any advice appreciated

Hello all. I've learned a lot from this forum. This is my first post, but I've been reading for a while. I'm about to set up my first real stereo system and I'd like your advice on the direction I'm going.

I have a budget of about $1700 for startup. I want a 2.0 system. I listen to listen to blues, rock, folk, motown, and some jazz. My living room is approx 25'x35' with 13' ceilings. I listen at moderate levels.

I'm about to pull the trigger and buy:

1. A used pair of Vienna Acoustic Mozart speakers ($1200)
2. A barely used NAD C 325 BEE amp. ($325)
3. A CD player yet to be determined. ($200)

My preferences tend to be toward warm rich tones. Anybody think I'm on the wrong path here? I'm in an area of the country that prohibits me from driving to my local retailer for a demo.

Any advice appreciated.

My tastes in music are similar. I went with a tube integrated amp. You can find them used for under $1000. I know that makes the rest of your budget tight but tubes will make a big difference. Look for an amp that takes EL34 tubes like a Sophia Electric Baby amp or Jolida. Speakers would need to be fairly efficient.

I just had my amp in the shop and had to listen to SS (nothing high end) was I jonesing for tubes after a week. Koko Taylor or Willie Dixon on tubes is sweet.
check out the may audio website. they're selling out of castle speakers below cost. for about 1k you can get harlechs which are many times better than the mozart. the nad and any front end will make bigtime beautiful music
With that size room, go for big electrostatics, Logan, Soundlab or even older acoutstats.

I think you are on the right track with most of the budget into the speakers you like. You may find 50 watts of power is a bit light given you have a large room, however, that can be left for a future upgrade...
Agree with above post.You are on the right track.As time goes on and money permits you can pressurize that space a bit more.Those components are fine,good luck,Bob
At your stated budget, the NAD is a good choice. You might consider spending a little more on the CD player and a little less on the speakers. A $200 CD player will not get you very near to what the NAD and a $1200 speaker can do. There are no makeup calls on the musical signal once it leaves the source. Good listening!
I think that will be a great system. You will need to nearfield listen in that large room. The Mozart is a great speaker, I have a pair in a second system. If you have an Ipod, use that instead of a cd player for now and save for a USB dac.
I will definitely be upgrading components as I move further into the hobby.

A few more questions:

ON THE SPEAKERS: I chose the Vienna's because it is one of the few speakers I've had a chance to spend any time listening to. My local Best Buy has a Magnolia section and I spent about an hour listening to the Viennas vs. Martin Logans. I preferred the Viennas for their smooth warm tones. Maybe a bit less crisp than the Martin Logans. Will the Vienna Acoustic Mozarts be too small for a room as big as mine? The demo room I listened in was much smaller. Are the Harlechs really better than the Mozarts? I feel like I'm getting a pretty good deal on the Mozarts, plus I've heard them before.

ON THE AMP: The NAD is obviously a compromise. I chose it because there is one conveniently available to me at a reasonable price. The reviews look good online, and it is relatively inexpensive. It also should not be hard to sell once I have another $1000-$1500 to spend on a good amp. Does anyone have a better recommendation on an integrated amp that would suit my needs better? I just need something to get me by for 6 months or so.

ON THE CD PLAYER: I'm on the tail end of my budget here. Don't have much bread to work with. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Again I'm just looking for a transitional unit. Something to tide me over until I can squirrel away money that my wife won't mind me spending. I could use a decent DVD player. Is it sacrilege to play CDs through a DVD player?

Again thanks for all your input. There are so many angles to consider, it's a bit overwhelming.
Welcome aboard!

I can't stress enough how important your front end really is.
Try not to skimp too badly on the player. A used Jolida CD player would fit nicely into your setup.

$1200 can buy a lot of speaker used. It's a shame you're not able to get out and listen. You could get a speaker of comparable quality for less and put that money into your amplifier and source.

If you have to just use a current DVD player or whatever you have laying around. Wait and add some money to those $200 dedicated for the source. Believe me'll wish you had.

My source and amplifier cost much more than the speakers I use. Spending the majority of your money on speakers isn't always the correct path.

You ever heard that saying sh@t rolls down hill? Well the rules apply to audio as well. ;-)

Just something to think about.

Good luck and have fun!
Spend most of your budget on the best power cords you can buy.

Really though...take the long approach. This is a great place to start. Get your equipment(particularly staying close to your budget), set it up, enjoy the sound and continue to squirrel away some money. After awhile you'll know what more you want from your rig and you'll take the next step. Remember this is a hobby.

Don't forget to have fun!
listen closely to the vienna acoustics. i believe they have cabinet colorations(resonances) which are audible.

i vote for the logans with a tube integrated amp.
They may not be new and sexy and come with big bragging rights, but the venerable Vandersteen 2C is one of, if not the most popular high end speaker of all time, and for good reason.
Easy to buy and sell, it is full range, has level controls to mitigate room problems, and will fill up a large room with modest power amp requirements.
After a year or so listening to this reference speaker you will know enough to audition more expensive stuff and have a good idea if they are worth the difference.
P.S A refurbished DVD player from HK (check their website) is about $100 and comes with a factory warranty.
Were I in your shoes, I would look for an old high quality 2 channel receiver and upscale my source.
It has been my experience that there are many cheap receivers out there that can make real music if given a decent source.
Sometimes, you can luck into an ancient accuphase integrated for a couple hundred dollars.
I would prefer to have a better source with a beefy old receiver than a cheapie source and a mid-fi amplifier!

Any recommendations on which old beefy receiver? I like your idea, just not sure what to look for.

Thanks for the advice,

If $200 is your budget on a cd, use a dvd player ($50) and spend more on an integrated amp or receiver. You could get an older B&K pre and power combo for that much and it will sound much better than an NAD.

For great NAD prices, check out

Hmmm, could that be the old "sound & music"??
There is a an Accuphase P-300 on flea-bay right now that looks very nice for 400.00 opening bid. No one has bid on it (it has old style analog meters, so the "light show" isn't impressive)
I know of no NAD amp priced in that range that could ever come near it in terms of build quality and musical "live with it in the house and be happy making music" factor.

If you like smooth, this amp and a good CD would make life grand.
Of course, it is over budget. ;>)
(I think I want that Accuphase. I wish I had not just spent all my $ on cart and cabling.)
I noticed a pair of Vienna Acoustics Mozarts for $1200 posted to my local (Philadelphia) Craigslist. I don't know if you are in the Philadelphia area and these are the same speakers you are considering, but there are a few stores where you can demo some high end gear if that's the case. That being said, I think you are on the right track. If your budget can be adjusted for a little more towards the source component, you might want to consider an older Rega Planet or even a Music Hall CD player. They can be had in the $300 to $400 range and might match better with the other equipment mentioned.
listen closely to the vienna acoustics. i believe they have cabinet colorations(resonances) which are audible.

Of course they do - but what can you expect at an entry level. Give Drew credit for selecting a warm speaker that will have a bit of over emphasized bass which he will actually need in a such large space...