which mini system should i buy?

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moktan

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i am based in Darjeeling and am in the process of deciding which mini system i should purchase
i have narrowed down my choices between DENON RC DM33( price 32K) and the ONKYO CS 515(23K).. the catch is that the Denon system is coming to be approximately 10K more than the Onkyo...forum member please advise..does the DENON give me the extra bang for bucks over the ONKYO or is it to do with their pricing strategies like BOSE..
or do you suggest any other system within my budget ,30K if i really push the envelope..
also since the nearest dealers are in Kolkota 600km away which system's reliability would be more trustworthy...
thanks in advance
 

particleman

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With a mini system you should be prepared for a significant sacrifice of audio quality and limited options for upgrades. Do let us know what features you are looking for. That is, will you be playing only CDs or is the radio, cassette, etc also important?

I am certain you could do far better for 30k if you choose to get a stereo amp + speakers. Do you have a DVD player or any other source you could use until you get a dedicated CD player?

I would suggest something like:
a) Stereo Integrated Amplifier - Norge Concerto Gold 1000 (around 11k)
b) Speakers - Monitor Audio BR2 bookshelf speakers (around 18k)
c) Speaker cable - this can range from a few hundred to 3k for a 3m pair of QED silver anniversary
d) Source - get a simple DVD player for now such as the Pioneer DV-400AV and upgrade to a dedicated CD player later.
e) Optional - FM tuner - Norge AM/FM 300 Tuner (around 3k)

Good luck!
 

unleash_me

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Moktan,

If convenience/convergence is what you are looking for, may be for a bedroom setup, I would suggest you go ahead with Onkyo CS-515. I can say this because I use it myself and am very satisfied with it. I was not a fan of Onkyo till I heard this.

May be this read-up will help you decide.

Group test: DAB micro systems - AVReview Portables reviews

Onkyo CS-515 Test DAB Tuner

Mini Systems : CS-515 | ONKYO Asia and Oceania Website


Why dont you try to audition them together, if that is possible.

Best Regards.
 

particleman

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Unleash_me,

That Onkyo does look very good indeed. Did yours come with an Optical Digital jack? I read the manual and it claims only the "Asian model" has it. If it does then this is an excellent buy -- it seems to have pre-outs for a sub as well! Wow.
 

moktan

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than you very much for your prompt responses..although i felt i should have further clarified my needs and my limitations ..i want the system to listen to music only..i listen to jazz mostly and rock..
i am aware that more refined audiophiles would go about building up a configuration, mixing and matching, however given my location it would be very difficult to have access to the sort of components that forum members have been so kind to advise in their posts....however i am quite keen to follow up on their suggestion since i am in no particular hurry to waste money on something that i may regret buying later....

particleman: do you think the amplifiers, speakers etc can be bought in Kolkota? any stores that you suggest....and do you need to be an engineer to put all those things together and somehow make them work???

yes I do have a DVD player but am keen on buying a dedicated CD player...

unleash_me: the onyo system that i inquired about in Kolkota and Bangalore did not have the digital audio receiver, do we get digital broadcast in India? other than worldspace that is...


thank you very much for your time and patience
 

unleash_me

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Unleash_me,

That Onkyo does look very good indeed. Did yours come with an Optical Digital jack? I read the manual and it claims only the "Asian model" has it. If it does then this is an excellent buy -- it seems to have pre-outs for a sub as well! Wow.

Yes it does! :)
 

unleash_me

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... i felt i should have further clarified my needs and my limitations ..i want the system to listen to music only..i listen to jazz mostly and rock...i am aware that more refined audiophiles would go about building up a configuration, mixing and matching....and do you need to be an engineer to put all those things together and somehow make them work???

yes I do have a DVD player but am keen on buying a dedicated CD player...

Glad to know that you are thinking in these lines!

You can choose your amp depending on your listening choices.

Jazz being your prefered genre of music, you should look for something warmer and richer, may be you can check out the likes of Marantz or NAD.

