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  1. #1
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    Will bose 301 go with NAD 3130

    Hello,

    I've heard it told that old stereo equipment outperforms nowadays products (especially when comparing the prices too). I did my homework and found the following (with some very enthusiastic reviews on this very site):

    * NAD 3130,
    * NAD 7220PE,
    * NAD 7130

    All of the above below $150 and a NAD 7125 for about $250. My first question is: how do they compare to each other? How do they compare to, say, yamaha RX-500 or some such?

    Now for the speakers. I've found some good reviews about bose 301 (I can get those for about $100). Will they be OK with, say NAD 3130? Both (the speakers and the NAD) are said to be 'warm/sweet' sounding. Wouldn't it be a bit 'too sweet' if I get both?

    If halve of what I read here about both NAD and bose is true, I could get a very decent sound for about $250. It's not that I cannot afford something more expensive, but, to be honest, I'd laugh my head off if I could get a *better* sound quality for 10 times less than my friends spend ;). And --- that's even more important --- I don't have a big enough room to buy something really good and see 'the great sound' bouncing around my little place.

    best regards,
    /ishi

    PS
    This is my first post here, so: Hello All! :)

  2. #2
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    You can do so much better for $250.

    May I suggest a Dayton DTA-100 Class T Digital Amplifier ( Parts Express ) and a pair of Cambridge Sound Model Sixes.

  3. #3
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I am of the opinion that if you concentrate on getting a fantastic bargain, you might forever miss out on putting together one great audio system. My approach is to figure out what I want, first, then figure out whether I can get a great price. I don't agree with finding the stuff that's available for the lowest prices before I even know if I'd want it.

    That said, BOSE speakers have a poor reputation among audiophiles. I don't think you'll find any BOSE fans in this forum. For my primary system, I wouldn't want any even if I got them for free. For other applications, like computer speakers, I find them ok. They seem to scatter and smear the sound, though.

  4. #4
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishi
    Hello,

    I've heard it told that old stereo equipment outperforms nowadays products (especially when comparing the prices too). I did my homework and found the following (with some very enthusiastic reviews on this very site):

    * NAD 3130,
    * NAD 7220PE,
    * NAD 7130

    All of the above below $150 and a NAD 7125 for about $250. My first question is: how do they compare to each other? How do they compare to, say, yamaha RX-500 or some such?
    NAD is considered by most to be entry level for hi fi. That said, all in your list are fine amps. Personally, I would pick the 7130 for its features and phono stage. In comparison to Yamaha? I can't say...

    Quote Originally Posted by ishi
    Now for the speakers. I've found some good reviews about bose 301 (I can get those for about $100). Will they be OK with, say NAD 3130? Both (the speakers and the NAD) are said to be 'warm/sweet' sounding. Wouldn't it be a bit 'too sweet' if I get both?
    I disagree that any NAD amp is warm/sweet. My local hi-fi shop pushes NAD hard, as a result I've heard alot of their amplification. Overall I think NAD is cool to neutral. I own a pair of Bose 201, purchased for my wife's benefit, to hang high in two corners of my kitchen. She enjoys FM radio. Right now I have an HK 630 twin feeding them and they sound fine. I wouldn't recommend the 301's for critical listening, but for just playing music they will be fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishi
    If halve of what I read here about both NAD and bose is true, I could get a very decent sound for about $250. It's not that I cannot afford something more expensive, but, to be honest, I'd laugh my head off if I could get a *better* sound quality for 10 times less than my friends spend . And --- that's even more important --- I don't have a big enough room to buy something really good and see 'the great sound' bouncing around my little place.
    Well put. I agree with you, as do many others here. It's nothing to do with money spent, but rather synergy and understanding how gear matches up. Combine that with room treatment and bang!

    I think you should focus on an amp in the 40wpc range combined with a pair of dynamic bookshelf speakers.

