What do you call "limited budget"
12 responses Add your response
If your funds are limited, I would go with something that has a passive line stage. Cheap active line stages are almost always bright. A Creek 5350SE would be a very good choice. If you are willing to go with 2 separate pieces, I would recommend getting a standalone passive LS and a power amp; instead of an integrated. You have more choices that way.
Thanks for taking your time to respond!
First, I'm uncertain as to what a line stage is, passive or active. Is my Onkyo active? How can I tell? Also, is this something listed in the specs by most equipment manufacturers? Is passive a better match for my speakers and what should I be looking for as a minimum power rating.
My budget is about $1000.
I had those speakers at one time. Unfortunate situation as to why. Had them hooked up to a NAD C370 which I do still have. It was a great match. Replaced them with some inexpensive Tannoy Reveal Studio Monitors which are nice but cannot compare to the finesse of the B&W's. Maybe you can find a used C370 here. I think it will beat the Onkyo in terms of sound. Very powerful and lot's of inputs. No phono however.
"First, I'm uncertain as to what a line stage is, passive or active. Is my Onkyo active? How can I tell? Also, is this something listed in the specs by most equipment manufacturers? Is passive a better match for my speakers and what should I be looking for as a minimum power rating. "
Sorry it took so long to respond. I didn't see your response until now. A line stage is a preamp. The reason people use the term line stage instead of preamp is because a line stage only accepts line level inputs . CD players, Radio, Cassette etc, are all examples of line level components. A turntable needs a special type of input on a preamp, and is not considered a line level source. Unless, of course, you get an external phono preamp. The output on a phono preamp does qualify as line level so you can plug that into your line stage.
Simply put: A line stage is a preamp that does not have a phono input. Back when everyone was listening to records, just about every preamp was considered "fully featured", and had a phono input. Now that records are optional, no one wants to pay for something they will not use.
I see your question about active and passive. When I have more time a little later I will post again.
Tntate,with $1000.00 to spend & your current speakers you can put together a VERY musically satisfying system.Forget about getting TOO fancy at this level(re:seperates or passive pre amps etc...).Get your self a decent 50-60wpc.integrated amplifier from NAD-Marantz or Cambridge Audio(don't spend more than $500.00).Next(here's where you're gonna get a little fancy),get a "Tube Buffer"(search the Audiogon archives for info).I HIGHLY recommend the little Chinese made Yaqin "CD-1" with the single tube that can be "rolled"with a 6922 tube.You can get 1 from Ebay & add a better tube for around $150.00.Get 2 pair of entry level Audioquest interconnects(Evergreen's)from "hcmaudio.com" for around $75.00.Spend whatever you have left on a pair of Bi-Wire speaker cables or a pair of cables (Audioquest GBC's)with matching "jumpers"for the Bi-Wire terminals on your speakers(HCM Audio should be able to hook you up with these as well).Eventually you will need decent stands for the speakers & lastly an upgrade to your source component but you will have a great sounding system.Good luck!
Thanks again for your input.
Now more questions... First, a 50-60 watt integrated seems marginal when my Onkyo is 130 watts to 2 channels. I was under the impression that B&W speakers are power hungry and perform better with more power?
Secondly, would the tube buffer work with my receiver with the same positive results you mentioned? Is that worth a try? FYI, I have recently mounted my speakers on the B&W stands filled with sand.
I am also looking forward to learning more about the active vs passive line level response.
Hi Tntate.I took a look at your receiver(online) & it got a couple of decent reviews.Also your source got a couple of rave reviews so it is likely your brightness problems are a due to poor cabling.I like solid core all copper cables,but don't go crazy.Also the tube buffer WOULD work with your setup(between source & receiver)& would add not only a nice touch of warmth but also would give you a real sense of soundstage width & depth.Good luck...
Thanks Freediver. How important are cables, lost of controversy in that area throughout the forums. Also, are interconnects critical? If so, how can you be certain you start with the right stuff? I know Monster is not high end, but is it at least decent? Any recommended tube buffer's, how does the set up work.
As to my original post, is changing to an integrated amp going to help me? My short list would be a used Creek 5250se, naim nait 3 or 5, exposure 2010s or 2010s2 (I don't know the difference), or Musical Fidelity something or other.
I don't want to spend in the wrong area. If the tube buffer is a short term fix then I would rather save and invest more in the amp area. If it is something that is a real solution then I will invest more time looking into the tube buffer.
Thanks, this is kinda fun!
Hi again.My position on cables comes down more to stranded vs.solid core.I truly believe I can hear a difference between the 2 types,especially in the midrange & highs,which seem warmer & more natural(to MY ears).However I have experimented with EXPENSIVE cables & entry level cables & didn't really hear a difference between them(probably not high end enough system).
As for a tube buffer,the only one I have personal experience with is the Yaqin "CD-1"which uses a single 6922 Dual Triode tube.I rolled in a NOS(New Old Stock)Mullard 6922 & was amazed at the difference it made on a surround receiver based system.Do a search here on Audiogon & read ALL the positive feedback TB's have gotten.
As for getting an I/A,I would start with cables,see what type of difference that makes.If you still want more warmth you'll have to make a decision to make but a Tube Buffer is a lot cheaper an investment than a new integrated amp & if you end up not liking what you hear can be resold with only a small loss of investment.
The only SS I/A's I have ears on experience with are Electrocompaniet-SimAudio-Plinius-Naim-Creek(4040)& Rega.Electrocompaniet & SimAudio were my favorites.Good luck...
How is your room? Put a thick rug in front of the speakers and consider some thick curtains if there are windows on the wall. Try speaker positioning to alleviate some of the brightness by moving them in small increments. The CDM 1NTs need some space so it's best if they have about 2-3 feet from the wall.
You might want to consider a turntable if all else fails.