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  1. #1
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    2 Channel Audio system for under 1000?

    I am trying to put together a two channel audio system for a buddy of mine that has recently gotten into viny. I have a used adcom gfa II that we are thinking of building the system around, that he is going to give me 300 for. He has a decent turntable, so looking for a pair of bookshelves or towers and a preamp for 700 or less.

    He loves Pearl jam, Radiohead, and singer song writer stuff like the Avett brothers. He is not a bass guy so probably could get away with nice bookshelves. I'm looking at PSB Alpha B1, BIC, NHT absolute zero bookshelves, Adcom is a little overkill for these speakers. Maybe used Klipsch RF 52 towers, if a can find used.

    I am clueless about a budget preamp that would be a good match for the Adcom.

    The other option would be that I sell or keep the Adcom and we go integrated and speakers, maybe Outlaw RR2150 and speakers (I own the Outlaw and love it)

    Any ideas for preamp/speaker combos for under 700 matched with the Adcom or integrated with speakers for under 1000 would be appreciated.


    Adcom GFA 555 II (being replaced by as pair of Vincent Audio SP-T100 Hybrid Monoblocks, being shipped tomorrow)
    Outlaw RR 2150 (preamp)
    Magnepan 1.6QR
    Velodyne DPS 12
    Pro-Ject Debut III with speed box, denon dl160, acryl it platter
    Marantz CD 5001
    Blue Jeans Cables and interconnects

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I would highly consider this Grant Fidelity hybrid-tube preamp/DAC unit. I have one and it is a giant killer. Read the user reviews. I use mine with a Class D Audio digital amp and Magnepan MMG's. It sounds great with the stock tube and even better with a 1960's Amprex ECC88 tube for about $20. Tremendous bass, air, sound stage and warmth with this tube.

    Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 D/A Converter

    Another budget preamp is the Maverick Audio Tube-Magic D1 hybrid-tube Preamp-DAC. I bought one for my son and it is a great little unit, warm, airy and detailed. But you must get the tube upgrade and opamp upgrade. With the upgrades you are looking at about $260. I did the opamp upgrade myself for $10. But they now offer a Burr Brown 0627 opamp upgrade which takes it to another level. The Grant Fidelity unit is better IMHO but the Maverick is excellent for the money.

    Maverick Audio - TubeMagic D1 DAC

    Or look for a used Adcom Preamp on audiogon.

    For speakers-if he can swing the extra cash, Saturday Audio has the psb B6's for
    $439pr for B-stock, they normally sell for $599pr They are reputable and I have bought a pair of the B-stock PSB B6's for my son and a pair of Monitor Audio S1's for myself from them. I think if you go with the the PSB Alpha B's or NHT zero's he will be disappointed unless he has a sub paired with them.


    These wharfedale 10.2's are excellent for the price-
    WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 10.2 BOOKSHELF SPEAKER (PR) at Music Direct

    Mordaunt shorts-
    Mordaunt-Short - Aviano 2 - Bookshelf Speakers-Audio Advisor

    And for Budget speakers these Boston Acoustics CS26's have a nice warmer sound with a good midrange and non harsh treble. They perform above their price range. I would rather have a pair of these over the PSB Alpha B's or NHT Zero's with out a sub.

    Amazon.com: BOSTON ACOUSTICS CS26 BLK BOOKSHELF SPEAKER 6IN 2WAY ENTRY (CS26) -: Electronics
    Last edited by blackraven; 02-26-2013 at 07:14 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  3. #3
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    I think you are right about the NHT zeros or PSB alpha Bs. I may just match the Adcom GFA 555 II with the matching Adcom Preamp GFP 555 which I can get for less than 200 I would imagine and then this would free up a lot of $$$ for towers. I will check out the Grant Fidelity Hybrid Tube, you think a good match for the Adcom?

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I think that the GF and the Maverick would be great with the adcom. I have tried both the GF and Maverick in my main system with my Parasound A21 and both sound great and give that nice tube sound.

    I would give serious consideration to the PSB B6's and the Wharfedale 10.2's. Both are excellent speakers, have a forgiving sound for rock music and will out perform any tower speaker in their price range. Both are very smooth sounding speakers with good tight punchy bass and a very smooth and liquid midrange. The tweeters are not too bright as in many speakers in this price range.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  5. #5
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Here is the link to the Grant Fidelity unit that I forgot to put in my first post-

    Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 D/A Converter
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  6. #6
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    Where could I get a GF? I will definitely consider the PSB B6s and Wharfedale 10.2s. My brother is a big PSB fan, great speakers for the money, especially at 439 a pair. I think he might increase his budget another 200 or so if I can convince him it would even open up more options, possibly towers. Thanks for all the great feedback.

