Help me put together a speaker rig for a buddy of mine!
Jul 26, 2009 at 5:09 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10


Organizer for Can Jam '09
Jun 3, 2003
Budget = $900-1200

Must include:

Speakers (2.0 system is fine)
CD Player
Cables and Speaker Wire.

Will be used primarily for classical with maybe a touch of jazz. Will probably connect cable box/TV to it, but this is a very secondary consideration.

I'd think bass response down to 40hz would be a requirement for good classical music performance, but feel free to give me your thoughts on this.

Items should be new. Please don't recommend used gear.

Jul 27, 2009 at 7:01 PM Post #2 of 10

Sony SCD-CE595 - Cheapest option, has SACD, decent sound
Marantz CD5003 - Better, single disc, plays mp3
Onkyo DX7555 - Good CDP, but takes up half your budget

Onkyo TX8555 - Cheapest option, WRAT, good decent power, solid sound, does nothing wrong
NAD entry levels - Heard a lot of recommendations for these, but havent heard these personally. 315BEE is the cheapest I think, but its not exactly very powerful, need to pair it with efficient speakers
Onkyo 9555 - One of the best amp's I've seen and heard, fantastic build quality and solid sound.
Cambridge 540/640A - 640A is a bit pricey, both are decent, but speaker pairing is important.

Axiom M3 (Quite popular)
PSB Alpha (Havent heard these, but they get frequent recommendations in the budget range)
Monitor Audio BR2 (one of the better bookshelfs I've heard)
Polk Rti A1 (ok, good build quality, not bad for the price)
HSU HB-1 MK-2 (heard very good things about these)

Floorstanders (dont know many that are good in the <500$ range)
Infinity Primus P362 (I love mine, for the price they are fantastic)
Mangnepan MMG's

The rest would be in the commerical big box store range. I generally stay away from lower end Polks and Klipsch (except one Klispch speaker that sounded decent, RB or RF - something, dont remember)

As for cable, Blue Jeans speaker cable gets my highest recommendation, they are simply awesome. A little hard to work with, and dont fit in tight spaces, but they are built really well.

I would probably break it down to 500-600 for speakers, 500 for Amp+CDP
Jul 28, 2009 at 12:05 AM Post #3 of 10
Paradigm Atoms and Epos M5i for speakers. I also agree that the Onkyo 9555 is awesome. I think Stereophile reviewed it somewhere...Also, BJC are great budget cables.

I'd split it like so -

~$350 for amp, CD player, and speakers each (you can find decent CD players for less though) - anything that's left over use for interconnects.
Jul 28, 2009 at 3:01 AM Post #4 of 10
Last I checked Epos M5i's were runnin for around 700-800 bucks. Way out of the price range here.

Infact I think MMG's are out of the question as well. If you want full range floorstanders, you can maybe consider TSC, I havent heard them, some people claim they are good, but I dont know.

I really wouldnt consider any other floorstanders under 500$, cos I have heard all the big box store ones and the Primus was the only one that I found decent. The rest wont fit in a 900$ total budget.

Bookshelves can sound pretty good if placed correctly in a good room with speaker stands.
Jul 29, 2009 at 5:55 PM Post #5 of 10
Here is my recommendations for budget:

I recommend spending more on the amp than anything else. If you think about it a cheap amp will make great speakers sound like garbage, plus, with weaker amps, speaker pairing is very important, but if you get a better amp, your choices for speakers open up. Plus a good amp can make a budget speaker really sing.

When you compare an amp and cd player... a cd player can loads of clarity, but if your amp stinks, all of that will be lost.

also, for what its worth, I suggest choosing the most you want to spend and work with that. You listed 900-1200. If you can afford to spend 1200, I suggest you let that be your guide. Don't go over that price, but if you try to keep it to 900, you'll probably short change yourself in the end ($300 is the price of budget bookshelves or a cd player....that makes a HUGE difference at the price point your talking about)

that being said, I would break down the budget like so:
Amp $500
CD player $200
wire/connects: $150

but again, thats just my opinion. hope it helps! and have fun building!
Jul 29, 2009 at 11:30 PM Post #6 of 10
Sounds like ultimate sound quality may not be a goal. Cambridge gear is among the leaders for price/performance at this point. Might want to check out this system:

Cambridge Audio AR30 Stereo Receiver, CD30 CD Player, iPod Dock

Throw in Epos ELS-3 or Usher S-520's and you're good to go. Blue Jeans cables for the cables. At this price, it shouldn't be an issue. Units have Sub outs so you can add a sub later to increase the bass.

If you stretch the budget you could also do this Cambrdige Combo:

Cambridge Audio 640A v2 - 640C v2 - Version 2

Throw in the same speakers as above.
Jul 30, 2009 at 4:52 AM Post #8 of 10
Dali Lektor 1 or 2
Mourdant short 902

Cambridge 540v2
Nad C325

cd player:
stick to the same brand as the amp

it all comes down to your own preference but you cant go wrong with this stuff.
Jul 30, 2009 at 4:22 PM Post #9 of 10

Originally Posted by Jasper994 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks guys! Any other recommendations?


Cambridge 340A




540C V2


Epos ELS8


NHT Classic Two

Personally I'd go with the Epos, but if your friend likes the Grado sound the NHT's may be a good match.

With the money that's left over buy wire, cable, and CDs to enjoy the new system

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