Answered A decent starter system?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by jtaylor2005, Jun 12, 2018.


    1. jtaylor2005

      jtaylor2005
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      Evening All :D

      Not long ago I went round my friends house. He has been given some hi-fi separates and an amplifier by a family member. We spent some time wiring them up and for 30 year old kit it sounded brilliant!

      It's got me on the bandwagon now for a decent setup of my own. I am not worried about buying second hand so long as the kit will be coming from a place it has been cared for in.

      I am considering giving my self a budget of probably £500-800 to get a starter setup. If this is something as simple as a pair of second hand decent speakers and an amplifier then that's good.

      What I am trying to get at really is what would you guys suggest? I want it to be up-gradable as well if possible? How easy would that be? I suppose quite hard if it's literally an amp and some speakers!

      Any tips or suggestions on where to start and where to find decent kit? :)

      Any advice would be much appreciated :)

      Thanks,
      Jack
       
    2. Best Answer:
      Post #14 by BlueWizard, Jun 13, 2018 (1 points)
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    3. muljao

      muljao
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      Do you want records, cd, or just Spotify??
       
    4. muljao

      muljao
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    5. jtaylor2005

      jtaylor2005
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      I will be streaming off the internet through my laptop. So I would think maybe I would be using a USB DAC? Is that a thing? Or would it have to be the 3.5mm Aux Jack?
      Those look good I will have a look at some reviews as well :)
      Thanks for the help :)
       
    6. mushii

      mushii
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      £800 is a really good budget for a starter system, especially if you are happy with pre-owned.
      Hopefully @BlueWizard will chime in as he is the font of knowledge on system building.
      I am not even going to start to recommend a system because the choice is too wide and my knowledge on pure hi fi, too limited.
      I will say welcome to the world of high fidelity music, enjoy it.
       
    7. Ugg10

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      I’m with Muljao -

      WXC50 preamp that has a usb dac built in iPad a WiFi streamer plus Spotify/tidal/internet radio - around £240 new

      Plus some active speakers which have the amps built in.

      The Mackies are good but you may also look at the Yamaha HS7 and Adam T7V

      Thus place has some good deals and often has open box deals

      Gear4music | Shop Music Equipment & Musical Instruments

      You can always add a subwoofer later as the wxc50 has a sub out port, something like the BK Gemini or xls200 woukd do the job.
       
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    8. Paul7777x

      Paul7777x
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    9. Paul7777x

      Paul7777x
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      Alternatively, then the Yamaha WXC-50 is a superb bargain. And a great preamp too.

      So, one of these;

      Yamaha Network Stereo Pre-Amplifier

      And two of these (if your room is big). (Or even if it isn’t).

      https://www.thomann.de/gb/focal_alpha_80.htm

      Or these;

      https://www.thomann.de/gb/mackie_xr624_b_stock.htm

      Or these Adams. Very pretty, and half price here for some reason.

      https://www.thomann.de/gb/adam_artist_5_glossy_black_b_stock.htm

      Any and all of these are a considerable step up from a ‘starter’ set up.

      EDIT;

      Although it kills the budget a tiny bit, this is too inexpensive now and too awesome a bargain to not mention it

      https://www.thomann.de/gb/adam_artist_sub_hochglanz_schwarz.htm

      The Artist 5s, the Artist sub and the Yamaha will kill anything at anywhere near the price.

      If you can stretch to all three I wouldn’t hesitate.
       
      Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
    10. Paul7777x

      Paul7777x
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    11. mushii

      mushii
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      If you are interested in the WXC 50, check out Peter Tyson too, they have some good deals on open box and manufacturer refurb models.

      If you choose to go down a non-active route, pre-used speakers can be had at really good prices. It’s worth keeping an eye on the For Sale section of these forums.
       
