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Stereo seperates system

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by mobily, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. mobily

    mobily
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    Hey all,

    It's an exciting time for me. I am moving house and my other half promised that when we moved I could finally purchase a hi-fi seperates system. Oh joy! :thumbsup:

    However, due to moving costs... (do you know how much conveyancing costs!!??) I only have a budget of between £400-500.

    I have been doing some avid reading on these forums and firstly would like to know what the difference between a CDP and a transport is?
    At the moment I have an all-in-one system which I use for dvds and cds and dab listening. I am going to keep the all-in-one for dvds so I can enjoy 5.1 sound from that.

    With a budget of £500 would it be worth getting a cd player, stereo amp and speakers and then maybe adding a DAC into the system at a later date? I have read that a sub is a good addition to a music setup, but surely a good set of floor standers would provide enough bass?

    I do like the look of floor standing speakers but if bookshelf or speakers on stands would be better than I would be willing to go down that route.

    I was thinking of Cambridge CDP and amp but on the speaker front I have no idea!

    Any suggestions on a decent setup would be appreciated. :)
     
  2. shahedz

    shahedz
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    Hi i would definitley go down the floor stander route, as for a sub in my personal expereince i would definitley not go down that route, not for music anyway, as for the CD player not too sure on that! best of luck with moving!
     
  3. Light_User

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    You need to say what music you like ie., classical, rock, heavy metal etc...
    Read lots of reviews and try and match your equipment to what sounds best with your favorite styles of music.
    Also, don't forget decent interconnects. It's amazing how much a decent set will add to your enjoyment and a bad set will kill it.
    Finally, try and get a demo of all of the equipment together before you buy.
     
  4. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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  5. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    rule number 1 go to a decent hi fi delkaer and listen to whatevr equip[iment fits within oyur budget.If you fanvcy Cambridge the Richer sounds is the place to start. You can then listen to various speakers to match Cam cdp and amp. If your intend listening room is small then I would suggest small monitors otherwise the bass may overpower midrange and treble. The latter two are more important anyway.If you go down the dac route then a cheap cdp will suffice as it will only be used as a transport( eventually). I recently bought a Cambridge Dac 3 through Ebay and it has radically changed the sound I was getting ie more bass better stereo separation and better imaging.unfortunately they are no longer made but sometimes come up for auction. You might also consider a Cambridge DAc 2 mk11 or one of the Meridian ones which come up from time to time.

    If it was me I would allow about £200 for a Cambridge Azur 540a amp £100 for bookshelf speakers ; there are several on offer at Richers= Tannoy, Mission, Gale ,Eltax etc . that leaves you about £200 .Check thisd cdp which seems to have good reviews:
    http://www.qed-uk.com/?i=&vp=6&bg=217&bp=370b&bi=0&ird=1403

    and spend the rest on cabling and a decent pair of stands
     
  6. deaf cat

    deaf cat
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    Yes Yes Yes must go try different amps, speakers, cables etc and find what you like the sound of.

    Something different....maybe, just a suggestion as I am finding it rather a fab little bit of kit:
    http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_overview.html
     
  7. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    I'd definitely agree it's worth demoing a range of kit, to get a sense of what you like. The Sony CDP la gran links to is definitely a good piece of kit for the money - got one myself, was very happy with it on it's own, but run it through a DAC now... There are better players and DACs out there, but you'd have to spend a fair bit more to get them (new, at least). One slight downer with the Sony player is there's an optical but not a coaxial digital out - could be a pain if you want to add a DAC at a later date.

    You might also think about buying secondhand - amps (especially) and speakers (if you can demo) tend to be relatively safe buys, as are DACs imo. For example, you could probably pick up a couple of year old cambridge, maratnz or rotel amp with plenty of power for under £100, or you could also look at something like the mf x80 (was a £500 amp, now new for £250 and secondhand for less....) This would leave you at least £150-200 for speakers, maybe more, so you'd have lots of choice secondhand and a fair bit of choice new. btw, if you're thinking of gale or eltax speakers, these tend to go very cheap secondhand (you might want to see if a pair of gale 2i come up - to my ears they're much better than the newer gale standmounts, and often sell for well under £50)

    Stands are definitely worthwhile, if you're getting standmount speakers. In terms of cables, try demoing 'audiophile' ones against decent quality thick, properly shielded copper cables (the kind you get from Maplin for about £1 a meter), comparing them 'blind' if possible, and see if you can hear a difference. With speakers cables, I couldn't, but others do find it makes a big difference to the sound...

