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  1. #26
    DMK
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    [QUOTE=bturk667]In my previous post about what would you rather have, most people opted for the speakers, very typical. It seemed that they did so based on differences.

    I did so based on experience rather than differences. You're correct in that differences aren't always good. But I've had more success in the past putting systems together when I built them around the speakers instead of around something else.

    Since this post is a little different than your last one by including analog, my answers are slightly different:

    $5K system - I'd put 50% on the speakers:
    $2500 - speakers
    $1500 - analog front end
    $1000 - amplification and digital front end.

    $10K system - This one was the most interesting because I could be specific in my mind as to the components I wanted. The speakers I'd want are $4000 so my percentage would drop to 40% on speakers. I'd jump up the analog front end to $2500 and I'd put $3500 into some tubed amplification and the digital front end.

    $20K system - Pretty simple. My speakers are $7500 so that's 37.5%. Analog front end would go up to $5K = 25%. The balance I'd put into amps and CDP's = 37.5%. I could get some pretty choice tube amplification with $7500, although I'd hold out a few bucks for a digital source.

    In my make believe systems, I'm still true to my original premise even though the speakers percentage drops. I first find the speakers I want and I then surround it with the ancillary gear I want and that fits my budget. I'm not saying that the speakers become less important as you move up the ladder. It's just that I have yet to hear the speakers that sound better than the $7500 pair, no matter how expensive they may be. If I preferred, say, the Whispers, my percentage would change drastically. Also, if we were only dealing with solid state electronics, I'd have no need to spend $20K on a system unless I increased my turntable budget to around $8K... which I could do easily given the opportunity! But I've found the laws of diminishing returns kicks in heavily with SS electronics and even more so with CD players.

    The bottom line is that IME, putting your speakers first will yield the best sounding system for the money, assuming a normal amount of care and expertise in system matching. My current system would have retailed at around $19K if I had bought everything new. The only new piece was the CD recorder at $700 and the phono cartridge at $950. The rest I got at an average of 50% of retail. And until some other component comes along and blows away what I own AND I can afford it, I'll be using this system for a long, long time - no upgrades in sight.

  2. #27
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    What percentage in each?

    1. System budget = $5,000
    2. System budget = $10,000
    3. System budget = $20,000



    1 - 40% of DIY money on speakers
    2 - 20% of DIY money on speakers
    3 - 25% of DIY money on speakers


    of course...that's Do it yourself...not design it yourself. I'm certainly not a designer.

    I have ta say...I've listened to the CElegacy speakers, and I wanted them to be really good. But they sounded...well, pretty darn bad it was a bit of a disappointment. This was also with some very nice (and powerful) electronics. I would try to audition before buying these on the blind.

    take care>>>>>>>>
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  3. #28
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbangelfish
    Big is good and big power too. I don't think that there is any substitution for either. I'll admit that I'd like to hear a system that does it all with 8 watts per channel but have never had the opportunity. Hard for me to imagine but Avant Garde works with very low power and I'd like to hear them too.
    Bill

    Bill...I'm not sure where Roscoe is, but if you could make the drive to about 38 miles south of Chicago...I can try to set something up where you could hear some EdgarHorn TiTans (with the hornsub). You could also hear my speakers, if you like. They sound pretty darn close to the TiTans (with 2441 drivers)...but it isn't a fully horn loaded system...and it isn't as full range.


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  4. #29
    DMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonefishin
    I have ta say...I've listened to the CElegacy speakers, and I wanted them to be really good. But they sounded...well, pretty darn bad it was a bit of a disappointment. This was also with some very nice (and powerful) electronics. I would try to audition before buying these on the blind.

    take care>>>>>>>>
    I had the same problem with the Focus. I got 'em for cheeeeep but I just couldn't get them to behave, even with the megabuck solid state gear I used at the time. I waltzed 'em around that room but they always sounded horribly incoherent - I was always painfully aware that their were crossovers with bass comin' from here and treble from there but no coherent whole. Perhaps it was my room but the legacy's get such mixed reviews that I would also caution potential buyers to use them in their home with their setup before committing.

