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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Again Everyone...Let me try and make this as simple as I can.


I cannot decide, o,r do not know what is the better option for how I plan to use my new, 2-channel audio set-up.


I am going to list below some possibilities, and would love your opinions as what you would buy, if, you were in my shoes.


Do I get a separate power amp and pre-amp, or Integrated Amp?


All I plan to do is listen to some vinyl from a turntable, and I want to connect my Macbook Pro which has all of my I-tunes music that I downloaded, to the Amp or DAC, or both. However that is done.


If I get a separate amp and pre-amp, I can probably only afford Emotiva separates. If this is a bad choice, then you can help me with an Integrated Amp choice.


And, do I buy something that already has built-in DAC, or buy it separate if the amp does not have it built in?


1...Buy an Emotiva power amp and pre-amp, then, buy a separate DAC to

go from the Mac to the Emotiva?


2...Do I buy a Peachtree Nova Integrated Amp instead, that already has a

built-in DAC, then just get the Toslink Glass cable from Lifatec and

connect that from the Mac to the Nova?


3...Or, do I buy, or, is there a better Integrated Amp to buy such as the

Cambridge Audio Azur 840! Version-2. It doesn't have built in DAC, but

if this amp is better, I could buy a separate DAC from some company.

i know the Cambridge is 120 watts per channel.


Thanks again, and sorry to bother everyone so much.

Dave
 

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Just going by price as I don't have any real hands on experience with either of the recommendations I'm going to make and not saying the choices you've listed aren't worthy but you might want to look into the Anthem 225 integrated or Parasound 2100 pre and 2125 or 2250 amps. I've heard the latter and was impressed. And of course, check out Audiogon if you don't mind going used. Some good deals there.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave41200 /forum/post/18123296


Hi Again Everyone...Let me try and make this as simple as I can.


I cannot decide, o,r do not know what is the better option for how I plan to use my new, 2-channel audio set-up.


I am going to list below some possibilities, and would love your opinions as what you would buy, if, you were in my shoes.


Do I get a separate power amp and pre-amp, or Integrated Amp?


All I plan to do is listen to some vinyl from a turntable, and I want to connect my Macbook Pro which has all of my I-tunes music that I downloaded, to the Amp or DAC, or both. However that is done.


If I get a separate amp and pre-amp, I can probably only afford Emotiva separates. If this is a bad choice, then you can help me with an Integrated Amp choice.


And, do I buy something that already has built-in DAC, or buy it separate if the amp does not have it built in?


1...Buy an Emotiva power amp and pre-amp, then, buy a separate DAC to

go from the Mac to the Emotiva?


2...Do I buy a Peachtree Nova Integrated Amp instead, that already has a

built-in DAC, then just get the Toslink Glass cable from Lifatec and

connect that from the Mac to the Nova?


3...Or, do I buy, or, is there a better Integrated Amp to buy such as the

Cambridge Audio Azur 840! Version-2. It doesn't have built in DAC, but

if this amp is better, I could buy a separate DAC from some company.

i know the Cambridge is 120 watts per channel.


Thanks again, and sorry to bother everyone so much.

Dave


That's quite a list of questions.


IMHO anyone interested in 2 channel sound should 1st buy a copy of "Get Better Sound" at: www.getbettersound.com


With regard to integrated vs separates, go for separates.


With regard to SS vs tubes, my own vote (for 2 channel) goes to tubes; but most of the time I run SS for both HT (5.2) as well as for 2 channel. Meaning that SS is more convenient, but not more involving.



Cheers
 

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First of all, let me say that I am not incredibly knowledgeable - I myself am just getting into good audio. I just spent a good 3 months researching and for my goals and budget, went with the Nova. That said, I have a few comments for you.


You need to determine your total budget and your goals for your system. Unless you have a large budget, you may not be able to do it all. For example, it may be difficult to build a budget-friendly system for both vinyl and digital audio. Which is more important -vinyl or digital (computer) audio? Do you NEED both? Are you willing to sacrifice some quality of both formats in order to use both formats?


Do you have good speakers?


Do you have a lot of CDs? Are you planning to rip the CDs to a lossless format like FLAC? If all you want to do is play 128 kbps MP3s from itunes, it may not be worth spending a significant amount of money on a DAC like the Nova.


