My first real hi-end audio system Please advise

Hi, this is my first post and I've just started to really get into the wonderful world of Hi-Fi audio. I'm a student at U of IL and live in a small apartment.

My father is upgrading his system and to my pleasant surprise decided to give me ALL of his audio equipments!!! I'm ridiculously excited since his equipments, although mostly 10 years old, are awesome. They include McIntosh (MC7300, C40, MCD7008, and MR7083) and a pair of 2 year old Revel M20 speakers.

The question I had was, would these gorgeous speakers sound as good in my apartment room? (about 10ft x 14ft)

I'm also thinking about selling all of the system but the speakers, and buying a Sunfire Ultimate Receiver, 3 more speakers and a subwoofer for a 5.1 system. Now, I don't have much $$$ as I'm a student, and I can't quite ask my parents for more audio equipments... I was wondering if 3 Aperion ( bookshelf speakers and a Sunfire True superjunior subwoofer would complement the Revel M20s well.

I know the sunfire receiver and the subwoofer aren't cheap for my standards, but I've done some research, and I think they'll last me a long long time and be a great entry system to the real hi-end audio world for me. As for the Aperion speakers, which I intend on using for center and surround speakers, they are only $180 each and have been receiving awesome reviews.

Has anyone tried these Aperion bookshelf speakers, sunfire ultimate receiver and the little subwoofer? Would you recommend any other system combinations for this price range? Oh, I almost forgot, can anyone also recommend a good DVD player for around $1000 or should I just connect my Apple G5 computer to the receiver? Would the computer's audio quality be a lot worse than a $1000 DVD/CD player?

Any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm just excited and giddy that I'll be able to treat my ears to some really good sound while I'm at school!

Thank you in advance
The Apple G5, when audio is streamed from its hard drive, is superior to any $1,000 DVD/CD transport.
Why think about selling a system you haven't even heard yet? I mean it sounds like you're getting some great stuff, so are you a music person or a movie person? If the answer is music then selling that Mac gear to buy a reciever sounds like a big step backwards. I say live with it and enjoy it a while before making any changes. But hey, thats just my .02, do whatever you want. The important thing is, have fun!
The components you are receiving are excellent and your "new audio system" should sound great in your room. I agree with the person above that you should listen before you sell anything. There is no need to rush into equipment changes. You also should consider connecting your TV audio outputs to this 2-channel system and see how that sounds. If do decide to make adjustments, please listen before you make any changes. cheers..
Don't sell the equipment. Add to the speakers if you need to (listen to the Revels first to hear what they sound like before you try to match them) and there are many small subs that might work. If you want a great DVD player for under a grand, look at the Arcam
DV-78 (terrific video with outstanding audio). You seem preoccupied with Sunfire, but I agree with Jond about taking a step backward. Enjoy what you've been given and bask in the envy from your fellow students.
I agree with JOND. The stuff you have has a tremendous cult following, so it isn't going to depreciate any time soon. You could always sell later.
I'd avoid the whole movie thing. Way too expensive to do right. Hard to place in a small room and more "techy" than anything.

If your a music guy focus on 2 channel - otherwise you'll spend the next 10 years talking about upgrades and watching nothing but action movies that sound good.

Why spend lots of money to hear every little detail of a movie soundtrack? Unless your into movies and not music....

Just my opinion.

Jond, I have been listening to my father's McIntosh system for the past 10 years and I absolutely love it. However, I also love watching DVDs and enjoying its full audio capabilities. Yes, it'll be sad to part with these babies, but I think I can sell them and get enough money to buy me a whole new good 5.1 system. Yes, I was also skeptic about getting a receiver, I was a big believer in separate components myself, but the new Sunfire Ultimate Receiver is starting to change my mind. If anyone has any experience with this receiver, please tell me about it.

Thank you.

Oh by the way, I finally registered here and my screen name is spacekadet... :)
Keep the gear your father is giving you, you will soon be sorry if you sell it to buy a receiver. While the Sunfire is a fine receiver, these types of products are designed for the no muss no fuss crowd.

You can always add cheap-used components to this system you will have in place for a movie every now and then. Last years model hometheater gear is always short a few bells and whistles...this keeps the used market flooded with these products.

Just my opinion


Sounds like you wanted confirmation, not advice. 5.1 is not for music lovers. And there's no turning a 10x14 room into a theater.

