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Help me build my system: $6,000 budget - Page 2

post #31 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by chburrus View Post

...
What are you guys favorite place to buy used high end stereo equipment? I've looked on this site, eBay, craigslist.
...

http://new.audiogon.com/listings/466692


Also ... I thought I'd elaborate a bit on one way to think about $$$ allocation.

Option 1: $3,000 on electronics, $3,000 on speakers
Option 2: $600 on electronics, $5,400 on speakers and room

'Upgrading' your electronics from 2 to 1, if the electronics in 2 are not faulty, should have no audible effect. 'Upgrading' your speakers from 1 to 2, if done right, should be a dramatic, visceral change. 25' x 12' x 20' is a big room - it would be a fantastic experience to have clean distortion-free music filling that space. To get floorstanders that fill that space with low-end authority might be stretching your budget. I think you at least consider getting a powerful pair of monitors and matching them with some tight dual subs.

I haven't bought new speakers in years, so I am not qualified to recommend any particular model, but it seems to me that the following allocation just might give you the most bang for your dollar:

Dual high power musical subs - $2500
Room treatment - $1500
Monitors - $1500
Electronics - $500

Wouldn't it would be a fantastic experiment to be able to try this both ways and see which system provided a more intense musical experience? I think this is a great thread, because $6000 is probably what a lot of people end up spending after they get all their pieces together.

What do people think is the best way to spend $1500 on mains/monitors that will blend well musically with a pair of subs, and fill a large room with distortion-free sound at highish SPL?
post #32 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by chburrus View Post

These definitely look like a great option, but I can't find a dealer in Houston and as such will have a tough time testing them out...

Is there any specific reason everyone loves these speakers so much?

If your interest is piqued you may wish to post in the Philharmonic Audio thread. While unsure of the volume of sold and shipped speakers there may be local owners who would be willing to audition them for you.

Good luck in your search, I hope you have as much fun as I did!
post #33 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanS View Post

http://new.audiogon.com/listings/466692


Also ... I thought I'd elaborate a bit on one way to think about $$$ allocation.

Option 1: $3,000 on electronics, $3,000 on speakers
Option 2: $600 on electronics, $5,400 on speakers and room

'Upgrading' your electronics from 2 to 1, if the electronics in 2 are not faulty, should have no audible effect. 'Upgrading' your speakers from 1 to 2, if done right, should be a dramatic, visceral change. 25' x 12' x 20' is a big room - it would be a fantastic experience to have clean distortion-free music filling that space. To get floorstanders that fill that space with low-end authority might be stretching your budget. I think you at least consider getting a powerful pair of monitors and matching them with some tight dual subs.

I haven't bought new speakers in years, so I am not qualified to recommend any particular model, but it seems to me that the following allocation just might give you the most bang for your dollar:

Dual high power musical subs - $2500
Room treatment - $1500
Monitors - $1500
Electronics - $500

Wouldn't it would be a fantastic experiment to be able to try this both ways and see which system provided a more intense musical experience? I think this is a great thread, because $6000 is probably what a lot of people end up spending after they get all their pieces together.

What do people think is the best way to spend $1500 on mains/monitors that will blend well musically with a pair of subs, and fill a large room with distortion-free sound at highish SPL?

The monitor / dual sub setup is an interesting concept and something I have not yet considered but seems to make sense. My concern would be adding components and thus complexity to the system.

You bring up a good point, and something that I want to re-iterate to the group: this is a very large room (6,000 cubic feet) and the system needs to be appropriately sized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

If your interest is piqued you may wish to post in the Philharmonic Audio thread. While unsure of the volume of sold and shipped speakers there may be local owners who would be willing to audition them for you.

Good luck in your search, I hope you have as much fun as I did!

Good stuff, I appreciate the link. I've been reading about the Philharmonic vs. Salk debate this morning. Based on the glowing reviews in that thread alone, it is tempting to make a purchase sans-audition. However, I'm still going to try and source some local owners
post #34 of 164
There are also a lot of nice used speakers at AC:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=104.0
post #35 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

The Phils in particular have been compared to speakers 5x their cost. Dennis Murphy seems committed to making quality speakers at an affordable price, focusing on accuracy. Cutting out R&D, marketing, etc. the value per dollar spent is much greater than larger brands.

