newbiee needs veterans advice

I am starting a home stereo system at a minimum wages pace. I stated with 601 Dm S2 speakers, and was going to purchase a Denon AVR 2803 amp. Now I am considering a tube like a Mcintosh mc-30,mc-40,mc-60 depending on price and shape of equipment. What is a preamp for,what do they do. Are B&W 601 DMS2 good speakers to start with to match with a tube amp. I hear some speakers do not go well with tube amps. Would you recomend another set of quality bookshelf speakers that match tube amps, or B&W Ok. I think I'm getting caught in the more expensive the better sounding it will be idea instead of matching equipment. I know this is an expensive hobby,but i am afraid I'll buy a component with stuff i don't need or won't appreciate. Have invested to much in collecting music to foul up stereo. I am considering a audio illussion pre-amp 2C because I'm copying another guys system on the web who has a pair of Micintosh MC-30 amps, will this sound great. Why does he have a pair of these amps instead of just one? Is it true tube amps have little bass? Will a good pre-amp fix this, or is that what I should avoid in a pre-amp? My goal is to be so satisfied that I'll never buy amps or pre amps again. But I am anxiuos and would like to buy parts in the 1500 range because again, at minimum wages pace, this will take about a year to get a complete system around 1500 dollars a pice and I can't wait to finish. The only parts I'd buy are bigger speakers if I get a bigger space.I live in a small space;sound listening area might benifit with another pair of shelf speakers, but floorstanding will be to big?Please help. Any ansewer to any of these top or bottom questions will be a big help. What is a good tube pre-amp for micintosh tube amps. What is the 2C stand for in audio illusions preamp, I can't find on web. If it means 2 channel, whats that mean or what beniffit is it. What do amp channels mean,why the more the better. Do the 2C on the audible illusion pre-amp or channels on an amp have to do with sound? Is a pre-amp with an external power supply better?Why?I listen to rock and jazz mainly, can you recomend a system and/or preamp that would be amazing sounding and life time satisfiying. Need true, rough as it may be advice. All info I read sounds like a sales pitch. Thank you
I've never read so many questions that seem to lead nowhere before. Here's how to get some help:

- Are you looking to put together a dedicated two-channel audio-only system, or will it do double duty as a HT as well?

- List the dimensions of your listening space

- Tell us a bit about your furniture etc in your listening space, it has an impact on how things sound.

- Tell us what's a "given" in your system (the speakers?)

- what source components are you interested in? CD, SACD, DVD, tuner, tape deck, turntable?

- Tell us what your budget is, outside of your "given's that you already own"

- Tell us the type of music you tend to listen to most

We'll gladly pitch in and help. Best, Jeff
> What do amp channels mean,why the more the better.

Ouch. You ought to lurk around here more before spending your hard-earned money! To answer this though:

"Channels" are how many outputs there are on an amplifier. Each channel is meant to drive one speaker. So, a 2-channel amplifier will drive 2 speakers. 2-channel is also referred to equally as "stereo". With a 2-channel ("stereo") amplifier, and 2 speakers, you have a stereo setup.

A multi-channel amp is any amp that has more than 2 speaker outputs. For example, a 5-channel amp is a common amplifer configuration for home-theater that is used to hook up 5 speakers: 2 fronts, 2 rears, and 1 center channel. Amps with different numbers of channels (3, 4, 7 - and there are others!) exist to allow people to put their systems together in a variety of ways.

To bring another term in, a monoblock amp is an amp with one speaker output. Monoblocks are often sold in pairs to drive "stereo" speaker setups, but they are also often sold singly to allow you to put together multi-channel home-theater systems a-la-carte.

As far as "the more the better" ... that's neither true nor false. It all just depends on what you want to do. If you need that many channels to drive that many speakers (or to bi-amp fewer speakers... another topic, and way off-topic at that), a multi-channel amp will get you there with fewer "boxes" to buy and house in your listening room. On the other hand, the 2-channel and monoblock formats give designers more room to work with, and consequently are often made with higher sonic performance in mind (I'm not counting small home-theater targeted monoblocks, which aren't designed for the highest fidelity in most cases, rather just to provide amplification for the extra channels in home theater playback)

So, if you're going to listen to music mostly, start with the best 2-channel stereo setup (a 2-channel amp and 2 speakers) that you can afford. You can always add more channels later to do home theater (there will be other expenses to that, like more speakers, more cables to hook up the speakers and amps, and also a home-theater processor to decode the surround sound signals.)

Jeff, my head's spinning - I think I'm leading nowhere, too!
Lots of questions here - but be glad you asked, this site will fill in the blanks.


Your'e spending all kinds of money, and committing yourself to spending all kinds of other money later, before you've gotten over the basics. Take your time.

I gather you don't have a lot of money. That's fine--you really don't have to be rich to be an audiophile. People have come on here asking about $500 systems, and gotten good advice.

Now, about these 601s. Do you own them already, or have you just decided that they're the ones you want? And did you decide that by going out and listening to a whole lot of speakers, or by reading about them? Because reading about them, and copying someone else's system, is not, not, not, not, NOT the way to go about this. The way to go about this is to learn what you need to know in order to make your own decisions.

The most important questions are, what's your budget, and what media do you want to be able to play (CD, SACD, DVD-A, DVD-V, MP3, LP, etc.). Don't think in terms of upgrades right now. Let's just build you a good system you can afford in the near future, and let the far future take care of itself.
There's a book called High-End Audio written by Robert Harley. It may be a good place for you to take the first step of the journey...
Great advice, and I read it with great interest.

I'm also a "newbie" who needs veteran advice. I'm an ex-music teacher, ex-folk singer who is facing retirement and didn't have any stereo. I have told my friends I'm going to buy a used system for not much money and incorporate the "dink" system. No, that's not "D-ual, I-ncome, N-o, K-ids!! It means I want to "dink around" with my new hobby. I know nothing, but my motto will be "Learn First, Upgrade Later."

Presently I have purchased a factory reconditioned Yamaha Rx-596 receiver($179) and a Yamaha CDC-845 demo CD changer($129). I purchased Yamaha for the time being because my local stereo shop guy told me they would be adequate and were "work horses." I have them hooked up to old JVC 50 watt speakers from a bookshelf stereo system with a broken cartridge CD changer(free). Now, I can, at least, listen to music while I shop for speakers.

This is fun!!

I would like advice for speakers. I have liked the sound of stand mounted speakers better than floor speakers. The heavier bass sound seems to get in the way of what I want to hear. I listen mostly to classical, especially choral, Celtic and folk music, with an occasional slip into classic rock and bluegrass. The speakers I have most appreciated have been the B&W 601's and 602's, followed closely by the Paradigm Studio 20's and 40's. Any opinions offered on those speakers or any other similar speakers would be greatly appreciated. Oh, by the way, I plan to spend $200 to $400 for used speakers.

After I get the speakers, I will have $500-$700 invested and will be listening to a good solid system. Let the "DINKING" begin.

Thanks again for the advice.