building the best system I can?

If a friend had $5000 dollars to spend on audio gear and asked you for help in putting together a system revolving around a pair of paradigm studio 20's v5, what would you suggest?
Is the owner interested in vinyl or digital? or both?

Two Channel only?

Home theatre or music only?
Speakers sound like the amps runing them, get a 25watt Decware tube if acoustic is main thing,if tubes are too big a hassle, whatever Belles amp you can fit in.
First thing I'd do is not build the system around Studio 20s. Nice speakers, but you can certainly do better. We certainly need more info. about the # of channels, room, sources, expected use, etc....

What ever you choose, $5000.00 will go a long way if you buy used.
the room size "your friend" has is appr. 13 X 15. The money spent will be for purchasing for 2 channel. Right now lets focus on digital for sources with vinyl as a future addition.

As for the use of the studio 20's that is what "your friend" has on hand at present, but doesn't mean that can't be changed.

Feel free too ask more questions if needed. Thanks
Wmbode - I recommend a good integrated amp instead of separates to maximize sonic value per dollar spent. Many great choices, of course, and that approach will also save on the number of ICs. For ICs and speaker cables, the best sonic value I have experienced is Auditorium 23.

Regarding digital sources, can you be more specific? In example, a CD player or a music server system?
I need more input.
With your budget, go with an integrated amp. You need to decide on tubes or SS. Also assume that you will want to upgrade your speakers at some point in the future.
But first tell us if you will be using a dedicated CD player or a DAC paired with streaming music or server.
If you want a CDP, there are many good finds here on Agon.
putting this system together would be sourced with a dac and cdp and music server. The use of the $5000 would be to put together a system that you could be proud of for the long term. I guess this is more of a hypothetical
question than anything else. Just thaugt it would be fun to see what you guys would do if you had $5000 to spend on audio gear. Just have fun.
Lol! I just got into all this 8 months ago and initially bought a used onkyo t..7... Something or rather and a pair of new mini monitors. It sounded good enough that I caught the bug. Since then I have bought/ upgraded quite a bit and will save you the hassle of all the upgrades. What I have now is: a used classe ssp 25 ($350), a used classe ca-150'($800), a used denon DVD 2900 ($100), a new musical fidelity v-dac II ($500 including tax and an audioquest digital coax), a new pangea p 100 upgraded external power supply for the dac ($100), two used ps audio power punch cords, one for the amp, the other for the pre-amp ($60), new 25 foot 10 gauge blue jeans cables with bananas cold welded ($105), pair of used diamond back and a pair of new g-snakes ($90 for both), and last, a pair of new studio 20's ($1500, had to pay retail as I kept upgrading and payed the difference). So not including the speakers, I have $2,100 in it. Most of it was thought out, some was bought because it just became available atthe right time, right place sort of thing. I want to still upgrade a pair of rca's, buy a pair of xlr's and two more power cords, maybe my dac later. Other than that, I'm done. This setup sounds great to me and I like it's size and simplicity. Rather than upgrade this system anymore, I'd rather just keep this the way it is and build another. Maybe vinyl with tubes?
i agree with the integrated amp route--a couple that i'm enamored of are the hk990 (which i've seen packaged with the matching cdp for <2k) and the vincent 236 (which you can find used with a matching cdp for <2k). the hk has the advantage of inboard dacs, bass management, etc. as for speakers, since your friend already has the studio 20s, i'd start with 'em, add a sub and see how it sounds. paradigm's studio sub 12 would be a logical match--i see 'em used for around a grand, though you get a vg rel or hsu for less. for a music server, i defer to others--i have a $250 squeezebox touch which which works just fine, although depending on your friend's needs there's a number (e.g. olive) which have integrated cd players, internal storage, etc. budget a few bucks for cables and wires and you'll still have some $$ left over for upgrades, room treatments, etc.
It's interesting how many of you suggest integrated over seperates.
what if I used a mccormack dna-1 or 0.5 as main amp? Any suggestions on a pre amp? I have some money to spend so lets see what we can come up with. Thanks
Can't speak for anyone else, but I suggested Integrated since I thought your $5K was including a digital source. If I understand correctly, you are looking for an amp and preamp.
A McCormack amp would be an excellent choice. Then I would pair it with a tube preamp that has a low output impedance such as a Rogue. You would have power and bass slam with warm, lush sonics.
"Speakers sound like the amp running them,..."?