I don't know Dennis Murphy (or his speakers) so I mean him no disrespect when I say that I reject your assertion that by "Cutting out R&D, marketing, etc.." he is able to offer greater value than the "larger brands." ..The larger brands like PSB, Dynaudio, Paradigm, B&W, and Vandersteen, etc.. can spread their costs (and expected profit) over a great many more units. ..This gives them a pricing advantage that would be hard to match by a guy who builds maybe 100 pairs/ year. People are quick to point to the advantage of "no middleman" while at the same time forgetting about the economies of scale that accrue to the larger brands. ..Also, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the worth of the R&D efforts of these big brands.

And what about serviceability and availability of parts?? ..A great many of these smallish owner/builder speaker companies have gone under. For example: Meadowlark, Soliloquy, Spica,.... all had great followings but now are gone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Speaking for myself, I've never heard so many good things said about speakers and speaker manufacturers as I have the Salks or Philharmonics.

Again, not picking on this particular speaker-builder, but one shouldn't assume that he makes a better speaker simply because you seldom read unfavorable reviews in a web-forum. Keep in mind that very few people have heard them apart from those who already made the decision to buy them; and once this decision is made, there is a natural inclination for the owner to then defend their purchase decision against other possibilities. Also, I do believe that the more obscure a brand is, the more likely it's supporters show up on web-forums to praise them. ..And some (not saying you necessarily) look down on these larger companies simply because of their popularity.
post #36 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by chburrus View Post

The monitor / dual sub setup is an interesting concept and something I have not yet considered but seems to make sense. My concern would be adding components and thus complexity to the system.

You bring up a good point, and something that I want to re-iterate to the group: this is a very large room (6,000 cubic feet) and the system needs to be appropriately sized.
...

I'd like to hear the Philharmonic 3 owners chime in here. Given the 85 dB sensitivity, is it possible to drive them to high levels in a large room without blowing out the drivers? How much power is needed?

Thanks.
post #37 of 164
a speaker like the zu audio omen def in its price range "imo" is probably one of the best bang for your buck. its 98db and has range from 30hz-25khz so you can fill a "large" room with LOUD levels of sound with just 20-30 watts and to concert levels between 30 and 90 watts first saving you alot of money on amps and if like i said before if you ever get into tube amps it can easily be powered by a 3 watt amp and give you great sound and they give you a 60 day in home trial on their speakers which is also great. just my 2 cents
post #38 of 164
You should be quickly discovering that Zu and Maggies have some serious fanboys. Not without good reason. And each company's speaker will sound considerably different from the other, and from more conventional speaker designs. My first rec would be to find ways to listen to as many types of speakers as possible. Audition locally, via shops or local audiophiles (who tend to like showing off their systems, IME). If local auditions aren't possible, maybe spend some of that budget on a trip to someplace you can audition a wide range of speakers. This will help you decide what you are looking for in a speaker, in terms of the speaker attributes that most matter to you. And be sure to bring multiple genres of music, as some speakers excel at particular genres, and yet struggle with others.
post #39 of 164
Valid points syd, not worth picking apart and arguing.

For me, it always boils down to the most value for the dollar. I've wanted to upgrade my speakers for years, and despite listening to several major brands I haven't felt that value existed - there was too little justification, too little differentiation between what I have and what exists (within my budget). I wanted Dynaudio, a definite standout, but couldn't afford it. I had settled on Totem before I learned of Salk, and then Philharmonic. Now I have renewed hope that I can escape the mold, the unique coloration that each major brand flourishes on its product and its literature. Now, finally, I believe I can listen to the music rather than the speakers.

As for companies going out of business, it happens all the time, in particular with those who are more focused on quality than Wall Street. It's a risk, but one I am happy to take.

