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Jim Tavegia
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Challenge your audio might?

You are given the task of putting together a speaker/amp/ integrated/receiver? system with a budget of $1200.00 for a newbee. They have an older CD player and turntable he/she will replace next year. They have earmarked $1,000 each for the next two years for new source equipment, but, that is the next two years.

You are only asked to recommend a pair of speakers and some kind of amp to get them started on the road to audiophilia. What do you suggest?

smejias
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

Oh boy. This is fun.
Let me see... How's about the PSB Alpha B1 ($279/pair) and the Outlaw RR2150 ($650)?

Or, how's about the Epos ELS-3 ($329/pair) along with the Music Hall A25.2 ($599)?

Wait, no! Give me the Usher S520 in sparkle-red ($400/pair) with the Rega Brio 3 ($645) for $1050, Alex!

Or switch those combos up. Too much fun, I could do this all day. $1200 is too much!

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

Exactly.

Where I would go is:

Harmon Kardon HK 3380 under $200 at J and R in NYC. It has a phono stage.

With your pick of the B and W 603s, Monitor Audio R6s, or the Triangle Heliades which should fall in the same $1K price range with the right dealer.

Should sound pretty sweet for a starter system.

Buddha
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Re: Challenge your audio might?


Quote:
Oh boy. This is fun.
Let me see... How's about the PSB Alpha B1 ($279/pair) and the Outlaw RR2150 ($650)?

Or, how's about the Epos ELS-3 ($329/pair) along with the Music Hall A25.2 ($599)?

Wait, no! Give me the Usher S520 in sparkle-red ($400/pair) with the Rega Brio 3 ($645) for $1050, Alex!

Or switch those combos up. Too much fun, I could do this all day. $1200 is too much!

Good ones!

I'll second the Usher/Rega suggestion.

Too many "civilians" don't realize just how good this 'affordable' stuff can be!

Monty
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

I would probably suggest the Cambridge Audio Azur integrated and the PSB B-25 speakers. However, given that the guy obviously places value on his vinyl, I would also suggest that he listen to the Jolida valve integrateds if he already knows he prefers analog over digital.

59mga
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Re: Challenge your audio might?


Quote:

Too many "civilians" don't realize just how good this 'affordable' stuff can be!

How true, Buddha. Last year I began researching some new equipment for a small room. Having not purchased any audio gear in nearly 20 years I was dumb-founded by what was out there and how reasonable the prices. (Along the lines of Stephens recommendations, I purchased the Music Hall 25.2 amp and cd player along with the Epos m12.2 speakers.)

Now, to piggy-back on Jim's idea: I now have a much larger room to fill and can afford $4k for an amp, cd player and speakers. Any recommendations?

Many thanks!

smejias
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Re: Challenge your audio might?


Quote:
I purchased the Music Hall 25.2 amp and cd player along with the Epos m12.2 speakers.

Great buys, Mike. How did that system sound?


Quote:
I now have a much larger room to fill and can afford $4k for an amp, cd player and speakers. Any recommendations?

Hmm, with more money and a bigger room, the game gets a little harder to play. I'd like to hear more about your room and speaker preferences. How big is the room? Do you want floorstanders or will you stick to standmounts?

As for the amp and player, thinking I'd be willing to spend about a grand on each, my mind immediately goes to the Rega Apollo and, because I like to keep things in the family, the Mira 3 integrated. You'll then have a world of speaker options in the $2000/pair range.

Edit: Hmm, then again, you might just stick with your current CD player and amp (unless you think you need more power here) and upgrade the speakers. Variables, variables...

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

Have the Music hall player modded at Underwood HiFi. It will work its way to solid class B or higher for way less then $1K.

Spend money on speakers first. If you make a mistake here (hear) no amp can make up for it. Compare Triangle Antals or the Celius, and some like items, price wise, from B&W (700s) and Monitor Audio for sure and compare to what you have now.

Also as with the Epos you have now, what might be missing in the larger room? Will you just need more bass? Buy a decent sub from JBL or better to fill out the sound more. You may find that the speakers you have will work if you are satisfied with their sound now.

Incremental steps in speaker improvement can take considerable sums of money. This is where it becomes more difficult. And, the way it works is what you end up wanting to do will be slightly over your budget. We've all been there.

59mga
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Re: Challenge your audio might?


Quote:

Quote:
I purchased the Music Hall 25.2 amp and cd player along with the Epos m12.2 speakers.

Great buys, Mike. How did that system sound?

It sounds fantastic. It's in a 10'x12' room so there wasn't a need for excessive power and the speakers fill the room most adequately...no need for a great deal of bass in a room this size.


Quote:

Hmm, with more money and a bigger room, the game gets a little harder to play. I'd like to hear more about your room and speaker preferences. How big is the room? Do you want floorstanders or will you stick to standmounts?


The new room is 18' x 20' with 9' ceilings. I am interested in 3-way floorstanding speakers. There will be minimal furniture in the room...just enough to eliminate and echo.


Quote:
As for the amp and player, thinking I'd be willing to spend about a grand on each, my mind immediately goes to the Rega Apollo and, because I like to keep things in the family, the Mira 3 integrated. You'll then have a world of speaker options in the $2000/pair range.

Edit: Hmm, then again, you might just stick with your current CD player and amp (unless you think you need more power here) and upgrade the speakers. Variables, variables...

