newbie 1st post 2 channel reccomendations.

hey guys:
putting together a 2 channel system for the bedroom, wife and kids took over MY downstairs theater and banished me to the bedroom. at first distraught, i was relegated to ht forum surfing and arrived here. since i had been mainly using the theater for listening to music anyway, i eagerly surfed the auidiogon waves all hours of the evening. a few days ago,the warden (my wife) gave me permission ( am i p-whipped or what) to put together a stereo system in the bedroom. i have home theater experience but have never put together 2 channel system and know nothing about tubes but will soon be enlightened
a little info:
room size: 18'x14'3" with 8' ceiling (flat)would prefer speakers on long side of room cannot be more than 2.5' from front wall lot's of room from side walls, bed in middle of room but can be rearranged.
musical preferences: classical all types, jazz, pink floyd, eagles, elton john
budget: 4k not including accessories
system: intergrated amp or seperates, cd or sacd or universal player, monitor speakers with possible later addition of sub.
mostly moderate occasionally loud listening levels

i have access to almost anything since i live relatively close to la and san diego but everything is also 1-2 hours away. therefore, all help in narrowing down options is appreciated. i have set up an audition of proac studio 100 with jolida jd502b integrated amp and jd 100 cd player next week. will possibly audition thiels on monday. also looking at taylo ref monitors and classe', plinius and possibly bryston. may later use this in new theater so may chuck budget and purchase good multi channel amp eg. BAT vk6200 or bryston or something similiar.
all input will be greatly appreciated including equipment and room setup/speaker placement suggestions. basically, tell me anything you want because the kids just got a bunch of dvd's and i'll be here all night.
i know this encompasses alot so just do your best.

aloha keith
Hi Atagi,

There's very little reason for you to listen to me, as I am a newbie too, and have next to no experience compared with these $$$ loaded hobby-meisters who hang around on the 'gon. But for what it's worth, I think a Naim Nait is just great -- PRAT and intonation are where the music is -- and you can pick a 3 up probly around 600 or so, or a 5 for 1k. I also think that you should pour as much $ as possible into the front end. That's where the music comes from, and no speakers, howver good, will make up for a signal that is missing info, or has distorted info. I have Proac Sig tablette monitors, and they are terific, but they are simply to fast and revealing for my front end (rega planet and rega 2 w/dynavector 10x50), and that's not because these aren't good products for the money. I often wish I had spent less on speakers, to get something a bit more forgiving, and spent more on a CDP -- a Naim CD3.5, or something) and T-table (a Nottingham or well-tempered).

Oh, room dynamics are utterly important and miserable to deal with. You have to be infinitely patient and lucky, or just lucky, to get a good match between your rig and your digs.

For what it's worth, as I said.

RNM, has giving you the best advice there is.

Front end front end.

Its all about source.

Do yout 2 Channel without thinking of using pieces in HT.

Take a Close look at a Naim Set up.

Had the pleasure of listing to 3 Naim Players Last Sunday.

on Rega 850.00 Speakers

Wow 3 distinct sounds and the better the source the better those speakers sounded.

Then we put a 3k speaker in and the same thing happened, better source better sound.

best CDP with 850.00 sounded better than 3K speaker with cheapest source.

combined cost was same.

Natnic and RNM have given you good advice.

They just happen to be dead wrong.

Find speakers that you love. Your auditions of the ProAc and the Thiel speakers should be helpful as well as instructive. ProAc and Thiel both make well regarded speakers. Quandary: they sound different. That means that one of them is "wrong" or both of them are "wrong."

I repeat: find speakers that you love. Keep listening. It would be nice if the speaker you like is high efficiency. No big bucks to shell out for big amps.

This may be a heresy around here.....but: most audiophiles could not pick out a $500 front end from a $5,000 front end in a properly set up double blind situation. (We are talking digital front ends here......analogue involves another transducer!) Almost all humans, audiophiles or not, can hear differences between most speakers.....from the next room, blind, double blind or blind drunk.