What would you recommend for the gentleman with $6k to spend?
post #40 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanS View Post


I'd like to hear the Philharmonic 3 owners chime in here. Given the 85 dB sensitivity, is it possible to drive them to high levels in a large room without blowing out the drivers? How much power is needed?

Thanks.

Send a message to dennis murphy (that's his name on her too) he'll answer any question you have!

Good luck with your quest!
post #41 of 164
I own philharmonics and salks...buy speakers ID or used, spend all 6k on it

get the cd player and reciever out of someones attic, buy a dock for the ipod...althought i must say the thought of a default configued 160kb mp3 coming off an ipod and buying high end speakers doesnt really mix for me. cables from monoprice

the speakers matter and the room acoustics matter - everything else is voodoo...an OLD CD player and a pre-hdmi reciever are damn near free now and there is not point in the world in 2 channel to spend a dime more. My opinion is not well thought of here.
post #42 of 164
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the advice. My game plan (in this order) based on your input is as follows:

*Audition as many speakers as possible in the next month. List will include:

Bowers & Wilkins
Dynaudio
Focal
Goldenear
KEF
Klipsch
Linkwitz
Mangepan
Monitor Audio
Philharmonic
Polk Audio
PSB
Revel
Salk
Totem
Vandersteen

*Buy 2 floor speakers (spend ~$4,000)

*Find used amp and pre-amp that complement speakers (spend around $1,000). Probably buy this from Audigon or somewhere online without an audition. List to include but not limited to:

Classe
Emotiva
Marantz
McIntosh
Outlaw
Parasound*
Rotel
NAD

*Buy some iPod interface (NOT peachtree; probably Sonos or other cheaper DAC)

*Buy used turntable
post #43 of 164
Thread Starter 
Here is one more quick question:

If I just start out buying the speakers, can I use my existing Yamaha HTR-5950 AVR? I feel like there is no way I should be using a crappy integrated on $4,000 speakers, but I would be interested to see if you guys think this is possible (just a bridge until I get a real amp). Would I risk damaging the speakers?

Here she is:

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio..._u/?mode=model
post #44 of 164
Depends on the speakers. Maggies for instance like power and w/that AVR you may not get the whole potential out of them. Happy hunting.
post #45 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

I don't know Dennis Murphy (or his speakers) so I mean him no disrespect when I say that I reject your assertion...

I will point out one invaluable benefit - consumer interacting directly with the manufacturer. I've had multiple discussions ensuring that my choice is the right one for me, learning much about the science of speaker development in the process. Speaker placement and sound characteristics, amplification, you name it - if I have a question there is always a thoughtful and thorough response, by the creator himself. I've been consulted regarding redesign of center channel speaker (it will be custom), I've even had the cabinet maker get in touch with me to ensure that the right veneer and finish are applied.

Try that with B&W.

Had 50% of Philharmonics budget gone into marketing I doubt this much attention to detail would be focused on little ole me.
post #46 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by chburrus View Post

Thanks to all for the advice. My game plan (in this order) based on your input is as follows:

*Audition as many speakers as possible in the next month. List will include:

Bowers & Wilkins
Dynaudio
Focal
Goldenear
KEF
Klipsch
Linkwitz
Mangepan
Monitor Audio
Philharmonic
Polk Audio
PSB
Revel
Salk
Totem
Vandersteen

*Buy 2 floor speakers (spend ~$4,000)

Given the rather largish space you're trying to fill, be careful about Vandersteens as they utilize a 1st order cross-over design which means they may have difficulty producing the required volume without overheating voice coils, etc.. I owned Vandersteen 3A Sigs for several years and absolutely LOVED them. ...They are very very musical. ..But they are a bit more susceptible to being over-driven. ..I think two-way Totems, Magneplaner, and maybe even the Linkwitz speakers may be less than ideal for the same reason (ie., they are easily over-driven, NOT that they are 1st order crossover designs). ..Not saying they're not very good speakers, just that they may not be ideal for a huge open space. ..Especially if you like listening at greater than moderate levels. ..When auditioning, don't be shy about cranking them for a while to make sure they play loud without distorting.

