"I have nothing but praise for Donald.
I bought a pair of Cyrus power amps from eBay with Donald acting as the intermediary and from the outset found his responsiveness and customer focus to be an unusual and very refreshing change from the norm. This was further reinforced when one of the amps failed (nothing at all to do with Musicarch) and after some very brief discussion was replaced.
If you are looking for a customer focused, knowledgeable and friendly service then I would most definitely recommend Donald and Musicarch."
"I am commenting on my experience with the new kit I got from Donald a couple of months ago. The kit replaced a much more expensive set up that I had built up over 5 years, with which I was quite happy with.
It started with a fortunate encounter with Donald over a Sub I bought from him. I was amazed that he was prepared to deliver it in person from Dundee to Dunstable, but he did. And, as the story goes, I didn’t look back after that encounter.
I subsequently auditioned some new kit in my own home, again brought down from Dundee by Donald, and then purchased a complete new set up, comprising: Eclipse TD510 speakers, which of themselves were a revelation, a Mytek Manhattan DAC, a Benchmark AHB2 Amplifier, a Mac mini with a Hard Drive and the requisite music management software to feed the DAC, an Isol-8 Mains conditioner, and new high quality connections throughout.
I can only describe the resultant sound as magical, with the added ability of the DAC to play DSD (which I had hitherto not really heard about much) which further raised the sonic bar further. The Benchmark amp is amazingly small, yet powerful, and importantly, needs virtually no warm up time. Switch it on and it is ready to go.
The help and attention to my sonic cause over the last few months by Donald is nothing short of unbelievable. His knowledge, determination, good spirit and great sense of humour knows no bounds. I have never come across an individual and a company like Musicarch before, and I have no hesitation in recommending both to anyone seeking sonic nirvana.
I count myself fortunate to have met Donald, and now consider Donald as a very good friend of mine.
However, I would add that, as ever, there is a price to pay for any prospective customer, and I feel I have to warn you. You will need an abundant supply of Nespresso coffee, and some high quality single malt whisky, but a small price to pay in my humble opinion.
Hope this helps those out there who appreciate the best equipment and service at an amazingly affordable price."
"I had never contacted Donald before wanting to purchase a power supply for my DAC. They unfortunately didn't have the one in stock I originally wanted, but were extremely helpful in finding me a much better quality supply at a very reasonable price.
Donald could not have been more helpful, the PS arrived and outperformed expectations, and I had further contact from Donald checking I was happy and offering further help if necessary.
An extremely positive experience, and I have every intention of seeking them out in future when finances permit further upgrading."
"I found Donald through an online search when I was looking to buy a Project Turntable. I am very glad that I contacted him because from the initial enquiry right through to the after sales contact the entire procedure has been a pleasure. Donald kept me updated on the order and delivery and followed up with after sales contact to ensure customer satisfaction.
With Donald you certainly get that personal touch that you could never get in a chain store and with very competitive prices."
"Having purchased quality equipment in the past from Don , I was now after something truly special from him, as I was eager to hear the new designs that he told me about recently. Don NEVER stops in trying to find the absolute best in hi fi at every price point. I had a lovely 300B SE valve power amp from him, which was superb in it's own right, but having been bitten by "upgradeitis", I wanted something truly world class, but not at "sell your house first" prices. Needless to say, Don came up trumps with a few solutions for me. He told me about his new bespoke designs, and offered to demonstrate his gear to me at his premises in Dundee. I was very curious, so I flew over from Belfast to sample what he had on offer. Well, just by seeing his amps in the flesh had me drooling already, and I just knew that I would find something that would tickle my fancy!
Don knew I was considering some valve single ended mono block amplifiers, and I ended up listening to his aptly named "cat's whiskers" model. He played them through a gorgeous pair of "Hedland" Horn speaker cabinets, fitted with Lowther DX3 loudspeakers. My god I thought...I had never heard anything like it before. Such an infectious mix of power, finesse, transparency, detail etc, all beautifully balanced, and above all, easy to listen to, without being tiring. I remember looking over at Don and saying " I just have to have this gear", and ended up buying both the "cat's whiskers" mono's, and the Hedlund Horns.
Don brought my new gear over with him to N.Ireland, and set it all up for me.....not many dealers would do that for you these days! He spent a lot of time making sure my speakers were correctly placed, and that I was happy......I most certainly was and still am! Don truly is a great chap who has immense knowledge of the hi fi industry, and is extremely passionate about what he does......a true specialist in selecting the very best for every pocket. WELL DONE DON!!"
"I thought I knew Hi-Fi, until I contacted Donald . I was in the market for an amp/speaker set-up for my small conservatory and the mainstream offers seemed reasonable and most of the amps I looked at would also allow me to hook up my Squeezebox which is my main music server for the house. One huge snag though...... a standard conservatory shelf is 30cm deep, nearly all amps are deeper than that, so, what to do??
A spur-of-the-moment search for somewhere in Dundee and the first site to pop up was Donald's. I called and we exchanged a few emails as he began his selfless quest to get me what I wanted. I had given myself a budget, money wasn't a real obstacle but I didn't see the point in overspending for a relatively small area. With a few possibilities discussed, Donald pointed me in the direction of the Eclipse TD-M1 package. I loved the idea of such an unusual design and the unobtrusive nature of the speakers met with the approval of a very important person, my wife.
