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My first proper Hi Fi setup.

  1. Blitz22
    First of all, a big and warm Hello to everyone here! This will be my first post.

    Anyways, as you might have read in the title ,this is going to be my first Hi-Fi setup.I am not much of an audiophile but am willling to invest into a proper hi-fi setup.To this point ,here are the components I have decided to get:-
    1.Philips fidelio x2 headphones
    2.Audeze sine
    3.ClearAudio innovation turntable
    4.Splendor a7 speakers

    I cant decide on a preamp and amp.So some suggestions please.Also,the preamp should be a tube one and the amp a ss one.Also,do What other components do I need to add digital capability? Any other things such as racks and stands? Finally,if there are better options than the components I have selected please tell that as well.What cables should I buy?
    I know these are alot of questions but please do help me.

    Thanks in advance!!
  2. JediMa70
    Hello :)
    Those headphones are nice, I guess you want to use X2 for fun listening and Audeze for a more analitical one.
    About amp and pre amp it depends on your budget, how much are you willing to invest? Many questions are welcome and ok so you could add some extra information like what kind of music you are planning to listen, if you are using your computer or a dap ..

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  3. Blitz22
    @JediMa70 the budget for both combined is 2000$ .As for the kind of music,I listen to mostly pop,some Jazz and rock.Also,what are musical racks supposed to be?And do I need a DAC for the setup?
    Thank you for the reply!!
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor

    You're trying to do everything in one go - speakers and two headphones, with tube (prea)amplification - without a clear enough direction. For starters, where are you going to plug in the headphones? You'll be constrained to getting a speaker that has a headphone output just so it will work...and most of them have sucky headphone amp circuits, even with relatively easy to drive headphones like those due to sensitivity, since the impedance on those is very low for the more affordable speaker amps' headphone outputs, and t hese days I'm not even aware of any current power amp that has a headphone output, only the integrated amps.

    Even if you get a tube headphone amp that has a preamp output, the more affordable ones are output transformerless, so there's still the problem with the impedance of the X2. You're gambling on getting bloated loud bass or weak but still undefined bass.

    If you really want to start with headphones and speakers right now, you'll have to:

    1. blow a lot of money on a transformer coupled tube amp, or

    2. take a chance on a cheaper OTL amp, or

    3. skip tubes altogether (just because it has tubes doesn't mean it's good) and just get a DAC-HPamp-Preamp combo unit, which is already half your requirement for adding digital capability to the system, the other half being either any computer with USB or SPDIF output or a dedicated music server.

    In all these options you'll need a power amp to drive the speakers.

    Just to illustrate the problem, here's what you can get for those options above:

    1. WooAudio WA22, transformer coupled tube amp with preamp output, $2500. This is totally overkill for the X2 and the Sine, still leaves you without an amp for the speakers, and you're already way over budget. And you still need a DAC or CDP to play digital music. On the upside, pretty much any headphone you get later on will be driven well by this, though you'll need balanced cables.

    2. Little Dot MkII (under $200) or MkIII ($under $300), but your headphone upgrade options are kind of limited since these are OTL amps with high output impedance and low power output at low impedance loads.

    3. AudioGD NFB-11.32 (if you don't need analogue input for a TT), ~$400. Digital inputs, has a preamp output for a speaker power amp. You can get a speaker power amp from Emotiva for around $300, or spend more on their better amps or if you want a Class A power amp.

    4. If you just want something bang for the buck but not necessarily the best at driving headphones, there's the NAD D3020 Mk2. If the headphones are just a back up for night listening you can just get this one and call it a day. Also this assumes you have a fairly small room so you won't need more power to drive the Spendors. If you want something that will drive practically any headphone and most speakers (though room size/distance of seat from speakers will still be relative) you'd have to go with something like the Cayin CS55a, but I haven't tried that on low impedance headphones. Worked great with my HD600 though.

    Depends on what digital source you'll use. If you have a hifi CDP then no. If you get a DAC-HPamp-Preamp, then technically, that has the DAC, no need for a separate DAC. Not that you can even use it on something like the AudioGD NFB-11.

    If this isn't a desktop system or in the living room where you already have a TV rack (or you wall mounted the TV and you don't have any kind of table down there) then you need furniture to put them on.

    HiFi racks are just distinct from Ikea et al for vibration control and cable routing in some cases. If you're not using any source unit with any mechanical parts you don't need to buy anything like Saber much less a Spider Rack. Might as well go to Ikea. Tubes can be vulnerable to vibration but not all and it partly depensd on how loud you're playing (or on a desktop system built around a computer, if you're typing while listening). Or just avoid tubes altogether.
    JediMa70 likes this.
  5. JediMa70
    I would blindly follow ProtegeManiac indications, he' s just the best!
    Another option could be to buy active speakers which don't need an amp and then you spend your money to buy a good headphones amp and, and then I wouldn't buy a tube amp to start but a "normal" so you can drive many different impedance headphones like Lake People G109-S (or better).
    About your headphones, Audeze Sine will be ok for the music you like, while Fidelio are good for pop, rock, and music where the nice bass they have will be good, but for Jazz their V shape sound is not optimal
  6. tomb
    I think these guys are missing the mark, based on the equipment you specify.

    If you are willing to spend $10,000 on a turntable and $4,000 on a pair of speakers, you need much better headphones. You should at least go for a top-of-the-line Audeze, the HD800 or the Focal Utopia. I doubt that many pre-amps would satisfy that turntable, either, so a separate phono pre-amp is a must. A separate headphone amplifier would be appropriate, too. You didn't mention phono cartridges, either - maybe a $5,000 moving coil?

    Whew! I have to catch my breath. Talking about this much money is rarifying the atmosphere. :wink:
  7. Blitz22

    I know this is off topic but what are your recommendations for a proper dac + preamp for some active bookshelf speakers?

    I think I will get the wa22 and get the lcd4 and clears.Ill just have to wait for a bit longer I guess
  8. JediMa70
    Actually I did.. you are right, I didn't check the price of them.. in this case you are right, and that budget is really too small to buy all the stuff to match those 2 components
  9. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    I wouldn't do that...we get second opinions even from doctors bro :wink:

    Which is why I also asked if the headphones are just a back up and if he's not really going to really mind if they kind of suck, just as long as they won't absolutely suck (ie the headphones themselves don't suck, but can take a hit with amplification quality), and before that, was assuming he'd upgrade them eventually and just using relatively cheap headphones as kind of a starting point to know where to go later.

    Even if he knows speakers there are times when somebody asks for a headphone that sounds like a particular speaker, but room acoustics have an even greater effect than preferred clamp force, so a speaker in a dampened or rather large room that such a person is exposed to gets a headphone that sounds like those same speakers if they had less toe-in in a smaller room.
    JediMa70 likes this.

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