Help on new hifi, budget 3500 euro

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by robje24b, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. robje24b

    robje24b
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    Hi, i'm new to this forum and was hoping to get some help/advice.

    I currently have worthless audio equipment and want to buy from scratch. I have a budget of about 3500 euro and for this money i want an amplifier (integrated), a cd-player, bookshelf speakers and if necessary a subwoofer. Later on i want to buy a DVD-player and a plasma/lcd television. For now, no *.1 setup is necessary. Ratio of music/movies is about 70/30.

    I have searched the internet and listened to some equipment and speakers and this is the best combination i heard yet (only listened to a few setups):

    -Arcam Solo
    -B&W 705
    - Rel Strata 5 Subwoofer

    Now i have a few questions:

    - Is the Arcam solo powerful enough to drive the B&W 705 speakers?
    - What other integrated amplifiers and CD-players should i consider in this budget?
    - I Like the B&W sound, are there any speakers comparable in sound to the 705's that look better? (i don't like the shape of the 705's, i like the 805's but i think the Arcam Solo won't do these justice)
    - Is the Rel Strata a good choice as i will mostly use it for audio?

    Any suggestions are very welcome.
     
  2. Craig

    Craig
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    FWIW, I just changed my 705's to Dynaudio Contour's - a sideways move, perhaps, but it really evened out the sound. I was also using a sub, but could not bridge the gap between the top range of the sub and the rather weak lower mid of the 705's. Their top end is lovely, however.

    Many , including myself, would suggest second hand, but seeing as you quote in euro's I am not sure the usual UK second hand market references will be relevant - where are you ?
     
  3. robje24b

    robje24b
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    Thanks for your reply Craig.

    I live in Holland by the way, so that's not too far from you.

    I think i'm quite happy with the all in one solution of the Arcam, i listened to monitor audio S1 speakers, B&W 602s3 and the B&W 705. I liked the sound of the 705's but only when there was also a sub connected. Without it, the 705's sounded a bit too bright for me. I've read good reviews of several dynaudio speakers, including the 52se, but at the same time i've read that they need a powerful amplifier (which i think the arcam solo doesn't have).
    Any thoughts on this?

    If i go second hand. What other brands should i consider. I don't want too much separate components, integrated amp and cd-player is still fine though.
    I've read some good reviews of:
    Musical Fidelity X-150 amp
    Primare I20 and C20 amp & cd-player

    The more i read, the more i'm confused. Should i test them all and wait another half year before buying or just buy something that's good enough and upgrade later when i'm into hifi a bit more?
     
  4. koshatnik

    koshatnik
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    I can heartily recommend the X-150, its an absolute killer amp. I demo'd 10 amps earlier this year before upgrading, in the £800-£1500 ish price range, and the MF X-150 skinned them all. Of course, thats based on my ears, yours might be different :) But I've yet to read a review of the amp that hasn't waxed lyrical on it. I've seen the odd one on ebay, so keep an eye out for them.
     
  5. Craig

    Craig
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    I have the X80, so it's not a million miles away from the X150, and can heartily recommend it. I love it

    Anyway, back to your situation; as for the on box solutions, I have not heard the Arcam, but it should be OK. Don't discount the Linn Classik - it still has a good following of fans who swear by it. A coming one-box solution could be the Primare whateveritisigonnabecalled, see here http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=20276&highlight=primare

    There's a thread on a similar budget issue to yours here as well - may give you some ideas http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=20294

    As always, demoing the kit goes without saying, but if that is not possible, or you wish to take a punt on some ex dem / second hand electronics and then demo speakers to match (my way of doing things - leaves room for upgrading the bits you got wrong :D ) then I'd have thought that the Musical Fidelity or naim route would be good options - MF as prices have tumbled recently, and Naim as you will rarely lose a great deal of money on buying Naim, and there's a clear upgrade path for the future when funds allow

    Within your budget you could easily get a MF X Ray v3 cd player (I know someone who is selling his mint condition player - if you're interested, lemme know) and get hold of an X 150 and then demo speakers close to where you are. Or go for the Naim 5 series or the Primare 20 / 30 range and do the same. You can get really good s/h deals on all of these, and they're all built like tanks so there are little or no reliability concerns

    Personally, I think the speakers are the biggest factor in systems (there are many who will disagree on this, I know) so getting good electronics is the easy part, the hard part is in tailoring the sound

    I'm rambling :oops:

    Hope this helps!
     
