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Love music too much to be listening to it the way I am. PLEASE HELP

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi. I am new to forums but my friend who is a member here told me this is the best place to start if I'm looking to get into high end audio gear. I recently heard a amazing turntable setup so I would like to know which brands I should look when looking in the For Sale thread and at Audiogon for used gear. I have a bout $2-4k to spend and want to get the best value for my money. Once again, I have nothing now and the budget needs to fit preamp, amp (is this needed with a preamp?), speakers, cables, turntable etc to get started. Thanks in advance for the assistance. -Matthew
post #2 of 14

Audiogon is probably a better place to ask about speakers setup in that price range. even though there're some really knowledgeable people here, Audiogon is more dedicated to speakers than headphones, and you're likely to get more answers.

 

perhaps a good place to start would be to take into account the size of the room. I once bought a pair of floorstanders, and even though I liked them, I had to return them because they were too powerful and overwhelming for the room they were in. I got standmounts and it was a very good decision. if I were you, I'd spend at least 2k on a pair of standmounts, or 3k if floorstanders. then take it from there.


Edited by Lenni - 5/21/13 at 3:14pm
post #3 of 14

With regards to the topic of the OP, how are you listening to music now?  Do you own $2-4 worth of music on vinyl?  What equipment do you already own.

 

With a $4k budget you can do a hell of a lot these days.  The way audio media is going unless you already own a substantial amount of vinyl then you may not want to go the analogue route at all.  This will open a whole new debate I am sure but I can find more detail on a FLAC copy of Pink Floyd- Learning to fly than on an original recording on vinyl.  Perhaps its because my turntable is far from high end or the vinyl has been played hundreds of times.  I gave up on my turntable out of convenience and have honestly never looked back.  Very little new music is produced on vinyl and I am not going to stop listening to new releases so I have moved to almost 100% digital.  

 

I am sure your intentions are entirely about the music, and the classic debate of the "honesty and accuracy" of analogue recordings is always interesting.  The old school will always say analogue is best but I have yet to be convinced, and I am pretty old school myself.  

 

Don't throw your money away, and don't believe the hype.  In the business of audio only YOUR ears can tell you whats value to YOU.  Think about your music collection, your future purchasing trends and then look at what you want to do.  If you own a PC you can easily put all your music on a HD in a few days and save your precious vinyls for your pension fund.  

 

If you really want to go the turntable route you can.... think for yourself before asking for advice as people tend to be really good at spending other peoples money.  Once you know what path you are going to take then AUDITION in a store.  $2-4k is a lot of money and you can get plenty for it, maybe consider a budget of $2k as top end and splurg on lots of new music to enjoy your gear.

 

seriously don't blow money thinking it will buy audio bliss, EVERYONE on this forum has spent money on things they regret if they are honest.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattbick71 View Post

Hi. I am new to forums but my friend who is a member here told me this is the best place to start if I'm looking to get into high end audio gear.

Probably not the best place. AVS has a forum dedicated to 2 channel audio. AVS is to home audio passive speakers and electronics as head-fi is to headphones and headphone equipment.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattbick71 View Post

...I have nothing now and the budget needs to fit preamp, amp (is this needed with a preamp?), speakers, cables, turntable etc to get started.

 

The amp is what drives the headphones, the preamp essentially controls input signal strength for whatever gain the amplifier has. If you don't need a headphone with this system, get an integrated amp (has a preamp and amplifier in the same box), otherwise some devices have a DAC, headphone amp, and preamp all in one box - pair this with a power amp and you're good to go with whatever headphones and speakers these can drive.

