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Questions about Audio (Music) setup

Wharfedale Speakers

RahulP

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Hi Everybody,

This is my first post on this forum and i feel wonderful to be here...

am in 'research phase' and Its an exciting (& "thrilling") experience ! :)

I have already read good advices/experiences/opinions from Audio-Gurus here and will highly appreciate any advice i get. Thanks much in advance.

so here it goes...

Facts :


* Current setup rather basic (now don't roll eyes :) ) : Sony 3 DVD player all-in-one system with 2x100W speakers
* Have had 51 cd changer, sony HT etc... but again the usual stuff !
* Room size : 15x20 ft.
* Music interested in : Ardent fan of pancham so 70s/80s hindi music (& sometimes new), classic rock/pop, instrumental/fusion, soundtracks (songs/themes). CDs as well MP3s ( :( ).
* Location : Pune

Plans :

* always had a dream to hear THAT quality of sound in my living room which will take me ... i think u got the point !! So am aiming for a pure Music setup with no plans for HT in short/mid term.
* budget : 30K- 50K for everything (like many others, i also always look for value for money. expensive need not be better so trying to get 'best bang for the buck').
* Source : planning to use either existing sony DVP / phillips Divx DVP as audio source.
* Speaker type preference : None.. if bookshelfs can do the job, ready to sacrifice on visual impact of floorstanding speakers


Recommendations received /shortlist made so far
(no REAL audition yet):

* NAD325 recommended by one (& only) dealer i visited
* b&w 685 (if it fits budget... and really impresses me the 2nd time.. the very first time that 'wow factor' was completely missing - quite as anticipated by dealer as according to him he didn't have the 'right' cdp/amplifier on that day..
* wharfedale diamond 9.1 (or 9.x)


Questions :

1) i have made up mind (after doing a lot of reading i.e.) that i should go for stereo amplifier rather than a receiver as am mainly

interested in music (though am a movie buff, don't like HT concept much and believe that 2 front speakers should bring similar impact if they are basically good !).. can somebody pls confirm ?
2) How do you evaluate the amplifier .. do you keep on trying diff. amplifiers with the same speakers at the dealer?
3) which brings me to the next question : Frequency of auditioning .. after applying common sense , what is 'normal' as far as following is concerned :
a) no. of visits per dealer
b) time spent at each visit

before one makes the final decision

4) How important is the 'source'.. i mean i was amazed to see people spending and recommending double the what i spent on my current 3 dvd all in one system :). Is it worth it ?

5) Does step by step shopping make sense... e.g. say recommendations and things i like - they come to around 80K.. does it make sense to buy the amplifier first and listen with current sony speakers for couple of months (or more ;) ) and then go for speakers ... or just wait ! (or buy cheaper option NOW .. and dream .. and wait :) )

6) what is the ideal ratio of power of amplifier and speakers e.g. i heard low power amp can harm speakers (clipping) more easily than reverse case... so with above shortlist is 50W amp with 100W speaker a good idea ?


Please pardon me for bombarding these questions in the very first post..

Please take your time to reply some/all the questions, if you wish.

Thanx !

Rahul
 

psychotropic

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1) i have made up mind (after doing a lot of reading i.e.) that i should go for stereo amplifier rather than a receiver as am mainly

interested in music (though am a movie buff, don't like HT concept much and believe that 2 front speakers should bring similar impact if they are basically good !).. can somebody pls confirm ?

Yes ...CONFIRMED

2) How do you evaluate the amplifier .. do you keep on trying diff. amplifiers with the same speakers at the dealer?

yes, same speakers and same source

3) which brings me to the next question : Frequency of auditioning .. after applying common sense , what is 'normal' as far as following is concerned :
a) no. of visits per dealer
b) time spent at each visit

before one makes the final decision

there's no hard and fast answer for this. You need to listen till you are satisfied. Even one visit can sometimes do.


4) How important is the 'source'.. i mean i was amazed to see people spending and recommending double the what i spent on my current 3 dvd all in one system . Is it worth it ?

the source is very important...in the pecking order, it is just below speakers and well above the amplification.

5) Does step by step shopping make sense... e.g. say recommendations and things i like - they come to around 80K.. does it make sense to buy the amplifier first and listen with current sony speakers for couple of months (or more ) and then go for speakers ... or just wait ! (or buy cheaper option NOW .. and dream .. and wait )

step by step can work....but don't involve your Sony in all this.....it's not in the same league......i'll explain how you can do step by step at the end of this post

6) what is the ideal ratio of power of amplifier and speakers e.g. i heard low power amp can harm speakers (clipping) more easily than reverse case... so with above shortlist is 50W amp with 100W speaker a good idea ?

poor matching is bad, whether it is over-powering or under-powering....avoid both

What to buy?