    12. heavymetalmat

      heavymetalmat
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    13. heavymetalmat

      heavymetalmat
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      The classifieds really are a goldmine on here, that's where i got my kefs from (shoutout @Ramius)
       
    14. muljao

      muljao
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      At the moment I have had to move into a room in my family home for personal reasons. I am using a Raumfeld Connector 2 and a set of jbl lsr 305s. It cost me 340 euro, probably a hair under 300 pounds. It's a pretty good set up for the money as long as you have wifi. You can play tune in radio/ spotify etc or indeed can rip your cd collection to computer and put it on a usb stick in high quality flac, your smartphone puts an app on and job done, simple, inexpensive and relatively tidy with very good sound quality

      Raumfeld Connector : Buy online at Teufel

      2 of these
      JBL LSR305 Two Way Active Studio Monitor (Single) - B-Stock at Gear4music.com
       
    15. BlueWizard

      BlueWizard
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      Best Answer
      There are a few bits of information that we need before we start making recommendations -

      - Budget (apparently £500 to £800)?
      - A LIST of Equipment included in that Budget?
      - The Dimensions of the Room the system will be placed in, and were in the room?
      - How they system will be used? Desktop? Lounge? Movies? Music? Other?
      - Stereo or Surround Sound?


      Budget - £500 is on the lean side, but £800 should get you a very nice Stereo system, but a just workable Surround system.

      List of Equipment - To break the budget down into a system, we need to know what is included in the budget. If it is just Amp and Speakers, we can work with that. If it is Amp, Speaker, CD Player, Turntable, though very lean, we can work with that. But we have to know what it is you want for equipment.

      Dimensions of the Room
      - We need to generally fit the system to the room. It would be absurd to recommend some giant PA speakers for a small bedroom.

      How the system is used
      - While likely for both Music and Movies, it is helpful to know your priorities. The given Budget can be used to create a very nice Stereo system, but is on the lean side for a Surround system.

      Then as part of that, we need a sense of when and where the system will be used. That is, is this a bedroom system, a computer desktop system, a system in the main lounge, and so on. This will effect the recommendations we make. For a computer desktop system in a small bedroom, as an example, we will not be inclined to recommend large Floorstanding speakers. Though you are free to do as you please.

      As an extension of this question, will this be primarily a Streaming system, Vinyl/Turntable system, CD listening system, and so on. That helps us tailor the equipment to your specific needs.

      Further we come to the matter of FEATURES, which feature do you need? For example, if you want Streaming, then there are several amps that have Streaming built it. If this is primarily a vinyl playing system, then likely an amp that has an MM Phono Input. In a Stereo that will be used with a TV very likely you want an amp with a built in DAC (digital to analog converter). ... and so on.

      So, how the system will be used, where the system will be placed, and the features necessary to accomplish you goals will all effect the recommendation we make.

      Stereo or Surround Sound - Again, you can come up with a nice Stereo in your budget range. But is very lean for a Surround Sound system. It can be done, but it won't be the best system. Though it may be perfectly functional for you.

      In a very modern Stereo system with DAC and Streaming, this would be my preliminary recommendation -

      Yamaha RN602 Network Receiver, 80w/ch, DAC, Streaming, Phono In, Sub Out - £330 -


      Yamaha RN602 Networked Stereo Receiver - Superfi

      Here are a cross section of Floor-standing speakers, though some might be pushing your budget a bit -

      Q Acoustics 3050 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

      Tannoy Mercury 7.4 Speakers - Superfi

      Dali Spektor 6 Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

      Monitor Audio Bronze 5 Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

      The Monitor Audio Bronze 5 are 2x5" (130mm) and are generally considered very good, an will work in most spaces, but they are stretching your budget. I think the Yamaha RN602 and the Bronze 5 would come to about £880. Pushing your budget, but a very nice system.

      In Bookshelf Speakers, consider these -

      Monitor Audio Bronze 2 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

      Dali Zensor 3 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

      Wharfedale Diamond 11.2 Speaker

      B&W 685 S2 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

      This is just a cross section to give you a sense of the possibilities.

      That should help get you started.

      Also ... shop around, I didn't necessarily search out the best prices.

      Steve/bluewizard
       
      Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
    16. jtaylor2005

      jtaylor2005
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      Wow! This forum is fantastic :D Thanks for all the ideas guys. I will start going through them and have a look what would fit my sort of style and room.

      It will be in a bedroom that is fairly large. Its about 3m wide by 5.5m in length. The speakers will be in one corner alongside the tv and the stand that it's on. The corner faces towards the bed in the middle of the room.

      I am happy to have either free standing or shelf speakers. But to be honest, as I don't have anywhere to put them the book shelf ones will have to go on stands next to the tv stand anyway!

