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  1. #1
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    The wise thing to do.

    For those of us on a budget, a game plan must be set to ensure that we get the most for our money. What you you consider as the best tactics.

    1) get source, amplification, and speakers - all mediocre to fit the budget.
    2) get 1 of the above that is good, but balance that with everything else being cheaper. Please also specify which of the 3 part should receive more money.

    Of course, these arent the only ways to go. So share your wisdom with us.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    Ok...now keep in mind, this is my advice...and I'll admit...it may not be for everyone.

    For those of us on a budget, a game plan must be set to ensure that we get the most for our money. What you you consider as the best tactics.

    Ok...

    • Take your time - Don't get in a rush to simply buy just something...take your time
    • Fill up your gas tank - Drive and drive and drive, if your not familiar with a type of speaker (or component) find out where it's at...and within reason...drive to audition it. Ask for an in home audition when possible.
    • If you find you would like to audition a type of component that isn't readily available, ask if anyone in your area has one (of that type) in various audio forums. You may find you can audition that speaker (or???) after all
    • Listen to yourself...but only buy once you are sure that's the right component for you to buy. Who knows what you like better than yourself. But, be careful...it's easy to lie to yourself...just because something may be the popular thing to buy...if you don't like it. Don't let someone talk you into buying it. Again...if your not sure...wait!
    • D.I.Y.
    • HAVE FUN!





    I wouldn't worry much about how much money to allocate to which part of your system. There are some good bargains out there...and some overpriced junk. So you can be all over the board. Also, if you don't mind doing DIY or kits...you can save some money in that category.



    take care all>>>>>>>>>>>>
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    enjoy the music!

  3. #3
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    Sorry, I didnt make it really clear.

    Assume that that person has gone out to audition everything in the local market and has narrowed it down to a final few that are only separated by price. In terms of price, these final few products are more better as they get more expensive. Of course, if they were differing in cost but sounded similar, then the answer is obvious.

    So this person knows what he wants, but can only afford a certain price tag. What sacrifices should that person give up? refer to my first post.

  4. #4
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    None.

    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    What sacrifices should that person give up?
    I don't think any sacrifices need to be made. Gonefishin' had it right: "Take your time." Are you planning on dying soon? No, then take your time, save some more money, and get it right the first time. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't get it right the first time and it's cost me...not just money. However, my mistake wasn't budget constrained, it was a lack of knowledge; I just didn't know any better. If you consider this a marathon and not a sprint, you can always find some giant killers lurking that not only will meet your budget but also exceed your expectations.

    That said, I believe speakers and amps produce the most profound differences and are therefore subjected to personal scrutiny more than any other part of a system. My experience has been that you must achieve synergy here before anything else (a pre would be a very close second).

    You can however, make a very convincing argument for source equipment as well. Garbage in = garbage out. Like everything else in audio, it's all personal choice.

  5. #5
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    Sorry, I didnt make it really clear.

    Assume that that person has gone out to audition everything in the local market and has narrowed it down to a final few that are only separated by price. In terms of price, these final few products are more better as they get more expensive. Of course, if they were differing in cost but sounded similar, then the answer is obvious.

    So this person knows what he wants, but can only afford a certain price tag. What sacrifices should that person give up? refer to my first post.
    I know I'm in the minority. But as I said before in my opinion the amp/ receiver is your most important purchase when starting out. I'm not suggesting you spend $4000 dollars, but you want something that is capable of powering speakers properly. My reason is that it won't matter what speaker you have, they will not sound their best with poor amplification.With a good amp/receiver even cheap speakers will sound good and good speakers will sound great.
    Most audiophiles will tell you that speakers are the most important. But again you won't hear the sonic differences unless properly powered.
    All components are importantant, called synergy. You won't acheive great sound if any one area is weak. But start with a good amp/receiver and you can upgrade as you go knowing you have a good foundation to build on.

  6. #6
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    Here it depends upon the budget and your goal for your system. Do you want a HT system or a music first/dedicated music system? Assuming you go for HT:

    1. Buy calibration equipment first. Analog SPL meter from Radio Shack and calibration dvd, such as Video Essentials, are must haves for most any system, be it a HTiB or THX certified system.

    2. Research, research, research. Get a feel for what is out there and don't be afraid to look outside the box. You don't always have to buy locally and can find quality used gear.

    3. Buy an excellent, top notch subwoofer. I liken this to laying the foundation for your system. How much you may need to spend here is dictated by room size.

    4. Get speakers you will be happy with. This may mean only buying a pair plus the matching center or getting all five, six, or seven at once. The thing to keep in mind is what is your ultimate goal for your system.

