Buying equipment


Ok, I've been looking online to put together a system and man is it frustraring. I live in rural wyoming and cannot go to a stereo store. So I will need to buy online.

None of the companies sell their components online, they only refer me to a dealer. Then even on the dealer's sites there are very few photos and again no prices. I did find 6moons' site, but it is tedious clicking through reviews to get to the bottom and find out its $45,000.

Amazon doesn't have much that is interesting- I want something unique and all that I would have access to is Sonos, Focal, 'Bird', marantz, and yamaha. Fleawatt is done building for the year and that seems to be it.

I'm looking for a tight little system that will fill the living room of a one bedroom apartment with hardwood floors.

I want something that will play standard CD's and one that I can eventually hook up a Pro-ject turntable to.

Any help of how to find a system to buy?

Thanks,
S.
swarthy
You must have come across Music Direct, but if not:

http://www.musicdirect.com/c-572-audio-equipment.aspx

Great catalog with more than 1/2 dedicated to software!

I think they sell equipment where there is no dealer.
Check with music direct in Chicago. They are very easy to deal with and have a 60 day return policy. They also carry some very nice gear.
Liberty Audio

Above is an entire very high end system for apx $12K, add a transport or a Computer for CD playback and your in business.

From it maker

Peter
Peter, Peter, Peter, breaking the rules again I see :-)
You could try Music Direct as they have a try out program but if you return something more than twice they probably won't like it. I bought my Marantz limited pieces from them and the customer support is rather nice and easy to talk to.

As for 6moons, if you look at the section directly above the start of the review, it'll list the price: it's usually the last thing listed.

You could also try other sites with a following and see if there's anyone in your area that's willing to let you come over and listen.

All the best,
Nonoise
Curious. How much do you ant to spend?
The one thing that I can't stress enough, is the need to listen to equipment before you buy it. Its extremely difficult going by reviews, especially if you don't have much experience with audio. That said, you're not as bad off as you may think. There's a really good dealer in Ft. Collins Colorado, of all places. The Name of the store is Audio Alternative. Its not the kind of place that you have to go to because you live in the middle of nowhere. Its the kind of place you want to go to. If I was in a city like Denver, that has a few high end shops, I would still go there. I don't know how far away the store is from you, but its probably no more than a day trip. He's great at putting together systems that sound great and don't cost a fortune.

Another excellent choice is a place called The Cable Company (www.fatwyre.com). They're not close to you, so shipping will be your only option with them. But what makes them unique is that they lend out audio components that they have demo units of, so you can try things in your system before you make a commitment to buy it. I've been dealing with them for many years and they've always have been extremely reputable.

So, between those 2 dealers, you'll have more quality choices than you'll know what to do with. You just can't go wrong with either one.

There are a few good dealers in Denver.
Also what is your room dimensions and type of music you like. Also what "type" of sound are you looking to achieve. As others have said listening to gear is really the only way. Howver if you state some parameters atleast members on here might be able to give you a list of brands and components to be on the lookout for.
Go to the Exemplar Audio website. John Tucker has put together complete systems for $11,000. It includes an upgraded tubed version of the Oppo 105, his Exception integrated, LSA speakers/stands and cabling. I own the Exception integrated and the upgraded Oppo 105 and it is stunning good. You cannot beat the quality of the equipment and it is extremely musical. Highly recommended.
Mofi, Is that not what they are for :-)

Good Listening

Peter
Wow thanks everybody for the thorough responses.
the room is ~20x25. I listen to 'all kinds of music' (yeah I hate it to when people respond with that when I ask them;)
But, I tend towards:
industrial/metal and classical such as Bartok, mozart, shostakovich(sp.)

I have a signifigant amount of 80-90's punk/grunge/industrial (Nine inch nails, Godflesh (guitar...guitar...guitar, drum machine, cop shoot cop (bass guitar +drums), Morphine (sax, base guitar, drums)

I listen to Rolling stones, indie movie soundtracks, Rhianna, Snoop dog, Johnny cash, Bob wills, Dylan and librivox audio recordings.

