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mcg.kvn
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Joined: Dec 6 2011 - 8:30pm
My first build questions

I am new to the fantastic world of Hi-fi. I have always loved music, but never had the funds to build up a system. Things still haven’t changed, but I have recently inherited speakers so I am trying to use this as momentum to start building. The speakers are 2 bose 100 J (compatible with receivers/amps 10-100 w per channel; rated from 4-8 ohms. Max continuous power-50 Watts) and 2 bose Model 141 speakers (compatible with receivers or amps rated 10-80W per channel rated from 4-8 Ohms Max cont power-40 Watts) Now before everyone starts raging over Bose, I did not buy these, I got them for free. I plan to replace them one day, but I would like to build up a good sounding stereo system that will be worthy of upgraded speakers. From what I have read, I need an amplifier, and CD player or some source to start listening to music. My questions: 1. Are there amplifiers that I can hook up a cd player or a laptop/ipod to? 2. What amplifiers are recommended for under $400? 3. I have read about the Antique Sound Labs AV-20 tube amp. Is it powerful enough to run these speakers? I would appreciate any comments or words of advice. I am excited to start moving forward with my plans whenever I can get them solidified. Thanks. -Kevin

jgossman
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Welcome

It's not a bad past time for musicians and music lovers alike.  True some will flame out about Bose.  My experience is this.  They are actually pretty good, most of the time.  What they don't to is dynamic shading and accurate soundstaging.  I know this will drive some audiophiles crazy to hear but neither does live music most of time.  Soundstaging CAN increase your ability to be drawn into the music, it can't make bad recordings good and it will not make you enjoy Hotel California just because it is remarkably well recorded.  What they do get right are big dynamic crescendo's and they tend to do very well and be pretty accurate in timbre so strings, voices, piano's etc., will sound very pretty.  It might not be accurate in the "you are there" sense, but that isn't always a bad thing either.  I grew up listening to an old pair of Advents and my parents and uncles always had Pioneer, Sansui, etc. amps.  Sometimes it's okay, even for an audiophile, to enjoy music just being "pretty".

I'm a big fan of tubes and there are nice tube integrateds, but I would recommend a nice used mosfet integrated from Arcam, or Cambridge Audio or even Magnum.  It will fall in your price range.  I wouldn't buy a 200.00 amp and a 200.00 cd player.  Use your iPod until you have a little more scrill and then buy a great source.

Have fun! 

jackfish
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If you don't expect too much from those Bose

and have higher aspirations, certainly look for a good integrated amplifier to begin your journey. If you plan on running both pairs of speakers at once be sure to get an amplifier that is stable into 4 Ohm loads.

If you want a reasonable piece with clean, adequate power, and that can accommodate a laptop and/or iPod, think about the Harman Kardon HK3490 which can be found for $300.

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

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

commsysman
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Hi Music Lover

I would recommend that you consider the Cambridge Audio CA350A ($450) or the Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10 ($350).  I don't know of anything else for your range that would sound as good. A good-sounding amp with 30-50 watts per channel will actually do a good job of driving a tremendous number of speakers quite adequately. FYI, see the Audio Advisor website for pictures, details, etc.

I started using tubes in the 1960s, but I have sworn off of them because of the constant hassles with tube failures and the need for expensive frequent replacements. If you read the reviews on tube amps, 90% of the time they can't even get through the review process without one channel shorting out and/or a resistor burning out when a tube goes to fireworks mode. Poor tube reliability is an unfortunate fact of life these days.

It's defintely a pain-in-the-ass, even for an experienced tech/engineer like, me, and not what I would recommend to a new audio friend. So...my advice is to stay away from tube amps.

Also, the AV-20 seems to be discontinued; the current model is the AV-25, which will cost you $375 EACH; they are MONAURAL basic power amps so you would need 2 of them, which would cost $750. Also, since these are only basic power amps you would need a separate preamp to drive them which would be another $800-$5000...lol (can't use them by themselves; basic power amps have no volume control or input selector).

Actually...I have a like-new Cambridge Audio CA340A, 50Wpc, (essentially the same as the 350) sitting in my closet (I upgraded to the Musical Fidelity M3i, $1500 ), which I could let someone have for $250. That is half of the original price; a very good deal for someone (if you go to the Cambridge Audio website, they have pictures and specs for the 340 archived at the bottom of the product listings).

The other thing would be to dump the Bose speakers and get a pair of the excellent PSB Alpha B1 speakers as soon as you can (for $248), but you have obviously been warned about Bose...lol.

But anyway, welcome to the land of the audiophiles, and I wish you much good listening!

 

 

 

 

I am new to the fantastic world of Hi-fi. I have always loved music, but never had the funds to build up a system. Things still haven’t changed, but I have recently inherited speakers so I am trying to use this as momentum to start building. The speakers are 2 bose 100 J (compatible with receivers/amps 10-100 w per channel; rated from 4-8 ohms. Max continuous power-50 Watts) and 2 bose Model 141 speakers (compatible with receivers or amps rated 10-80W per channel rated from 4-8 Ohms Max cont power-40 Watts) Now before everyone starts raging over Bose, I did not buy these, I got them for free. I plan to replace them one day, but I would like to build up a good sounding stereo system that will be worthy of upgraded speakers. From what I have read, I need an amplifier, and CD player or some source to start listening to music. My questions: 1. Are there amplifiers that I can hook up a cd player or a laptop/ipod to? 2. What amplifiers are recommended for under $400? 3. I have read about the Antique Sound Labs AV-20 tube amp. Is it powerful enough to run these speakers? I would appreciate any comments or words of advice. I am excited to start moving forward with my plans whenever I can get them solidified. Thanks. -Kevin

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mcg.kvn
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Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Dec 6 2011 - 8:30pm
Thanks for the responses.  I

Thanks for the responses.  I will be a little more weary of tube amps until I get more experience.  One thing that no one has meantioned but I have been curious about are vintage amplifiers.  I see a lot of local listings for older amps like the sherwood s-7900 and I have read really good reviews about them.  What would be the pros and cons to going with a vintage amplifier?

commsysman
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Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Vintage Amplifiers

There are thousands of them out there, aren't there; just like used cars.

Switches get worn and flaky, volume controls also; input jacks get seriously corroded. Sometimes you can get repair parts, but it can be quite difficult...or impossible. The majority of them need some sort of component replacements to bring them up to good operating condition.

It's a possible way to go IF you know that it was a good quality unit to start with, AND you have tested it out in your home to make sure it is working right. Those two things would be the starting point.

The pitfalls are numerous.

 

Make sure you are looking at an INTEGRATED amp, not just a basic amp which will require a separate preamplifier.

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