      I am loving the look of that Yamaha WXC50 though! I am definitely more swaying towards the streaming side of things. I do have a turntable but that is part of a large old 90s sony system!
      I will also be probably using my laptop to connect to it via a cable of some sort? I'm not sure what connection I could use from my laptop really :/
      Maybe a little pre-amp that uses USB and outputs to RCA style cables?

      Thanks again for all your help everyone! :D Much appreciated!
       
    17. dogfonos

      dogfonos
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      As you can see, you have one decision to make at the start: active or passive speakers. Choose carefully and you'll achieve good quality audio either way although for any given budget, I would expect the active route to deliver slightly better sound - would the system be less up-gradable though?

      Your question intrigues me:
      Are you thinking that maybe some components/parts of an amp or speakers might be up-gradable, e.g. old parts swapped out for new parts of higher quality? If so, that would be very rare, I'm afraid, and thus severely limiting your options. Probably best simply to sell on equipment when you decide to upgrade and put that money towards new gear.

      As others suggest, room size is important. Too large a speaker in a small room will swamp the sound with bass and often muddle the midrange too. A small speaker in a large room will likely lack impact.
       
    18. muljao

      muljao
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    19. jtaylor2005

      jtaylor2005
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      All brilliant info again :D The room is about 3m x 5.5m ish.
      I am leaning towards the active speakers as then I don't have to have a separate amplifier laying around as well. However if that would offer better performance / clarity due to the speakers being dedicated and designed better package wise (Without an amp inside them) then that might be the route to go! :D
       
    20. jtaylor2005

      jtaylor2005
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      Stereo is perfect for me. I don't have the room layout for a surround that would work well really. And as you say I would get less quality by spreading the cost out around another 3 speakers as well!
       
    21. muljao

      muljao
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    22. Paul7777x

      Paul7777x
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      Damned good indeed I’d say.

      Essentially a pair of Zensor 5s with an invisible remote control amplifier thrown in.

      In fact, as you can fit floorstanders in the room, I’d probably go for these.

      Good looking, as simple as it gets, and excellent sound quality by all accounts.
       
    23. dollag

      dollag
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    24. dogfonos

      dogfonos
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      I know nothing about these speakers but, IME, I would expect these speakers to be a good size match for your room. I just wish some manufacturers and sellers would stop describing 'powered passive' speakers as 'active' (at least WHAT HIFI? get it right in their review).
       
    25. mushii

      mushii
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      Well for the sake of being a pedant What Hi Fi define Active speakers as:

      Passive loudspeakers need an external amplifier to work.

      Active speakers don’t require an external amplifier


      Just what are active speakers, anyway?

      Wikipedia defines them as

      Powered speakers, also known as self-poweredspeakers and active speakers, are loudspeakers that have built-in amplifiers
       
    26. BlueWizard

      BlueWizard
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      Active Speakers and a Small Pre-Amp like the Yamaha WXC-50 are a workable options. But as I said, it depends on the space and your personal requirements. Not long ago some came here wanting a very compact system for TV watching. In that case, the WXC-50 and some Bookshelf Active Speakers were the perfect solution. But that Solution was based on his stated requirements.

      Generally, unless the system is dedicated to one purpose, Active Speaker don't have enough inputs. In a case were one has multiple input devices, a Amp and Passive Speakers are perhaps a better choice. But, you need to tell us about your situation, then we and you can determine the best path. For myself, on a computer or a small compact office system, I would certainly consider a variety of Active Speakers with some type of Pre-Amp. Though on a computer, a pre-amp is not strictly necessary, though it can still be handy.

      However, Pre-Amps in general are Expensive, you can usually buy a full Integrated Amp for the price of a typical Pre-Amp. The Yamaha WXC-50 would be the exception, at about £250, you get full Network Streaming and a limited Pre-Amp. That is cheap for a Pre-Amp and cheap for Network Streaming, and for a reasonable £250, you get both. For the right person under the right circumstance, that can be the perfect solution ....BUT... are you that person and do you have those necessary circumstances? That is for you to decide.

      There are going to be people on this forum who always push Active Speakers, and other like myself who are inclined to push large Passive Speakers. Your job it to determine which of those recommendation best suits your needs and circumstance. There is no ONE definitive solution, only the solution that you best feel meets your needs.