    5. Get a receiver with preouts if you can afford it. You can always add on external amplifiers if you go this route. Decide what features are important to you and what is there just for eye candy. Get what you need, not what may have a ton of connections you will never use. Additionally, do not focus on wattage for there is only a minute difference between 100 WPC and 50 WPC but do pay attention to the specs as 150 WPC, one channel driven, 8 ohms, at 1KHz isn't better than 90 WPC, all channels driven, 8 ohms, 20Hz - 20KHz. By getting a receiver with preouts you can enter the world of separates later.

    For equipment, I would spend the money as follows:

    1. Subwoofer. (Very well could be the mainstay in your system for years to come and can eat up a budget. An excellent sub can improve the sound of lesser speakers as they do not have to handle the low stuff (80Hz on down).)
    2. Speakers. (Quality is important and inexpensive - $850 for five, for example - can be wonderful. Can also be system mainstays.)
    3. Receiver. (You can always upgrade later. Better speakers and sub can improve when the receiver is upgraded.)

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    A different, and affordable, approach

    Here's my take: I, like Topspeed, compromised too much at first and ended up costing myself a lot more money in the long run.
    I'd suggest you build your system in stages, saving up money as required to acheive your desired results, but with a spin on the idea.
    Say for example you've found a great deal on speakers that fit your needs....BUY THEM. Now you need amplification but you don't have enough money to purchase the quality you're looking for. Instead of compromising on the amplifier, buy a good quality used one. You can save a TON of bucks buying used amplification and source components...AND generally, over a year or so there is very minor depreciation on used components. It will cost you shipping, and a few bucks in depreciation, but you'll have a way better (but later) model amp or reciever. Then when you've saved enough money, sell the used components, and buy the amp you really want.

    My own experience is that buying quality used components (amps, CD players, tuners, etc) is more reliable, and safer than buying used speakers. Speakers generally hold their value a bit more, and it's hard to tell if they've been driven to hard. It's hard to over-drive a CD player or pre-amp, and I'll dare say most audiophiles/enthusiasts don't over-work their amps (because speakers and neighbors are generally a limiting factor). I've done quite well buying used speakers too, but generally the amps and stuff are a better buy used on both the value, and reliability fronts...just my opinion.

    As far as which order to buy...I agree that source is important, but it's a chicken and egg argument. My Rotel amp was a few thousand bucks brand new (I bought it used) and my Axiom M3Ti's don't do it enough justice to justify the expense over my receiver as far as amplification goes...so try to match your components in terms of quality...I don't think it matters what order.

  8. #8
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    First, I need to know the budget. We may all have a different definition of what a budget system is.
    Next, I need to know how often you plan on listening to music. My suggestions would differ depending on how often one would use the system.
    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!

  9. #9
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Generally, I would suggest selecting speakers you like first, then select an amp/receiver capable of driving them and finally, the source.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the replies everyone.
    Let's say the system is pure 2 channel.
    When I used the word budget, I did not mean "budget" as in cheap.
    I just meant it as anyone who has set aside some money to devote to audio gear.
    So it could be 1000 or 10000 or whatever.
    So with response to Bturk, this amount is hypothetical as this thread is buying in general rather than just about me.

    Please help us new buyers with wise advise. We would never want to see money go to waste.

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    For immediate satisfaction, speakers first

    [QUOTE=92135011]...

    1) get source, amplification, and speakers - all mediocre to fit the budget.
    2) get 1 of the above that is good, but balance that with everything else being cheaper. Please also specify which of the 3 part should receive more money.
    ...QUOTE]

    I'm with the crowd then says speakers are the most critical component. Only problem with them as your first, higher-grade component is that you might be too satisfied with your system and not upgrade the rest soon enough!

    Also, there aren't all that many low priced but relatively high-quality, revealing speakers out there. Personnally, in this catergory I'd recommend Magneplanar MMG's, at least for classical and jazz lovers.

  12. #12
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    In that case, I would spend about 30% to 40% on speakers and the rest on the electronics.
    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!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    For those of us on a budget, a game plan must be set to ensure that we get the most for our money. What you you consider as the best tactics.

    1) get source, amplification, and speakers - all mediocre to fit the budget.
    2) get 1 of the above that is good, but balance that with everything else being cheaper. Please also specify which of the 3 part should receive more money.

    Of course, these arent the only ways to go. So share your wisdom with us.

