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Options for a 2 Channel System, around 60K for music

Audiolab 6000CDT Dedicated CD Transport

srramanujam

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I have been reading the forum for about two months now and have managed to get some starting hints. I have the following query and would appreciate your patience and help.

I want to build a system principally for listening to music. My family and I watch movies, but value that experience relatively less compared to music.

I generally listen to South Indian Classical, light Rock, old english and old film songs. As the days go, I guess I may start listening to more western and Indian classical as well. I keep music at medium volume. Once in a while I like to blast noisy music.

I will keep the setup in the living room which has a 22 ft X 10 ft space. Another corridor branches off from one corner (almost like a V shape) into dining area and other rooms. The setup can either be on the wall face near the V opening or on the opposite face (both on the 10ft width walls). The first location is easier, but if that spoils the music I wouldn??t mind the second location. The distance from the set-up to listening position will be about 18 feet or 12 feet.

The living room faces a large garden and the house is generally quiet. The acoustics seem strange though. Even a normal conversation inside the house can be heard from outside the house.

I would prefer to spend about 60,000 for the entire set-up (CD Player + Amp + Speakers). I can afford to spend about 30,000 more, but would not be too happy doing so, unless there is a significant value for that extra money.

I can wait to do a proper research and legwork before I decide.

Based on my readings of the forum, I have reached the following starting points.

a) Given my preference to music, I should look at a 2 channel receiver, a CD player and good quality speakers.
b) I would be able to get acceptable movie playback with this set-up
c) A separate sub woofer may not be required for my choice of music

I have the following questions.
a) Do I have to change any of my assumptions stated above
b) Can I afford to buy a good set-up with the 60,000 budget or should I convince myself to spend more. I am unlikely to upgrade the system too soon. The last Hi Fi I bought was eleven years back.
c) What are the models that I should consider for each component
d) I like floorstanding speakers for the looks, are they the right choice for music. I have a small kid who will be tempted to topple the speaker.
e) Are there inexpensive ways of improving acoustics of a living room
f) which of the two locations should i keep the system in


The living room is a little complicated. I have attached a small sketch.

Look forward to your response.
 

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afj

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with a size of 220 sq ft bookshelves would suffice. and the reason i say bookshelves over floorstanders is that you can get a better sounding bookshelf for the same price as a floorstander. take for instance the monitor audio series (and i use that as an example since i own the brand). the bronze br5 towers are approx the same price as the silver series rs1 bookshelves, but the rs1 would sound way better in quality. it may not play as loud, but you'll have the neighbours screaming at you before it runs out of breath. you've got a similar situation with the amp. you'll need a lesser powered amp for the bookshelves than the towers. for instance instead of buying the nad 372 you can look at the 355 or the 325. same quality of sound but lower power but still enough power that the bookshelves require.

im not too familiar with prices in india but i think you should be able to get something like this in the region of about 75k rupees including a decent cdp

there are quite a few brands that you could look at, both speakers (monitor audio, dali, tannoys....) and amps (nad, cambridge, marantz....). i suggest you listen to a few speaker brands and depending on what you like select a amp and cdp to match the speakers and your personal preference.

with regard to room acoustics - practical options in a family living room would be a carpet on the floor, painting on the wall etc etc. to soften sound waves bouncing off.

imo you are going in the right direction with a 2 channel vis a vis 5.1
 
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psychotropic

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a) Do I have to change any of my assumptions stated above

Nope. All correct.

b) Can I afford to buy a good set-up with the 60,000 budget or should I convince myself to spend more. I am unlikely to upgrade the system too soon. The last Hi Fi I bought was eleven years back.

If this is your first venture into hi-fi, I think you will find that 60k will be sufficient to get you a very good 2-channel setup. (more later)

c) What are the models that I should consider for each component

later

d) I like floorstanding speakers for the looks, are they the right choice for music. I have a small kid who will be tempted to topple the speaker.

