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Beginning a New Apartment (Recommend some gear!)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Long time, no post, Head-Fi!

As you may or may not know, I'm currently in Afghanistan. I've been saving up for my new apartment for my return to fabulous Las Vegas, and I'm stuck on one thing: getting a new "theater system."

A bit about my potential setup, mostly regarding the components that it needs to provide for. First, I'm purchasing an iMac 27", which I'm definitely using Toslink to connect to any component. I'll have at least two current gen consoles, and possibly a second Mac (MBP) to take up the slack as a part time media computer. Of course, there will be the HD DVR/Cable receiver. Other than that, I'm really up in the air about it. I don't take having expandability as a necessity, but it would be nice to have.

I have a soft budget of $500 USD, with a lot of wiggle room, especially if the product is so good or highly recommended that I can't pass up the opportunity. I would say that my hard limit is absolutely $1000.

I'm not really interested too much in HTIB systems, but I'm not completely averse to them. The way I'm used to handling audio in the past is to simply jury-rig a HTIB receiver, either into other speakers, or into some monitors.

My current idea is that I have a pair of decent monitors feeding sound for all the components, since 5.1 is lost on me; this is mostly because I haven't found a system that handles it with multiple components very well, nor have I seen one handle stereo content without a ton of fiddling, and considering the amount of times I would change sources in a given day, this is truly irritating to have to handle all the time.

Bass isn't high priority at the moment, since I have to deal with neighbors and the like. I'm looking to fill the space of a living room with clear sound, with mostly Blu-Ray to DVD quality movies and 320kbps or higher music. My music is pretty broad ranged, but mostly rock, pop, minimalist electronic, and some orchestra.

I'm fairly easy to please as long as the sound fills the space without becoming boomy. I'm shooting for clarity as top priority, but fullness is a must as well, which I know can be a bit of a challenge to balance on a tight budget.

You people are the only ones I can trust so far, when it comes to sound, so I appreciate any help I can get.
post #2 of 10
Congrats on getting out of Afghanistan and into Las Vegas! I was up there in August and had a good time - it would be fun to live there.

For $500-$1,000, I'd look seriously at the Magnepan MMG. Clarity in spades and the dipole radiation will fill the room. I think you'd like them. Pull some reviews and you'll find a lot of other people who like them.

For power, I'd pick up a used receiver by NAD, Adcom, Marantz, or Rotel. All good bang-for-buch manufacturers. You should find one for $100-$200. Since you'll be running Apple gear, get the $100 AppleTV and use it to stream media off the iMac. You can send music and movies through it. The AppleTV has digital out (optical) so maybe find a $100-$200 DAC to put between the AppleTV and receiver.

Instead of a MacBook, consider an iPad. I use one more than my MacBook, and it also turns into a big remote control for the AppleTV.

I think that would cover what you're looking for. The Maggies would sound great and I think an AppleTV would give you the integration you want.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, so far!

Looking into the MMG's, they look like what I'm looking for, definitely. Now it seems the trouble will be in finding where to buy them.

Regarding your AppleTV comment, I already own the MBP, and most of my content that I have stored won't play nicely in ATV formats, so what I'm actually using will probably be a Boxee Box, or just running the Boxee software on the MBP.

Any particular models of those brand name receivers that I should be looking into? I'm looking for compatibility with multiple types of inputs, and simple operation after set up. Something I don't have to finagle every ten minutes after changing a source.

Keep the recommendations coming! I really look into everything that is mentioned to make the best choices for myself, so more is always better.

EDIT: Noticed you buy MMG from the manufacturer. Wondering now, what kind of DAC should I use for multiple optical inputs? Good gear makes me start planning too much!
Edited by WasabiJ - 10/2/11 at 12:46am
post #4 of 10

Dude you know that EVERY apartment/house is built out of paper and cardboard out here, your gonna have some really pissed neighbors, so remember don't turn the volume up to 11 very_evil_smiley.gif. As for receivers I have had best experiences with Yamaha and Denon. And don't worry about messing with inputs even my cheapest low tech receiver (was $150 a year ago) has every possible input and auto-switching (i think that's what it is called) where it senses what component has been turned on and it turns on everything else and switch's to that input (ex. of this, I turn on my PS3 the TV and receiver turn on automatically and TV switches to PS3 input.) A lot also come with Audyssey or similar where you just put an included microphone in the middle of your room and the receiver will auto setup.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hahaha, well I've always been very up front to my neighbors, and that always goes a long way, along with being courteous. Just tell your downstairs neighbors that you listen to music/movies, and you leave your number for them to call if it's ever too loud. I've noticed that if you personify yourself, they rarely complain; they feel like jerks for being the guy that has to call.

