Help in putting together a stereo system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 02-24-2008, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

This is my first time trying to put together a stereo system, so forgive me for asking very basic questions. I am looking for general advice about which parts I need and whether I can piece together a good system under $700. One question in particular is whether mixing different manufacturers (such as Onkyo receiver with Polk speakers) would work well. Also, is there a good integrated receiver/cd/mp3 player that you can recommend? I would appreciate any help.
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post #2 of 25 Old 02-24-2008, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by andylim View Post

Hi,

This is my first time trying to put together a stereo system, so forgive me for asking very basic questions. I am looking for general advice about which parts I need and whether I can piece together a good system under $700. One question in particular is whether mixing different manufacturers (such as Onkyo receiver with Polk speakers) would work well. Also, is there a good integrated receiver/cd/mp3 player that you can recommend? I would appreciate any help.

You want the amp and 2 speakers right for $700?
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post #3 of 25 Old 02-24-2008, 05:29 PM
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If you buy used you can piece together a very nice system like this:

Cambridge 340A integrated
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ran&1208135234
Cambridge 340C CDP
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....lay&1209022687
Epos ELS-3
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....oni&1208034615

That would be a damn solid system that would require you to spend much more new to best it.

You can also go with an NAD C715 cd receiver type system and the Epos speakers around the same price too.

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=1NAC715
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post #4 of 25 Old 02-24-2008, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. The NAD C715 looks promising. Never thought about buying used equipment, its probably a good option to try given the budget.
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post #5 of 25 Old 02-25-2008, 08:15 AM
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Yes, you can mix brands--and should, since the best speaker companies tend not to make electronics.

The most important thing to remember in assembling a budget system is that speaker quality is paramount. So put most of your budget there.

I would not buy a combined amp/disk player. Ideal for a budget system would be a new stereo receiver (Onkyos are great bargains) or used integrated amp, and a plain ol' DVD player. That should be doable for no more than $300, leaving $400+ for speakers.

For newbies, I don't recommend buying used, since you don't know much about the market yet. For an amp it's ok (although I personally think the budget high-end brands are overrated). But never buy speakers without listening to them first, which rules out most used options.

Speaker brands to look for include PSB, Paradigm, and Infinity. But there are many good options out there. You should listen to what's available in your area, and buy what sounds best to you.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #6 of 25 Old 02-25-2008, 08:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post

If you buy used you can piece together a very nice system like this:

Cambridge 340A integrated
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ran&1208135234
Cambridge 340C CDP
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....lay&1209022687
Epos ELS-3
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....oni&1208034615

That would be a damn solid system that would require you to spend much more new to best it.

You can also go with an NAD C715 cd receiver type system and the Epos speakers around the same price too.

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=1NAC715

I have those Cambridges, and I can vouch that they sound fantastic. The speakers that match them (S30s) are really nice also.
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post #7 of 25 Old 02-25-2008, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the recommendations so far. I've decided tentatively on the following:

Epos - ELS3 Mini Monitor Speakers $329.95 new
Onkyo TX-8522 100 Watt Stereo Receiver $221.89 new

I've decided to buy new mainly because of the warranty issue. The only thing I'm worried about is I've heard some unfavorable opinions about Onkyo customer service.

As it stands that leaves some room for speaker stands. Can anyone recommend a good value speaker stand that will work with the Epos speakers?
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post #8 of 25 Old 02-25-2008, 11:30 PM
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Good choice on the speakers, you will not be disappointed. I have also heard some not so nice things about Onkyo customer service so that's a tough one.

These are some other integrated amps to look at around the same price range as well.

Cambridge Audio 340A
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CA340A

Pioneer Elite A-35R
http://www.soundpros.com/pioneer_elite_home.cfm

NAD C315BEE
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo...mber=NAC315BEE

You can buy the speakers and the NAD or Cambridge from audio advisor and get free shipping so that will save you a bit of money. For stands go to www.racksandstands.com
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post #9 of 25 Old 02-26-2008, 04:50 AM
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I have the Pioneer A35R integrated amp in my upstairs stereo system. It is being replaced by a new model so it is quite cheap at the moment. I bought mine on line for under $200. It performs very nicely. You can read my review of it on audioholics. So that's another one you can consider.

