Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 32
  1. #1
    nightflier
    Guest

    Hindsight is 20-20 - what if you could start over...

    If you could start over with your audio system - same budget, but with all the additional experience that you've acquired over the years. So what kind of system would you put together?

    Personally I'm never completely satisfied, so I would probably continue to upgrade as soon as I had it all assembled and burned in. But this is sort of what I would get:

    - ClearAudio Emotion TT (is there a more beautiful TT for around $1K?)
    - Lyra Argo cart (never heard it, but always wanted to)
    - Jolida JD9-A phono preamp (customized with upgraded tubes)
    - Cambridge Audio 840C CD (it's not super high-end, but I would rather spend the $ on the analog end)
    - Sonic Frontiers Line 2 preamp (although I probably wouldn't mind keeping my current Plinius preamp, either)
    - Primaluna ProLogue 6 mono amps (once you've had mono amps, you never go back)
    - Zingali Overture 4 floorstanding speakers (this is a new discovery for me, but everything I've read makes this right up my alley)
    - Cables by Mapleshade (hey I'm already well off the mainstream, anyhow)

    I'd probably have to find the speakers, pre, amp, and CD player second hand somewhere to stay under $10K, but this is the system that most intrigues me right now. Interestingly the only piece of gear I am truly happy with right now is my preamp.

    So what would you put together?

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127

    Sitting pretty right now

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    If you could start over with your audio system - same budget, but with all the additional experience that you've acquired over the years. So what kind of system would you put together?

    Personally I'm never completely satisfied, so I would probably continue to upgrade as soon as I had it all assembled and burned in. But this is sort of what I would get:
    ...

    So what would you put together?
    'Flier,

    In my case I'm pretty happy with the exception of my DAC, an Assemblage 1.5, which is a bit bright. My SACD player, the Sony SCD-CE775 is OK, but there could be something better out there for not too much.

    Given my small LP collection and general lack of interest in vinyl, I'd spend the modest amount I recently spent in that area somewhere else.

    (I'm talking stereo here, not MC.) Current stuff except as indicated:
    • SACD/CD player, new: Marantz SA8001
    • Computer sound card: M-Audio Audophile USB
    • DAC, new: Monarchy Audio M-24, tube
    • Preamp: Sonic Frontiers LINE 1 with Amperx USA 6299 white label 'PQ' tubes
    • Power amp: pair, Monarchy Audio SM-70 Pro
    • Speakers: Magneplanar MG 1.6QR
    • Subwoofer: PSB Subsonic 5
    • Interconnectors: Blue Jeans
    • Speaker cable: Canare 4-wire 14 ga. wire & Part Express connectors
    Some would say the PSB comes up a little short here, but it's OK for my usage and got it really cheap. Note that the preamp to power amp interconnects are balanced and relatively long at 6 feet, while the speaker wires are short at 3 feet.
    Last edited by Feanor; 09-05-2007 at 04:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    down there
    Posts
    6,852

    The following is at best only partially on-topic...

    I also am pretty happy with the direction in which I'm headed. Last month I was experiencing some type of temporary insanity and was seriously considering going two-channels only (no room for two seperate set-ups). It went so far as to doing some home auditions but really all it took was a few good movies and SACDs to make me remember why I do what I do. Of course, that's not to say that I wouldn't mind a few upgrades--a new processor, new source.

    All that said, if the opportunity arose I would like to check out something different in addition to what I've already accumulated. The Mac helps but the MLs aren't the warmest deal going today. I'd love to have a SET/Lowther/Clear Audio combo in a den or man cave setting. Audiophile heresey time: One of the reasons I don't get into that many "heated discussions" around these parts is that I don't really believe any system will reproduce a live event 100% correctly and, given that, it comes down to each individuals preference. I'd love to explore some other styles of presentation.