So, we arranged a time for a demonstration of the TD's; I met Donald, a lovely, genuine man with an obvious passion for and knowledge of all things Hi-Fi, some of the gear he has around the house reminded me of props from film sets but they all work, believe me, he let me hear some amazing sound from incredible speakers. But I digress, back to the TD-M1's. I chose a couple of tracks, Donald chipped in with some fab blues tunes but the defining moment came when he played Johnny Cash's version (at my request) of Solitary Man. Oh! Dear Lord! the vocal had every hair on my body on end and I had never heard such clarity from guitar fretwork, and all of this on brand new speakers, I shudder to think what they will sound like once they are 'run-in'. I left pretty clear in my mind that this was what I wanted, with the cost being a bit over my original figure I needed to take some soak time and discuss the purchase, as I always do, with my wife. She knew I wanted the TD's so I was soon back in touch to agree the deal with Donald.
A few days later I was back to see Donald to collect my new toys. This was on 8th May so I have now had the speakers for close to a month and I am utterly delighted, every use sounds richer and fuller as the speakers break-in. At 25 watts you might think the output would not be all that powerful but the unit delivers a real punch with unquestionable quality, I've played music while pottering around the house and I can hear it perfectly from any room and even out in the garden where the music seems to soar like an eagle in flight. Apple Airplay allows effortless streaming so I've had loads of fun with playlists from i-tunes. If you decide to buy TD-M1's, you will not be disappointed, more likely exhilarated.
Donald comes across as an unassuming man with a passion for Hi-Fi and his goal is to please you and impartially advise you without any obligation whatsoever on your part. Believe me though, once you listen to what he has to say and consider the options he suggests it is very likely you will buy from him. Donald is interested in you, the person, not just you, the customer and since buying my speakers I have kept in touch with him as I intend to do in the future.
Wherever you are in the world, consider Musicarch for you Hi-Fi needs, Donald will go out of his way to help you."
"I've known Donald for about a year now, and with him some of the highest quality hifi I've ever encountered. This is to give you an idea of the realm he inhabits, where £2000 on cabling is the norm, so when it came to testing out his latest 300B monobolcs, it was with perverse glee that I produced an antique and unadulterated Linn LP12, and a cross section of vinyl to see what they could do.
We started the afternoon listening to the younger brother of this amp pair, a base model 300b. Having heard the various iterations of this very fine amp fed a stream of high quality digital tracks I've always had a soft spot for it's sheer grunt and resolution. Through the tricky (read noise floor) 16 ohm Lowthers the sound floor was very low and the sound, easily the best I'd heard yet. The monos, I was assured, were so much better.
We started listening from cold, the amps warming as we went. Initially, bass on the trusty Stone's Honky Tonk Woman was on the light side (boy oh boy it arrived about 15 mins later) and this marginally overemphasized the guitar / vocal register in the track. Having said that, even at this early stage, with eyes closed, Jagger's head was just that. Lifesize, pinpoint definition and placement centre stage. I've never experienced that in all my years of listening. Given time to warm up, the amps levelled out, producing titanic bass when required, as well as oodles of detail in among a very clear 3D soundstage - to the point where lesser (though still high) quality track encoding was easily discernable. You only WANT to feed these siblings the very best, just to let them show off with the material.
So far, so digital, but what about the real test? The phonostage was an elderly pro-ject version, complete with Henley designs wallwart, the cartridge a high output Denon DL160 mounted in an Alphason Xenon arm. Quality old kit, with a selection of 50 - 20 year old vinyl, some well loved and well-worn favourites (Leonard Cohen and an original pressing of Led Zep II), some 'test' records which let the system in question play (Kate Bush, Grace Jones, Rumble Fish Soundtrack and John McLaughlin trio at the festival hall), and some Tom Waits for timbre and ability to reproduce real instruments and thAt voice.
Having two vinyl playback setups at home, the Linn is the slightly less analytical but possibly more musical of the two. Tom Waits had everything you could ask for - the voice suspended in the air in front of your face, you could practically walk around each instrument, almost seeing the drumstck hitting the skin, or the finger hitting the piano / squeezebox key and each individual sound having so much weight.. and detail. The current reserves and therefore grip required to sustain a sudden dynamic surge in the music passages was impressive enough, but more impressive was the immediate grip on the quiet passages once these explosions had passed. We ploughed through every record, each generating superlatives from us both, even the well worn Led Zep sounding clear as a bell (behind a thin veil of wear). It was all in there in a very non-fatiguing presentation and often we just let a whole side play through after the initial excitement of 'can I put this on next?'. Surely an indication that something was very, very right. The dinner bell from home was the reason I had to leave, but given a bigger pile of vinyl, I'd have happily camped out in Donald's hallway.
Donald assured me before I made the trip through to see what all the fussin' was about, that the Monos would spoil me. He wasn't wrong, I'm saving already."
"I was a little apprehensive about sending my Teac CD player into the unknown for repair. But I needn't have worried. The service received from Donald was most efficient and friendly with it. The CD player was returned within 2 weeks fully repaired and is working well. The icing on the cake was the perfect packing of the parcel on the return leg. Never seen anything like it - the parcel was packed in such a way as not to damage the original box. The cost of repair was underestimated, and I would have appreciated a brief engineer's report, not to mention the return of the transport lock key, even if it doesn't work. Having said that, I would certainly use Donald again and recommend him to anyone."