The Epos speakers should sound very nice. I use Epos M15 as the main speakers in my home theater and they are very accurate. They will be weak in the bass but you can add a subwoofer later to support the bass.
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post #10 of 25 Old 02-26-2008, 05:34 AM
 
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The Cambridge Audio S30s are about $100 less than those Epos, and I fail to see how any minimonitor could outperform them. A larger speaker, perhaps, but not a minimonitor. Their 5-star review is fully justified, and I consider them the "must-hear" product of the year.
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post #11 of 25 Old 02-26-2008, 06:56 AM
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The 8522 is a good little unit at that price. I wouldn't worry abut Onkyo's customer service; you probably won't need it.

As for speaker stands, anything stable that puts the speakers' tweeters at about ear level will work. Buy for looks and stability.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #12 of 25 Old 02-26-2008, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

The Cambridge Audio S30s are about $100 less than those Epos, and I fail to see how any minimonitor could outperform them. A larger speaker, perhaps, but not a minimonitor. Their 5-star review is fully justified, and I consider them the "must-hear" product of the year.

Have you heard the Epos? Don't make blanket statements like that without having heard anything else in the same range. And honestly what british speaker doesn't what hi-fi give 5 stars to? The ELS-3 have been reviewed by many different publications outside of england and have won a lot of awards.
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post #13 of 25 Old 02-26-2008, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I went ahead and got the Epos & NAD C315BEE from audio advisor. I really liked the front panel input for a portable media player on the NAD. Plus, I don't really need a tuner. I'll let you guys know how it turns out. My current 'system' is a 3 year old Panasonic micro system I bought for $70 at Circuit City, so I'm really looking forward to a new listening experience. If I can't tell a difference then I'm going to really blame you guys...jk.
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post #14 of 25 Old 02-27-2008, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by andylim View Post

I went ahead and got the Epos & NAD C315BEE from audio advisor. I really liked the front panel input for a portable media player on the NAD. Plus, I don't really need a tuner. I'll let you guys know how it turns out. My current 'system' is a 3 year old Panasonic micro system I bought for $70 at Circuit City, so I'm really looking forward to a new listening experience. If I can't tell a difference then I'm going to really blame you guys...jk.

Good choice of gear. NAD tends to underrate their power ratings so you will have more than enough power on tap to make the Epos sing. Upon first listening you will notice that the ELS-3 require some juice to increase their soundstage but that is normal for a speaker of that size. You will definitely be surprised at how big they sound when given a lot of power.
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post #15 of 25 Old 02-27-2008, 02:35 PM
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I recommend you start off walking before you start running (high end). I would get the best speakers I can afford, and right now the best value in your price range are the speakers from Ascend Acoustics and Axiom Audio. Do a Google search for both - they sell direct. For power I would get a refurbished H/K stereo (2 ch) receiver direct from H/K at harmanaudio.com (specials). H/K refurbs are fully warranted (2 yrs), and look and perform as new. As you become more knowledgable you can move up to separates or bigger full-range speakers, add a sub, whatever. Used components at Audiogon are a great way to upgrade for less, just check sellers very carefully, or buy from the dealers that sell there who often have demo units with full warranty. At some point you will probably want a sub and I highly recommend a SVS sub, again sold direct. You will probably want a CD player and again H/K CD players are great for the price, and can be purchased at the same site mentioned above.

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post #16 of 25 Old 02-27-2008, 06:06 PM
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I recommend you start off walking before you start running (high end). I would get the best speakers I can afford, and right now the best value in your price range are the speakers from Ascend Acoustics and Axiom Audio. Do a Google search for both - they sell direct. For power I would get a refurbished H/K stereo (2 ch) receiver direct from H/K at harmanaudio.com (specials). H/K refurbs are fully warranted (2 yrs), and look and perform as new. As you become more knowledgable you can move up to separates or bigger full-range speakers, add a sub, whatever. Used components at Audiogon are a great way to upgrade for less, just check sellers very carefully, or buy from the dealers that sell there who often have demo units with full warranty. At some point you will probably want a sub and I highly recommend a SVS sub, again sold direct. You will probably want a CD player and again H/K CD players are great for the price, and can be purchased at the same site mentioned above.

