Please help me choose music system

waterzz

Standard Member
Hello. This is my first post here, and at LASt I am seeking info about this which I have been wanting to do for ages but am VERY confused by the complexity of the rapid change in technology regarding music systems.

My existing music system is PRE-prehistoric, it is a present I got in about 1984/5 of a Dixons (Phony Japanese name) Matsui which played records, CDs and s cassettes. Now it has packed up bit by bit. First cassette part went caput, then later the vinyl record player. And now the CD plays but wont play ALL CDs, and is crackling, and when it will play it is hit or miss whether the sound level will not go so low you cant hear it. It is OVER for this system lol

One of the reasons I have put up with it is because I had a pair of the most amazing speakers made for me by someone who was passionate about speakers. And part of my confusions about getting a new music system is that I do not want the speakers they provide, but want to use this custom-made ones! The sound that comes from them is great--even from this clapped out old matsui. CAN you buy a music system and choose not to buy the speakers..??!

So next problem is that I have lots of tapes I LOVE. They are mainly compilations of musics I have made over the years and would love top hear them on a music system.

I have vinyls and I also love the sound of vinyl, which I feel has its own soul--something many CDs lack. A certain feel. So ideally I would like to hear these vinyls on a new system.

I have CDs. I have not had much look with CD players. The one on the matui is a veritcal one, and over the years there has been problems with crackly sounds. On my far more recent protable Panasonic CD player, it is alright till it coes to the latter tracks and you get sticking.

I get confused with the difference between CDs and Mp3. I do not have an Ipod, and dont like listening to music through my ears close--with earphones, but I do know that for example i can listen to Mp3 CDs on my panasonic but not on the ancient Matsui. So i take it that Mp3 includes CDs you can burn from the computer? I want with a new system obviously to be able to listen to that

But I FEEl very un-hip when it comes to knowing what is possible with music systems! And not being technical do not understand the technical explnations

So ALl I am asking really is this. Please tell me what music system you have, like and why, including price?

is it better to go for separate units? Ie., a CD player, THEN a cassete player, then a record player. Or is there other things you could advise? Are there good all in ones you could recommend?

In the old days you would just get a record player. Simple LOL

I welcome any advice. Thankyou
 

formbypc

Novice Member
"CAN you buy a music system and choose not to buy the speakers..??!"

Of course you can. How much do you want to spend, or how much can you spend?

Do we take it you want to retain the speakers, and purchase, either straight away or in stages, a

Cassette Deck
Turntable
CD player
Media Player
Amplifier (so you can hear the above through the speakers)

If you're buying in stages, which of the above do you want first?
 

waterzz

Standard Member
"CAN you buy a music system and choose not to buy the speakers..??!"

Of course you can. How much do you want to spend, or how much can you spend?

Do we take it you want to retain the speakers, and purchase, either straight away or in stages, a

Cassette Deck
Turntable
CD player
Media Player
Amplifier (so you can hear the above through the speakers)

If you're buying in stages, which of the above do you want first?

I already have these BEAUTIFUl custom made especially for me speakers which I will want to use. A neighbour helped thread some wire through to an adjoining room (I am hopeless with electrics also. He has since died). So I can choose to have music playing in both rooms or each. But ie., i have two speakers in there also. IF I did need to get speakers which were designed spcifically for the unit they possibly could replace the two in the other room.

What do I want to play the most? CDs. I usually buy CDs when I want to listen to music.

How much do I want to spend. I just am looking for a bargain really. I couldn't afford top of the range hi fi, but also I am aware that too cheap and the unit may not be much good either.

I find it hard to give you a price range because I am not sure what they start from...?

Let me tell you though that I was bought a Toshiba music radio cassette playyer many years ago (early 1980s), and it has been SO AMAZING. For example, I could tape music on audio tapes and the quality is AS good as CD quality---crystal clear. The cassette part packed in about 3-4 years ago, and you cannot get the parts now, but the radio is excellent quality of sound still. THAT I call a bargain :)

So do you recommend getting a cd player (which may include radio?) unit separate first-- as part of a stack which could include a vinly and cassette player? Is that what you did?
 
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formbypc

Novice Member
"Looking for a bargain" tells us nothing. One man's bargain is another's king's ransom.

Tell us what you can spend or want to spend.
 

waterzz

Standard Member
"Looking for a bargain" tells us nothing. One man's bargain is another's king's ransom.

Tell us what you can spend or want to spend.