 

And yes, the points raised about using analogue are worth considering. As well do check the other forums recommended as they are more up to date with speaker gear and their (used) prices. In any case, for up to $4,000, here's a general idea of what I'd get:

 

Source : Emotiva ERC-2 (available as refurb, new one coming up soon) / Musical Fidelity M3CD* / used Cayin CD23T

 

Amplifier : Emotiva A100 / Musical Fidelity M3i* / used Musical Fidelity A1 in great condition, Unison Research Unico

 

Speakers : Focal 607V, on sale here http://www.musicdirect.com/p-41246-focal-chorus-706v-bookshelf-speakers-pr.aspx

Cables : Order from Blue Jeans Cable, I don't think you'd spend more than $60 on analog interconnects and speaker cables

 

*I've listened only to the MF's, but they're about 4x to 5x the price of the Emotivas. I'd personally gamble on the Emotivas I haven't heard, based on the great feedback about their sound, than blowing 3,000 on the CDP and amplifier, unless that three grand is like my surplus quarterly income

post #6 of 14

Do you have any hifi shops close by? If so, my advice would be to visit and listen to what they have. You've heard one great setup, now take some time and see if there are any other setups that sound just as good or even better. Figure out what you like / dislike about them. Hopefully you'll find a store or two that's earned your business in the process.

 

In my opinion, the best way to get the most value for your money is to discover what your current sonic preferences are. Once you've done that, you can carefully choose components that match your preferences and fit within your budget. This saves you from endlessly cycling through components (well, until your preferences change).

 

Alternatively, you could burn through a bunch of time and money trying and buying from Audiogon. That's fun too.

 

 

In any case, with a turntable as source, you'll need to make sure that the preamp or integrated amp has a built-in phono stage or you'll have to buy an outboard one.


Edited by yage - 5/22/13 at 11:31am
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by yage View Post

Do you have any hifi shops close by? If so, my advice would be to visit and listen to what they have. You've heard one great setup, now take some time and see if there are any other setups that sound just as good or even better. Figure out what you like / dislike about them. Hopefully you'll find a store or two that's earned your business in the process.

 

In my opinion, the best way to get the most value for your money is to discover what your current sonic preferences are. Once you've done that, you can carefully choose components that match your preferences and fit within your budget. This saves you from endlessly cycling through components (well, until your preferences change).

Good suggestion.  It's really best to let your ears be the judge as yage states, they are what you are trying to satiate.  Check for local listings of hi-fi shops and arrange a listening session.  Bring with you the music you know best and just sit and listen.  Part of the fun is the hunt as it helps expose you to so many amazing setups before you land on your mark.

post #8 of 14

Used Rega P3

Used Naim Nait Integrated amp

Used Neat, Harbeth or Spendor speakers

any cables

 

= very good system on a budget

post #9 of 14

I'd personally go for a vinyl setup along with speakers within that budget.

post #10 of 14

Well you have a pretty big budget. But you also said you want value. Which is smart so many people would try to get you to buy whatever speakers they own for some reason or buy expensive parts which is a far cry from value.Or just go all out blowing your entire budget. To where maybe your happy at first but then realize you spent badly and didn't get value.

 

Next is you gotta listen to speakers at some speaker store.Now this can help but it also has it's flaws speakers change from room to room the same speaker will sound different in ways room to room there are some characteristics of a speaker that will stick around you but never really know how it truly sounds until it's your home or your listening space.

Also depending where you live the audio store can be many miles away lots time and money on gas. Also some audio stores have the speakers placed horribly so they aren't going to sound there best either way and  some won't even let you try out your own music.

They want to show you a very good recording on expensive stuff to get you spend more or simply to get you to be impressed by the sonics and get you to spend more.

 

You really didn't say if you wanted bookshelves or towers though.

The best value or deal out there I think is Mordaunt Short Aviano 6 towers from hideflifestyle.com you can choose black,rosewood or walnut finish. For $479 a pair. Normally $1200 a pair speakers.

http://www.hideflifestyle.com/all-products/mordaunt-short-aviano-6-floorstanding-speakers-in-dark-walnut-pair.html

 

Now here are some other suggestions

 

You can just buy one of these right here try them live with them for awhile and if not right return it for $7 last time I knew it's minimal risk and can give you a reference point a starting point.

