$2000 setup floor standing speakers + amp? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 01:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I have budgeted a maximum of $2000 (the lower the better ) for a pair of floor-standing speakers and a receiver/amplifier. I would rather invest in a higher fidelity amplifier than a receiver.

My primary purpose behind the purchase is to listen to music, not to build a home theater system. I heard a beautiful Vienna Acoustics Baby Beethoven setup driven by a McIntosh amp and would love to own the same but for the price Would love suggestions for speakers and amps that can produce the same sound but within my budget.

Some speakers I have been mulling over
* Martin Logan Preface speakers
* Vienna Acoustics Schonberg
* Can I find similar sound in JBL, Polk, and other less expensive brands?

Amps - ???

Thanks in advance for your help!
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post #2 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 02:03 AM
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I personally find the Martin Logan and Vianna Acoustics to be quite different, although I'm not sure I've heard the ML Preface specifically.

My personal opinion is that the amp is going to make MUCH less of a difference in what you hear than the speakers will. I'd put the majority of my budget into the speakers.

Aperion have been said to sound similar to the VA's. They are an ID company that allow a risk free in home trial for 30 days, so you might want to check them out.

Salk Songtowers are also highly regarded for their detail and neutrality, but they are also an ID company. Perhaps you can find some owners in your area and go take a listen to either the Aperion or Salk, or both.

I don't think you'll get as good of sound out of $500 towers as you will $1500. Similar? Maybe, but definately not as good. The big thing you gain, IMO, in going to more expensive speakers is more detail and clarity. There are many other good choices in your price range, perhaps going out and listening to some more speakers would be the best thing at this point.
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post #3 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 05:51 AM
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I would suggest that you look for what is often called "Arcam on a budget" - Cambridge Audio 540R AVR. You can find 540R V2 online on clearout at half price ($400). This will give the best SQ at this price + allow you to pick whatever speakers you want without any concern about impedance and low efficiency issues.

For speakers, I would visit as many dealers as possible, bring along a couple of your favorite cds and listen, listen, listen.
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post #4 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 06:06 AM
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I bought a Denon 2309 for $599 and I am going to check out Axiom M80's at $1300. It's been said that they sound similar to Paradigm Studio 100's which cost more than double. I've heard and liked the Studio 60's which is the next lower in the Studio line. The Studio 60's were much more tham the M80's.

Axiom is another ID company that allows in home 30 day trial period.

edited to add: Check out this thread: http://www.axiomaudio.com/boards/ubb...133#Post238133
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post #5 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 07:58 AM
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I'd say Swans 6.1 BCs, Emotiva RSP-2 preamp, and RPA-2 amp would be VERY tough to beat, and is just a couple hundred dollars above your $2k budget. Depending on the size of your room, you could probably even make due with a UPA-2 amplifier and come in a couple hundred under budget.

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post #6 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:03 AM
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Go to the Axiom site; in their Forum is an area where owners agree to let people come to their house for an audition. You should do it.

I agree with the earlier post, go out to high-end stores in your area and listen to a few options. We can give opinions, YOUR ears should make the choice.

Edit: The Denon is a nice receiver, but certainly doesn't fit the bill for what you were describing as your needs (wanting audiophile).

Re-edit: Oh yeah, I guess you would just use the Denon pre-outs.

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post #7 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:16 AM
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ebay polk lsi15 tower for 1k, lsi center for 500, and an emotiva amp 3x350w at 4ohm for 500.00. THAT SHOULD BE A PRETTY NICE SET UP AND WITHIN YOUR BUDGET IF YOU GOT A RECIEVER ALREADY.
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post #8 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:24 AM
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Why are you yelling?

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post #9 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:39 AM
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I haven't had the chance to audition any Vienna Acoustics so I don't know what it sounds like or compare to when it comes to ID speakers. Just be aware of the brands before you buy if you chose to go ID. For example, Axiom tend to be describe as foward and bright, while speakers like AV123 Rockets (another ID) are describe as more neutral.
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post #10 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a ton for all the input folks - a lot of food for thought for me.

"Filthy McNasty" - Cambridge Audio was an excellent suggestion (from what I read). They seem to have a new power amplifier Audio Azur 840A v2 [:sigh: cant post the URL yet] which seems to be very close to what I think I want. Might make me go a little over budget though I think... rick240 - I think I agree with your assessment here about an amp being a closer fit than a receiver for me.

