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post #1 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Red face Setting up my first hi-fi system!

Hi,

I've just decided to invest in a proper hi-fi system, mainly for playing vinyl records (but I'd like to be able to stream music / TV audio as well). As I'm new to this, and setting up a good audio system truly is a jungle - I'd really appreciate some help!! Below is what I have in mind. I'm trying to find a mid-range system, but I really am passionate about music and want the best possible system for a somewhat limited amount ot money. So... what do you think about this? Would this do?

Turntable - Audio Technica LPW50PB
Amplifier - Cambride CXA61
Speakers - Acustic Energy AE1 Active Speakers

All help would be super appreciated!!
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anna89 View Post
Hi,

I've just decided to invest in a proper hi-fi system, mainly for playing vinyl records (but I'd like to be able to stream music / TV audio as well). As I'm new to this, and setting up a good audio system truly is a jungle - I'd really appreciate some help!! Below is what I have in mind. I'm trying to find a mid-range system, but I really am passionate about music and want the best possible system for a somewhat limited amount ot money. So... what do you think about this? Would this do?

Turntable - Audio Technica LPW50PB
Amplifier - Cambride CXA61
Speakers - Acustic Energy AE1 Active Speakers

All help would be super appreciated!!
Congrats on your decision to invest in a proper hi-fi system! Two things jump out of your initial thoughts.



First, you have listed an integrated amp (assuming Cambridge Audio CXA61) along with active speakers. Although these are both fine units, the "active" part of the speakers means they have their own amplification, so you don't need an integrated amp, just a pre-amp/streamer to send to the speakers.


Second, why a turntable? Do you already own a bunch of records? Perhaps you really enjoy the physical act of putting on a record and listening to the entire album side? You should know the reasons for choosing a turntable are not for sound quality, convenience, nor cost effectiveness, as streaming today delivers pristine sound quality and convenience for far less money. Turntables are finicky and require tinkering, and offer a unique type of sound that some like, but it's not measurably better. Some enthusiasts will argue differently, but it's really more of a niche personal preference.



I would highly suggest you consider starting with one of the HQ streaming options (Tidal and Qobuz offer lossless, also Spotify and Apple offer higher bitrate compressed, which may sound fine to you). For a modest cost, you could have nearly every piece of music available at your fingertips delivered in CD quality or better. Modern streaming is one of the best values in modern entertainment IMHO (as opposed to buying vinyl or CDs).


Also, speakers are by far the most important factor in the end sound quality. put most of your resources/budget into these, and you will likely have a good bang for buck system. I think active speakers with streaming is a great way to go. Another good option in that price range is the KEF LSX, which has a streamer built in, so all you would need is a tablet or phone to run the streaming off of:
https://www.whathifi.com/us/reviews/kef-lsx


Whichever way you go, good luck! you will get many differing, passionate opinions on sites like this. It's all about enjoying the music.

Allo Digione > Topping DX3PRO > Cambridge Audio CXA60 > Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2 > Martin Logan 800x (x2)
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anna89 View Post
Hi,

I've just decided to invest in a proper hi-fi system, mainly for playing vinyl records (but I'd like to be able to stream music / TV audio as well). As I'm new to this, and setting up a good audio system truly is a jungle - I'd really appreciate some help!! Below is what I have in mind. I'm trying to find a mid-range system, but I really am passionate about music and want the best possible system for a somewhat limited amount ot money. So... what do you think about this? Would this do?

Turntable - Audio Technica LPW50PB
Amplifier - Cambride CXA61
Speakers - Acustic Energy AE1 Active Speakers

All help would be super appreciated!!
What's your total budget? Where are you located? Room size?

If you're interested in Cambridge Audio, have a look at the AXR100 - it's the one I have, and it works wonderfully. It's also less expensive than the CXA61 AFAIK.

For speakers, you won't need active speakers. You want passive speakers. With a known budget, recommendations can be made based on that information. If on a budget: KEF Q150, Wharfedale Diamond 225, Elac Debut 6.2 (or even the new Reference Debut), possibly even the new Monitor Audio Bronze 50.

For the Turntable - possibly the Pro-ject Debut Carbon or Fluance RT83 or Rega Planar 1 might be better, but budget might factor into other recommendations.

Home Theatre: Marantz SR6014 | KEF Q750 | KEF Q650c | KEF Q150 | HSU ULS-15 MK2 | Sony XBR55X900E | PS4 Pro | Xbox One S | Nintendo Switch

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Last edited by Ryan Statz; 06-18-2020 at 08:42 AM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

Thank you so much for your detailed answer I'm really a newbie so it's great to get some input in this.

As to why vinyl - I've inherited a bunch of records that I like to be able to play. And also... honestly, I like the aesthetics of the records and the player. But yes, I will probably listen a lot to streamed music as well. So it would be great to find a system that could do both.