Sorry but I'm not sure I understand You're question. Aré u suggesting I use different speakers?


As far as seperates or intergrateds go I am open to all options. I was Just throwing out something suggested to me. I am intreged with the idea of using a tube pre amp with a ss amp or a tube intergrated. Aré these sinarios a good choice with the paradigms? As You can see you aré not alone in suggesting the intergrateded route.
Wmbode, please forgive me, I was responding to the opening of Shubert's post.
I'm not that familiar with the Paradigm 20's v5's, so I'll refrain from making specific recommendations other than if they are like other Paradigm's I've heard, I'd personally consider other speakers first. YMMV.
I think UnSound is saying that the first move is to match the speakers with an amp that will provide great synergy. I would agree that in a system you start with amp and speakers, after that add the preamp.
I have never heard paradigm studio 20's, so I was only stating a possible scenerio, mixing tubes with SS.
funny thing.. unsound posted at the same time as I did.
Lowrider57, actually I would suggest starting with the speakers and then finding an appropriate amp, etc., etc.. Which the OP seems to be doing.
I just found Shubert's post somewhat curious.
I want to thank everyone for their insight and suggestions. Now I want to side step the amp/pre talk for a moment and address the music source. I am interested in going with a digital source such as a server/dac combo. Any thaughts? I see that the squeezebox touch is a popular choice but I am under the impression that logitech has dropped the touch. Knowing this makes me a bit nervous about purchasing this product. I am also looking at sonos as a server. Also does anyone have thaughts on the Olive products? Just because I am side stepping the amp/pre talk doesn't mean I don't want more input because I find this discussion very interesting.
You might get more (not necessarily better, though) responses re your digital source question by starting another thread in the "Digital" forum.
4musica44107 Thanks for the suggestion I will send my question over to the digital forum. Now lets get back to amp/pre talk. I am seriously thinking of going with a mccormack dna 0.5 or .1 amp, so does anyone have any ideas on a good preamp match? Would ss or tube be best suited with the studio 20's?
I think you would be better offer considering how a given pre would match with the amp, before the speakers.
Does anyone want to give some suggestions on a a preamp for the mccormack dna amps?
It depends on the particular McCormack amp, they have differing considerations.
Unsound, what other paragigms have you heard? Just curious, as I also have studio 20's v.5, and if there are speakers that would recommend maybe I will check them out too. Also, what do you think of a classe ssp 25 pre amp mated to a classe ca 150?
Had I $5k cash and a pair of $1300 speakers (regardless of make) I'd first listen to a boat load of other speakers (in the $4k to $3k range, new/used) to verify that I really do like them best. I'd likely lean towards selling the speakers and using that dough to buy a front end (to be upgraded at some point in the future). Then split the $5k amongst new/used speakers (~$3k) and integrated amp (~$2k). But I am among those who prefer to spend more of my budget on speakers than other gear., I have heard many, but not very recently, and didn't bother to remember what any of them were called.
Rockadanny-I'm not sure I am convinced that spending 3/4 of a $5000 budget on speakers is a wise ratio in putting together a system. Speakers are just one component in a audio system and that doesn't leave alot of room for other important components.

As far as the studio 20's go they are what I have on hand and what I intend to use unless someone can convince me otherwise. I am not opposed to changing speakers but my budget is geared towards in putting together a system that will help me get the most out of what I have.

This day and age it is very diffecult to audition speakers by different manufacturers because dealers just don't carry the inventory they did 20 years ago. That is why a web site such as Audiogon is so helpful because the diversity of the populas is vast and knowledgable. So I am putting myself at the mercy of people who have greater knowledge than I do in helping me put together this audio system I seek.
unsound, so what speakers do you like in the $1500- $3000 range? also, do you know if you heard any paradigms in the studio or signature series, or just the monitor series? monitor series hooked up to a $1,000 reciever sound quite different than the studio series hooked up to $4,000 worth of pre amp, amp, external dac.
"This day and age it is very difficult to audition speakers by different manufacturers because dealers just don't carry the inventory they did 20 years ago."

That is so true, Wmbode. I want to upgrade my spkrs, but haven't yet until I find a store that carries Dali. So I say keep your studio 20's and start to build your system. In a year or two start auditioning new speakers.