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.
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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:
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.
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