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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    Hi-Fi: A Beginner's Guide

    Given my recent experimentation with some affordable gear, I felt it was time to start a thread where we can all share our ideas, of how someone new to this hobby could get into the game (without taking out a mortgage for his first purchase).

    These are my suggestions for great ways to start the audiophile journey:

    Step One (Budget up to $100) - Upgrade the headphones on your iPod/cellphone/computer. You'd be amazed how effective this can be at increasing sound quality, while requiring very little outlay of cash. I've heard a lot of good things about the $50 iGrado's....

    Step Two (Budget $100 - $1000) - Assuming, you don't decide to stick with Headphones and leave speakers to some other sucker, then toss the nasty little dell speakers that came with your desktop and purchase a nice pair of Active Nearfield Monitors. M-Audio and Audio Engine come to mind. You can also consider, getting a cheap DAC, like a Musical Fidelity V-DAC to combine with the speakers for optimum performance or get an active with built in DAC (a popular option in the Pro Audio Scene).

    Step Three (Budget Greater than $1K) - Even though Active Speakers would still give you arguably better value for money, you may want to consider flexibility and upgradability. So I'd suggest breaking free of your desktop with Passive Monitors, an Integrated Amp and a Squeezebox, AppleTV, WDTV, PS3 etc...

    So if you were starting out, what kind of components would you select?

  2. #2
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Well in my opinion it depends on what direction you plan to go. If music only is your direction which for most of us on this forum seems to be the most important part and the theater thing is a secondary thing I would suggest that to start find out what your realistic budget will be. There is no sense in looking at 3000 dollar speakers if your whole system budget is 2000 bucks. find out what your budget is then you can start to figure out how you can allocate it to get the best for your money. receivers are fine to start out with as long as you stay away from the cheaper stuff since they really scrimpt on the amplification and you will not see the best from your speakers. Another thing is think Used. Used equipment allows you to afford a hell of a lot better system for your set dollars and with so many outlets on the net for used gear you should have no problems finding stuff that will fill the bill. Another thing that a lot of people miss is to study the room that you are going to be running this equipment in to find out what type of speakers and how much power you will need in said room to get the results you want. brand loyalty is ok but I would keep myself open to what is out there and do your research and listen to everything to figure out what you like and what you don't. now picking out what speakers you will use is more up to your personal tastes and thoughts about what kind of sound you want. To start with if accuracy is the upmost importance if a person is starting out I would say a stand mount speaker design will almost allways give you more accurate response for the money when you are talking about a starting budget and if the budget allows seperate components are always preffered but not necessary. but when planning said system never forget that cables and interconnects play a big role in overall sound as well so don't go out and blow all of your money on components and then have to go to wall mart for speaker cable and interconnects because it will rob you of a lot of what you are after in the system in the first place. And never count out getting help from someone that has allready been through all of this and use their knowledge as a helping hand in your choice of components and how to set up this system. I know you kind of wanted to talk about brands of components but I believe these things need to be thought of before brands should be concidered. In todays world there are a lot of good gear out there and some of it does not cost a fortune and will do a beginner well for a starter system.

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Dynaudio audience 60 mains
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



  3. #3
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Sorry, I have to be contrary : ) It's just one dood's opinion in the end.

    Step One: First we have to divorce ourselves from the notion that an Ipod or cell phone has anything at all to do with 'HiFi'. The very concept of MP3's works opposite the notion of High Fidelity. I'm not arguing the usefulness of MP3s, I listen to my Creative Labs Vision M when I'm mowing or not able to use my outdoor speakers. Also comes in handy in the gym. I enjoy being able to sample an album online prior to my purchase. Hifi it ain't. This is not a small matter either. Quality recorded and played back music is almost a niche product anymore. Until more people make this very basic connection, HiFi will become increasingly scarce.

    Step Two: Decide on a budget. We all have different means as well as different priorties. A budget is a personal decision. Make the decision that's best for you and don't get caught up trying to impress anyone but yourself. On my craigslist this morning there's a Denon 3805 for 300.00 and a Marantz 4230 for 75.00. Both would make an outstanding entry into HiFi. Speakers are the same deal. Right now there are speakers by Klipsch, Phase Tech, Def Tech, Infinity, Martin Logan. Add a cdp and you're off with a decent midfi system.

