Starter System Suggestions

My godson has graduated from college, gotten his first job and moved into an apartment with friends. He has asked me to help him put together a starter system. His room is a fairly large rectangle and the system will go on the long wall but pushed down toward one end. His dad (my best bud) has always had a good hifi (which I have helped him with) so, fortunately or no, he knows what good sounds like. His budget is around $2K for an integrated (with digital inputs, DAC but no phono--a headphone amp would be a bonus) and speakers. He is thinking bookshelves but could go with small floorstanders if they were within his price range. He likes speakers with a wide dispersion pattern and a slightly warm presentation. I am interested in your suggestions for synergistic combinations that meet his needs in terms of functionality. I am going to encourage him to follow the thread and maybe contribute so please keep the suggestions flowing. Some brands I've suggested he explore:

Speakers: Proac Tablettes, Nola Boxers, Gershman Sonograms, ATCs, Harbeth

Electronics: Peachtree, NAD, Rotel, Bel Canto

I haven't heard most of these nor do I know how well they would work together so please weigh on the models above as well as additional suggestions.

Many thanks.
Just a quick note from a very interested but not very widely listened beginner/hobby-ist:

Bel Canto and Harbeth are out of the price range. not sure about the others (specifically Peachtree, as i seem to remember them having some very quality lower/beginner-budget pieces, can anyone else help here?), but my suggestion: do some quick searching on those names and see what you come up with (price wise).

NAD and Rotel certainly have integrateds within your (his) budget, and also make quality items.

Questions for you:
1: is he wanting/needing new items, or will used suit him fine? you can score some great deals on (lightly) used items here (as i'm sure you're aware), saving tons of money and getting great sound in the process.

2: is he looking for a dedicated 2(.1) channel system, or is he wanting Home Theater stuff (5 channels or more)?

3: does he need/want sources within this budget (cd/dvd player, phono, etc.)? or is it just the integrated and a pair of speakers he's after?

4: what kind of listening does he (and his roommates) do? rocking party jams? quiet introspective evenings with art-house friends? is he in the choir... or do they watch movies and kill each other on X-box/Playstations?

depending upon the answers to the questions above, you may want to steer him towards any/all of the following:

Sim Audio Moon I1: integrated amp made in canada; 2 on audiogon right now for $900 and $999. this is my bedroom system/dedicated 2 channel amp, and i love it. 'only' 50 wpc, but clean, clear and delicious sound.

Emotiva: direct-to-market (internet sales only) outfit designed in the US but made where labor is cheap: kinda win-win, especially for those on a just-out-of-school budget. (and there are a few emotiva products on audiogon currently).

Onkyo: more for home theater stuff, but great sounding and well priced.

Marantz: as above, slightly more expensive, and most would agree that the sound quality is worth it. used marantz (especially their HT stuff, which is universally lauded) here on audiogon is well discounted, but their vintage stuff can get pricey...

speakers: used B&W to fill his budget really can't go wrong, but they seem... ubiquitous ('cause they're awesome!). if he's looking for more chic-appeal, he may have to dig deeper into his paychecks =]

Also, don't forget cables etc. some will swear by Radioshack copper wire, others insist upon... others. just make sure to keep them in mind for budget, and depending on room size/space/layout, more might be in order to accommodate roommates (not tripping) etc.

a place for more discussion/opinions and help for this kind of thing would be lots of helpful folks there, as well.

Good luck, and let us know how you/he goes!
I'd like to suggest an Emotiva XPA-200 amp which is not too large physically but has enough power to power most bookshelf speakers with ease. Then, the Emotiva Stealth DC-1. Has a full function preamp, nice DAC, plus has dual headphone outputs. An exceptional value for the money, really. Shipped direct, good warranty plus includes a return policy.
I have the same amp and I'm amazed at how close it compares to my much more expensive Monarchy Audio amps.
I'll leave other Agon folks to suggest speakers.
Your selections are nice, but a bit high priced for a $2K budget. I paid more than that for my Sonograms alone, used.
Abucktwoeghty: Agreed--there may be a little room to stretch with a sympathetic dad....How do you like your Sonograms? I heard these at a show a while back and thought they were the best value for money that day and one of the best sounding speakers I had heard all day at any price. They have a "rightness" that was very compelling. Comments would be appreciated.

