Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: mid-atlantic region of US
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Should be able to assemble a fantastic system for $6k. ..My thoughts:
How you allocate your $$ will depend on whether or not your believe that amplifiers, cd players, cables, etc.. have their own sonic signature. ..If you subscribe to this notion, then you have little choice but to go out and listen to every amp, pre-amp, etc.. within budget. ..As for me, I do NOT think the audible differences b/w electronics amount to much. ..For me, when it comes to sound, it mostly about the speakers. ..In choosing electronics, it mostly about features, brand longevity, reliability, etc.. ..Anyway, my recommendations:
Amp: Go with an integrated. ..Putting the pre and amp section into one chassis helps to eliminate ground hum issues, reduces clutter, saves energy (I'm guessing on this, but it seems logical) etc.. ..And why pay for two chassis when one will do?? ...I know this cuts against the audiophile grain, but there is really NO technical reason for splitting these into two pieces OTHER than giving audiophiles more boxes to obsess over. ..Also, I strongly recommend choosing an integrated that has a balance control, and tone controls and (ideally) a mono switch as they help to make imperfect recordings sound better. ..My specific recommendation would be the NAD C375Bee. ..I had this integrated for a year and it was fantastic (though no mono switch). It was incredibly quiet, had great volume control tracking, no signal bleed b/w inputs, and tons of power. PLUS, for $199 ea. you can add a phono preamp and/or a DAC module that plugs right into the unit thereby allowing you to connect a computer, etc.. ..All in, this amp will cost about $1700.
I would NOT spend heavily on a DAC. ..A Cambridge audio DAC Magic or an Arcam rDac, both around $450, are probably considerable overkill. ..Claims people make about hearing huge differences b/w DACs are never well substantiated. ..In my view, DACs sound pretty much alike.
Speakers: Sorry, but you'll have to go out and listen to whatever you can find near you at local retailers. ..Brands to consider: Vandersteen, PSB, Paradigm, Totem, etc.. I would recommend brands that have been around for 10 years rather than boutiquey "I make 'em in my garage and sell them on the internet" type brands as it's a coin toss as to whether or not those companies will be around in 3 years should you require service or need to replace a driver, etc.. ..If you have the room, I would recommend floor standers rather than stand mount two ways. ..To my thinking, there is really no space saved with stand mounted speaks, they have basically the same footprint. ..And by forgoing a sub, you gain reduce complexity.
Turntable: Where will it be situated?? ..If you have fairly stable (bounce-free) floors, then your options are wide open. ...There are countless Direct drive options like Technics or belt-drive options like Pro-Jects/ Music Hall/ Rega's to chose from. ..But if your floors are bouncy, then you might need to consider a suspended design like a Thorens/ AR/ etc... ..I'll defer to the more knowledgeable on this.