  4. #4
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Rupert's Land, Canada
    Posts
    496
    If I could start over I never would have wasted a fair amount of cash on my first starter system. But I may have never ventured down the MC trail and saved thousands of dollars more.
    Given the same amount of money I spent altogether, assuming I still ventured down the same MC trail, I would have bought 2 sets of Paradigm Studio 100 v2's and probably have one additional power amp. The sound would be only marginally better though.
    But if I could purchase speakers that weren't on the market back then I would have Paradigm Signature series with the flagship S8's.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    halifax,nova scotia,canada
    Posts
    1,083
    Good question,i am happy with my system as is,the Cambridge is the weak link but that will get fixed soon.If i had to start over with the same kind of cash,i might well go 2 channel
    only,i think.I don't currently have room for 2 systems so I must make the best of it with my surround system and it sounds very good but i could put together a really good stereo set up for the same money.

    bill
    Speakers-Jm Labs
    Disc player-Sim Audio Moon Calypso
    Pre-amp-Sim Audio P-5.3 SE
    dac= sim audio moon 300d

    Amp-Sim Audio Moon I-3
    Display-Toshiba CRT
    Wires and Cables-Kimber,Straight Wire, ixos, Gutwire and shunyata research
    Sacd-Cambridge Audio
    Bluray--Sony and Cambridge Audio
    Remote-- Harmony 1100

    Power-- Monster

  6. #6
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Graham, WA
    Posts
    341
    i would start with the room. i could never add another upgrade and be completely satisfied with my system if it were in a decent room.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

  7. #7
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Mortsel, Antwerp, Belgium, Europe, Earth
    Posts
    3,056
    I too would start with the room (not only diffusors & stuff, but also the really heavy things like 'breaking out a wall' and so )

    anyhow, since I think there isn't anything that compares to my advents in their price range, given that I invested about $300 for both pairs...
    so I'd likely save on and get really better speakers (like I'm planning to) and buy more high end things than I have now (for instance, I would start saving for a new tt too, likely a pro-ject or save on a little longer and get a clearaudio), a rega cd player also, but I would have definately bought the mac again

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    Posts
    9,025
    I would have saved a few thousand on cables and speakes stands by purchasing well constructed no-name stuff. Otherwise, pretty much what I have now I think.
    I have an old Techniques turntable that I'd like to upgrade though - not sure to what.
    And I'd probably finally own those PS Audio or Bryston amps I've always wanted.

  9. #9
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Anywhere but here...
    Posts
    13,243
    I kind of like how things have been progressing so far. The upgrades I have planned down the road will let me use what I have now in alternate rooms. The only thing I would have liked to do differently would to have had more money to spend to begin with.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  10. #10
    nightflier
    Guest
    Wow, I guess my upgrade-itis is much more severe than most people here. Aside from my preamp and perhaps my Quads, I could stand to swap out everything else. I've enjoyed the HCA-2, but I've also heard a lot better out there. I'm also torn between the idea of inefficient tubes vs. efficient class-D amps, and I haven't really made up my mind as to which way to go with that dilemma.

    Arghhhh this hobby...

  11. #11
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Anywhere but here...
    Posts
    13,243
    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Wow, I guess my upgrade-itis is much more severe than most people here. Aside from my preamp and perhaps my Quads, I could stand to swap out everything else. I've enjoyed the HCA-2, but I've also heard a lot better out there. I'm also torn between the idea of inefficient tubes vs. efficient class-D amps, and I haven't really made up my mind as to which way to go with that dilemma.

    Arghhhh this hobby...
    That's why you need more than one room to keep all these alternatives in. Where is it written that you can only have one system?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  12. #12
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Mortsel, Antwerp, Belgium, Europe, Earth
    Posts
    3,056
    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Where is it written that you can only have one system?
    not in my book
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  13. #13
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3,717
    Nightflier, I don't know if you qualify for this poll. You've got more toys than Upscale Audio!

