Mid-Fi, Hi-Fi or.....?

For some time I have been collecting vintage (60's/70's) gear of various levels of quality.  Trying to step things up, I am now running a NAD C 375BEE integrated amp through Thiel CS 1.6 speakers.  Am I in the "hi-fi" world now?  If not, where?  LOL.......thanks!!


The distinction between low-fi and mid-fi and high-fi, vintage or not , is essentially based on price tag level today or in the past...

Independant of price, any system parts which are synergetical to begin with and well embedded in their mechanical,electrical and acoustical working dimensions will create and reach at least a minimal acoustical satisfaction threshold...

This threshold can be improved to a maximal one with highly costlier upgrade and essentially a dedicated acoustic room ...

I do not take seriously now price tags, for sure TOP design quality cost money, but this is not enough to give a satisfying acoustic experience... This is easy to verify ...

Owning high quality design is not enough, it takes embeddings mechanical,electrical and especially acoustical controls devices ...

Today we can even buy relatively qualitative good gear for relatively  low price then the way we embed them in our room matter most than buying new design presented as being "better" ...

I trust  first knowledge and experiments  and in second only the price tags of a piece of gear...

I had that very same integrated for a number of years, it is very good. However, I wanted to see if I could do better and added a separate preamp, bypassing the one in the NAD. This was a significant improvement and removed some of the grain in the sound. It really comes down to your ears, and budget of course. If you are happy, then it’s hifi!

BTW, these offer a nice improvement to the sound over the metal jumpers on that integrated:



I wouldn’t be too concerned about mid-fi or hi-fi. If you trying to step up to next level, try as many Integrated’s in your home. Sometimes you end up spending 1.5x to 2x for minimal gains…it that worth it, only you can decide. 

I think your NAD is a significant improvement over most vintage gear...and I love vintage gear...

@zlone  Thanks for the info! I had read about swapping out the jumpers and bought these, hope they are decent, just have not installed them yet.  Is it easy to do?  Also, what pre-amp did you use?  Thanks again!  John



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agree with the jumpers, I used AQ upgrade jumpers on my NAD and others...

“If your happy and your know it, clap your hands..”. I agree with toddsyr and blackbag20. You don’t need any affirmation here. HiFi, MidFi, LowFi is reallly just rubbish. If you are listening to your system, grin on your face, foot is tapping …then your experience is what’s important. The journey is the fun, not the vehicle.

They are just musical boxes of wires…

@johnnotkathi Those jumpers look decent, just make sure to get the directions right when you install them. Pre out -> Main in. It is a super easy update, just pull the metal jumpers out and replace them with the cables.

I used the Schiit Freya+ as a replacement, along with Blue Jeans interconnects, it is one of the most cost effective preamp upgrades out there. If I did it again, I would likely opt for the Schiit Kara, as I did not use the tube stage of the Freya much, even though it did sound great. 

Terms such as Hi-Fi and Mid-Fi are so subjective as to be useless. However, I felt like I experienced an objective demonstration of the difference in my music world. Allow me to explain. Occasionally I read that Klipsch Lascalas are "mid-fi" speakers. This made me feel bad and defensive. That was until....I "isolated" the top HF bin and the LF bins on my speakers. (On Lascalas they are two separate pieces separated by 4 rubber feet) After I did that, the clarity took such a jump up that I recalled those critical comments and thought to myself, "This must be what these 'critics' are talking about!" Maybe speakers which cost $$??$$ inherently produce this level of definition(?). I don't know, but it illustrated to me that even though I was happy as a clam, this can get better if certain issues can be addressed. They don't always mean money either.  

Thanks everyone.  Really, I am just having fun with this and was curious as to opinions on the gear.  Not for affirmation, again, just curiosity mostly.  With my hearing, it probably does not matter too much, just starting to push the boundaries "upward" to see what differences I can discern.  Either way, its all fun to me.  Just love the music and collecting the gear is a blast too......

