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Anyone want to help build my new rig??

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

So I'm on the verge of starting my music room, I'm mostly likely going to pick up some Quad ESL 2905's or some MartinLogan CLX's but first I want to pick out and budget my source components, this is what I've come up with so far:

 

 

Source:

Cambridge Audio Azur 840C: $1600

Macbook Pro

 

Dacs:

MHDT Labs Havana Balanced: $1140

Benchmark Dac 1 USB: $1000

 

PreAmp:

Ys Audio Balanced A1: $800

 

Speaker Amps:

Harman Kardon HK-990: $1600

(Still looking for some other affordable balanced amps)

 

If anyone has other recommendations for other options in each section, the price doesn't matter as long as the end sum is approximately $5000-$6000, as well I would prefer if they were balanced as I would like to try to make the entire system balanced, thanks!


Edited by Swatcsi - 10/24/11 at 9:14pm
post #2 of 32

Balanced is a rip off.  Decide what speakers you want first and then pick the amp from there.

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

Why do you say balanced is a rip off? and I'm inbetween those two speakers stated above, but I am currently pricing out components so I can figure out what my budget should be, and opinions on any of the above equipment.

post #4 of 32
What n3erdling said.

Though I recommend the Quads. Consider the ESL-57 and ESL-63, too.

I'm not big on balanced, either. Unless you have to drive a couple hundred feet of cable, it's probably not worth it.

If you're after bridged power, then just buy two separate amps. Bridge them and run one on each channel. Same effect as balanced, but you'll pay a lot less. I'd go after two used Bryston amps. Great quality and two used ones would cost less than one balanced amp.

Or maybe pick up an Adcom GFA-2535. I have two of them for my Orions (they need at least six channels, but I'll run eight). The GFA-2535 has four channels, so you could bridge two of them. Still, that'd be overkill for Quads. I run my ESL-63s off a Conrad-Johnson MV-52. Plenty of power and they sound sweet.

Don't overspend on a speaker amp. Buy used since there are a lot of great used amps out there. But pick your speakers first and then find an amp that matches them.
post #5 of 32

The only benefit I've ever gained from balanced gear has been lower distortion, but that is going to be made rather redundant if you get a NOS DAC (the Havana) which will have higher distortion by design. I think the DAC in the 840c will be good enough (and you can pick them up second-hand for $800). smile.gif

post #6 of 32

If you are thinking of Benchmark, I would consider the Benchmark HDR -- you get a good source and a solid preamp.  There are other DAC choices with built-in preamps (Mytek, Grace, etc.).  Another way to combine two components is to consider a good integrated amp.  You can get a Marantz PM11S2 for around $2K on Audiogon.  Or, if you're willing to splurge, I'd go for a good Class A integrated like Pass INT-30A, or something from Luxman.  It will probably cost you about $4K, but you kill two birds with one stone.  Before spending $6K, you need to listen to a bunch of different things; I've heard plenty of set-ups that cost $2,000 that blow up setups costing $20,000, and vice versa.  I had a friend in Colorado who was driving $20K Avalon speakers with about $500 in electronics (cheap Sony SACD player, a Morrison E.L.A.D. preamp, and a Behringer power amp), and his system was one of the best I've ever heard.

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

Why do you recommend the Quads? I'm going to go audition the MartinLogan's and Quad's this week, its my first time with electrostat's and want to know what to look for, also what is the average lifespan of an electrostatic panel, if you know. Thanks!!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post


...Though I recommend the Quads. Consider the ESL-57 and ESL-63, too....
 


 

post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swatcsi View Post

Why do you recommend the Quads? I'm going to go audition the MartinLogan's and Quad's this week, its my first time with electrostat's and want to know what to look for, also what is the average lifespan of an electrostatic panel, if you know. Thanks!!
 


What kind of music do you listen to? Electrostats are rather limited in dynamics and bass response. If you're looking to rock out with them, you're gonna be disappointed. Also, do you have the space for them? You cannot shove a stat anywhere near a wall. I don't see any reason to spend $2K+ on some mediocre separates. A used integrated for $2K will do a WAY better job. Those two DACs are quite different from each other, I'm curious why you picked those two specifically. There's a lot of choices in the $1000-1500 range, frankly I think you can do better than both, especially the Benchmark which I really do not like. Do you really feel you need a CD player if you're going to be using a Macbook as a source?

 

If I were you, I'd go in a quite different direction. Speakers - Vapor Audio Cirrus. Absolutely no question there. DAC - maybe a used Ayre QB-9, W4S DAC-2, Calyx DAC, or the new EE Minimax DAC Plus. Basically, something with an asynchronous USB input. If the DAC has a volume control function, you could go straight into a power amp like a Pass Labs X150, which eats Harmon Kardons for breakfast. For similar money there's also a pair of Classe CAM-200 monoblocks and a CA-301 stereo amp, and a Spectron Musician III Mk2 which is a digital amp that pulls of the trick of not sounding like crap.

 


Edited by DaveBSC - 10/25/11 at 1:34pm
post #9 of 32

You're looking at buying a pair of Martin Logan CLX's.....and driving them with a Harman Kardon 990?

 

No offense to the HK or to your choices, but the CLX is a ruthlessly revealing speaker and I'm going to be honest with you here and tell you you'll be blowing $20k+ unless you more carefully choose your upstream components to pair with them.