50k is a very decent budget for a budget audio setup. Options include

Speakers

Wharfedale Diamond 9.2s (14k)
Polk Audio RTi A1 (15k)
PSB alpha B1 (15k?)
Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom (16k)
Monitor Audio BR2 (16.5k)

Source

Cambridge Audio 340C (14k), 540c (18k) or 640C (20k)
NAD C515 BEE (15k), not sure about the higher ones
Marantz 5001 (15k), 6002 (18k?)

Amplifier

Cambridge Audio 340A (14k), 340A SE (16k)
NAD C315BEE (16k)
Marantz PM4001 (16k?)

You can mix and match from the above combos. from your musical tastes, personally, based purely on reviews and not auditions (which is why YOU need to do the auditioning), i would say go for the Cambridge Audio 540C (18k) + Cambridge Audio 340A SE (16k) + Wharfedale Diamond 9.2 (14k) = 48K...or you can go for the CA 640C CD player.....to bring the total to a nice round 50k :)

You would need to spend maybe a few hundred bucks or so on cables. The speakers would perform much better on stands (rather than shelves or the tops of desks/tables), but those can be bought at a later time. A pair of stands can cost 5k and upwards. I think getting them assembled may be cheaper.

ENJOY!
 
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SuhasG

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I will start with speakers first and given the budget of 50K , will look for nice well maintained pre-owned kit. That way I can get more bang for the money!

And yes, will also allocate some Rs 5K for Interconnects and speaker cables.

Speakers:

Some good pre-owned speakers are on sale,

  1. KEF IQ5 with 'Sharukh'- Mumbai around 25K
  2. AP MS-301 , Bangalore around 25K.
  3. Tannoy M2 book shelf Pune well maintained 10K w/o stands


Amp:

Some good pre-owned amps are on sale:

  1. Vintage Kenwood DA9010 100WPC amp is on sale in Pune , I auditioned it recently , very nice, well maintained. Stunning performance. Give it a try. Owner asking for 40K but can be broght down to 20-25K level. Remember this amp was procured from USA in 1995-96 for Rs 95K! This is quite an old model 13 years but was made during days KENWOOD was pretty serious about 2 ch audio. Go and audition it (it will be easy for you being in Pune) , you will also get a chance to listen to Cadence ES-1 , the speaker that put Cadence in the lime light. It is rare to find ES-1 now a days.
  2. Not yet confirmed (chances are quite high) but there is one nice Jolida 1501 RC 100 WPC Hybrid which will go on sale in Pune, very near future for 20-25K ! Don't miss that. It is far far superior than NADs , CAs, Marantz and Rotels. I can tell you this very confidently because I once owned the same model.
  3. One more KENWOOD (Recent model) THX certified 130 WPC, well maintained amp is availablel for immdt sale in Pune , 10-12K bracket.

Source:

Existsing DVDP will do for a while.


Hope this helps.
 
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soundsgreat

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Hi,

Welcome to this wonderful forum :) !! you will defiantly lots of advice for sure !

Well both the guys have already said it all so won't say much ! but the only thing I say is do not audition all under the sun :p ! just at the most have 3 brands max as your final shortlisted brands based on the initial advice that you get here and other research that you might've done !!

And please do give them a proper listen and don't be in a hurry while doing so ! take your time to understand the character of the setup that you are auditioning and try to access the sound !

Btw just one small doubt !! are you the same rahul from Yahoo ?? (sayaji Singing camp ;) ) if not Please excuse me :eek:!!

Regards.
 
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RahulP

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psychotropic and SuhasG,

Thank you very much for the information.

@psychotropic : was expecting similar answer for Q 3 (but still wanted to ask :) ) and you are absolutely right that its ME who has to do the auditioning - till i get satisfied.. listening is believing !

@SuhasG : please don't misunderstand but somehow i did not consider the option of pre-owned stuff mainly because
1. i don't have sufficient knowledge yet about many brands (& specific models), how to make sure the equipment is in good condition etc.
2. There is always some peace of mind (valid or false :) ) about support etc. when you buy brand new.
3. I was under the (wrong?) impression that 50K is a lot of money for a 'budget' audio system :)

Thanx again for the advice guys.. I will try to manage audition for the stuff you have suggested.


