New HiFi system purchase help.

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
Hi everyone,

I'm hoping to get some help with choosing a new system. I'll be truthful, I don't really know what options there are, and there doesn't seem to be anywhere local selling that isn't just full of sales folk pushing deal of the week. :( Although I'm not completely in the dark when it comes to the general workings, I also don't know enough of the technical side to choose with confidence. So fingers crossed someone here can nudge me in the right direction..

Ideally I'd like seperates with a budget up to around £1500 (and thats pushing it xD)

I'd like..
Turntable
Wireless stream device - I see various names used for multiple set ups here, all I need is access to spotify or similar online streaming library.. nothing more
Amp with tone control with possible view to investing in an equalizer (also please dont hate me)
Floorstanding speakers - current room space is roughly 12ft x 18ft but will be moving at some point.

feel free to throw anything at me that I may not have given consideration, I'm open to any ideas, thanks in advance!
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
What sort of music do you generally listen to and at what volume, also is the room well furnished (carpet, curtains, fabric sofa, book cases etc.) or minimalist and will you want to play the TV through it (or does your tv have a Spotify app that can be used i.e. near enough to connect to the amp?).

The budget is reasonable and a good starting point is the Rega Planar 1 turntable.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you look at the clearance section of the main retailers you can find a few bargains -

Sevenoaks have a number of Project Essential IIIa in at £219, Rotel A11 Tribute at £449 and Focal Chora 816 at £699 (or Monitor Audio Silver 300). Add a Yamaha WXAD10 for streaming at £135 and I think that would be a pretty decent, clean sounding and detailed system (if that’s what you are after) for £2 over budget (RRP is around £2250).
 

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
I feel like I ought to add my music taste might seem erratic xD

Room is well furnished (living room) and I've no plans to play the TV through it although it is a smart TV. Spotify is on my phone and the most likely connection, although PC and Playstation are nearby also.

Mood depending the music ranges from EDM to rock of all types, classic to death metal, also vocaloid and gaming soundtracks which might sit more into classical territory.

I admit freely that I do like to be able to feel my bass and by that I dont mean just blow your head off with it so the windows vibrate and you cant hear anything else. I'm a bit heavy handed with it sometimes but I also often find that bass in songs I like are hardly present on smaller systems, hope that makes sense.

What sort of music do you generally listen to and at what volume, also is the room well furnished (carpet, curtains, fabric sofa, book cases etc.) or minimalist and will you want to play the TV through it (or does your tv have a Spotify app that can be used i.e. near enough to connect to the amp?).

The budget is reasonable and a good starting point is the Rega Planar 1 turntable.
 

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
Oh volume... I dont plan on deafening the neighbours completely.. but I like to turn up songs I like so mid volume? thats a thing right?? lol... loud enough but not so loud that they come round to tell me about my poor choice in tunes..
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the additional info, very useful, going by the reviews the Focal Chora’s I identified may be worth a listen.

Sounds like you would like a fairly dynamic sound which means woofer area and higher sensitivity if you can find any suitable speakers plus an amp with a good power supply and high damping factor. May be worth also looking at the Marantz NR1200 and the older Yamaha RN803 which have streaming built in. However, you may be better off with a decent pair of bookshelf speakers supported by a subwoofer, many on this forum have gone down this route.

However, best way to find out what you like is to pull on that rhino skin coat and brave the shiny suits in a couple of shops and let your ears start to down select some components. Ideally follow this up with home auditions/trials.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
As a taster here’s a second hand system that should sound pretty good. But if you are not confident with second hand or choosing stuff blind then this may not be for you.

Linn Axis, Basik Plus arm and Ortofon 510 cart. £400


Rotel RA1062 £225


Kef Q900 at £550, these are big speakers so should fill your room.


Add the Yamaha WXAD10 streamer and off you go.

If you wanted to max out your budget then there is a Rotel RB1070 power amp that can be used stand alone or to bi amp the big Kefs. £350

 

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
I think you're right and I'm gonna have to get a listen somewhere before I go too much further. I'm definitely not opposed to a secondhand system at all. (If only I had my fathers Marantz, but sadly my brother made off with it.. lucky sod xD)
Gotta admit I'm still not sure how to correctly match up seperates without some intense googling and then some... There are also quite a few names I'm not familiar with that are newer to the market. Thank you for taking the time to answer btw, It has certainly helped a lot! It's put my mind at rest a little that I've been at least looking at some similar equipment and some that you suggested also. Are there any guides to matching equipment on here?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Here are a few generalities (big pinch of salt needed) on sonic character in my opinion.

