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Thread: Suggestions for a new hi fi set within budget

  1. #1
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    Default Suggestions for a new hi fi set within budget

    Hello,

    I have made a very important decision in a man's life: I will upgrade from a "standard" 5.1 home theather to a brand new hi fi audio system.

    I hope you, experienced people, could help me with that urge....

    My budget goes up to USD 1.500, max 2.000.

    I am a classical guitarist and love classical music and live orchestras.

    My only source of music is the desktop PC, so I'll also see movies and sound will come from this same audio system - although no doubt classical music is the main topic. Because data will come from PC, there is no need at all for cd players or any kind of reader/player.

    I am looking for components to be selected on their ability to make more sense of different melodies, and give the greatest possible insight into the musical performance.

    It is also a core for me that the set is capable of recreating life-like dynamics, because there are many insights which just happen in a live concert hall, during performance. So I would like to have the closest to that within that budget...

    Also, I live in a small apartment, and desktop is in the office, even smaller I stay in front of the computer almost the whole day, and here is where I listen to music most of the time. So although a sound that fills well and fully my apartment is important, near field listening is the most common scenario.

    I would not like those computer aimed "compact" solutions, like, just as an example, B&W MM-1.

    Yet, best sound set up is my first priority. So, if space is required for the best system, I am willing to move the office to the living room. If towers speakers bring a superior experience than monitors within the budget, that's ok!

    Everthing for the perfect sound and music!



    Could you suggest me what can I sound best with this budget?

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    before suggesting anything, could you specify how exactly you listen to music/movies? is it something like: music while sitting at the computer + movies on a couch a few feet back from the monitor? or do you have a monitor and a tv... if so, where is the tv? etc.

    i'm also a guitarist with a similar all-in-one setup. you mention clarity, dynamics, melodies... all these things will become irrelevant once you choose the appropriate electronic components with the features you need -- what will determine the quality of the sound and overall effect is which set of loudspeakers you chose and how they are placed in the room.

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    i see that you've made the same post on several forums on other sites.

    i know you're trying to get as many suggestions as possible, but it doesn't really help animate a member's will to help and share knowledge when you know you'll never hear back from the poster once his project is completed. just a thought.

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    Senior Member Amfibius's Avatar
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    If by "near field" listening, you mean that you will be listening with your speakers on either side of your monitor with you sitting in front of your PC, then you would be best served by one of these:

    - an excellent pair of headphones
    - powered bookshelf speakers (Audioengine A5, Aktimate Mini, etc)

    Of the two, the headphones would give you far better sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    before suggesting anything, could you specify how exactly you listen to music/movies? is it something like: music while sitting at the computer + movies on a couch a few feet back from the monitor? or do you have a monitor and a tv... if so, where is the tv? etc.

    i'm also a guitarist with a similar all-in-one setup. you mention clarity, dynamics, melodies... all these things will become irrelevant once you choose the appropriate electronic components with the features you need -- what will determine the quality of the sound and overall effect is which set of loudspeakers you chose and how they are placed in the room.

    Philip,

    First of all, thank you for your reply!

    I am glad I found a guitarist who passed through this same search, I can surely learn from what you (all) have experienced.

    About the way I hear music, there are 3 just ways: just as you said, sitting approx 1 to 1,5 meter from the monitor in a 4 x 4 m^2 room (office); or laying down on bed, 6 meters from the monitor and 2 walls between us (2 doors opened) in bedroom - also 4 x 4 m^2; or walking inside the apartment - there is just a 6 x 4 m^2 living room besides those 2 rooms, anyway. And yes, I walk when listening to music, it makes it easier to find some insights about it !!

    In any case before, listening to music is the main activity, not the background!!

    About movies, it is just sitting approx 1 to 1,5 meter from the monitor in the office. There is no couch and no TV yet. Now, about the TV, in a year time I will probably have one, and I will probably share this setup with it, but because it is a future plan, I guess only care I should take for that now is making sure the amp has inputs for a second source and think later on about new disposal of speakers. What do you think?

    Now what you have mentioned about electronics and the importance of choice of speakers and disposal, I fully agree!! Actually I am an electronic engineer - music has been a very serious hobby for some yrs - and the subject I have less information about is the level of "evolution" and achievements regarding really good speakers.

