Audio Refinement Complete
B&W CDM 1 NT
Arcam FMJ CD 22
Acoustic Zen cables throughout
Your choice of stands
This is my opinion only of course. I like monitors more than floor standers because of value, but you have to give up some bass response, which I'm fine with.
Jolida Integrated 202, 302, 502 ($4-700 used)
Rega Planet CD ($400 or less used)
MANY used tables (non audiophile brands) available with cart. for under $200 (luxman garrard, etc)
Sumiko Phono Preamp ($100 new)
B&W Nautilus 805, JM Reynaud Trente, MM DeCapo, ProAc 1SC speakers.
All available at or below $1400 used.
that leaves $200 to $500 (Obviously, give or take, depending on a variety of factors) for speaker cables, interconnects, and some stands.
it can be done.
-Monarchy preamp/dac model 33, 550 dollars
-Van Alstine amp 240 or 260, 800 dollars
-Nad 521i cd player(used as transport),200 dollars
-Cambridge Audio tuner, 200 dollars
-Sony table/cartridge(The one with a self contained phone pre amp), 200 dollars
-Vandersteen 2ce s,1000 dollars
-plain vanilla manufactuer supplied innerconnects
-16g heater cord from the hardware store to connect speakers.
Just subjective opinion.....
1) Go for an integrated amp. Something like a
Creek 5350SE, which is going for $925, used,
on Audiogon right now. Another possibility ---
Musical Fidelity A3.2, which has a new price
similar to Creek and would probably sell for
a similar amount, used. There's a Musical
Fidelity A300 going for $950, on A'G'.
So, integrated amplifier --- $900 -- $1,000
2) Speakers -- go for a pair of Sonus Faber Grand
Pianos (the older version, not the Homes). Or,
an older pair of Monitor Audio Studio 20's. [A few
years ago, it was common to find these in
reviewers' systems.] I've seen these go for
Speakers -- $1,500
3) CD player. There are a number of lower priced
players worth considering. Check out the Ah! Njoe
Tjoeb 4000. Recently, an upgraded unit sold for
CD Player -- $400 -- $500
4) Cables and Wire -- in a $3,000 set up, I am not
spending more than $100 - $200 on cables and
wire. Go with 12 AWG OFC speaker cables which
you can get for less than 50 cents per foot. Get
your speaker cables and interconnects from
PartsExpress and/or AV cables.
Cables and Wire -- $200
If you expand your budget -- put any extra money into
speakers, not cables. For a little more money, you
can get a pair of the Sonus Faber Grand Piano Homes
[Which I like better than B & W Nautilus 804]. Or, Monitor Audio Gold Reference 60's.
AC Conditioning -- A decent bang for the buck on AC conditioning is a Blue Circle Noise Hound, which you can get for $110.
AC Conditioning -- $110.
Surge Protection -- for now, go with something cheap
but effective --- one of those strips.
Total Cost -- 2,800 -- 3,200
I have recently done just what you describe. Over the course of the last year, I researched this site and others.
I set my sights on the basics first (call it phase one):speakers,amp,source. My budget was $3K, split evenly. Then I waited patiently for the items i wanted to appear here on the gon. Took me months, but now I am one happy camper! I did end up spending about $1k more than I budgeted,but it didn't hurt because i bought the pieces over time which allowed me to save between pieces.
One of the difficulties I encountered was the inability to audition the pieces i was interested in. In this regard the forum threads were invaluable. When researching the threads, note the musical tastes of the writers! I reccommend you look to balance the system in quality of components. I prefer monitors for speakers because I beleive you'll get superior imaging,etc. than comparably priced floorstanders. For amps, I'd look to SS integrateds.
My wish list included:
CD Players: Classe,Rega
Int. amps: MF,Plinius,Simaudio
Cables: start small and build
Joseph Audio RM7 signaturesw/target stands
Zu Cable Julian and Warmouth
Used: Audio Refinement Complete integrated and CD player, Rega 25 TT w/Benz Glider cart., ATC SCM 7 monitors.
My "Used" Budget System for under $3K??? Okay....... here goes:
Speaker System: Vandersteen 2, 2C, 2Ci, or 2Ce (early version) -- from $800.00 to about $1,000.00 (used).
Integrated Amplifier: Classe CAP-100 -- $900.00 (used).
Compact Disc Player/System: Pioneer Elite PD-65 (used as transport) + Theta Chroma Anti-Jitter System + Theta Chroma DAC -- $300.00 + $100.00 + $200.00 == $500.00 (all used).