For amps from warm to bright are generally Marantz/Nad/Yamaha warmest (excluding valves), Musical Fidelity/Arcam warmish, Rega/Roksan tend to have a dynamic sound, Rotel/Audiolab tend to be pretty neutral and Cyrus on the brighter side.

Speakers are more subjective, Kef have a more mellow sound but large soundstages, Wharfedale on the warm side, Focal/Dali on the dynamic / bright side, B&W can be quite clinical, Sonus Faber have wonderful realistic midranges, and Monitor Audio are good all rounders.

You will get a bigger difference in sound from speakers than amps. My order of effect on sound character is generally Speakers/room > ears/brain > Preamp circuits > analogue sources (especially cartridges) > power amp circuits > digital sources >>>>> and way down the road cables/wires (assumes they are of sufficient cross section and reasonably well made).

Finally, you will find that most brand have sweet spots in their ranges/ages, for example The Rotel RA1062, RA03 and RA11 are high spots, for Arcam the A32 and A19 etc. sometimes newer is not always better.

Sorry, bit of a ramble but if you listen to something you like or have some ideas you want to fly past this forum I am sure there will be plenty of opinions.
 

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
Ramble away!!.. It's all helpful.. I've located the closest places, xD theyre both about an hour or so away so until then I'm going to try my best to make a list of things that seem interesting and attempt to be orgnised.

I do have a question if you don't mind. I saw a few people saying Rega Planar is a good start and I did look at some of the Project turntables too. I'm definitly not so familiar with brands or specs in this area, so aside from aesthetic value, will this bracket be good enough to keep my LPs safe so to speak? the majority of my collection is original 60s and 70s and I'd be horrified to ruin them for the sake of a few extra quid or small upgrade.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Project are a well regarded manufacturer and pretty close to Rega on price/performance. I guess Rega are slightly more popular than others as they have a longer history and have a larger modifying fanbase for tonearms, bearings, platter etc. upgrades are endless.

I had a Project Genie RPM1.3 for a while which I swapped the arm for a carbon one and it was well made and the motors were quiet and sounded pretty good.

The fun bit is to try and align the different models from Project with the Planar 1/2/3 models, good luck with that as I never have been able to, review site group tests may be useful in this regard.

The Project Essential IIIa is a good buy as you get the upgraded cartridge (Ortofon OM10) and acrylic platter for not a lot more than the standard version.

If you are looking second hand then Rega sell their turntables for others to badge, some of which are less well known or do not have such a high standing for turntables. For example the Rega Planar 2 with RB250 arm is also sold as a NAD 533 and an Akai APA950. Here's a list -


One last comment, if the reviews are correct then using a cartridge with a fine line stylus can reduce LP wear and also have a longer life. For example the AT VM95E (standard eliptical) is £50 and has a nominal life of around 300 hrs, whereas the the AT VM95ML (micro linear fine line) is £130 and has a life of around 1000hrs, therefore the ML over the long term not only sounds better (IMO) but is cheaper £/hr. The trick is also to get the needle alignment, vertical force and tracking force set up as per manufacturers spec.
 

gava

Active Member
I would do something like:



Very nice speakers, well matched Amp and Network streamer with Bluetooth. Just add a turntable to fill out your budget.

 

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
Soo umm.. I don't quite know how to sensibly excuse myself but, I just cant look away from the Marantz Model 30 right now. All sense certainly tells me to find something more affordable, and yet aesthetically at least, I'm really turning my nose up at everything else. I'm honestly torn about it. I do want to look at my system rather than think I should hide it in the cupboard, subjective I realise but any ideas? So far I'm sticking with the Rega Planar choice, and possibly the Marantz unless I can be dissuaded.. Thoughts??
 

gava

Active Member
The Marantz is very nice. What speakers are you thinking of? You are heavily weighting on the electronics, which is very much against current thinking.

