Need suggestion for Speaker + Amplifier

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AMITNOIDA

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Hi,

I am looking for a music system using PC (having Asus Xonar Essence STX) as source for my bedroom. My preferences are soft western, saxo, li'l bit jazz, Indian classical specially sarod, ispirational band music, hindi film songs, Rabindra Sangeet etc.

My bedroom size is about 165 sqft. I like to have comparatively big sized bookshelf speakers on stand and matching amps. I am not audiophile but good soundstage and better imaging is one of the important criteria to me. I like openness in sound. A fair bit of musicality of sound is also liked by me and my personal preference is Marantz amps.

My total budget is about 100K for speakers + stand + amps + wires and connectors etc. If some money is saved I will use the same for purchasing ACDs.

I need 5-6 choices for Speaker-Amplifier combo. Also, suggest the proper stand (also their availability), wires and connectors.

I heavily depend on you guys. Please pour your suggestions and advices.
 

mridulgoel

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Hi,

I am looking for a music system using PC (having Asus Xonar Essence STX) as source for my bedroom. My preferences are soft western, saxo, li'l bit jazz, Indian classical specially sarod, ispirational band music, hindi film songs, Rabindra Sangeet etc.

My bedroom size is about 165 sqft. I like to have comparatively big sized bookshelf speakers on stand and matching amps. I am not audiophile but good soundstage and better imaging is one of the important criteria to me. I like openness in sound. A fair bit of musicality of sound is also liked by me and my personal preference is Marantz amps.

My total budget is about 100K for speakers + stand + amps + wires and connectors etc. If some money is saved I will use the same for purchasing ACDs.

I need 5-6 choices for Speaker-Amplifier combo. Also, suggest the proper stand (also their availability), wires and connectors.

I heavily depend on you guys. Please pour your suggestions and advices.


music system

Amit

You made me confused by the word "MUSIC SYSTEM"....
Anyhow, as you have asked in for the same...and as by your other complete post let me suggest you a solution for both...

Music System :
The best available Music Systems are to be suggested as
Hercules
5.1 - XPS-5.1 70 - Rs.15K
2.1 - XPS-2.1 Lounge - Rs.9K
Klipsch
2.1 - (Model No. N.A.) - Rs.13.5K
Bose
2.1 - (Model No. N.A.) - Rs.23.5K
(Guyz recommending the Bose only as music system for computer not as HomeTheatre)

Home Theatre (5.1)
Q Acoustics - 1020i + 1010i + 1000c + 1000s = Rs.59.5K
Receiver - Denon - 1909 or Marantz 6000 series = Rs.35K approx.
Stands - Rs.6.5K + VAT
Wires - (approx 20Mtrs Speaker Cable + 2 Mtrs Subwoofer Cable) = Rs.2000
Total = Rs.1.05L approx.

Stereo Setup (2.1)
Q Acoustics - 1020i + 1000s = Rs.35K
or
Wharfedale - 9.2 + 9sub = Rs.30K
Integrated Amp - Marantz 6000 series or Cambridge Audio 640A = Rs.30K approx.
Stands - Rs.6.5K + VAT
Wires - Rs.1000 approx.
Total = Rs.72.5K approx.

Recommended Setup
Music System
Hercules - XPS - 5.1 70
(To play tracks and clips from your PC @ 320KBPS - 944KBPS Max)
+ (Add)
Stereo Setup
Q Acoustics - 1020i + 1000s
Marantz 6000series Integrated Amp
Marantz 6000series CD Player
Stands
Wires
(To Play Original and High Level & Pure Musical fidelity experience)
+ (Add)
Audio CDs
= (Total)
Rs.1.02L + Audio CDs...

The reason to suggest you to different systems (Music System + Stereo Setup) is, as your main input is your PC, and as per my knowledge, when you rip anything, the SoundCard is not capable enough to reproduce the originality of the track for the class output. So its better be a system, that is capable of performing the output, and though can be used to get 5.1 movie effect while watching from PC.
As you are more into Classical and Soft Corner, for that nothings better than to go in for a dedicated stereo setup with a nice CDP, to get the amazing experience...

Now, the reason for not suggesting the Mordaunt Short, known to be good for stereo is, because there bookshelves doesnt perform well enough to be used as standalones for stereo...as you require only bookshelves...