"Many thanks for your excellent & fast service. Donald pulled out all the stops to ensure that our broken CD player was picked up straight after the weekend and the team did everything to keep us informed of the damage and fix it quickly. It was back and working like new within a week. Thanks everyone and we will definitely use Donald again."
Just like to say many thanks for the repair to my NAD amplifier, couldn't believe the sound when hooked it back in, just show how you maybe don't realise something is deteriorating when you are listening to it every day.
Sounds as good as new."
"I have experienced quite a few Hi-Fi shops in the past, but I have to say that Donald has given me the most effortless and ultimately satisfying experience. Donald will do everything he can selflessly, to make sure he delivers exactly what is required. With Donald , you will get excellent customer service, with thoughtful advice from someone with great experience and knowledge.
The service I received from him was intelligently focused on maximising my requirements. My original enquiry was quickly dealt with and effortlessly processed. But the service does not stop there, you will be informed of every step of your order and any questions you have will be quickly answered with honesty. If Donald is available to reply to your email, it doesn't matter what time is, he will do his best to reply.
With some further friendly conversing on my audio setup, Donald did everything he could to help me, offering his thoughts and experience, but ultimately giving me the option to decide for myself, as he always insisted if I wasn't satisfied there was never any pressure to make any purchase, he just wanted to make sure I was happy first. But I have to say on each occasion Donald was correct.
I honestly never thought my system could sound so good with just a few tweaks. I now realise that I have not been using anywhere near the full potential of some of my equipment. I just wish that I had come to Donald much earlier; if I had I would have saved a lot of money.
Thanks to some excellent advice from Donald, I now have a sound system that really excites me every time I think about it, each time I do I cannot wait to create another playlist and enjoying all my music like I've never heard it before.
Thank you Donald."
I have played most of the albums and have greatly enjoyed them; there is some great stuff here. But that’s the point I played the albums and with the possible exception of the Passion Week I didn’t set out to listen to the difference between formats. Then I had a eureka moment, Sue has been away for the weekend so I took the opportunity to do some serious late night listening. I went back to The Pizza Tapes (it kind of passed me by the first time that I heard it) and settled down with third glass of wine in hand. The sound quality is stunning, it is a very well recorded album anyway and the playing is superb but the 24 bit/88.2 kHz playback is jaw dropping. Everything is ratcheted up more than a notch. The hi-res brings a whole new dimension. There is greater presence, the artists sound as if they are in the room with you. The soundstage is more three dimensional, deeper and wider, with greater separation between instruments. Individual notes are precise and sharp and start and finish more crisply. Vocals have a greater 3-D quality.
The difference isn’t incremental it is fairly dramatic. I am sold; the hi-res brings a whole new dimension. There is a clarity, naturalness, crispness and presence which I have not heard before on CD on my CDP in this system. So how do I hear more without replacing my entire music collection and spending a fortune?
None of this at this stage says anything about the DAC or the HI Face or the cable or even JRiver only that hi-res flac is a substantial improvement over CD. Whether it matches analogue is another matter. On my limited TT etc. it might, but it does not have that analogue sound, indeed it’s very digital in character but that is no longer the criticism that it would be in other circumstances.
"I am highly impressed with the service I have received from Donald. It is not only the best I have ever experienced while dealing with audio stores, but it was the most professional I have ever had anywhere!
I was looking around the internet to purchase 2m Tellurium Black speaker cables but everywhere I looked, the shortest length available was 3m. Some stores which I asked never replied, and others replied that this cable is available in minimum 3m length without checking it.
Donald replied to me that he is going to ask the manufacturer if they will be able to produce a 2m pair for him. The same day, I received an e-mail back from Donald with confirmation that within a couple of days I should be able to receive the cable. The price was highly competitive as well.
There were some minor problems with the delivery but it was caused by postal service and Donald himself, contacted the post office and made a complaint.
Donald is very communicative and very keen to help and give advice so he always makes sure that his customer is happy. I was surprised that some e-mails that I got back from him were written just for me long after the closing hours of his store.
Well… my system is waiting for some upgrades and I feel like there is no need for me to look anywhere else. I will definitely come back to him whenever I will be looking for advice or to purchase any audio component.
Thanks and regards"
300b SE amplifier review
"Having just gone through a tough few months and having to sell most of my system to clear some debts, it was heartbreaking to do so as it took me years getting to the last system I had, ART Carissa power amp and Graaf 13.5 Pre amp. YBA WD202 Dac. This was a really superb system and I was really happy with it and was a keeper, (couldn't think what was going to better these.)
Well having sold up and getting sorted again and having a few quid was able to get going again so asked around for a SE integrated valve amp. Didn’t have funds to get a pre so int would do me nicely or even a power amp with vol control. I also needed a new dac as I sold my YBA as well. So after searching and getting nowhere I got a mail from a guy called Donald who runs a hi fi dealership in Dundee , who sells some very hi end gear inc. Audionote, Jeff Roland, audio physic, Wadia, antelope, eclipse etc. etc. So all nice gear.
He offered me a trial of his new project; He has a couple of friends who (now retired) used to work as senior eng for the BBC and did a lot of work on early valve gear. Together they have made a 300b SE power amp with vol control, a 300b SE pair of monoblocks, a 2a3 PP pair of mono blocks and a new pre amp.
