New to Hi Fi - £1,000 +/- a bit to spend, what to buy?

samini

Novice Member
Hi,

I am looking to get some upgrades for my bedroom, but unsure where to start.

The room is around 3.3m x 4.7m, has original wood flooring (from the 1830's!)... so not too sure if thats going to effect what is best for me.

Do not want a jazzy surround sound system, just a nice simple 2.1 setup with separates.

I currently have an iMac with harmon/kardon desktop speakers, would be nice to get rid of those and have it all running through the separates system somehow.

Open to ideas and help is greatly appreciated! I also don't mind buying second hand from eBay and the likes if it means I'm going to be getting a much better deal.


Cheers!

** UPDATE ** 22nd DECEMBER **

I've got the bug.

Over Christmas I'm going to be looking at a few bits to add to the room, a drop down 90" screen and 1080p HD Projector. I saw some brilliant Jamo floorstanders today for a good price, thinking about using those as fronts and use the M/A as rears if I can figure a way to lay it all out.

The system is performing extremely well, currently got some Fun Loving Criminals playing via the Digital Optical Cable - FLAC format..... superb! The Marantz is fully recommended, blown away by this thing and its perfect power for the size of the room.
 
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MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Firstly, you've made a good choice in leaving yourself open to second-hand. eBay or this forum's classifieds can get some good kit for your money.

Now to your proposed system. What sources would you like in your system? CD? Turntable? Radio? Or maybe just get a decent USB DAC and use your computer as the only source?
 

samini

Novice Member
Hi,

Thanks for your response.

Using my computer as my source would be brilliant, will that allow me to play .flac files etc..? I do have a technics 1210 turntable already which may be useful.

Advice on amp, pre-amp, speakers and cabling would be great!
 

peritus

Banned
It's be handy to know what music you generally listen to?

Do you want standmount or floorstanding speakers?

Do you definitely want 2.1 sound or will you be happy with decent stereo sound (i.e. 2.0 - just the L and R speakers with no sub)
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Just my recommendation, given how expensive Subwoofer are, I think you are better off dumping that money into better front speakers.

Next, are there any size restrictions or other little details or requirements we need to know about?

Next, specifically what pieces of equipment do you need? For the moment, I'm assuming Amp and Speakers minimum.

Next, does your computer have wireless networking, or depending on the available space, does it have wired networking? You could use wireless streaming to send you content from your computer to your stereo system. The Logitech Squeezebox Touch wireless music streamer can be had for about £200.

Given the budget, I would say roughly £250 to £500 for an amp, and the remaining £500 to £750 for good bookshelf speakers. Though if you have room, some modest floorstanding speakers are worth considering.

Keep in mind that a cheap Sub is about £200, and a good sub is about £300 to £500. Again, for music, I think a good set of 2.0 speakers would be a better choice. If you feel you need more, you can always add a Sub at a later time.

Now, there are a lot of details missing from your post. Since this is a bedroom, we have to wonder about the available space. Is this going to be a desktop system? If desktop, then how limited is the space for the amp and speakers? Bookshelf on stands? Room for floorstanding? And many other considerations.

Then there is the nature of the music you listen to and how (meaning how loud) you listen? Pure music or will TV/movies also play through this system?

Are you interested in absolute clarity or are you a bass-head?

Once we narrow down the details of your requirements and limitations, we can focus on specific equipment.

Amps -

£250 = Yamaha AS500, 85w/ch
£399 = Yamaha AS700, 90w/ch
£495 = Marantz PM7004, 70w/ch
£499 = Arcam FMJ-A18, 50w/ch
£599 = Rotel RA06SE, 70w/ch
£695 = Rotel RA-1520, 60w/ch

Speakers (bookshelf) -

£425/pr = Monitor Audio RX1 (6", 45hz)
£525/pr = Monitor Audio RX2 (8", 40hz)
£435/pr = Dynaudio DM2-6 (5.5", 50hz)
£600/pr = Dynaudio DM2-7 (6", 50hz)
£399/pr = B&W 685 (6.5", 49hz)
£499/pr = B&W CM1 (5.25", 55hz)
£799/pr = B&W CM5 (6.5". 52hz)
£430/pr = Dali Lektor 3 (6.5", 48hz)
£639/pr = Dali Ikon 1 (5", 45hz)
£799/pr = Dali Ikon 2 (6.5", 41hz)

These are just a few speakers and amps to get you started looking and to give you an idea of the possibilities.

