Looking for advice


New Member
Sep 4, 2008
Hello Folks,

This is my first post here though I have been reading stuff on the forums for the pasty 20+ days.

I am from Bangalore and moved into my new house recently. I want to setup my entertainment system. I love listening to music and watch movies occasionally as well.

My overall budget is about ~50K for receiver + speaker. Since music is first on my priority, I wanted to invest on good FS speakers.

I narrowed down to Wharfedale 9.5 Floorstanding speakers as I loved the sound from those and having read numerous positive reviews.

Now, on the receiver front I am confused. I am a big music buff and so predominantly will be using the receiver for music.

I don't see upgrading to 5.1/7.1 setup soon but there is a possibility I might in the next 3/4 years if HD content picks up. I have a Samsung 37" LCD HDTV (5 series).

Which are the good receivers which are good for music but also have the bells and whistles for playing HD content faithfully and fits my budget :)

Best Regards,
Alok Anand
To answer your question first, here are three budget receivers that are good for music: 1. Marantz SR 5003 2. Cambridge Audio 340R, 540R v2 3. Denon 1909. The Marantz and Denon has all the current bells while the CA is lacking in some high-def 7.1 formats.

However, if you're into music and have no plans of looking at 5.1 for at least 3 years, then I suggest that you buy a good stereo amp right now and enjoy it. When HD in India does pick up, I can assure you that the receiver you buy today will have obsolete specifications in 3 years time. So it's best to pick up a new receiver after 3 years, with all the new bells and whistles, for 5.1/7.1.

Any stereo amp from the Marantz (PM 6002, PM 7001) or Cambridge Audio stable (340,540,640) should fall into your budget and serve you well for years to come. You can also use it in conjunction with a receiver in the future, should you decide to upgrade.
Your choice of speakers is a good one and should be sonicaly and electrically compatible with the brands I mentioned.
Thanks Ajinkya....

Makes sense...Will invest in Stereo now and look at HT later...

Would you know how much CA540 stereo AMP would cost in Bangalore?

Best Regards,

Cambridge audio products are highly overrated. Although they are one of the few old timers who still manufacture stereo gear while most others who started out with them have joined the HT bandwagon CA simply does not make gear of quality they used to make before (is it because all manufacturing is in China now?)

Why don't you take a look at the used market . Am sure you will get a lot of excellent stuff from late 90s at bargain prices and their build quality was much superior. Also makes sense when you have plans of moving to HT in some time.
any product that is "designed or engineered in xyz country" is typically not manufactured in that country. we can't brand ca products as as poor just because it is not manufactured in the country they were designed/engineered in. ipod is a good example ...
While I certainly agree with you in some cases, it does make a difference when the parent company does not enforce its same standards of quality (due to various reasons). IPOD being an Apple product obviously enforces its QA standards. So do companies like NAD

Take a look at the heat sinks/speaker terminal soldering/switches,etc employed on the amplifiers that are made in cheaper geographic locations to save costs and the same models made in country of origin. Even the quality of thermal paste is pathetic (not to mention a few amps in which it is not even present)

the design and specifications remain the same (obviously!) but minute details that add to the music, definitely get lost. To purists even the sheet gauge chosen for the cabinet matters (to keep troublesome resonances) at bay. In Hi-Fi even the small details matter.

Also I was attributing area of manufacture to the lack of quality in CA goods these days as only one of the reasons. But as a person who also services hi-fi equipment on a regular basis, I find instances of pre-mature failure in CA gear especially their relays and switches.
Hi Alok,

Almost no home theater AV receiver can give you pleasure of a stereo setup. They are designed to do various things- decode digital signals, apply effects, act as mutiplexors for various inputs, etc. while doing all these, they simply fail to deliver music. Also most have AD-DA converters to do all processing in digital domain.

Stick to stereo. Do not be led into thinking HT setups can convey music the way it is meant to be conveyed. Most simply do't.......

