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Help with full hi-fi audio setup

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey all, 

Long time lurker in college when I was broke and now I finally have about $1000 I would like to put to advancing my audio setup. Right now I have: 

1) Asus xonar essence stx -> HD555s, love the sound / experience, very pleasant. Would upgrade headphones though, I've definitely heard better on my friends hd600s

 

2) Swan D1080 MKiis, I thought they sounded good but one of the mids is out and I'm looking to upgrade. 

What I want: 

1) New speakers and speaker amp / receiver. For one I really don' t understand how important the receiver is to the sound. Also, I'm not really sure which gets you better bang for the buck between amp and receiver but I will only have three inputs into the receiving device ( computer, record player, bluetooth connect for wireless iphone music playing - bad quality but convenient ). 

2) A record player recommendation. Should I Just use the one my parents have had their whole life? Any good reasons not to? 

3) Someone to explain to me what the difference between a receiver and a speakers amp is. Also, do they have to match the wattage of the speakers or be less than? Does it matter, etc. ? 

I know on a lot of subjects on the forum there are 3 or 4 "top" choices for headphones at different pricepoints. If I'm willing to spend a total of $1000, what would I be looking at to satisfy these three points? 

 

Note: I tend to prefer accurate sound reproduction over any particular "qualities" because I listen to very different types of music and I'm only looking for a 2.0 setup. 


I really appreciate any help guys, I'm sure there are an assload of these threads so if any of you could take hte time I'd really appreciate it. 

Cheers, 
Graham

EDIT: Is this: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=6087397&type=product&id=1218731589959 any good? It's on a pretty big sale right now so maybe I should pick it up? I don't know diddly about receivers though. 


Edited by grahamcrackuh - 1/17/13 at 9:50pm
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamcrackuh View Post

Long time lurker in college when I was broke and now I finally have about $1000 I would like to put to advancing my audio setup. Right now I have: 
1) Asus xonar essence stx -> HD555s, love the sound / experience, very pleasant. Would upgrade headphones though, I've definitely heard better on my friends hd600s

2) Swan D1080 MKiis, I thought they sounded good but one of the mids is out and I'm looking to upgrade. 
What I want: 
1) New speakers and speaker amp / receiver. For one I really don' t understand how important the receiver is to the sound. Also, I'm not really sure which gets you better bang for the buck between amp and receiver but I will only have three inputs into the receiving device ( computer, record player, bluetooth connect for wireless iphone music playing - bad quality but convenient ). 
2) A record player recommendation. Should I Just use the one my parents have had their whole life? Any good reasons not to? 
3) Someone to explain to me what the difference between a receiver and a speakers amp is. Also, do they have to match the wattage of the speakers or be less than? Does it matter, etc. ? 
I know on a lot of subjects on the forum there are 3 or 4 "top" choices for headphones at different pricepoints. If I'm willing to spend a total of $1000, what would I be looking at to satisfy these three points? 

Note: I tend to prefer accurate sound reproduction over any particular "qualities" because I listen to very different types of music and I'm only looking for a 2.0 setup. 
I really appreciate any help guys, I'm sure there are an assload of these threads so if any of you could take hte time I'd really appreciate it. 
EDIT: Is this: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=6087397&type=product&id=1218731589959 any good? It's on a pretty big sale right now so maybe I should pick it up? I don't know diddly about receivers though. 

I believe a speaker amplifier is just very basic, it just amplifies an audio signal to the point where it can move the diaphragm in the speaker.

To me a receiver is when they intergrate on to the amplifier, audio features that use to be on separate components.

and the current modern A/V receiver is an amplifier that has lots of audio and video components and features built into the amplifier.

 

The Essence STX comes with a good DAC chip (PCM1792A), so getting a speaker amplifier or A/V receiver with at least three analog inputs should do the job.

Then spend the rest of the cash for a pair of speakers.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Any recommendations for speakers under 500? I really have no idea what to look for and there doesn't seem to be any remote consensus in this department. Unfortunately, I don't really have the time to go "auditioning" them. 

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamcrackuh View Post

Any recommendations for speakers under 500? I really have no idea what to look for and there doesn't seem to be any remote consensus in this department. Unfortunately, I don't really have the time to go "auditioning" them. 

Check out the website Techbargins.com,

see what speakers are on sale.

post #5 of 10

Are you looking for full-size or bookshelf speakers?

post #6 of 10

To build on what PurpleAngel wrote, you generally need two things when it comes to amplifying a source (whether it's a soundcard or a DAC or a disc player) and that is a preamp and a power amp. The preamp lets you do source selection (i.e. hook up multiple sources) and 'prepares' the incoming signals for amplification by applying attenuation (volume control) and gain to them. Thus, the preamp helps the power amp do its job by giving an input signal enough 'boost' such that it can drive the power amp. The power amp outputs enough voltage and current in order to drive loudspeakers.

 

A stereo integrated amp combines the preamp and power amp into one chassis. A stereo receiver typically means that there's a tuner added to the integrated amp so that it can *receive* radio broadcasts.

 

Since a stereo is a system, your major components (source, amplification, loudspeaker) all matter. What matters most is how all the components sound together, which is the fun part of this hobby.


If you're aiming for quality, ~$1k will buy you a monitor (bookshelf speaker) + integrated amp or receiver setup. Personally, I would use the sources you already have and save up for a decent turntable / DAC. There would be a lot of compromises made if you tried to buy three components at once, unless you buy used which is something you should definitely look into. In fact, I bought my integrated amp, CD player, interconnects, and speaker wire all off Audiogon and saved a bundle off retail prices.

 

There are two companies that make great components that fit within your budget if you buy new (and these are just starting points) - Outlaw Audio and Axiom Audio.

 

The Outlaw Audio RR2150 ($699) is a well reviewed stereo receiver with a phono stage and a subwoofer out. With a sub out, you can easily add a subwoofer that either has speaker or line level inputs - which increases your options for good quality subs, should you choose to add one later.

 

The Axiom Audio M3 v3 is another great value in monitors (bookshelf speakers). At $378, it's really hard to beat.

 

Just do a search on either and read the reviews.

 

 

http://www.outlawaudio.com

http://www.axiomaudio.com


Edited by yage - 1/18/13 at 1:32pm
post #7 of 10

Warfedale diamond 10.2 and the Merantz PM5004, there what I'm looking at

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

I was thinking of doing: 

1) Monitor BX2 http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/products/bronze-bx/bx2/ speakers. 
2) Cambridge Audio Azur 351A http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/products/azur-351a-integrated-amplifier or
    Harmon Kardon HK3390 http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-HK-3390-Receiver/dp/B00198BOAM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358613784&sr=8-2&keywords=harmon+kardon+hk+3490
3) Some sub-$200 turntable, though I'm not sure I get why they make such a big difference. 
4) Keep the HD555s and do the foam mod which ( as I understand it ) makes them basically the same as the HD595s

How do those options sound? 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

For those still following this thread ( if any ). 

I managed to get myself a Marantz 2252b receiver for 250, was thinking of pairing it with Monitor BX2 speakers. How would this combo likely be? 

Also, would the headphone out on the amp be good enough so as not to bottleneck some HD555s? They're not super nice headphones so I imagine this should be just fine. 

Thanks everyone for the help. 

Cheers

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamcrackuh View Post

For those still following this thread ( if any ). 

I managed to get myself a Marantz 2252b receiver for 250, was thinking of pairing it with Monitor BX2 speakers. How would this combo likely be? 
 

 

One way to find out is to take your Marantz to a Monitor Audio dealer and hook them up to the BX2's.

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