    Cant wait to get my Vincent Audio SP T100 Hybrid Monoblocks. As it turns out they were actually owned by William Low, founder of Audioquest. He had his buddy Joseph Harley sell them for him on Audiogon because, as Joe put it, he was "drowning in amps". Must be nice! Joe was a super nice guy, I talked to him on the phone. I guess he is the VP of Audioquest. Maybe he'll throw in some of there sweet signature power cables with the amps.

  7. #7
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    Blackraven, how tubey is the GF? I'm wondering for the type of music the guy likes if it wouldn't be better to stay with a solid state source. Those Wharfedale are about half the original price and would be a great deal.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Blackraven, how tubey is the GF? I'm wondering for the type of music the guy likes if it wouldn't be better to stay with a solid state source. Those Wharfedale are about half the original price and would be a great deal.
    With the stock tube the GF is very neutral but has very good air and transparency. With the tube upgrade it is very tubey. The beauty of the Grant unit Mr. P. is that it has both solid state and tube inputs. So you can by pass the tube which is really a tube buffer. Replacing the stock 6922 tube with an ECC88/6DJ8 tube like this really takes the GF to another sonic level.

    Amperex Bugle Boy 6DJ8 / ECC88


    Take a look at the inputs and outputs of the Grant at the bottom of the page in the link-
    Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 D/A Converter

    Here is a nice little reivew on the the GF

    REVIEW: Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11
    Last edited by blackraven; 02-26-2013 at 07:52 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Here is another review-

    Grant Audio Tube DAC 11
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Van Alstine Ultra Hybrid Tube Preamp and Ultra Hybrid Tube DAC
    Martin Logan Original Dynamo Sub
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  10. #10
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    Love the marketing, wasn't sure what I was looking at for a minute.

  11. #11
    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
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    I see a lot of name brands, and with that comes brand name prices unless you go used. Here's a link of the Fluance SX speakers I purchaced a year ago:

    Fluance SX speaker 1yr test1.mpg - YouTube

    My 2 channel setup:
    Integra 2.1 Amp
    Teac EQ MKII
    Squeezebox Touch
    Fluance SX Tower speakers
    Cables to go 12 AWG speakers cables
    AR Interconnets

    Cost under $800

    If bookshelf is the way I put together this setup for my daughters room

    Polk T 15 - YouTube

    Pioneer VSX D510 AVR
    Squeezebox Classic 3
    PolkAudio T15 speakers
    Polkaudio Sub PSW10
    Cables to go 12 AWG Speakers cables
    Audioquest Digital cable
    AR Interconnets

    Cost under $400
    Last edited by recoveryone; 02-27-2013 at 06:14 AM.
    HT
    Pioneer EliteVSX-32
    Slim Device Transporter
    Pioneer EliteDV47Ai
    Pioneer EliteCD-M53

    Pioneer Cassette CTM66R,
    Pioneer Elite BDP 95FD

    Vizio VF550M 1080p
    Panamax 5300 EX

  12. #12
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    Thats a sweet system you put together for 800! I have not heard the fluance sx speakers. I will add them to the growing list of speakers to review. Im pretty certain we are going with the adcom gfa 555 ii at this point because it is mine and i know it works flawlessly and adcom gfp 555 preamp because it is a reasonably priced preamp and has a decent phono stage. Speakers are still undecided at this point. I have always been a polk fan as well, my brother has owned several of there older bookshelf speakers over the years. Tryin to do without a sub, maybe add later. Would rather put a little more money into fronts I think. He may add a sub at some point and is going to upgrade his tt down the road.

  13. #13
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Just a question here. Isn't recommending equipment before knowing what size the room it is going in like putting the cart before the horse?

    Just askin.....
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Grass Valley Cell based Pro HD A/V switcher
    Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 EQ module
    Audyssey XT32 Sub module
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    5 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    14 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surrounds
    3 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

  14. #14
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    Yeah good point, somehow that never came up but it was something i talked about with him. Its a medium size basement, bookshelves would suffice for sure. Maybe 8 foot ceiling, i think all finished dry wall.

  15. #15
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    Well my buddy made his final decisions, building his system around my Adcom GFA 555 II. The Adcom 555 GFP, Wharfedale 10.2s. He also upgraded his stock cartridge on his Technics TT. I'm thinking he will be pretty happy with this set up for a grand.

  16. #16
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    That looks like a nice set up.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

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