You get the idea:)

coincidentally, I found music direct today and put this in my cart:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YgkC8EPVeUxjxTVz90uPIjvoA9byFshBI74OjmkBYEo/edit?usp=sharing
Hi Swarthy,

You are kidding me right? I don't think it is that hard to select decent components on-line and have them shipped to your house. This is not a perfect way of doing things, but I think you can only go so wrong. At the very least, you will wind up with a good system. So you won't hear it ... reviews will give you some idea ... and you take a chance.

You can buy an all Rega system from Needle Doctor. You can pick up Prima Luna tube equipment from Upscale Audio. Upscale also has a number of desirable pieces from Opera and Musical Fidelity and Cary in its New & Used Specials. You can have speakers made for you by Omega or Zu Audio or Ascend Acoustics.

For $3500, I would consider a Rega Brio Integrated, Rega Apollo CD Player, and some RS3 speakers. Or go for a Rega Brio, with the Rega Apollo CD player, and Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 monitors for $3K. Or swap in a Prima Luna tube integrated for a total of $4K.

Granted I used components I know, but I have purchased what I have on-line. I have 64 pins in my back, so I don't drive and I don't have that type of spare time to audition components.

It is not nearly as frustrating as you think.

Rich
You might want to talk to someone like Wally at Underwood oe Mehran at Sorasound both of whom advertise extensively on this site and sell a lot on-line.
The OP had my sympathy as soon as he said he lived in Wyoming.
Well you are asking this question on the premier site for used equipment.
Do some research on used prices, pick a few items from sellers with solid feedback, negotiate a sale and listen.

I'm not making any specific suggestions as that is too wide open. And more importantly, our musical tastes are matching up real well.
Swarthy, if you wanted to wait until October, you could hear tons of stuff at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver.

That said, I'd not be too worried about buying ear unheard online. Lots of us do that. There may be some misses, but that's true in any event: the speakers that lasted the shortest in my room are the only ones I auditioned carefully in advance (I did so twice).

Peter Makes excellent speakers and supports his product; his Liberty venture looks very interesting.

All this said, I don't quite understand your notion of a "tight little system": your room, at 20x25 is on the large side, and you will want to look at some larger speakers (like Peter's obelisks) to fill it up.

Hard to give more guidance without a clearer notion of pricepoint; you could certainly do something very nice for the low 5 figures people are mentioning, but with some care, and a willingness to take chances used, half that would be possible (perhaps not easy, with your room).

Finally, don't mind Roxy54's snark on Wyoming: it's just that he prefers traffic to Mountains! ;)

John
Actually, I have never even ben to Wyoming, although, like everywhere else on earth it has great natural beauty. My thought was the cold winters, and I hate being cold.
The best advice here, was I think, from Timrhu.
All good stuff thanks for the websites. Ya'll have researched for hours,days, years...I was coming from the perspective of someone new trying to buy a piece of good equipment. As I traverse the net- going on a week now, Yes, many companies have their stuff offered online I am finding out. But, you cant just type 'Rega Brio for sale' into the omnibox and get a list of these online audio distributors with prices.

I hadn't really navigated this site extensively (its kindof cumbersome, like the old usenet system:)

I am filling a large space but, it is sparse. The reason for a tight little system is that I hate crawling behind components are trying to thread coaxial cables, place bare speaker wires into the clips on the back of a speaker. And I didn't want to be overburdened with components and flipping switches and twiddling knobs, inputs on and on ad infinitum before I could listen to a CD or record (I know its blasphemy but I like automatic turntables)

This also isn't a final system I'm setting up and needs to be as cableless as possible. its a traveller. I am getting out of 'Dodge' and moving to Arizona this summer. That is why I am looking for a small system.

I am looking at the B&W wireless speakers, the Dali Kubik pack and cocktail audio X40. But it doesn't seem to play US formates such as spotify, pandora. But it does rip from CDs and you install your own hard drive which is pretty cool.

Besides the cold in wyoming (although its 54f out right now) the fact that there are more antelope than people here makes for a seriously conservative and isolated milieu.

I am trying to learn my DAC's from my "Whodat's" and is is maddening because there is also PnP, Lossless, gapless, 'only plays 2 channel', 'only accepts file formats X, X, X, and X. Not Y, Y, Y." egads!

