Need some help settling on a 2 channel entry level setup...all help appreciated! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, So I have been listening to music streaming to my B&W Zeppelin Air for a couple of years now. Its great, but I want to get back to listening to vinyl.

I am putting the setup in my office/patio in my house where I spend most of my time. The room is a little more than 200 sq feet.

I sit about 6 feet or so from where the speakers will be.

back in 99 I had a great setup with a McIntosh c15 preamp and a McIntosh mc 202 amp, entech dac and B&W nautilus 803's. I bought a Marantz 6100 turntable with a shure m55.

I no longer have any of that stuff obviously and can not afford to spend that kind of cash nor do I have the room. Being married and having a mortgage takes its toll!

anyway,

So here is what I am looking at, using my Marantz 6100 table which is in perfect condition. I bought it from the original owner on ebay for 45 bucks in 99. I haven't used it until recently to clean it up and test it. Still works great.

Marantz 6100 Shure m55
Wharfedale Diamond 10.1
Marantz pm 8003/4 or Music Hall A15.2
Apple airport express to stream my iTunes library.

SO my questions are...

first, I do not have stands for the 10.1's and cant seem to find any cheap. I don't want to throw away 200 bucks for stands. Should I step up in price and buy the Diamond 10.5 demo's from music direct for 600? Or would the wharfedale evo 2-30's be a better buy at 600? I am buying wharfedales off reviews and have never heard them. I can not seem to find anything I would buy locally to listen to. Most of the audio stores here in north texas have closed up. So I am taking a shot with the wharfedale.

Next question. Should I spend the money on the Marantz 6004, 8004 or the music hall a15.2 I imagine the 8004 and the a15.2 are very similar. I have always liked Marantz and have never listened to anyting from music hall.

Can you guys recommend a dac to run the airport express into?

and finally. Should I just keep the Marantz 6100 turntable or should I jump up to the rega p1, project debut carbon or music hall 2.2

I am open to any help and really appreciate. Like most I want to just get all this settled so I can get on with listening to records which is what this is all about. I am an editor of Music TV show and spend basically 90% of my time listening to music in one way or another!

In a perfect world I am hoping the 6100 is ok, the dac in either of the integrated's is good enough and the 10.1's are enough.

would love if someone could recommend some stands to go with the 10.1's!

thanks again. I look forward to the responses.
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post #2 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 11:24 AM
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First of all, you should spend more on your speakers than you spend on your amp. In fact, given that you already have your turntable, you should spend more on speakers than you spend on the entire rest of the system. That's how important they are—and how unimportant amps are, in terms of the sound quality of the overall system.

As for a DAC, the Airport Express already has a perfectly good one. Alternatively, you could get a receiver with a built-in DAC, like the Harman Kardon 3490. That would leave you plenty of money for a good pair of speakers and stands. Speaking of which, where are you shopping for speaker stands, Tiffany? Sanus and such start around $50 a pop. If you can waste a grand on an amp, you can afford speaker stands.

If the 6100 is in good working order, the turntables you listed as alternatives would probably not represent an appreciable step upward.

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post #3 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

First of all, you should spend more on your speakers than you spend on your amp. In fact, given that you already have your turntable, you should spend more on speakers than you spend on the entire rest of the system. That's how important they are—and how unimportant amps are, in terms of the sound quality of the overall system.
As for a DAC, the Airport Express already has a perfectly good one. Alternatively, you could get a receiver with a built-in DAC, like the Harman Kardon 3490. That would leave you plenty of money for a good pair of speakers and stands. Speaking of which, where are you shopping for speaker stands, Tiffany? Sanus and such start around $50 a pop. If you can waste a grand on an amp, you can afford speaker stands.
If the 6100 is in good working order, the turntables you listed as alternatives would probably not represent an appreciable step upward.

thanks.

I am in search of a good pair of speakers for an affordable price. As I stated I had nautilus in the past and loved them. I cant afford them anymore.