Since you never had speakers you could just use this as starting point and then you can pinpoint which direction to go.

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107RTIA1C/Polk-Audio-RTi-A1-Cherry.html
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108P163BK/Infinity-Primus-P163.html           sold as each buy 2.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_760ALPB1B/PSB-Alpha-B1.html

 

 

Here you can buy simply a good speaker with good value and just live with it get to know the speakers and maybe later buy something else but here you get good speakers you get value but you didn't blow all your money to where you can't buy another pair of speakers later when you have a idea of what you like and don't and where you can improve you know truly which speaker to get

The Aviano 2 are limited in color choice but cheaper. Here is many choices.

 

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/BOSA250WHA/BOSTON-ACOUSTICS-A250-2-Way-Dual-5.25in-Floor-Standing-Speaker-EA-White/1.html
http://www.amazon.com/Mordaunt-Short-Aviano-Speakers-Black/dp/B003J1ORNS/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369542548&sr=1-1&keywords=mordaunt+short+aviano+2
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B003J1QBLE/ref=sr_1_2_olp?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369542548&sr=1-2&keywords=mordaunt+short+aviano+2&condition=new
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-15476-wharfedale-diamond-101-bookshelf-speaker-pr.aspx
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MOAVI2
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MRBBX1&variation=PWAL

You can get the Aviano 2 in any color at that price point.
http://dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/25569/26156

 

Another try it out and you return it really cheaply $7 last I knew Minimal risk get a reference point if your unhappy with it your out $7.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_760IMGB5C/PSB-Image-B5-Dark-Cherry.html

 


Yet another try it with no risk really with crutchfield you get more time 60 days. NHT directly right now is 20% off and they say they do returns for free but only 30 days.So after you enter the coupon code

you get it for $175.99 each you have to buy 2.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_228AZW/NHT-Classic-Absolute-Zero-White.html
http://www.nhthifi.com/Absolute-Zero-Black?sc=12&category=3772

A Internet Direct speaker company that seems to be good. I'm not sure exactly how much a return is $30 maybe or it's part of the shipping you pay $30 to ship but returns are free I forget you'll have to investigate.
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/cbm170/cbm170.html


Okay amps. No you don't need a $1000 amp. No you don't need a preamp and power amp etc... Some people say really the difference between amps is there is none they are all same if you did a blind test with controlled volume matching. I'm not going to get into that.

I'm just going to list a few amps without a big price tag that have a phono section for turntable use.

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/543899-REG/Onkyo_TX_8255_TX_8255_2_Channel_Stereo_Receiver.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/757608-REG/Onkyo_TX_8050_TX_8050_Network_Stereo_A_V.html
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RS300/Yamaha-R-S300.html

Some say get a little better amp helps with sound quality. Anways these aren't too expensive and both have phono sections for turntables and both of these are considered value but great performance.
Integrated Amp
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS500/Yamaha-A-S500.html
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_642PM5004/Marantz-PM5004.html

Turntable choose color.
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_252DBTCFGG/Pro-ject-Debut-Carbon-Gloss-Green.html?tp=48766#overview-tab


Edited by mibutenma - 5/25/13 at 10:44pm
post #11 of 14

As for vinyl in general.

It's not really about CD vs Vinyl.

 

It's about do you like older music 60's,70's and 80's and many genres? If so vinyl is great in that you can buy and acquire a lot of good music for little money you can also get stuff that simply isn't on CD at all or costs way too much to get or you can't at all except on vinyl.

 

The only flaws with vinyl is you gotta clean them especially the used ones you buy before you ever play them. You need to if you want to take care of them get a quick dust down before playing or wipe down with a anti static cloth every single time you play them both sides.And a quick brush off your stylus afterwards with a stylus brush. And you gotta store them properly.  This I guess can be a pain or annoying to some people.