Pdspecl: It check out Emotive--thank you.
if he likes warm... and full, and full range --- and he likes good imaging... well I take you to a speaker model that is historic but so very, very good after all these years. Get him a pair of Vandersteen 1c's. You can get them new for $850. They are great speakers that do all types of music well. Or, better still... get a used pair of Vandersteen 2's --- they can be purchased used for under 1K (or thereabouts).

That gives you 1K at least for an integrated. The Vandies (I have owned and still own this brand) like power... but also play exceedingly well with low power tube amps. Go after a used Vincent integrated (hybrid) and you have a great system.

Again... the classic Vandersteen's are the way to go. Warm. Rich. Fiull range. Image well. They do everything well and have no weaknesses. They do nothing great --- but everything well.

I know the Tablettes and the Boxers well. They each do some things better than the 1c's. They both image better. The Boxers are more transparent. But neiher even remotely compare to the 1cs in terms of fullness, full-range ability, palpable presence or the ability to play well at low volume.
Both will sound more "flashy" in a short term listening session... but neither -- at least to my ear --- are close to the Vandersteens in terms of overall attributes.

Go Vandies.
Hey everybody, just wanted to introduce myself- I'm the lucky duck! Thanks for your recommendations. To clarify, I'm looking for something that will specifically sound good with the music from my computer that I have stored in lossless format as my primary music source. Thanks again!
REGA brioR integrated amp
REGA ApolloR CDP and or DAC as sources
REGA RS1 speakers
REGA ICs and speaker and power cables

Goliath killers for the money
google the reviews and better still a worthy audition
Have to agree with Stealth DC-1 DAC for $699.00 and a pair of Stealth 6 or 8 powered monitors. All brand new with a 5 year warranty and small enough to transport when he moves.

Pick up a pair of used stands and some new Mogami Neglex cables built to length needed.
Dodgealum, I'm very pleased with the Sonograms. They're spec'd out down to 28hz which is fairly low for speakers of this size/cost. They are balanced and have an excellent midrange which comes from the 2 inch Morel soft dome driver. My prior speakers were Wilson Audio Witt II's that I liked a lot, but felt were a little too large for the room. I bought these without an audition, just going on the reviews and comments found online.
I just put a new power cord on my amp that is making them sing even sweeter. Who knows how much more can be squeezed out of them with better equipment in the chain?! If I only had that Pass Labs X250 amp I should never have sold...
As you stated, they are an excellent value for the money.
Rotel + B&W = great entry level system.

Go with Kimber for cabling

Get a used REGA dac for the computer stuff.
Emotiva for the power and DAC. Used Snell's for the speakers. If he can find a good set of E II's that have been refoamed with Audio Note surrounds, he will be impressed. Vandersteen 2 CE's are very nice also, but I've heard both and I really like the Snells. You can get them for about 300-400 done right, but they are somewhat difficult to find in very good condition.
NAD!!!! Get the boy a nice NAD integrated and some monitors. It's the best way to start. Seriously, nothing beats NAD for the price. He'll never forget it when he moves on.
Check out Music Direct EPOS EPIC 2 sale ($800 speaker for $400). Use with NAD 326BEE. Buy used dac and V_Link USB/SPDIF converter. Kimber or Audioquest cable. BUY all cable used. A 2K system is at a price point where one finds great return/$$.
I would buy a integrated w/o DAC and a separate DAC. DACs become outdated particularily the USB input.

For $2k that includes an int. amp and speakers your godson(or you) need to lower your standards/expectations. Currently the Gershman Sonogram retails for $5495(lol). For $2k or a little over that amount get a Magnepan MMG or used ATC 7/11 with a new Bada 3.3R(Pacific Valve). The Bada does not have a built in DAC but if the objective is sound quality this is hard to beat. If the MMG or ATC are to neutral/dry look into several used Spendor/Opera speakers as another option.