As for a new amp and cd player: Beings I was so impressed with the Music Hall my first thought was to stick with the cd25.2 and get the Maven receiver and a pair of larger speakers...beings the room is larger. (One local audiophile shop said he could get me the MH gear and a pair of B&W 704s for way under $4K. Or the MH and B&W CM7s for just under $3K.)

The Rega Apollo and Mira 3 were another choice but I haven't yet heard these two items...and not sure what speakers go well with Rega.

Your thoughts? Thanks.

59mga
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Re: Challenge your audio might?


Quote:
Have the Music hall player modded at Underwood HiFi. It will work its way to solid class B or higher for way less then $1K.

Jim, I am very familiar with Underwood and have thought to an upgraded cd25.2 and Maven. (The Music Hall/Epos set-up that I now have will be staying where it is so I am looking for a whole new arrangement.)


Quote:
Spend money on speakers first. If you make a mistake here (hear) no amp can make up for it. Compare Triangle Antals or the Celius, and some like items, price wise, from B&W (700s) and Monitor Audio for sure and compare to what you have now.


I have listened to numerous speakers, while doing my research, and have heard the Antals along with the B&W 703, 704, CM7 as well as Spendor, Quad, Focal-JMlab, PSB and Epos. All sounded great but I wasn't able to listen to all of them being pushed by the MHs. I plan on going to hear the Rega pieces this weekend.

Quote:
Also as with the Epos you have now, what might be missing in the larger room? Will you just need more bass? Buy a decent sub from JBL or better to fill out the sound more. You may find that the speakers you have will work if you are satisfied with their sound now.

Good points, but like I said, this will be a whole new install.


Quote:
Incremental steps in speaker improvement can take considerable sums of money. This is where it becomes more difficult. And, the way it works is what you end up wanting to do will be slightly over your budget. We've all been there.


Going "over...budget" was considered so I allowed myself some "room" to spend a little more.

Buddha
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

Music Direct has a Marantz DV-7600 on closeout, marked down from 1100 to 599 bucks.

This baby is a bargain at 1100, so I'd confidently recommend it at 599.

Please check it out, it's worth your audition.

That leaves us 3400 dollars.

NAD C-372 integrated. 150wpc, but sweet sounding. Should last forever, too. One kilo-dollar.

The NHT 4 at 1800 per pair. They sound good. Lots of trickle down from their more expensive speakers. AND! For another 750 bucks, you can get their cool active crossover and bass amp and biamp the system! I think it's the same crossover they use in their ultra delux system.

We're only 150 over budget if you buy the biamp upgrade for the NHT, and we're way under if you don't!

I can honestly say that I'd be happy to live with that set up.

Cheers, amigo!

59mga
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

Buddha,

I have heard the NAD line and, yes, it does sound good. As for the Marantz, I want to keep this an audio only set-up. I know, the Maven has video switching that's why I'm also considerring the Creek Classic...and it is available with a choice of phono inputs - which is convenient beings I have a small record collection.

Hey, the light bulb just lit up...I can buy the Marantz and swap it out with the MH cdp I already have. (The wife moved into the existing listening room and moved in her TV so the DV-7600 would work great for her cds and dvds.)

Not familiar with NHT, other than what reviews I have read. The nearest dealer is more than an hour's drive but if you're that impressed I'll make the trip. I had planned on spending about $2k on speakers so the NHT 4 fits the budget.

Thanks for the suggestions.

cyclebrain
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

Buy a pair of Paradigm Ref Studio 60's and dig up one of the many quality stereo receivers sitting in friends, relatives closets after being replaced by surround sound receivers. Look at yard sales too. People are throwing stereo receivers away. Next year buy better electronics.

59mga
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Re: Challenge your audio might?


Quote:
Buy a pair of Paradigm Ref Studio 60's...Next year buy better electronics.

Good thought, but first I have to find out the cost of these speakers. (According to the prices listed on their website I can easily afford the Studio 60...the 100's if I put off buying the electronics. The prices listed in the 2007 Buyer's Guide would limit me to the Monitor 11 or Studio 40, at best)I'll have to contact the dealer and find out what these things cost.

Anyway, the sensitivity is very high which, from what I understand, makes the Paradigm's a good choice for a valve amp...which I'm now considering.

Thanks for the suggestion.

cyclebrain
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

Or the Revel Concerta F12 at $1500.
The B&W DM603 at $1000.
All Stereophile picks.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

I would also consider the Monitor Audio R6 and the Triangle Heliade. The new B and W's in the 600 series are 683 and 684. I am still trying to find out if any dealers here in ATL have any, yet. You might also try and audition the Epos $700/pr 303? floor stander. It should have the general same sound character of the model 3 with more bass output.

59mga
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Re: Challenge your audio might?

Wel guys, the ballgame has changed...I'm definitely buying a tube system. Either the Cayin A-50T & CD-50T or the Jolida JD-100 & 202A, or 302B.

I've heard the F12 and DM603 as well as the Triangle Antal. All sounded good but I now have to find a tube/speaker combination that sounds good. No one nearby has yet to get the 683 or 684 but the local B&W dealer says they are certainly worth giving a listen to.

None of the dealers in the Baltimore/DC area carry both the electronics and speakers that I'm interested in, or can afford. One dealer, however, said he would give me a "major" discount if I buy an entire system from him. I'll be going back this weekend to have another listen and see what kind of package deal we can work out.

Jim, you seem to be a fan of Jolida, is there any one amp you prefer over another. Thanks.

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