  5. #5
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I think the real bargain in used amps/preamps is Adcom. Check out the GFP-555 and GFA-555. At the prices I've seen, that's maybe $400 for a nice combo with a broad range of function on the preamp, inlcuding phono, good sound quality and 200 watts per channel at 8 Ohm. For another $100 step up to the semi-legendary GFP-565 preamp. Tough to beat.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    the 301s

    are about the best speaker with a bose nameplate. they will suffice nicely as a starter system. they throw a fairly good image and at that level, you wont find any speakers with state of the art pretensions.

    the nad will do just fine in that job. as time and finances progress, go on to psb alpha speakers and you will be happy for another long time. the bose can be retained for rear channel use or go to the office or bedroom when the PSBs arrive.

    make sure to put them on stands about 24-30" high and away from side and back wall surfaces.
    ...regards...tr

  7. #7
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  8. #8
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I agree with hifitommy. Bose 301's are the least offensive speakers they make. With that said, $100 and some time on the local CL will allow you to find something that will stomp all over anything from Bose.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  9. #9
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    The PSB Alpha B1 is a fantastic speaker. Nice recommendation raven, I may have to chat with the wife about that. As I mentioned in my first reply ishi, this would be perfect for you.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    If you are looking at vintage gear, I would consider a Vintage 1970's Marantz or Sansui receiver. Even the 1970's pioneer receivers were great sounding.

    And if you really want a great buy on a speaker, take a look at the PSB B25's. I bet they would sound great with a vintage receiver. The PSB Alpha B's and the B-15's really need a sub to get the most out of them. With the B25's you can get by without a subwoofer. All three are excellent budget speakers.

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PBIMB25

    I'm not a bose fan. I find the 301's muddy and inprecise. Maybe the one's that I heard did not have proper placement but I thought they were terrible.

    These Energy C-200's are a great buy as well

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/n...665558733.html

    http://www.superiorhifi.com/product_...c0e83ef4e10d20
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  11. #11
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    Thank you all for your answers. I thought I'd get some notification about an answer on my email. Since there was none, I presumed there was no answer --- I should have checked earlier.

    To clarify: I'm not after the best bargain. I could afford to spend much more on the audio system. What I cannot afford is a bigger place to put it in . I think (and correct me if I'm wrong, as I know next to nothing about hi-fi) that the room where one intends to listen is at least as important as the equipment. The room I have is about 160 sqft (14ft by 12ft), one wall is 'taken' by a bookshelf, the other is all window. At the moment my speakers (sony S-H771) are standing (almost) in the corners of the room next to the wall on the height of about 30in.

    The best I can think of (and I don't even know if it's better than what I have now) is to put speakers on some kind of 'arm-shelfs' --- this could give me 'proper' height and a *bit* of a distance from the walls. (BTW, please tell me if you think it's a good idea, or just a waste of effort).

    As to knowing what I want... well.. I agree whole heartedly, but sadly, I don't know . I don't think anyone is born with the 'audiophile hear'. I believe it's rather a learned skill (some might be more 'talented' -- that's all). What I need is 'a place to start'. At the moment I use a sony 'mini hi-fi system' MHC-771 (you probably never even heard about it) . The thing got broken, so there you are: what I need is something to play my music. Since I'm buying, why not buy something a bit 'audiophilish'? Perhaps, I'll hear the difference and learn to appreciate the quality of sound

    Now I'm off to 'do my homework' and read something about your recommendations. And I can tell you: all of the names are new and exotic for me (which probably is the best way to tell you again that I'm really *new* to this all).

  12. #12
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I think I went through a process similar to what you describe. As I was beginning to learn about audio gear I bought an Adcom setup. That's what brought Adcom to my mind when I mentioned it. The nice thing about this stuff is the prices are fairly stable. You can often sell used gear for as much as you paid. Most of the Adcom gear I owned is now sold.

  13. #13
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Indeed, do a little research and visit to ask questions. Regarding your statement about a room, yes, you're very correct. The room is the final component, and can be the most deciding regarding the sound. We can address that when you are ready. Photos would be a good idea...

