Look what santa brought me for xmas

Admittedly Santa looks remarkably like, um...me! And his elf helpers rather the spitting image of Paul, Col, Justin and Doc ;-)

So, having had Doc's Claymore and Wharfdale Glendale on loan for 2014, I have finally got my arse into gear to start setting up a system of my own. I'm still sourcing with the Pure radio (love it), Project Debut (at least until the steroids kick in, and I can lift Paul's Michell Gyro SE on plinth, and claim it as my prize!), and my PC via JRiver. But have purchased myself a Claymore II, and a pair of Castle Chesters, as seen below in my expertly attached ( :D ) photos! (I dont know how to make them smaller. Sorry. Can some one help in the edit??)



So, what do I make of it all so far?
Well, all in all, I'm pleased. Getting pleaseder as the evening rolls on (and not even any whisky helping with that!). I was expecting something airy, not bass heavy (tho anything would sound light on bass after the Glendales in my tiny room!) so I am actually quite happy that there is more bass than I was expecting. Speaker wise, definitely happier with them on spikes and without grilles and pushed back as far as I can get them. Paul did advise me I might find the treble a bit bright, but so far I'm quite happy. A little glassy with a very few tracks so far (Nina SImone - Rags and old Iron), but not at all in some tracks where I'd expected it (like in some Eric Dolphy flute stuff). 

Because both speakers and amp are new to me, I'm not sure what to accredit to what sound wise. The system is really enjoying electronica and vocals. And both Castles and Claymore are handsome fellas (I'm loving the power button on the Claymore II which is didier than on the Claymore I. But need to retrain my muscle memory which keeps confusing the balance dial for the volume!) 

I don't feel I've got it quite right for everything yet. Some stuff (a few dance and funk tunes) sounds a bit lethargic at the mo. I'm not sure what the technical term for that would be or what I can address there. But, as ever, I am really enjoying how different systems accentuate different aspects of tunes. And I am looking forward to getting some M8 spikes (I only had M6s to make do with today) so I can play more with positioning.

So, what's next? Well, I do need to do something about my cabling. Not so much what cable I'm using (I'm afraid I just don't have the ears to hear the differences there!) but rather how much of it I seem to have going on at the mo! Want to get some banana jacks too. Then, I'm going to have a go at changing the cartridge on my TT - to an ortofon red (not sure how that will go). And I'm wondering about a DAC. Any thoughts on that appreciated.

So there we are. That's my first go at a system of my very own. (as you will see from photo, hopefully a bit better than my attempts at installing a log burner!!) Thanks everyone who has given me invaluable help and patience.


    edited December 2015

    Had a pair of these exact speakers as my first ever pair of new hifi speakers and nothing since has offered the wonderful airy sound stage that these can conjure up.  IME, need careful positioning to get their best and the upper HF can need a little taming to bring the lower frequencies into balance, but other than that, a fab design from Castle who knew their stuff.  The company today is not Castle...modern castle speakers are wholly Chinese owned/manufactured (as with so other companies) and vastly inferior to the originals designed by Andy Hill.

    That Michell remains firmly nailed down Helen, but like excaliber, if you can lift it out, you are worthy to take it!
  • The speakers look great. :-)
    Really pleasing to read that they are bedding in well.
    I imagine that a new amp - speaker setup is often likely to be a significant change, so it's significant that you're immediately pleased with things. Santa clearly knows his stuff.
    I can't remember ever having heard any Castle speakers, but from what you and Paul report, it seems they are a force to be reckoned with. Handsome too! Personally I've always visually preferred the "inverted" driver arrangement in 2-ways.
  • Thanks both. I'm taking Paul up on an offer to try some HF taming to see what that does for us too. 
    It seems to be worth bringing them in a little aswell in order to make the most of the very limited clear wall space I have :-)
  • Neighbours away this weekend, so free rein here. Am listening to "A Collection of Short Stories" by Reload. Love this album. And so does my new set up ! I've got the opportunity to listen to what it has been trying to tell me all week...."turn me up LOUD!!!" It's giving me really beautiful spread across the frequencies, picking out individual sounds nicely, but holding everything together with plenty of body. Feel like I'm really letting the Claymore II do its bizz and have taken the system off its leash. Really vibrant. Great stuff :-)
  • Sounds like you're delighted with the new setup!
    Excellent news. :-)
  • Yep, nothing like turning up the wick to more enjoyment out a system. My Claymore 1 also comes alive with more volume.

    Enjoy while the neighbours are gone!
  • Yep, a good day here on the hifi front. And to top it off, I went in to town to spend my £20 Xmas voucher. Came home with this little lot :-) And the neighbours still away, so lots of opportunity still to play them to full effect.

  • Well, who's a lucky girl then.........

    Hows your hearing ? :)
  • :-D Hearing doing ok. Unfortunately, amp not so much. Have managed to do a damage to the left channel somehow. Intermittent crackling started last night. Oops :-/ 
  • Oh suzy how have you done that dose it crackle all the time. Sorry suzy.
  • Possibly just dirt in the volume pot, or source selector going south............
  • ...on all inputs or have you only tried one? Check also simpler causes like a bad connecting lead i.e. swap in a different set. Swap the speakers over, left to right, (the connections at the amp is easiest) just to check they are not the source i.e. if crackle changes side with speaker cable swap they are innocent. Try playing the CDP through a different line in too.