Continuing on, I'm just worried about getting high-resolution monitors and putting them through a terribad receiver. Seems like a waste of money and effort.

I forgot to look up Monoprice for a good optical to RCA converter, thanks for inadvertently reminding me.

EDIT: Any thoughts on Onkyo? Specifically scoping Onkyo TX-8050, interesting choice for me as it has network capabilities and an actual rating for 4 ohm speakers (necessary if I get the MMG's).
Edited by WasabiJ - 10/2/11 at 2:52am
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
I know it's doubles, but I'm updating what my system is looking like now:

$325 - Magnepan MMGW (pair) - Least expensive, and they offer that upgrade for the remainder option; also they have the awesome customer service behind them. To the people that may mention they are wall-mounted; yes, I know. It fits very well with my projected living room setup. Look up ikea's Stolmen lineup to get an idea of what I'm going for.
$300 - HK 3490 - Seens to have the power that I need to drive the MMGW's comfortably for the expected room size, with a built-in optical, and trigger out for a ...
$100? - Powered Sub - Just to fill in that low range when I can. Undecided, since I don't need anything terribly loud or punchy (given the apartment setting). Looking at possibly a Polk Audio PSW10?

Any foreseeable problems or concerns? I'm basing the power decision on this and this.

God, I can't wait.
Edited by WasabiJ - 10/2/11 at 7:56am
post #7 of 10

I had that polk sub, might be ok but it is boomy and muddy at the same time, look into BIC America they make very good products and prices are really low. I preferred my BIC $170 12in Sub to my $450 pinnacle 12in, but the trade off is that they are huge subs and not as pretty.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WasabiJ View Post

I know it's doubles, but I'm updating what my system is looking like now:
$325 - Magnepan MMGW (pair) - Least expensive, and they offer that upgrade for the remainder option; also they have the awesome customer service behind them. To the people that may mention they are wall-mounted; yes, I know. It fits very well with my projected living room setup. Look up ikea's Stolmen lineup to get an idea of what I'm going for.
$300 - HK 3490 - Seens to have the power that I need to drive the MMGW's comfortably for the expected room size, with a built-in optical, and trigger out for a ...
$100? - Powered Sub - Just to fill in that low range when I can. Undecided, since I don't need anything terribly loud or punchy (given the apartment setting). Looking at possibly a Polk Audio PSW10?
Any foreseeable problems or concerns? I'm basing the power decision on this and this.
God, I can't wait.


 

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I just picked something that looked nice and modest. Does BIC make a 10 or even an 8 incher? I think a big sub out here might be overkill, especially with the low range cutoff on those MMG's, so I need something that's more of a low-mid woofer, that's nice and tight, than a movie boomer.

I don't know a lot about blanacing a stereo system to include movie watching, so this is all unexplored territory for me.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just an update:

I decided to get a Harman Kardon HK 3490, as I saw in a few places that it had ample power to run Maggies well, and I found it on incredible sale for a verified NEW unit from Amazon ($215, as opposed to the avg $300+ range or the $499 MSRP). Other determining factors are that I know how to mux optical inputs, good looks, and I like the idea of expanding the system to include XM.

I THINK I've decided on MMGW's, but I'll have to call them up to ask them some questions regarding special mounting solutions, and have to decide if I've saved more or less than my max budget for this project, determining if I can get full blown MMG's (and of course, to discuss military discounts!).

Woofer/Subwoofer - Still completely undecided. Almost choosing on looks and some B&H Photo reviews, but those only help so much. Every amp I've seen paired up to a MMG or MMGW setup is in the $800+ range, and that's just way too much for me. I'm trying to find more of a woofer, that can handle up to 150 Hz or so, that's nice and tight. Like I said, I don't need the hammer of Thor in my apartment anyway.
post #10 of 10

If you're looking for pure clarity, studio monitors are the way to go.

 

Go to the Guitar Center at Town Square, they have a pretty big selection of monitors to play around with. (PS, check online prices first, they price match.)

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