The Logitech SqueezeBox Touch can be found here -

Google-UK - Shopping Search - Logitech Squeezebox Touch

The Touch has an App so you can use an iPod, iPod, or Android Smart Phone are a remote control. It also has local storage in the from of an USB Thumb driver or hard drive.

The competition to the Logitech Touch would be the Sonos ZP90 -

Google-UK - Shopping Search - Sonos ZP90

Consider as a sample system, Yamaha AS500 or AS700, Monitor Audion RX2, plus the Logitech Touch, that would bring you in very close to the stated budget.

How far you want to take it, and where you want to place your priorities is up to you.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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samini

Novice Member
Hi,

Wow thanks for the responses chaps!!!

No huge ammount of restrictions and yes I do have room for floor standing speakers (which I would prefer). There is space to have the separates on an individual stand also.

Regarding the type of music that I play - Pretty much everything excluding jazz, classical & heavy metal. Florence and the Machine, Metronomy, The Weeknd, Noel Gallagher, and Lez Zep are my favourites at the minute.

The sound I am after is well rounded I guess, still some bass but nothing overpowering. I have Klipsch S4i in ear headphones to replicate the EQ those have would be brilliant! Amazing Mid's and High's yet still have the right ammount of Bass.

A sub is not essential, as said if I needed one I could always add at a later date as long as the amp had the power for it.

My mac has wireless networking, so to use that as my source would be ideal. Would there be a huge ammount of quality lost through a squeezebox that way though?

Cheers for your help guys... some good information on here already!
 

formbypc

Novice Member
A sub will basically be wasted in a small room - your bedroom isn't huge...

Large standmounts or floorstanding would probably serve you better
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
Squeezebox will give you a trade-off of convenience for quality, compared to a well-chosen DAC.
It's very convenient, as it just works on your network. Your computer would run software to act as a server, then the SB streams music. So the computer still needs to be on in order to play your music. SB can also do internet radio though, even when the computer is off.

But for £200, you could find a DAC that gives you better sound quality. This DAC would have to be connected to the computer by a cable to use it though. And you lose the smartphone remote control over wi-fi.

Squeezebox is expandable to other rooms if you want, including the all-in-one SB radio, which is good for kitchens etc.

The DAC would be expandable to take other digital sources, giving you the high quality for everything.

So it's a choice you need to make, based on what you want now, and what you're likely to want in the future.
Of course they're not mutually exclusive - at a later date you can upgrade to have your SB running through a good DAC to improve quality.

Does your laptop have optical output? That would remove some restrictions to your choice of DAC.

Having said all this, the DAC inside Squeezeboxes certainly isn't bad at all. It has been tested alongside standalone DACs and done fairly well.

And another vote here for 'you don't need or want a sub'.
 
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samini

Novice Member
I think a squeezebox may be a good route for me to go down, with the option to upgrade with DAC in the future for higher quality.

Does anybody have experience with the B&W 602 S3 speakers? They look great and will fit nicely in my room alongside some nice stands.

An amp to reccommend to run with them? I was looking at the Linn Classik which combines the CD unit also?

Thanks
 

peritus

Banned
Looking at your room size and tastes in music I'd say that floorstanders may be too much as well; bass could become overpowering and boomy.

Decent standmount speakers on solid stands would be the way to go IMO; the likes of M/A RX2 would be bang on; superb speakers with an amazing soundstage, solid, punchy bass but with a well detailed midrange and sweet treble.

The B&W 602 S3 speakers are still good speakers but the likes of the M/A RX1's or RX2's would be a very noticeable step up in sound quality

Have you considered the likes of the Marantz CR603 all in one system; the one I have replaced a NAD C355BEE amp, Rega Apollo/Arcam CD72 CDP and M/A RX2's and it's never failed to impress me...
 

samini

Novice Member
So perhaps a Marantz CR603 & M/A RX1 or 2's.