For your kind of music, I would strongly recommend that you look at standmounts rather than floorstanders as you don't listen to much music that requires thumping bass. For the same price and throwing in a good pair of stands you will get a standmount that gives you better clarity and detail and precise soundstaging. If you get a good stand and fill it with dry sand (or sand and lead shot if you can get lead shot from somewhere), it may be a tough task for your kid to topple the stand over.

e) Are there inexpensive ways of improving acoustics of a living room

Yes. Carpets, bookshelves full of books, cloth wall hangings....

f) which of the two locations should i keep the system in

Both look ok. Don't see any huge advantage for either one....you can probably place based on convenience and where your bookshelves and other damping material are situated.

Options

Start with a good pair of standmount speakers. spend about 20k on the pair. I will let the better informed people on this forum weigh in with ideas on this.

For the CD player you can consider the Cambridge Audio 640C (20k), and for the amplifier you can consider the Cambridge Audio 540A (18k). There are also compelling options from Marantz and NAD at the same price range.

You will need to spend about 6k to 10k on a good pair of stands. so already we're overshooting, and a few hundred bucks (or up to around a thousand) on cables.
 
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afj

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i agree with everything psychotropic says except that

a. considering your budget you can spend less on the cdp. you can get one for about 15k

b. spend more on the speakers. dont go for wharfedale 9.1 or anything in that region. spend more on that. even though its your first good system, you're not going to be upgrading. so even if you have to spend a bit more go for it. you mustnt have any regrets after buying

your next step is to listen to a few speaker brands out there. since monitor audio has the range go to an outlet and audition the bronze series and the silver series (both bookshelves) using the same amp and cdp. if you feel that the silver series is much better and worth the extra money then start auditioning a few speakers in that range. if you feel the bronze is fine for you then you can audition speakers in that range. i think if you do this first (the first audition between silver and bronze) you'll have a clearer idea of the direction you want to head in. then we can start looking at various other brands to look into and pairing them with suitable amps
 
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psychotropic

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Hmm, actually I think I also agree with AFJ, you could consider CD players in the region of the CA 340C or the Marantz 5001 which are about 15k, and use the rest of the money for speakers. The B&W 685s are also supposed to be superb standmounts...around 30k for the pair....

One more option for your CDP would be the Oppo 980H DVD player, if you pick it up (or have it picked up) from the US. It cots about 8,000 bucks converted, and I am told that it can give the budget CD players such as the CA 340 and the Marantz 5001 a run for their money. And you'll save even more money that you can then spend on your speakers. I think the order of precedence for how you should spend money should be

1) Speakers
2) CDP
3) amplifier.



i agree with everything psychotropic says except that

a. considering your budget you can spend less on the cdp. you can get one for about 15k

b. spend more on the speakers. dont go for wharfedale 9.1 or anything in that region. spend more on that. even though its your first good system, you're not going to be upgrading. so even if you have to spend a bit more go for it. you mustnt have any regrets after buying

your next step is to listen to a few speaker brands out there. since monitor audio has the range go to an outlet and audition the bronze series and the silver series (both bookshelves) using the same amp and cdp. if you feel that the silver series is much better and worth the extra money then start auditioning a few speakers in that range. if you feel the bronze is fine for you then you can audition speakers in that range. i think if you do this first (the first audition between silver and bronze) you'll have a clearer idea of the direction you want to head in. then we can start looking at various other brands to look into and pairing them with suitable amps
 
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srramanujam

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Thanks to both of you for the replies. If i read you correctly, i should start with a shortlist of speakers. I will do this over the next few days and come back to you with my impressions.
 
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srramanujam

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I auditioned KEF IQ5 today. It was paired with Denon 700 AE amp and Denon 500AE CDP.

Played a wide range of music from South Indian Classical Vocal, Kishore Kumar, Jethro Tull, Lobo, Chinese Instrumental, Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot etc.

The speakers sound very good when the music is sharp. High pitched vocals sound very powerful. There was a lot of spiteful vocals with Aqualung and Neil Diamong. However, Kishore Kumar or Lobo, which are soft vocals, sound ordinary.

