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Stereo setup comments reqd!!

Wharfedale EVO4.4 Speaker

maiyap

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I need your inputs in setting up my first stereo setup. I know there are already few threads on the same but thought of starting a new one instead of bumping an old one. I have read those threads too and now I have some idea, though I must admit 'laid-back', 'bright' etc words are still Greek-Latin to me.;)

My requirements:
Budget: I have not fixed my budget (for the entire setup) and would like to go one step at a time. First the speakers, amp and then source. Currently, for speakers I am planning to spend around 25k.
Room Size: 14" X 12"
Source: 'All-in-one' Player and I am currently not planning to buy a dedicated CDP.
Music: 97% Indian, 3% English

I am yet to audition any of the speakers and will settle for a pair of bookshelves. In my budget, have narrowed down to:
Usher S-520
MA BR2
Dali Lektor 2S

I initially removed Wharf, Tannoy since my budget is more than their basic models. but, I am now thinking if I need to include them as well. I also excluded B&W 683 since it is outside of my budget and also won't be able to audition them in Bangalore. Are there any speakers that I need to include in my audition?

Once I have decided on the speakers, I will start my hunt on amp. Any help would be greatly appreciated:)
 

particleman

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I would suggest adding the Quad 11L2 and 12L2 (not sure of prices) to your list. Also, better Monitor Audio RS1 than BR2 even if it is a bit beyond the budget. Mordaunt Short Mezzo 1 & 2 should also be around your budget though not aware of current prices.
 
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soundsgreat

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Hi,

Particleman good to see you back in action after a long time :D!! Hmm you've already replied before me with same recommendation :p!!!

Maiyap going by the listening tastes and such or even otherwise I'd say you've missed one very Imp speaker :p!!

I strongly recommend you to check the Quad 11 L2 and 12 L2 !! they are awesome for the type of music you listen and is almost in the budget ;)!!

So what according to me is,Quad and Usher at the top and rest in the below order !!

Another thing is what Amp are you planning to partner it with ?? coz this sometimes becomes very very important since the speakers Impedance and Sensitivity and other things come into picture and the amp has to be matched accordingly (although its not Strict Rule at the same time not to be ignored either so its better if matched ) !

Regards.
 
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maiyap

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thnx particleman and soundsgreat.
@Soundsgreat: Currently, I have not decided on amp and thought of buying when I have narrowed down the speakers.

Forgot to add one more thing: Since I am not planning for a dedicated CDP, will it make sense to buy an external DAC. Products that I should consider and approx cost? How diff is the cost between CDP and external DAC
 
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soundsgreat

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Hi,

You are most welcome :)!!

Ok fine ! But you have to decide the amp before buying the Speakers (or atleast short some and listen to them ) ! the reason is as I said,its not sometimes that easy to match ! and especially since this is a dedicated stereo setup you have to be very very careful in pairing :eek:hyeah:!!


Now coming to the other issue,Although you can buy a DAC and use the DVD-P as transport,but the sound will not be that great as opposed to a proper CDP (its a very big debate so won't bother to.....) ! so here's what you can do,you can buy this DVD-P and also buy a DAC,use this as a stop gap arrangement untill you buy a dedicated CDP or a Transport ! in that way you'll play very safe !

What DVD-P have you shortlisted ??

As with the DAC's,There are 1000's of them !! so what budget can you allocate decides what brand to suggest ! but generally if you are tight budgeted then I'd say Bresford DAC is the cheapest and best (as in for what you pay ) !! should be around 10K or so,checkout and see how it suits you ;)!!

Anything else ?

Regards.
 
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maiyap

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@soundsgreat: thanks for your valuable comments again:) The amps i short-listed (probable) are:
1. Marantz - (6003??)
2. CA - (540??)
I browsed through the forum and saw a comment Quad 12L2 costs around 40k, way beyond my budget.. but will definitely give it a try
DVD-P I have is Samsung, 4+ yr old model:eek: If external DAC doesn't add anything, I will drop it and start saving for CDP
 
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Raghav

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@soundsgreat: thanks for your valuable comments again:)
I browsed through the forum and saw a comment Quad 12L2 costs around 40k, way beyond my budget.. but will definitely give it a try

Quad 12L2 should be around 36K and you can also look at Quad 11L2 for 27K and is very good.
 
