Newbie looking for speakers


Hello I'm new to this site.  I just picked up a Sansui 5700 receiver and a pair of Pioneer HPM 60's.  I'm having fun with the retro system.  I'm interested in serious speakers with a budget around 3000.00.  Any helpful information about speakers, pre amp, etc would be absolutely amazing.  Thank you -Joe
leverjk
Well I would never put anywhere near that amount of money into speakers to be used with a receiver unless it was Step One in my Overriding Plan to Completely Upgrade my Entire system.

Then IF that were my goal I would strongly consider the speakers as the first but certainly not the most important component. Because equally important are the speaker cables, amp, interconnects, power cords, source components, and tweaks like room treatments. It all works together. Neglect any one over the others and you will pay. Big time.

What this means in real terms is a system with $3k speakers is going to be about a $15k system- with the remaining $12k being something like a $4k tube integrated amp, $4k turntable and phono stage, and $4k power cords, speaker cables, interconnects, room treatments. Ballpark.

Done right that would be one stellar, blow your expectations right out the door, impress all your friends system.

But you should also know that quite honestly taking the same approach you would be shocked how much better than what you have now you could get with just the $3k for everything. All-in. Just to drive the point home it is not what you buy but how you buy and what you do with it that matters in the end.
I’ve got a pair of HPM-100s sitting in my basement. Great speakers for their day. But these are serious audiophile speakers that will amaze you. Stick a crowbar in your wallet and just buy them. Get a nice integrated amp like a Hegel H160 used, and you’ll be in sonic heaven. Uh, yeah you’ll need stands. Pick some sand-fillable models from Monoprice and you’ll be good.  Talk to @grannyring here about cables to start and he'll get you in the game for cheap.  

https://tmraudio.com/speakers/bookshelf-monitors/joseph-audio-pulsar-bookshelf-speakers-gloss-black-...
I no doubt realize I'm over my head.  Let's hypothetically consider you only had 5k to build a system that makes you happy.  What would that look like?  Thanks -Joe
Let’s hypothetically consider you only had 5k to build a system that makes you happy.

I assume you are talking a simple system with a digital source...

(Used) Tannoy Eyris speakers ($800)
(Used) Naim 5i MKII ($700)
Bluesound Node 2 steaming player ($500)
KLE Innovations QFLOW3 Speaker Cables ($1000)
KLE Innovations gZero6 Interconnect Cables ($700)
2 x KLE Innovations gPOWER2 Power Cables ($600 - $300 each)
2 Tbyte NAS or USB Drive with dual RAID Mirrored drives ($600)

+ some network cables

I assume you own a computer to build you library on the NAS drive

This system will last you for years and sound fantastic
- I have the NAIM - it has a passive front end and sounds great
- and the Node 2 - it’s one of the best streamers out there and sounds great when connected with great cables
- I am a fan of Tannoy - sound dynamic and detailed and they last a long time
- I have tried the KLEI speaker and interconnect cables and they are exceptional
- I have not tried the KLEI power cables, but the are from KLEI so they should be very good
- I run a NAS RAID drive and had disk failures - so I simply pop in a new drive and RAID takes care of copying everything

There are better speakers, but the Eyris are a fantastic starting position - they will spoil you - trying to find a more detailed speaker for less than $3000 will be difficult - but then that depends on your ears really :-)

That’s my system

Worried about spending so much on cables?
- cables can make or break a system
- not all cables respond well to all components, but the cables and components above work well together - I have tried them and liked what I heard

You can save about 50% on the cables if you are handy and can solder.

You will get lots of other suggestions - I would suggest you read through them carefully and try to audition as many of the components/speakers you can


Good luck with your quest and trust your ears - Steve

Hey Joe,

Sounds like you are where I was about 2 and a half years ago. Have a look at this thread I posted (hence the screen name audionoobie) back then. I was given a TON of valuable advice from this community.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/looking-to-build-a-system-for-under-5k

Find a local dealer or two in your area and listen to a bunch of different speakers. Speakers will have the biggest impact on the overall sound of your system. Take notes as to which ones you liked, didn’t like, what sound qualities each possess, and what other components were in the chain.