    Jon
     
  8. mobily

    mobily
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    Thanks for all your suggestions. :)

    I know that Richer Sounds do open box sales on a regular basis where you can find some good bargains. The only problem with buying second hand is it can be difficult to get a demo of the kit so it would be buying purely on the basis of reviews.

    The kind of music I listen to is keane, snow patrol, oasis, guns 'n' roses, fountains of wayne. However I also like to listen to sounds like katie melua, lightning seeds, robert miles and air if I need to relax.

    I was thinking of maybe the following CDP:

    http://ws4.richersounds.com/showproduct.php?cda=showproduct&pid=CAMB-AZUR540C-SIL

    Coupled with the following amp:

    http://ws4.richersounds.com/showproduct.php?cda=showproduct&pid=NAD-C320BEE-TIT

    Coupled with the following speakers:

    http://ws4.richersounds.com/showproduct.php?cda=showproduct_clearancebargains&pid=MISS-M73I-BCH

    Ideally I would like my kit to have the ability to replace my current all-in-one eventually so I would use it to watch movies. So magnetically shielded is a must. The ability to upgrade to a DAC would be nice also. Plenty of inputs for DAB and other external kit would be great. If I did decide to add a sub at a later date do stereo amps carry a sub output as a matter of course?

    If I were to use the kit for cinema purposes would I need to buy a seperate sub?

    Also, for cinema purposes would my amp need a digital input or just the ordinary phono inputs?

    Thanks for all the advice :)
     
  9. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    happy demo-ing, mobily :)

    You may be able to demo secondhand kit if you buy near home, but for fleabay etc. you normally can't. That said, if you buy secondhand at a good price you *hopefully* wouldn't lose too much if you sell it on, and Richer Sounds should let you demo their secondhand stuff (or take it to home demo), but yeah, there is more risk involved...

    CD player should be fine if you want to buy new and get a standalone player (though worth having a listen to marantz etc. in the same kind of price range, and maybe try to have a listen to the cheap sony recommended above as well - not sure how much difference you'll find for the extra money...) imho you'd get more for your money if you looked for a secondhand DAC (or new NOS Dac) and used a budget DVD-P or CD-P as transport, but lots of people do prefer the standalone route.

    When you say it must be magnetically shielded, I take it that you'll have the speakers fairly close to your TV (and the M73I are shielded?)? I heard the mission M73 (not I) when looking for speakers myself - they're not bad for the money, but with your taste in music you might find them a bit bass-heavy...have a listen and see what you think. You could also look at buying a pair of standmount speakers, and adding a sub later on for AV (would give you more control over bass levels) - but see what you think of the sound...

    A stereo amp will do 2.0 sound fine (for example, from the analogue stereo output your DVD-P and freeview box will probably have). It won't do 5.1 or 7.1, but you can add a digital amp later on if you want surround.

    Jon
     
  10. mobily

    mobily
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    Thanks for the advice Jon.

    I am torn between a budget CDP and a DAC or to spend a little more on a CDP and then upgrade to a DAC at a later date.

    I probably wouldn't bother with a sub for music as I would expect my floorstanders to give me as much bass as I want. However when my all-in-one eventually gives up the ghost I would invest in a sub when I use my setup for movies.

    When using a sub off the same amp for cinema that you use for music is it possible to turn the sub off when listening to music?
     
  11. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    Does your current all in one have a sub - you *may* be able to use this for movies with your separate system. However, with the something like the mission floor standers you link to, I doubt that lack of Bass for movies will be an immediate problem, unless you it very loud or have a very big room (some floorstanders can be fairly bass light, though, so listen to the ones you go for). tbh, I'd think that with the missions it is more likely you will find the base a bit too overpowering or boomy for the type of music you listen to, but see how they sound to you and preferably check them out in your home as well.

