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

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,031
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!
Here is a website that offers some of the best information I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot). Buy the book, it answers so many questions. The information on the website is free.

https://www.routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/9781138921368/
 

Oz Hofstatter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,703
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!
Room is a big part of the sound....... Because there is no "perfect room", it will influence the final result for sure...... Examples: big room, small room, lots of windows, no windows, high ceiling, low ceiling, concrete floor, carpet, rug, position/distance of the listener, speakers close to the back wall, away from the wall, and on and on and on.....
You need to "know and understand" your room first, and then, with a budget (you know that), your source (digital, you know that too), you can pick the best system for your needs.
There is solid state vs tube, mono amps & preamp versus stereo amp & preamp versus integrated amp debate, plus speakers efficiency, separate DAC or not, etc.
It's simple and complex at the same time....:)
I hope it helps.
Best,
Oz
 

Steeltoe

Supporting Member
Messages
1,760
Cayin LA-34 integrated tube amp

Klipschorns, if you have a big room with corners. Unbelievable in person.


Yamaha CDS-3000
All pre-owned, if you can find; Check Audigon for deals.
Silver not black.
 

jnovac1

Supporting Member
Messages
6,121
Cayin LA-34 integrated tube amp

Klipschorns, if you have a big room with corners. Unbelievable in person.


Yamaha CDS-3000
All pre-owned, if you can find; Check Audigon for deals.
Silver not black.
serious rig right there! add a phono and you’re set!
 

stumphead

Member
Messages
1,797
don't buy anything until you go to a audio show like :

https://thehomeentertainmentshow.com/

spend the money to go to that show and deduct it from the total you were going to spend

I learned soooo much from going there - so many systems, amps, speakers look great in ads - but then you will find another product that blows it away for less money

I have heard 100s of systems this way - some real popular names are actually crap
other un knowns are amazing

as a start you could get a set of speakers like this :
( which will blow the doors off mini monitor types)

https://critesspeakers.com/cornscala.html

and an integrated tube amp using 300b tubes

add to that an older 1541 chip cd player (amazing )

you would be looking at 5000
 
Last edited:

CheckSix

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,552
don't buy anything until you go to a audio show like :

https://thehomeentertainmentshow.com/

spend the money to go to that show and deduct it from the total you were going to spend

I learned soooo much from going there - so many systems, amps, speakers look great in ads - but then you will find another product that blows it away for less money

I have heard 100s of systems this way - some real popular names are actually crap
other un knowns are amazing

as a start you could get a set of speakers like this :
( which will blow the doors off mini monitor types)

https://critesspeakers.com/cornscala.html

and an integrated tube amp using 300b tubes

add to that an older 1541 chip cd player (amazing )

you would be looking at 5000
You don't have to wait 8 weeks for an audio show. AXPONA starts this Friday, April 12th. I'll be there.
http://www.axpona.com/
 

57gold

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,736
Suggestions:

a) go listen to speakers like ones suggested in $4-5K range to see what you like and what will work in your room (stand mounted monitors for a smaller room or towers for large room), keep in mind that there are "flavors" of presentation or emphasis, some guys want big deep sound for rock, others transparent/quick/neutral for acoustic jazz or classical and each company will have a signature sound, many choices in this price range;

b) select a power amp that will mate and effectively drive your speakers, typically higher output alternatives are needed for larger, multi driver speakers whereas speakers like the Devore ones recommended above require less power as they are designed with tube amps in mind;

c) forget about a CD/DVD players, those are obsolete, get a DAC that has the following - preamp, inputs for streaming, multi format and resolution capabilities (Mytek, iFi, Benchmark, Ayre, PS Audio, Wyred 4 Sound, Exasound....) make these to connect with a PC/Mac Mini and Ethernet for streaming services (you can rip all your CDs to HD like I did, @ 2,000 of them, and you'll find the music you want EASILY);

d) use a software based player like HQ Player or Audirvana, installed on your PC/Mini, these will extract the best performance of you existing files (CD rips) and streamed content (huge upgrade in sonics);

e) don't get messed up in the audiophile cable trap, plenty of quality alternatives that are reasonable and sound great (see Cullen Cables or Blue Jeans Cables....), and

f) once you have speaker/amp combo figured out, consider buying used or dealer demos as mark ups for audio are huge (example, I have $7K speakers from Aerial that I paid $4K and a $6k amp from McCormack that I paid $3,800 as dealer demos, they were in original boxes and warrantied), for $12K you might end up with a $17K system.
 

m_b

Member
Messages
179
I would start here
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php
and any site that performs valid tests of gear and isn't sponsored by audio companies. There's just too much con artistry in audio. ASR's priciest amplifier tested is about $ 3000, from Benchmark, and has world-class performance.

ASR has tested many DACs and a few streamers. I'm more on the objectivist side and don't believe in tube amps for music reproduction, for instance. For DACs, as proven by ASR, perfect performance can be had nowadays for a mere $100. The RME model mentioned above represents perfection at $1000 (plenty of features and I/Os), I wouldn't pay more than that for a DAC, personally.

The digital side is indeed important. I use DBPoweramp ($20) to rip my CDs, and Audirvana ($70) as a music player on a laptop fitted with a SS disc. Audirvana claims to turn your PC into a Hi Fi unit and IME does just that. Their Tidal, Qobuz and HDTracks integration works well. They have a remote phone app for iPhone, soon to be released for Android as well. And there you have your streamer. That's just one option of course. ASR also demonstrated the humble Google Chromecast Audio to be an excellent performer; there's one on the optical input of my DAC.

For convenience reasons I do not have a stereo system separate from my HT. Total cost was about $2000, I had to "limit" myself to a pair Paradigm Atom Monitor bookshelves and a Phonar subwoofer, I'm very pleased with that setup though. For music listening I use a separate DAC, still taking advantage of Audyssey, the room correction program from my AV receiver. It all sounds great to my ears. Using active speakers it's probably possible to build a near-perfect system for less than $ 1000. With your budget you have many, many options to build a high performance system. Many people will advise to spend the most on speakers.
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,421
There is no trick to putting together a system with that kind of scratch. All you need is cash. You do really need to know your stuff when putting one together for less than $2K.
 




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