Gear / Technical Help => Playback Forum => Topic started by: Lee on April 20, 2003, 02:47:55 AM

Title: Entering the market... help!
Post by: Lee on April 20, 2003, 02:47:55 AM
So I've sunk enough cash into my rig (I think), and I'm looking for a modest playback system.  What kind of recommendations can yall give me to get something off the ground?  Right now I'm running basic consumer stuff (Kenwood reciever/amp, Pioneer CD-player, Infinity speakers).  Spare me the criticism of my current setup, and help me get a new one that will serve me until I can sink some serious bucks into a "real" setup.  I'm looking for a reasonably-priced, 2 channel system, and I'm willing to build it from the ground up, seeing as I won't be able to salvage any of my current gear (well, maybe the CD player for the time being).  I've been looking at Paradigm speakers, as they seem to be in my price range.  What should I be looking for in a preamp and an amp?  What about a DAC?  Cabling?

Naturally, I'm going to go down to the local hifi and demo all the stuff before I make any decisions, so I can taylor it to what I want to hear.  Basically what I'm looking for are suggestions on where to start!

Title: Re:Entering the market... help!
Post by: carlbeck on April 20, 2003, 09:17:49 AM
Demo as much as you can but only buy used. Check out www.audiogon.com for EVERYTHING stereo related, that should get you pointed in the right direction ;)
Title: Re:Entering the market... help!
Post by: Tim on April 20, 2003, 04:35:31 PM
audiogon is great and read reviews at audioreview.com

Not sure of your price point but when I a/b'd the paradigms to the B&W's the B&W's sound much fuller.

You also may want to look into an integrated amp... I like my NAD 370 a lot.

Title: Re:Entering the market... help!
Post by: DaryanLenz on April 20, 2003, 07:17:31 PM
OK, well how about some refrence points to start with.  What would be the speaker's to go demo in the 3-500 dollar range?  How about 500-1000?  After that, if you were spending that much, you would probably know what to go look at in the first place!

Title: Re:Entering the market... help!
Post by: DaryanLenz on April 20, 2003, 07:46:27 PM
Also, just curious about this, what speaker manufacturers are known for speakers that do not add a whole lot of color?  I am interested in hearing my tapes how they really sound, like through headphones!

Title: Re:Entering the market... help!
Post by: ducati on April 22, 2003, 10:24:10 AM
If you're used to hearing your tapes through headphones, Daryan, you are in for a real treat on a "big" hifi.  Sound is felt as well as heard!  You might just find your taping preferences change, as well; I used to love XY as it came out great for headphone and car listening.  It sounds like crap on a real hifi, tho, IMO.

echo2288: audiogon is an excellent recommendation for used gear.  I suggest patronizing your local hifi shop as much as possible.  Over the years you will establish a relationship with them, and get as good (or better!) deals on equipment, usually with full warranty.  Demo equipment (sometimes it's unopened!) with warranty is my FAVORITE way to buy hifi.  Also, once you establish a trustworthy relationship, they will allow you to demo hifi gear in your *home* before buying, without shelling out any $$.  What it sounds like in your rig is the most important thing.

What lines do your local shop carry?  That influences your decision greatly if you stick with them.  Remember there is a LOT of good hifi out there, everyone has their preferences, but I've found you can build a killer rig out of local stock if your shop is good.  Sometimes what they carry will be as good, or better, than the "internet favorite of the week."

What is your definition of reasonably priced?  How much total do you want to spend?  Don't forget to budget for good cabling...

I would not keep and utilize your CDP.  "Source first" as they say, or "Garbage in, Garbage out."  A good 16-bit CDP makes a WORLD of difference in a playback rig.  Don't skimp here.

I started with NAD stuff in college.  NAD, Rotel, and in some cases Denon, make great well-priced gear.  NAD has fallen from graces with me due to reliability issues (their LCD screens break CONSTANTLY), although I would still consider thier integrated amps (C370 in particular).  Rotel used to suck, IMO, but is making some spectacularly surprising gear as of late (their 1070 series is fantastic for the $$!).  Denon's DVD/CDPs aren't bad for the $$ if you require DVD playback, too.  

I would stay away from an external DAC in the "reasonable" pricerange unless you require 24 bit playback.  One-box CDPs like the Rotel 1070 are getting REALLY good.  That said, if you tape 24 bit, MSB supposedly makes great lower-cost DACs.

I have owned many iterations of B&W speakers, I second their recommendation.  Fantastic value for the $$, in almost every range (stay away from the CM series, tho).  And they make models for every budget and taste.  I have demoed a few Paradigms in the past, and never liked them enough to buy them; they always were outclassed by the B&W competition, IMO.  But some people swear by them.

I'll stop blabbing now, hope that helps!  Let us know what lines your local shop carries...
Title: Re:Entering the market... help!
Post by: JeffK on April 22, 2003, 03:23:57 PM
I did the same Paradigm vs. B&W listening tests.  To my ears, the B&W's also won out as the better sounding speaker (for Rock and Jazz music).  I ended up buying the DM604S3's because of this comparison :)