Why is everyone calling interconnects "jumpers"?

That reminds me of the old days when we used to call them patch cords...and they used to be cheap!

I agree with the group. If it sounds hi end to you, then it is. Enjoy it.

NAD and others refer to the metal bar that connects the preamp out to main in on the back of unit as jumpers...and yes the replacement jumpers are really a 1 inch interconnect

NAD and Rotel have traditionally been transitional companies… bridging consumer and mid-fi products. They typically have offered low priced components, but designed to sound good for high consumer product prices. Over the last couple decades they have stretched with their upper product lines into through Mid-Fi and into the High-Fi tier.


Typically the division between consumer, mid-fi, hi-fi, and audiophile are based on sound quality (something that has changed over time as the latter three have improved), the number of features and functions (the more the closer to consumer), and construction, with emphasis on the former. Price / features / functions are what are most easily determined by survey of the literature, and therefore are commonly used as proxy for Sound quality. The actual sound quality typically varies within each group.

Classifications like these are often hotly debated because folks that can’t afford upper echelon equipment are prone to deny the categories are valid. They want to think of their purchases as smart, not limited by their financial circumstances. Folks that can afford higher level equipment want to reinforce the classifications as it shows them in a favorable light.

Regardless of the cost of your system, if you love the sound… I have since I bought a Marantz 2040 (?) integrated amp in 1972 for $250.  You should enjoy it. 

The NAD C 375BEE integrated amp Is in the mid-fi range. This is coming from someone who owns mid-tier audiophile equipment, but cannot afford upper tier audiophile equipment.

Defining system classification by price tag assimilating quality with price is naive...

I prefer to define it in two level : minimal and maximal threshold acoustic satisfaction...

Acoustics concepts are perfectly definite... Timbre, spatial characteristics if we simplify...

Then we can roughly distinguish a lower design system in a living room , and a high quality design in a dedicated room... we can distinguish system at any price which are not well optimized by adressing the electrical noise floor level the mechanical vibration/resonance problems and the acoustical controls of the speakers/ears/room...

This is not related to price tags but to knowledege...

A system own a relatively natural timbre and the soundfield encompass the listener position with a balanced ratio between the sound sources dimension and the listener envelopment OR NOT AT ALL ...This is the minimal acoustical level of satisfaction, a threshold which can be reach by modest or costlier system OR NOT ...

The maximal level of acoustic satisfaction ask for a dedicated acoustic room and the BACCH filters right now...

Then defending an imprecise and useless classification between high -fi mid-fi and low -fi (and why not chi-fi as some do) grounded in price tags at the end of the day could be an opinion which can be defended anyway for sure as you just did ...

What cannot be defended is insinuating as you did that because we have a motivated acoustic standpoint instead of a high end costlier gear perspective focus we ARE ENVIOUS and jealous of your high end system ...😊

Sorry mate but this is an ad hominem argument ...And a ridiculous one ...

It can easily be reversed in snobism accusation and other stupid claims about you ...I dont play this game... 😁


Because i am not narrow mind enough to use ad hominem arguments, i will answer to your remark by saying that i define satisfaction by ACOUSTIC experience and not by gear price tag , i define it by room controls more than by costlier upgrades of a gear piece...

my claim is that doing so i indicate acoustics as the road to be taken not a race to more and more expanses ...

i Apologize but i feel that i must clarified my perspective...Without ad hominem arguments...

I will add that anybody here appreciated your specific advices because of your gear experiences, me included... I say that to be understood and in a way you will understand that i dont attack you personally......


Classifications like these are often hotly debated because folks that can’t afford upper echelon equipment are prone to deny the categories are valid. They want to think of their purchases as smart, not limited by their financial circumstances. Folks that can afford higher level equipment want to reinforce the classifications as it shows them in a favorable light


@ghdprentice Thanks for the info and makes sense.  Before going to the NAD, my "flagship" receivers have been a Sansui 8080, Sherwood SEL-200, Kenwood KR 7600 among others of the sort.  I do really like them along with the various speakers I have bought including Bozak, ADS, Dynaco, Advent, KLH, KEF, Clement and Solus.  

