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£2000 budget, separates - no idea


Established Member

I've been asked by a colleague of mine to assist him with purchasing a decent set of separates for music at home.

His only requirement is that he has a CD player and a tuner. Other than that he is open to anything.

He lives in a cottage with no neighbours so wants to enjoy it loud.

I am ignorant when it comes to audio so any help you can provide is appreciated!

Thank you

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Rotel RA12 amplifier, RT11 DAB/FM tuner, RCD12 CD player which comes to around £1400, then there's a choice of speakers. If he wants big, there's speakers like the Monitor Audio BX6 (649) or Q Acoustics 2050i (£460). If he'd like something of better quality with regards to build and sound, then there's the Monitor Audio Silver 2 can be had for £650, or the model it replaces, the RX2 for around £300-400. Don't dimiss the new B&W 685 S2 at £500.

You could substitute the RT11 for a Denon DNP720, which is an AM/FM radio, but will allow streaming from network stored music and AirPlay, as well as music apps like Napster and Last.FM, as well as the vast number of internet radio stations out there.

If internet radio is preferable to DAB/AM/FM etc, you could use a Sonos Connect instead, which allows everything the Denon does plus many more higher quality music streaming apps like Spotify and Qobuz. This doesn't do AirPlay, but uses its own version to stream from iPads, iPods etc.

It's really a case of he get himself along to a demo or two and try a few things out to see what he likes the sound of.


Distinguished Member
First let's be sure he doesn't have other needs that he has over looked. For example, will the system ever be used to watch movies? Does he foresee any need to stream music? Does he need Radio for music or for talk, news, & weather? Is there any circumstance in which he might want to connect his computer to the stereo system?

Next, does he have any limitation of the size of the system? Primarily the speaker; can he handle modest floorstanding or are we limited to stand mounted speakers?

On the issue of Radio, keep in mind, if he has network streaming, then he has access to Internet Radio which is infinitely better for music than broadcast radio. Also, now, many broadcast radio stations are also broadcasting into the Internet. But, I don't think there are as many options for Talk Radio, or for local news and weather.

Generally, this is how I break down a stereo system. Though this is not etched in stone, it simply establishes a starting point, Rarely does a purchase ever hit these numbers exactly. Again, just some starting perspective.

1x = Media Player
1x = Amp/Receiver
2x = Speakers

If you take the original £2000 and break it down according the the formula above, then we have this -

£_500/ea = Medial Player
£_500/ea = Amp/Receiver
£1000/pr = Speakers

Again, this is nothing more than an initial perspective.

Also, does he want matching equipment? For example, if he gets a Yamaha Amp will he then require a matching Yamaha CD Player? Sometimes you can get a better deal and closer match to the budget if you mix and match brands.

The previous suggestion of a system based around the Rotel RA-12 is good, but clearly is in excess of the stated budget.

DAB/DAB+ is really the most difficult aspect to achieve. In general, Receivers (amp+radio) are not that popular in the UK, so amps-only dominate the market. In the USA as a counter example, Receivers dominate the market, and Integrated Amps are harder to find.

Next, is the quality your friend requires. The Rotel RA-12 with 60w/ch at about £599, I would rate as approaching the high end of consumer equipment, or perhaps the low end of high quality equipment. Whereas something like the Yamaha would be solidly consumer grade equipment, which should not be taken as a bad thing. A vast majority of people have Consumer Grade equipment and are very happy with the results.

To illustrate, let me put together a very nice consumer grade system for you -

£299/ea = Yamaha TD500 Tuner - DAB/DAB+/AM/FM
£240/ea = Yamaha AS500 Amp - 85w/ch. Sub Out, PHONO in
£350/ea = Yamaha CDS700 CD Player
£889 = Total

That leaves up to £1111 for Speakers and accessories.

There is an alternative CD Player, the Yamaha CDN500 (£499) which also has Network Streaming from local storage or over the Internet. Internet radio is really a good thing, but as I said before, it is long on music, but a bit lean on Talk Radio, or local news and weather.

Yamaha CDn500 - Google Search

That would change the total of the above system to £1038. Leaving about £962 for speakers.

For speakers, probably those topping my list of interest in this price range are the Dali Ikon 6 floorstanding. These are not huge speakers, and should work in any medium sized room. The price on these is about £999/pr -



If something more modest is required, the smaller Dali Ikon 5 at about £820 are worth considering -


The Ikon 5 are very small, yet still have decent bass response of about 35hz to 37hz at - 6dB.

There is also the Dali Ikon 2 bookshelf version at about £640/pair.


The bass on these bookshelf is actually a bit deeper than the Ikon 5. The Ikon 2 is rated at 41hz at -3db, which is about 33hz to perhaps 36hz at -6dB.