Rock might demand somthing more agile like Rotel, CA, Creek.

CDP can be Marantz, CA or Pioneer.

I'm sure you can find models in your budget. But 30k seems a little tight to be frank. CA entrylevel combos look promising in this range. You can combine them with Avant 902i.

All the best.

Plus, you dont have to be an audio engineer to do the configurations my friend!
 

moktan

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particleman:

following up one your advise I sent a mail to the norge address and mr. bajaj was gracious enough to reply personally. he directed me to the gauhati dealer mr. devasis who fortunately is on a vacation here ..i have set up a meeting with him this sunday..
i have noticed that most forumites deciding on a system tend to pick up components from diverse manufacturers ..i wonder why..can i pick up the norge book shelf speakers to go with this amplifier i.e the norge concert 1000?
thanks all
 

particleman

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Moktan:

To echo unleash_me's sentiments, it is great that you are considering separate components as that is an approach that usually yields superior results. However you should consider this very carefully.

The Onkyo CS-515 you have mentioned appears to be quite good and if it has unleash_me's approval then it must be a good buy indeed. If you decide do go in for separates then you should be aware that it may ultimately turn out to be more expensive than you have anticipated / budgeted for. However the flip-side of this argument is that you can take your time to add components to your system and thus build a great system over time. So the Onkyo is a safe bet for pretty good sound right away or you can lay the foundation for a more fulfilling, flexible setup.

As to why many prefer to mix and match components -- well, it is mainly because one can do far better than what is on offer from a single company. That's simplifying it a bit but several factors come into play. To give you an example, the Mordaunt-Short Avant speakers are a bit lively and have a rich treble and an equally treble-happy player may make it a bit unpleasant to listen to. So it may help to pair it with a warm-sounding Marantz CD player that brings balance to the sound.

Unleash_me has already made excellent suggestions so there is not much to add. However I would only say that you may wish to consider getting just a stereo integrated amp and speakers for now and continue using your DVD player as a source. Then get the CD player somewhere down the line. If you try to get all three within 30k the results may not be better than the Onkyo CS-515.

The reason for suggesting the Norge is that it is a competent amp for around 11k and leaves you room in your budget to get a really good pair of speakers like the Monitor Audio BR2 (18-20k). Even with your existing DVD player (what's the model, btw?) as a source it should sound pretty good. Or you could get a CA or NAD amp (around 19k upwards) and pair it with a bookshelf like the Mordaunt-Short Avant 902i (10-11k) or Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (12k).

If you choose to increase your budget or purchase the CD player in future then either the Marantz CD-6002 or the Pioneer PD-D6 should serve you well. The latter is a SACD player as well which is always good news to a Jazz/Classical music fan as those are the genres most favoured by this format.

Good luck with your auditions and happy listening! Do take your time and audition as many components as you can before making a decision.
 

moktan

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particalman/unleash_me:
thanks for you very jargon free explanations about issues that concern audiophiles. that thing you said about mixing and matching amplifiers and speakers to achieve balance made a lot of sense.
the reason that i am having second thoughts about the onkyo is because i have read somewhere that when planning a configuration, about two-thirds of the budget has to be set aside for the speakers as they are the most important ...also i expect to evolve over the years as a more discerning ( and hopefully more financially better endowed) listener...
one last thing, a review of the Norge millennium speakers in an India website had good things to say about it especially with regard to jazz listening
" Detail was a little above average, and the spatial perception of the music was on the better side. The speakers are actually tuned for classical and jazz, lighter uncompressed stuff. This is mainly as the dynamic range of the music is done justice by these speakers' depth and largeness." i think the reviewer had matched this with a Norge amplifier..
Tech2.com India > Norge Millennium Bookshelf Speakers > Reviews > HiFi & TV > Bookshelf

thanks for all you suggestions , will keep you posted on what i ultimately will end up buying..
by the way the DVD that i have is ELEKTA DIVX DVD PLAYER a rather obscure(?) system that i picked up in Dubai a few years back
 

moktan

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particleman/unleash_me:

you will probably think that i am committing audiophile harakiri but i am going for particleman's initial suggestion
i.e. the NORGE AMPLIFIER AND THE MONITOR AUDIO BR2 100W SPEAKERS without listening to them...

