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oso101
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Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jun 5 2013 - 9:22am
$1000 setup for a musicophile but audio neophyte

 

I’m a musician and complete musicophile with a massive CD collection and digital music library, but have spent the past ten years moving around way too much to make it worth investing in expensive/heavy/high-quality audio equipment.

I’m about to settle in the Bay Area for the forseeable future and am finally ready to start investing audio equipment. I’ve read lots of great resources, including much from this site, but it’s a bit overwhelming to know exactly what to buy, so I would love some recommendations based on my needs.

At the moment, I’m only able to spend around $1000 (with a few hundred of wiggle room), with an eye towards future additions or upgrades as finances allow. I realize this is a tiny fraction of what many on this forum would consider necessary for a good system, and I understand I will be sacrificing quality, but I am looking for advice on how best to utilize the budgetI have.

The details:

I currently have the following components available to use if desired:

1.       Sony STR-AV320 AM/FM receiver

2.       JVC XL-F254BK cd player

3.       Onkyo 6-CD/DVD player (DV-CP702 model or similar – it’s in storage at the moment)

4.       iPhone and iPod with my music library (mix of lossless and high-bitrate AAC/mp3)

5.       PC containing my music library with a somewhat noisy headphone output (noise is noticeable during silent or extremely quiet passages)

I want to be able to listen to the following sources:

1.       CDs

2.       Radio

3.       PC (music, DVDs, Netflix streaming – I don’t have a TV)

4.       iPhone/iPod

Ideally, I would like a system to which I could add, at some point in the future:

1.       A TV and BluRay player or Roku/streaming box (no cable TV)

2.       A center channel speaker for movies and TV

3.       Phono

I realize I won’t be able to get everything I need for $1000, so I’d love advice on the best ways to utilize that money now, realizing that I’ll want to both upgrade and add components in the future.

My thought is that it makes the most sense to start with speakers, an amplifier, and possibly a DAC or a better CD player.

As far as listening environment, I will be in a relatively small apartment and don’t tend to blast my music, so I don’t need anything super powerful. I listen to lots of acoustic/Americana/bluegrass, folk, traditional country, jazz, world music, and some pop/rock. I prefer a warm, natural sound. I want to hear the wood of acoustic instruments, etc.

From what I’ve read it seems like the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 could be a great starting point for my budget and space. Steve Guttenberg recommends the Jolida JD 301rc as a good amp to pair with that.  Perhaps a Sony PS1 as a budget CD player that would be better than what I have now. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten. Would love your thoughts!

commsysman
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Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
SYSTEM CHOICES

I thik that the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 would be a very good choice for your speakers.

I would recommend the Harman-Kardon 3490 Stereo Receiver as the choice for an amplifier. I have had many vacuum-tube units over the years, and tubes are a pain in the rear for the most part. I still have a tube preamp, but I won't screw with the constant problems and unreliability of tube power amps any more.

It has good sound quality, plenty of power, and a LOT of very good features! It is selling for $350-400 on Amazon most of the time. It has a phono preamp built in, and also a dedicated output for a subwoofer. A center speaker is something one can do without unless you want to go to a full 5.1 system.

Then I would get an OPPO BDP-103, which is a CD/SACD/DVD/bluray player which also has wireless streaming built-in. It has excellent music sound quality for the money (far far better than your old CD player), plus all sorts of other features for free...lol. It goes for $500. If you go to the OPPO website and look at the many many features of the 103, you will be amazed.

I guess I just spent $1200 for you...rofl. I think every one of those items is excellent value for the money, though, and will give you a very nice system with a lot of capabilities and options.

oso101
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Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jun 5 2013 - 9:22am
Thanks for the thoughtful

Thanks for the thoughtful reply and advice - much appreciated.

If I go with the system you recommend, how would you suggest integrating my PC and iPod? Could I use the receiver's internal DAC via the optical or coaxial inputs (from my laptop's USB), or would I need to get a separate iPod-compatible DAC and/or HK's Bridge II iPod dock ($129)? Obviously I could use the analog outputs from the computer & iPod in the meantime if necessary but that would not be ideal.

I might also hold off on the OPPO for now, given that I don't have a TV, and pick up a cheap Playstation 1 on eBay to see if that does the trick for the time being - this would keep things within budget and I can always upgrade to good CD/BluRay player in the future, whenever I get a TV.

Thanks again!

commsysman
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Last seen: 2 hours 20 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
OPPO BDP-103

With the OPPO, you can just connect your computer to one of its USB inputs to send music or whatever you want to the system. It has 3 USB inputs and dual HDMI inputs.

The OPPO also has its own streaming capability, so it can connect directly to the internet for Pandora, Netflix, VUDU, Rhapsody etc. which are built-in features of the OPPO.

I know very little about the IPOD. Can it be connected to some adapter to get it connected to USB?

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