looking to spend £500-700 for a separates system

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by abracadabra, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. abracadabra

    abracadabra
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    hi, first post :)

    I'm thinking of getting a new stereo to replace my old LG all-in-one, and have £500-700 (tops) to spend.

    I doubt I'll be interested in progressively upgrading, so this is going to be 'the one', probably, for the future.

    I'd generally prefer to buy new, even though I know it's not always the best deal, but I'd prefer the peace of mind and anyway I know I can do massively better compared to the system I have now.

    I'd want a CD player, amp and 2 bookshelf speakers (no sub).

    The room would be a reasonable-sized living room with mostly hard floors.

    I listen to predominantly jazz/blues, metal, rock.

    I'm just wondering how much money out of that you might devote to each part of the system. I've read that I should keep it equal but spend slightly more on the speakers, and also that the CD player doesn't matter anywhere near as much as the amp.

    I've got a little list of things to look at already, but any suggestions would be much appreciated. I just don't know which things are more or less suited to the types of music I listen to.

    also, any specific brands to go for/avoid?

    thanks!

    edit: oh yes, and I won't need any phono (ever, as I don't have any vinyl) or headphone-out. it would be nice, but not essential, to be able to connect an ipod at times too. mostly I'll use it for playing CDs. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  2. Andy98765

    Andy98765
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  3. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    Good suggestion made there but aslo how about the following:

    Marantz PM6004 and CD6004 £250 each ( were £309 each not long ago)

    Wharfedale diamond 10.2- £180. These are normally £220 but this site had them on sale for £159 only last week. Still, £180 is still a sweet price.

    XTZ 95.24 Loudspeaker Walnut - £345.

    The 685 mention are great speakers and seems to be the benchmark for bookshelfs.

    Will the speakers be on stands and is this included in the budget? If so consider this, the footprint of speaker stands are more or less the same size as the average size floorstanders and good ones can be had more or less the same money as the 685 and XTZ.

    Wharfedale Diamond 10.4 - £320
    Acoustic Energy Neo 3 V2 Speakers - £356

    Other amps that could be considered are:

    Yamaha AS500 amplifier - £230
    Cambridge Audio AZUR 650A - £250
    Cambridge Audio AZUR 550A - £200.

    The Cambridge's are on close out deals so its where available and maybe instore only.
     
  4. abracadabra

    abracadabra
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    thanks both for the suggestions.

    I've been looking at Marantz and had been deliberating over the 5004 and 6004, so they're definitely an option. seems to be a popular conundrum on here, as I've seen several threads with those two series mentioned.

    what do you mean the Cambridges are on 'close-out' deals? is the company going under?

    some good speaker ideas too, thanks a lot.

    regarding the stands, they definitely won't be on floor stands, as I have two little kids running about and aside from the danger there isn't enough space. I haven't included the stands in the budget (nor cables), I was only considering the three items for the moment. I also haven't decided exactly how I'm going to rig them up, so I might be getting some kind of brackets for the speakers to be attached to the walls...not sure yet. :)

    so it seems like the idea is to split the price/quality up about evenly between the source, amp and speakers (allowing for bargains etc of course).
     
  5. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    No. Just bringing out new models so the older or existing models are going cheap to make way.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  6. tokyo_blues

    tokyo_blues
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    Other speakers to consider - Epos M5i. Currently on sale for less than half their normal price. Wonderful speakers, I own a pair.
     
  7. Andy98765

    Andy98765
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    Just for your info the 685's can be wall mounted as they have a front firing port, lots of speakers have ports in the back and want 300-600mm gap from the wall. Bottom line do remember the speakers you choose will determine the final quality of the system.
     
  8. zorrofox

    zorrofox
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    I'm not too sure why you were told to spend more on the speakers than other components further "up" the chain but in my opinion this is totally wrong. Garbage in - garbage out is my motto. Having said that on your budget there's no need to go overboard on the source either.

    I don't know much about CD players as it's been at least 10 years since I last used one. I did have to buy a new amp last week though and I settled for the Marantz PM6004 which I compared wirth the Yamaha AS500 and a NAD (sorry, can't remember the specific model but it was price competitive). I much preferred the Marantz but to be honest there wasn't a lot between it and the Yamaha sonically. I ruled the NAD out because it had a captive mains lead which I hate and the sound was very slightly less dynamic. The Yamaha was great but the build quality left something to be desired. The switches felt horrible and looked a tad retro. If it sounded better these faults might be less relevant but as it is there were more minuses than plusses.

