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Hi. I would definately buy used higher end in just about any case. I have been doing this audio thing with a college student budget for a while and buying high quality used is the way to go for sure. For integrated, I would check out a Creek 4330. For CD, a Sony ES player (single or 5 disc) can be found for just about any price and they are excellent.
Used equipment may sometimes be a better value, but the most important thing to consider is the proper interface and matching of the sonic signatures of your different components.
During a momentary lapse of reason, I downsized one of my systems from separates to an integrated amp. I purchased both an Audio Refinement Complete and NAD c350 integrated amp. While they both sound ok for the money, I would say the NAD is the better value. I purchased a new, "refurbished" one for less than $400 and it seemed brand new and worked perfectly. It has slightly less overall resolution than the Audio Refinement but it also has a richer midrange and smoother highs that will probably match up better with the Axiom's metal dome tweeters. For a low cost cd player, I think one of the best values at the moment is the Sony DVD-NS500V. It is a dvd player, but you can play cds thru its 2 channel output. It is being discontinued but is available at close out prices of around $150-180. It also plays SACD's, but it's redbook performance was a pleasant surprise given its low cost.
The Kandy integrated has brute power and solid build quality but sounded a bit unrefined to my ears. FWIW, it did receive high ratings in the British audio press, however. For $550, the Audio Refinement Complete (used), or a new NAD, Creek Audio or Cambridge Audio integrated should do you right. For a $3-400 CD player, look for a new or used Rotel, Creek or Cambridge Audio, or a Cal Audio Icon MKII.
Of course in the end, it is hard to make a purchase with no audition. We don't know your personal taste or hearing. I heard the same difference between the NAD and the AR Complete as Joe_b, except what is "richer" and "smoother" on the NAD for Joe, was "dullness" to me. I actually the same impression of the Rega Planet CD player. What is smooth to many is dull to me.
You'll have to decide what works for you.
Hey all, thanks for the comments. Since I am new to high end I don't really know yet what my "tastes" are in terms of the many sonic nuances that go along with different pieces of equipment. I listen to all types of music and really am just looking for a high quality system that will make my JVC-FS5000 mini-system, which I use as a tuner, amp, pre-amp, and a CD-player!!!!
Pretty crazy, right? I'm sure I would be content with about any high end system for the time being. But I probably can't go wrong with a used integrad and CD.
So in my 500$ used price range what are the specific models you would recommend for a 93 db, but somewhat bright and forward sounding set of Axiom M22Ti's. The Kandy's got some good reviews from HI-fi and Soundstage, and so I was thinking about going for the integrated, if not for the sheer power ouput, but I'm a little hesitiant on the CD player. I heard I could do better for 3-450 used. Any specific models?
Man, this audio addiction is crazy, I have spend 5 hours a day in the past week just trying to increase my audio lexicon! I'm a poor college student a need for audio bliss.
I hope you're kidding about "nothing wrong with that mini-system", your right though, there is nothing wrong with it, but instead it does nothing right. I'm not getting into tubes right away, I simply don't want to go used with the risk of getting bad tubes, which I know wear down much more rapidly than ss designs.
Now the question, what CD player? Roksan Kandy, or rega planet, ore creek mk43 2
I have, way more often than not, auditioned high price stuff, and found it not to work as well in my system because it wasn't a good match. You can waste a lot of meney buying blind. I'm not saying you will, but if you wanted to spend a lot of money and not like the way it sounds, that is the best formula. There are a lot of components out there, and evan VERY expensive ones, that sound terrible in the wrong context, and a lot that you just won't like, because of your preferences, and a respected reviewers preferences are no better than yours.
One of the things that makes what we call "high end" just that, is component matching and synergy between components. It is almost a guarrentee that a less expensive component working its best will outperform an expensive component working at its worst. Also, I would like to add that evan though I find reviews helpful in choosing which components I think I would like, more often than not (way more) the component would sound different than what I thought, evan as I might find the particular review accurate after listening for myself.
The one exception I would make is if you had a particular component with which there was a particular, well known match, a pair or group of components that had a reputation for working well together, but this is far more rare than not.
I think you would get far better value looking and auditioning amplifiers that cost 500$ than to buy something used for 500$ that cost 1000$ new, especially amp/speaker combos. there are a lot of good recomendations on this post as far as good amps for the money, and which work better than others, but guys, what are your experiences auditioning or buying blind?
this is a tough decision. One point to add, since I am quite new at this, I really don't know what exactly I want, in fact I bet I would be happy with just about anything, so I guess buying used won't be such a big deal. I love the power of the Kandy, since IMO it offers versatility for future speaker upgrades.
Now, for the CD player, I really don't think I can hear much of a difference between CD players. I compared a sony s500 dvd, a Playstation 2, and my JVC's built in CD player, and really no matter how hard I tried they just sounded the same. Though the PS2 seemed a little more edgy and rough on the highs.
So what is a good, used price point to spend on a CD player? I've heard postive things on the Rega Planet 2000. I just want something to last for a long time until the DVD-A and SACD war is over (7-9 years?).
mrhdream, I am not kidding the thing that your JVC mini system does right is play music, even if badly; too many audio geeks, myself included, lose sight of that. I have listened to all of the CD players you are considering, if only casually, and ended up buying the Planet for my bedroom system. Many components wear on you over time but I couldn't be more happy with the little Rega. Don't count out a used tube preamp just because it might come with bad tubes. Most models use two to six either 6DJ8/6922 or 12AX7 which should cost less than $60.00 for a full basic retube.
you know, you are right. It is true that many of us lose sight of what really counts. I spend hours each day listening to music, it's just so peaceful. But there comes a time when we must all rise up against bad sound and take up arms! For we must save ourselves and usher forth an age of audio filled bliss!
just joking, keep the cd player suggestions coming, I'm leaning towards an old rega planet, but it just looks so damn ugly (my opinion of course).
I'm still not convince I'm ready to take up a tube amp. I read a post about tubes blowing, etc... It would seem to add a greater cost in the long term.