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First audiophile investment - please help!

Rega

twenyone

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Hey guys! First of all must say I'm so happy to find this forum! Didn't know there was such a great community of audiophiles in India!

Okay so I'm looking to make my first investment in hi-fi audio. So far I've demoed B&W and Klipsch. Found the Klipsch a bit bright and also the sound was tearing a bit at higher volumes...! B&W was just beautiful - the new 603 towers blew me away. But then they're really expensive even at the entry level!

I had a bunch of questions, please feel free to answer any of them:

1 - Are there other companies at the same quality level as B&W that I should check out? Polk, maybe?

2 - What do you guys think about Klipsch? Did I just have a bad demo, or are the speakers not really that good?

3 - The first quote I got from the B&W vendors had a 2 Lac amplifier! Do I need such an expensive amplifier or is the guy overselling me?

4 - So after doing the demos I've realised I'm going to have to stretch my budget quite a bit... Because even a 2 tower + amp setup will go to 3.5L... I actually want to do a second home theatre (Atmos) setup in my living room. Seems like B&W will cost 6-7L... Is there a system that could be almost as good that would come in about 2L or should I not even bother? Please do suggest brands to explore. I know its possible to get a Klipsch setup in that budget but my experience was a bit scarring.
 
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Nikhili

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Hey guys! First of all must say I'm so happy to

Hi and welcome to the forum!

What you hear at the audition is not going to be what you get at your place even if it is the exact same gear due to room acoustics!
The signature and potential would be an indicator though.

There are speakers at b&w level and then you have above and beyond as well! Polk would probably not cut for you. Sound signature is different for all, being from Mumbai, you have scope to audition a lot of brands. You can check some of them like Dynaudio, Tannoy, Rega, PMC, ATC, castle etc.,

Electronics play a very important part and some speakers are less sensitive and need more grunt from the amp to sound their best.

Klipsch is usually on the brighter side. Speakers like Klipsch have high sensitivity making them easier to drive. You might like them in a HT setup.

For a budget of 2 lacs I would probably pick Rega Brio/Elex R and pair it with either Rega or B&W speakers. Do allocate some for cables. They do make a difference!
 

arj

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Welcome to the forum. While the speaker is the most important component. The Speaker+Room Synergy and the Speaker +Amp synergy are even more important

While this is not a science, the breakup of cost between source, amp and Speaker cold be approximated to 30::20:50. and this can be argued upon as well but have found this pretty representative ( and also considering cost does not necessarily mean quality..let us only assume quality systems)

While auditioning speakers the amp driving them is absolutely critical and hence difficult to form an opinion unless you are buying that combo. eg I have run Klipsch RF3s almost 16 years ago and they mate very well with low powered tubes or Pure class A systems hence a Klipsch with a Sugden or a Cayin etc is very good and not so sharp. the speakers are good if you are more into rock but you may want to upgrade into something more refined later.

There are some really good speakers available today other than the ones you have mentioned. Dali, Magneplanar,Dynaudio, Monitor Audio, Castle, and many more. and each have a set of amps they work well.

Since there are lots of Mumbai members here, I would suggest you try and visit them and hear their setups and take your time deciding based on what you really want and whats available locally.
 

rajkr100

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Dear,

Have a audition of Dali- High End FS series it is really a beautiful speakers with compact size. Dali zensor -7 is also good.
Thanks
 

sandeepmohan

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Are there other companies at the same quality level as B&W that I should check out? Polk, maybe?

Loads of em. Considering you like British sound aka B&W, listen to KEF and Tannoy. Chances are you'll like them more than B&W. I am a bit hesitant to put my money on B&W these days unless they are Made in the UK. There are quite a few cases of premature driver failure on the latest crop of them.

Then you've got Usher, PSB, etc.

The usual and more common suspects are Polk, JBL, etc.

Listen to them all.

What you need to do is listen to speakers at different price points to get an idea of what you gain or loose.

What do you guys think about Klipsch? Did I just have a bad demo, or are the speakers not really that good?

I think you had a bad demo. Word is they are bright, and they can be, when paired with the wrong amplifier. Klipsch is not known as a speaker brand that is highly praised in the audio community. Personally; I have started to like them. I would re listen to them with a modest power amplifier to start with and then make a judgement.

The first quote I got from the B&W vendors had a 2 Lac amplifier! Do I need such an expensive amplifier or is the guy overselling me?

Getting into audio can require a bottomless pit that is full of money. Tread cautiously. What started off as a 2 lac system ended up way higher for me. I am not regretting any of it. Just that, sometimes you need to weigh your priorities and requirements and then decide if you really want to spend so much. Spending money on good gear means you will have a system that can keep you happy for a decade or longer. Quality components and sound.

The B&W 603 does need a pretty stellar amplifier to sound its best so am not surprised by the price of the amplifier. I won't run it off a run off the mill Rs.50,000 Marantz.

Take it easy and take your time. Patience is key here.
 

tuff

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Before you spend a dime, give us some feedback on what kind of music you generally listen to. Rarely speakers can play all kinds of genre's and hence auditioning with your own music is a must. Source to play music will also be important as the chain down below needs to be in place to get the best out of it. If using CD player,Vinyl,or straight internet streaming, everything will change what components you use. Also about the room that this system will sit in will make a lot of difference. Half the battle is getting the room to behave , which can be figured out once you decide how much freedom you have to move things around. The trouble in HiFi audio is a 1 lakh rupee system can out perform a 2 lakh system easily if the choice of components are in place and room interaction is also taken care of. Plenty of gear out there at various price points, but only listening to various setups will get you near the goal. Never hurry and never buy into brand or technology hype. In the end, it's your money and it's your ears that have to live with for years to come.
Do ask other FM's if you can visit and listen to their systems, that will give you a more realistic idea how a system can sound in an home environment v/s dealer setup.
 

twenyone

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Fantastic! Such great insights! Man its gna be fun exploring this with you all... (Also I'm starting a car audio thread)

I have a huge list of brands to try now haha.. Will get into it and try to be patient though I'm just so excited after my B&W demo that I feel I'm missing out haha...

Also, I could infer that the amp matters a lot. I've been trying to figure out why these cost so much, like are the materials really expensive or what.. But for now I guess its clear that there's no point cheaping out on this bit.

@tuff - regarding the kind of music I listen to... I'm too broad in my tastes, there's literally not a genre that I don't like. Last few years I've been into electronic and rap music. But the crazy part is I actually think good speakers have the potential to change that! Like some jazz and instrumental stuff I heard in the demos was so moving!! So I want to keep this open ended - god knows what I'll be listening to in a year or two..
 

newlash09

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Hi twentyone...can you please share which amp was suggested to you.

I would thoroughly agree with tuff. Its too early for any of us to start suggesting what you should buy at this point. We'd only be colouring your opinion about stuff, even before youve had a chance to hear it. And that would be grossly unfair.

Would be nice if you can reach out to fellow members from mumbai for a invite to listen to their systems in real rooms. Of course you can audition stuff too, but there would always be the marketing talk and puchase pressure to spoil the experience.

All in all, please take plenty of time to research all your options. And to reiterate what tuff already said, a system costing less can out perform a system costing more if there is a lack of synergy between the room and the speakers. And then the speakers and the amp.
 

vijwilso

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" Are there other companies at the same quality level as B&W that I should check out "

Options are many - take couple of months time to audition other brands in the same price level . Some brands come to my mind are - ProAc , PMC , Harbeth , ATC , KEF - R series and above , Q-Acoustics , DynAudio , Sonus Faber , Tonnoy
 

prateekatasniya

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Hi twentyone...can you please share which amp was suggested to you.

I would thoroughly agree with tuff. Its too early for any of us to start suggesting what you should buy at this point. We'd only be colouring your opinion about stuff, even before youve had a chance to hear it. And that would be grossly unfair.

Would be nice if you can reach out to fellow members from mumbai for a invite to listen to their systems in real rooms. Of course you can audition stuff too, but there would always be the marketing talk and puchase pressure to spoil the experience.

All in all, please take plenty of time to research all your options. And to reiterate what tuff already said, a system costing less can out perform a system costing more if there is a lack of synergy between the room and the speakers. And then the speakers and the amp.
HE IS RIGHT ! great advice.
 

raghupb

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Okay so I'm looking to make my first investment in hi-fi audio.
Trust your own ears and heart.
If your ears and heart exceed your budget after extensive auditioning, cut back and settle on what you can work with.
Stuff heard at demo rooms rarely sound the same at home.
There are lots of "British" sound speaker companies.
FMs have listed them out. Try home audition too.