Would I still need a squeezebox with this or could I use my iPad, iPhone to control it all?
 

peritus

Banned
iPad all the way

I use my iPad 2 as my remote for the iTunes library via AirPlay. All you need to do is either connect via ethernet (hardwire) or add a ethernet bridge like I have so it's all via wifi

I can garuantee you that the Marantz CR603 with either the B&W 685's, Monitor Audio RX1's or RX2's will sound SUPERB. You just need to make sure youve got decent stands like the Partington Super Dreadnoughts and also make sure they're mass filled (more so for the RX2's as they're big speakers and kick out a lot of welly) :)
 

MaturityDodger

Well-known Member
I would avoid an all-in-one, as it really seems like you don't need it. Especially if you're getting a squeezebox.
Here's my take on the Marantz:
It will be of lower quality than an amp of the same price.
It does things that Squeezebox does, so it can be argued that you don't need both. It will probably be better than an amp of the price of (Marantz - squeezebox).

A few things to note though, comparing its network playing. The Marantz doesn't have wireless, according to a review I found. It needs to plug into your router. And also, the SB is good for extending to other zones, should you choose to go multi-room in future.


One thing you didn't mention (and weren't asked), is how do you plan to use your system? Do you want the sound to fill your room? Or will the speakers sit either side of a desk, and be used for nearfield listening?
Worth asking for a bedroom system!
 
If I was in your position I'd go for...

Rotel RA04se - £299.99
B&W 685 £399.00 or B&W CM1 £499.00
Arcam rDac £325

Thats about your budget taken up and you'd obviously need to get some decent stands (look at atacama) and some cables to link it all up QED/Chord and you should be pretty good to go.

The Rotel / B&W combo works very well indeed and is the best "budget" systems I've heard in a long long time.

If you purchased that little lot from one dealer you should get it for your budget I'd imagine.

However if you trawled the classifieds/ebay you maybe able to step things up a notch of two again or go for the above system and save a few more $$$
 

peritus

Banned
I would avoid an all-in-one, as it really seems like you don't need it. Especially if you're getting a squeezebox.
Here's my take on the Marantz:
It will be of lower quality than an amp of the same price.
It does things that Squeezebox does, so it can be argued that you don't need both. It will probably be better than an amp of the price of (Marantz - squeezebox).

A few things to note though, comparing its network playing. The Marantz doesn't have wireless, according to a review I found. It needs to plug into your router. And also, the SB is good for extending to other zones, should you choose to go multi-room in future.



One thing you didn't mention (and weren't asked), is how do you plan to use your system? Do you want the sound to fill your room? Or will the speakers sit either side of a desk, and be used for nearfield listening?
Worth asking for a bedroom system!


Have you heard the Marantz system?

Have you heard it with the above speakers or against similar seperates (i.e. Marantz 6003 / 6004 series etc...)?

I wouldnt rule out the CR603 system until it's been demo'd; the OP can do that if he wants to, even if to rule it out!

As you can see I've got that system as well as a £4k Cyrus set-up and the Marantz holds it's own VERY well indeed...

Separates arent the be all/end all

The CR603 IS NOT of lower quality at all; it's a brilliant little system that has received rave reviews everywhere; I agree the lack of built in wifi is a niggle but with an ethernet bridge its easily sorted...
 

samini

Novice Member
The marantz system does look impressive for the money. I already have napster on my iPad and its brilliant, to have that playing through my setup would be brilliant!

Is it possible to connect my iMac to this so it plays all of my music rather than having separate speakers??

I connect via Wifi to my router which is downstairs, so whats the best way to go about connecting all of that up?

Thanks for your help chaps

Sam
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I would not personally recommend an all-in-one system unless you are restricted for space, and need all the features offered. The Marantz MCR603 is indeed nice with a decent amount of power, and a lot of nice features. As long as you remember, you don't get something for nothing.

