• 01-05-2004, 08:16 AM
    How would you spend your money?
    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.

    Since it seems that speakers are most important to the majority of you, what percentage of a few make believe budgets would you apply towards them? I am only talking about audio systems, I do not have a H.T., and this brings in a whole different set of possibilities. So lets keep it to audio only, thanks. Another thing to keep in mind, at least for me, is the number of source components in your make believe systems. I have to have an analog one as well as a digital one; therefore I will spend more on source components then those who only need or want one. So if you would, please list how many source components you need. Hell, some of you might find a tape deck vital . Also, interconnects and speaker cables should be included as part of your system, these are necessary parts. How much validity you give to them and much you spend is up to you. Power line conditioners, power chords, and isolation devices are not a necessity. You can have an operating system without them. But include them if you must.

    So here we go! What percentage do you give to speakers?

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

    The reason for a somewhat high starting budget was for flexibilty. Plus, this is only make believe!

    My answers:
    System 1 = 10% - 30% - two source components.
    System 2 = 30% - 40% - two source components
    System 3 = 30% - 50% - two source components

    I have to say, I would tend to lean towards the lower percentages than the higher, but hell, that's just me.

    So what about you?
  • 01-05-2004, 12:15 PM
    Well, we think somewhat alike
    I would nearly always spend more on everthing in front of the speakers than I would on the speakers themselves. This is what I did in my own system with very satisfactory results.
    For a 5k system, I'm looking at all used equipment, again exactly what I did except for phono cartridges and they were NOS. At alittle over 5k invested, I have $735 in my AR9 speakers (old teledynes) or less than 20% of the total.
    For a 10k system, I'd probably do very nearly the same. I could spend alittle more on speakers, maybe buy a new turntable for 2k or so and look into finer used amp or amps, preamp, phono stage.
    20k system, maybe all new and I'd have to go out and audition all of the new stuff that people rave about. I'm guessing that the percentage I'd spend on speakers would get closer to 40 or 50% of the total if I did it this way as opposed to the under 20% that I actually did.
    I'm glad I did my system the way that I did as I only have around 5k in a system that would easily be over 20k if all was new equipment. You should be able to do pretty well for that much money.
  • 01-05-2004, 05:38 PM
    I think the biggest variable would lie with the analog sources. If my whole system consists of digital sources and solid state amplification, then I would devote about half of the system budget to the speakers, and probably closer to 75% of the budget if we're talking about multichannel.

    My current system pretty much reflects these priorities. I spent $600 on a HT receiver, $350 on the DVD player, and $900 for the main speakers. The 5.1 configuration brings the total investment on the speakers and subwoofer to $2,300.

    If I choose to include analog sources, then a much bigger chunk of the budget would go towards those components, because unlike with digital sources, there are very clearcut improvements in audio quality as you move up in price class with turntables, cartridges, tape decks, equalizers, etc. I would probably budget out at least $700 for a turntable, at least $300 for a cartridge, and depending on the quality of the phono stage, at least $200 for a phono preamp. A decent three-head tape deck would run at least $300.

    It's the same deal as with speakers. It's not just differences in sound quality when you switch to different speakers. If the difference is not an improvement, then a speaker upgrade is not needed. However, in most cases moving up to a different price class with speakers, you are getting bona fide improvements in sound quality -- audible and measurable improvements that far exceed what you would get with a comparable investment in amplification or digital front end components.
  • 01-06-2004, 07:09 AM
    I believe I like Wooch's take the best...
    Your sources do make a difference. Designing a system for analogs sources (ie turntable, tape decks etc..) would require a far different tack than purely digital. Using your budgets, if the systems didn't have to do "double duty" and I had dedicated rooms for HT and music... I'd think I'd break it down in the following manner.

    1. HT - 60% of my funds would be spent on getting the best upstream signal I could get without totally sacrifcing "warmth". The rest would be spent on decent matching fronts and center and average rears. The choice of sub would get the MOST attention and money out of the remaining 40% of funds.

    2. Music only - 60% of funds would be allocated to speakers 30 percent to turntable and the last ten percent to some decent monoblocks. I'd probably have multiple choices of speakers perhaps for different musicl genres... if wishes wuz fishes.

    Da Worfster
  • 01-06-2004, 09:00 AM
    To me, the room size and listening tastes would dictate speaker selection, be it new or used regardless of budget. For example, B&W Nautilus 805s are fantastic but are probably overkill in a room that is 8' x 12'. Conversely, the Nautilus 801s are excellent but will probably perform poorly in a very large room.

    It would be interesting to see two music only systems worth $5K each. The first one has alot of the money tied up in source components, wires, and amps. Speakers get $800 or less. The second has $4K tied up in speakers and under $1K in source equipment, etc. Both rooms would be identical.

