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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I decided I want to get an sound system for my room so that I can listen to classical music. So I was wondering which system I should get or if I should get something else to listen to classical music. So I’m curious what you use and if you have any recommendations. For anyone wondering, I have AirPods and headphones, but the headphones have very little base which I guess is good for classical music but I want more punch when I listen to Beethoven’s 9th (very basic example).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This belongs in the thread called "Hi-Fi."
The thread Hifi is pretty dead and people post stuff in the general music discussion all the time when it should be in another category. I looked at the hifi thread, and the thread was very long and probably also a bit outdated because new stuff comes out every day. But thanks for helping me anyway
 

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The Hi-Fi sub-forum is far from being dead, check this popular thread, for it might answer your question.
A separate thread on headphones is very informative, if you are looking to improve your current setup.
Here is my current listening room setup and you're more than welcome to discuss it or any other that you have in mind. There are many knowledgeable forum members out there.
 

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For immediate improvement, upgrade your headphones. Do some research and get as good a set as you can afford. (Sennheiser HD 600, my headphone choice, will run you about $300. There are good models for lower prices, and great models for higher prices. But avoid cheap, pop-commercial products.)

But consider also a dedicated headphone amp. This will connect between your music device and your phones. It will amplify and improve the sound (bass, midrange, treble). A tubed device will give you the magic of "tube sound", if you're interested in that. Such devices as Little Dot MK2 MKII 6J1 X 2 6N6 X 2 Tube Standard Hybrid Headphone Headphone Amp Pre-Amp Tube Amplifier (MKII) runs about $160 at Amazon. I have the older model Little Dot, and I wouldn't want to be without it. There are many headphone amps to choose from, lesser and greater in price than $160. Again, do some research. Read some reviews. And choose for your budget. You will probably find this combination of upgraded headphones plugged into a specialized headphone amp will satisfy your listening needs and get you that Beethoven Ninth Symphony sounding the way Beethoven would have wanted it in your ears.

One last note -- I once had a student connect her MP3 player or some such device to my Little Dot and then had her listen to her music over my Sennheisers. Her comment after about 30 seconds of listening was: "Oh my God! This sound is life altering." Indeed.
 

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This is impossible to answer without more information: What's your budget? Are you looking for a headphone setup or a speaker setup? If a speaker setup, do you want stereo or multi-channel? Budget is typically the limiting factor. The best audio systems aren't cheap, though it's worth saying that there's little correlation between price and performance in audio and many cheaper systems will outperform many much more expensive systems. For speakers my top recommendation is Ascend's Sierras. They're not cheap by most consumer standards, but they're probably among the absolute best measuring speakers out there and cost a fraction of what similar quality speakers do, and it's very easy to spend much more to get much worse performance. For headphones, the Sennheiser HD600s/HD650s have been one of the gold standards for decades. Many still consider it essentially perfect from the midrange to treble. The bass starts to roll off at about 80hz and it suffers from some bass distortion. For many, a headphone with the HD600s/650s midrange/treble with better bass is the ideal headphone. Closest I've found to that is the ZMF Auteurs, but they cost about 5x what the HD600s/650s cost.

With any headphones or speakers you're going to want to invest in an amp that's powerful enough to drive them sufficiently, as well as a decent DAC/player to play your music through. For recommendations there it mostly depends on what system you end up getting and, just like with speakers headphones, it's very easy to spend much more on inferior products. Audiosciencereview is a great forum for researching amps and dacs especially.
 

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I almost always listen with headphones. You can spend tens of thousands if you want (or can), but for most people you can get excellent results for much less. Like a home theater set up, the transducer is the single most important item and don't scrimp. Headphones seem to be subjected to more fan hoopla than NFL teams. Read reviews and sample music you like on several cans if possible. I've owned several dedicated headphone amps and once you get above a certain price point there just isn't that much difference in sound to my ears. Just make sure the amp can drive the cans. I've had solid state and vacuum tube amps and a well-designed and built solid state unit can sound every bit as "musical" and warm a tube amp.

My current set up is Sennheiser HD800s cans, a Burson Conductor 3X amp, and a Cambridge Audio CD transport. The Burson has terrific DACs built in and the input options for it are very useful: RCA, Toslink, Bluetooth, Coaxial and it has a really potent output that can drive any cans imaginable. The Sennheisers are the most comfortable I've tried; even a long Wagner opera isn't tiring. The Cambridge is fine, nothing fancy. It doesn't play SACDs, but that doesn't matter to me so much anymore. I have a habit of replacing gear every few years, but I like this current set up so much that swapping any of it out isn't likely.
 

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Philharmonic Audio has great speaker options for classical music, and they are a very good value. The BMR Monitor (bookshelf) and BMR tower have very wide horizontal dispersion, which leads listeners to perceive a wider soundstage, and better recreates the experience of seeing classical music performances live. Yet with the exceptional Raal tweeter, they also offer incredible detail.

https://philharmonicaudio.com/

There are also less expensive offerings, like the Affordable Accuracy.

FWIW, the owner / designer is also a classical musician.
 