      Steve/bluewizard
       
    27. jtaylor2005

      jtaylor2005
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      I love the look of those Dali speakers. But they are 50w a side and I quite like loud as well :D

      Ideal situation then :D


      - Laptop able to connect to and play music through whatever system I have.
      - Streaming of music through Spotify sounds good (When connected to an app on my phone, perfect)
      - Tv connection as well if possible maybe?

      Speakers rather powerful. But I still like really clear sound. Compared to anything I have now a good set of speakers will be brilliant. I don't particularly have anything sound quality oriented at the moment.

      I prefer the route of an active setup I think as this removes having to find a location for an amplifier. But having an amplifier I could justify if it does give a significant benefit.

      All I can see about these stand alone amplifiers though is that they seem to have very little power for their huge size and cost? I'm a big puzzled as to how a little active speaker can be pushing 150w in the compact 7" case with speakers but a passive amp seems to take up a whole rack on a tv stand! haha.

      I'm guessing it's purely down to quality?
       
    28. jtaylor2005

      jtaylor2005
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      Thanks again for everyones help and suggestions!
       
    29. Paul7777x

      Paul7777x
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      The definition of ‘active’ in this case is simple enough.

      Each driver has its own, dedicated, power amplifier. The power amplifier must come after the (usually digital) crossover. That’s all.

      A pair of stereo speakers requires 4 individual power amps, if it has the usual two drivers (woofer, tweeter) and a three way stereo pair would require six individual power amps, and so on.

      If there is not one power amplifier per driver the speaker is, by definition, not an active speaker; simply an ordinary passive speaker plus amplifier.

      The fact that the amplifier might be in one or both of the speaker cabinets is not a relevant point.
       
    30. dannnielll

      dannnielll
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      The definitions and the terminology used by some audio manufacturers regarding power would be such as to make a used car salesman blush with embarrassment. There are a variety of terms and all have some validity but are used with abandon.
      The only recognised engineering term would be watts RMS , which is the power which will be fed into a loudspeaker assuming it is a resistance of whatever ohms .. 3 6 8 or 16 ohms,. As the majority of power fed into a speaker dissapates into heat and only a small percentage will appear as sound, this is a good measure. The maximum RMS rating will be the power which can be fed continuously without causing the coils in the speaker etc to burn out. The signal needs to be an AC type voltage usually a sine wave.. for this testing.
      However music usually consists of long passages of quiet and with only short intervals of high volume.. some types of rock music excepted, it is permissible to put large bursts of signal into the speaker, provided the duration is limited and the coils have not had time to heat up. Similarly by using large capacity capacitors in the amplifer, these large blasts of current can be accommodated. A vendor might specify that it's music rating was 10 or 20 times it's RMS rating, depending on their concience. They will use weasel words like "peak music power output "
      There are also different types of amplifier and each has its own efficiency. The earliest, configuration is what is called Class A and at best it converts 25% of the electrical power going in into electrical power at the output to go to the speaker, other configurations are more efficient and recent switching amplifer s.. varients of class D could be 95% efficient. A less efficient amplifier needs bigger air vents and bigger components
      Next the speaker itself.. they are all very inefficient, and might only turn 1 to 2% of the electrical power into acoustic power. As an unfortunate fact of life the speakers which are more linear tend to be less efficient.
      Now in an active speaker, all the elements are under the control of the designer so they can measure the non linearity and electronically compensate for it. This means that they can use higher efficiency , poorer performance drivers, and engineer their performance. So we're they to use a 4% efficiency driver, it would need only a 1/4 the power of as 1% unit.
      I have as Panasonic All3 wireless speaker claiming 40 watts and it will fill a small house with sweet sound
       
    31. dollag

      dollag
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      http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

      Depending on your seating position, with the Dali's @ 8 feet, 50w P/C would see db levels at over 106db.

      I have 2x400w monoblock amplifiers and normally listen to music loud at 85db-90db as per my db meter. Regardless how powerful my amplifiers are, I still do not get anywhere near the db levels the Dali's are capable of.

      As @dannnielll stated, the watt figures are misleading in most cases and would not be detoured from this.

      Look at it this way, a 10w amplifier can output higher db than a 50w amp depending on the ohms and sensitivity of a speaker.
       

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