Put together a high end 2 channel audio system for me, $12,000 or below...

Discussion in 'Home Audio (Stereo Systems)' started by jumpnblues, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Member

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    ......I'm looking for any combination of speakers, amps (integrated or separates), and streaming hardware and software. I don't need a turntable. It would be nice to have something to rip my CDs and have high quality sound. I prefer a 2 channel system and not HT. Speakers can be passive or active. If you go active please recommend a preamp. I also prefer all new gear as good deals are likely to expire by the time I'm ready to buy (about a year). I'm looking for a system that can hold it's own with about anything below $25,000. This thread is mainly to help me become more familiar with names of various top notch, high end audio builders. Thank you!
     
  2. captwillard

    captwillard Member

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    The best thing is to go to a couple of dealers and see what they reccomend and then research those reccomendstions. You can also look at online dealers like Music Direct, Audio Advisor, Upscale Audio, etc...you can get a lot of speaker for $4-5k. You can get a nice integrated with a built in DAC for $2-4K. You can decide if you want your music on a streaming server or on a PC or Mac.
     
  3. fataxeman

    fataxeman Supporting Member

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    As I recall you are the gentleman that had a $20,000-25,000 dollar "budget" and then found yourself having to wait a year because of big tax bills.

    Not trying to sound like a smart aleck, but buying a high end system (or anything for that matter....like a car), especially a new product, why would you expect it to rival a $25,000 system for $12,000?

    If you are buying used, without question, it's very doable. As far as "good deals" go, I am quite confident that your average, cork-sniffing, neurotic audiophile (and I include myself at times in that description), is more common than your average pickup swapping, "I have better tone with my new strap locks" guitar geek (applies to me as well) and in the hi-fi world there will ALWAYS be GOOD DEALS to be had.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  4. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Member

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    "[...Not trying to sound like a smart aleck, but buying a high end system (or anything for that matter....like a car), especially a new product, why would you expect it to rival a $25,000 system for $12,000?]"


    You make very valid points. I just keep reading on forums about owners of legitimate high end audio systems that they say will rival much more expensive systems. I've also read the same by people who do not necessarily own the gear in question but have heard it and highly recommend it. And, yes, I am the poor gentleman.
     
  5. captwillard

    captwillard Member

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    There are brands like Parasound, SimAudio, Rotel, Arcam, Hegel, B&W, Dynaudio, Revel, JBL Synthesis, Vandersteen (to name a few) that offer fantastic sound for the money. The key is to listen to some things, research, and then decide.
     
  6. fataxeman

    fataxeman Supporting Member

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    The Captain is right on point; I currently have Parasound and Hegel gear and it sounds great and I feel is a great value for the money. I have had Vandersteen 2Cs and heard their model 3 and 5; all are outstanding speakers and very good sound for the money. Not even sure if the Vandy 5s are even made any more.

    I may have already mentioned this, but I have the KEF LS-50 wireless speakers. (There are a couple of lengthy threads on here about them). I don't think I've ever had as much technology and good sound packed in to such a small package. If you were to buy 4 amps, 4 dacs and the speakers to go along with it all, I feel you would have a very tall order to get the same quality buying separates; in fact, I think that it is very likely one would be unable to accomplish that feat. At the very least, you are going to have to do a lot of homework, running around listening hoping your can hear amp A with preamp B and speaker C to ensure good component matching.
     
  7. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Member

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    My budget was $20,000 to $25,000 but, so far, I've learned I might not have to spend that much to have an excellent system. I still could make that my budget if necessary. But It looks like I'll have to spend less than my initial estimate. So now I'm thinking roughly $12,000 to $15,000 could do the job extremely well. However, that AR VS75i, Revel F228 based system I recently auditioned is going to be hard to beat.It is more expensive though.

    I'm loving the system recommendations. Keep 'em coming. I'm starting to see some redundancy in the recommendations and that's a good thing. But I'll consider any of the recommendations if I can have the opportunity to audition them. Thank you so much for the recommendations so far. As I said above...keep 'em coming. Much of my auditioning will come from the systems you're recommending. BTW, some of you may have noticed I'm running a similar thread on the AudioShark forum. I really appreciate your recommendations. And, yes, I do have a lot of research to do in the coming months.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  8. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

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    I just did it. Tannoy Cheviot Speakers, $6500; Cary SLI-80 integrated tube amp (used), $2100; Bluesound node 2i, $500. Total spent....$9,100.

    If you don't want big speakers like the Tannoy there are plenty of great speakers for less than $10K. Harbeth. Q Acoustics Concept 500. Tekton Design. A used pair of B&W 802D.

    The Bluesound node 2i is a great piece of gear and very affordable. However, for high end, I'd run it through an outboard DAC. I bought that Schiit Yggdrasil that is upgradeable when the tech advances. It cost $2300, which would bring the $9100 system up to $11,400, still under your $12,000 goal.
     
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  9. CheckSix

    CheckSix Gold Supporting Member

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    You can take your request in your first post about $12K performing like $25K and ask for the same thing at $6K v. $12K. You will more than likely be compromising and giving up something. I'm sure of it.