I mean when did Headphones start needing their own Amps and you have to strap one to your DAP which saves files at XXXbps and XXX MHz...:)

Why is a CD player that plays one CD so big! with its own power supply, power conditioner

These 'complaints' are all in jest- I love technology- I am just way behind the tiimes.

as some like to say here in Wyoming, "It is what it is"

S
Swarthy, I love Wyoming! Bear Tooth range, Tetons, Wind River all great!

I did not find where you state your budget. However Music Direct is a good choice. Also Audio Advisor.

I would buy an integrated amplifier with built in phonostage, a quality CD player, and a set of monitor speakers. Without knowing your budget it is difficult to allocate funds to these components. What is budget? Are you willing to buy used?
Swarthy, based upon what you've told us, I would recommend the following:

1) Emotiva Fusion 8100 receiver: excellent sound quality, plenty of power, very easy for you to setup. And it also has multi-channel capability so that you could use it to drive a full surround sound system later when you move to AZ. Comes with 30 day in-home trial and 5 year warranty.

https://emotiva.com/products/receivers/fusion-8100

2) Oppo BDP-103 Universal player: this is a very well-regarded unit that will play *any* shiny disc available incl. CD, SACD, DVD-Audio, and Bluray. Oppo has the *best* customer service in the industry and they offer a 30 day in-home trial. Don't even think twice about this one.

http://oppodigital.com/

3) Tekton Designs speakers: very well regarded speakers at very reasonable prices. 60 day in-home trial. Look at the Lores and Pendragons. These speakers are very efficient, the receiver I recommended will play at concert levels with these speakers. http://www.tektondesign.com/index.html

Second choice: Gallo Classico speakers, particularly CL-4 or CL-3. These speakers have astonishingly good sound (their CDT3 tweeter is *marvelous*!!) and come with a 60 day in-home trial and Gallo will pay ALL of the costs - you risk $0.00!!
http://www.roundsound.com/classico/

4) Pro-Ject or Rega turntable: if you're considering a turntable, go with Pro-Ject or Rega. They both make excellent turntables for very reasonable money. Be sure to have a cartridge pre-installed so you don't have to fiddle with that (major PITA!!). I like the Ortofon cartridges - good sounding, excellent tracking carts that don't cost an arm and a leg.

http://www.project-audio.com/main.php?info=turntables
http://www.rega.co.uk/

That's about it. If you assemble a system using the components I recommended, I think you will be very happy indeed...
Here ya go, Resolution Audio Opus 21 system.

This little system will do a lot for you. All you need are speakers. It has a nice phono stage for your turntable as well as a built in dac for your computer audio. Nice headphone out also so you won't need that extra amp.

It was well reviewed on 6moons BTW.

I don't know the seller or how well priced this one is. I did not pay anywhere near this price for mine.
A number of manufacturers sell direct to the consumers and even allow for a generous in-home audition period. Zu, Tekton, etc come to mind. Also, as crazy as it may sound, Amazon sells some pretty good gear.
"It will play any shiny disc"

Thankya Mr. Wainwright now your talking my language:) All this alphabet soup has a long learning curve-and I am even ex-military!

I mentally check-out and start wondering what might be in the fridge when i read

"Upgrade the iDac to Asynchronous 24/192 with Peachtree's X1 USB to SPDIF Converter."

I am off to check out the systems you all have so very thoughtfully pointed me to. I really appreciate all the help everybody is giving me.
from resolution audio pdf:

"the opus21 only requires one power chord" Yes!

As I am beginning to learn about all the options and how to listen to and evaluate a system.

I am wondering what I am listening to/for.

Such as in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O2tG17ILwQ

To me it sounds shallow. that is less like a live performance-theatre stage and more like a modern movie theatre or art museum:
Are you listening on your freakin laptop?? What do you expect it to sound like?
:P

Yes, I am. but it has Harman/kardon speakers- it says so right on it.

So that sound was okay? I'm just checking
Yep Wyoming is great for some, I'm just not one of those folks.

