Which 2 channel set-up for $5000 (CDN) approx. $3500 US

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ken Makela, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Ken Makela

    Ken Makela Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 9, 1998
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    I really want a decent 2 channel set-up for my living room. I'm partial to B&W, since my HT is made up of them. I was initially thinking about a Bryston B-60, but after speaking with my dealer, he was not keen on the passive pre-amp section. He sells Musical Fidelity integrated amps, and Classe. I'm leaning towards N805, what would mate well with these? How pricey is Linn? I already have a Rotel RCD-951 (should do for a while) until I feel the need to upgrade the CD. I've kind of had it with the urge to upgrade the HT and want another diversion.

  2. Maurice

    Maurice Auditioning

    Aug 11, 2002
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    Have you considered tube amps? Particularly if you are using as a music system,some of these are affordable, and the sound is luscious. I have a Jolida 302B for 2-channel in MBR room of approx. 15 x 20, driving magnapan 12's and the sound is wonderful. This unit is an intergrated amp, and costs less than $900.00. They make a higher output unit which is several hundred more.
    One of the great things about tube amps is that you can use different tubes of the same type from different sources and affect your sound, allowing you a really cheap way to tweak your system. Besides, virtually nobody you know even knows these are still made, so the 'wow factor' is great. If using a turntable with the Jolida, you will need a phono pre-amp, but many units out there no longer include a phono-in. Other tube amps are available, of course, for for the buck, these are hard to beat, and get great reviews from owners on websites. Magnapan speakers are crystal clear, with good, but not earth-shattering bass, and not for those who have cats!
    Good luck![​IMG]
  3. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

    Jan 22, 2003
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    A Rogue Audio Tempest integrated would be a good choice. Great tube warmth and you don't have to bias the tubes. I'm considering between the magnum version of it and a Cary SLI-80 integrated for a 2 channel system myself.
  4. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

    Apr 8, 2002
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    Depends on what you are trying to make out of your system. If you like tube amps, here are a couple of considerations, in terms of tube warmth top to bottom:

    Audio Research
    Conrad Johnson
    Art Audio
    Balanced Audio Tech (BAT)
    Sonic Frontiers

    All of which have preamps and amps which are top of the line, very dependable, and sound amazing. I, for one, like the sound of tubes, but not with too much warmth, so I picked up a Sonic Frontiers Line 1SE, and I have been extrememly happy since. I paired it up with solid state McIntosh amp, as I believe that a good tube pre and a good solid state amp will satisfy the musical tastes of anyone, and my speakers are somewhat hard to drive, so I needed the extra power. As for solid state amps and preamps, take a look at:

    Musical Fidelity
    Mark Levinson
  5. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

    Dec 8, 1998
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    if you're looking for a canadain dealer for tube gear try these guys


    A friend of mine purcased his integrated tube amp from them and was very pleased with the purchase (via the web)
  6. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

    Aug 30, 2000
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    For that price range, I think you should certainly stick with integrateds.

    And if you are set on B&W's I would also not disagree with your dealer's recs of Classe and Musical Fidelity, both make good integrateds. Musical fidelity also makes some fine separates in the $1000 dollar range per component.

    Something I would throw out is, are you sure you want to stick with the same B&W sound for music listening as well as HT? I mean if you want the B&W sound for music you can always plug a CD into your HT set-up or even move your front speakers over to your stereo set-up every once in a while.

    Personally I have a pair of speakers that I am very happy with and have no plans to ever part with them, but there are times that I wish I had a different style of speaker to plug in and play around with for that change of pace. After all variety is the spice of life.

    -You could do a low powered single ended triode tube set-up with high efficiency speakers.

    -A medium powered push-pull tube set-up like what most of the recommendation above fall into, with a medium to high efficiency speaker.

    -Or stick with solid state and a different style of medium to low efficiency speaker.

    Here are some of my recommendations in each of the above categories, with a bunch of brands you have probably never heard of, but hey for what its worth. Prices are all US dollar

    Some cool integrated amps in your range-
    Fi 'X' 2A3 Integrated amp $1200
    Audiomat Arpege Reference EL34 integrated $2400, used $1500
    Cary 2A3 Si integrated $4500, used $2300
    47 Labs 4706 Gaincard SS integrated used $1500
    Naim Nait 5 SS integrated $1500, used $1000

    or if you can solder maybe a Bottlehead DIY kit
    Foreplay preamp $300
    Paraglow 2A3 amp $1150
    Parabee 300B amp $1499

    Some nice speakers to match with the above-
    Cain & Cain Abby loudspeakers $1500
    Jean-Marie Reynaud Twin MKIII $850
    Audio Note AN-E/L $2750, used $1500-$2000
    Audio Note AN-J/L $1750, used $1000
    Soliloquy SM-2A3 $1500, used $800

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