    In a system that does primarily HT, the percentage is more towards speakers and sub, often the price of the sub equaling or exceeding the price of the speakers.
  • 01-06-2004, 10:44 AM
    So what are your answers? nt
  • 01-06-2004, 10:46 AM
    I thought I was clear, but I guess not.
    How much would you spend on speakers (percentage wise) in an AUDIO ONLY system. Also, please list number of source components.
    There were three budgets:
    1. $5,000
    2. $10,000
    3. $20,000
  • 01-06-2004, 11:04 AM
    Forget HT
    The question has nothing to do with HT.
    I agree with Bryan that it would be very interesting to see the outcome of two completely different approaches to a 5k or any other system for that matter. Again, Audio systems.
    It's up to the individual how much you spend on wire, whether all digital or incorporating analog. Build to your taste and see what people come up with.
    I know that Bturk is more comparing amp vs speakers but let's see what people come up with. I think it's a good post and a good experiment.
  • 01-06-2004, 11:10 AM
    To me it's really more about the importance of electronics (i.e. everything except speakers) and their benefits to the sound of an entire system than just speakers and their benefits.
  • 01-06-2004, 11:39 AM
    And I agree with you
    We take a very similar approach. We just disagree to some extent on choice of components, same idea though. I would still be interested in comparing a couple of amps you don't care for to yours. Could be interesting.
  • 01-06-2004, 07:52 PM
    Any suggestions?
    While I was looking for an amp, I auditioned NAD, Rotel, Adcom, B&K, Bryston, McCormack, Marsh and Sunfire. I narrowed my choices to the Sunfire, Bryston, Marsh and McCormack. In the end I chose the McCormack because of it's warmth and smooth midrange. I also got a pretty good deal on it. I however could have lived with any of them.

    I'm always willing to try something new when it comes to amps. So, give me some low cost alternatives, or any others for that matter. Just so you know, Last time I did any serious amp auditioning was about four years ago.
  • 01-06-2004, 10:13 PM
    Norm Strong
    Since I can't imagine spending $5000 on an audio system, what could I possibly answer? Now if one of the categories was $1000, I'd give it a run.
  • 01-07-2004, 12:07 AM
    I don't think you can apply a percentage system here. Why? because people often assume that if they spent 2k on a cd player that it actually sounds better than a $180.00 one. WHile it may be the case I can tell you that not only is it not always the case it so happens the reverse can be true.

    I don't want to get into a DBT raging debate but suffice it to say that the laws of diminishing returns is highest with cd players if we're going with the three part chain of cd player, amp, speakers. I have done a quick SBT of my Sony mega changer and Cambridge Audio CD 6 that was raved about by UHF who wash their hands of the Changer(though they habe never heard one). And the Cambridge with my HD 600 headphones do in fact have more bass weight, but on a great many tracks sounded too close to 1) care and 2) consistantly tell apart. Though certian segments was pretty obvious...through the stereo with room interaction? have not tried.

    A good solid $850.00CDN single disc cd player like this didn't just stomp the 300 disc loader for $280.00CDN. And I took the Cambridge EASILY over the likes of the Rega Planet which costs more and the Sony would have that thing for breakfast in terms of accuracy and noise.

    Amplifier is dependant on the speaker.

    I ran my higher end Cambridge with Arcam Delta 290 (2k worth of front end) with B&W DM 302. I can tell you right now I would rather have the Sony changer with the amp and my Audio Note's.

    Speakers come first along with the proper set-up(not so much room acoustics, because many speaker designers account for average rooms, and the source disc.

    Turntables are another matter.

    I would run something like a 70% speakers for a budget system and maybe 90% for very high end systems on speakers. I would not spend more than 2kCdn on a cd player in any system...just not worth it. If you have to fix the "Bight tizz" don't buy speakers with metal tweeters, and fancy cables that make the sound worse.

    Cables ZERO% they give them to you free people...use them. If you need to fix bright...time for new speakers.
  • 01-07-2004, 05:42 AM

    Originally Posted by Norm Strong
    Since I can't imagine spending $5000 on an audio system, what could I possibly answer? Now if one of the categories was $1000, I'd give it a run.

    I can't imagine spending only a thousand dollars on an entire system.
  • 01-07-2004, 06:17 AM
    Now THAT would make an interesting topic.

    Originally Posted by bturk667
    I can't imagine spending only a thousand dollars on an entire system.

    With money as no object, it's quite easy to come up with something to be proud of. But, methinks that there are more around here who feel a serious pull in the wallet trying to feed this hobby and perhaps a few growing mouths, or even a college tuition.

    How about some sugestions for a $1000 2 channel system? We'll limit it to CD only but if you think you can still pull it off, vinyl will not be disallowed.

