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Author Topic: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice  (Read 5614 times)

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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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I've been listening to my music via my computer and some decent cans (Grado SR-80 + Sennheiser HD 280 Pro) for too long. It's time to get a decent playback system.

I would like to start out with a integrated amp (preferably with a phono pre-amp), turntable, and bookshelf sized speakers. I'd like to keep the Amp and Speakers  in the $1000 (+/- $250) neighborhood.

My listening room will be about 15' x 25' living room. I'll be listening to mostly vinyl with this setup, but would also like to hook up my media server to it.

Today I went down to the local Hi-Fi shop and they had a deal on this:

Denon CX3 Integrated Amp - $579 - http://www.listenup.com/Denon+DRA-CX3-p-DRACX3-p-.html

Denon SC-CX303 Speakers - $579 - http://www.listenup.com/Denon+SC-CX303-p-SCCX303-p-12780358.html

This seems like a pretty good deal and the setup sounded great. They didn't really have many other options in that price range. I didn't really consider Denon as a brand I was looking at.

Some other options I had considered (many based on suggestions I've seen here), but haven't had a chance to listen to as there aren't any dealers near me:

Amps:

Cambridge 550-A - $549

Speakers:

Epos ELS 8 $495

Turntables:

Rega P1 $395
Pro-ject Debut III $369
Pro-Ject RM-1.3 $499

So, if I were to go purely on price the Denon setup is the best "deal" but I don't really trust prices on Hi-Fi equipment, as I've found that some things have pretty inflated prices and some things sound awesome for less money.

Any advice? I open to just about anything in my price range. I really don't care if it says Realistic on the front of it if it sounds great, so any brand is fine with me. I'd much prefer to buy something locally (Denver/Boulder) so I can actually listen to what I'm paying for BEFORE I pay for it.



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Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 08:17:00 PM »
I think Denon's are crap.   I lusted after them in my youth, and then, when it came time to buy years later, I took one home and compared it against some other gear (Naim Nait, and Linn gear).  Garbage. At that time, on my budget, I went with a Creek 4140 integreated amp.  Of course maybe things have changed..

You don't just want to listen to it, you want to listen to it in your home, in your listening room.  There's a big difference between the dedicated listening rooms at hifi shops and the home environment.

I'd look for quality used gear.  You'll get much better value for your dollar, and you won't lose much as you upgrade.

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Offline Jimna

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2010, 08:34:39 PM »
That last sentence says it all, Mike.    Look used, you can get hifi gear at midfi prices. 

and for gods sake dont buy Denon speakers.
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Offline thegreatgumbino

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2010, 10:26:51 PM »
I've found that some things have pretty inflated prices and some things sound awesome for less money.

Speakers:  PSB Alpha B1 $225
Amp: Dayton DTA-100 $100

This is my "modest" living room setup.  The room is about the same size as what you reference.  Sounds fantastic.  No Phono in there, but there may be another sleeper option to add into the mix since this only takes up ~$350 of your budget.
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Offline Todd R

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2010, 12:40:31 PM »
Mike -- I'd agree about not jumping to Denon.  But if Denon makes the list, you might want to think about Onkyo.  Only because I've got an onkyo receiver you're free to use for awhile, or would probably trade for beer if you want to keep it.  Pretty far from an integrated -- it's a pretty large AV receiver (I think 6.1 ch, but would have to check).  Drop me a line if you want to put it to use though.

On other options, I'd give a thumbs up to Cambridge Audio -- I've always liked their sound.  I had the A500 integrated amp for a few years.  Then went with some other options for a bit (tube pres, etc), but have now simplified with a 540R HT receiver from CA.
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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2010, 04:59:53 PM »
That last sentence says it all, Mike.    Look used, you can get hifi gear at midfi prices. 

and for gods sake dont buy Denon speakers.

Yeah. I really need to go listen to something else. I was actually pretty impressed with that system, but I have a feeling I can get equally good for less, or better for the same price.

Todd, I may take you up on your offer for a temp. solution. First thing I need is a new turntable. Mine has developed a really nasty 60Hz hum (loose ground somewhere I'm guessing).

I think I might head down to Denver tomorrow to listen to some stuff.

Any Colorado folks been to Gold Sound in Englewood? Looks like they have a decent selection of used gear, and a good selection of brands I'm interested in for new.
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||| MICS:  Beyer CK930 ~ Nevaton MCE400 ~ Countryman B3 |||
||| CABLES: Kind Kables |||
||| PREAMPS: Naiant Tinybox | Naiant Littlebox | Naiant IPA | Church BB |||
||| DECKS: Sound Devices MixPre6 | Sony M10 |||
||| PLAYBACK: Outlaw Audio RR2150 > Epos ELS8 |||
||| PHOTO: Sony a6000 | Sony 16-50 | Sony 55-210 | Rokinon 14mm | Rokinon 8mm |||
|||Concert History || LMA Recordings || Live YouTube Channel ||

Offline Jimna

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2010, 05:25:47 PM »
never been here but looks good:  http://www.recycledaudio.com/
Co-Founder of F.M.Recording 
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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2010, 05:28:44 PM »
never been here but looks good:  http://www.recycledaudio.com/

I actually know the owner (former customer of mine). He runs this out of his house now. I should get in touch with him.
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||| MICS:  Beyer CK930 ~ Nevaton MCE400 ~ Countryman B3 |||
||| CABLES: Kind Kables |||
||| PREAMPS: Naiant Tinybox | Naiant Littlebox | Naiant IPA | Church BB |||
||| DECKS: Sound Devices MixPre6 | Sony M10 |||
||| PLAYBACK: Outlaw Audio RR2150 > Epos ELS8 |||
||| PHOTO: Sony a6000 | Sony 16-50 | Sony 55-210 | Rokinon 14mm | Rokinon 8mm |||
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Offline dave w

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2010, 06:50:49 PM »
Gold Sound can be hit or miss.  The proprieter is one very strange dude.

