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First separates - seeking help

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by loz1975, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. loz1975

    loz1975
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    Hello, I wonder if anyone would be kind enough to offer me some help - I've searched the forum a fair bit but still need some reassurance that I'm not going to waste what is (for me) a fair bit of money.

    I'm considering buying my first separates system - amp, cdp, 2 speakers. I have never even been into a proper hi fi shop!

    I have a tiny budget of around £400. I have a fairly diverse taste in music - guitar indie, rock, funk, soul, hip-hop. The system is for my small (3.5mx4m) lounge.

    I have read about cable rip-offs so will spend £10 on a Profigold or Ixos IC and less than £20 on Van Damme Blue speaker cable (as suggested by some helpful chap on this forum - sorry the name escapes me) -

    I'm off to look at some gear tomorrow and will obviously need to audition some kit but ... do dealers (I'll probably go to Superfi first) laugh when people with small budgets ask to audition lots of £100 amps & speakers?

    Anyway after a few nights internet research based purely on price and reviews I've managed on the following very short list for starters....

    Amp
    NAD C 320BEE
    Marantz PM4400

    CDP
    NAD C521BEE
    Marantz CD5400

    Speakers
    Acoustic Energy AEGIS EVO 1
    Mission Volare V60

    From price and looks I like the Marantz stuff but I need to hear it. Are the speakers mentioned appropriate for the amps and will a rear facing bass port be problematical in a small room - I've read stuff on the forum about it causing problems if speakers are close to a wall - how close is too close? and are these audiophile type gripes or will it affect a novices enjoyment of the system?

    Any other recommendations for other £100-£150 speakers? for the Nad or Marantz setup?

    Finally I'm not keen on 2nd hand alternatives to the above but would definately consider older higher-end models now reduced. I may be able to stretch the budget a bit if it would make a really noticable difference - I don't envisage hi fi becoming a hobby as I have too many expensive pasttimes as it is - just after a good stereo that will allow me to really enjoy my CDs, will a system this cheap have a 'wow' factor for non-audiophiles used to their cheap mini-systems?

    Apologies again for the length of this, I'm sure you get plenty of newbies asking similar stuff. If you want to direct me to previous posts, feel free - I did look but couldn't find much - and I only have dial-up so it can be a slow process!

    Cheers
    Paul
     
  2. deaf cat

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    Hiya,
    Oh sounds fun!
    First system on the way.
    Pick it right and it will sound FAB.

    Have you you given Richer Sounds a thought?
    I poped in one Tuesday afternoon (Off peek) and they loved giving all the bits and pieces I wanted to hear a good blast - (all afternoon).
    -try moving the speakers close to the wall and away when having demo-

    Can pick up some good gear for pretty good prices (end of line etc), just check it does what you want, and most of all that you love the sound of it.

    Have Fun where ever you go!
     
  3. shahedz

    shahedz
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    have you considered second hand? your money goes a lot further second, i picked up a myryad CD player hwich retailed for £500 and still does for £400 for £100 here!!
     
  4. av101773

    av101773
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    Hi Loz
    From what I've read in the mags you shouldn't go far wrong with the NAD kit. The EVO1s are rated well but you may want to have a listen to Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (£180) or Mission m31i (140). Both are quite small and should suit a small/med sized room. But as important as placement of speakers, don't forget to buy reasonable stands for the speakers. That way you should be able to move them away from the wall. Try about 15cm first and experiment from there.
    Any respectable dealer should afford you plenty of time for you to make up your mind, within reason! But mainly, take your time and enjoy the process. Have fun.
     
  5. nsherin

    nsherin
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    The NAD kit sounds excellent. I use the C320BEE amp and C521BEE CD player and find the sound warm, open, detailed and involving. Never sounds fatiguing to my ears. I use a pair of Mission m70 speakers with the above kit. The m31i's should sound pretty good too, i'd have thought.
     
  6. loz1975

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    Thanks for the replies folks.

    Regarding 2nd hand kit I wouldn't know where to start in terms of what's decent and what it's worth - this will be a rare present to myself too, so I want it to be mint - at least with new budget priced kit I can easily assess what I should be paying.

    I had a look in a shop today but it was quite busy with people enquiring about expensive kit so I didn't try and arrange any auditions.

    The NAD kit does seem to be well respected but think the mrs might prefer the looks of the Marantz, and if I'm honest so do I ... obviously the sound will decide it if I can tell the difference, is Marantz kit in my price range considered as highly as NAD? Does the NAD amps biger wpc - 50 compared to 30, offer any real advantage - I like loud, but it is a fairly small room!
    Are there any other budget amps I should be looking at.

    The Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Speakers have been added to my list of possibles, I have read good reviews and note that they are magnetically shielded whilst the Evolution 10s aren't.

    As for speaker stands - I know I need some but don't want to spend much, any suggestions for a cheap but acceptable set?

    I reckon I'll buy next weekend if I am convinced by the sound when I finally hear some kit ... can't wait!
     
  7. nsherin

    nsherin
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    Marantz has a more bright, forward sound. It may be to your taste - I found it too fatiguing, when I had a shoot-out audition of the NAD C521BEE / Marantz CD5400 players. However, it depends on your ears.