Otherwise i would have suggested you some nice floorstanders like Usher, Mordaunt Short, Q Acoustics, Wharfedale and all...

So, i would suggest just demo these things up, and get the experience...
 
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AMITNOIDA

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Thanks Mridul. I am sorry for using the confusing word 'music system'. Actually I tried to mean '2.0 or 2.1 Stereo set-up'. I don't need 5.1 set-up due to speaker placement space constraint and wire management problem.
If you want to refine your suggestion or include more options for 2.0 / 2.1 stereo system, I will be grateful.

Others also plese suggest probable combinations. I like to start auditioning ASAP. My total budget is Rs. 100K. Please suggest speakers, amplifier, speaker & amplifier stand & rack and wires & connectors etc.

Thanks
Amit.
 
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moserw

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If you have original CDs and can/will be ripping in FLAC or WAV then with the Asus Xonar Essence STX it negates the need for a CDP. In fact a couple of other threads here talk about how ripped music in FLAC sounds even better than the original ACD (something I can vouch for).
 
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AMITNOIDA

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Thanks Moserw.
That's the point. You have touched the right chord. In fact your previous postings on this issue gave me confidence to go ahead with Essence STX. With Essence STX card, I dont need to go for a dedicated CDP. I will use my PC to either play original ACDs or FLAC files.

Now I need your suggestions on speakers + Ampli + stand & rack + wires and connectors etc.

Thanks

Amit
 
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moserw

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Thanks Moserw.
That's the point. You have touched the right chord. In fact your previous postings on this issue gave me confidence to go ahead with Essence STX. With Essence STX card, I dont need to go for a dedicated CDP. I will use my PC to either play original ACDs or FLAC files.

Now I need your suggestions on speakers + Ampli + stand & rack + wires and connectors etc.

Thanks

Amit

I would go the route of "powered speakers", but I think you're not interested in them. With the budget you have I'm sure you will get excellent stereo amps and speakers and should be left with lots to purchase ACDs too. Please PM "venkatcr" and "marsilians" along with this thread's link. I am sure they will have lots of valuable suggestions for you. "mridulgoel" too is active in this thread and I'm sure will provide more inputs.

I would not spend too much on racks and wires. Lots of snake oil deals in these categories. I would any day spend money on purchasing ACDs and actual music, but that's me. I've had better purchase from wall mounting BS in fact with lots of soundstage and up to a certain price point BS are better than FS. However, will leave the stereo amplifier to the pros I've mentioned above. I've not auditioned too many of them. Multichannel AVRs I can help, but not your requirement here.

But let me put your mind at rest. With the Asus on board and even decent to good speakers you'll have a rocking music machine that will outperform many, many systems. Check the thread on cPlay, a very good player for playing music on the PC. Otherwise at the very least Foobar2000 is recommended to play music on the PC.
 
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AMITNOIDA

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I have shortlisted following speakers for my 2.0 stereo set-up (for my 165 sqft bedroom) using PC as source:
1) Wharfedale Diamond 9.2
2) KEF IQ3
3) Quad 11L2
4) Usher S-520
5) EPOS M12i
6) MA RS1
7) PSB Image B15
8) Dali Lektor 2

Can you guys suggest the approx. prices of these speakers in India and the matching integrated stereo amps? Also, need your valuable opinion regarding strength and weaknesses of the above shortlisted speakers. Have I missed out any other good speaker option? My total budget for speakers + Amps + Stands + Wires is Rs 100K.
 
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mridulgoel

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I have shortlisted following speakers for my 2.0 stereo set-up (for my 165 sqft bedroom) using PC as source:
1) Wharfedale Diamond 9.2
2) KEF IQ3
3) Quad 11L2
4) Usher S-520
5) EPOS M12i
6) MA RS1
7) PSB Image B15
8) Dali Lektor 2

Can you guys suggest the approx. prices of these speakers in India and the matching integrated stereo amps? Also, need your valuable opinion regarding strength and weaknesses of the above shortlisted speakers. Have I missed out any other good speaker option? My total budget for speakers + Amps + Stands + Wires is Rs 100K.

let me narrow down ur above list

1). Quad
2). EPOS
3). Dali
4). PSB (nt aware of this model)

apart from the above none of the other models mentioned by you goes well in for stereo quality from bookshelves...
 
