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thone
05-08-2009, 01:42 PM
Hi,
I am looking for a small 2-channel audio system at home for price tag below $1000. I will use it for music, and tv. for our small living room. I personally like sweet sound (my dad had a old JBL speakers) and balance between high/low frequency.

It is very difficult to find a good small system in the store and try, if you can give me an idea what I should look at, it will be great.

Thanks

02audionoob
05-08-2009, 05:58 PM
Music Hall Trio is $999 at Spearit Sound. It's a 50-watt system in one box with a CD player.

Mr Peabody
05-08-2009, 09:28 PM
NAD also makes an all-in-one unit with built in DVD. This would only be a 2 channel still.

If wanting 5.1 surround or better look at the Onkyo TX-SR606 and some type of speaker system. I believe the 606 runs around $399.00 but I'm not sure what speaker package is available for the remaining $600.00. Paradigm is good but may take you over the budget slightly. Energy and Epos are options. Well, we still may have a problem if you don't have an existing DVD player.

audio amateur
05-09-2009, 03:04 AM
He's looking for a stereo...
I think your best bet is to go listen to a few sub 600$ speakers in a decent hi-fi shop. Then split the rest between a CD player and amplifier.
Some speaker suggestions: Bowers & Wilkins 686/685, Monitor Audio BR2 or RS1, Paradigm, Magnepan MMG (check these out!).
Some folks here swear by these for cheaper speakers (in your price range) :http://www.av123.com//index.php?page=shop.browse&category_id=6&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=125

You'll also need stands for the standmount speakers if you want to place them correctly.

Mr Peabody
05-09-2009, 05:20 AM
The NAD or Cambridge iAudio ntegrated/CD players would be a good bang for the buck sound quality wise.

Ajani
05-09-2009, 05:47 AM
Two affordable systems I'd try at $1K:

Cambridge Audio 340A Integrated Amp $330
Cambridge Audio 340C CD Player $330
Cambridge Audio S30 Bookshelf Speakers $220
TOTAL $880 ($120 left for cables and new CDs)

OR

NAD C315BEE Integrated Amp $350
NAD C515BEE CD Player $300
PSB Alpha B1 Bookshelf Speakers $280
TOTAL $930 ($70 left for cables and new CDs)

If you want to use a computer as your source, I'd suggest ditching the CD players and replacing them with either the Cambridge Audio DAC Magic ($400) or Musical Fidelity V-DAC ($300)...

bobsticks
05-09-2009, 07:49 AM
Hey thone, welcome to the forums. All ideas listed thus far have merit. There maybe something to be said for looking into used equipment as well. Audio is similar to the auto industry in that initial mark-ups are quite high. You can often find a few year old item for a substantial savings...which is a pretty good deal when starting off.

Mr Peabody
05-09-2009, 02:50 PM
Good job Ajani adding some specifics.

pixelthis
05-10-2009, 08:05 PM
Go with what Ajani says , but ignore the NAD stuff and stick with Cambridge.
NAD aint what it used to be.:1:

http://www.wildwestelectronics.net/cambridgeaudio.html?gclid=CMro8suwkI4CFQ5egQodcCbv KQ

atomicAdam
05-10-2009, 08:09 PM
Hey thone, welcome to the forums. All ideas listed thus far have merit. There maybe something to be said for looking into used equipment as well. Audio is similar to the auto industry in that initial mark-ups are quite high. You can often find a few year old item for a substantial savings...which is a pretty good deal when starting off.

I'd second that, as it is what I did, and i'm very happy.

RGA
05-10-2009, 08:17 PM
Look at some pawn shop used stores for the amplifier and get a basic inexpensive CD player/DVD player - People seem to like Oppo for budget DVD players that supposedly sound good with CD.

I would look into the Audio Note AX Two $650-$700 and decent stands. They're as good as anything I've heard $1500 and down. The AX One however I don't like. http://www.audionote.co.uk/products/speakers/ax-2_01.shtml

Tough to find - so perhaps Wharfedale or B&W will be easier to audition.

luvtolisten
05-12-2009, 05:43 AM
Go with what Ajani says , but ignore the NAD stuff and stick with Cambridge.
NAD aint what it used to be.:1:

http://www.wildwestelectronics.net/cambridgeaudio.html?gclid=CMro8suwkI4CFQ5egQodcCbv KQ

