My new Component Hi-fi build! So excited - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-04-2019, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thumbs up My new Component Hi-fi build! So excited

The parts are arriving this week for my new Hi-fi 2-channel setup. After 20 years with a 5.1 amp, to which I’ve had 2-channel bose cubes hooked up to and HDMI running through my TV and an optical cable to the amp, I decided it’s time to get back to listening to music. I’m a musician and into sound, I’ve had Focal in my car with nice amps for years and Focal studio monitors, so I saved up and built my system around a new pair of Focal 936.

Speakers: Focal Aria 936
Pre-amp: Mirantz NR-1200
Amp: Anthem MCA-225
Turntable: U-Turn custom

My plan is simply to run my Apple TV 4K and PS4 (used for Bluray and games now and then) into the Mirantz receiver’s HDMI, then out to the TV. I should be able to get Siri to cooperate with the receiver’s airplay. The preamp outs will connect to the Anthem, then out to the speakers, so they are driven with a nice 225 watts per channel.

Now I just need a few cables! Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-04-2019, 01:53 PM
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www.monoprice.com
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-04-2019, 02:12 PM
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Mediabridge too.

Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-04-2019, 02:24 PM
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I'm confused, the Marantz NR-1200 ($600) is not a Pre-Amp, it is a Stereo Receiver -

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-o5ExuU...tz-NR1200.html

Though the NR-1200 does have a lot of features including Pre-Out and Sub-Out.

The Anthem MCA-225 ($1990) is a 225w/ch Power Amp -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_973MCA...m-MCA-225.html

Nice system but $2600?

Rotel RC-1572 Pre-Amp with DAC - $1099 -


https://www.abt.com/product/133969/R...RC1572SIL.html

Rotel RB-1552-MKII, 120w/ch Power Amp - $999 -


https://www.abt.com/product/72848/Ro...1552MK2BK.html

Rotel RB-1582-MKII, 200w/ch Power Amp - $1599 -

https://www.abt.com/product/72848/Ro...1552MK2BK.html

But you can get the equivalent Integrated amp for considerably cheaper -

Rotel RA-1572 Integrated w/DAC, 120w/ch - $1699 -


https://www.abt.com/product/117304/R...RA1572SIL.html

Rotel RA-1592 Integrated w/DAC, 200w/ch - $2499 -

https://www.abt.com/product/100804/R...r-FR51240.html

The one thing you don't get is full Network Streaming, but that can be added for between $350 and $550.

Alternately, the EMOTIVA Pre-Amp PT-100 - $329 -

https://emotiva.com/collections/pre-...roducts/pt-100

Emotiva
also has nice Power Amps -

Emotiva XPA-2 Gen-3, 300w/ch - $1049 -

https://emotiva.com/collections/amps...cts/xpa-2-gen3

The XPA-2 Gen3 is a modular version, you can add up to 7 internal Class-A/B Amp modules to the system. The 2-channel version has 300w/ch to 8 ohms.

At a lower price point, consider the -

Emotiva A300, 2-channel, 150w/ch to 8 ohms - $419 -


https://emotiva.com/collections/amps/products/a-300

I can't fault your original choice, and economically, it might be best to get a Receiver or Integrated amp with Pre-Amp outputs. Generally a full Integrated amp is close in price to that of an equivalent Pre-Amp. Again, and as always, that is your personal choice to make.

The Focal ARIA 936 are impressive speakers, stunningly clear and detailed. But I'm not sure you really need 225w to drive them, though that is your choice. I suspect roughly 120w/ch would be enough, but again, that's your choice to make.

https://www.focal.com/us/high-fideli...a-900/aria-936

https://www.focal.com/sites/www.foca...tion_sheet.pdf

As I said, I can't fault your original choice, but it is something of an odd combination.

Steve/bluewizard
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Last edited by bluewizard; 11-08-2019 at 09:15 AM.
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post #5 of 20 Old 11-04-2019, 02:29 PM
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Speakers and amp look very nice but the pre will be the bottleneck. And its an integrated amp, you should get a pure pre probably if going for the nice power amp.


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post #6 of 20 Old 11-04-2019, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Douville View Post
Now I just need a few cables! Any thoughts?



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-04-2019, 03:33 PM
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IMO the NR-1200 seems like the best available option if you want HDMI support, streaming and a phono input in one box with pre outs.
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-05-2019, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Douville View Post
........................

Now I just need a few cables! Any thoughts?

