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Becoming An Audiophile

post #1 of 95
Thread Starter 
Well, I'm ready to step into the audiophile world by sllllowwwlllyyyy building my system.

My current hifi: a Technics 1200 turntable, a Samsung DVD player (which is also my best CD player), a Sony VCR, a Sony Wega 32" TV, an Onkyo receiver, and Advent floor speakers circa 1989.

I'm going to continue to build over the next few years until everything has been replaced w/ an entire audiophile system (from floor, bookshelf, sub and center speakers, to an amp, a tuner, a turntable, a CD player, DVD player and a nice large plasma television).

Being the money-conscious person I am, I want to start w/ the minimum......so.....my first purchase will be bookshelf speakers that sound much better than my old Advent floor speakers. For now, they will be high-end speakers for my 2-channel hi-fi system. As I continue to grow, they will one day become rear speakers in my future surround sound system.

I spent a lot of time visiting a shop (that sells great equipment) testing speakers. Although Thiel's sounded very accurate and clear, they almost gave me a little *too* much accuracy and had a tendancy to sound a tad harsh at times, making me believe that there would be lots of fatigue during long listening sessions. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed them, but it was B&W speakers that gave me the neutral, lean, clear & accurate sound that I love so much! (I also tried Phase Technology speakers, and they were not to my liking)

So.....a pair of 601 Series 3 bookshelf speakers will keep me under $500 (my goal) and seem to provide the best sound vs. value. Although it's more money, I'm considering the CM & 700 series, as well, since I want to build a foundation for the B&W series that I will be most happy with (money AND sound-wise).

Now that you know what I'm looking for, I would appreciate any input you may have. I have a lot to learn; a long way to go towards becoming an audiophile. I have officially entered the learning process...

Like most people, I used to laugh at audiophiles...until I listened to high-end equipment. Once I did that, it was all over. There's no turning back....once you've heard the difference, you can't go back.....
post #2 of 95
Welcome!!

Quote:
I'm going to continue to build over the next few years
More like you will continuously upgrade....it will never end.

The B&W 601 is a good choice, although I personally feel that they are overpriced. But what is important is that YOU like how it sounds. As long as YOU like it, that's all it counts.

Remember to budget good quality stands for bookshelf speakers. Not to mention good quality speaker cables.
post #3 of 95
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by soundboy
Welcome!!



More like you will continuously upgrade....it will never end.

The B&W 601 is a good choice, although I personally feel that they are overpriced. But what is important is that YOU like how it sounds. As long as YOU like it, that's all it counts.

Remember to budget good quality stands for bookshelf speakers. Not to mention good quality speaker cables.
Thank you!

1) Yes, I can see it now...constant building and upgrading...I'm excited!

2) Really? They were the best I heard under $500... What do you find comperable in that range??? Yes, I *love* how they sound.

3) Since I'm just starting out, I'm not going to worry about stands and expensive cables...that will be all part of my future purchases & upgrades..
post #4 of 95
You will be happy with the 601s. I bought a pair a short while ago and really like them. Sure, I was able to find bookshelf speakers that sounded better, but not without spending more than five times what I paid for the 601s.
post #5 of 95
Welcome to this crazy world. I also own a pair of 601s and I do like there sound. I have the original version, though I think the sound will be similar.

Don't skimp on stands or speaker cables as I find this speaker sensitive to these things. Even with your reciever, you will hear a big difference from the generic cables. You will also need a good pair of stands to help bring out the best in them. You can check TNT audio website for some DIY stands or Parts Express, which had a set of their stands reviewed by Goodsound.com.

As you said, go about it slowly and invest wisely. Listen when you can, especially to a set up that is like yours (if you want to buy a cd player, let the store set up an amp and speakers like what you own, if they have, and then audition, or even better, if you can get an in home audtion).

As for recomendations, NAD amps go well with these speakers,
and you can check out Rotel cd players as well. I believe you will find models in your price range.

D
post #6 of 95
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone!

I'm on a tight budget and want to keep it under $500 for now, so I'd really like to hold off on stands and cables. They can be the next upgrade, followed by a better amp/receiver, followed by CD player, DVD, more speakers, upgrades, etc.
post #7 of 95
Mr. X,

There's a good number of choices in the $500.00/pair range, from a vast number of manufacturers. I've auditioned NHT's SB2 ($400.00/pair) and SB3 ($600.00/pair) and these are simply excellent sounding. Looks great with the glossy piano black finish on them. Another choice would be Energy's C-3 ($550.00/pair)....very efficient and again, excellent sounding. Excellent build quality. Check out this review. I have the smaller version of the C-3, the C-1. Works very well in my system.

In my opinion, the best buy on the market now is the Energy Veritas 2.1 bookshelf speakers at AudioAdvisor.com. Originally $1,000.00/pair, now at $500.00/pair w/ no shipping charges. I've listened to these before at my local Energy dealer and they're on a whole different level from all of the speakers I've mentioned.

