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I just bought a house and need advice on the setup. Room is 17' x 15' with 10' 4" high ceilings. I listen to all types of music, from hip-hop to metal to classical. Won't be using for gaming or theater. I currently have a Sony STR-DE975 receiver (10-15 yrs old), 2 Energy bookshelf speakers (about 10 years old and I think one is blown- clicks a little when loud), a ProJect turntable and a Mac with itunes files.


I don't know much about this stuff but I love listening to music. I don't have room for floor standing speakers- they have to be bookshelf. Can I do this with two bookshelf speakers? Is a sub a must? I'll have a hard time finding room for it as the room layout is a little funky. The kicker is I'm on a tight budget. Can I get this done for $1,500? I found a pair of Klipsch rb61 for $300 on Craigslist. Are those good? Someone mentioned to me that Marantz was a good entry level brand for receivers. Any tips would be great. Thanks!
 

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I think my first piece of advice would be to move into your new place, set up your old system, and see how it sounds. (Let's try to ignore the clicking sound for the time being!) That'll tell you something about how a bookshelf system will sound in your space.


If all you really need is a stereo receiver and two bookshelf speakers, you can do that for $500, let alone $1500. But my guess is you'll be better off with a sub, and you should probably go with a multichannel receiver as well, for the sake of both bass management and room correction. Marantz does make good receivers, but so do all the usual suspects.


One thing though: I'm guessing you're planning to put these bookshelf speakers up on bookshelves. That's less than ideal. The best place for small speakers is on stands, away from walls. IOW, they take up just as much space as towers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by toreaux  /t/1420096/help-need-advice-on-new-system#post_22215704


I just bought a house and need advice on the setup. Room is 17' x 15' with 10' 4" high ceilings. I listen to all types of music, from hip-hop to metal to classical. Won't be using for gaming or theater. I currently have a Sony STR-DE975 receiver (10-15 yrs old), 2 Energy bookshelf speakers (about 10 years old and I think one is blown- clicks a little when loud), a ProJect turntable and a Mac with itunes files.

I don't know much about this stuff but I love listening to music. I don't have room for floor standing speakers- they have to be bookshelf. Can I do this with two bookshelf speakers?

[/quote[


You've got a good sized room there. Remember that a lot of the answers you seek depend on how the room is furnished. Thick rug, overstuffed furniture, wall hangings can up your need for acoustic output from the speakers.


Need to know the model number of those Energy speakers.


The Sony STR-DE975 is a pretty typical receiver - about 100 wpc. Few receivers have appreciably more power.
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Is a sub a must?

That depends on exactly which model your mains are, the room's furnishings, and your taste in music and bass.
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I'll have a hard time finding room for it as the room layout is a little funky. The kicker is I'm on a tight budget. Can I get this done for $1,500? I found a pair of Klipsch rb61 for $300 on Craigslist. Are those good? Someone mentioned to me that Marantz was a good entry level brand for receivers. Any tips would be great. Thanks!

You seem to be atypical, because many people are house poor when they move into a new place. I agree with the general approach of moving in and seeing how what you've got works before trying to single-handedly reverse the recession. ;-)
 

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I recommend that you get a good integrated amplifier and a pair of high-quality full-range speakers. That will give you the best musical experience for the amount of money you have.


Most of the money that goes into an HT receiver is spent on "bells and whistles", NOT the amplifier circuits. A typical $1000 HT receiver has amplifier circuits that do not sound as good as a good $400 integrated amplifier. Your current receiver has amplifiers that probably cost about $20 each...if that...and sound like it. Buy an amplifier; NOT a receiver.


There are some very good integrated amplifiers out there, but most are $800 to $1600.


There is ONE that is outstanding and reasonably priced; the Music Hall 15.2, which was $800, but Music Direct is selling it for $499. I advise you to jump on that deal ASAP!


For speakers, I strongly recommend the KEF iQ90 speakers.


These are full-range speakers that will give you excellent sound. They were $1500 per pair, but the KEF Direct website has them for $900 per pair right now. That is another excellent deal.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman  /t/1420096/help-need-advice-on-new-system#post_22217967


I recommend that you get a good integrated amplifier and a pair of high-quality full-range speakers. That will give you the best musical experience for the amount of money you have.

Most of the money that goes into an HT receiver is spent on "bells and whistles", NOT the amplifier circuits. A typical $1000 HT receiver has amplifier circuits that do not sound as good as a good $400 integrated amplifier. Your current receiver has amplifiers that probably cost about $20 each...if that...and sound like it. Buy an amplifier; NOT a receiver.

I see many claims with no visible reliable support.


(1) An implicit claim that integrated amplifiers are "mustical" and receivers are not.


(2) A claim that "Most of the money that goes into an HT receiver is spent on "bells and whistles", NOT the amplifier circuits."


(3) A claim that "A typical $1000 HT receiver has amplifier circuits that do not sound as good as a good $400 integrated amplifier."


