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Hello All,


We're in the market for a budget (beginning) audiophile 2-channel set-up for our "smallish" living room. No video/TV hook-up; just music. It's got to be "wife-friendly", as well (sorry gals, no offense).


We're in the NYC metro area, so there are quite a few shops we can visit; I've gone to a few, and the more I look and listen, the more indecisive I become. Some of the sales reps have conflicting opinions and pitches. Countless online reviews aren't helping, either.


We listen to the full gamut of genres -- classical (both orchestration and chamber), jazz/blues (both instrumental and vocal), classic and indie rock -- no heavy metal.


Speakers must be bookshelf due to space considerations. Also, we're not sure what power limits we need to look at for amplifiers (integrated and/or 2-channel receiver) -- room is about 9 x 14 feet with connection to dining area and entrance foyer. We listen at lower to moderate levels.


We're looking for speakers, amplification (we also listen a lot to FM radio -- NPR, Classical/WQXR, and Jazz/WBGO), and CD player, with the option of someday adding a turntable to the mix. And, good cables.


Any starter recommendations are appreciated as a research and auditioning starting point. What are some of your experiences and preferences?


Our budget is $3,000 - 3,500.


Thank much.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewh1 /forum/post/19513128


We're in the market for a budget (beginning) audiophile 2-channel set-up for our "smallish" living room. No video/TV hook-up; just music. It's got to be "wife-friendly", as well (sorry gals, no offense).

By wife friendly I assume you mean something that does not dominate the decor. I have a pair of medium sized bookshelf speakers (two way 6.5 inch woofers) and a powered sub that does the job nicely. The sub I have hidden under an end table. The sound reminds me of a friend's 4 feet tall ARs from the '80s.
 

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If you have a BestBuy with Magnolia in your area see if they still have a pair of Vienna Acoustic Hadyn Grand available - they have been sold off in other stores for $500. If you can that would be an amazing start.


Then consider a Rythmik F12SE to round out the speakers.


Pick up a refurbed Parasound 2100 as a pre-amp and a Parasound 275 amp.


Add to that your favourite CD player and you have a great and elegant 2.1 system
 

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I believe advice/recommendations are for a 2CH set-up so not sure why Subwoofers are mentioned.


I would continue your visits high end shops. Eventually you will develop a certain liking for speakers, amps, preamp/controllers or integrated amp. A certain sound will begin to appeal to you. You'll also be able to begin to sift through the opinions and pitches of salespeople, separating the BS from good advice.


You are in a great market, just about everything should be available to demo. Try and deal with a shop that will allow an in-home demo. You'll need to listen in your own room for a true assessment.


Before spending $3.5K, you'll need to eventually do this on your own.


That being said, here is what I would do with your budget, room size and listening preferences.

Harbeth P3-ESR speakers


Match with an integrated amp. Look at Wyred4Sound, Musical Fidelity, Naim among others. Budget will probably lean to Musical Fidelity .


Above are less than $3k in the used market, in excellent shape. See Audigon for more and also look at the discussion forums.


CD source and Tuner TBD.


This would be the start of a "lifetime", WAF, 2CH setup.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensctt /forum/post/19514735


I believe advice/recommendations are for a 2CH set-up so not sure why Subwoofers are mentioned.

Because very often the best listening experience from a 2 channel source is with a 2.1 system -stereo playback does not exclude a subwoofer and in most rooms is superior with a separate subwoofer.


Also, bookshelves plus a sub can provide greater WAF in many instances too.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewh1 /forum/post/19513128


Hello All,


We're in the market for a budget (beginning) audiophile 2-channel set-up for our "smallish" living room. No video/TV hook-up; just music. It's got to be "wife-friendly", as well (sorry gals, no offense).


We're in the NYC metro area, so there are quite a few shops we can visit; I've gone to a few, and the more I look and listen, the more indecisive I become. Some of the sales reps have conflicting opinions and pitches. Countless online reviews aren't helping, either.


We listen to the full gamut of genres -- classical (both orchestration and chamber), jazz/blues (both instrumental and vocal), classic and indie rock -- no heavy metal.


