Advice on my first seperates system.

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Brodel, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. Brodel

    Brodel
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    Hey there,

    I want to connect my PC to a separates system and improve the experience of playing mp3's but still retain my current 5.1 system for gaming. I'm on a fairly tight budget but am willing to spend a little more if it will save me later down the road. I'm a complete novice at this and it will be my first separates system if it happens so any help is appreciated.

    Firstly I'm not sure if I should buy an amp like the Cambridge A5, or an AV Receiver with plans to maybe connect my TV/DVD/360 etc to as well.
    The AV Reciever has pretty much just crossed my mind but with regards to an amp and a budget of around 200 quid or so, would deal #2 at richer sounds be a good start, or would picking up the Cambridge A1 Version 3 and a pair of 120 pound floorstanding or bookshelf speakers be a better bet? Or should I really be saving up more and waiting to get something totally different? I was considering a pair of Logitech z-5500's and a X-Fi XtremeMusic Soundcard as most of my music is on the computer now, but I'm not sure how they'd compare to a seperates system and they aren't upgradeable.

    As you can tell I'm pretty up in the air at the moment, any advice or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. Scott_Mac

    Scott_Mac
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    A proper system will far exceed the abilities of something like the Logitech system....

    What actually is your budget?

    If you plan to get into 5 channels at a later stage then i personally would say buy a decent stereo amp now and add an AV processor at a later stage, a budget AV amp is unlikely to be great and there is a period of great change at the moment so i'd let the dust settle first!

    I assume you're intending on continuing your music from the computer as your main source? An off the wall suggestion to optimise the quality from this is the Russ Andrews RAVE series, not cheap, but it has a USB input, thereby bypassing your computer soundcard completely and delivering much better quality audio without forking out on a top end sound card - http://www.russandrews.com/lookup/1...RBVGHDD/product-RAVE-1-USB-amplifier-4604.htm

    As for speakers, Superfi often have great bargains on their products, take these for instance: http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/Product_ID/3837 half price at £99 and the M60i is a pretty impressive speaker, even at £200! Failing that, a little more money gets the multi award winning Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 - http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/Product_ID/2197
     
  3. Brodel

    Brodel
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    Thanks for the reply. With regards to receivers, what kind of changes are coming up and how long until the dust settles do you think?

    I didn't really want to go over £200 at the moment. I had a look at the Rave 1 USB, it seems pretty interesting. It was listed as £150 in the What Hi-Fi review but shows as 200 on his website. How do you adjust the bass and treble etc? It doesn't seem to have any controls for them on it as far as I've seen. I think at 200 quid it's over my budget though.
     
  4. Scott_Mac

    Scott_Mac
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    When you reach "hi fi" adjusting the bass and treble (i.e. tone controls) is rare, the amp is supposed to relay the information as it receives it... given that you are using a computer as a source you could do it from there i guess.

    If £200 is too rich then i would definitely avoid an AV amp as you really would be looking at something with limited scope, when i say changes in the market etc, HDMI audio, HD audio decoding etc... if HD does suddenly take off then many modern budget amps will be lacking features and you may find yourself having to upgrade earlier than you'd like, plus as i said above, budget AV amps really suck for playing stereo music.

    The Marantz and Denon models all at < £150 from Richer Sounds are pretty good products or sticking with Superfi an open box NAD C320BEE for £149 - http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/Product_ID/2384 is a bargain!
     
  5. Brodel

    Brodel
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    Okay, I like the look of that NAD Amp, I will have a look around and read up some more. Thanks for your advice and for pointing me in the right direction, I appreciate it.
     
  6. Scott_Mac

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    Glad to help, give us a shout if you need anything else and let us know how you get on.

    The NAD is a great player, universal (justified) great reviews.
     
  7. Brodel

    Brodel
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    Oh, one other question that came to mind. As I'm trying to link my computer to an amp via the computers soundcard how big an impact will the quality of the soundcard have on the sound coming out of the speakers? Also, as I use the computer for gaming and certain EQ settings work better than others, will I have to change the EQ each time I switch between gaming and music? If I have to buy a half decent soundcard too it's going to add another 50 or so quid to my costs.
     
  8. Scott_Mac

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    A decent soundcard will make a difference yes, even when i last had a computer hooked up to mine a cheapo Soundblaster Live enabled you to save settings for different sources though.

    In my honest opinion though MP3 from a computer is never going to sound stunning so i wouldn't go too mad on a soundcard anyway - try the one you have first!

    The reason i suggested the Russ Andrews one first was the USB input to get rid..... try the soundcard you have now and see what you think.
     
  9. Brodel

    Brodel
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    Yea, I realise mp3's from a computer aren't going to show the full potential of a system. It should be a lot better than what I have at the moment though.
    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/acc/ada995/specs.htm

    I actually have an SB Live card, i think i just found the option to save profiles too. I am tempted by the russ andrews, it's just a lot of money when adding speakers etc.
     

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