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How much does it cost to build a good hi-fi system?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by shark_jump, Feb 6, 2010.
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  1. Shike

    Originally Posted by Drag0n /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Benchmark dac isnt any better, and may even sound more cold and clinical.
    What makes a Benchmark any better? Because its more mainstream? And also.....Meier supports Head-Fi [​IMG]

    Because using it with the preamp would reduce the cost substantially AND it measures extremely well empirically. That means there would be no need to upgrade it whatsoever.

    As for "cold and clinical", I don't listen to such tripe conclusions myself.


    MartinLogans are hard to place. My friend has them, and i wouldnt buy them now. Hes been in 3 homes, and in each one, his SL3's arent sounding good, and he has great equipment.

    Maybe you guys just don't like the sound of them? It could also have to do with the height and distance . . .


    I love Maggies, but the Bryston 3bst might not be big enough for some models, although the Vincent may do it. The Gallo is an awesome speaker. Dont discount it just because you havent heard it. Ive heard all of the aformentioned speakers.

    I suggest planar dipoles because of low distortion, good measurements, and amazing soundstage. As for power, it does depend on the model. I have my SMGa pair running on 25W from my Niles and they get more than loud enough for my room (given, it's a small room). I think the power requirements can get blown out of proportion, especially when you use the math to figure listening distance and efficiency.


    Velodyne isnt better than REL, and may not be any better than SVS, id have to directly compare.

    Hm? Does REL offer servo subs now? The reason I ask is there's so many good companies that offer them and lower distortion because of it, that I can't recommend a sub that has little to no way to lower it and call it "better".


    The equipment i listed is some of the best before having to spend alot of money. I dont think ive heard any speaker better than the Gallo Nucleus Reference 3 for under $5000. I would only purchase otherwise if hes wanting bookshelf speakers with a sub.

    And that's your opinion which is perfectly fine.
  2. Shark_Jump

    Originally Posted by Necrolic /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I disagree with the pricepoint.

    Auditioning B&W 804 and 803s for my new system, same amp and CD player (MOON CD3.3 and MOON i3.3 Integrated, as well as the CD-1 and i-1 for comparisons sake), and same cables, the difference was VERY noticeable, much more than placebo could account for.

    What price point are you talking about for those not familiar with with this equipment?

    Asking a rhetorical question here, is it possible to actually put a value on placebo effect? Like 2db or something, or is it either there or not, or is it there until you try measuring it, at which point it ceases to exist. I guess a thread like that could raise a bit of interest.
  3. Shark_Jump

    Originally Posted by stewtheking /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    My (speaker) rig, is built along similar principles to Uncle Eric's idea. I scoured eBay, and picked up a vintage NAD CD player and integrated, which is all I need to feed and drive my k1000's (admittedly, hardly budget) and my speakers. Old B&W floorstanders, picked up for under £100. The whole lot (including cables, but excluding the K1000's) pops in at under about £300, and is miles better than anything I've heard for less. Certainly very much good enough to start hitting diminishing returns.

    Vintage hi-fi seperates is the way to go IMO, partly because they offer enormously good value for money, and partly because replacing them to try new components is very easy, and practically free, as they have already done all the depreciation they are going to do, so you can sell them for what you paid.

    Sure that sounds good. But with caveat, as the components age, soldered joints go dry, some components loose tolerance, dust in volume pot etc etc. Buyer beware or be prepared to DIY
  4. googleborg
    nah they are just really well burnt-in
  5. sonance
    Good sound can start very low indeed. You could start with a decent pair of powered speakers coming out of a e-mu card (both used), and be well under $500. You could go the vintage gear route, or visit local hi-fi dealers and see what trade-ins they're trying to get rid off. These are all routes I started with, before I discovered audiogon.

    The "..Sorry for your wallet" greeting that applies to new head-fi members is even more applicable in speaker-fi. If you are lucky enough to be able to build an optimal listening room for speakers, it seems like each level of spending still brings tangible benefits - more so than headphones, IMHO. The sky is the limit, but the entry point is enticingly low.
  6. nick_charles Contributor
    I have just finished building my office system:

    Western Digital Streamer.............($100)
    WD external hard drive................($135)
    5" LCD TV monitor......................($50)
    Zero 24/96 DAC/Amp................. ($130)

    Sansui AU217 amp..................... ($21)

    Wharfedale Delta 70 Speakers.......($100)
    Cables, inc speaker cables............($30)
    4 gang adaptor...........................($10)

    $611 - buying used helps [​IMG] - I could have shaved $255 off if I had used my spare Denon CD player ($30) as a transport instead of the media streamer etc.

    If I use the PC optical out that would bring the price down as well...but my PC sound is a bit temperamental (blippy)
  7. Carbonman
    Fruit. A musically satisfying home audio system can be built or scrounged for a relatively small cash outlay, but you have to give something up. It may be poor or no low bass response, inability to reach satisfying SPLs, low clarity or any of a multitude of other sonic problems/goals that don't make it onto your personal list of absolute requirements.
    I'm lucky - my living room isn't that large or heavily damped and I've been able to spend a chunk of money over several years to get me pretty close to what I consider "musical realism". I also get musical satisfaction out of my stock car stereo or my bedroom clock radio. I do recognize the difference and don't discount what the higher end, higher cost products give me in sound quality.
  8. wavoman Contributor
    If you go the new route, instead of the used route, would you think that dealing with "direct" manufacturers gives you a price edge -- no middleman?

    People have mentioned MMG and a sub. Magenpan has dealers, but the MMG is a direct buy, and I think is the right choice of "budget" high-end. Pretty amazing value.

    REL, Velodyne, and SVS were mentioned for subs -- SVS is the direct seller, so that gets my choice.

    Oppo for the transport.

    Now I'm stuck. I guess I go to China for the amp and DAC. Lots of choices.

    In a room that is not too large, playing SACDs on the Oppo thru the MMGs and sub will sound amazing, especially with a powerful enough (tube?) amp to drive the MMGs.
  9. Shark_Jump

    Originally Posted by wavoman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    If you go the new route, instead of the used route, would you think that dealing with "direct" manufacturers gives you a price edge -- no middleman?

    How about a Very High Quality DAC, Preamp, 2x [250W+75W] Power Speakers all in one.

    Mail order direct. Worldwide Delivery £1175.00

    And a No BS Website....
  10. throzen0303
    My super beginner entry setup
    Computer FLAC/APE/WAV Lossess USB $(Depends on what computer you bought :D)
    DIR9001+PCM2706+WM8740 Parallel Mono DAC Coaxial+USB DAC(Custom Build for me) $140
    Musical Paradise MP301 - MK2 EL34B Tube Amp $285(with EL34B)
    PSB Alpha B1 Bookshelf - $200(I got a reallly really good deal at my local Hi-Fi shop, was on sale for $250 already, but they pushed it down for me)
    5ft *2 Kimber Kable 4PR($4/ft, with speakers $3/ft, $30+$15for plugs_ $45
    Total:: $670
  11. Prog Rock Man
    Spotify £10 a month
    Firestone Fireye2 USB DAC and amp  £85
    AKG K44 £20
    USB cable £5
    Computer, hopefully you have one anyway, if not you seem to be able to get a starter desktop for about £300.
  12. astroid
    qacoustics 1020 speakers = £110
    Rotel RA930AX amp = £60
    Aune MK2 DAC/Headphone AMP = £110
    Thinkpad R60 = £300
    Interconnects etc = £40 total
    Denon D1100 = £90
    Marantz CD63 KI = £60 (bargain!)
    Total = £770
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