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Thread: Where to begin

  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Where to begin

    Hey everyone, A friend of mine is redoing his basement, and after hearing a system like mine, he really wants and audiophile setup.

    I told him I would pick everything out for him but I have seem to have caught my self in a problem. The electronics that I know much about are not in his price range, so I am having hard times finding good components, (Without even listening to them). He has around a 2,100$ buget to spend (Total on Pre,Amp,Speakers) and I just dont know where to start

    If you could give me some sugestions about some speakers, pre's, and amps to look at to throw me in the right direction, that would be great! Thanks

  2. #2
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Need a bit more information. Is this for home theater or just audio listening? Is your friend going for just stereo or mulichannel?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    You didn't list your equipment in your profile, so it's hard to tell what your friend is used to. What type of music and listening habits does he have?

    I'd recommend going with an integrated amp. There are many that would give better performance than separates for the same money. Look at brands like Arcam, especially for a cd player. Cambridge Audio, Rotel or NAD. There are several tube integrated amps in the $1k range by Jolida, PremaLuna and Cayin. Brands like B&W, Paradigm, Acoustic Energy have budget speakers with good performance, as well as many others. Putting a system together really has many variables so we really need some point of reference. For instance, if your friend would be into tubes, the speakers would need to be more efficient than if he went with an Arcam amp which could drive anything you throw at it in your budget.

    If you can't audition, you also should buy from a website that allows 30 day return like or

    If I had $2,100.00 to put a system together, I'd no question buy the entry level Arcam cdp at about $699.00. There's a Marantz integrated PM7200 that would be interesting to try at $499.00. It's switchable from Class A (35wpc) to Class A/B (90wpc). If that let me down, I'd also like to try one of the Cayin integrated amps in the $1k range. They are self biased and are made to immitate famous vintage tube amps by McIntosh, Marantz etc. The speakers would depend on which amp and how much budget was left. If the Marantz was a real performer, I'd get an entry level Dynaudio bookshelf at about $700.00 new or either amp, try a Paradigm entry level.

    I'm not a big Rotel fan, I find their sound sluggish. Many people rave about them though and they are associated with B&W. So you may want to audition a Rotel cdp and integrated driving B&W to see if that's the sound you like. If your friend is really into detail, resolution and quick dynamics, try to squeeze the budget enough to get an Arcam integrated to go with the cdp. Your budget would be pretty taxed at that pint, so then I'd go with maybe some Acoustic Energy speakers. AE aren't bass monsters but they are good sounding speakers for their price.

    Hope this rambling helped some. I also am a firm believer of using good interconnects and speaker connects by Transparent, Audio Quest or similar quality cables. Maybe after getting the equipment you can bring some cables in for audition.

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