Thanks soundsgreat !... ( and its a wrong number about 'sayaji singing camp' ... no probs :) )
 
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afj

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rahul
if this is your final budget then look for everything within it. if you plan to upgrade in the future then work around a master plan. its fine to use your current dvd player as a source initially and buy something else later. the source makes a difference but you'd be better off spending more money on getting your speakers and amp right - if you buy a decent source youre looking at cutting your budget on amp and speakers by 11-13k.

imo, but a good set of speakers and a good amp to match. that will give you most value for your money. you can always tweak it up later.
 
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RahulP

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Thanx afj.

99% i will not go for the source (cdp) in this shopping round...

so now the question is ,

What is the best combination of NEW amp and speakers for the Budget of 30-50K (lower the better !) ?

So guys i guess the answer to this/similar questions must be scattered all over the forum but still feel free to please give your recommendations to help me arrive at a list of

"Top 3 recommended amp and speakers"

This request is also for guys who have already replied (psychotropic has already mentioned his recommendations)

Thanks again for all the replies and tips/info.

regards,
 
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psychotropic

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If you want to stick to the lower end of your price spectrum, the combination of a CA 340A SE and a Wharfedale Diamond 9.2 should add up to 30k. Then you can of course choose to spend extra on nice stands if you feel l like it. For your kind of music I do think a decent pair of standmounts on a decent pair of stands would be better than floorstanders. But again, do the comparison yourself, and see what you prefer....this particular comparison (floorstanding v. standmount) should be a lot easier than the other comparisons that you will have to do.
 
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afj

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look at the monitor audio bronze br2 as well. both the nad and cambridge are good. its a matter of personal preference. i agree with psychotropic on bookshelves over floorstanders. esp on not too high a budget, always think quality over quantity
 
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dinyaar

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Hi
Marantz for the electronics and whatever u like from MS,MA,Wharfedale,quads etc for the bookshelves.

Bass treble from the forum is selling a few Marantz CDP 5001(brand new) for 10/11K which is worth exploring. Basic cdp but good VFM. The PM 7001 is a super budget amp. About 25 K new i think and i cant think of a better amp in the budget.
Put speakers on stools if budget is blown. If u visit bbay u can borrow ICS/speaker cable from me to start off and u can explore and buy what u want at a later date.
Am not a dealer/distributor or in any way connected to marantz and this is just an opinion.
Rgds
 
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afj

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hey dinyaar
that was pretty nice of you to offer to lend cables etc to a fellow member starting up
 
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dinyaar

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hey dinyaar
that was pretty nice of you to offer to lend cables etc to a fellow member starting up

Thanks Afj.
Reason for offering is that i have accumulated a lot over two decades now and possibly cant use it all together in my set up so if the guy can use it till he buys his own its not a problem in the least. Secondly i believe a forum like this one should be a platform for members to exchange ideas,music and even peripherals if possible. Most often a new buyer exceeds his budget with the electronics itself and further stretches himself with cables, stands etc as he has read the importance and the improvements they can provide from all of us.

Dont want to sound wise but the way the things are worsening globally it makes sense to take stock and control the urge to splurge.

Best regards
 
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RahulP

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Dinyaar, very kind of you to offer help. Thanx a lot.

Guys, will read some more relevant posts on the forum, will do lot of auditioning and then decide..

Thanx everybody.
 
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docjoe

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Excellent reply to RahulP's query. It should help him; it sure did help me. My budget is much lesser. I have a SONY G88 3 CD mini compo system, the original McCoy bought in 1997 . Gave me wonderful service in the sands of Rajasthan and the snows of Leh.Today, the ole girl is tired; only the amp works, the cassette and CD is kaput. I play music, video and my flight sim (FS 2004, approx 3000 hrs on various types...) thru' my PC into the stereo and plan to leave this as the audio solution for the PC. Now, i want a pure audio solution for ACDs, my Zen Vision:M and mp3s CDs (strictly 320 kbps and higher).

Speakers: Diamond 9.1 Are the 9.2s substantially better in bass over the 9.1s? Please advise.

PPS: I will be really grateful to get advice on mvjoshi69@gmail.com Thanks, guys and oops, yes, gals!!!

Amp: Norge 1000? Will it do justice to the Diamonds? Any solutions with , say, 15k?

CD player: At a complete loss as to what to choose. I have not found any standalone CD players and am queasy about connecting a portable CD player to the rig. BTW, i am roughing it out as a bachelor and my wife and kids have the SONY HT + LCD hence the need for a separate CDP. Please advise.