Donald said "If you’re looking for a good SE power amp with vol control I have a demo here we have designed and are now ready to market" He told me " have a trial and see what you think, and if this amp is not as good as you've heard up to £10k then full refund no questions asked". So, why not, what’s to lose? I get a nice new amp to try and no outlay if its not for me. This Guy I must state now is the best dealer I have ever met, he didn't know I was from Northern Ireland and had offered free personal delivery by himself to my home wherever I was in the UK. When I told him where I was based he said, no problem! When are you at home? I will get the ferry over and deliver it to you, set it up and we can have a nice day listening to it. OMG! Where would you get it? just so happened that week I was told to go to Carlisle with work and when I told Donald I would be on the mainland that week he was on holiday in the south of England but he had the amp with him as he was doing a demo down there, so he offered to drive up and deliver to me in Carlisle! What a guy!
Anyway he came up delivered to me at my hotel and we had a really nice chat about hi fi life interests and his amps, he had the 2a3 monos in the car as well and they look lovely with a nice bit of wood on the black chassis all finished to a high standard. He also left me a brand new wadia 121 (as I told him when we chatted before this I would be looking for a dac as well sometime) he said try that and if you like it keep it and pay me, if not return it and I will see what else I can hook you up with once you tell me what you didn’t like.
So what's the amp like? bloody stunning! I honestly have never owned an amp that sounds so well. It is very understated looking, plain black slim chassis with 4 huge Hammond trannies, actually like the plain jane looks now after owning some very bling looking gear ( Art and Hovalnd) Inside is very sparse with lovely kit in there, Black gates Mills etc. but oh the sound, it is only 8 watts per side but I have yet to hear it run out of steam it just gets louder without loosing the sound quality, and what sound quality it is, liquid is a description you read about all the time with valve amps and to be honest I wasn't sure what that really meant, well I do now! its pure uncluttered detail with no nasty sibiliance, no grain or hardness, warm but not overly so that it all gets mussy, no siree! Its detail and soundstage are fantastic as is the top to bottom seamless nature it has. Musicians are firmly in place and you can pick out individuals in the listening space in front of you, I am seriously over the moon. I am listening to stuff that is badly produced and although you can still hear that when comparing to the well recorded stuff it’s somewhat better than I have ever heard it.
Some folk say that what you hear with Audionote amps is distortion but one that most people like, I don’t know if that’s the case or not but hell, I like the Audionote sound and have demo'd some of their serious amps, I have really wanted a meishu 300b for some time and have auditioned it several times and loved it but alas I could never afford. I would put this amp up against a Meishu anytime and firmly believe this would come out on top.
Donald is finalising the new pre amp he has commissioned to build and when its ready and passed muster he will lend me that so I can’t wait to try it. I have had some very serious pre amps in my home over the past few years and still think the Hovland HP100 is top of the pops so will be interesting to hear the new Musicarch and compare to my memories of that superb pre. Only caveat I have is that my Open baffles although very sensitive seen to get on with higher Watt amps, it’s still very very good but I heard this Musicarch amp with my mates AN-e's and the difference was not subtle it was mind blowing! so second hand AN-E speakers will be on its way soon.
In conclusion (sorry for the ramble):
This is the best amp I have ever heard in my home and one of the best I have ever heard at any price.
Donald is the Best dealer I have ever had the pleasure to meet and deal with, he offered me a product that far exceeded my expectations and delivered a service that I have never had or been offered before, a genuine nice bloke and over the past few weeks I have forged a new friendship with and I’m really happy I did. The Wadia dac is also a cracker and is staying put.
I strongly urge anyone looking for a new valve amp or pair of mono's or a pre to give Donald a call and give the Musicarch a really good try out.
Really flexible solution as you can spec to suit.
This is what is advertised on his web page.
Can be supplied with or without volume control
Upgraded tubes available to order
Single ended or balanced inputs as required
Adjusted to suit any loudspeaker impedance
Lifetime warranty (excluding tubes)
Thanks for reading"
NOTE: The full review can be found by Clicking Here.
"I'd decided to buy an Olive 04HD music server, having read many favourable reviews. Searching the web to find out the best place to buy one (all were offering a very similar price) I happened upon Musicarch who, at the time, were offering a free iPod Touch when purchasing an Olive 04HD. This was the clincher, since it offers smooth remote control and navigation of the Olive far superior to the inbuilt touch screen and the Olive remote control.
Having had a problem ordering online (now fixed) I contacted Donald at Musicarch by phone and discussed the purchase with him. He could not have been more helpful and offered sound advice on the Olive's installation. I placed the order on the Saturday and it was delivered on the following Tuesday. Excellent service and no delivery charge.
Having experienced the Olive through my existing TV Theatre Stand system, I felt I needed a new hi fi system to truly appreciate the quality of the Olive. Donald could not have been more helpful in suggesting what system might be appropriate and, importantly, did not try to persuade me to spend big bucks when I didn't have to. We decided the Eclipse TD series was a good fit and so I ordered the TDA 501 II amp with TD508 II speakers and 316SW subwoofer. Fortunately, in February, Eclipse were offering 20% discount to celebrate their tenth anniversary, so I was more than happy to take advantage of this offer. Again, delivery was very fast (and FOC).
