Last year I had to sell my gear, which consisted of GMA Europas, melody tube amp and squeezebox, in order to finish up my graduate studies. Well I am done thankfully and want to get back and want to build a system to listen to music again. Unfortunately, my girlfriend has given me some guidelines: it must be relatively compact and at a thousand or less. All understandable considering we are trying to save for a house.
What are my options. I really enjoyed my Europas and ideally like to get something along those lines but maybe in an active speaker design to try to get the best bang for my buck. Although if anyone can recommend a setup for $1000 for speaker and amp please go ahead.
For a more realistic answer, but still not what the OP wants, invest/save the money. Seriously. At least put it in an IRA. I didn't spend any money on audio (kept my old high school system of low fi junk all through college) until my late 20's after I had set up an IRA and investments at age 22 and bought a house by age 27 after I got a "real" job, gf got a real job, AND got a substantial inheritance (which paid much of the house off and all college debt). THEN I looked into spending a whole $2000 on stereo gear.
Actually, yea, dump the gf since she is still too lenient with letting you spend too much when you shouldn't be. She should have more sense than you, and then more sense than that. Mine wouldn't let me spend any money until all the above happened, and I'm glad she didn't. I'm richer for it now. She's a keeper.
Grasshopper.... Id say your education is only just begun . Its time now to find enlightenment and truly Be all you can be!
Now you should endeavor to gain true wisdom and the immense rewards of spirituality.
Lets begin with some noteable altruistic effort of sorts.
let me think..... Oh yeah.... I've got it! Buy me an OEM upgrade for my Dac from Bel Canto.
Right off youll have satisfied two people with but one gesture! Your girlfriend & me.
Three, of course, if you do this with true humility and a valid credit card or US postal money order!
Now thats getting more bang for your bucks, Id say!
Youll be right on her budget , it wont clutter up your home, and Ill sing praises to both of you till Im hoarse!! And youll get the best of it all with a memory such as this, without a hangover, penecillin or worse still, having to post a bond.
Thereafter, your name will be mentioned in the same breath as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Luke Skywalker!
Just think of the countless numbers of people who will be entertained by a story such as this?
Yes, Grasshopper, walk the spiritual path to enlightenment . And immortality.
Now theres a real Kodak moment that will last us all a lifetime.
Tough price point for sure,maybe some active speakers and a cd player with output to go right to the speakers would be my choice.Paradigm and Quad make active speakers and there are some for sale now,the rest for a player with output;that would take some looking.
For the speakers I would try for something local because shipping good speakers is going to take up a fair amount of that $1000. Be patient and check your local Craigslist every day. Good speakers priced at $500-600 do come up from time to time.
As far as amps go, I would find a slightly older (90's vintage) integrated from the usual suspects - Sony ES, Denon, NAD, maybe Pioneer Elite and Yamaha too, although I am not as familiar with their offerings. Look here and on ebay. Try to get speakers first so you can find an amp that suits them.
If you are patient you should be able to put something together that would be decent.
Im in the get a new girlfriend camp. It took a divorce for me to be able to enter the high end market. At times miss the ex but the music is 100% enjoyment. I got the stereo, the house, and the new car, in that order. Got the house for the reason it wouldnt bother anyone as would a common wall setting would. Just my 2 cents.
A thousand bucks? Who has that kind of scratch? Hell...I've put systems together for half that amount. Watch the classifieds, find the deals, and you should have enough left over for an engagement ring. I bought my wife's at the pawn shop. It helps if she appreciates vintage jewlry Good luck and my best to you and your girlfriend.
There are a lot of jokers in this thread, but seriously--getting enjoyable sound out of a thousand bucks isn't unreasonable.
There are a ton of options that could probably please you as much as your old rig. Magnepan MMGs (or the wall edition for low profile) + Gainclone + Squeezebox Touch... Any number of other speakers could be substituted into that equation. If you can DIY I've read good things about those Neo 2x speakers. 6Mooons White Lighting Moonshine yourself some speaker cables, get yourself a $25 elpac powersupply on ebay for $25 and hit up the Morrow Audio MA1s for $30 promotion if it hasn't ended.
Down the line when you can spend a couple dollars more build yourself a tube buffer, but for now just enjoy the tunes.
$1,000 for a system? Easy, if I can assume that you have your music on a laptop or PC.
1- see Mapman's response.