Answering some of these questions should help others give better recommendations. It's also important for you to know the answers to help yourself decide - either for or against some of the recommendations people give.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello Humandraydel...Thanks for the advice.


If I may, let me address some of the things you mentioned.


1...My speakers are Definitive Technology 2002 TL'S. Very efficient, powerful with

powered subs inside. To my ears, these speakers are just great.


2...My budget:...I would like to stay around $1500-$1600 for either an integrated amp

or power amp/pre-amp. Seems like the only separates that would fall into that

category would be Emotiva stuff, but not sure how good their stuff is. Many

different opinions. I also have about $700-$800 set aside for a turntable, and about

$500-$600 for a DAC, if it will make a difference in sound quality.


3...I do not plan to listen to any AM/FM radio. I do not plan to ever play or burn a CD


4...All I want to do is listen to my I-Tunes Music that is on my Macbook Pro that I

purchased from I-Tunes. And, I would also like to listen to some 45 vinyl records

if I can. But given the choice of one or the other, listening to my I-Tunes music

from my Mac through the audio system is first choice. So, computer audio is first.


5...Not sure if I need a DAC or not. Do not understand enough about them.


Thanks to everyone for the help.
 

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Dave, everyone's got their 2-cents...FWIW, here's mine. If you like your speakers, keep them. As far as separates vs. Integrated...I've had a 2-channel system for 25 years and keep going back and forth myself. Integrateds have come a long way, and they can offer every bit of sonic performance as a pre/power combo. To me, the lone advantage of separates is you get to tinker more; that is, if you like your amp, but are trying to tweak the stage, you can swap one out while you hold on to the other. Or vice versa...like your pre, but ready for more power; you can step up on the amp while keeping the pre you like.


Since you're just starting out, I'd suggest a good Integrated. With just starting out, and your budget, the last thing you want to do is play around with the sound at first. Pick something good, and establish that as your "baseline"...and then, down the road, you can start comparing other gear against it, to see if it might be worthwhile to upgrade.


Right now I have separates, but like I said...I go back and forth, and I'm in the market for a good Integrated myself. For $1,500, you've got some good choices. Good brands to look at: Arcam, Cambridge Audio (which you mentioned), Classe, Krell, Musical Fidelity, NAD, Plinius, Simaudio. To afford some of those brands, you might need to look used...which isn't something you should discount. If you definitely wanted to buy new, in your price range, I would probably suggest the NAD C375BEE right now. BTW, all of my suggestions are SS; if you're just starting out, I would tend to shy away from tubes, but if you're intrigued and want recommendations, I'm sure someone can offer up some.


You DEFINITELY want an external DAC for your iTunes IMO (hope all your files as lossless my man?). The Cambridge Audio DAC Magic is a very nice unit for its price. In your $500-600 range, you could probably also get a Music Hall 25.2 (but that is a tube in the DAC), or a used Musical Fidelity. I've heard good thing about the Peachtree units, but unless you have a chance to listen to them up against the competition...and prefer it in direct comparison...I might hold off for your first system.


Lastly, do you really listen to enough Vinyl to justify $700-800 on a deck? Admittedly, I'm not a Vinyl guy, but it seems to me there are a lot of good, not great, choices closer to $400-500.


CD
 

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Cambridge or PS DAC seem to be good units, but I am highly impressed with my "MUSE" Chinese Burr-Brown DAC. MF has an inexpensive one that I am told is vary good, in the range of my Chinese one. Can't comment on the Wolfson I ordered because KungFuBoy sent a defective unit and is refusing to replace it.

I like integrated amps in 50W range. Much above that it just takes too much transformer and cap to put into a box. A few mega-buck exceptions of course. I am out of touch on phono stages. You did not say if you run MM or MC.
 

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I will reccomend you to look at Audiogon for an integrated amp. Some very nice ones are available such as: Musical Fidelity A5, Krell KAV 400xi, Creek Destiny, NAD M3 Master Series, and some I am probably forgetting. The MF, Krell and NAD are all very powerful putting out between 180 and 250 wpc. I believe that they all sound very good too.


