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you want tubes, yet you are starting with inefficient speakers, only 86db/1w/m.
small room, won't need/allow much volume, however, the speakers are bass limited, and the bass it can do needs power, soooo you are starting out needing to spend too much of what is left on power, or, regret it later.
Or, add a self powered sub, now or soon, and wire in a way that takes the bass demand away from the tube amp/mains.
I recommend a STEREO PAIR of directional subs, if you keep that in mind, and start out with one now, ok, just don't pick a non-directional one.
bass is directional, as pointed out by others here, the overtones add to the direction/location of bass instruments.
limited budget, limited start, don't try to get too much, get good stuff to start, add good stuff bit by bit.
I would go with a Parasound integrated it will give you everything for about $3K new.
I ran one with my Maggie 1.7i and the paring was musical magic. It has almost a tube like sound. That would leave about $2K for a t.t. and cartridge and there are lots of good choices in that price range.
I always buy gently used as you get lots more for your $$. If you go used on the amp you should have about 1K for a good sub.
Integrated amplifier: I'd go used tube integrated (McIntosh), but new I'd say Rogue Sphinx with built in phono (tubes, $1500).
Turntable/arm: Used is a much better value, but probably if new VPI Scout-level deck with VPI arm (about $2500)
DAC: Schiit, good inexpensive DAC like the Modi or further up the Schiit line (no more than $500).
Cartridge: Nagaoka MM (several at less than $500)
Cables: Cheap wire for speakers and scrounge up a few hundred more for basic interconnect cables to start.
Subwoofer: wait on this until out of the small apartment, but will be necessary eventually.
Well for starters you don't do it with freebie patch cords and rubber power cords. No amount of NOS tube rolling in your DAC will get you there. You ask a question, don't go around removing posts just because your special snowflake sensitivity is triggered by the truth. That only makes you look weak, in addition to misinformed.
Magnepan .7...... 5k left? Ok Here Ya go.
Odyssey Stratos 1350.00 (made to pair with Maggies & Klaus will bias for .7 )
Schiit Freya Plus Pre 899.00 w Mani 129.00
Chord Qutest DAC 1695.00
Rega Planar One 475.00
Subtotal: 4548.00 Then try some different cartridges.
Those Maggies will sound best behind the tube pre and with an amp that delivers the current...not watts. I would love to hear this in a small room.
Also I run 1.7s Enjoy :)
Try to find a knowledgeable, local, audio person that will take the time to understand his goals and get him on a reasonable path.
Time spent upfront listening to different equipment (in home if possible) may reveal his preferences and narrow his choices.
Also, buying preowned gear from a reputable source can stretch a budget considerably- or help him walk away with money in his pocket.
Remember it’s just a stereo, don’t take a lot of abuse over it. Enjoy the ride, nobody gets out of here alive.
Maggie’s NEED current, a small tube amp will sound good
, but will not play the Maggie’s to their potential.
There is a ton of wicked class A/AB amps that would drive the Maggie’s very well.
maybe on a budget you could start at a medium level amp like those Tennessee emotiva amps, for the money they sound good, and have a high output, but with Maggie’s u won’t get the tweeter hiss, as there are none,
Lots of great used amps, the search is the fun part.
I am certainly still an audiophile neophyte. I have a very modest system compared to most on here. I recently moved to an integrated hybrid tube amp. The Rogue Audio Sphinx 2. All I can say is "wow". I feel like I have not been listening to music the same way before. It only runs about $1400 new and for that price is impressive. I think that could give you lots of room for speakers, dac, ect.
A friend of mine just helped me get set up for about $5k with the .7s, though I went for a SACD player and not a turntable (plus additional for upgraded power cables, interconnects, etc.):
Maggies - $1,500
Used BGW 500D amp from eBay (prev. owned by a church!) - $250
Custom built QA-112-Mk3 preamp from Space-Tech Laboratory - $850
Bluesound Vault 2i streamer/CD ripper with 2TB drive - $1,300
Used McCormack UDP-1 Deluxe SACD player (one owner) - $650
Either way, the Maggies will make him really happy, as long as he feeds them well! :)
Tubes and Magnapan’s with that budget is a no go IMO. You need power. You got to spend much more to get tubes that will put out the power needed for those. This system would work great and fit in your friends budget. You can find great reviews online of all these components.
1) PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell PreAmp/DAC $1600
2) PS Audio S300 Power Amp $1500
3) Lounge Audio LCR MKIII Phone Stage $350
4) Marantz TT15 S1 Turntable - $1500 - Comes with a fantastic MM cartridge.
And if you have any old components for trade PS audio has a great trade in program. Note, I don’t have any PS audio equipment but I have heard this system with maggies and it sounds great.
My limited input concerns Schiit and Rogue . I’ve had 3 Schiit DAC’s , currently the Yiggy . Get at least the R2R models . The Rogue Sphinx and the RP1 are greatly improved with a pair of nos Telefunkens and an entry level power cord. I’ve also had good results pairing Anti-Cables with Rogue gear . They are affordable and break in fairly quick . This is all from my living room . Also beware of trying to put big SS power behind a tube preamp . With an entry level tube pre, you might get more noise than you want . However, I’ve heard good things about the Schiit pre’s . My friend is happy with his new McIntosh hybrid integrated. He’s dumping his Chronus Magnum in his office and his Hera, M-180 combo in his main room . He went Bryston on the main system . His comment about the McIntosh was how much more tube like it was compared to his Chronus sounding dry . Happy Hunting.
I know he is set on Magnepans, but I would beg him to reconsider if his music is any type with the word "Rock" in it. If he likes cranking it up, then he will be sorely disappointed. The Magnepans are so inefficient, that a reasonably priced tube amp just won't get to any level that I would call loud.
I know this, because it happened to me. I bought my MAC6700 used with no speakers in mind, and after several weeks auditioning speakers, ended up buying a new set of .7's - auditioned on a Rouge Sphinx which sounded incredible. I just didn't realize I was listening to them at the shop with the Sphnix at 3/4 volume. When I got them home, by the time I got the volume up, the McIntosh was hot to the touch after only 15 minutes, and it still was just touching "Loud". I ended up returning them and buying some Klipsch RF7-III's, and I have zero regrets.
I love the Magnepan sound, but I would look for an amp to go with them that brags about "High Current" or something similar in their specs. I was looking hard at Bel Canto Ref1000m's used (make sure you get the M version) or the new Ref600's (27 amp peak output current each) but I decided to keep the McIntosh and get a better matched speaker.
Just a thought to pass on to him.
I agree with your friend on the Maggies. I have three pairs and they are great high performance bargains. But as others above have stated, they require a lot of power to sound their best. He should be looking for an integrated amp of at least 100 watts per channel. Anything less and he won’t realize the Maggies’ full potential.