  14. #14
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  15. #15
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    in that you can go more bucks...

    the PSBs take on more of an attraction. certainly they are decidedly better than the bose (but the 301s arent horrible).

    a used nad (and its good to stick with separates even if one is an integrated amp. the marantz that was reviewed in stereophile:

    What do you get for $450? = http://stereophile.com/integratedamp...ted_amplifier/

    the psb alphas can do without a sub for a while but when you get one youll be well equipped for some time to come. if youre not used to having the lowest frequencies, you will miss them less. a different story after you become accustomed to the foundation in the music.

    have fun !
    ...regards...tr

  16. #16
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    Don't go vintage unless you're willing to re-cap. Those caps from the 70's can't have much life left in them.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by ishi
    Hello,

    I've heard it told that old stereo equipment outperforms nowadays products (especially when comparing the prices too). I did my homework and found the following (with some very enthusiastic reviews on this very site):

    * NAD 3130,
    * NAD 7220PE,
    * NAD 7130

    All of the above below $150 and a NAD 7125 for about $250. My first question is: how do they compare to each other? How do they compare to, say, yamaha RX-500 or some such?

    Now for the speakers. I've found some good reviews about bose 301 (I can get those for about $100). Will they be OK with, say NAD 3130? Both (the speakers and the NAD) are said to be 'warm/sweet' sounding. Wouldn't it be a bit 'too sweet' if I get both?

    If halve of what I read here about both NAD and bose is true, I could get a very decent sound for about $250. It's not that I cannot afford something more expensive, but, to be honest, I'd laugh my head off if I could get a *better* sound quality for 10 times less than my friends spend . And --- that's even more important --- I don't have a big enough room to buy something really good and see 'the great sound' bouncing around my little place.

    best regards,
    /ishi

    PS
    This is my first post here, so: Hello All!

    Vintage is better than mainstream stuff, sure,new higher end is better.
    NAD is not just for beginers, its quality gear with the rep and reviews to go with it,
    but I WOULD TRY TO GET some of their stuff before they went to China,
    had some trouble there.
    NOTHING (hardly) that you find in stores like Best buy, etc are any good for serious audio, btw, strictly HT stuff.
    Sometimes smaller HI FI shops have stuff on consignment, otherwise its the want ads,
    thrift shops(they dont know what they have sometimes) and the web.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  18. #18
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    First of all, here is why I'm so 'attached' to the idea of buying old amps and speakers:
    http://www.tnt-audio.com/guide/amps_e.html

    As to re-capping, I used to play a lot with soldering iron in my teens (I even later studied electronics ).. Granted: I haven't done anything of the kind for oh... 7 years, but I think I'll remember which end of the soldering iron is which (you grab the hot one, right?).

    The problem might be with detecting if the caps need to be replaced (should I hear something special if the capacitors are dead? Perhaps it's a problem to buy the special ones for NADish circuits? If you think any of the above could be a problem, I think I'll buy something new(er)...


    Since I touched the 'electronic issues', could someone please explain why some of amps 'can accept impedance from, say, 6 to 16Ohm'. From what I remember from school, the output impedance for one module must match the input impedance of the next (speakers being the 'last module') --- perhaps this applies only to hi-freq?. Does this mean that such an 'tolerant' amp is just so wretched that it's output impedance varies? Or perhaps the output is so poor that you can hardly do anything to make it worse?

    I felt better when I saw this 4Ohm/8Ohm switch at the back of NAD amps. BUT, there again, while browsing Internet, I've found something like this:

    "(...) While the 7240PE is rated at 40 watts/channel of steady-state power, its +6 dB of IHF dynamic headroom means that its dynamic power for musical transients exceeds 160 watts/channel at 8 ohms and 200 watts/channel at 4 or 2 ohms."

    Now, does this mean that they switched to 4Ohms, connected 2Ohms load and 'hoped for the best'?


    Finally, the more practical question: if I buy an amp which should work with 8Ohms, can I connect my 6Ohm-rated sonny speakers (without them or the amp exploding)?

    About the photos... If you really think those could help you to help me, I'll try to make some.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    I WOULD TRY TO GET some of their stuff before they went to China,
    had some trouble there.
    Do you mean that I should only look for NADs 'made in japan' and forget altogether the ones 'made in taiwan'?

