Sub $1K Recommended Systems

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oracle309

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #40 on: 15 Feb 2013, 07:49 pm »
Here's my example of a sub $1K system. Dumb stupid, and easily attainable if patient. Quoted prices are what I actually paid. If free, a value that I have attributed to a piece:
  • Nakamichi SR2A Stasis reciever, $50 shipping uncluded,
  • Sony cd505ESd cd player, $20 or Sony Greystation, $15
  • KEF based speakers, LS3/5a-"ish": correct drivers, in a slightly larger cabinet and a non-spec crossover (traded for a big ugly Sansui z9000 receiver that was free, essentially new and that I never would use. I'll value the receiver at $100
  • Sugden BD1 re-plinthed turntable, used Grado cart, diy tonearm, wire. Actually the table was a gift but landed here with a real cost of $65, cartridge I'll call $50 (used Grado). Tonearm, under $20 (actually much lower, but if using all new non-salvaged parts probably $20).
  • DIY speaker stands, $20, made from scrap lumber
  • broken audio stand, free. I fixed it and it is "okay". Not audiophile but a cheap rack that could be made much better
  • diy speaker wire and interconnects, under $100. I haven't built these, but my friend has. He states they are quite good and I have no reason to doubt him

That's for a total of $425. Except for the cabling, everything is in-house. This is not a "virtual" system. With the remainder of the cash I could do something for streaming audio and/or perhaps add a sub or two. YMMV



mvwine

Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #41 on: 15 Mar 2013, 08:19 pm »
Ok here goes:

Onkyo CP7030 CD Player - I bought mine refurbished for $170 at Accessories4Less, but I have seen the for around that price new as well.
Dayton Audio DTA-100a Amplifier - $89 every day at Parts Express (right now on sale for $72.80) even has a volume control so no pre-amp needed.
Acoustic Research PS-2062 speakers bought new for $79 from Ubid, and upgraded the crossover capacitors - total cost maybe $110.

Speaker stands built from MDF and painted flat black, using bolts with cap nuts as spikes, as not to scratch the wood floor - $20 tops

Zu Disco Interconnects - $39.95 from Zu when they were selling some of their stuff on E-bay

Zu Julian Speaker Cables - $79.95 see above

$508.90 total and this is the system I have in my study right now. I didn't think this sound was possible this cheap. The little Dayton amp is a revelation.

Since the AR speakers have been long discontinued, I'm sure the Pioneers that are discussed at length on this board would be excellent also.

roncagg

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #42 on: 4 Apr 2013, 02:45 am »

Amp: sonic impact ($30 new when I bought it)
Speakers: Klipsch KG4 ($225 used)
Source: Oppo 971 ($70 used? Not sure I've had it awhile) or iPod/iphone
RCA interconnect to y adapter (amp has single input jack)
Whatever speaker cables you have around
Tweaks: rebuild speaker crossovers, crites tweeters, ac adapter for amp

Nice and loud, punchy bass, surprising!

Letitroll98

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #43 on: 10 Apr 2013, 03:21 pm »
I've been waiting to brag about this one I recently slapped together.

I'm presently running an Oppo DV-971 as transport, an Audio GD 2.1 DAC using it as preamp as well, the power amp section of a NAD 3020B, Magneplanar MMG speakers, interconnects from Tuan (Sonny) and a Monster digital cable, speaker cables are White Lightning Moonshine from Wal-Mart, and there's a free Pioneer turntable sitting there that can be hooked into the NAD with a couple of cables switched.  Total, complete out of pocket cost $835.00, everything except cables and the Oppo purchased used. 

Not only does the SQ rival most of what I've heard anywhere within 4x the cost, but there's $165.00 wiggle room to improve any of the components.  Not the cheapest system listed here, but maybe the best sounding.  (Settle down guys, I said maybe)

94cdnm3

Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #44 on: 22 May 2013, 05:31 am »
Okay, I'll play since I am listening to the following system as I write this:

Any netbook/notebook/laptop with Windows 7 with a digital output either mini-toslink or HDMI which I am using. This would be free if you own a computer like this already.

Download Potplayer (free multimedia player) with Reclock (free) and Fidelizer (free). All of the programs in their default modes will play flac/wav files.

Any of the Panny "true" digital receiver models eg. SA-XR 10, 15, 25, 45, 50, 70, 55, 57, 700. These can be bought used for as little as $25.00. I connect mine with a budget Acoustic Research HDMI cable ($10 new) since I also use this setup for movies as well (bonus!).

For speakers I am using a pair of Paradigm Studio 40v4s which I paid $600 used for.

This is my secondary audio system which almost rivals my primary system which costs 5X more.  :thumb:

mix4fix

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #45 on: 12 Aug 2013, 03:20 pm »




What the hell do you wear on your day off?