Turntable: Thorens TD-147 -- $200.00 (used).
Phono Cartridge: Grado Prestige Green -- $60.00 (used).
Phono Stage: Monolithic PS-1 -- $200.00 (forget the matching HC-1 Power Supply for right now. You can get that later on when you upgrade the turntable/cartridge system)(used).
Cables: MITerminator 2 (all the way) -- $350.00 (used).
Power Conditioning: I would go a good, but cheap strip from Radio Shack for right now. Make that a priority item to upgrade when it is time to do so. Upgrade to a Brick Wall, MOL Monster, or Panamax when you do -- $40.00 (new).
Good Luck and Happy Listening!!!!!!
Amplifier: Jolida 302A/B(agree with my good friend Gthirteen"Joe") - $650. One fine amp, a rocking tube amp with a sweet tone
Speakers: Totem Arro - $600. Wow, these dynamic little floorstanders image like the devil himself
CD player: Music Hall MMF25 - $350. Not the best, but about as good as most anything you'll find and not out of place on a very high end system
Speaker: Coincident CST 0.5 - $100/8 ft pair. If they charged $1000 for this cable, a lot of Audiogoners would never stop talking about it, but at it's entry level price it COMPLETELY flies under the radar. Very close to reference quality speaker cable
Interconnect: HomeGrown Audio Silver Lace - $100/1m. Reference quality interconnect
Power Cord: Homemade - $30
Grand total: Under $2000, and I could live with this system for years and years. The only area I may ever have to upgrade is to add a sub($200-$300) later.
Spend the rest of the money on music!
I think you nailed it!
Thanks everyone for the advice. A lot of differing opinions. The question originally came from a Rolling Stone Article I read a year back on creating an entry level Audiophile system for under $2000. I can't remember all the components but I think this system had the following:
Rega 300 TT
HH Scott 299c Tube amp
Sony CD player maybe??
Used LS3/5A Speakers
Most of the stuff was purchased off ebay and it really got me started thinking about upgrades. I'm considering the Carver - Sunfire Sig. Series Amp (300WPC) and some B&W CDM9NT speakers. I already have a Rega 300 and I'm looking for the Ah Njoe TjoeB 4000 CD. I'll probably use some of the advice hear on cables and turn it up!!
If anyone has any comments on the Carver I'd appreciated it. I can't find any comments on it on this site.
The Sunfire is a nice amplifier. I would not hesitate going with it. Personally, I would still opt for the magic of the Jolida and the Totems, but a solid state amp may offer more long term flexibility when it comes to loudspeakers. The Carver will be able to put out quite a lot of power.
Pass Aleph 3 $900
AES-a3 pre $350
Sony SC555 SACD $500
Triangle Zerius $700
Discovery 123 8' $120
Kimber PBJ 2x$50
Money to spare (or for different source), and components easily re-sold!
OK...after a little research on this site and listening at the local Hi-fi, I've come up with the following:
Carver Sig. Sunfire Amp (300wpc) $800
B&W 805s with Stands $1700
Rega P3 2000 with Grado Blue $500
Ahjoeb Tjoeb CD 4000 $450
Cables etc.. $150 = $3600
A little over the limit but, hey I'm going to vegas this weekend so, come on lucky 7....If I feel the bass isn't quite their for this set up, I'll purchase a powered sub.
Pick up a used pair of Totem Model 1 speackers (~1000), and a used Golden Tube Audio or C-J tube preamp (~600). A used Bryston 3b-ST amplifier (~800) A clearaudio turntable (600) and whoops - i ran out of money and don't have a digital front end yet. Add a Sub later.
Manley stingray, tannoy saturn 8 or 10, nordost black knight ic, msb tech dac, nad or cambridge audio cd\dvd, diy cat 5 cables or search for crazy closeout deals on speaker cables and get best available for money left!!
I'll update you on my quest for reasonable HiFi @ used prices. I've changed my line-up as follows:
McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe Amp (90)
Conrad Johnson 10 pre-amp (modified) w/ phono(600)
VPI HW19 Jr. (540)
B&W Naut 805 speakers with Target Stands (1700)
Doesn't include shipping costs or the totally destroyed Rega P3 that UPS took out of commission.
As you can see, I blew right past my budget and I still don't have IC's, Power conditioning, Speaker cables! Not to mention a reasonable CD player. Oh well it was a noble attempt.
Don't have it all assembled yet, amp just arrived in the mail. I'm expecting great things. Thanks for everyone's help, your suggestions helped build this system. BTW A'gon is fantastic site.