Best of luck whatever.
Forget the 5.1 system. Keep the Mac amps. Please for the love of God! Don't dump the Mac amps. 2.1 is fine for movies. Just get a monster sub. HERE US KNOW AND BELIEVE US LATER!!!
I offer an opinion only because your requested the imput.

Think about the esthetic differences between small screen video and large screen video. The advantage the large screen format has over the small screen format is the ability to impart special effects. The chariot race from Ben Hur,the flume scene from Indiana Jones,the flying scenes from Superman,the space effects for Star Wars,and other special effects really do not work on a small screen. In my opinion,the large screen strengths are lost when transcribed to a small screen.

Keep the Macintosh stuff,live with the speakers,and when you want to watch a movie,go to a theatre and watch/listen to it on a large screen.

It is really none of my business, but if you do not mind I am curious. Why did your Dad decide to upgrade, and then what did he upgrade to? It could not have been an easy decision to arrive at as those equiptments are excellent. I wonder if some of what he talked about can help you in your decision.
I would advise to not sell the stuff your father is giving you. In the past I had sold my two channel system and purchsed what I was led to believe to be a very good "mid-fi" surround system. To say I was dissapointed was a vast understatement. Not to boot thousands of dollars were spent.

My advice would be to keep the two channel system. Spend $1,000 at Best Buy or the like on a surround system and subwoofer with receiver. To do surround correctly with audiophile sonics you have to spend a LOT of money. By the way to those that are laughing at my advice on the $1,000 surround system, I bet the shattering glass and explosions aren't as "realistic" however I personally feel it is pointless (unless integrated into a two channel perhaps) to spend a lot of money on something that will only reproduce effects such as shattering glass and crashes.

Disclaimer: I am a music lover and 2 channel audiophile. I have only heard very few "surround systems" that do music as well as a dedicated rig.

Again, it was just my advice... But I personally would think your father's McIntosh gear will sound fantastic. A $1,500 or so surround sound will do the job. To sell the great gear to go backwards to a Sunfire will sound better than the Best Buy gear, but will most likely not come close to touching the McIntosh gear.
Your dad is doing a good deed. Do you think he gave the stuff to you so you could just resell it? I think if he would have known, he would have traded it in for his upgrade. Why don't you ask your dad what he thinks of your plans?

Listen to almost everyone who chimed in. Keep the equipment, and maybe add a subwoofer.
I agree with Audiofankj. Get a used NAD receiver and a Pioneer Elite DV-09 or maybe even an NAD L-70 combo, 5 small Paradigm or NHT speakers and a small sub for movies, if you must.
Seriously, listen to these guys. DO NOT SELL THAST GEAR TO ANYONE EXCEPT ME FOR 20 BUCKS!

Really though, you got some real good stuff there, no sunfire reciever will match it.

Another reccommendation, is MAJOR IN SOMETHING USEFUL!
Better yet, get a PHD and a fat high-paying job and make some serious bank so you can keep up in this hobby.

I am doing pretty good myself, but im seriously behind everyone else in quality of gear.

Then again, now the woman is gone i get to spend more on it.

Keep the equipment, Keep it real, get a great job, and enjoy this hobby, and BE GRATEFUL you got some nice gear given to you, this hobby gets REAL expencive.

Happy listening buddy! nice to see another younger (under 60) person enjoying this hobby. >:)

Just kiddin everyone, i know that some of you are 50 years young. Not all of you are tacking the nails in the coffin lids.


Im gonna get smacked. hahaha

your kidding me, right? the gear you listed as what you are thinking about getting dont even scratch the ass of the mcintosh rig your father has gave you.

dont be fooled into believing that new is better beacuse in this case it isnt,if this is your first step into hi end then you should really be thinking about this deal .

your mcintosh gear is worth right around 4500.00$ on the used market & you will get that price fairly easy,do some more research on sunfire & see what all the sunfire gear you listed will be worth this time next year & how long it sits before it sells.

what your talking about doing here is trading in a 10 yr old corvette for a new fiat.

Small speakers are ideal for a small room. Speaker size should be a relative match to room size although there is no formula or anything like that.

I would not give you yesterdays newspaper for anything Sunfire has ever made, but I would give you all the newspapers from this whole month for the MacIntosh stuff. It is worth keeping!

