Search for the (audiophile) grail ...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff.bart, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. Jeff.bart

    Jeff.bart Stunt Coordinator

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    You know what it’s like. Start with a budget, raise it. Raise it some more. Listen to this component and that, and your appetite gets further whetted. You know you have to sacrifice something when working within a price range, but you don’t want to. You want the absolutely perfect component and … well, you know the story.

    Well, I’ve pretty much decided on a receiver, the new Yamaha RX-V1300. I looked at stepping up to the 2300 (which I listened to last weekend). Yet the 2300, listed at $200 more ($1000 vs $800), only has 10 more watts per channel and weighs the same (33 lbs). I don’t need all the extra multizone stuff or slightly enhanced remote. I also doubt my room (or spouse) will allow me to get the benefit of those extra watts. I generally won’t use more than one-third of the amplifier power in a mid-sized room.

    The speakers are another story. I’ve listened to Def Tech, Energy, Boston Acoustics, B&W, Canton, M&K, Klipsch, Infinity and a few others. I’ve read tons of reviews from mag writers and users. But I am still stumped, and unusually indecisive.

    Basically, here’s what I want. Speakers that have good detail and clarity at the top and in the mid-range, but that are also neutral to slightly warm, with supple but not overpowering bass. At first I was looking at spending $600 for the mains, $300 for the center, $400 for the rears and $500 for the subs.

    Now I am considering as much as $1,200 for the mains, $500 for the center, $500 for the rears and $700 for the sub ($2900 overall). I might even bump that up to over $3000 given the right system.

    For reasons I can’t fully explain, I’ve ruled out Klipsch, Infinity and NHT. There are others I would like to listen to, but I can’t find a local dealer. And there are others I am interested in that only sell over the web (aperion, axiom).

    I love B&W’s detail, but they aren’t as warm as I’d like. Boston Acoustics VRM-50 is excellent, but a tad bright. Cantons are fine, but they seem to put more money into the bass in their bookshelves than I want to pay. The sub will take care of that. Def Tech isn’t as well suited for my preferences -- 65% music, mostly classical and jazz.

    At this point, Energy is my top choice, though I am still hesitant to pull the trigger. It does everything well, but isn’t a standout. Even then, I am not sure whether a C-3 Connoisseur bookshelf is the best place for my money, or a C-5 mid-tower or C-7 full tower. (The books vs tower debate).

    Looking ahead, I expect to listen to Paradigm and PSB and perhaps Mission and Mirage. Any others, with decent distribution, that others here would recommend, given my preferences?

    As for the sub, I am pretty settled on a Hsu or SVS in the $500 to $700 range. Whichever one has the edge in music. The only other one I am looking at is the 12-inch sub by Aperion – and only if I buy their HT system.

    Thanks for listening to a would-be audiophile’s lament.
     
  2. john_focal

    john_focal Agent

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    do you own the house you're currently living in?

    Im pretty much in the same boat, having started with a small system, and quickly realizing that it just doesnt cut it. The more I've been reading, the more I'm leaning towards the point of NOT upgrading my speakers until I own my own home.... obviously, what sounds good where you live now, may not in another home.

    I'd wager that you'll like the Paradigms, especially for the sort of music you listen to.
     
  3. Jeff.bart

    Jeff.bart Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, I am a home owner, John. Gonna be there awhile. The room is a bit irregular, but nothing that can't be accommodated. Indeed, the Paradigms are next up on my list. I plan to test them next weekend.
     
  4. David Omatick

    David Omatick Auditioning

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    I would definitely recommend you take a look at the Vandersteen Model 2’s. You will not be disappointed. If you do a search on this forum you will find they may be exactly what you are looking for. I have 4 of them with the VCC1 center and a Def Tech PF15TL sub. I am using a Yamaha RX-V2095 receiver to drive everything but the sub. I hope to upgrade to an external amp soon. The 2's for the mains and the VCC1 are right in your price range. You may want to consider the Vandersteen VSM surround speakers.

    I had two 2's as my L/R that I swapped to the rear when I bought a "newer used" pair of 2Cis as my new L/R. I also picked up the rest of the gear at the same time.
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    If you are looking for something on a $3k total budget that is good, you may wish to look at Mordaunt-Short. Their products can be found at the Marantz website, www.marantz.com. If you decide to raise your budget a drop more, you can look at Vienna Acoustics. This time of year lots of places close-out the prior year models and you may want to look at what your local stores carry to see when they will have clearance sales.
     

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