  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Here are some good brands to check out second hand wise in your price range :

    Naim 5 series
    Unison Research Uncio series
    Primare 20/30 series
    Sugden A21 series
    PrimaLuna Prologue One (valves)
    AVI lab series

    You can pick up some very interesting stuff second hand or ex-dem, read the sticky at the top of the page and check out what dealers are selling ex-dem dude to get an idea. Again speakers will change the flavour of your system the most IMHO so demo a few brands, if your considering standmounts (a wise move more sound quality per buck than floorers) then also factor in a subwoofer too as you have wisely noticed it makes a huge difference.

    Primare make excellent hifi kit but Im a little biased, but to highlight the parts differences that go into say different brands look at this thread were many MF owners are disgruntled by the quality of the components & “fresh air” in the casework :

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=19906

    Ive owned MF kit myself in the past, I quite like their digital side, but IMHO you get more for your money from other marques amplifier wise. The Primare I20/CD21 range to me scream quality @ an affordable price and with asthetics to suit any household.

    Excellent idea, many people asking questions about hifi are usually in a rush to buy kit they have read good reviews about in mags, but take your time and you will be much happier in the long run, read through this forum and the HFC one above, to get an inkling of the kit that is truly admired for exmaple the Sugden A21 kit, and then try to get demos of them if you can. Finally I see you mention the Solo/Classik above well Primare are about to bring this lovely piece of kit into the market @ £1500 :

    http://www.primare.net/00002/00192/00193/00194/00197/default.asp
    http://www.primare.net/00002/00192/00193/00194/00198/default.asp#

    (although I would still be enclind to try the I20/CD21 myself) anyway here is a rough system mapped out in your price bracket that I would easily use :

    Primare CD21 CDP : £750
    Primare I20 Amp : £750
    Dynaudio 52SE : £800 (or a pair of Dyn Contours 1.1/1.3 second hand £300-400)
    BKE XLS200 FF : £280
    Ikea Corras (Bediside Cabinet) Hifi Rack : £20
    IC : Get a pair of £25 screened RCA cables from Mark Grant on the cable forums.
    Speaker cable : Van Damme £2 - £4 a metre

    Then you have a system perfectly able just now, and then upgradable in future with higher end amplifcation to drive the Dynaudios which will still sound great off the I20 IMHO.

    HTHs & Good luck, I see Craig is ahead of me with a few threads above nice one dude.
     
  7. koshatnik

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    The main thing is to listen to as much stuff as possible. But don't listen to the hardware, listen to the music. Demo as much stuff as possible, and take your own music, stuff you are familiar with, and spend time listening to it in the demo room. Everyone has an opinion, but then everyone's preferences are different, so at the end of the day, the best advice will come from your own ears.

    Take your time selecting stuff. It took me 5 months to put my system together. Well worth the wait, and its fun too.

    But make sure you listen to the music, not the hifi. Too many people are obssessed with the nuances of the hifi. If it sounds good to you, then buy it. Ignore what anyone else thinks. Good luck and have fun.
     
  8. Craig

    Craig
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    ..................meant to add this earlier, but there are quite a few from this forum and others who are very happy owners of BK Electronics subwoofers. They're more known as a supplier of drivers and amps to other manufactureres )incuding IIRC, REL and MJ Acoustics)

    Do a search for them on here - it may be worth looking at them instead of the twice-the-price REL
     
  9. robje24b

    robje24b
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    Hi,

    Thanks for all of your replies. It's really helpful. Reading through your posts i've decided to listen to some different brands of amps/ cd-players. A hifi dealer close to where i live is both a primare and a musical fidelity dealer.
    So soon i think i'm going to test the primare I21 and CD21 combination and the musical fidelity x-150 amp and the Musical Fidelity X-Ray V3 (if i like this one i'd be interested in buying it from your friend Craig).
    Nice thing is that those combinations are in the same price range (2300 vs 2200 euro). What would be a fair price to pay for these second hand?

    Luckily the store i'm going to is a dealer of both B&W and Dynaudio speakers so i can audition them both on the different combinations
    Only problem is the BK subwoofers. I don't know where to listen to them, can't seem to find a dealer here in the Netherlands. Should i look for the XLS200?
     
  10. Craig

    Craig
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    BK subs are pretty hard to deom, as they are drect sale from the manufacturer, so it is certainly a shot in the dark compared to demoing and buying. However, do a search on the forums for BK and you will find many many happy owners.

    Not sure about the Primare prices (CJRoss will know them, though) but
    X150 will be ca. 800 euro
    X Ray v3 will be circa 950 euro

    Make sure you give the new Dynaudio Focus range a listen when you are at the shop!!
     

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