Match made in heaven + fully-balanced as a bonus [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-24-2012, 12:02 PM
Hello, the following upgrades have taken over 6 years to complete, but worth the wait.

To cut a long story short, I upgraded my speakers to Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mark II's. They are very nice speakers, and with much help from qualified Cedia professionals, they admitted that the imaging can be vastly improved if I could get an amplifer, powerful enough to feed my speakers. The speakers are 250W.
My Yamaha receiver (did me many years of awesome service), provided way below this.

Granted that my options were somewhat limited, but after 5 years of auditioning over 12 brands, I found Xindaks that really helped my speakers sing (so to speak), and 400W per channel. They run very hot, and a Class-A amplifer.

I thought the next upgrade was a better source, because most of my music collection were on CDs. I was impressed to find that the Cambridge Audio 840C doubles up as a DAC from 16bit/44.1ktz to 24bit/384ktz. That simply meant utilizing both optical inputs, one for my PS3 (for movies, games and SACDs), and as of today, one for my Sonos system. Weeks before getting the Sonos, I upgraded most of my cables, a huge, expensive, but overdue series of upgrades. Was worth it as each cable upgrade, I cound hear a 10-15% improvement of the music/sound.

My receiver packed up, I could no longer adjust my volume settings, and considering what it would cost to get it repaired, along with the remote not working, I decided to cut my losses and look for a pre amp.

Xindak didn't quite provide enough source options. I did heavily consider, why not complete the system by finding a pre amp which could also take balance inputs, and have balanced outputs for the power amp. Then I cound make my system fully balanced.

Most of the brands of pre amps I took a look at either had not enough inputs in the back, or do not offer a balanced in & out.

Cambridge Audio 840C not only met both conditions, but the remote with the CD player, was compatible. In addition to that, other features are possible by having the two.

Overall the entire combination of components took me much closer to a fantastic listening experience of my beloved music collection. However I will still seek more improvements.

Question, was it really worth the extra money to get the entire system "fully-balanced" ? Considering that it costs just as much money for me to get unbalanced cables, the price difference between the power an pre amps balance and unbalanced was not too much difference. Yes it sounds like the fully-balanced option heavily influenced my decision with the components, but to be honest it would of been about 10% of my overall decision process.

The Xindak power amps 400wpc feeding 250w fronts was a no brainer, they just happened to have balanced-in options.

The 840C pretty much had most of the same features as the 740C with exception of balanced options. The price difference was not much between the two.

Am I cutting out enough inteference by using all high end xlr cables ? Maybe the answer is more no than yes for now. I have longer cables to allow me to shift the components further away from each other when I move house. That can't be a bad thing.

Make no mistake that there are outstanding unbalanced cables from many brands that do the job one needs.

To me the fully-balance concept is not simply a marketing ploy, otherwise many other features would also be ploys too.

I hope this post provided some food for throught. Sometimes it does pay off, to be patient.


03-24-2012, 04:51 PM
Ozzy, whoa! Sounds terrific but slow down and be more specific about what you've got there.

So what preamp did you get? I'm really confused in this case. Is it the Cambridge 840E ( It so that's a darn good choice, IMO.

I tend to thing that balanced connections are useful mainly if (a) you've got long runs between components, and/or (b) both components have fully balanced architectures. (Most power amps are balanced in the power stage but not so often in the front end.)

Did you get the Xindak XA8800MNE ( Monoblocks?? Man, they are spectacular brutes!

03-24-2012, 05:03 PM
Yep - he got those Xindaks and the 840E (I just realized he put them in his signature).

The Xindaks look like beasts! Those Dyns should be under control with that setup.

Congrats Ozzie!!!

03-24-2012, 08:24 PM
Thanks Ajani. Haha yes I guess the Xindaks do look like breasts, and they get really hot like a lovely lady.

The pre-amp is a Cambridge Audio 840E. This also runs very hot, there are no vents on the top either. So basically you need a lot of space (more than recommended in the manuals I'd say), on the sides and above these two components.

Who knows, perhaps one day I will upgrade my speakers again, I am a lunatic, I don't believe I'd ever be 100% happy. I'm about 90%, about 2 months ago I was about 50%. In other words I believe I could improve my system by another 10% if I finish getting the sound absorption panels in the room, and get a power regulation system.

The latter looks impressive.

Hi Fi Audio conditioned power (

The home page has a demo on how it essentially works.

Just to re-iterate the upgrades from Monster to XLO cables for various components and speaker cable proved a huge step forward. The speaker cables were about $600, I'd never thought I'd ever end up investing that much for one pair of speaker cables, but when I auditioned them, it was like somebody cleaned out my ears, as if I was listening to music for all these years with cardboard boxes over them.

03-27-2012, 12:19 PM
Who knows, perhaps one day I will upgrade my speakers again, I am a lunatic, I don't believe I'd ever be 100% happy.

Welcome to the club, we did not get as custom as we would have liked, but when we picked up our projector our old 5 disc dvd player surround sound system was not compatible. So we went to Best Buy and ended up picking up a Yamaha Natural Sound AV receiver RX-V565 (which we got for 150 bucks since we took the floor model and they didn't have a remote for it) and hooked them up to our junky Panasonic speakers, which immediately blew out from the awesomeness and the fact that they just could not support the output of the receiver. This past Christmas we picked up a set of 5 Klipsch speakers to replace the old ones and we still need another two to complete the 7.1 surround sound that our receiver is capable of outputting. Then eventually we are going to find something even better and well you know how it goes.

03-27-2012, 01:18 PM
Glad to hear you like the 840c. I had both the 840c and 740c. They are excellent players. In some aspects the 740c sounded a little better than the 840c. I ended up selling them and went with Hybrid tube DAC's, the Cambridge units had a little too much sparkle in the top end for my Magnepans.

03-28-2012, 06:11 AM
Thanks for the welcome lizard. Well there's always going to be something better. I see it as what opportunities and options are available for the current time or near future. It sounds like you made some good decisions and took advantage of the situations at the time. Good bang for your buck.

Blackravern - we spoke many times over posts years back, I have been rather dorment. I am sure if I find suitable tubes I'd end up enjoying them more. Most of those in my area would be substantially more pricey. I simply was overly impressed with the Cambridge Audio range,

One of those moments where its so much more obvious than a sore thumb, my decision to get them was as subtle as a hammer through a window.

For now I must really put the brakes on spending any more money at this stage for hifi upgrades. I went way overboard these last two months. I will now do what I should of been doing lately, enjoy my music, and look for more new music to enjoy.

When I look at the tubes, I see them as very delicate entities. I am sure with my kind of luck and environment, something would break.

03-28-2012, 02:39 PM
[QUOTE=OzzieAudiophile;380020]Thanks for the welcome lizard. Well there's always going to be something better. I see it as what opportunities and options are available for the current time or near future. It sounds like you made some good decisions and took advantage of the situations at the time. Good bang for your buck.

Yea, that's exactly what we did and we really lucked out with the receiver since we had just spent the money for the projector we were really tight on funds. Eventually when we get a house we will probably rebuild a new projector screen bigger then the one we have now if space allows it (6' x 10' is our current size) and upgrade the speakers to be inset along the walls. Knowing that we can always make it better is definitely some motivation.

04-23-2012, 01:00 AM
Can you help me.
What is sports car racing events in September 2009?