    I'd start by looking for a nice pair of mains in the 300- 500 range. Perhaps from our friends from the North.
  • 01-07-2004, 09:17 AM
    Bturk, was your first system 5k?
    I know mine wasn't nor was anyone elses' that I can think of. To spend that much takes some commitment to music appreciation. The fact is that most of the world listens to music on systems that cost $1,000 or less. The reasons vary from can't afford more to being satisfied with such a system. I guess another thread could be started to find out what can be done for $1,000 but this one was for 5k and up. If you would not or could not spend that much on a system, dream one up and make believe that you would. If this doesn't interest you, start a thread for $1,000 systems.
    My first stereo system came from Radio Shack in about 1972, consisted of Nova 8 speakers (their largest or second largest) which were 3 way, their biggest receiver (I think) at around 35 watts per channel and a BSR automatic turntable. I think the whole system was around $500. Within 6 months, I was dissatisfied with the system and found that when I used a bigger receiver, it sounded better. The Realistic had no oomph with these speakers at all. I bought a Pilot receiver that had about 70wpc and was pretty happy with this system for a couple of years while I was in the Army. This was the best sound system in my barracks so my room or area was a favorite party spot and usually annoyed the older guys.
    2 months or so after getting out of the army in 1975, I established my credit by getting a loan for my second system. I bought a Crown IC150 preamp and DC300A power amp for around $1400, a Pioneer PL12 belt drive manual turntable for about $80, Shure V15III cartridge just under $100 and a pair of series II, Bose 901's for about $550. This was a fair amount of money to spend back then for a very basic stereo and the banker thought I was nuts. I enjoyed this system for quite a number of years and my son still uses the old amp and preamp every day. I sold my original 901's a long time ago but we still have several pair around and my son listens to a pair of series I's every day, they are about 36 years old and no worse for the wear. He added a pair of 12 inch woofers and eliminated the need for EQ.
    I almost hate to mention the 901's because so many people think that they are utter crap. If you've never heard the original series I or II, or you've never heard them in perfect corners which they were designed for or if you've never heard them with somewhere around 200 wpc, please keep your yap shut because you could not give them a fair evaluation. This thread was for where our priorities lie within a system and it should be easy to decide where mine is. And no, it's not distortion or poor sound quality that I'm after.
    The biggest emphasis for me is always what it takes to make the speakers perform to their best and I see no way to do this without having exceptional and fairly expensive equipment in front of them. There might be speakers that require a lot less power to sound good but I've never heard a system that sounded very good to me if it did not have some quality electronics to get the job done. This is a completely honest opinion on my part, however misguided it may seem to some.
    I'd like to hear RGA's explanation of what he buys to round out his 20k system after spending 18k on the speakers. Doesn't leave much for analog, CD player, amp or preamp.
  • 01-07-2004, 10:20 AM
    Mine falls somewhat above that level as well but, you're right. A lot of people start somewhere.

    I started that other thread. I don't want the newbies and lurkers think we're all elitests here.

    FWIW, my first "real" stereo was a Lafayette LA-224a amp, with their Criterion 50 (8", 2 way ported) speakers and a Garrard AT-60 (w/ $.01 Pickering cartridge).

    ... got it brandy new in boxes with snow shoveling and lawn mowing money. Not bad for a Jr Hi school kid in the early 60's.

    It's grown some since then. My current stuff is listed at AA. This site doesn't have sufficient space to do it. ..and that does not cover what's in the cellar.
  • 01-07-2004, 06:19 PM
    My first system cost me @ $2,300. The one I have know - same speakers but much better electronics - cost me @ $5,000. Sorry I can't put together a system that I would want to own for $1,000. The cheapest i guess I could live with would be between $1500 and $2000. And that would have limitations, little bass and no Analog, OUCH!!!
  • 01-07-2004, 06:30 PM
    I think you can very easily.
    Now you don't have to stick to it, but it is a good place to start. If I'm spending, say $10,000 on a system, I alreadt have a few speakers I would look to buy. They would be from @ $3,000 to @ @$4,000. Now if I could get some good used or dealer demos for my electronics I would buy the Legacy Focus 20/20 for $6,200. If not, the remaining moneys, about six to seven thousand dollars, would be spent on the rest of the system. Seems easy to me!
  • 01-09-2004, 06:38 AM
    other amp suggestions
    You asked earlier about suggestions for maybe a better deal on an amp than what you bought. I don't really have any. You were able to afford what you wanted and you bought it, nothing wrong with that. From your list of choices, you may very well have the best one of the lot and as you said, you could have lived with any of them. Getting the dealer demo made it a pretty good deal.
    I'm more of a used bargain hunter I guess. There are a lot of good used components going for very cheap. My amps and preamp would have been nearly 6k if I bought new during the early 90's but at near 10 years old with plenty of life left (I hope), I have about $1800 in the three pieces. Now that they are 10 years old, I would expect them to hold their value fairly well for another 10 years or so if I should decide to sell anything for another upgrade. Just my way of looking at things.
  • 01-09-2004, 12:18 PM
    1 Attachment(s)
    ok...let me see...
    5K system - 50% speakers - one source (CD, Pre, Amp)

