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RAW33's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: Feb 1 2020 - 2:50am
building an audio system

I would love to get advice on building a primary an audio system and the same area would be utilized as TV viewing with surround sound.The emphasis is that I want a good audio system, I recently moved to a condo with a large room that has outside windows and hardwood floors that combines living room, dining room, and kitchen space together. I am starting from scratch and would like advice on what to purchase to acquire a good audio system. I will be listening to streaming music and cD's. Right now vinyl is not in the picture due to storage constraints in my condo. There is no echoing and the floors have area rugs and there are furnishings.
I listened to the B & W 804's but was advised these may be too bright for the room. I listened to the Ref Ref 3's which I enjoyed. Today I am listening to the KEF Blades which is very pricey. I was hoping to put together a good system for 30K or less but once I started diving into this, there seems to be no limit to cost of certain equipment.
I feel that the money would be best spent on good speakers and an amp but not sure which way to go and of course, dealers want one to buy the most expensive.
I am looking for advice to build this system and have no issue taking my time in doing so.
Any advice would be appreciated and considered carefully as I am starting with a base knowledge of zero.
Thank you for your assistance!

hurt1097's picture
Last seen: 3 weeks 5 days ago
Joined: Mar 17 2010 - 7:14am
building an audio system

You are starting with a budget that almost anyone would envy and I am glad to know that you are prepared to take your time. I would warn against spending that amount of money on a system all at once. Rather, I would build toward the kind of system that you value and it may take a while for you to discover just what that is. If you listen to a lot of loudspeakers that are rated "A" in Stereophile you will find that they all sound different. Each is excellent in its own way; none of them sound "bad." And don't neglect B or unrated components. You may prefer them for some reason.

It is important to carefully match speakers, amps, and other components. Seek advice from reputable dealers who specialize in audio gear. Read Robert Hartley, The Complete Guide to High-End Audio, 5th ed. You can get it from Amazon. He gives excellent advice on what to listen FOR when you are auditioning equipment. He also provides basic (and some not-so-basic) information about how this complicated stuff fits together and works. And I have always found the reviews in Stereophile and other magazines by professional reviewers, to be especially helpful. I don't always agree with them (when I have an experiential basis for an opinion), but in general they have a fund of comparative experience that most of us lack.

I am an old school stereo guy so specific advice about how to build the system that you envision may not be pertinent, but I would start simple, perhaps with a good integrated amp that could be used as a preamp if you acquire a separate power amp(s), or vice versa. Surround sound complicates things but I think the basic principle holds. It's pretty easy to sell your old gear through Audiogon or similar site. Quality gear holds its value pretty well so it's fairly painless make changes if you make a mistake. And you probably will make some mistakes. In your CD/streaming system a high quality separate DAC is a must. If you have a DAC you will need a transport to play your CDs and perhaps rip them to a hard drive. Assuming that you do not use your computer as a source you will need a streaming device. This is a fast moving frontier so you will want up to date advice about that.

And don't forget to buy good cables and interconnects and a good power conditioner. But most of all don't forget to have fun. Hey! It's a hobby.

steve59's picture
Last seen: 1 day 12 hours ago
Joined: Jan 2 2015 - 6:46am
Starting from scratch

I recently went through several +$20k speakers and learned that there is always a compromise. $30k for a complete system is enough, but many speakers change their personality just by plugging in a different amp. In my room bottom and front ported speakers rolled off steeply by 60 hz reducing my choices. Find a dealer that has gear you’re interested in and start talking, tell him your budget the type of music you like and suggest taking something home for a weekend so you can hear how your room sounds.

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