I am willing to buy used. I would also prefer it as it has already been 'tested'. For this system I'm not too picky about blemishes. I would like something unique (hence why I hit up fleawatt)and crafted/inspired by the music rather than squeezing out every note. To me, Music is art and therefore imperfect.
Thanks, Swarthy, for one of the more amusing trolls in recent memory.
If you looking for a great sound from a simple system consider the Dynaudio Xeo wireless speaker.If you want to step up a bit the new Focus XD series would be even better. Presently the Focus XD works best with a digital cable to the master speaker and another to the slave speaker. They should be coming out with a better wireless option than the Xeo (higher resolution). All you need is a source. But to get the best from the Focus XD you need a source with a digital out. Those speakers only need to be plugged into power.
http://www.dynaudio.com/int/home_loudspeaker_systems/xeo/xeo.php
The Xeo 3 and 5 are the original Xeo's with the Xeo 4 and 6 being the current production.
http://focusxd.dynaudio.com/find-a-dealer
The Focus XD has 3 models
There should be new/used equipment available in Denver. If you can't get to Denver, try Casper, Cheyenne, or (especially) Laramie or Fort Collins for used stuff.
What to buy? You can get quite an education just nosing around on this site. It's worked for me.
Swarthy, yes, I appreciate that going to Wyoming in summer months to enjoy the mountains is quite different than living there year around.

Analogous to going to an audio dealership and listening to gear and living with same at home.

An appreciation can be gained, however not the final analysis.

Good luck in your quest!
Swarthy, I had the same dilemma - Hyperion Sound closest dealer to Chicago was in Pennsylvania. I decided to buy demo speakers anyway based on fantastic reviews and they proved to be great sounding. What I failed to understand was that company with such poor dealer base eventually had to go bankrupt and they did. Now I'm worrying about replacement parts.
Will this system be the big cheese/ bee's knees/ Troll's bread?

http://www.musicalfidelity.com/merlin/

I looked up troll...

"A troll is a supernatural being in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore. In origin, troll may have been a negative synonym for a jötunn (plural jötnar). In Old Norse sources, beings described as trolls dwell in isolated rocks, mountains, or caves, live together in small family units, and are rarely helpful to human beings."

Sorry, I wasn't helpful to you, Dgarrettson.

Oh, wait, I did amuse you, though.
So either you are never pleased, Or you forget that humor is a virtue.
Mesch,

I understand. I've lived with guitarists. and hearing that same chord for a week or a month as they write a song necessitates styrofoam being glued to any shared walls:)
Thanks, "United Toaster";)
Another poster mentioned FoCo.
I think I found one that is going to work. A simple Plug and Play system w/ wireless input that is also designed around one of their turntables, from a pedigreed company. So it doesn't seem I can go to wrong.
I definately have gotten an education, and was even called a Troll. A badge i will wear proudly- Trolls are cool (if not hairy footed people...wait I think that's a hobbit, any way:)

I have been keeping my eye on the Buy/sell forum but nothing has been listed that is a must have so far.

Cheers,
Lyn
By the looks of it, you may have missed my first post. There's an excellent dealer in Ft. Collins called Audio Alternative. I'm not sure how far away you, but its definitely worth the drive. I've done business with him in the past, and he's really good at setting up affordable systems that sound great. His inventory is large enough so that you can hear a good selection of gear.
You can buy some really good equipment here and they sell direct.

http://www.avahifi.com/

They've been in business for years,have an excellent reputation ... and they stand by their equipment. Frank is a no BS type of person.
Zd542,
Thanks for the tip, I did see your first post. FoCo is on the border-several hours away. Though I prefer to buy from a "mom and pop", if you read the original post, I bemoaned exactly what Audio Alternative sales structure is. No Prices, no online cart, and all their product links take you to the respective corporate webpages.

Which is fine, but I go there, and come back and want to buy it, I have to then spend a a few days sending emails, playing phone tag, in which I can or will be told that I really should check out xxx speakers and yyy cables and that they have a great deal on exactly what I need and they will throw in a pair of high end isolation feet and an Audio Alternative USB thumb drive, and I say "yes,yes, yes."

And when the boxes arrive, I say, "S@$#, I needed four isolation feet!" I call em back to order another "pair" and also end up ordering a used/demo/open box Record Cleaner that had just arrived in the store that day.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Audio Alternative would do any of that. But that is reason why that business model is set up.

Similar to when you go into a cell phone store/car lot and none of the prices are listed (BTW, the sales price of a car IS listed on the car for the salesman- you just have to know how/where they generally will hide them:).