Above all----have fun in the quest.
I think it will be easier for you to receive more useful recommendations if you post again after your upcoming audition. Explain what you liked or didn't like about listening to that system. That will give you and those who would make recommendations a better baseline from which to operate.
Cloudgif would be right if the component that made the biggest audible difference were the one that made the biggest difference in musical pleasure in the long run. But it isn't. The fact that you can hear big differences between speakers means they will give you different sounds, not more musicality and more of the music. That comes from the source. Small differences at one level of attention can make huge differences in satisfaction with the experience of listening to a piece of music. And it is just amazing how good even modestly priced, well made speakers can sound with a good source and amplification. One way to put it is that modest but quality speakers can present the subtlties that distinguish good sources, but expensive speakers cannot makew up for what poor sources lack.

By the way, if the fact that 2 pair of speakers sound different means that one or both is wrong, then all speakers are wrong, since they all sound different, and none of them sounds like live music. Right and wrong are not what is important: engaging, satisfying music presentation is what matters.

Cloudg if is of course right that you should get speakers that you love. I didn't suggest you shouldn't care about speakers, but that you should spend more money on source. And I also suspect it is more or less true that, in digital from ends, you reach a point of diminishing returns fairly quickly; the 4k CDP isn't going to sound that much better than the 2K one, if both are good. But he's wrong that the $500 player will not be distinguishable from a good, more expensve one. I auditioned (long ago, now) a Rega planet ($850 at the time) against a Naim CD3 ($2k then) and while I bought the Rega -- which sounded way less jittery and glaring than all the Sonys, Rotels, Cambridge Audios, and Arcams I had heard -- the Naim was vastly better, albeit in subtle ways. Better in tune, better rhythm and timing, more resolution without being harsh. $$ made me buy the Rega, and while it's really nice and all, i wish i had spent the extra. My real cheap ($550 or so TT set up is so much better sounding that I just don't listen to my CDs very much, which is a shame. Of course, If I had spent less on the speakers, which came to about $2k, and which are wonderful, but too revealing for my sources, I could have gotten the NAIM, and i believe I would have been better off.

Of course, its even harder to hear differences in amplifiers than in source (except for how loud they go); but certainly there is a difference in musicality between a good $500 and a good $1500 amplifier.

thanks rnm;

took a look over at the naim website but couldn't find the nait listed although i did find it in the blue book. having just started researching tube amps, i'm surprised by how low the wattage is on them. i'm sure they're ok but there is such a difference from ss. sure i'll learn alot more when i start demoing them.

as for sources, i hear you. i don't plan to spend more than 50% on speakers, the rest on power and source, luckilly i'm not into vinyl so can save some $$ there.

i'm probably going to end up buying all the gear from the same store, since i can't see a way to demo components from different stores at the same time, unless i get some good reccomendations. i'm also looking at the used market. seems like there are alot of good deals out there.
wrote my last response above last night before i went to bed, but didn't post until i woke up. so the only thing i read before the post was rnm's original informative reply. i'm really astounded by the number of quick responses and thanks to all. by the way, what is PRAT?

i'm aware that there are several camps e.g. source vs. speaker, tube vs. ss, etc. and will look into all options, as i'm not in any rush.

will definitely post after audition, in the mean time just looking for a few product suggestions to be thrown my way to research. are there any widely regarded manufacturers to be sure to check out.

