Starting from scratch ..need advice from you

Hi all,

Its been a while since I have been here! I have been pitching into the audio fund for several years now and this may be an odd goal but here goes!

I am changing a "den" over to a room to enjoy movies, music etc, the room is roughly 30 ft x 18 ft , it will be used for movies but audio is the big concern! I am really considering some vintage components , I do have a set of Focal 836 towers but I am leaning towards running two sets of towers up front, I am looking at some 70's model Marantz amps currently but have not made a purchase yet, I am not beyond running several amps but Where it gets complicated I would like to be able to use MP3, Flac, etc, basically mix new technology with old. I know budget is a consideration for all systems and I would like to stay under 10k for amps, a second set of mains, surrounds and equipment needed.

I do tend to listen at higher volume levels from time to time..... dynamic sound, clarity, good mids and highs are a must!

I don't mind at all looking for quality used equipment!

Let me know what you guys think and suggest!

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I'm using a custom built set of Tannoy HPD 315's ca (1975). They have been updated with newer surrounds, crossovers, and massive 150 liter bass-reflex cabinets.

They are used in my 34' X 16.5' (w/cathedral ceilings) room in a combined surround capable, two-channel centric system.

I can listen to vinyl using a tube preamp and SET 300B amp, or switch to Class D power amps that put out as much as 500 Wpc.

I'm also using a 15" Tannoy passive sub, powered by a Crown XTi 2002 power amp, bridged to mono, that provides 1600 Watts into 8 ohms, along with a 12" sub I rebuilt using after-market parts.

The Tannoys have had no problem with having the available power, I generally don't listen very loud anymore, but the sound is all I could ever hope for, and the speakers and subs are able to create a very pleasurable amount of pressurization in my large room.

You may consider looking into Tannoys. I used vintage drivers and custom-built stuff (and DIY) to save money, but Tannoy's newer stuff is nice, too. Some of it though, is quite expensive.

Just my 2 cents worth. Hope everthing works out to your satisfaction.

Why would you want two sets of main speakers?
As a general principle, I prefer quality over quantity. I also run my bluray dvd player through my integrated amp to watch movies, though I take the purist approach and stick to 2 channel music which is my priority. Keeping it simple and focusing on 2 channel music has allowed me to buy better speakers and upstream gear, and invest more in isolation products, cables & AC power such as an audiophile wpo. Running multiple channels and mixing different speakers and subs can have a deleterious effect on coherency and musicality.

In my system, I aim for a sound which is natural, coherent, engaging, musical & non-fatiguing. By "musical" I mean that music sounds lifelike in a word. I run a small, but very powerful Vitus integrated amp, Magico S5's and a Vitus cdp as my main source. But you don't need to spend anything like that money to achieve similar goals.

Though admittedly this is quite a departure from your stated plans, FWIW I would stick to a 2 channel setup, sell your Focal 836 speakers & look for a 2nd hand pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers, 2nd hand Modwright KWA-150 amp & 2nd hand Modwright LS-100 preamp. If you're patient, for about $14-15k you would have an awesome setup.

The Legacy Focus SE speakers are great value high end speakers. They have awesome bass which digs down to 18Hz & thanks to its sealed box design, bass is tight and accurate. The SE's run 2 x 12" long throw low bass drivers & 2 x 7" mid-bass couplers, so definitely no subs required! The KWA-150 would be delivering 250 watts @4ohms into the Focus SE's which are very efficient (95.4db), so that is *plenty* of power.

Also fyi, Dan Wright from Modwright offers a Dac and Phono option for the LS100 preamp, so you could later get the dac option and run it as a dac-preamp to stream music from a laptop or HDD. If you wanted to later take the sound up a notch further, you could upgrade the tubes to something like a Genalex Gold Lion (GZ34 rectifier) & Shuguang Black Treasures (6SN7). There is also an upgrade path for the KWA-150 which can be factory-upgraded to 'SE' spec. I am a fan of Modwright who offer the best customer service and back up support in the industry.

The above options imho would massively improve the sound of your system & offer great value. That gear will hold it's 2nd hand value well, so even if you later had a change of direction it is very unlikely you'd lose much/any money. They are keepers for sure. Hope that helps.

I am also curious as to the reason for using two sets of front speakers.
Two pairs of front speakers and 40 year old amps? I got nuthin'. Good luck with that.
I am not dead set on anything, old or new amps would be fine, I was just leaning towards vintage, but two pairs of fronts and an amp per front or an amp per set of fronts..what would be the problem? I am also not dead set on 2 sets of fronts, that's why I am here, to learn from those who are vastly more knowledgeable than I am!
Melbguy1, have you ever had a chance to listen to Plinius hiato integrated. I have opportunity to by new Vitus RI-100, but can not demo it in my house or anywhere. Do you think Vitus is better overall than Plinius?
Thank you.
the two sets of front speakers would be WEIRD ... SOUNDS like you are trying for a theater type set-up.

vintage tube amps with some Klipschorns or big Altec's would be my choice

I would probably stay 2 channel BUT you could probably use Klipsch Heritage line speakers for center/surround duty
Denon, I am not familiar with the Plinius Hiato, but I have heard the RI-100. It obviously has similar power on paper to the Plinius. Build quality is very good as with all Vitus products. I would describe the sound as powerful, smooth and on the dark side of neutral. The Vitus would be a good match with something like YG, Marten Bird or a classic Infinity such as the IRS Sigma.

