• 09-04-2008, 04:59 AM
    mhax
    noob questions! need help!
    I started looking at audio system last week (i have about 3000$ to spend on it). I wanted a stereo audio system at first, but i've been impressed by a surround system (cambridge 540Rv2 with 5 speakers and 1 sub, would cost 2900$). I heard that stereo amp are better than surround amp, is that true? I like listening to music (techno(that's the one i'm listening the most), dance, trance, jazz, classic, rock). My brother told me to look at second hand amplifier instead of buying a 1000$ 540Rv2. I did some research(i really like rotel), and i found some nice Rotel RB-1070 and Rotel RB-991 for around 500$.

    1 - surround vs stereo if i like listening to techno music alot?
    2 - if buying a power amp, like the Rotel RB-1070, would i really need a pre-amp?
    3 - if i do need a preamp, what specification should i look up to know it will work fine with the rotel rb-1070 or another stereo amp?
    4 - if the preamp is not a most, could i connect my computer or a cd/dvd player?
    5 - as i said, i have 3000$, 500$ for the amp + 200$ for a cd/dvd player...i have 2300$ to spend on speakers...which one should i buy considering the type of music i like?
  • 09-04-2008, 11:12 AM
    blackraven
    if you prefer music and surround sound is not important to you, then consider buying a separate amp and preamp (you need a preamp for a power amp unless you go with an integrated amp or receiver). A dedicated 2ch system will sound better for music then a multichannel HT system. If HT surround sound is important to you then their are plenty of option available like Some of the Marantz HT receivers, Onkyo 606 HTR among others. Also consider NAD, Emotiva at www.emotiva.com These brands will give you decent 2ch sound and good 5.1 or 7.1 sound. The emotiva may give you very good 2ch sound as well as surround sound. Others to consider would be Parasound and Cambridge Audio.

    Dont skimp on the CD player. Get a dedicated CD player and consider a sepaerate Blu-Ray player for movies. Consider the Marantz 5001 CDP for around $300. Its a bargain. If you want an all in one CD/DVD player, look at the Oppo players like the 983 at www.oppodigital.com for about $399.

    I would consider putting only 1/2 of your budget into speakers and the rest into CDP's Amps and cables-wires. Dont forget that if you go multichannel you will also need a subwoofer. If you want HT sound, then consider using 2 front channels a center ch and a sub. I prefer music to HT and I use this set up.

    Hope this helps some!
  • 09-04-2008, 11:34 AM
    mhax
    emotiva amplifier look really nice, but they are not available in my region(quebec city)! As i said, i could find a cambridge 540Rv2 pretty easily, and there is some shop selling NAD too!
  • 09-04-2008, 04:22 PM
    dronee
    Not really a noob question, a majority of people would have this problem!
  • 09-04-2008, 05:05 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I'd suggest giving the NAD a listen. I believe NAD would have a warmer and fuller sound. Which may not mean anything except it's an alternative and you should listen to what all you have available. Cambridge built it's reputation on providing quality equipment with good sound at a good price point, so if they are what you prefer, there's nothing wrong with them. I feel Cambridge would have the edge in detail. But my generalizations would also depend on which pieces are being listened to.

    What speakers did they match the Cambridge with?

    A very good question was asked whether you would be interested in surround sound movies or multi-channel music. Both NAD and Cambridge make integrated amps and CD players.
  • 09-04-2008, 06:04 PM
    PDN
    IMO, NAD and Rotel are so close in, sound, performance, features, etc, it's a difficult call. I had been an NAD man for many years but in the past 3, I've now gone over more to Rotel for new components. I find Rotel to be very musical sounding. FOr what it's worth, NAD had gone through some ownership changes and QA problems in the past 10 years or so where Rotel has not. I've had my share of NAD CD player problems where my Rotel RCD-1072 has been flawless. A very solid machine with superior sound. But I'm still using two NAD components and they sound terrific also. The high-fi store I use tells me that the B&W Group (Rotel, B&W, CLASSE) are terrific to deal with and easy to order from. Very few returns.
  • 09-04-2008, 09:33 PM
    blackraven
    You might also want to consider www.outlawaudio.com
  • 09-05-2008, 05:00 AM
    mhax
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I'd suggest giving the NAD a listen. I believe NAD would have a warmer and fuller sound. Which may not mean anything except it's an alternative and you should listen to what all you have available. Cambridge built it's reputation on providing quality equipment with good sound at a good price point, so if they are what you prefer, there's nothing wrong with them. I feel Cambridge would have the edge in detail. But my generalizations would also depend on which pieces are being listened to.

    What speakers did they match the Cambridge with?