natnic: this will be a totally seperate set up from my ht. but thanks for suggesting using the ht. i guess that i can use the ht to help with in home auditions. my ht is polk lsi 15 mains, b&k avr 507 receiver and phillips 963sa dvd/sacd player. i am happy with this except that bass is loose and muddy, sounds over driven at higher volumes (not even reference), 2d soundstage, weak imaging, and speakers too noticable (easy to localize). i'm quite happy with the tone/timbre in general although brass seems to be distorted and orchestral music sounds homogeonized, but at the same time lacks coherence. hope this makes sense. never described my impressions of sound before.
Von Schweikert VR-2 speakers $2000 new, Classe CP-47.5 Pre amp $600 used, Classe CA-200 amp $800 used and Audio Research CD-1 600 used. Here is an example of a nice $4000 system. I would put half the money in speakers and the rest in components with your budget!
Check the VR-2 out as they will run with the best in the $2000 bracket. Happy Listening!
PRAT = Pace, Rhythm, and Timing. British gear -- like Naim and Linn -- are famous for it. This is an emphasis that contrasts with that on soundstaging, timbre, "air". If you think about it, live music, unless you are sitting way too close, rarely presents much of a soundstage. Not thhat perfect reproduction of live music is a viable aim, but this does show that soundstage is an audio, and not primarily musical, artifact. (HT is a very different matter in this regard).

IMHO, you shouldn't spend more than 25% on speakers -- about 45% on source, 25% on amplification, and 5% on interconnects, isolation, etc. Also, at the level of $ you can spend, I think it would be a mistake to emphasize wattage. Just make sure the speakers you get are reasonably efficient and easily driven. And definitely consider used gear. You'll save huge $.

hi guys;
went to pasadena today and auditioned the dynaudio audience 52 with rotel rdv 995 dvd player and rx1050 receiver. overall, i was quite impressed with this system versus my current system listed above. i would have liked to have demo'ed the dynaudio's at home with the b&k but they don't allow this. sound was alot cleaner and tighter especially in the bass. much more musical, i didn't feel that the trombones in berlioz's symphonie fantastique were a foot away from my ear. i was able to lose myself a couple of times even though street noise could be easily heard in the listening room. piano almost sounded real, the notes seemed to hang on as long as possible. they didn't want to leave. vocals were easily located although multiple voices seemed scruched a little.
spent 2 hours there mostly talking to vince the sales guy about music and gear. i learned alot. he is an audiophile in the truest sense, this guy loves music. he made me want to go home and listen all night. to him, music is a spiritual experience and i think a little bit rubbed off on me today, thank you vince. didn't push anything at me and spent those hours with me knowing that i wasn't going to buy anything today and was planning to audition for several months.
overall, i say today was an excellent first audition for the new system. didn't get to listen to much music but what i learned was worth alot more. i have had several bad experiences recently at the brick and mortar stores but it's guys like vince that keep them alive.

aloha keith

I'm somewhat of a newbie to this hobby too, but I've gotten to audition some gear.

I hear you on the Polk LSi15s. I think the problem you have with them(the loose bass) is that, they need an amplifier with (REALLY)high current capability, and a high damping factor to excersize control over them; and most receivers are not very happy driving them. Try moving them around too, play with position...

I have a Perreaux Radiance R200i integrated amp, and took it to the Polk LSi dealer close to me. The guy couldn't believe how good these speakers sounded when driven by my amp, and how different it was when they were being driven by a receiver(even a really good one like your B&K, well he was actually using the top of the line Pioneer Elite which is competitive with your B&K).

In general these speakers are really good, but they do like a lot of power.

Another thing is, I do agree with some posters here, selecting a good source. Recently I've been auditioning CD Players and had the chance to audition a Linn Ikemi, side by side with an Arcam FMJ CD33. While it comes down to personal preference, I had no trouble noticing differences right away, and thinking the Ikemi was more to my liking. Anyway sources do make a difference.

I do believe things should be somewhat balanced, but in the end, the only person that has to like it is you. So it really doesn't matter if you spend 80% of your budget on speakers and the rest on electronics, or vice-versa, as long as you are happy with your selections.
Rnm you write that I am right (that speakers are the the most "distinguishably different" and, therefore the most important component in a system) but only if the differences in speakers bring one the greatest listening pleasure. (see posts above)

You go on to say that better speakers don't make as significant a difference as a fancy front end in imbuing the reproduced sound with "pace" etc. You also opine that I am wrong that most audiophiles in a controlled, double blind listening "test," could not tell the difference between a competent $500 digital front end and the fancy, high-priced spread.

