Bookshelf System Around $1000
Sep 15, 2009 at 12:43 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 25

pyro910

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Hi all,

I have finally decided to make the jump into hifi, and want to build myself a bookshelf system composed of bookshelf speakers, an amp and a DAC to run out of my computer. The amp could be solely a power amp if the DAC functions as a preamp, or if it doesn't than I think an integrated amp would be the way to go, since I don't think a preamp is necessary at this price point (correct me if I'm wrong). I am budgeting $100 on cables, so take that out of the budget. I'm willing to make it a 2.0 system, so long as the speakers have decent bass. If the bass isn't the greatest, then I'd need to fit in a small sub into the budget as well.

Music preferences are: Classic and acoustical rock, electronic (ambient, trance, chillout), and little bits and pieces of various other genres. I prefer my sound signature neutral or a little warm. I'd like something that's fairly smooth and detailed, and is able to play at fairly loud volumes without any trouble.

Room size is around 11'x12' with a standard 8' cieling. I have a desk, bed and dresser in here, but am willing to reconfigure.

Speakers I have been considering are:
-Quad 11L2
-Ascend CBM 170 SE
-Hsu HB-1 MK2
-Usher S-520
-Low end B&W's
-Epos ELS3
-NHT Classic 2
-Something from Focal
-Something from Polk Audio

Amps:
-Cambridge 540A V2 (used)
-Something from NAD or Rotel

DAC's: No idea.

So, I would be interested to hear what you think about the items I've suggested. I am also very open to new suggestions, as I don't exactly know a lot in this area. Thanks in advance for your help.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 1:57 AM Post #4 of 25

sochee

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Oh, I thought by "so take that out of the budget" meant take the $100 out of the $1000.

Personally the only bookshelves I've listened to extensively are Paradigm Atoms and Epos ELS3s (which I own, and a couple people on these forums help me set up). I bought the ELS3s based off recommendations here and reading the Stereophile review, and have been very happy ever since.

I have the same sized room and listen to a lot of downtempo and ambient, and I'd have to say the bought-used Eposes (would that be the plural?) are really great. The bass does not go very low, yet low enough to clearly hear the bass lines in stuff like Zero 7. Very punchy as well. Positioning made all the difference - proper stands, putting them apart from each other and away from walls and corners, all of that made the sound really fill out. Sitting about 8, 9 feet back, the room is filled with sound, it's very nice (better than any headphones I've heard, to be honest).

As for the DAC, I'd say put the least money into that. If you play computer games, maybe even get something like an Asus D2X. If not, I think the lower priced choices are things like the Nu-Force Icon, the Zero, and a lot of the portable DACs. I hated my Zero's volume pot for the headphone amp, but it worked great as a DAC.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 2:14 AM Post #5 of 25

driftingbunnies

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Spend ~600 on speakers from audiogon (the most expensive when it was new you can find) , ~200 on amp (vintage receiver), and ~200 on dac (used anything on the FS forum you could jump on the DA-151 on there right now) finished
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 2:26 AM Post #6 of 25

endless402

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good choice on amp

speaker wise...monitor audio br2 or rs1
dali lektor 2
tannoy revolution
wharferdale 10.1


i've listened to all of the above. my vote goes to dali. pretty neutral
i've owned the RS1's before.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 12:09 PM Post #8 of 25

RicHSAD

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Energy RC-10($280 @ vanns.com right now!) + Energy ESW-V10 Subwoofer($300 @ wwstereo). Then just get a stereo receiver with a sub out and you're in business. I think you would have a hard time finding a better setup for the same amount of money.
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 2:13 PM Post #9 of 25

Alai

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Good amps can also be from Acurus, Adcom, and Carver.
 
Sep 16, 2009 at 1:41 AM Post #10 of 25

pyro910

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thanks alot for all you help guys... sochee the one thing is that ive heard that the eopses can get a bit scratchy when you listen to them loud and i tend to listen lour quite often... correct me if im wrong. other than that once again thanks and im still open to new ideas
 
Sep 16, 2009 at 1:53 AM Post #11 of 25

sochee

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I like to turn up my ELS3s loud sometimes too. Not all the time, but if I'm listening to something like NIN or Prodigy, I do it quite often. I would not say they get scratchy (that is probably the amp clipping), but I will say that they get a bit "shrill" - the highs start sounding compressed almost, like in a low bitrate MP3. The woofer starts to vibrate quite intensely and the sound quality suffers a bit, but this is only when I'm really, really pushing them, though I figure that I do enjoy them more when listening at quiet/moderate levels.
 
Sep 16, 2009 at 2:27 AM Post #12 of 25

warpdriver

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RicHSAD /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Energy RC-10($280 @ vanns.com right now!) + Energy ESW-V10 Subwoofer($300 @ wwstereo). Then just get a stereo receiver with a sub out and you're in business. I think you would have a hard time finding a better setup for the same amount of money.


+1 on this deal.

You actually don't need a sub out even. The ESW-V10 has a speaker level in, and you just have to fine tune the crossover knob to blend in with your main speakers. The speaker level in is provided for situations like yours where you want to add a sub for a stereo system
 
Sep 16, 2009 at 2:56 AM Post #13 of 25

skyline889

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You could do a set-up with a pair of AV123 ELT525 Minis (Too bad you missed their special for $180 a pair), an HSU STF-1 subwoofer, an EMU 0404 USB (Pick one up used, they come up often on the FS/FT forums), and an NAD C320BEE/Pioneer A-35R/Cambridge 540A/640A V2 (Again, go used, as these all come up often for cheap). It would be under your budget and be a really musical system. Do yourself a favor and lower your cable budget too btw. You can always upgrade these "accessory" items later if you so choose but don't skimp out on the main components because you want fancier interconnects.

AV123 ELT525 Minis: $300 (New)
HSU STF-1: $260 (New)
EMU 0404 USB: $160 (Used)
NAD C320BEE: $225 (Used)
or
Pioneer A-35R: $150 (Used)
or Cambridge 540A/640A V2: $200-250 (Used)

Total: ~$940-950
 
Sep 16, 2009 at 3:39 AM Post #14 of 25

RicHSAD

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Quote:

Originally Posted by warpdriver /img/forum/go_quote.gif
+1 on this deal.

You actually don't need a sub out even. The ESW-V10 has a speaker level in, and you just have to fine tune the crossover knob to blend in with your main speakers. The speaker level in is provided for situations like yours where you want to add a sub for a stereo system



Yeah, that would work too. The amp/receiver needs to have two 2 sets of speaker output though.
 
Sep 16, 2009 at 3:51 AM Post #15 of 25

warpdriver

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RicHSAD /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Yeah, that would work too. The amp/receiver needs to have two 2 sets of speaker output though.


No it wouldn't actually.

You can run wires in parallel to the speaker and sub input simultaneously. As long as you can physically fit the two wires into the same speaker terminal. The input impedance of the sub would be high enough to do so without causing an increased load.
 

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