2- $450 or so for a used Peachtree Decco; includes DAC. $50 for a set of used speaker cables. $500 left for speakers (lots of good choices, used or new).
2- $150 or less for a used Luxman, Tandberg or Marantz receiver. $200-$500 for a good USB DAC. $150 for a set of used Klipsch KG4s. Use zip cord fpr speaker cable. Rebuild the KG4 crossovers for $75 if you are feeling opulent. Lots of money left over to spend on the GF.
$360 will get you a pair of Kanto ipair5 speakers, that with a ipod, fill a small room very nicely. I use this in a small office setting and am very impressed for the money. Add a Squeezebox or Apple Airport thing and you are all set. Now patience and when you finish saving for the house, get a big room that will accommodate the "big" system. Keep changing the system regularly is what then happens for most of us ;-). Congratulations on finishing grad school - may need to provide some guidelines for the girlfriend for after the saving process - good luck to you!
Youve got a PC of some type that could be the source with just a nice PCI sound card, or a USB/1394 sound card with analog outs. Either way you ought to get a nice one for < $250.
My M Audio delta series 24/192 new at Sam Ash was about $160 SPDIF & rca ANALOG OUTS & INs.
An Oppo player used could do, otherwise.
I like the idea of a tube pre SS amp integrated amp, or an all tube int.
Monitors seem logical too for speakerage. Where your priorities are in speakers vs front ends ought to determine how the int and speakers divide the budget.
Going active about eliminates the int portion allowing for a lot more $$$ into them. It also subtracts from some more flexible growth of the system, if you decide later on to go with passive ones. Theyll also need stands. DIY?
If you choose older speakers, you can get towers of course. Room size is gonna say something about things here.
Micro Pearls are quite decent ICs but a tad dry with SS, Audio Art work a bit better, either way but cost a bit more.
You can definitely have an enjoyable setup for $1000. I have many such systems, and enjoy them everyday. Audiogon happens tobe a very hifi forum, and not mid-fi one like sights such as audiokarma.org, so members are joking with you, but don't give up on your quest for a good sound at that price point - it might not be a true hifi, but an enjoyable midfi at least.
I think saving up for a house is a good idea - in this economic times - housing prices won't be rising for a few years time they say.
Few loved ones can understand our obsession and the amount of $ we are willing to spend to get to the sonic-nirvanah land.
Here are some options for you for under $1000.
Also, you might want to post it at Audiokarma.org - oever there, there are many who have setup midfi systems for that money.
1) Use computer as the source - upgrade the sound card to M-Audio Audiophile 2496 for $50.
There is less jitter, so the sound is good, and it's so convenient to have all of your music in one place.
2) Audioengine A5 speakers are powered, so you don't need an amp. A little over $349 for a pair. Use the coupon "coverten" to get 10% off at the audioengine web sight. Buying there insures 3 year warrantee, and 30 days in home trial just incase you don't like them.
Many of them show up on used market - on ebay. When you buy used gears, make sure you get one in all working condition ! Call the seller and afirm that it will not be dead on arival, or refund...
B) Post here or at Audiokarma.org for $700 amp suggestions and you will get many good other options.
4) Hook them all up with Ixos Gamma Geometry RCA and speaker wires - affordable good wires - google search for them, and you will have an enjoyable system. You will be surprised at what you can get for little money, if you are willing to go slow and do some research on the way, instead of buying something right now.
You can even chat alive on Audiokarma.org or Audioasylum.com and ask for advices, if you are a rooky and have many more questions.
Good luck to your search for a good sound, and perhaps more importantly, to your love life...
I prefer new products with a warranty and, hopefully, long-term trouble-free performance. For an amp and speakers under $1000, I'd suggest an NAD C326BEE ($499) with Bose 301 series V speakers ($329) and stands ($89). I know Bose is considered something of a joke, but I've been very pleased with the sound quality I've gotten from them in my apartment. They give pleasing, well-balanced sound everywhere in the room (not just a small sweet spot), and, as I've typically found with 8", two-way models, have sufficient low-end response to be satisfying without bothering with a subwoofer.
Agree for the most part with Bongofury - consider a decent headphone setup. Perhaps start with a nice CD player with a headphone output and then add a modest separate headphone amp as funds permit. As an added bonus, you won't be able to hear her voice, at least while you're listening. Only kidding. (No i'm not)