  5. #30
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    hey gonefishin

    Roscoe is North of Rockford, near WI border and 1 mi from I-90. Might have to plan a road trip and possibly include Bturk as I have interest in comparing his McCormack amp to my Parasound amps. I really haven't heard a home system better than my own and I'm not trying to brag. I don't have any personal friends in my area who have as nice of a system as my own.
    I'll admit to looking at systems (yours included) and wondering how they sound as compared to my own. I am obviously very pleased with my own system and could listen to it for a very long time without growing tired of it. I'm an admitted power nut with a heavy empasis on everything in front of the speakers. With my speakers now biamped, I am pushing them with 220wpc X 4 at 8 ohm or 385wpc X 4 at 4 ohm and it is clear to me that this is better than having only half of the power. It depends on who you ask as to whether the AR9 converts to 8 ohm or stays at 4 ohm during biamp mode. My speakers are old and only cost me alittle over $700, new, they were about 2k in the late 70's. I think it would be very hard to beat them without spending several k. I see speakers with much less range going for alot more money than I spent.
    There are many components that I would be interested in listening to and speakers themselves will make the biggest difference in most systems so it's most likely different speakers that a person has to compare. There are many that I have never heard and it would be interesting for me to get out and hear something different.
    Bill

  6. #31
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbangelfish
    I'll admit to looking at systems (yours included) and wondering how they sound as compared to my own. I am obviously very pleased with my own system and could listen to it for a very long time without growing tired of it. Bill

    Heck, there ain't no need to always compare...it can just be neat to see/hear others systems. Sometimes they may build a system that's similar to yours...and sometimes they'll have a very different system. But it's all goooood


    Maybe once it warms up a bit?


    just let me know...you could usually find me at AK.


    take care>>>>>
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  7. #32
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    I say, lets do it.

    I live in Tinley Park. That is @ 25 miles or so south of the loop! Think of either I-80 and Harlem Ave (IL.43), or @ 294 and 159th st. We should really try to get together sometime in the future. I have amp, will travel!
    Remember, different isn't always better, but it is different.
    Keep things as simple as possible, but not too simple.
    Let your ears decide for you!

  8. #33
    Forum Regular thepogue's Avatar
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    CElegacy...lmao....ya gotta be hangin 'round fer a while to get that one!!!

    "I have ta say...I've listened to the CElegacy speakers, and I wanted them to be really good. But they sounded...well, pretty darn bad it was a bit of a disappointment. This was also with some very nice (and powerful) electronics. I would try to audition before buying these on the blind."

    Someday soon I'll be listening to them...I just hooked up with a local hifi'er and we went drooling last week...put our ears on Martin-Logan Odyssey (the set-up was less than perfect so I was a bit dissipointed), Linn gear, Von Schweikert VR-1 (which I very much enjoyed!), a Clearaudio turntable which sounded sooo schweet, Paradigms v.3s, Totem's line up and quite a few more...but to be sure before Mr. I'm-so-cheap EVER buys somfinn that expensive (the CElegacy's) I'll be listening good fer sure!!!


    You know I'm kinda miss ole CE!!! he was a piece-o-work ta be sure!!
    • Mark Levinson No. 27
    • Musical Fidelity 308cr
    • Martin Logan Prodigy's
    • Ariel Acoustics 10-T
    • Rega Planet CD
    • CJ Premier 9 DAC
    • Linn LP12 - Basik Plus - Valhalla
    • Benz Micro Cart.
    • Akai GX 747 Reel to Reel
    • Straight Wire Virtuoso Interconnects

  9. #34
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    Gonefishin and Bturk

    Getting together and hearing each other's systems would be interesting.
    It appears that we are all happy with what we have, that's a good thing. We've all gone about it in alittle bit different ways so the interesting thing would be to find out how we think they compare in quality or just individual characteristics.
    Bturk once made a statement about his McCormack amp blowing my Parasound amps away. He could be right but I'd have to hear it to believe it and there is really only one way to do this which would be by direct comparison. If he is correct, I'll be surprised but you just never know.
    At any rate, feel free to email me about getting together sometime. No need to go on about this on the website. It appears that you guys live fairly close to one another so hearing both of yours in one day should be fairly easy.
    Bill

  10. #35
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    Excellent!

    We will definetly have to get together in the near future. However, I don't remember say my McCormack would blow your Parasound away, but rather that it would perform as well if not better. Either way, a direct comparison is the only way to find out. Should be interesting and fun.
    Remember, different isn't always better, but it is different.
    Keep things as simple as possible, but not too simple.
    Let your ears decide for you!

  11. #36
    Forum Regular Chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bturk667
    In my previous post about what would you rather have, most people opted for the speakers, very typical. It seemed that they did so based on differences. Speakers bring a bigger difference to a system so... as if large ones are always better ones. Also, money seemed to be a underlying theme as well. I always thought one could find excellent speakers that are reasonably priced. But I digress, please excuse me.
    I have to comment on "excellent speakers that are reasonably priced."