So.. maybe I could connect the phone / computer streaming music directly to the Cambridge amp, and choose a different pair of speakers (that are not active) and possibly get even more bang for the buck? And then add a separate streaming network adapter (something like this Phorus PR5) to stream high quality.

Thank you again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keller View Post
Congrats on your decision to invest in a proper hi-fi system! Two things jump out of your initial thoughts.

First, you have listed an integrated amp (assuming Cambridge Audio CXA61) along with active speakers. Although these are both fine units, the "active" part of the speakers means they have their own amplification, so you don't need an integrated amp, just a pre-amp/streamer to send to the speakers.


Second, why a turntable? Do you already own a bunch of records? Perhaps you really enjoy the physical act of putting on a record and listening to the entire album side? You should know the reasons for choosing a turntable are not for sound quality, convenience, nor cost effectiveness, as streaming today delivers pristine sound quality and convenience for far less money. Turntables are finicky and require tinkering, and offer a unique type of sound that some like, but it's not measurably better. Some enthusiasts will argue differently, but it's really more of a niche personal preference.



I would highly suggest you consider starting with one of the HQ streaming options (Tidal and Qobuz offer lossless, also Spotify and Apple offer higher bitrate compressed, which may sound fine to you). For a modest cost, you could have nearly every piece of music available at your fingertips delivered in CD quality or better. Modern streaming is one of the best values in modern entertainment IMHO (as opposed to buying vinyl or CDs).


Also, speakers are by far the most important factor in the end sound quality. put most of your resources/budget into these, and you will likely have a good bang for buck system. I think active speakers with streaming is a great way to go. Another good option in that price range is the KEF LSX, which has a streamer built in, so all you would need is a tablet or phone to run the streaming off of:



Whichever way you go, good luck! you will get many differing, passionate opinions on sites like this. It's all about enjoying the music.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I haven't really decided on a budget, but I think I'll need about £2500-3000 to end up with the quality system I want. I'm in London UK and the size of the room is abt 21 m2 (sorry I don't know that that is in sq ft). I've understood that speakers probably are the most important part of the puzzle so I think that'll be where I spend most of the money.

Great, thanks! I'll take a look at that one! I've looked at the Planar 3 before, but that leads somewhere around £600-700 if the needle is the recommenced Elys 2.. so if I want to spend the most of my budget on speakers then that feels unnecessarily expensive. But I'll take a look at the suggestions you've made!


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Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
What's your total budget? Where are you located? Room size?

If you're interested in Cambridge Audio, have a look at the AXR100 - it's the one I have, and it works wonderfully. It's also less expensive than the CXA61 AFAIK.

For speakers, you won't need active speakers. You want passive speakers. With a known budget, recommendations can be made based on that information. If on a budget: KEF Q150, Wharfedale Diamond 225, Elac Debut 6.2 (or even the new Reference Debut), possibly even the new Monitor Audio Bronze 50.

For the Turntable - possibly the Pro-ject Debut Carbon or Fluance RT83 or Rega Planar 1 might be better, but budget might factor into other recommendations.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anna89 View Post
Hi,

Thank you so much for your detailed answer I'm really a newbie so it's great to get some input in this.

As to why vinyl - I've inherited a bunch of records that I like to be able to play. And also... honestly, I like the aesthetics of the records and the player. But yes, I will probably listen a lot to streamed music as well. So it would be great to find a system that could do both.

So.. maybe I could connect the phone / computer streaming music directly to the Cambridge amp, and choose a different pair of speakers (that are not active) and possibly get even more bang for the buck? And then add a separate streaming network adapter (something like this Phorus PR5) to stream high quality.

Thank you again!
Yes, exactly. Lots of good passive speakers to choose from, some mentioned above. To help narrow the recommendations, you should share approx budget and size of the room.

Allo Digione > Topping DX3PRO > Cambridge Audio CXA60 > Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2 > Martin Logan 800x (x2)
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 09:22 AM
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Item 1 - WORKING BUDGET!

Item 2 - As pointed out, you have an Integrated Amp and Active Speaker. One or the other is fine, but not both.

Item 3 - Speakers - I suspect the same or similar models of Acoustic Energy are available without built-in Amps. But with a Working Budget, we can suggest alternative speakers.

https://www.soundseller.com/products...kshelf-speaker

Item 4 - Cambridge CXA-61 ($999) - nice amp, modest but more than sufficient power, on the expensive side. But the CXA-61 does not have Network Streaming. Yes it has Bluetooth, but not Network Streaming.

https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/usa/e...series-2/cxa61

Item 5 - Vinyl Records -

- - Do you have any now, and if so, how many?
- - How many Vinyl Records to you predict having in the long run?

