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Help !!! Budget of only £500 but high expectations!!

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Winch's picture
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Must admit to being a newcomer to this !!! Here is my quandary :

 

i.)  Listen to all my music currently through my iMac, ( between iTunes & Spotify).

ii.) Wanting to improve quality of experience I auditioned both the Zeppelin Airplay and Arcam r-Cube. (Both left me unimpressed.)

iii.) I have a MAXIMUM budget of £500, looking to stream my music from the Mac preferably wirelessly. I listen to a wide spectrum of          music, and must admit to liking a bright sound. A majority of the music in iTunes is Lossless.

iv.) I have listened to the Denon DM38 with the Denon speakers and was impressed with sound, but not the streaming possibilities.

v.)  Hope this helps, will listen attentively to any responses or help!! 

Fred K's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Get an airport express (N not G version) for around 50 squid then you can stream to any setup you want, such as the Denon you like...

Or have a look at the Marantz CR603 (http://www.whathifi.com/review/marantz-m-cr603), although it would probably blow your budget as it doesn't include speakers...(I know it's out of mine!)

I'd say active speakers akin to the Audioengine A1's might be worth a listen too for a cheaper-than-separates option, if you are only going to be streaming, and don't need the flexibility of different sources such as CD player, etc? You could then add a DAC such as the Beresford or CYP if you wanted to improve on the airport express' built in DAC (the airport express has optical out too). The Beresford has multiple inputs so would give you back the source flexibilty too if you find you need it later...

Note also that regardless of output system, it really is worth making sure the source material is ripped/downloaded at a decent bit rate (preferably lossless)... In my experience, the better the hi fi, the more apparent any shortcomings in the source media are...

Andrew Everard's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Assuming the computer is on a wireless network, you won't need the Airport Express: you can just use software such as Elgato's EyeConnect to allow it to serve its music to another device on the same network.

You can download a free trial of EyeConnect here, and even after the 30-day trial has expired it can still be used to stream music.

As far as a client device is concerned, I'd say the Marantz is the one to go for, or the very similar Denon CEOL: it's worth pushing the budget very slightly to buy one of these, or hunting for a bargain price.

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Fred K's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Andrew Everard wrote:

Assuming the computer is on a wireless network, you won't need the Airport Express

True enough - IF the hifi you go for can receive wireless streaming... My point was that you can plug the output from the AE into any non-streaming compatible stereo, and so opening up the range of options considerably...

Andrew Everard's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Agreed

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Winch's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Thanks for your support so far. Have looked at Marantz specs and reviews and it looks awesome, and does everything. Only question would be is AirPlay now built in, as some sites showing it is a feature, and some saying it is an upgrade?

Also, £449 is lowest price, what would be the best speakers up to £200 I could get away with as I would be prepared to postpone by a month or so and extend my budget?

Otherwise may go for Denon with AP, I already have an Extreme router in place. This would give me around £240 for speakers. Is this too much bearing in mind the budget of the Denon?

Again, thanks for answering so quickly, really appreciate it...

Andrew Everard's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

The Marantz is AirPlay ready: enabling it is a £40 or so upgrade.

In the sub-£200 arena I'd be thinking along the lines of the Tannoy Mercury V1s or Mission MX1s, both of which are excellent little speakers for the money. With £240 or so to spend I'd go for the Monitor Audio Bronze BX2s.

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GrahamDB's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Alternatively if you have an Iphone or Ipod Touch you could buy the Denon DM38 and then stream your Itunes library courtesy of Home Sharing into the USB socket on the front of the Denon. I have this set up in the kitchen and it works a treat. If you don’t have an Ipod Touch then you would still be in your £500 budget (just) by getting an 8gb one plus the Denon DM38. Just a thought.

Graham

Winch's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Graham,

Thanks for your reply. I have an iPhone 4, would what you have described allow me to stream my whole  iTunes library or just what is on the iPhone? I must admit that I thought that the usb was just to connect an iPod/iPhone?

Also (being cheeky) what speakers do you use with your Denon? I ask because I would not want to ask instore for people to rig up multiple systems for a £300 sale. The Denon units supplied sound ok to me? Does it make a massive difference? As I said, please excuse my naivety !!

Thanks... 

GrahamDB's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Hi Winch

It should allow you to play what’s on your iPhone plus stream the whole of your Itunes library. It’s a new feature in the latest version of iTunes and the iOS for the iPhone , iPod Touch and iPad I believe. It was very easy to set up – I’m no expert, believe me.

As for speakers I bought Monitor Audio BX1s. A step up from the Denon’s own, in my opinion, and pretty much the same cost. Sevenoaks (in Weybridge) were very helpful. £300 is a reasonable slab of cash so no-one should kick up a fuss if you wish to try different combinations.

Graham

CustomCable's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Hi Winch Having heard both the CEOL and Music Media I would definately crack open the Credit Card and pay that little touch extra to get either of these with a set of speakers. If however you don't mind a curve ball then how about a Sonos ZP120 with a set of speakers hardwired with a homeplug? This can then serve everthing you can possibly have in your itunes library, easy access to Spotify without needing your iMac physically on and then also use services such as internet radio and last.fm.....?!?

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Winch's picture
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RE: Auntie Angelina's Problem Corner

Thanks Phil,

Keep coming back to the Marantz!! I discounted the CEOL ( Don't like the finish and no DAB!!). The Sonos is interesting, but I guess I would have to think about adding a DAC as well and that would push me close to £1000 (and probably divorce proceedings!!) Also Sonos won't support 24bit and I have heard that Apple are seriously looking at introducing this at some point.

Thanks for your replies everyone. As I said all help gratefully received. Think though that I want to get myself to a dealer and audtion the Marantz with the MA BX2...

Cheers