What price hi-fi?

This may start some debate I am hesitating over my next hi-fi purchase-a Bel Canto Dac1-even with the 10 day back guarantee-I can't audition cause I stay in the UK and have to buy from France... Having recently auditioned the new Arcam CD23 I wasn't convinced it did for me in terms of value for money. Ok only I can decide butI'd be interested to see others experiences-nerves before a big purchase,mistakes which have led to begging for refunds,wives who filed for divorce when receipts were found. Is there a value system outwith the obvious financial constraints that people use in upgrading or buying new equipment? Ben
if ewe can't get a money-back guarantee w/at least a 30-day audition period - *don't buy it*! unless, of course, it's used, & ewe know that ewe can turn it around for a minimal loss. regarding break-in - if a unit needs an extended break-in - yust leave it on all the time! put your cd on *repeat* when ya go to bed, or aren't there actually listening... regards, doug
Ben, I share your concerns. I am using the DAC 1 with a DVD transport in my system, and I am very happy with it. Since you are neighbors...I dumped a Micromega Stage 4 for the DAC 1 / DVD combo, and it was an easy call. I don't think you can build any system without having really good front end, and this is a cheap as that gets, IMHO. This is one component that has been universally acclaimed, has a great warranty, and could easily be sold if you didn't like it. (See the reviews online at Soundstage and Planet HiFi. Also search the archived thoughts here on Audiogon discussions.) This is, as they say, a "no-brainer." I use a Creek 4330R in my sytem, by the way. Go for it, man. Charlie
Guys, Thanks for the advice and comments. I guess I feel a little greedy,I've did a lot of cost-effective upgrading with happy results all along the way-the occassional no-change or bad purchase (about $50 dollars of new tubes which sounded worse in my valve pre-amp-)means I've built a good (to my ears)system at a reasonable cost using older used but good equipment. It also means I've got the bug but it's built out of a love of music I buy a lot of CD's. The DAC-1 costs about $300 dollars more here in the UK to buy-as I said when listening to the new Arcam CD23 I could hear a performance a couple of notches up-I wasn't convinced it was worth £1100 ($1500)-the DAC-1 costs the same here. Since I use a DVD/dac set-up-the Bel Canto screams at me as does the almost universal good feedback it is getting..... Am I happy with my system? Of course. Would I like to buy/try the DAC-1 even though it means spending more than I should? Of course. Ben
Ben, I fear I wasn't clear about part of my post...I referenced my Creek 4330 as it is definitely what a lot of the folks on Audiogon would consider for their "bedroom system." It cost 1/3 of the DAC 1 / DVD combo so I'm not a big spender, obviously. My point was that I was not satisfied with my sound, after long term listening, until I had upgraded from a Micromega Minium, to a Stage 4, and finally to the DAC1. It was tempting to blame the amp as an "entry" level sound provider (which I guess it is) but the upgrade to the DAC 1 made a tremendous difference! Front end is the foundation of your sound, and we all have our own goals and budgets. I would also add that, to my ears, some of the Chesky 24/96 recordings are strikingly clean and you get a 'table like sound. Enjoy the music! Charlie