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Thread: Wow I am spoiled by my new (budget) stereo. How spoiled could I get?

  1. #1
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    Wow I am spoiled by my new (budget) stereo. How spoiled could I get?

    This week I received my new NAD 316BEE integrated amp and 525BEE cd player and hooked them up to a pristine pair of JBL L100T speakers (lucky garage sale find)

    I am blown away. I can hear each instrument with clarity and location--jazz, rock, country, classical. I'm replaying all my CDs and enjoying them like never before.

    I had been listening to CDs on a Phillips DVD player, Sony AV Receiver and old Sansui SP 2500 speakers.

    The downside is that I am spoiled. Car radio, xm, mp3 all sound like garbled crap now.

    This is a budget system with circa 1987 "California sound" speakers. Would a really nice system spoil me to the point that my budget stereo would sound terrible?

  2. #2
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Sound terrible, probably not. Sound not as good as the high priced "spread", maybe, leaning to probably. The only way to find out is to audition a serious high end system. Just remember that for most of us (that have budget restraints) there is always something better. You just have to balance your wants and desires with your budget.
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  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reynolds532 View Post
    This week I received my new NAD 316BEE integrated amp and 525BEE cd player and hooked them up to a pristine pair of JBL L100T speakers (lucky garage sale find)

    I am blown away. I can hear each instrument with clarity and location--jazz, rock, country, classical. I'm replaying all my CDs and enjoying them like never before.

    I had been listening to CDs on a Phillips DVD player, Sony AV Receiver and old Sansui SP 2500 speakers.

    The downside is that I am spoiled. Car radio, xm, mp3 all sound like garbled crap now.

    This is a budget system with circa 1987 "California sound" speakers. Would a really nice system spoil me to the point that my budget stereo would sound terrible?
    Hmmm ... let me think ... YES!!

    So let's say you compared you nice budget vintage system with mikel's music system -- see HERE. Your "budget stereo would sound terrible" by comparison.

    But to reinforce Joe's point, there is always something better. mikel's system cost well north of $1,000,000, so there's something to aspire to.


  4. #4
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Enjoy your stereo. There will always be something newer, larger, more expensive and more powerful. I like the times I am not thinking about my stereo and enjoying the music. Music is the goal and equipment is what is needed to have it in your home.
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  5. #5
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    I'm with John on this one. Have fun with what you have. Like many here I went crazy and went down the upgrade path looking for that holy grail of sound. A lot of money disappeared and all the stuff I bought is gone. I was never happy.

    There is always better. Joe has the right idea and that is to go out and listen to the best you can find. That will give you an idea to set your goals to. Don't focus on the equipment, but rather the sound.

    For me, I went with DIY speakers, tubes and vinyl. I have never been happier. The really cool thing is that it cost very little in comparison to highend gear. Sure, it's not perfect, but even in the $100,000 range, I could find fault. Besides, I'm sure Mike spent more on his speaker cables than I paid for my entire system (and my car), probably a lot more.

    On the other hand, my girlfriends system which consists of low end Magnepans with a subwoofer sounds very nice too. Sure it doesn't soundstage or have the clarity of my system, but it stills is very enjoyable to listen to. It looks cool too.

    I'm sure that if I listened to Mike's system, I would be VERY impressed, but in all probability, I couldn't wait to get home to listen to my system, which sounds just the way I want it to.

    The point is that there is no perfect system and all "good" systems have their strengths and faults.

    Just to put things in perspective, read the reviews of some of the audio shows. Much of this equipment is the best that companies have to offer, but people who review them rarely agree with what's best.

    To answer your question about would a better system spoil you... The answer is definitely YES, like Feanor said.

    Myself, I quit going to audio stores, which used to be one of my favorite things to do, because I like what I have and while there will always be things about really good systems that I like better, all together I like my system more. Other people will feel the same about their systems.

    BTW, congratulations on your find. I'm sure it gives you great joy.

  6. #6
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    Interesting comments. Thanks. I appreciate both the music and the equipment. In many ways I have greater appreciation for the art and engineering in a $1000 system that sounds really good than for systems trying to define the state of the art. And if all I had was a cheap boom box I would still enjoy music and listen nearly everyday.

  7. #7
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reynolds532 View Post
    In many ways I have greater appreciation for the art and engineering in a $1000 system that sounds really good than for systems trying to define the state of the art.
    That's exactly how I feel about it. Bravo!

    You might want to try a little DIY, the rewards can be great for the money.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    i used to / still have the key parts of a system like Mike (apart from the Turntable) and was extremely happy with the sound until i realized that i am fixing and tweaking stuff more than i actually listen to music. The supporting electronics are massive and complex so i kept the speakers and sold the rest and got me a nice simple system and enjoy it more than ever before. In the meantime i will either sell my main speakers or rebuilt it using some less "picky" electronics. Mainly class a non feedback solid state amps with tube front end. The key message, those with mega buck systems are usually not trouble free either ;-)

    Enjoy the tunes

    Pic 1 is of a currently "decommissioned pair of super speakers" in perfect condition.

    Wow I am spoiled by my new (budget) stereo. How spoiled could I get?-foto-1.jpg

    Pic 2 is of my currently new setup. One integrated amplifier and a 2 way horn speaker.

