Musical Fidelity A3cr amp/preamp under $1500 each new, Wes Phillips did complete review recently in OnHiFi/Soundstage, Sam Tellig will review in October Stereophile.....he will be blown away, mark my words. Analysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cable is astonishingly good for the price.
Rotel RCD-990 CD Player. Also a rare unit after Phillips stopped making the CDM-9 Pro metal transport after Rotel only made a small quantitly of this great player. See Stereophile Vol. 20, Nos 1. & 3.
NAD 3020. Not the ultimate amp but when it came out many years ago it was a revelation. Sound that surpassed anything close to its price (under $200). This amp relieved much frustration for those of us who could not afford real high end. Without products like this hi-fi would die. Thankyou NAD.
Magnepan MMG, at $500 a pair. MIT Terminator 3 speaker cable closed out at $65/pair in second (or Terminator 2, "for a few dollars more"). Audio Alchemy DLC linestage preamp a close third, at $225 (before they went away). ASC Frescoe Traps in fourth (before they were replaced by something a little bigger and pricier). Kimber 8TC rounds out the top 5, in my opinion (not recommended for systems having even a slightly forward presence region, however. It's a "quickish" sounding copper cable with a large enough cross sectional area to let the dynamic swings of a beefy system come through...lacks tonal refinement of pricier cables, and also that of the much cheaper MIT, in the right system context, of course).
The best "Giant Killer"...is actually the reference point that had much to do with the "High-End" even existing...the original Large Advent Speaker....others would be, the current Magnepan MG 1.6QR, the Kimber Silver Streak cable.. ...and, perhaps, the original AR turntable...I wonder how many are still in use?
Used Dynaco Stereo 70 amp. For 20 years they sold for around $100 and were more lisenable that the 1,000's of amps, intergrateds and receivers that have come and gone.
NAD 3020 integrated, B&W DM302 speakers @ $200, Audio Refinement Complete integrated @ $1000
newform research R645. Megasam, do you have th MF amp and preamp? What are your thoughts?
Vandersteen 2c, 2ci, 2ce. The original 2c retailed for $1,195.00 per pair and was one of the most musical loudspeakers of any other speaker anywhere near its price!
Doc Bottlehead's "Foreplay" preamp kit at $99.00! Comparable sound quality to preamps in the $2,000 range!!
Morasp, I own several MF amps, integrateds, preamps and will probably end up buying an A3cr amp/preamp combo when the time is right, it pays to be patient when buying from Audio Advisor as price will eventually come down. I have read several reviews, talked to my AA salesman, and talked to current owners, I do not own now so I cannot directly comment .....wait till Sam Tellig gives full review in Oct Stereophile, he will confirm Wes Phillips findings and then some......some of Sam Tellig's comments have been "leaked" in current fall 2000 Audio Advisor catalog
Vandersteen 2C speakers-- all their models, and Adcom 600 DA Converter. These two pieces provided my first tastes of high end audio. Years ago when I plugged my old Phillips CD player into the Adcom 600 (via coax), I quickly came to realize that CDs really could sound good. Cheers. Craig.
Garfish, excellent posting about Richard's great speakers. When you look at the line up of two way $10K speakers that exist in the world, and then look at the design, construction and value in the Vandersteen 2 series, it makes you wonder how anyone can not consider these as a giant killer.
I have several giant killers: Vandersteen 2CE Signature speakers, Magnepan 1.6QR speakers, Adcom GFP-750 preamp, VTL IT and ST-85 tube amps, Nordost Blue cables, Sony XA7ES CD player. The Magnepan 1.6QR is the first serious competition to the 2CE in the 1500 price range. It is a very different speaker in that it has tremendous detail and soundstaging at the expense of bass, room placement, and amplifier compatibility. I just got another adcom preamp; In passive mode with high quality cables it is almost indiscernable from my XA7ES's variable outputs. It might sound better.
Another vote for Vandersteen 2 series. Like you Craig the 2C was my first "Hi-End" love affair that I owned for 10 years and was chosen OVER Magnepan 2.6 speakers. It was a tough choice but the Vandy's won out, it was that natural bass that the Maggie's didn't have. I am sure the only reason I still don't own those wonderful speakers was the fact that I moved and I could not get them to work their magic like they did in my prior room as much as I tried. I always recommend them and they stand out to me as consistently the best value in Hi-End audio. The money saved in the speakers can be used in better electronics. But as much as I like the 2 series the 3A Signature's are an equally great value at their price point and you wonder, How does Richard Vandersteen do it?
Glad to see support for Vandersteen 2C and 3A speakers-- I own them both. Re: Tubegroover; It seems to me as an essentially boxless design, R. Vandersteen avoids the large cost(s) associated with the furniture grade veneers of box design speakers. Just a wild guess, but could that be as much as 50% of the cost of high quality box speakers?Cheers. Craig.