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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Some help in putting together a new audio system

    I as many of you out there have an eclectic taste in music and do not have any needed assistance in turntable related issues, as I discarded, lost, or gave away an older collection.

    I have built an audio room of 116 x 17 with a 7 ceiling, and now it needs to be populated with a system that I can enjoy.

    I have heard many recent brands from all over the world and am not constrained by country of manufacture.

    I have heard the Avalon Diamonds, with the Balanced Audio Technology VK600MSE Mono Amplifiers, the VK-D5SE CD player. Comparable interconnects, and speaker wire

    I have heard the B&W Nautilus 800, with the Pass X-600 Mono Amplifiers. Their X-1 pre-amp, and a variety of CD transports and cables,

    I have heard the Grand Utopias, with the Pass 750 watt mono blocks and their cast pre-amp and the cast CD-transport,

    In addition, most recently the Talon Audio Firebird Diamond Speakers with a pair of Thunderbird subwoofer, Simaudio Rock Monoblocks, a Boulder 2010 pre-amp, and Zanden 2000 CD transport.

    Each of these represents my final four and while price is a factor is clearly not the major selection issue.
    Here is what I believe to be so: When you walk into an audio recording studio you will stand a better chance of seeing a B&W speaker as the monitor.
    Here is what I know; I listen to Marcus Miller as an example of Jazz, the Silbermann organ as played by a variety of organists, confess to an awe for the likes of Joe Satriani, Also having played the piano and clarinet for a decade, have an ear for these in particular. I have a friend who is a tenor of some respect, so I know how a male vocalist should sound.

    I would appreciate any help.

  2. #2
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    Since I do not own your ears, you ask quite a bit. That being said, I'd choose the third system you mentioned. I love the Grand Utopias, thought I actually prefer Boulder amps over Pass Labs. Have you tried the Utopias with the Boulder 1060. I heard a pair of B&W Nautilis 800 Signatures being drivren by the 1060's, very nice!
    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!

  3. #3
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Thank you for your suggestion

    Quote Originally Posted by bturk667
    Since I do not own your ears, you ask quite a bit. That being said, I'd choose the third system you mentioned. I love the Grand Utopias, thought I actually prefer Boulder amps over Pass Labs. Have you tried the Utopias with the Boulder 1060. I heard a pair of B&W Nautilis 800 Signatures being drivren by the 1060's, very nice!
    I will add the Boulder Amplifiers to my list of choices, and since you have heard the 800 Signatures with them that evidence is worth more to me than a dozen "reps". I will see about audtioning a pair with the Utopias and the Signatures. Thank you very much, we all learn such things empirically and not of a tech sheet, thanks again.

  4. #4
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    well....

    You are a bit out of my league in terms of the equipment you are looking at and its price tags but for what its worth I would pass the following comments:

    Your room is not all that big - and defintely not very high at 7 foot ceilings. I only know of the B&W and the Grand Utopias both of which really do well in much larger rooms.

    I do not know where you are coming from in audio terms (what your previous systems are/were) but it seems to me you are leaping into the deep end in a big way both cost and system wise. This may not be a good idea all in one go. Evolving into a system is something that may allow you more time to survey your options and decide what really sounds good to you and what doesn't.

    It would, I think, be as shame to spend all this money only to find, 6 months down track, once the euphoria of purchase has worn off, that you are actually not all that happy with what you have bought.

    I'm not all that comfortable making recommendations at these heady levels, but, for what it is worth I would suggest you take a listen to a more moderate speaker in your own environment befoere buying - maybe a B&W 802 which is tailor made for a room of this size and has the added benefit of being a damn site easier to drive (you could even go with tube amps on them).

    Just my 0.02

  5. #5
    DMK
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    Maxg nailed it

    Quote Originally Posted by maxg
    You are a bit out of my league in terms of the equipment you are looking at and its price tags but for what its worth I would pass the following comments:

    Your room is not all that big - and defintely not very high at 7 foot ceilings. I only know of the B&W and the Grand Utopias both of which really do well in much larger rooms.

    I do not know where you are coming from in audio terms (what your previous systems are/were) but it seems to me you are leaping into the deep end in a big way both cost and system wise. This may not be a good idea all in one go. Evolving into a system is something that may allow you more time to survey your options and decide what really sounds good to you and what doesn't.