(4) A claim that an amplifier with a parts value of $20 will sound cheap.


These claims, if there was any reliable support for them, would make a very compelling argument. However, compelling arguments without adequate support are meaningless.


Claims like these might be supported by photographs of the insides of equipment, schematic diagrams with technical analysis, bench tests, or reliable listening tests. Where might these be found?


What I do know is that I recently posted photographs of "Audiophile approved" and "Audiophile despised" equipment and asked for people to give their opinions of their apparent build quality, without them knowing the identity of the equipment. I don't recall that any of the "integrated amplifier uber alles" proponents around here were willing to even honor the question with any response. That shows to me, a pronounced lack of conviction in their statements.


I have analyzed a number of circuit diagrams of high end power amplifiers and priced their bills of materials. I have found that they often have less than $20 worth of parts in them. I conclude that the repetition of the $20 figure again and again is misleading because it is possible that even a high end power amplifier may not cost more than $20 per channel to build.


I've posted the results of representative bench tests of both high end power amplifiers and mid-fi receivers and not seen any definitive trend towards better performance for the high end equipment.


In the past there have been DBTs that compared high end power amps to mid-fi receivers and experienced audiophiles using systems with very fine signal sources and loudspeakers have not been able to hear any differences.


There has been a trend for the circuitry in modern receivers to implement most of the so-called "bells and whistles" (such as bass management) to be implemented with a DSP. Of course calling bass management a "bell and whistle" is highly questionable in itself.


Quibbling aside most of the features in modern receivers are just program code that runs on a DSP chip that has to be there for the component to even just pass a signal, and whose cost is continuously decreasing due to Moore's law. Most such features thus have zero dedicated physical parts associated with them, and so their incremental cost is zero.


So what is the factual, logical basis for all of these unsupported claims?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That sounds logical- thanks. Forgive my ignorance, but I won't need the sony receiver with the integrated amp, right? Also, those KEFs you recommended are floor standing. I need bookshleves. I listened to some Paradigm Mini's yesterday- seemed nice. I've also been reading about axioms. The KEF iQ30's look nice too. So do you not recommend buying the Klipsch rb61's for $300? Thanks agin for your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh, I see it's an integrated amp, meaning I won't need the receiver, right? I gotta lot to learn!
 

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Basic audio math:


Integrated Amp = Preamp + Amp


Stereo Receiver = Integrated Amp + Tuner


You need one or the other, not both. The key difference is that receivers are generally made by large companies that enjoy massive economies of scale and can build good components at very low cost. Integrated amps are generally made by small companies without such advantages. The smaller companies sometimes (but not always) use higher-grade parts (pushing their costs up even further) in order to distinguish themselves in the marketplace and justify the premium prices they charge. But there is no reliable evidence that those higher-grade parts—if they are even used—make a difference you can really hear. (However, people who listen with their wallets can always hear differences, if you get my drift.)


That's not to knock integrateds. I've used one for many years (which has just crapped out on me, so it will soon be replaced by an AVR). They work fine, and they have this minimalist design/function that appeals to many. But claims that they are audibly superior are hogwash.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by toreaux  /t/1420096/help-need-advice-on-new-system#post_22218075


That sounds logical- thanks. Forgive my ignorance, but I won't need the sony receiver with the integrated amp, right?

Right. An integrated amp is a low-functioning receiver without the AM/FM tuner. By low-functioning, I mean that common features like digital inputs, > 2 channels of amplification, bass management, speaker management, etc. are generally missing from integrated amps.

Quote:
Also, those KEFs you recommended are floor standing. I need bookshleves. I listened to some Paradigm Mini's yesterday- seemed nice.

I've also been reading about axioms. The KEF iQ30's look nice too. So do you not recommend buying the Klipsch rb61's for $300? Thanks agin for your advice.[/quote]


Klipsch speakers have a problem with panache. They can be bought all over the web and at appliance store chains. They use waveguide tweeters. So says a guy with KEF Q15s and a Paradigm subwoofer! ;-)
 

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The KEF iQ30 is part of a series that KEF is slowly phasing out, so the prices are marked down ($399/pair at KEF Direct).


That makes the price on the iQ30 very good. That would probably a good way for you to go. They are very good speakers.


The newer-model Q300 is comparable, but selling at full price at $650.




Quote:
Originally Posted by toreaux  /t/1420096/help-need-advice-on-new-system#post_22218075


That sounds logical- thanks. Forgive my ignorance, but I won't need the sony receiver with the integrated amp, right? Also, those KEFs you recommended are floor standing. I need bookshleves. I listened to some Paradigm Mini's yesterday- seemed nice. I've also been reading about axioms. The KEF iQ30's look nice too. So do you not recommend buying the Klipsch rb61's for $300? Thanks agin for your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, that KEF does look like a deal. I think I might go that direction. Now need to figure out which side to take on the whole integrated amp v receiver argument.
 
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