    What you need to understand is the point of diminishing returns in each of the source, amplification and speaker realms. Generally speaking, you get something, when you spend more (not always but generally). Fit and finish, quality of components in the device, design philosophy, the sound, etc. I don't believe people here, can figure that out for you. You're getting personal biases and preferences. You have to do your own due diligence ultimately. It's your hard earned money.

    I would listen to as many systems as I could, at all different price points and pay attention to what sounds exceptionally good to you, what it does exceptionally well and go from there.

    I started on this audio path 45 years ago. Generally speaking, you start out modestly and learn along the way and develop your critical listening and sonic preferences. AXPONA 2019 is about 3 weeks away and a great opportunity to see and hear a lot of audio components. Highly recommended! I'll be there all 3 days. I'm constantly on the prowl for new things.
     
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  10. captwillard

    captwillard Member

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    You can get the Revel f208 and a Simaudio 340i with DAC module, Mac MA5300, or a Bryston BP35 sst3 with DAC module and hook up a laptop and get something very similar to what you liked.
     
  11. captwillard

    captwillard Member

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    You can get the Revel f208 and a Simaudio 340i with DAC module, Mac
    You can also look at the JBL L100 reissue or the Revel f206. Both will share characteristics of the speakers that you heard. Just find amplification that you like (with or without an internal DAC) and you will have a great system. Brands like Rotel, Hegel, SimAudio, Bryston, Mac will all give you fantastic sound.
     
  12. captwillard

    captwillard Member

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    There is also the Rogue Chronos Magnum iii integrated which could mate with Revel speakers and give you some of the Audio Research flavor. You would then need to find a DAC/Streaming device.
     
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  13. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    No one has mentioned it's good to have two subs to get smooth and extended bass response in your room. You can get Revel F206's, great 3 way speakers with LF extension to 40 Hz. ATI makes great power amps and cost less than Bryston. I used Bryston power amps for many years, but their prices are too high now IMO. Revel, Paradigm and Rythmik make very good subs. It is often difficult to optimize LF response in a room with just full range tower speakers. It best to use subs with bass management and cross over at 80 Hz. A Blue Sound Vault2 will handle your CD's and streaming or you could get a Roon Nucleus.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  14. Kurzman

    Kurzman Supporting Member

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    You might want to consider cutting out the middle man to get high quality components at nice prices.

    For speakers look at....

    http://tyleracoustics.com

    For amps and pre-amps...

    http://www.tubes4hifi.com

    Then spend the money you saved on a bunch of gizmos that will try and get your digital stuff to sound like a record.
     
  15. sheikyerbouti

    sheikyerbouti Member

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    My recommendation, buy used, you can save soo much money.

    I went with an integrated Hegel360 demo model, Golden Ear triton 2 speakers(last years model) and a used turntable.
     
  16. johntoste

    johntoste Member

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    I bet that sounds good!
     
  17. sheikyerbouti

    sheikyerbouti Member

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    I love it!

    I had the 150wx2 smaller Hegel and kept overheating it. Now, 250wx2 receiver and each speaker has a 1200w amp in it.
     
  18. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

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    This question could take a book to answer! Most of the audio I own was purchased used....except for a CD player (too many moving parts to trust used!). I bought my son a used Hegel H360 integrated amp and was surprised at how good it sounded. I paid under $3k for it. It's on the warmer sounding side but was clear. Bryston makes some good gear that can be had on the used market. Speakers, in my opinion, are the key ingredient to having a really nice system. Spend as much as you can afford on a pair of speakers that really meet your wants. Some examples of speakers that sound great and can be had within a $12k system budget include some of the Focal Aria speakers, which have a nice sound for the price and punch above their cost point. Don't spend a fortune on cables and I do suggest used ones. I think that there are too many possibilities in terms of CD players and turntables to try to pick something. A person can easily put together a VERY nice system for $12k that could compete with systems that cost substantially more. Some gear is ridiculously price and sounds no better than items that are much less expensive!
     
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  19. Oz Hofstatter

    Oz Hofstatter Gold Supporting Member

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    IMHO, few things to take in consideration before buy your hi-fi system:
    - budget (you already know)
    - source (TT or Digital or both, so you already know that)
    - room or where you are going to listen your new system. It's a very underrated subjective, but it's crucial to understand the space you will place your system, so you can decide wisely the speakers, amp, preamp, digital source, cables, etc. (in that particular other.....)
    Good luck,
    Oz
     
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  20. middlechainringguy

    middlechainringguy Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey, @Oz Hofstatter, could you say a bit more about the "room where you are going to listen to your new system?" What are the key factors, and how does one integrate those factors into one's purchase decision?

    For example, I don't know but I would imagine that two of the room "factors" are size (big-small) and reflectivity (bright-dark). But if I have a "small, bright" room vs a "large, dark" room, how would I know which gear would work in each room? Etc.

    You've thought a lot about this ... maybe I should just drop by the store with a six pack and listen to you for a bit!
     
    Alan Dunn likes this.

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