Thanks a ton for the inputs and BTW;), don't tell my wife that i plan to blow my interim relief on this rig:eek:
 
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aston

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Hi Rahul

Wharfedale 9.1 is good choice. Really warm, deep vocals but slight recessed treble. Other great speaker is Tannoy Mercury Custom F1. Look for Cambridge Audio 540A. One Gutsy amp for your money. Cheers
 
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RahulP

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Hi Guys (& Girls if any) ,

update from my side :
(might be useful for those sailing in the same boat - i.e. similar budget, music preference, room size etc.) :

Dealer 2 :

Auditioned Wharfedale diamond 9.1 and immediately fell in love with them :) .. Here are the details :
* amp was Marantz 4001
* it was not in a "demo room" as it was under construction.. but in a 12x30 ft. hall.. but the sound was enough "filling" even when we positioned it vertically (hall even had entraces to other rooms/cabins without doors - so in a way just like a typical living room !)
* after the intial 'wow' factor, i started getting worried about the bass overpowering the vocals somehow... but then we put in 'Ghar/Masoom/Ijaazat' CD to listen to 'tere bina jiya' - AND all the doubts vanished in first few seconds :)
* lot of sweetness to the sound.. it works - at least for me - didn't sound artificial
* i was impressed with the bass given the size of speakers.. but the dealer said its known more for vocals !!!
* Price quoted for 9.1 = 12 K

Also auditioned Quad 11L2 (on dealer's recommendation ). It was a bookshelf quoted around 27K. The sound was good but somehow the friendly sweetness of 9.1 was missing. Ofcourse the speakers were brand new and were just out of the box (will give better / real picture after a week). The bass was tight and felt 'controlled' meaning nothing more than what was feeded to it.. (just the way it should be :) but 9.1 was like that friend/cousin who may not be 100% pefect but still so lovable.. you feel like you can chitchat for hours :) )

The dealer / owner was a very friendly guy with lot of patience (& love for good music)

Questions :

1. Though the combination seem to work according to demo, isn't 4001 with 40W supposed to be underpowered theoritically (& therefore not the best fit) for 20-100W 9.1s ?
2. This dealer didn't have 9.2s... Now, if 9.2 are supposed be with little extra bass (and just little extra money) with bigger soundstage, doesn't it obviously make them superiror to 9.1s ? why they didn't get any award :) ... and why 9.1s are more popular & sold more probably (which btw, they absolutely deserve !)


Dealer 1 : (flashback)

was hoping to audition Tannoy F1 ... Unfortunately there was no electricity (& no backup) !!!! The owner was helpful and suggested F4 for my room size. The prices quoted : F1 = 18.5 K , F4 = 35 K .

Obviously , i wrapped up the meeting quickly and left after thanking him... waiting for the power to come back (with no fixed schedule declared) didn't look like a 'sound' idea :)


ciao
Rahul
 
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moserw

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Depends...
4) How important is the 'source'.. i mean i was amazed to see people spending and recommending double the what i spent on my current 3 dvd all in one system . Is it worth it ?

the source is very important...in the pecking order, it is just below speakers and well above the amplification.

Source

Cambridge Audio 340C (14k), 540c (18k) or 640C (20k)
NAD C515 BEE (15k), not sure about the higher ones
Marantz 5001 (15k), 6002 (18k?)

Just wondering if a different and expensive source will make a huge difference? I have been using a couple of DVD Players I have, Sony DVP-NS50P and Philips DVP3986 that between them handle all formats, to play all my movies and music via the HT. How much more punch will a say Cambridge Audio or Marantz give? I am thinking of Cambridge Audio Azur 640H Music Server especially to handle all my music collection and the other option would be to do what I am currently doing i.e. play them on the DVD players mentioned above.

Please advice!
 
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venkatcr

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docjoe said:
Now, i want a pure audio solution for ACDs, my Zen Vision:M and mp3s CDs (strictly 320 kbps and higher).

Doc, I would strongly advice you to rethink on MP3 CDs. Please buy a Redbook CD of a few songs that you already have on MP3, and listen to both versions alternating between them rapidly. If you want to store music as computer files, the best method are uncompressed formats such as WAV, FLAC, or AIF. Of course this would take huge disk space. But I would suggest you take that exercise I mentioned above and then decide.

docjoe said:
Speakers: Diamond 9.1 Are the 9.2s substantially better in bass over the 9.1s? Please advise.

The 9.2 has a larger frequency range - 45Hz-24KHz as compared to 9.1 50Hz-24KHz. In addition, the 9,2 has a larger woofer driver (6.5") as compared to 9.1s (5"). It will certainly sound fuller and would have a deeper bass as compared to the 9.1.

docjoe said:
Amp: Norge 1000? Will it do justice to the Diamonds? Any solutions with , say, 15k?

