system matching help

I'm about ready to purchase a system that was recommended to me by fellow audiogon members. From reading reviews, i have decided to purchase a conrad johnson premeir 11a amp. My question is what preamplifier should i get, and what are the best speakers for this setup? I'm using it 50%tv/50%music.{rock and roll/dixie chicks type music.} Also what kind of inputs does your suggested preamp have? Can i hook up my satellite tv to it? I have read good reviews about merlin vsm, magnepans, dynaudio contours, sonus faber homages, ML clsz.{ ps I already have a rel storm sub.}thanks!
from your listings of music type etc. it sounds to me that the amp your purchasing might be the wrong amp for the music type. I do not think 11a c/johnson is right for your your application. Just my opinion! Based only on what i have heard listening to the c/j.
I question your overall strategy. Why start with the amp? Choice either your speaker or your main source component first and then pick an amp to complement. I do not think the CJ would match well with most Magnepans, the Dynaaudio Contour series or the ML CLS. These speakers require high current to sound optimal, the CJ won't deliver. You say that you've gotten advice from Audiogon members and while the forums are an excellent arena for exchanging audiophile knowledge, I believe you would be better served in system building by finding a good audio dealer instead. The multiple opinions of Audiogon members are probably too diverse to be of any real help. Magazine reviews are an excellent starting point, but a really good dealer is frequently necessary to make a system gel. BTW, I am not an audio dealer, but I'm someone who understands how easy it is to spend alot of money on good components and only end up with a mediocre system. Good luck!
Rock & Roll and TV... Why not just go HT? IMHO: I wouldn't spend that kind of money on your system relative to your music tastes... Seems like sort of a waste.
I agree with going with a good Home Theater system considering your intended use and music taste.
as a cj owner and lover, i'm a huge fan of the 11a and think that it is capable of delivering the current you would require to drive some of the speakers you mentioned (even the limited power 11xs drives ml's sl3's). that said, i agree that you should spend some time in a high quailty a/v showroom. and consider going with a solid state multichannel amp, around which you can build a really solid home theater set up. on this site i've seen some good deals on cj's solid state 5 channel amp, as well as some good deals on krell's (slightly more expensive) offering. there are quite a few good multichannels out there. with good front speakers, most will be capable of delivering excellent 2 channel sound as well. in my opinion, this makes sense given your 50/50 tv/audio split.
Why the snobbery.Does one who enjoys rock and roll not have the right to purchase good high end gear.Or sorry is it for the Classical Jazz snots only. As for advice.Two Channel and HT are hard to do well in one system.If you have too combine them then go with a good HT 5 Channel amp.A Bryston 7bST/Anthem MCA 5 and a good AV preamp.Anthem AVM 2.I would invest 2K in the source and then listen to a whoke bunch of speakers.
I'm going to have to go with Leafs on this one. It is hard to do HT and 2 channel together but not impossible. Not knowing your budget but assuming you don't want to spend too much, start looking for a good AV preamp that gives you an analog bypass. I currently use a B&K Ref 20 like this. Next, when looking for front LR speakers for 2 channel, make sure the manufacturer also makes a center channel speaker that will match sonically with the LR speakers. I currently use Vienna Acoustics Beethovens as my main LR speakers and a VA Maestro for the center. Next, comes the amp. You may consider getting a separate two channel amp for the LR speakers and a 3 channel amp for the center and rear. I currently use a Proceed AMP2 for the LR mains. This works well with the B&K and VA Beethovens for 2 channel. When I want to go HT, I turn on the 3 channel amp and am set to go. The most important thing though is to audition as many speakers as possible in your budget range. Good luck whatever you decide.
Streetman, no offense but it seems like your lacking a plan of attack here. As others have mentioned, you really need start at one end (source) or the other (speakers) and go from there. In my experience, doing up-tempo music like basic rock and "souped up" country music can work well with a "dual-mode" type HT system. Both require punch, dynamics, volume and gobs of "pace". Most "panel" type speakers are a little out of their league here. Given that logic, you might want to think about some older Klipsch models. If your handy, these can REALLY be made to sing. In stock form, you would need to be careful as to what you mated them with. Some Heresy's or Cornwall's with a slightly "warm" sounding amp like a NAD 2600A (150 wpc @ 8 with big dynamic headroom) would work like gangbusters with either of these speakers. Since you already have a Rel sub, i would shoot for the Heresy's. They have slightly punchier bass, but not quite as much extension. This would give you the best of both worlds since the Rel could handle the bottom end that the punchier Heresy is lacking. From there, it would strictly be a matter of picking a preamp ( think VERSATILITY here ) and a source. A preamp that comes to mind is the Marsh MSD-P2000. Besides getting excellent reviews, sounding very smooth and natural with great warmth and body, it is right up your alley. It has inputs for CD, tuner, dvd, video, line 1 and line 2 along with a tape loop. You could plumb your Satellite into the "video" jack and the TV into "line 1" or vice-versa. Dual outputs are also included, should you choose to bi-amp at a later date. The only thing that is possibly missing is a phono input. If you require this, something along the lines of the Musical Fidelity X-LPS offers great versatility in terms of being able to work with both MM and MC cartridges. This could be plumbed into "line 2". EVERY function on this unit can be operated by the remote, so adjusting the volume while watching a movie or changing sources is no big deal at all. Like i said, VERSATILITY but with performance and convenience. All of this a reasonable price to boot !!!! If your into playing digital music, i would HIGHLY (and i can't stress it enough) recommend going the route of a good CD player or transport / DAC combo that made use of tubes in the analogue section. If you chose to use a DVD player (which would also double for your HT interests), the addition of a tube DAC would add so much body, air and "musicality" to your system that it would amaze you. Until someone hears the difference that something like this makes in THEIR system, they will never fully understand comments like these. Going the DVD player route for both CD's and movies would free up another input jack. This could then be used for your VCR or another source that i may have overlooked. Mating specific cables and a tuner would be all that is left to do and i'm sure that you could find PLENTY of help doing that right here on Audiogon or at a local dealer. Hope this helps. If you have further questions or comments, please post them here or feel free to email me or any of the others. Sean >
if ya wanna have a combo h-t/audio system, get a preamp that has a default signal processor input - this allows a h-t processor to be plugged-in, and when ya select that imnput on the preamp, it defaults all controls to the processor, allowing volume, etc, to be controlled by the processor. when listening to audio, none of the processor electronics is in the signal path. linn, adcom, vtl, & sonic frontiers all have pre's w/this feature. cuz i like tubed pre's, i'd suggest trying a sonic frontiers - tubed, but wery neutral, which ya prolly will need w/a c-j amp.

if ya like the electrostatic sound, check out the newform research r645 - the other's ya mentioned won't rock or do h-t too well - not enuff dynamics. the r645, @ 91db/1 watt, should be ok. check out their www, & the user reviews on audioreview...


Streetman, I agree with the suggestions to find a dealer willing to help you, and, to add to that, one trying not to sell you. I would gather all the advice from Audiogon about makes and models and use it to make wise decisions based on what sounds good to you. Advice from this thread and from any dealer should be used as a guide. Find a dealer who will let you audition gear at your home. There are so many choices to recommend that you may spend forever trying to purchase instead of actually purchasing. I realize the desire to gather as much info as possible from people who tell you what to get or tell you what is good, but you need to have the attitude that you don't care about someone elses opinion if the music coming from a system makes you smile. Of course, this is my opinion. Rayd
Have to agree with Rayd. Unless you want to make audio an avocation find a good dealer with which to work. The alternative is to spend a tremendous amount of time educating yourself on the market by reading everything in sight and auditioning like a mad man.

Though not into HT (and would most assuredly steer you in the wrong direction) I do have a couple of suggestions. First, decide on a firm budget. Deduct 25% of it and use the remainder when talking to dealers. Why? Because it is inevitable you will spend more than expected on cables, tweaks, etc. The dealer, if he has any sales aptitude at all, will try to upsell you to better equipment, too. That is not necessarily a bad thing, either! Remember to consider room treatments in the price. At a minimum front and side wall treatments of some sort. They can make a huge difference.

Other than that, good luck and have a blast. BTW, let us know where you are located as someone here may have a dealer to suggest as a starting point.
to follow-up a point sean made, my first audio purchase was a pair of klipsch's kg4 speakers in 1987 (i grew up in a k-horn household). to date, those could be my best purchase. great, versitile, fun, engaging speakers. within the last 5 or so years, (1) my father has begun using his k-horns in a solid/price efficent ht set-up (he added a klipsch center channel and in-wall klipsch rears), (2) a buddy has built his ht system around a pair of klipsch 4.2's, which he origionally purchased for pop music, and (3) my younger sister bought a used pair of forte's, at first almost exclusively for grunge rock, and now...part of her ht set-up. in short, they won't be the last word in imaging or detail, but they're great versitile products that are fun to listen to.