a friend coming over to Darjeeling from Mumbai has graciously offered to bring them over...
my internet search has suggested a SUMERU store for the speakers and eastern electronics for the amps...
the price range is as suggested by particleman..

am i doing the right thing? i just hope the whole set up will sound better than the out put that i am presently getting from my creative boomers...

now is the hour of the reckoning so friends who have been so kind to me, please advise..
though most net searches have revealed that particleman/unleash_me have given me the best advice possible under the circumstances of such pecuniary constraints...
any suggestion about the stores??
 

particleman

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I don't think you should rush this decision, moktan. Buying something without an audition is not advisable because speaker preference is a highly subjective affair. Speakers that appeal to one person may sound dull or harsh to another. Also, you may discover additional options available to you if you continue to look around. Additionally, more experienced forum members here may be able to chime in and express their thoughts if some time is given.
 

particleman

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I noticed that the Norge is rated at 125W... does not state whether at 8ohm or 4ohm. Wonder if that is too much for the BR2 speakers which are rated at 30-100 W. Hope forum members will comment.

Another combination for you to consider is Cambridge Audio 540A V2 amp (19k) + Mordaunt Short Avant 902i speakers (11k).

I am not familiar with the latest NAD prices though - perhaps someone who knows could help us out.
 

moktan

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particleman: in an ideal world that would have been possible but being located where i am, i have to spend a small fortune making those trips to the cities and listening to the mind boggling array of choices that are available...
so being the modest listener that i am , i hope to invest in the said ( including your recent suggestion) system and grow to like it ...which i surely hope i will...what you have said about ears not being subjective is true but going by the breadth of your knowledge on the matter i am hoping to make a leap of faith...beggars don't have choices...and most of all i do not want to waste time looking for the perfect system when i can well spend it listening to Parker's Mood
thanks though for your word of caution...it will definitely have a bearing on the decision that i will make ultimately...


ps: in my correspondence with mr bajaj, he said the said amplifiers could match with his millenium speakers whose impedence is 4ohms and power handling 125 watts.. does it mean that the speakers you suggested could do the job???

particleman others please help....
 

unleash_me

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... amplifiers could match with his millenium speakers whose impedence is 4ohms and power handling 125 watts.. does it mean that the speakers you suggested could do the job???

The answer to the above question is YES. Having more power is anyday better than running a pair of good speakers with an underpowered amp.

Having said that, IMHO I'd suggest you to give it a thought to what 'particleman' mentioned. I understand that you might have difficulties in auditioning different components in practicality. But having heard both Norge as well as Cambridge side by side, I wd urge you to go ahead with the Cambride Audio Amp. I guess, if your kind friend can bring Norge from Mumbai, he can very well get the CA for you easily.

Its always easy to buy any component, the difficult part is in dispossing them off without making a huge dent in your pockets.

Take your time and choose wisely.

Best Regards.
 

moktan

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thanks a lot particleman, unleash_me,

have decided to go ( for now) with the cambridge amps and the mordant speakers..

where exactly in Mumbai can these speakers be bought at the best bargain...
thanks all for guiding me through this very sticky territory..
 

moktan

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particleman, thanks for your pm,
my contact in mumbai has managed to haggle down the price of the Avant i Speakers suggested to 9.9K..is that a good deal?
 

moktan

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partcleman my friend is leaving bombay on the first, he just had a talk with Darius who told him the Cambridge amplifier you suggested was not available but next higher version is in stock, my friend can bring that too..what do you advise? ..this one is 22K ( i could crank up the budget) do you think this one could match the speakers...any other suggestions..please
 
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