Buying gear on the used market, like the Audiogon community, will stretch your dollar a LOT further vs. purchasing new. I fought this for a long time. However, I came to realize that most audiophiles treat their gear better than their children!

Get a good quality integrated amp which combines pre amp and output sections. This will be a little cheaper than buying separates.

Something like a Bluesound Node 2i streamer with a $20/mo. TIDAL subscription will get you access to thousands of high quality artists, albums, tracks, playlists, etc.

Have a look at some of the virtual systems on this site to get ideas on gear to check out.

DO NOT spend a fortune on cables initially. BlueJeans speaker cables and AudioQuest interconnects will get the job done.

For example you could do something like:

- $1.5k for speakers
- $1.5k for integrated amplifier
- $1 for a DAC (something like a Mytek Liberty is a good start, again used is your friend)
- $500 for a Bluesound Node 2i
- $500 for cables
- $20 on a nice French Bordeaux

Keep us posted on your progress and post any specific questions you may have. Perhaps include any pertinent details like your listening preferences, room dimensions, any WAF requirements, etc.

Have fun and enjoy the music!
Joe

Parts Connexion has an awesome selection of Monitor Audio right now. :) 
I have a pair of HPM-40 that I occasionally rotate into my system and they sound OK. I suggest you give more detail on the size of your room, type of music you like, and how loud you listen to get better suggestions. With $5K or even $3K you should be able to upgrade to a system that will be exponentially better than what you have as long as your listening room can squeeze all its potential. Good luck.
Thank you for pointing me in the right direction!
Try to listen to and learn about Magneplanars, for your budget and equipment start with 1.7i's.

You can build a 50K system of electronics and still be using the 1.7i's.
@audionoobie
The only crazy thing I've read so far is proposing that you can get nice french Bordeaux for $20 ;-)
Go to a dealer or a show and hear the different type of speakers. Try to figure out the sound you like. It's better to spend some time up front with the research than buying something on a recommendation and then finding out it is not that good.
Sample system on approx $5000 budget:
Magnepan LRS $650 new
Bryston 4B3 stereo amp $3500 used or similar
Schiit Freya Preamp used $500
BluSound Node 2i eBay $400
Total $5050

I really like those Maggie LRS speakers for a starter system. Absolutely the best bang for the buck. The Bryston 4B3 is a great amp. Built like a tank. If you get more $ and want more power for the LRS or you eventually upgrade the speakers, you can get another used Bryston 4B3 and put them both into bridge mode and you now have  monoblocks. I agree with the comments about the BluSound Node 2i. The Schiit Freya Preamp is a great value too. It can be run passive, JFET or in tube gain. It’s a balanced preamp and you can use those balanced outs to the Bryston. 

Ok. This doesn’t leave anything for cords or power management. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So use the stock cords for a bit. Get the highest quality interconnects from Monoprice. They are cheap and good for the money and will tide you over. Then when you have more $ buy an AQ 1000 or a Shunyata PS8. Get a Shnuyata Defender and plug it in. Now you have power conditioning. Get some used AQ, Shunyata Venom or other similar cables and interconnects to swap out the Monoprice gear. Get your Tidal Hifi subscription. Now you are on your way. 
Go to a dealer or a show and hear the different type of speakers. Try to figure out the sound you like. It's better to spend some time up front with the research than buying something on a recommendation and then finding out it is not that good.
Big +1 on this.  You have to figure out what you like and what's important to you before buying anything.  $5k is plenty to build a great-sounding system as long as you use your own ears to make the decisions. 


Agree with Maggie's but I would go used on 1.7i about $1300 add a Parasound Hint again about $1600 used great sound at an unbeatable price. You can add a sub later if you wish.
Several people mention Maggie's which are great speakers for certain purposes. It is important to understand how you will listen. Magnepan sound great if you are in the sweet spot, but if you plan to move around or want them to fill a room, they may not work well.  