Edited by mibutenma - 5/25/13 at 11:01pm
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tablix View Post

With regards to the topic of the OP, how are you listening to music now?  Do you own $2-4 worth of music on vinyl?  What equipment do you already own.

 

With a $4k budget you can do a hell of a lot these days.  The way audio media is going unless you already own a substantial amount of vinyl then you may not want to go the analogue route at all.  This will open a whole new debate I am sure but I can find more detail on a FLAC copy of Pink Floyd- Learning to fly than on an original recording on vinyl.  Perhaps its because my turntable is far from high end or the vinyl has been played hundreds of times.  I gave up on my turntable out of convenience and have honestly never looked back.  Very little new music is produced on vinyl and I am not going to stop listening to new releases so I have moved to almost 100% digital.  

 

I am sure your intentions are entirely about the music, and the classic debate of the "honesty and accuracy" of analogue recordings is always interesting.  The old school will always say analogue is best but I have yet to be convinced, and I am pretty old school myself.  

 

Don't throw your money away, and don't believe the hype.  In the business of audio only YOUR ears can tell you whats value to YOU.  Think about your music collection, your future purchasing trends and then look at what you want to do.  If you own a PC you can easily put all your music on a HD in a few days and save your precious vinyls for your pension fund.  

 

If you really want to go the turntable route you can.... think for yourself before asking for advice as people tend to be really good at spending other peoples money.  Once you know what path you are going to take then AUDITION in a store.  $2-4k is a lot of money and you can get plenty for it, maybe consider a budget of $2k as top end and splurg on lots of new music to enjoy your gear.

 

seriously don't blow money thinking it will buy audio bliss, EVERYONE on this forum has spent money on things they regret if they are honest.

 

general good advice, but as always it all depends from the components chosen. unfortunately, there's not other way than try out gear. this will lead unequivocally to some unwanted results, but gear can be sold. for example, I wasn't happy with Nordost's cables and sold them within few days at minimum loss. it's part of this hobby; the phrase "good luck" often left at the bottom of comments in audiophile forums is not for nothing.

 

unless you're one of these so called "objectivist" whom don't listen with their ears, but with their measuring tools. anything in the $200 range will sound as good everything else, and it'd be a waste of money to pay more. better spend it on music - music that you'll never really enjoy because your system sounds mediocre at best.

 

there's hype, but there's also genuine products. you can definitely get audio bliss with the right gear. I'm in audio bliss. I haven't always been, it took me awhile, but I got there in the end.

post #13 of 14
Audiolab 8000c - Pre £75ish
Audiolab 8000p - Power £100ish
Technics SL-PG590 - CD £50ish
Project Debut 2 or 3 - Turntable £100ish
Monitor Audio Bronze BX6 - Speakers £600
Whatever cables you fancy £50ish

That's under $1500 and covers CD and Vinyl.

for PC based digital music add:

Fiio E10 - DAC/Headphone Amp (line out to pre) - £60 (use this with your current PC) if you don't want to use you current pc then a Raspberry Pi with Xbian is a £25 streaming option (some people report sound issues over USB... Mine is fine, perhaps I'm lucky though.)

Then grab some Grado SR80i - Headphones £100

That comes to around $1600 and is a comprehensive system with good quality kit, leaving you a chunk to spend on music to enjoy on it.

But as always this is just a suggestion and is formulated purely by my opinion, buy with YOUR ears.
post #14 of 14
I know this is a bit late, but I will give my thoughts on best bang for the buck in gear.

Emotiva USP1. Used about 200-250
Emotiva XPA-2 aused about 500-550
Project Dubut Carbon New about 350-400 dollars
Upgrade cartridge to Ortofon 2M Black. New about 600-650
Emotiva ERC-3 CD Player. New about 450-500
Snell EII, OR EIII, OR TYPE C speakers in as close to mint as you can find them. Used. 200-600 dollars
Blue Jeans cables and wires. Buy online.

There you have it. A system to start with and be very happy with, but able to upgrade too.

I wish you well.
Ernie
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