    Conversely if budgetary constraints aren't an issue one could simply visit any regional hifi store (if there are any left in your area) and build your system with the guidance of that stores staff. Audio boards like Audioreview are a great place to start searching for ideas and suggestions.

    Step Three: Separate fact from fiction which is very difficult to do. Cables, interconnects, isolation materials etc. can be very divisive matters. Experimentation seems to me to be the best way for a budding audiophile to come to their own conclusions. I've run into some weird situations with people making all sorts of claims but I've never been able to see them backed up in any listening tests. If someone else has a different experience, more power to them. That is in fact part of the hobby!

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    For $1K, I could put together a very nice sounding system without a computer.
    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
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07
    I know you kind of wanted to talk about brands of components but I believe these things need to be thought of before brands should be concidered.
    Actually I wasn't that interested in brands. Brands are subjective (I just listed some as examples - but each person will like and dislike various brands).

    Also, I agree that someone should consider many factors such as budget, room size, etc before making a purchase.

    As for used equipment, I think we also need to factor into the cost of repairs. It's one thing to buy a 3 month old amp on Audiogon for half price, cuz the owner suffers from extreme upgraditis... The item would be virtually new. It's another thing to buy a 25 year old amp on ebay... You really need to do your homework first and ensure that you can find reliable persons to service and repair the amp.

  6. #6
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Sorry, I have to be contrary : ) It's just one dood's opinion in the end.

    Step One: First we have to divorce ourselves from the notion that an Ipod or cell phone has anything at all to do with 'HiFi'. The very concept of MP3's works opposite the notion of High Fidelity. I'm not arguing the usefulness of MP3s, I listen to my Creative Labs Vision M when I'm mowing or not able to use my outdoor speakers. Also comes in handy in the gym. I enjoy being able to sample an album online prior to my purchase. Hifi it ain't. This is not a small matter either. Quality recorded and played back music is almost a niche product anymore. Until more people make this very basic connection, HiFi will become increasingly scarce.
    Jim, I see what you are saying but it's very different from my first point. MP3 is a format and is not the same thing as your iPod. iPod and many other MP3 players can play Lossless files (quality as good as CD). There is a reason brands like Wadia and Krell have produced iPod docks (those kind of components are not meant to be used with 'lossy' MP3 files). I've heard how good an MP3 player playing lossless files with an upgraded set of headphones can sound, which is why I recommend it as a cheap first step...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Step Two: Decide on a budget. We all have different means as well as different priorties. A budget is a personal decision. Make the decision that's best for you and don't get caught up trying to impress anyone but yourself. On my craigslist this morning there's a Denon 3805 for 300.00 and a Marantz 4230 for 75.00. Both would make an outstanding entry into HiFi. Speakers are the same deal. Right now there are speakers by Klipsch, Phase Tech, Def Tech, Infinity, Martin Logan. Add a cdp and you're off with a decent midfi system.

    Conversely if budgetary constraints aren't an issue one could simply visit any regional hifi store (if there are any left in your area) and build your system with the guidance of that stores staff. Audio boards like Audioreview are a great place to start searching for ideas and suggestions.

    Step Three: Separate fact from fiction which is very difficult to do. Cables, interconnects, isolation materials etc. can be very divisive matters. Experimentation seems to me to be the best way for a budding audiophile to come to their own conclusions. I've run into some weird situations with people making all sorts of claims but I've never been able to see them backed up in any listening tests. If someone else has a different experience, more power to them. That is in fact part of the hobby!

    Regards,
    jc
    Pretty much agree with the rest of your post... Though I probably wouldn't use the term 'mid-fi', as I find it to be one of those derogatory terms that keeps people away from our hobby, rather than attracting them.

    The aim of my thread is to show ways to get people interested in better sound quality. The old audiophile approach of insulting most consumers' equipment and musical tastes is outdated and irrelevant. We aren't going to get new generations interested in better sound quality by telling them to ditch their iPod and JayZ tracks, and instead buy a turntable and some 60's Jazz LPs....

  7. #7
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    For $1K, I could put together a very nice sounding system without a computer.
    I'm sure you could. So what components would you use?

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I would use an HK 3390 or 3490 receiver or a CA or NAD integrated amp. http://thecamerabox.com/product.asp?...FQ4MDQoduVsaqQ http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...G&A=details&Q= Marantz 5003 or Oppo 980 http://www.accessories4less.com/make...-Player/1.html

    That would leave about $400-500 for a pair of PSB B-25's http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PBIMB25 , B-15's, Monitor Audio BR's, NHT Classic 2's. Or a pair of PSB Alpha B's and an Energy ESW 8 sub.

    Blujeans cable IC's and unterminated speaker wire.
    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
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    For that same $1000 I have equipped several friends with:
    Adcom GTP-450
    Adcom GFA-535
    Magnepan MMG
    powered subwoofer
    All of the above were purchased used.
    just about any inexpensive DVD player
    Even with some decent but inexpensive IC's and speaker cables the total is less than $1000

    The above sounds better than just about any receiver based system. The only part that really needs upgrading is the DVD player. Also, everything but the "cheap" DVD player can be sold for little or no loss.
    ARC SP9 MKIII preamp,VPI HW19jr, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1 head amp, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts
    Marantz CD63SE CD,Yamaha DVD-S1800, MSB DAC
    Accuphase T101 tuner,Nakamichi LX-5, ZX-7 Teac V-7010
    Lexicon MC8 surround processor
    2 Adcom GFA-545,2 radically modified Dynaco MK3's,2 bridged Crown XLS-402, Paradigm X-30, Behringer CX2310, DSP1124P
    2 12" Transmission Line Subs (PASS DIY El-Pipe-O), Acoustat Spectra 22 ESL's (fronts), Acoustat Model 1 ESL's/SPW-1 Woofer (rears)

  10. #10
    Ajani
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    Very Interesting responses:

    BR would use essentially a traditional 40/30/25/5 split for speakers/amp/CD/cables.

    JoeE would go used and basically rock a source last approach, with a cheap DVD player combined with highly rated pre/amp and speakers...

    I've actually tried both approaches. I preferred JoeE's approach (though that may just be based on the particular brands I used at the time), but either method can give very nice results...

  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Ideally, Ajani, I would try to put as much of the budget into the speakers as possible. I would include the B&W 686's in that speaker group and this integrated amp by CA http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CA340A and this Onkyo receiver http://www.google.com/products/catal...wAw#ps-sellers But I think the HK receivers offer the most bang for the buck.. Nice warmer sound, high current power supplies with bass management and preamp out. I prefer new to used.
    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

  12. #12
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Jim, I see what you are saying but it's very different from my first point. MP3 is a format and is not the same thing as your iPod. iPod and many other MP3 players can play Lossless files (quality as good as CD). There is a reason brands like Wadia and Krell have produced iPod docks (those kind of components are not meant to be used with 'lossy' MP3 files). I've heard how good an MP3 player playing lossless files with an upgraded set of headphones can sound, which is why I recommend it as a cheap first step...
    I am well versed in ape, flac, shorten etc. I'm also well aware that over 99% of the content on cell phones and Ipods and other portable players is MP3 and not lossless codecs. Sure some of them can play lossless codecs but you and I both know that they are not actually filled with that content. And good luck finding a cell phone that can play flac (or a portable player of any kind for that matter).

    Honestly I'm not trying to be antagonistic but you and I both know that the Ipod and cell phone were not created to offer hifi music playback to the masses. That they are ubiquitous speaks more to the rationale of a Krell or Wadia than quality music playback. Simply said, if you can't beat them...

    At any rate, few posts give me any reason to post anymore so it was nice to see a thread that held my interest. Nice work.

    Regards,
    jc
    Last edited by Jim Clark; 11-17-2009 at 01:32 PM.
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  13. #13
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    I am well versed in ape, flac, shorten etc. I'm also well aware that over 99% of the content on cell phones and Ipods and other portable players is MP3 and not lossless codecs. Sure some of them can play lossless codecs but you and I both know that they are not actually filled with that content. And good luck finding a cell phone that can play flac (or a portable player of any kind for that matter).

    Honestly I'm not trying to be antagonistic but you and I both know that the Ipod and cell phone were not created to offer hifi music playback to the masses. That they are ubiquitous speaks more to the rationale of a Krell or Wadia than quality music playback. Simply said, if you can't beat them...
    You are correct. MP3s and MP3 players were invented for convenience, with a 'quality be damned' attitude...

    The thing is that my view of these formats has tended to be the opposite of the traditional audiophile view: "MP3 is the death of our hobby".... I've always seen lossy formats as an initial step in an audio revolution...