Thanks for the speaker suggestions - I think I am going to test out the Salk, Aperion, VA, Axioms and the other suggestions. Based on the amp Im considering, Im guessing the new speaker budget is going to be ~$1500

Please keep the suggestions flowing in...
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post #11 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:52 AM
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If you like the Vienna's sound, check out a set of Haydn Grands. They are the bookshelf models in the Grand lineup. That would leave you enough money for a nice amp or 2-channel receiver like a HK 3490. The Schonbergs are $3k per pair.
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post #12 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 09:43 AM
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You can have pretty good luck buying used. I recently built ~$1,800 setup, which included used speakers and the CD player.
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post #13 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 11:31 AM
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Another opinion, I had a budget similar to yours (2k max) for speakers about a year ago and ended up going with the Axiom M80s. I'm happy with them and don't think you'll be disappointed. For the price, I didn't hear anything better....especially from B&M stores. They remind me of the B&W 703s (just my opinion....I'm sure people will disagree).

I also really liked the rocket 850's, which were around $1500 at the time. More forgiving in my opinion than the M80s.

Additionally, as an M80 owner, I don't understand frequent posts from those who say the m80 is too bright but always cite they have never actually heard the speaker. I don't find this to be true nor have I seen this mentioned in an actual professional review or actual joe-blow listener review. It seems to be a tall-tale of the ID speaker industry...ha.
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post #14 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 04:39 PM
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So you actually compared the Rocket 850 to the Axiom M80?

hey rick240, who mentioned audiophile?
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post #15 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonpoint View Post

Another opinion, I had a budget similar to yours (2k max) for speakers about a year ago and ended up going with the Axiom M80s. I'm happy with them and don't think you'll be disappointed. For the price, I didn't hear anything better....especially from B&M stores. They remind me of the B&W 703s (just my opinion....I'm sure people will disagree).

I also thought that they sounded similar to the 703 which I felt sounded a little better but not near enough to justify the price difference so I went with the M80s too.

"Tact is just not saying true stuff" Cordelia Chase.
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post #16 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoB/335 View Post

hey rick240, who mentioned audiophile?

I guess $2000 for receiver and 2 speakers made me think that

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post #17 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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yup - a wanting audiophile would be a good way to describe the situation.

Given the price and the rave reviews , Im half considering ordering the M80s and giving them a run before looking any further. Am currently looking for cheaper alternatives to the Cambridge Audio Azur 840A v2 amplifier - any suggestions there?
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post #18 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 07:36 PM
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So rick,

Just out of curiousity, what would you suggest?

"Edit: The Denon is a nice receiver, but certainly doesn't fit the bill for what you were describing as your needs (wanting audiophile)."

What receiver and speakers for $2000 would fit the bill?
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post #19 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have any opinions on the Paradigm Monitor 11? Especially in comparison to the Axiom M80s?
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post #20 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonpoint View Post

Another opinion, I had a budget similar to yours (2k max) for speakers about a year ago and ended up going with the Axiom M80s. I'm happy with them and don't think you'll be disappointed. For the price, I didn't hear anything better....especially from B&M stores. They remind me of the B&W 703s (just my opinion....I'm sure people will disagree).

I also really liked the rocket 850's, which were around $1500 at the time. More forgiving in my opinion than the M80s.

Additionally, as an M80 owner, I don't understand frequent posts from those who say the m80 is too bright but always cite they have never actually heard the speaker. I don't find this to be true nor have I seen this mentioned in an actual professional review or actual joe-blow listener review. It seems to be a tall-tale of the ID speaker industry...ha.

If you could, I'd love a more indepth review on how you find the speakers. Perhaps what your primary use for them is. I'm actually going with a 2k budget and if these can perform up to the level of B&M and do better than KEF, Polk Audio, Klipsch in that price range then I think I'll order a set.
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post #21 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 08:42 PM
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CEC's cheapest Class A integrated amp at I believe around $500 is the best amp below $600 that I've heard of lately. Certainly better than the new integrated from Pioneer. Otherwise I'd check Marantz integrated that's also around the same price at $500. Alternatively as a temporary solution but a good solution nonetheless, the classic Panasonic SA-XR57. That's below $200 nowadays. The rest can be spent on a well reviewed ID brand like Salk Song Tower or some of the best bookshelves money can buy.
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post #22 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmathur View Post

Does anyone have any opinions on the Paradigm Monitor 11? Especially in comparison to the Axiom M80s?

