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New Amplifier Stereo setup for a First Timer

Wharfedale EVO4.4 Speaker

Kalyana Kumar

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Apr 6, 2013
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Hi, i sold my sony gz888d last year in order to invest in something much better. I have been reading a lot of columns over the last year to find an appropriate integrated stereo amplifier and a matching speaker system. In my 2bhk residence, i plan to place it in the living and the living is 11*19 feet. My television is placed at one end of the 19 feet and at the other i have a huge window and a door to the balcony. I have made glass shelves on which my earlier speakers were placed. I have a living unit with glass top on which the amplifier would be placed. I am on a somewhat low budget as we speak and wont be able to choose the likes of a NAD or a Rotel (upwards of 30000 indian rupees). I have read extensively about Norge and am leaning towards the Norge Concerto 1000 amp. I am also considering the Marantz PM5005. I also saw the Marantz Network receiver M-CR510 which seems worth the additional 6000. For speakers i am looking at the Wharfedale Diamond 220, Pioneer SP-BS22, PSB Alpha B1, Definitive Technology Studio Monitor 45, Tannoy Mercury V1 and Monitor Audio BR2. Can you help me make a good match? Would I require any new stands for the speakers or would the glass stands be sufficient? My music choice leans towards fusion, classical, rock, pop, disco and some metal and ghazals. I am looking for good detail, great soundstage and unskewed sound - where mids, highs, lows, bass, treble sound good. Talk about musical nirvana on a budget! Thanks in advance.:)
 

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shibashis

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The glass shelves on the wall seen in the picture, will those be used as speaker stands?
That is not ideal, speakers should not be positioned that high. Dedicated stands always help but you can always add the stands later, do not put the speakers that high, you will lose the soundstage and imaging will be nowhere.

What is your total budget for amplifier and speakers combined?
Do consider Dali Zensor 1 or 3 in your speaker list and you should listen to these that you have listed. Perhaps listening Norge + speaker-of-your-choice is going to be difficult but do look around.
 

SwaroopKS

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Hi,

I agree with Shibashis, you would need dedicated stands.

If you are not so keen on new gear, I would suggest get some used one. That has worked really good for me and you can get better value for money. Do check the sale classifieds and there are some floorstanders as well within your budget. Given the room size, you can explore FS which would give you a bit better extension on bass and also save on stands.

My fav among the classifieds right now is the Acoustic portrait floorstanders. I maybe biased here :) Do check hifiads as well, decent options for both speakers and amp.

However if you want to go for new, there are a lot of options. Do explore and decide which one suits your needs the best.

Cheers
Satya
 

Kalyana Kumar

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Thank you babumoshai and Swaroop. Yes, thats right, i plan to put the speakers there as seen in the pic. Its at a height as of about 6 feet right now. Actually, i placed the stands high coz i am 6 feet and i have many cousins and nephews who are similarly tall and as you get in, a lowly placed stand kind of interrupts you. Theyre just next to the door at the entrance. I usually stand towards the other end near the window when i play the music. However, placing the stand any lower is not a problem. What would be a good height from the ground for the stands in case of a bookshelf speaker set. My budget would not exceed 50000. I amy putting it that high since i have the likes of marantz and monitor audio and deftech in my list. The Norge Ultimo also featured in that list but i didnt mention about it earlier.

I am not sure if there is a scope for floorstander speakers (FS) in the room of 11*19 feet right now, the picture in my first post would give you a better idea. I dont want the sound to get boomy and i read many posts where many listeners have recommended a bookshelf speakers (BS) for a room upto 200 sqft. I am open right now to a BS or a FS long as my needs are appropriately met. But im skeptical about the chances of getting a good FS at that rate.
 

dheerajin

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I am in Pune too...It will be better if you get in touch with Pune members...they can help you in auditions ...PM me if you want to experience some systems...

Regards

Dheerajin
 

SwaroopKS

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Thank you babumoshai and Swaroop. Yes, thats right, i plan to put the speakers there as seen in the pic. Its at a height as of about 6 feet right now. Actually, i placed the stands high coz i am 6 feet and i have many cousins and nephews who are similarly tall and as you get in, a lowly placed stand kind of interrupts you. Theyre just next to the door at the entrance. I usually stand towards the other end near the window when i play the music. However, placing the stand any lower is not a problem. What would be a good height from the ground for the stands in case of a bookshelf speaker set. My budget would not exceed 50000. I amy putting it that high since i have the likes of marantz and monitor audio and deftech in my list. The Norge Ultimo also featured in that list but i didnt mention about it earlier.

I am not sure if there is a scope for floorstander speakers (FS) in the room of 11*19 feet right now, the picture in my first post would give you a better idea. I dont want the sound to get boomy and i read many posts where many listeners have recommended a bookshelf speakers (BS) for a room upto 200 sqft. I am open right now to a BS or a FS long as my needs are appropriately met. But im skeptical about the chances of getting a good FS at that rate.
The level of drivers (mainly tweeter/mid) should be at the same level of your ears in listening position. 6ft is too high and i dont think you want to enjoy your music standing all the time! Also the sweet spot may differ based on speakers you choose and would be somewhere in the middle of the room rather than all the way to the other side. You would also need some appropriate space left between speakers and rear wall (especially in case of rear ported speakers).

I am happily using my FS in a 160 sq.ft room. FS do come in all shapes and sizes and yes, some may be too big but most of them should be fine for your room size. Proper placement of speakers would also take care of sound issues like boom. In certain cases some room treatment is required for best results.

I am in Pune too...It will be better if you get in touch with Pune members...they can help you in auditions ...PM me if you want to experience some systems...

Regards

Dheerajin

Yes, Do take help of local FMs in Pune and Mumbai. That would be a lot helpful. You can also check out TL speakers made by Hari Iyer from Mumbai.
 

keith_correa

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1. If you choose bookshelf/standmount speakers you will need dedicated stands for them. No, your glass shelves are totally inappropriate for placing speakers on.

2. Speakers should be at a height where the tweeters are at ear level at your listening position. If you listen to speakers standing up then get them high. :)

3. Factor in for at least a foot of clearance from the back of the speaker to the rear wall. Some speakers need more clearance. And it has nothing majorly to do with where the ports are located - it depends on the amount of baffle step compensation built in the crossover. Some have less BSC built in so can be placed closer to the rear wall.

4. Buy the amp first. Then take the amp around and listen to speakers paired with the amp playing the type of music you typically listen to. Only you can decide which sounds best to YOU. We can but add to the list to be auditioned by YOU. IMO, the speakers are the weakest link in the whole chain and can make or break a system. I've heard systems powered by a Rs. 7000 amp and extremely well designed speakers and the whole system sounded magnificent! I've heard a system powered by a DIY Rs. 600 DIY amp paired with DIY speakers costing 20x the cost of the amp and I could happily live with that system for a long time. I'm sure you get the drift.

Take up Dheeraj's offer to listen to systems. More than listening to systems at showrooms, listening to different systems at people's home will help make up your mind. Keep in mind that the same system will sound different in your room. That's about the most impactful advice I can give.

All the best in your quest!
 

shibashis

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There is nothing more to add to Keith's post, keep these in mind and be judicious in your decision.
Listen, then listen some more and even more before you choose your speakers. I auditioned everything available in Kolkata in budget before I bought mine, can not overstate the importance of listening to different setups and their varying sounds.
 

eabhishek

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I also do agree with all the suggestions here; however would differ just a tad bit... A decade ago, I was in a similar fix and very similar suggestions kept pouring in. However important personal listening is; it is such a daunting task to do so for so many great combinations that come pouring in from so many good friends! This is what I gathered.


1. All of us are bang-on on the speaker placement. Put it at the ear level from your listening position when your are sitting! You might need to toe-in/out but that would come later.


2. Buying or narrowing down a pair of speakers before an amp is what I would suggest. Speakers would last a hell lot longer than your digital electronics; so start with them.

a) Its great that you have narrowed it down to a music only setup. That would make your selection so much more easier. When it comes to musical setups, my wisdom teaches me to go with British brands for mid-budget selections. B&W, KEF, Dali (not British but close).

b) No thumb-rule between FS or BS. Keeping the laws of physics in mind, an FS must sound fuller than a BS; but I have seen so many exceptions. A combination of looks, availability, budget and your general listening preference should guide that decision. Keep in mind, if you put in a larger amp, the bigger drivers in FS would surely sound louder in many cases wider too. FS would also belt out deeper bass; not necessarily tighter bass. But the question is where are you putting your money.

c) Since speakers last so much longer, you would be able to get a nice cared for used one from classifieds here. Even a 10 year old good-great condition speaker pairs would still hold good.

d) When buying a BS, invest in stands. You would never know the difference they make until you listen to the same speakers without stands. Do not buy cheap stands. This is something you would save on with FS.


3. Now coming to amps. For the speakers mentioned above there are some favorites. NAD, Marantz, Rotel, Parasound, Tubes, .... All are costly :( But as @Keith mentioned, some otherwise low-end amps also may sound so well with certain speakers. The intent should be to hunt for amps which are not necessarily high output but definitely highly musical. Again, like speakers and unlike receivers; amps do tend to last relatively longer. Do you find a used one with decent power and great DAC? Go listen!


4. Finally at the end of this long post (felt like I am re-living my own journey!); visit all the classifieds and retail sellers regularly. Every Saturday for the rest of your life should be spent on it from now onwards! You might find a pair totally unheard of and totally not on your list, close to your budget which would sound so great.


5. Remember, unlike a good spouse; a good setup CAN be replaced, upgraded, expanded and sold later on. Take the plunge!
 
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