Oh I just dont know. I just want advice as to how to get a music system. what are average prices of CD/Mp3 players that are good bargain. I aint got a CLUE what price ranges are. This is whole reason i registered here. I mean say I said £100 what response would that get?
 

formbypc

Novice Member
£100 won't get you very much in terms of CD player and amplifier, unless you go for the cheap and cheerful mini-systems in the likes of Argos, Comet, etc
 

waterzz

Standard Member
£100 won't get you very much in terms of CD player and amplifier, unless you go for the cheap and cheerful mini-systems in the likes of Argos, Comet, etc

OK then give me an average price that will get me that please? £200?
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Really, the price range is £250 up to £25,000, so you see the problem we have. You know how much money you have, and your know how much you are willing to spend, far far far more than we do. So, you have to give us some idea of your budget range. Not a fixed number, but an approximate range that matches your wallet.

If we assume you need Turntable, CD Player, and Amp, then the workable minimum breaks down like this -

£250 = Turntable
£250 = CD Player
£250 = Stereo Amp
-----------------
£750 = Total

That will give you a good basic entry level consumer grade stereo system.

Yes, it can be done for less, but not much less. And yes, we can point you toward low powered semi-all-in-one mini/micro systems that might save you some money. But, it is not up to us to tell you what you want or how much you have to spend, it is up to you to tell us.

Of the above, the Turntable is the one whose price is more or less fixed. There is some degree of flexibility in the amp and CD player, especially if you consider a mini/micro system which will be an amp and CD combined. I would say the minimum on the amp and CD player as separate components is about £150 each. And you can cut back on the turntable a bit; perhaps £160 to £180.

Here is the most recommended turntable for beginners -

http://superfi.co.uk/p-3594-project-debut-3-se-turntable.aspx

Here are a couple of workable and lower cost alternatives -

http://superfi.co.uk/p-3051-audio-technica-atlp120usb-usb-turntable.aspx

http://superfi.co.uk/p-3002-project-essential-turntable.aspx

Here is a good Amp and CD separates system just to illustrate the possibilities -

http://superfi.co.uk/p-3285-yamaha-as300-amplifier.aspx

http://superfi.co.uk/p-3287-yamaha-cds300-cd-player.aspx

In mini/micro audio systems, here are a couple examples -

http://superfi.co.uk/p-2395-denon-dm38dab-micro-system.aspx

http://superfi.co.uk/p-3431-yamaha-crx550-cddabdabfmipod-micro-hifi.aspx

Now there are a lot of small details, but this gives you some idea of the starting point. We've shown you the possibilities for a basic system, now you have to tell us what your requirements are and what your budget range is.

Steve/bluewizard
 

waterzz

Standard Member
First I need an explanation of the terms you use which I am not really familiar with:

£250 = Turntable
£250 = CD Player
£250 = Stereo Amp
""

When you say turntable are you meaning for vinyl records?

A CD player? is that the whole unit would just play CDs/MP3s?

Stereo Amp? I had never thought of this BEING a separate unit. I thought it would be part of CD player so I am confused here.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
You started with an all in one system, but those are rare and truthfully not very good.

A TURNTABLE is a device for playing record, a vinyl record player. Look at the links provided and what it is will be obvious. But no amp or anything else, just something to convert physical grooves to electrical signals.

A CD Player is just that, it plays CDs, though most modern CD players can also play MP3 and similar that have been burned on a computer to CD, and occasionally from a USB device. Many new amps and CD Players have in input of the front to connect the headphone out of a iPod/MP3 player, which is convenient. But a CD Player plays CD, it is not a radio tuner, or an amplifier.

An Amp is just that, an amplifier. Again look at the links, and it should be self-explanatory.

The Mini/Mico systems (see links) do have an amp and CD player built into one unit and frequently have AM/FM/DAB radio tuners, but you get what you pay for. The CD is basic, and the amps are low powered. For casual listening or those on a tight budget, these are fine.

Separates are called separates because, everything is separate, the amp is the amp, the CD is the CD, and the separate tuner is a separate radio tuner.

You've left the budget wide open and in doing so you have left us with no framework within which to give answers. With an Open Budget, if you want CD and Amp in one, consider this fairly expensive system -

http://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi-separates/naim/naimuniti.html

For a little less money -

http://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi-separates/nad/viso-three.html

Again, if you have thousand to spend, tell us. If you have hundreds to spend, tell us. And if you only have a very few hundred to spend, then you need to tell us that. No one goes into this with a blank check. You have an idea of the price range you can functionally operate in. Let us know what that price range is. High or low, we can probably come up with recommendations to fit. If your budget is £100, then it is pointless for us to point you at £1000 systems or £10,000 systems.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Boy, you've really been out of the game for a fair while haven't you.