    A very good question was asked whether you would be interested in surround sound movies or multi-channel music. Both NAD and Cambridge make integrated amps and CD players.

    I saw the NAD C352 and C372, but i didnt try them. The C352 was a demo, and was at 500$. The C372 was at 1000$.

    To answer your questions, the cambridge 540Rv2 was playing on Wharfedale speakers in 5.1.

    I will probably watch some movies, but i dont really mind if it's in surround or not. I would prefer hi-fi sound. But i didn't know about having a center and 2 speakers for listening music...is it better than having only 2 front speakers?

    I'm going to a shop where they sell Rotel. I will look for the RA-1062, because i dont think i have the money for buying both amp and preamp...They also have B&W speakers, and everyone seems to like that brand, so i will take a look. What B&W speakers should i buy for front speakers under 1500$?
  • 09-05-2008, 06:36 AM
    mhax
    or maybe the Rotel RX-1052!
  • 09-05-2008, 10:21 AM
    blackraven
    I would consider looking at these amps as well. The B&K reference 125.2, 125.7 and 200.2,
    Parasound amps and the Onkyo 9555 integrated digital amp (you dont need a preamp with this one). You can usually find the B&K and Parasound amps on audiogon for decent prices.
    Also consider Adcom power amps.
  • 09-05-2008, 11:08 AM
    mhax
    i just saw an used parasound 2125, and i offered him 500$ for it, is that a good price? So what floor speakers should i look for if my amp has around 100-125 wpc?
  • 09-05-2008, 11:37 AM
    blackraven
    That amp sells for $699 new at audioadvisor. You will need a preamp to go with it.
    You should consider the outlaw RR2150 receiver which has roughly the same spec's along with a bass management system for $600. You wont need a preamp with the outlaw, so if money is a concern, then go with the outlaw or an integrated amp. However a separate amp and preamp givews you more versatility in case you ever want to upgrade.

    As far as speakers go, you should be able to drive most speakers with that amp. Take a look at Theils, B&W, Monitor Audio, PSB, Paradigm Studio and Monitor series, NHT Classic 4's. The Theils may be more than your budget allows but they are my favorite in that group.
  • 09-05-2008, 12:54 PM
    blackraven
    I'd like to make a correction on one of my posts. I stated you should look at the Yamaha 9555 integrated amp. I meant to say ONKYO 9555!
  • 09-05-2008, 10:31 PM
    Mr Peabody
    If you think you might watch movies and interested in 5 channel music go back to your original plan to get a HT receiver. NAD, Rotel, B&K, and also the Outlaw would all offer receivers that should give you better music reproduction than most mass market brands. The trade off is that the receivers mentioned as far as I know may not have the latest decoding for Blu-ray HD audio where mass market receivers try to keep up. Selling larger volume they can afford to go out on a limb more. I'm not into multi-channel music much but from what I understand it's being done much better. I purchased a Blu-ray disc, Legends of Jazz and if that's any indication of what's in store I can see myself buying more music videos.

    If your deal for the amp falls through and you are still looking I have a mint Adcom gfa-5400 I'd sell, it's 125x2 into 8 ohms. I also have a Primare 31.7 preamp processor listed on Audiogon. The 31.7 is out dated on video ins/outs but it has excellent sound quality and 7 channel analog inputs for multichannel music. You would need a multichannel power amp or some combination of amps for all the channels with the 31.7.
  • 09-08-2008, 04:47 AM
    mhax
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    If you think you might watch movies and interested in 5 channel music go back to your original plan to get a HT receiver. NAD, Rotel, B&K, and also the Outlaw would all offer receivers that should give you better music reproduction than most mass market brands. The trade off is that the receivers mentioned as far as I know may not have the latest decoding for Blu-ray HD audio where mass market receivers try to keep up. Selling larger volume they can afford to go out on a limb more. I'm not into multi-channel music much but from what I understand it's being done much better. I purchased a Blu-ray disc, Legends of Jazz and if that's any indication of what's in store I can see myself buying more music videos.

    If your deal for the amp falls through and you are still looking I have a mint Adcom gfa-5400 I'd sell, it's 125x2 into 8 ohms. I also have a Primare 31.7 preamp processor listed on Audiogon. The 31.7 is out dated on video ins/outs but it has excellent sound quality and 7 channel analog inputs for multichannel music. You would need a multichannel power amp or some combination of amps for all the channels with the 31.7.

    i went to try the Rotel 1062 integrated amp with B&W 683 speakers. It sounded really great, and i think i want to stay to stereo, i don't really mind to watch movies in stereo anyway that's what i always do, except in cinema. I feel like the Rotel 1062 was not giving enough power to the B&W 683 speakers. The 683 can get 200 wpc, and the Rotel only give 60 wpc. The guy told me that it would sound much better with the rotel 1080 power amp. But it cost alot more because i need the preamp. The guy also wanted to sell me a 800$ rotel cd player! How could a cd player value be 800$? I mean..what's the big difference between my 20$ computer cd player and a cd player for hi-fi system? You guys should keep in mind that i'm from canada. There is some product that you listed that are not available here, some really looked great for the price.
  • 09-08-2008, 07:20 AM
    Mr Peabody
    What other brands do you have access to? Maybe you can compromise and find a more powerful integrated amp. The place that had Cambridge carry the 640 or 840? One of those with the matching CD player would be nice.

