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Wiesty
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Looking to build decent budget setup

Hey everyone, first time poster here!
I'm looking at investing some money into a decent stereo system with mainly listening to music (vinyl) in mind. I have a fairly decent TT setup ( micro seiki solid 5 with an empire cartridge). My speaker system isn't great though ( wharf dale 8.1, mixer, cheap phono pre). So I would like some suggestions on decently pried good sounding integrated amps and speakers that will actually make having a good TT worthwhile!
Thanks!

JoeE SP9
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budget

What's your budget?

What size is the room and how is it decorated?

What kind of music do you listen to and how loud?

Wiesty
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I'd probably be willing to

I'd probably be willing to drop up to 500 bucks on an amp and a 1000 on speakers (though I'm looking to go as cheap as possible). My room is just a basic square room, and I'll probably be moving eventually, so I would need something versatile, or I'll have to make adjustments when i move. I mainly listen to alot of jazz/prog/classic rock. Usually not to loud, but the option would be nice!

JoeE SP9
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new gear

For electronics you could consider Marantz, Cambridge or NAD. They all have nice integrated amplifiers for $500 or less. With speakers, you should audition some. They are sufficiently different that you should actually hear them for yourself before making a decision.

With that said....

I admit I'm a diehard panel fan.  So, assuming there is enough space, my choice for speakers are Magnepan MMG's and a Hsu Research sub woofer.

jackfish
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Also consider the Music Hall A15.2 for $500.

I also like planar/quasi-ribbon speakers and concur with the MMGs and a decent subwoofer. The HSU VTF-1 MK2 Subwoofer in sealed and low-Q configuration can keep up with panels pretty well.

Wiesty
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What are peoples opinions on

What are peoples opinions on the Wharfdale 10 series? I have some wharfdale 8 series that I have been using as studio monitors, and for my turntable as well. I've heard good things about the 10 series however, especially for the price.

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

I would say that the Music Hall A15.2 is the best ampifier for under $1000, and it is only $499 from Music Direct. It even has a phono preamp built in. It is comparable to Cambridge and other amplifiers selling for $800-1000; a great bargain for $499.

The Wharfdale Diamond 10.5 is under $800 per pair at Music Direct also; that is a good deal, I would think.

I would suggest that you consider getting a Ortophon 2M Blue cartridge or something comparable to replace your current cartridge; that should be a major upgrade in sound quality.

Wiesty
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Marantz

What are people's opinions on the Marantz integrated amplifiers. They seem like a deadly bang for your buck. Thoughts?

subroc
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Marantz

I have a Marantz pm5004 amp and cd5004 cd player with Monitor Audio BX2 speakers and have been very happy with them.  I would expect the Monitor Audi Silver line to sound even better through the amp.   I have a turntable but I do not use the built on phone stage so I can not say how good it is.  I have a Music Fidelity V-LPS MK2.  If possible I would recommend seeing if you can find a place to audition some items if possible. 

tunedtovinyl
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Recently built my own new system too

Well it has been about a month since your original post so you have probably already put your system together but I thought that I'd offer my 2 cents.  This is my first post in this forum as well.  I recently decided to put together a new system but I took a different path I think.  I decided to look at components that got great reviews in the past and buy used where  I could find them and I have to  say that  am thrilled with what I got for my money. 

Since I love vinyl I started there and decided that I would actually buy new.  I picked up the new Project Carbon Debut and spent a little extra to get the Speedbox II.  From there I bought the Rotel RC 960BX pre amp and the Rotel RB 850 power amp.  Nice clean sounding combination.  The pre amp gives the ability to bypass all of the tone controls, has a nice phono section and is solidly built.  The amp is really sweet.  It is a dual mono design with nice clean current and 50 wpc so it can drive a difficult load if needed.  For speakers I decided on a pair of Magnepan SMGa speakers.  Nice and open sounding speakers that have a sound stage far bigger than should be reasonably expected  for the pittance that I spent for them.  Throw in some decent audioquest speaker cables and interconnects and for just about $1000 I have a pretty sweet system. 

I decided to not stop there though, I have never been a big fan of CD or digital music, it just sounds a little to clean and sterilized for my tastes but I am also a realist and I know that not everything is going to be available on vinyl.  I decided to add the Adcom GCD 575  CD player to act as my transport and a California Audio Labs Sigma D/A converter.  Super score there.  The Adcom as a transport is great.  I think that the motor is overbuilt and the laser assembly is great as well.  As a CD player I thought that it really lacked the openness that I wanted.  The Sigma however is pretty mind blowing.  The tube ads a nice amount of fullness we'll say and a clarity and openness that actually makes me forget that I am listening to a CD.  Throw in some more audioquest cables and for $600 more I have an outstanding (almost) audiophile system. 

For around $1600 I have a system that to my ears is tough to beat (for $1600 anyway).  Now to admit, I used to work for Myer Emco in the DC area back in the early 1990's and this is the same system that I used to sell in my store so I was already pretty familiar with everything and well, I loved the sound back then and I already knew that I would love the sound now.  A good sounding stereo will always be a good sounding stereo. 

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