    MP3 was designed primarily as a way of making audio files smaller... To cut down a standard WAV file to a tenth of its size, so music could be easily downloaded and stored.... However, the need for such small file sizes (and the corresponding cut in quality) is almost completely gone... We now have broadband internet instead of 14.4K... and Hard Drives containing terabytes of data, instead of megabytes...

    So I always thought MP3 was just the first step... and I trusted and still trust corporate greed to drive an increase in quality.... It's why I was not surprised when Apple changed their AAC store from 128K DRM files to 256K DRM Free.... while of course charging a nice chunk of change to allow users to upgrade all their existing purchases to the higher quality formats... It's why I expect Apple to repeat the same "pay to upgrade" process in a few years for Apple Lossless files on iTunes.... and eventually to offer High Resolution (SACD/DVDA/Blueray) quality audio files at premium prices...


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    At any rate, few posts give me any reason to post anymore so it was nice to see a thread that held my interest. Nice work.

    Regards,
    jc
    Thanks... Sadly, I know what you mean all too well... it's part of the problem with being part of a forum like this for too long... after awhile you've read/participated in so many of the 'same old topics' that you hardly bother to post... I've actually lost my Username twice on this site, because I was inactive for extremely long periods....

  14. #14
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Well I want to chime in and say thanks to Ajani and Jim Clark for posting and sharing with guys like me. Just try to remember what it's like for the newbie poster, we appreciate your experienced feedback and knowledge. Quite frankly, it's why we're here, to pick the brains of guys such as yourself.

  15. #15
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Ideally, Ajani, I would try to put as much of the budget into the speakers as possible. I would include the B&W 686's in that speaker group and this integrated amp by CA http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CA340A and this Onkyo receiver http://www.google.com/products/catal...wAw#ps-sellers But I think the HK receivers offer the most bang for the buck.. Nice warmer sound, high current power supplies with bass management and preamp out.
    I've never tried one of Harman's Stereo Receivers but I'm very very very interested in their new Integrated Amp:

    Ultimate Harman Kardon Integrated Amp - HK 990

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I prefer new to used.
    Me too... I've never bought used... I know there are many great deals on Audiogon or Canuck Audio Mart (back when I was in Toronto) but I still feel uncomfortable about purchasing expensive gear secondhand (no warranty, no real assurance that the previous buyer treated the equipment properly)...

  16. #16
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Well I want to chime in and say thanks to Ajani and Jim Clark for posting and sharing with guys like me. Just try to remember what it's like for the newbie poster, we appreciate your experienced feedback and knowledge. Quite frankly, it's why we're here, to pick the brains of guys such as yourself.
    That's how most of us on this site started... I learned from asking questions, making stupid posts and being schooled about audio by other members of this site... I can still remember several year ago, when Mr. Peabody disillusioned me of my belief that diminishing returns on CD Players started at about $300....

    Anyway, I'm just glad I can help...

  17. #17
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Wow Ajani! That HK integrated looks like a beast. The spec's look fantastic and the build looks great. It looks like the real deal if it can pump out 150wpc at 8ohms and double it at 4ohms. I wonder how much it cost? I can't seem to find a price in US dollars.
    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

  18. #18
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Given my recent experimentation with some affordable gear, I felt it was time to start a thread where we can all share our ideas, of how someone new to this hobby could get into the game (without taking out a mortgage for his first purchase).
    ...
    Severely butt-kicking $5000 stereo system. Is this really Step 4?

    Speakers ... Magneplanar MG 1.6QR, $1900: unbeatable at this price or much more ...



    Integrated amplfier ... Cambridge Azur 840A (V.2), $1700: just can't beat integrateds for value ...



    Silver disc player ... OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray Player, $500 (or splurge on the SE version, $900) ...



    DAC ... Music Hall - DAC 25.2, $600; might want to upgrade the 6922 vacuum tube and opamps for about $200 additional ...



    Interconnects & speaker cables ... Blue Jeans Cable, <$300.

    Analog kit ... WHY??

  19. #19
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Severely butt-kicking $5000 stereo system. Is this really Step 4?

    Speakers ... Magneplanar MG 1.6QR, $1900: unbeatable at this price or much more ...


    Integrated amplfier ... Cambridge Azur 840A (V.2), $1700: just can't beat integrateds for value ...


    Silver disc player ... OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray Player, $500 (or splurge on the SE version, $900) ...


