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Wow, I would have to ask you to consider possible selling the Nak and using additional funding to buy a whole 13 to 15 hundred dollar system, or perhaps using this rec as a tuner. Most speakers in that price range are deserving of and needing better amplification. I genuinely think a well thought out $1200 system would probably sound better than this unit hooked up to a pair of quality $1200 speakers.
I agree that $1200 speakers would be overkill. They may also be revealing, and show the shortcomings of the receiver. She really could put together a nice small system for $1200. What CD player does she have?
Whether or not she wants to keep the receiver for now, or put together a nice small $1200 system; for only $300 she could get a new pair of B&W DM303; which would sound great in comparison with what she's got. They are also efficient, so 35 watts will be fine. They are the European loudspeaker of the year. The DM302 they replaced was a Stereophile Editor's Choice award winner.
She can spend some of the rest of the money on lots of music and some decent speaker cables to go with the DM303s. Then save up the rest for a better amp later. Those inexpensive B&Ws will really shine with better amplification.
Just bring her old speakers with you to the dealer for comparison. Audition the new DM601-S3 and DM602-S3 while you are there.
Some of the older Genesis speakers can sound amazingly good with the right equipment driving them. Obviously, this would depend on what you wanted to get out of them ( volume levels, bass extension, positioning, etc... ) and which model they were. Given my experience with a few of those "old timers" with their classic "inverted dome" design, i would say that they are probably better than what the receiver is capable of feeding them. Sean
I had a customer with a Nakamichi/Pass amplifier, and it went up in smoke when hooked up to a new, moderately difficult pair of loudspeakers. The problem was not with Nelson Pass's design, but with the fact that Nakamichi skimped on the output transistors and didn't use the ones Nelson specified. The customer wasn't playing the amp loud - it simply went into ultrasonic oscillation and grenaded, fortunately without killing the tweeters.
Anyway, if she does go with new speakers for that receiver, make sure they're a nice, easy 8-ohm load.
My personal recommendation would be along the lines of what Jvia suggested. Specifically, I'd suggest Magnepan's little MMG's and an integrated amp (perhaps keep the Nakamichi if the tuner section is worthwhile).
The baby Maggies are true entry-level high-end. They offer something absolutely unique in their price range: totally freedom from boxy colorations. In my experience women tend to like Maggies because they don't sound like speakers, whereas us guys often get distracted by how big the woofers are or how many watts or how loud or how deep, and we lose sight of what really matters. I'm not a Maggie dealer, just a sincere fan.
The baby Maggies are available mail order only for $550, and you have 60 days to return them for a full refund if you don't like them (or if you decide to put the money towards a bigger pair). I really think they absolutely rule their price range. Their only rivals are used MG-12's, which are indeed considerably better, but don't come with 60-day return privileges.
The main drawback of the MMG's is they don't play terribly loud and don't go real deep in the bass. But their bass pitch definition is superb, and you can get quite good bass extension from them by moving your listening position up against the rear wall.
For amplification, I suggest an Arcam or JoLida integrated amp (I sell the latter). Like the baby Maggies, the JoLida stuff is entry-level high end (hybid amps and tube amps within your daughter's price range even after buying the MMG's).
Best of luck to you and especially to your daugher. Far too few females grace our ranks, so I certainly hope that she is well treated by whoever she deals with.
As a point of reference and something to consider, I put together a system for my son (12) and daughter (10) as follows:
Son (used components, total cost $600):
Pioneer PD M650 6-disc CD player
Carver HR752 receiver (remote)
NAD 6050C tape deck
B&W DM302 speakers, wall-mounted swivel speaker supports
(3) Classe Audio interconnect
Audiophile Reference 10-gauge speaker cable (5' runs)
Daughter's system (used components, total cost $685)
Proton 930 Receiver
NAD 513 3-Disc CDP (remote control)
B&W DM303 speakers, wall mounted swivel speaker supports
Target TT2 2-shelf wall mounted stand
Cambridge Audio Arctic Interconnect
Intensifier High Performance 14-gauge speaker wire (5' runs)
These systems sound pretty damned good and would be tough to beat in their range. Every birthday and Christmas I give them gift certificates to buy music..as a side note, man some of the crap they call music? Scary. I'm not sure my kids will need a better system until they're adults and follow in their dad's footsteps, throwing endless money at music and and music play-back systems.
Great response followed mine, far better, really. The Maggies or the B&W would shine and allow for growth, and save a bunch of money, and Sean is right about the older Genesis, some of those are very good loudspeakers, even by todays standards. I would take them if you are culling them, as they have something of a deserved classic status, my opinion. And the the Duke throwing in with the Jolida idea, and you still have just barely spent 1200, and MMG's and Jolida, that would have to be pretty good sound for the money.
All of your responses show why Audiogon is the classiest site in the category. I am passing all of these along as well as those which may follow. She really likes the Nak and it is accompanied by a Nak CD changer, though I do not know the model number. I use the entry Maggies in my downstairs system and like them a lot. She has heard them but is a bit uncomfortable with their directionality. Thanks much.
I too use the older Nak receiver, TA1A with 35 wpc in my bedroom system. I've had it since I was 13 yrs old, and you have to pry it away from my dead hands for me to get rid of it.
The pair of speakers that mated the best with my receiver is the KEF Q30. Right now, I only have a pair of NHT Superones hooked up to it. I engaged the loudness button, and I turned the bass almost all the way down.
The priorities for the best possible reproduction in a sound system should be speakers first.
Next their placement in the environment, and the accoustic treatment of that environment, followed by source material that is deserving in sonic quality of the efforts made so far. Then obtain the appropriate components that support the speaker choice you made.
Last but not least would be cables suited to the choices made.
Anything less is just confusion and futility. Or a demonstration that it doesn't really matter in the first place. Then how can it matter what you get.
Note: when the telephone was first introduced to the public, the concensus was that you could not tell the difference from a live in person voice. Of course hearing it now would reveal just how laughable that conclusion was.
I have an older NAK receiver although it's not the Stasis design. I have it hooked up to older B&W 601s. Good match--not audiophile, but it works for the computer system. If I had the Stasis and was in the $1k range I would seriously consider the Totem Arros. Great little speakers. I have heard them with quite a lot of different equipment, and I think the NAK would be a great match. I do agree to some degree that $1k is a bit overkill for that receiver, but I think this combination would be extremely satisfying. You could probably pick up used arros for considerably less--although they don't show up used that often.
I've been using a Nak stasis TA-3A for a couple years now and feel its pretty good in just about every way (no obvious sonic flaws). Speakers are Celestion 3 which sound good but I really got the Celestion 3's back when I was using a Creek 4140 s2 (the celestions with the creek is an amazing match). The only other speakers I heard w/the Nak were B&W (mid-90's vintage). The Celestion's overall were a better match (more dynamic & musical) but there may be better matches still.
One thing I can say is the best source I used with my TA-3A yet is the Musical Fidelity E-624 cd player. The slighty fat bass and warmth of the MF perfectly compliments the ever so slight thinness of the Nak reciever to make for an experience that is very "analog" but at the same time energetic and "toe-tapping" (p.s. between the MF and the Nak I used either IXOS or Bradley interconnects for best effect).
Anyway, Celestions may be worth auditioning. Let me know if she comes up with an amazing match I might just buy the same thing (!)