I have read good reviews on energy veritas, wharfedale diamond and some others. Without being able to hear them it makes a simple thing complicated.

thx for the tip on stands. like I said I just cant see spending 200 on stands for the 10.1s which cost 350. It would make more sense to buy the 10.5 or evo2-30.

glad to hear the 6100 is similar to the new entry line of turntables.
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post #4 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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forgot to ask.

Do you think the Marantz 5003/4 can power the diamond 10.1 or is it not enough power?

the 6004 I imagine should very nicely and so should the music hall a15.2.
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post #5 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 11:58 AM
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Whats wrong with the 10.1s? By most accounts they are good speakers.

You can DIY for speaker stands. A couple of 3' pieces of 4" sewer pipe and four pieces of squared up 3/4" plywood and some long all-thread is about all you need - along with a bucket of sand and a little ingenuity will get you some $25 speaker stands. And you'll need a can of spray paint - in your favorite speaker stand color.

Or you can spend the money you keep saying you can't afford for some tower speakers. And you'll take a hit on those 10.1's if you sell them to offset the price of those new towers so factor that in too.

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post #6 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:01 PM
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I have read good reviews on energy veritas, wharfedale diamond and some others. Without being able to hear them it makes a simple thing complicated.
It does. But just because reading "reviews" is simple doesn't mean it's any good as a selection method. A huge proportion of "reviews" you see on the Web are actually paid for by the manufacturers. (This is true in all product categories, not just audio.) If you look around, you'll find positive-to-glowing reviews for just about any speaker on the market.

Unfortunately, as you say, it's hard to go listen to good speakers anymore. I'd look at places that measure speakers (Stereophile, SoundStage), but remember it's the measurements not the florid language of the reviews that really tell you what a speaker can do. One thing I would argue against is tower speakers, if you're really going to sit only 6 feet away. Perhaps a good choice for you would be the PSB Imagine Minis.
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glad to hear the 6100 is similar to the new entry line of turntables.
Just to be clear, I don't know anything about the 6100. My comment was based on my overall impression of the newer entry-level tables you mentioned, which are OK but nothing special.

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post #7 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

Whats wrong with the 10.1s? By most accounts they are good speakers.

You can DIY for speaker stands. A couple of 3' pieces of 4" sewer pipe and four pieces of squared up 3/4" plywood and some long all-thread is about all you need - along with a bucket of sand and a little ingenuity will get you some $25 speaker stands. And you'll need a can of spray paint - in your favorite speaker stand color.
Or you can spend the money you keep saying you can't afford for some tower speakers. And you'll take a hit on those 10.1's if you sell them to offset the price of those new towers so factor that in too.

what is with the hostility?

I don't think there is a thing wrong with the 10.1's and I am planning on buying them. before I do I made this post to find out if I would be better suited with the towers.

The stands that go with the 10.1's on music direct's site are 200 that is where I got the number from. I can buy a nice pair of sanus stands for 70.

I was just curious if anyone had thoughts on the differences of the 10.1 and the 10.5. The demo price at music direct is good, same for the evo 2-30.

I am happy to get the Marantz 5003/4 or the music hall a15.2 for a similar price but was just looking for opinions because I have never heard a music hall amp before.

Not sure what I said to cause the hostility but I am sorry.
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post #8 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

It does. But just because reading "reviews" is simple doesn't mean it's any good as a selection method. A huge proportion of "reviews" you see on the Web are actually paid for by the manufacturers. (This is true in all product categories, not just audio.) If you look around, you'll find positive-to-glowing reviews for just about any speaker on the market.
Unfortunately, as you say, it's hard to go listen to good speakers anymore. I'd look at places that measure speakers (Stereophile, SoundStage), but remember it's the measurements not the florid language of the reviews that really tell you what a speaker can do. One thing I would argue against is tower speakers, if you're really going to sit only 6 feet away. Perhaps a good choice for you would be the PSB Imagine Minis.
Just to be clear, I don't know anything about the 6100. My comment was based on my overall impression of the newer entry-level tables you mentioned, which are OK but nothing special.

thanks.

I used to go to marvins in fort worth a great high end dealer. They went out of business last year. Its a bummer.

anyway, the 6100 is fine and I will be sticking with it for a while. It was great with my mac and bw stuff. no reason to think it wouldn't be good now.

