New HIFI system..need advice on components

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by lreinstein, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. lreinstein

    lreinstein
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    I am pretty new to the audiophile stuff and so would appreciate all advice. I am setting up systems in two rooms ---one will be a home theater (i will post questions on that in a different thread) and one is the Living Room where my wife and I listen to music---Mostly Classical, Jazz, and Vocals. For the Music (2 channel) system I have a pair of KEF XQ40 Floor standing speakers. Our music sources will be CD's (regular, not SACD for now).

    1. My audio pro is advising the purchase of an integrated amplifier, and specifically the Marantz PM7001. I am wondering if this is a good choice? Alternatively I have considered simply using an older Marantz A/V receiver that I own (SR-585) or, getting the more expensive Denon PMA 2000IVR.

    I am not looking for the absolute highest end audiophile reference system, but I am interested in a very good quality sound. I also want the components to be well matched and compatible in quality.

    2. I also need to decide on a CD player to go with this system. He is recommending the Marantz SA8001 which seems like an excellent, if not (for me) pricey choice. Would I be served just as well by the less expensive CD5001? Or would I really hear the difference and should go for the higher end one. What parameters are key in this decision? And, I originally thought of getting a 5CD player like the CC40001., Would this be a mistake and not serve the system well? What about a Denon CD?

    3. Finally, I am perplexed by all of the audiophile terminology. Like what does "soundstage" mean? Is there a good glossary for this.

    Once again, i am very grateful for any of the replies and help that you all give. I know I am crazy to get started because it is clear that there is no end in sight

    Larry
     
  2. cwilson

    cwilson
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    I assume you 'audio pro' is giving you the chance to listen to his suggestions prior to purchase? As your ears, preferably in your listening room will have to make the final decision. I have not heard those particular speakers, but the specs suggest that they are average efficiency, so a normal level of amp should drive them very well. If the system is to be used for 2 channel music only then my suggestion would be to stay with 2 channel amps. I would also suggest that you avoid CD multi players, and go for the best sounding CD player you can get within your budget. As I do not know where you are, or what is available in your area it is hard to suggest alternate brands, but as the Kefs have metal dome tweeters you really need to hear the kit to be sure it matches your expectations.

    The Hi-Fi world at its simplest falls into two basic groups, those who value soundstage and presentation above all else, and the alternate view which places more importance on the timing, rhythm and interplay between musicians.
    The soundstage is basically how the kit 'arranges' the performing artists in front of you, and how it places them within the sound field between and around the speakers. Some gear seems to throw the sound at you, others are more laid back and hang the sound around the speaker plain, and behind it. The choice is personal, and if possible the kit should be auditioned as a system in a decent listening environment, preferably with music you are very familiar with, over a fairly extended period, that way you can pick which way you want to go, and hopefully not be overly impressed by something that sound good on a quick listen, but over an extended period becomes waring.

    In terms of presentation, companies such as Linn, Naim, Rega tend to go one way, Marantz, Nad, MF another, with companies such as sugden treading a different, but very valid path. The only way for you to be sure which way you want to go is to listen.
     
  3. amcluesent

    amcluesent
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    >specifically the Marantz PM7001<

    That's an odd choice if you are broadly matching the price of the system components, a cheap amp between expensive speakers and middle-range CD/SACD player.

    <Mostly Classical, Jazz, and Vocals. For the Music (2 channel) system I have a pair of KEF XQ40 Floor standing speakers.<

    How about Musical Fidelity kW 250S All-in-one? It'll have the power (250W/channel) to control the big speakers and drive the dynamics necessary for classical music, plus you have amp/cd/radio combined.

    The Arcam Solo combines the same at a lower price point.
     
  4. lreinstein

    lreinstein
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    thanks for your comments. i am pretty much an audio novice, so did not realize that the marantz integrated amp that i was thinking of buying was deficient. can you help me understand what i will be missing in the sound that i might hear by going with a higher end amp or one like you suggest? i typically listen to classical music, jazz ensembles, and vocals.

    by the way, do you know anything about the Denon PMA-2000IVR? would that be a better choice??

    larry
     

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