On the subject of cabling, Donald was most helpful in the choice of cables and, again, did not try to sell me the more expensive brands. We settled on Dynamique Quest.
The system sounds great - so much more to listen to, and I know it will improve as the cables burn in.
Throughout the past few weeks I've had several chats with Donald by phone and exchanged many e-mails. His advice has always been helpful and his service is, frankly, superb. His enthusiasm knows no bounds! Musicarch will certainly be my first port of call should I decide to upgrade in the future."
Comments about our online shop
“This website is a true gem of a find on the internet... If you are into high end audio, then look no further. Don and his friendly team are on hand to help at any time of the day... This shop is definitely for the discerning audiophile (without having to worry about the impact on your wallet). Knowledge and expertise, combined with fast shipping and low prices make this the perfect place to get your hands on quality products from a wide selection of the best brands in the industry. Can recommend these guys whole heartedly."
"I recently travelled from Belfast, N. Ireland, to meet Don personally, and to get a taste of the wonderful products that he demonstrates and sells, all in the comfort of his beautiful home. On arriving at Dundee bus station, I phoned Don for directions to get to his home, and was told to stay put, as he said he would come to collect me in his car...that personal attention impressed me straight from the off!! After arriving at Don's home, I was really taken aback with the most gorgeous hi fi, lining the long wide hallway of his home. I was made very welcome, and immediately felt at home in such a great environment!
Don was very interested in me as a person, and what I wanted from my music. He let me listen to his products, which ranged from the fabulous Jeff Rowland gear to the also brilliant Audio Note range...I was more than impressed with both the products on offer and the very personal attention that Don gave me. He was not at all "pushy" with me and couldn't do enough to please me... I was even fed both days I was with Don, beautifully cooked by his lovely wife Pamela. I came away having bought some wonderful Tellurium interconnects, and will hopefully be purchasing the wonderful Jeff Rowland pre / power amps in the near future, when funds allow.
All in all, I've had a wonderful experience both meeting Don, and sampling the brilliant products he has on demo. I now consider Don and his wife Pamela, personal friends... my visit was definitely worthwhile, and I look forward to seeing him again and sampling even more heavenly equipment!"
" I ordered the Ayre QB-9 and I am very happy with the service from Donald. Donald was really helpful and open.
Also, I paid no shipping costs! Highly recommended!
"Donald, I just wanted to take the time to say a huge thanks. I am glad our paths crossed.
From my first initial cold call about the Wadia S7i, I was re-assured to be dealing with someone who shared an intense passion and appreciation for music and musical equipment. What I did not appreciate at the time was that our relationship would continue to grow even after buying the S7i from you. You have given (and continue to give) so generously and freely of your time and knowledge to open my eyes and ears to the alternative digital and high-resolution playback world outside of CDs. For this I am very grateful - I am at the start of an exciting journey of rediscovery of things I once considered as familiar in my collection/system.
Your knowledge of the MAC has allowed it to become an integral part of my playback system - indeed, it has now my principal source component thanks to your input/set-up.
Thanks also for the meticulous follow up to every detail of our conversations (eg emails to confirm details/instructions, first class postage of accessories I have asked to demo etc etc).
Lastly, I thoroughly enjoy our chats - I feel like I am speaking to a friend and fellow enthusiast each time we speak.
I would have no hesitation in unconditionally endorsing your business - both the products you carefully select for sale and the honest advice/guidance on how to achieve best results from those products. I have been buying "proper" hi-fi for over 15 years now and I have yet to come across anything close to the overall experience of dealing with you."
"I was looking to upgrade my audio system and started by reading some reviews and visiting a number of manufacturers websites and then felt that I needed some guidance on choosing the right equipment. I spent a considerable amount of time contacting hi fi dealers for advice and found that some were not very helpful or interested.
I then contacted Donald, and what a refreshing change! He was extremely helpful right from the start, providing thoughtful and constructive advice on components that I was interested in upgrading to and providing a wealth of information and knowledge on equipment that would work well together in a synergistic way. The advice and recommendations during our discussions were always with the aim of getting the most enjoyment from listening to my music and was something that they were clearly passionate about.
With help and guidance I now have an audio system from Donald that sounds wonderfully musical and is visually stunning. It is a system that I am delighted with and will get a great deal of pleasure listening to. They continue to keep in touch to ensure that I am completely satisfied with the equipment.
I have had more than just advice and guidance from Donald, he has provided an absolutely first class service and I can wholeheartedly recommend."
Supplied Products included:
Tube Technology Synergy;
Tube Technology Fusion Transport & DAC, Eclipse TD712mk2 (pair);
Eclipse TD725sw subwoofer;
Nordost Heimdall Interconnect;
Nordost Heimdall Speaker Cable;
Nordost Vishnu Mains Cable;
Quadraspire Sunko Vent Stand;
"It all started a few weeks ago, from Toronto, Canada, with a Google search that lead to the intriguing and well laid out website.
Since then, Donald has taken care of my every question with a remarkable wealth of unbiased knowledge. Their genuine love and passion for music as well (as this hobby) is immediately evident upon communicating with them. He continues to make it a priority to be certain to know every aspect of my personal tastes in music and associated equipment in order to better serve my needs in my quests for musical nirvana.
The product purchased arrived safely all the way from across the pond with what seemed like lightning fast speed and in perfect condition.
