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Guilherme's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 6 2014 - 11:46am
First system 2.0 - 2.5USD

Hi guys,

I have 2500 USD to build my first system and would like some advice from you. I don't have means of auditioning components since I live in Brazil and the selection here is very limited and expensive. Things that usually sells for 500 USD in US cost around 3000 USD here.

I'm gonna buy the components when I travel to US in October.

I want a 2.0 system. Source will be my PC with my FLACs. Through a lot of reading I thought those speakers would be a good start. What do you guys think?

PSB Imagine for 1200
Focal 807 V for 720 - There's the V W also but I didn't understand the difference
Paradigm Studio 20 for 1500

Then I've read people using the following:

Dac + power amp

Integrated amp

and when I was looking for integrated amps I found stereo amps which seems to be 2 channel integrated amps (although I found one which was 4 channel with the option of using 2 speakers in mono(if I recall the name correctly))

Which way do you guys recommend?

One thing that confuses me a lot is this. I've read everywhere that under powering speakers is the worst thing I can do due to clipping (which damage the speakers) and overheating of the amp. I've also read that I should look for amps with 150% of the speaker wattage. But I also read a lot of recommendations of amps with lower wattage than the speakers in the forums. So, how low is too low for the system to work?

Looking for a stereo amp I found the Harman Kardon HK 3770 which can deliver 120W @ 8 ohms. Is that too weak for those speakers or is it a good match?

Thanks a lot in advance guys and sorry for dropping so many questions at once.

commsysman's picture
Last seen: 2 days 4 hours ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
System Choices

That business about underpowering speakers is total nonsense.

True, there are some very power-hungry speakers, that will not perform well dynamically if you don't have plenty of power, but concerns about damage are simply a fantasy; no truth to that. In any case, the speakers you are considering are easy to drive, and almost any amplifier will drive them very well.

If an amplifier actually CLIPS, the distortion will be so bad you will quickly turn down the volume and prevent damage. Underpowering is sometimes an issue with 5-channel or 7-channel home theatre systems, because the cheaply-designed receivers that many people buy do not have adequate power supply capacity to play that many speakers really loud, and people foolishly expect a $400 receiver to play like a $1000 one. Ridiculous power claims for these receivers help to confuse people.

The Focal 807V speakers are very good, and that is a heavily discounted price. Their sensitivity is 92 db per watt, which means it only takes 10 watts to produce 102 db at 1 meter in front of the speaker. That is VERY loud! Based on that, I would say any amplifier with 40 watts or more would be quite adequate to drive them. The W, by the way, means the speakers have the "wenge" wood finish; others are available also (rosewood, cherry). Wenge, by the way, is also called African Rosewood, and is endangered and illegal to import, so I am sure the finish is simuulted and not real wood.

I would suggest the NAD C326BEE amplifier, or the Music Hall 15.3 amplifier. Those would be a good match for the Focal speakers.

I suggest that you get a separate DAC, not one included in an amplifier. Putting the DAC in the amplifier chassis is a bad design compromise IMO. the Audioengine D1 is one I would recommend.

Guilherme's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 6 2014 - 11:46am
Thank you

Hi commsysman,

Thanks a lot for the explanations. I'm going to follow your recommendations.

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