speakers/turntable for Marantz 2325

Hello - longtime lurker and first-time poster. I apologize for adding to the "what should I get" posts, but everyone here seems knowledgeable. After doing a bunch of research, everything sounds kind of intimidating to me.

My dad had a 2325 receiver in the basement that I just had restored and I'm looking to build a stereo system around it (gotta start somewhere).

I listen to everything under the sun and have a large vinyl collection ranging from old caribbean and cuban music to jazz, "indie rock" (such as arcade fire, the national, etc.), old folk and blues...the list goes on.

Anyway, I have a budget of around $3,000. Here's what I'm looking at:

Turntable: VPI Scoutmaster, Rega P5, or Linn LP12. The search has been kind of intimidating. I want something I can set up, not have to mess with often and get a lot of mileage out of (Leaning against the Linn for that reason).

I like the VPI stuff, but is it to "neutral" running through that old tuner?

Would a Scoutmaster or Rega not match the phono output of the Marantz Receiver? I would rather buy used and get more than new and get less...

Speakers: I need bookshelf monitors due to space restrictions. They don't have to be loud, they just have to sound good. Looking at the Epos ELS, Epos M12, Old Advent and AR speakers. I like the look of the vintage speakers, but I'm more concerned with sound.

CD player: for now, I'm going to use the aux function and a portable player and get something serious next year. Right now, just want the turntable and the speakers.

Any thoughts? I have a feeling, as does my girlfriend, that the insanity...the upgrades...the tinkering has begun!

Thanks for your patience and help.

And welcome to our world! If I were in your shoes, I think I would re-order my priorities a little bit. If you have $3k to spend, you might want to consider this arrangement:

1) Get a good turntable and cartridge, but not a VPI. There is a Denon DP45 for sale here for $175 that will give you everything you need to build a very good system.


2) Mate this up to a good cartridge, one of the Denon moving coils will work quite well with that turntable and tonearm. This Zu Audio Dl-103 goes for $325:

3) Get a nice moving coil phono preamp to match the cartridge. There are any number of fine MC phono preamps available for right around $300-500.

4) Get some great speakers. Expect to spend about $1500. Buy used, you'll get much better value and sound for your dollar. I know you asked for stand-mounted speakers, but if you have the room for stands, you also have the room for tall, narrow floor-standing speakers. Taks a good look at these KEF Reference 107s - originally $5000, get them here for $1200. KEF speakers are world renowned for being VERY smooth; having incredible, pinpoint imaging; and these look terrific. Additionally, they're only 13" wide x 17" deep:

5) Splurge just a little bit and buy a decent CD player. Oppo makes several very fine units for right around $225. Or you can buy used for right around $150. Look at the DV-980 or DV-981. Alternatively, a used Denon 3910 would also be an excellent unit.

Denon 3910 ($400 incl. shipping):

Oppo 980 ($140 + shipping)

Approx. $3100 if you get the Denon 3910, $2850 with the Oppo. Throw in another $200 for cables and you're good to go!

Hi, me again [smile]! I would be remiss if I didn't throw in a plug for my current speakers, Gallo Reference 3.1. These have a very small footprint (less than many stand-mounted speakers) and will generally out-perform any stand-mounted speaker at anywhere near its price range, approx. $3k new. At used prices, it's no contest.

There are 5 pairs available here on Audiogon for $1800 or less, and 2 of those pair are $1400 and $1375. You could build a *mighty* fine system around those speakers and still be within your budget.

Do some research on these speakers, I think you'll be suitably impressed. And yes, they can be driven to satisfaction by the Marantz. Additionally, once you're ready to step up to higher-quality amplification, the Gallos will reward you handsomely...

Thanks for the response and the welcome. Actually, I need bookshelf speakers because of space restrictions. I haven't heard of the Denon stuff. I'm going to do some research on it.

Would a phono pre-amp running through the built in Marantz phono pre-amp cancel out the impact of a good, dedicated phono pre-amp? Sorry if I'm showing my ignorance here...
The Phono input on the Marantz is built to handle a moving magnet (MM) type cartridge. A moving coil (MC) cartridge requires an MC phono preamp. MC cartridges have lower output than MM cartridges, therefore the MC phono preamp has to boost the cartridge's signal more.

As for speakers, the best thing to do is to go to some hi-end dealers and audition/buy speakers. This way you'll sure to get something that works proeprly for your special situation. The downside to this is the expense. However, it may be possible to find a dealer who is willing to cut you a nice deal and/or he may have some speakers in stock (perhaps trade-ins, B-stock, demos, etc.) that are favorably priced.

*If* you already know what speakers you want, then you could use Audiogon and the other websites to find a good deal.

Some speaker mfgrs. almost always produce very nice speakers - KEF, B&W, Revel, Usher, etc. It is almost impossible to buy a bad speaker from these mfgrs.

Here are some very fine B&W 805s that would seem to fit the bill:

Here's a very nice pair of Spendors:

Tyler Acoustics "Taylo" (these have gotten stellar reviews):

If you end up with ported speakers (very likely, most small speakers need a port in order to be efficient and to have decent bass) and are going to place the speakers on a bookshelf, be sure to get speakers that have a forward firing port. A rear port would simply get muffled.

Of the 3 speakers I listed above, I'd be inclined to go with the Tylers. Ty (the owner) has a very good reputation and the speakers shown have a warranty and a trade-up path...

Good Luck!

*Would a phono pre-amp running through the built in Marantz phono pre-amp cancel out the impact of a good, dedicated phono pre-amp?*

If you want to use a MC cartridge you could certainly run a step up transformer into the built-in phono section of your receiver, and it would work very well. If your Marantz's phono section is like the one in my Marantz 2230, it's at least the equivalent of the MM side of the MF LPSV3 (a stereophile B-rated phono stage). You could also use a very nice MM cartridge instead of messing with SUTs and additional cables, at least initially.

As nice as the built-in phono section of my 2230 is, I'm using a Wright WPP 100 tube phono stage with it (running it through the tape input). I have a couple of SUTs that I use with a SoundSmith rebuilt DL103, and a small number of vintage MMs. But I do hate leaving the nice phono section in the Marantz unused.

For speakers you might also look in the direction of ACI. The Sapphire models are stand-mounted, easy to drive, have gotten great reviews for over a decade, and have often been compared to speakers at 3-4X the price. New ones are about $1700 from ACI; used ones pop up from time to time in here but usually don't last long when they're priced right.


06-10-08: Chicagodrummer
...I need bookshelf speakers because of space restrictions. ...
Are you planning to put the speakers on actual bookshelves, or on speaker stands? If on stands, then there are many small footprint floor standing speakers that would occupy about the same space as a mini-monitor on a stand. For example, the Gallo Reference 3 or 3.1 has a footprint of 8"w x 14"d. The Totem Hawks are less than 7" x 10", but 34" tall.

If you go with small speakers, there are so many good ones at reasonable prices. I saw a review of a $500 pair of PSB Image B25 compacts that had astonishing smoothness and linearity.

But again, Totem has quite a lineup of compact speakers that produce surprising bass and power handling in the 100-150w range (a good match with the Marantz 2325).

Another candidate would be the Paradigm Reference Studio 20.

As for turntables, you said,
The search has been kind of intimidating. I want something I can set up, not have to mess with often and get a lot of mileage out of (Leaning against the Linn for that reason).
Given that you want something rugged, reliable, dependable, and non-fussy, you may want to consider something from the Technics SL12x0 family or the Denon DP500M. Yes, they're direct drives with removable headshells, but that makes cartridge installation and swapping easier. They have smooth, silky controls, are built to really close tolerances, have speed accuracy you won't find elsewhere for anything near the price, and the tonearms are not too shabby.

If you go for the Technics, I suggest you order from www.kabusa.com, and get the tonearm rewire, tonearm fluid damper, Isonoe feet, and possibly the fluid damper. If you get the SL1210 M5G, you don't need the tonearm rewire.

As for "audiophile" belt drive turntables, it seems that the Regas are the least fussy. You could get a Rega P5 and put on a Rega Exact cartridge, and alignment would be automatic. I heard the Exact cartridge on a P7 and was very impressed. Incredibly listenable.
Would a phono pre-amp running through the built in Marantz phono pre-amp cancel out the impact of a good, dedicated phono pre-amp?
Actually, since the Marantz already has a phono section, if you got a low-output moving coil cartridge, all you'd need is the stepup transformer, and Denon's own AU-300LC transformer is a perfect match for the DL-103 or Zu-103. You would plug that into the Marantz's phono input.

If you use an outboard phono preamp, however, you'd plug that into the Marantz's "Aux" input, or you could plug it into a tape input and listen by activating the corresponding "Tape Monitor" button.
I have a 2325 which I too got from my father. I recapped the power supply, relamped and replaced the main filter caps. It sounds none too shabby.

The Marantz is used primarily for listening to FM radio or to monitor needledrops. It's in the same rack space as my main system and is front-ended by the same analog and digital as the main system. The 2325 uses Spendor 3/5 mini-monitors. As I can A/B the 2325 against a BAT pre/Ayre amp/Harbeth in my main system, the Marantz still compares well if kept at moderate volume.

In the spirit of the vintage vibe, I'd simply get a Technics SL-1210 and run a nice MM like an Ortofon 2M Black into the 2325 phono section. For speakers, any BBC-type mini monitor like the Epos and you will have nice music. The Technics and the 3/5s have been (In my old neighborhood, they would say "Not for nuthin'") around for as long as the 2325 is old. For example, a new 1210, 2M Black and used Spendors will cost approx. $1.5K. Lot's of budget left for vinyl purchases! The sound won't be skewed to ultra-detailed as some modern hi-fi gear but at the time the 2325 was made, that sonic signature wasn't invented yet.

For fun, I had run a MC cart into the Marantz phono with a K&K stepup transformer and it was OK too. But putting a MC cart into a 2325 was the the first step across a philosophical divide that I didn't want to pursue - I'd use the 2325 to simply make music rather than chase hi-fi.
Good advice, Carbonti. The Technics is period correct for the Marantz, and I agree that a good MM cart would keep the resolution level uniform, which promotes musical cohesiveness and prevents constant "leapfrogging" of various components.

Other cartridges to consider are the new Ortofon 2M series (probably Blue), the Denon DL-160 (really great with the KAB fluid damper and a Sumiko headshell), or the Goldring 10x2 series. kabusa.com has the best prices on the Goldring carts that I've seen anywhere.
Carbonti and Johnnyb53 have it right on turntable and cartridge and the OPPO 980H is a steal from Amazon at $169.95 with free shipping. The only other recommendation I want to insert is Reference 3a Da Capo speakers. Or Zu Tones.
This system is going to be screamingly good for relatively small money. If you have any bucks left over the Technics upgrade path will justly absorb them.
I concur to perhps take the least painful, and expensive path, yet will provide solid sound, and enjoyment. The Technics 12XX series has all the bells, and whistles built in, strobe, pitch, light, etc.
KAB would be the source, and there's a plethora of beneficial mods-upgrades to this Table. With care, the table will last literal decades without a hiccup.

No, this is not actually a cheap route, as a fully modded KAB Technics will run you close to $1000. One does not have to opt for every mod, and the one most important Mod I would opt for, would be the Cardas Tonearm Rewire by Kevin at KAB. Items like Arm Damper, Strobe Disabler, seperate Power Supply, different, better Headshells (such as the Sumiko HS-12) can more easily be added over time by the end user.

A very good Cartridge for the money, which will be compatible with the built-in Marantz Phono Pre, would be the Audio Technica AT150MLX, about $260 from LP Gear. This Cartridge could also take advantage of a better, external MM Phono Pre in the future if one desired, or felt a need to attain better sound. At least with many MM Cartridges, they are end user friendly-re-tippable, with Stylus Assemblies that are easily replaced.

As for speakers, keep in mind that many smallish speakers will not fully showcase the powerful brunt that the Marantz 2325 can provide. Being the nostalgic that I am, and if it was me, I'd probably try to pair the Marantz with a mint pair of JBL L-100 Speakers.
Yes, they're a bookshelf, but a large one, (12" 3-Way) and could of course be placed on Stands of one desired.

Of course there were countless other vintage JBL Speakers that might fit your criteria, and sound likes.

Generally, finding a really clean pair of these JBLs I mention, will provide you a speaker that will not lose value, should you decide to later sell them.

You could easily go the route of a Base Stock Technics 1210 from somewhere like musicians friend, and still have a very enjoyable piece of equipment. Also save mucho money, versus going to a VPI Scout, which will run you list of $1800.

I hope this, and some other ideas from other forumites will help you select-decide the right path for yourself. mark
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the very good -- and grounded -- advice. I ended up re-reading several of the posts (which I understand better now than I did the first read through).

This thread has definately changed my approach as to what I'm looking for. Since I'm going to be bidding on a couple of things 'round here, I don't want to say what I'm going to do yet. I'll post here in the near future and tell you what I got and why.

I will say that my basic plan is to get a good starter system and try to get things that allow me to "upgrade" if necessary without breaking the bank out of the gate. I am going to look for a cheaper turntable and more expensive speakers.

Thanks again!
I had a 2270 with Polk Model SRA in mint condition with a Denon DP1000, SME II.