Buying a new Hi-Fi set-up 2nd hand

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Ryall, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Ryall

    Ryall
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    Hello,

    Thinking of upgrading my gear - i've got a cheapy Cambridge Audio set-up at the mo but i'm hoping to go up a level. From what I hear you can save a lot, and get a brilliant sounding set-up, buying second hand - but, i've no idea where to begin.

    My budget is limited but I can't give an exact figure as i'm hoping to get all the gear together over the next year or so. Priority is a decent CD player and amp, and maybe a new pair of speakers is in order, and I can probably afford £300 for each.

    So, if i'm looking for second hand gear is there anywhere in particular recommended (other than ebay)? And any recommendations on specific brands/players/amps that are good value for money? I've heard a lot of praise for Arcam, but thats about it.

    All a bit vague I know, but some pointers one way or another would be a massive help.


    Cheers.
     
  2. t1m103

    t1m103
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    one of your best bets for quality second hand gear is on here,i bought most of my av stuff from here and im overly impresssed with the items ive bought.just keep an eye on the classified section.
     
  3. doctorjuggles

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    Try audiophilecandy, hifiwigwam, zerogain and pinkfishmedia (although this last one is largely Naim gear, there are a few decent bargains to be had on other brands.)
     
  4. Ryall

    Ryall
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    I've been having a look at those sites and they seem decent so thank you for the links. Have to say though, I don't really know what i'm looking for! I recognise i'm not being v.specific, but any pointers as to good gear that can be had at a decent price due to it being second hand or dated, would be fantastic.

    Like I said, i've heard Arcam are good and i've found a lot of 2nd hand Arcam players and amps, but i've no idea which to go for.
     
  5. harv

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    I would have a scroll though the sticky links of hifi dealers sites, there are decent priced gear often with a few months warranty for a little piece of mind.

    I think things like the a Tag 60i, the older MF X-A1, or X-A2 are pretty decent amps. Arcam are a little to flat sounding for me personally, The Rega planet 2k is a fine cd player at full price 2nd hand its a bargain. I ran one for 4 years and it never skipped a beat.

    Dunno about speakers as they tend to be far more personal then any other bit of Kit. I'm a real JM Lab fan and would happily recommend them.
     
  6. OneDesi

    OneDesi
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    I know its hard to specify what you want and I would say £900 total budget 2nd hand equates to £1800RRP - loadsa' money.

    maybe you could tell us:

    the type of music you like
    what is wrong with your current sound/kit
    What you hope to achieve (aesthetic match/space an issue/potential for AVetc.)

    Many of us could spend a lot less than your budget and create a very very good system but you may hate it.

    TBH - you could buy a new Cambridge Audio 640 system (amp and CD player)from Richersounds with Kef speakers for £500 (I think) - most people rate this very highly and up there with the £1000 products. You could get the 740 system for £1000.
    http://www.richersounds.co.uk/information.php?cda=static&cst=hifisystems

    Rotel also fits into your budget nicely on the new front.

    When going 2nd hand you could try MF/Cyrus/Roksan for amp and CD players with speakers from Monitor Audio/Quad/Dynaudio in your budget.
     
  7. Joelsim

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    I bought an Arcam system second hand on eBay a few months back. A CD92T, A85 and P85 amp and power amp, and T61 tuner for £835. I believe the RRP for this 4 years ago was about £2,500. I was careful with who I bought it from, and also only purchased from someone I could pick it up from so I knew where they lived.

    I had Arcam 7 CD, amp and tuner before so I knew the brand I was buying into, and I'm not disappointed, it's fantastic sounding, looking, in perfect condition - if you buy good stuff it's likely to have been looked after.

    There is also a 2nd hand section in the back of Hi-Fi Choice magazine, 2nd hand hi-fi site on the web where you can pick things up. You'll pay a little more but you do get a guarantee.

    Alternatively you could go for ex-demo at a place like audiologica which you will find on the web. I got some Dali Ikon 6 speakers from there for £650 compared to £899 new, they are in perfect nick and customer service was excellent.
     
  8. Ryall

    Ryall
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    Sorry, I have been a bit vague.

    Music wise, my taste is pretty broad, from hip hop to mainstream rock. I like a lot of electronica and trip hop and i'd also want a system that can play classical well. So, I guess an all-rounder - I know that probably doesn't help with recommendations at all.

    The biggest problem with the current set-up is that i'm not going to be able to keep it much longer. I'll be moving soon and since I planned on getting a new set-up, i'll be passing it down. Its also pretty basic, the amp is a C.Audio A1 and then the player is a C.Audio 540. I forget exactly what the speakers are but they were also pretty cheap - a pair of wharfdales, I can check the model when I get home if necessary. And then there's a dirt cheap record player which will soon be replaced with a Pro-Ject Xpression thankfully, so thats already sorted. So yes, its a very basic set-up. I've heard that C.Audio are as good as it gets 'bang for buck' in terms of new players so I don't know if its just wishful thinking to hope that I may be able to get a much better 2nd hand set-up by spending a bit more than what i've spent on my current gear. In which case I could just follow gsrai's recommendation and go with the cambridge gear again, which I am considering as it certainly keeps things simpler!

