Buying a new home stereo system

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by wire-n-wood, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. wire-n-wood

    wire-n-wood Member

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    In the past, I've gone cheap in this category. But I've just had two mini "HIFI" CD player systems die at the same time. I have no clue what they meant by "HIFI", but they were relatively insubstantial little units with a lightweight speaker box on each side.

    I'm thinking that I want to get something quality, modular (i.e. able to add wireless speakers, different output channel in different rooms, etc) and with some enduring quality. I have a good collection of CDs which I love to put on. Though it's not quite the same as the old vinyl days, it still allows me to respect the album as compiled by the artist, so I like CDs. But It would be cool to be able to route the TV audio, and any other computer or streaming through the amp, things that might become more important to our family over the next couple of years with growing teenagers.

    So, I'd love to hear perspective and experience from anyone who's recently looked into this.
     
  2. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    I've gone cheap but great. I have a McCintosh that was $75 used. Also one of two Nakamichi receivers. I connect can various audio feeds into these but being enjoying Google Chromcast (reg and audio audio)
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
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  3. snouter

    snouter Member

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    Big fan of Crutchfield dot com for the latest stuff that actually works. Although their headphone selection is weak in promoting those ridiculous in ear plug things as if they are headphones. The ear has a shape for a reason.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  4. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    Buy a receiver that offers "Spotify Connect". You can then stream spotify directly to the receiver, and use your phone to control it.

    That's what I have. Of course, it has all the other connections, etc.

    It's a Yamaha.
     
  5. dB

    dB Member

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    I'm in the middle of this process at the moment. I listen to 80% digital music (pandora, spotify, rhapsody/napster) and 20% vinyl. I already have a decent record player, so my focus has been on 1) speakers, 2) integrated amp, and 3) bluetooth DAC...in that order. My budget is $4k. There are a lot of integrated amps out there that now have a DAC and bluetooth built in, so I looked quite a bit at those, although it wasn't a deal breaker if I had to get a standalone DAC. I also wanted an integrated amp that has a quality phone stage. Worth noting that I am not building a home theater system with surround...this is an old school 2.0 stereo hifi setup for music. We will run sound through it for when we use the projector to watch a movie, but that is not the priority.

    For speakers, I had it narrowed down to Spatial Audio M3's, Goldenear Triton 3, and ELAC UF5. I went with the M3's, which should be arriving in a week or so.

    For the integrated, I looked at the Rogue Sphinx, NAD c368, Cambridge Audio CXA80, Yamaha S801, and the Peachtree Audio Nova 150. The Rogue is the one that has had my attention the longest and seems universally loved, but I'm about to pull the trigger on the NAD. It checks all the boxes, it's not that expensive, and I've spoken to a couple of boutiquey hifi retailers that could have easily steered me in a more expensive direction and they were praising the NAD. The guy at Crutchfield said he personally would go with the Yamaha 801 for the muscle, but said the NAD sounded incredible and shares some tonal character with McIntosh.

    I gave some serious thought to the PS Audio Sprout as well. The Sprout with a great set of speakers would probably be a fine system and an economical way to get into the world of hifi.

    I hate to admit that I am going to spend a few dollars on speaker wire, but I'm thinking that I am investing in decent components so I might as well get something better than just some Monoprice or Monster. I'm unwilling to spend absurd money, but will throw $300 or so at some wire. I'm looking at Audioquest Type 8 or Anticable Level 2.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  6. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Be aware that Bluetooth, while convienient, isn't the optimum way to transfer digital audio.
     
  7. dB

    dB Member

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    Yep, and all these amps have optical, USB, coax and analog inputs if I want to plug in a lap top or something. But, bluetooth is the easiest and everyone in the family can do it without having to really touch the system at all. It guarantees that there will always be music playing. That said, the NAD seems to have a particularly good sounding bluetooth setup, which was another reason to go for it. Apparently the Yamaha didn't sound quite as good via bluetooth.

    I suspect that I will also use this quite a bit with headphones after everyone in the house goes to sleep.
     
  8. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    While you have 'the bug', here's something to ask Santa for when you go sit on his lap:
     
  9. beanbass

    beanbass Member

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  10. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Member

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    11 years ago I bought Cambridge integrated amp, Music Hall Turntable, and Wharfdale speakers with Kimber Cable.

    Still sound great.
     
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  11. JCW308

    JCW308 Supporting Member

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    We have three Bose Wave Radios throughout our house and one of them is connected to the TV. It completely replaced the home theater stereo and is the size of a shoebox! Just watched a U2 concert through that setup and my wife was freaking out at how good it sounded. The couldn't get over it!
     