    Since the speakers with the room acoustic is the most important, that is where you need to concentrate. after the speakers, spend on amp/reciver that can drive your preferred speaker withoug going crazy over them.
    mtrycrafts

  14. #14
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    Oh my god - I think I agree with Mtry!!!! I dont think that this has ever happened before - I must be ill.

    Start with the speakers. Choose the ones that sound right to you, but:

    1. Take into account you room dimensions. You dont want to buy enormous speakers that need a huge room to play in if your room is small. A friend of mine fell in love with the Quad 989's and bought them on the spot. His room is a 12 foot square. The only way we could get them to sound reasonable was to have the things 4 feet in front of his sitting position with him at the back wall - hardly practical. In the end he sold them and bought a pair of B&W CDM1 speakers. Not in the same class as the Quads, but they fit the room wonderfully and overall, for the music he listens to (mainly rock) the effect is better than the quads.

    2. Keep an eye on the amplification requirements. This is especially true when shopping for speakers 2nd hand. You might find a real bargain out there, but if it needs a Krell to drive it this will not end up as a cheap solution. An example of this, here in Greece, is with the B&W 801 Matrix speakers. These can be had for a song, second hand, but they need acres of space and massive power to get them to play well.

    3. Not only was Rome not built in a day - it couldnt have been. Remember your tastes may change over time and you may well come across other systems or setups that you prefer over your carefully chosen implementation. This is something many Audiophiles live with. I have loved my system at each stage of its progression to its current state, but that has not stopped me upgrading. In the ideal world you can do a bit of research, choose your system and you are done. For some people this works, for others not. When the upgrade bug bites it bites hard. I know - I am on my 9th amp!!!

    4. Source. For me this is the second easiest place to compromise. A $70 DVD player can act as a source for a goodly period of time and not sound half bad. In time you will probably upgrade it, or move on to vinyl, SACD, DVDa W.H.Y. Accept it. That little cheapo DVD player will get you into audio and allow you to build your music collection.

    5. Cabling. If you are lucky you will never get there. Power cables, interconnects, speaker cables and so on can safely be left to the very end. Get cheap cables. At a later date you can experiment with higher cost items and see if they make a difference for you. Of all the items mentioned these should make the least difference.

    6. Add on items - power conditioners, surge protectors etc. Depends on where you live. Here in Greece they are kind of essential (nominal power 230V/60 Hz - actual power - varying between 190V and 270V, 50 to 65 Hz. - kills systems and not just audio ones - I blew a computer at home before I got smart).

    That's it really. Happy shopping.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxg
    Oh my god - I think I agree with Mtry!!!! I dont think that this has ever happened before - I must be ill..
    We may have agreed on something before. Statistics and probability dictates this
    mtrycrafts

  16. #16
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    speakers first..

    No hardware purchase is more important. If you have to stretch to buy what you want, by all means do so. Consider carefully the room you will use them in and how they will be placed in the room. Poor speaker placement and room accoustics can severely degrade sound quality. Placement and room accoustics are as important as the speakers. After speakers, placement and room accoustics, nothing matters more than source material. A well recorded cd can make the most humble system sound very good. Everything else is of relatively minor importance. Buy amplification appropriate for the your speakers. Buy a multifuction optical player from a reputable manufacturer with the features you want. That's about it. Keep your guard up. Lots of hype in this industry.

  17. #17
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    You didnt specify if it was for HT or Audio

    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    For those of us on a budget, a game plan must be set to ensure that we get the most for our money. What you you consider as the best tactics.

    1) get source, amplification, and speakers - all mediocre to fit the budget.
    2) get 1 of the above that is good, but balance that with everything else being cheaper. Please also specify which of the 3 part should receive more money.

    Of course, these arent the only ways to go. So share your wisdom with us.
    Please tell us what your intentions are.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    Thanks for the replies everyone.
    Let's say the system is pure 2 channel.
    When I used the word budget, I did not mean "budget" as in cheap.
    I just meant it as anyone who has set aside some money to devote to audio gear.
    So it could be 1000 or 10000 or whatever.
    So with response to Bturk, this amount is hypothetical as this thread is buying in general rather than just about me.

    Please help us new buyers with wise advise. We would never want to see money go to waste.
    Actually...I meant 2 channel as in music. Anyways, this situation isnt so much me, but toward all first time buyers. Thanks

  19. #19
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92135011
    Actually...I meant 2 channel as in music. Anyways, this situation isnt so much me, but toward all first time buyers. Thanks
    In my opinion 50-70% of your budget for your intial investment should be in your SPEAKERS. Get the best ones you like, and can afford.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

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