You support your disagreement as follows: "he's wrong that the $500 player will not be distinguishable from a good, more expensve one. I auditioned (long ago, now) a Rega planet ($850 at the time) against a Naim CD3 ($2k then) and while I bought the Rega -- which sounded way less jittery and glaring than all the Sonys, Rotels, Cambridge Audios, and Arcams I had heard -- the Naim was vastly better, albeit in subtle ways"

You are entitled to your opinion, of course. But you are not really answering my "challenge." You tell us that the Naim was vastly better but you don't mention the methods you used to determine that. Clearly you did not put your ears in the "hotseat" of a double blind test.

I'd like to politely drop the gauntlet at your feet. See if you can pick out the Naim (or a current "equivilent" piece) as the "superior" front end in a properly set up double blind situation. I'll bet all the toe-tappin' pace and slam from here to Scotland that you cannot.

If you where any more off base I could not imagine.

Why is it that a 850.00 Rega Speaker kept sounding better and better as the front end got better and better.

I had the pleasure of bring a music lover who has never been exposed to high end.

Over and over again the sales guy was able to demonstrate.

That no matter what speaker he chose for us the better the source the better the sound. Over and over again.

Others walked into demo room and same deal consistently when the better sources where added the better the sound.

In the end we detirmend that and 850.00 Speaker with a 3200.00 front end sounded much better than a 3000 speaker with a 1000.00.

So to make sure this was not Illusion we tried the same thing on Audio Row in Seattle and every where we went the same speaker allways sounded better with a better source.


Please inform us as to what a proper Double blind test involves.

Here is wow it was done.

Speakers set up same amp pre amp same cables same everthing.

3 Cd players in rack along side gear.

sales guy just switched RCA from one to another back and forth.

Then we trie it with different speakers.

Same way. Same result.

Would be willin to take any speaker you choose and play it with a a CDP's from the same MFG. low mid and high level units from same mfg.

If there is no difference then I will tell you one thing.

The speakers are not worth buying.

The Biggest profit and markups are in Speakers.(cables Another story in itself)

Who can disagree with "garbage in garbage out?" Not I. I suggest that a competent "modern" digital front end will not reveal its more modest price point, consistently or reliably in a double blind test.

At the bottom of this post I have copied some criteria for a double blind test which I found at

The #8 "requirement" is crucial. Volume levels must be checked closely and matched exactly. Preferably by instrument using a test tone. (You can't properly match volume with music because it is a "moving target.") Very slight differences in volume play havoc with any attempt at subjective comparison of hi fi components. The oldest "sales trick" in the hi fi biz is to have slightly more gain coming from the purportedly better component. It makes it "sound better" to the customer. You will need a switching box (Radio Shack) so that the test subject (you in this case) can choose between source "A" and source "B" as explained below.

At the same time, the subject must not know which digital source is CDP "A" and which one is CDP "B." That means that someone other than you and any other test takers has to do the set-up. We’ll chauvinistically call him the set-up man. The two components must be run through the same electronics at the same time to the same speakers. Sure, match the wires too, just to cover all bases. Make sure that the length of the wires is the same.

The test takers enter the room one at a time. A tester is present to help but the tester can't
know A from B either. Two identical music CDs need to be cued up and started at the same time.

The test taker(s) (you and as many other "trained listeners" who you can gather) can then switch from “A” to “B” and back and forth as many times and as often and at whatever intervals he wishes (with the switching box) while listening to the type of program material described below. I personally think it helpful if it is program material that you are very familiar with, too. Keep a log in which you commit in writing (or the tester does, based on what you say) whether "A" or "B" is better. Maybe make notes as to why "A" or "B" is better. The tester should preserve the notes, and when there is time, record the results for each individual and for the entire group. Then, finally, the set-up man "translates" the results with the use of his record of which CDP was "A" and which was "B" in each round of the test.