Wharfedale 9.5 is ok but not quite to the mark. You will be wanting more within 4 months. How about a KEF Q35, Monitor Audio, Mission 780, or KEF Coda 9? Lots of people who are giving away these beauties while upgrading (or should we say downgrading) to 5.1 setups.

Any of the above speakers paired with a decent amplifier from Nad, Rotel, Arcam, Marantz or Luxman should give you years and years and hours and hours of high quality audio reproduction. The speakers and amp together should not cost you more than Rs 30000 and if you wish to trade them you can still get back your money. Thats not the case with new equipment!
I had been in the same dilemma you are going through and i did the same as they guys suggests, buy a stereo setup first if you are more into music because no Av reciever within the budget of lac or so will give you similar or even closer performance camparered to dedicated stereo amp even if its a entry level amp from Nad, Rotel, cambridge etc.

Experts says, A good stereo setup serves better than the average Home theater for the purpose.

Thanks for all the advice...

Can you folks recommend a few speaker + stereo AMP packages for 40K?

If you also know where I can audition these, it would be great!!!

I thought Wharfedale 9.5 + CA540A(V2) was a good package. If CA has reliability issues I would stay away from it.

Flanker, what are the prices for the speakers you mentioned - KEF Q35, Monitor Audio, Mission 780, or KEF Coda 9.

Were you referring to pre-owned stuff being available for < 30K?

Best Regards,
Yes. I suggest you go for used gear from late 90s as they were built like a tank and hail from a period when stereo ruled. Competition was intense and companies invested huge amounts of money into R&D which yielded in revolutionary designs KEFs Uni-Q, Mission's approach like tweeter below woofer,etc.

Today stereo is esoteric and does not have many takers other than audiophiles or low market crap. Does not make sense for manufacturers to make stuff for such a selected clientile. Economics dictates that lesser sales volumes - more price per unit. Thats why even entry level stuff is so expensive these days. Is'nt that one way of penalizing people like us who are still stereo fans- but its a vicious cycle. manufacturers would blame consumers for not buying stereo anymore. Anyway to answer your question you should be able to put together a decent audiophile grade stereo system for less than 30K when you buy them as used.
First you mention what kind of music you usually listen to, it does makes difference while selecting the equipments according to your listening choice.
Cambridge audio A 540 indeed a nice amp with enough wattage to drive most of the modern speakers but again personal choice, i had a chance to listen to A540 with wharfedale 9.6, i couldn't find cambridge best suited for hard, alternative, modern rocks though its very soothing, sounds little on the warmer side like tube amps with excellent dynamics but somehow i was not satisfied on the bass section, it lacks deep bass and punch to my ears, may not to others.
Its better first you decide the genre of music you are in love with and then go for selecting the gears.

These are approximate prices you can pay for the speakers if and only if they are in absolute pristine condition. Always listen to them before you buy, inspect, talk to the owner to find out how passionate and knowledgeable he is (a dumb guy would have ruined his system by doing something dumb- I know guys who have connected speakers to 220V mains to see what happens- serious). Well made speakers last a lifetime (ok ok! . atleast 35 years when maintained well) so they are the best components you can buy as used

Ok, the price

KEF Q35 (FS)- Rs 18500
KEF Coda 9 (FS)- Rs 16000
Mission 780 (BS) (don??t be fooled by their small size. They are serious audiophile speakers with bi-amp capable gold plated contacts)?? Rs 15000
KEF CODA 8 (another fine British classic)- Rs 12000-14000
Rogers LS 3/5 a ?? Rs 25000 (a true legend ?? sometimes goes for as high as Rs 50000)
KEF Q35 (FS)- Rs 18500
KEF Coda 9 (FS)- Rs 16000
Mission 780 (BS) (don??t be fooled by their small size. They are serious audiophile speakers with bi-amp capable gold plated contacts)?? Rs 15000
KEF CODA 8 (another fine British classic)- Rs 12000-14000
Rogers LS 3/5 a ?? Rs 25000 (a true legend ?? sometimes goes for as high as Rs 50000)

Also do not forget tannoy mercury F1 custom for 16000/- real steal at this price.