  20. #20
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    i wouldnt worry about ...

    chinese vs japanese made NAD products. even b&w makes some of their product there. let us know what you end up getting.
    ...regards...tr

  21. #21
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    To answer the speaker load issue...The NAD gear is going to be able to handle speakers rated at 6 Ohm. It will not harm the amp or the speakers.

  22. #22
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    Hello again,

    I've had a lot of work lately, and it seems that I'll not have time to look for second hand shops with NAD equipment . It seems that only option left for me is eBay-like services.

    After a long pause, once I had some time to go back to audio hardware, I found out that all buy-it-now NAD3020s are gone. I found only 'auction' like, and after 3 attempts, I failed to buy one --- someone always overbid me at the last moment .

    Anyways, I've found NAD C320 with buy-it-now option. I read some reviews and it seems an improved version of good-old 3020. What's more, it's newer and I'd avoid the recap problem... So... I'm tempted to by the C320. What do you think?

  23. #23
    Listener MikeyBC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishi
    Anyways, I've found NAD C320 with buy-it-now option. I read some reviews and it seems an improved version of good-old 3020. What's more, it's newer and I'd avoid the recap problem... So... I'm tempted to by the C320. What do you think?

    If the price is right I'd jump on it...its one of the better budget amps around. At least it will get you in the door to hear music....please remember to avoid the Bose 301's I own a pair of series 2 (bought only for nostalgic value!!) and can honestly say an old pair of Paradigm 3se or even 3se mini's will blow them away musically and can also be found for a hundred bucks...used PSB's are quite good also.
    Musical Fidelity A3.2 Integrated amp
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  24. #24
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    Hello Ishi...there are numerous options for starter sytems

    ....and it's always good to jump on a good deal that will save you money and at the same time provide the musical presentation you can live with....

    So, if NAD does it for you then by all means you need to snap it up. However, if that does not work out for you then you might want to do research on the following:


    http://www.stereomojo.com/
    VirtueOneAmplfierreview
    You can read the review on stereomojo.

    Here is the company website http://store.virtueaudio.com/

    Earlier this year Poppa found this website offering Mordaunt Short Avant Honey Maple 902i bookshelf loudspeakers. I happen to own a pair of the MS 902i.
    http://www.needledoctor.com/

    An great alternative choice for a speaker is the Cambridge Audio S-30.
    http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CAS30

    Be sure to read the reviews.
    http://www.whathifi.com/

    Good luck with your research and selections.

    LeRoy

  25. #25
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    Thank you all for your advices. Last week, I finally bought the c320. I like it very much .

    For the moment the amp works with my old sony speakers and it sound OK. I brought this amp to my friend's place and we connected it to his floor standing speakers. We couldn't detect any particular difference between his amp (some onkyo 5.1 system) + his speakers and the c320 + his speakers.

    To be frank, I don't hear so much of a difference between his speakers and my sony bookshelf ones (that's why I'll leave them for the moment)...

    However, there was one test where the c320 did sound better: normally we tested my friend's amp with his cd-player (which connected to his amp via digital link). Since the c320, didn't have the digital input, we had to use a laptop's phones out as a source for c320. The strange thing is, those two setups sounded pretty much the same.

    To even things up, we connected the laptop to the analog input of the onkyo system (instead of the 'usual' digital way). The sound decidedly was flat. The question is: why? As I understand it, the signal with the digital input setup goes like this:

    1. CD->(digital input->DAC->op-amp->preamp->amp onkyo)

    whereas with the analog input setup:

    2. laptop CD->laptop DAC->laptop op-amp->laptop amp->(X->preamp->amp onkyo)

    And with c320:

    3. llaptop CD->laptop DAC->laptop op-amp->laptop amp->(X->preamp->amp c320)


    I understand that anything put in the laptop is bound to be worse than anything put in an audio system, but the difference must not be all that much since the setup 1 and 3 both sounded OK.

    Now, between 1 and 2 (apart from the source being different, which seems not to affect the sound all that much as 'shown' the comparison between 1 and 3) the only difference seems to be the 'X'. I don't know what it could be... perhaps some additional pre-amp stage separating the line-in from the rest of the onkyo? Could it be broken? Or is it just bad design? Or am I making some basic conceptual mistake here?

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