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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a budget of $15-20k for a 5.1 audio/HT system. I have an HDTV display, but I am looking for suggestions on speakers, pre/pros and amps. My interests are:


1) Live performance-quality 2-channel and multichannel music reproduction


2) Huge soundstage and warm sound are important; not bright or harsh to the ears


3) I do not listen to ear-bleed SPLs, but I am looking for full, uncompromised dynamics of orchestral recordings and organ performances, even at moderately loud volumes. Peaks in the music should hit with authority, but not be harsh or unpleasant


4) A close second to musical fidelity is video processing (upscaling very important)


5) HT audio is secondary to music audio, and equal in importance with video processing capabilities


6) I have no desire to disturb my neighbors, but I like solid, musical bass. cf orchestral and organ music, with an occasional War of the Worlds blu-ray via PS3 mixed in


7) I am open to buying quality (lightly used) previously owned equipment


8) I believe my room configuration (living room w/attached kitchen; carpet and large sectional sofa) would benefit from ARC, or some such signal processing


So, that gives you an idea of what I'm looking for. Given this list of preferences, which equipment would you suggest I consider?? I have reviewed a few brands, but am wanting to expand my list of products to consider.


Thank you in advance!!
 

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One of the things that I have learned when it comes to audio preferences is that everyone has a different preception of what "sounds" good to them. What you hear and like will be different from what others hear and like. I prefer NAD for an AVR when it comes to audio, I like the way this equipment reproduces the sound. My suggestion would be to find a few audio dealers in your area and test drive different systems. This way you get to listen and draw your own conclusion of what a certain combination sounds like. As mentioned earlier, you might check out the other forums to see what the popular equipment is so you can ask to hear certain brand names when you audition equipment. Good Luck!!!
 

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You can get a fairly good system in that price range, good luck!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm /forum/post/18168577


fairly good? I thought mine was fairly good and Im in for less than 2k for everything


No doubt! I thought my Axiom 60's sounded pretty darn good for 3k!
 

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I'm of the opposite opinion -- you're going to get an OK system for that price, but nowhere near audiophile quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just finished reading Jim Smith's Get Better Sound. AWESOME! I guess I'm looking for the sonic experience that he refers to that causes one to "suspend disbelief" -- i.e. the sound reproduction is so captivating, so immersive, that you forget the sound is a reproduction, evoking a strong emotional response similar to a live performance. Wow. I sure hope that is possible with $20k (someone please tell me it is!!). I am fairly optimistic I can reach this goal, but I am looking for recommendations on which equipment to consider in this price range, and which pieces to avoid. I know there is never 100% concensus on this. By way of example, it seems that there is general concensus that the Anthem D2V is an exceptional unit. I have heard good things about their amplifiers (P2/P5). I'm a music guy first and foremost, but I love my blu-rays, too. Soooo, how do I get the best possible 2-channel performance, but still have a killer 5.1 experience under $20k?? I read all of the reviews, yet I understand that the needs of a 2-channel experience are very different from a 5.1 experience. Similarly, there is a difference between reproducing live acoustical music, versus producing the sound effects of a blockbuster action movie. Is it possible to move back and forth between both worlds with a single system (I really don't want to have two if I can avoid it)???? I would love to hear from the 2-channel audiophile crowd on this dilemma. Can I reallllly run a HT system on a 150W McIntosh tube amp?? Do I have to have outboard DACs, or would the D2V be as good as one can expect given my budget??


What I am trying to avoid is walking in to a high-end store with no context. For those of you who are in the biz, I must confess that I am somewhat skeptical of your independent thought when it comes to brand selection. I have similar skepticism when I read professional audio reviews, particularly in mags that accept ad revenue from the mfgrs they review. I don't think the McIntosh dealer is going to send me down to the Anthem dealer because he thinks it would be a better fit for me, based on preferences and budget. I know, call me crazy.


Thoughts/feedback??
 

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Are the needs of a higher end 2 channel system different from a higher end multichannel system? I don't beleive this to be the case at all.


A room's acoustical treatment needs for the two are certainly different.

(Just curious, ever engage DPLIIx for stereo sources?)


I'd spend money on room treatments before an outboard DAC or tube amps at the 20K mark.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzybear50 /forum/post/18170377


No doubt! I thought my Axiom 60's sounded pretty darn good for 3k!

You guys are in another league. I used to be in that league. It's a step up from hoem theater in box. You're not even talking subwoofers here, many own subwoofers in the range of 1-2K.


If you start adding up pre processor, amplification, cables, equipment stands, etc. I'm sure many of the setups in AVS cost 10K (even if the speakers themselves are only 30-40% of that).


If you follow the equation/ratios of how much your speakers cost to how much your amplifier should cost/etc.


15-20K should get him a fairly good system! Look at the other guy's post here though, it won't even be near audiophile quality - lol.


Anyway, many people have separate 2 channel systems and 5.1 systems. Take that into account and you're easily approaching a higher budget (now you need another amplifier for the 2 channel setup).


