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300Drive's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 10 2005 - 9:14am
$3,500 system recommendations......HELP

I have a $3,500 budget to get a 2 channel system. I think that an integrated amp is the way to go, given my budget. NO rock n roll, or rap, so loud is not important. What are the major contributors to sound quality in an integrated amp (watts per channel, THD, total whats,etc)? How much power do I need (its for my 20x20 family room and NOT part of a home theater system).

I do want floor standing speakers and the music sourse will be a new CD player.

Thanks for any reply and also if you have any product recommendations.

Monty's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: $3,500 system recommendations......HELP

You can get terrific sound within that budget. You can also go tube or solid state and expect great things from either with that kind of money.

If you have a high-end dealer in your area, that would be the first place to start and simply let your ears and their advice guide your selections.

There is a lot of synergy between components that work well together and can often be the difference between sound that is great or sound that is not very involving. This is where the high-end stores earn your money. If you ask 10 audio guys to select a system on a certain budget you are probably going to get 10 differnt systems to consider.

Don't let this be intimidating in making the jump to hi-fi, but do try to visit a good retailer if you can. The big box stores aren't the place to go for good sound.

Reed's picture
Last seen: 7 years 10 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 5:37am
Re: $3,500 system recommendations......HELP

The Absolute Sound magazine had "recommended systems under $6,500" in a recent issue. They recommended several systems (I think it was 4) that started cheeper and worked their way up to $6,500. It detailed the interconnects, speaker cable, power conditioner, etc. I think this is an excellent reference point. It also gets you thinking about what you will need.

"What HiFi?" magazine also has recommended systems at various price points in every issue. I wish more publications did the "recommended systems" approach. It can be very helpful to the beginner.

Sure, the magazines have certain biases toward certain manufacturers, but their recommendations are almost always sonically strong. Stereophile gets fairly constant criticism over constantly reviewing Musical Fidelity equipment. It is not like they are "in bed" together. They find the manufacturer easy to work with and their stuff is good.

The audiophile experts have already done the work of making sure of synergy between components in the "recommended systems" approach. When you are starting out, you just want enjoy and learn what hifi is all about.

As you progress into it, you will learn to appreciate what you like. I agree with one of the prior posters. You will get way too many opinions. I have also found that people tend to recommend what they have.

Jim Tavegia
Jim Tavegia's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 4:27pm
Re: $3,500 system recommendations......HELP

Check out the Triangle Heliade ($1100) or Antal floor ($1900) standers or the B&W 603s at about $1K like the Heliade. I would look at one of the $1K SACD players (Marantz or Sony) and that could leave $1500 for a good amp like the Creek 5350 or possibly a Unison Unico or the Music Hall Maven. Buy it all from one dealer and you might get some good cables tossed in. 2 channel SACD is very nice. For the same price as the Creek you could look at the all tube 100 watt/ch Jolida JD1000 with EL 34's. It is very, very nice. No remote though. What ever you choose it should be very nice. Listen hard and listen long before you buy if you can.

dcrowe's picture
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 9:39am
Re: $3,500 system recommendations......HELP

My suggested components to consider include the Creek 5350SE integrated amplifier teamed with the Revel F12 speakers. The Creek review in the Stereophile archives exhibits outstanding measured performance as well as a Class A rating for what the reviewers heard. I have the Revel M22's, and their congestion is the lowest I have heard anywhere near their price point.

Anthony Tam
Anthony Tam's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Oct 6 2005 - 2:06pm
Re: $3,500 system recommendations......HELP

In addition to the advice you've already received from the other forum participants, might I suggest you avail yourself of a good reference on the matter. I suspect this book will answer many of your questions and empower you with some information as you undertake this endeavor.

"The Complete Guide to High-End Audio" by Robert Harley


commsysman's picture
Last seen: 11 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Re: $3,500 system recommendations......HELP

I would start with the Vandersteen 2C speakers ($1400).
Then I would get the NAD 320BEE integrated amp ($400); do not let the price fool you, this one stands up with $2000+
integrateds and wins hands down (how may units at this price are editor's choice in The Absolute Sound?). Then I would get the Marantz SACD/CD player for $1000 (see Marantz website for model number). That is one fine system you jus put together!!

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