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VinnieG
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Entry-Level Audiophile Turntable System

I have decided that I would like to buy an entry-level audiophile turntable and other necessary components.  Through my research, I have decided that the Pro-ject Debut Carbon ($400) turntable is an excellent entry level model.  I was hoping to spend $1,000 or less, and one store has recommended the following setup:

 

1) Pro-ject Debut Carbon ($400) - turntable

2) Pro-ject Stereo Box S ($300) - integrated stereo amplifier

3) Pro-ject Phono Box S ($200) - phono stage

4) Pro-ject Speaker Box 5 ($300/pair) - bookshelf speakers

 

I have been told this would be an excellent entry-level audiophile system that I would not have to upgrade (if at all) for many years.  However, at around $1,200, it comes in slightly above my pricepoint. 

 

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding slightly less expensive components that I could use along with the Debut Carbon turntable?  Ultimately, I would pay the $1,200 for the above setup if it really is significantly better than cheaper options, but I would like to spend less if possible.  Any suggestions on components to swap in/out would be great.

 

Thank you in advance for your help.

hcsunshine
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i went with...

the music hall mmf 2.2 and amazed at the sound. i have this paired with the musical fidelity V-LPS2 phono stage. 

JoeE SP9
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Within budget?

Cambridge Audio - Topaz - AM10 - Integrated Amp $349 @ Audio Advisor. It has a built in phono stage so you'll be only $50 over your $1000 budget.

Welcome to the forum from another Philly native!

VinnieG
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Thank you for the responses. 

Thank you for the responses.  I should clarify my original post a bit.  I am at this point pretty comfortable with spending $1,200 on the system, although obviously if I can save a few buck here or there without sacrificing quality I am all for it.

I am pretty set on the Pro-ject Debut Carbon turntable.  Other than that, I am open to any suggestions on the best phono/amp/speaker combination that falls in the $800 range.

Do you think the Cambridge Audio integrated amplifier is comparable in quality to the Pro-ject amplifier/phone stage combination? 

Also, does anyone have any feedback on the Pro-ject speakers?

I appreciate all the feedback, and can't wait to finalize my system and get it all set up!

JoeE SP9
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Cambridge

The Cambridge Audio amplifier has a built in phone stage. There will be no need to buy a separate one. Substituting the Cambridge for the ProJect  Stereo Box and Phono box brings your total cost to $1050. Cambridge Audio is well known and well respected. This is not to say that Project electronics are not good. They are mostly fairly new on the US market and therefore have little history.

I've never heard any ProJect speakers.

I suggest you still increase your budget to $1200 and spend $450 on a  pair of speakers. The extra $150 for speakers will result in better bass, smoother overall sound and the ability to play louder. 

The only real speaker selecting advice I ever give is, "Make the effort to actually audition some speakers. Buying speakers on someone's recommendation without hearing them first is like letting someone else choose your mail order bride. The chances are almost zero you'll end up with something that you like."

VinnieG
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All of this advice has been

All of this advice has been super helpful.  I am starting to lean away from the Pro-ject Amp/Phono and speakers. 
 

For Amps, I'm trying to decide between Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10 and Music Hall A15.2.  I have seen nothing but incredible reviews for the Music Hall, but it's about $150 more expensive.  I have resigned myself to paying that price if it truly is a step up from cheaper options, but Is it really worth the added expense?  Also, others have recommended getting the HK 3490 receiver instead of an integrated amplifier.  Aside from extra inputs for digital sources (which I don't need), is there any other reason to get the HK 3490 receiver over the Music Hall or Cambridge Audio amplifiers?  Again, sound quality for a turntable is my only real concern, as I intend this to be a dedicated vinyl system. 

For speakers, I am primarily looking at the following three: Pioneer SP-BS41-LR ($150/pr), Paradigm Atom v5 ($250/pr), or Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 ($350/pr).  Does anyone have any impressions regarding these speakers? 

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

In my opinion, the Music Hall A15.2 amplifier is the cream of the crop; it is way way better than the Topaz IMO, and also better than any other Cambridge or NAD amplifier for less than $800 or so.

It also has enough power to drive the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers  which are on the low side in sensitivity. They are really great speakers, far better than the Pioneer or Paradigm, but any amplifier rated at less than 50 watts would not be advisable with them.

It also has a built-in phono stage, so you save money there.

If you have not already read the review article of the Diamond 10.1 in Stereophile, you should do so...carefully. It compares the Diamond to the Atom, and makes it quite clear that the Atom is inferior in several respects.

The Pioneer speakers are also very low in sensitivity, and require a lot of power. For $150 they are fair, but with that low sensitivity they are not going to work well with a cheap receiver or amplifier in that price range. In any case they are not what you want; not all that good.

 

 

 

VinnieG wrote:

All of this advice has been super helpful.  I am starting to lean away from the Pro-ject Amp/Phono and speakers. 
 

For Amps, I'm trying to decide between Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10 and Music Hall A15.2.  I have seen nothing but incredible reviews for the Music Hall, but it's about $150 more expensive. 

For speakers, I am primarily looking at the following three: Pioneer SP-BS41-LR ($150/pr), Paradigm Atom v5 ($250/pr), or Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 ($350/pr).  Does anyone have any impressions regarding these speakers? 

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