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TonyStarks
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Advice for the New Guy

After years of enjoying music from less than standard systems, I am finally financially able to give my ears a little more of a treat. I'm very much a novice at this and have been lurking this site and reading whatever I can trying piece together my first stereo system.

 

Here's my initial thought:

NAD 315/316/326

NAD 515 CD

PSB B5's

 

Most of my music collection is in the form of CD's. I listen to mostly Jazz, hard rock, and hip-hop. I look to eventually expand my system to include a turntable, sub, and options for music files.

Am I starting in a good spot? From what I've gathered, it seems you can't go wrong with the NAD amps. Would the C326 be better for future expansion? 1k is about what I can spend right now for my basic needs (cd, amp, and speakers). What info do I need to consider when adding a sub, DAC, and turntable?  Is the 315/316 or 326 a good starting point?

The opinion on speakers seem to vary. Being such a crucial component, I will try to listen to some PSB options from a dealer. The reviews I've read have been nothing short of amazing.

The NAD 515 seems like a nice choice from what I've read. Again, I don't know much about it. Just figured it would pair well with whatever integrated amp I choose (315/316/326).

 

Just looking for your expert opinions. All input is much appreciated, as I'm a little overwhelmed right now.

Drtrey3
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I'm no expert

but I love music and good sound and I am still using my NAD integrated from 30 years ago. All those components are well respected for their sound and value, I bet you will love your system!

Welcome!

Trey

bierfeldt
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You have to find a dealer and go listen to the equipment

You gotta find a place to listen to the equipment, particulalrly the speakers.  NAD makes wonderful products and having demo'd them recently, I would bet you will be very happy.  Clean, clear sound.  I was really impressed.  However, I read tons of reviews on speakers and found those reviews were worth exactly what I paid for them, nothing.  Speakers are very personal.  What sounds good to me may make you want to take an icepick to your ears.  If you can't get in to demo them, make sure you buy from someone who has a liberal return policy. 

Also, have a completely open mind regarding the brand if you can get out and demo them.  I went to four stores and demo'd 20 brands and probably 40 different lines and found only two that I really liked.  Neither was part of the original considered set based on my research.  It was the most fun I have had shopping for anything, ever.  It is amazing to see similarly priced speakers produce radically different sound from the same equipment. 

Also, take some CD's with you that will show off the range of the speakers.  If the dealer sells NAD, all the better but if they don't use the best they have. 

jackfish
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I'd consider Magnepan MMGs. You can try them for

60 days and return them for a purchase price refund if they don't work out for you.  Find them used on AudiogoN if $600/pair for new is a budget buster.  While the NAD stuff is nice, your choices might be a little underpowered.  However, I first auditioned MMGs with an NAD C315BEE in a small room, and it was enough to sell me on the MMGs.  Probably heresy here, but to save a little money for a very marginal decrease in sound quality, you could also consider a Harman Kardon HK3490 stereo receiver for $260.

http://www.soundadviceblog.com/reviews/review-magnepan-mmg-speakers/

http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/magnepan_mmg.htm

http://hometheaterreview.com/magnepan-mmg-floor-standing-speakers-reviewed/

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/1199/donibbles.htm

http://stereos.about.com/od/stereoreceiverreviews/fr/HK3490.htm

http://hometheaterreview.com/harman-kardon-hk-3490-stereo-receiver/

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/receivers/hk-3490

TonyStarks
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Thanks for the input

Thanks for the input guys. 

I've read nothing but amazing things about the MMG's, mostly from Jackfish, and every review I've read.  The $600 scares me, but the 60 day return eases me a bit. It still seems like a bit much for me; I feel underserving of these wonderful things. The low frequency ratings scare me a bit, but I would eventually like to add a sub. Any recommendations on a sub to pair with those?

I was initially very drawn towards the HK3490 after the reviews I read. Then, I gravitated toward the PBS B5's, and then onto the NAD integrated amp. to pair with those. 

I want a stereo system now. I'm excited, overwhelmed, and know that it's best to wait and review all my options to make the best choice. Buying the MMG's seems like an amazing purchase for the quality and price, even if it means delaying my listening experience a little. They just seem a little intimidating to me. 

I do like all the inputs and the power of the HK3490. If you could suggest some bookshelfs under $400, what would those be? Of course, the extra 200ish would get me the MMG's. Patience...patience. I need more. 

jackfish
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On a budget, good values in sealed subwoofers include

the Emotiva Ultra Sub 10 or 12 and the Elemental Designs A3S-250.  These would be an adequate match for MMGs.  Even if you went with the PSB Image B5s you'ld need a sub for real bass.  Indeed, the PSB Image B5s might end up costing around $500 a pair anyways once you got them on decent stands.  The MMGs are the real deal as nothing is likely to touch them for under $1000.  While the PSB Image B5s are the current model, there are still PSB Image B15s in closeout for $260/pair at DMC Electronics.  You just missed out on the B25s for $320/pair as I see they are no longer available at that vendor. 

http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/1204psb

The B25s can still be had for $389/pair delivered from independentaudiovideo, and even being the older model would be a step up from the newer B5s.  PSB SP-25i speaker stands are still available from Saturday Audio Exchange for $80/pair.  http://www.saturdayaudio.com/picturepages/PSB_ALPHA.htm

TonyStarks
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After many hours of research,

After many hours of research, and many glasses of wine, I think I convinced myself to be patient, smart, and get the MMG's.  

Any recommendations on a cheap CD player I can get away with? MMG's and HK are about all I can get for now.  

Looking forward to adding more once I get the funds; a sub will probably be #1. Thanks for the sub suggestions. That's the direction I was leaning after reading your thread about sub's for the MMG's. Which did you end up with? How is it?

I can't wait to have my ears blown from pure musical bliss. 

Wallet says "Meh...i don't know", but ears say "Eeeek! Thank you!".

JIMV
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Heresey

I own a set of MMG's which I use mostly with my video setup...I bought an inexpensive Polk sub

http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Compact-Powered-Subwoofer/dp/B000P0528U...

It is dead cheap right now, about half price on Amazon. It is powered, easy to set up and any problems blending into the MMG's will not be apparent with the rest of your system (or with a system costing two or three times as much)

Folk warn other folk about how hard it is to combine a sub with Maggies. This is true, but only apparent when one is using very expensive and revealing electronics. My recommendation might be heresey but it sure sounds good in my modest video system.

A good budget CD player is the Emotiva

http://emotiva.com/erc2.shtm

Again on sale and priced well below its performance.

For cables on the cheap, try used...

http://www.usedcable.com/

Unlike most audio products, used cables often sound better than new.

 

 

TonyStarks
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Thanks, cable choice was

Thanks, cable choice was another question I had loaded in the chamber. My novice audio brain had no idea the amount of money one could spend on cables. Obviously, I won't be spending much.  A cheap recommendation would be greatly appreciated. 

jackfish
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Cables well constructed, flexible

and not necessarily expensive are what I go with.  The Acoustic Research Performance Series RCA stereo cables for under $20 work about as well as anything in a budget system.

+1 on the Emotiva ERC-2

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