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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?
Welcome aboard! Note that Quad has a modern/updated version called the 9AS that inputs analog and digital sources (has it's own DAC) along with just about every feature you'd want in an active speaker so with your computer they essentially become your entire audio system. $1300/pair, but information is scarce (and naturally these don't meet the C&C cost guidelines). As you may know, most active designs are used in studio work (work being the key word, where they seek a dry sound to find the nits). So they don't function well at home where we want entertainment and emotional satisfaction. But a few active solutions do exist that are designed for home use or bridge the gap between work horse and thoroughbred from companies that include Adam, ATC, AVi, Genelec, Paradigm, PMC, Quad, and Serene (but most don't come in under the C&C cost guidelines).
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)
It's on the C&C circle sticky:http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=71233.0Here are general guidelines:- headphone system = $200 max (head-amp and cans)- PC only system = $400 max (including speakers or cans)- analog only system = $650 (phono or pre/integrated amp with phono build-in + turntable/arm/cartridge- maximum stereo system price = $1000 (I'll accept 20% overhead given variations in 2nd hand market and currency difference)- no brand cables in this circle except DIY. We can make some exception for true basement bargains tho. Components with humor factor and gadgets are acceptable as well.Individual components shouldn't exceed $350 however in cases of full featured components like integrated amps with DAC, phonostage or headphone amp - its value can be as much as $650.DIY and kits are more then welcome.
Analog System:Orbit U-Turn Turntable $294Onkyo TX-8020 $180Pioneer "Andrew Jones" SP-BS22-LR $130Total $604Cabling (as above post) $60 estimate; Total System Cost $664
For a little more, you're much better off with Dennis Murphy's mods. http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=128301.0
Vintage Yamaha CA410 $300 cost with refurbishment Used Von Schweikert VR-1s $500Used Denon 3910 $175
Here's the best system that I've been able to come up with which is reasonably accessible to everyone. DAC ~ $300 JDSLabs O2/ODAC combo. I am also very pleased with the Audioengine D3, which is MUCH more portable to match the source and $150 cheaper! Speakers ~ $175Affordable Accuracy Monitors (modified BS22)... These seem to have just come down from the website, not sure if still available, but the regular BS22 aren't bad. Total = $1000
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