I guess i will have to compare them with other spearker too, which i am doing in the coming weekend. Does anyone in the forum have a similiar or contrasting experience with this model of speakers?
 
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afj

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i have heard the kefs. the monitor audio silvers are definitely more musical with much more emotional and involving vocals
 
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marsilians

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B&W 6 or 7 series is very musical and will easily beat Kef BUT you listen to old hindi songs (original recordings I guess) and this will not sound great with either Kef orB&W. If I were having your musical tastes, i would go with a set that is one step below your budget (30 - 45K) range. There's a number you can audition. But your ears have to convince you about the sound quality and once you put down a smaller list, we can provide more constructive comments.
 
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srramanujam

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Thanks Cranky. I am have no set timeframe for my decision. My thinking is to look around, zero in on a few choices and then take a firm guidance from people. That is the reason i will not be able to look at any pre-owned, they are generally around only for a few weeks and i do not want to make up my mind too soon.

As an update, i have upped my budget and am reconciled to spending around 75K at the minimum and 100K most likely.

I checked CA 640C + CA 640 A + MS Mezzo 2. The setup wasnt in a listening room and therefore the effects were subdued, but more resembling what i am likely to feel at home in the living room. I then checked B & W 685 as well with Rotel CDP and Amp. Both of them had much better vocals than KEF IQ5. The B & W sounded definitely much better than the KEF. Between B & W and Mezzo, i coulndt make out much of a difference. There is a big difference in price. The B & W is atleast 10K more expensive than the Mezzo and the KEF.

My next stop is Monitor Audio BR2 and RS1, Dali Lektor 1 and Ikon 2 with Marantz.
 
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srramanujam

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After a long gap, i managed to listen to Marantz with Monitor Audio BR2, Monitor Audio RS1 and Quad 12L.

The CDP and AMP were Marantz 6002.

I found the BR2 too sharp for comfort. I listened to RS 1 for close to an hour and found it nice. Especially good sounding in Indian classical music, both vocal and instrumental. Had a similiar feel with Quad also.


I am not able to make up my mind on the CDP amp combination. Purely based on reviews, comments, price and my neutral experience, i am inclined to consider the Marantz 6002 combination.

Request your views on

a) the appropriateness of MA RS1 for my choice of music, leaning towards Indian classical and film. The other speaker that i liked is Mezzo 2.

b) Any particular combination that i should look at for CDP + AMP beyond Marantz? Does Marantz 6002 pair well with MA RS1?
 
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magma

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a) the appropriateness of MA RS1 for my choice of music, leaning towards Indian classical and film. The other speaker that i liked is Mezzo 2.

b) Any particular combination that i should look at for CDP + AMP beyond Marantz? Does Marantz 6002 pair well with MA RS1?

a) im not qualified to comment on appropriateness.i would prefer mezzo for my music though

b) hmm. i was surprised you found the BR2 sharp and not the RS1 with the marantz amp.
i liked the BR2 and NAD combo since i found the marantz+MA too bright
(rotel is even more bright so thats out)
please do consider Arcam with RS1 if you can afford Arcam.
 
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Hifiplayer

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Hi,

Your choice of speakers are fine if you find them in your budget. Also do listen to all the speakers available in your budget including floorstanders. Although most people might disagree here but why i say this is because tomorrow you should have no regrets (very one has different tastes) & be very aware as to what all is available in your budget. After all no matter what the amount is, it is your hard earned money.

Some other speaker brands that you can look at are :-

Wharfedale :
Diamond 9.1, 9.2, 9.5

Mordaunt Short:

Avant 906i, Mezzo2, Mezzo 6 (you have already auditioned)

Dali:

Ikon 2, Ikon 6 (beautiful speakers), Lektor1, Lektor 6 (not sure if it has launched in India)

B&W:

6 & 7 series

PSB - not sure of the model numbers here as i my self haven't heard them (not available in Delhi)

Q Acoustics - again not very sure of the model numbers here

MA & Quad you have already auditioned.

One more thing that you should be aware of, if not beware, is that CD6002 can be quite bright especially when paired with PM6002.