But these are merely suggestions. The B&W 601 is a great speaker and if you like it, that's all it matters.

You can also go with floorstanding speakers at this price level, but I don't think they will match the sound quality of these bookshelf speakers.

As for cables and stands, good quality doesn't necessarily means expensive. You can do a search in this forum and see that there are many bargains around in terms of stands and cables.
post #8 of 95
ATC SCM-7 are the best bookshelf speakers I have ever heard. They are at Audiogon for $650, off of $1000. They are a boit harder to drive, but the magnets are huge and the sound is unbelievable.
post #9 of 95
Thread Starter 
One of the things the shop warned me about is damaging 601 speakers w/ my current receiver. I have an Onkyo DTS model (TX-DS575X), with only 70W per channel. A rep. told me that I may be okay if I don't crank the speakers, but I will want to do that on occasion!

I want to be able to get those B&W 601 S3's feeling comfortable that I can hook them up to my current system for several months (until I'm ready to upgrade the receiver & other components).....

I really want to get started, but if I can't use new speakers with what I already have, then I'm going to have to wait...I need the 601's to last, because they will eventually be rear speakers in a surround sound system....

Also, can 601's generate as much power as 1989 Advent Floor speakers??
post #10 of 95
You should seriously consider Pardigm's Monitor 5 for the "600 and below" range (the last I saw them, they were 540)...they have a lot of bass and produce far better sound than floor standing speakers costing twice as much. If you're into 1400 and below, get the Paradigm Studio/40s, they are the Upgraded model of the Monitor 5, and it shows, they are relentless, and put out more bass than a lot of floor-standers, even ones with 8" woofers.
post #11 of 95
Thread Starter 
...well, my 14-year-old Advent floor speakers do still have *some* life left.....so I think it might be best to wait another year for these reasons:

1) it would be better to get a decent amp/receiver and cd/dvd player to go with new B&W speakers
2) I'll be moving to a condo in another year...it would be a good idea to just spend 2004 cranking the Advents as part of a tribute and farewell tour to Henry Kloss and the 14 years of great memories (I grew up listening to them)...
3) ....then, when I have the condo, I won't want floor speakers, rather, amazing bookshelf speakers that sound as full as towers....at that time, I may be able to go with the CM or 700-series, along with decent stands and cables....

Yeah....this will probably be my game plan. I will either get my feet wet by purchasing the 601's, hoping my underpowered amp won't hurt them.....or wait until I move and start w/ a receiver, player, speakers, stands and cables...

Either way, I have reached the beginning of my audiophile journey...
post #12 of 95
How big is your room? And how loud do you listem to your music and movies?

Onkyo receivers, stereo or home theater, are quite robust. Somehow I am getting a feeling that deal of yours is trying to sell you an amp along with the B&Ws.

Which Advents do you have? The Prodigy? Maestro? Graduate?
post #13 of 95
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by soundboy
How big is your room? And how loud do you listem to your music and movies?

Onkyo receivers, stereo or home theater, are quite robust. Somehow I am getting a feeling that deal of yours is trying to sell you an amp along with the B&Ws.

Which Advents do you have? The Prodigy? Maestro? Graduate?
Hmm...I'm glad I'm getting help on here...I had a feeling they were telling me that garbage because they wanted to sell me an amp...I mean, come on, these are 600-series bookshelf speakers....I don't see how my Onkyo could be lacking enough power for them....

I wish I knew what model my Advents are! I have no idea...I've tried searching for them on the net....all I know is that they look like "Advent II" bookshelf speakers, except they're much larger floor versions....also similar looking to Maestro's, but not as tall and wider.....I wish I knew what they were (I've had them for sooo long)

The room is average to small size, bookshelf would probably suit me better...however, I do like to occasionally crank up the speakers, so I want a full sound in a smaller size (and as much power as what I currently have....but much better sounding...)

The shop allows one year to return a pair of speakers for a full refund to go toward a new pair, so if I decide I want a step up from the 601's when I move, I can trade them in for full credit towards the new pair.......

it looks like I may get those B&W's after all.......what do you think?
post #14 of 95

Re: Becoming An Audiophile

Just continue to build on a love of music, eschew arrogance, and always be ready and willing to laugh.
post #15 of 95
Mr. X,

Nowadays, audio gear manufacturers build products to compete at a particular price point. And at any price point that Onkyo competes in, I feel they provide one of the better product, in terms of "bang for the buck". I don't think you will have problems with the Onkyo matching to the B&W's.

Sounds like you have the Advent Graduate.

If you can, ask to get a pair of 601 to audition in your home. When I was looking for speakers, what sounded good at the dealer doesn't always sound good at home. I personally believe that the room itself is a component as well.

Remember, and sometime most of us forget, the gear is there to serve the music. Not the other way around.
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