Dalis Helicon 300 MK2
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Use your ears .
Buy the speakers first.
If you have access to many friends who are in the hobby listen to their stuff to get a feel for the house sound.
If you are near any retailers listen/audition to as any amps as possible. The rest will depend in part by the amp you heard with Acme brand speakers. Listen, listen listen let that be your guide,don't drink a wine you don't like just because its expensive. If you like a certain wine then too bad if the wine sobs don't.
For a starter set up there is the potential that dealer will be interested in making a sale. But if you like brand X while he prefers brand Y then buy the amp you like the best. Let's be realistic even used you can only buy a certain gear. Find some stuff that you can enjoy for the moment when you become rich or save up the required money then you can indulge.
As a side note my system has reached the stage where I ca do little that would be an improveent all because I tried a used AE-3 preamp. I call it miracle. For 300 or 350 bucks. I went from getting close to nirvana to getting their all on acount of this miracle. The rest of thee system is not as inexpensive but I was patient. First new monoblock tube must be tube power amp and a few months afterthat All I needed was a preamp I really liked. Back to the question.
happy hunting shoot me an email for some cheap suggestions.
I currently have a set of Paradigm Studio 40 v4 with a B&K Reference 200.2., 225wpc@8 ohms.I bought the amp used for $650.0 and the speakers were $1400.00 with stands and ixos cables. You can surely get them cheaper used. The studio's were a little harsh with the grills off and hooked up to my Carver amp. The B&K is a little more laid back (to me) and when I swapped my Carver pre amp for a B&K Reference 5 s2 it really calmed down. Better imaging than I had imagined. Of course my first system was audio feces, so I don't have much to compare my new gear to.I went to look at the Paradigm Monitor 9's, but the salesman actually said to me "save your money and get what you want, don't buy something you'll regret in 6 months". He spent 2 hours with me listening to cd's and swapping out speakers, turning sub's on and off, and just bs'ing with me.
Here's a different kind of option-Quad 12L Active speakers. You could knock out the need for both monitor speakers and amps in one simple box.
I've owned lots of mid-priced audiophile brands of speakers and amps and nothing I owned was any better (maybe a bit different presentation, but not better).
So, for less than $800-$900 new (maybe even less if you shop around or buy used) you can get a nice pair of monitors with amps built specifically for them.