Speakers must be bookshelf due to space considerations. Also, we're not sure what power limits we need to look at for amplifiers (integrated and/or 2-channel receiver) -- room is about 9 x 14 feet with connection to dining area and entrance foyer. We listen at lower to moderate levels.


We're looking for speakers, amplification (we also listen a lot to FM radio -- NPR, Classical/WQXR, and Jazz/WBGO), and CD player, with the option of someday adding a turntable to the mix. And, good cables.


Any starter recommendations are appreciated as a research and auditioning starting point. What are some of your experiences and preferences?


Our budget is $3,000 - 3,500.


Thank much.



Since your asking for opinions this is what I'd do:


NAD C 375BEE Integrated amp. $1,299

NAD C 515 CD player. $299

Triangle Titus EX speakers $995 most musical bookshelf speaker I have ever heard

Rega P2 Turntable $545

Monoprice cables $100


Total: $3,238 and you could do much better when you shop around.
 

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1 Emotiva ERC-1 for the CD player. Just an excellent DAC section and a great price. Plus it'll match the...

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1 Emotiva USP-1 for the pre-amp. Very nice phono stage and extremely high quality sound for barely any cost compared to what an audio shop will charge. The only thing I would add to it as a stereo pre-amp would be balanced connections, but that's nitpicking.

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1 Pair Focal Solo6 Be for the amplification and speakers. I would be tough to get more transparent than a $2600/pair studio monitor. The resolution of a studio monitor will do the best justice to dynamic music like classical especially, and the natural, uncolored mid range will do the most realistic job with vocals. It's capable of getting very loud if you need be, and it's designed with accuracy in mind. It's not for Hi Fi, and that's exactly why it's a great choice. It also saves you some shelf space on the amplifier front. This is an active bi-amped, which means it doesn't suffer from the many shortcomings of passive crossovers. Can be used full range, as the bass goes as low as 40hz. I still recommend a sub, but they're not dependent on a sub. You can leave a sub for later for example. It doesn't look half bad either.

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Monoprice cables, as there's no worth in spending any more than that on something which doesn't affect the sound. You may need a RCA-to-XLR cable to connect the pre-amp to the Focal.

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1 Rythmik F12 Subwoofer as recommended earlier. Rythmik makes the most accurate subwoofers out there! I wish they had a less expensive 10" offering, but the F12 is a great deal. Very beautiful worksmanship too. You don't need to get the SE if budget's a concern... the F12 and F12SE are the same subwoofer, but the SE has nice aesthetics.


That's what I would do. I'll leave it to someone else on the turntable front.


The only other thing I would do would be some level of room treatment. Preferably things that aren't obvious, IE bookshelves, couches, rugs, GIK Table Traps, GIK QRD, and GIK ArtPanels. These will help the sound while still looking nice. Placement and room acoustics are everything. You can start with the best equipment in the world, which is certainly a good place to start, but the implementation has to be right.
 

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Let me argue for budget solutions here. I don't think you need to spend anywhere near 3.5K. You could could get an entry level Yamaha or Onkyo receiver for $250'ish, a pair of Polk TSi200 for $300, an OPPO dv-980H DVD player for CD's and SACD's for $150 and some top-notch speaker wire for $50. I looked for a story I read some months back but I could not find it again. It was a blind test where listeners heard a variety of music through expensive high-end amps, pre-amps, and entry level 100 watt receivers. The speakers were mid-level and stayed the same throughout the tests. The overall winner was a $150 Pioneer receiver.
 

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Trust your ears, thats what will be enjoying the setup at the end of the day. Find a dealer that has good selection and that you trust and get along with, and buy the nicest sounding speakers they offer in your price range. Having a good dealer is important as you venture down the audio journey. Listen to a wide variety of brands. You will find each brand has a unique sound signature that you may or may not like. It really comes down to personal preference.
 

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When your out checking on doiffernt nsound systems look into some tubes. The Prima Luna Prologue one runs about $1200. Hook it up w/a pair of Dynaudio x16's $2000 and a Marantz 5003 about $350 or Rotel 1072 for $699 you'll get a very musical setup. Keep your options open and listen to a large variety of gear. Both tube and solid state. Have fun.
 