The seller doesn't want you shopping by price only 'features' and this will also guarantee that a buyer will be required to 'go through' a salesperson (rather than a cashier) to make a purchase.

I could go further with the Norman Peale speel. But I hope you see what I am and what I am not looking for.
I don't want to be sold something. I want to buy something-and there is a difference
Swarthy,

Don't take this the wrong way, but how come up with all that is beyond belief. I made the recommendation based on how reputable the store is. All this stuff about their business model and comparing the store to cell phone industry. Its one of the silliest posts I've ever read.

"Thanks for the tip, I did see your first post. FoCo is on the border-several hours away. Though I prefer to buy from a "mom and pop", if you read the original post, I bemoaned exactly what Audio Alternative sales structure is. No Prices, no online cart, and all their product links take you to the respective corporate webpages."

The guy converted a portion of his house to serve as his store. Something tells me it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to call the store "mom and pop". And of course there are no prices and online carts. Its no Best Buy.

"Which is fine, but I go there, and come back and want to buy it, I have to then spend a a few days sending emails, playing phone tag, in which I can or will be told that I really should check out xxx speakers and yyy cables and that they have a great deal on exactly what I need and they will throw in a pair of high end isolation feet and an Audio Alternative USB thumb drive, and I say "yes,yes, yes."

I get a headache just reading that paragraph. I'm not sure I even understand what you're trying to say.

"And when the boxes arrive, I say, "S@$#, I needed four isolation feet!" I call em back to order another "pair" and also end up ordering a used/demo/open box Record Cleaner that had just arrived in the store that day."

Really?

"Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Audio Alternative would do any of that. But that is reason why that business model is set up."

What business model is that? You've never had any contact with the place. You could only be guessing.

"Similar to when you go into a cell phone store/car lot and none of the prices are listed (BTW, the sales price of a car IS listed on the car for the salesman- you just have to know how/where they generally will hide them:)."

Thanks for the info. I'll use it the next time I go by a car and cell phone.

"The seller doesn't want you shopping by price only 'features' and this will also guarantee that a buyer will be required to 'go through' a salesperson (rather than a cashier) to make a purchase. "

Lucky for you, they don't have any cashiers or salespeople. You get to deal with the owner directly.

"I could go further with the Norman Peale speel. But I hope you see what I am and what I am not looking for.
I don't want to be sold something. I want to buy something-and there is a difference
Swarthy (Threads | Answers | This Thread)."

Actually, I have no idea as to what you're looking for. I have an MBA and a degree in psychology, and can tell you that from reading all of your comments about business, I need psychology to make sense of it all. But to be honest, I don't think I have anywhere near the amount of education in psych required to diagnose on your level.
Okay, Zd.

FWIW I am unable to travel more than an hour (without about 3-7 days worth of planning)

I am unable to walk around and look at stuff nor sink down into cushy recliners to listen as sounds are offered to me and acoustic room treatments explained in a heavily sound dampened room.

I can tell you that you are absolutely correct that you
have "nowhere near the amount of education in psych(iatry) to diagnose on your level" and with your grammar, the MBA was likely procured online.

Whereas my experiences (in psych) in rooms UNdampened with treatments (cinderblocks and sandbags- might give a bit of a visual) and sounds...F!@# it.

It's obvious you're a bit of a pouf.

::

I have narrowed my choices down.
I have purchased a Benchmark DAC2 and a pair of Dali Rubicon LCRs to

Now i amto the point of needing signal transmittal:
I am narrowing it down to the

Chord Chordette

Pro ject's box series

Auralic's ("Aries") or

Lindemanns ("Musicbook")
"FWIW I am unable to travel more than an hour (without about 3-7 days worth of planning)"

I do believe that.

"I am unable to walk around and look at stuff nor sink down into cushy recliners to listen as sounds are offered to me and acoustic room treatments explained in a heavily sound dampened room."

I'm just amazed at how you come up with all these ridiculous ideas. You've never had any kind of contact with this dealer whatsoever, yet you know they have cushy recliners and heavily dampened sound rooms. If you're clairvoyant and know all of these specific details without observation, then why did you post in the first place? You seem to know everything before everyone else does. Maybe you forgot to take your meds. All I know for sure is that if we could read your mind like you can read ours. we would be board with our own.