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Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

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fireglory's picture
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Guys, could you help me out?

I'm trying to build an affordable home hifi system.

I'm looking into an entry level integrated amp. Yamaha AS500 and Marantz PM6004 are the obvious choices. Hence there is a $200 price difference between the two which might decide on the winner. If you have other suggestions, it's important the the amp has a phono stage.

I've narrowed down to two speakers: B&W 685 and Q Acoustics Q2020I.

As far as the music goes, I'll be playing 60-70% of guitar-oriented music: from low-volume indie, 90s alternative to 70s prog, AC/DC-type hard rock, and even some metal. For the lesser part it will be electronic (trip hop, ambiental, house, synth pop) and a bit of jazz.

The main sound source will be my mac. But I'll be running vinyl and CDs as well.

Basically I'm looking for a good all-around system with natural sound, tight bass and sweet mids and highs.

Dave2860's picture
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

have you thought about running a sub and bookshelves?  otherwise i would say B&W Smile

 

Marantz and B&W also pair nicely, but I prefere the slightly warmer sound of the Yamaha

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fireglory's picture
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

A sub would be nice, but don't think it's within my budget atm. Maybe down the road. It's certainly an option I'd consider if it would much improve the sound.

Haven't heard the amps yet, but I got the impression that the AS500 has more top end, and the mentioned Marantz model a warmer sound.

Dave2860's picture
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

I disagree, I demoed both of these. Ended up with Rotel, Its a perfect blend of the two for my system anyway. The yamamah was more bass heavy, than the marantz, not much in it though. Go and demo things and see what you like...  rockin out

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fireglory's picture
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

Don't think I can compare and demo them side by side since different retailers distribute the amps.

Any Rotels in that price range?

davedotco's picture
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

fireglory wrote:

Don't think I can compare and demo them side by side since different retailers distribute the amps.

Any Rotels in that price range?

Go and talk to the dealers and see who are the most competent and the most interested in helping you fin a system that you like.

Buy from them. If they are any good they will show you a system that gets the best from the amplifier they do sell.

Getting a nicely matched and balanced system like this is far more important than worrying about the small (in comparison) difference between mainstream budget amplifiers.

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fireglory's picture
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

Demoed a pair of Q Acoustics 2020i and a Q 20 speakers. Not really sold on any pair. The 2020s produce nice highs and high-mids. However low-mids and bass sound pretty weak. Synth and vox-based music sounds best, guitars decent but it lacks that high-end punch. Q 20s did better, but not twice-the-price better. 

The also dealer suggests Dali Senzors, and I might try B&W 685s. How do these compare to Q Acoustics?

lpv
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

Zensors 3 with Marantz PM600... are safe bet and you'll probably love the sound.. however if you want to go with B&W then I would get Rotel RA10. 

 

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Hi-FiOutlaw's picture
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

In your budget you need to consider the NAD 326BEE with a phono stage built in and a lovely, detaild, smooth sounding amp. I've compared side by side with the Yamaha AS500 two years ago and I still don't get why was an "What Hi-Fi" best buy, as the NAD is so much better then the Yamaha IMO.

NAD pair well with most of speakers, i've demo it with MA RX6 and loved it. I still got my old 3020i and will keep it until he dies...

fireglory's picture
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RE: Building a hifi system - in need of suggestions

Thank you all for the input.

 

I can't find NAD 326EE with integrated phono stage on the official site. I do have some experience with NAD amps, they had power but their character always seemed a bit reserved to me.

Rotel is a big name company but looks like it holds back in the entry level amps. I believe there are better value amps in this price category. Can you back your suggestion with a few advantages?

As far as the speakers go, I'll definitely give Zenzors a try. What about Whaferdale Diamonds? I see they are quite often mentioned here.

However, the price can act as a leverage: I can snatch a pair of 2020is for approx €180, and Concept 20s are around €380.