A £400 straight amp is higher quality than a £400 CD/MP3/DAB+/FM/AM Networked Micro System with Internet Radio. Again, that is probably a very nice amp and it seems to have a solid 60w/ch. But it is not the equal of an amp that is just a 60w/ch amp. Though to 8 ohms it is really only 45w/ch, that's still decent power, and far more than the typical 25w found in must micro-amps.

The 70w/ch Marantz PN7004 plus the Monitor Audio RX1 plus the Logitech Touch would be (£495+£425+£200) for a total of £1120.

If you want speakers that are a little less bass dominant, then replace the Monitor Audio RX1 with the Dali Lektor 3 for £430/pr.

I'm not saying don't buy the MCR603, I'm just saying weigh your priorities, needs, and circumstances, then make the best decision for you.


As to floorstanding speakers, if they are somewhat modest is size, that could be made to work in a small room. The more critcal factor is the space behind the speakers. Floorstanding need to be forward of the wall by about 12 inches (give or take).

In floorstanding the Wharfedale Diamond 10.4 are probably the right size, but are below your budget in terms of quality. Though they do sound very good, but the price is only £330/pr. You could also consider the modest Dali Zensor 5 which are £499/pr. The Tannoy Mercury V4 are worth a look at £340/pr.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
 

a8ch

Novice Member
I wouldnt rule out the CR603 system until it's been demo'd; the OP can do that if he wants to, even if to rule it out!

As you can see I've got that system as well as a £4k Cyrus set-up and the Marantz holds it's own VERY well indeed...

Separates arent the be all/end all

The CR603 IS NOT of lower quality at all; it's a brilliant little system that has received rave reviews everywhere; I agree the lack of built in wifi is a niggle but with an ethernet bridge its easily sorted...

Have to agree with this. Initially just after Linn Majik DS streamer, my local specialist only had the integrated DS-i version to home dem. No probs said Chris the shop manager, I will disable the amp sections. During my week home loan curiosity got the better and I connected up my `Stats and enabled the amps.

Despite being a seasoned separates and av enthusiast I was amazed at the sound quality especially considering the modest 58W/rms per channel. I keep with this combination the rest of the loan period, then swiftly ordered one.

To the OP although way out of your budget, just to endorse the point that you should never dismiss anything without hearing it. Several months and lots of hi-rez albums I find my system utterly ethereal generally and breathtaking at times.
 

samini

Novice Member
Reet, ended up buying the Marantz CR603 Today! Alongside the Monitor Audio BX2's and some Mission stands... brilliant!

Very impressed, just hooked it up now and getting used to the settings. How can I make this play all of my sound, as in everything that wants to output from my mac?

THanks
 

peritus

Banned
Sounds like a cracking little system :)

Get the free AirPlay upgrade from Marantz so you can listen to all your music via iTunes etc...

I'd also highly recommend mass-loading the stands with Atacama Atabites; about 3/4 full would be spot on and will really help the speakers to sing at their best

What made you go for the M/A BX2's? Were you able to demo other speakers etc...?
 

samini

Novice Member
I popped in to richer sounds in Liverpool on the off chance that they might have some of the things I wanted in the shop.

They had the marantz with 10% off which was lucky so I went for it there and then... They had no rx's in so I drove off and set off on my way home. It then struck me that I would have this little box of goodness and nothing to hook it up to on my Sunday afternoon! After reading a few reviews of the BX online, I went for them. They are brilliant, my gear came in well under budget and I'm chuffed.

Got the mission stands which are nice, and the haggled with the guy on a few bits. He threw in some symphony cable to top it all off... Blown away.

It's all hooked up to AirPlay now, works seamlessly and set up was a doddle!

Listening to some music through Napster on my iPad, while typing this.

Will get some pictures up soon!
 

samini

Novice Member
I'm off to the Trafford Centre this evening, going to purchase a Digital Optical Audio cable to get directly from the iMac in to the Marantz.

Anybody else done it this way also?
 

samini

Novice Member

danoliver1

Active Member
Your speakers are upside down mate.
Tweeters go at the top base port at the bottom. Like the pic below.
 

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samini

Novice Member
I bought the last set of displays from richer sounds, they come with these plinths and they have attched them. The donkeys must have stuck them on upside down! Will have a look when I'm back home.
 

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