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243 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 164296 4-Feb-2015 15:45
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I want to slowly build a 'dream' audio system.

Would it be best to start with buying good speakers (and connect to an existing AMP) or a good AMP? 

In general terms is it better to start with the output device or the processor :)

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  Reply # 1231199 4-Feb-2015 15:58
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As somebody who has built too many "dream systems" over the last 30 years (fortunately I have a tolerant wife) I think it best to plan ahead, set your budget, save up your money, and buy the whole system at once.
That way you will know what the system sounds like - which is the only thing that matters, apart from the Wife Appeal Factor.
Good speakers can sound terrible with a bad amp, and vice versa.

ALWAYS listen (preferably at home) before you buy.




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  Reply # 1231219 4-Feb-2015 16:32
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The question is, what are you looking for?
2-channel perfection?
Multi-channel dynamics?
A system that can do everything... with minimum compromised through out?

Next...
How big is your room? Is it plushly furnished or full of highly reflective material?
What sound do you like? Forward? Warmer? Somewhere in-between?
What's your source? Digital? Vinyl? BluRay? Tape? Radio? Streaming?
What are you starting with?

I'm assuming you're looking to go with seperate components, so do you have the space for all the kit? Do you have someone who doesn't mind you filling the room with audio kit?

Soooo many questions.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1231411 4-Feb-2015 22:21
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Thanks Dunnersfella.

Looking to do 2 channel with source = digital (something like SQbox touch initially) and vinyl. Speakers more towards trebble than bass.

Not really looking for suggestions on models but more so what should I start with (amp or speakers).






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  Reply # 1232022 5-Feb-2015 22:00
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I've tried a few different approaches...

But basically, if I bought my system over again, I would have started out with a seperate pre and power, rather than an integrated amplifier.
The ability to tweak and swap has allowed me to build the system I have wanted, one small alteration at a time.

Personally, I started with fancy speakers, but with a cheap second hand integrated amp that was easily outshone by its current replacement.
I feel as if the speakers weren't given their chance to shine until I bought a decent pre/power combo.

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  Reply # 1232092 6-Feb-2015 05:39
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I also started with speakers and enjoyed the moment of revelation when I plugged my new amp in.

I tend to upgrade every 5 years or so as I seem to have more money as I get older :-) I wont have a mortgage when the next upgrade cycle comes around so will buy a full system where I can properly match components to speakers as doing it separately is a bit hit and miss.




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  Reply # 1232116 6-Feb-2015 09:20
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geekiegeek: ... I won't have a mortgage when the next upgrade cycle comes around so will buy a full system where I can properly match components to speakers as doing it separately is a bit hit and miss.


+1   Agree.
A system is not a matched system until you have all the major components - only then you will know what it sounds like (and looks like).
(By "matched" I don't mean buying the same brand - I mean that the components sound "right" together)
You can waste a lot of time, money and effort building a system in installments.




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  Reply # 1232293 6-Feb-2015 18:11
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start at the front, i.e. source equipment.

rubbish in, rubbish out

getting super-duper speakers first will only highlight how bad everything before them is.

:)

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1233048 8-Feb-2015 18:15
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I agree with ilovemusic, start from the 'start' and finish at the 'finish'.

I once listened to $50,000.00 (no typo) Naim system with 192/24 flac files and it sounded terrible (though the timing was impeccable), swapped the speakers to some much cheaper Totem's and it sounded enormously better to my ear. Moral of the story being, it's much easier to get your system right first, then experiment with speakers to find the pair that maximize the quality of your gear and suit your own personal tastes.

Start with an amp that's got a high quality DAC for your digital input.

What turntable are you going to be using may I ask?

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  Reply # 1233071 8-Feb-2015 19:01
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Incindre: I agree with ilovemusic, start from the 'start' and finish at the 'finish'. ...

If you have to buy in installments, this is good advice.
PS   I have heard some very good $50,000 NAIM systems - don't knock NAIM  smile




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  Reply # 1233073 8-Feb-2015 19:12
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Note that if it's for home movies DTS are releasing their version of Atmos next month with receivers due toward the end of this year (at a guess)...




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  Reply # 1237457 13-Feb-2015 16:12
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ilovemusic: start at the front, i.e. source equipment.

rubbish in, rubbish out

getting super-duper speakers first will only highlight how bad everything before them is.

:)


This, all day.

Ideally you would save up and buy everything at once, so you'll be able to try everything together and listen for differences when you swap one component for another. But if you are going to buy it a piece at a time, start with the source. If you have an awful turntable/stylus (you did say vinyl, right?) then no amount of money spent on an amp or speakers will make it sound good.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1239038 14-Feb-2015 18:53
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Tough question. The nearest I can come up with that is simple, is to start with a reasonably basic "classic" amp, the likes of the Pioneer A400 or various 90s Sony ES amps come to mind. Those sort of amps will play nice with cheaper speaks and get better with speaker upgrades. And as they contain no processing, they're pretty truthful about sources too.

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