    There is definitely a difference in sound between certain CD players and as you go up in price. Some of the difference is how the digital information is handled, buffering and jitter control, some of the difference is how well the disc is read, probably the most important is where the signal goes after it's converted to analog. A more expensive CD player will have better parts for sound quality as amps or any other electronic component. There are also various filtering techniques that can vary sound. My current CD player cost just under $3k US dollars. There are also CD players that cost much less that give good performance for the money. The Marantz 5001 for instance at around $299.00 USD. The Cambridge players from 640 up are very good at there price points. If no one could hear any difference between players a manufacturer couldn't sell anything above their entry level piece. Not every one can hear the differences or appreciate them either, so you will have to do some listening. Did you take any of your own music into the store or listen to the player? If so, I'm surprised you have this question. If you did hear some differences in the Rotel system and they were using the $800.00 player, I guarantee you any improvement was not just from the amp and speakers. Your source, CD player, turntable etc, should be as good as the other equipment in your system.
  • 09-08-2008, 09:04 AM
    blackraven
    I agree with Mr.P! CD players do sound different and some are dramatically different. I Have a Music Hall 25.2 ($540) and Cambridge Audio 840c ($1400) and I was able to home audition the Cambridge Audio 740c ($950) and the Marantz SA8001 SACDP ($800). I was able to compare the Marantz and the 2 Cambridge units head to head and I can tell you that the Marantz and Music Hall sound worlds apart from the 2 Cambridge units.

    The Music Hall sounded the most transparent and laid back. The Marantz sounded the most analog with a very warm sound and excellent bass and the 2 Cambridge units had the most clarity, detail and resolution with very tight bass and excellent treble. It tended to be more on the neutral to slightly bright side. Even my wife and kids were able to immediately tell the difference.

    For integrated amps, you should really consider the Onkyo 9555 at 85wpc as well as the Yamaha AX-497. you should also look on audiogon for one of the higher powered NAD integrated amps and the Cambridge Audio 740A integrated at 100wpc.

    Check out www.spearitsound for Cambridge equipment as well as NAD and many other high end brands. They have deals on demo units,used, close outs and refurbished equipment all the time. They have a Demo Cambridge 740A integrated for $799.
    Also check out www.saturdayaudio.com
  • 09-08-2008, 09:34 AM
    mhax
    i didn't try the cambridge 740 or 840...i only tried the 540Rv2! It sounded really great in 5.1. And the system would cost me 2900$. But i would prefer having better stereo speakers. the 740 and the 840 will cost alot here(the 540Rv2 was 999$). I saw the NAD C372(for 999$), but didnt try it.
  • 09-08-2008, 09:37 AM
    mhax
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    What other brands do you have access to? Maybe you can compromise and find a more powerful integrated amp. The place that had Cambridge carry the 640 or 840? One of those with the matching CD player would be nice.

    There is definitely a difference in sound between certain CD players and as you go up in price. Some of the difference is how the digital information is handled, buffering and jitter control, some of the difference is how well the disc is read, probably the most important is where the signal goes after it's converted to analog. A more expensive CD player will have better parts for sound quality as amps or any other electronic component. There are also various filtering techniques that can vary sound. My current CD player cost just under $3k US dollars. There are also CD players that cost much less that give good performance for the money. The Marantz 5001 for instance at around $299.00 USD. The Cambridge players from 640 up are very good at there price points. If no one could hear any difference between players a manufacturer couldn't sell anything above their entry level piece. Not every one can hear the differences or appreciate them either, so you will have to do some listening. Did you take any of your own music into the store or listen to the player? If so, I'm surprised you have this question. If you did hear some differences in the Rotel system and they were using the $800.00 player, I guarantee you any improvement was not just from the amp and speakers. Your source, CD player, turntable etc, should be as good as the other equipment in your system.