 :scratch:

jarcher

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #46 on: 12 Aug 2013, 03:36 pm »
The wolves and the unicorn have long left the building, but could be coaxed back under the right circumstances.

JLM

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #47 on: 8 Sep 2013, 11:23 am »
For my current needs for a 2nd system:


Adam A3X - $600/pair (smaller 2-way active designs, highly resolving, superior soundstaging, big/warm/sweet sound, clear, powerful, tuneful, not harsh, low fatigue, professional quality build)

Apple Airport Express - $99 (wireless download albums/stream from my iMac)

Apple iTouch - $199 (to provide remote control, if like me you're one of the few people reading this that doesn't already have an iDevice)

Allowance for a pair of RCA interconnects - $100 (if somehow you don't have some laying around)


One of the real values of C&C systems IMO is having the option to upgrade for new or expanded uses down the road.  So later on the Adam A3X speakers could be used for more serious in room listening by adding a sub (Adam Sub7 or SVS SB12-NSD for ~$600) and a Schitt BiFrost DAC - $419 (with the uber analog option) or repurpose them for use at my iMac by just adding a Schitt BiFrost DAC - $419 (with the uber analog option), reuse the AE for remote printing, and have the iTouch available for other portable uses.

asliarun

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #48 on: 24 Sep 2013, 05:50 pm »
I've been waiting to brag about this one I recently slapped together.

I'm presently running an Oppo DV-971 as transport, an Audio GD 2.1 DAC using it as preamp as well, the power amp section of a NAD 3020B, Magneplanar MMG speakers, interconnects from Tuan (Sonny) and a Monster digital cable, speaker cables are White Lightning Moonshine from Wal-Mart, and there's a free Pioneer turntable sitting there that can be hooked into the NAD with a couple of cables switched.  Total, complete out of pocket cost $835.00, everything except cables and the Oppo purchased used. 

Not only does the SQ rival most of what I've heard anywhere within 4x the cost, but there's $165.00 wiggle room to improve any of the components.  Not the cheapest system listed here, but maybe the best sounding.  (Settle down guys, I said maybe)

Wushuliu and Letitroll, thanks for introducing me to Audio GD! Never knew about the company, and I've been looking for a decent quality DAC + preamp for a while now (trying to replace my Emotiva USP1).

A few questions, if you don't mind.

- Letitroll, you mentioned you use Audio GD 2.1 DAC/preamp. Exactly which model is this? I'm unable to find it in the website (http://www.audio-gd.com/Products-EN.htm)

- Wushuliu - you mentioned the NFB-11.32, which is Sabre ES9018 based for $300. They also have NFB-15.32 which is Wolfson WM8741 based for $235. Would you (or Letitroll) be able to comment on the differences between the two DAC/PREs? They seem identical otherwise. (I know that the chip itself is only part of the story, but I also read that the ES9018 is more resolving but airy and possibly brighter, but the WM8741 is less detailed but more "musical" or warm, I guess). I'm mainly looking at CD quality music, not higher, but both seem to support higher formats.

- Does it work as a pre-amp i.e. will it support multiple (2-3) inputs, and is the volume control analog (won't reduce sound quality)? If in preamp mode, will we also get the benefit of the DAC?

In general, how would you describe the sound? I'm mainly trying to understand if it will allow easy listening for some period of time.

Thanks!
Arun

Letitroll98

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #49 on: 25 Sep 2013, 01:55 am »
- Letitroll, you mentioned you use Audio GD 2.1 DAC/preamp. Exactly which model is this? I'm unable to find it in the website (http://www.audio-gd.com/Products-EN.htm)


- Does it work as a pre-amp i.e. will it support multiple (2-3) inputs, and is the volume control analog (won't reduce sound quality)? If in preamp mode, will we also get the benefit of the DAC?

In general, how would you describe the sound? I'm mainly trying to understand if it will allow easy listening for some period of time.

Thanks!
Arun

Hi Aron.  The old 2.1 is now the much improved NFB-15.32 at about the same $235 USD.  For the cheaper price you get a less robust power supply and mostly SMD's vs some of the more expensive Audio GD products that use discrete resistors and caps as well as better regulated power supplies with toroidal transformers.  The volume control is a high quality ALPs unit run in an I/V conversion mode, a very sophisticated application for such a cheap product.  Additionally there are switchable digital filters that give 8 or 9 different "flavors".   There is only digital inputs on this unit, the Compass at $400-500 has a set of analog inputs.  The sound of my unit is better than anything I've heard in the price range, the improved version has 32 bit processing for both USB and coax inputs.  I don't think the features can be beat, I like the dual WM8741 Wolfson chips, but the ES9018 is also well regarded.   

asliarun

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #50 on: 25 Sep 2013, 03:57 am »
Thanks! That was very helpful. I think I will buy the 15.32
It really looks well put together and the price is so good!

