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pit_o
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Joined: Jul 17 2011 - 10:07am
Another (boring) entry level system, just 3 questions

Hi everybody, first post.

So, I fell in love with vinyl, and now I'm trying to assemble a nice little dedicated system. I've always listened to music from ipods and pcs, specifically from a frankenstein-system made up by a low-end samsung home cinema amplifier/sintoamplifier/Ireallydontknow, jacked up to a couple of bookshelf speakers from a 10yrs old sony compact hi-fi. All of this connected to my 2008 white macbook through a aux-minijack line.

Now,

I've looked around a bit, and here's my plan:

Turntable: Pro-ject Debut III (already bought)

Amplifier: Marantz PM5004, or Denon PMA-510AE

Loudspeakers: Wharfedale Diamond 10.1

 

My questions are:

1) Is it a good system? I mean, are the components adequate to one another by quality and sound specs?

2)To connect the TT to my current system, I got a pro-ject phonobox II. Will connecting it to the Marantz or the Denon improve the signal quality by any mean? Or is it better just connecting the TT directly to the amplifier?

3)I'd like to keep using the new system to listen to music and other stuff on my pc. Is there any other dedicated component that will help in this sense? I keep reading about something called DAC, but still I haven't managed to really understand what it is...

That's it, sorry for the lenghty post!

p

heroftheday
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Joined: Jul 18 2011 - 4:07am
hey Pit I own a similar

hey Pit

I own a similar kinda system. Marantz Pm6003 and wharf diamond 10.5, so i thought I can help you.

for first question- the combo of marantz and wharfs is popularly believed to be musical, and i agree with that too. So, with a turnatable as source, things will get even better. Denon also goes well with wharf, but its marantz that wins in totality. As far as technical specifications are concerned, marantz pm5004 would be adequate to drive the speakers.

for second, I think you wont find much difference between two options. but, i would like other experts to comment on this as I have less knowledge on turntables

for third, for pc as a source, a DAC as in Digital to Analog converter is recommended to convert the digital files like mp3 etc into a analog one. I use a Musical Fidelity V- DAC, which is a budget converter and I can see huge difference in the PC sound quality after using it. if you listen to turntable sound quality and pc sound quality, you will find a huge difference. A turntable's sound is analog while PC's music is digital (everything on a PC is digital in fact).

See, a digital to analog converter reduces distortion, noise etc which are present in compressed formats like mp3. Another recommended substitute to do similar kinda job is a sound card.

So in order to optimize PC as a source, do some research and it would be easy to understand.

So, in short your planned system shall come out quite musical, enjoyable and pleasing if you like jazz, soft rock, warm and a bit laid back music (ask me if u dont undertsnad the term 'laid back') and try to go for an option of home auditioning if possible, convince your dealer for that.

And yes, please see that your mentioned planned setup is more adequate for small to medium sized room. make sure your listening room is not large.

happy journey..

Glotz
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Cables can change...

an entire system's personality.  Start researching full looms in your system to nail down the true character of your set up.  Do the basics first, before making other decisions.

The Cambridge Audio DAC Magic is outstanding at 400. Musical Fidelity also makes an amazing DAC at 700.  Not saying drink by their labels, but they are really the top performers at their price point, and work very well with PC's, albeit they do not upsample via USB.  Spend more to get that functionality or get the VDAC or MF's other fine equipment to spend less. 

octaneTom
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It's all subjective

 

1) Is it a good system? I mean, are the components adequate to one another by quality and sound specs?

I don't know, does it sound good to you? If so, then hell yes - it's a good system! Specs be damned. We can't really know what it sounds like without experiencing it.

 

2)To connect the TT to my current system, I got a pro-ject phonobox II. Will connecting it to the Marantz or the Denon improve the signal quality by any mean? Or is it better just connecting the TT directly to the amplifier?