Also, ..don't see Paradigm on your list. ..They may be a bit too popular to get the nod from gear connessieurs, but they make a very accurate, very musical speaker. ..Particularly the Signature series which may be in your budget. ..And the beryllium tweeter they employ is particularly well suited to high output levels (while still sounding very smooth and refined).
post #47 of 164
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

Given the huge space you're trying to fill, be careful about Vandersteens as they utilize a 1st order cross-over design which means they have difficulty produces the required volume without overheating voice coils, etc.. I owned Vandersteen 3A Sigs for several years and absolutely LOVED them. ...They are very very musical. ..But they are a bit more susceptible to being over-driven. ..I think two-way totems, Magneplaner, and maybe even the linkwitz speakers may be less than ideal for the same reason. ..Not saying they're not very good speakers, just that they may not be ideal for a huge open space. ..Especially if you like listening at greater than moderate levels.

Thanks Syd, very helpful advice. I would say that I do like listening to music at greater than moderate levels and the room is definitely big. This system will be used for casual enjoyment but also entertainment/parties etc.
post #48 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

I will point out one invaluable benefit - consumer interacting directly with the manufacturer. I've had multiple discussions ensuring that my choice is the right one for me, learning much about the science of speaker development in the process. Speaker placement and sound characteristics, amplification, you name it - if I have a question there is always a thoughtful and thorough response, by the creator himself. I've been consulted regarding redesign of center channel speaker (it will be custom), I've even had the cabinet maker get in touch with me to ensure that the right veneer and finish are applied.

Try that with B&W.

Had 50% of Philharmonics budget gone into marketing I doubt this much attention to detail would be focused on little ole me.

I don't agree with the "50% of budget gone to marketing" remark as that is a gross exaggeration, but I do completely understand being impressed and compelled by personalized customer service. ..A good thing indeed. ..When I bought a pair of Vandersteens Richard Vandersteen spent an hour with me on the phone. ..A very interesting conversation with a very smart guy. And it sounds like you have the same thing going for you, which is great.
post #49 of 164
Found it. Here are Jim Salk's thoughts on being an independent dealer.

While there is a good bit of bickering, the entire thread is interesting.
post #50 of 164
Thread Starter 
So after spending the past few weeks auditioning, I'm down to 3 speakers. Prices listed are what I can buy them for.

Dynaudio 220 MKII ($2,200)
*Great vocals
*Better for low-quality recordings (I will be using a lot of mp3s unfortunately)
*Consistent midrange, easily discernible instruments
*Light on bass
Salk SongTowers ($2,000)
*Widest consistent frequency responses
*Excellent bass
*Less impressed with construction/finishing
Focal 726v ($1,800)
*Full, hearty musical speakers
*Overall slightly less precise sound (harder to identify individual elements) perhaps due to lower quality drivers?

Very interested to hear everyone's thoughts. I'm having a tough time deciding and any input will be greatly appreciated. Please keep in mind that I have a somewhat large room and will be primarily sourcing music from iPad/iPod. Will have a turntable but my collection is small. Thanks again
post #51 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by chburrus View Post

Salk SongTowers ($2,000)
...
*Less impressed with construction/finishing

now THAT is an unusual opinion...
post #52 of 164
I've just read this thread for the first time. As you are trying to fill a huge room, you do need subs. But as this is for music only not really deep bass subs.

If you're willing to buy used speakers, that have matching subs, look for JBL Performance Series. Two PT800s mounted on two PS1400 subs will give you full range speakers that have powered subs. The PT800 is very similar to the Revel Gem2. Both 3-way w/ Ti drivers.

The original cost of these is $1700/ea for the PT800 and about $1500 for each sub.
But you can find these for much less. There was a pair recently on ebay, I think it was.

