Then £500 is all you need to spend to get speakers that are as good as it gets. Spending more than that gets you different. Not better, but different. Speakers with different compromises. Worse in some ways better in others.
Utter nonsense. To say that a class-leading £10k speaker is merely good in a different areas from a class-leading £500 speaker is madness.
Show me where. £10k last time I looked (ie just now).
Not utter nonsense at all.
Please name me a £10,000 speaker with a better midrange than Quad ESL 57's?
Please name me a £10,000 speaker that's more dynamic - or even better as an all-round speaker than a scruffy pair of Altec Model 19's or EV Sentry III's?
Please name me a £10,000 speaker with better bass and a less fatiguing sound than a pair of Bozak Concert Grands or Symphonys?
The £500 speakers that I'm talking about were all high-end when they were new. They're still high-end today in terms of sound quality. They're not high-end in terms of price.
You can get £2500 active ATC 50's from internet auction sites and hi-fi forum classifieds. I once saw a pair sell for £1450.
The only madness here is in people spending £10,000 on speakers that are no better sounding than something they could buy for £500.
I'd say: it depends.
If you're not too fussy about buying brand new, nor cosmetic condition, nor size.
If sound quality is your main priority.
£500 can get you Quad elctrostatics with their world class midrange. Or a pair of horns for dynamics and good general clarity. Or a pair of large sealed boxes for bass. Or £2500 can get you some active ATC 50's which some people really like - these come with power amps inside the speaker cabinets for a fuss free solution.
Amps. You can get a good ss amplifier for under £100. If your speakers aren't too demanding they'll sound fine. Or you can go up to £2000 for a really good solid state or valve amplifier.
CD players? I've been to bake offs where people have got really good sound from a PC / Laptop / Mac and a sub-£250 DAC.
My rule of thumb is that there is no direct link between how much a hi-fi component costs and how good it will sound.
so your saying bowers and wilkins diamond range sounds "different" rather than better than their "cm range"...having heard both I disagree heartily.
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I was curious so I googled some of the speakers you mentioned. The Bozak Concert Grand retailed for $2000 in 1965 acording to wiki. In 65 there was £0.36 to the dollar, which puts them at £720.
The Bank of England's Inflation calculator puts that at £10,872 in todays money, bout the same as the ATCs.
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Thank you Everyone
Buying Hi-Fi Components - Proportionate Allocation of Budgeted Funds to each Separate
I am delighted to get so may responses and different views on the subject. I am now trying to figure out if there is a consensus on spreading out the budget on these three critical components in any particular manner (wisely) to get maximum value for money while building a Hi-Fi system. Even if there is no consensus just reading the inputs is itself a very informative and educative exercise.
Please keep on posting your views and experiences however different these may be.
TBH it's more important to achieve the 'right' synergy rather than how much one spends on individual components. Likewise, the same can be said about products with 5 stars. So you could spend silly amounts on speakers, in comparison to the amp and CDP, it could still sound rubbish.
This is exactly why most of us say "go and listen to various set-ups..." or something along those lines, and with your max budget in mind, try out different combos at various price levels and see where that budget takes you.
The main reason I purchased the Leema or an amp at that price bracket is because it was heavily reduced. So when it comes to upgrading speakers I should be looking at monitors between £1,100 - £1,300, but if I have the finances (very unlikely) I wouldn't be adverse to look at something in the region of Monitor Audio PL100s.
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Linsayt, unfortunately your comments are invalid as you have to compare new with new, not old with new. Martin Logan, for instance, equal the midrange of the quads, as do some Chario and Sonus Faber models, and are roughly at the same price range as the quads would now be. They're also easily better than any £500 speaker on the market.
Going back to the original topic, I'm with those who say spend the most on the bit that makes the sound.
Why do we have to compare new with new only?
In the real world you can buy either new or 2nd hand.
Are we going to live in the real world on this forum, or are we going to live in some fantasy land where 2nd hand kit is not easily available?
Do Martin Logans really equal the midrange of Quad ESL 57's?
That's not what I've heard from people whose judgement I trust who've compared them.
I think we need to do an electrostatic bake-off to find out.
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Do you not understand that you have to compare like with like?
Put it this way. A friend bought speakers for £1000 that were worth £10000 when new. Therefore, they should be compared with speakers at the £10000 mark, not his buy price. Clearly they'll be better than than other new speakers at the £1000 price point, but that's only because they are being compared with models in a price bracket to which they do not belong.
Well for whats its worth I have a Capian M1 Pre (£1500 new) and Caspian M1 Power (£1500 new) with Caspia M1 CDP (£1500 new) and Rega Planar 3 TT (£150 sh) as sources through a pair of Castle Richmond Speakers (£350 new) and they sound amazing!
Ok I'm changing the speakers to ATC SCM11's (just under £1000) but if I didnt change my speakers would I be dissapinted? NO I wouldnt. Likewise I'm sure if I spent £2000 on a pair of new speakers the sound would be better still, but I think at the end of the day there are no set rules in HiFi and you just have to follow your own ears...experiment and try different combinations and I'm sure you will be surprised at what can be achieved.
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I'd back Linsayt on this one. unlike you, I didn't get any impresion that anybody is comparing anything. what I understood from his posts is just that you can get world class performance for very little money if you know what and where to look for. I didn't get impression that he was comparing speakers wich retailed for 500 GBP in the sixties to 500 GBP speakers being sold now. contrary, he stated that speakers he was mentioning were the best in their class regardles of price. so effectively if he was comparing anything to anything it was 10 000 GBP (in todays prices as point out by someone else) speakers from the sixties to cost-no-object todays speakers.
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Thanks to all who've responded to this
Lindsayt - it seems the speakers you name aren't necessarily '£500 speakers' anyway. Obviously you have to compare (contemporary) RRP with RRP - just look at WHF group tests to illustrate. Obviously you can buy ATC SCM50s for under RRP second hand - but they remain a £10k speaker, just being sold second hand. FWIW I'd put the ATC studio soft dome mid range driver up against anything else, but it will obviously be subjective.
Your main point is simply wrong. A £500 speaker might be better in one area than a more expensive speaker. But if the more expensive speaker is well designed, it will be better overall because it will be better in all the other areas. This is not simply compromise, it is overall quality. I would not buy any component based solely on quality midrange (the example you give) as I'd only enjoy music that only had midrange, ie no music at all.
Jason - I feel the same way about my kit. How much longer til the SCM11s arrive?
HiFi / A/V / Bedroom
back to the topic...
I may be a little bit unorthodox about this one but I'll share my experiences anyway. most posters are saying that one should spend most of the funds on the speakers. some would even go so far to say that source and amp are largely insignificant in the chain therefore it's justifiable to spend a lot more on speakers than electonics. well, my experiences say something completly different.
my first hi-fi was rather inexpensive 1200 GBP system. break down was:
CDP+ amp -> 83%
speakers -> 17% (obviously )
it sounded very nice overlall but I soon upgraded speakers as I was planning on upgrading them as soon as I had funds. the break down then was:
CDP + amp -> 46%
speakers -> 54%
and it began to sound awful. to a point that I couldn't enjoy listening to music anymore. it were the speakers guilty of what happened. they have too good resolution so they easily showed shortcomings of the electonics part. so I decided to upgrade the amp (even though I didn't initialy to upgrade on electronics) because I though it would bring most noticable difference. and new amp did bring a noticeble improvement. break down turned to:
CDP -> 9%
amp -> 56%
speakers -> 35%
but I was so positively surprised with the change amp brought so I decided to upgrade the CDP too. to be completly honest, before buying the new CDP I thought it would mainly bring aesthetical improvement and not in SQ (my old CDP uses high quality burr brown DAC chip). and yet again, how surpised I was to find out that it was CDP that probably brought single most significant improvement. new CDP uses high quality analog output stage. but the change would go unnoticed if the amp and speakers were rubbish. now break dow is as follows:
CDP -> 46%
amp -> 34%
speakers -> 20%
however, if I were to upgrade anything it would be amp and speakers again because I don't think I would get much more performance unless I paid considerably much more than I already did.
concluding, it is best not to skimp on electronics because with good electronics even poor speakers will sound good. reverse is not true IMO. outstanding speakers will only show how bad electronis are. you need to reach a certain price point with electronics first to safely upgrade on speakers.
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