I suspect any of these speaker would do a fine job. Though in the same price range there are many other speakers to consider - Dali Zensor, Wharfedale Diamond 100 series, Monitor Audio BX series, some of the smaller speakers from the Monitor Audio Silver series, and more. It gets down to the size of the room, and they type of listening your friend will do. Obviously a kid listening to Hip-Hop and Dubstep has different needs than someone listening to Jazz or Classical.

That, as far as the electronic equipment, gives him everything he needs, and falls within his budget.

As to speakers, we would need to know the dimensions of the room the equipment will be placed in?

What are his feeling on Internet Radio? And by extension, for what purpose does he need Broadcast Radio (Music, Talk, Local News, etc... ).

Next, will he ever want or need to connect the system to his TV for TV and/or movie watching?

Give us some feedback on the issues listed above, and that will give us more insight into your friends needs, which in turn will help us recommend equipment. I can think of a variation of the above Yamaha system that is geared more toward electronic content and the Internet, but I will leave that for a later post.

I can also provide links to sellers of all the equipment I listed, but I fear my post is already a bit too long, so I will leave those detail until later.

That should at least give you some framework, and some perspective.

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I would be asking...

What size of room does he have to fill and how's it furnished?

What genre of music does he generally listen to?

Has he preferenced floorstanding or stand mount speakers?

As David has said a demo is certainly the best thing to do and may help make a decision. I'd be tempted to suggest a sonos/streaming type system which will allow him to listen to radio as well as play his cd's through a NAS drive rather than having a CD player and tuner.


Distinguished Member
I've been asked by a colleague of mine to assist him with pu rchasing a decent set of separates for music

Oh dear! Second to be asked to get a 'good' automatic Swiss watch for £2k, this is task fraught with pitfalls.

If you must buy new -

Arcam Solo Neo - try to source one of the few remaining at Richer Sounds for £999, giving you amp/CD/FM/DAB/streamer in one box

Speakers for about £1,000 - Maybe Dali Zensor 7, beefy floorstanders for £730 again at Richer Sounds. That leaves a useful £270 for speaker cables with some change.

Alternatively, Dynaudio 3/7 at £999 from Richer Sounds will give some (welcome?) punch to the Arcam sound, but you'd need to top up the budget for cables.
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Distinguished Member
It is important to go through all the posts and put the many and various question to your friend, or better yet, have him join the discussion. Equally important to the various questions, is reporting back the answers.

No question is trivial. They are all asked for a reason.

The previous system I laid out was more based on Consumer Grade equipment. I will itemize the Rotel system that Dav1dF suggested. Which by the way is a nice system -

£599/ea = Rotel RA-12 Amp , 60w/ch, Optical In, Coaxial In, USB-Media, Phono In, Bluetooth capability
£279/ea = Rotel RT-11 Tuner, FM/DAB/DAB+
£499/ea = Rotel RCD-12 CD Player, Wolfson WM8740 24/192 DAC
£640/pr = Dali Ikon 2, 6.5" Bass, 41hz @ -3dB, ~35hz @ -6dB
£2017 = Total

But we come to the point of setting priorities. How important is the Radio Tuner? If only casually important, then we could substitute another brand, and trim the price back to something a bit more manageable. £499 for the Rotel CD Player is a bit steep, though it is certainly a good player, but we could trim a few Pounds out of the budget by substituting a different brand.

Still, the above system comes in pretty close to your budget, and that would be a very nice system.

As to the Dali Speakers, they are good, but of course there are other possibilities.

But, the final choice, will be based on the answers to our questions. If you want, I will compile them into a concise list for you.



Distinguished Member
Let me make a concise list of questions -

1.) What are the dimensions of the room? That will help us determine the size of speakers that will work in the room.

2.) Does he have an size preferences for the equipment or the speakers? Bookshelf? Modest Floorstanding? Large floorstanding?

3.) What are his listening preferences? Jazz? Rock? Pop? Classical? Dubstep?

4.) Will the system ever be used for TV and/or movies?

5.) Explain the need for Radio? Music? Local news and weather? Talk Radio? This relates to Networking, Internet radio is infinitely better than broadcast radio for music. Plus many broadcast stations archive their popular shows as Podcasts.

5a.) Does he have music in the form of Computer Files? Does he see any need to audio streaming, which can be very convenient? Again, this relates to the Computer Networking feature? Even with out a lot of computer audio files, we need to weigh Internet Radio against Broadcast Radio.

6.) Does he prefer the equipment to be all one brand, or is he willing to mix and match to get the best deals and the best combination of equipment?

The answer to the above questions will help us zero in on specific equipment and features that he will need.


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