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2-Channel System for Under $1k


The Monkey

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Doing a little research for a friend who'd like a CD player and speakers (and amp if he doesn't go with active monitors). He can't go above $1000.00 and preferably would like to spend less. He is not yet using a computer as source, so I think the CD player is a must.

I was thinking of something like this as a starting point:

NAD / PSB Package-Audio Advisor

Any thoughts?

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Buy everything on Audiogon! :P

Used & older CDPs and integrated amps from brands like Arcam, Cambridge Audio, NAD, Rotel, et al, can be had for real bargains. All you need is time & patience to score the right deal. Count on anywhere between $400-$700 for a CDP and integrated amp, to leave between $300-$600 for mini-monitor speakers. Brands like Aperion Audio, B&W, Monitor Audio, Paradigm, PSB, et al, come to mind. If floorstanders are desired over mini-monitors, there aren't too many that will meet the budget and will sound good at the same time. And finally, leave $30 for speaker cable from Blue Jeans.

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The only issue -- and it's a minor one if the intended is going to place the main unit in a well-ventilated area -- is that having the transport and the power amp in the same box can sometimes cause heat issues. Never a problem for us that care about our gear, but frequently an issue with mundies.

So the intention is CDP->integrated-> passive speakers or CDP -> pre -> active speakers? And expecting reasonably high bandwidht bookshelves, as opposed to a really nice pair of bookshelves and a sub later? Nearfield listening, or full room? How loud? Type of music?

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Sources

Marantz CD-5003 ($350, Audio Advisor)

Marantz DV-6001 ($250, Music Direct) (DVD player)

NAD C515BEE CDP ($300, Audio Advisor)

Oppo Digital DV-980H ($169, Music Direct) (DVD player)

Cambridge Audio Azur 540C V2 CDP ($300, Audio Advisor)

Cambridge Audio Sonata AR30 ($500, Audio Advisor)

Amps

Marantz PM-5003 int amp ($370 on b-stock, One-Call)

NAD C315BEE int amp ($350, Audio Advisor)

Onkyo A-9555 int amp ($483, B&H) ** plus tax for NY state

Cambridge Audio 340A int amp, 340T tuner, & S30 bookshelf speakers ($658, Audio Advisor)

Speakers

Audioengine A5 speakers ($350, Audioengine) (active)

Energy C-200 speakers ($150, Audio Advisor)

Epos ELS-3 speakers ($250 b-stock, Music Direct)

PSB Alpha B1 ($237 b-stock, Audio Advisor)

Cheapest system: Oppo DV-980 + NAD C315BEE + Energy C-200, $669

System that might sound better and will be more adept with more speakers: Marantz CD-5003 + Onkyo A-9555 + Energy C-200, $983

- add ~$30 for a pair of Blue Jeans RCA interconnects

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The only issue -- and it's a minor one if the intended is going to place the main unit in a well-ventilated area -- is that having the transport and the power amp in the same box can sometimes cause heat issues. Never a problem for us that care about our gear, but frequently an issue with mundies.

So the intention is CDP->integrated-> passive speakers or CDP -> pre -> active speakers? And expecting reasonably high bandwidht bookshelves, as opposed to a really nice pair of bookshelves and a sub later? Nearfield listening, or full room? How loud? Type of music?

Dusty, he listens to jazz, indie rock, punk rock, and assorted other genres. It's a relatively large space, though, I don't know the square footage. But it's an open floorplan type environment. My guess is he'll want something high bandwith. He's not against floorstanders, but I'm not sure he has the budget for those.

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Dusty, he listens to jazz, indie rock, punk rock, and assorted other genres. It's a relatively large space, though, I don't know the square footage. But it's an open floorplan type environment. My guess is he'll want something high bandwith. He's not against floorstanders, but I'm not sure he has the budget for those.

used ProAc Tablette Signature 50 w/ outlaw receiver or used NAD 370/372 or any one of Rega's used offerings. your friend can add a sub in the future.

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a friend listens to an older Wadia CDP (the 302 has digital volume control) and powered Meridian speakers (DSP3100). it's a rather serviceable system...

and for audiophiles, 1k means monthly outlay, since there is no such thing as a one-time purchase for an audiophile...

but if you really aim to keep it all below once_$1k you should also consider Magnepan MMG speakers and all-in-one boxes from reputable audio purveyors that combine radio, CDP, and amp in one.

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How do you folks feel about PSB speakers?

I love them. I truly do. Musical, extremely well built, I sold them for two years. I've owned a pair for 5, and never upgraded them. I briefly bought a great pair of Usher BE718 to replace my Platinum M2 monitors, and decided against it. PSB's entry level, especially, is far ahead of the curve.

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I love them. I truly do. Musical, extremely well built, I sold them for two years. I've owned a pair for 5, and never upgraded them. I briefly bought a great pair of Usher BE718 to replace my Platinum M2 monitors, and decided against it. PSB's entry level, especially, is far ahead of the curve.

How are their entry level floor standers?

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Speakers are more complex than headphones, as they rely heavily on the room unless you're listening only nearfield.

To your point, Dinny, the Alpha T1s are very good, and tailored for the client who is in the market for them. Reasonably linear response, sloping slightly down on top and slightly up on bottom, with a wide dispersion pattern, making room placement easy. You can back them right up against a wall and they still sound pretty decent. They're one of the most music oriented towers in their price range, as most everything else in that range is geared towards boomy home theater.

Plus, I think they look good in Maple. The black looks tacky to me, but black almost always does (forgive me, master dust).

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