You have a good foundation to build on now. Don't go backwards, since if you can hear at all, you will be disappointed soon enough.
Don't sell the Mac gear! It'd make me cry. Movies with a high end 2 channel + sub setup are SO MUCH better than a medicore 5.1 setup, and there's NO WAY you could put together a 5.1 setup sounding decent in that small of a room, and even if you did have the room, it'd cost you more than $10,000 to do it right.

I hate MAC...i think it is butt ass ugly and would never want it in my living room...but that is just my opinion...but I have to agree with ALL the other posts that are against wat you are doing. KEEP THE MAC!!! KEEP THE MAC!!! KEEP THE MAC!!!
I agree with most of the other posters. The Revel speakers should be a good match for that sized room and you can add a sub-woofer for more low end and movie effects. *I* wouldn't try to do surround in that sized room, but that's me and I am not a big surround fan. Been there, done that. I had a great surround set-up as part of my music system and I ended up separating it out and putting it in another room. If anyone can name me more than 10 movies that even *require* a surround system, I'd be surprised -- and most of the ones that do -- it is only for a few minutes here and there. So, you get a surround system for parts of about 10 movies -- and they tend to be movies I wouldn't be watching unless I want to show off my surround system.
You end up watching the Pod Race from Star Wars any time someone new comes over. It is ironic to me that people are waiting on SACD because there are only some 2,000 titles available, but then go for home theater surround systems when there are only a few movies that actually use surround. You'll be spending all your time putting your ears up to the rear surrounds wondering if you calibrated your system correctly because there's hardly ever anything coming out of them. A 2.1 system is just fine for movies. Finally, a receiver *is* a big step backwards in sonics. So, you'd be sacrificing sonics on 100% of your music listening in order to watch the pod race from Star Wars over and over. Okay, I am exaggerating a little, but not by much. Keep the gear, add a sub-woofer. Put the surround money into a good sub-woofer, a cheap one is fine for movies, but will sound like crap for music. Just my opinion.
Wow, thank you everyone for your inputs. I didn't expect to receive this many feedbacks in such a short time. It seems that I have underestimated my father's 10-year-old equipments.

I certainly will not be selling the MC7300 power amplifier now and will keep the system at 2.1 set up. My question now is, since I will mostly be listening from my (hehe "my") MCD7008 CD player only, do I need the C40 preamp or will it sound the same to just plug it directly into the amplifier?

Also, If I do sell just the C40 and MR7083 (I don't listen to radio much), what do you recommend as a good subwoofer to match the Revel M20s? I know the Revel B15s are awesome and will blend in well sonically and visually, but that thing is too big for my small room and quite out of my budget range. Somewhere around $1000-$2000 would fit my wallet a little easier.

Oh, I forgot who asked, but my father is upgrading his speakers to a pair of Revel F50a front speakers, a C50a center speaker, a pair of S30a surround speakers and a B15 subwoofer. For the preamp and poweramp, he's upgrading to Lexicon MC-12 pre-pro and LX-7 power amp. He actually hasn't actually swiped his credit card yet and this new system will cost more than his current car, so if anyone has a strong feeling against this upgrade, please tell me ASAP.

Once again, thank you everyone for your input and this is by far the best hi-end audio forum I have seen or heard!

I think I can hear the audible collective sighs of relief from other audiophiles around me as well!

I don't think you will regret your decision to keep and enjoy the fine quality components you are being blessed with.

As for the matching with subwoofer, I am not well versed in the area, and will refrain to let others that have the knowledge give you advice.

Again, congrats on a good decision to retain some great gear. You may want to look into Eighth Nerve products and drop a couple hundred bucks on room treatment for your small room and most likely that system will put an ear to ear grin on your face.

Happy listening!
You listened well young skywalker! It is very easy to get caught in the upgrade cycle in high end audio, however, you often time don't better yourself for more money. Mac gear lasts forever and is nearly indestructable. I, like you, live in an apartment with a really stupid design for audio junkies. Take the advice for the Ht applications, I have a great Meridian system with b&w signature speakers but it sounds no where near as good in my pad as the dedicated room for HT. That said, I won't be in an apartment forever!! Note to father- I tried Meridian's amp vs Mac. and went with the american powerhouse. The lex is an awesome system, but he should consider going with Mac. amps, better quality.

im not too familuar with what sub will do what you need due to lack of knowladge about your speakers but i do know YOU NEED TO KEEP THE C-40 PREAMP, without a preamp you will loose the ability to effectivly control your music,as far as im concerned tone controls & loudness are a must, sometimes balance controls even come into play.

