$1,000-1500 Budget for 2 Speaker System [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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04-11-2004, 05:03 PM
Hi, I have been browsing this site for several years, and finally have the opportunity to buy a sound system for my apartment. I have set aside about $1000-1500 for the entire system. I figure that would cover 2 speakers, a reciever/amp, cd player and cables. What would you recommend in terms of equipment for this setup for everyday music listening (most genres) in a small room?

I went to an audio store and listened to several speakers (saphire, mirage, totem, b/w, and paradigm). Being very new to this field, I was hoping to get some opinions.

Thanks for the help.


04-11-2004, 06:54 PM
No matter what advice you recieve, you should do a lot of shopping. In other words, let your ears decide for you.
I would start by giving a listen to the NAD C320BEE integrated-amplifier; retail price is $400. Others to consider might come from Arcam, Cambridge Audio, and Rotel.

As for digital source components. Try to look into NAD, Sony, Philips, and Cambridge Audio.

Since speakers are the most subjective of components; I will let you decide that one.

04-12-2004, 03:22 AM
Wow, an exciting time for you. To stretch your dollars a bit further, consider buying some used components...and get out and start testing some speakers.
I'd second the Nad integrated amp, but are you building a home theater, or is this going to be used strictly for some great 2-channel stereo listening?

04-12-2004, 07:23 AM
With $1500 budget I would get approximately
$900 pair of speakers (or probably $550 bookshelf and $350 subwoofer)
$400 amp/receiver (you want to setup HT or stereo?)
$150 CDP/DVD player (leaning towards DVDP)
$50 for cable, interconnect.
Happy shopping!

04-12-2004, 08:14 AM
With $1500 budget I would get approximately
$900 pair of speakers (or probably $550 bookshelf and $350 subwoofer)
$400 amp/receiver (you want to setup HT or stereo?)
$150 CDP/DVD player (leaning towards DVDP)
$50 for cable, interconnect.
Happy shopping!
Hmm...I really like that dollar allocation strategy...Depending on your preferences you might drop the speakers or amplifier 50 to 100 bucks and put it towards a better sub. Depends how much of a bass head you are and what kind of music you listent to. I'll second F1's plan.

04-12-2004, 10:24 AM
I think it is fair to first ask yourself the question: do you want the system to be a stereo only system, or a multi-channel music / home threatre setup?

It's an exciting time to explore the world of multi-channel sound. Pioneer's DV-563a is dirt cheap at $250 cdn, and it will let you play EVERY format - DVD-V, DVD-A, SACD, redbook CD, VCD, mp3.... There are plenty of decent recievers from Yamaha, Denon, H/K for around $500 cdn. If your budget is $1500 cdn, that will still leave you around $600 for your front channel speakers. Subwoofer and surround speakers can be added later when the time comes.

Of cousre, for the same amount of money you can have a stereo-only system that will sound much better when playing red book CDs. As an example, lets say you start with a Cambridge Audio 540c CD player - $500, add a matching Cambridge Audio 540a integrated for about the same price, then pend the $500 on a pair of Paradigm bookshelfs. It will sound good.

Either way, have it your way. You can't go wrong.

04-12-2004, 10:38 AM
hmm well I don't have the knowledge base of some but I have b/w 602s err or maybe 603's sorry I;m in college now and there back at home so sad.. but I think 602 off a denon 685 stereo receiver and many people have recomended the new hsu research subs for me. Doing some research they have gotten great reviews. Check their website they have links to the reviews there and I was rather impressed with what was said. anyways the sub goes for 399 shipped theres one on ebay brand new with warranty for less then that. I;m not sure the exact price of my speakers but definatly in your range, and I enjoy the set up thoroughly its also in a relativly small like yours would be. I don;t know if that receiver is really what your looking for but you miight see what you can find for those bookshelfs and especially look at the sub. you would probably have 8-6 hundred left (depending on the deals you find) for amp recevier and cd player after buying the speakers and the sub. hope that helps good luck

The 602's are bookshelf speakers there a little bigger then most I have seen though not sure if that matters but just thought I would tell you

04-12-2004, 10:45 AM
Thanks guys for all the help. I'm pretty much set on a stereo only system, as i'm not a huge TV watcher. I always confuse the words receiver and amp with eachother - but I suppose I am reffering to an amp :)

Also, to clarify I'm working with USD. I guess overall i'm pretty flexible in the price range. Being so new to audio, and having owned a $50 set of computer speakers for the past few years, I feel that anything would be an upgrade.

As far as amps are concerned, i'll check out NAD and Cambridge, but i'm definitely not familar with AMP ratings or specs.

With regard to speakers, I was thinking bookshelf ones might make sense to begin with. I'm thinking either B&W, Paradigm, or Totems.

In your opinion...would I need a sub if i got bookshelves, especially if i'm just listening to music? Thanks again for all the responses.

04-12-2004, 11:20 AM
I had those b/w 's I talked about for a while without a sub... well actually I still haven't bought one yet but soon. Anyways the music sounds great but in the end after listening to systems with subs it does inprove the sound greatly, there are some things shelf speakers just aren't meant to do. So I would say yes but you don't have to get it right away you will be happy with just the shelf speakers for a while especially if your use to 50 dollar computer speakers. good luck

04-12-2004, 02:24 PM
I hate powered sub-woofers. More of a pain in the ass than their worth.
Vandersteen makes a great speaker the model 1 for @ $1100. No need for a sub-woofer with them.
What type of music do you listen to?

04-12-2004, 06:13 PM
You might be amazed at how low a pair of good quality, affordable floor standing speakers can go. I own a pair of Paradigm Esprit v3, it has a 1" tweeter and 6.5" midrange driver and I got them last christmas on sale for $400 cdn (about $290 USD). I've done a little test where I switch the low frequncy output on my reciever between main speaker only, and speaker + subwoofer. In every case the difference is noticeable, but the speakers does do a surprisingly decent job on their own when the music isn't electronica, where you can get some seriously deep, sub 30Hz booms.

There is a good review of these speakers over at the archive of www.goodsound.com.

So ask yourself what your music taste is. If electronic or hard rock is your cup of tea, then you might be happier with the sub. Otherwise, save your money and spend it on a better pair of speakers, then upgrade to a sub when you have the money down the road.

04-13-2004, 06:29 PM
In general I listen to electronica and r&b. but every now and then i'll enjoy classical music.

I guess overall i'm confused how much it makes sense to spend for good equipment. I'm happy to spend more than 1500, (even 2000 or more) if I can get a significantly better system.

I have done some more research and here's what i'm thinking:

speakers: paradigm studio 20, paradigm studio 40, paradigm mini monitors, paradigm monitor 5, B&W 600/601/602.
amp: rotel or marantz
cd player: rotel or marantz

i realize i'm hitting many different price levels here, but i'm trying to reach a point just before experiencing diminishing returns.

04-13-2004, 07:40 PM
This is the best advice I can give you. HOME DEMO!!!
Since it seems like you do not have a system at this time. I recommend that you buy a good integrated amp. One that you can be happy with for a long time. One that will not limit thechoices you can make on speakers. Why an integrated amp? Because I believe thay give you the most bang for the buck!
The unit that I can not recommend highly enough is the new Naim Nait 5i. Retail price is $1350; a steal if you ask me. But by all means buy the unit you like the most.

Next: Buy a cheap DVD player as your source component for now. You should be able to buy one for under $50.

Next: Go out and HOME DEMO speakers. Take your time; otherwise you will be sorry. After you choose the pair that fits your ears like a glove, then buy a good source component.

I think this method could yield great results. I believe far better than not doing HOME DEMOS!!!