    I prefer the 'classic' looks of the NAD - but then, that's just me. The Gold Marantz stuff looks a bit too 'bling', to my eyes :)

    As for watts per channel - if the amp is any good, then 30 wpc should be fine. I've not had a chance to really crank the NAD amp up yet, but I do know it goes loud and does it well!

    Diamond 9.1s are decent speakers. Not heard them, but they are well regarded. As for stands, Mission Stancette or Atacama Nexus 6 both retail for around £60.

    Best thing to do is to listen with your ears and see what you prefer the sound of. Have fun - it's an addicitve hobby, but when you get the sound you like, it can be very rewarding! :clap:
     
  8. av101773

    av101773
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    I have a pair of Atacama Nexus 7 (70 cm tall) for my B&W 600 for my AV rears and they really perform. They are 'fillable' as well, but the Nexus 6 (60 cm) should do a great job too. You can quite often see these stands up for sale in ebay if you need to save some money. They usually go for around £35 to £40 if you want to bid to win.
    All the best.
     
  9. av101773

    av101773
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    BTW you should phone the dealer and book an appointment to audition. This way you can give them a list of equipment you would like to hear, which then gives them a chance to get it in for you if they don't have it in stock. Happy listening!
     
  10. GW43

    GW43
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    When speaking to dealers remember 2 things:

    You might be back in later years to spend thousands, rather than hundreds, and
    It's your money - if you're not happy, keep it in your pocket and go elsewhere.

    I'm not sure of the logic on a previous comment regarding buying Atacama Nexus speaker stands from E-Bay - I've followed a couple of auctions and by the time you've won and paid the postage you are only saving around £10-£15 at most. You might be able to twist a dealers arm into giving you a bit of a discount on speaker stands, wheeras you might not get the discount on the electronics.

    Good choice of speaker cable BTW!
     
  11. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    I'm selling a musical fidelity x-80 in the classifieds...rrp 600 - you're for 230, only 6 months old too...more details in the classifieds...cracking amp!

    I wanna get a power amp instead...
     
  12. Dankeech

    Dankeech
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    For someone never been in a hifi shop, the you've done some research.

    Never heard the NAD CD Player & Amp though I know the NAD sound and love it and you're right the reviews on the 2 BEE components are very good.

    Amp
    NAD C 320BEE

    CDP
    NAD C521BEE

    Speakers
    Acoustic Energy AEGIS EVO 1

    ** Speaker Wire **
    QED Silver Anniversary / Chord Silver speaker wire. You won't do the speakers justice etc without reasonable speaker wire.

    Small room, may be looking for 4 metres? it'd be £20 for QED silver anniv.

    Don't know the marantz much, but my dad had a marantz lower end tape deck, amp & cd player, but it was the low end of the marantz brand and as such was 'ok'

    Dan.
     
  13. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    Nad are good - I've juist bought a c270 power amp...can't wait to test it...!
     
  14. Triggaaar

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    It's no easier to know what new equipement is decent. Any mag reviews exist for 2nd hand equipment as well as new. And everyone here will help a lot if you go 2nd hand. As for value, if you decide on a couple of amps say, it just takes a few days of watching them on ebay, and a search on the classifieds here to see how much things go for.

    That's a good point - nice to open something new and mint. But it's also nice to get fantastic quality for less by buying 2nd hand - so you could consider mint condition 2nd hand equipment. Most people into hi fi look after their kit, and if you buy from someone with a good reputation (many people here) who would only say something's mint if it is, you could get a much nicer system for £400. And if you want to upgrade in a fwe years, you'll be able to sell it for more too.
     
  15. loz1975

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    Thanks for all the replies, thought I'd let you know how I'm getting on. I had a listen to the NAD system today with the 9.1s and the Mission V60s - I was impressed with the sound and am now even more excited about getting my first proper stereo.

    The particular shop I went to didn't particularly impress me with price (and more importantly service), I won't say where I went, they're probably great, but just not for me.

    For a couple of reasons I decided not to buy today and look at some other systems and shops.

    I have now have my eye on The Cambridge Audio Azur 640(or 540)CV2.0 CDP with the 540a Amp as a possible alternative to the NAD system ... I may try and get to a different shop tomorrow to have an audition.

    Any views on the Cambridge stuff?


    Thanks
    Paul
     
  16. Mundu

    Mundu
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    I have the Azur 540A, wharfedale 9.1s, Nexus 6 stands and an EM-U 0404 and personally I think it's a great setup.

    The only thing is I can't compare it with any other stuff as I bought it blind which is probally the worst thing you could do.
     
  17. Hi/zuum

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    I've just set up some new/old gear. CD player - Nad C521 BEE, Amp - Cambridge Audio P55, Speakers - Kef iQ3, Stands - Atacama. It's early days... well 2-3 hrs in TBH but it sounds great! ;)
     
  18. barn

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    I have just gone through the same thing and would recommend that you have a look at the Rotel RCD02 cd player which to my ears sounded better than the simmilar priced Marantz, Nad and Cambridge Audio.
    As for amps, I would say buy the largest Nad stereo amp that you can afford.

    Dont buy second hand unless you know the seller. This would make a great second system in years to come.
     
  19. Hi/zuum

    Hi/zuum
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    Well my old Cambridge Audio P55 amp bought off Ebay for £80 is the business, but that's 'cause it's British - born & bred, me old mukker! :rotfl:
     

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