    My preference was to go for a separate DAC instead of a new CD player -- I was able to buy a Meridian DAC for less than I would have paid for say an Azur CD-player, and to my ears it sounds good enough that I would want to spend serious money on upgrading the rest of my system before I even looked at changing the DAC. People do have differing tastes and preferences with this type of thing though....

    Jon
     
  12. mobily

    mobily
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    Since I have my eye on a HDD/DVD recorder also I may need to reduce my budget. My question is would a seperates system costing around a total of £300 sound better than my current sony dav-s550 all-in-one system which I use for music?
     
  13. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    A separates system *should* sound better, but try to listen to a couple in budget and see what you think. You might be best to plug your DVD recorder into the amp instead of a CD player, to save money, if the DVD has a decent sound. You could perhaps look at getting a £50 or so DAC to use with the DVD?

    Even buying new, but especially second-hand, the £250-300 this would leave you to spend on an amp and speakers should let you very much improve on what you have. I spent slightly less than this on my amp and speakers, but have just taken my (originally quite expensive) all in one to the charity shop because I no longer use it ;)

    Jon
     
  14. mobily

    mobily
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    I may well go the DVD player as a CD player route and then add a cheap DAC. Where is the best place to buy a DAC?
     
  15. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    have a look on ebay - for example, a couple of meridian 203s on there that are currently pretty cheap (I am biassed, I really like mine :) ) I think these are pretty old models (there was a more recent dac7 upgrade to the 203) but if they go for under £50 I don't think you'll go too far wrong, assuming they arrive working etc ;) I think these would have been about £500 new :)

    You could also try posting a wanted ad in the classifieds on this forum, or on http://www.hifiwigwam.com/

    Links to ebay here (I don't know any of the sellers, so don't blame me if something goes wrong ;) ):
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Meridian-203-...806326097QQcategoryZ81741QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Meridian-203-DAC_W0QQitemZ5807470703QQcategoryZ3272QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
     
  16. mobily

    mobily
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    Thanks for the suggestions Jon.

    The Dac looks good but may be a little old now. I also have a DAB radio I would like to connect to the DAC. Do they offer the ability to hook up more than one piece of kit or is it recommended to have one dac per piece of equipment?

    The DAB is a Cambridge DAB300

    On some of the amps I have been looking at they have connections on the back for two sets of speakers. Is this designed for if you have a very large room or want to put an extra set of speakers next door in the study for example?
     
  17. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    In terms of age, you're likely to find that most DACs in your budget will be at least a few years old; it's an arguable point how much the technology has improved in the meantime. If you wanted something newer, lots of people seem to like the NOS DACs you see around. Some DACs have more than one input, others don't, but for those that don't you can use a switch box to share the single input with multiple devices - not elegant, but it works. There's no need to have one DAC per device. It may be worth double-checking that your DAB will work with the DAC you buy, but I'm not too well up on the tech details...

    2 sets of speaker outputs is normally designed to let you run 2 pairs of speakers in different rooms; it can also be used for biwiring, though on a limited budget I'd suggest you don't bother with that (you may also be able to use the 2nd speaker output for your sub - not sure how this would work, though). You *could* run 2 pairs of speakers in the same room, but you'd be better spending more money on 1 pair of better speakers. btw, even if you buy an amp with only one pair of speaker outputs, you can buy a 2-way switch to use it with 2 pairs of speakers - cost you a tenner or so.

    Jon
     
  18. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I would assume this has been answered, but I didn't see it, so just in case:
    A CDP will read the digital info on a CD, and then convert the signal to analogue, using it's internal DAC. This analugue signal will go into your amp.
    A transport will read the digital info on a CD, and output a digital signal (note, you can use CDPs or DVDPs as transports, by using theire digital out, instead of their analogue outs, thus bypassing their internal DAC.
    The digital signal will then generally go to a seperate DAC (unless say you're using an AV amp with digital inputs, or a specialist stereo amp) which will convert the signal to analogue, and pass it to your amp.
     

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