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Going Minimal - Pioneer N-70A-k Stream Magic 6


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Just like all of us here, I'd always tinkered with my sound system. I started with lowly but mighty beresford DACs, Cambridge Audio components (amps, CD etc) and mordaunt short speakers before getting better components like the Transporter/SBT, schiit gungnir, LFD Mark IV, then Mono Blocks, the Lavardin IS (for 2 weeks only!) Proac Tritowers then ending up with the amazing Proac D80. That was a few many years back.

 

So last year, I sold all my gear due to a "life event" and 3 months ago, started from scratch. I wanted simplicity (minimal tinkering) and the fewest possible components in the chain from source to speakers. Maximum of 2 components. I also wanted an involving, smooth, musical yet resolving system.

 

Now, after A LOT of researching, I decided the PS Audio Perfectwave (PWD) DAC (with bridge) and Event Opals OR Genelec 8260A were the best combo. PWD because it has streamer, DAC, preamp and balanced (XLR) and the opals... because well... they sound incredible for the price (and have room EQ to compenaste for my very minimally treated room).

 

Considering the PWD was on promo sale for just $2000 until last year, getting a mint PWD in the UK for £1500 was near impossible! I tried for 3 months. So I got myself a Cambridge audio Stream Magic 6 v2 to tide me over while waiting for a PWD to turn up. I also got myself a pair of Adam A7X while waiting for the Event Opals to turn up. Both value purchases with quite acceptable performance for the money.

 

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DAPS -> SPEAKERS DIRECT

Before the stream Magic, I connected my DAPs (Ibasso DX90 and AK100) through Y cable -XLR direct into my Adams and they sounded beautiful! The music flowed with emotion. I would have happily got the new AK120 II with its remote control and be done with it as my primary source! But I needed spotify (don't do Qobuz), internet radio (I love Psychomed Audiophile Live stream) and more functionality.

 

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STREAM MAGIC 6 V2

Hence the SM6, the CA SM6 is a very good machine for all its possible uses. It's truly the swiss army knife of streamers. It does everything effortlessly. I'm suprised its sounds this good with all the circuitry and functions it has! But alas, I found (to my ears) the sound is a bit lean and a bit harsh "Hi-fi". It lacked the smoothness and full body I was used to. My FLAC library and Spotify (on extreme) didnt get my toe tapping. But the iphone app was a breeze to use. Late night radio was good to have but the sound just left me wanting

 

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PIONEER N-70A-K

So last week, I ordered the pioneer N-70A-K which TBH was a noticable improvement over the SM6. More body, slam, heft and warmth to the music. Instruments were clearly placed and the music came through with more emotion. I could live with the Pioneer. It had only been playing for 5 hours, so it would get better as I tweaked it and it settled in. The only problem was... I'm a couch potato and for £999 retail, it has no preamp and I need a volume control. The pioneer is going back in a few days.

 

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CONCLUSION

My Opals are due this week, so I can't wait to hear these with the pioneer and my DAPs. TBH, I think I'll never be truly happy with the SM6. I would have loved the usual suspects Naim UnitiQute or the NAD etc but they sadly dont have full combo of streamer, DAC, preamp and balanced (XLR) outputs. I considered the Linn Streamer, but its wayyy out of my budget. I'm sure I'll still updgrade to the PWD or the upcoming CA 851N (maybe?)... the minimalist search continues…

Submerge in the music...

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  • 1 year later...

But alas, I found (to my ears) the sound is a bit lean and a bit harsh "Hi-fi". It lacked the smoothness and full body I was used to. My FLAC library and Spotify (on extreme) didnt get my toe tapping....

 

Old post but i google it and can not pased not comment it. Im sorry but it sounds like completly not true. Stream magic is not lean because it has full body sound. It ads low end and mass to every system it is connected.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry buddy. I ditched the sm6. Got the ps audio perfectwave dac with opals. Then finally ditched them all and got the Kef x300a. I'm not changing these kefs unless they make a model with optical inputs. They are nearly ls50 clones! Amazing sound for peanuts

Submerge in the music...

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Sorry buddy. I ditched the sm6. Got the ps audio perfectwave dac with opals. Then finally ditched them all and got the Kef x300a. I'm not changing these kefs unless they make a model with optical inputs. They are nearly ls50 clones! Amazing sound for peanuts

 

Nice combo.

David

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