Bookshelves make all the sense in the world for me. I just wanted to make sure from a price perspective If I bought the matching stands from music direct which are 200 it wouldn't make more sense to buy a demo tower from them.

I am concerned the Marantz 8003/4 will not be enough to really drive the 10.1's. I guess that is my main concern.
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post #9 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:10 PM
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Do you think the Marantz 5003/4 can power the diamond 10.1
Probably, but I think Marantz integrateds represent a poor value. You can buy lots more power for a lot less.
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Whats wrong with the 10.1s? By most accounts they are good speakers.
They may well be good speakers for their price, but if your system budget exceeds $1000, there are probably better options out there.

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post #10 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Probably, but I think Marantz integrateds represent a poor value. You can buy lots more power for a lot less.
They may well be good speakers for their price, but if your system budget exceeds $1000, there are probably better options out there.

I am open to suggestions on bookshelves. Honestly I have been having a miserable time finding a pair of bookshelves.

Open to an integrated suggestions also.

fire away.
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post #11 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Todd H. View Post

what is with the hostility?
I don't think there is a thing wrong with the 10.1's and I am planning on buying them. before I do I made this post to find out if I would be better suited with the towers.
The stands that go with the 10.1's on music direct's site are 200 that is where I got the number from. I can buy a nice pair of sanus stands for 70.
I was just curious if anyone had thoughts on the differences of the 10.1 and the 10.5. The demo price at music direct is good, same for the evo 2-30.
I am happy to get the Marantz 5003/4 or the music hall a15.2 for a similar price but was just looking for opinions because I have never heard a music hall amp before.
Not sure what I said to cause the hostility but I am sorry.

Hostility? I'm not a hostile person. I suppose its my direct nature that comes through at times.
Sorry if it came out that way.

And my mistake - I thought you already had the 10.1's sans the stands (rhymes eh?) - I reread your first post and see you have wireless B&Ws.

You might look into some DIY speaker stands if you are handy with tools and have the space to tinker - you'll certainly save some $s. And they don't look bad either. I helped a friend a few years ago with some - we used the 4" sewer pipe - had to buy 10' to get the 6' we needed. Bought some scraps of plywood in 3/4" and a couple of pieces of all-thread and some suitable nuts/washers. They came out pretty good but we didn't prime the pipe and it started peeling after a few months. He primed them and repainted them a flat black. They look pretty damned good.

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post #12 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:34 PM
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Todd,

What would you say is your overall budget range for speakers and amp combined? Stating that might help attract specific suggestions.

For example, if you wanted to keep it under $1000, I might go with the NAD 316 amp (or the 5004, if you really like Marantz), and the PSB Image B6s. Those PSBs are more sensitive than the Wharfedales, so they should need less power.

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post #13 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Todd,
What would you say is your overall budget range for speakers and amp combined? Stating that might help attract specific suggestions.
For example, if you wanted to keep it under $1000, I might go with the NAD 316 amp (or the 5004, if you really like Marantz), and the PSB Image B6s. Those PSBs are more sensitive than the Wharfedales, so they should need less power.

I am just playing it by ear. Don't have a set budget. Not looking to go overkill but at the same time I don't want to be returning or selling stuff off on ebay in a month...if that makes sense.

The psb image b6 are interesting. From what I read about them they seemed like the 10.1 and the veritas.

I have a great price on a music hall a15.2 for under 400 available and can get a used Marantz 5003 for under 3.

I have tributarie silver interconnects and tributarie and some other speaker cables from years ago.

I am open to spending about up to 550 or 600 on the bookshelves if they are 250 dollars better than the 10.1

the amp will probably be the Marantz or music hall honestly. I like Nad also, friend had the preamp once upon a time and it was nice.

so I guess your thoughts on the pbs image b6 against the 10.1
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post #14 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Not to jump completely off track.

But what do you guys think of the Emotiva USP-1 preamp and the Emotiva XPA-200 power amplifier?

that's 370 and 420 and feels like possible overkill, but I imagine its higher quality than both the Marantz and the music hall
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post #15 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 01:25 PM
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Forget the Emotiva. They won't sound any better (or worse) than the others, and pricewise they're gross overkill for the speakers you're considering.

