Is "live" music sound possible for under $1K

I primarily liston piano, chamber and opera. I was wondering if anyone had experience producing a realistinc presentation for about $1K not including the source? My listening room is 14 x 20 X 8. I thought this could be accomplished by an inexpensive tube pre-amp ($200-300) and older vintage amp such as a Pioneer Spec 4 or Yamaha approx $300, and possibly some older klipsh's (KG-4) or newer Axiom's M22ti's approx $400. Am I on the right track? Has anyone been able to accomplish this? Any recommendations for any of the 3 items?
Just my opinion madfab200, but I don't believe true "live" music sound can be achieved at 100 times that amount! I have a pretty good system, worth more than I care to admit, and it's not even close to live piano in a room.

That said, however, the real issue for me is whether or not a system can bring me great musical that's a goal I'm more likely to achieve!

I do believe that you can purchase a system used on the 'gon for $1,000 that can give you pleasure when you listen to your favorite music. That's really what this hobby's about!

>>> Is "live" music sound possible for under $1K.

If that is possible you certainly have a lot of folks wasting their time around here.

I remain,
I like to respond to questions like this because I wish I was sane again and thinking systems below a grand brings back memories before the insanity began. No live is not possable as stated above but here is the help you are looking for- at this price, the integrated amp is by far and away the most important and where you should spend all of your money and effort in shopping. New or used you should spend 80 percent of your budget on a model such as naim,creek,rega,linn- speakers should be just $200 and the more efficient the better. use 16 guage brown lamp cord for the speaker wire and keep the interconnects below $30. also. The source can also be very cheap-just focus on the amp!!!
I personally would spend the vast majority of the budget on the speaker. You could find a nice older set of floorstanders for around $500 and the rest could go for a used int. amp and a source. For around $3 @ ft. buy Kimber Kable 4VS spk. wire and some new/used interconnects for $30-40 a 1m. set. I think you would be surprised what good sound you could get within your budget.
I don't think a $200 tube pre will help your situation. Try for a good passive or just a stepped attenuator from
CBM-170 from Ascend Acoustics are quite good for $328. Maybe a bit analytical and etched so go for a softer amp I would say Creek 4330 but it may not have enough power. These are going cheap used because of the new replacement.
You can attend a lot of live music events for under $1K :-)
I will just add from my brief bout with ownership many years ago that Klipsch KG-4's are NOT what you want - I won't go into details here, but they are not a high-fidelity speaker, and will never give you realistic sound (please do not extrapolate that assessment as extending to any other Klipsch models, especially the classic horns).
Your request should involve some DIY skills to accomplish your mission. You can already cross-out $200-tube-pre idea and visit
Here is a thought: How about an entry level tubed integrated (JoLida, nOrh, or others?) for less than $580 new paired with a used set of monitors or mini-monitors (e.g., Omega, Triangle Titus, B&W LM1, etc...). You would also need a few bucks for speaker stands and then find some lower-cost wires as suggested above. I have been thinking of adding a system such as this as a second inconspicuous listening post in a formal LR of about the same dimensions you list. I don't know if it will work or not, but that is what I have been researching.
Given you listening preferences (mine include the genres you note as well), I might suggest you consider something like:

Maggie MMGs - $400 used
Jolida 1501 integrated - $500 used
Signal Cable i/c's - $20 used
Signal Cable biwire speaker cables - $65 used

This gets you a starter system for $985, but doesn't include shipping.

Your price point makes it difficult (for me, at least) to suggest anything more. I would think the above will give you a taste for what "better than Good Guys" upstream and planar speakers can do for piano, chamber and opera (vs. box speakers).

As a Von Schweikert-to-Maggie 3.5r convert, I'm a strong advocate of planars for the type of music you mention. Hope this gives you some food for thought.

No. Live music has an immediacy that reproduced music does not equal.
This and $1.05 will buy you a cup of coffee but here goes.

-integrated amp,about $300. In addition to the Jolida mentioned in a previous post, consider the NAD 320bee,Cambridge Audio a300,and Rotel integrateds.
-cd player. either a Marantz,Cambridge Audio,or Nad piece for $200
-speakers,either a pair of Magnepan MMG's or a pair of Vandersteen 1-c,for about 500.