This is difficult to answer without auditioning the two together. If I were in your shoes, I would look at Norge's own speakers first for Norge amps, before looking at other speaker brands. As a company I would ensure that my amp and speakers would sound best together.

docjoe said:
CD player: At a complete loss as to what to choose. I have not found any standalone CD players and am queasy about connecting a portable CD player to the rig. BTW, i am roughing it out as a bachelor and my wife and kids have the SONY HT + LCD hence the need for a separate CDP. Please advise.

You should look at entry level CDPs from Marantz, CA, and NAD. The Marantz 5001 and the CA 540C should cost around 15K.

There have been large discussions on CDPs, so please do search and read them.

Cheers
 
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psychotropic

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The MRP of 9.1s is 11,500 according to the wharfedale price list. Most people are offering it for 11k, and some for 10.5k, don't pay more than 11k.

Your second question stumps me as well :), but if you loved the 9.1s, you can happily go with them, or you can wait to hear the 9.2s and decide.

And to whoever was asking for an amp in the region of 15k, please consider the Cambridge 340A (14k) or the 340A SE (16k), or the NAD C315 BEE (16k?).

Hi Guys (& Girls if any) ,
1. Though the combination seem to work according to demo, isn't 4001 with 40W supposed to be underpowered theoritically (& therefore not the best fit) for 20-100W 9.1s ?
2. This dealer didn't have 9.2s... Now, if 9.2 are supposed be with little extra bass (and just little extra money) with bigger soundstage, doesn't it obviously make them superiror to 9.1s ? why they didn't get any award :) ... and why 9.1s are more popular & sold more probably (which btw, they absolutely deserve !)


Dealer 1 : (flashback)

was hoping to audition Tannoy F1 ... Unfortunately there was no electricity (& no backup) !!!! The owner was helpful and suggested F4 for my room size. The prices quoted : F1 = 18.5 K , F4 = 35 K .

Obviously , i wrapped up the meeting quickly and left after thanking him... waiting for the power to come back (with no fixed schedule declared) didn't look like a 'sound' idea :)


ciao
Rahul
 
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RahulP

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Other great speaker is Tannoy Mercury Custom F1. Look for Cambridge Audio 540A. One Gutsy amp for your money. Cheers

Thanks aston for the advice. I was hoping to do Tannoy F1 audition (especially after reading a review in AV Max Oct. 08.. but looks difficult in Pune.)


Thanks psychotropic. I will try to negotiate the price for wharfedale 9.1/9.2.. My next plan of action infact is to audition 9.2 :).

CONCLUSIONS drawn from auditions/research/reading this & other forums & sites etc :

1. Choice for speakers seem to be : wharfedale 9.2 - hoping it will have the same impressive sound of 9.1 and something more - like extra punch ! Tannoy F1 is a competitor !. Ofcourse if i get to listen to other speakers, am doing that. But this is just to avoid listening to anything and everything.

2. Choice for Amp would be from :
* Marantz PM40001 (If somebody can kindly answer my question in previous post - " Though the combination seem to work according to demo, isn't 4001 with 40W supposed to be underpowered theoritically (& therefore not the best fit) for 20-100W 9.1s ? ")
* NAD 325bee (or 355)
* Cambridge Audio 340/540 etc. (have to do more research on this)

3. For dealers in Pune, so far i have had reasonably good experience, though its not directly helpful in making the decision. Meaning, considering my humble budget (gulp ! and i thought 30-50K is good for 'budget' audio setup), i got good attention and information so far... I was treated like a serious customer which i am, with enough enthusiasm (and some marketing :) ) ...

BUT, the problem is they are understocked. They have just one flagship model (or two) in stock/for demo - typically they have just one brand per component (speakers, amplifiers).
Now lets say i want to audition different amplifiers.. So the theory is then to keep rest of the things same (e.g. source, speakers) to audition different amplifiers (diff. models of the same brand ..... and ideally diff. brands also) But because of non-availablility of choices it remains only a theory !

I fail to understand why this is the scene.. Its not that they have too many choices available which are beyond my budget !

So, either they have enough customers with specific requirements who don't want to audition much but directly buy ('home theatre in a box' kind ?)
OR enough customers with very high budget to achieve their annual target very easily
OR they are super heroes busy saving the world and the dealership is there to fool the general public and authorities :)

I am hoping to find an answer in Mumbai (with designer audio / Lakozy / Alliance 4)


cheers !
Rahul
 
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