I did an A/B comparison with the Monitor 11's with a friend that can be found on Axiom's forum . The 11's are a good speaker for the money but the M80s offer more detail and slightly better bass response, much like the Paradigm Studio 100's offer over the Monitor 11s, only the Axioms are pretty much the same price as the 11's.
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post #23 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 09:10 PM
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If you're limiting yourself to floorstanders, you should probably consider salk songtowers - the favorites of many people on this forum under $2k. The components are as good as you'll find in a floorstander at that price, and the finish is also luxurious.
For amps, check out a multitude of stereo parasound amps at www.audiogon.com and www.ebay.com . You can get a really solid built used amp for a price of a low-end reciever.
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post #24 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 09:15 PM
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As far as integrateds go, check out the Onkyo 9555. A great piece of gear at the pricepoint. You'd be hard pressed to find better at 2x the price IMO. See link

http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/907onk/

As for speakers for critical music, don't be afraid of used gear. The high end stuff is traded back and forth on Audiogon by people looking for 'The Sound'. The speakers offered are often used for relatively short periods of time and kept in pristine condition solely for the purpose of resale. Before you buy ANYTHING, you owe it to yourself to listen to some Magnepans. The soundstage created by these is nothing less than stunning and listenable for hours with no signs of fatigue. Keep in mind whatever you audition, it won't sound the same in your home all around so look for the things that will be the same such as audible distortion and off axis characteristics. Here's an example of an Audiogon classified in your budget

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....&/Magnapan-1.6

and another

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....n-Logan-Aerius
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post #25 of 35 Old 01-11-2009, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayhem13 View Post

As far as integrateds go, check out the Onkyo 9555.

I was about to recommend that, but the CEC is much better for jazz and acoustics. Rock, hip hop, etc are certainly better served with the A9555. Or alternatively he can get the A9755 that's almost as good as ICE 200ACS based amps.
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post #26 of 35 Old 01-12-2009, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoB/335 View Post

So rick,

Just out of curiousity, what would you suggest?

"Edit: The Denon is a nice receiver, but certainly doesn't fit the bill for what you were describing as your needs (wanting audiophile)."

What receiver and speakers for $2000 would fit the bill?

I would want to do a whole lot of researching in the receivers/amps area of this forum before feeling even remotely qualified to answer well...

..but as an unqualified answer (especially on a 2-channel system from someone whose primary use is 5.1 HT),

earlier in the week I would have bought the last Marantz sr8001 from accessories4less for $900 (but someone bought it over the weekend; so maybe a lower end Marantz receiver used as a pre/pro and then an Emotiva or used NAD or Rotel amp) and then gone to Audiogon to spend the remaining $1100 on the best pair of used speakers I could find.

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post #27 of 35 Old 01-12-2009, 07:10 AM
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I got a Nad C320BEE (2 channel amp) and a pair of Paradigm Studio 60's for almost $2k on the dot. Could never have been happier IMHO.
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post #28 of 35 Old 01-12-2009, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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rick240 - Do I really need a receiver? I was planning to purchase a good integrated amp and speakers only, and directly plug in my Mac Pro and/or a CD player.
I am considering the M80s powered by a Cambridge Audio Azure 640A - the amp only puts out only 100W per channel though.

mayhem13 - Unfortunately I cant buy planar/electrostatic speakers because I dont have enough breathing space for them in my apartment. If I place them away from the wall as per spec, they would need to pretty much be on my lap

Veda - Where can I get the 9755 in the US?
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post #29 of 35 Old 01-12-2009, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmathur View Post

rick240 - Do I really need a receiver? I was planning to purchase a good integrated amp and speakers only, and directly plug in my Mac Pro and/or a CD player.
I am considering the M80s powered by a Cambridge Audio Azure 640A - the amp only puts out only 100W per channel though.

mayhem13 - Unfortunately I cant buy planar/electrostatic speakers because I dont have enough breathing space for them in my apartment. If I place them away from the wall as per spec, they would need to pretty much be on my lap

Veda - Where can I get the 9755 in the US?

No you don't as you are only planning 2 channel. I just think like an HT guy and had my heart set on the sr8001 last year (and Marantz is great for music).

As mentioned, I am no expert just enthusiast (in learning mode) and would ask different questions in the Amp/Receiver section of the forum for definitive answers.

EDIT: That looks like a nice CA amplifier and I've heard M80s, they're nice.

Bottom line is, I think it would be really hard to spend $2K on an amp and two speakers that have had any kind of good reviews and not really like it.

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post #30 of 35 Old 01-12-2009, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmathur View Post

I am considering the M80s powered by a Cambridge Audio Azure 640A - the amp only puts out only 100W per channel though.

Actually the specs state 75W into 8 ohm and 125W into 4 ohm, either way it is enough to drive the M80s to loud levels, you will only need around 1W to hit ~90db with the M80s.
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