    Personally, I'm pretty content where I'm at. I may have avoided the Denon AVR and gone straight to a used 5 channel amp and pre/pro (a Proceed, Rotel, or Parasound would be nice), but I can't discount the convenience factor of the Denon. Unfortunately, the added complexity of the amp/pre-pro probably would have made the HT nearly useless to my wife and kids, and since they do more watching than I, the right decision was ultimately made.

    I do regret selling my PS Audio 4.6 preamp. I should have kept that and inserted it into the system using the tape loops to run my two channel stuff through the HCA2. Oops.

  14. #14
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    3,373

    If I knew then what I know now...

    I would most likely not have gone through small steps, but instead I would have conserved money over a longer course of time and then dropped larger chunks here and there. I wasted too much on the 'in-between' stuff and because of that I am not as far along as I wish that I was. However, I also believe that through mistakes we also are made wiser and so I don't know if that is a bad thing either. Because of the mistakes that I have made it has also enabled me to test out new things, try various ideas, and experiment around a bit more, which has also lead to a larger experience base.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    tuscaloosa
    Posts
    5,528
    The only way you learn things in this "hobby" is by experience.
    If you had it to do over you would have made the same choices because you would have the same exprience
    Sometimes I wished I had stayed in the two channel world, would have had a killer
    system if I had, but my surround systems have been a lot of fun too, just a different type fun.
    So I am starting a new "audio only" system, it will be a lot more modest if I hadn't
    tried HT, but thats life. I will not buy a "name", can't afford to and wouldn't if I could.
    Just simple, older gear put to good use can sound just as good, I learned that if nothing else
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  16. #16
    nightflier
    Guest
    Someone mentioned this to me, and I guess it makes sense. If I had to do it over I would not be getting the system I laid out above because most of it wasn't available. Good point, and I should add that there have also been technological and functional advancements in much of the gear (just look at all the hookups on the back of that CA 840c CD player). So in a way, I am also benefiting from other people's trial & error and the viability of certain technologies in the marketplace. For example, five years ago, I would not have expected for SACD to fare better than DVD-A, considering the catalogs on each format.

    So let's leave that detail aside and rephrase the question: if your house burned down and you got a check from the insurance company for the full value of your gear (I know, that's not likely), what would you buy today?

  17. #17
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    tuscaloosa
    Posts
    5,528

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Someone mentioned this to me, and I guess it makes sense. If I had to do it over I would not be getting the system I laid out above because most of it wasn't available. Good point, and I should add that there have also been technological and functional advancements in much of the gear (just look at all the hookups on the back of that CA 840c CD player). So in a way, I am also benefiting from other people's trial & error and the viability of certain technologies in the marketplace. For example, five years ago, I would not have expected for SACD to fare better than DVD-A, considering the catalogs on each format.

    So let's leave that detail aside and rephrase the question: if your house burned down and you got a check from the insurance company for the full value of your gear (I know, that's not likely), what would you buy today?
    Two systems, one for surround, because the way movies are made you're not going to get and realism anyway, they just have to sound "decent".
    And a higher line system for audio, a lot more important to get that right.
    Higher line for my broke self would be a home built computer with a USB dac, something like a cambridge CD player, amps from Cambridge, marantz, something like that.
    Marantz has a new 4800$ integrated that is to DIE for BTW.
    I LIKE Viennas or triangles, maybe some 700 series B&w, although my current bottom feeding beemers sound pretty good. Might go for a headphone solution
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  18. #18
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,462
    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    if your house burned down and you got a check from the insurance company for the full value of your gear (I know, that's not likely), what would you buy today?
    I've been extremely lucky with an unusual access to hearing lots of first rate stuff. Which has enabled me to evaluate more options in advance before settling upon what I find works best for me. While I changed components quite frequently when I was a teenager, today I move slowly and have long term relationships. I kept my last electrostats for over twenty years. What to change? Darn little. The speakers remain the ideal dance partner for me with their unmatched coherency and clear-as-an-open-window resolution. Which require high powered, load insensitive amps. I still favor the midrange magic of tubes and the VTLs remain the most bang for your buck choice with those criteria in mind.