It won't really matter if you go through an outboard phono stage or use the stage in the amplifier, per se - what will matter is the phono stage itself. Since the pro-ject phono box is priced to be entry-level and so are the Marantz/Denon I'm going to guess they're of roughly similar quality. Demo them and see what sounds best to you, because in the end, that's all that really matters.

 

3)I'd like to keep using the new system to listen to music and other stuff on my pc. Is there any other dedicated component that will help in this sense? I keep reading about something called DAC, but still I haven't managed to really understand what it is...

 

In a nutshell, as others have said - a DAC just converts a digital signal back into analog so your amp can amplify the wave and send it to your speakers to output. If you don't use an outboard DAC, you can use the sound card in your PC to do those duties. Most people think a dedicated DAC will be a better solution than the sound card that's in your PC. You can use different outputs and cables on your PC to send out the raw digital sound (usually an optical or USB output) and let the external DAC do its thing.

 

And I'm of the camp that thinks expensive audio cables are mostly just marketing bullshit. I'd recommend picking up a set of nice, inexpensive cables from a place like Blue Jeans Cable and saving your money for a better cartridge for your TT and the spending the rest on vinyl. YMMV. 

Glotz
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Perhaps you should listen

before rushing to judgement on cables.  Your statements speak from ignorance, not knowledge.  Cables send your signal altered to the next component. Spend time reading the reviews- One writer who tells the truth about one component is not going to lie to you about the next cable he reviews. 

Try getting past cynicism and spend time actually demoing different cable sets. If your telling people to demo components, why aren't you telling them to demo cables as well?  If you don't think you'll hear a difference, what confidence do you have in demoing the components to hear a change?

octaneTom
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Agree to disagree

Sorry we don't agree, but there's no need to call me ignorant. In my experience, doing multiple cable swaps and speaker wire swaps borrowed from friends/colleagues and local shops, I heard no difference in sound quality. So to me, I don't believe the hype. Components are different - there are actual parts/'stuff' inside the box/in the tonearm construction/in the stylus shape and construction/etc. that can change and alter the signal. Cables are what...copper? Maybe silver? And a plastic sheathing? And some metal connectors? That pass an electric signal?

Some food for thought:

http://home.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_wire.htm

http://sound.westhost.com/cables-p3.htm#interconnects

Even the manual that came with my PSB speakers says "using standard 18 guage lamp wire or better, connect the terminals...". The manual that came with my Rega Brio 3 says "Very expensive cable claiming to use special materials and technologies along with "solid core" or OFC types are not recommended". So right there I can pretty much see that the people who MADE my components don't believe in expensive wire/cables - only the wire and cable companies do.

But, like I said in another post, it's all subjective. If you DO hear a big difference in cables, then by all means spend your cash on it. For me, they're not worth it.

And I just think if we're talking an entry level system (which we are in this forum, right?) encouraging people to spend several hundred dollars on cables for a system that is maybe $2,000 total doesn't make a lot of sense. I'd rather spend that extra $200 - $300 on vinyl. But then again, to me it's all about the music.

JoeE SP9
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Wires and cables

Anyone that thinks IC's and speaker cables make a big difference in sound is misinformed. Do they make a difference? Yes. Is It a big difference? No.

Any system of sufficient resolution will reveal those differences. They are small and longer term (a month or more) listening is necessary to be sure you're not deluding yourself. If you don't/can't/won't hear small differences you have two choices. You can improve your gear and room or spend that money on source material. I spent many years improving my gear and room. Along the way I tried many different IC's and cables. Some were so bad they were rejected immediately. With others it took time to hear what they were doing. I finally settled on DH Labs Silver Sonic IC's and speaker cables. They're not the most expensive. In today's world of $8,000 IC's they are downright bargain basement. The are however not cheap and IMO sound damn good.

If you don't/can't/won't hear IC and cable differences that's Ok. Spend your money on new source material. I've got (IMO) good IC's and speaker cables and I now spend my money on new source material.

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