    • KR Electronics VA350i
    • Usher Audio D2 MK2 (newest one) speakers


    Wow I am spoiled by my new (budget) stereo. How spoiled could I get?-foto-2.jpg
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    PS: The pics worked, but this site has some serious coding issues.
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  10. #10
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Hi there,

    i used to / still have the key parts of a system like Mike (apart from the Turntable) and was extremely happy with the sound until i realized that i am fixing and tweaking stuff more than i actually listen to music. The supporting electronics are massive and complex so i kept the speakers and sold the rest and got me a nice simple system and enjoy it more than ever before. In the meantime i will either sell my main speakers or rebuilt it using some less "picky" electronics. Mainly class a non feedback solid state amps with tube front end. The key message, those with mega buck systems are usually not trouble free either ;-)

    Enjoy the tunes

    Pic 1 is of a currently "decommissioned pair of super speakers" in perfect condition.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Pic 2 is of my currently new setup. One integrated amplifier and a 2 way horn speaker.

    • KR Electronics VA350i
    • Usher Audio D2 MK2 (newest one) speakers


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Wow, Florian, not giving up on those Apogee Grands? Surely not!?! Now horn speakers. What ever happened to "Lord Magnepan"?

    I see that Morricab has been messing with your head. Brad has has is preferences and, to his credit, he has figured out what equipment satisfies those preferences -- but they are still just preferences, and other people have different preferences that are just as valid.

    Recently acted on one of his suggestions, (not high-end equipment admittedly), that was a bust for me. But at least it proved that he and I are not on the same wavelength. Recently I upgrade to a Pass Labs amp which Morricab doesn't like but which I find highly satisfactory.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Hi there,


    Enjoy the tunes


    Pic 2 is of my currently new setup. One integrated amplifier and a 2 way horn speaker.

    • KR Electronics VA350i
    • Usher Audio D2 MK2 (newest one) speakers


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Foto 2.JPG 
Views:	369 
Size:	90.1 KB 
ID:	9562


    Looking good Flo! I like a quality but less component type of system. Two speakers, integrated amp, turntable and SACD/cd player. As always I would enjoy hearing your system.
    JohnMichael
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  12. #12
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Hello you two,

    thanks! But this is not because of Morricab ;-) We are friends for over 12 years so far. The Grand is perfectly fine, but you need 6 mono blocks or three stereo amps to run it. This makes it quite sensitive to reliability. Its also of a quite different nature to run all ribbons fully active with nothing in between. Sonics wise the NAT amplifiers are absolute top notch and by far the absolute best thing i heard. It is however, like i said, to prone to issues.

    Lord_Magnepan was a long time ago and currently there is no planar that can come anywhere close to the experience of the Grand. One option might be the Soundlab Majestic with big tubes, but those are no reliable either. The Usher is a fantastic speaker and the KR a dream. Together they work very well indeed and i am quite happy. I don't have to sell the Grand and can build it up as a second system. My technician is currently developing a hybrid amplifier for me with no feedback. If its good i will use it on the Grand and just run both systems.

    Cheers
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Florian, how could you take down that system? You were supposed to adopt me so that I could play with it!

    Do those Apogee's really need 3 amps to drive them?

    How does the new system compare to the old one?
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  14. #14
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Hello you two,

    thanks! But this is not because of Morricab ;-) We are friends for over 12 years so far. The Grand is perfectly fine, but you need 6 mono blocks or three stereo amps to run it. This makes it quite sensitive to reliability. Its also of a quite different nature to run all ribbons fully active with nothing in between. Sonics wise the NAT amplifiers are absolute top notch and by far the absolute best thing i heard. It is however, like i said, to prone to issues.

    Lord_Magnepan was a long time ago and currently there is no planar that can come anywhere close to the experience of the Grand. One option might be the Soundlab Majestic with big tubes, but those are no reliable either. The Usher is a fantastic speaker and the KR a dream. Together they work very well indeed and i am quite happy. I don't have to sell the Grand and can build it up as a second system. My technician is currently developing a hybrid amplifier for me with no feedback. If its good i will use it on the Grand and just run both systems.

    Cheers
    I don't really doubt the Usher + KR is a great system -- I'm just kind of ribbing on account of your hyperboles in the old days.

    You'll recall that E-Stat has Sound Labs combined with VTL monoblocks -- I'm sure that sounds great too. I don't think he's had many problems with the VTLs.
    Last edited by Feanor; 12-17-2013 at 01:49 PM.

  15. #15
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Do those Apogee's really need 3 amps to drive them?
    I'm inclined to think I could make do with the Apogees and a couple of Pass Labs X350.5's -- but them I'm easy to please.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Hehe, well its was not hyperbole at all. I am keeping the Grands and not selling them for a cool 100k. The Soundlab is simple system as well, but usually they go for sale after receiving new panels or new transformers etc... To understand the complexity of the Grand you have to know how it works. You do need 8 channels of amplification with amps that have ZERO turn on/off transients. Amps that never produce ANY DC offset at all. Amps with the same signature for all drivers and high tolerance to low impedances. The are two active crossovers, two rake boards, two micro control boards for diagnostic features, 2 power distribution boards plus external power supplies and custom built in Krell mono blocks for the subwoofers. That speaker system is a hell of a lot more complex than any other system out there.

    Ever tried to remove ground loops in a single system with 8 mono blocks, two active crossovers, two connected speakers (via data cable), two external power supplies, preamps, dacs, jitter removes, phono preamp, turntable, NAS, Streaming devices etc....?

    I could buy a simple Pass Labs but its just not my cup of tea sound wise, i need something more exotic to match the Grand but its tough to find something reliable that matches.

    Cheers

    PS: The Usher and KR are 60000USD in itself, so its not a bargain either but i enjoy it a lot. In the end, i know i will have two systems and just choose which one i want to play with today.
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Florian, how could you take down that system? You were supposed to adopt me so that I could play with it!

    Do those Apogee's really need 3 amps to drive them?

    How does the new system compare to the old one?
    Not to worry, i am building a second system around it ;-) I can still adopt you.
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

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