FredT300B

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #51 on: 5 Feb 2014, 02:36 pm »
Has anyone mentioned the floorstanding version of the Tad Jones Pioneer loudspeakers? At $129/pair they would fit well into a sub $1k system. Unlike the highly reviewed and regarded bookshelf version, there seem to be no reviews of this one.

As mentioned, add in a $300 network ready receiver or integrated amplifier from Cambridge Audio or Marantz and your off and running for under $500. Add $100 for the subwoofer as desired. I haven't seen any reviews on that either.

I've been listening to both the standmounts and the floorstanders, and I prefer the standmounts. Several friends including audiophiles and musicians have heard them and agree. The floorstanders have a bit more bass extension, and I assume they have more real-world power handling capacity, but they sound dark in comparison to the standmounts. The floorstanders' measured treble response is about 1.5dB lower than the standmounts. My choice is the standmounts with or without the subwoofer. The subwoofer, with its crossover at the lowest frequency setting, smoothly extends the standmounts' in room response from a low of about 60hz down to about 35hz. The sound is very cohesive, and the only time you are aware a subwoofer is connected is when a very low pipe organ or electric bass note is playing. I would include the standmounts as a viable speaker option for any under-$500 system.


Ericus Rex

Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #52 on: 5 Feb 2014, 05:31 pm »
A friend of mine just got one of these:

http://www.audioadvisor.com/Marantz-M-CR610-Wireless-Network-CD-Receiver-w_AirPlay/productinfo/1MAMCR610/#.UvJ03eAbY20


...partnered with the Pioneer BS-22 + SW8MkII sub.  This is a killer sounding and very versatile rig!  If you buy sale/demo items you can get all three pieces for around $800.

JLM

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #53 on: 7 Feb 2014, 11:49 pm »
Possibly the best/cheapest/easiest "system":  Audio Engine A2+ (are finally shipping)

$250/pair, self powered, built-in 16 bit/48 kHz DAC, RCA/USB/3.5mm inputs, subwoofer output, 3/4" silk dome tweeter with neodymium magnet, 2 3/4" Kevlar woven glass aramid composite with rubber surround woofer, F3 = 65 Hz, 6" x 4" x 5 1/4"

Positive audiophile review:  //www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/audioengine-a2-desktop-speakers-and-d3-dac/?utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-211

Letitroll98

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #54 on: 8 Feb 2014, 12:46 pm »
Swweeeeet!

marcinziemski

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #55 on: 23 May 2014, 08:12 am »
Great idea and systems from so many knowledgeable experiences.
It's interesting nobody has suggested a SUPER SIMPLE system as follows:

Source:
Computer, Applie iphone, smartphone, ipad etc or your favourite digital music source. Even a TV can often take an exernal hardisk with various audio formats. I call this $0 as we all have access to these already.

Active speakers:
I propose Quad 12L actives. These can often be brought brand new for less than $1000 in various international locations, often quite a bit less. But there are a variety of good quality active speakers available out there for below $1000.

That's it!! The sound, as long as you are playing reasonable quality digital files (ie not MP3's!!), will be good. To augment playback quality further you could always add an external DAC of your own choosing (eg Cambridge audio). If you have CD's, just rip them to your computer.

Comments?

jarcher

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #56 on: 26 May 2014, 12:30 am »
ACer JLM per his posts elsewhere and here in particular seems to be a strong advocate of powered speakers particularly in a C&C system. I'm personally a bit old fashioned in that regard preferring separate amplification. Maybe if there was a powered speaker with a tube in it? I've seen this samsung dock / speaker thing that had one. Didn't sound great, but better than a lot of alternatives.

In any system, including a C&C one, I don't think you should underestimate the importance of a decent source. Garbage in / out after all. Fortunately DACs have gotten so much better and cheaper that things are not that grim. I wouldn't want to use the internal DAC / crappy output stage of a smartphone or tablet though, even for a C&C system. Maybe as a player via a dock with a digital out to a DAC at a minimum. And at that point you'd be better off just using a computer you have at home or second hand as a media player for next to nothing cost-wise.

IanVan

Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #57 on: 23 Jun 2014, 05:26 pm »
Interesting thread. I am helping my son with this exact thing right now. How about a great sounding system, but optimized for a student's needs  - durable and loud:

Behringer B212XL speakers $320/pair
(See home audio use review here for B215XL - http://www.avsforum.com/forum/dbtreview.php?do=view_review&id=4756)

Grace Digital GDI-BTAR512 integrated amp and USB DAC $165. Has subwoofer out and most of the inputs needed.
(http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Digital-GDI-BTAR512-Integrated-Amplifier/dp/B00I9HC50O/)

SVS SB12-NSD subwoofer special $530
(http://www.svsound.com/specials/outlet-specials/sb12-nsd-outlet-c_2#.U6heffldUW8)

Source is either an IPod/iPhone over the auxilary input, or a smartphone/tablet streamed over Bluetooth.

