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jaymarc
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5k Budget, NYC apt, newb computer audiophile GO!

So I just finished my 10 years of medical training and taking my signing bonus to treat myself and take my listening experience to another level. I've done a decent amount of research and honestly just end up more confused than before diving into some deep internet rabbit holes. Anyhow my stats.

-Currently I have a 15'' MB retina Pro streamed via airplay to Apple TV. Also a Hackintosh with audioengine DAC to audioengine speakers.
My Stereo setup is Onkyo Receiver/ampifier TX NR 626 to Polk Audio towers
This setup sound good but I am hungry for much more.
-Small 1 BR NYC room 14x14 about
-I listen to everything from classic rock, metal, electronic dance music
- The thing is I really like exploring new music on streaming music blogs, spotify, soundcloud. The majority of my music is streamed off my laptop via airplay or played directly of my desktop (audioengine DAC).

I want a nice sytem with a full, live soundstage but if my streamed, compressed source is the limiting reactant does it make sense to drop 5K? Might as well put that into the 300K of loans I owe for medical school

Anyway suggestions for setup, DAC, AMP, speakers please!

commsysman
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SYSTEM CHOICES

I suggest that you start by getting a much better-sounding receiver, a NAD T758 ($1000 from Audio Advisor).

Then I suggest a pair of the excellent PSB Image T6 speakers($1300); read the Stereophile review for more information on them.

That will give you a huge improvement in sound quality.

If you want to make it a 5.0 system, add a PSB Image C4 center speaker and a pair of Image B4 speakers ($600).

The Audioengine DAC is good.

If your source quality is not up to standard, you can always go to the internet and download high-quality music direct to your computer and use the computer to serve it up to your system.

audiophile2000
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Take a look at a nice pair of bookshelves

I'm a huge fan of PSB so would second Commsyman's recommendation for PSB, but want to point out that given your space you may really enjoy a pair of bookshelf's. In a small space its really hard to get a large floor tower to play right. I live in an apartment now and have my speakers setup in roughly a 8ft equilateral triangle and know I'm missing out as to get the sound right I would really like to be 10 to 13 feet back.

I actually have the synchrony one from PSB and have the bookshelf version of the speakers in the rear. I brought the rear speaker up to the front one day and was stunned out how coherent the sound was. I eventually was able to get the towers to do a lot of what the bookshelf's did but it is always a struggle with big speakers in a small space.

Also, I would avoid streaming your music through an apple TV. Its locks everything at 48hz and doesn't handle the audio conversion that nicely. I've tested both Apple TV and other airplay streamers that don't convert through a high end dac and there is a noticeable degradation in the apple TV.

Also to your question on MP3, I'm going to make an interesting statement. a nice stereo will make it sound better if properly setup but you will end up switching to CD quality music pretty quick as you will enjoy it. I listen to Spotify on my system to hear songs i like, but if i really like something i end up buying the CD.

commsysman
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MP3

I find that the 320K MP3 files are very good, but when you go to lower resolution the quality drops fast.

jaymarc
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Golden Ear

What do you guys think of the Triton 7s or AON 3 from Golden Ear for this setup?

commsysman
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Not much

Not my favorite.

michael green
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learn how

Before I spent a dime I would spend some time reading about what it takes to make a "great soundstage". It doesn't have nearly as much to do with equipment as it does a method of listening. Your components are a bunch of resistors and a moving voice coil. What you do with them and how you make your place sound is what you are going to be hearing.

Equipment shopping is a hobby sometimes that is a completely different one from getting great or even good sound.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

hcsunshine
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for speakers i suggest...

you go to www.sourcespeaker.com. click on "floorstanding theater and stereo", then look at "266 WC" floor standing tower. they have a one inch dome tweeter, and two 6 inch carbon fibre/wool/paper coned woofers. their frequency response is 35hz-20khz. they cost $1,495.00. while I have not heard these particular speakers, I have heard ones like them, because my stereo salesman is a co-collaborator with this company's designs. you always want paper or paper based materials for your woofers. you do not want polypropylene or aluminum. good luck.

hcsunshine
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or...

if you choose to go with bookshelf speakers, sourcespeaker has some nice ones too. they are based in CT which is close to you, too.

audiophile2000
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Be careful with specs and generalizations

So one thing to keep in mind as that specs are not created equally and there are very few generalizations that hold true across all speakers. Unless you really know what you’re a looking for your a much better using your ears.

