Long-term lover of the hi-fi thread, first time poster.
Looking for thoughts and advice. I have ran the same set-up since the 90's and never had any inclination to change anything: Naim CD3, NAIT3, a pair of Musical Technology speakers and a REL Q-Bass. The REL has been unplugged for a while due to its menacing effects on my neighbours.
However, my musical habits have changed and I am tentatively thinking of making changes to my set-up. I no longer use my CD player since building a media PC and adding a HRT Music Streamer II DAC. In fact, since building my HTPC it has made CD, DVD and Blu Ray completely redundant and most of my media has been either hidden away or jettisoned completely. I never thought I'd end up embracing soulless, heartless FLAC files but I'm not terribly obsessive over sound reproduction, and this means I have ended up with a huge and more diverse selection of music - and isn't enjoying the music the whole point?
I have been toying with buying new speakers. Mine look tired and I have been looking at them for years on end, and I suspect I might be missing out by holding onto them. I've been scouring the interweb for Mission 752 and 753 Freedoms, principally because these were completely unaffordable at the time and now people seem keen on getting them out of their houses for the sort of money I wouldn't miss. I'd probably be able to ditch the subwoofer completely too. On the other hand this would create two problems: these speakers seem to like a reasonable amount of wattage and my Naim only produces 30W, so I'd probably need a new amplifier, and I don't know if I can part with my current speakers or my NAIT!
The speakers are Musical Technology Kestrels, sold to my by Graham at Hull's Zen Audio. He really liked them for the price and I loved the quirky, skinny floorstanders (although you really need a subwoofer to partner the 5" bass / mid drivers). So I am thinking, as a secondary option: dismantle the Kestrels and replace the drivers with posher, more upmarket examples, and at the same time have the cabinets re-finished to replace the tired (and hideous) black ash. These looked great when I lived in a bedroom at my parents house and also looked great in my university houses, but these days they look - well - like bedroom and university speakers.
This would not be a DIY project. I work full-time and when I'm home my audio gear is on pretty much constantly, so I don't have the time to invest in getting it right. I know someone that can re-finish the cabinets - but as for replacing the internals, I have no clue and do not want to spend hours researching.
Is anyone able to point me in the direction of how I decide what specification drivers I should get (starting from how I measure the size / fitting??) and then how do I buy a crossover that is suitable without having to design one myself (there is no way I would ever attempt this). I've seen ready-build crossovers but I have no idea whatsoever what I am looking at!
Alternatively, anyone looking to part with a decent pair of 753 Freedoms?
The Freedoms are not as good as the original 753. Sorry. The tweeter used really took away the forwardness that sold the 753 by the container load.
The original 753 was rated at between 25w and 150w but will happily sit with a 250 amplifier. They were 6 Ohm.
As for your original speakers' drive units - whats wrong with them? If the surrounds are ok and the cones themselves appear sound, then there is very little reason to replace them. It is very rare for a driver to deteriorate at the cone, it is nearly always the surround, especially if foam has been used. Butyl rubber stays pliable and 'fresh' for decades unless exposed to direct sunlight for years. The only speaker where this doesnt hold true is for some of the old KEF Reference series - the internal bass drivers literally used to flap themselves apart.
You can refresh the existing crossover by replacing the capacitors with matching new ones - very easy. Beyond that, cabinets can be refreshed with a new coat of paint or vinyl wrap and so on.
A small sub might help reinforce the low end - plenty about
As for amplification, Naim has its own 'sound' and its own way of doing things, 'new' isnt quite what it was unless you have deep pockets to match the Naim... Sure there is plenty of cheap amplification about but older does seem to sound better - just look at the prices of top end UK and Japanese amps. Even a lot of the budget integrateds of a few decades ago fetch silly money when compared to new.
Like you, I havent played more than one or two CDs in 10 years since I went over to storing it all on hard drives. PC's and laptops are very noisy and the sound can be very compressed but an off-board or quality sound card sorts this.
At home, I am currently running 3 systems side by side, much to the missus' annoyance!
1 is the TV, it has its own built in amp so runs some very sexy and efficient aluminium Technics SB-F2 with a small sub hidden away. This makes the TV easy to use for the missus when she's glued to True Movies or Judge Judy.
2 is the home cinema system comprising of a battered TAG McLaren Audio AV32R prototype processor and DAC (VERY high quality - despite its age, I'm loath to part with it as I have yet to find anything that does a better job), equally battered Mission 753, a bizarre and bonkers 150w per channel Kenwood power amp, Bose Accustimass for the surrounds and a little Aiwa 60w power amp. I used to run a huge JVC PL-10 power amp but as this ballooned in value a few years back I decided to sell it http://www.thevintageknob.org/jvc-M-L10.html
3 is a basic BOSE 301 III/ Technics SU-V6 and an iPod dock
I have yet to find a speaker to replace the 753, mine are now 20 years old. A naughty Linn power amp blew the tweeters so there are some Nikko drive units in their until I can source something else.
The Bose system sounds great. I have always liked the Bose 'sound' and the mate well with big old Japanese amps. I might get some 901s one day.