If you do want to spend most of your money on the electronics then perhaps a killer value floorstander like

 

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
Speakers I'm still undecided.. My initial choice was to go with floorstanders but I've actually started to think about it more in the long term, especially if I splash on the Marantz.
I'd prefer a warm sound, but need something dynamic enough to keep up with both EDM and classical music without losing sections of the orchestra or sounding flat (big ask for starting out now I've gotten a look at what's generally out there and seeing the price points) also, as Ugg10 mentioned aboved I may be better going with a subwoofer set up.. I've been looking at secondhand also.

Just so I'm not misunderstanding you, what do you mean exactly by weighting on the electrics?
 

gava

Active Member
Well you are looking at spending substantially more money on an amplifier than your entire original budget. Most people on this forum would recommend spending 50-75% of your total budget on your speakers. When your budget was £1,500 that would be something like £500-£750 on amp, streamer, turntable and £750-£1,000 on the speakers.

Why? Because the speakers play by far the biggest role in how your system sounds, so it makes sense to get the best speakers you can and match them good enough electronics to do them justice.

Simply swapping a £600 amp for a £2,700 amp but matching that to the same £750 pair of speakers is not going to be the best way to spend an extra £2,100. - Unless you have found a killer deal on the Model 30?

Spending only 25% of your overall system budget on the speakers is probably the wrong way round.
 

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
I'm definately aware! I started out with good, relatively sensible intentions..xD

Sorry if i for sounded stupid for asking I just didnt want to misunderstand you if you were meaning something else. I was even hoping the other half would tell me I'm out of my mind when I said I liked it only to have the suprising answer of "get it" (was NOT expecting that)

I'm actually wondering if a quick post to see if anyone has one would be helpful. I almost wish I hadn't looked at it now.
 

gava

Active Member

Khankat

Well-known Member
Why not read some of the relevant Hi-fi reviews on this site? There's a decent Pro-ject or two that Ed Selley has written about, that are very good indeed.
Curiosity has me wondering, just what model Marantz amp did your father have, which you liked so much?
 

moujik

Member
Soo umm.. I don't quite know how to sensibly excuse myself but, I just cant look away from the Marantz Model 30 right now. All sense certainly tells me to find something more affordable, and yet aesthetically at least, I'm really turning my nose up at everything else. I'm honestly torn about it. I do want to look at my system rather than think I should hide it in the cupboard, subjective I realise but any ideas? So far I'm sticking with the Rega Planar choice, and possibly the Marantz unless I can be dissuaded.. Thoughts??
you can get Marantz Model 30 with a view to upgrade the other parts in the future.

it's a bit of a pity to know that you're only getting half of its capabilities and sound in the mean time though..

Example:
There's a Phono input with selectable MC input resistance. MC cartridges are expensive and to get their value worth you need a good tonearm, so you're looking at at least Rega P3. Of course you don't have to go for an MC, but then you might not need an amp that has it.. :)

if you manage to build a cheap system around it, that satisfies you, I guess you can live with a notion, that one day you'll upgrade to get the remaining 10%.

But if you can't find acceptable cheap parts now and you feel like it can only sound good with future upgrades, I'd consider something else..
 

RaspberryPinapple

Novice Member
Curiosity has me wondering, just what model Marantz amp did your father have, which you liked so much?
Oddly enough I believe he had both a 1060 and a 1090.. (nope I've no idea why) but you've really got me thinking about the rest of the equipment now. I did consider buying one of these, but then I'd always know it wasn't his and decided to get my own so to speak.. As is probably quite apparent there's a fair bit of notalgia value to me for the Marantz (thankfully I always liked the sound too) but I'm happy I went with the newer model.

Back to me pondering what else he owned, I think there was SD1000.. Not a clue on the tuner, I've been trying to work it out for the last half hour now, it's been so long since I saw any of it. :laugh:
 

The latest video from AVForums

Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED TV Review
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Audioengine launches compact S6 powered subwoofer
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on Sky and NOW UK for February 2022
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Piega launches Ace Wireless speakers
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
M&K Sound launches V+ Series subwoofers
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Denon launches DHT-S517 Dolby Atmos soundbar
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom