Small Room. 2-channels. $1,500 & nothing else.

The title says it all: Small, 9.5'x11' room. Hardwood floors. Absolutely no gear to start with. Looking for a 2 channel system. $1,500. Used or new or refurbed - it's all good if it sounds good!

What would you do?

I have a nice HT/downstairs audio system in the way of an NAD T762, PSB Stratus Silver i's, PSB C5i center, PSB Sub 7 15" sub, NAD 542 CD, and a cheap DVD player. Quite frankly, superb sound for the less than $2.5k I spent on it. But the reality is that I am setting up a second room upstairs in the house as a "retreat". It will have little in it - a couch, small flatscreen TV. Beer cooler.

And a 2 channel stereo.

I am working on keeping this ultra simple. As simple as I can: Int/Amp, CDP, Speakers. Wires. No sub wanted. Just good, clean, enjoyable, upgradeable 2-channel sound.

My initial thoughts:

Int Amp:
1. NAD 320 BEE
2. NAD 352
4. Music Hall Maverick
5. Jolida 202
6. Jolida 302
- The Music Hall Maverick is by far the most expensive with a retail of $1250...I would definitely have to find it used. But it is one very lovely looking int amp. and I daresay that the listening has been very good...

1. Music Hall CD25
2. NAD T542 or 521 BEE (could sub the 521 into the downstairs...take the 542 upstairs...)

1. PSB Stratus Mini's
2. Green Mountain Europa
3. B&W ???

As silly as it seems, I want this system to LOOK good, not just sound good. This is my private home away from home. Pictures on the wall, peace, quiet. Aesthetics are all part of this as well.

Type of music I listen to? Classical, Jazz. New Age. Opera. Save the rock & roll for downstairs - this is a retreat room where I can find peace.

This is a wide open type of request. I suppose if I had more money, I would likely go with the Music Hall CD25 & Maverick and then try to find a set of speakers to match it - but I figure that the best I could do then would be a $2k system...which is out of my reach at least in the short term.

What say you, Audiophiles?
Option #1(If you can pull the speakers three or four feet from a wall.

--circuit city loss leader disk player,under $100
--Scott Nixon dac,$250
--Nad 740 integrated,used about $400
--Magnepan MMG,$575

Option #2

--disk player and dac as above
--a stock Jolida 202 or Cayin 30 amp(might have to shop for a good price,used)
--Either Meadowlark Kestrals,Vandersteen 1 Cs,or Green Mountain Europas.

--Rug on floor
--tapestry(s) behind speakers
--plants or something soft at first reflection points.

Enjoy the process
I hear you. I started a room more than a year ago and believe I found a mix that works very well at about $1,300. All of the equipment was used but mint. My room is approximately 12X11 and fairly hard. There were many changes made to get here, most of them with speaker selection. I would suggest you browse through the virtual systems listed on Audiogon under the budget heading for some very interesting and diverse ideas. My system is here Experimentation is fun, good luck in your search.
I have almost the same size room and use it as my retreat to listen to music and smoke a cigar.I have a Jolida JD-202(bought new here),a pair of Spendor S3/5 monitors(bought used here),a Cal Labs Sigma(bought used here)and an old Magnavox CDB-650(bought new in the late 80s).Cables are all Audioquest I bought on closeouts at HCM Audio.Total cost about $1500.00.Sounds great with Blues,Jazz,Vocals and Rock.
Here you go and it is all right here on Audiogon.

Mcintosh MA-5100 Integrated amp great condition $350 obo

Magnepan SMGc

California Audio Delta Transport

California Audio Lab Alpha tube DAC

Cardas Interconnects brand new BLOWOUT free airmail shipping

Audioquest Bedrock 8ft
So far, it seems that the generally recommended method for CD play is to go with a cheap CD and a separate DAC. Am I reading that correctly? Is it that the would bperform better than the MH CD25 or a T542? If that is the case, well, fair enough. That gives me a good idea how to pursue.

My initial starting point I believe will be:
Int/Amp: NAD 320BEE - $320 refurb.
CDP: NAD T542 - $350 refurb.
Speakers: PSB Silver Mini's - $600 Demo's.

That puts me right at $1270 + IC's...

I am used to the NAD/PSB sound - so I figure that this will give me a good starting points. Call it a memorization point.

I think this might be a "cop-out" system though. No work, decent performance. Doing the work to develop the system is half the fun!

Other combo's I want to make sure I try

Int/Amp: Jolida 202/302 - I have a local dealer on this. Used: $500?
CDP: MH CD25 - new: $550
Speakers: GM Europa's - if I can find a local dealer. $750.

Well, budget blown there at $1800. Would have to cut somewhere. Guess that I would have to make sure I buy used on the CDP & int/amp...

Also want to try the Kestre's & Swifts...

Any other thoughts? This is great stuff so far.
"So far, it seems that the generally recommended method for CD play is to go with a cheap CD and a separate DAC. Am I reading that correctly?"
I would hav to say no and at the same time defend my sugestion of the CAL Delta/Alpha combo. This is a very good transport/DAC. The review are very favorable and also owning one I'm here to tell you that for the money a very good deal. You owe it to yourself to look into this set a little more. A way of saving a little on this would be to go with the Sigma DAC. That would save you approx $150 to $200. I also think the Maggies are a good bang for the buck but I will admit that not everybody like the sound of these speakers. I've owned Maggies since 1982 so I guess you could say I'm a bit biased. You do get three gold stars for at least looking into the type of equipment that you are instead of running down to the local "superstore" and plopping down your hard earned cash on some super "all in one" system.
I would check out the Onix Ref 1 in Rosewood and Chinese Melody tube integrated deal at You will have to look around under news and future products to find this. Call them for the deal. Both for $1200 or so and a $200 credit on their cabling. There's no reason this shouldn't make nice music in your sized room. They also will have a version of the Music Hall CD player for around $300 or so, with mods available. These folks have been around the audio industry for a long time, at various companies.

If you don't like that then the $1500 offering of speaker, pre and amp and cabling is also thought to be quite good.

I also like the idea of a Pioneer DVD player and a Scott Nixon tubedac, although it would be more expensive than the av123 CD player. (The tubedac has no upsampling - an advantage I think.)