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onewiththesound's picture
Last seen: 7 years 7 months ago
Joined: Aug 15 2011 - 11:58pm
Need help choosing my first audio setup.

Hello there,

I have been interested in hi-fi for some time now, so I finally decided to purchase a system, but I need some help and advice on what to get. Earlier this year I went to a hi-fi systems dealer to take a look at what he would recommend. My budget will be around $1200 to a possible $1500. The salesman had recommended me this setup:

Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut III $369 Amplifier: Marantz PM5004 $493 Speakers: Paradigm Monitor Series 7 Mini $486

Total: $1348 plus price of cables, taxes, and such. But no speaker stands.

Now I fell in love when I heard the sound that came out of that system, I was quite impressed. But now a friend of mine offered to sell me some of his old gear including such:

Turntable: What I believe to be a Stanton STR8-50 Speakers: Paradigm Export Monitor Series from roughly 20 years ago, big boxier speakers.

Total $500 including speaker stands, possibly sell speakers separately.

Now he recommended me to get these and to purchase a home theatre reciever from futureshop such as a Denon, Onkyo, Harman Kardon for roughly $300-$500 and I would have a decent system. As far as a model to go with I have not researched much into this option.

I do plan to also hook up my iPod to this system by a dock, probably just with an apple dock or something, any recommendations? Also in the future I may want to hook up my iMac to this system, probably by a 3.5mm jack to rca cable. I don't need speaker stands and I plan to just put all the equipment on my desk.

Now with all this information and opportunity I would like to ask your input with a few questions. Shall I get the Stanton or the Pro-Ject turntable? I am leaning strongly towards the Pro-Ject mainly due to its looks. Would I be losing much quality by deciding to go with an Onkyo, Denon, or Harman Kardon amplifier rather than the Marantz? The Marantz may not have as much functionality as the others do as far as iPod connectivity and such, but is it worth the sound difference? Now these Paradigm Export Monitor series speakers are quite large and have some scuffs and scratches, but I am told that they still sound magnificant. I don't know too much about them and am wondering if they would be a better fit rather than the minis?Does anyone know much about these?

So I would thank anyone who can give me some sort of feedback on what to get and hopefully help me piece my first system together. Thank You.

kager's picture
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: Oct 1 2006 - 8:28pm
short answer

I've never had the opportunity to hear any of the equipment you mentioned and I'm personally not into vintage equipment. That said. if you like the system you heard at the Hi Fi store and it's within your budget that's the way I would go, It sounds like a fine system to me. 

Vintage gear is nice if that's what your into but your dealing with equipment that's 20 or more years old and like an old car my need a bit of tinkering or fixing if not now, in the near future. 

My first system was used equipment I got from a friend many years ago. I had nothing but problems with the receiver. It's a tough choice but one only you can make.


jackfish's picture
Last seen: 5 years 5 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
I will offer these suggestions...

For the turntable you might want to consider the Music Hall MMF-2.2 as it is similar to the Pro-Ject (actually made by Pro-Ject) and provides VTA adjustment and a Music Hall Tracker or Goldring ELAN cartridge. The LP Gear version includes an upgraded stylus for $450. Definitely worth the extra $80.

The Marantz is a good entry level integrated amplifier with a decent MM phono section. The Harman Kardon HK3490 would offer better connectivity options and still has an adequate phono section and pretty good power.

For speakers I'd consider the PSB Image B45s in closeout from DMC Electronics for $480/pair.

I can't agree with your friends recommendations.

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