Other amplifiers that you can audition are the NAD's. They are suppoed to be superb with midrange. I have a gut feeling that you might like them.

Some of the NAD model numbers are:

NAD C315BEE, NAD C325BEE, NAD C355BEE

One thing that i wanted to ask was that the budget that you quoted, does that also includes a DVD player or you already have one? As you have mentioned earlier that the system will also have to double for movie viewing. In that case you'll have to invest in a DVD player as well. If you are looking for a DVD player that can also work well with CD playback then i would suggest that you audition the Oppo 980H & CA 540Dv2 (haven't heard the Oppo but the CA is cracking with CD playback, although the Oppo might be better with Video quality)

If you are looking for CD players as well then you can look at the NADs. CA & Marantz you have already auditioned.

PS: One personal suggestion is that don't fall for the more expensive products as the more the sugar you put, the sweeter will be your honey & there is not limit to that. So stick strictly to your budget as when the system comes to your home you wouldn't be able to compare it with any other product. In isolation every system is superb. So go for the system which you feel is the perfect value for your money.
 
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afj

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After a long gap, i managed to listen to Marantz with Monitor Audio BR2, Monitor Audio RS1 and Quad 12L.

The CDP and AMP were Marantz 6002.

I found the BR2 too sharp for comfort. I listened to RS 1 for close to an hour and found it nice. Especially good sounding in Indian classical music, both vocal and instrumental. Had a similiar feel with Quad also.


I am not able to make up my mind on the CDP amp combination. Purely based on reviews, comments, price and my neutral experience, i am inclined to consider the Marantz 6002 combination.

Request your views on

a) the appropriateness of MA RS1 for my choice of music, leaning towards Indian classical and film. The other speaker that i liked is Mezzo 2.

b) Any particular combination that i should look at for CDP + AMP beyond Marantz? Does Marantz 6002 pair well with MA RS1?

the nad is a very good match with the ma rs series. am not sure how it pairs with a nad since i've never heard it. from what i've heard from others, the cambridge amplifier with ma rs is a little too clinical. but would prefer the cambridge cdp for the setup. so rs + nad amp + cambridge cdp (thats what i have myself)
 
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marsilians

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After a long gap, i managed to listen to Marantz with Monitor Audio BR2, Monitor Audio RS1 and Quad 12L.

The CDP and AMP were Marantz 6002.

I found the BR2 too sharp for comfort. I listened to RS 1 for close to an hour and found it nice. Especially good sounding in Indian classical music, both vocal and instrumental. Had a similiar feel with Quad also.


I am not able to make up my mind on the CDP amp combination. Purely based on reviews, comments, price and my neutral experience, i am inclined to consider the Marantz 6002 combination.

Request your views on

a) the appropriateness of MA RS1 for my choice of music, leaning towards Indian classical and film. The other speaker that i liked is Mezzo 2.

b) Any particular combination that i should look at for CDP + AMP beyond Marantz? Does Marantz 6002 pair well with MA RS1?

If you liked the RS1/Quad, then I suggest you try the Arcam CDP 73. It may surprise you pleasantly.

For Also you can check out the Cambridge audio 540D (the older model) as it sounds excellent esp. with clean recordings.

The Marantz really shine in the 8*** series. The previous versions are mediocre in playback but these are super expensive at this time.
 
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mdprabakar

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Hi,

You can go for Onkyo TX-8222 FM/AM Stereo Receiver which has 90 Watts RMS per channel costing around 20K and matching 150 Watts Elac make 3 way Tower Speakers costing around 33K and a suitable CD player for 10K and everything will fit within your budjet and probably use it for next 10 years.

Regards,
Prabakar
 
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gobble

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I use the Marantz CD6002 with a NAD c325BEE and the result is very good. Very full bodied sound approaching Vinyl records or tube amps although it will never be the same. ( I grew up with vinyl and a tube radio )

Also they are the right price for your budget.

Speakers happen to be Wharfedale Diamond 9.2s

Cheers
 
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