I have the the NAD T754 receiver, and the Cambridge Audio 640A V2 amp. They are both very close sonically, while I would give the edge to NAD, simply because it offers more options being a receiver. Bass management whether you go 2.1 or 5.1 is a big plus. The T754 (70 watts) refurb can be had at Spearit Sound for $499, or the T744 (50 watts) new for $399. Both have free shipping right now. They are last year's models, they do not have any HDMI connections or switching, but to me it wasn't a big deal. I was after the sound.

proch
05-12-2009, 03:40 PM
I've had a Nakamichi TA-3A for 20 years now and to date I still haven't heard anything that sounds better. It needs service every few years, but I love it so much that it doesn't bother me. You can get them now on eBay for $300ish. Check out the reviews on the 4A. People claim to be getting those on eBay for under $500.

hifitommy
05-16-2009, 11:51 AM
plk speakers less than $120/pair, a low priced hk reciever, and a cd or dvd player. then go to costco and get the energy sub for $180. later, a used tt and used vinyl.

you will be very nicely immersed in audio then.

pixelthis
05-17-2009, 10:55 PM
I have the the NAD T754 receiver, and the Cambridge Audio 640A V2 amp. They are both very close sonically, while I would give the edge to NAD, simply because it offers more options being a receiver. Bass management whether you go 2.1 or 5.1 is a big plus. The T754 (70 watts) refurb can be had at Spearit Sound for $499, or the T744 (50 watts) new for $399. Both have free shipping right now. They are last year's models, they do not have any HDMI connections or switching, but to me it wasn't a big deal. I was after the sound.

Hope you got a "good" one, NAD has had some reliability problems lately.
Reliability is a must, not to mention at these prices its a disgrace if something breaks.
I don't have a backup.
As far as sound , sure NAD is great, but what good is it if it has the lifespan of a fruitfly?:1:

blackraven
05-18-2009, 12:03 AM
If you dont care about HT, I second the Harmon Kardon 2ch receiver, check amazon and B&H photo for prices about $250-350. PSB B-25, B-15 or Alpha B-1 speakers and an energy sub. Also see if you can find a pair of Energy C-100 speakers. I would also look at some floor standers like the PSB T-45 and T-55's. then you can forgo the sub.

For a CDP consider the Marantz 5003 or the oppo 980 universal DVD player. Its an excellent CD player for $169 and its an excellent DVD player as well, better than some costing hundreds more.
www.oppodigital.com

Or save your money and buy the oppo bluray player coming out soon which should be and excellent CD and DVD player as well.

luvtolisten
05-18-2009, 04:55 AM
Hope you got a "good" one, NAD has had some reliability problems lately.
Reliability is a must, not to mention at these prices its a disgrace if something breaks.
I don't have a backup.
As far as sound , sure NAD is great, but what good is it if it has the lifespan of a fruitfly?:1:

Well, so far so good. I've only had it 4 or 5 months, and it is a refurb. You are right, the prices are insane for a new one. A "new" version list for $1079. To be honest I wouldn't have paid that much for it. There are better choices I think, for that much. I paid $499 for mine, and I'm hoping the problems it had were fixed. I wasn't aware of reliability issues, but it's quite possible, with everything being sent to China. So I don't doubt what you say.
I worked for a large company that went the "outsource" route. What a nighmare that turned out to be. Unless you specify, the least little detail, they'll throw anything in there. Even then, sometimes they will anyway, hoping no one will notice.

Mr Peabody
05-18-2009, 05:32 AM
I wonder what if anything the OP has been considering?

Poultrygeist
05-19-2009, 09:29 AM
Yaqin VK-2100 ( 85 wpc tube hybrid amp ) $270 ebay shipped from China

MHZS CD 33 or Bada HD-22SE ( tubed cd players) $300-$400 ebay shipped from China

Usher 701 speaker kits ( easy assembly with no solder crossovers ) Partsexpress $298

This system compares with systems costing twice as much.

Mr Peabody
05-19-2009, 05:30 PM
Well RGA to each thy own. I don't doubt there are some decent sounding SET gear but no matter how efficient the speakers are a 10 watt or less amp isn't going to deliver the impact of a full orchestra, have the transcient response, or control of a good solid state amp such as a Krell. The OP posted a small system under $1k, you're not going to find what you are talking about for several times that.

With each presentation there are trade offs and each has to decide for themselves which floats their boat.