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venkatcr

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Amit:

Since you have decided on the Asus sound card (which is excellent by the way), all you need for a good music system is an amplifier and a pair of speakers.

I would have preferred you buy a pre amplifier and a power amp, as the Asus provides an excellent dynamic range of 115dB. Unfortunately pre/pro combinations such as NAD C 165BEE/C 275BEE and the Quad 99 are expensive and will set you back by a lakh at least.

So what we will do now is to give you a set of options for both amplifiers and speakers.

Integrated Amplifiers

CA 560A v2 - 50 watts per channel @ 22.0K
CA 640A V2 - 75 watts per channel @ 26.5K
CA 740A v2 - 100 watts per channel @50.0K
CA 840A V2 - 120 watts per channel @ 76.0K
Cyrus 6Vs2 - 40 watts per channel @ 70.0K
Marantz PM7001 - 70 watts per channel @ 29K
NAD 320BEE - 50 watts per channel @ 22K
NAD 352 - 80 watts per channel @ 30.0K
Rotel RA-05 - 40 watts per channel @ 37.0K

Speakers

AE NEO 3 @ 46K
B&W 685 @ 40K
B&W DM601S3 @ 31K
Dali Ikon 2 @ 51K
Dyaudio Audience 52 @ 58K
EPOS M12.2 @ 37K
EPOS M12i @ 43K
MA Bronze BR2 @ 29K
MA Silver RS6 @ 57K
MS Mezzo 2 @ 38K
QUAD 12L2 @ 37K

The Wharfedale 9.0 and 9.2 have been award winners, so they cannot be shooed out that easily. They certainly warrant an audition, if you so feel like.

Amongst the amplifiers, you will find the CA to be clear and transparent, and the NAD to play additional stress on the base. I would suggest you audition both and decide what kind of sound you like. The Rotel and Cyrus are also excellent amps and would lean more towards the CA in terms of transparency and clarity. I have not heard the Marantz amp too much. The only time I heard it was a fiasco. But there are many members here who swear by it.

I would classify the speakers again into two broad types - the American and the British. American speakers, you will find, will be more transparent bordering on extra stress on mid and high frequencies. On the other hand, you will find British speakers to be 'warmer' with a tough of extra stress on mid and lower frequencies. Most of the speakers I have listed are British. If you want to look at American speakers, audition the PSBs and the Polk Audios.

You have already included the Ushers.

As Moser has written finalise the speakers and amps first. You need just a audio interconnect and maybe 50feet of a good speaker cable. Good interconnects and speaker cables are available from companies such as Audioquest, The Chord Company, Supra, VDH, Kimber Kable, QED, etc. I would allocate about 10% of your budget for these.

Bookshelf stands are going to be a challenge. It seems difficult to get stands separately. When you finalise a pair of bookshelves with a dealer, insist that he gets you the stand also. Worse case scenario, let me know and I might be able to get you good stands from Chennai at around 10,000 a pair.

Cheers
 
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AMITNOIDA

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Thanks Mridul and Venkatcr.

I have now plenty of suggestions. Let me study and taper down the list a bit because getting audition of about 10-11 brand of speakers is not easy being at Delhi/NCR. Mridul and other Delhi forum members, can you please advise the good showrooms for getting audition of following brands:
Quad
MA
Dali
Wharfedale
Dynaudio
EPOS
MS
B&W

I am new in this field. Although I like music but so far my opportunity restricts to Worldspace radio, FM radio and TV. So I don't have any collection of ACDs. (I have quite a no. of audio tape cassets, which I used to play in my car stereo). For audition I want to first purchase few good ACDs for this purpose. Can you guys suggest few good ACDs and their availability. Although I have seen in some forums about good audition CDs, but I am now unable to spot those threads.

Need your help yaar.
 
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moserw

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For audition I want to first purchase few good ACDs for this purpose. Can you guys suggest few good ACDs and their availability. Although I have seen in some forums about good audition CDs, but I am now unable to spot those threads.

Need your help yaar.