    DAC ... Music Hall - DAC 25.2, $600; might want to upgrade the 6922 vacuum tube and opamps for about $200 additional ...


    Interconnects & speaker cables ... Blue Jeans Cable, <$300.

    Analog kit ... WHY??
    Hmmm.... not sure I'd add the Musichall DAC, nothing I've seen in its reviews suggest it would be an improvement over the Oppo Blu-ray Player...

    Interesting choices (all good components, except maybe the Musichall)....

    I never went for step 4 though, cuz I think it's pretty easy to put together a great system once you have that kind of budget...

  20. #20
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Hmmm.... not sure I'd add the Musichall DAC, nothing I've seen in its reviews suggest it would be an improvement over the Oppo Blu-ray Player...

    Interesting choices (all good components, except maybe the Musichall)....

    I never went for step 4 though, cuz I think it's pretty easy to put together a great system once you have that kind of budget...
    In fact the digital components are the trickiest. So ...

    Say you're only going to play discs, (no computer files), and want SACD as well as CD. Fine: skip the DAC and go for a Marantz SA8003, $1000 ...



    Or say you don't care about SACD but do sometimes play computer files: Cambridge 740C with digital inputs, $1100 ...



    Or say you only listen to computer files, skip the disc player and spend a bit more on the DAC. Either the Benchmark DAC-1, $1000 ...



    Or the PS Audio Digital Link III, $700 -- could be the real bargin here if you don't play discs (!!) or if you combine with a cheaper CDP as a player ...


  21. #21
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Hmmm.... not sure I'd add the Musichall DAC, nothing I've seen in its reviews suggest it would be an improvement over the Oppo Blu-ray Player...

    Interesting choices (all good components, except maybe the Musichall).....
    Have you even heard one???? Or do you buy from reviews only. Now if you went to the SE version maybe.

    Let's see, a $500 CDP c/w DAC vs. a $600 standalone DAC. Hmmmm
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  22. #22
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Hmmm.... not sure I'd add the Musichall DAC, nothing I've seen in its reviews suggest it would be an improvement over the Oppo Blu-ray Player...

    Interesting choices (all good components, except maybe the Musichall)....

    I never went for step 4 though, cuz I think it's pretty easy to put together a great system once you have that kind of budget...
    I seen some pretty good review after they did a little tube rolling.

    frenchmon
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  23. #23
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    Have you even heard one???? Or do you buy from reviews only. Now if you went to the SE version maybe.

    Let's see, a $500 CDP c/w DAC vs. a $600 standalone DAC. Hmmmm
    I can't debate the sonic merits of the Musichall... as I said: nothing in the reviews I've seen seem to be that positive... Stereophile rates both the CA DACmagic and MF V-DAC higher than the Musichall (which is the most expensive of the lot)...

    But all that is irrelevant if you think it's a good DAC... As I've said, my opinion on it is based only on reviews (Stereophile and I think Nightflier/another forum member, bought one and sent it back cuz he thought it was no better than the cheapo CD player he was trying to upgrade)... but I've never heard one, so who knows? And even if I hear one and think it sounds terrible, that has no effect on you enjoying yours...
    Last edited by Ajani; 11-19-2009 at 01:03 PM.

  24. #24
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    In fact the digital components are the trickiest. So ...

    Say you're only going to play discs, (no computer files), and want SACD as well as CD. Fine: skip the DAC and go for a Marantz SA8003, $1000 ...


    Or say you don't care about SACD but do sometimes play computer files: Cambridge 740C with digital inputs, $1100 ...


    Or say you only listen to computer files, skip the disc player and spend a bit more on the DAC. Either the Benchmark DAC-1, $1000 ...


    Or the PS Audio Digital Link III, $700 -- could be the real bargin here if you don't play discs (!!) or if you combine with a cheaper CDP as a player ...
    Yep, lots of great options if you really want to spend around a grand on a digital source...

  25. #25
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    IStereophile rates both the CA DACmagic and MF V-DAC higher than the Musichall (which is the most expensive of the lot)...
    Wow! I had the DACmagic for a good 3 weeks and sent it back because it really was no better than my 10 year old Rotel RCC 1055 CDP....go figure. I guess the V-DAC wins by default.
    frenchmon
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MF XRAY v8 /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/ Creek OBH MK 2/Canton Vento 830.2

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