Where to begin when choosing new setup??

Hey All,

I'm currently running an older Rega Brio and set of Rega R3s but am getting the itch to update / upgrade.  Don't really know much in the way of picking a great, simple, and compact system -- any thoughts?  

Much appreciate,
@Edwardhugey - here’s my approach for a "compact system" i.e. an intergated amp, small footprint Bookshelf/Monitor or floor standing speaker and a Didgital streaming device of some kind.

First - identify your budget - I use the following "approximate ratios"
- 50% on speakers
- 25% on amp
- 12,5% on Digital source
- 12,5% on cables

Turntables are not included because they tend to throw the whole ratio out the window e.g. my TT cost about the same as my speakers.

1. Find a speaker (within my budget) that has the best sound - the list below are my personal "likes"
- Gershman Acoustics (my current speakers)
- Neat - very detailed
- Pro-Ac- very smooth
- Kudos (small footprint with a big solid sound for their size
- Reference 3A - unusual shape - very detailed and smooth

2. find an amp that has lots of "Snap" (i.e. great dynamic performance) - my fav’s
- Naim
- Rega
- Cyrus
- Bel Canto

3. find a digital source that sits your own personal approach to operation - do you like to control via a device (e.g. CD player) of via a tablet or phone (e.g. a streaming device) - do you want wireless or Ethernet connectivity?

- My current streaming device is the Blusound Node 2 - I also have the Powernode 2 on my A/V system
- there are too many of these out there to list them, research them a nd choose one that has the interface you like and the streaming services you want

I no longer see the need to get a computer/DAC combo, but that’s my preference

Cables: I have found the streaming devices and DAC’s, that I have used, all respond to great quality cables and although I have only allotted around 12.5% to cables, it is a little "unfair" since all of my cables are DIY.
- If I have to buy commercial that 12.5% ratio would be closer to 45%

Commercial Cables - Some of the best cables out there come from KLE Innovations - even their entry level cables outperform many of the cables out there in the marketplace from some very high profile brands.

Also, you might think 12.5% is a little low digital source, but today’s electronics are far better than one night imagine, it’s their power supply lets them down. attaching a great power cable will up their game considerably.

You will have notices most of my choices are from the UK - but there many other companies out there that compete with them - these are just the ones I know and prefer.

Companies like Schiit offer some stellar products for a more reasonable price that are also great performers.

The ratios are simply a guideline - other members may/will have differing opinions - this is just mine :-)

As you may have guessed - I’m a "solid state" guy - hated heating the room with the tube gear I once owned - but there are a few well designed tube amps of a lower power rating that can still serve up some decent volume levels - so research your components.

Hope that helps - Steve

Ask around here for a local dealer and listen to as many different systems as possible.  Figure out what tickles you. 

Wish I could give you a more specific answer, but I also wouldn't presume to tell you what flavor of ice cream you'd like best.  Trust your ears.  The good news is that there's never been a better time to be in the market:  there's more excellent-performing, reasonably-priced equipment out there than ever.
Start by finding the speakers that really do it for you, then find an amp that mates well with them sonically and has enough power to drive them effectively.  If you give us an idea of what you're looking to improve upon, what aspects of sound reproduction are most important to you, and budget you'll get some good recommendations here that should help narrow your search.  Best of luck, and have fun with it.