I look forward to many years in this hobby with Donald by my side, as what started off looking for a single product enquiry is quickly turning into what will be a lasting connection and friendship forever."
Supplied Products included:
Quadraspire Q4evo Stand;
"Given that Perth in Western Australia is the most isolated city on earth, I was delighted with the support Sound Aid gave me in designing, sourcing, freighting and setting up my still new reference music system. Given the enormous cost of achieving hi fidelity these days, the trust I developed in Donald was absolutely essential for me to complete the transaction from afar.
The attention to detail was profound, surpassing even my exacting demands. The execution was faultless and communication was refreshingly prompt, open and wholly pragmatic. I could not have found a finer partner in the transaction. But ultimately, thankfully, that is now in the past, and it is the system which was recommended that I am enjoying every day for it performs far beyond my every expectation in every regard.
Trust is a crucial factor in closing an expensive transaction on line these days, Donald delivered "Trust in Spades". I cannot recommend him more highly for his faultless execution of a complex material transaction.
And I just love the suggested reference music system more and more each day."
Supplied System included:
Tube Technology Synergy Integrated Amplifier;
Olive 04HD Music Server;
Eclipse TD712mk Reference Speakers;
TD725sw Reference Subwoofer;
Quadraspire Sunoko Vent T Stand;
Nordost reference cables;
"Donald goes the extra mile in providing a first class range of Hifi equipment ensuring maximum enjoyment of music.
He will ship items for delivery next day using shippers who advise almost to the minute when they will deliver. This enables home trial of equipment at your leisure without the pain of having to wait in all day. The fact that they are located in DUNDEE does not prevent a truly first class online customer service to all of their English and other internet based customers.
I advise you to review the web site and then give Donald a call to discuss your requirements."
"Hi Donald Just a quick thanks for the excellent service and advice from you. Your recommendations were excellent and your enthusiasm infectious!
You advised and demonstrated personally the products in my own home which made a huge difference from a demo room and didn't put me under any pressure to buy which is very rare amongst many dealers.
The speaker cables are excellent and sound and look sublime. Credit to Daniel at Dynamique for a high quality product.
Many thanks again for your time and effort. I will be in touch soon."
Servicing / Repairs
"It is now over 2 weeks since my TT Synergy valve amplifier was returned after being repaired by Donald, and I thought it was time I gave you an update on how it was performing.
The problem (being a noisy right channel) has completely disappeared; your engineer Jim had obviously correctly diagnosed the fault. It was a bit worrying sending my expensive Amp to someone I had never met, but your various emails & phone calls to update me on progress put my mind at ease. It was also a pleasure to speak to Jim who gave me details on what he had found on strip down, what was required to repair same, and what parts he required.
It didn't help when he found out the manufacturer was in the process of moving his company from the UK to America – it made it very difficult to obtain information & parts, but you both persevered and sourced the parts required in the UK allowing Jim to complete the repair.
Since the Amp was returned fully serviced, cleaned & repaired the sound quality has gradually improved and I am totally happy with the work carried out by Sound Aid. The costs involved proved to be an inexpensive upgrade as in the past I have spent 3 times the amount on interconnects etc. that didn't manage to obtain the same level of improvement.
A big thank you to all the team at Sound Aid."
"After nearly 15 years building and upgrading my hi fi I thought I had reached the pinnacle when I bought an ART Audio Carissa 845 sig SE amp stunning thing 18w of pure class A single ended beauty and with looks to kill for. Took me years to get there and to be honest this amp was supposed to be my last "upgrade" where was I to go after an £8,000 amp? (I buy mainly second hand but still pricy enough) along with a Graaf 13.2 pre this was a special system indeed.
Well as with so much in life we all go through highs and lows, this time it was the loss of my wife’s income for best part of a year that made me panic and sell up everything I had hi fi wise. (After all luxuries have to go when times get lean.)
So after a few cold turkey months all turned around again and with a few quid stashed away I was after a system again, all I had was my DIY open baffle speakers (which are superb and replaced a very good Living Voice avatar II pair of speakers) and my music collection now ripped and stored on my Liv Zen rip serve.
I had no DAC, no Amp, and NO SOUNDS! So what to buy? I was smitten by the Carissa but no way could I afford another even if second hand. I listened to quit a few and have to admit I’m an Audio note fan but again some of the good stuff was way out of reach. I advertised for suggestions on various forums and as with so many good things a hero pops up (ok I’m ball licking now!) LOL!
But Donald contacted me and told me of his project and his hand made valve amps. Single ended class A and with a choice of valve compliment type of amp ie, power, power with volume control, mono block SE or mono block PP amps available to try he offered me the chance to hear these. I was interested and must say a little skeptical, how good can these be? Well after a long chat with Donald and what I like and how much I had to spend he recommended the 300B SE power amp with volume control, after all I had limited funds so at least this would let me get going even without a pre amp. He then recommended the little Wadia 121 DAC which has more connections than you will ever need and come on! it’s a WADIA! What’s not to like eh?
Now living in Northern Ireland is a pain when dealing with anyone on the mainland in fact some wont deal with me at all but that’s another gripe I won’t share here.
Not Donald from the offset he offered to either fly over with the kit or take the ferry over and install in my room so we could get a proper listen, jeez how many will do that? NONE! Never have I heard of such a thing and I was gob smacked.
