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ANDREWTFINNEY's picture
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Joined: 15/07/2014 - 12:56
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My Sub £400 Secondhand System
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Okay, the challenge was to put together a budget HiFi system for less than £400 through eBay. As some of you will know, eBay can be a little hit or miss and more often miss. I broke the budget down into component categories. I put £100 aside for speakers, £80 for the amplifier, £80 for CD player and £80 for Turntable. If there was anything left then that would go on a Tuner and interconnects, £60. As I already had speaker cables, who doesn't,  it was a case of reading reviews and looking at past auctions to see which items/brands fell into the budget.

First success was buying a Pioneer PL-12D Turntable. Very good condition, clean, complete with lid, new belt, Ortofon OMB5E cartridge and spare Stylus. The connects had been upgraded but nothing special. Cost £82.

I then managed to pick up a Denon DCD-500AE complete with remote. Excellent condition. Cost £33.

Had a few outbid's on Marantz amps so switched back to Denon. The Marantz go for a lot of money on eBay so had to switch manufacturer. Saw an old Cambridge Audio A1 V3 and bid £15 successfully. No remote nor phonostage. Also bought another CD player Denon DCD-425 and Denon Tuner TU-260L II, £25 for both.

Next success was for a Denon PMA-510AE for £81 with built in phonostage. However the courier managed to loss this item so it never arrived. Full refund made via eBay Money Back Guarantee.

Now speakers are more difficult, unless you are going for standmounts, as most are collection only. The budget of £100 didn't look too promising until a pair of floorstander, TDL Electronics G30-RTL, became available within easy reach. Managed to pick these up  for £91 in excellent condition. Could only find one review of these so this was a big risk. Seller demo'd so I bought.

Another couple of unsuccessful bids and finally landed a Denon PMA-355UK for £51 with remote. Plus another tuner from Denon TU-260L Mk 2 for £12 including remote.

Hooked everything up using some new Fisual S Pearl £20 the pair. I played around with the Tuners, switched amps and CD players. Finally settled for the Denon PMA-335UK, Denon DCD-500AE, Denon TU260L Mk2 with the TDL G30's and last but not least Pioneer PL-12D. Still had some pennies left so married the Pioneer with a Shure M75EJ Type 2 for £33.

Okay I have some surplus items, one amp, one tuner and one CD player, but thats only £40 worth and will be donated to a charity. These three are all quite good for a starter but the other combination works better and is in better condition. Excluding the £40 worth of surplus items, the system cost £322, if my maths are correct.

I know it was risky but it is only the cost of an England Rugby World Cup ticket at Twickenham. I must also add at this point that my existing system was a Denon DM38DAB with Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s on Wharfedale stands.

So what have I got for the money? Well the speakers are so detailed, picking out detail my Wharfedales never could. I even put the Wharfedales onto the new system to compare and the TDL's give a lot more detail, bass and the soundstage is very wide. The TDL's stand at 874mm but you just don't know they are there. You can feel the base, even on a solid, carpeted, floor. I have not put the volumn past 10 O'clock apart from a very short test and probably won't. The Denon Tuner is very good and remains on station with no hiss or other artifacts. The CD player has a really smooth tray movement and well built. The amplifier is also well made and the volumn dial moves when you use the remote to increase/decrease the volumn, nice touch. All the indicator lights work on the amp are good, all the dials on the front work and can be felt to engage into nuetral pisition when using them. Both the CD and Tuner displays are fully working with no missing led's.  

Sorry if this is a bit long winded but I thought it worth sharing.

If nothing else works, then a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.

matt49's picture
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Excellent work. I hope that

Excellent work. I hope that gives encouragement to more people to explore the second-hand market.

Last year I built a nice second-hand system for £1.7K:

Cullen-modded Sonos Connect £400

Sugden A21a £400

PMC GB1's £900

Sounds fantastic.

Matt

This train … carries saints and sinners / This train … carries losers and winners / This train … carries whores and gamblers / This train … carries lost souls.

ANDREWTFINNEY's picture
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Joined: 15/07/2014 - 12:56
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Good budget £1.7K

Matt, dread to think what I would do with that budget but I did see some very nice items available.

My wife was happy for me to buy a system, new, up to £1.5K but I just wanted to upgrade my Denon DM38DAB and speakers. I think I would have been auditioning for years before buying, by which time everything would have been discontinued.

All I can say is that watching TV for me is pretty well redundant now, apart from the odd live sports.

At least this way I still have £1.1K for replacements if anything goes wrong, although I still have a spare amp,tune and cd player to get by.

Thanks for your interest

If nothing else works, then a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.

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