Just getting started
I've noticed that every once in a while a thread is started wherein a new comer is seeking to get into the realm of higher end audio and has lots of questions about everything.
A couple of recent threads had me thinking about what I've gone through and where I've ended up.
First let me say that I'm just an average guy with a family and kids. I don't have a dedicated listening room and the wife acceptance factor plays a large role in what I can put into the house in the form of audio gear. For me, what I'm limited by is an entertainment center. Speakers can't be any taller than 13" and all other equipment has to fit into the entertainment center.
All of this brings me back to my point. For those of you trying to get started, I just want to say that you can make it work and it doesn't have to cost a whole lot of money. You can enjoy something better than what you'll hear at any Best Buy.
I guess what I'm looking for in this thread is for others to share their experiences in over coming either financial or space limitations.
My hope is that it might help some from being deterred from becoming involved in something that can essentially soothe the soul.
Anyway, given the limitations that I described above, this is what I wound up with, and it didn't cost a whole lot of money.
I bought all of my equipment used, either here or on ebay. I have an NAD C162 pre amp. It sounds very good and doesn't bring any attention to itself. It just does what I need it to do. I grabbed mine for $300 and they can be had for less now.
My amp is an Aragon 2004. Yes, it is old; but it's still kicking and has a good bit of power. It also sounds very good. It's been able to drive everything I've tried with it. I picked it up on ebay for around $300 and had another $150 in work done to it. I kinda got screwed a little on the deal, but wanted to keep the amp. You can likely get into one for less than I did.
My DAC is an Emotiva XDA-1. I got mine on blow out from Emotiva for I believe $150. It sounds good. It isn't an end all, be all DAC; but it is very flexible.
My source is all digital and all that I have is not necessary for a basic system, so I'm not going to get into all of that, except to say that you can get a decent CD player for around $300.
For the speakers, this is what presented me with the greatest challenge. I'm not kidding when I say that I've tried at least half a dozen different speakers in the last couple of years. I was looking for something that would sound good sitting on shelves in our entertainment center. What I needed was essentially a speaker that could sit in a box, present a decent sound stage and not present bloated bass. What I ended up with is the Silverline Minuets (I'm awaiting the delivery of the Minuet Supreme Pluses as I type this). You can get a pair of Minuets for around $400 for the original models.
I can't say enough about these tiny speakers. They easily fit where ever you might need to put them and try as I might, I can't make them sound bad. They are very tolerant regarding placement. For my needs, they are the best sounding speakers I've tried so far and as small as they are, they present a big sound. They are supposedly rated up to 300w.
My sub is an REL T3. It does nicely for music and was very easy to integrate, although I don't use it much. I picked it up for around $300.
For cables, I went all Blue Jeans. Heck of a bang for the buck and fast service.
In the end, it looks like I have less than $2K in my entire system and it has brought me countless hours of enjoyment.
Buying used is the best way to go, if you stay smart about it.
I will say that ebay is a viable alternative for buying used, but given a choice, I'd prefer to buy from someone here on Agon. There's just better communication and less BS.