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I second the Harbeth's, also give a listen to Avalon Acoustic's NP Evolution, Salk Songtowers with ribbon tweeters seem interesting but they are only sold online so you'd have to find an owner who will let you listen. That should be easier than you think though, owners tend to be crazy evangalists for their speakers, and you're in a mildly populated area.



Ron
 

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I bet an all piano black setup like the Ascend Sierra 1s (with matching stands) and a lower level Pioneer Elite receiver would get the wife's approval, and not sound too badly either. Roughly around $2k.
 

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Fritz Carbon 7 Monitors ($1700 - 2500/pair depending on finish)
http://www.fritzspeakers.com/sound.asp


Cambridge Audio Sonata DR30 2.1 Tuner/Amplifier ($600)

Cambridge Audio Sonata CD30 CD Player ($320)


Total = $2620 give or take a few


That leaves you $400 + to spend on subwoofer, Ipod/mp3 Doc, dinner with the Mrs, etc.


I have no experience with these products other than the Fritz monitors I heard at RMAF 2010 and they were fantastic (sound and finish). I only put this system together from what I have seen online and that seems like it would fit your requirements (easy to use, tuner, cd player, 2 channel, WAF friendly).


Of course there are many other options and some that could save some money (like the Emotiva or Parasound, but you would still need to buy a tuner).


Good luck!
 

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taoggniklat brings an important consideration in mentioning an iPod with his "That leaves you $400 + to spend on subwoofer, Ipod/mp3 Doc, dinner with the Mrs, etc.".


That consideration is the prospect of computer sourcing your music. It seems that finer quality sound than provided by all but the best of CD players can be attained with relatively low dollar outflow. Such quality coupled with an ease of storage and editing and the ability to take favorite plays to other places and in the car(s), all the while providing you full enjoyment of the capability of what high end speakers you chose warrant at least a look into how this system can be configured for use in ways you may not yet have imagined.
 

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This is my suggestion:


-Gallo strada speakers: can be had for ($1300) online or used. These are great sounding speakers and can be wall mounted nicely:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/gallo10/strada.html


-Try the epik legend subwoofer: ($500)

http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/legend.html


-Peachtreee Audio Decco2 remote-controlled tube preamp w. exceptional D/A converter ($799)

http://signalpathint.com/index.php/decco2/


-Get a nice starter tube amp like the Onix SP3 ($550)

http://6moons.com/audioreviews/onix/onix.html


Use a Squeezebox SB3 ($175 used) with bolder modded power supply ($100)

http://cgi.ebay.com/Logitech-SlimDev...item19c122068b

http://prostores2.carrierzone.com/se...ustries/Detail


Total approx $3300 to $3500. All can easily be found for these prices.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewh1 /forum/post/0


Hello All,


We're in the market for a budget (beginning) audiophile 2-channel set-up for our "smallish" living room. No video/TV hook-up; just music. It's got to be "wife-friendly", as well (sorry gals, no offense).


We're in the NYC metro area, so there are quite a few shops we can visit; I've gone to a few, and the more I look and listen, the more indecisive I become. Some of the sales reps have conflicting opinions and pitches. Countless online reviews aren't helping, either.


We listen to the full gamut of genres -- classical (both orchestration and chamber), jazz/blues (both instrumental and vocal), classic and indie rock -- no heavy metal.


Speakers must be bookshelf due to space considerations. Also, we're not sure what power limits we need to look at for amplifiers (integrated and/or 2-channel receiver) -- room is about 9 x 14 feet with connection to dining area and entrance foyer. We listen at lower to moderate levels.


We're looking for speakers, amplification (we also listen a lot to FM radio -- NPR, Classical/WQXR, and Jazz/WBGO), and CD player, with the option of someday adding a turntable to the mix. And, good cables.


Any starter recommendations are appreciated as a research and auditioning starting point. What are some of your experiences and preferences?


Our budget is $3,000 - 3,500.


Thank much.

Budget


Harman Kardon 3490 + JBL Bookshelf


Mid


NAD Receiver + Paradigm Bookshelf


High


NAD Tuner + Integrated Amp + Klipsch Heresy
 
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