    I forgot my cd's when i went to try the speakers. But i still saw the differences between an arcam cd player and the rotel cd player (the guy put some cd's). My question was more about, why is there a difference! I think you gave a good explanation. I won't buy a cd player for the moment, i was thinking of using my ipod or my computer as a source for now.
  • 09-08-2008, 10:51 AM
    Mr Peabody
    You should go back and have a listen at the C372 if it's in your price range. it's rated at 150 wpc and should push the B&W's well if that's what you decide to buy for speakers. Here's a review and there's more user reviews here on AR.

    http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/nad_c372.htm

    BTW - Arcam makes excellent CD players. I would prefer their $699.00 player over the Rotel $800.00 player. Their integrated amps are nice too but may be out of your price range. Arcam is discontinuing the Diva series, so if there are any left around you may get a good price.

    Playing music from your computer may not be so bad if they are the original uncompressed version. But if you are using a heavy compressed mp3 file you are really wasting your money on good electronics any way and may be better getting a receiver. Playing mp3's will not give you the benefit of the sound quality the better equipment would be capable of. I can understand if it's a temporary thing until you can afford a CD player.
  • 09-08-2008, 12:01 PM
    mhax
    but the place i can buy the C372 don't sell B&W speakers...they sell paradigm i think. I tried the arcam FMJ A18 and the rotel 1062 with the 683...The A18 sounded more musical, and less brutal, but damn, it's only 50wpc and cost 1100$ instead of 800$ for the rotel! The C372 with 150wpc would surely be delivering enough wpc...but i read that they are not really musical! I would like something like the FMJ A18, with more wpc, for less :P! Maybe it's impossible...and i can't buy from USA since i'm living in Canada!
  • 09-08-2008, 12:38 PM
    Mr Peabody
    I guess it depends on what one's definition of musical is. You will find the NAD to have a warm sound with natural tone. It may not be as revealing as Arcam but the NAD is very listenable. Why couldn't you buy NAD from one store and the speakers you want from another? Spread the money around :) Have you listened to Paradigm? I personally prefer them over B&W. The Paradigm strike me as having more of a lively presentation. If you really like the B&W though, I'd get them. Then look for an amp. If you have to, take the B&W into the store where the NAD is. Or, better yet, see if the NAD dealer will let you bring the amp home for an audition or make sure they will allow a return if not happy. On the bright side it sounds like you have a decent selection of electronics to choose from.

    If any Diva still around they are pretty close in performance to the FMJ and will cost less.
  • 09-08-2008, 11:38 PM
    blackraven
    You should also consider the Music Hall 25.2 CDP It can be found for $540 and it is very detailed and transparent. Also consider the Marantz 5001 for around $300. You should also look for the Cambridge Audio 640c on audiogon. It lists for about $600. Its much better than the 540.

    You should also strongly consider the outlaw RR2150 receiver for $600. It well worth the money and its 125wpc of high current power and should be able to drive just about anything you throw at it including 4ohm speakers. It has a bass manegement system and sub out as well as preamp out I believe so you can use it as a preamp if you decide later to go with a dedicated power amp. Read the reivews on it. I believe outlaw ships to canada.
  • 09-09-2008, 04:43 AM
    mhax
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    You should also consider the Music Hall 25.2 CDP It can be found for $540 and it is very detailed and transparent. Also consider the Marantz 5001 for around $300. You should also look for the Cambridge Audio 640c on audiogon. It lists for about $600. Its much better than the 540.

    You should also strongly consider the outlaw RR2150 receiver for $600. It well worth the money and its 125wpc of high current power and should be able to drive just about anything you throw at it including 4ohm speakers. It has a bass manegement system and sub out as well as preamp out I believe so you can use it as a preamp if you decide later to go with a dedicated power amp. Read the reivews on it. I believe outlaw ships to canada.

    Music Hall...i didnt know that brand, i will take a look. I saw the Marantz 5001, but the guy told me i should go with the rotel instead, so i didnt try it. I will try to find and try the 640c, i hope it will cost less than the 540Rv2(999$ here).

    The outlaw RR2125 receiver really look awesome, and i know they are shipping to canada. I just don't want to pay 250$ for brokeage fees + taxes!! And the same thing would apply on buying on audiogon. I'm looking each day on www.canuckaudiomart.com to see if there is some nice deal...but i don't know if buying used amplifier is safe...!

    Something like that http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...ntegrated_amp/

    or this one http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...mths_old_mint/
  • 09-09-2008, 01:36 PM
    blackraven
    The marantz SA5001 is a very good CDP, many people on this forum onw this player. It compares favorably to the Music Hall and CA 640c which is a step above the 540c.

    If you can buy the parasound for $500 then take it. At that price for a 4 month old amp, its worth it. Parasound makes good equipment. The moon amp is excellent as well.
    The parasound should be able to drive most speakers and appears to be a very capable amp by being able to almost douible its power output at 4ohms.