Newbie: My first HiFi setup :D

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Archive, Sep 17, 2017.

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  1. Archive

    Archive
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    First of all Hello to you all and thank you in advance for you very important help that i am looking for :)

    After many years of thinking about a decent home HiFi setup i started to look around for some basic equipment until i found a dancer instructor who sells 4 B&W 685 (first generation) with a Denon mpa 700 amplifier. The price was really really good (450E + denon) so i overlooked the amplifier (which i think is not something special). After an appointment and testing the speakers i took the deal! They sound good and are in almost perfect condition.

    As i saw the 685 are considered good in their field and price but i couldn't find any info about the amplifier.

    Future plans:
    - New amplifier
    - 2 stands (70cm)
    - 2 isoacoustics aperta (155mm size)
    - a decent DAC if it is not included in the amp

    Firstly from what i already have read i decided to go with a 2 channel pure music amplifier without any other distractions and no surround sound.

    The first question is: can i connect 4 speakers in a 2 channel amp? I guess i can and it will not be surround right?

    I already saw and seem interesting:
    sansui - from ebay for they quality sound
    Rotel - (B&W recommendation - i think B&W owns Rotel)
    Linn
    NAD - My father owns a C320 from 1997 with two small tannoy and he is soooo happy with it.
    Further suggestions from you :)

    Now about DAC i didn't check any until now!

    And finally how do you recommend the set-up? Should i use all 4 speakers? Should i buy a pre-amp instead of a DAC? And generally any suggestions or corrections are more than welcome :)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    You can run 2 pairs of speakers if done correctly but do you need to? If not interested in surround sound, stick with 1 pair and sell on the other.

    What the budget for the amplifier, dac, cables etc ?
     
  3. Archive

    Archive
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    Don Dadda thanks for the reply!

    I thought about that to be honest and i will keep that in mind!

    The budget of the amp - cables - DAC would be arround 700 E but if its worth it i can go up to 1000E. I dont know if its too low or i have to try to give some more o_O
     
  4. BlueWizard

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    This is the Denon PMA-700V amp, it doesn't quite look like the amp you have -

    DENON/COLUMBIA PMA-700V

    But this particular amps is rated at 105w/ch to 8 ohms, so a pretty strong amp. Are you sure you got the Denon model number exactly right? And it is PMA not MPA.

    There were several PMA-700 models designated by the last letter. Above is the 700V, here below is the 700Z, neither look like the amp in your photo -

    Denon PMA-700Z - Solid State Stereo Integrated Amplifier - HiFi Engine

    There is also the newer PMA-700AE, but it still doesn't look like your amp -

    Denon PMA-700AE - Stereo Integrated Amplifier - HiFi Engine

    So, we would need the full and precise model number to make an evaluation on it. Though Denon is a proven brand with a long history.

    The B&W 685 are decent speakers, well worth keeping, though as others have said, for Stereo, no need to keep all four. Though if you decide to go to an AV Receiver, they could be used for Front and Surround speakers. But for Stereo, I think two is enough. Still that is your decision to make.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  5. Archive

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    Steve you are right!! My typo! PMA is the correct one.
    that's the model that she told me :| I guessed that was the wrong and i forgot to check it by myself.

    but I am expecting the whole package in the end of the week and i will let you know the exact model!
     
  6. Archive

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    Sorry for the late update but i just yesterday came back home!

    Finally the Denon is the DRA 700AE.
    Any thoughts?
     
  7. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    More info on the amp.

    DRA-700AE

    Looks an interesting spec, has pre outs which is useful and a sub connection if the 685s aren't meaty enough.

    You don't say what the source is you need the dac for (tv, computer, Apple TV, chromecast?) and what connections (tislink optical, spdif coax, USB?).

    With this amp you could add something like the behringer a500 (£179) power amp, a BK xls200 sub (£325 depending on finish) and have enough left over for the stands, cables and dac. Depending on your source have a look at the beresford 7520 dac, gets good reviews and if pretty inexpensive (E179 but can find them cheaper on eBay).
     
  8. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    How much is this system going to cost you? If it is dirt cheap, then it might be a good starter system, but if we are talking a few hundred Pounds, then you can probably get a new system.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  9. Archive

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    Ugg Thank you for your response!
    First of all what does exactly the behringer does more? it will be connected on the denon or as a seperate? (Newbies questions, Sorry!)

    I am listening non stop since yesterday and i think in my space i am 100% happy with the bass but i will give myself a chance to decide!

    My source for now will be my Mac Pro (the cylinder one) with a simple cable jack to double rca. I checked out if i had the option to go with usb but the amp doesn't have usb port. Is there any other way to connect it?

    The cables to the speakers are simple thin cables (picture), not any specific brand i guess.

    As for the cables, any cable management solution?

    Cheers!

    [​IMG]
     

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  10. Archive

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    Steve,

    Thank you for your reply.
    I paid for The 4 speakers, the amp and the cables 500E. With this kind of money you get maybe wharfedales with the cheapest amp ever. Of course this is from what i know! And my knowledge on these staff is limited for now.
     
  11. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    Couple of comments on the above -

    Your Denon DRA700AE is an analogue receiver (amp plus radio) and has no digital input so at the moment you are correct connecting it up to the mac Pro via a 3.5mm jack from the speaker port to the AUX input on the amp. This uses the audio decoding within the mac pro to turn the digital music (from files/spotify/deezer etc.) into an analogue signal that can be amplified.