    Loudspeakers are always a compromise. I really don't keep up with low cost speakers, but the old FMI-80's were remarkable at only $79.95 each. Probably had a smoother midrange than most have ever heard at any price. However, a great deal depends on how one defines excellence in loudspeakers. While bass to 30 Hz. is quite good and enough for most, some simply like to push the envelope. Deep bass with low distortion isn't cheap. If one listens at modest levels more modest drives can be used (reducing cost) but if higher levels are expected then the drivers will cost more (or sound horrible when they're overdriven). Putting two good-to-excellent drivers in a box and using a low cost passive crossover can produce a very nice loudspeaker, but not the kind of speaker a "perfectionist audiophile" would ever want to own.

    I want the bass flat to 18 Hz. Cone breakup in the midrange or high-frequency response irritates, and I like to be able to produce concert hall levels (I rarely use the capability but like to have it on tap). Low distortion is good (see Dr. Toole's research), and an "excellent loudspeaker" (the way I define the term) must cover from 18 Hz. to 20kHz. with less than 0.5% distortion, at concert levels (in excess of 110 dB peaks). Excellent transient and phase characteristics are also a part of the equation, as is controlled dispersion. That's what I consider "excellent" and if you can tell me a way to do it cheaply, we'll start a company together and make a little money.

  12. #37
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    Excellent speakers

    So what speaker meets your criteria and how much does it cost? The old AR9's do a pretty good job and you can find them used for $400 to $1000, depending on condition. My pair which is like new, cost me $735 and a 180 mile round trip. Their frequency range is given to be 18hz to 30khz and .5 distortion. There are some newer speakers that may do this better but look at the cost. I'd love to hear Dunlaveys, the big Legacys and some others but they cost more than I'd probably ever spend and I am very pleased with what the old AR9's do. Since biamping them, they have come to life, can play very loud without distortion and certainly have deep bass. There are ways to tweak them and make them even better but I don't feel the need yet, maybe sometime. At their cost, I consider them to be a true bargain when compared to new or even other used speakers. I don't think you could come close to what they'll do if you built your own with new components without spending more money and of course, you'd have to build them. I'm afraid mine would not look so pretty.
    Bill

  13. #38
    Forum Regular Chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbangelfish
    So what speaker meets your criteria and how much does it cost? The old AR9's do a pretty good job and you can find them used for $400 to $1000, depending on condition. My pair which is like new, cost me $735 and a 180 mile round trip. Their frequency range is given to be 18hz to 30khz and .5 distortion. There are some newer speakers that may do this better but look at the cost. I'd love to hear Dunlaveys, the big Legacys and some others but they cost more than I'd probably ever spend and I am very pleased with what the old AR9's do. Since biamping them, they have come to life, can play very loud without distortion and certainly have deep bass. There are ways to tweak them and make them even better but I don't feel the need yet, maybe sometime. At their cost, I consider them to be a true bargain when compared to new or even other used speakers. I don't think you could come close to what they'll do if you built your own with new components without spending more money and of course, you'd have to build them. I'm afraid mine would not look so pretty.
    Bill
    Hi Bill,

    I'm not familiar with the AR9's, and I've learned to be extremely skeptical of manufacturers claims (published specifications), so I'll remain a little skeptical regarding the performance claims. However, you're absolutely right about the cost of building equivalent speakers today. If I could build a loudspeaker that was as musical as the FMI-80 today and market it for 80-bucks I think I could sell them by the truckload. Today's best drivers are better than ever, but they're also a lot more expensive. The FMI-80's had three drivers, a crossover, and a box. It retailed for $80, so production cost must have been about 1/5th that, or about $16.00. Today just the three drivers and the wood to make the box would cost more than that.

    Bi-amping is cool, isn't it? I've been tri-amping since the 70's (it takes a big sub to get 18Hz. in most rooms so I have to tri-amp rather than bi-amp).

    Mind if I take a look at the "true cost" of your speakers? If we figure 23-cents per mile, the round trip mileage comes to $41.40. The trip had to take at least three hours. If you work for $14/hr. that's another $42.00. Total cost delivered is therefore something more like $818.40. That's for a used item, and probably reflects a retail price (when new) somewhere between $1000.00 and $2400.00. That's hardly what I'd consider a "cheap" loudspeaker.