Just buy/carry music you like and listen to. That's what needs to match, not some opera/jazz/rock music that you don't listen to. If Hindi film music is what you like and listen to then carry those CDs. Auditioning is always better with music we have heard for a long time and know the songs/music and also music that we like. Ultimately the equipment is going to play those very songs so better to audition with them.
 
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Asit

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Hi Amit,

Although you are getting very good advice from very experienced people in this thread, looking at your music preference I am tempted to suggest a few options for the amp and the speakers. I would not have anything to say about playing music from computers because I have NO experience about those.

Among the speakers listed in various suggestions, I have listened to some of them recently and can tell you that if you are ready to spend around 40K on speakers, there is no need to keep both Quad 11L2 and Epos M12i as options. The Epos M12i should be compared with Quad 12L2. Similarly, Dali Lektor 2 also should not be taken in the same bracket, while Dali Ikon 2 is surely one of the best speakers mentioned.

It all depends on how much you want to spend on speakers and try to get the best bang for the buck. If you want to spend around 25K on speakers, then obviously you pick from the Usher S520 the Lektor2 and a lot others.

Although, it is generally said about audio electronics that there is a law of diminishing return; as you spend more on amp, CDP and such electronics, you get less and less improvement. But for speakers in general the more you pay, you get significantly better sound, especially at the lower end of the echelon. There are exceptions of course.

For example if you go near 60K for a pair of speakers (Dynaudio Audience 52 as mentioned above), then why not the Usher X-718, although you may have difficulty auditioning those in Noida-Delhi area. Although I have never heard any Ushers, but worldwide reports are very favorable and the X-718's will beat speakers much above its price range, I think.

From the list so far, I would definitely try out the Dali Ikon2 and the Epos 12i. It depends on what sort of sound you want.

Dali has the advantage of relatively high sensitivity of around 90 db I think. You can even try some of Viren Bakshi's low powered tube amps with such a speaker, I guess. Viren is in Delhi area.

Otherwise, from your musical preference I would really suggest Arcam FMJ A18, Marantz PM 7003/7001 and Nad c355bee amps. They are around 30-40K, I suppose. Sound of Music from Delhi keeps Arcam I guess. In Kolkata, I did not have the opportunity to hear this amp, but I have listened to other Arcam amps. The sound is very refined and clean and would suit your musical tastes I think. The A 18 would be around 40K. The Marantz and the Nad I mentioned would give you more power, however. But looking at your musical tastes, any of these should be enough.

A good stand is a must for a bookshelf speaker. Usually they come with a dedicated pair of stands and I would prefer that. Also about cables, you should not spend an exorbitant amount but you should keep aside 5 to 10 K on a good pair of stereo interconnects and about 6 meters of speaker cables. Once you decide on the speakers and the amp, we can discuss about that. You can also do that slightly later incrementally, like another forum member gobble is doing.
 
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moserw

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Venkatji and others,

I'm just wondering if its really necessary to spend so much on the amps and preamps? My choice would be to go with powered speakers, but Amit has chosen otherwise. Now considering Amit has the Asus Xonar Essence STX card and we would want it to do the processing considering its specs, it's my thinking that he should spend the bulk of the money on the speakers say something like Usher BE-718 or Dynaudio Audience 52 (what I initially had in mind for myself so I guess I'm biased here) and not so much an amp. Or is it that amps cost that much and nothing more entry level is available or would not suffice for the requirement here? My thinking is some of the amps mentioned here would negate the need for the Asus Xonar Essence STX which would be a pity since the card is so good and gives really great output.

Just my 2 cents and please do correct me if I am wrong here.
 
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Asit

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Venkatji and others,

I'm just wondering if its really necessary to spend so much on the amps and preamps? My choice would be to go with powered speakers, but Amit has chosen otherwise. Now considering Amit has the Asus Xonar Essence STX card and we would want it to do the processing considering its specs, it's my thinking that he should spend the bulk of the money on the speakers say something like Usher BE-718 or Dynaudio Audience 52 (what I initially had in mind for myself so I guess I'm biased here) and not so much an amp. Or is it that amps cost that much and nothing more entry level is available or would not suffice for the requirement here? My thinking is some of the amps mentioned here would negate the need for the Asus Xonar Essence STX which would be a pity since the card is so good and gives really great output.

