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Reccomendation for budget 2-ch system

 

New member
Username: Firefly1000

Post Number: 1
Registered: Feb-05
Hi,

I am putting together a 2-ch system and came up with the following:

-Denon DVD-2900 Universal Disc Player ($700)
-Harman Kardon 3480 amp ($300)
-Paradigm Monitor7 speakers ($600)

I am new at this so I would like your opinion. Does the distribution of dollars sound right? Should I be spending more on the speakers and less on DVD/CD player?

Thanks.

 

edster922
Unregistered guest
Good choice on the 3480, but I'm not sure I'd spend THAT much on a DVD player.

Here's my recommendation for a cheap DVD player with excellent sound:

http://www.referenceaudiomods.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Cod e=Tosh_3960&Category_Code=MODS&Product_Count=20

What I'd do is get it from Best Buy or some place like that for under $80, and do the $375 upgrade only if you REALLY want to.

With the money saved you can get speaker stands and a cheap sub like the $200 JBL E150 or E250 ($250), both of which will make a far more noticeable improvement than a $700 DVD player.

The Paradigm speakers are nice, though I actually prefer the less expensive Monitor 5s over the 7s. If you get a sub you may also want to consider the Ascend Acoustics 340s for $568 shipped, these are ideal esp. if you like classical, jazz, and vocal-dominated music.

 

Silver Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 172
Registered: Nov-04
yea i agree with edster about the cd/dvd player. my dad was nice enough to buy me a cd player for my stereo system for this past xmas. he gave me the choice of a cd changer or a high end cd player. the cd changer was pretty good granted its a marantz. i guess my point is that the singe cd player probably would have cost as much as my system and i figured thats a waste. i also have the hk3480 and love it. dont expect too much from the VMAx though. its basically a filter to make things sound airy. ive never heard the paradigms but know many people like them and recommend them. if you really want a dvd player buy a cheap one like edster mentioned and spend the money on a sub. even towers have limits that a well made sub can fill in perfectly even more so for bookshelf speakers. well i hope you are happy with your setup because in the end thats all that matters.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 352
Registered: Oct-04
I wasn't sure I'd get my money's worth when I purchased the Denon DVD-2910, but was surprised at how well it delivers CD audio through the analog connection. Supposedly the 2900 has even better Burr Brown DACs. I'd definitely recommend the player, although $700 may be a little steep considering it's last years model.

The 2900 is considered one of the top DVD players for audio playback and overall performance.
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
Ketan,

That Toshiba 3960 goes for $50 shipped from buydig.com which is a very reputable dealer.

Another option on the speakers would be a pair of Ascend 170s and a Hsu STF-2 subwoofer for about $760 shipped if you use the System Advisor calculator on their website...if you have a larger room you could upgrade to the 340s for an extra $230 shipped. The Hsu sub is pretty amazing.
 

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 146
Registered: Jan-05
I agree with some of the other comments. For a budget system, a $700 DVD player seems to be a little on the expensive side compared to the other components.

There are plenty of decent progressive scan players that would be more than adequate in the <$100 price range for the components he listed.
 

New member
Username: Firefly1000

Post Number: 2
Registered: Feb-05
Guys, Thanks for all the suggestions. especially the Toshiba 3960 from edster. I ordered the 3960 and HK3480 from JR.com. The Toshiba was $50, the HK3480 was $259 !! 13% off one day sale...Sweet...

Now for the speakers, I called up a local audio shop and they said i could bring in my CD player and amp and listen to the speakers they have. will let you kno how it turns out.
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
You're very welcome! : )

JR.com is one of the top 5 Internet dealers for both value and service...good choice!

Be careful of bringing in your equipment to test speakers in store...the room accoustics of your home and shop may vary hugely and make a big impact on the perceived quality of sound. Also it's hard not to let the store kind of lay a guilt trip on you so that you end up buying their stuff just because you've taken up so much of their time.

My first advice would be to ask for an in-home demo of some floor models, and/or do an in-home demo of Internet-direct speakers like the Ascends, you'll get a refund minus return shipping ($20-40 usually). For speakers in your price range people often find better quality for the same or less money going direct than through a brick and mortar reseller.
 

New member
Username: Firefly1000

Post Number: 3
Registered: Feb-05
Ok so here's an update.

The HK3480 and the Toshiba 3960 came in last week. I purchased used (5 year old) Paradigm Monitor 7 speakers for $250. Hooked it all up and the system sounds awesome!!!!!! I am now re-discovering my CD collection.

While I was looking into the 3960, I found that there are 2 modifications you can make. The Vinny mod and the Swenson mod. Both involve changing some capacitors for better ones, and providing isolation from vibration. Both of these I can make myself, as I work at a telecom hardware company with access to soldering equipment. I dont know how much difference this will make, but I cant wait to find out, and considering its a $50 CD player, I dont have much to loose if things dont work out.

Cheers,
Ketan



 

edster922
Unregistered guest
You got a sweet deal on those Paradigms, I'm envious! : )

How much will those extra parts for the Toshiba cost? I'm just curious, I'd probably wreck the thing if I ever tried anything like that myself.
 

New member
Username: Firefly1000

Post Number: 4
Registered: Feb-05
My guess is it will be around $40 for all the capacitors. Plus about 3-4 hrs of my time. Not bad at all for a CD player thats as good as $1000 CD players! If you do get the urge to try this, here's the link:

http://www.audiosold.com/articles/toshmod.htm

http://johnswenson1.home.comcast.net/3950_mod/Toshiba_3950_3960_mods.html
 

edster922
Unregistered guest
hmm, $50 for the player plus $40 for the parts is a steal if it really can upgrade it to audiophile quality.

I thought the key to doing that was getting those Burr DACs though?
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Upgrading internal components is often an effective way to increase the performance of any mass market piece of equipment. Capacitors and connectors are often inexpensive parts compared to what can be purchased from the aftermarket retailers and both items can make large improvements over the stock components.

I find it difficult to accept the statement that a few dollars worth of parts elevates the level of performance to that of a $1,000 and certainly can't quite buy - "After some minor modifications it sounds as good as my $25,000.00 Mark Levinson setup."

Overall I've found you get pretty much what you pay for in audio components. While the bargains are there, lower priced products generally have made concessions in certain areas when compared against the more expensive models.

Caps alone are not the entire story of a good power supply. The mods to the analog sections address areas where manufacturers often scrimp to hit a price point but do nothing to improve on what comes into the analog section.

The Toshiba units have a reputation for good sound at low dollar cost. They should make excellent choices for modification; but you should remember many inexpensive pieces of equipment are not the most reliable products due to cost constraints the modifications can't address.

I wish you good luck with the mods; they should prove to be valuable as a learning tool if nothing else. Hopefully the sound will be up to your expectations and the player will have a long life.




 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 424
Registered: Sep-04
Jan is on the money here. If the signal coming out of the DVD player is rubbish, then rubbish is what gets amplified and heard. Most cheap DVD players have hopeless sound (but oddly not bad video). Source is all-important and should be a substantial chunk of the total system cost.

Regards,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Firefly1000

Post Number: 5
Registered: Feb-05
I hear what you are saying about the inherent lack of quality in <$100 CD players. But the folks on Audio Asylum were so exicted about these mods that i decided to give it a try. I must say that even without modicications the unit sounds very nice to my untrained ears. In any case it will be a fun project.

The unit does have a Burr Brown DAC, although it is the cheap one. The main modification involves bypassing the output stage (after the DAC) and then using high quality capacitors to filter out the noise before connecting to the output RCA jacks. Apparently the output stage has an op-amp that picked up noise from elsewhere on the board.


Regards,
Ketan


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