Hifi is about matching. I have tried matching the various amplifiers with different speakers and pre amplifiers. These mixing and matching has been a very interesting exercise. Different combination will ahve different kind of sound reproduction.
In the hifi journey, one's direction is very important as it will determine what type of hifi equipments one should acquire. I have gone through a fast crashed course in "playing" with the various vintage hifi equipements.
Brands that I like includes Marantz, Mcintosh, Radio Craftsmen, Leak, Western Electric, Fishers, Quad, Rogers, Tannoys. One of the friend has asked me why I didnt try brand like Eico, Heathkit or Dynaco?
The reason is perhaps due to its re-sale values. Since in the hifi journey, when one is searching for one's "ideal" set up, there will be many incidents where one has to "dispose" off "unwanted" or unsuitable equipements. As such, going for the "first tier" amplifiers such as Marantz, Mcintosh etc are a safer and more secured bets as their resale values are higher as there are constant demand and at the same time limited supply. Like what one of my hifi friend in Shenzhen always say, if millions of Americans during the 1940s-60s did NOT consider the EXXX brand to be tier one brand, how is it possible that one in Hong Kong can suddenly "discovered" it to be a tier one brand? What an interesting and philosophical obesrvation, I must say...
During the course of my hifi path, I have realised that unknown brands such as Leaks & Brooks has attracted me a great deal. For me, the ideal power watts ranges from 5 watts to not more than 15 watts since my favourate speakers are highly sensitive one.. Thus, one should start one hifi journey with what music one listen followed by the selection of speakers basing on the listening environment. Follwing which, one can then decide which power amplifiers one need to find.
There was some very good advice from a guru in Malaysia which I have found from a forum highlighted by KM Ng:
1) Start your hi fi quest backwards - always begin with your room and its dimensions. Get a correct sized speaker in relation to the room size (car and engine). Then get the correct and matching amp in terms of power and control to drive the speaker (engine and gear box). For the rest front end, the choice is yours but neutrality, low noise and high resolution are recommended.
2) Buy the best recordings to play in your system - the results will transform the system to another level or show faults for corrective action. Lots of audiophiles buy expensive equipment but stint on good recordings which is pretty unbelievable! You can buy the best equipment anytime, but the best recordings are much more difficult to get.
3) In the absolute best set up, you can sit anywhere in the room and you'll not hear any sound coming from the speakers (playing a good recording). In fact, even if you're 2 feet in front of the speaker, you'll not hear it!
4) Every component and accessory in your system counts, down to the how you place the cones under your components (materials, size and weight, tip up or down, how close or far apart, etc).