If you Anthem can handle these, get the Kimber Kable speaker cables that are multi-strands knitted together. I have the JM Lab Spectral 913.1, speaker cables are very very critical. I am cheap, I made my own cable by using 6 pairs of 16 gauge speaker cables and twisted them together to make cables the same concept of the Kimber Kable, not quite as good but I am very happy, quite a difference in sound compare to 12 gauge Monster cable.



Don't worry too much on the RCA interconnect cables, get the ones with about 1/4" diameter or bigger coax and you're good to go. I use stuffs from Amazon only, nothing fancy.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

Last edited by alan0354; 11-05-2019 at 02:18 AM.
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-05-2019, 07:21 PM
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I hesitate to even open Pandora’s wire box but this thread seems pretty safe so far! I’ll agree with the other posters recommendations that interconnects don’t matter much. I use solid core coax cable that’s shielded which is probably unnecessary but it’s so inexpensive there isn’t any reason no to. The key is to have solid connections between wire and termination and similarly between termination and components. Unless you have a super long run (50 feet+) almost anything will do the job just as good as any other piece of wire. Speaker wire is just a function of length of run vs gauge and as long as you’ve met those requirements any conductor will function almost exactly the same. I apologize in advance if this unleashes the wire demons, theirs is a wrath of fortunes squandered!
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post #10 of 20 Old 11-06-2019, 01:34 PM
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In case anyone does a search, Marantz NR-1200 review here:

https://hometheaterreview.com/marant...iver-reviewed/

Seems like an ok choice because of the HDMI, but not sure it's audiophile level. Reviewer comments on the external amp thing too.



As for cables, I've had good luck with the Amazon Basics. For speaker cable, make your own with a good copper 12g and banana plugs.
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-07-2019, 09:17 AM
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I second making your own speaker cables. I make my own and I get very good result, even my friend brought over his $100 cables said mine is better. I use 6 pairs of 16 gauge ( 5 pairs is good enough so it's not to thick to fit into the holes of those banana connectors). Don't have to pay more for pure copper cable. I use the cheap copper clad red/black speaker wires, cheapest I can find on ebay.

I just cut the wires to the same length required + 4 or 5 inches, tie one end somewhere eg. door knob to secure them. tie the other ends to an electric drill and wind it clockwise until it's a little tight. Then put the drill down( to prevent from unwinding), wrap the cable counter clockwise as shown in the pictures. This is to prevent the cable from unwinding. After that, just put on the connectors and you are done.

I use them in high end systems with very good result. The idea is the same as Kimber Kables but it's only $30 to make a pair. Only thing is the capacitance is high, my cables is about 2400pF. Still is only about half of Kimber Kables. Some amps are not happy with this, you just have to try. What do you have to lose but $30.


Don't pay a lot of money for them, just try, only about $30 a pair. I bought connectors on Amazon, nothing fancy.
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Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Focal Alto Utopia and Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #12 of 20 Old 11-07-2019, 09:27 AM
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Speaker cables:
I have these and think they look fantastic. I can't say how they "sound" as the speakers sound great with them connected. Replaced some old/too short Monster cable that I had since the 90s:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=13913
I've been thinking of getting this speaker wire to match the look of the interconnects I have, but I don't expect the sound to change, so I keep buying records instead:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=33465

For interconnects, I love the look of these Monoprice cables, so I bought too many of them:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=18534
The "problem" with the above is that they are sold as single cables. I bought red and white electrical tape to make my own left/right cables.

I also have some of these and they look great and I do not think they hurt the sound at all.
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=38076