Now round #1 is over. The set-up man comes back to the room and either switches "A" to "B" or doesn't switch “A” to “B” according to a random sequence previously written down. No one else knows if “A” is still “A,” or if now “A” is in fact “B.”

Then proceed to round #2, following the same procedures that were followed in round #1. Do this for a reasonable and fair number of rounds. Say, twenty. Tally the results. Has the more expensive component been identified as “better” significantly more frequently than the laws of probability allow for?

With as many emotional factors removed as possible (the $20,000 Zapmaster looks gorgeous and is SOTA and it, therefore, MUST, sound better) and the crucial volume levels matched, your job is really in front of you. Hard work, but fun.

Which speakers you use to conduct the test is not crucial as they will be a constant. To be as fair as possible, to your point of view, the speakers should be as good as possible, as revealing as possible, as transparent as possible, etc. Do it in your own home with your own gear or at the home of a friend. It is not likely that any dealer is going to let anyone in his/her Salon to commandeer it for the several hours the test may take, especially if the high priced spread they are selling may fall victim to the procedure.

I don't have any specific suggestions for the digital front ends but I think fair criteria would be a well regarded $2,000 CDP and a well regarded $400 - $800 CDP. We are not looking for "giant killers" here. Just fairness.

(quote from

"Ten (10) Requirements For Sensitive and Reliable Listening Tests

(1) Program material must include critical passages that enable audible differences to be most easily heard.

(2) Listeners must be sensitized to a audible differences, so that if an audible difference is generated by the equipment, the listener will notice it and have a useful reaction to it.

(3) Listeners must be trained to listen systematically so that audible problems are heard.

(4) Procedures should be "open" to detecting problems that aren't necessarily technically well-understood or even expected, at this time. A classic problem with measurements and some listening tests is that each one focuses on one or only a few problems, allowing others to escape notice.

(5) We must have confidence that the Unit Under Test (UUT) is representative of the kind of equipment it represents. In other words the UUT must not be broken, it must not be appreciably modified in some secret way, and must not be the wrong make or model, among other things.

(6) A suitable listening environment must be provided. It can't be too dull, too bright, too noisy, too reverberant, or too harsh. The speakers and other components have to be sufficiently free from distortion, the room must be noise-free, etc..

(7) Listeners need to be in a good mood for listening, in good physical condition (no blocked-up ears!), and be well-trained for hearing deficiencies in the reproduced sound.

(8) Sample volume levels need to be matched to each other or else the listeners will perceive differences that are simply due to volume differences.

(9) Non-audible influences need to be controlled so that the listener reaches his conclusions due to "Just listening".

(10) Listeners should control as many of the aspects of the listening test as possible. Self-controlled tests usually facilitate this. Most importantly, they should be able to switch among the alternatives at times of their choosing. The switchover should be as instantaneous and non-disruptive as possible.”

HAVE FUN. Keep us posted! ;)
Sorry buddy ,thats just a bunch of Audio Speak that makes as much sense as George Bush.

Reality is
when presented with all constant, a Digital volume control that brought the sound to same level for each test. Consisistently the bettr source made the same 850.00 Sound better.

The sources where alternated in no particular order.

Everything was constant.

all he did was swich back and forth and even left same source attached to see if he could catch us. Never did.


There are some awesome articles on that issue.

Reminds me when I replaced a 179.00 Costco Nikko Player 5 years ago with a Mcintosh 7008, Everyone who came over asked if I had new speakers.

They where 20 year old speakers that had been heard by same folks for years.
Point made.

Music is like Process control. total system error is key, the less error you start with the better the system accuracy will be.
Nantic: Sorry you feel that way about it.

I think you are totally ignoring (among other things) the possibility of psychological influences in an environment not under your control. Believe it or don't: your expectations of how something will sound can influence how you think it sounds. Especially during a short "test" situation in a dealer's showroom where you are not intimately familiar with all the other components and the acoustics of the room. The most valid subjective "test" of the strengths and weaknesses of a component is: live with it for a few months.

