Audiophile discussion

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Postby shoeless on Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:54 am

Just looking to get some advice/talk about quality sounding components.
Im wanting to put together a small system with big sound. There are so many options available but Im lost when it comes to knowing whats worth the coin.
I was thinking about going with a tube amp and a couple bookshelf speakers. Most of my music is on the iPod but we're shopping around for a turntable as well. Ive found a couple iPod systems but Im thinking it'll be a waste if the music isn't in lossless files. What can I do? Would I get the same quality going with something else?
Any advice is appreciated. :pint:
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Postby ironjaiden on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:13 am

I've got a pair of Audioengine A5 powered monitors, a Pro-Ject Debut III turntable and a Pro-Ject Tube Box S. All had for around $1,000.
The sound is outstanding, I can plug my iPod directly into the monitors if I like and the whole setup takes up very little space. Obviously you can go higher end but I couldn't be happier with my current setup and I've listened to systems 10x the price.
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Postby TattooMike on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:13 am

How much are you looking to spend? A good quality tube amp is going to be very expensive. I would look around around for vintage integrated amps. I personally have loved my old Marantz amps.
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Postby TattooMike on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:16 am

ironjaiden wrote:I've got a pair of Audioengine A5 powered monitors, a Pro-Ject Debut III turntable and a Pro-Ject Tube Box S. All had for around $1,000.
The sound is outstanding, I can plug my iPod directly into the monitors if I like and the whole setup takes up very little space. Obviously you can go higher end but I couldn't be happier with my current setup and I've listened to systems 10x the price.


The Debut III's are being replaced by the Debut Carbon, which adds a carbon fiber tonearm and a better cartridge for the same price the Debut III was. Very nice upgrade.
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Postby ironjaiden on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:21 am

TattooMike wrote:
ironjaiden wrote:I've got a pair of Audioengine A5 powered monitors, a Pro-Ject Debut III turntable and a Pro-Ject Tube Box S. All had for around $1,000.
The sound is outstanding, I can plug my iPod directly into the monitors if I like and the whole setup takes up very little space. Obviously you can go higher end but I couldn't be happier with my current setup and I've listened to systems 10x the price.


The Debut III's are being replaced by the Debut Carbon, which adds a carbon fiber tonearm and a better cartridge for the same price the Debut III was. Very nice upgrade.


Oh cool. In that case I'd hold off on the turntable purchase for the upgrade. Carbon tonearm is a really nice bump.
What's the new cartridge? I've been satisfied with the Ortofon that comes stock but I'm thinking about stepping up to a Grado Gold at some point.
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Postby TattooMike on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:33 am

ironjaiden wrote:What's the new cartridge?


It's still an Ortofon. They went with the 2M Red for the Carbon. I too have been satisfied with the cartridge that came with my Debut III, and was going to upgrade to the 2M Red. Now that I've bought my fully serviced Marantz 2275 I'm thinking of waiting till I can afford to upgrade the whole table to new Rega RP7.
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Postby fordwd on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:48 am

ironjaiden wrote:I've got a pair of Audioengine A5 powered monitors, a Pro-Ject Debut III turntable and a Pro-Ject Tube Box S. All had for around $1,000.
The sound is outstanding, I can plug my iPod directly into the monitors if I like and the whole setup takes up very little space. Obviously you can go higher end but I couldn't be happier with my current setup and I've listened to systems 10x the price.


I couldn't recommend the Audioengine A5's any higher. They sound much better than a lot of higher end speakers, I couldn't be happier with mine. They are connected to my Mac as well as an old school NAD 5080 turntable (in need of an upgrade) and a Cambridge Audio 640P pre-amp. They handle both inputs extremely well. I don't think anyone is ever completely happy with their systems, but as far as entry level speakers go, the A5's are in a class of their own.
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Postby student42 on Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:36 am

fordwd wrote: I don't think anyone is ever completely happy with their systems

Sunfire Classic tube preamp + Sunfire 300x2 amp + Rotel 991 AE CD Player + Kef reference 201 + Sunfire sub (tuned properly) + Thorens TD 125 MkII = Very Happy :D

As far as audiophile systems go the Audioengine A5 speakers are very good for the money but are hardly what I would consider and audiophile quality speaker (sorry my opinion folks). With that being said, I never encourage anyone to spend more money if they are perfectly happy with what they have. You can get plenty of enjoyment out of a system such as the A5. I will also point out there is an exponential decay in the amount of money you spend vs the improved sound quality you get.