    It would, I think, be as shame to spend all this money only to find, 6 months down track, once the euphoria of purchase has worn off, that you are actually not all that happy with what you have bought.

    I'm not all that comfortable making recommendations at these heady levels, but, for what it is worth I would suggest you take a listen to a more moderate speaker in your own environment befoere buying - maybe a B&W 802 which is tailor made for a room of this size and has the added benefit of being a damn site easier to drive (you could even go with tube amps on them).

    Just my 0.02
    Also, I don't anyone with a megabuck system that bought the whole thing in one fell swoop. The best audio systems evolve. First, establish a reference point. Then go from there. Buying components from Stereophile ratings or some such will often result in a very disappointing system.

  6. #6
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    Starting off more modestly

    I know that the advice is sound and that the 802 idea is good one. However, what do you do when you have elected to upgrade? I don't suppose that you take your previous speakers and trade them in for another pair? There is also the idea of the cost involved of adds, shipping and the other issues involved in transitions; different amps for different loads. I guess I won't do anything, as your post was very though provoking. That was very kind of you not to belittle my efforts, thanks!
    QUOTE=maxg]You are a bit out of my league in terms of the equipment you are looking at and its price tags but for what its worth I would pass the following comments:

    Your room is not all that big - and defintely not very high at 7 foot ceilings. I only know of the B&W and the Grand Utopias both of which really do well in much larger rooms.

    I do not know where you are coming from in audio terms (what your previous systems are/were) but it seems to me you are leaping into the deep end in a big way both cost and system wise. This may not be a good idea all in one go. Evolving into a system is something that may allow you more time to survey your options and decide what really sounds good to you and what doesn't.

    It would, I think, be as shame to spend all this money only to find, 6 months down track, once the euphoria of purchase has worn off, that you are actually not all that happy with what you have bought.

    I'm not all that comfortable making recommendations at these heady levels, but, for what it is worth I would suggest you take a listen to a more moderate speaker in your own environment befoere buying - maybe a B&W 802 which is tailor made for a room of this size and has the added benefit of being a damn site easier to drive (you could even go with tube amps on them).

    Just my 0.02[/QUOTE]

  7. #7
    DMK
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    [QUOTE=Dr. David Pitman]I know that the advice is sound and that the 802 idea is good one. However, what do you do when you have elected to upgrade? I don't suppose that you take your previous speakers and trade them in for another pair? There is also the idea of the cost involved of adds, shipping and the other issues involved in transitions; different amps for different loads. I guess I won't do anything, as your post was very though provoking. That was very kind of you not to belittle my efforts, thanks!


    Buy the best speakers you can afford that fit your room size, is what I gleaned from Max's post. The 802 is just one suggestion. I think he was saying that if certain speakers are too big, buying smaller ones that are just as good overall will stave off the upgrade bug and upgrading to speakers that are too big is a waste of funds.

    To answer your question about what to do when you decide to upgrade, an ad at audiogon.com costs $2 (or at least it used to) and yes, you'll have shipping costs but you simply add them to your asking price. You'll ultimately lose a little money so my advice of buying the best speakers for your size room holds and perhaps you won't feel the need to upgrade. Of course, audiophilia is all about upgrading as new stuff becomes available! It took me several years but aside from upgrading a phono cartridge and tonearm, I haven't upgraded in about four years (speakers, electronics) and don't expect to anytime soon.

    Good luck! Let us know what you ultimately decide on.

  8. #8
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    There is nothing wrong with wanting to upgrade - we all have that bug. What are you upgrading from - what do you want to achieve - what does your current system not do - or not do well enough for you as you are now????

    As far as getting the best possible sound in your room - remember that there are 3 components that will determine how good your sound will be:

    System
    Source
    Room

    To which you can add, as possibly the biggest element - the interaciton between the 3.

    As DMK said the B&W 802 is only one possible suggestion - I just happen to know it will play beautifully in a room of the size of yours (subject to your acoustics of course). Whatever you decide to audition - do it in your room and with whatever components you will use to drive them.

    Just to bring the point home a little here - take 2 systems, one based on the big B&W 800 and the other on the 802. If the latter is in the right room and the former in the wrong room it is almost certain the 802 will sound better (assuming suitable amplification for each).

    Just as a FWIW - I just heard the 802 this morning running off a Jolida EL34 based integrated with about 50 wpc and SACD source. Damn that is a good speaker!!

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