Vinyl, tape, digital... I don't care as long as I can listen to my music...
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post #13 of 20 Old 11-07-2019, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Douville View Post
Now I just need a few cables! Any thoughts?
How many cables do you need, of what type, and what do you want to spend?
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-07-2019, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
I'm confused, the Marantz NR-1200 ($600) is not a Pre-Amp, it is a Stereo Receiver -
...
Agreed in principle, but there aren't any functionally equivalent preamps at the same price point as the Marantz receiver. Any receiver or preamp with built-in streaming will become obsolete in a few years, so it's a pretty practical choice to buy a relatively inexpensive receiver as a preamp since it will eventually become obsolete.
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-07-2019, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjp View Post
Agreed in principle, but there aren't any functionally equivalent preamps at the same price point as the Marantz receiver. Any receiver or preamp with built-in streaming will become obsolete in a few years, so it's a pretty practical choice to buy a relatively inexpensive receiver as a preamp since it will eventually become obsolete.
There are also no 2 channel preamps with HDMI switching. I'm honestly a bit surprised there isn't an "audiophile grade" standalone HDMI switch/DAC yet.
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post #16 of 20 Old 11-07-2019, 11:56 AM
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There are also no 2 channel preamps with HDMI switching. I'm honestly a bit surprised there isn't an "audiophile grade" standalone HDMI switch/DAC yet.
No audiophile switches yet, but there are some cheap HDMI switches that will peel an optical audio out off an HDMI switch:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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post #17 of 20 Old 11-08-2019, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjp View Post
Agreed in principle, but there aren't any functionally equivalent preamps at the same price point as the Marantz receiver. Any receiver or preamp with built-in streaming will become obsolete in a few years, so it's a pretty practical choice to buy a relatively inexpensive receiver as a preamp since it will eventually become obsolete.
I'm not against the idea of using a Receiver or Integrated Amp strictly as a Pre-Amp for people who are on somewhat tight budgets. In fact, I often recommend it. But the Original Poster implies that he has $2600 to spend, and I gave him several options in Pre/Pwr that came close to that.

Yes, it is nice to have HDMI, but it is not necessary. Most people using a Stereo for Movies feed HDMI to the TV then take Optical Audio from the TV and run it to their Amp/DAC. So, not having HDMI is not the end of the world. Thousands of us get along just fine without it. However, there is clearly a demand as more Stereo products are coming with HDMI.

As to Streaming becoming Obsolete, that is not likely. Streaming may improve, but I doubt older version will become obsolete. Now - out of dated - perhaps. From what I have read they are already working on a replacement for HDMI, so the Receiver itself is more likely to become out dated than specifically Streaming. AVRs in general do not have an exceptionally long lifespan as Video technology changes relatively fast. People are just starting to accept 4kHD, and they are already talking about 8k. HDR (high dynamic range) is also new, ATMOS is somewhat new. But those changes are not likely to effect a Stereo unless perhaps that Stereo relies on HDMI.

Still, if the OP feels the Marantz and the Anthem are the best use of his money, then more power to him. That is a perfectly valid way to approach the problem, and the NR-1200 does have a lot of features for a very reasonable amount of money. But there are a lot of alternatives. Some of which I listed. But based on Feature Set and Price, perhaps the NR-1200 is not such a bad deal.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #18 of 20 Old 11-08-2019, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post

Yes, it is nice to have HDMI, but it is not necessary. Most people using a Stereo for Movies feed HDMI to the TV then take Optical Audio from the TV and run it to their Amp/DAC. So, not having HDMI is not the end of the world. Thousands of us get along just fine without it. However, there is clearly a demand as more Stereo products are coming with HDMI.
This is exactly what I do in one of my rooms. Most TV's still have a toslink out so it's easy getting the signal to any 2-channel amp with a DAC in it.


Quote:
As to Streaming becoming Obsolete, that is not likely. Streaming may improve, but I doubt older version will become obsolete. Now - out of dated - perhaps. From what I have read they are already working on a replacement for HDMI, so the Receiver itself is more likely to become out dated than specifically Streaming. AVRs in general do not have an exceptionally long lifespan as Video technology changes relatively fast. People are just starting to accept 4kHD, and they are already talking about 8k. HDR (high dynamic range) is also new, ATMOS is somewhat new. But those changes are not likely to effect a Stereo unless perhaps that Stereo relies on HDMI.
This is the reason why I've never spent a lot of money on AVR's. And chances are, streaming will move to the point to where it won't work on older devices...kind of what we're now seeing with older Netflix enabled devices. One of my early "smart" TV's is no longer smart anymore due to this.
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post #19 of 20 Old 11-08-2019, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
As to Streaming becoming Obsolete, that is not likely. Streaming may improve, but I doubt older version will become obsolete. Now - out of dated - perhaps. From what I have read they are already working on a replacement for HDMI, so the Receiver itself is more likely to become out dated than specifically Streaming.
Streaming itself won't become outdated, but the proprietary implementation of streaming built into receivers or preamps absolutely does become outdated, often very quickly. There is no reason why it should become outdated, hardware-wise, but most manufacturers typically stop making firmware updates available for older receivers/AVRs not long after the newer models come out. If a new streaming source comes out that could easily be supported, but needs a firmware tweak to recognize that service (Amazon HD may or may not be an example), good luck getting a firmware update for a receiver the manufacturer has labeled legacy. I have an internet radio receiver that I love, but it doesn't even support Spotify. It easily could support Spotify hardware-wise, but there haven't been any firmware updates for years.

If you get something like Bluesound, it will never get outdated because the manufacturer will continually provide updates for whatever new services come along that the hardware is still able to support. NAD has a receiver with Bluesound built-in -- that will likely have longevity as long as it runs the same firmware/OS and standalone Bluesound devices -- but built-in proprietary streaming has a short shelf life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
I'm not against the idea of using a Receiver or Integrated Amp strictly as a Pre-Amp for people who are on somewhat tight budgets. In fact, I often recommend it. But the Original Poster implies that he has $2600 to spend, and I gave him several options in Pre/Pwr that came close to that.
I agree with you that there could be a better split of dollars, I only disagree about investing substantially in a preamp with built-in proprietary streaming. That is a dead end in the not very distant future in my book no matter what you choose (besides the example I mentioned). Having an expensive device with obsolete streaming not only kills functionality for yourself, it obliterates resale value as well. I would favor amp/preamp (both can be "keep forever" devices) and then keeping the streaming stuff external with either a device like Bluesound that will always have updates or a device cheap device like Chromecast Audio that you don't mind replacing it becomes obsolete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewizard View Post
Yes, it is nice to have HDMI, but it is not necessary. Most people using a Stereo for Movies feed HDMI to the TV then take Optical Audio from the TV and run it to their Amp/DAC. So, not having HDMI is not the end of the world. Thousands of us get along just fine without it. However, there is clearly a demand as more Stereo products are coming with HDMI.
I agree with this when the audio system is stereo. For surround, the optical coming out of the TV is hit & miss for some TV's. I'm driving a Nakamichi 7.1 soundbar with a Sony TV optical out and I can't get proper 5.1 out of it. For stereo, the optical signal out should at least send proper stereo.

Last edited by pjp; 11-08-2019 at 10:44 AM.
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post #20 of 20 Old 05-22-2020, 10:17 AM
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....

If you get something like Bluesound, it will never get outdated because the manufacturer will continually provide updates for whatever new services come along that the hardware is still able to support. NAD has a receiver with Bluesound built-in -- that will likely have longevity as long as it runs the same firmware/OS and standalone Bluesound devices -- but built-in proprietary streaming has a short shelf life.

I agree with you that there could be a better split of dollars, I only disagree about investing substantially in a preamp with built-in proprietary streaming. That is a dead end in the not very distant future in my book no matter what you choose ....

I tend to agree, personally I would be inclined to get a Separate Streaming Device.

The Yamaha WXC-50 Network Streamer/Pre-Amp is US$350 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022WXC...ha-WXC-50.html

The Bluesound Node-2i Streamers is about US$550 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_813NOD...-2i-Black.html

Those are very well proportioned to the overall system, and are far less likely to go out of date.

And if they do go out of date, then you only need replace the streamer, and not the entire pre-amp.

However, if Streaming is built into the pre-amp and does go out of date, you can simply not use the internal Streaming aspect, and add an external Streamer.

There are solutions for those with a creative mind.

As to speakers wires and other cables, not a big fan of spending a fortune on these. You want to maintain a certain standard, but that's not really a very high standard and is easy to reach.

Mostly, for Speaker Wire, just attractive Oxygen Free Copper typically 14ga or 2.5mm².

For RCA and similar Cables, just make sure they are of decent quality, but decent quality need not cost much.

For Digital Cables, you want to be above the minimum standard, but again that does not have to be expensive. Since no sound travels over Digital Cables, they can't possible effect the sound. Though they can effect the accuracy of the Signal. But even cheap cables of reasonable length tend to be sufficiently accurate. Further if there is a error in the digital signal it has to be near catastrophic to be heard. I think something like 1,000 consecutive errors would be barely detectable, and the likelihood of that is virtually non-existent.

Mostly what you buy in expensive speaker cables is cosmetics and bragging rights, you have to decide how much money that is worth to you. For myself, I think for common length Speaker Cable, I would max out in the $50 to $100/pr range, and a lot of that is pure cosmetics. But each individual can do as he pleases.

For RCA, I would say in the range of $25 to $50. Though many will say that is excessively expensive. Really $15 to $20 RCA, well chosen, are probably fine.

Just a few additional thoughts on an older thread.

Steve/bluewizard

Last edited by bluewizard; 05-22-2020 at 10:21 AM.
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