    10K system - 60% speakers (including sub for bass management) - one source (CD, Pre, Mono Blocks)

    20K system - 70% speakers (no sub, see pic) - one source (CD, Pre, Mono Blocks)

    all used if possiable...but i'd be dying waiting around for the "right" equipment to come up on the used market...oh....the pain...the PAIN!
  • 01-09-2004, 03:18 PM
    Hey Pogue
    Have you heard them or only read about them? I've read very little about them but see them in the Music Direct catalog. The write up makes them sound very appealing. They certainly do away with the need for a sub or subs and I like that. If I were to buy speakers like this then I would certainly be able to turn around the way that expenses work out. If I were to buy them, the cost of my system would be quadrupled and I'm sure I'd be very happy with it. I don't know what kind of electronics one would need for this speaker system but I would think that what I have would do it pretty well. I would not expect my old speakers to perform as well as a 15k pair but for $735, they are able to do as much as most systems that cost 5 to 10 times as much. They are pretty good old speakers.
  • 01-09-2004, 07:03 PM
    1 Attachment(s)
    I've made love to them...
    did i say that?..oh...ahhh...emm....sorry..:D

    well to be honest...i've not heard them to-date but I'm hoping to have a set within the next five years....and I'm with you...i'm sure they would need some beefy amps...i'd go cheesy at first...maybe a set of Adcom 565 mono blocks....(not in the above system...i'd go with some big ole Mac's) but if I were ever blessed to own the Whispers i'd go with the Adcoms for starters...I saw a set for around 7K used once...that would be a good grab....i think I'll always have a big-beefy-slamming system but I'd like a set of maggies at some point....also a smallish tube bedroom system

    the last set of speakers i had my eye on were a steal...they were VMPS super tower II's running w/4 Adcom 565's....the guy selling them was pretty cool...and we hug out for a few hours...i was set to pick up the whole bunch but i was sweatting the size of my room (wayyyy too small) i drove 3 hours to hear them...they sounded...well...HUGH!!...no surprise there...when I left i told the guy i was 90% sure we'd have a deal...but the ride home...i was mullin' over the whole thing..and when i got home...and turned on my Paradigms 100's (which I run w/2 adcom 555 IIs as mono blocks and a Monitor Audio 210 sub for 2 channel only) and I realized the only thing my system lacked was size (which for an irishmen IS a big deal! ;) but my 100's were better suited in ever other area....it was fun...and i loved the big ole wall of speakers...but my current system makes me grin...and never fails to have an awesome impact to those that hear it.....

    BTW the VMPS sold new for 7k...he got them for 3ish...they sold for 1200 bucks!! a few months after i heard them....someone got a shweet deal!!...another victory for the used gear!!...in that same light i just picked up a pair of Audio Concept (ACI) Saturn subs....duel 12" subs in each massed loaded (push pull configuration)......i've still not hooked them up correctly...but I've got an ole Carver TFM 55 (405ish wpc) so when i get 'em hooked i'll have something shakin in here...

    here's the VMPS...i love the beasties....but looks aint everyting in this case..Peace!
  • 01-10-2004, 09:01 AM
    Those are behemoths all right
    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.
    The last speakers I remember drooling over was a pair of Shahinian Diapasons, could have had a used pair for around $3500, 4 years old and over 10k new. The guy had already purchased a new pair for 12k and needed to move them along. He said the foam surrounds on the passive radiators was already going which kind of turned me off. I backed out without ever hearing them. If I remember right, he was using a receiver or integrated with 150wpc or less so it was clear where his priorities were. I was going to bring one of my Parasound amps to show him what power does to powerhouse speakers. I think he would have been surprised.
    On another note, yesterday I biamped my AR9's and they really livened up. I thought they were pretty good with one amp but with two, they just get better. I just doubled the power to them using two Parasound HCA 2200 II's and I'm now very near the limit of what they are rated for. The difference in loudness is very minimal but when something is meant to slam, it slams! The bass is now pretty amazing and everything else is just clean and clear. I don't know why I waited so long to biamp them, they seem very happy now and had my son and myself a grinnin.
  • 01-12-2004, 10:25 AM
    Here is where we differ.
    At $20,000 I would go for the Focus 20/20. Don't get me wrong, I liked the Whispers, but I thought the Focus 20/20 were close to them in both sound and performance, and at a much more reasonably price. At $6,200, I think they are a down right steal, given all their qualities. This way, I can have everything else I need and want.
    The Whispers are a hell of a speaker!