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05-07-2010, 06:05 AM
I apologize in advance if some of the terms I use are not correct (hopefully you will help me learn)

Hi everyone, since I've started school, I've always motivated myself by the fact that when I graduate, I will buy a system that will allow me to listen to music the way I've always dreamed of. I'm a few months away from graduation, and so I've started shopping, and never thought it would be so exciting (and very complicated).

And so I decided to join this community to feed on the experience of all of you! I,ve read many posts, and thought it would be time to ask for a bit of help.

What I currently own : Pioneer turntable PL-71, Marantz amp 1070, NAD cd player and Yamaha speakers (I forget the model will write it when I get home).

It should not be very hard to improve this system, but I've been a student for 21 years, so I didn't have a big budget!

Now, I'm ready to invest in something that will let me enjoy music on another level.

What I'm looking for : Turntable, Amp and Speakers (for cables, I was lucky to have a friend who was an audio salesperson a few years back and I helped him build a deck in exchange for two acoustic zen satori speaker cables and a dozen of MiTerminator interconnects; maybe they're not the right cables for me, but they will be "right enough" for now). For the style of music, I listen to a very wide range from classical and jazz to trip-hop and progressive music (and more...)

The first speakers that I've really liked are the pro ac D-18. I will try the Studio 140 this weekend as my dad found a shop that is letting them go for 2000$.

The only turntables I listened to for now are the Pro-ject classic series, and I couldn't beleive the diffence between a 1000$ turntable with a 2000$ turntable. This really confused me, because I never thought the difference could be so big! The downside of the expencive table is that I could hear more of the flaws in the recordings.

For amps, I really don't know, I listened to an arcam, but there are so many choices it's alomost scary.

So my questions are :

1- Anybody ever compared the proac D-18 and studio 140? And do you think they are a good choice?

2- For turntables, any suggestions? I will listen to some rega turntables next week, but I'm a little confused with all the different companies.

3- How do you guys shop for systems (what I find hard, is that I go to one place, listen to some combinations, and then go to work for a week, and then go somewhere else and try to compare with so much time between the tests). I tried to make a chart for each, but I find the results being difficult to compare.

4- Amps, amps and amps ...

5- Any advice you find important ti give to a newbie that loves music and the purity of sound that will soon purchase his first real system!

Thanks for your help,


05-07-2010, 07:47 AM
do you want to spend? there is a very wide range of choices in price.

pro-ac speakers are considered to be vg but many other things are out there--magneplanar 1.7s for instance.

for TTs i like sota and vpi but that involves some money (maybe $1k).

i recommend tube preamps and big power ss amps such as audio research preamps and adcom amps. tube sound and plenty of punch.

buying on can be a good experience if youre careful like you must be on ebay.

frequent the audio sites like this one,,, and for good info.

05-07-2010, 09:38 AM
First, what is your total budget? With out knowing it, here are some suggestions.

This is the TT that I would buy. It comes with a very good cartridge and is on sale.

Here are a few other TT's to consider-

For amps- Parasound Halo A21, Belles SA100, Van Alstine FET Valve 550 (hybrid tube amp)

You should also consider a stand alone phono preamp. To spend $2k on a TT and not buy a good phono preamp is a waste of the TT.

I like this one but there are many good ones-

I would consider PSB Synchrony speakers, Paradigm , Salk Song Towers, Magnepan 1.7's.

For amps, I would consider the Parasound A21, Belles SA100, Belle's150 V2 Van Alstine FET Valve 550 or 350 (these are hybrid tube amps) to name a few.

05-07-2010, 09:50 AM
Please tell us what you would like to spend, total for your system. I would like to help you with your analog chain. TT / preamp / amp.

Depending on your budget and overall goals, you may be able to buy a wonderful multi purpose preamp with a phono stage inside.

Have a look at Grant Fidelity. They are a Canadian company who import the best of the best from Asia. The prices are as incredible as the gear.

05-07-2010, 10:21 AM
the people at grant fidelity all have red noses and swords.

05-07-2010, 12:11 PM
Thanks for the replies, concerning my budget, I'm thinking of spending max 10k.

I went to another shop today and will go back next week and try the dynaudio excite x-32. The salesman there suggested a moon amp by simaudio for those speakers.

I will also go to Montreal soon (as there are more shops than Quebec city) to try and find your suggestions.

Thanks for all the info, I will continu my research!


05-07-2010, 12:16 PM
dynaudio is one of the premier speaker makers in the world, parasound electronincs or audio research, VTL, B&K, or others in that quality level may be in your future.

have lots of fun.

05-07-2010, 04:47 PM
While I am not familiar with the Proac or Studio speakers you mentioned I am quite familiar with the Usher and Reference 3A line. If you have dealers near you that carry one or both lines you may want to go give them a listen.

Speaker considerations and staying within budget.

Good luck with your shopping and selections.


05-07-2010, 09:51 PM
Here's a good place to start-;topicseen#new

Some other amps to consider would be the Nuforce model 9se version2 monoblocks. They sell for $5k a pair and can usually be found for $2K-2.5K used. My friend just bought a pair to replace his Belles 150A Hotrod amp. They are extremely fast and dynamic with great transparency, detail and depth.