I haven't even heard of those Chinese brands. It's more than a bit risky if no return policy. I will say that cheap tube gear is very prone to noise. A dealer once brought in some Dared, which wasn't all that cheaply priced, and he didn't have nice things to say about that brand. On the other hand brands like Cayin have seen some success. In comparison Cayin isn't close to that cheap.

02audionoob
05-19-2009, 07:33 PM
Seems like the OP is AWOL.

Mr Peabody
05-19-2009, 08:09 PM
That seems to be typical.

RGA
05-19-2009, 09:00 PM
Well RGA to each thy own. I don't doubt there are some decent sounding SET gear but no matter how efficient the speakers are a 10 watt or less amp isn't going to deliver the impact of a full orchestra, have the transcient response, or control of a good solid state amp such as a Krell. The OP posted a small system under $1k, you're not going to find what you are talking about for several times that.

With each presentation there are trade offs and each has to decide for themselves which floats their boat.

I haven't even heard of those Chinese brands. It's more than a bit risky if no return policy. I will say that cheap tube gear is very prone to noise. A dealer once brought in some Dared, which wasn't all that cheaply priced, and he didn't have nice things to say about that brand. On the other hand brands like Cayin have seen some success. In comparison Cayin isn't close to that cheap.

I think you've mixed up your threads here as this answer should be in the speaker forum Dynaudio Kef thread - my response here was not about SETs.

I answered you in that thread already.

It is a complete fallacy to believe that SETs do not have the ability to recreate a full orchestra at thunderous levels - no it won't do that on a Dynaudio Loudspeaker or a Paradigm but it can on the right speakers. SETs have a higher than typical noise floor but good ones have less than anyone is likely to hear. My amp is dead quiet - think about how many tube headphone amps there are. Noise is just not an issue. I am reviewing a very inexpensive one from Trends and it's dead quiet (after about 5 seconds) and it's very inexpensive. The ASL MG Head I have is also a SET design headphone amp and there is no noise at all - and if you can't hear it through good headphones you certainly are not going to hear it through loudspeakers.

In direct comparison through efficient speakers (the AN E) 94db and some people argue that number is too high - (fine by me - it is just further evidence that more watts is meaningless) - Bryston's preamp and 3BST versus a 10 watt OTO (4.2 watts undistorted) - the OTO had much better low end response differentiating different bass lines better - creating a three dimensional organic presentation - grainless treble and could play at leave the room volume levels. There was not one thing I could point to and say the Bryston system was better. I was a Bryston fan and they offer a 20 year warranty. I don't consider myself to be stupid - The Bryston had far more going for it on paper and functionality being separates, and 19 more years on the warranty. It has to take something awfully damn good to get me to sacrifice all that for a plain ugly box with tubes that need to be replaced (which is a hassle for me - though some people like tube rolling - I'm not one). The difference was the sound and that is what one is buying.

On the inexpensive end of the spectrum there are companies Like Antique Sound Labs that have been around for 15 years and have good reputations - good warranties and prices at nice prices - $1,200 or so. Grant Fidelity has sub $1k amps with very good build - I heard one only very briefly and it was wonderful.

SETs when properly mated to good high efficiency speakers are standout performers at transietn attack - they are lightning fast, nimble and have great decay, timing and an organic presentation. Some I admit lean to the veiled syrupy side of things which is where these myths get started - the Jolida 302B is a "tubey" sounding amp - it sounds warm rich and all of that but it's also a bit mushy - so SS guys jump on these kinds of amps as being wholly representative of the entire tube technology. For the same price using the same tubes the ASL AQ1003DT is completely different sounding - it reminds one of a Bryston in a number of ways being lean and lighter weight in the bass.

The issue comes down to system synergy - SETs have a narrower field of speakers they can run properly - when they get pushed too hard bass gets lumpy and light and treble is curtailed - that is not the amp's problem that is a system match issue. I am just noting that the best systems "I've heard" is with a SET and HE speakers.

Slam is an artifact - there are some set-ups that can crack plaster better but they're not safe for the ears, they're not representative of what the musician's intent was and it's not hi-fi - if one want that buy a car stereo with six 18 inch subwoofers and go have fun.

But perhaps it's hard to believe because the numbers seem to suggest such poor conversions. 90db is bloody loud. Most average listening is around 70-80db and so at 1 watt SS amp or SET you're not even using a watt of your amp's power. It's only really when you start cranking it does the amp start doing anything. Of course with HE speakers the SET amp is not working hard at all while the SS amp with the LE speaker is.