Now I am moving the NAD and Thiels into a main room to test it all out and see how it sounds.  More fun times ahead!!

Yes. Music / Audio is fun at what ever level you are at. I have had a NAD receiver for over 30 years and gave it to a friend that had a contemporary audio video receiver and it sounded much better… the NAD was about 25 pounds the AVR about four. Definitely better sound and build quality.

Many here would call my integrated midfi....yet, since the day it came out, it’s lived on Stereophile’s Class A list. Rightfully so. So....take this stuff with a grain of salt.

@secretguy  per Stereophile’s 2012 Recommended Components about my NAD:


NAD C 375BEE: $1500
The 150Wpc C 375BEE offers five line-level outputs, two sets of preamp outputs, a front-panel minijack for portable music players, a built-in headphone amp, and an optional phono stage ($199). Like models in NAD’s Masters Series, the C 375BEE uses PowerDrive technology to maximize the dynamic power sent to the speakers. Though its headphone amp and phono stage lacked sparkle and detail, the C 375BEE’s overall sound was tight, dynamic, and fast, with crystalline highs and well-extended bass. “A competition crusher,” concluded Sam. Though he admits the NAD belongs in Class B, he’d choose it over many of the amplifiers in Class A. “So good, for so little money, that few are willing to believe it. Are you, JA?” he asks. (Vol.32 No.10)


@johnnotkathi ....If you're enjoying what you're listening to through and with whatever is making it possible....

You've no reason to make an excuse about it, nor any reason to feel guilty or lessened by the means employed....really....

There's a simple cure at hand:


;)  Regards, and yours unruly....

You are a Audiophile but on the older lower end of the $$ range , Audiophiles are 

always buying something , or at least looking.


It's the never ending journey isn't it, the question is where does someone decide to get off of the merry go round and be happy? I'm not near there yet.

I love my current set up as it is very enjoyable and musical, but I know that there is so much better sound out there. With my new Clayton Shaw Caladan speakers (coming in February?), I'm at about $19,000 and I still consider my system the lower end of mid fi. I'm buying a new tube preamp in the next few weeks, a new streamer late spring, and I've got more than a dozen DIY cables to make over the next few months. After that I'll enjoy it for a while, let the cable configuration settle out and regroup.....but I'm in a very itchy upgrade swirl right now.

I took a friend to CES/The SHOW about 20 years ago. He told me I was crazy spending $50k or more on an audio system. He thought it couldn’t get much better than his $2000 system and he thought he couldn’t hear that well. 
After the 1st room, he had to pick up his jaw off the floor. Now he understood why people spend $$$ for a system. I spent almost $10k on my 2nd audio system in the late 70’s. It sounded very nice for its day, but technology has changed (as well as the increase in prices) but todays systems for the same price you paid 50 years ago sounds much better today.

I have multiple $2000-$5000 systems in my house, which would very nice, especially for background music. But compared to my reference system that cost more than 10x, the sq is much much better in my reference system, we are not talking about a couple % differences, we are talking night and day difference.

BTW: if I take 1 of my $2000 integrated amp and modified it to the hilt, it will never ever get close to my reference preamp/amp that cost 15x more. The modified $2000 amp will still have the same character sound when it was stock.

NAD most definitely is mid as well as your speakers. Like others who’ve commented, HiFi requires spending 50k plus for a separates component type system. But who cares about the label? Why are you asking anyway? If you love your stereo and sonics then it really doesn’t matter what arbitrary label you or somebody else thinks your stereo is.

Buying HiFi equipment brings a whole new set of headaches. To get all of the potential out of the gear, you’ve got to also be willing to go all the way with your room, cables, power conditioning as well. Otherwise why spend the money?