For instance there are a number of speaker companies that make great non-paper woofers so to say it doesn’t have paper it doesn’t sound good isn’t correct at all. Also be careful when you look at speakers and frequency response. First off +/- 3 DBs can be huge. A 6db differential is about twice as loud (basically perceived loudness doubles every 3 Dbs). Not most manufactures use this rating, it needs to be take carefully. Basically there are numbers of factors that will ultimately factor into weather that speaker will sound good.

Basically at the end of the day measures can help but you have to listen. For instance look at the B&W 802D vs 800D. The frequency extension is 3 to 6 hz lower on the spec sheet but the perceived bass and ability to play low notes is extremely different between the two, way more than the spec sheet would suggest in my opinion.

jaymarc
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Thanks.

Thanks for the comments everyone. I will probably start off with the PSB speakers and NAD reciever/amp. Any other suggestions for similary priced, versatile speakers?

hcsunshine
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hey jaymarc...

what type of music do you listen to ?

bierfeldt
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Several options

I am assuming that you are looking at the Image line which offers an incredible value. A few other products that deliver exceptional performance:

Revel Concerta Series
Monitor Audio Bronze
Wharfedale Diamond series
Focal Chorus
Kef Q series (though I think it is a touch expensive for what you get)
B&W 600 series (though I think they are really expensive for what you get)

All will deliver a pair of good sounding floor standing speakers for between $1000 and $1500.

I would also think that you might want to listen to a pair of Maggie's. Magnepan has some pretty special speakers that deliver extraordinary sound. Lyric HiFi is the dealer in NYC and they are worth a visit. I know they carry Simaudio, Arcam, Creek, Rega, Peachtree and NAD and also sell Focal speakers and are a B&W dealer.

You might consider stopping into Harman Audio's store. It is the company store and they have a great showroom. They offer Revel speakers and have a 30day, no question asked return policy.

For all the rest, go to the website and do dealer locator. Just call first and check what models they have on display. Not every dealer will have what you want to hear. The best part of being in the city is you should be able to hear anything you want pretty easily. Make sure you take your own music and make it a range. I take a Jazz disc, Classical, Rock, Metal and something with a Female voice to ensure I am covering my bases.

One other note, be cautious when you go to B&W dealers. They tend to push B&W really hard and although they are good sounding speakers, they are expensive relative to competition.

jaymarc
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Music Tastes

Everything Really
Classic Rock Floyd/Zep/Hendrix
AltCountry - Wilco, my morning jacket, calexico
Indie R and B - the Weeknd, autre ne veut
EDM - mainly house some electro and indie dance.

I am really looking for speakers and/or amp I can build around starting around 2k for speakers and 1k for receiver/amp.
thanks

hcsunshine
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good to know, so...

you are prolly going to want decent bass for that house, electro, and everything else, too. NAD is known for a non colored sound, but i found that my NAD integrated amp was lacking in the bass department. it is just kind of soft sounding and doesn't have that desired edge to it. i have moved to emotiva, "the bang for your buck leader". if you're not familiar w/ this equipment, visit www.emotiva.com and look at their stuff. the UMC-200 pre amp is $600 and the XPA-200 stereo amp is $500 (150 watts x 2) i have the UPA-1 mono blocks and am very happy w/ them. this may just be what you are looking for. good luck. (let us know what you go with)

jaymarc
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thanks for the help

What do you guys think of the PSB synchrony 2 with the Creek Audio Destiny 2 Integrated Amp as a starting point...

shp
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What did you wind up getting?

What did you decide on and how do you like it?

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