Can't add anything that hasn't aready been said but repeat it

Without a budget, allsorts can be suggested as shown. If you don't mind second hand, then you get more bang for your buck.
So really and truely, do not just think about how much you want to spend, but the maximum you can go to without selling your soul. Then we can get to work on advising you appropriately.
 

waterzz

Standard Member
Boy, you've really been out of the game for a fair while haven't you.
I have never been in it if you mean serious hi fi knowledge and buying but as for music i am SERIOUSLY loving music, and have a very eclectic taste INDEED. A neifghbour who helped fit wiring to my matsui (lol) so I could listen to music in two rooms told me something very interesting. he said there was an infinite difference between real hi fi and the usual crap you buy, and he had an old fashioned 'proper hi fi' so when you listened to his classical records it really was quite amazing :) But personally, no, I have never been fortunate to be able to afford the 'real thang' but you would be surprised how much i dig music even so

Can't add anything that hasn't aready been said but repeat it

Without a budget, allsorts can be suggested as shown. If you don't mind second hand, then you get more bang for your buck.
So really and truely, do not just think about how much you want to spend, but the maximum you can go to without selling your soul. Then we can get to work on advising you appropriately.

'second hand'. Hmmm well I hadn't thought of that angle. WHY would someone sell off a great sound system then? AND whjat guarantee would the buyer get with a second hand equipment?
 

waterzz

Standard Member
You started with an all in one system, but those are rare and truthfully not very good.

A TURNTABLE is a device for playing record, a vinyl record player. Look at the links provided and what it is will be obvious. But no amp or anything else, just something to convert physical grooves to electrical signals.

A CD Player is just that, it plays CDs, though most modern CD players can also play MP3 and similar that have been burned on a computer to CD, and occasionally from a USB device. Many new amps and CD Players have in input of the front to connect the headphone out of a iPod/MP3 player, which is convenient. But a CD Player plays CD, it is not a radio tuner, or an amplifier.

An Amp is just that, an amplifier. Again look at the links, and it should be self-explanatory.

The Mini/Mico systems (see links) do have an amp and CD player built into one unit and frequently have AM/FM/DAB radio tuners, but you get what you pay for. The CD is basic, and the amps are low powered. For casual listening or those on a tight budget, these are fine.

Separates are called separates because, everything is separate, the amp is the amp, the CD is the CD, and the separate tuner is a separate radio tuner.

You've left the budget wide open and in doing so you have left us with no framework within which to give answers. With an Open Budget, if you want CD and Amp in one, consider this fairly expensive system -

http://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi-separates/naim/naimuniti.html

For a little less money -

http://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi-separates/nad/viso-three.html

Again, if you have thousand to spend, tell us. If you have hundreds to spend, tell us. And if you only have a very few hundred to spend, then you need to tell us that. No one goes into this with a blank check. You have an idea of the price range you can functionally operate in. Let us know what that price range is. High or low, we can probably come up with recommendations to fit. If your budget is £100, then it is pointless for us to point you at £1000 systems or £10,000 systems.

Steve/bluewizard

Well at the moment I am going with your £250 a unit at the moment. First off, I would like to buy a good CD player. The only 'decent CD player I have at the moment is a Panasonic portable which plays CDs, tapes, and has a radio... BUT what happens and I dont know why is that some of my CDs (and I am VERY VERY careful with them regarding not getting fingerprints on them. or leaving them exposed outside case etc--neurotically so)---the first tracks are fine, but when it gets to the latter tracks the CD sticks, and this can be very irritating, and totally ruins enjoyment of the CD obviously. When you listen and it starts going into the latter tracks I tend to get tense waiting for the inevitable stick, and it doesn't sound good at all when it happens. I do NOT want that with any new CD player I get!!
I do have vinyls, but do not buy vinyl any more, so I could leave that for a while. Also audio tapes. I can always play them on my portable for now. So what I am focussing on is a good bargain of a CD player that will not stick on any tracks, and has a good sound. I( think you suggested £250 for CD/MP3 player and £250 for Amp...? £500?
 
