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What items (to make up full system) for £500-£700

gavstephenson

Standard Member
Ok, I've started this thread following this thread:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/hi-f...improve-quality-sound-my-current-setup-2.html

Titled 'How to improve quality of sound in my current setup'

During which I found out that if I want a better set up, I should be prepared to pay for it. So, I wanna start thinking about what I would get. And I think I might have between £500 and £750 saved up to spend come the summer.

My room is quite small. A Living room, though.

4.8meters x3meters

So, this was kind of just to ask you all what you would buy if you were me in my situation. It would be wonderfully received information to me and a big help.

Thanks folks! I appreciate your time.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
List the equipment that is included in this budget, and the type of system.

For example, just amp and speakers, or is a CD included, and do you want radio AM/FM/DAB?

It is also worth noting in this thread that -

"I play all my music via iTunes by plugging my iMac into my amp. using a Radio Shack jack."

I think 'Radio Shack Jack' means he is using the analog output.

We have already discussed, in the other thread, burning the music at higher lossless bitrates. So, no need to cover that old ground again.

Now, can we assume you want a Stereo system? That is implied, but it would be nice if it was stated.

I think for the new money you are proposing, you should be able to get a stereo system beyond your dreams.

For about £180, you can have a NADC315 40w/ch integrated amp. Highly regarded, rugged, with notable bass. The slightly more powerful NAD C326 with 50w/ch at just under £300.

If you want an outstanding bargain in a ton of amp, AM/FM, and lots of power, consider the Harman Kardon HK3390 with 80w/ch at about £265.

That is just an off the top of my head list. Certainly Cambridge Audio, and Marantz are worth a look. A recent hifi magazine article had high praise for the Marantz PM5003, a very economical amp with 40w/ch at about £200.

Diamond 9.1/10.1 are always worth a look.

The Mordaunt Short Aviano, or if you can still find them, the Mezzo are first rate.

The Monitor Audio BR2 are about £200/pr. Also a well regarded speaker.

Give us the details of what you expect your money to buy you. Any limitations on space. I believe in post #15 in the other thread, you posted a photo of your listening space. That helps.

Your speakers seem to be on stands on each side of your TV with a reasonable amount of space apparently available. Would floorstanders be acceptable. There are some Q Acoustic 1000 series floorstander available right now, the 1030i single woofer and the 1050i twin woofer, for £130 and £199 respectively. An excellent bargain. If you aren't ready to buy now, then the newer Q Acoustic 2030 and 2050 are available at tolerable prices.

Prices on the Diamond 10 series are a little high right now, but they are good speakers, and may have come down in price when you are ready to buy.

That is just a quick overview, once we narrow down what you are looking for and what your limitations are, we can expand on the possibilities.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Jimholt

Active Member
You could go down the secondhand way and get more bang for your buck. If you want small standmounts you could use your existing stands and cables until funds grow and buy decent ones later.
 

gavstephenson

Standard Member
List the equipment that is included in this budget, and the type of system.

For example, just amp and speakers, or is a CD included, and do you want radio AM/FM/DAB?

Amp., speakers, cable (currently using Richer Sounds free cable!) and, I think a DAC., (or, get an amp with a DAC inbuilt. Is this an option?). And an optical cable.

No CD needed. And, when I do listen to the radio, I just listen to talk radio, so I think I am happy to keep streaming that from the internet.

It is also worth noting in this thread that -

"I play all my music via iTunes by plugging my iMac into my amp. using a Radio Shack jack."

I think 'Radio Shack Jack' means he is using the analog output.

Yes, I am at the moment. But I think I will upgrade to using the optical output* and use with a DAC.

*Or via USB is this is possible. Whichever is advisable.

Now, can we assume you want a Stereo system? That is implied, but it would be nice if it was stated.

I'm not sure exactly what that means. I've looked into it. I think my options are a stereo system or a surround sound system? Am I correct?

Well, I mainly listen to music (so, I think that tips me towards stereo, does it?), but I also watch DVDs on my iMac, so I'm open to ideas.

I think for the new money you are proposing, you should be able to get a stereo system beyond your dreams.

Oooo! Exciting! I hope so!

Give us the details of what you expect your money to buy you.

Hmm. Improved sound (when compared to my current set up), that works well with the digital music files I play out of my iMac (everything will stem from my iMac). Oh, and I want it to look **** hot too! :)


Any limitations on space. I believe in post #15 in the other thread, you posted a photo of your listening space. That helps.

