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entry level system

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I need a new stereo system for a 15' x 15' bedroom. The yamaha pianocraft seems to be good for a minisystem. Could I do better with separates for around $600? I need a CD player, amp and speakers. Doesn't matter if the cdp is a carousel or tray and a tuner would be nice, but not essential. I listen to rock and rap and size doesn't matter. Also, would there be significant gains for a little more $$$? And the headphone jack must be good enough for SR-80s and V6.
post #2 of 29
hmm...from my own research (but not from personal experience) I could reccomend some components, but you might want to give yourself more than $600 to work with (if you can).
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
The absolute max would be $800. From comments here, the best CDP would probably be the Denon DCM-370. The amp should be at least 35WPC with bookshelf speakers. Also, how much of an improvement can I expect compared to a yamaha pianocraft?

Geez, I found headwize while looking for a $50 pair of headphones, now I have SR-80, V6, and (hopefully) a new system. The sr-80s made me realize how crappy my old stereo was.

Ignorance sure is bliss
post #4 of 29
>The yamaha pianocraft seems to be good for a minisystem. Could I do
>better with separates for around $600?

Run out and get yourself the NAD Music System:


We have one of these as our second system, and I can assure you that it's a *stellar* performer. The CD player is based on NAD's 500-series, the amp is based on the NAD 310, plus you get an RDS-enabled FM tuner, PSB Alpha Minis, and some very good speaker wire. You'd be hard-pressed to get a better-matched system for $550, and you surely wouldn't get the convenience of it's all-in-one design.

If that's just not for you, the Denon D-M30 is a nice minisystem that includes some good Mission speakers. I think the NAD is much better though.

The other alternative is to buy separates. You can do it for $ยง00 (NAD 300-series amp, a decent $200 CD player like the Denon changer, and a pair of $200 speakers), but it'll be tight.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
thanks macdef, where can i get the NAD for a good price?
post #6 of 29
macdef: Very good offer, but probably not available everywhere. I just looked up the german NAD site: They have the L40, but not as a package - and it's listed for 1350 DM (~ US$ 530 (x2,2 -> DM, x1,16 ->include 16% VAT (prices for end user have to be listed including VAT over here...))). That's a shame, because the package seems to be very nice and cheap.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #7 of 29

Someone else (beowulf, I think) mentioned that the headphone output in their NAD was pretty good.

I'm curious if you've compared the headphone out on your NAD to your X-Cans?
post #8 of 29
Here's what I would reccomend: The NAD C350 integrated amp (list price is $430 but it's only $300 here), along with some Axiom M3Ti Bookshelf speakers ($275 list but only $227 here). After that you'd probably have enough money to pick up a DCM-370 on ebay or something, where a lot of people have gotten theirs. I only base those reccomendations on reviews, but they have been very good reviews . The axioms can supposedly compete with monitor speakers that cost up to $2,000!
post #9 of 29
Try here:


They have the NAD L40 and PSB Alphas for $609 plus shipping.

Good luck.
post #10 of 29
I would suggest looking at secondhand separates, or dealers' ex-demonstration stock. It's amazing what you can pick up cheaply because it's not flavour of the month any more. Plus, when you upgrade (and you WILL!) their value will be relatively higher than when bought new, if you choose wisely.
post #11 of 29
Yeah, the NAD has gotten great reviews, and it looks like the best for an all in one system of reasonable quality.

As far as I know, the only other inexpensive audiophile reccomended minisystem is the Denon DM-3 minisystem. It comes with a pair of Mission speakers for about $400 and sounds phenomenal. i bought one of these for my dad, and we all agree it's amazing. even my car-subwoofer loving brother likes it.

Of course compared to my NAD/ Acoustic Energy system, it lacks detail and isn't nearly as crisp and clear with vocals or string. nonetheless, it's better than any Aiwa crap you could buy.

Technics and Teac is probably ok, but i'd stick with the NAD or the Denon. I wouldn't trust the Yamaha without listening to it and comparing it to the other guys.
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
If I bought the separates that Neruda suggested, how much would I need to spend on interconnects and speaker cable to do the system justice? And how much better would it be than a NAD L40 wtih PSB Alpha A/V's?

Thanks everyone for the responses.
post #13 of 29
that's a tough question, and one that I'm probably not educated enough (at least cable-wise) to answer. You could spend as much or as little as you want, but I'm guessing that good cables could get spendy. Maybe you could buy some cheaper cables for now and wait to upgrade them when you had more money to spend on it. I don't want to bring the price up too much higher though, since this is already getting pretty spendy. Man, audio sucks doesn't it?
post #14 of 29
Did you know that the 350 for $300 was refurbished?

Someone posted a link to UnitedOnlineShopping. That's actually where we bought ours (in fact, they had an open-box model that they had used to demo for one day at a show, so we got the L40 without speakers for $350. We already had a pair of AlphaAVs). You may want to ask them if they have any demos. That actually brings up another possibility -- if you decide against the Alphas (to go for the Axioms or something else), you can get the L40 by itself. However, the Alphas do match very well.

EDIT: I just noticed that the $600 at United Online includes the AlphaAVs instead of the AlphaMinis -- that means better bass, which is probably good for your music tastes, which include rap. However, it may not include speaker cables.

United Online also provides a replacement warranty -- if something goes wrong, instead of having to worry about findind an NAD service center, you just send it to them and they send you a new one.

Holy Zoo:
The L40 does have a pretty good headphone jack. It's definitely not as good as the X-CANv2, but I don't think you'll find a headphone jack built into any component/system that is. I'd say it's in the upper ranks of "built-in" jacks.

To answer your last question: the separates Neruda mentioned would definitely sound better, given good cables. But if you want to buy them new, you're looking at $400 + $230 + $200 = $730, plus cables, so probably around $830 - $850.

Of course, as several people mentioned, you can go with used stuff. If you're careful, it's possible to get great stuff used.
post #15 of 29
YAWA has lots of refurbished NAD, PSB, and more stuff at good prices.
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