I would strongly recommend finding a HIGH quality electronics store near you and listen to what they have to offer. You never know, you may not even care about the difference between a $200 pair of speakers and a $2000 pair of speakers. In my experience the staff is very helpful (remember to bring some of your favorite music on CD, LP) and many of them have an upgrade policy where you can periodically trade in your old speakers for a better set. Also, remember the electronics are as important as the speakers in high end systems.

Brands I would recommend looking at which are affordable are Kef, B&W, Paradigm, Mirage, Martin Logan, ect depending on your taste. (Paradigm is a great bang for the buck) It is tough to beat Rotel for electronics on a budget.

A good place for used audio gear is Audiogon and would recommend looking there as well.
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Postby student42 on Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:05 am

I just wanted to reiterate the best thing to do would be to go an listen to systems an see what it is going to take to make you happy. Sound quality is subjective not objective.

If your music source is an ipod (even with a lossless format) then spending money on an audiophile system in the way that I am thinking of is probably a waste of money.

You can, however, do quite well with a lossless format and a source such as a computer with a great sound card or other high quality digital music source (of which the ipod IS NOT)
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Postby TattooMike on Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:06 am

One caveat about Martin Logan speakers, electrostats require a lot of room. I love the way they sound, albeit with little bass (I'm referring to stats, I haven't heard any Martin Logans).

I've been told the same advice about high end audio stores, but unfortunately don't have any nearby. If you have that resource I would use it.
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Postby desch on Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:52 am

I found this forum a great place to go for any audiophile info. It can get a little geeky, but I think it covers all price points if you're willing to put in the time to find what you want.

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/
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Postby tranito on Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:31 pm

student42 wrote:I just wanted to reiterate the best thing to do would be to go an listen to systems an see what it is going to take to make you happy. Sound quality is subjective not objective.

If your music source is an ipod (even with a lossless format) then spending money on an audiophile system in the way that I am thinking of is probably a waste of money.

You can, however, do quite well with a lossless format and a source such as a computer with a great sound card or other high quality digital music source (of which the ipod IS NOT)


^This is key.^

Sound passionates my father. He listens to cds on a Naim system with Sonus Faber speakers.
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Postby shoeless on Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:55 am

Thanks for all the advice.
And, you are 100% correct student...best thing to do is go and listen. I worked for CC(when they were still around) and would always tell my customers that just because its the most expensive, doesnt make it the best for everyone.
I plan on going listen to a few things, but these Audioengine monitors have been getting some high praises. May have to try a pair out.
TattMike....Im really only looking at spending ~$1k. We have a small place for now and Im just wanting an entry level system.
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Postby TattooMike on Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:37 am

shoeless wrote:TattMike....Im really only looking at spending ~$1k. We have a small place for now and Im just wanting an entry level system.


Yeah, you're not even gonna find good vintage tube amps for that budget. I've not listened to the Audioengines, so I can't speak for them. When I upgraded from my cheap system my first time I bought a Pro-Ject Debut III on sale for $330 and found a Marantz 1060 along with a pair of KLH Model 5s on Craig's List for $350. The Marantz and KLH were completely serviced and restored. While the 1060 couldn't quite get the best out of the Model 5s, as it's a 30 wpc integrated and the Model 5s need about 70 to really sing, this was still a great sounding setup.
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Postby x43x on Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:56 pm

Being in a condo sucks for what I want to do, but I'm pretty happy with what I have at the moment. I'm more of a home theater guy than 2-channel, but I really enjoy the SACD and DVD-Audio discs I have. Recently upgraded my preamp to a Rotel 1572. I was using an Onkyo 805 receiver with a Rotel 1075 amp. The sound is so much more dynamic now. Speakers are B&W 704's L&R, HTM7 Center, DS3 rears, and a Martin Logan Depth-i sub. I did have a Sunfire sub for the longest time, but my cats decided to claw through the woofers. They almost died that night. :evil: TV is a Pioneer Elite 151FD and all my discs get played through an Oppo BD83.

Regarding the tunes you have on your ipod. Do you use itunes? Are you ripping your files in Apple Lossless or at least something better than mp3? If you were going to put a system together outside of your computer, you would be wise to look at receivers or preamps that have a USB or ipod input and can decode the lossless files. You can take the lossless files from your computer and plug them straight into the pre-amp via a thumb drive. Or if the files are on an ipod, directly into the pre-amp with the appropriate cable. One thing to note, is that streaming lossless files will make them lossy. That said, I stream lossless and lossy files to my preamp, and think they sound great. All of my files are at least AAC quality though.
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