I preferred the Krell but your results may vary based on any number of variables. BTW, I still have an old pair of Def Tech's BP-10s and the Krell rocks their world. While nowhere as refined as my Dynaudio Contour 1.3 SEs, they can definitely rock hard!


I at one time owned a Cambridge audio 640C v2 CD player and it was very good sounding. I have heard that the 640 DAC-Magic sounds even better. I am thinking of buying one of those myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hello CDLehner and Math Geek...Thanks for all of the help. I think I am understanding much more about this 2-channel audio than a few days ago.


I have been looking at that Audiogon all day for Integrated Amps. I did see a Krell and would assume if it sounded good with your BP10's, it might sound pretty good with my 2002 TL's.


I also see on this Audiogon site this Pacific Valve Company out of California that advertises these Bada Purer Integrated Amps from China. Boys, they sure make them sound like the best out there for the price.


CELehner...You mentioned in your last post to me that, Yes, I should get and need a DAC. But you also went on to say that you hoped all of my I-Tunes music that I purchased from I-Tunes onto my Mac were "Lossless Files" Can you please explain to me what that means


I do not even know what bit rate all of my music is at when I downloaded the songs from I-Tunes. That shows you how -tupi- I am.


For the turntable that I have not purchased yet, I wasn't saying that I was going to spend $700 or so on it. I was just indicating that if needed and necessary, I could spend that much. I would love to get a turntable WITH cartridge for the least amount possible that would sound good.


Since I do not have the turntable yet, I cannot answer mm or mc cartridge question you asked me. When I do get a turntable, should I be considering one cartridge style over the other?


Well, I guess I will go back to the Audiogon site and review more Integrated Amps, even though I do not know which one to pick. To me, with my lack of knowledge, they all read like they are all great amps.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave41200 /forum/post/18129455


I also see on this Audiogon site this Pacific Valve Company out of California that advertises these Bada Purer Integrated Amps from China. Boys, they sure make them sound like the best out there for the price.


Well, I guess I will go back to the Audiogon site and review more Integrated Amps, even though I do not know which one to pick. To me, with my lack of knowledge, they all read like they are all great amps.

IMO the recommendations are perfect regarding an integrated. However, please don't believe what you read. To that point, I just quickly looked at the speaker cables on Agon and you may purchase a pair of AudioQuest K2 Bi-Amp Spades 10 ft. pair for $6850.00 used. If you read their marketing info I bet they "sure make them sound like the best out there". If you are going to purchase blind take the advice of members. If not please listen to the gear first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks K-Shep....At the moment, it seems like the NAD C375BEE might be OK for me. However, after I have to buy a DAC to playback my I-Tunes from my Macbook, then buy a separate phono stage since it is not already included in the NAD, I might be better off with a different brand. Plus a couple of people have said that NAD is made in China. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing. But I suppose it might not matter since most Integrated Amps are not built in the US anyway.


Someone had an Arcam A38 for a great price, but there is a sale pending. And, there are two Krell S-300i integrated amps on Audiogon. Just a tad out of my price range, but, since they say a price or best offer, I could get lucky. I think the Krell also is I-Pod compatible.


The same I-Tunes music that I have on my Macbook is also on my I-Pod. Not sure if connecting my I-Pod to the Krell is a better option to hear my I-Tunes music versus the same music from my Macbook??? Or maybe it is easier, less complicated, and less money to buy and I-Pod dock? I know, more questions to mess my confused mind further.
 

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Simple is best. Consider the Exposure 2010S. A good passive integrated works very well for 2 channel listening, very clean sound with nice, short signal paths. It may not be the last word in dynamics, having a passive pre means your source drives the amp. But the omission of all that circuitry and a cable gets you much closer to the music, and saves you money. Exposure is fanatical about super short signal paths.


I have tried many different bargain integrated and separates over the years, this one bests them all, imo. Big bang for the buck. My brother prefers it over his NAD C-352, a nice amp in itself. I managed to snag a store demo w/warranty for well under retail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks dj and tesser....I was looking at those Peachtree Nova's too. Someone does have one for sale on Audiogon, but he has modified it...and for the life of me, I do not understand what he did, what he described, or if it is a benefit like he claims it is. If it is, then it might be a great deal.