How do you know that the volume levels were the same? I hope you are not saying that you know the levels were the same because the volume control on a pre-amp was set to the same position! Odds are the levels were NOT the same if that was your "control"---because of differences in voltage output from the various CD players

I urge you to reconsider, if not now, at least at some future date and go through a double blind, or at least a single blind test. (in a single blind test the tester knows what the source is but the subject does not) I think you will be shocked at how differently you will hear or not hear differences in the components.

I ain't exactly calling you Chicken, but. . . you picked up the gauntlet and said that you would subject yourself to a blind A-B test and report the results. What happened? Is it scientific method that you object to?

I have never before been accused of sounding like George Bush.....;)

Not to hit below the belt, your reaction to the application of just a little scientific method to subjective evaluation reminds me of Dubyah hurling the epithet of "Fuzzy Math" at Gore to indicate that all them thar’ numbers and statistics wuz jes’ fancy talk designed to befuddle and confuse the Common Man. In this case, since we are discussing digital components, I can't resist the rejoinder of, "Fuzzy Logic!" right back at ya.

I'm glad that we appear to agree on politics.....if not hi fi.
Get over yourself My Friend.

All one needs is a sound meter to insure the Levels are same.

And as I said the test was done with same MFG CDP all having the identical output levels.

We live in a real world.

Double blind testing is for Engineering geeks with no personalities and no real Lives.
hello all;

demoed thiel pcs (didn't know they were pronounced teel so i thought the guy was talking about colors) and dynaudio contour 1.4 yesterday in santa monica through krell electronics. thiels had huge soundstage sound filled up the whole room, piano was ok but really excelled berlioz. dynaudio's sounded soooo good with the piano (bach) that i was sure that i had found my speaker then put in berlioz and they didn't sound so good. much smaller sound stage than the thiel and easily localized. thiel's were alot more invisible.

left the store happy that i had listened to a couple more speakers but knew i had to do more listening.

went to optimal enchantment also in santa monica and randy the owner showed me the vandersteen 5a which was incredible. i thought i was listening to live. was blown away. we talked alot about the different speakers in the vandersteen line as well as jm labs models but i didn't have time to listen to anything else. he offered to set up a demo of high end vs. lower priced systems as well as tube vs. ss the next time i came which is exactly what i need. he wasn't as outwardly enthusiastic as vince the sales guy mentioned in previous post but was seriously into music, and gave me alot of food for thought.

this brings me to a new dilemna. how do we justify buying used gear here or new gear online when we receive great service from the brick and mortar. this was not a problem for me when i purchased my ht because alot of the places i went to didn't expend much effort on me and i bought alot of gear from an online dealer who happened to have his shop locally. i want to support these dealers, but should i do this at the cost of thousands of dollars. right now, my inclination is to buy local and after i have more experience purchase used gear online and sell it if i don't like it, which doesn't seem very practical to me but will allow me to upgrade at a lower cost, and purchase locally when if necessary. how do you deal with this issue. as always, all input is greatly appreciated.

aloha keith
Atagi: you are doing the right thing by doing a lot of listening to a variety of gear in a variety of venues.

A few suggestions. Reduce as many variables as you can. For example, select a few "test" selections from CDs that you are familiar with and use the same music to audition with, wherever you go. Maybe you do or don't like violin music. The old "E" string on the violin (the highest pitched of the four strings) in a good recording can and will expose overly bright sound reproduction. I suspect that if you listen to some fiddling on the Theils and then on the Vandersteens you might decide that the Theils are forward and aggressive in the treble and that the Vandersteens are a little veiled.

What is important is that you focus on what you are listening for. How good is the bass? How transparent the midrange? How extended the top end? And so forth.

As to the ethical dilemma you raise: you are absolutely right. The dealer is nice to you because he is a nice guy AND because he hopes that his investment of time with you will put a few dollars in his pocket down the road. The "right" thing to do is to buy the product you like from the guy who introduced you to it and spent the time with you. But how many of us can actually DO the right thing when discounts and/or used gear may be available elsewhere?