your mr 7083 will sell for between 600 $ 700 $ , i own a mr 7083 & a mr 7082 & while im not a big fan of radio im still suprised at the mr 7083s ability to pull in stations, if you ever change your mind & want to get another tuner you will be hard pressed to find another that will match your mac within that price range.

on a side note your mc-7300 is way underated,the real power rating of that amp is right around 400 watts & your
mcd 7008 is a lifetime cd player as is all your mcintosh gear.

if im getting your post right this is your first leap into hi fi,your are wise to listen to everybody here beacuse what they say is true,TAKE IT SLOW & DONT GET IN A BIG RUSH TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOAL, IT WILL HAPPEN.

good luck.
Your father is building quite a surround system -- you can go to his place and watch the pod race from Star Wars a couple times -- for free -- then go home a listen to your music system. If you had the $$$ to do a surround system like your father, then maybe -- but you're making a wise decision. Keep the pre-amp. I would keep the tuner, too -- it'll probably be a collector's item. For a Sub-Woofer, check out Rel. Buy one used here on Audiogon and see what is in your price range.
Keep the pre. You do not, I think, mention what stands you have for the Revel's, but good stands, well placed, are a must for these speakers. My experience has been that it is very difficult to integrate a sub into a system. You might want to consider selling the Revels and getting genuine full range floorstanders. Maybe Totems? Some of these have quite small footprints, so they really take up no more room than monitors on stands. And they have genuinely integrated bass. plus, it will remove whatever temptation you might have to jack up the sub and annoy your neighbors by shaking their china cabinets. You can't have a dance party in such a small room anyway.
On a slightly different subject, I recommend you at least consider NOT bringing all that hi-end stuff to school with you. If your student housing is anything like mine was, places get broken and stuff goes missing all the time. You also have to worry about friends abusing your gear.

I don't know your exact situation but I can tell you if it was me who recieved this windfall I would put it into storage untill I graduated, and buy a $300 Sony minisystem to use in school.

Dude, the guy is in college. He NEEDS to get the 7.1 DDS DTS THX with 15 inch dual subs to impress the frat boys and get the babes too. I know when I was visiting my friend's dorm at UCLA, everyone was going gaga over the Boston Acoustics THX system he had in his 10x12 dorm room. With the stench of beer all over, surround sound never smelled so good. Years later, I visited my friend after he purchased his first house and was beginning to build his own home theater in the loft. He got all the new Sony LCD, receiver, dvd player and even Sony speakers. His newly wed wife totally tolerated it too. But, she was weary of my audiophile ways. So, for my friend's marital happiness and home theater harmony, I told him he's got great stuff. WTG!!
Mark (Mhedges), thank you for your concern, but my apartment is pretty safe. We have double door security system and I've been living there for two years without any problems. Plus I'll have the system in my own room and lock that up as well when I'm not there.

I currently have a Cambridge Soundworks Megatheater 510 in the living room and I can't listen to those speakers for more than an hour w/o fatigue and can't even mention their sound quality in the same sentence as my new McIntosh system.

Thank you for whoever recommended the Totem Hawk speakers, I've just demoed them for an hour in Singapore (that's where my parents live) and they sound great with significantly more clear and lower base than my Revel M20s.

If you're in Singapore, visit the Adelphi building, it's 4 stories of audiophile's wet dream. They have anything and everything from Denon, Yamaha to the highest end Revel, Mark Levinson, Krell, Linn, etc, etc...

I'm seriously thinking about selling the Revel M20s for a full range floor standing speakers and not bother finding a subwoofer to match the Revels. Currently I think the Totems sound the best in the $2000 price range I've heard at Adelphi building. (I've spent literally 8+ hours going from shop to shop demoing speakers and it was an amazing experience) Almost all the dealers are very nice there too except for Martin Logans (he ignored me completely until I mentioned my McIntosh system).

If anyone has a strong feeling against the Totem Hawk speakers, please tell me.

Thank you.
I didn't take the time to read the posts (forgive's my birthday!), but the LAST thing I'd do is give up M20s without a serious attempt to integrate them into a system. My daughter should be so lucky that I get a pair for HER first system! (OTOH if you want to sell them let me know!)
Keep the MAC and keep in mind that your room is small, too small to do justice to home theater, your neighbors will object etc...
Use the cash to get a Eurail Pass and check out the symphony in Vienna.