If your room is suitable:
used Vandersteen 2's
used McCormack DNA 125
used McCormack Line Drive
Of course there are options, perhaps a c-j PV 10AL, different CD player, etc..
Thanks, I'm looking to keep this as simple as possible - just an integrated for now. Sources will be CDs as I don't have any records.
Thanks for any advice!
Since you are starting from scratch, you might consider active speakers. Get your amp and speakers designed together. For digital source -- any reasonable (like Pioneer or Denon, etc.) DVD player and a Benchmark DAC1. No need for a preamp.
I agree with Bob Reynolds...Go with something like the ATC active (I would go used) and get a benchmark USB DAC and forget about the cdp and instead use your computer as a music server. That would be the best bang for the buck and it would allow you to upgrade nicely.
I'm not a fan of the Music Hall cdp you're looking at. I thought it was bright/brittle, but I am in a minority here. I much preferred the warm/smooth sound of the NAD C-541i. I owned them both at the same time.
As for new speakers in your price range, Vandersteen 1Cs. They are just fun to listen to.
PSB Stratus Silver i speakers ($700)
Musical Fidelity A3.2 integrated amp ($750)
Music Hall CD-25 ($300)
I would think you should save a few $$ by going used on the speakers and NEVER know the difference. New is great, but as money is tight, at least give it a thought. Enjoy the journey.
Thanks - just a little daunted about shipping speakers.
Any thoughts on Creek Audio's cheaper components - perhaps the A50 or the 5350? I can only afford them if I get them used. Would they work well with the MA 6s if I go that route?
Should I also be looking at cambridge audio, NAD, or Marantz? Again - this is for mostly jazz, world (African, Argentinian, Brazilian), classical, and rarely pop.
If you're considering an integrated, either the NAD (as many watts as you can afford) or Creek 5350SE provide complete separation of the preamp and amp sections. This allows for properly adding a subwoofer at some point. Cambridge Audio and most others to not provide both sets of jacks.
Rega Brio 3
ditto on vandy's or PSB stratus or:
how about a pair of used original large advents
Snell E III
Spica TC-50 with a REL sub set fairly high
P.S. I love almost all Brazilian music Flora and Airto 4ever
Forgot to mention: I have a Jamaican friend of mine who although we're both big roots rock Reggae fans he is a big "very old school soul" late 50's early 60's soul vinyl fan and he LOVES the sound of these records on his JBL L-150's for what it's worth
The new Onkyo Class D integrated (I forget the model #) $600 new and have seen for $400 used, a used Denon 2910 (a steal at current prices), a pair of Totem or Dynaudio monitors (used of course)and add some decent budget cables. Money left over. Done for a while. Add a decent DAC later.
I also like Sufentanil's MF integrated amp suggestion. Personally I would can the MH CD25 . I would rather have the Denon for the money. If you want to step the CD player up a bit go with the Rega Apollo or an Arcam CD23.
May I remind you that the McCormack Line Drive would add just one small box and just one set of preferably short interconnects, heck it doesn't even have a power cord. The rather small increase in complexity would most probably be offset by a rather large increase in performance. Considering the incredible number of Vandy 2's sold, you could probably find a used pair locally, so there might be little need for concern regarding shipping. Good luck.
I'd second Hoopster's recommendation of a used Denon 2910 and the Onkyo A-9555 integrated. I own both and together they'd be extremely good for the money, leaving more of your budget for the speakers where a few more dollars will give you a wider choice and potentially greater impact on the overall sound.
The Onkyo A-9555 is $500 new at Amazon or $400 refurbished at accessories4less.
Thanks all for the tips. Why the Onkyo over the MH? Are the components better? What type of difference would I hear in the sound?
One other question - assuming I go with the Onkyo 9555 amp, how do you all feel about pairing that with the Music Hall cd 25.2 or should I match it with the Onkyo cd player 7555?
Ideally you would audition the Onkyo amp vs the MF in your home (as with others you may be considering). You may be able to purchase one or both here used on Audiogon and play with them awhile and sell the one you least prefer at little to no loss. That's the beauty of Audiogon. These particular two amps have very different build designs and are likely to sound different. Not that one is "right" but one will probably sound better to you. MF is known for well made gear. Another consideration is the Onkyo has a built in phono stage which you may enjoy later should you choose to get into vinyl.
I own both the MH CD 25.2 and the Denon 2910. The 2910 is now used DVD only and the MH is in a second system. The 2910 was in the second system but my BR DVD crapped out so it was employed with the TV. I bought the MH CD 25.2 as a replacement. For the money used, just considering redbook, I prefer the 2910. Also, the 2910 will also play SACD and DVDA. I have not heard the Onkyo CD player, but it was designed to match the amp so it may be a consideration should you go with the Onkyo amp. Also, you would probably only have to deal with one remote. However, I have my doubts as to to the Onkyo player being significantly better on redbook than a 2910 just based on it's price point new.
Some Denon DVD players do some digital signal processing that you may find appealing. My 3910 with the AL24 enabled is very enjoyable; in some ways more so than my Benchmark DAC1. Honestly, you'll be hard pressed to hear any differences in solid state digital sources at this price point.
A friend recently purchased the Onkyo pair (9555 and 7555) and she's driving a pair of Paradigm Studio 100s and it really is quite a nice rig. Reasonably detailed, very musical, plenty of power; I like it quite a lot. I've heard quite a few more expensive systems that sound a lot worse.
Both the amp and CDP took time to play in so give them a hundred hours or so before you listen too critically. The CDP has a few adjustments that lets you tailor the sound some, which is nice.
I have not heard the 2910.
Thanks all - I think I will go with the Onkyos.
be sure to check out Totem speakers! There are nice pair of Model 1s here right now... even the smallish Arro towers have excellent sound for the money. You could always add a small/fast sub later to round out teh low end. Have fun!
Salk Songtower loudspeakers