I'd go for the Music Hall amp at that price. You're talking double the power of the little Marantz.

For speakers, I suggest you buy both the 10.1s and the PSB B6s and try them out. You'll have to ship one pair back (confirm the sellers' return policies!), but that's the only way to know which you'll be happier with. If I had to choose one or the other sound unheard, I'd go for the PSBs. They seem to measure a little smoother, and they'll play louder for any given power input.

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post #16 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Forget the Emotiva. They won't sound any better (or worse) than the others, and pricewise they're gross overkill for the speakers you're considering.
I'd go for the Music Hall amp at that price. You're talking double the power of the little Marantz.
For speakers, I suggest you buy both the 10.1s and the PSB B6s and try them out. You'll have to ship one pair back (confirm the sellers' return policies!), but that's the only way to know which you'll be happier with. If I had to choose one or the other sound unheard, I'd go for the PSBs. They seem to measure a little smoother, and they'll play louder for any given power input.

overkill for the psb or the wharfedale.

howbout with a pair of magnepan mmg?

seems that would be a good setup. Those might be too large for my room. Always liked maggies
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post #17 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 02:00 PM
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Buy them and try them.

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post #18 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 04:19 PM
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fwiw,you can get better bang for your buck buying used for example a pair of psb imagine b's ( with small nick on one speaker has nothing with over all sound) for sale on audiogon for $600. imo even used are better all round than the psb image series. or a pair of rare choc. brown nht classic 3's $500 also imo better than the wharedales and psb image 6's. you can also make an offer and see if you can get cheaper , just a suggestion. and as a reciever goes i would look at the onkyo tx- 8050 $220 accessories4less. has 80 watts per channel which is way more than enough power for your size room. then look into some basic room treatments to get some better sound again just some options

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #19 of 30 Old 11-24-2012, 06:02 PM
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Look at the Focal 806
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-97071-focal-806v-bookshelf-speakers-black-demo.aspx

Focal 705
http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/34397

Monitor Audio Silver RX-1
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=MRSRX1%20%20%20%20PGLSBLK

PSB Stratus Mini - Audiogon
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/monitors-psb-stratus-mini-dark-cherry-monitor-speakers-2012-11-11-speakers-39110

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post #20 of 30 Old 11-25-2012, 11:22 AM
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Since some of these products are sold by Music Direct, why not call them and get their thoughts?

They also have a great return policy, and though shipping on speakers isn't cheap, it will give you some peace of mind.

I agree with the philosophy of spending on speakers over amps, as long as the amps are well-suited to the speakers in question.

As for Emotiva, they are another company with an excellent return policy.

Nothing beats an audition with your gear in your listening space. Worth being willing to spend some money on (or risking losing some money in return shipping on).
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post #21 of 30 Old 11-25-2012, 11:25 AM
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Also, I disagree on the AirPort Express having a good DAC. Many better options are out there, for not a lot of money.

HRT Streamers and Audioquest Dragonfly both come to mind there. And there are others, but I haven't looked into that segment in a while. CNETs Audiophiliac I think has reviewed some of these cheaper DACs in the past.
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post #22 of 30 Old 11-25-2012, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by roscoeiii View Post

Also, I disagree on the AirPort Express having a good DAC. Many better options are out there, for not a lot of money.

HRT Streamers and Audioquest Dragonfly both come to mind there. And there are others, but I haven't looked into that segment in a while. CNETs Audiophiliac I think has reviewed some of these cheaper DACs in the past.

Are you talking about how various reviewers have convinced you that the moon is made of green cheese, or are you reporting the results of people who have done careful scientific listening tests of DACs.?

It's a little hard for me to put the results of a proper listening test into a post, but I can post the following results of technical tests of an Airport Express:

http://www.stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/505apple





Dragonfly:

http://www.stereophile.com/content/audioquest-dragonfly-usb-da-converter-measurements





Based on just measurements its actually pretty close to a draw for both the frequency and nonlinear distortion tests. I'd give a slight edge for the Airport Express based it having less higher order harmonics.Things actually are even worse than what I show here for the Dragonfly, if you try to use its volume control to turn the sound down. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt since you can avoid that quite easily.