All those guys who have their gear against the front wall and their racks between the speakers look awesome and they’re enjoying their music just as much as somebody that has a dedicated listening room built for the best possible sonics using high end gear.

It’s all relative. Don’t get caught up in a subjective name for your rig, just enjoy what you have...



Good to read about NAD/Thiel combination. Feel free to join Us over on the Thiel Owners thread. You will find a few fans and owners of the CS 1.6 loudspeaker.


Happy Listening!

there are a couple of inherent problems with those terms. First, they are subjective. There is not a standard definition, and what sounds really good to you may not do it for me. Second, the terms are relative. Someone who owns $150,000 system may smugly think he has reached the nirvana of "hi-fi". but that system may be in the dreaded category of "mid fi" to the man who owns a half a million dollar system. I've noticed that for a lot of people think anything that costs a little less than what they have bought is mid fi and anything that costs a little more is a waste of money. So, these subjective labels tend to generate more heat than light and more often than not inhibit rather than encourage constructive discussion.

it's not about how much money you have spent on your system or how long it has taken you to put it together. I think it's about taking the money you have that you are willing to put into this hobby and building a system that brings you joy in listening to music. That's a subjective thing and will be different for everybody. There are a lot of knowledgeable people here, and on similar sites that can help you achieve that. But once these labels start getting thrown around, the constructive part of the discussion is generally over. So, as others have said, best to focus on what you can do with the budget you have to build a system that maximizes your enjoyment of the hobby because this is not a contest, it's about how you enjoy the music.

Hifi vs. Midfi vs. Lofi… categorical distinctions that are so subjective as to be more confusing than not; mostly marketing terms in how they’re used. Hifi stands for high fidelity - i.e. gear that will play back music with as little alteration to the mastering as possible - add no sound signature past the digital file, cassette, LP etc. Some nice kit by design is in a technical sense not great for the task of true hifi (again, by the literal meaning of the abbreviation). Much kit marketed as hifi is essentially unverified by real / legitimate testing. Hence hifi being more of a marketing moniker in the real world.

Midfi and lowfi came about as relative descriptors of kit that generally revolves around more widely affordable price points - you don’t tend to see folks talking about these three categories in terms of measurements or experiments with proper sampling, so the previous comments alluding to the terms being a way for market tier-ing and purchase-validating seem fairly accurate to me.

How hifi something is has nothing to do with how enjoyable it is to you. Some folks like a lot of “sound signature” from their kit be it from particular tubes, specific peculiarities of speaker cabinet or baffle design, etc. Believing in hifi is believing the mastering job of all music playback you consume needs zero further alteration in-playback chain (or in-room). Of course, many folks will agree that’s often not ideal.

Technically, how hifi a product is has absolutely zero to do with its cost. If something is expensive and has no available metrics / comparative studies to support its ability for (technically, not subjectively) audibly flawless playback, in today’s day and age, it’s not necessarily hifi despite whatever the price tag may suggest.

Better to consider vintage gear as just that - heritage enjoyment. Plenty of it can play splendid together and can result in Hifun - the far more important abbreviation to pursue in all this, eh!? 😉

I dont think and i know that one of the best amplifier of 1987 and the AKG K340 are not mere vintage low -fi or mid-fi...

These labels make no sense but most people cannot put an experimented  hearing  content on acoustics various factors... Then because they only identify price tags they go for this marketing ploy ...And anyway those with the budget will never believe anything as my motto : acoustics and synergy and mechanical and electrical controls matter more than price tags...

Some will say that my observation is born from envy...On the opposite i am very pride of my peanuts cost system...my jaw drop on the floor each time i use my 2 systems because i optimized it as it is...

I lacked the money to go officially in what they called purchase in high-fi, but i acquired the necessary experience to do it with past high fi vintage and acoustics and various mechanical and electrical controls...

Timbre experience and listener envelopment and sound sources dimensions and level of crosstalk , transients, bass, etc are not purely subjective concept they become objective when you had learn how to create and modify them in a system/room...

My speakers and headphones are unique because i modify them...Then instead of being envious of those who paid big amount of money i pity them now... The only one i know really better my low cost system really and not marginally , must own a dedicated acoustic room and a speakers/room system tuned for one another...


I consider myself to be a mere stereo enthusiast as I either don't have or am unwilling to invest the money it takes to be a true audiophile. That being said, I have what I'm sure would be considered a mid-fi integrated despite being class B rated in "Stereophile". My under $200 MM cartridge is also rated class B in "Stereophile". Both of these products were among others that earned the same class B rating, despite costing thousands more. 

This is not to deride others who are fortunate to have the means to invest in reference level systems. In fact I thank you as audio equipment is one of the few areas that "Trickle-down" seems to have benefited those with less income.

If you can swing it I always recommend going to an audio show if you want to get a sense of where your system falls in the range of sound quality. In your case I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Your speakers don't reproduce the deepest bass or go extremely loud but they sound very good at typical listening levels.

I've got "vintage" components as well (Thiel CS6, Krell KSA 300S, KRC-2) and I figured that new state of the art gear would blow my system away until I went to AXPONA a few years ago. Turns out that my system holds it's own against most of the six-figure systems I heard.

If you've got an upgrade itch I suggest you start with getting a subwoofer. This will make a big difference and you don't have to spend huge bucks to get a sub that will do a nice job.


It been said that there are no absolute truths. Just workable truths, and relatative truths. In this regard, there is no "absolute sound", just (very) subjective references to high fidelity and high(er) fidelity.

The caliper I use for "Hi-Fi" is this one: "The suspension of disbelief", which is to say that for a moment in time, you stop "disbelieving" that you are listening to recorded music artifically reproduced in your home. The sum of all the elements you are perceiving trick your brain into believing that the artists are actually in the room with you thru the duration of the listening session. If this happens, all the Hi-Fi stars have lined up and you’ve reached a powerful plateau in musical enjoyment at home.


"Why is everyone calling interconnects "jumpers"?

You are technically correct, sir. While these are, in fact, interconnects, some manufacturers (like AQ) make very short (6") "interconnects" to connect input/output terminals located next to each other. Since they have no other purpose in life, they fondly refer to them as "jumpers."

I was reading an article about the revived Adcom, and one of the Adcom higher ups referred to their $1695 power amplifier as Mid-Fi...clearly, it seems, the term to them, refers simply to price and the units place in the market place, not to it’s quality or value...clearly different people use the terms to refer to different things...

here is another view: I have x dollars and I want to buy the best for that x.

At any given point I want to make the most out of that x. If it’s feet for my turntables, or cables or new speakers, whatever improves the sound the most, however I identify the weakest link is what matters. Does that x dollars make me consumer/mid-fi/hi-fi or my approach to find the key to improving the sound makes me whatever category?

To be honest, if I had a lot more money, I would have learned a lot less and probably would have had less fun as well.


I’m old enough to remember my mom or dad telling me to "turn off the Hi Fi and do your homework"...the device(s) was a Philco and later Magnavox console tv, phono,radio furniture piece. Amazing how folks need to mind puck simple things. The funny part is many who consider their systems Hi Fi not Mid-Fi or Lo-Fi are certainly a part of that era. The smugness. From my perspective the whole "tier" thing is really silly. I am blessed to still have older folks in my family that to this day refer to a sound producing unit as a Hi Fi are they wrong?

Looking at it from an economic standpoint.

A person who has invested $150K in his system will have a resale value of about $75K after 5 years.  Cost of ownership $15K per year.

A person who has invested $50K in his system will have a resale value of about $25K after 5 years.  Cost of ownership $5K per year.

A person who has invested $20K in his system will have a resale value of about $10K after 5 years.  Cost of ownership $2K per year.

A person who has invested $10K in his system will have a resale value of about $5K after 5 years.  Cost of ownership $1K per year.

