$5,000 System Advice

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  • 04-03-2007, 08:30 AM
    martynda
    $5,000 System Advice
    Hi all, I hope I'm posting this in the right forum.

    I am looking into getting my first "real" system to upgrade from my Onkyo HTIB. My plan is to first set up a stereo system and then get more amps and satellite speakers later on for an HT system. It seems like it would make sense to get a surround sound processor, a stereo amp, and a pair of floor standing speakers. This would allow me to upgrade and expand in the future. I listen to mostly hip/hop, all types of rock, and electronic (house, trance) music.

    From the research I've done, this is what I was thinking. Some e-baying puts this in the 5k range. I wouldn't mind buying lightly used.

    Rotel RSP-1068 processor
    Rotel RB-1080 stereo amp
    Definitive Technologies BP7001SC Speakers (although I'm having some doubts about these, somthing seems fishy)

    Am I anywhere on the right track? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Please keep in mind that I intend on purchasing the surrounds, center, sub, and the amps that go with them later on. Would the Rotel sound processor give me good enough base to expand upon?
  • 04-03-2007, 09:41 AM
    topspeed
    Rotel makes very good gear and is an excellent starting point into the world of separates. Other brands to consider would be Parasound Halo (not the Classic line), B&K, Arcam, Outlaw, Adcom, and NAD to name but a few. Also, since you don't mind buying used, definitely check out audiogon.com instead of ebay. You'll find a much better selection and the site is populated with audiophiles and gear geeks that generally take better care of their gear than themselves. Used, you can move into the ranks of Bryston, Classe, PS Audio, and other "hi-end" stalwarts.

    As for speakers, the only thing we can say is, "listen for yourself." Speakers are the most subjective link in the audio chain and the only one that will be able to determine what is best is you. The DT's you mentioned are well regarded and would work well with your taste in music. SuperCube subs (the "SC" in 7001SC) are some of the best you can buy. That said, I've never liked speakers with built-in subs as it's rare that the location for optimal imaging is also the best place for optimal bass. Combine that with the fact that the DT's are bipolars and will need to be placed well into the room (figure at least 3') and you can see the problem.

    You've got a really healthy budget, one that I would dedicate at least half to the speakers, if not more. There are a LOT of great speakers in the $2-3k range, from planars to bass reflex to transmission line designs. Magnepan, Vandersteen, Von Schweikert, B&W, Paradigm, Dynaudio, Thiel, Martin Logan...they all offer some very interesting speakers in that bracket. Remember that great speakers will offer decades of enjoyment, so take your time and enjoy the journey! :)

    Good luck.
  • 04-03-2007, 09:43 AM
    kexodusc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    Rotel makes very good gear and is an excellent starting point into the world of separates. Other brands to consider would be Parasound Halo (not the Classic line), B&K, Arcam, Outlaw, Adcom, and NAD to name but a few. Also, since you don't mind buying used, definitely check out audiogon.com instead of ebay. You'll find a much better selection and the site is populated with audiophiles and gear geeks that generally take better care of their gear than themselves.

    As for speakers, the only thing we can say is, "listen for yourself." Speakers are the most subjective link in the audio chain and the only one that will be able to determine what is best is you. The DT's you mentioned are well regarded and would work well with your taste in music. SuperCube subs (the "SC" in 7001SC) are some of the best you can buy. That said, I've never liked speakers with built-in subs as it's rare that the location for optimal imaging is also the best place for optimal bass. Combine that with the fact that the DT's are bipolars and will need to be placed well into the room (figure at least 3') and you can see the problem.

    You've got a really healthy budget, one that I would dedicate at least half to the speakers, if not more. There are a LOT of great speakers in the $2-3k range, from planars to bass reflex to transmission line designs. Magnepan, Vandersteen, Von Schweikert, B&W, Paradigm, Dynaudio, Thiel, Martin Logan...they all offer some very interesting speakers in that bracket. Remember that great speakers will offer decades of enjoyment, so take your time and enjoy the journey! :)

    Good luck.

    Geez...for once...I don't really have anything to add...:confused5:
    Ummm...I really like my Rotel integrated...if that's of any value....
  • 04-03-2007, 09:49 AM
    PeruvianSkies
    on the right track...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by martynda
    Hi all, I hope I'm posting this in the right forum.