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Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Your neighbour was spot on. You don't have to be a hi fi guru to know how you want to hear your music and love it.
What might be best if you could go to a local hifi dealer ( if one is nearby or in reasonable distance), take a tape and cd and let them introduce you to what's out there that can tickle your ears or better still, send them into ecstasy. If you thought the Matsui was good enough then lord help you when you hear them on something proper :D.

Why would someone sell of their system?

Plenty reasons really - could be they have or want to upgrade, does not sound like as well as it did in the demo room due to the enviroment or many other reason. The fact that they do, bolds well for somebody else.
There is a risk, having no warranty is one and being sold a dud is another, but generally, if bought from the classifieds on here or other like it, then you can almost guarantee that the component would be in good nick. If not, they usually say so. It's a risk worth taking, especially if on a small budget

I've bought secondhand from here on many occasions (not all hifi), and never been dissapointed yet. My latest addition was an amp, less than a year old and saved £175 in the process.
Ebay not so bad either, but more of a risk as there are more unscrupulous people using it.
 

formbypc

Novice Member
'second hand'. Hmmm well I hadn't thought of that angle. WHY would someone sell off a great sound system then? AND whjat guarantee would the buyer get with a second hand equipment?

Sell off a great system (or part of system) to upgrade to a greater one.

No guarantee with second-hand unless the seller says there is (usually only from specialist dealers)
 

formbypc

Novice Member
ps---why are the all-in-on music units NOT any good?

There are some quality all-in-ones, but in the main, they're found at the lower end of the market, and are built to a price point rather than with quality in mind.

If something goes wrong with one element of an all-in-one (the cassette player fails, for instance, but the CD and radio still work) you can't take the cassette part away and replace it with another. You can with separate HiFi components.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
ps---why are the all-in-on music units NOT any good?

Not all, just the cheap and nasty ones. There are some very good all in ones around, but usually at a price. However, a decent seperate setup will most likely sound alot better and allows for more options, especially if a fault developes. If a all in one becomes faulty, you will have to send the whole lot off to be repaired leaving you with nothing until its returned. Or if unrepairable cost effectively, replace, again leaving you with nothing until replaced. Whereas with separates, You can change the faulty component and have more options to what you want to replace it with.

EDIT:Apologies for the repeat. formbypc got in there before me
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
ps---why are the all-in-on music units NOT any good?

They are cheap and low powered, but are indeed good for casual not-so-serious listening. And they do have the advantage of being pretty compact.

Nice if you want some music or to listen to the news while you have your morning coffee.

If we go back to the system I outlined and linked to in an earlier post, and we take a slightly conservative approach, we have this -

£180 = AUDIO TECHNICA ATLP120USB USB TURNTABLE
£206 = Yamaha AS300, 60w/ch amp
£200 = Yamaha CDS300 Single CD Player
--------------------
£586 = Total

Alternative -

Marantz PM6004 + Marantz CD6004 = £619

http://www.petertyson.co.uk/ebuttonz/ebz_product_pages/marantz_6004_hifi.shtml

Project Essentials Turntable (£155 in Black) -

http://www.petertyson.co.uk/ebuttonz/ebz_product_pages/project_essential.shtml

Total = £619 + £155 = £774

Unfortunately either of these turntable will need an cartridge upgrade, and you probable can't do better than the Ortofon 2M Red for about £79. If you can get that cartridge with the turntable, they will probably install it and set it up for you. So, when you get it, you will just have to verify the tracking weight, and it will be ready to go.


The more powerful and highly rated Yamaha AS500 has 85w/ch and is still a very modest £249. Though no matching CD player, you would have to go with the Yamaha CDS300 or the pretty expensive CDS700 which is rare.

Though you could perhaps match it with the Cambridge Audio 550C CD Player for £250 -

http://www.richersounds.com/product.../cambridge-audio/azur-550c/camb-azur-550c-blk

The Cambridge Audio models are good amps, but they are transitioning from the nn0 models to the newer nn1 models, so there is limited availability of both at the moment.

Again, that is only the cross section to give you an idea of the possibilities. If you have more money in your budget, then I encourage you to get the Project Debut III turntable with the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. The cost is a bit high, but certainly worth it.


Steve/bluewizard
 
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waterzz

Standard Member
Not all, just the cheap and nasty ones. There are some very good all in ones around, but usually at a price. However, a decent seperate setup will most likely sound alot better and allows for more options, especially if a fault developes. If a all in one becomes faulty, you will have to send the whole lot off to be repaired leaving you with nothing until its returned. Or if unrepairable cost effectively, replace, again leaving you with nothing until replaced. Whereas with separates, You can change the faulty component and have more options to what you want to replace it with.