    Try also giving the input selector a little jiggle when playing, not enough to change input, whe're checking for a dodgy connection on the switch itself. If the crackle changes or stops while-a-jigglin' you probably require a new switch which is a very cheap fix.
  • Ah, funny you say dirt in the volume pot, Quickie, as this was my ex-hubbie's suggestion too. So hopefully just this, but I fear it is something more. It's distressing, but Im doing my best to stay calm. It put pay to me making my way through my new albums for sure though!

    No, Justin, it's not all the time. But quite frequent, and getting more so I think. It just started last night. Hoping to get it looked at in the next few days though, so will let you know when all is well again. I'm sure it will be. And I'll learn a bit more about amps from the experience (ever the optimist!! I'm just crying on the inside!) 

  • It could also be something like a failing output transistor on one channel given the age of the amp, and if that was the case, the last thing I'd be doing is using it with valued loudspeakers until it was checked out as speaker failure could be a very real possibility if driven with an amp exhibiting a fault in the output section.

    It really needs putting on a scope to find out.

    Switches can be cleaned and dodgy joints are easy enough to sort but a mucky switch doesn't show rapid deterioration like you describe.  Failing output components often do, as do failing joints.  Not worth risking your new speakers with until it's checked out.  My advice fwiw would be to have that amp properly serviced, and perhaps buy a stand in replacement until such time as that can be done, which you can then sell on and recover your purchase costs with (if you buy the right amp).

    I've seen too many people ruin prized loudspeakers due to taking risks with ageing and unserviced amplifiers hence the advice.
  • Good caution that.

    I was thinking there may be some news on this by now, Suzy?
  • Its nothing to do with the output transistors.

    I agree about not running any decent speakers with the amp in this condition though.
  • It could be.  Point is, whatever the cause, it really ought to be checked and serviced and Colin's the man when perhaps he's feeling better!
  • Quickie is right it has new FETS in it I did them, it could be lots of thing, so please send it to me ASAP Helen.
  • Suzy, I have to be at Bristol hospital on Weds if that is any help, I be coming by train, so no big box please. Call me
  • Thanks for all your words of wisdom here. Sorry for delay in replying. It's a bit chaotic here this week with one thing and another.

    So, yes, Paul, heeding your words, I have been anxious about preserving my new speakers and not taking any risks. Have tried to get it in with a local repair guy as I didnt want to pressure Col when he's under the weather, but with no luck. So am really relieved at your offer, Col, as I was going to pm you this afternoon to see if you were feeling well enough to take a look. I'm really grateful. For the week it was all running, it all sounded bloody marvellous !!

    In the mean time, there is a neat bit of irony. My ex had been so inspired by hearing my new set up, he'd decided to update his amp. Which means his old one is going spare for the duration until the Claymore (fingers crossed) is happy again. So that's what I'm up to this afternoon.

    Will pm you a little later Col, if that's ok.

    On another note, I do finally have a lintel holding up my chimney stack. So not all bad news :-)
  • Hi Suzy how much are you looking to spend on a DAC? Presumably you will keeping your PC as a music source? In which case you'll need a DAC that has a USB input - which a lot of modern DAC's will have.
  • Hi James, spend wise, I'm not sure. May depend on how much it costs to get the amp back up and running.
    But DACs are new to me, so I'm happy for all advice. Yes, I'll keep PC as a source.
  • Well done Col for coming to the rescue!  Hadn't appreciated you'd replaced the FETS,hence I assume Quickie's comments!
  • Col to the rescue indeed. Claymore 2 now safely home. In fact arrived Wednesday but, thanks to Ofsted kindly deciding to pay a visit this week, all hifi fun has been on hold until today. 

    As well as replacing a bi-polar cap.....

    "The CD and the input to the right of CD are now DC blocked, the reason is I think you are getting a small DC from your source. This should fix that, I have also up the Quiescent current in the OP MOS FETS this will make it sound much richer than before "


    1)most importantly, having tried out my various sources (pc/ tt/dig rad/cd - no purist here!!) no left channel crackling. Phew!

    2)Tunes sounding full and rich. As mentioned before, the system does seem at its happiest when really driven. And, with the spikes fitted now, and careful placing against my limited wall space, I am getting adequate bass.

    3) I've been obliged to try and decode some more of the acronyms Col fires at me in the mistaken belief I have any idea of the principles or lexicon of electronics! My understanding is slowly making it out of minus figures !

    And, almost as a little celebratory bonus, Radio 6 just completely randomnly decided to bung on some Mission, so I could relive my Goth 80s full blast. Just me and Wayne Hussey on a rainy Saturday pm. Fab. 

    Thanks Col.
  • Well this is all good news.
    Love the little extra mods thrown in by Uncle C... :-)
  • Not forgetting the RED/GREEN/BLUE flashing light when you turn it up to loud. >:) :D
  • edited February 2016
    One can buy these sorts of things you know...

    They are marketed as classroom noise management devices, but could be used in a hifi application. ;-)

    Better though, are these apps that are springing up... :-)

    A "calmness counter" lovely. We all need one.

  • Sometimes when I REALLY turn up the volume, I get flashing lights outside the house too  8-|

    Thanks for app link, Doc. Am going to use that with my GCSE resit groups !!
  • Docfoster said:
    One can buy these sorts of things you know...

    They are marketed as classroom noise management devices, but could be used in a hifi application. ;-)

    Better though, are these apps that are springing up... :-)

    A "calmness counter" lovely. We all need one.

    I could do with one of those when I am testing amps to warn me about care in the community for my neighbours hearing poor devils. 
  • Col, you need a mic to pick up the ambient noise in your neighborhood, invert the phase and play it back out the windows at 90dB.

    If you can hear anything at all it will need adjustment! ;)

    SECA silence, bliss!
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