  12. Oldschool59

    Oldschool59 Member

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    As with anything, the sky's the limit. I changed my system 2 years ago, I wanted something that covered:

    1) Radio (AM/FM)
    2) Internet Radio
    3) Digital music: reading from a local music server HDD
    4) CDs
    5) Subscription streaming services (Tidal High Definition, in my case)
    6) Any other analog/digital/optic cable/turn table/you name it inputs
    7) Lots of power
    8) Wired connectivity (ethernet) as well as wire-less capability, ability to be controlled by mobile devices
    9) High fidelity sound
    10) Multi-room capability, etc... the list goes on.

    After looking long and large, and combining multiple boxes / options, I ended up with a Naim Unity 2 system. It does all that, in one box. Downside: cost. You can get a custom guitar, a custom amp, a custom-made, fully populated large pedalboard for what this thing cost me. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. This thing is seeing more daily use that all my music gear combined, and it sound better than anything I have heard to date. It provides the soundtrack to my home life, daily.
     
  13. dougb415

    dougb415 Member

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    We have an Onkyo receiver with Polk Audio speakers in a 5.1 setup. Basic Samsung blu-ray player. We got most of it at Best Buy.
     
  14. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Don't tell anyone that absurdly good vintage audio gear can be had cheap. We don't want the hoarders to step in. A nice DAC can be had pretty cheap too.
     
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  15. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

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    Check out the OPPO BDP 105. I use it as the "brains" of my system and everything gets played through the OPPO, including my Tivo DVR. Really great sound quality from the DACs, and the CD player is fantastic. I also hook up my computer through it so I can listen to the music on my computer through a really nice DAC.

    The most important thing in a good system is the speakers. Build a system around good speakers.
     
  16. Tahitijack

    Tahitijack Member

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    In my TV/audio room I'm running a stereo Harmon Kardon with a pair JBL Studio L830. I have my old 160GB ipod with about 15,000 songs connected to the HK. My entire CD collection was transferred to iTunes long ago and so the cd changers and discs were given to Goodwill. Now for the fun part. I have a SONOS connect connected to the HK tape in and out and Play 5 wireless/wifi speakers in the dining room and living room. The ipod plays through the system with the HK on and still plays through the Play 5 with the amp off. I am no technology guy but I figured how to set up the SONOS on my laptop, so when its on I can play my entire iTunes library on the Play 5 and HK/JBL. The best part? I can control everything on my android phone. Gets better...I can source other places, like my Pandora account, I heart radio, tunein and other online sources. Its a hoot to listen to Hawaiian radio stations. I can also listen to local radio stations. SONOS has perfected the wireless concept flawlessly. When you want to move a speaker you just unplug it, move it and plug it in to another electrical outlet. The only downside is SONOS does not make an outdoor speaker but you can hardwire other outdoor speakers to their connect amplifier for outdoor sound without any delay from the rest of the system. Hope this is helpful.
     
  17. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Member

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    My first stereo system was a McIntosh C11 preamp into a McIntosh 240 power amp, both full of tubes. They provided the electrical zoom for a pair of cabinets with JBL 12" soeaiers and JBL bullet tweeters. A simple pioneer turntable and a TEAC Tape recorder provided the tuneage. It was sold to pay for a trip to Europe in "78. I had an old oscillating fan connected to the preamp that cooled it all down. Summer times in Bakersfield were hot in the farmhouse I grew up in.

    I replaced it with a Hafler preamp, Audionics power amp, JBL L 100 speakers, a Beogram turntable and a Nakamichi cassette deck. Later I expanded with used gear: SAE power amp, Marantz integrated amp used as a preamp and AR speakers.

    I gave the JBLs to a friend. 20 years later he returned them. My son has them, the ARs, and a Kenwood integrated amp I acquired.

    Sadly, after a bike accident that had me wake up in the San Luis Obispo hospital ICU, I Lost 60% of hearing in my left ear, and the right ear sound like a waxed paper and plastic comb kazoo. I use my current system primarily for the big screen tv. My son pointed out that the stylus in the Music Hall turntable has disappeared again. Haven't played a record in a while.
     
  18. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Bluetooth and wireless aren't going to give you hi-fi.

    Keep tabs on your CL and hit up garage sales/thrift shops - people are giving away very nice stuff.

    My living room system is Adcom components and a nice pair of Boston Acoustics towers, which ran me $90 for the whole setup.

    You can generally find very nice AV receivers, in the $20-30 range.
     
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  19. Peteyforto

    Peteyforto Member

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    Do you want a complete surround system 7.1 or will a high quality 2 channel stereo be good enough? I run 2 channel stereo Mcintosh amplifiers into a pair of DCM or Paradigm speakers. All the wireless, TV, Blu ray, DAC stuff in built around it.
     
  20. Jason Calieri

    Jason Calieri Silver Supporting Member

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    Lotta bang for your buck in the Marantz lineup
     
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