    Assuming that all my vinyl would be lost in such a fire (a terrible thought), I would likely rethink replacing the phono related gear because most of that software is irreplaceable. The only good news with that realization is that I would have a greater budget for the CD source. In that case, I would opt for the one box Meitner unit. Run it balanced.

    rw

  19. #19
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Anywhere but here...
    Posts
    13,243
    I could buy back all the same components I have now for half the price. Then I'd have enough left over to get a very nice amp or two.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  20. #20
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3,275
    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    - Cables by Mapleshade (hey I'm already well off the mainstream, anyhow)
    I got a pair of 8' Clearview Golden Helix speaker cables. If you are interested, I'll ship'em to you and you can play with them for a month or two(no charge). But if you wanna keep them, I'll gladly take $25. If they suck to your ears, just send them back. PM me if you are interested.



    If I had to do it all over again, then I wouldnt have bought anything new, except for carts and a TT. Also, I would deftintely go HE speakers and SET setup, then come back to this thread and post a different setup...

    JRA

  21. #21
    nightflier
    Guest

    Upgrade-itis

    Well E-Stat, I can't say I've been in this hobby for 20-30 years, like many of you here. As a matter of fact it was only about a decade ago that I believed that all the hype about high-end gear was just that, hype. Ironically my introduction to audiophile quality gear was through 5-channel sound. I would have been happy as a clam with my Onkyo receiver and my Polk speakers, had I not heard a friend's Arcam/Vandersteen setup - the difference was so obvious even w/o hearing the two next to each other. It was only after I started upgrading my surround sound setup that I decided to also build-up a 2-channel system, and well, all my gear grew from those two systems.

    Back then, I ran my own business installing small home networks, so I got to know a lot about what people have in their homes and how it's all wired up. Many of these people became friends and it's through them (many of whom can afford systems well beyond what I can even imagine), that I got to know the brands and requirements of hi end audio.

    The fact that I'm still not satisfied with what I have is because I know I don't have the sound I want. But just as I am with computers and networking, I am a perfectionist for quality. If there is even a slight dip in the frequency spectrum or a tinge of harshness, I'm going to find it and it will grate at me until I fix it or replace the source of it.

    Fortunately, the surround setup in our home is not really for me to tweak or replace (the wife and kids would make me sleep in the garage), so we always have something to fall back on. It's a pretty decent setup, too, now that I have the Vienna speakers. I suppose that a few small tweaks aside, that system is satisfactory, at least for now (hint hint).

    The system that is mine to "play" with is my 2-channel system. And while I am extremely happy with the preamp (my Plinius CD-LAD), most of the rest is not to my satisfaction. Even my Quad speakers, that are definitely the best sounding speakers so far, are not as satisfying as a pair of Vandersteen 5's, for example. Of course, I don't have the budget, room, or lifestyle for those, nor a pair of Magnepan 20s, or Gallo Reference 3's. So in a way, that's probably a good thing.

    I also have the advantage that I have a lot of gear I can swap out to compare, and I do an "exaggerated" (so my family says) amount of A/B testing. Fortunately, I can say with some confidence that I've achieved a level of performance with used/second-hand gear, that has cost my friends many times as much. I suppose it's nice to be the go-to guy when their systems are not working right (and they don't want to pay their custom-installer for another in-house call).

    I also often have the opportunity to borrow gear from friends and we have sort of a friendly-exchange system going that gives us all the opportunity to hear different things. For example, I had a pair of Martin Logan Odyssey's here for the summer because my friend didn't want to leave them at his house while he was on vacation - like anyone is going to steal those behemoths. We also do get-togethers at someone's house very once in a while when someone has a new toy they want to show off. This usually involves a few drinks too many and lots of demo music and/or video, so it's a lot of fun.

    Anyhow, to make a long story short, I don't have the sound I want yet, hence the reason for this thread. I was quite surprised to read that my situation was the exception on this board. Maybe my upgrade-itis will never be healed. I suppose I kind of feel guilty about that.