Just to chime in here...
CA has been a well-known brand for many years. Some customers may have experienced reliability issues (I have never heard of any of my friends having such complaints)... but that does not make CA a bad company. Ipods also have a known failure rate... Chinese manufacturing also has nothing to do with it...China has put two moon probes up there and are planning on a third...all with Chinese manufacturing. I also don't see why Apple can enforce quality standards while CA (or any other company) can't. Since none of us work in these companies, such inferences are not logical.

There are quite a few members here who own and are quite happy with CA products. Quite a few also own the Wharfedales you auditioned and are happy. So I suggest you do look at that combination and the great suggestions given in this thread by other members and come to your own conclusions about what suits you best.

Flanker's suggestion about used audio gear is also very practical. Just make sure you take someone who is experienced with used gear, so that the amp doesn't die on you when you use it for 5 minutes at home :eek:
I have varied music tastes :)

I like rock - pink floyd, doors, led zep, deep purple, rainbow etc....

I also listen to Indian Classical - like instrumental. I also love Shakti, L Shankar etc...

I also have a huge collection of Hindi music from 40s to latest...

I took 10+ CDs to Total Sound (Wharfedale) and was impressed with 9.5. Need to do more auditions I guess.

Since I am venturing into all this stuff for the first time...I am apprehensive about going in for pre-owned stuff...

More suggestions are welcome..

Best Regards,
Hi Alok,

Listen to speakers in your room. Room acoustics contribute to more than 60% of speaker's tonal characteristics. What sounds good in a dealer's place need not sound good in your room.

Most dealers let you audition speakers in your room. Ask them for this.
I like rock - pink floyd, doors, led zep, deep purple, rainbow etc.... I also listen to Indian Classical - like instrumental. I also love Shakti, L Shankar etc... I also have a huge collection of Hindi music from 40s to latest...


Most of your music seems to be based on heavy rock or fusion. With this kind of taste you must look for amp / speaker combination that has a slightly enhanced bass. Before finalising, I would suggest you hear JBL and Yamaha speakers married to a NAD or CA amp.

The only issue with Hindi music is brightness of female voices, particularly, that of Lata. A combination that is tuned towards lower frequencies will handle this better. Whenever you are auditioning, please take a couple of Lata CDs containing, if possible, some of the the following songs:

1. a.ndaaz meraa mastaanaa, maa.Nge dil kaa nazaraanaa (Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraye)

2, jyoti kalash chhalake (Bhabhi ki Chudiyan)

3. o sajanaa, barakhaa bahaara aaI rasa kii phuhaara laaI, a.Nkhiyo.n me pyaar laaI o sajanaa (Parakh)

4. bedardii baalamaa tujhako meraa man yaad karataa hai barasataa hai jo aa.Nkho.n se vo saavan yaad karataa hai (Aarzoo)

5. solah baras kii baalii umar ko salaam pyaar terii pahalii nazar ko salaam ... (Ek Dujhe Ke Liye)

Excellent advice, Venkat! Can you think of any parallels (voices - male and female) in Tamil music? One of the reasons I value my PSBs so much is the lovely way they bring out the human voice - male or female. I have heard some say that the voice is slightly in front of the other instruments, but I do prefer it that way.
Are CDs that are true copies of their analogue master tapes available? If so which company?

Most of them are useless. Mastering has been done on uncalibrated equipment . I have personally seen mastering studios which don't even have reference tapes to adjust the speed of playback units. This results is altered pitch, rhythm and tempo. Also the condition of playback equipment is pathetic. In the name of re-mastering the asst engineers boost up levels of recording often driving them to clipping. 4 track recorders with perfect azimuth adjustment are almost non-existent in India.

Digital versions of analogue masters are often plagued with clipping, distortion, wrong speed, bias noise creeping into signal, dropouts, flutter. If this was not enough it is passed again through cheap compressors reducing the dynamic range even more. Listen to LP version of the above songs. You will know what I am talking about