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Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

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robbartholomew's picture
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This is my first post, so be gentle with me. I’ve registered to get advice from people who know more than I do.

I am looking to improve, upgrade or replace the system, consisting of a CD player, amp and speakers, in the main teaching room of our college music department. This is used for the analysis of (mostly) classical music for ‘A’ Level music lessons and exams. We are looking for detail and clarity and the ability to differentiate one instrument from another.

Currently we have a Technics SL-P333 CD player which is definitely on its last legs and is very beaten about. This is going through a Technics SU-V500 amp delivering 30watts/channel @ 8ohms, plenty loud enough for the room which is approximately 30’ long (9mtrs) x 20’ wide (6mtrs) x 9’ high (2.8mtrs). I suspect this may not have been a bad amp for the price. The speakers are a pair of Spirit Absolute 2 monitor speakers which are intended as affordable, nearfield monitors for recording studios and thus are not ideal for their current job. These are rated at 100 watts each and I doubt if we push them enough to get the most out of them. However, they are in good nick and we would use them elsewhere if we replace them with something more suitable.

We don’t need to connect a turntable but would need to plug in an iPod or laptop via a mini-jack – 2x phonos lead.

I have between £1000 - £2000 to spend. What would you recommend?

Also, is there a good shop to listen to your recommendations near me in Andover, Hampshire?

Thanks in advance for any help and advice.

Rob

 

matthewpiano's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

The Denon PMA720AE is a brilliant amp for classical music with plenty of detail and openess, combined with plenty of clout for the big climaxes.  Importantly, for your use, it is also superb at portraying the timbres of various instruments.  It works beautifully with the B&W 685 speakers and these help to make the most of the amp's capabilities.  For a matching CD player, the Denon DCD720AE is fantastic - I'm actually planning to get one when funds allow - and these three components would give you a wonderful set-up which would work well in the classroom without breaking the bank.

Would be worth adding a decent DAC to this for connecting the laptop etc. to and I'd suggest something along the lines of the Arcam rDAC.

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Covenanter's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

I love my Marantz (CD6004/PM6004) and Kef Q500 combo and it fills my 1000 sq ft loft apartment with sound.  I play mainly classical music and it was chosen for that purpose.  It is very strong IMO in identifying individual instruments and in presenting a realistic sound stage.  It would cost you about £1500 with cables etc.

Chris

PS Matthew knows what he is talking about.  Smile

PPS Make sure you audition a few systems before you choose.

CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

I would propose you look at:

Rega Apollo R ( £548 ) + Creek Evolution 2 (£750) + Epos Epic 5 (£750)...should get cheaper if haggle or get ex-dem.

IMO. This will be hard to beat for the money (new).

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gregvet's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

It isn't a system I have heard, but I have to suggest you consider the AVI ADM9.1's, with or without the matching sub. They are apparently very clear, and go loud with minimal distortion. Many of those who have heard them rave about them.

http://www.avihifi.co.uk/adm9.html

They accept a digital input which your laptop may have via optical out, or phono for the iPod. I suspect for the stated requirement of needing to differentiator instruments, you won't get better for your budget. 

You can get them second hand from eBay on occasion for less than £1000 if you are happy with that. 

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BigH's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

The  AVI ADM9.1's factory is in Nailsea Gloucestershire so not a million miles from you, I would suggest arranging a demo if you can, as they have 250w amp and dac inside the speaker all you will need is a fairly cheap cd player or blu-ray dvd player for transport. The speakers are quite small so will need stands about £60, no cables.

Overdose's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

+1 for the ADM9s.

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

I think the AVI is a very good suggestion, but for classical music in a 30' classroom, the accompanying sub would be a requisite.....Stands and CDP (if it's even necessary) would leave it a bit over budget.

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Phileas's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

CnoEvil wrote:

I think the AVI is a very good suggestion, but for classical music in a 30' classroom, the accompanying sub would be a requisite

ADMs will be plenty loud enough compared to a 30W stereo amp into a pair of passive speakers. I'm not sure I see how the sub woofer would help much here?

I suggest using an AppleTV so the music can be sent wirelessly from iPod/Laptop.

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

Phileas wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

I think the AVI is a very good suggestion, but for classical music in a 30' classroom, the accompanying sub would be a requisite

ADMs will be plenty loud enough compared to a 30W stereo amp into a pair of passive speakers. I'm not sure I see how the sub woofer would help here?

I suggest using an AppleTV so the music can be sent wirelessly from iPod/Laptop.

The OP is obviously wanting a decent upgrade from what he has.

IMO. A sub is necessary for the purpose the system is being used for........A lot of orchestral music needs a decent bottom end to have impact and the little AVIs in a 30' x 20' x 9'  classroom full of students might get a  little lost. With a budget of up to £2k, it would seem very senible to give it serious consideration.

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Craig M.'s picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

Overdose wrote:

+1 for the ADM9s.

+2.  I would give them a ring and see if Ashley thinks you would need the sub for your room and music preference, he's a straight forward chap and will give you an honest answer.

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AlmaataKZ's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

The bass on the adms is excellent and a sub, while definately adding depth, would not be realy necessary. I also think adms are particularly good for classical as it needs dynamic range and clarity, both of which the adms are very competent with. For the money, there is no competition imo.

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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

Alternatively, consider Genelec active monitors. They have good range of sizes and prices as well as good choice of mounting options (and corrersponding setup tuning) which may be handy for classroom use. They have excellent dynamic range and clarity too.

 

http://www.genelec.fi/download.php?page=documents/catalogues/Genelec_Accessories_brochure.pdf

 

http://www.genelec.fi/download.php?page=documents/catalogues/Genelec%20Professional%20monitoring%20systems%20catalogue.pdf

 

AlmaataKZ's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

So the adms would be a more domestic looking solution while Genelcs would be a more rugged one, but with similarly realistic sound.

As you will be studying music, listening at realistic spl levels may be required for which many domestic/passive speakes are not suitable as they distort too much at these spls, going into dynamic compression. Specs and performance are often undocumented. Pro actives are designed (and documented) for such allpicarions, on the other hand. 

CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

AlmaataKZ wrote:

The bass on the adms is excellent and a sub, while definately adding depth, would not be realy necessary. I also think adms are particularly good for classical as it needs dynamic range and clarity, both of which the adms are very competent with. For the money, there is no competition imo.

AL, do you listen to classical music?.......it's simply beacuse of this very specific use that I think the Sub is necessary.

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AlmaataKZ's picture
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RE: Can anyone recommend a system for classical music?

I do, a lot. Both live and at home. Both with and without a sub. Earlier, I was very keen on subs but with getting high performance speakers i.e. the ones that do bass properly, subs became much less necessary, although still beneficial. So at the budget I would get clarity in the speakers before spending anything on a sub.