    Looking also at pictures of the rear of the mac pro it does not have any optical output port so if you want to improve the sound adding an external DAC with a USB input would be the way to go, these can come in the form of a dongle (dragonfly red/black) or a separate box (Beresford 7520, Fostex A3) .

    Some integrated amps have problems pushing enough power to the speakers in a controlled manner resulting in a less than optimum sound, this is typically due to packaging and not being able to fit a large enough transformer in the box along with everything else. One way of rectifying this is to add a power amp using the pre-outs on the denon - the denon, now acting as a pre-amp only, then is used just to do the switching between the inputs including some preamplification, run the radio side as it is a receiver and then the Behringer A500 I suggested does the power am side of things.

    So, in the system I suggested the set up would be -

    Mac pro > usb cable > Beresford 7520 > phono/rca cable > denon aux input > phono/rca cable from denon pre out > Behringer A500 power amp > reasonable loudspeaker cable > B&W 685, there would be a separate single phono/rca cable from the denon subwoofer output to the BK xls200 (using the menus in the denon, this would need the cross over setting, something like 60 hz, and the level adjusting).

    The 685's are fairly small but very good speakers and have a limited lower frequency of 50hz approx., the sub woofer could be used to fill in the next 30 hz or so down to 25 hz.

    On the speaker cable side the starting point would be some QED original cable which in the UK is about £4.50 per metre, next step up is something like the QED Anniversary at £7.50 per metre, then the sky is your limit. That said, the main thing is the qualify off the copper cable and the thickness to allow the signal to pass easily, there are many internet articles on the benefits or not of speaker cable, in this system it does not need anything fancy just good reliable cable. The addition of banana connector will ease connection, ones that clamp on can be bought from radio shack/ebay/maplins etc.

    As others have said, just use one pair of speakers, adding two sets on a stereo amp with at best confuse the sound (two sets of tweeters/woofers will fight each other and the sound stage will get confused) and at worst damage the amp if not connected correctly. On the denon it has two sets of speaker output, if you really want t use two sets, connect each pair to separate channels (A and B) and then use the button on the front to select A+B mode if possible (may be just one or the other).

    That said, if you are happy with the sound then stick with it for a bit just running the mac pro > denon > one pair of 685s, take time to live with it an enjoy.
     
  12. Archive

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    Ugg,

    Your post is a real help to me! Thanks!
    I knew about the DAC but anything after that.
    I will do exactly as you said and i will keep you posted :)

    From December i will be able to give some time and start building the equipment.


    Something a bit irrelevant on the hardware:
    I was looking the market for some speaker stands as i said on the original post. Nothing that i really liked so i decided to build 2 or 4 stands by myself.

    Materials:
    some concrete - for the 2 main "plates"
    wood - 1 cylinder divided in the middle (leg support)
    wood - for mold (concrete)
    screws
    rubber - Between: Floor - lower wooden plate | lowe Concrete plate - Wooden legs | Uper concrete plate - glass | glass - speakers

    What do you think? is this actually going to work? any suggestions?
     

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  13. Archive

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    Photos follow up
     

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  14. Paul7777x

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    They are wonderful looking things.

    Beat the hell out of almost all stands I’ve ever seen.
     
  15. Archive

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    Paul thank you for your comments!!
    Its a simple idea actually and i really need to take some opinions from the pros in the field!
    Maybe it would be a good idea to open a whole thread about this and its construction (updates, photos etc) :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  16. BlueWizard

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    There are several YouTube videos on molding Concrete Table tops. Might be worth checking them out. Definitely something I would like to try. In some cases people are able to embed metal accents or acrylic into the mold. Pretty impressive.

    You are probably going to have to steel re-enforce the plated, and they will likely need to be at least 1" thick, but I am very eager to see the results. Never thought about Concrete Speaker Stands before.

    Here are a couple of videos. I know somewhere there is one that colors the concrete, and I think another that makes the tabletop for already colored Tile Grout which is just fine colored portland cement.

    DIY Concrete Top Outdoor Coffee Table | How to...


    How To Make a Concrete Coffee Table and How to...


    Very eager to see the results.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  17. Archive

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    Steve,
    Handy videos there! Already saw them! The guy on the second video seems more professional on the concrete part. Definitely will save both.

    I think i am going to open a new thread about this but it will take some time to find the proper providers / glass constructor / carpenter / equipment. I think the most difficult part would be the cylinder leg. I don't know if any carpenter can make them or it requires a large wood provider or something. And finally how much is going to cost.
     
  18. BlueWizard

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    I found a company that has all kinds of Concrete Pigment and Stain -

    Concrete Pigment - DirectColors.com

    There are also colored concrete sealers.

    They also have a YouTube channel -

    www.youtube.com/user/directcolorsinc/videos

    They are a USA company, but it does establish that such companies exist, and they it is possible to stain and color Concrete in a variety of ways. I suspect in the UK/EU there are similar companies. It is just a matter of tracking them down.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  19. Archive

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    Ι already found a carpenter for a reasonable amount of money! Also concrete! Now i have just to found some time to start!

    I will keep you posted!
     

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