So that is $1015 for what should be very good sound, full range and in a robust format. The B215XLs are so efficient (96 dB sensitivity) that the little amp should comfortably drive them to very high volume levels when required.


Cabling would bring the total cost to $1060:

Pair of 25ft speaker cables (speakon or 1/4" TRS) $35

Subwoofer cable $10
(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ESM3UM6/)

In a perfect world, the amp would also have a USB input for direct connection with a laptop. Also, another $180 for a miniDSP and microphone would allow one to add room EQ to the system, which should improve the sound in a meaningful way.

$900 for speakers, sub, cabling seems about right. Need to find a $100 amp with all the bells and whistles to keep the cost at the $1000 target.

Odal3

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #58 on: 31 Jul 2014, 04:19 am »
This system consists of a set of DIY panel speakers out of birch boards coupled with a 20W t-amp and a 10" sub.

(A) Source:
Samsung Galaxy cell phone - "free" with monthly carrier contract

(B) Amplifier:
Lepai 2020A+  - $27 new from PartsExpress

(C) Speaker:
2 DIY Panel speakers made of birch boards from Home Depot - $20 for both
using an array of 4 HiWave 25mm SoundPax Exciter on each panel: - $3.50 each x 8 = $28 (special buyout price at parts express)
Dayton Sub 1000 from partsExpress - $109

(D) Cabling & Accessories / tweaks :
HifiMediy Sabre DAC for android: $30
Speaker Cable and old rca cables from junk drawer in basement: $0

Total System Cost: $214.00 USD  (if not counting the smart phone)

(E) Comments:
The exciters were originally for a science project with my son, but after it was completed I was inspired by the panel speaker designs made by Podium Sound (which sales for € 9,600/pr) so I placed 4 of the exciters on the sweet spots on a birch board, and I got surprised how good it sounded. I connected a sub to get some more depth to the music and the cheap Dayton sub does it well. The Dayton sub is a great entry level sub with a high value for the price - it works very well for audio application since it is fairly musical for its price. You would need a more powerful one for HT. The panel speaker/sub combo sounds really really good for acoustic guitar, piano, strings, live recordings and similar kind of music. The sound is very clear and detailed, and nice and natural sounding mids from the panels + the "kick" from the sub. The only downside is that it doesn't play super loud, but it is more than enough for me.

The hifimediy android dac really makes the sound clearer with a stronger "punch" compared to the headphone out or bluetooth. It is highly recommended as a portable small DAC for android phones.

Of course you can get a much better system if you spend the money, but this set-up easily beats my other system for 2.1 audio listening, which consists of a pair of Klipsch RB3 reference monitors and a Klipsch 12" sub. I have also compared it to some more expensive systems, and this combination still holds it own.

JLM

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Re: Sub $1K Recommended Systems
« Reply #59 on: 31 Jul 2014, 10:15 am »
ACer JLM per his posts elsewhere and here in particular seems to be a strong advocate of powered speakers particularly in a C&C system. I'm personally a bit old fashioned in that regard preferring separate amplification. Maybe if there was a powered speaker with a tube in it? I've seen this samsung dock / speaker thing that had one. Didn't sound great, but better than a lot of alternatives.

In any system, including a C&C one, I don't think you should underestimate the importance of a decent source. Garbage in / out after all. Fortunately DACs have gotten so much better and cheaper that things are not that grim. I wouldn't want to use the internal DAC / crappy output stage of a smartphone or tablet though, even for a C&C system. Maybe as a player via a dock with a digital out to a DAC at a minimum. And at that point you'd be better off just using a computer you have at home or second hand as a media player for next to nothing cost-wise.

I own a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium Integrated amp (2014 Stereophile class A) and solid state (older, was same MSRP, never Stereophile rated as far as I know).  Do prefer the tube option but can leave the solid state on 24/7, it still runs cheaper (being digital), and is perfectly fine for non-critical (far-field) listening.  But the differences aren't 1/10th as much as going active (not powered) versus passive speakers.  I suggested the A2+ based on size, price, and simplicity.  (Active has the crossover between source and amp(s) that allows for many design/sonic advantages vs. powered that is basically just a manufacturer selected amp in the speaker cabinet.)

The GIGO notion would seem to make sense at some level, but note that in a 2009 AES presentation McGill university showed that neither studio personnel nor musicians could reliably discern between MP3 and Redbook.  Next they proposed to compare Redbook to the higher resolution formats, but why?  Now I'm not saying all MP3 is alike or that all Redbook is alike, just trying to add perspective.