    Hope this information help, tell me if you need something else!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    i see that you've made the same post on several forums on other sites.

    i know you're trying to get as many suggestions as possible, but it doesn't really help animate a member's will to help and share knowledge when you know you'll never hear back from the poster once his project is completed. just a thought.
    Philip,

    Thank you for the tip.

    Actually I am posting it in 2 more forums: The Art of Sound and Home Theater Shack, which I believe could have people willing the help me that understand about audio regarding the main subjects these forums are related.

    So I had decided to post on those two too because the main topics and needs there are different, I thought they could have different approaches and points of view.

    Also, the place where I am living for the several months from now is kind of restricted about pro audio shops and so I won't be able to audit all options. So, if I see that one option matches in more forums, that could help.

    But I understood your thought, and I can give you my word I can post back the results. Just have to wait a bit, because this shop is programmed for Jan'12 !!

    Thank you for sharing the idea again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfibius View Post
    If by "near field" listening, you mean that you will be listening with your speakers on either side of your monitor with you sitting in front of your PC, then you would be best served by one of these:

    - an excellent pair of headphones
    - powered bookshelf speakers (Audioengine A5, Aktimate Mini, etc)

    Of the two, the headphones would give you far better sound.
    Amfbius,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I had considered those before, but headphones are not really an option, because I also listen to music when I am not in front of PC and because I believe it is not comfortable to keep a headphone for 12 or 15 hrs/day...

    By near field I mean in front of PC, but also in bedroom just near office. What I mean is that there is no need to fill a large space or a room for a large number of people.

    Also, speakers might be elsewhere traditional "on either side of monitor", if it brings a better overall quality (for ex., in case of tower speakers).

    About powered bookshelf speakers, do you think in this scenario they could provide a better/richer experience than Digital Output -> excellent amp -> very good speakers?

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    Junior Member jamesvr's Avatar
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    reference headphones and headphone amp--will top anything "external" in your price range. having said that, check out the nad integrated amps and paradigm bookshelf speakers--great stuff.
    Last edited by jamesvr; Sep-05-2011 at 03:18.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfibius View Post
    Of the two, the headphones would give you far better sound.
    I strongly disagree. Headphones resolve more detail as compared to equally priced speakers. That doesn't equal better sound though! Headphones will never have the sense of presence. You won't feel the depth of the soundstage (and don't give me oh but open headphones line, I've heard many they still do not compare). You won't feel the natural mixing of the two channels even with crossfeed the way you do with speakers. With headphones you can't feel the bass, merely here it.

    Headphones give you a detailed yet mediocre experience. I would rate them okay. Speakers rate as good, and live performance rates as great.

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    Default Live!

    Quote Originally Posted by haydnfan View Post
    I strongly disagree. Headphones resolve more detail as compared to equally priced speakers. That doesn't equal better sound though! Headphones will never have the sense of presence. You won't feel the depth of the soundstage (and don't give me oh but open headphones line, I've heard many they still do not compare). You won't feel the natural mixing of the two channels even with crossfeed the way you do with speakers. With headphones you can't feel the bass, merely here it.

    Headphones give you a detailed yet mediocre experience. I would rate them okay. Speakers rate as good, and live performance rates as great.
    There you go--do you have room for an ensemble? Truly, can't beat live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by haydnfan View Post
    I strongly disagree. Headphones resolve more detail as compared to equally priced speakers.
    Do you really think that a pair of speakers on either side of a computer monitor will sound better than an equivalent priced headphone? I have a pair of Aktimate Minis which I use as computer speakers. I can tell you that I can hear all sorts of things on my headphones that I can not hear with the Aktimates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfibius View Post
    Do you really think that a pair of speakers on either side of a computer monitor will sound better than an equivalent priced headphone? I have a pair of Aktimate Minis which I use as computer speakers. I can tell you that I can hear all sorts of things on my headphones that I can not hear with the Aktimates.
    Yes I do think that even pc speakers sound better than headphones. From the rest of your reply I can tell you really didn't read my post beyond the first sentence, in fact I don't think even read the other sentence you quoted! I said that headphones DO resolve more detail than similarly priced speakers, but do not sound as good anyway... and I explained why. Please reread my post.

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    If you have a smarttv you're half-way there

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    Marantz PM6004 Integrated amplifier 599 USD

    Marantz CD6004 CD player 499 USD

    Polk Audio TSi500 Floorstanding speakers 800 USD

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