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bozy's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: Apr 8 2013 - 12:27am
Deciding on my first setup

Hi all,

Been a headphone enthusiast for a few years, but now it is time to venture into the scary and expensive world of stero setups :)

I live in Wellington, New Zealand, so it's hard to demo all the brands/gear I'd like to without flying to another city. I'm pretty much left with reading lots of reviews on the net.

I want a simple setup - 2 floor standers, x1 integrated amp, x1 DAC. Or an integrated DAC/amp combo.

I don't want monitors/stands, a subwoofer, or a power amp/preamp combo.

My budget is:

Speakers: $6500 US

Integrated amp:$6500 US

DAC: $1500

I primarily listen to electronic music - DnB, House, etc. Also a bit of Jazz, Hip Hop and classical. So I'm after a set up which will deliver a bit of bass for my electronic needs, ideally without the need for a sub.... I know. I should probably get a sub. But I really don't want the clutter! And something with the finesse and dynamincs  to play Jazz/Classical. Maybe that's a big ask.

After a load of research, I've narrowed my choices down to:

Speakers: Sonus Faber Venere 3.0, or Dynaudio Contour S 3.4

Integrated amp: Plinius 9200, or Micromega IA-400 (pretty interested in the Plinius Hiato also, but that will well and truly wreck the budget I feel)

DAC: Waida 121


Any reccomendations or info much appreciated.




Bill B
Bill B's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: Jul 28 2012 - 1:59pm

You will instantly be out of the "entry level".  Congratulations!

commsysman's picture
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am

I have no idea whether they are available or what the price might be, but the Vandersteen Treo speakers are the best I have ever heard for less than $10,000 in the US.

For me, they redefine the sound quality you can get for their price, which is $5995 US. They also deliver enough solid low bass to make a subwoofer a non-issue for most people.

Sound Reference in Brisbane may be your closest Vandersteen dealer.

The integrated amplifier I suggest that you look at would be the Bryston B-135SST. It runs around $4600 is the US and is excellent.

Another really excellent one is the Audio Research VSi60, which is incredible. I think it currently costs about $5000 US.

The ARCAM A38 is another very good one.

bozy's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: Apr 8 2013 - 12:27am
Thanks for the

Thanks for the reccomendations, commsysman. I researched those products and they do indeed look tasty. I've always been a fan of Bryston and Audio Research design.

After some more thought, I've decided to go with the following:

Sonus Faber Venere 3.0 (black)
Plinius SB-301 Stereo Power Amp (silver)
Bel Canto DAC 2.5 (black)

Will post some impressions once it's all purchased and run in.


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