While I am definitely a vinyl guy, today, it only makes sense of you plan to eventually have records numbering in the hundreds. For simplicity, consider 100 records = 1 foot of shelf space (actually it is 14" but 12" is easier to visualize). How many feet of shelf space to you envision your record collection taking up?

Then there is the matter of cost. Though really, again, more as a visualization, consider spending $1 on a turntable for every record you imagine you will have in the long run. Though the minimum cost is about $250 for the turntable with $400 to $600 being common.

https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/t...223/index.html

The Devil is in the Details.

The Details -

- What are the dimensions of the Room that this system will be placed in?

- Where in that Room will the system be placed?

- How far will you sit from the Speakers?

- What is the working budget?


- What other equipment do you need? You say Network Streaming but that is not included in your equipment list.

With a working budget and a complete list of the requirements, we can break down the budget for each item to establish some perspective, then we can start looking for equipment that fits that budget.

I would take a look at the -

Yamaha RN803 Network Receiver, 100w/ch, Network Streaming, Bluetooth, Room-EQ, Full Bass Management, DAC, ... - $750 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RN8...ha-R-N803.html

But again, we need more details including a working budget to make suggestions.

Based on my evaluation of the Products you mentioned, you have about US$2800 to spend, but better for you to tell us than for us to guess.

I think with a roughly $3000 budget, we can come up with some pretty sweet alternative systems for you.

On the issue of Speakers, is there any reason why you chose Bookshelf Speakers? Nothing wrong with that, but if we can get some insight into your thinking we can focus that on our recommendations.

As to Network Streaming, that can be added to any Amp for in the range of $350 to $500, though the entire spectrum up to $18,000 is covered. If you don't buy an amp with Streaming built-in, you might want to consider the cost of a stand alone Network Streaming Player.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard

Last edited by bluewizard; 06-18-2020 at 09:26 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anna89 View Post
I haven't really decided on a budget, but I think I'll need about £2500-3000 to end up with the quality system I want. I'm in London UK and the size of the room is abt 21 m2 (sorry I don't know that that is in sq ft). I've understood that speakers probably are the most important part of the puzzle so I think that'll be where I spend most of the money. ....
I'm pretty familiar with Equipment and Sellers in the UK. I spend a lot of time on the UK Forum AVForums.com -

https://www.avforums.com/forums/

This is how I typically break down a Stereo System -

1x - 1.5x = Turntable
1x = Media Player (typically CD)
1x = Network Player
1x = Amp/Receiver
2x = Speaker Pair


You need - Turntable, Network Streaming, Amp/Receiver, Speakers - so that is 5x. With a £3000 budget, that is £600 per "X".

So -

£600 = Turntable
£600 = Network Player
£600 = Amp/Receiver
£1200 = Speaker Pair
----------------------------------
£3000 = Total


Now this is absolutely NOT absolute. This simply establishes a Starting Perspective. There is a great deal of room for adjustment depending on what equipment we find, and what your personal priorities are.

Yamaha RN803 Network Receiver - £599 -

https://www.richersounds.com/yamaha-rn-803-blk.html

https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/au...803/index.html

Audio Technica LP-W50PB - £380 -

https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/t...a-lpw50pb.html

Decent turntable but there are plenty of others to choose from.

Turntables -

https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/t...c-blk-soc.html

https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/t...ono-black.html

https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/t...esprit-sb.html

https://www.hifix.co.uk/rega-planar-...rformance-pack

Since the suggested Amp already has Network Streaming we have more money to spend on Speakers.

Does your space only allow for Bookshelf Speaker or are Floorstanding Speakers possible?

Bookshelf -

https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/...speakers-pair/

The Wharfedale EVO 4.2 Bookshelf above have been favorably compared to $2,000/pr speakers. Good bass for a 6.5" driver and silky sweet Mid/High.

https://www.hifix.co.uk/acoustic-ene...mount-speakers

https://www.hifix.co.uk/bowers-and-wilkins-706-speakers

https://www.hifix.co.uk/monitor-audi...shelf-speakers

https://www.hifix.co.uk/dali-rubicon-2-speakers

https://www.hifix.co.uk/bowers-and-wilkins-705-speakers

Floorstanding -

https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/...speakers-pair/

https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/...-speaker-pair/

https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/...-speaker-pair/

https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/...-speaker-pair/

https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/...speakers-pair/

More than making recommendations, I'm simply trying to give you a cross-section of possibilities.

For Network Streaming, if you go for an amp that does not have it, here are some options -

https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/...ing-processor/

https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk/...usic-streamer/

https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/w...unar-grey.html

I did NOT search out best prices, at this stage I'm just giving you a range of options to review.

Give us some sense of the system. For example, absolutely Bookshelf, or are Floorstanding Possible? To some extent that will depend on the size of your room and the seating distance from the speakers.

