Please recommend components for newbie with $1K

I currently have a late-90's Sony cd player, a pair of old Realistic speakers that are hand-me-downs from my father-in-law, and a Scott 418-A integrated from the mid-70's (I think) that I acquired at a pawn shop when I was an undergrad. Sounds pretty bad, so I want to upgrade. I can put in $1000 now, so I want to get speakers and an integrated amp or a receiver. I guess that gives me around $500 for each. I need the amp to have A/B speaker switching. A phono stage would be nice too, although I'm not opposed to getting a separate phono preamp in the future if necessary. This system will be a smallish room, about 14x10, 8' ceilings.

Unless I can find something used, I'm leaning toward the Marantz PM7200 integrated. Local shops have also suggested the Integra DTM 5.3 receiver. I would buy the NAD 720BEE today but it's $540 before tax.

Thanks for reading. Any amp and speaker recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
You've got a real challenge there at $1k. I can't speak to the electronics, but for some reason, speaker "best buys" all seem to start with a "P" as in Paradigm, PSB, Pinnacle, Polk - go figure.
See which one you like the sound of best, and look for them used here - Best bang for the buck you'll find - generally easy to drive, and many have a lot of the high-end sound to them.
Good Luck
Canton also makes some very good/small/inexpensive speakers. One of the real steals in speakers are the Sony SS-M series. There was a guy selling a pair of the mid sized SS-M7 and a pair of the smaller SS-M7s for around $500. These are very well designed and built speakers. If the label had any name on them other than Sony, they would have sold like mad, but too many audiophiles would not take them seriously because of the Sony badge...

For that reason a great speaker can be had for a low price. There are lots of fun little integrated tube amp for sale right now. Keep in mind that most OBO gear sells for about 80% of the asking price.

You will have a difficult time staying with the $1000 goal, but it's not impossible.
A used Rega Mira integrated with a pair of used Epos ES11 or M12 would leave change for stands and cables. There was a Creek4140 on Agon, but I notice it's sold.

The Naim Nait is a nice amp and early models are around $400, but it is more likely to require servicing, and you're stuck with Naim's DIN connections, which can be a pain.

The rega doesn't have speaker switching but you can buy a separate speaker switch later if you desire.
But hang on, do you want full range or monitor speakers? what music do you listen to most, do you like alot of bass?
You need to make sure you know in your heart what you want, and it will help folks here to give you more accurate info, and just have fun!
NHTs would be a good start if you want monitors. maybe Superones which should leave more $ for integrated.
Here's a possibility for you. AudioAdvisor has a pair of Wharfdale Diamond 8.3s in the Maple finish for $199! That is a screaming good deal. Also, AA has an excellent return policy, so buy them, try them, then send them back if they don't float your boat.

Since the 8.3s are floorstanders, you can save the money you would have needed for stands. Also, they have a bit better bass extension than many monitors, so you shouldn't need a sub.

So, that would leave you $800 in your budget or you could just reduce you budget and keep a bit of that money in the rainy day fund. For $500-800, you can buy a pretty decent integrated amp, maybe even one with a phono stage.


Try to find Paradigm Atom Speakers used they only cost maybe $100.00 A pair.Great sound for a small bookshelf.
They put out a nice midbass and very nice mid band reproduction.If u wnat something with a phono stage built in try a Hafler Music Concepts 101 Preamp with built in phono stage and use it with an Adcom amp,plus an AR Turntable with a Shure Phono cartridge and you should be right back into audio land.
Magnepan MMG and NAD C352. Add a quality subwoofer to round out the system when more funds are available. This should be a very musical system for minimal outlay and will retain value well should you wish to upgrade. Good luck!
An MMG w/a sub sounds like a great combination. I personally would buy something other than the Marantz you mentioned. An Arcam Alpha 10 Int. amp is for sale here at around $500. If you're considering a bookshelf spk. check out the Ascend Acoustics CMB-170. (Just ordered a pr. for my downstairs basement music room. Same size room as yours. Have a little Energy S8.2 sub which will feel in the missing bass. If this combination doesn't float my boat, I believe I'll give the MMG a try.) There are some great deals on Tannoy MX1/2/3's spks. which sound very musical. Plateau makes some really nice affordable stands if you decide on a bookshelf spk. The RT series w/silver post is very attractive. Don't forget use decent spk. wires and Interconnects. (Straightwire makes some really good affordable products. Wireworld Oasis 3 Interconnects are wonderful sounding interconnects. Great value used) Good Luck!
But hang on, do you want full range or monitor speakers? what music do you listen to most, do you like alot of bass?
I wish I knew the answer to the first question, but I don't know the difference between monitors and full range speakers. Could someone explain that?

I want to be able to hear bass, but I don't need big bass boom.

I listen to a lot of rock (Richard Thompson, Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Beatles, Stones, Taj Mahal) and a lot of bluegrass & folk (Richard Thompson, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Gillian Welch, Del McCoury, Alison Krauss, Johnny Cash, etc).

Thanks for all the suggestions. Rkeman, the NAD C352 won't work for me because I need two sets of speaker outputs.
NAD C720BEE + NHT SB3= 1,200 retail.
Most dealers can put this together for about 1K and throw in cheap wire (14/2 or the like).
This way you get a warranty (digital volume control on receiver-all things digital can poop out for no apparent reason).
NHT SB3 gives lotsa-bass for a bookshelf speaker, very durrable, and sounds like a $1,000 speaker.

Good luck!

About monitors vs. Full range:

Generally speaking, monitors are "bookshelf" sized speakers. Many people refrain from calling them bookself speakers because they tend to sound bad if actually placed on a bookself. If you want good sound and plan to use a bookshelf sized speaker, they would likely need to be placed on a pair of quality stands to sound their best. Quality stands cost >$100-$300+.

Floorstanding speakers stand a better chance of being a more full range speaker. It is generally easier and cheaper to make a bigger speaker produce more bass volume and reach lower notes.

So, it is going to depend on your listening environment. If you need to place your speakers on existing furniture/shelves, you will likely need a bookshelf/monitor speaker. If you have room to place the speakers on the floor, I would suggest going with a smallish floorstanding speaker. It will be less expensive than buying a quality monitor/stand combination.

I would still hardily suggest the Wharfdale Diamond 8.3 that I mentioned earlier. It is a small floorstander, goes down to about 40hz and is on sale for $199 at AudioAdvisor. It will be new, with full warranty and AA has a great return policy. You can't lose!

The earlier suggestion of an Arcam Alpha 10 is also a good one. I previously owned one and it was a great piece. It has multiple speaker outputs and a nice remote. It also has plenty of power for the Wharfdales. There is an available phono card that plugs right into the Alpha 10, but you may have a difficult time finding one. I would check with Audiophile Systems Limited, the US distributor.

So, you could get the Wharfdales, the Arcam Alpha 10 and a pair of Paul Speltz Anti-Cables speaker cables and be set. You would also be well within your budget with money left over for more music or a phono section. With this system and your musical taste, you would likely not need or even want a sub in a room the size of yours.

$199 Wharfdale Diamond 8.3 (Maple)
$500 Arcam Alpha 10 Integrated amp
$60 Paul Speltz Anti-Cables


Thanks for the input. Your comments on speakers are right in line with what I have been thinking. I would prefer a full range speaker. I have been considering the cost of stands when looking at smaller speakers & am finding it difficult to locate small floorstanding models to audition. It seems the stores in my area (Raleigh, NC) carry only bookshelf or monitor sizes in my price range. I wanted to hear the Paradigm Esprit ($429), but the local Paradigm dealers don't have it. I also am curious about the Axiom M40ti ($504 for 2nds). There is a Wharfedale dealer in town, so I will see if they have some 8.3s I can listen to.

I'm curious, though; the Wharfedales are listed as having 6 ohm nominal impedance and sensitivity of 86. My understanding is that that speaker would require a lot of power at that sensitivity and the 6 ohm impedance would call for even more. Would a 100 watt amp be able to drive a pair of 8.3s and another pair of speakers?
The Wharfdale's are listed as 100watt max power handling, so I think a 100 watt/channel amp would be plenty.

Also, try to hear the Wharfdales locally, if possible, but you could also just order them from AudioAdvisor. But don't wait too long. These speakers list for $499, so the $199 price for the maple finished pair is a great deal. If you don't like them, send them back within 30 days. AudioAdvisor has an excellent return policy. Most people can't get to a dealer to hear all of the products that interest them. Feel free to take advantage of AudioAdvisors sales philosophy. They sell to people everywhere, therefore they have to have a good return policy. People weould never plop down big-bucks to buy stuff that they never heard unless thay had the ability to return it.


A lower sensitivity spk. will require more power to sound as loud as a spk. w/higher sensitivity. 86dB vs. 89dB, twice as much power for the 86dB spk. to sound as lond as the spk. rated for 89dB. However, these are only numbers which may or may not be an accurate figure. Also, these figures tend to be higher when the spk. is placed in a room. Bookshelf spks. are generally less sensivity than floorstanders. Sealed design less sensitive than one which is ported. The Arcam is rated 170w @ 4ohm I believe. Not too int. amps will drive a lower ohm spk. unless you spend much more. Considering your budget the Arcam would be a fine choice. Regarding last question, it would depend on the spk. Another 6ohm spk. would drop the impedance to 3ohm. I'd bet the Arcam could handle this but you might want to contact the Arcam. Also, the impedance curve of a spk. is not constant figure. It varies all over the frequency range. Hope this helps. Bill
I set up a fantastic system for my son that was substantially less expensive than $1k. It features a pair of Vandersteen 1Bs with stands (used-$200/pr.), a 25 wpc NAD integrated amp (used-$150), a Sony SACD 5 disc changer ($125 @ Best Buy), Audioquest budget interconnects and speaker cable ($75.00), and an equipment stand ($120 from AudioAdvisor). This set up is unfailingly musical regardless of program material. He uses it in his 12' x 14' bedroom, where it sounds equally great cranking Rage Against the Machine, as it does mellowing out with Damien Rice (my selection, not his).
Used Vandersteen 2ci and Audio Refinement Complete would come in right around $1K and give a real taste of the high end. Not really heavy metal rockers, but perfect for blues, folk, bluegrass and most of the rockers you have listed are not hard-core. That pairing might be a little bit polite, but very listenable and forgiving. Might accommodate a little bit forward CDP pretty well.
Epos M12 or ES11 speakers. Try them with your Scott tube amp before chucking it. Integra is really bright to my ears. Creek A50 integrated sells for ~$500 used at Audiogon and is voiced for the Epos.
Get the NAD. The NHT speakers are a good suggestion. For floor standers,the Von Schwieckert VR2s are a great choice but they exceed your budget used you may find a pair for $1200. They are worth the investment. Did you consider the NAD 320cbee (I think thats the name) Its a real bargain for an amp.
Would the Vandersteen 2c's pair well with an NAD integrated?
I think that the Vandersteen 1s might sound better than the 2s in your room. Their are two primary reasons for this. First, the 2Cs are prone to overloading small rooms due to their prodigious low bass output, and their rear-firing passive radiator. Second, you need a bit more distance from the speakers to get the three forward facing drivers to work together optimally. This may have something to do with the first-order crossovers.

I have played around with both speakers in small, medium and large rooms. While there are significant performance advantages associated with the 2Cs, their use in small rooms creates several problems that do not exist in larger rooms, or with the 1s.

Both speakers work well with NAD integrateds. As I said above, the 1Bs sound awesome in a room with dimensions that are close to yours.