Newbie bang for $?


Unregistered guest
Needing some advice from the sages.....

I'm tired of the off-the-shelf packages that have little life, either in quality or longevity, so I'm looking to build a system. This will be for audio only. I really want sound and reliability for listening to a wide range of music. Focusing mostly on CD's with a range from classical, to bluegrass, to everything in between and beyond. I'd also (at some point) wish to add a phono to play the larger collection of 78 rpms I have. But right now, just looking for some recommendations for the basics....receiver, pre-amp/amp, cd changer, speakers, etc. Primary room will be 13x15 with possible (and probable) expansion into a couple more rooms that same size or larger. Looking to start with a budget around $2K. Am I asking for too much?

Thanks in advance!!


Bronze Member
Username: Jbecvar

Post Number: 23
Registered: Mar-05
I and a lot of other people really like the pioneer 1014 receiver. It's got a lot of bang for the buck, and plus now that it's gonna be replaced soon you might be able to find it on clearance or sale.

Unregistered guest
$2K is a very comfortable budget for audio only unless you really do possess ultra-discerning audiophile eardrums (about 5% of the audio-buying population, by some estimates). $2K only gets a little tight if you're trying to do a HT setup.

Browse through the threads from the last month or two, plenty have dealt with just this question and budget.

I'd put the bulk of your money into the receiver ($400-600), 2 front speakers ($350-700) and a quality subwoofer ($400-700). For the vast majority of human eardrums, THIS is where the "bang" really comes from...the rest is details.

Sony makes a competent CD changer for about $130 which only that 5% really minds; the other area I wouldn't put more than $50 into is the wiring and interconnects.

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 408
Registered: Jan-05

Skip the sub, and get two big fronts. A sub ruins everything and is only a cheap imposter.

Unregistered guest
yes that's right, buy a pair of Cerwin Vegas, you'll get lots of loud muddy bass, zero midrange, and screechy treble! But they're LOUD LOUD LOUD so therefore they HAVE to be good!

10 million drunken frat boys can't be wrong, now can they? : )

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 443
Registered: Sep-04
edster - as usual we disagree. :-)

kid, if it doesn't come out of the source, then the amp won't amplify it and the speakers won't play it. If the source is really bad the signal will be broken and all you get is a broken amplified signal (broken musically that is).

The source should be accorded as much - if not more - importance as the other components in the chain which is only as strong as its weakest link. If you like bluegrass, timing is of the essence otherwise it just doesn't connect emotionally.

Most disc changers are relatively unreliable and not particularly musical. You get a lot more from dedicated CD players usually, the money being spent on quality components rather than quantity of extraneous ones you don't need to play a disc.

$2k should buy you a nice system. There is a lot of kit out there, so you should try to take your time. If you can, find a dealer and tell him of your budget and see what he suggests. For one thing, this means you will get local support which is a nice thing to have if anything should go wrong with your kit. More importantly, $2k is enough money for the dealer to be ineterested in you and your requirements. A good dealer will have demo facilities. Try to hunt this kind of dealer out. "Demo facilities" means a dedicated listening room where you go in with some discs and listen to the various combinations of kit available from your dealer at the price you want to pay. This A/B demo scenario allows you to make a judgement call on what *you* prefer. We all have different tastes thank goodness (life would be boring if we didn't), but this means that your choice might not be my choice.

Again, contrary to edster, consider the cables as part of the deal. Cables make a difference. There used to be a 10% rule where 10% of the cost of the system = cable money. This is a reasonable rule of thumb but not definitive. Your dealer will guide you, again with what he has in his shop. The blend of kit in any shop is chosen by the dealer based on all sorts of things including availability, markup and backup, so you don't have to worry when you've made a purchase. Before you start, warn the dealer that your $2k includes the cable money so he takes it into account (or at least you can bargain with him later).

I know your $2k is probably burning a hole in your pocket at the moment, but the important thing is to take your time, take advice, listen to more than one option and then make a relatively informed choice. If you do this, the system will give you longer term satisfaction and when it comes to upgrade in 10 years time you will be able to do so from a position of relative strength.


Unregistered guest
well, Frank and I can agree to disagree until we're both blue in the face but there's really only one way to figure out if you really want to spend $200 on cables and say $500 on a CD player: find a dealer who'll let you buy both and allow you to return them for a full refund if you don't hear any difference.

My bet is that you'll find precious few dealers who will allow you to do that, and for good reason: in a side by side comparison probably 70% of people won't hear ANY difference in the cables or CD players, and the 25% who do hear a difference will judge that difference to be way too small to justify paying through the nose for it.

Personally I have compared a $1200 audiophile CD player with a cheapie Sony 300-CD carousel at a friend's house and while there was a pleasant difference upon close listening, I would have a lot of trouble justifying paying an extra $1100 for it. Maybe if I win the lottery or something, LOL!

I do agree with Frank on one thing: a single CD player is likely to be more durable than a multi-CD player just because there are fewer moving parts.

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 410
Registered: Jan-05
You have to love the self proclaimed audiophile that is so smart(while knowing nothing), that he can offer reviews without even listening to the product.

Try to stick with reviewing your little teeny-weeny bookshelfs since that's your area of expertise. If I ever need to replace my surrounds, at least I'll know which bookshelfs to consider.


Unregistered guest
> You have to love the self proclaimed audiophile that is so smart(while knowing nothing), that he can offer reviews without even listening to the product.

Hee hee, let's see: I've listened to your Cerwin Vegas but you haven't listened to anything better than what three lousy chain stores carry, and yet...? This is rich!

And by the way, I have never claimed to be an audiophile---simply don't have the wallet for it, in case you haven't noticed: audiophiles spend $600 on cables and accessories, not front mains.

> Try to stick with reviewing your little teeny-weeny bookshelfs

Hmm, methinks someone might have a SIZE problem here! I'll bet you're a holy terror in the locker room...LOL I wouldn't be surprised if you drive a Hummer or some other ridiculous gas-guzzling boat because it makes you feel more manly.

BTW, the Ascends are 21x8x10.5, hardly what I'd call "teeny weeny"---that's more like a Paradigm Atom, not that you've ever seen or heard one of those either, since they're probably not carried by that absolute and definitive high-quality audio mecca known as Ultimate Electronics.

New member
Username: Goodears

Post Number: 4
Registered: Mar-05

Just go out to your local dealer and try out stuff. Try HK or Marantz recievers, safe and good. No one can not like them while the yamaha's onkyo and denons would get different responses.
There are also some good speaker brand out there which are midpriced - mordaunt short, polk audio. they are good. For Cd players pick up a denon, even the HK is good. They are not expenseive.

Try Cambridge audio Azur series for the amp. Reasonably priced.Good sound

There's a lot of stuff and one tends to get confused. Select three brands for each component. Carry your CDs and land up at the dealers place. Try mixing and matching components. I'm sure you would like one.

Its all about what you like when you hear them. Understand that all the reviews are also based on personal experience, rather than some technical expertise.
« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us