I don't make a lot of money but much of it goes into feeding my hobbies - and I can tell you my theater (video/audio/etc) is easily over 25K. The idea is not to spend it all at once, but some are capable of doing that.


Yes there are diminishing returns, but until you've personally seen or heard better - it's hard for you to say something's worth it or not.


-ELmO
 

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As a professional musician, I would recommend that you select your front speakers and subwoofer based purely on how they sound for the music you like. Then worry about the surround and center channel speakers. You will know immediately if your favorite piece of music sounds harsh or too bright, but you're less likely to subjectively think that a helicopter explosion has too much midrange in it.


You would also want to get a system where you can have some separate EQ options for listening to music and movies, that way you can rattle the foundation with your subwoofer during the movies and have a more reasonable, flat response listening to music. At your price level, that would be a given, I would think.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmalloc /forum/post/18177362


You guys are in another league. I used to be in that league. It's a step up from hoem theater in box. You're not even talking subwoofers here, many own subwoofers in the range of 1-2K.


If you start adding up pre processor, amplification, cables, equipment stands, etc. I'm sure many of the setups in AVS cost 10K (even if the speakers themselves are only 30-40% of that).


If you follow the equation/ratios of how much your speakers cost to how much your amplifier should cost/etc.


15-20K should get him a fairly good system! Look at the other guy's post here though, it won't even be near audiophile quality - lol.


Anyway, many people have separate 2 channel systems and 5.1 systems. Take that into account and you're easily approaching a higher budget (now you need another amplifier for the 2 channel setup).


I don't make a lot of money but much of it goes into feeding my hobbies - and I can tell you my theater (video/audio/etc) is easily over 25K. The idea is not to spend it all at once, but some are capable of doing that.


Yes there are diminishing returns, but until you've personally seen or heard better - it's hard for you to say something's worth it or not.


-ELmO

Yeah I totally understand that high end audio can get really expensive and if that's your hobby, so be it. I built my first H.T. before I ever discovered this great forum and I now consider it a hobby but if I had 25k to spend it recklessly, I would buy another Timeshare in Mexico.
 

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It's not like that. I'm sure the majority of AVS/HT hobbyists don't relize how much money they've "wasted" into HT...I also built my first HT before hearing about AVS - and there's a major difference between what I'm running with now.


I didn't have 25K at once to put into HT, I did it over time. That's the way to do it if you want to have good equipment, or if you buy used equipment that holds its value so you can trade up later. Although that's not including all the money I've wasted buying crappier equipment early on.


There are many on this forum whose budget well exceeds ours, some have put 50K just into their projector.


You can say the same thing to people who buy 50K cars, you would do "x" "y" and "z". Some people make mistakes though, like me, I wish I bought my car used now. Living in a house I could have put that 30K of depreciation into something more worthwhile!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctviggen /forum/post/18173126


I'm of the opposite opinion -- you're going to get an OK system for that price, but nowhere near audiophile quality.

Ouch. Nowhere near audiophile grade? Given my preferences, and the scope of this discussion (see OP), what amt of money (approx is fine) should I spend to get "near" audiophile grade? And can you give me a few examples of amps/speakers/pre-pros that you would consider near audiophile grade?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by str8withgain /forum/post/18179960


Ouch. Nowhere near audiophile grade? Given my preferences, and the scope of this discussion (see OP), what amt of money (approx is fine) should I spend to get "near" audiophile grade? And can you give me a few examples of amps/speakers/pre-pros that you would consider near audiophile grade?

Spending that kind of money you should go into a few audio stores and see what sounds good to you. Find what you think sounds best and do a lot of research on everything. Find a good price and pull the trigger. Someone else mentioned what sounds good to us might not sound as good to you.
 

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If i were you, i'd troll the $20k+ section and see what those guys are doing with their 2ch setups. With that kind of budget, you're going to need to find a good speaker shop and get in good to let you audition some setups.


Some here are right, $15k is not going to be "audiophile" grade, but i think audiophile's buy snake oil by the gallon too, so what do i know. A well-assembled system for $10k can hold a candle just fine to a $50k setup. (proven blind tests)


FWIW, i'd jump right into a mid-end seperates setup. 5/7Ch amp, nice NAD or Marantz pre-pro should get a good start. Speakers are subjective to everyone, you'll need to audition those for yourself. If you just like to blow cash, McIntosh will gladly take it from you.
 

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Check out the latest Marantz Pre/Pro which is audiophile grade for two channel and of course is high end surround. Look for a used Acurus multichannel amp on audiogon.com Look in to RBH Sound for your speakers. Great dynamic range using sensible drivers and good basic engineering. They are a great value and you can normally find them on audiogon.com - used but in great condition. I think you can get audiophile grade 2 channel and surround for your budget. Best wishes.


For your audiophile 2 channel listening you should look in to the new Sony flagship SACD player = I believe it is the XA5400.
 
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