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Dedicated music-only system - new or used components?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 of 10 Soumitro Tagore

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Posted May 13 2003 - 08:28 AM

Hi,
I am trying to put together a music-only system for my study (room dimensions are approx 15x15). I have been auditioning for a while and here's what I was thinking of getting till recently

CD Player: NAD c541i - $500
Stereo Integrated Amplifier: NAD C320BEE - $400
Speakers: B&W DM 601S3 - $450/pair

Total cost: $1350

However, I have been exploring audiogon over the last couple of days and see really nice equipment (used) on sale at really affordable prices (e.g. Musical Fidelity A3 CD player on sale for $600).

What do you guys think? Is buying used equipment a good idea? Also, what used (or new) player/amp/speakers combination would you recommend in my price range (approx $1500)?

Note: HDCD, available on the NAD 541i is a nice-to-have but not essential. SACD/DVD-A, I have in my HT (S2300), so not essential for the study setup.

Thanks!

#2 of 10 RobWil

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Posted May 13 2003 - 10:42 AM

My thought has always been to go with used. You will almost always be able to get something that cost double originally. It takes some research, however, to determine if double means better though. In some cases it isn't necessarily true.
Some cd players I have seen very good reviews for are the Sherwood Newcastle CD-980, original cost $550, used you can get it for anywhere from $100-$200.
Adcom GCD-700, new $750, used from $250-$400.
ROTEL RCD-971 , new $700, used under $400.
You mentioned a good one also.
What I do is go to someplace like audiogon, find stuff in my price range, then do a search on google and read everything I can find.
that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

#3 of 10 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 13 2003 - 12:35 PM

I don't consider myself a real audiophile, but I agree about buying used for items w/ minimal moving parts, especially where the technological advances have pretty much leveled off. In fact, much of my current stereo/HT setup comprise of used components, and so far so good.

_Man_

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#4 of 10 Ricky T

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Posted May 13 2003 - 03:04 PM

Buying used is a great way to get into better gear. Do you need a tuner in the system? Would you be ok with any of the mainstream brands (Parasound, Rotel, Adcom, Acurus), or do you have certain preferences? $1500 sounds just about right Posted Image

#5 of 10 John Royster

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Posted May 13 2003 - 03:10 PM

used. by far.

hmmm 1350? 1000 bucks on good used speakers (they are everything you know), 150 on source, 200 on integrated.

Grow into it and upgrade later.

#6 of 10 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 13 2003 - 03:28 PM

John,

That's a pretty extreme breakdown, no? Posted Image OTOH, maybe that's about right since good 2-channel electronics seem a lot easier and cheaper to come by than good speakers due to the HT/DVD-A/SACD revolution. But still, if he's not planning to upgrade again real soon, the cheap electronics might not drive the nice speakers to satisfying levels.

_Man_

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#7 of 10 Soumitro Tagore

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Posted May 13 2003 - 03:38 PM

RickyT,
Nope. Won't be needing a tuner. Its getting harder and harder to find music I like on FM/AM ,anyway.

As for brands, I really liked the sound of NAD, Rotel, Arcam and Musical Fidelity. (SF Stereo in the Bay Area had Musical Fidelity paired with Dynaudio speakers- that sounded pretty amazing!)

In speakers, I liked the B&Ws (601,602,604...) a lot, although I like the JBL NSP1s I have in my HT too.

#8 of 10 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 13 2003 - 04:20 PM

Actually, have you considered going minimalist and just drive a power amp w/ your favorite player and a simple attenuator? That's probably what I would do if CD is the only source and I live alone.

_Man_

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#9 of 10 Ricky T

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Posted May 13 2003 - 04:28 PM

If CD is the only source, you might want to consider a CD player with variable out and connect it straight to an amp.

Adcom GCD-700 CD changer with variable outs on remote (300 used) with Adcom 5300 80x2 amp (250 used) on B&W 602s or 603s would be nice. Or the Adcom changer connected straight to a pair of Paradigm Active 20 bookshelfs.

There are many, many combos you can put together (from audiogon and ebay)!

#10 of 10 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted May 14 2003 - 09:59 AM

I haven't been following the CD player scene for a long time now, but does a player like the Adcom actually use good op-amps for the variable out? In the "old" days, that was a main reason NOT to use variable out from a player. People just used inexpensive, but good, clean attenuators from Niles to do the trick.

_Man_

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)