Once again how do you know that Ascend and Axiom will offer the best value? Have you even heard any of their speakers let alone anything else from Epos, Eltax, Cambridge, PSB, etc.? This crap about ID offering the only good value is really getting old.
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post #17 of 25 Old 02-28-2008, 06:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post

Have you heard the Epos? Don't make blanket statements like that without having heard anything else in the same range. And honestly what british speaker doesn't what hi-fi give 5 stars to? The ELS-3 have been reviewed by many different publications outside of england and have won a lot of awards.

What you read is not what I wrote. Try it again without the gross misinterpretations.
First, I said "I cannot imagine a minimonitor sounding better" not "I A/Bed them and found the S30 better." FWIW I have heard minimonitors at 4X the price that were not better (eg B&W CM1.)
Next, I said "the 5 star review was justified" not "I like them because they got a 5 star review." And yes, What HiFi has often given lesser reviews to british speakers.
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post #18 of 25 Old 03-24-2008, 07:19 AM
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hey guys, any idea what's the sound difference between a Denon D-M35 and NAD C715? both are 6 ohms with very similar output. What is the best speakers to pair with C715?
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post #19 of 25 Old 03-24-2008, 07:32 AM
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hey guys, any idea what's the sound difference between a Denon D-M35 and NAD C715?

Probably very little.

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What is the best speakers to pair with C715?

Whatever speakers sound best to you. Seriously. There is no magic to "matching" speakers to amp. Just make sure you're getting something that's not too hard to drive. And in the price range that someone interested in this unit is probably looking at, most speakers are pretty easy to drive.

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post #20 of 25 Old 03-24-2008, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andylim View Post

I went ahead and got the Epos & NAD C315BEE from audio advisor. I really liked the front panel input for a portable media player on the NAD. ..........


If I can't tell a difference then I'm going to really blame you guys...jk.


haha

I have the ELS3 and was actually on the verge of buying that NAD and I will tell you that both are solid choices. The ELS3 is a small loudspeaker and so it doesn't have a lot of bass, but what you do hear is very clear sounding. I should expect you to find a difference.

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post #21 of 25 Old 03-24-2008, 10:57 AM
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I went ahead and got the Epos & NAD C315BEE from audio advisor.

Looks like a great system. Enjoy it.

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post #22 of 25 Old 03-24-2008, 11:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by andylim View Post

If I can't tell a difference then I'm going to really blame you guys...jk.

Just be sure to avoid ever hearing the S30s, and you should remain happy with it.
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post #23 of 25 Old 03-24-2008, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by andylim View Post

I went ahead and got the Epos & NAD C315BEE from audio advisor. I really liked the front panel input for a portable media player on the NAD. Plus, I don't really need a tuner. I'll let you guys know how it turns out. My current 'system' is a 3 year old Panasonic micro system I bought for $70 at Circuit City, so I'm really looking forward to a new listening experience. If I can't tell a difference then I'm going to really blame you guys...jk.

I supposed it's the ELS3 you got? How much did you get for both Epos and NAD?

65hz is really missing a lot of bass. What sub do you use/intend to pair it with?
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post #24 of 25 Old 03-28-2008, 01:18 PM
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I'm planning to pick up the 340 & S30 combo...how would I hook a sub to the integrated amp? It doesn't have a sub out. Planning to get the SVS PB10 NSD.
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post #25 of 25 Old 03-31-2008, 05:25 AM
 
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I'm planning to pick up the 340 & S30 combo...how would I hook a sub to the integrated amp? It doesn't have a sub out. Planning to get the SVS PB10 NSD.

Many subs have speaker-level inputs. Not sure about that model.
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