    As for what i'm hoping to achieve. I'm only really concerned with music, so I don't need a whole home theater set-up for example. I wish I could say more about the exact sound i'm after, but having so little experience it'd be pointless.

    Space may be a bit of an issue as I won't have too much, so speakers that are dependent on having a lot of room probably wouldn't be ideal. Preferably speakers that are fine sitting next to a wall. Aesthetic match isn't a bother, as long as it sounds good. On the other hand, as far as I know its best not to mix and match too much unless you know what sound you're after so if I go for a Arcam cd player, i'm assuming I should be getting a similarly priced arcam amp to accompany it?

    I've found a Arcam Alpha 9 player which I was considering going for, here. Is it well regarded and would it outperform my current set-up by a decent degree paired with a similarly priced Arcam amp? There's also a Arcam Alpha 8 for about £150 less, I don't know if thats a much worse player, however. I have been told to only go for the SE models so maybe I should follow that advice and give both a miss.

    If I was to look at other manufacturers, maybe Naim and Cyrus as i've heard positive reviews of their output - what players and amps would I be going for in my price range (lets say about £300 each) as that'll give me somewhere to start. From there I can do a bit more research and hopefully get a better idea of what I want.


    Thanks for all the responses.
     
  9. OneDesi

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    Thanks for your thoughts - very helpful!

    If you went the Cyrus (not my personal taste as I think it is too harsh and bright) you may well pick up the 8vs and Cd6 within your budget (definetly get a 6vs). I think you'll find the Cyrus is the opposite end of the spectrum to Arcam so if you like the Arcam sound then I doubt you will like the Cyrus sound.

    The Arcams you mention are meant to be quite good but old - I honeslty think the A range could be a good bet for you and if you look on the 7oaks website under clearance you could get new stuff under your budget (I've seen A80 amps advertiesd for £400) - BTW, I dont work for 7oaks etc just found lots of bargains this way ;) .

    The current Naim Cd5 and 5i amp will be outside of your £300 budget and you will be looking at older stuff (dont know anything about naim).

    Richer sounds are quite good on the demoing front so why dont you go and have a listen to the 640 range and take your gear as a comparison?
     
  10. trailer

    trailer
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    You could get a Naim Nait3 integrated amp for around £300. Have a look at Rega for CD players too.

    The good thing with Naim/Rega, especially if you buy second hand, is that they'll service their kit regardless of age.
     
  11. Ryall

    Ryall
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    Sorry for the late reply.

    Sevenoaks clearance section has been useful gsrai, although there's a bit much to get through! Not as cheap as it gets but i'm assuming they'll be reliable so i'll keep an eye on their listings in case anything pops up.

    Been thinking things over a bit more and asking for advice elsewhere and i've come up with a few more options. One is to really save money and go for the very old stuff. A chap i've spoken to tells me that seeing as you can get the first Cyrus CD player (just one example) for about £100, its a much better buy than the latest versions, as, according to him (and i'm a bit sceptical to say the least), the differences are negligible. Like I said, i'm doubtful, but it would save a lot of money and its a consideration.

    On the other hand i'm thinking I could (and this would mean spending a bit more than my current budget) go for an Arcam solo at a grand new, or about £700 2nd hand, and then get a decent pair of speakers and be happy with that. The reviews for the solo seem very positive, but its a fair bit of cash for me to spend all at once. It'd certainly keep things simpler however, which is a big plus.

    Trailer: Do Naim and Rega pair well together (providing I get the speakers right)? - as maybe i'll look into this. Heard good things about Rega's turntables but nothing much about the CD players.

    I think this thread is reaching a deadpoint since i've got few questions left to ask that I can think off at the moment. All the suggestions have been very helpful though, so cheers all. Feel free to throw up any other ideas for food to thought.

    PS. Found quite a useful link that lists the average second hand prices for certain gear, here.. Been quite helpful to me so others might find so to.
     
  12. WhyAyeMan

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    I'd keep an eye on pinkfishmedia and dont discount as naim only, the guy who runs the forum actually set it up as an exercise in cheap / free hifi, explaining that certain brands and models when bought second hand do not depreciate and therefore, can almost be considered free....

    I have had a number of good second buys from there, and on other forums like hifiwigwam and zerogain.

    Ebay is another good place.

    My system is a good example of shopping around. My speakers were from a guy on zerogain (£100, cost new £750). My amplifier was pointed out to me by a member on hifiwigwam, on ebay germany. Cost me £150, cost new was £500. My DAC was something I found myself on ebay and cost £250, but was exentisively modified and probably would have cost more than that new.

    So thats probably the equivalent of a £2k system pretty much these days and all for less than £500 second hand. :)
     

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