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vishanv

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maiyap, is your room (14" x 12") a dedicated listening room or living/bed room. The reason for asking is to know if you will have other things in the room that would affect the sound.

CDP Vs DAC Vs DVDP - I support the belief that good CDP (analogue outs) is always better than DAC option. Since you are on a budget, my suggestion would be to use a normal DVDP, connect to the Intg. amp / receiver through its digital output (preferably optical out). firstly this will ensure a noise free sound output, which by itself will improve SQ. You can use the money you save on DAC to invest in a good Int amp like NAD, Marantz, CA etc. these units will have good quality DACs.

Speaker - IMO, you should not ignore a speaker just because it costs less. Wharf Diamond 9.1 gets lot of positive feedback form users, I have listened to other models and personally feel they are VFM. buy a Sub with the money you save.
Alternatively, try to audition as many speaker as possible even expensive ones. Its both fun and educational. I even auditioned B&O Beolab 5 (I can't even afford their headphones :D) when I was searching for speakers.
 
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anm

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You can use the money you save on DAC to invest in a good Int amp like NAD, Marantz, CA etc. these units will have good quality DACs.

Are you sure these integrated amps have digital ins? Please share the model numbers with digital ins.

regards
 
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vishanv

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Are you sure these integrated amps have digital ins? Please share the model numbers with digital ins.

regards

you are right...the amps dont have digital ins. I recall some older model marantz (xx 17)with digital inputs, but the newer ones dont have it anymore. seems only the expensive models like naim, esoteric, etc come with digital ins now. signs of getting old I guess, should update myself....thanks for correcting my statement.
 
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soundsgreat

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Hi,

The shortlisted amps are ok !! but if you really need extract the last ounce of juice from either the Ushers or Quads,you may have to up it a notch :p!!

But still check it out and see ! Marantz for sure will be better as its more laid back and clean with very good vocals ! this will be very ideal for the Indian classical that you prefer most ! The CA on the other hand is bit more forward sounding and some of the bad recording of the said type of music can really sound in your face ( which mostly is not preferred,atleast not me ) ! So choose wisely !!


Alternatively, try to audition as many speaker as possible even expensive ones. Its both fun and educational. I even auditioned B&O Beolab 5 (I can't even afford their headphones ) when I was searching for speakers.

With all due respect to you Vishanv, Though this seems fun but I strongly not recommend this ! Also as you've corrected,only the top of the line Amps may posses these digital in (with DAC ) and they cost a bomb :eek: so its mostly out of the context here !!

Another thing that's surprising is your recommendation of using Optical over Digital Co-Axial !! can you please elaborate on this ??

The reason is once you have heard something better (like the Quad 22L2 or Usher X718 ) you cannot come back to the 9.1's and likes of the world ! it just wouldn't sound right !!

So as always I say, shortlist no more then 3 brands and give them a proper listen ( meaning listen to it for an hour or two as opposed to listening 20 speakers for 10min each ) !! This way you'll really get the feel of the product and will know its pros and cons ! that will leave you with a long lasting product :D.

More you listen more you get confused :p!! there is no way in hell any speaker will sound 100% perfect (even the ones costing $$$$ ) so if you listen to many speakers,you may endup liking mids of one speaker and treble of the other so on and so forth !! now what do you do in this case ?? Hence my recommendation !!

Regards.
 
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gobble

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Hi

First about the player - you should consider using existing player with digital out connected to an external DAC like CA. It will cost around 20K.

Else you should consider getting the Oppo 980H which is considered good for audio as well as a great upscaling universal dvd-audio player.

Apart from the recommendations for speakers Quad 12L2 and MA BR2 you could also audition the WF diamond 9.1 with the SW150 sub. This will cost about less than 30K combined if you bargain well. The advantage is it will go well with a universal AV player and you can expand to 5.1 setup by purchasing additional 9.1s for rear a few years down the line when money permits - since 9.1s are good HT speakers too.

HTH

Regards
 
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unleash_me

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Are you sure these integrated amps have digital ins? Please share the model numbers with digital ins.

Might not quite fit your needs but when I needed a similar solution for my study, I got myself the onkyo CR515 without the speakers.

Cheers.
 

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gobble

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Good advice from SoundsGreat. But stepping down from Quads or Usher to WF is only a mental challenge. Ultimately the wallet and sense will rule :eek:hyeah: I would say atleast understand what high-end sounds like and what you are missing when you pay less for the lower-end VFM products.