Happy listening.
Agree with Timwat, This would be a taste of true hi-end sound and would be an outstanding system for your room size and musical taste. I take it you already have a music source.
I am doing this right now, and this is what I came up with:

Antique Sound Lab Wave AV8 monoblocks 2 @ 119 each
Antique Sound Lab Wave L1 Line Stage @ 249
Loth-X Ion 1 high 94db efficient speakers @ 300.

This is all new and goes for 787 dollars without shipping. Totals for me including shipping and insurance are coming out to $859.

Of course I haven't hear these all together yet, so I can't say if it sounds terrible or sounds wonderful, but I will know in a week or so.

You can substitute a tube phono preamp for line stage for about $250 from Antique Sound Lab as well...

Good luck
If you reform your idea toward headphones than for $1,000 you can achieve something not acheivable even with 10x spendings for speakers and amps.

Here is the simple system:
-->>>AKG K501 $250 new
-->>>Headroom Supreme $449 new
-->>>Cambridge D500 demo $300
-->>>interconnects extra but not over $20(sorry for overbudget!)
Take a look at my setup that I put together for under $1k. It incorporates some of the comments above...
Yes! Buy season tickets to your local favorites.
Season tickets are out of question.
The best thing is to send your son/daughter to play an instrument or sing!:-)
Thanks Timwat, Justin and all--I really appreciate your suggestions--even the ones pointing me to season tickets-very clever.

I had to start somewhere--I guess what seemed possible intuitively with my limited knowledge has been clarified. I had not considered the Maggie's. Thanks.

If I persist in obtaining a tube preamp such as a used bottlehead foreplay or a model by YS Audio ($200-400), can I achieve relatively good sound with an older Forte or Sumo amp($400-500)? Are there any cautions with this type of matching or am I totally clueless. I realize I have to broaden my parameters somewhat to $1200. Thanks in advance for your helpful and generous comments.
Because you are willing to start at "ground zero" except for your source, I might suggest you spend some time auditioning what's out there. You have a lot of things already nailed down - your listening room, your source, and the music you prefer. But your system will coalesce as a result of the interaction of the components as much as the components themselves, and you should try to get an idea before purchase what that might end up to be...unless you really like surprises (both good and bad).

When I started at "ground zero" I was astounded how many choices were actually out there - and the not-so-subtle differences supposed similar technologies yielded. Only your ears can tell you if, for instance, a Bottlehead Foreplay floats your boat with your source and your music...and it may not float your boat with one set of speakers vs. another.

The great thing is once you nail down your preferences to at least the fingers on one hand (which is partially decided for you by budget constraints), you can go nuts like the rest of us looking for your choices to come up for sale here on Audiogon ;)

We can all only speak from personal experience, my experience had me first thinking I was going to go tube preamp, monoblocks, Maggie 3.6's and had not experienced the differences cable can make (so wasn't considering this in the budget at all).

The reality is that I went Plinius integrated, Maggie 3.5's, bought a whole new analog rig, power cord and am experimenting with different cables.

And as a performing musician, going to see more live music is really my first recommendation too.
Forget about "live' in this price range. In term of the highest quality sound per se, a presume that a tube headphone amp and headphone will be the best combo under one thousand dollards.
what about used triangle titus ($340 demo set on sale), creek 4330 MKII (one on sale for $330) and a cambdridge D500 SE (used $260), add some $30 interconnects and get your own cable speaker at home depot ($40). The whole thing at $1000!! If you get the upgrade buzz, there is a lot that can be done for the CD player for less than $100 for external power supply and vibration isolation.
Happy listenings, Salsero
hOPEFULLY YOU CAN SKIP THE DAC AND THE PRE-AMP AND DRIVE THE AMP RIGHT FROM THE SOURCE. tHAT WILL CUT COST AND INCREASE MUSICAL/DETAIL RETREIVAL. So you need an amp and speakers and cable. Cable; Acoustic research cheap and great, even Stereophile agrees. Check Sears. How 'bout 'Wave 8's (tube amps/ $100.00 ea. mono.) and used Klipsch spkrs.??? Forget about "LIVE" go for "GOOD MUSIC". Yamaha does good too. And Denon, Rotel, NAD, Creek,. Go used at this level!!
I started this quest about 30 years ago. Only in the past year have I accomplished my goal. I had to invent a new type of speaker and cables to make it all sound like there was no audio components functioning, just music in its most pristine state. The key to all of this are the power cords, without them the whole effect collapses. We have tried these cords in many conventional systems with similar stunning sucess. The point I am trying to make is, the place to look for the greatest impovement/advancement are the power cords but not the ones in the magazines.
The question of making a system sound like "live music" often troubles me - perhaps because I've never heard live music sound all that fantastic - per se. Admittedly, I've never been to a symphony but I have seen live jazz as well other various concerts (which often caused my ears to ring).