Good luck with your Quest and keep us informed (while we quibble among ourselves).
Nantic: you are kidding yourself.

You say in your most recent post here, "All one needs is a sound meter to insure the Levels are same." (sic) Do you mean to imply that you had one in your possession and used it in the course of the "test" that you describe?

I didn't think so.

You claim that you auditioned three Naim CD players "all having identical output levels." You think that is so. But it ain't.

Guess what, my friend, Naim only makes three CD players and according to their specs they do not have the same output levels.

The top of the line CDXZ has voltage output of 2Vrms @ 1 khz and an output impedance of 50 Ohms.

The (mid) CDXZ has voltage output of 2.1Vrms with a maximum output impedance of 10 Ohms.

The CD5 has voltage output of 2.0V w/ the same output impedance spec as the CDXZ

The higher its' output impedance and voltage output the louder a CDP will play--all other things being equal. I don't know if the 40 Ohm difference between the Naim units would make a significant difference. That would have to be measured. Did you check that out with your "sound meter?"

Are you going to accuse me of George Bush-like "audio speak" again? Are you willing to consider that "a little bit" of scientific method might be a good idea?

A hi-fi store is not a church, or other place of worship where we check our skepticism at the door and don the mantle of Believer. It seems to me that you are falling into the trap assuming that just because your trust in your dealer may be well founded, based on his character, that he isn't under a misassumption.....which you have adopted. That is Religion not careful audio evaluation.

Shall we shake hands and make up?
I dont know If Upscale Audio is close to you Atagi. If it is give them a call . he has many great lines..

Yes I do agree if your listening to gear in a Store , then you should support him or offer to pay for his time, Hey if you can save thousands giving the dealer who allowed you to audition it some of your savings is fair.

If you are up front and tell him you may buy online then its his choice to invest time with you.

Be honest and up front.

Happy Hunting.

Your on the right track, listen listen and dont let all the online guru's sway you. Your ears will not lead you astray.

Cloudgif made a good point, bring system breaker music.

If it gets the hard stuff right the rest is cake.
Natnic: thank you for the words of agreement.

Your suggestion of handling the "helpful dealer" problem is a great one. Everyone's time is of value. If a guy is going to serve as our audio consultant we should let him know that and compensate him for his services.
glad to see that we now have peace in our thread. you have both been very helpful and i appreciate your effort to make my search more fruitful. i agree with the helpful dealer suggestion. i was planning to purchase cables and accessories from them but i also like the audio consultant idea alot. i still think that i will purchase at least 1 component from a local dealer.

natnic: looked at the upscale audio site and they are pretty close to me. alot closer than the other dealers i've been frequenting. i'm not very familiar with most of there lines. which lines and products are you talking about?

yesterday went to garden grove and listened to the psb platinum m2 powered by jolida 302b amp and nad cd player. i had the room to myself so i listened for about an hour and played the bach, berloiz, and added norah jones, diana kroll, and the eagles. very nice system although i would probably get a better cd player. i've been noticing that none of the systems i've auditioned thus far do real justice to the berloiz symphonie fantastique. they all sound fantastic on the smaller works but seem a bit strained with the scope of the full orchestra.

do you guys have any suggestions for the system revealing recordings? have to stay home next weekend babysitting and superbowl. i plan to spend the next two weeks putting together my thoughts on these auditions and planning what to do next. so far i have no favorites and feel overwhelmed but excited.

again thanks for all the help. will keep you informed with what's happening.

aloha keith
Atagi I would suggest Listening to one of my personal favorite combo's. Coincident Sprakers Eclispe series with Atma Sphere's M-60-II.

Coincident and Atma Sphere have synergy like no other.

Pre amps Kevin should be able to suggest the right match for the combo. Start with the Super Eclipse's.

Then have him play the Oh Tjobe and The BAT VK-5 CD Player

and anything Kevin might suggest for a Player.

Happy hunting.