  22. #22
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Anywhere but here...
    Posts
    13,243
    Don't get me wrong Night. I would love a better system, and I do have many upgrades planned. But using the same budget as what I've already spent, I'd end up with about what I have now. Give me more to spend and then we can talk about major changes.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  23. #23
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    VB VA
    Posts
    2,307
    In hindsight it might have been if my knowledge was there when I actually had some big bucks I Might have put more $ into something different. When $ was tight I started out with a cheap (less than $250) Aiwa HTB and $150 Apex DVD Player. When I got some money, I bought a Bose center channel and new 201's in part because I did like the sound of my old 201's that I had bought years before.So even then I guess even then I was still too focused on a budget but at the time I considered Bose the best (and had not joined this sight to hear of other options).The Panasonic reciever I hooked them up to was just too underpowered to do those speakers justice and had me shaking my head thinking the speakers were the problem. On the plus side my equipment is holding up well and because it was inexpensive it has allowed my to "upgrade" from time to time without any interference from my wife. As a matter of fact being on a budget I was able to get 4 new Sony floor standers which were being discontinued for less than $300 and they actually sound pretty good. Long story short I am pretty much like GMichael I would have pretty much ended up with what I have because until the kids are through school or I hit the lottery I can't afford the real toys anyway.

  24. #24
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    823
    In my case, I am very happy with what I have now for the money I spent. I guess I am in the camp that would have done many things differently on the way to getting where I am. I have been all over the map from really bad sounding systems (my first was a Bose Acoustimass 3 that I could not sell soon enough), to very good sounding Legacy Audio speakers that I gave to my brother-in-law as they were not good enough to keep, but too good to sell (I realize that sounds quacky). I spent a lot of money buying and then selling older stuff before buying most of my current gear though, and if I had all that money back I could jettison my Rotel and switch it to a multi-channel Coda amp, and maybe even upgrade the Consonance CD-120 in my main system to a Consonance Droplet CD player... Oh well, maybe someday. :-)

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
    Coda 2 X 200 Watt Amp
    Rotel RB-985 5 X 100 Watt Amp
    2 Tyler Acoustics 2 Piece Linbrook Signature System
    1 Tyler Linbrook Signature Center Channel
    3 Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors
    1 ACI Titan II Sub
    Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD
    Panasonic BDT-210 + 350 Blu-ray
    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
    Sony 55NX-810 1080p 3D-LED HDTV

    Office:
    Opera Audio Consonance CD-120
    Jolida 1301A 2 X 30 Watt Int. Amp (Sovtek Tubes)
    Opera Audio Consonance Eric-1 Speakers

  25. #25
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127

    I might go multi-channel

    Farily recently I made the statemeht that, at a given budget, a multi-channel system is worth over a stereo system even if the individual components have to be of lessor quality. I'll stand by that statement.

    The general problem is the relative lack of good MC recordings. But blessed as I am by preferring classical music (in more ways than this one), there quite a few good MC SACDs and more turning up all the time. Going MC would make more sense for me than many people.

    My specific problem is that my listening room not well laid out for MC, so apart from cost considerations, I won't be going that way any time soon.

    However, were I do do so with a budget comparable to my current stereo system, then the result would be something quite different. Consider that the new value of my stereo system is, (not that I paid new prices in all case), is about $7500 with cabling. How would I distribute this for a 5.1 system? Hypothetically, of course:
    • NAD Master M5 SACD/CD player, $1500
    • Outlaw 990 prepro, $1000
    • Outlaw 7500 5-ch amp, $1600
    • 5 x NHT Classic 3 speakers, $2000
    • NHT Classic 10 subwoofer, $600
    • Cabling, $500 ??
    There are some serious compromises here versus stereo quality, but I personally believe it would be worth the trade off for the person who has a room where this system can be set up properly, and a growing collection of (classical) SACDs.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •