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  1. #26
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    You could build a killer system for your $2K on ebay if somebody gave you some guidance. I bet there's recommendations out there if you google around.

  2. #27
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    Yeah, if I had a $2k budget, I'd have a field day. But. If you are new to this, it's tough to recognize a good deal, and many times by the time you figure it out, it's gone... Because it was a good deal.
    I think JBL L5 are a great deal on the used front. I am running a set on my mains. They can be had for $500 or much less if you are lucky. If they pop in your area. I grabbed a pair of signet sl280 b/u the other day for $150, with nice stands, and man are they good. Almost JBL L5 good. They are very good on a budget. If you look new, Utah has you covered with the zu omen dirty weekend, or the tekton lore, both around $1000. For amps, there are lots of good amps out there for $2-$500 used. Lots. Someone above talked about headroom, and it's real. A high quality 60-70 watt will do better than a new 100watt with corners cut.
    I listen to a lot of CDs, and a good Rotel CD player will run you $50. Or mine did anyway.
    I'm on the hunt for a higher end dac, with streaming capability, and almost pulled the trigger the other day on a smsl su-9. Audio science review says they don't get much better... And it has plenty of hookups for multiple digital sources.
    I'm using an old school JVC turntable that just keeps working and sounding nice. I'd expect similar units are $100-200 again, depends on what pops in your area.
    Lots of good preamps out there in the $3-500 range as well, used of course.
    I'm a tinkerer, a cheapskate, and a pack rat, and I get off on the hunt, so I'm always looking

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  3. #28
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    Be aware that being an audiophile can become an expensive rabbit hole. I would go to Audiogon to get some quality used gear. If you are willing to do pre HDMI you can get incredible audio gear at steep discounts. IMO Speakers are by far the most important followed by a decent amp. You have to decide what sound you like so I would listen to speakers with the music you like. I had a $20k Levinson amp that I hated because it presented a harsh articulate sound with my speakers and switched to one a 3rd the price warms my heart. Listening room appointments make a huge difference once you cover the basics. The less hard surfaces the better. Also if you are sourcing from mp3s as apposed to lossless codecs or vinyl it will only sound so good. Really good gear actually will expose crappy source material that you wouldn't notice with mediocre gear.


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  4. #29
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    Lots of good advice in this thread - I agree with everything related to horn speakers (whether they're Klipsch, Altec, or others) over modern low sensitivity speakers. There is absolutely no replacement for displacement when it comes to audio, and I don't think you could do better than some vintage or heritage model Klipsch or Altec speakers without spending an actual fortune.

    That said, how much space can you devote to your speakers?

    I have Klipsch Chorus IIs in my living room. I love them, and after owning them for a while I cannot imagine going back to a setup without horns or with lower sensitivity. The downside for some is that they are not at all hidden and take up a lot of space. If you're OK with that or have a large room you can't do better for the money than something like these or the slightly smaller Hersey series. You can probably find some really good condition Klipsch heritage speakers in the $500 range.

    The difference in listening is pretty dramatic - and the extra detail and clarity is a welcome addition for not only music but also TV and movies. I've always had pretty high end speakers, but the Chorus IIs have been an upgrade in general listening over the more expensive speakers they replaced. I don't have the space for a separate listening room, so double duty is important to me.

    If you're buying modern gear you're going to pay through the nose for anything that incorporates video yet is deemed "audiophile" quality. For TV I don't care quite so much, so I'm running an amp switch to use the speakers with two sets of amps. A pretty OK modern amp for TV / video sources and a tube amp for music.

    Oh, and don't waste your money on really expensive speaker cables. Belden 9497 is what you want: https://www.ebay.com/str/vincesanalogstore

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    As a Christmas gift to myself I'm hoping to finally piece together a decent stereo for the living room. I'm looking to spend a decent amount (about 2k) but nothing remotely close to top of the line stuff. I've poked around the internet and pieced together what some guides have recommended but I honestly have zero idea if they are just selling me something or if they are actually any good. When I was a broke teenager I could go to a store and blast some tunes and get a feel for stuff I couldn't afford then but those days seem to be history now when I can. I'll be utilizing an old mac mini for digital stuff but want to focus on old school hi-fi sound as classic rock is mostly the stuff I listen to. I still want to have the ability to stream from my phone (and friends when they come over and show me new bands) though as I'll need to build a record collection over time.

    So what say the collective for the following setup?

    Amp: NAD-C316BEE-V2
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_745C31...316BEE-V2.html

    Speakers: Klipsch RP-600M's (on some stands most likely)
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_714RP6...0M-Walnut.html

    Record Player: Pro Ject Debut Carbon EVO
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_252113...tin-Black.html

    Bluetooth Receiver/ DAC: Audioengine B1
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_772B1A...engine-B1.html

    Cable: AudioQuest X2 (I struggle to see how copper wire has any differences)
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_703X23...feet-Gray.html

    I want to eventually be able to build into a better system but am unsure where I should really focus on spending money now other than the speakers. I have zero knowledge on amp brands and who is good and who isn't. 600 bucks seems like a lot for a record player but the Pro Ject seems to be the one to get wherever I look for advice. My initial reaction is it is hard to justify spending more money on copper speaker wire other than upping the gauge. I can't see it being any different from brand to brand but will take advice from those who know more.
    I’m trying to learn along with you, so I have a question about the separate integrated amp and Bluetooth receiver: why not just get an integrated amp that has Bluetooth built in?:

    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_745D30....html?tp=34948

  6. #31
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    https://www.reddit.com/r/BudgetAudiophile/

    I’m far from an expert, but I ended up with some Polks over Klipsch… at my price point they sounded better in store…

    I wouldn’t discount going to a brick and mortar store and listening…


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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickwm21 View Post

    I wouldn’t discount going to a brick and mortar store and listening…

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    Problem is nobody has inventory --maybe it's getting better, but I was in my local audio store about 4 months ago, and they looked like they had been robbed. They were selling the display stuff due to lack of inventory.
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  8. #33
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    Touché


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  9. #34
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    I have not heard that particular item, but, class D amp, I know they've come a long way in the past 10 years. But still. And, they cram a lot of stuff into a little box at an attractive price. There's got to be some pretty serious compromises along the way. Will it sound better than the black plastic crap? Most likely. Will it have the livelness and impact and dynamics of a higher end used set of separates? Probably not. But I haven't heard one.

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  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentUnicorn View Post
    This is hogwash. It depends on the amps reserve and what sensitivity your speakers are. I have my 25 year old 60 watts per channel tube amp set up with some vintage ADS speakers and the volume level gets painful at half way. Most modern amplifier ratings are way to generous. A decent 100 watts per channel solid state amp with undersized output transformer/s will be driven into distortion and clipping while my underpowered amp will be happily singing along at the same volume.


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    Hogwash.. Depends a lot on the size of the room/venue. Most of what I run is studio PA equipment and instrument amps. I do agree that modern X watts< 90s and older X amps. My home theater is a 35 year old JVC with a phono (grounded) and 5.1@ 100per channel, all 5. It's just meh in the living room but in a bedroom it's killer.

    If I want to piss off the neighbors I run lines in to a PA that's 450 per from the living room..

    Home theater impact also depends a lot on the sub..
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  11. #36
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I heard a couple mentions about room size, so if it matters, the room I'll be putting this setup in is 14x20, with some large french doors along one wall that open to a dining room, and an open staircase next to said french doors that leads upstairs.

    The used recommendations are interesting. I unfortunately do not have a decent audio store nearby for this kinda stuff, but seems like a gamble. My experience with electronics is they are not long lived. Is audio gear built to a different standard?

    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    I’m trying to learn along with you, so I have a question about the separate integrated amp and Bluetooth receiver: why not just get an integrated amp that has Bluetooth built in?:

    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_745D30....html?tp=34948
    My thought process is that I have had several bluetooth devices that basically age themselves out of working, notably a Sony bluetooth car stereo I spent a bunch of money on and no longer will pair with my phone, and my ipod shit the bed. This way I can just swap out the bluetooth DAC with a current one.= and the amp lives on.
    Live Free or Die

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    My thought process is that I have had several bluetooth devices that basically age themselves out of working, notably a Sony bluetooth car stereo I spent a bunch of money on and no longer will pair with my phone, and my ipod shit the bed. This way I can just swap out the bluetooth DAC with a current one.= and the amp lives on.
    Ah, makes sense. Thanks

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    cheaper Klipsch == meh

    Klipsch legacy speakers == life-changing
    Haha. Yup. After hearing a pair of Klipsch Palladium P-39F's at a customer's home, my opinion on Klipsch changed to say the least. Never liked their entry level garbage, but when you hear their high end stuff in a proper setting like the cathedral sized livingroom of that home where those speakers could properly shine, then WOW. Of course I think those babies were around $10K a piece, but still. Killer speaker.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    Ah, makes sense. Thanks
    In general I feel like a modular system allows you to upgrade components much better. All in one integrated products are like the "I have a big ass 8000m puffy, what else do I need?" type approach to audio. Buying individual components gives you a lot more flexibility, allows you to a/b test various things, and you can opportunistically swap things out as you go. Plus, unless you're getting ultra high end integrated amps, they usually cut corners on at least one part of the signal path.

  15. #40
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    Wish I had more gear to throw your way, Adiron!!! My tower and bookshelf stash hath been depleted. However, keep an eye on these places for good deals on used gear:
    https://www.avsforum.com/forums/audio-gear.209/
    https://www.avsforum.com/forums/dealer-specials.215/
    https://forums.audioholics.com/forum...-your-gear.37/

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontuckyFried View Post
    Haha. Yup. After hearing a pair of Klipsch Palladium P-39F's at a customer's home, my opinion on Klipsch changed to say the least. Never liked their entry level garbage, but when you hear their high end stuff in a proper setting like the cathedral sized livingroom of that home where those speakers could properly shine, then WOW. Of course I think those babies were around $10K a piece, but still. Killer speaker.
    Yeah I paid $300 for my LaScalas, but if I got a replacement pair I think they would run around $7500 now. They look beat to hell but they sound divine. Good thing I'm a ski bum and I don't give a fuck about impressing anyone.

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  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    In general I feel like a modular system allows you to upgrade components much better. All in one integrated products are like the "I have a big ass 8000m puffy, what else do I need?" type approach to audio. Buying individual components gives you a lot more flexibility, allows you to a/b test various things, and you can opportunistically swap things out as you go. Plus, unless you're getting ultra high end integrated amps, they usually cut corners on at least one part of the signal path.
    So better to go with a separate amp and preamp than an integrated?

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    So better to go with a separate amp and preamp than an integrated?
    I think so. It depends on a lot of variables, but that's been my approach.

    of course, I don't have upgradeitus as much with audio equipment anymore - i spend all my discretionary income on coffee shit - but i do think that having a separate DAC (or phono stage), pre-amp, and power amp generally makes sense.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post
    Lots of good points in this thread - just echoing the comments of MagnificentUnicorn and others:

    - get used speakers. whoever you buy them from should let you demo them first. find something that matches the music you listen to and the style you like
    - don't spend any money on interconnects or wires.
    - I have a project debut carbon, but I've listened to the Fluance and they're very similar decks
    - more efficient speakers means you can spend less on amps. the advice to get a Chinese tube preamp is great, but the Chinese tube power amps are also fantastic. I run a 4 watts per channel SET kt-77 amp with a pair of Klipsch Heresy's, and I have enough power to annoy the neighbors a full acre away from us. With the same amp on my Klipsch La Scalas I can easily do permanent hearing damage.

    Sent from my Pixel 6 Pro using Tapatalk
    Klipsch Fortes FTMFW at my casa. Driven by a Hafler 500 through a B & K pre amp. Not an expensive setup and really great sound regardless of volume.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by liv2ski View Post
    Klipsch Fortes FTMFW at my casa. Driven by a Hafler 500 through a B & K pre amp. Not an expensive setup and really great sound regardless of volume.
    i knew i fucking liked you L2S


    great taste, great taste all around

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  21. #46
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    Thanks buddy, love right back at ya.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  22. #47
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    The used b & k stuff strikes me as very high value. Hafler stuff is usually quite good as well.
    One watch out if you are looking at vintage gear, is worn/pitted potentiometers and switches. If possible test carefully at low listening levels.

    So, $2k budget..
    $300 power amp b&k, hafler, nad, Rotel, (i have several, phase linear 200, honey badger, etc) and many many others
    $300 preamp b&k, acurus, Rotel, and many many others (i currently switch back and forth between Denon and apt holman)
    $350 smsl su-9 for streaming and dac duties
    $300 turntable
    $150 CD player and tuner
    $600 kick ass used speakers. JBL L5, kef 104/2.

    I do like to have more power from my amp available than the speakers may ever need. I want any movement of my speaker drivers to come effortlessly.





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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    So better to go with a separate amp and preamp than an integrated?
    I like the looks of the integrated system, plus less wires.

    OP have you considered a vintage Yorx?

    Name:  Vintage-YORX-M2680-AM-FM-RECEIVER-CASSETTE-RECORD-PLAYER-8.jpg
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    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timberridge View Post
    I like the looks of the integrated system, plus less wires.

    OP have you considered a vintage Yorx?

    Name:  Vintage-YORX-M2680-AM-FM-RECEIVER-CASSETTE-RECORD-PLAYER-8.jpg
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    ^^^It's missing the piece of masking tape holding the broken cassette door closed..
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timberridge View Post
    I like the looks of the integrated system, plus less wires
    sums up the other side of the argument quite nicely.

    On one hand you have sound quality, price, upgradability, and flexibility

    On the other hand you have a nice dentist living room that looks good

    I guess that's about it, huh??



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