws one to this hobby. The tall mahogany bodies look stunning against my caramel hickory hardwood floors. I grin every time I pass by them when I come in from work. And yes they are very revealing of upstream components. I took advantage of an "open box" Cambridge Audio Azur 740c cd player from Audio Advisor ( reg. $1095., on sale $750. ). But even after 30 days and at least 300 hours of break in my system it didn't trounce my Arcam like I thought it would. It sounded too bright, sometimes thin, and not as musical. Mind you this is with my components which I had no intention of changing to make the 740c fit in. So as much as it hurt ( it's a fantastically designed and built player), I had to return it on the thirtieth day. The T500s get 5 plus stars, one of the best purchases I've made. Thanks, Tony M.

Mr Peabody
07-23-2010, 06:29 AM
Hi Tony, welcome to AR. As you probably have been finding out putting your system together, price isn't a guarantee of quality or better. Arcam is typically outstanding in the digital playback area. You are yet another who gives the Cambridge speakers a good review though. I'd like to hear a pair they seem to be an excellent value. I don't know about that CJ preamp though :) , notice signature.

Tony M.
07-23-2010, 04:22 PM
Hey, Mr. Peabody. My local dealer recommended the CJ PV10 as the next step up as it would add some “tube” sound and balance out my system. Eventually I was able to find a pre–owned unit at a good price. The CJ was a nice improvement, but could sometimes be overly warm and veiling. One day, however, while visiting my wife’s uncle fate smiled upon me. Knowing I was into audio and tubes he gave me his 1964 Fisher FM400 32 watt receiver (all tube) which had been sitting on a shelf in his garage unused for over 15 years. I was curious and grateful so the next day I brushed off the dust and hooked it up (don’t ask how I jerry rigged the spade lugs on my Synergistics to fit the quarter inch screw terminals on the rear). I was surprised, not only did it work, it sounded good, really good. The sound continued to improve over the next few weeks. After some Caig Labs Pro Gold and a quad set of Sovtek output tubes (the originals were GEs) I can’t stop listening to it. Despite it’s age this receiver has added noticeable timbre, texture, presence, and bass to instruments and voices without sacrificing detail and clarity. Obviously audio nirvana is still in the next galaxy but I think I could be content if this ends up being my last stop (well maybe). The CJ and the Parasound amp have been gathering dust for over a year now. I know it’s recommended that vintage components receive some professional tlc. Hopefully it won’t change the sound I’ve gotten used to. Eventually I’ll send it to someone but right now I’m just enjoying the unexpected upgrade. BTW it looks like you’ve got a really nice system, cheers.

Mr Peabody
07-23-2010, 07:18 PM
I've heard those old Fisher were outstanding. I haven't heard the PV10 but understand the older CJ gear had more of a classic or stereotype tube sound. Some day you should try the PV10 with a tube power amp it may come closer to what you are hearing in the receiver.