    Speaker-wise I was lucky enough to receive a pair of Dali Zensor 1's at Christmas and they're beautiful. The sound is just sublime to my ears. They seem to pair very well with the Marantz and especially so with some light Jazz. PAtricia Barber in particular souns as if I'm there (wish I was). They're rear-ported though and so maybe not the best option for mounting on a wall. Having said that they do actually come with a fixing on the rear of the cabinets to allw precisely that. Accepted wisdom, as has already been mentioned in this thread, would suggest this is wrong. I've not tried them thus mounted but I would fear the worst. As it is I have them placed on my desk (not ideal I know) about 8" from the rear wall and there's just enough bass for me.

    The Marantz can be had for around £250 and the Dali's around £180 which leaves you not very much for cables. It used to be recommended that you put between 10% - 20% of your total budget to a good set of speaker cables and a pair of interconnects. This is important. You'd be amazed at what good cables can do for a system. It's also something that can be purchased at a later date though once you get used to the sound of the equipment in situ and after it's been burned in.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  9. abracadabra

    abracadabra
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    great, that's given me some good stuff to think about. this forum seems pretty good, I've noticed here (and in other threads) lots of helpful responses.

    one question: front-firing port? meaning the hole for the bass right? (I'm new to all these terms :blush:) so if it's on the front (like the Monitor Audio BX2's I was looking at), then wall-mounts are a go. :)
     
  10. zorrofox

    zorrofox
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    Yes, with this proviso. Some makers of small "bookshelf" speakers design-in a rear port specifically so it will boost the bass that smaller boxes inherently lack. It's really best to have a listen for yourself before purchase, if at all possible.
     
  11. abracadabra

    abracadabra
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    ok looks like I have found a shop to visit which looks promising. they have decent prices on the Cambridge Audio stuff, but only have a few speaker brands and I haven't seen much about them on here.

    any comments on JBL and Pioneer speakers? I suppose in the range of the JBL ES20 or 30, or the Pioneer CS-5070 or 7070 series?

    I'll try out whatever I can, but just looking for any ideas before I go.
     
  12. zorrofox

    zorrofox
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    I'm unable to comment on Pioneer speakers as I've never ever heard them. JBL used to be known for being quite shouty and aggressive sounding. This may well have changed though as it was a long time ago. The shop surely has more than just these two makes though.
     
  13. abracadabra

    abracadabra
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    I went to a few shops near where I live yesterday and one of them suggested the Dali Zensor 1's (as zorrofox suggested above) to go with a Marantz system (5004) and that's certainly one combo I'm considering.

    which would you think is the best combo (specs and quality-wise) out of these:

    Marantz PM5004 + CD5004
    Yamaha A-S500 + CD-S300
    Cambridge Audio Azur 350A + 350C
    NAD 316BEE + 515BEE
    H&K HK980 + HD980

    I won't be able to demo all of these, so which would be the best out of those, assuming decently-matched speakers of some type?

    any head and shoulders above (or below) the others? it looks like all of them would cost more or less the same amount of money considering where I'd be able to get them from.

    cheers :)
     
  14. Daz1969

    Daz1969
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    I'm running the marantz pair with a pair of Kef Q300 speakers, sounds stunning with exceptional detail and depth. If you're near Manchester you're welcome to an audition.

    In your list you have the Marantz pm5004 and cd5004. You want the 6004 series as they are worth the small extra in terms of sound quality.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  15. zorrofox

    zorrofox
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    Many years ago I owned a Marantz CD player and amp and I remember it as sounding excellent for the money. I no longer use CD's but if I did I'd almost certainly be buying a Marantz.
     
  16. abracadabra

    abracadabra
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    the thing is, I live in Spain and prices are already high here, but the 6004 series is much much more than the 5004 (the best prices I've been able to find so far).

    I've been thinking of the Yamaha option (CD300 and A500) as I can get it for less than any of the other options, the only problem being it's an online deal, which means I would break the cardinal rule of listening before buying.

    then again, the Yamahas seem to get very good reviews, so I wonder how much of a risk I'd really be taking...
     
  17. Daz1969

    Daz1969
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    I see, I didn't know you were in sunny Spain (-4 degrees here :rolleyes: ) auditioning is only useful to your ears as what is good for one may be bad for another. Yamaha do make some very good kit but I prefer the sonic abilities of Marantz. Does the online deal come with a trial, may be worth asking :smashin:
     
  18. abracadabra

    abracadabra
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    well I got the system today! very happy. I went to a few shops (deciding against online buying) and ended up with a NAD 515BEE and 316BEE and a pair of Wharfedale 9.2s.

    the NADs were on a good deal and sounded great to me. the 9.2s just seemed to fit the bill really well. not too pricey, had a nice bass sound, and they have the bass ports at the front that (as I learned above) makes them fit better into awkward places.

    it's an enormous improvement on what I had before. I should have done this a long time ago!

    thanks everyone for your help. :)
     

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