But again fate plays a hand and I was sent to Carlisle with a works van to do some repairs in that area so Donald interrupted his holiday break and drove up to Carlisle to hand deliver these to me. Stunning guy!!
Well how is the amp one word (and this does no justice at all) STUNNING!!!!!!
Simply a wonderful understated looking amp but the workmanship and components inside are a wonder to behold, no sound sapping printed circuits here, oh no simple point to point wiring as neat and tidy as I have ever seen superb components such as Hammond trannies 4 of them!!! Black gates and mills abound everywhere brilliant!
The sound is as Donald had promised "as good as anything up to £10k” that is some claim I know but I can tell you now I have heard amps that cost 20k that don’t sound as good. in fact the best amp I ever heard was a £21k Audio Note at the Belfast show a few years back and you know what I would not swap for that now, honestly I have found what I consider to be the very best sounding amp I have ever heard. And I have heard and I have also owned a lot including Hovland, Graaf, Audio Note, Art Audio, Audion, Tube Technology, Hyperion, WAD, and a lot of others I have forgotten about. I would put the Musicarch amp above all of these including the Carissa and that is saying something I can tell you.
Is it perfect? Of course not, what would ever be? Perfection is a myth but these amps will get you a lot closer for a lot less money.
On the down side I would like to see a nice expensive decorative name badge on the front plate, also a plate on the rear with a serial number and specs on it, a nice glossy manual would be nice also as would a choice of knobs, only churlish I know but worth doing in my book to take away the slight DIY looks of my amp.
Donald’s monos with the wooden body are beautiful so they are getting there but as far as components and sound, well I’m as happy as the proverbial pig in poo!
Great dealer great service great amp. SUPER, SUPER NICE CHAP
(Can’t wait to try the pre amp next!!!! :)"
"Just a quick thanks for the truly first class online customer service from you. You really are a pleasure to do business with!
I have yet to come across anything close to the overall experience of dealing with Sound Aid. As someone else has already has written, I also was surprised that some e-mails that I got back from him were written just for me long after the closing hours of his store. Does that count for good service…??
You really are one go the "good guys"! Keep up the good work!"
"RE: Purchase of 3 x Audionote Lexus 50 Interconnects
Just to let you know I have had the opportunity to try the interconnects with my system and give them a thorough listening. These cables are excellent! They outperform my original interconnects by far. I am very pleased with them. So a big thanks to you for doing some research for me and recommending the best of the bunch.
I would also like to thank you for an outstanding service overall. We spoke 3 or 4 times over the telephone, and you were genuinely very friendly and also generous with your time and service. That was reassuring and refreshing to experience from a customer point of view and is something you don’t see a lot of nowadays.
I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Musicarch to anyone in the market for HiFi equipment.
Thanks again and hope to do business with you again in the future."
" I contacted Donald after reading other customer reviews on the "what people say about us" page on the website.
I have to say from the very first conversation with Donald I was very impressed with his customer service and knowledge of HiFi systems available to me. I then met Donald at his home where I was made very welcome and he explained in detail my options of using a CD based system or a computer based one. I decided on a computer based system using my existing Sony Vaio laptop, along with the following items supplied by Donald: an M2Tech Young DAC, Tube Technology Unisis amplifier and Audio Note speakers.
I arranged with Donald to have the HiFi I had spent six hours listening to at Donald's house to be set up in my own home. Donald came and set up the system and allowed me to have the system at home to make sure I was completely happy with the sound of it in my own home.
As part of the service Donald also worked on my computer to make it run better and added in software to let it play high resolution music. This can all be done from his office while you are in your own home! He installed software so he can access my system direct from his office.
At no time did I feel under pressure to buy from Donald. I have now purchased my new HiFi and would recommend him to anybody that wants great sounding HiFi."
"I bought one ex-demo M2Tech Young DAC. Despite it was a internet purchase, Donald gave me all the exact information about the device in a very fast way. It must be said the M2Tech was in absolutely mint condition and has a very good performance.
Many thanks to Donald."
Just to let you know that things are fine with Pro-Ject etc.... firmware update seems to have cured the "blips" I was getting....hope I'm not speaking to soon!!
You have been a terrific help to me and a very patient and knowledgeable source (pardon the pun!!)...Radio not dropping signal either....new router was a good buy.
I'm after a nice 4 tier rack next from you. so I'm sure you will fix me up at some stage. Thanks so much for everything - you have been brilliant as usual 100% the professional!"
"I have been dealing with Donald specifically over the past 3 months. I was looking for a DAC to allow my system to play very high definition music using the USB port from my Apple MAC based system using a low power 9 watt SET valve amplifier (F1 X) driving Lowther EX3 speakers. So I have no traditional inputs such as CD radio or Vinyl other than music on my computer. (Actually on a NAS drive linked to the computer).
It is essential that my hi fi supplier is up to date with the various options open to achieve the quality of musical reproduction I needed. Donald has the necessary knowledge and access to a large portfolio of available products - he was able to recommend a DAC which replaced my preamp and gave the quality that I needed - but more than that we were able to review reports on the available products including software products such as Pure Music - USB cables MAC products such as VMware Fusion 4 which allows the use of both windows and safari and also the optimum memory required to optimise performance.