You get the idea, pick your poison.

Does a music lover receive $13K more pleasure per year for the extra cost of their $150K system than the owner of a $20K system?   Each person decides this.

The constant in all of this, music is music.

It been said that there are no absolute truths. Just workable truths, and relatative truths. In this regard, there is no "absolute sound", just (very) subjective references to high fidelity and high(er) fidelity.

There is no absolute truth...Common place fact ...

But here once this is said you forgot acoustics when refering to high fidelity stereo system... Doing so instead of refering to controllable objective acoustics parameters and concepts and experience you refer as all marketing to the gear itself as the "source", the material design of a gear piece and his associated price tag...This is "not even wrong"... It is beside the point and put in our head by consumers marketing...

If someone want to know what is acoustics experience in stereo system , the owner manual of the best high end gear in the world is worthless..

Read an acoustician , the last genius to know what he spoke about is Edgar Choueiri .... Acoustics with an (s) is not mere room acoustic...

The gear does not determine the level of acoustic satisfaction , his rightful implementation in a House/room/ears-brain does it ...

Incredible the point to which publicity about the gear brainwashed us all ...

I will not give other example of brainwashing... I will be out of subject...

The only way to go through audiophile experience is learning how to do it not purchasing costlier materials and accusing me or others to be envious of high end ...😊 It is the opposite i pity those who buy high end very costlier product and use them in a non dedicated room bragging about gear...

Gear matter it is a common place fact ... But it is completely secondary compared to all acoustics and psychoacoustics paramaters and concepts...


Forget the gear and study acoustics a bit...

or call me envious of 100,000 bucks speakers as some just did ...😁 It is ludicrous... I am proud of my speakers low cost modifications and my acoustics controls at no cost yes...Audiophile experience for peanuts is possible sorry for those who dare to claim for the sake or their expanse that it is not possible ... It is...With vintage gear or basically well optimized low cost good gear...

Or perhaps even if i tuned my room i am deaf to high end ... 😋







81 posts


I am blessed to still have older folks in my family that to this day refer to a sound producing unit as a Hi Fi are they wrong?


Fair point. From a semantics standpoint, no, elders using Hifi in a colloquial sense are not wrong. Some decades back, many things were marketed as Hifi that probably weren’t being accurately described (even if conveniently summarized). Nowadays the bar has moved a bit and the other two categories are happy to cause further confusion, IMO 😆

@jetter …”A person who has invested $150K in his system will have a resale value of about $75K after 5 years. Cost of ownership $15K per year.”


Well, for me, I would do the math a bit different. So, my system is about $150K. Typically I will go for 10 years between major upgrades and I trade old equipment in. The roots stretch back fifty years. My last upgrade would have been $75K, but I traded stuff in… so out of the pocket was only $50K. But most current investment would still have residual value. Say half. So $25K of depreciation.

So, $2.5K / year. I listen three hours a day. That is $2.50 / hour. But there is no need to upgrade… so I could continue to drive the cost down.

One amp I kept for nearly 18 years. It was new and listed for $10k I traded it in and lost only $500.

So, nothing wrong with your calculations, but it really depends on how you invest and length of time.

Way back when, I heard a manufacturer’s rep/friend of mine state: "Audio is the cheapest hobby you can have. No green fees. Docking fees. Travel. Hotels. Lodging. Meals away from home. Outrageous insurance premiums. Risk of bodily harm/death."

I calculated that the more I drive my motorhome, the cheaper the cost per mile of ownership. And, the more we listen to our systems (good point, @ghdprentice) the less the cost per hour. When. you break it down to the "song/cut level", our systems are a true bargain by any measure, regardless of the investment.


I agree with everything you are saying.  I really just wanted to throw an example out there.  

and if you get some great used deals, the cost of ownership is reduced, or even no loss when you sell...I did a few bigger than expected upgrades due to a great deal and after 5 years sold for essentially same price...though those deals tend to be rare...the key is to enjoy what you have...there sure seems to be lots of great systems here at multiple price points...