You may want to try the Indian speaker brands (like Craftel?) that may provide good sound for the money. An advantage of buying Indian speakers is that you don't pay 80% markup of the actual cost for trader/middleman commission/profit but get a little more value with regards to the cost of the components that go into making the product and build quality. For example a 20K Indian speaker's manufacturing cost may be 12K whereas a 20K imported speaker may actually cost 6K to manufacture with international price being around 11K but sold in India for a whopping 20K with customs and importer/dealer margin!! . This is just a very loose example and others may poke many holes into my argument (go ahead, make your day :)) Lithos India is another Indian speaker manufacturer.

And don't make the mistake of rushing it. Take a month or longer to decide and fix appointments for auditions over the next few week-ends.

Cheers
 
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maiyap

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@all: thnx for all the suggestions:
@soundsgreat: If my listed amps are not adequate to drive Usher/Quad, what else should I consider? The cost of usher X718 per Odyssey is 55k (last year) but now I am sure cost would have been escalated even more. I would anyway audition them.. who knows I might up my budget even:D I am currently planning for S520

Any idea on B&W 685? I have read lot of +ve reviews.. I think I can audiotion it at Reliance Digital, Cunnigham Road.

Wharf, Tannoy, MA etc would be the last in my list of auditions (if needed:lol:)
 
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soundsgreat

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Hi,

For example a 20K Indian speaker's manufacturing cost may be 12K whereas a 20K imported speaker may actually cost 6K to manufacture with international price being around 11K but sold in India for a whopping 20K with customs and importer/dealer margin!!

Buddy it actually is the truth :p!! there are some Indian companies who are doing the very same thing that you've stated ! But sadly most of the companies are of the opinion that they are no less then any imported and start to price their products like wise ! that is when the whole scene changes !! I don't want to name the companies and compare their products ! but there are more number of companies who are doing this :p!

Anyways its a totally different issue so lets not deviate this thread on them ;)!

Maiyap yes the shortlisted amps are actually not a perfect match for the shortlisted speakers (atleast to me its certainly not ) ! if you have to get the best of these speakers then as I said you have to up it a notch and probably look at CA740 or Marantz 7000 series (though bit high) ! its not at all coz of the amp power but for their sonic signature that its being recommend here !!

Also alternatively look at some used Amps ! take the advantage of someone's upgrade bug ;)!! There are many high quality amps floating here thats way way beyond the ones you've selected !

For Example there is a Acoustic Portrait power block thats up for grabs at 30K or so ! there is a Marantz PM15S1 (or something ) for 45 K and so on ;)!! Take a serious look at them and decide !!

Coming to B&W,Am a strong believer that they are overrated ( just hype ) and offer not any VFM @ that price! there offcourse some folks who may not agree with this,but this is my opinion and thats how I think of this !!

As with the last sentence of yours,I've already voiced my views on auditions more numbers of speakers :p!! So No comments :indifferent14:!!

Regards.
 
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vishanv

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With all due respect to you Vishanv, Though this seems fun but I strongly not recommend this !

More you listen more you get confused :p!!

Yes, I do agree with your point. My Initial budget for speakers was 40K but I ended up spending 1.10L. But I can very well say I'm extremely satisfied with the investment. luckily I could extend my budget a little bit. even if I had not had enough money, I would have bought the exact same set-up in stages. personally I feel the audition range could be a bit broader than 2 or 3.
I did like B&W 704s a lot, but didn't go for that as the 603 appeared to be more value for money. So I guess there is room for sensible decisions too.

Another thing that's surprising is your recommendation of using Optical over Digital Co-Axial !! can you please elaborate on this ??

Optical vs. Coaxial Digital Connections — Reviews and News from Audioholics

From personal exp, had better bass from switching to optical cable.I know in theory it shouldn't, but it did.
 
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maiyap

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finally, I am getting a chance to start auditioning the speakers. Do I need to add any other brand (apart from Quad and Usher) if I say 'I do listen to fusion music'?:)
 
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dillihifi

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In case you love valve sound try and audition the lyrita setup by viren bakshi. His tubes and his single driver based speakers sound much better than similar priced equipment. You can get his details at lyrita audio just google
 
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