The DAC recommended (a demo Benchmark DAC1 HDR) was shipped to me and a text advised that it would arrive at a specific one hour window. I had the product on approval and with no pressure. Donald has access to a wide variety of available solutions and is able to match the customers’ requirements and budget to supply a real world music solution.
We have communicated mainly by email and occasionally by phone - I must add that response times are excellent and the quality of service excellent.
I can strongly recommend Donald to provide customers with a top quality and economical service in music reproduction whether it be traditional or future proof via PC."
"My first contact with Donald Pirie was via email when I requested a Zodiac Antelope USB DAC for home trial to play Flac files from my Mac Computer to my Hi-Fi system. A day after the email, this was during the weekend, I received his reply and telephone call sounding quite distressed that I had not been contacted earlier!! He did not have the Zodiac in stock but recommended a Benchmark USB DAC.
Within 3 days I had received the Benchmark followed up by a pair of headphones, which I did not like, and a Blue Heaven USB cable. I then proceeded to listen to music but not without frustration due to the connection of the DAC, my Mac and my playback software. Donald was of real help and support and I cannot count the number of phone calls and emails we exchanged to get the system working properly. With hindsight, quite simple really.
Donald is not at all the usual online retailer. Donald has always been very courteous, never pushing his products. His main intent is to ensure a satisfied customer and to this end he works very hard. Certainly he has shone a new light on Hi-Fi retailing for me."
"I would highly recommend Donald if you are looking to purchase new hi-fi. He may not stock a vast range of products/manufacturers; however what they do stock you know that the products/manufacturers have been chosen for their sound, design and build. I was very impressed with both the informative advice and quality of service that I received, from the initial email enquiry I made to the delivery of the loudspeakers.
Nothing seemed to be a problem when asking for help and advice, be it by email or telephone. I would definitely use Donald again when purchasing new hi-fi in the future."
Supplied Products included:
Focal 826 Loudspeakers
Tom Davies, Scotland
"Delivery was very quick and I had the cable in my system in less than two days.
With the 'Black Cat Veloce', low level detail improved as did separation. The noise level was reduced to be almost completely unnoticeable. It also brought more speed, clearer separation, a bigger soundstage and I was hearing lots of little details that I hadn't heard before. My favourite instrument the piano, really sounded sharp and the upper octaves quite tingly.
Having had the 'Black Cat Veloce' digital cable in my system for three months now, I'm beyond doubt that it is well and truly burnt in and to give credit where credit is due, as I expected the results are amazing. One of the best value improvements I have ever bought and this cable really lived up to all the claims made by Musicarch."
Robin of Cheltenham, August 2012
"One phone call from an ad on the web, regarding a second hand pre amp. That is how it all started, darnn internet.
Suddenly I found myself talking to a strange accent, it was a Scotsman called Donald. I think of myself as a generally happy person with enthusiastic attitude to life, but this Donald left me standing. It wasn’t just the enthusiasm that impressed me; his knowledge also came to the fore.
I have been out of buying Hi Fi for some years and was well out of touch with things. Not only did this man help with my eventual purchase, he also did not just enthuse about the product he could obtain. This is unusual in my book. I tend to have found, in the past, Hi Fi dealers push their own products, and worst still by rubbishing other manufactures, often without any knowledge of them. They also have a tendency to look down on customers, and not hear the words spoken about their needs. In this instance I was asked about the sound I have and the equipment I use to obtain such sounds.
I ended up with a new Jeff Rowland Capri pre amp. As I said my needs were listened to, and after some time narrowing down a number of possibilities, this was the one we both decided would be right.
I must say the sound improved straight away. I had always been happy with my twenty year old Exposure 14 & 10 power supply which had left my previous Naim system standing. Suddenly with the new Capri the music became tighter, with more blackness in the quiet sections. The midrange was just as one would wish, e.g. when heavy rock was playing, it was in your face. In quiet string quartets I was able to hear all the winstruments separated while being in the mix. This pre amp has the uncanny ability to let one hear the music and absorb you in to it without making you listen, and create fatigue. You can sit for hours and not have had enough. You could say in the vein of listening to CDs for an hour is fatiguing and listening to LPs is not. You come away from a listening session relaxed; I believe that is the reason for music in the first place.
I then decided to try the cables recommended. This brought the Capri in to its own. The sounds came more lifelike. The only down side, (not to me) was the fact the fact that the system constantly asked to be played at a higher volume. This brought the music totally on song, (sorry)! The whole of the sounds that came out of the speakers is true to the production, so it gave one the flavour of the different eras.
Please beware, once you have discovered the Jeff Rowland sound, the bank will be on to you, because those power amps Donald told me about do look like they need a good listen to.
Thank you, both Donald and Jeff Rowland"
Sound Aid are a total delight to interact with. Donald is very knowledgeable and conversations about products and accessories create excitement and interest from his real zeal and enthusiasm. I looked at a few dealers for my Mytek Brooklyn DAC purchase in the UK and Sound Aid were both responsive and cost effective. Donald kept [...]
Here is a selection of client testimonials we are proud to have received: Stuart WhiteFebruary 2016 "You're unbelievable, you make the customer feel like there only is one customer!" Steve MDecember 2015 "I have nothing but praise for Musicarch and in particular Donald. I bought a pair of Cyrus power amps from eBay with Donald (Musicarch) acting as the intermediary [...]