Setting up an audio system


I am a new member. I haven't listened to music in some time and am going to set up a system . I'm trying to balance price versus performance and I'm not sure if I've allocated properly. Currently what I've put together is B&W 802 D speakers , either a Cambridge Audio Azur 851 A or a Rogue Cronus magna amplifier , a Marantz CD 6005 CD player and a Audio Technica LP 120 vinyl player. Obviously the cost declines from speakers on down. My thoughts are that I can always upgrade the CD player and turntable later . I would appreciate the members advice about my choices and should I be considering other equipment . I understand now I need to actually audition the equipment. Thanks for your help.
making2
Is vinyl important to you? How many LPs do you own? What are your musical goals?
I'm not sure vinyl is important it's just having the ability to use whatever medium I want to. My musical taste is widely varied. I listen to most genres
Since you have put together some good gear my advice would be to put off even considering any changes until you've listened to what you have for quite awhile. You'll learn what you like or dislike and then come back with specific questions that would help folks here help guide you toward what you might like better. And listening to other gear whenever you get the chance can be helpful but can also be confusing unless you can insert a piece into your own system.
I appreciate the insight I've gotten. Sfar the only stuff I've ordered is the turntable and CD player . Those obviously are the cheapest part of the system.
I have a system I haven't used in 25 years with a Luxman receiver and Klipsch Forte speakers. I plan on dusting them off and hooking the turntable and CD player into them if the receiver still works while I decide about the rest of the equipment . I never had time to listen to it much because of work but I'm now entering retirement /semi- retirement and thought now I have time to do other things and why not get back into audio and put together a system .
Like most of us ,the choices I made 27 years ago were based on what I could afford then but now my options are much less limited financially.
Based on the research I've done primarily on the internet this is the system I'm considering and I wanted to get members advice is this a good "fit"system or are there other components I should consider .
I started with the speakers as I'd read such good things about B&W 802 D speakers . The stuff I read about these speakers is really what piqued my interest in setting up a system . I haven't ever heard them yet but plan on "auditioning " a pair at a dealer next week .
I'm interested if members think there are other speakers I should audition and what would be a good choice for an amplifier/ pre amp or combination as I've listed to power the system .
Have you actually purchased or just narrowed down the options? You can start with budget and then allocate accordingly. And, will you have an on-going budget or is this a one time buy? Speakers are also the starting point of a system. Make sure that you can live with them and are not just in love with marketing and perceived value and reviews. Balance it all out. Are you willing to buy used equipment? Used equipment is a good way to hear and listen. BUT, do not get trapped into a buying and selling frenzy. Take road trips if time, family, and budgets permit to see and hear different equipment and live music. Few dealers are one stop shopping, albeit some can be close. Goheelz raised a good point about vinyl. Do you have records now? If so how many? And, what do you want to listen to, how, where, when? I could talk for a long time about this, but, the point is take your time and listen and listen and ask questions. Then, as we have all written or said, let your ears decide. Hope this helps.
Cellorover : Thanks for your input . I'm not the kind of person who is constantly buying or selling anything. I suspect once I put a system together it won't change a lot. The speakers will probably be the last set I'll buy , unless there is some "breakthrough" technology I can't live without .
I can see at some time in the future ? 5 years I might upgrade the amp/preamp maybe move to a McIntosh if I find I'm still happy with everything else. At present I'm not sure I want to put that much money into that part of the system I'm putting together now . Maybe I'm wrong though and it would be better to put $ 7000 to $10000 into that. I doubt that I personally would ever go more than that for that component unless I became so completely enveloped in the experience that I had to go further . That's why I appreciate the members advice .
The CD , turntable part of the system I guess I would move up in those components when and if I became convinced that that was the weak point in the system and I would then decide how much audible difference /improvement at what cost .
I probably have 300-400 vinyl LPs from the " old days " but I'm not sure what shape they are in. My plan was to listen to CDs first primarily but play some vinyl and if I think the sound is better than the CDs , of music that I like buy new LPs of what I think are my favorite discs or albums.
The "old vinyl" deal is something I can relate to. I've kept a pile of LPs dating back to the 60s and bought a "Spin Clean" to clean the damn things after putting together a new phono rig. I've noted this before but it's still worth mentioning (or beating to death): The only thing you can play LPs on is a turntable, and my old LPs that I thought were trashed by crappy turntables and greasy fingers years ago can really sound amazing after cleaning (and replacing the sleeves with MOFIs). If you ignore your LPs, all the music on them will remain unheard...sadly. There are some new tables that sound and look great for small money, plenty of used gear, and you can bring your LPs to life in a big way.
I would suggest that you put the system together using what you have for speakers and amp . Play it for a while and see what it does . At least let the CDP and turntable get broken in . See what you have and what you want to be different/better .
Then come back here and ask for suggestions to change one thing at a time . But remember that this is a system and certain pieces work well together and not so well with others .
Oh , and don't dismiss those old relic LP's . Quite often they are better than the new , improved remasters of today .
Reread Wolf's submission , he's got it right . The newly produced stuff is usually made after being digitized . And I won't open that can of worms here as it is being done elsewhere !

Happy Tunes
Unless you intend on tweaking the amp, you might consider active speakers.
IMHO an important consideration is how you will use the system. Will it be in a dedicated listening room used only for focused listening or will it be in a "living" room where it would be used for focused listening as well as background music? Also what music do you think you will listen too, is most of it on your old LP's or has your interest changed significantly?
This is my 3rd view of this thread and I have been hesitant to respond not knowing if or how to do so. I am in no way the most astute contributor on this forum, and my system budget was, as I take to be, about 1/2 that of yours. However, I find myself very interested in your situation. And regardless of budget, the intent in development of a high end system is more to maximize value than expense.

I was in a similar situation as yourself 4 years ago. I had a system that I owned for over 25 years and desired to develop a new one post retirement. At that time I owned more LPs than CDs, being slow to convert to digital in the 80s and 90s. I came to recognize that times have changed and digital can be made to sound very good. Hence, in the construct of my new system, a process that took ~3 years, I decided to focus toward a digital front end. This resulted in the use of a disc player and a computer as transports into a DAC. I kept my turntable that I purchased in 1983, and bought a new phonostage and cartridge commensurate with what I thought to be its sonic value, to enable continued playing of my LPs. Since then I have expanded my music collection both in style and number greatly(CDs). My system is as it will remain, likely for some time, as I am not prone to upgraditis. I now spend most of my audio funds on music.

Given that you also seem inclined to 'stay putÂ’ with a system once developed, and based on the cost of the speakers you are considering, I suggest the following:

Take your time. The system is more important than the stand alone components. With your budget a truly fine system can be yours.

Be sure that the B&Ws are indeed the speakers for you and the environment in which they will be used. There are many high quality speakers in and under their price range that surely would satisfy.

Research amplification that will match electrically and sonically with the speakers you decide on. To get any speaker to sound its best requires amplification commensurate to the sonic value of the speakers.

The character and quality of sound from a set of speakers is highly dependent on the quality and character of source components. If you decide to pursue vinyl you will likely want to upgrade your turntable/cartridge/phonostage. If digital becomes your primary direction, the 6005 player is a good player, however I would think it an underachiever as a stand alone player for a B&W 802 Diamond terminated system. It however would serve nicely as a transport for a DAC. An outborad DAC will allow further expansion in the future.

As you continue your research you will develop more specific questions. Continue to take advantage of the many experienced contributors on this forum via additional posts.

The trip can be a enjoyable as the destination. Good luck!

Thank you all for the input particularly Mesch. I found on this site a " used " McIntosh MA 7900 integrated amp for $5600 . I've contacted the seller and hope to make a deal although I have never bought anything "used" sight unseen and for me it's a leap of faith to do this .
I started with the speakers as I'd read such good things about B&W 802 D speakers . The stuff I read about these speakers is really what piqued my interest in setting up a system . I haven't ever heard them yet but plan on "auditioning " a pair at a dealer next week ".

I, like Mesch was hesitant to comment about your post too. However now I feel that I should. I am sure the seller of the MA7900 won't like this, but I would hold off buying anything, especially an amp, until you have auditioned and selected the speakers first. Key word being auditioned! Per your post above, you're interested in 802 D's but haven't even heard them yet! Yes, they are fine speakers but also not for everyone. There are many more out there, some that retail for far less, that many would argue sound better.

The point is no one can recommend a speaker to you, especially a review in a magazine. But it should be the first component selected and the system should be built around them. This can only be done by auditioning them and making a short list of sounds best to you. Not a bunch of strangers on the internet, or even paid reviewers in the mags. Once you have decided upon the speakers, then find an amp that matches their quality and will properly drive them. If you get the amp first, whats happens if its not the best match for the speakers you find later that you have fallen in love with? The amp, that you dropped a lot of cash on, suddenly limits you to what speakers you can have.

So my advice is to cool your jets a little, go out and start auditioning the speakers to make sure the 802 D's are truly the right ones for you. Then select the rest. And above all, have fun doing it!
Paraneer : thanks for the advice. I suspect your right I need to probably "cool my jets " a little . I may be a little too over enthused about setting up the system . I think also part of the fun in taking the journey is listening to different " pieces" of the system and picking and choosing based on what the parts sound like to me . Like anything I started with researching the subject as best I can reading other peoples opinions about equipment , deciding on what I think is reasonable to spend and based on that trying to put a system together on "paper " that I would expect to sound good and now as you've said I need to audition the players.
Two options: Take piles of time auditioning various things and make well thought out decisions regarding the compatibility of the components and how they will work with your music preferences, room size, refined esthetic sense, flannel shirt collection, and personal hygiene schedule...or buy decent stuff and start having fun. By the way, regardless of which option you choose, if you become trapped in the life if the Audiophiliac you're gonna change all of it anyway.
Wolf, My personal problem with the latter portion of option 1 is that I often pay more attention to what I put in the CD tray than what shirt I put on and often listen while forgetting to floss. :-).
I'm surprised you haven't dusted off the old Luxman receiver to hear how it performs today. Also surprised no one else has mentioned to give it a try. Best of luck in all your audio endeavor. Enjoy retirement. Have fun.
Mesch...any issue regarding paying too much attention to what you put in your CD tray is obviated by a simple solution: Only put CDs in the tray. Also never underestimate the value of proper clothing while listening to music...my butler dresses me appropriately...Tux for opera, smoking jacket for classical, beret for jazz...I understand not flossing when listening as the little food bits can fly out and lodge in the tube sockets and vinyl grooves, but can be collected later and used as meat loaf filler.
Mikirob ;
Great philes think alike . I suggested , above , to put together a system with what he has and see how it works out !

Making2 ;
Another option is to go out and listen to all of the different systems that you can . Then , when you find one that pleases you and that you would spend money on , do it . Copy that system . And be nice , buy at least one piece from that vendor . I would suggest speakers as they are the most iffy to ship around the country .

Happy Tunes
Hi Saki70,
Yeah, getting old, my eye sight and reading comprehension is waning. Trust you are well. Happy listening!
Break into neighbors homes and give their systems a listen, as this is less annoying to intrepid audio salesmen.