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Help setting up music only system...

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 PatrickMD



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  • Join Date: Mar 24 2001

Posted October 29 2002 - 01:06 PM

I currently have a good Pioneer Elite/Def Tech home theater system in my living room, but I'm looking for some advice on setting up a very good yet basic music listening-only system for my office at home.

Some things I'm looking for:

-A 2 channel set-up only. I flirted with DVD Audio but for this space stereo is all I'm after, so unless I'm wrong, I really won't be getting the full impact an upgrade to DVD Audio would offer.

-Sound quality is definately more important than bells and whistles on players and receivers. I don't apply titles to CD's or even use large capacity changers. I'm a put a CD in and relax kind of guy. But as I said, sound quality is very important.

-Definately the lower end of the price range. I'd spend a little extra if it meant a big difference in sound quality, but this ebing a secondary sound system, I'd like to keep the budget reasonable.

So, some questions:

1) If I'm going to be listening in 2 channel only, would DVD Audio have that great an advantage for me, or will a good CD player be a better use of money?

2) Again, since I'll only need a receiver for stereo music listening, will a lower end receiver suffice instead of one that is built for 5.1?

3) This is kind of my bigger question: Knowing my intended set-up, I'm confused about all of the outputs and inputs on the players/receivers and which I should be using. Sould I be using the optical, the 2 channel analog, or the 5.1 analog?

Thanks in advance for all your help!!!


#2 of 7 Saurav



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Posted October 29 2002 - 01:56 PM

I would skip the receiver and get an integrated amplifier (unless you really want FM radio). You'll get much better sound quality - integrated amps are marketed towards people who are a little more serious about sound quality, so they usually forego the bells and whistles in favour of sonics.

What's your budget, and how much power do you need (based on your speakers, room size, and listening volume)? My recommendations for budget integrated amps would be NAD and Rotel. Check out www.audiogon.com and maybe eBay. You can get a used 50W integrated for around $200, and products from both these companies perform far in excess of what you would expect for the price. For instance, they'll probably sound better than a run-of-the-mill 100W HT receiver.

I don't know about DVD-A, so I can't answer that question. If I were you, I'd get a good CD player, and use analog connections to the integrated amp (which won't have a DAC anyway, so you can't use a digital connection).

Keep it simple. Think about what you need, and spend your dollars towards getting the best of what you need, not getting stuff that's cool to have but you'll hardly ever use Posted Image

Another good site to read about stuff is www.audioreview.com - try looking up the NAD C-340 for starters.

#3 of 7 Tom Grooms

Tom Grooms

    Second Unit

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Posted October 29 2002 - 02:13 PM

How about this used budget set-up.....

Adcom GFP 565 pre amp about $350
Adcom GFP 555 MKII 200 watt amp $400
Pioneer PD-65 CD player $350
Dynaudio Audience 52's $750
Stands $200
Cables and interconnect's $300

A nice little office system for under $2500

or how about a nice vintage system...

Pioneer SX 1050 receiver $200-250
Polk Audio Monitor 5 or 7 series $150-200
insert cd player here $200
cables and interconnect's $150.00

that would be a nice little system for around $700


#4 of 7 Saurav



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Posted October 29 2002 - 03:05 PM

I think those are excellent choices.


Give us some more information and maybe people here can recommend components for you to research and/or audition:

* Total budget
* What components do you already have, if any, or are you building a system from scratch?
* What sources do you need - CD only, radio, vinyl, tape, etc.
* Room size, how far away will you be sitting from the speakers, normal listening volume, room treatments - polished hardwood floors and smooth walls/glass surfaces, or carpets on the floor and wall hangings?
* Type of music
* Sonic preferences - do you like a bright sparkly presentation or a warmer sound? Do you want the last octave of bass or are you willing to sacrifice that and buy better midrange with your money?

#5 of 7 PatrickMD



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Posted October 29 2002 - 04:15 PM

Hey guys,
Thanks for all of the great responses so far - they've really given me a place to start looking.

I think my main problem is that A/V gear these days is very much directed for 5.1 theater use, so it seems hard to put something together for just good ol' music listening. Here's a little more info for you...

-I already have a good set-up for my home theater, but this music-only system is something I'm building from scratch.

-The sources I will be using are CD and radio exclusivly.

-The room is probably 15x15, carpeted with smooth walls. I sit with my back to one wall and the speakers are facing me on the opposite wall (on top of bookshelves)

-The types of music is listen to are mainly jazz (especially with vocals) and classical. And a little bit of rock thrown in for good measure :-)

Here's what I'm looking at and my approximate budgets for each:

CD Player: $200
Pioneer PD-F908
Sony CDP-CE275

Receiver: $200
Pioneer VSX-D411
Sony STR-DE405

*Before I list my speakers, I should slip in a question. You will see from the list that I've been looking at the possibility at getting bi/dipolar surround speakers instead of direct because I thought it would shoot the sound around around the room a little more (because this will only be a stereo hookup). What do you think about that???

Speakers $400-$500
Definitive StudioMonitor 350
Definitive BP2X
Polk RT138
Polk FX130
Infinity Alpha20BK

I've almost officially decided to skip the DVD Audio for now and stick with CD's for this room. If I want DVD Audio in the future I'll just put it in the theater room where I already have 5.1.

And lastly, just because this is still one of my biggest points of confusion - with the kind of setup I'm talking about, would I connect the player and receiver using the optical out, the 2 channel analog outs, or the 5.1 analog outs???

Thanks again for all your help!!!

#6 of 7 Saurav



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Posted October 29 2002 - 04:25 PM

I would still advise you to drop the receiver and get an integrated amp. You can get a vintage radio on eBay for under $50 that'll sound much better than anything in a modern receiver.

If you do get a home theater receiver, you can connect it using either analog or digital connections, both should work. An integrated amp or a stereo receiver will only have analog inputs, so if you go that route then you'll hook it up using the 2-channel analog connections. AFAIK, a CD player won't have 5-channel outputs because I don't think there are any multi-channel CD formats.

Speakers - that's a matter of taste, so go with whatever you like. I don't praticularly care for that diffused dipole/bipole sound, so I would pick different speakers, but that's just me.

I would recommend going round some good audio stores and listening to different gear in your price range before making your final purchases.

#7 of 7 Rachael B

Rachael B


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Posted October 29 2002 - 04:51 PM

I'd buy used Rotel seperates for a pre and amp or one of their integrated amps. I have a stereo with a 70 x 2 Rotel amp which I bought used for $200 and a Hafler pre which I paid (stole really!) $50 for plus a $30 repair and a pair of Paradigm Mini-Monitors. The CD player is the Pioneer Elite PD-65. You can buy credible radio tuners in pawn shops and on E-bay for $10 - $50. My homely lttle stereo, well the PD-65 is pretty, sounds righteous. I'm gonna add an SACD player when I can...

Skip recievers, great used stereo equipment sells really cheap these days. People dispose of great stereo equipment in favour of mediocre 5.1 equipment on a regular basis these days. Pawn shops and E-bay are grreat places to look. Best wishes!
Rachael, the big disc cat is in real life Dot Mongur, Champion of the International Pacman Federation. You better be ready to rumble if you play Jr. Pacman with me. This is full contact Pacman and I don't just play the game, I operate it!