Offline Jimna

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2010, 07:19:46 PM »
I really want to go to cherry creek audio, they sell maggies and I would like to check them out.
Co-Founder of F.M.Recording 
SD: Busman Audio BSC1-K1/K2/K3/K4 > Grace Lunatec V3 > Busman Hybrid R4
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Information is not knowledge
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Music is THE BEST
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Offline Tim

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2010, 08:27:58 PM »
Gold Sound can be hit or miss.  The proprieter is one very strange dude.


yep

worth stopping by but just be aware that he's a loon.

text me when you come down Mike, I'm not too far from there. First free weekend since May, at the least we can listen to some tunes over here
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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2010, 06:10:42 AM »
Nice. Looney business owners are a personal love of mine. I just find them entertaining.
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||| MICS:  Beyer CK930 ~ Nevaton MCE400 ~ Countryman B3 |||
||| CABLES: Kind Kables |||
||| PREAMPS: Naiant Tinybox | Naiant Littlebox | Naiant IPA | Church BB |||
||| DECKS: Sound Devices MixPre6 | Sony M10 |||
||| PLAYBACK: Outlaw Audio RR2150 > Epos ELS8 |||
||| PHOTO: Sony a6000 | Sony 16-50 | Sony 55-210 | Rokinon 14mm | Rokinon 8mm |||
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Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2010, 12:51:14 PM »
I think it is always ia good idea to sanity check any used gear prices against audiogon.

It is very worth going and listening to a really great high end system, just as a reference point.  Find a great local hifi dealer, be honest that your budget is limited, but you just want to have your mind blown.  Bring your own discs, and be open to listening to stuff they recommend.

I can remember hearing the clocks in Dark Side of the Moon on CLSs in a huge listening room for the first time... With the clocks filling the entire wall and imaging 15 feet beyond the outside the speakers.  Definitely a WTF moment.  Actually, listening to that ruined me, and might have been a huge mistake ;)


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Offline edtyre

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2010, 12:41:25 AM »
I agree with Freelunch, i had low expectations for my budget until i listened to some good systems first.

also do a search on Audiogon for your zip code (or partial zip code), you may find a dealer near you that has much
higher quality gear used  for the same budget. I bought two whole systems that way and
saved like 70% off new prices.
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Offline Todd R

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2011, 11:02:45 AM »
Mike -- ever pick up a new amp?

Our flooded basement (God-willing) will hopefully be rebuilt one day soon.  Since they need to replace 1' of drywall all around the basement to get things back together, I decided to jump ahead 5-6 years in the home renovation schedule and change things around now since it's going to be worked on anyway. 

I've framed in a new bedroom down there (used to be a completely open L-shaped family room).  So it looks like soon I may have a new mancave to set up shop in.  About 10 x 16, so perhaps not ideal, but I'm looking forward to having a room where I can get some listening in again.

Financially, the wise decision would be to use that garaged Onkyo 5.1 HT receiver in our family room, and move the Cambridge Audio Azur 540R to the new mancave.  It's a 6.1ch HT amp, but I'd just be using it for 2ch audio.

I might choose the rational course, but I am thinking about getting a 2ch amp instead, probably an integrated.  Wondering if you ever got anything, and what you thought of the various local audio shops, including that recycled audio place.


Freelunch -- if you're still listening, what do you think about Creek Audio gear?  They're on my short list of stuff I'd like to audition.
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Offline ScoobieKW

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2011, 02:32:50 PM »
Bought Mission 751 bookshelf speakers from Recycled Audio in 1991, they are currently in service in my son's room.
Back then they had an amazing upgrade deal. Any electronics you bought could be exchanged for full value for a year as long as you spent $50 more.

Left Boulder before Recycled Audio could become an expensive habit for me.

good to hear they are still around.

 
never been here but looks good:  http://www.recycledaudio.com/

I actually know the owner (former customer of mine). He runs this out of his house now. I should get in touch with him.
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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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Re: TSKB: Integrated Amp + Turntable + Bookshelf speakers advice
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2011, 02:41:15 PM »
Haven't picked up an amp. I did end up picking up the Epos ELS 8's which I got brand new for $250. Couldn't pass that up.

Problem with finding an amp has been finding something I'm into, and having cash to spare at the same time. The two have not crossed paths yet.

I am considering the Music Hall a15.2 which has some nice reviews. It has a phono preamp in it, so I can sell my current phone preamp. Runs about $500 which is in my budget.

I just moved to a new place with thinner walls, so I'm not in a huge hurry to finish this up.

Hopefully I will buy a house in the next year (or so). A basement with a man cave is a necessity for sure, as I plan to make A LOT of noise.  ;D
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|||||||||||||||||||||||||||| []

||| MICS:  Beyer CK930 ~ Nevaton MCE400 ~ Countryman B3 |||
||| CABLES: Kind Kables |||
||| PREAMPS: Naiant Tinybox | Naiant Littlebox | Naiant IPA | Church BB |||
||| DECKS: Sound Devices MixPre6 | Sony M10 |||
||| PLAYBACK: Outlaw Audio RR2150 > Epos ELS8 |||
||| PHOTO: Sony a6000 | Sony 16-50 | Sony 55-210 | Rokinon 14mm | Rokinon 8mm |||
|||Concert History || LMA Recordings || Live YouTube Channel ||

 

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