My Final Purchase Plans, Please Critique
I have been doing quite a bit of research on this website and others as to what to purchase when buying bookshelf speakers and a receiver. Again my goal is a two channel system for mostly classical music.
Here is what I have, please feel free to suggest any other options:
Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 (approx. $325)
Onkyo 8511 Refurbished ($200) or something used from NAD, Denon, or Rotel
Where is the best place to find used equipment?
I really can not spend more than $550 on the speaker, receiver combination.
What does "refurbished" mean?
Is this "refurbished" Onkyo 8511 a perfectly fine unit and the original buyer simply did not like its sound, user interface or some other personal dislike? If so, why will you like it? Was the unit DOA and then returned? If so, what was repaired? Was a defective circuit board replaced in toto, or was a kluge job done- a kluge job that could bite you a few months after the warranty expires....? I would avoid playing the "refurbished" game unless you REALLY know what "refurbished" means in your specific case. Cambrige Sound Works sells "refurbished" speakers that are described as having been returned simply because the customer changed their mind or did not like the sound. Otherwise, the CSW "refurbished" speakers are described as perfect except for possible minor marks. I bought a "refurbished" CSW sub years ago, and it was perfect except that the box was labeled "refurbished" .
I paid $218 delivered for a Panasonic SA-HE100 from 6th AVE . I use it in my kitchen. It is a really nice-sounding MOS-FET amp 5.1 receiver with a very good tuner. I ordered another Panasonic SA-HE100 from 6th AVE delivered to my daughter for $215. Delivery was 4 days after my internet order, both times. I do usa a sub with this Panasonic.
I once considered the Ascend CBM-170 when they were on special for $275, but I bought Magnepan MMG for $550 delivered instead.
Panasonic SA_HE100 from 6th AVE $218
Ascend CBM-170 $325
Total = $543
A couple of things - the Ascends don't produce much bass by design. They are really meant to be teamed with a subwoofer.
Originally Posted by chrismorgan
Secondly, the Ascends are rated at 4 ohms. Check to make sure the Onkyo receiver is rated to drive 4 ohm speakers. When I tried to play my Ascends with my old JVC receiver which is only rated at 70 W and 8 ohms it sounded worse than my Paradigm Atoms (honestly). However, when they were powered by my Yamaha RX-V1300 with my Paradigm PW2200 acting as a subwoofer, that system was incredible.
I would suggest that you go the used route.
For receivers in the used market, these should be some good choices:
You could add one of the HSU's that are offered off of Ascend's website. The STF-2 would probably do well in a small room and not break the bank. Other choices to consider would include the Adire Rava which could be had used for $250 if you keep your eyes open. One of the smaller Paradigms or Velodynes would also be a possibility in the used market.
The system is now still more than you were intending to spend, but you could try and acquire the system piece-by-piece. Start by trying to get the used pieces as you will need money available to hop quickly on any deals that may arise and they frequently do if you are paying close enough attention.
In terms of the best place to find used equipment, try some of the following:
Try to buy from people with established feedback records. It is a bit risky but I have yet to be burned and have acquired most of the pieces for my system at 70% off new price for pieces that are only 1-2 years old.
Thanks PmR, Sounds good to me, what about NAD? I will probably go your suggested route and add the sub down the road.
I've always liked NAD more in terms of their amplifiers rather than their receivers. Because they are British, it will probably also be easier overall to acquire a Yamaha or a Denon around here. NAD's are also known to be a bit finicky. I really like their amps and their CD players but have not been a big fan of their receivers.
Originally Posted by chrismorgan
One thing the Yamaha's have going for them is a great reliability record and this weighed heavily in my decision to get the RX-V1300 (it was available on audiogon for ~$400 last week). Denon has traditionally had a great reputation, but if you talk to Woodman around here he will tell you to be wary of any Denon product that has come out in the past couple of years due to a change in leadership and manufacturing techniques/locations.
In terms of Rotel which you mentioned earlier, they make some great stuff but it will probably be out of your price range.
Starting with the Ascends and a used receiver is a very reasonable route to go with the proviso that a sub will be added later. A good place to check for used SVS's is the Home Theater forum hardware for sale section (which is why I added that one in). You should be able to get lucky sooner or later on a 25-31 (the 25 refers to the fact that it plays down to 25 Hz and is 31 inches tall) PCi which should do quite a good job for most music applications unless you are a big fan of organs in which case you might have to look into a 16-46 PCi (plays down to 16 Hz and is 46 inches tall). If you're a bit impatient, waiting for an Adire Rava to show up would also be reasonable.
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