We can perhaps find other Amps/Receivers that have Networking built in, but the Yamaha RN803 is nice. But if you add external Networking, any of the options in the range of £330 up to £800 are fine. And the Bluesound Node-2i at about £500 is highly regarded and ROON compatible.

Again, at this stage I'm simply giving you a range of options to consider. We can work out more details when we get more feedback.

Steve/bluewizard
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Last edited by bluewizard; 06-18-2020 at 10:34 AM.
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anna89 View Post
I haven't really decided on a budget, but I think I'll need about £2500-3000 to end up with the quality system I want. I'm in London UK and the size of the room is abt 21 m2 (sorry I don't know that that is in sq ft). I've understood that speakers probably are the most important part of the puzzle so I think that'll be where I spend most of the money.

Great, thanks! I'll take a look at that one! I've looked at the Planar 3 before, but that leads somewhere around £600-700 if the needle is the recommenced Elys 2.. so if I want to spend the most of my budget on speakers then that feels unnecessarily expensive. But I'll take a look at the suggestions you've made!
For 2500 - 3000 GBP, then I would do:

Cambridge Audio CXA61 - 749 GBP: https://www.richersounds.com/cambrid...unar-grey.html
Monitor Audio Silver 100 - 649 GBP: https://www.richersounds.com/search/...dio+silver+100
Rega Planar 3 - 579 GBP: https://www.hifigear.co.uk/rega-planar3.html

That'll sit you right around the 1977 GBP range, so well under budget. I think that'll net you a rather respectable set up. I would maybe throw in a subwoofer: http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/XXLS400.htm for ~ 460 GBP, and that'll get you right at the low end of the total budget.

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post #10 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 11:46 AM
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Thumbs up

Being your in Great Britain you may also check out Fyne Audio Speakers. The design team is made up of former Tannoy employee's. They are just hitting the shores here in the USA. They've gotten excellent reviews in Europe. Price is excellent 300 pounds for the 302 floor stander and 199 for the 300 book shelf. All of them are easy to power. The company is located in Scotland. Richer Sounds carries them.
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post #11 of 12 Old 06-18-2020, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Statz View Post
For 2500 - 3000 GBP, then I would do:

Cambridge Audio CXA61 - 749 GBP: https://www.richersounds.com/cambrid...unar-grey.html
Monitor Audio Silver 100 - 649 GBP: https://www.richersounds.com/search/...dio+silver+100
Rega Planar 3 - 579 GBP: https://www.hifigear.co.uk/rega-planar3.html

That'll sit you right around the 1977 GBP range, so well under budget. I think that'll net you a rather respectable set up. I would maybe throw in a subwoofer: http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/XXLS400.htm for ~ 460 GBP, and that'll get you right at the low end of the total budget.
There is nothing wrong with the OP suggested Audio Technica, but the REGA Planar 2 or Planar 3 are VERY good turntables. And if you get the PLUS or POWER PACK models you get a cartridge upgrade.

But you forgot about NETWORK STREAMING, but your suggested system is far enough under budget, to allow for something like the Bluesound Node-2i (~£500).

I'm not sure a Subwoofer is necessary, but absolutely BK Electronics has a nice selection of high value Subs. Used by many members of the Forum.

I might be more inclined to go for the BK XLS-200 myself. Available in both Front Firing and Down Firing. But to each his own.

http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/XLS200.htm

http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/XLS200-DF.htm

10" driver, [email protected], 275w

But in reality, I would wait on the Sub to see how the Monitor Audio Silver 100 Perform (8" Bass Driver, 40hz). Very good speakers.

I'm only so-so on the Amp, nothing wrong with it, but myself I might go for higher value.

Yamaha Amp/Receiver -

https://petertyson.co.uk/yamaha-a-s8...ated-amplifier

https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/a...n-803-blk.html

Note the Yamaha RN-803 has Network Streaming built in, and has Bass Management for implementing a Subwoofer.

Cambridge -

https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/a...unar-grey.html

https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/a...unar-grey.html

The matching Cambridge CXN Network Player (£800)is nice, but also expensive -

https://www.richersounds.com/cambrid...unar-grey.html

The Bluesound Node-2i (£500) doesn't visually match, but it is a pretty well regarded Network Streaming System -

https://www.richersounds.com/bluesound-node-2i.html

https://www.richersounds.com/bluesou...-2i-white.html

And if the person wants lower cost, still good, Network Streaming, then the Yamaha WXC-50 Network Streamer/Pre-Amp (£270) is worth considering -

https://www.richersounds.com/yamaha-...amplifier.html

I'm sure with a bit of effort and some feedback from the Original Poster, we can come up with a fantastic system.

I confess I'm a little jealous.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #12 of 12 Old 06-19-2020, 04:10 AM
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That TT has a built-in selectable phono preamp.

A couple other amp options
Marantz PM8006
Rotel A-14
Just throwing it out there. Maybe a black amp to go with the black TT



cheers

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