Someone else mentioned Monitor and they make excellent speakers, but need to be paired with proper electronics.  Simaudio makes excellent integrateds that pair well.  

Also check out Focal.  Focal speakers have a nice open sound with lots of detail.

I would definitely check out some dealers and try different things.  Systems that sound good to one person may not please another.  For example, someone mentioned Bryston and Parasound above.  Both nice brands but very different sound than the Simaudio I mentioned.  Hard to say which sound you would prefer, but they are all in the same price bracket, so try them all. 

Do not underestimate the importance of cables, but don't go overboard.  Cables matter more than most newbies think, but its easy to get caught up that.  Find something that makes an audible improvement with the components you purchase at a price you find reasonable. 

Enjoy the hunt.   
+ 1 on what audionoobie said (good advice).

My suggestion is to build your system in "stages," so that you can buy the best of what you like and can afford at that particular time period. Doing things this way will satisfy your itch to upgrade your system, which affects most of us in this hobby. I consider it a bad year if I don't either upgrade a component or (more likely) add at least one meaningful  tweak to my system. So.....

STAGE 1: buy your components (I'm assuming you'll start with an integrated amp, speakers, CD player and/or turntable).

STAGE 2: high quality interconnects, power cords and speaker cables.

Rule # 1 - never pay full price for these items. There are so many good options in the used marketplace (including Audiogon). Plus, there are some manufacturers that will sell to you direct at a significant discount; so, do your research there. An additional benefit of buying used cables is not having to deal with the break in period.

STAGE 3: Power conditioning and/or possibly a separate DAC or subwoofer. Perhaps you'll get lucky and find an integrated amp with a built - in DAC that you like and can live with for awhile.

STAGE 4:   Let the "tweaking" begin. Whether it's for component isolation, RFI/EFI noise issues, connectivity, etc, you can get as immersed in this as you want and at a very affordable price. This would include tube rolling, if you end up with any tubed components.

Doing things this way will probably take you many years, which will keep you passionately involved in this hobby. You'll be researching all kinds of things and constantly learning about this wonderful hobby (same might say affliction). There is a great group of people on this site, so continue to read the daily forums because you will learn a lot.

Bottom line: good luck in your search and happy listening!




What kind of music do you listen to? How do you listen to it? IMO that drives everything else. 

I listen to "age of vinyl" music that lacks the bright sound of modern music. It also lacks the show-off your subwoofer deep notes. Not my generation. For me clean, tight bass with punch and definition is a must. I need strong, accurate highs with weight. I also listen to some of the modern stuff including trance. 

I bought a pair of Sonus faber Venere 3.0, a center and 2 walls for $3.5k new. I bought a Krell Showcase processor and 5 channel amp on here for under $2k. I have a Rel T9i sub - not your shake the walls sub but accurate and clean. 

All totaled that system set me back $6k. I have an old 1995 JVC receiver that I use for older music that actually sounds great ($50?) 

I may not have the most awesome audio system in the world but I do not care. I love it. In the end that is all that really matters. Never take your mind off that. Follow your ears. 
So you asked for speakers. The smartest audio purchase I ever made is the Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower with RAAL tweeter. Costs a bit under $3,000 and I couldn't be happier.

Powering them with a Rogue ST-90, Perseus Pre-amp and Cambridge Azur streamer.

I am pretty happy
Post removed 
Thanks everyone for their response! 

I would like to give everyone an update on my current situation in my emerging audiophile journey.  

$2500 Integrated receiver  Yamaha 
$2000 Speakers Martin Logan 40 Solid warm sound for my analog
$350 Sub Definitive 1000 
$180 Technics Turntable Vintage (excellent condition)
$0 sitting around iMac laptop with Lacie drive (tons of Music from a Audiophile Friend) Spotify, Relisten etc 
$100 Dragonfly DAC for iMac
$500 Marantz CD player  HD-1
$80 Harman Kardon Bluetooth connect
$200 Audioquest Cables and Wire
plus $500 of vinyl new and used

$6412

Priceless enjoyment!

~Joe