I don't know about the others, but imo the Salks are not better than the Performance Series stacks.
post #53 of 164
Thread Starter 
Also does anyone have experience with Taelektro integrateds? Specifically the Power Plant Demo
post #54 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by chburrus View Post

So after spending the past few weeks auditioning, I'm down to 3 speakers. Prices listed are what I can buy them for.

Dynaudio 220 MKII ($2,200)
*Great vocals
*Better for low-quality recordings (I will be using a lot of mp3s unfortunately)
*Consistent midrange, easily discernible instruments
*Light on bass
Salk SongTowers ($2,000)
*Widest consistent frequency responses
*Excellent bass
*Less impressed with construction/finishing
Focal 726v ($1,800)
*Full, hearty musical speakers
*Overall slightly less precise sound (harder to identify individual elements) perhaps due to lower quality drivers?

Very interested to hear everyone's thoughts. I'm having a tough time deciding and any input will be greatly appreciated. Please keep in mind that I have a somewhat large room and will be primarily sourcing music from iPad/iPod. Will have a turntable but my collection is small. Thanks again

Did you have a chance to audition some of the older mirage speakers? The old M-3 and M-1s were great and could fill large spaces without the need for subs. Hard o find but high quality. I have the m-1si for mains and m3si for rears. All driven by linn klouts. It gets very loud
post #55 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by chburrus View Post

Also does anyone have experience with Taelektro integrateds? Specifically the Power Plant Demo

I don't know about that one. But you might want to look at the HK 990 integrated 150w amp. Its a completely different kind of amp.
I read through the entire 20+ page review. Quite impressive, $2000 list
Here is a review on audiogon:
tp://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?ramps&1295365740&&&/Harman-Kardon-HK990-Amplifier
Here is a review from Kal Rubinson:
http://www.stereophile.com/content/h...ated-amplifier
post #56 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 View Post

Also, ..don't see Paradigm on your list. ..They may be a bit too popular to get the nod from gear connessieurs, but they make a very accurate, very musical speaker.

FWIW, I never found Paradigm speakers outside the Signature series to be either accurate or musical. Great for HT though.
post #57 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by chburrus View Post

Focal 726v ($1,800)
*Full, hearty musical speakers
*Overall slightly less precise sound (harder to identify individual elements) perhaps due to lower quality drivers?

Very interested to hear everyone's thoughts. I'm having a tough time deciding and any input will be greatly appreciated.

With Focal, I would look at the 816V - it will have a better internal
treated cabinet - and will be more open and clear.
http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/13210
post #58 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4DHD View Post

I don't know about that one. But you might want to look at the HK 990 integrated 150w amp. Its a completely different kind of amp.
I read through the entire 20+ page review. Quite impressive, $2000 list
Here is a review on audiogon:
tp://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?ramps&1295365740&&&/Harman-Kardon-HK990-Amplifier
Here is a review from Kal Rubinson:
http://www.stereophile.com/content/h...ated-amplifier

Was going to suggest this model, specifically for the EQ features and bass management.

To the original question - I'd put most of the money into speakers, subs (yes), and room treatments where possible; buy electronics that get what you need and nothing more. Your Yamaha may be suitable, depending on the speakers you purchase.

For this money, I would entirely demand (if it was me) room EQ/adjustment features from the electronics; an AVR or the HK990 would be good choices. AVR will potentially cost you less, and depending on what you get, the DSP features might be fun for music (I'm specifically thinking of Yamaha CinemaDSP and DTS Neo:6).

If you've found speakers you like in the $2000-$4000 range, I would evaluate if perhaps a bookshelf version is available, and go with subs and bass management over trying to satisfy a very large room with a pair of mid-size towers. You could go with the towers and subs as well, I'm just fearful it will over-extend your budget.
post #59 of 164
No ascend towers on the list? Wouldn't it be better to add a pair of subs into the budget? I guess you can always add them later if you feel you are missing on the low end...which allows you to buy more speaker now.
post #60 of 164
Sierra with Nrt should definitely make this list . There are some new kids on the block ( Swan M808 & 806) - there won;t be much reviews yet, but I suspect they can compete with the speakers in this list just as well .
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