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Dserver
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Help me blow my money!

Hey guys 1st post and I'm sure you get this alot from noobs wanting advise and then never showing up again (I've read allot of these trying to figure this out on my own). I'm building a new system focused on vinyl(rock,pop,folk...) I have narrowed some components down, mostly the TT http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject-Turntable-Xpression-Mk-III_2?sc=2&category=352

and the Marantz 8004, the speakers I have decided on are the Monitor Audio rx6's. 

Basically I just want to know if within the price range of those components if anything better could be obtained. I don not want to buy used. I also don't know if I need a power amp? I also have no way to audition equipment because I live in a place without the luxury. 

Allot of the gear I see frequently on whathifi.com is based in the UK and apparently harder to find in the US. I know the Marantz is not on this site http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Store/Audio-Components but should I look at something else for an integrated amp, is tube amp a better component? If so why? This is just stuff I have tried to understand and have grasped just enough to give someone else bad advise..lol.

I think I'm sold on the turntable and speakers but will definitely be open to suggestions.

Plus I will be back to read what you have to say and look forward to it.

Thanks  

jackfish
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The Pro-Ject Xpression III in the US comes with the

underachieving Sumiko Oyster cartridge, which most people will replace.  The What Hi-Fi review is of the European version with the Ortofon 2M Red which is a far better cartridge. So expect to spend $100-$200 more to get the sound that table is capable of.

The Marantz PM8004 is a nice unit that can be found in the US for under $800. If you can get that price it might be worth it but there are better values than the PM8004 at the $1,000 list price. Cambridge Audio and Music Hall make good integrated amps as well. The new Cambridge Audio 650A for $500 and a Cambridge Audio 640P phonostage for $180 would be a great combo.

Monitor Audio RX6s are very nice having a distinguished lineage.

Dserver
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Thx for the input i will deff

Thx for the input i will deff upgrade the cart. where can i find the marantz for 800$? will you suggest amps with some links if you dont mind? I found the MA rx6 for 999$ good deal or not? I assume What Im looking at will be a good system?

And I like the looks of this one http://www.needledoctor.com/Music-Hall-A35-2-Integrated-Amp?sc=2&categor... any input?

jackfish
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I use the Audio Technica AT440MLa on my Xpression III.

Marantz PM8004 $816 shipped to my location: http://www.garrett-smarthome.com/proddetail.php?prod=PM8004

The Music Hall A35.2 does not have a phono stage, The Cambridge Audio 650A and 640P combo would likely do as well. Check Audio Advisor. http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CA650A http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CA640P

Here is an outstanding review of the Monitor Audio RX6's predecessor: http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/306monitor/ Robert Reina said, "There's nothing much more I can say—the flawless and exceptional Silver RS6 gave me more listening pleasure than any other loudspeaker I have reviewed for Stereophile. In my more than 20 years of reviewing, I have not reviewed an audio component that produced greater sound quality per dollar than Monitor Audio's Silver RS6." $1000/pair is a very good price.

Your selections thus far are very competent.

hcsunshine
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for amps you might want to consider...

the emotiva upa 1's. you could even get the emotiva usp 1 preamp too. all for under $1200 delivered. comes with a five year warranty. this will get you the best bang for the buck. www.emotiva.com

jackfish
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I concur that Emotiva should get consideration.

Internet direct provides the additional advantage of in home audition and purchase price refund after 30-60 days.

My system:

13.3" MacBook Air, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD, iTunes/BitPerfect
MacBook Air SuperDrive
Western Digital My Book Essential 2TB USB HD
Schiit Bifrost USB DAC
Emotiva USP-1, ERC-1 and two UPA-1s
Pro-Ject Xpression III and AT440MLa
AKAI AT-2600 and Harman Kardon TD4400
Magnepan MMG Magnestands
Rythmik Audio F12

Dserver
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  hcsunshine

 

hcsunshine wrote:

the emotiva upa 1's. you could even get the emotiva usp 1 preamp too. all for under $1200 delivered. comes with a five year warranty. this will get you the best bang for the buck.www.emotiva.com

Wow I'm blown away at how amazing these look, and how competitively priced they are! So what kind of configuration would I need to get the TT running And the speakers I want powered sufficiently enough to be flexible in about any size room (may be moving soon)?

