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Lets have some fun. Build me a 2 channel system for my dunlavys. $8000 or less.


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#1 of 15 Jesse Sharrow

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Posted June 11 2005 - 04:57 PM

Ok I know I keep making new posts, but I will try to keep it all under this one. So go ahead and let the others fall off. Heres the thing. I have decided I want a 2 channel system... but I dont know what. I know I want to do it right though. I am keeping my dunlavy SCII AV's. Thats the speakers I will be using. I need everything else.

I would like you guys to build something for me. Include prices, new or used. What I want is, a cd player, and turntable, an integrated amp or preamp and amp. Plus I also need cables. I would like to stay $3000-$8000. I know thats a big range but if I can be convinced that $8000 is that worth it... well. I will wait and save up.

My only stipulations here are I dont think I will be going with tubes... but go ahead and suggest it. I dont care if its a two channel amp or mono blocks. I want a 2 channel only system. Im going to keep it seperate from my surround sound.

What Im looking at now is a krell KAV-400XI and a 250CD. Plus some sort of turntable and cables. All this is gonna be about $7000 brand new. About $4000-$5000 used.

Well anyways have fun. I will be doing research into everything that you guys suggest. Thanks again.

#2 of 15 Scott Oliver

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Posted June 12 2005 - 01:11 PM

First off Colorado has a whole bunch of big time dealers and manufacturers in the state and $8000 dollars is a pretty significant budget. So while I will lay out some options of stuff gleamed from Audiogon below. Another very viable option would be to start heavily touring some of the local audio stores as I am sure most could assemble a very nice system for that budget. Or at the very least you could purchase some parts new from local dealers and fill in other parts used. This is a method I like to follow, I often buy my sources and speakers from a dealer and purhcase my amps and preamps used on Audiogon. I do this because my tastes in amps and pres are way above my budget level, and these components are much easier to ship than some others.
So just keep that in mind and oh have you heard of RMAF?
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest
If you could hold off a bit this event would introduce you to a whole lot of new high end audio manufacturers plus most Colorado dealerships set-up rooms at the show. So anyhow another way to hear some options in one fell swoop.

OK
From Audiogon (I will stick to just solid state and interated units):
I looked over the Istanbul Hi-Fi club's system listings, as I remembered several of them had Dunlavy speakers, and about half of them were driving their speakers with Classe amplification. So there are several CAP-151's or 150's on Audiogon and they should have enough juice for your speakers.
Example: Classe CAP-150 integrated w/phono board - $1100 used
If you go with Classe amplification, their CD-.5, CD-1, and CD-10 are all reportedly nice CD players and would fit your budget nicely.

For a more expensive and higher performance option, I would have to suggest Accuphase. Accuphase is just some of the best solid-state in the world and I imagine their integrateds would be a sublime match for your Dunlavy's.
Examples: Accuphase E-407 $3200 or E-308 $3500. Both can have phono boards installed for about $600.
Now since I have eaten up a good portion of the budget on the integrated for this system, I would look at adding a Jolida JD-100 CD player for about $500 used or $900 new.

As for the turntable, you could get a complete turntable rig for under a $1000. Options would be a Music Hall MMF-7, MMF-5, Rega P3 or a Moth Alamo.
Teatime is good seller and source for the Moth stuff, plus he already installs the Incognito wiring option on the included Rega arm.

If the budget allowed you to spend a bit mroe on the turntable then I would look at the Nottingham Horizon SE Clearaudio Horizon, or the Michell Technodec. These plus a decent cart would be about $1500 new.

As for cabling, well I won't go there as I know the prevailing attitude on this forum towards them. If you really want suggestions here then feel free to email me
and we can discuss privately my experiences and suggestions.

#3 of 15 Jesse Sharrow

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Posted June 12 2005 - 04:18 PM

Scott... thanks for the suggestions. I am going to email you.

#4 of 15 Al Garay

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Posted June 12 2005 - 06:40 PM

Jesse,

Amplifiers: 2 monoblocks Nuforce Reference 8 $1,600/pair
http://www.nuforce.com/products.htm
http://www.audiocirc....ic.php?t=17913

Alternative: Hypex UcD180 stereo amp built by Adire or DiyCable for about $700

Digital source: Music server using Slimdevices Squeezebox $299 for wireless version, has Burr-Brown DAC, has volume control with remote control or via software
http://www.slimdevices.com/index.html

Alternative use an external DAC, Mensa Art Di/O or Benchamark Dac1.

Analog Turntable source:
Teres Audio $3k-6k
http://www.teresaudio.com/index.html
http://www.audiocirc....=teres&start=0
http://www.audiocirc....614c342029d38f


Much cheaper alternative for turntable is this new project that Kevin Haskins from DIYCable is doing with William Firebaugh, from WellTempered labs. Will be called Well Tempered Amadeus. Very promising for about $1k. This is the one I'm likely to buy.
http://www.welltemperedlab.com/
http://www.audiocirc....ic.php?t=19021

Phono Preamp
Hagerman Technology $995
http://www.hagtech.com/cornet2.html
http://www.audiocirc....614c342029d38f

Alternative for preamp
BentAudio MC Stepup transformer $825
http://www.bentaudio.com/index2.html

#5 of 15 Jesse Sharrow

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Posted June 13 2005 - 01:22 AM

Al thanks for your input. I will definitly look into those amps. I also like your idea about using my computer as a cd player. Is that really a feesible audiophile option? Would it really be worth upgrading my computer and doing it wirelessly? I will definitly do some research.