    If you want the gear to "look pretty" AND have exceptional performance you have to spend even more. Our rig is a hodgepodge. Nothing matches anything. I don't post pictures of my gear because it's just not pretty. Having made that confession I'll add that I agree that carefully selected older gear is a good way to get more bang for the buck. The only commercial sub that I'm aware of that might actually be able to produce 18Hz. in most rooms is the HSG-18, and I think they can be had used for under $2k. Our larger DIY sub cost almost as much, not including labor, and it is NOT easy to build a killer sub. Rod Elliott's Linkwitz Transform sub works quite nicely and can be built for around $700.00 using the same 18" driver he uses, and I know for sure that the setup works because I've duplicated it. Problem is, it's a DIY sub and the $700 doesn't include anything for labor.

    If you're happy with the bass performance you have now I think you'd be rushing things if you start worrying about tweaking the bass. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Later on, when you really feel the need for an upgrade, consider "tweaking the bass" by adding a quality sub-woofer. Once you try a really big sub you'll never go back. Not only will the bass be extended, but the mid-bass drivers will no longer have to handle the deep bass and the entire mid-range is apt to be improved. The difference is often similar in magnitude to going to bi-amping. I realize that it is less expensive to tweak than to buy a big sub that might cost more than the main loudspeakers, but if you're a perfectionist I think you'd enjoy the difference.

    Darn Bill, you asked one very difficult question. I could not begin to put a price on the level of performance that we've achieved here after 30 years of incremental improvements. It's a hobby, so almost by definition it's a money-pit. We have at least as much invested in the room as we do in the loudspeakers, that, in spite of the fact that I do a fair amount of DIY and tend to buy my gear and parts on the cheap. Certainly if I were doing it all over again I could do it for less, because I wouldn't have all the false starts and mistakes to pay for the second time around. Still, it would not be cheap. I've got more invested in audio test equipment than you have invested in your speakers, and I need it just to keep me on target. The money doesn't matter, because it's a hobby. Hobbies are what we do after we've taken care of our responsibilities, and they are expected to eat up excess time and income. As long as we remain responsible, aren't we allowed to let our hair down when we play?

    Hay Bill, some people don't like the fast cars I drive either, but Naderism doesn't phase me one bit.

  14. #39
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    Chuck

    Not familiar with the old AR9? Well, I wish that I could tell you a whole bunch of facts about them but I'm afraid I can't. I have a borrowed copy of the original owners manual and the specs and descriptions in it are all that I have. They are a very popular subject over at the Arsenal vintage speaker site and the people there can tell us anything that we'd like to know. As to their claim of reaching 18hz, I have no test equipment and can't really verify it. I can only say that listening to pipe organ which gets lower than anything else that I'm aware of, they do a very credible job with no flatulence. Down in this range, it is more felt than it is heard and I'm feeling alot of bass as well as hearing as deeply as I am capable.
    With that being said, I can only remember back to all of the live pipe organ perfermances that I've heard in my life which would be somewhere around 2000 performances. This may sound like a ridiculous number but my dad played pipe organ for about 50 years so 99% of my experiences would have been a church service or a practice session which I attended with him regularly. I have also been to a number of organ concerts by professionals and even met Virgil Fox. I rented an old farm house for 4 years (my grandfather's house) that had a pipe organ in it and I played it (poorly) on numerous occaisions. This was a self contained pipe organ where all of the pipes were contained in an enormous box about 10 feet tall and was part of the instrument. Certainly did not compare with the big church or theater organ but who else do you know who had an actual pipe organ at home? It was a fun instrument to play with.
    OK, so I've heard alot of pipe organ and what I'm hearing from my AR9's, sounds as close to the real thing as I've ever heard. That may not prove anything but it's about all I have to back myself as an educated listener.
    I don't remember saying anything about tweaking bass and it's not a concern since biamping. I really don't ever see myself wanting a sub. There are 4, 12 inch woofers in these full range cabinets and I can't imagine getting very much deeper bass. A common gripe about the old AR9 is problems in the treble. I too have detected a slight problem at the very highest notes that I can hear where it will sound alittle tinny but it's been a rare enough occurrence for me to not worry too much about it yet.
    I'm not much of a DIY person but I have considered building a speaker system. Whether I ever will, I don't know. I could listen to these AR9's for a long time without feeling the need to do some wood butchering. I would be interested to hear what you have accomplished but I am quite happy where I am and it has taken no great effort on my part, just some relatively smart shopping and listening to others and a few thousand dollars and here I am, a very happy listener.
    Bill

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