What kind of cables would I need (I know there is allot of controversy over this)I just want good not crazy..

Dose any one own any of the emotiva stuff? What kind of DAC should I get? Ive heard good things about the CA DAC any suggestions?

Do the make a amp that has built in spotify ability?

How do I know what cartridges for the TT are good/ or even compatible, will I need to modify anything? What kind of other upgrades are available for that TT?

Wow I do apologize for the questions but that is why I came here. I do respect the advise and suggestions of people who are seasoned pros in this type of area especially when this kind of money is involved.

So thanks for the time and knowledge to help out a noob!

jackfish
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Emotiva

The Emotiva setup (USP-1 and two UPA-1s) hcsunshine suggested would be all you would need to accommodate your turntable and drive your loudspeakers in just about any room. I have the Emotiva ERC-1 CD player, Emotiva USP-1 preamp, and two Emotiva UPA-1 monoblock power amplifiers and they are very good performers. 

http://www.tonepublications.com/review/the-emotiva-usp-1-preamplifier-and-upa-1-amplifiers/ http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/preamplifiers/689-emotiva-usp-1-stereo-preamplifier.html

I would go to the Vinyl Engine forum http://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_forum/index.php and ask about what cartridges within your budget will work well with your turntable. Very knowledgable folks there and all the info you need to set up your new cartridge. Beyond a good cartridge, the only upgrade I can think of for that turntable would be a Pro-Ject Speed Box.

Emotiva X-Series RCA or Blue Jeans Cable LC-1 cables are more than adequate.

Do you need a DAC? If you have digital sources, then yes, you may need one. What other sources besides the turntable will you be using?

Dserver
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Computer, cd, ipod.... 

Computer, cd, ipod.... Oh and I have been into spotify recently, I dont really know what the best setup would be for that?

jackfish
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Most CD players have a DAC built in,

but if you are using digital music from a computer or iPod a separate DAC may be necessary to preserve good sound quality. The real key is at what resolution will your digital sources provide.  The streaming from Spotify is likely to be relatively low resolution. If you use a computer or an iPod those music files should be in a lossless format in at least CD-quality resolution of 16bits/1,411.2kbs/44.1kHz. For sources that varied you have a lot of research ahead of you to be making the right choices. Good Luck!

Dserver
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Thanks for all the input. The

Thanks for all the input. The system  will be predominantly vinyl, so everything else is secondary,I think I would mainly want a cd player and a DAC so I can listen to my itunes collection off my mac. What will the speedbox do? Is there a difference between 7" and 12" records besides the obvious size difference, will I need a adapter or something?

And on a side question unrelated to my build, where do you buy vinyl at? I use insound.com and Amazon.com.

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Here are some places for vinyl I use...

http://www.musicdirect.com/c-506-vinyl.aspx

http://www.elusivedisc.com/

http://www.soundstagedirect.com/?gclid=CJjSx9z2-q0CFcPAKgodCE_vMg

http://www.electricfetus.com/Home

http://www.madcitymusic.net/

http://www.revival-records.com/

Your iTunes collection (mP3) is likely to be disappointing on a highly resolving system like you are proposing. Start collecting lossless music files now. If you continue to look at the Emotiva stuff the ERC-2 CD player is a good one.  You might want to consider an Oppo BDP-93 if you will have SACD and DVD-A titles. The Speedbox is described here: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue31/speedbox.htm 7" and 12" records will play without a hitch as long as the speed is correct.

Dserver
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Ok so would I be better off

Ok so would I be better off getting the Emotiva USP-1 and one XPA-2, or should I get two UPA-1's( having two separate amps for my speakers is preferred right, more isolation i imagine)? And what's the 2.1 home theater bypass on the pre-amp for? Do I need to use XLR connections or RCA?

I haven't even ordered anything yet I just want to do my homework and ask alot of questions first, so assume that when I get all the gear together that I will barrage you with questions. And I apologize in advance.

I will be ordering the TT at the end of the week so I can at least listen to my vinyl. I will hook it up to an old kenwood vr-407 reciever (lol you can get one extremely cheap now) and listening with a pair of  these pioneer's http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/S-H453F-K

This way as I upgrade components and the TT I will be able to appreciate/notice the upgrades and ignore the buyers remorse.  

Thanks alot jackfish for supplying the knowledge

Dserver

jackfish
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The UPA-1 amps have better channel separation

than the XPA-2 and have been said to be more refined while the XPA-2 is more dynamic. I personally don't think there is too much difference between them and got the UPA-1s because they are easier to handle. Both are fine, pick your choice or choose your pick. The HT bypass on the USP-1 provides a mechanism to use one's main speakers in a two channel set up for music and still use an HT receiver/processor and other speakers for movies. Unless you have a system which uses all differential balanced connections or have very long runs, XLR cables are probably not necessary. Good quality, well shielded and flexible RCA connectors are fine.

Good Luck and ask away. Hopefully you can get to where you want to be.

Dserver
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If i get the USP-1(pretty

If i get the USP-1(pretty sure i will now) will i be able to use the kenwwod (kenwood vr-407 reciever) amp as a stand in for the UPA-1's until i get the cash for two of those? I don't know if this is a stupid question or not.. But on a good note I will be ordering my Xpression III in a couple hours and I got it with coupon code from needledoctor for $651.11 the code nixed the 40ish dollars for shipping, best deal i could find anywhere.

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You likely cannot use the Kenwood VR-407

as a power amp and might have to use it alone until you get the UPA-1s. There might be an inelegant way to do it, but with two volume controls you would have to be careful how they were used in tandem to not damage anything.

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AMPLIFIERS

I am not quite sure where the budget is for the amplifiers, but I very much doubt if the Emotiva amplifiers sound as good as some others for the same money. They are not too bad, but I think there are some that do sound better.

The Musical Fidelity M3i for $1500 is much much better for sure, and I also think you could get better sound with a Cambridge Audio 840A or 650A, which are in the $500 to $1000 range.

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Huh?
commsysman wrote:

...but I very much doubt if the Emotiva amplifiers sound as good as some others for the same money. They are not too bad, but I think there are some that do sound better. The Musical Fidelity M3i for $1500 is much much better for sure, and I also think you could get better sound with a Cambridge Audio 840A or 650A, which are in the $500 to $1000 range.

Is this from someone who has heard anything Emotiva? I've heard the wonderous Musical Fidelity M3i and it was nice but certainly not anything more than a marginal improvement over an Emotiva USP-1 and the UPA-1s ($1,150) and comparitively underpowered. Cambridge Audio (I've heard the 740A) is also nothing special compared to Emotiva. The OP can listen to Emotiva and decide based on their impressions, not those of someone who possibly has never heard the stuff. If they can listen to the Music Fidelity and Cambridge Audio pieces and they like them, more power to them. But they should not discount Emotiva out of hand because someone who is enthralled with their equipment pushes what they use. I'd say Emotiva amplifiers sound as good as some others that cost more money. I'd like to know which units you have listened to which cost the same as Emotiva equipment you have listened to sound better?

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i've heard that...

the cambridge audio 650a has a little brightness to it's high end. there is nothing on the other hand wrong with the emotiva sound. i can testify to this because i'm running 2 upa 1's through some speakers that reveal everything of what's in front of them. i even like emo sound better than nad, cause thats what i moved up from. and for the money nothing could touch emo for like 3 times the cost . www.emotiva.com

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Emotiva vs Musical Fidelity

After I decided that I didn't like my NAD C356, I tried Emotiva amps/preamp: borrowed them from someone I know. Didn't like them all that much either; a little better than that NAD though (my old C325 sounds better than the C356...go figure).

Love the Musical Fidelity M3i. It sounds a lot better to me; makes the music much nicer. It puts out over 100 watts to 4 ohms, which is more than I need for my PSB Image T6 speakers. If you consider that underpowered, you must have some very low-sensitivity speakers.

An Austrailian hi-fi magazine did some really extensive tests on it, which I looked up. You can find it online.

That must be post #100 by you recommending Emotiva. Are you on their sales staff officially, or just a volunteer?

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Emotiva majority stockholder. Just kidding.
commsysman wrote:

That must be post #100 by you recommending Emotiva. Are you on their sales staff officially, or just a volunteer?

I have had various pieces of audio equipment for 40 years. In all that time I can't remember anything which provides the sound quality of Emotiva at its economic value. I now own an Emotiva CD player, preamp and amplifiers. I wouldn't own their DAC, home theater preprocessor, speakers or subwoofers. While I recommend Emotiva, I believe in every instance it is a recommendation to try it and discover for oneself if it satisifies. They're only out the return shipping if it doesn't. Most people can't even find a place to audition Musical Fidelity or Cambridge Audio. Hopefully they can audition a variety of pieces within their budget. I'm perfectly comfortable if the result is the selection of something other than Emotiva that provides satisifaction. But you gotta listen to be able to make that choice in an informed manner. Notice I didn't mention Emotiva in this thread until someone else did, and actually suggested Cambridge Audio as an option.

If your remarks were directed at hcsunshine and not me I apologize.

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What Hi Fi

For a magazine that isn't devoted to particularly lengthy reviews of products, but rather devoted to reviewing a large quantity of products, I almost always find myself in agreement with them on the items I have listened to.

If you're flying blind into this storm, I think picking items you can afford in their 5 star ratings wouldn't be a bad way to go. Read the reviews of course, but they often  have systems designed around the products they review that are complimentary and compatible.

What-Hi-Fi is a fun magazine and cuts to the chase in a hurry. I put more stock in their opinion on gear than I do a lot of contributors at some other magazines.

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Well I am recieving my

Well I am recieving my Xpresion III tomorrow, the other parts will come together in time. So apparently not everyone likes Emotiva, and I understand most have there own bias. Really I do like the way the components look, but we know that isnt important, its the sound that is important. And if you read back and look at the equipment I have right now excluding the new TT apparently anything I buy will be better. I do want the most optimal sound for the buck I can afford and right now I am budgeting for the emotiva gear, if other gear can be obtained for no more then 500 extra (or les) I will highly consider it. 

But let me say I am definitely stoked to get my TT, hopefully it sounds "decent" with my current setup! I will let you know but I bet it sounds like shit.. which will expedite my next purchase.

Dserver
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Ok i just got my TT I "think"

Ok i just got my TT I "think" I got everything setup properly, It dose sound very good even on my POS receiver and speaker combo! So If something wasn't setup properly I would be able to tell right?

jackfish
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The Xpression III is pretty easy to set up

with only attaching the counterweight and setting the weight and assembling and adjusting the antiskate. Pretty straight forward. The cartridge is already adjusted properly. If something were way off you would hear the problems create

Dserver
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I think its good, sounds good

I think its good, sounds good anyways. If i miss the lead in or bump the tone arm will it screw it up? Ive done both a couple times... I about died.

So you really think emotiva is the way to go? If you were to suggest something else in the same(ish) monetary bracket what would it be?

I will be making the pre amp my next purchase (or should I buy the speakers?) so I need to be sure.

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Ok, I just bought the emotiva

Ok, I just bought the emotiva USP-1!! Exited I am! So I guess I have to save up for the rest, shouldn't take to long. But you mentioned a way of not so gracefully hooking it up to my current receiver, care to elaborate? 

And do I have other choices when it comes to the power amp's? Is so and you do you recommend buying another brand and mixing it with the emotiva pre amp?

Kinda wishing I would have sunk the money into records instead.. but I know I won't be upset in the long run.

I just can't blow the rest of my income tax on gear, wish I could but I have to save it for Bonnaroo VIP tickets!

 

All the best,

Chris

And thanks again for all the help!

jackfish
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Turntables are rather delicate, but slight bumps should

not be a problem. I don't necessarily think Emotiva is the way for you to go, but is one of many options you should consider. If you get a chance you should listen to Cambridge Audio and Marantz stereo integrated amps. You would need a phono stage for the Cambridge Audio stuff. One advantage of Emotiva stuff is you can audition it at home and return it if you don't want it and you are only out the return shipping. I believe it would be difficult to find products that sound as good as Emotiva for the price, unless you wanted to try used equipment. But then you cannot easily audition used stuff. I would not try using your current receiver in conjunction with the USP-1. Just use the receiver until you have completed the preamp/power amp combo. To try to run them both will not likely offer a sound quality improvement and it is possible to damage one or both units. I think that while you may have to wait as you assemble your gear, you will be satisified in the long run by putting together the best of entry level system for your purposes. Good Luck!

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reply

I concur about the Emotiva. I have turntable to USP-1 to XPA-2, instead of the two UPA-1s suggested. I am very happy with the sound from these components. On either end I have vintage: Dual 1019 at the source and PSB Stratus Gold i on the output.

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