There are a lot of good integrated amps in that price range however incl: Gryphon Diablo 300, Simaudio Moon Evo 700i, Pass Labs INT-250 & Vac Sigma 160i SE. Or on the low side of that price range, there are also the Modwright KWI-200 & new Unison Unico 150.
If you can integrate two sets of speakers there is a plus can come across much more dynamic with less strain at louder volumes. The issues is, "if you can integrate them"! Problems arise with phase cancelation, which causes colorations and issues with effecting the soundstage width and depth. However, when done well, it can be of great benefit.

There are many multi-driver/ cabinet systems and running two main pairs can be seen as sort of a quasi-multi cabinet system.

However, that being said you might be better served to run a pair of subs with your speakers, which will increase your frequency response and soundstage, which subs tend to do.

A 40 year old amp could be perfect, if it has be gone over by a tech. and out of spec components replaced. It might give you the sound you want and be the right right eye candy, too.

I'm not that oriented with what works with Focal speakers but, so other should chime in with their recommendations.
Ok Guys,
I picked up a MC2100 from a friend, I plan on using it for my rears. I am looking for suggestions powering the front three channels, and a good A/V processor. I really like what I have read regarding the Mcintosh equipment although it is pricey. I have listened to Mcintosh in the past and really liked the sound. I was also considering an Emotiva processor. I think for right now I am going to focus on amps, processor etc and see what my choices sound like on the Focal 836V's and some B&W surrounds.
I am not set on vintage as earlier stated, great separation and sound is key to me.
Should I be looking for balanced equipment for the rest of the equipment? In the Mcintosh line, what amp or amps for the fronts and what A/V Processor would you guys suggest? Remember I am looking for pre owned equipment if I am to use Mcintosh at a decent me devent is between 800-2500 per component
OK, After making some decisions, here is a new spin on my original question.
Hi all,
I am new to the forum, I have been reading for some time but just now joined. There is no real audio retailers within 60 miles of me so I wanted to get some advice on here.
I have a current set up in my living room (Onkyo TX-NR905, Focal 836V, Focal Center, B&W sides and rears)
I havent been really happy with it, and the Onkyo is getting ready to be repaired a 3rd time.
The sound is not very dynamic, mids and highs aren't very pronounced and the separation leaves something to do desired for sure!
I heard the 836V's at a shop in Atlanta being powered by a Mcintosh amp, I was very pleased in that scenario.
I have since decided to dedicate another room for audio and some video use. I am going to pick up some towers and a center for the first room I mentioned (it is mainly used by the family for TV, Movies) and move the Focal towers and center to the new room. The new room from from to back isn't wide enough to run rear surrounds unless I run wall mount or in wall speakers in which they would be right behind the seating area, I could run sides which I intend. I also have been fortunate enough to land a MC2100 amp in which I was going to drive the side speakers with, I was thinking of picking up a nice set of larger B&W book shelf speakers and put them on stands.

Now the first part where I am needing help is a A/V Processor, I would mind looking for a used Mcintosh, or looking at the Emotiva XMC-1, I cannot seem to find a guide online that tells info on Mcintosh products to where I could make a list of products to look for that have the features I want. I am basically wondering if I need to run balanced between the processor and amp/amps (which I know it cannot be done with the MC2100 but would be possible for the fronts if that is a feature I need to look for) I would be running a CD player, Blue ray. I would like capability to plug in a phone or streaming media device as well.

With the above being stated, I will also need a 3 channel amp, or a two channel and mono, or 3 mono's to run the front three channels, just as previously stated I looked at some of the new Emotiva stuff but should I stick with searching for used Mcintosh, if so what do I need to be looking for?

I would like to be able to listen to SAT radio, Pandora etc, I am really into music of all sorts and currently I have about 2500-3500 CD's but I need to step into the newer technology, I know very little about MP3, Flac etc but I understand its the way to go, I know years ago when Napster came out I had a lot of music on my PC but its all gone now and I need to start from scratch, so what is the best device to look for? Where does one acquire the music/files in HQ?

As you can tell I need HELP...

Thank so much!

I use OPPO 105 DVD in my "2 channel system" because it streams most sources; I have 4Tb outboard hard drive with WAV, FLAC and MP3 files; works great.  Also recognizes jump drive for temp listening.

For my gear, I'm Emotiva; great value. This Surround Pre is getting great reviews and has "room correction".

For gobs of power, use the XPR-2 on the mains w the XPR-5 on the other channels.  Or the XPR-7 if you're budget limited.

My speakers are "matched" Paradigm.  The benefit is timbre and efficiency matching that you don't get by "mix & match".

I believe the Emotiva value is unsurpassed and check out the reviews!