    I am looking into getting my first "real" system to upgrade from my Onkyo HTIB. My plan is to first set up a stereo system and then get more amps and satellite speakers later on for an HT system. It seems like it would make sense to get a surround sound processor, a stereo amp, and a pair of floor standing speakers. This would allow me to upgrade and expand in the future. I listen to mostly hip/hop, all types of rock, and electronic (house, trance) music.

    From the research I've done, this is what I was thinking. Some e-baying puts this in the 5k range. I wouldn't mind buying lightly used.

    Rotel RSP-1068 processor
    Rotel RB-1080 stereo amp
    Definitive Technologies BP7001SC Speakers (although I'm having some doubts about these, somthing seems fishy)

    Am I anywhere on the right track? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Please keep in mind that I intend on purchasing the surrounds, center, sub, and the amps that go with them later on. Would the Rotel sound processor give me good enough base to expand upon?


    You are certainly on the right track with what you have said. It seems you have thought this out carefully and you also have a decent budget in mind for starting out. I agree with what you said about starting with a good processor, amp, and floorstanders. However, you did not mention a source, which I am guessing you are already happy with your current CD or DVD player. The next thing to consider is what I like to call "The Budget Breakdown", which basically just means allocated the money into the right areas. So if you start with 5K and you are breaking it down into 3 parts (speakers, amp, processor) than I would probably go 3K speakers, 1K processor, 1K amp. The speakers, to me, are the most important cost factor. Since you are going to add-on later you can always get more amps and therefore maybe this 1K amp drives what you have now, but later on when you get more speakers you can replace this amp with an even better one and use this one for your future surrounds. In the meantime you could easily get a decent amp for 1K.

    So what type of speakers could you get for 3K...well, let me recommend a few.

    B&W 703 is a hugely popular floorstander at that price.
    TOTEM ACOUSTIC FOREST- super clean and dynamic speaker.
    PROAC RESPONSE 1.5 -awesome speaker made in England.
    CASTLE ACOUSTICS HOWARD S3 - great mid range and covers lots of styles.
    PSB Platinum T6 (this is what I have and you 'might' be able to get them for 3K used)
    MONITOR AUDIO GOLD REFERENCE 20
    THIEL CS2.2

    Any of these speakers would be great, hopefully you can demo some of them somewhere.

    Surround Processors

    Adcom GTP-860
    NAD T754
    Denon AVR3000
    Marantz SR680

    Amp

    NAD218THX
    The Rotel you mentioned
    Parasound Halo A23
    Odyssey Audio Statos
    Perhaps even Outlaw Audio

    These are merely suggestions, others will probably have a few more to add. Good luck on your system and keep us posted, especially with pictures.
  • 04-03-2007, 10:14 AM
    basite
    for speakers, also check out the monitor audio Silver RS8.
    The B&W 700 series is a good serie, but it's really bright compared to other series...
    Then, Focal, their Chorus 836 V is an awesome speaker, and it's a very good looking one too :) (the others are too btw) If you can have the room and the power for them (like you will, with the rotel RB-1080) you definately must check out magnepan...

    Good luck,
    Bert.
  • 04-03-2007, 11:38 AM
    stevef22
    Just a tip from the broke kid. I am lucky to live next to a major city so they have lots of cool equipment.

    Remember to look around locally for audio gear, ie. www.craigslist.com. Or if you want visuals you can use www.listpic.com.
  • 04-04-2007, 04:39 AM
    martynda
    Thanks a lot for the great advice so far. I'll definitely look further into all the speakers and brands mentioned.

    Also, how are the Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers regarded? They seem to get amazing reviews for the price ($2,400 online new) and look pretty damn cool. I realize they run into the same problem of placement with integrated subs, but those seem to be "optional" with the amp.
  • 04-04-2007, 03:43 PM
    topspeed
    PM geoffcin, a mod and reviewer here at AR. He had them in his rig for awhile and can give you a balanced assessment. I have not heard the new 3.1's, but the Ref3's were one of my favorite speakers at that price point. Excellent coherence and midband with surprising dynamics for such a petite package (these things are tiny in person). The imaging was a little weird, but that may have been more an issue of room interaction as the dealer's listening room was chock full 'o stuff. Keep in mind, the pair I heard did not have the bass amp, something that I understand takes the performance up a few notches. I would certainly recommend auditioning them at any rate.

    Hope this helps.