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Colin

Monkey
Nov 5, 2001
372
0
in my tiny apartment
I have a 5-disc Aiwa all-in-one unit with a turntable that is starting to die. I'd like to get a new audio set-up without spending a fortune. Definitely need a decent turntable.

Any thoughts? I really don't know what specifications/options to look for. Am I better off buying individual components or a 'system?' Good online retailers?

Thanks,

Colin
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,644
33
behind the viewfinder
finding a one-size-fits-all system w/ a turntable is gonna be hard...maybe ebay? i'd think it would be hard to avoid getting separates, but if you are smart and lucky, you can get some good sounding stuff which will last w/o spending a lot.
 

Colin

Monkey
Nov 5, 2001
372
0
in my tiny apartment
I don't mind getting separate components. I appologize; I should have distinguised the pre-packaged 'home theater systems' (like at Best Buy, Circuit City) from the 'everything is in one unit system' I now have.

What are good things to look for in a receiver, speakers, etc?
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,644
33
behind the viewfinder
well, are you buying the system for your "tiny apartment"? if so, you don't have to worry about big speakers, but bass will suffer w/ some smaller speakers unless you also get a small sub.

not sure what yr budget is, but i would rank things in this order:

speakers
turntable/stylus
receiver
cd player

bring in some cds or lps which you are intimately familiar with, when you audition speakers. and bring a different range of music styles too. ultimately speakers are a very personal choice, regardless of frequency curves and other stuff that can get thrown in yr face.
 

Meat Foot

Monkey
Mar 24, 2004
269
0
On the asthenosphere
Colin,
Couple ?s for you: What is the budget? What is the physical size of the room? Can you completely close the room off, or is it open to other rooms? 2 CH with option to upgrade to x.1 (where x could be 5, 6, or 7 or ??)?

Couple things. Look at Athena loudspeakers. You can get "bookshelf" varieties for realatively little cash. They have a nice sound to $ ratio. If you have a bit more, look into B&W or Paradigm. Think of flexibility, like start with a couple bookshelves that could move to the rear channels (R & L) and a sub (if you want) and you could upgrade to towers in the future. As for receivers, again depends on what you want to spend. I like Marantz, Denon, some nicer Yamahas, and Onkyos. Most of the items I mentioned are easy to find and listen to. Try to avoid class-D amplifiers, they tend to induce more noise, run hotter, and powerwise (though they typically list high power ratings) have lower limits etc. You would be surprised with a good amplifier and efficient speakers, how little power you need for a small to medium sized room.

Check out echohifi.com for turntables they are in Portland OR and have a web site that includes used equipment.

CD/DVD players, well again depends on future needs and if the equipment changes location. I have 2 systems, 1 with a single DVD that gets occasional CD player use, and a 5 disc CD player for my main audio system. I suppose a nice blend would be a 5 disc DVD player.

Most of this is IMO, so take it with a grain of salt. Check out craigslist.org. Lots of people sell yesterdays gear for cheap. I found a nice 5.1 receiver that was at one time $1200 for $200. I grabbed it to use while my Carver was being rebuilt.

Sorry this is so long, feel free to re or PM me with more parameters. I like hifi and what not.
 

Colin

Monkey
Nov 5, 2001
372
0
in my tiny apartment
Resurrecting this as we had a power surge last night and the stereo is officially dead. And I think I'll have to pry open the CD player to get the CDs out.

I have a line on a reciever and some speakers from a fellow monkey. I'd like to get a nice turntable and then build off of that in the future. It looks like the one I have has been re-badged and sold under numerous brands. Maybe something in the few hundred dollar range?

Thanks again.
 

narlus

Eastcoast Softcore
Staff member
Nov 7, 2001
24,644
33
behind the viewfinder
huh. i always thought that bass was non-stereo (at least at the frequencies a sub should crank out), so mono would be fine.

anyway, back on topic - Colin, where are you going to source a turntable?
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,763
0
Vestal, NY
A few hundred bucks will buy you a heck of a turntable. Check out the NAD 533 - can find it anywhere form $300 to $500, so shop around.

As for components and whatnot, really depends on room size, type of music you listen to, and budget.

Look at Harmon Kardon or Denon for budget friendly components. If you've got a little more cash, NAD stuff is really nice - very musical. Speakers, it's all about what you like. PSB and Energy make very nice speakers for good prices. DON'T go to a place like Circuit City or Best Buy. DON'T buy Bose. Find a local audio shop and spend a couple of hours there with some of your favorite music listening to difference speakers. Cabinet design and driver makeup/material makes a huge difference in how a speaker sounds - so you really have to listen to them.
 

jacksonpt

Turbo Monkey
Jul 22, 2002
6,763
0
Vestal, NY

mikesbikes

Chimp
Nov 10, 2005
17
0
First off don't buy online. If you have any issues, it sucks. I understand you are on a budget, if you have to buy things as you go it's a way to get better quality. The two most important items you need are GOOD speakers and a GOOD receiver. Those are the two main pieces that reproduce your sound. Yes your componentry is going to be important but it won't matter if your two items that actually reproduce the sound are inferior. Look at speakers that fit your music style and the quality of music you listen to. If you listen to classical, jazz, and acoustic your speakers need to have a better dynamic sound so you hear ALL the music and vocals. Crap I mean rap and most rock-n-roll, the speakers do not need to be as finely tuned. Definitely bring your music to listen to on the speakers. On your new receiver check with the salesman if it has an actual phono plug or if you need to purchase a pre-amp plug. Your better receivers will have a phono specific plug. DVD players can also double as a CD player, this is a good way to save some cash, just make sure it has a digital out(optic or coaxial). I also suggest getting something a little better than something that will just do. Here is my list of Componentry and some brands to check out if your on a budget.

Receiver - JVC, Yamaha, Sony, Onkyo
Speakers - Paradigm, Infinity, Athena
Phono - Yamaha (but I am not as up on Phonographs)
CD/DVD player -Onkyo, Yamaha, JVC

I used to work at an audio store so if you would like more info PM me on the question that you have.
 

prophet6

Chimp
Mar 25, 2002
96
0
North Easton, MA
As far as turntables go, I'd suggest looking into some vintage units...

Dual made some great sounding turntables, and they are pretty popular on eBay... I've got one that I use when I'm listening to a whole side of a record. Most of the time I'm on a set of Technics, but they're pretty noicy- direct drive is good for some things, not so good for others. I'd recommend a belt driven turntable for home listening use.
Most of the sound you'll hear will come from your choice of Cartridge... take your time researching these. They can run a lot of money, and you'll have it for a while. I'm a fan of Shure, but Grado makes some nice stuff, and I'm sure there's a ton more out there.

As far as speakers go, I'm not sure what to tell you. I listen to most of my stuff on some Cambridge Soundworks, or a NHT rig that I've got (both of which I'd buy again in a heartbeat)... but in the studio I'm either on a huge set of Yamaha's being driven by a AB International amp, or headphones. I'm starting to look into getting some monitors- I'd like more accuracy.

anyway, hope that helps.


p6