The real issue for the amp is headroom and distortion. The SET amp distorts nicer than SS distorts and tube amps often "seem" to the ear to be about 3 times louder than the average same watt SS amp. Perception is more important than the numbers in my view.

But here is a fellow who owned top of the lines Bryston amplifiers with Big Slam oomph Professional Monitor Speakers (PMC) http://www.audioasylum.com/reviews/Other/Audio-Note/Level-3-system/general/345133.html

Poultrygeist
05-20-2009, 03:32 AM
I doubt many have but the gear coming from China is excellent. My $500 Bada integrated tube hybrid sounded better to me than my $1800 Classe CAP 101 which I recently sold on ebay.

Return policy becomes less important when the build quality is so high and price advantage so great.

luvtolisten
05-20-2009, 05:01 AM
I can understand why the OP went AOL. The poor guy was looking for a system for under $1,000. Our discussion here went from there to escalating to much larger $$$. Being a newbie myself, he was probably a bit intimidated by it all. Kind of like walking into a Ferrari dealership to buy a Ford. We all can't afford Ferrari's. We'd like to. But for some of us, it's out of the question. At least that's my perspective anyway.

Mr Peabody
05-20-2009, 05:33 AM
There were decent suggestions made at under $1k but still no return feedback was given.

Is the Trends amp a SET? I knew they made a splash with their little digital amp but I didn't hear they were doing tubes. Do you have a link?

luvtolisten
05-20-2009, 05:43 AM
There were decent suggestions made at under $1k but still no return feedback was given.

You're right, a simple "thank you" from the OP would have been nice at some point. There a lot of good suggestions were given.

Bernd
05-20-2009, 06:07 AM
Last year I was looking for a system to go in my Office. The only criteria, it must be all in one, Tube and below 1K. I know it's a little bit above the OPs budget, but if you can stretch to this you will not be dissapointed. I went for the Shanlings MC30 and to partner it "The Horn" from Ed Shillings "The Hornshoppe" www.thehornshoppe.com, .
Will it blow the house down-no. But that was not the point. This little system has 3 mighty SET watts. Fed into the single driver horn it amazes everyone who hears it.

RGA
05-20-2009, 04:08 PM
There were decent suggestions made at under $1k but still no return feedback was given.

Is the Trends amp a SET? I knew they made a splash with their little digital amp but I didn't hear they were doing tubes. Do you have a link?

This is the little device (and the audio converter "light") I am reviewing - it is a tube hybrid http://www.trendsaudio.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21&Itemid=56

I am only reviewing it as a headphone amp because I am living and teaching in China this year and my system is at home so I can't test out its other features. However, it offers a lot for tiny money. It runs as a preamp as well and if it's anything close to as good as the headphone amp then it's very nice to see such an inexpensive unit sound this good. I can't give too much away but it's a big step up over my Total Bithead - the Bithead was designed for different purpose to be fair and it's half the cost.

Auricauricle
05-20-2009, 04:16 PM
Sure is a cute li'l fella...

Auricauricle
05-20-2009, 05:35 PM
These are all good tidbits of advice. I would just check what's out there and consult with some of the reviews in this site and others like it to make sure that whatever I was interested in has some concurrence about quality, etc. Just remember, you get what you pay for. There are plenty o' good bargains out there, but a lotta dreck masquerading as the real deal. Do your homework and pounce. If it was quality then, it's probably pretty darn good now. Also, think about upgrading down the road; will your goodies be attractive to the next schmo who might be interested in your stuff? Check out the blue-book values and get a feel for what's desirable. These guys here are pretty sharp; scope 'em out....

02audionoob
05-20-2009, 05:55 PM
I can understand why the OP went AOL. The poor guy was looking for a system for under $1,000. Our discussion here went from there to escalating to much larger $$$. Being a newbie myself, he was probably a bit intimidated by it all. Kind of like walking into a Ferrari dealership to buy a Ford. We all can't afford Ferrari's. We'd like to. But for some of us, it's out of the question. At least that's my perspective anyway.

I doubt that was it. The discussion stayed affordable for a week without a return post from the OP.

Mr Peabody
05-20-2009, 06:46 PM
I don't want any thanks but I'm interested to see what folks decided to do, if anything, after getting our feedback. What ever direction a person goes it's nice to see how it worked out.

Speaking of that, Auric, what ever happened to that outboard DAC you bought? CAL still singing?