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!!



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!