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In my opinion, you don´t have to spend a lot on headphones to get good/great sound.

I use to use Sennheiser headphones in the €80-120 range. Now my favorite headphones are Superlux HD-681S. They cost a whopping €25.

And yes, I do care very much about good sound quality.

They have over 5000 four and a half star reviews:

https://www.thomann.de/de/superlux_hd681.htm

For speakers, you will have to spend a bit more, though. Although great sounding, used speakers can be found at low prices. There is no need to spend thousands to get good sound.
 

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Philharmonic Audio has great speaker options for classical music, and they are a very good value. The BMR Monitor (bookshelf) and BMR tower have very wide horizontal dispersion, which leads listeners to perceive a wider soundstage, and better recreates the experience of seeing classical music performances live. Yet with the exceptional Raal tweeter, they also offer incredible detail.

https://philharmonicaudio.com/

There are also less expensive offerings, like the Affordable Accuracy.

FWIW, the owner / designer is also a classical musician.
Fantastic speakers in terms of measurement, but their relatively low sensitivity has always turned me off them. Classical tends to have very wide dynamic ranges, and unless you're listening at very low volumes and/or have a very powerful amp it can be difficult to drive them to the desired levels on climaxes and peaks. This is why I usually recommend Ascend Sierras instead, because not only are they cheaper and measure just as well, they're also several decibels more sensitive. It would basically take an amp with 4x more power to power the Phils to the same level as the Ascends, and the Phils are more expensive too.
 

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There are some good posts here already. Some of what I say will be redundant.
1) Yes, this belongs in the HiFi section. Not because we are all ****-Retentive, but because the people most interested in this topic tend to search that area, so it will be more efficient for you and future posters. No, it isn’t dated. Components don’t go out of date
Like vegetables in a produce store. The biggest technological advantages in the past years have been in digital (mainly DACs); pretty much much every other sector of audio has seen incremental improvements. And even in digital, I guarantee that a decent mid Fi DAC from 2005 will significantly beat your current set up, which also means that you should be interested in previously owned gear.
2) Room size/shape is important. A great pair of small monitors will sound awful in a cathedral size room, and the worlds best floorstanders likewise are inappropriate in a closet. Oddly shaped rooms can do weird things.
3) You identify bass as being of great importance, and I agree. If you are going to buy small speakers, a subwoofer will be mandatory. I would also recommend one if you have floorstanders, because no floorstanders will ever capture the way that composers such as Mahler or Shostakovich use low percussion effects to infuse their sonic canvasses.
4) System synergy. Don’t try to drive large inefficient floor standers with a boutique 3 watt SET amp. My B&W 803 D (Diamond) speakers have a lot of treble, and I had a DAC that simply sounded to bright on Piano Music. A different DAC sounds marvelous.
5) Midfi audio sounds pretty good. Not having a Jeff Bezos budget doesn’t doom you to a life of miserable sound.
6) I agree that headphones are the most overhyped area of the market. A few hundred can get you an excellent setup, and the room issues disappear. Spending thousands more is a waste
 

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The OP has a point, it would be nice if there was more posting here
A Hi Fi forum would be the place to go for more info and activity on these matters.
 

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A Hi Fi forum would be the place to go for more info and activity on these matters.
True, and I frequent one, called Audiogon. The members there don't know diddly about Classical Music, and TC has a lot of members so we can afford a subgroup here on audio. Also, Audiophile sites tend to be nasty places with a lot of invective hurled about. I much prefer the civility of TC
 

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Sennheiser HD 600, my headphone choice, will run you about $300. There are good models for lower
It's $400 but I do think you make a good point, the biggest factor in sound is the speaker and headphones are much cheaper than similar quality speakers.
 

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I almost always listen with headphones. You can spend tens of thousands if you want (or can), but for most people you can get excellent results for much less. Like a home theater set up, the transducer is the single most important item
The transducer?

once you get above a certain price point there just isn't that much difference in sound to my ears.
What price is that?

My current set up is Sennheiser HD800s cans, a Burson Conductor 3X amp, and a Cambridge Audio CD transport.
Nice setup.
 

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Philharmonic Audio has great speaker options for classical music, and they are a very good value. The BMR Monitor (bookshelf) and BMR tower have very wide horizontal dispersion, which leads listeners to perceive a wider soundstage, and better recreates the experience of seeing classical music performances live. Yet with the exceptional Raal tweeter, they also offer incredible detail.

https://philharmonicaudio.com/

There are also less expensive offerings, like the Affordable Accuracy.

FWIW, the owner / designer is also a classical musician.
Which do you have?

I almost order a set a few years ago for my place in North Carolina. Ribbon tweeters are fantastic for acoustical music. I love them.
 

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My B&W 803 D (Diamond) speakers have a lot of treble, and I had a DAC that simply sounded to bright on Piano Music. A different DAC sounds marvelous.
You use subwoofers with you 803d's?

I had put two of the big SVC subs along side the same speakers for a couple months and finally removed them. I felt there was just no need. I put them in another system for movies.

What Dac had you had and which do you have now? :)
 
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