EDIT:Apologies for the repeat. formbypc got in there before me

OK, Could you recommend me several good music systems--the all in ones please?
I must admit that not once did I have to send the matsui back once for many years---but then it naturally started palcking up several years ago, but this was to be expected because it was virtually prehistoric---early 80s.

I have to look at my situation this way. The main music system has always been in the living room. But i ACTUALLY listen to most music on my computer in a spare room, and I am VERY interactive with music, and I will dance to music from my Panasonic mobile all in one player in my bedroom, and its sound levels full on are just enough not to drive made the adjoining house next door, because they know it will be only for a shortish time

So IF I was to fork out a fortune for the music system in the living room would that be justified if I am listening to music more other places...? Like I say I am very interactive with music, and seldom will just sit down and listen to the superior tehniocs though I DO like the sound to be good of course, and DEFINATELY not tinny.
THE MAJOR thing I do not want is a CD player which sticks the tracks like happens on the latter tracks of the CDs I play on the Panasonic player which drives me MAD!!
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Have a look at these

http://store.sevenoakssoundandvisio...7/1765.0.4.3?gclid=CLTKquPw7awCFSFItAod_2CLHQ Denon CEOL £379

http://store.sevenoakssoundandvisio.../1765.0.4.3?gclid=CKnu8I_27awCFbQntAodLFOSNA] Marantz MCR603 - £389

http://store.sevenoakssoundandvisio...i/1765.0.4.3?gclid=CPOL8evx7awCFXAhtAodcTwegw - Arcam Mini Solo - £599

http://store.sevenoakssoundandvisio.../productdetail/part_number=CRX-550/1765.0.4.3 - Yamaha CRX-550 - £150 (reduced from £250)

http://www.superfi.co.uk/p-2395-denon-dm38dab-micro-system.aspx - Denon DM38 -£200

The Marantz and Denon CEOL are the most powerful out of the bunch and the Arcam being the lowest. Those 3 are -IMO - the best out of the bunch. Without knowing your speaker spec it's difficult to narrow down which one(s) is most suitable, but all should drive them. The Marantz is being applauded for its quality at the moment and so is the Arcam,. However, much like the Denon CEOL, the MCR603 may have unnecessary features for you which you are paying for, like networking and usb, but nice to have for future purposes if you so wish.

All of the above (and probably any other all in one) do not have a inbuilt phono stage for a turntable. So one will need to be bought.

http://www.richersounds.com/product/phono-pre-amps/cambridge-audio/azur-540p/camb-540p-blk CAMBRIDGE AUDIO AZUR 540P MM - £60

http://www.richersounds.com/product/phono-pre-amps/cambridge-audio/azur-640p/camb-640p-blk CAMBRIDGE AUDIO AZUR 640P MM/MC- £99

Other phono stages
http://www.superfi.co.uk/c-181-phono-pre-amplifiers.aspx

As good as the above are, separates would be better for reasons stated by others but i understand where you are coming from :thumbsup:.
 
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waterzz

Standard Member
Thankyou for all those links, and it is great information, but I am confused. When I asked for recommendations for all-in-one music systems I was meaning units that provide for vinly, cassettes, and CDs. All-in-one. Do these not exist anymore:eek:
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Are you referring to something like this

TEAC LP-R500

Personally, i value my vinyl and cassettes too much to risk playing on one of them, but to each their own.
 

formbypc

Novice Member
Thankyou for all those links, and it is great information, but I am confused. When I asked for recommendations for all-in-one music systems I was meaning units that provide for vinly, cassettes, and CDs. All-in-one. Do these not exist anymore:eek:

Yes, they're advertised in the Radio Times, and they have that cheesy 'vintage' look. I've never listened to one, but honestly, I wouldn't want to.

Again, I value my vinyl and cassettes too highly to play either of them on one.

waterzz, you can obviously use a computer - have you tried googling for stuff? Why not go look at a few things, come back and ask us what we think of what you've found? We don't appear to be making much progress currently......
 
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waterzz

Standard Member
Are you referring to something like this

TEAC LP-R500

Personally, i value my vinyl and cassettes too much to risk playing on one of them, but to each their own.

I dont really understand. I mean for YEARS, since the early 80s and have a MAtsui which played Vinyl, tapes, and CDS and all my stuff isn't ruined at all. I find the attitude--with respect--a bit elitist.

Why did you pick that particular model---do you rate it as one of the best of that kind?
 

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