Trying to decide, please help?

I am trying to get into hi-end audio and am torn between some componets and need advice. Like others, budget is a concern but am willing to wait it out to get ultimate performance.

Manley Stingray Integrated (demo) $1,500
Consonance Droplet CD (demo) $2,500
Clearaudio Emotion w/satify arm and wood Classic $875
Total $4875

Audio Research VS55 $2,000
Audio Research SP16 (with phono) $2,000
Droplet CD (same as above) $2,500
Clearaudio LP (same as above) $875
Total $7375

Basically a $2,500 difference due to the ARC gear. I think I would be completly satisfied with the Manley.

1) Any Opioions?
2) Should I save and get the ARC gear?
3) I can wait on the CD and LP also?

You can see my problem. HELP???
My first suggestion is to ask what speakers have you decided on. The synergy between your speakers and an amp is quite important IMO. The source is the second most important to me. The droplet is a very nice sounding CDP but for $2500, I think you can find better if you looked for used components. I think there will some sonic differences between the two systems you list here, but not that big of a deal since both will prove to be very satisfying.

Happy Listening.
Source is the most Important. Dont let anyone tell you otherwise. Garbage in Garbage out.
Dont know what speakers you will be using with either choices of systems, so I will assume you choose one that will work for either...if your choosing between the two listed ststems, I can highly recommend the Stingray over the ARC seperates. Although good, the ARC's have a more neutral yet dryer presentation with good resolution, but, will not have the mid bloom or quite the emotional connection that the Manley has. If you have heard the know it has the warmth as well as sheer drive to power even some ineffecient speakers.

Having owned similar systems to them both, this is my opinion. Ultimately it comes down to your preference of course. You would save quite a bit of $$ with the Manley. I personally dont feel the extra $$ spent on the ARC is worth saving or holding out for.

I agree with Bizkidz in that you could do better in the price range for Cd players..A used Naim 5i, Muse 9, or Used AA prima cd player are good choices. The Clearaudio is a decent table. Good luck!
I have some Axiom M22's right now. Decent bookshelf, but not my ultimate choice for the two channel sound I am trying
to obtain. I have the opportunity to purchase these components now and did not want to heistate on the Manley if this is what I decide.

Kehut- I have to say that my reaction was exactly as you described. I did love the stingray. When I listened to the ARC, I was impressed but could could not really describe the difference in sound. The ARC's had a little lower bottom end and were truly great but seemed to not have the emotional connection you explained. My listening session was short (30 minutes). Afterall, it was a $2,500 difference. I'm sure the ARC offer some amazing bonuses in sound just not sure it had the tube sound I loved in the Manley.

I guess the ARC combination would be a little more flexible in the future. Still debating. Thank you for your comments.
You are going to need a phone pre with the Manley, that will up your cost some and close the difference.
For your phono pre amp..dont go too crazy and keep it in line with the price point of the Clearaudio.
Some decent used pre's would include a McCormack Phono Drive, Acoustech PH-1...MF XLPS...Acurus P-10...Lehman Black Cube...all under ~ $450.00 A bit nicer would include the Jolida JD-9A... Rogue Audio Stealth, Dynavector P-75 ( highly recommended!) and Graham Slee. Usually under $700.00 used. Lots of choices to keep your budget sound here. Look at Jerry Raskins Needle Doctor site ( no affiliation) and see all that avail in your range.

Also...If you can ..opt for the Beta S for another $200. on the cart.