Few basics needed:
- Room size
- Dedicated or shared living space
- Do you like room filling sound or near field listening
- Are you OK with exploring actives or all-in-ones
- Sources/content

BTW, B&W 600 series is a new relaunch, so expect it to be priced at new trickle tech prices (read higher).
Cheers,
Raghu
 

alphacentury100

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Is your system gonna be purely for music, Do you prefer floorstands over Bookshelves and do you like to listen with subwoofers or without it for music? and finally, how much are you planning to spend for your audiophile passion? There is a lot of question you have to find answers to before going for the purchase.
 

square_wave

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With your budget range, at least look for one gear from the used market. But make sure you buy used only from known / recommended people. Long time members on this forum are a good source. This will help you go up the lineup and get better overall value.
 

Kushanava

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@tuff - regarding the kind of music I listen to... I'm too broad in my tastes, there's literally not a genre that I don't like. Last few years I've been into electronic and rap music. But the crazy part is I actually think good speakers have the potential to change that! Like some jazz and instrumental stuff I heard in the demos was so moving!! So I want to keep this open ended - god knows what I'll be listening to in a year or two..[/QUOTE]

My Only Advice to You:
Create your favorite tracks with the music that you love. Don't make the dealer show off their speakers with their kind of music.
Try to carry some original CDs to be safe on the quality of recordings. Its easy to be carried away by Hifish presentations ( like magnificent treble , sound stage etc). Remember, a good music system sounds natural not hifi. See, you can emotionally connect with your music even in the big rig , like you do now. Lastly , it doesn't matter what other people like ... music is personal.
 

arunkvivek

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One more option to consider
Rethm Bhaava speakers + Lyrita Pre& Power or Acoustic Portrait's reference hybrid integrated.
 

essrand

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When I was new to audiophilia, just like you. I too focused on the speakers. I spent my entire budget on the speakers, and bought some old, really cheap NAD integrated on ebay, thinking someday I would upgrade.

That is one way to go.

The other way is to focus on the electronics, because your speakers will only play what the amps/source feed it. Garbage in / garbage out. I sometimes wish I had done that instead.

BUT, this is a big but, speakers are lot harder to buy/sell and heavy and hard to ship, so it makes sense to buy the best speakers. But you cannot really audition speakers because it only plays what is fed into it.

If I had to do it all over again, and I had the budget that I had now (I was 23 then, with a budget of less than a Lac), I would find an experienced audio dealer and buy an entire package that sounds good (Audio note in Mumbai comes to mind, they have a package for something around your budget if I remember correctly). Because audio is a sum of its parts. And later, upgrade different components of the system as I see fit in the coming years.

If that's not possible, start with speakers, it makes sense, but one advice I would give you is to buy something that has high efficiency / high impedance so that it can play SS and tube both, because perhaps at this stage you are not sure which camp you belong to.

Good luck in your search. This hobby is a hair tearing, all consuming blast of a time! Enjoy the music!
 

arunkvivek

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When I was new to audiophilia, just like you. I too focused on the speakers. I spent my entire budget on the speakers, and bought some old, really cheap NAD integrated on ebay, thinking someday I would upgrade.

That is one way to go.

The other way is to focus on the electronics, because your speakers will only play what the amps/source feed it. Garbage in / garbage out. I sometimes wish I had done that instead.

BUT, this is a big but, speakers are lot harder to buy/sell and heavy and hard to ship, so it makes sense to buy the best speakers. But you cannot really audition speakers because it only plays what is fed into it.

If I had to do it all over again, and I had the budget that I had now (I was 23 then, with a budget of less than a Lac), I would find an experienced audio dealer and buy an entire package that sounds good (Audio note in Mumbai comes to mind, they have a package for something around your budget if I remember correctly). Because audio is a sum of its parts. And later, upgrade different components of the system as I see fit in the coming years.

If that's not possible, start with speakers, it makes sense, but one advice I would give you is to buy something that has high efficiency / high impedance so that it can play SS and tube both, because perhaps at this stage you are not sure which camp you belong to.

Good luck in your search. This hobby is a hair tearing, all consuming blast of a time! Enjoy the music!
What a wonderful piece of advice! Is there a feature to pin this comment to the welcome board?
 
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