Here is the photo. Hopefully I've worked out how to attach it this time. Oh, and as I mentioned: My room is quite small. A Living room, though. 4.8meters x3meters. As you can see, my sofa is close to my iMac. Of course, I'll be sitting on the sofa while watching DVDs, but not necessarily while listening to music.

DSCN2145.jpg

Your speakers seem to be on stands on each side of your TV with a reasonable amount of space apparently available. Would floorstanders be acceptable.

Yes. In fact, maybe preferred.

However, I do have a bit of a problem with the 'look' of most floorstanders. Maybe it is the wood, but they often look old fashioned to me. I'd prefer something a bit more 'space age' looking. Dunno, maybe the 'usual' floorstander look will grow on me. Time will tell.

Thanks for all the ideas, Steve. I've had good fun having a look at them all. I owe you a pint (or 10!).

You could go down the secondhand way and get more bang for your buck.

Hmm, well I bought my current amp 2nd hand and pleased I did, but I think I'd probably prefer to buy first hand for this venture. When spending a lot of money the guarantees will ease my mind, I think. Thanks for the thought, though!
 

makemywish

Active Member
I demoed NAD C326BEE, Marantz PM6003, Cambridge Audio Azur 650A, Cambridge Audio 340A and Arcam FMJ A28. The NAD and 340A were demoed in my living room, which is quite big. On the other hand the demo rooms were really small, about the size of your room. All systems were just too loud in the small demo rooms and sound ended up getting distorted and shrill. The CA 340A is a very good system and will be good for your room size. However, since you have a budget of 700, you would do well to go for a good low powered amp (Rotel, NAD, Arcam) and good speakers (B&W 685 definitely). For me the Marantz is overrated for its price. For your room size, I would go for a 340A and invest in a CA Dac Magic along with S30 speakers, or something in the 340A power class.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
As to 'space age' speaker, if you want to multiply your budget by 4x, then 'space age' speakers might be on the bill. But for now, lets concentrate on just speakers -

INFINITY BETA 40 (BETA 40) 3-Way Dual 6-1/2" Floorstanding Loudspeaker Featuring Patented... - www.hiwayhifi.com

I've not heard these, but what I have found on the Internet consistently rates them at 4 to 5 out of 5 stars. Cost ~ £200/pr.

Something more modest, Diamond 9.4 @ £185/pr -

Audio Affair | Hi-fi, Home Cinema, Multi Room & Custom Install - Wharfedale Diamond 9.4 Floorstanding Speakers Pair

In the same range, Monitor Audio BR2 bookshelf; 6.5" woofer in a 2-way for £200/pr -

MONITOR AUDIO BR2 SPEAKERS (PAIR) at hifix.co.uk

Pushing your budget pretty hard, but B&W 685; a well regarded speaker, but at £370/pr -

BOWERS AND WILKINS 685 B&W SPEAKERS (PAIR) at hifix.co.uk

Also consider the Acoustic Energy Aelite 1, supposedly a good sounding speaker, though the woofers are a little small for my taste @ £260/pr.

Don't have much direct experience with this speaker, but Dali has a good reputation in general. The Dali Concept 2; 6.5" woofer, 2-way bookshelf, good specs @ £245/pr.

Mordaunt Short has a very good reputation -

Aviano 1 = £250/pr
Aviano 2 = £330/pr
Mezzo 2 = £320/pr

Wharfedale Diamond 10 series -

Diamond 10.2 = £250/pr

Diamond 9.1 = £100 to £120/pr, but stock is dwindling fast.

Here is a more classic design speaker, that has some appeal, though I've not heard much about them. Pioneer 8 inch 3-way CS7070 @ £250/pr. Not a lot of information is available about this speaker. It appeals to me more as a concept than anything. I like big woofers, and today, 8" is about as big as they come. If you are interested give the staff at HiFix a call, and get their opinions.

All speaker without links can be found at HiFix.co.uk.

The range is £100 to £350 for a pair of speaker, that leaves you the balance for the amp. In the £200 to £300 range, you should be able to get a very substantial amp that can server your needs nicely - Cambridge, NAD, Marantz, and others.

However, if you are specifically waiting for someone here to say 'Buy This', that's not going to happen. We can only point you at the possibilities, and you have to decide from their.

Also, while you are at the HiFix.co.uk site, look at the Harman Kardon HK3390 Receiver for about £265. That is an excellent price on a high powered receiver.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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