Most "audiophiles" would agree -- whether one likes the music or not -- that Diana Krall CD's usually sound pretty nice on a high end system. Just this past weekend, I saw Diana Krall in concert at a small venue in Oakland California - the "engineers" who set up the venue used as little amplification as possible to reinforce the performers acoustic instruments and I don't think Diana's Steinway was miked much at all. Diana's vocals were of course amplified -- but she didn't sing much - she mostly played Piano and watched the guitarist do his thang and worshiped her bass player.

I feel the engineers did a good job with this setup as it was one of the better sounding shows I've been to. The Piano was perhaps a bit soft in comparison to the guitar and drums. The bass might have been soft too, when compared to Diana's recordings. And when Diana did sing, she didn't / doesn't "BELT OUT" lyrics. She sort of whispers into the microphone. Keep in mind, this venue is/was being considered as a recording location for Diana's next album (which as of Monday June 2, is underway).

That said, and by audiophile standards, the sound was simply mediocre at best. It lacked many of the qualities audiophiles look for in their systems and had many of the qualities audiophiles DO NOT WANT.... Diana likes to BANG on the piano and ya... that can be a bit bright at a live show. Made me cringe.

Ultimately - I believe the attraction to live music and the perception that it is "so good" is the fact that you hear everything the performers and the venue have to offer -as it was performed -- which unfortunately isn't the case with recorded music. Much of that "you are there feeling" is ambiance that is lost during the recording process - and rarely (if ever) found on CD.

Make sense?
I wish I had time top be fair with this question. Since the sound of live music is not obtainable at $250,000 I doubt that it would be at $1000. Gotta get back to work before I get fired, then nothing would be obtainable.
It might be crazy, but I would suggest you take some of your recorded music out to your local dealers to see how much "live' experience or sound various amounts of money might possibly get you. As as exercise, it may put in perspective just how difficult it is to break recorded music of its elements. Beyond that, it will give you a sense of what you may want to purchase to get closer to that ideal. You might also consider getting a good headphone amp & headphones to hook up to a reasonably priced cd player to hold you through until you can make those purchases. It sounds weak perhaps when held up a speaker/amp system, but there are some very good sounding and affordable tube headphone amps out there that will take you a long way towards a more realistic music experience.
I do NOT agree on the KG'4 slam, Actually for about 125.00 you would be smart to get some.Yes the bass is loose compared with ? etc., but hook these up to A Yamaha M-70,80,85,mx1000u,etc mated with a Superphon SP-100 buffered passive pre,cheap std 12 awg cable,w/some Heartland 89259w/Eichmans'interconnects,& you will be so very surprised at what you have just done,This set up is as fun & enjoyable with know fatigue as my $ 30.000 well matched main system, All for under a 1000, The Superphon might take some time to find , but well worth it.Stan Warren knows what he is doing with out a dought.
Joe & Gina
Maybe we have to ask Fabio, since he own a million bucks
system,just guessing,If He came too close to live music.
As Far as I remember I read an article, when Fabio
put all the sub He has, He made all his guest vomited,
they thought they have food poison,I think Whoopi Goldberg
is also there.I agree with 1k you might be able to get
satisfaction from it.
Music that makes people vomit! Is this what every audiophile's aim is? I wonder! I certainly would not like to listen to his system.

Live music and reproduced music are two different things, I am not saying one is better than the other but DIFFERENT.
I can't believe it's not butter!
The "Vominator" Sub. Hmmm, I see marketing potential here.

Good call, Trejla. I forgot all about those commercials. My first LOL in a while.
I can only echo what others have stated...intergrated amp...older Scott or Jolida for tubes...used NAD,creek,rotel.etc for solid state...efficient monitors(which dont require alot of power) of 90db or greater(maybe Castle Richmonds?)...and a current cd/player for a source...budget cables to start...and good stands...have fun...