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I need a new HiFi but don't have a clue

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Serpico, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. Serpico

    Serpico
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    I really need to sort out a new hifi (am I still allowed to use that term or has it been superceded. Honestly I feel like the guy trying to buy a gramophone in Not The Nine O Clock News). Unfortunately I have next to no knowledge about such things. Am I better off buying an all in one system or should I put together a system of seperates?

    I have a Philips Widescreen tv with built in 5.1 DD and wonder whether it would be worth specifying an amp to replace that as I've heard they're better.

    Can you offer any general or spoecific advice?
     
  2. Garrett

    Garrett
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    It would depend what your budget is, generally you are better of getting separates.

    One you can pick and choose which is the best amp, tuner, CD player etc, rather than being stuck with what’s in the system.

    Two if something goes wrong in a all in one all your equipment either has to go back and be repaired, or you have to replace the lot.

    Three if you want to upgrade at a later date you can do it a piece at a time rather than replacing the whole lot.

    Four an all in one system components can cause interference with other components although you may not notice it.

    What’s your budget maybe someone could recommend a system for you.
     
  3. Serpico

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    Thanks fo that Garrett. I'll be putting the purchase on my credit card, and would prefer to not spend as much as a grand. Half that much would be nice as long as it does a good job.

    I've had a Technics seperates system before which I adored. When it wore out I plumped for a Kenwood all in one system, which was clunky beyond belief, and it was a blessed relief when it gave up the ghost. With these experiences and Garrett's advice in mind, I'll take the seperates route.


    I'm not fussed about a cassette player as I chucked my least couple of dozen working tapes when cars started to come with cd players.

    A tuner is a must (was thinking about DAB but the DAB personal stereo I bought gets a lousy signal here in Hull.

    My old technics turntable still works, so that's not an urgent buy.

    The amp? Should I go the 5.1 route or leave the tv to provide that?

    A cd player is a necessity of course. Are decent quality multidisk players within my price range?

    Speakers.....I have no idea.

    I'm in your capable hands folks.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  4. Garrett

    Garrett
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    I would go for a separate surround processor if you watch a lot of DVD’s as the surround systems in the TV are not as good, and most surround amps come with inbuilt tuners. So if you wanted you could add a DAB later.
    Also I prefer stand alone amps for music (though the vast majority though are satisfied with there surround amps for music) so you could add one of them at a later date if you want to improve that side if you mad about music. Or you could go the other way and get a good amp seeing you already have surround and add a separate surround later as there are new surround formats coming out all the time the latest is Dolby Pro IIx.

    Watch out not all amps or processors have a phone inputs for record decks so you may have to add a separate phone stage box if you get it wrong.

    Sorry not to name any actual pieces of equipment as I’m not up to date on it. I could only recommend you what they do in Hi-Fi mags but if I was goung for a CD player I would be looking at Arcam.
    Other members please help out here.


    One more thing to take into consideration is the tonal quality. Brightness, warm, neutral.
     
  5. overkill

    overkill
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    As Garrett says for a tight(ish) budget go for a good budget receiver, a Denon, or one of the cheaper Sonys are ok, while a multi-format DVD player would solve ALL your digital problems!! A Pioneer DV-565 or the Sony DVP905 are cheap, but good options here. Dab as you can see from some of the forums here doesn't have a great reputation sound wise so it's no loss if you stick to using the receivers FM output. For speakers Richer sounds do some good offers on 5.1 hi-fi speakers, the Mordaunt Short kit for £299 is great value for money.

    The only problems you will come across is that AV systems tend (until they get expensive) not to produce great sound in Stereo. But as Garret said worry about that once you've got up and running! You might find that you're quite happy with what you've got. We're not all such fussy b****ds!! :D

    Oh, and nearly forgot, the Denon AV amps normally do have a phono input, but this is a rarity.
     
  6. Serpico

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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Overkill, do you mean I could/should use a dvd player to play cds as a money saving option? I have a Tosh 520 multi-region and a Philips dvd-recorder. Do you know if they do a decent job of playing cds?

    Those speakers you recommend are out of stock :( Are there any others you'd recommend?
     
  7. hornydragon

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    if it is possible to locate stereo and AV for same listening position thengo for an AV amp and uograded speakers, adding a dedicated CD player is an option later, If the listening position is different then there are quite a few options best bet is pop to a local dealer with some CD's and a DVD or 2 and ask to listen to £500 Stereo setup IE AMP, CD, TUNER + 2 SPeakers and a £1000 AV system using a similar DVD player to yours.
    Then deicde what you like best and where your money goes.
    MS premiere are not great for music and generally Satteliute speakers and Subs dont do music as well as full range fronts.
    Mission and Kef do some nice stand mount fronts that can easyily have extras added for 5.1 have a look at the M30 series and Monitor Audio Bronze.
     
  8. overkill

    overkill
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    Thing is hornyD, the guys on a (reasonably) tight budget. Plus setting up an stereo amp and seperate AV processor is fine for those of us who aren't worried about doing it (thru practice) but it's not fun if you are.

    I would agree that a stereo system will beat an AV setup for CD replay, for less money, but's that not what he asked. The original post was asking whether it was worth getting a dedicated AV amp, and whether seperates where better than a midi system. Answer to both questions - yes, & er, um, yes!!!

    If you want to get a quality stereo system or go with AV is the question with only a grand (or less) to spend. As Garret said you will need to deciede what matters most. CD replay or DVD/ AV replay. As HornyD says go into a dealer and see which knocks your socks off the most!! :D


    Serpico, yes, you could get a multi format to save money. However, as you already have DVD replay spend your dosh on a CD only player. DVD-V only players CD replay, is, with rare, (and expensive) exceptions not that great. But they do give you 5.1 output. (normally!)

    Once you've made up your mind which is more important, then come back and we can give you some suggestions on which bits get everybody going!! ;)
     
  9. Serpico

    Serpico
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    I guess I watch many more dvds than I listen to cds. So on reflection I'll go for the AV receiver route, with a cd player and speakers.
     
  10. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    OVERKILL I was talking about either AV and speakers or Stereo and speakers However with Yammy E800 Processor at £150 if you shop around and Maratnz PM7200 amp £300 ish and a decent front pair £300 + Rears and a centre (leave out a sub) £200 comes to £950 with £50 for some basic cables then top of budget and BASIC 5.1 AV
    However AV amp £350 and Speakers setup £400 is going to get towards budget but not the CD replay you would get with the other system.GOING S/H you will get far more bang per buck!
     
  11. Garrett

    Garrett
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    I like the suggestion above with the Yamaha 800 sounds like a good compromise of the two routes. I almost went that route myself having 2 Audiolab 8000’s for the music, but started getting picky about the 800 not having pro-logicII, the £150 sounds a very good price.

    As overkill says Denon are suppose to be very nice sounding surround amps but I think I read on a thread the further up the range you go the better sounding they are taking price into consideration, and the 2803 won this years Hi-Fi awards but it is a fair but out of your price range.
     
  12. Serpico

    Serpico
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    I must confess that I hadn't even considered buying someone else's old gear. Should I just look on ebay, or is there somewhere reliable that specialises in 2nd user AV stuff?
     
  13. Garrett

    Garrett
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    A lot or reputable high street sell s/h equipment, Sevenoaks and Practical Hi-Fi for example which I would imagine give a 3 months guarantee.
    Also there is a s/h forum on this site, although I have never used it.
     
  14. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    THe forum classifieds are much cheaper and have better facilities than Ebay, Ebay is overpriced IMHO but any good HiFi retailer will take P/X on decent gear in order to encourage upgrading. Bargains to be had!
    If you started with a S/H AV amp eg denon 2802 and a pair of speakers well in budget than add the rest as decent gear comes up for sale, REL subs are often on the forum as are AMPS and speakers CD players etc vaery cost effective way of doing it cause if you buy a bit of KIT for £300 S?H and decide after a few weeks it not for you just sell it on for £280, If you were to buy a £300 bit of kit new S/H you are looking at £250 MAX in same time period.
     
  15. Serpico

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    Thanks again guys. Your assistance is really appreciated.

    Are there any other AV amps that I should be considering S/H? Would it be fair to say that if an amp is costing £300 S/H then it should be a stonking bit of kit?
     
  16. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    It wont have all the latest gadjets etc but will give you clean quality amplification and better stereo, AV amps have a tendancy to sound like stereo amps at half or less of there price new with the same speakers so if you can an AV amp that was £600 2 years ago for £300 it should perform like a £300ish stereo amp brand new today (very basic rule of thumb that)
    Amps to look out for HK AVR4500/5500, Denon 2802, 3801/2, High end Yamaha's DSPA1, add some nice fronts and then if you like centre and rears (keep an eye out for a sub etc) bargains to be had on cables etc then perhaps an SACD/DVD-A player if they take your fancy) hell of a way to get started, wish i had done that!
     
  17. Garrett

    Garrett
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    You just may get lucky some people like to upgrade each year. The Denon 2802 would be sweet as it was replaced but the 2803 top amp for price last year.
     
  18. overkill

    overkill
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    Sorry Horny wasn't having a go just pointing out what was originally requested. Serpico did post back (later) that, that was correct.

    With regards second hand gear yes, it is a good way to get good gear cheaper, but bear in mind some shops don't thoroughly test their kit before selling it on. Got caught like that once before. I won't slag ebay as iv'e got some good kit off there for both me and friends at sharp prices. For example i picked up a Denon 3801 for a mate for around £230!! Very nice it is too..................

    As Horny says you can pick up good DVD multi format units like the Pioneer 656 or Sony 905 for a song if you look around. If you want to go for good stereo speakers and then add surrounds, have a look at the Tannoy floorstanders. Dirt cheap, and sound good too!
     
  19. Serpico

    Serpico
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    Is there any simple rule of thumb for valuing S/H kit? Most cars depreciate 40% when you drive them out of the showroom. Is it the same with hifi/AV kit?
     
  20. overkill

    overkill
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    There is Serp old chap, but's it's a bit more complex than that!!! Here's a link to a rough guide. hi-fi world AV is a little different, as, as Horny says, it's technology that's moving so fast values fall rapidly for even two to three year old kit - at the mid to lower end. Which also tends to be the most competitive.

    High end gear holds it's value better across the board in hi-fi. Generaly because it's better made, and the probs mentioned in the hi-fi world article don't normally apply.
     
  21. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    If buying from a store you should get 3 months warranty minimum (by law???) so you will pay extra but a good dealer will have a service department that can sort the kit out for you. Well beyond the 3 months should something go a miss.
    Buying privately you do take a bigger risk but if possible always ask for a working demo on collection (most of us love to show off our systems anyway) and ask for photos of condition etc before parting with any cash (not to scare you at all) but being sensible you will get far more for your money If you care less about budget and quality as some people do just order decent gear off the net and be happy (as many people do)
     
  22. Serpico

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    I looked at Sevenoaks selection of ex demo and S/H kit and it seemed rather expensive to me. If I'm paying those sort of prices I think I'll go for new. Probably.

    RS have the Marantz SR5400 for £300 new. Is that a reasonable choice?

    Sorry for sounding completely hopeless.
     
  23. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    not bad but could do better. I am not a fan of Marantz tho PIO VXCS812/912, Denon 1804,
    BUT S/H is they way for mucho quality cheaply!
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=112333
    I wouldn't reconmend this for you but as an idea of what you can get + you can haggle.
    This may interst you give an idea of price http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=107991
    and this
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=111995
    £260 for a 2802 is a much better buy than £300 for a 5400!
     
  24. overkill

    overkill
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    Way to go Horny!! No arguments there.......... I'm not mad on Marantz gear either. Had to sell it, and never found any of it lived up to the MASSIVE hype.

    Not sure about 3 months warranty, i think you might be right, but i had a REAL saga with a shop when i bought a CD player 2nd hand a while back. What annoyed me most of all the guy was trying to tell ME about how a CD works blah, blah, (worm out time!) and i'd only just left a career in hi-fi sales myself!! :mad:

    Buying from a private individual can be a hassle but so far, (touch's wood!) i've not bought a dud. Only thing that did go wrong was my old Cambridge CD2 (so whats new?), and fair play, the guy took it back and had the laser replaced!! :)
     
  25. Serpico

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    I've put a wanted ad in the classifieds here for a Denon 2802 or similar. If I get offered a 'similar' I'll come here for advice if that's ok.
     
  26. Serpico

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    I'll keep all my daft questions to this thread as I've already given you guys an idea of my ineptitude.

    When buying speakers, is it important to get all the same type and spec for the sats? For instance, if I could get 3 Kef 1005 sats cheap for the fronts could I mix and match another make or model for the rear sats?
     
  27. overkill

    overkill
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    Well, as long as the impedance matches & the sensitivity is close, technically you should have no probs. However, the tonal balance of the speakers might be way off resulting in a rather odd mix of say, bright rear, and mellow, laidback fronts & centre!!! So, if you want to go that route, try and match the speakers sonically as well as the tech spec. Just ask here when a speaker set comes up and normally someone can advise on how they sound.
     
  28. Serpico

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    Thanks. I think I'll look for a full complete set and avoid those problems.

    You guys are worth your weight in gold.
     
  29. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    I'm sure you wouldnt say that if we had your billing address!
    But thanks for the compliment, one thing to look out for if you like small satellites is that the sub often is as good as it could be, so keep an eye out for a deal on a good sub, A REL, Velodyne (not really VX10) and MJ Acoustics.
     
  30. Serpico

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