 

Note: if you're insistent on a fully balanced rig, I'd strongly suggest turning your budget on its ear, and go for a $5-6k pair of speakers, and $20k for all of the ancillary gear. Balanced in the home arena, runs bucks.

 

I have not heard that particular Quad, but I know of its reputation, and it is no less deserving of quality equipment ahead of it than the Logans. 

post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cAsE sEnSiTiVe View Post

You're looking at buying a pair of Martin Logan CLX's.....and driving them with a Harman Kardon 990?

 



Oh that's right, for some reason I was thinking of the CLS which you can pick up for a few grand. Yeah driving $10K stats with a glorified receiver verges on insanity. I still think the Cirrus is worth consideration despite only costing around $4K, although with a budget that big, I'd be looking at either a Rockport Mira, Egglestonworks Rosa Signature, or a deal on a Dynaudio Confidence C4.

post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 

I listen mostly to Electronica, Classical, and Classic Rock ; I was planning on using a MartinLogan sub, which should work well with electrostats. I have a dedicated room which is 22ft X 8.9ft. The reason I wanted to go with electrostat's is because I love detail, I want to be able to hear every minute detail, and as of my knowledge electrostat's do that the best. I'll research some of the component's you've told me about, and see what will work best with the speakers I end up choosing. Also are the Vapor Audio Cirrus really that good, I might have to look into those! 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


What kind of music do you listen to? Electrostats are rather limited in dynamics and bass response. If you're looking to rock out with them, you're gonna be disappointed. Also, do you have the space for them? You cannot shove a stat anywhere near a wall. I don't see any reason to spend $2K+ on some mediocre separates. A used integrated for $2K will do a WAY better job. Those two DACs are quite different from each other, I'm curious why you picked those two specifically. There's a lot of choices in the $1000-1500 range, frankly I think you can do better than both, especially the Benchmark which I really do not like. Do you really feel you need a CD player if you're going to be using a Macbook as a source?

 

If I were you, I'd go in a quite different direction. Speakers - Vapor Audio Cirrus. Absolutely no question there. DAC - maybe a used Ayre QB-9, W4S DAC-2, Calyx DAC, or the new EE Minimax DAC Plus. Basically, something with an asynchronous USB input. If the DAC has a volume control function, you could go straight into a power amp like a Pass Labs X150, which eats Harmon Kardons for breakfast. For similar money there's also a pair of Classe CAM-200 monoblocks and a CA-301 stereo amp, and a Spectron Musician III Mk2 which is a digital amp that pulls of the trick of not sounding like crap.

 



 

post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 

Yea my budget is around 15~20k, but realastically with electrostats I'm prepared for 25k(which is really stretching it), the reason I'm cheaping out on the components is because I most likely will never upgrade these speakers, but will have all the time in the world to upgrade the component's but the main thing I'm going to look into now is a more powerful amp, and I'm most likely not going to go balanced as my interconnects will be quite short, and I won't really have to worry about noise.


Edited by Swatcsi - 10/25/11 at 2:25pm
post #13 of 32

With a room 22'x9'......you'll need to place speakers of this size/width on the long wall, which means nearfield listening, not necessarily a strong suit of electrostatics. Add to that, ML's and Quad's need room behind them, or your soundstaging will suffer greatly.

 

If you're contemplating having them along the short wall, I can tell you that won't be any picnic either. I once had a room the same shape as yours, and about 6" wider. I tried to shoehorn a pair of big Maggies in there once. Big mistake that turned out to be. 

post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 

I was planning on purchasing either the quad 2905 or the Quad 2805's which are much smaller than the 2905's. On the side which is 22ft long I was going to put the Speakers about 6ft from the back wall and having the speakers around 1~2ft from the side wall's is that not enough as I can put my chair far enough to not be so close. Is that unreasonable? If so what would one suggest for a room of this size? Thanks!

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swatcsi View Post

I listen mostly to Electronica, Classical, and Classic Rock ; I was planning on using a MartinLogan sub, which should work well with electrostats. I have a dedicated room which is 22ft X 8.9ft. The reason I wanted to go with electrostat's is because I love detail, I want to be able to hear every minute detail, and as of my knowledge electrostat's do that the best. I'll research some of the component's you've told me about, and see what will work best with the speakers I end up choosing. Also are the Vapor Audio Cirrus really that good, I might have to look into those!


Electrostats are great with classical, but they will struggle with electronic music and rock. The MartinLogan subs are really awful, I would avoid those at all cost. There are some great subs out there, but with a dynamic driver speaker you generally don't need them. If you really feel you want a lot of bass though, the Paradigm Signature subs are probably the best way to go. Speakers that use the RAAL and Raven ribbon tweeters are capable of incredible detail. You really need to hear them. The Cirrus is possibly the best value of any speaker on the market right now. It's astonishing how good it is. It obviously can't match the sheer impact of a huge floor stander like the Rockport Ankaa. but from about 40Hz on up, its a rival for nearly anything.

 

A 22 x 9 room is a little tricky to work with, but it can be done. Just keep in mind that the speakers will need at least a few feet from the side and front walls, and you should be 1 to 1.5 times as far away from them as they are from each other.

 

room-omni.jpg

room-dipole.jpg

 

 

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