Just my 2 cents and please do correct me if I am wrong here.


Sorry moserw, for intruding in this thread by my earlier post. I did not really notice your suggestions for powered speakers in this thread, something that I have not much idea about. I want to apologise for my post above. If you guys want, I can also delete my post above so that nobody gets the wrong message perhaps. I thought that Amit wanted the usual solutions of amp and speakers of which I have some idea. It is true that my knowledge in stereo equipments and also in music is very very limited. Sorry again.

BTW the Be-718's are above a lakh. The Usher mentioned in my post is X-718 which does not use a Beryllium tweeter and is around 60K.
 
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moserw

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Hi Asit bhai,

Please don't apologize. In fact I'm wondering and wanting to learn hence the query. I really enjoy your postings in fact and don't mind them in the least. I'm only wondering (aloud) about the amps and preamps since they are costing so much and yet with the Asus sound card onboard would we really need such amp/preamps? I'm sorry if I came across wrong in my previous post. In fact even I'm learning so much from all of you guys.

Yeah I know about the Usher BE-718 and the Beryllium tweeters. A friend bought Focals with Beryllium tweeters and they are just mind blowing. In fact the Focals are my ultimate goal at least for musical nirvana (until of course something better comes along) and I am working towards them myself.

Once again I apologize if my post came across wrong. No offense meant to anyone. Please do chip in and let me educate myself further.

Sorry moserw, for intruding in this thread by my earlier post. I did not really notice your suggestions for powered speakers in this thread, something that I have not much idea about. I want to apologise for my post above. If you guys want, I can also delete my post above so that nobody gets the wrong message perhaps. I thought that Amit wanted the usual solutions of amp and speakers of which I have some idea. It is true that my knowledge in stereo equipments and also in music is very very limited. Sorry again.

BTW the Be-718's are above a lakh. The Usher mentioned in my post is X-718 which does not use a Beryllium tweeter and is around 60K.
 
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RAJASWAMY

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Hi,

I am looking for a music system using PC (having Asus Xonar Essence STX) as source for my bedroom. My preferences are soft western, saxo, li'l bit jazz, Indian classical specially sarod, ispirational band music, hindi film songs, Rabindra Sangeet etc.

My bedroom size is about 165 sqft. I like to have comparatively big sized bookshelf speakers on stand and matching amps. I am not audiophile but good soundstage and better imaging is one of the important criteria to me. I like openness in sound. A fair bit of musicality of sound is also liked by me and my personal preference is Marantz amps.

My total budget is about 100K for speakers + stand + amps + wires and connectors etc. If some money is saved I will use the same for purchasing ACDs.

I need 5-6 choices for Speaker-Amplifier combo. Also, suggest the proper stand (also their availability), wires and connectors.

I heavily depend on you guys. Please pour your suggestions and advices.

Shall I suggest you the Cambridge Audio Amp & Mordaunt Short which is Quality & Cost effective and fit for your budget.
 
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thevortex

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Just saw Venkat's post in this thread. I agree with everything but the lumping together of PSBs and Polk Audio:). The Polks are far removed from the PSB's - all except the Lsi series.

And Moserw - can you possibly create a separate thread to educate people like me as to what differences there are between an active speaker system and a speaker set powered by an external amp? I am aware of differences in the crossover sections, amplifier class etc. but what I am more interested is what this actually translates out as - when you listen to music. How is one different from the other?

For that matter, if anybody else has had the opportunity to listen and contrast active and passive speakers, I would love to know the actual difference. Thanks in advance.
 
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AMITNOIDA

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Hi Amit,

Although you are getting very good advice from very experienced people in this thread, looking at your music preference I am tempted to suggest a few options for the amp and the speakers. I would not have anything to say about playing music from computers because I have NO experience about those.

Among the speakers listed in various suggestions, I have listened to some of them recently and can tell you that if you are ready to spend around 40K on speakers, there is no need to keep both Quad 11L2 and Epos M12i as options. The Epos M12i should be compared with Quad 12L2. Similarly, Dali Lektor 2 also should not be taken in the same bracket, while Dali Ikon 2 is surely one of the best speakers mentioned.

It all depends on how much you want to spend on speakers and try to get the best bang for the buck. If you want to spend around 25K on speakers, then obviously you pick from the Usher S520 the Lektor2 and a lot others.

Although, it is generally said about audio electronics that there is a law of diminishing return; as you spend more on amp, CDP and such electronics, you get less and less improvement. But for speakers in general the more you pay, you get significantly better sound, especially at the lower end of the echelon. There are exceptions of course.

For example if you go near 60K for a pair of speakers (Dynaudio Audience 52 as mentioned above), then why not the Usher X-718, although you may have difficulty auditioning those in Noida-Delhi area. Although I have never heard any Ushers, but worldwide reports are very favorable and the X-718's will beat speakers much above its price range, I think.

From the list so far, I would definitely try out the Dali Ikon2 and the Epos 12i. It depends on what sort of sound you want.

Dali has the advantage of relatively high sensitivity of around 90 db I think. You can even try some of Viren Bakshi's low powered tube amps with such a speaker, I guess. Viren is in Delhi area.

Otherwise, from your musical preference I would really suggest Arcam FMJ A18, Marantz PM 7003/7001 and Nad c355bee amps. They are around 30-40K, I suppose. Sound of Music from Delhi keeps Arcam I guess. In Kolkata, I did not have the opportunity to hear this amp, but I have listened to other Arcam amps. The sound is very refined and clean and would suit your musical tastes I think. The A 18 would be around 40K. The Marantz and the Nad I mentioned would give you more power, however. But looking at your musical tastes, any of these should be enough.

A good stand is a must for a bookshelf speaker. Usually they come with a dedicated pair of stands and I would prefer that. Also about cables, you should not spend an exorbitant amount but you should keep aside 5 to 10 K on a good pair of stereo interconnects and about 6 meters of speaker cables. Once you decide on the speakers and the amp, we can discuss about that. You can also do that slightly later incrementally, like another forum member gobble is doing.

Thanks Asit for your valuable suggestions. Also Mridul's suggestion and shortlisting of brands for my consideration was really helpful.

Now my first concern is to listen and select speaker. I have tapered down my initial list to just four brands :
Quad 12L2 37k
Epos M12i 43k
Dali Ikon2 51k
Usher (Here I will listen to both S520 and X-718)

So total 5 auditions. Although Dynaaudio Audience 52 is no doubt a very good speaker, but as I have read in some review that they are not much forgiving in placement of the speaker. As my bedroom has limited options for speaker placement, I am not ready to take the risk.

I will generally play the system in lower volume and Quad 12L2 is supposed to show its briliance even at lower volume unlike B&W 685, which requires higher volume to do justice to its brand. Experts can correct me, if I am wrong.

When I will go to Usher's showroom, I have a desire to listen to BE-718 also and experience the brilliance and swiftness of berrylium tweeter. Although my budget will not permit to purchase it, but at leasst I want to listen to it.

Dali dealer is available at Delhi (Sight & Sound, Okhla Industrial Area, 9310339238).

For Usher's demo I may have to go to Bangalore and visit ARN Systems. I have two nieces married and settled at Bangalore. So it will be a very good trip. In Bangalore, in fact, all the big and famous brands are available. I may get audition of EPOS, Usher there.

But I could not find any suitable Quad dealer at Delhi or Bangalore yet. Can you guys help me?

Also, I don't want to miss award winning Wharfedale 9.2, so I will perhaps listen to this also.

Now I want advise from you guys regarding the placement requirement (distance from rear and side wall etc.) for the above speakers (Quad 12L2, Epos M12i, Usher S520, Usher X-718, Dali Ikon2 and Wharfedale 9.2).

Cheers
Amit
 
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marsilians

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..., it's my thinking that he should spend the bulk of the money on the speakers say something like Usher BE-718 or Dynaudio Audience 52 (what I initially had in mind for myself so I guess I'm biased here) ...

Hi Moserw

This is a bit of a digression....

If you are considering Dynaudio, go for the 82s instead of the the 52s or if you can afford go for the contour series (even used ones). They are high end but just superb when driven with a decent amp.

Another new kid on the block is PSB Imagine floor standers. I had a chance to audition these last week and they are excellent for music and gorgeous to look at.
 
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