The turntables you mentioned, unless I decide to stick with all analog, are out of my range. Becuase I am doing solid state im not gonna spend as much on a turntable. But if I am going tubes I will look into the teres audio turntable. That is amazing. That is a gorgous piece of equipment.

Well thanks again.... and keep em coming.

#6 of 15 Al Garay

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Posted June 13 2005 - 02:39 AM

I have heard and had audiophile type transports and DACs. The SlimDevices Squeezebox is built for sound quality. As a music server and transport, it is excellent... doubt you will do better esp. when you consider the convenience. You need to use lossless formats such as FLAC. You can learn about that in their forum. You can always plug it into an external DAC if you don't think the built-in Burr-Brown are good enough for you. It will not be the weak link in the system.

The Teres is beautiful but meant to be a statement. You can do fine by buying a good used Sota or Linn LP12 with all the upgrades. I think the Well Tempered Labs Amadeus for around $1k will be really good value. I would not consider Music Hall, Rega, etc to be in the same league.

#7 of 15 Jesse Sharrow

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Posted June 13 2005 - 04:38 AM

Well Al... now you have got me thinking I may just use a PC as my CD/DVD/Proccesser and just hook it up to an amp. Thats what Im looking at right now. A company called E-Mu makes a sound card with balanced 1/4" ins and outs. Enough to do 7.1. But for now it would be just 2 channel.

#8 of 15 Al Garay

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Posted June 13 2005 - 04:59 AM

PC based audio or HT systems are going to become more popular. And the performance is already darn good. Thus, it makes sense to put your focus on speakers and amps which will work with standard or PC based systems.

With your budget, research Hypex UcD based amplifiers in audiocircle and diyaudio.com. I spent a big part of my budget on two 3-channels of Hypex UcD400 amps, being built by Dan Wiggins' team at Adire, that will provide power for my Adire LCRs in front and Adire Kit641 in rears. I'm still working out details on processor, and will give a look at the E-mu sound card. The end result will be awesome for HT and darn good for 2-channel music.

#9 of 15 Jesse Sharrow

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Posted June 13 2005 - 05:39 AM

Honestly Al Im not really into building my own amp. Thanks though.

#10 of 15 Al Garay

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Posted June 13 2005 - 07:35 AM

Jesse,

I hired mine out to Adire. They have technicians and engineers who will do a much better job than I can. And the fee was minimal. But for off the shelf amps using latest technologies, the Nuforce is appealing. Plus it has 30day free trial. So, does Squeezebox.

Al

#11 of 15 Scott_N

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Posted June 13 2005 - 01:25 PM

Well first off I second Scott's idea of visiting a dealer. You should really home audition equipment with a budget like that. Checking on audiogon you could put this together in your budget and have a very nice system IMO.

Amp: Edge Electronics G3 integrated $3295 obo.http://cls.audiogon.....ran
CDP: audio aero prima 24/192 $1550obo http://cls.audiogon.....lay
turntable: Nottinham Horizon SE with Rega RB250 arm 1199
http://cls.audiogon.....abl
phono preamp: EAR 834P MM(moving magnet)$895 newhttp://cls.audiogon.....hon
cartridge: Dynavector 20XH high output MC(moving coil) which I would buy from a local dealer and have them mount it. It retails for $525.
As far as cables I would go to a local dealer and audition some at home.

#12 of 15 Steve_D

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Posted June 13 2005 - 02:07 PM

Amps? I'd look at Plinius, Odyssey, and Classe.
Pre-Amp? I'd match my AMP or use an integrated design.
$2.5-4K there

Maybe a modded Jolida with a nice external DAC...so you could do solid state or tubed output depending on your mood. A Cary would be nice. $2K

Don't forget power conditoning...at least an isolation transformer for your Amp/Pre-Amp and an AC regenerator or another isolator for your CD. $1K

Cables to your preference, I'd be tempted to go with Cardas.

#13 of 15 Jesse Sharrow

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Posted June 13 2005 - 05:07 PM

Thanks guys. I will definitly look into those. Anyone else have an opinion on using a HTPC as a cd/dvd/dvd-a/sacd/preamp?

BTW I already have a $350 monster power conditioner.

#14 of 15 Scott Oliver

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Posted June 13 2005 - 11:10 PM

My opinion on the HTPC is this:

First off you can't get an HTPC to do DVD-A and SACD at least not right now, and possibly not ever since it looks like they are going to be a niche market product.

Next if you do it, most people I have seen talk about it say you need to devote that computer to doing only video and audio processing. It should not be your family computer no matter how fast the family computer may be.

For most DIY projects that I have seen, a good PC dedicated to these functions has costs ranging from $1200-4000. With things on the $4000 side having ultraquiet cases without fans, huge hardrives, and touchscreen LCD monitors.

Thirdly, some have experienced just alot more technical difficulties with just the computer acting up like computers are known to do. It is a much fragile operating environment then your typical DVD/CD player.

Lastly, with all that said it can be a very good performance option if you keep all the parameters maxed, like using uncompressed music files and top notch soundcard. So you can't get into an HTPC or Music Server for as cheap as mass market players, but if you do it right your investment will give you much higher performance then the same cost component equivalent.

#15 of 15 Jesse Sharrow

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Posted June 14 2005 - 03:21 AM

Cool... thanks scott. This is the route I think Im gonna take. As far as I know.... most computers now adays can do dvd-a. But I wont really be using it for that at all anyways.