There's nothing in either test to suggest that these products have some kind of characteristic sound or audible coloration. Use either one, but if you have the Airport Express you don't need the Draonfly.
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post #23 of 30 Old 11-25-2012, 01:12 PM
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Based on just measurements its actually pretty close to a draw for both the frequency and nonlinear distortion tests. I'd give a slight edge for the Airport Express based it having less higher order harmonics.
Just for the record, Stereophile was testing the first-generation Airport Express, not the current model, which almost certainly uses a different DAC. I know of no reason to believe the AE is any worse today than it was at its introduction.

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post #24 of 30 Old 11-25-2012, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Based on just measurements its actually pretty close to a draw for both the frequency and nonlinear distortion tests. I'd give a slight edge for the Airport Express based it having less higher order harmonics.
Just for the record, Stereophile was testing the first-generation Airport Express, not the current model, which almost certainly uses a different DAC. I know of no reason to believe the AE is any worse today than it was at its introduction.

Did a little more searching and found online data for the second generation Airport Express. Here's the 1 KHz THD for the first generation

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/466-measurements-first-and-second-generation-apple-airport-express/



and second generation:



The author's text is a little confusing but after I figured it out it looks like the second generation Airport Express received a DAC upgrade (no surprise technology marches on), not that the first generation DAC would have had audible problems,
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post #25 of 30 Old 11-25-2012, 07:06 PM
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Just to add to the confusion, what Computer Audiophile is calling "first generation" is actually a newer product than what Stereophile measured. There have been at least three versions of the product (802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11n dual-band). And there's no guarantee that Apple used the same DAC chip throughout the entire run of any given version. So difficult to draw conclusions about any given unit.

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post #26 of 30 Old 11-26-2012, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Just to add to the confusion, what Computer Audiophile is calling "first generation" is actually a newer product than what Stereophile measured. There have been at least three versions of the product (802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11n dual-band). And there's no guarantee that Apple used the same DAC chip throughout the entire run of any given version. So difficult to draw conclusions about any given unit.

The conclusion that I think can be drawn is that audiophile ragazine hype can really confuse people! I base that on this post from the guy who recommended a product from a high end cable manufacturer that tended to technically underperform the equipment he was recommending it over.

After looking at the reviews of a number of Apple products and watching how many generations and upgrades that they have been making to their products, I'm actually somewhat impressed.

Another conclusion is that it is actually getting to be a little hard to find DACs that are going to embarrass people if they put them into their systems, given that they stick to products from mainstream manufacturers.

If any of the "DAC of the day" eggspurts around here can produce reliable evidence otherwise, I'd surely like to see it!
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post #27 of 30 Old 11-27-2012, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I have decided to take a shot with the magnepan mmg's and the eomtoiva usp 1 and xpa 200 with my Marantz 6100 turntable.

I will post some thoughts when I get it all together.

Thanks for the thoughts everyone.
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post #28 of 30 Old 03-05-2013, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Just thought I would update this thread. I have gone with the emotive usp 1, xpa 200, VPI Traveler table, ortofon 2m blue, sony 400 disc changer, entech 203.2 number cruncher dac , Magnepan MMG speakers and tributarie Silver cables.

I am loving it. Cant stop listening to and buying vinyl. Recently bought a 2nd pressing of The Beatles Rubber Soul on the UK Parlophone Label and its fantastic.



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post #29 of 30 Old 03-05-2013, 10:24 PM
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Nice looking setup. I bet it sounds very good! No sub? Most guys seem to like a sub with the MMGs.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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post #30 of 30 Old 03-06-2013, 04:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Nice looking setup. I bet it sounds very good! No sub? Most guys seem to like a sub with the MMGs.

I am not big on bass, not that I don't want it or anything but right now the Mmg's have enough bass for me.

At some point I may look into one but for now it reall isn't a difference maker for me.
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