Mid-Fi can be experienced with esoteric gear and Hi-Fi can be experienced with so-called Mid-Fi gear. The trick to optimize the set up of your system so it can meet your requirements. I am an avid analog guy. My gear is all vintage except for my phono cartridges and my Bluesound streamer. I found utopia in separates with a pair of monstrous NAD 2700THX power amps in vertical bi-amp configuration. That’s what works for me. 

What may work for you could be very different. The path to knowing is by trying. That’s how I found I preferred Burson discrete op-amps instead of the run of the mill NE5532s and such in my preamp and phono stage. Again, go outside your comfort zone a little and try new and different things. You might be pleasantly surprised or even astounded with what can be achieved. 

I started this journey with a Yamaha RX 500U driving a set of Paradigm 7se and Klipsch KG4s which I kept for many years.  I wanted to move up in SQ after some time and picked up a Marantz AV from the 90s, then an HK 3490, briefly trying used gear from NAD, Luxman among a few other brand names.

Tried many speakers too from small to large bookshelf and about 10 years ago I opted for Focal 807Ws and later added a Hegel h160.  I have tried more expensive smaller audiophile speakers, not a large selection but have found that even more expensive speakers while adding better in some areas, could be worse (for me) in other areas which i call areas of omission.

Also, at my listening SPLs, the real magic often heard with higher end equipment isn't realized at least to its full potential so sticking with less capable equipment has provided me with sufficient satisfaction.

While I still have the Hegel and Focals, which I may sell as I can't utilize what both are fully capable of, I have through trial, compared and listened to a large variety of lower end midfi I suppose with good results for me.  Not that I wouldn't mind trying something like the Van Alstine SET 120 amp among others someday, among various other speakers and dacs too, but I have a high degree of satisfaction in my more budget options for my needs.

I have two Keces E40 integrated amps which are driving Triangle Zetas (very budget), Martin Logan 15i and Dali Opticon 1 (all of which I preferred over the Menuet SE btw).  Also have a set of Cambridge Minx XL which are sitting but suitable for a budget desktop and such but less performance than the others. 

Comparatively, there is little difference I can hear between the Keces and Hegel just switching back and forth but if I listen to the Hegel for a time and then switch back to the Keces, I notice a bit less performance in some graininess, at least for a short time until my brain adjusts to the sound and then I cannot identify it at least as readily.

The Hegel is very smooth, never sounds flat, 2 dimensional like all the previous amps it replaced so there are qualities a higher end amp has over cheaper ones, even on less than well matched speakers and dacs.  The Keces shares this trait as it sounded better than everything else I had too.  I liken it to a sibling Hegel, its that good if one likes a smooth, easy but still exciting, resolving and revealing listen. 

I intend to try the Hegel with the ML15i just to see if I should keep it. The Triangle works with any amp including chifi class D well enough.  The others don't, they like the power of quality AB amps, perhaps higher end class D as well.

So, lo-fi, mi-fi or hi-fi...depending on one's perspective and wallet, I am happy regardless, knowing that perhaps a $3000 speaker (there's alot) might get me a little more magic here and there.  That's a good place to be in this hobby...satisfied for as long as possible.

The dacs I have are , the one built in to the Hegel which is fine, a Topping D70s and an Aune X8 18th ed upgraded with a Sparkos opamp.  The Keces has a rudimentary dac/usb connection which likely sounds decent as well but I never tried it.

So, in reading many of the above posts, I tend to agree with many of their insights but for myself, I likely will not be in the over 10K purchase for a single pc of equipment nor even half that. 

Still an amazing hobby that one can find enough to appreciate at almost any price level provided the equipment isn't junk (junk also at every price level), has system synergy including one's room and SPL preferences, etc.












So, if you’re using 60’s 70’s gear, you absolutely must have a Turntable!