Never heard of the Exposure brand. Just checked them out. Their equipment seems impressive. Not sure on their prices because every place I have checked is in British or Canadian currency. Their website says to phone them if you want to know where you can buy their product in the US and the pricing. Darn...was hoping to find out the prices this weekend.


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave41200 /forum/post/18129455


CELehner...You mentioned in your last post to me that, Yes, I should get and need a DAC. But you also went on to say that you hoped all of my I-Tunes music that I purchased from I-Tunes onto my Mac were "Lossless Files" Can you please explain to me what that means

This is essentially what I was getting at. IMHO, there isn't much point to spending $2k between a DAC & amp to play 128 kbps mp3s from itunes - you aren't going to get $2k worth of sound because the music itself isn't the best quality.


A short lesson in bit rates: bps stands for bits per second - it is a measure of how many times a song is sampled per second. CDs are approximately 1,400 kbps. But uncompressed audio (wav files) takes up a lot of space. So a lot of music files are compressed to mp3s to save space. There are different rates you can sample at - 96, 128, 192, 320, or even variable kbps. Itunes uses 128 kbps sampling rate - or approximately 1/10th of the original CD rate. Now, to be fair, if you are listening to music on your ipod, through the ipod earbuds, 128 kbps mp3s are fine. But with a system that costs thousands of dollars you will be able to tell the difference.


Now, on to lossless. Lossless (typically FLAC or ALAC) is a compression scheme that compresses wav files but does so without losing any of the original data. As such, it doesn't compress nearly as much as mp3. MP3s are a "lossy" form of compression because some of the data is just thrown away. The best way to get lossless files is to rip them yourself from CDs. Once a file is in mp3 format, you can never get the data back.


Do you have a CD collection? If so, I would recommend ripping the CDs and converting to FLAC format - but then you need to make sure the DAC you get can play FLAC files.
 

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any Recommandation about emotiva package , are they any good to compare with the brand name like :cambrige , NAD , Krell or other brand name

please, give me an advice , like poster i'm looking to get a 2 channel system with the budget around 2k without speakers

i own emotiva xpa-5 with my movies system and is seem fine to me but come to listen to music is a different things
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hello...Humandraydel....I must say, the explanation you just provided about I-Tunes music on my Mac as mp3's was very understandable, since you explained it to me, in very easy terms. Thank-you.


Now, since I believe I understand exactly what you were saying, I think, I am basically, not, in a good spot with my music.


The first mistake I made was selling over 2,000 CD's I did have. I sold everyone of them several months ago because I THOUGHT, that buying the music on I-Tunes would take the place of my CD's and sound just as good. Obviously, I was totally wrong.


So, I do not one CD, and at this point, am not going to invest in a new CD library. I am the type of listener that does not listen to entire CD's or Albums. I only listen too, and like the songs that used to end up being the hits on the radio. Not saying that is the right way to listen to music, but that is how i have always been. I might like just one song on a CD. That is why with the I-Tunes, I just pick individual songs I like.


If I understand you correctly, the best bit rate of 128 is about all I can ever get from down loading songs from I-Tunes?


The quality of my I-Tunes is what I am stuck with?


If I try to download new songs, or re-buy some of the same songs I already have, are you saying I can down load those in those different files, even though the files will be very large? And if so, is it better to get an external drive to handle those files?


Does all of this mean that I should not spend $1500 on an Integrated Amp and DAC from NAD, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO, KRELL, ETC. and go with the Emotiva stuff that has just as good, if not better specs for half the price, plus the DAC?
 

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Dave41200,


I have arguably quite a high resolution sound system. I closely compared music played from my iPod to CDs, SACDs and vinyl. In the end there was no comparison, all three aforementioned formats absolutely clobber 128kbs, 192kbs or 256kbs iPod music. I use the iPod for background music for a party but that's about it. The better your system the more obvious the definicies are.


There is a Krell KAV-300i on Audiogon right now for $800.00 (less the remote). I think that that is a good deal seeing as remotes are easily attainable for these and the average price is around $1000.00 for them. If it makes a difference to you these (and the 300iL/400xi) were made in USA. Scope it out.


BTW, sorry about the CD collection, if you had only known...
 
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