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    Default HiFi Stereo Setup Thread

    Hey guys,
    Moved into a new place, looking to get recommendations on a good 2 channel HiFi setup.

    The building I'm in is brick and has great sound insulation, and the room the speakers are going into is open concept and about 900sqft.

    Looking for recommendations on a good 2 speaker and amp setup.

    When I was living abroad, I had a Marantz PM6005 + Tannoy DC6 bookshelf speakers and loved it. Had to ditch the Marantz amp as it was 220V when I moved back, still have the Tannoys but they're not big enough for the room.

    What would you guys recommend for a setup? Floor standing or bookshelf for the speakers, and I never plan on getting surround sound so will just try to get the best 2 channel amp I can for a good price.

    Total budget is flexible, but thinking of keeping it between 2-3k all-in. Will mostly be used for music (nothing too bass heavy) and some TV.

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    I'll come back later but overall I would strongly suggest used. Check Canuck Audio Mart

    Is your music digital/streaming or CD/vinyl?
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    Will be almost all digital/streaming.

    Originally posted by msommers
    Check Canuck Audio Mart
    Holy shit this site is amazing!

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    With ~$2-3K there are literally dozens of combinations to audition. I personally spent many months doing this when I was shopping. Not many bad speakers in that range, mostly personal preference. I've been though this exact process a few times now. Just pick a few weekends and start listening to stuff.

    If you aren't getting a sub, I would try and get a pair of bigger towers. I would also put a carpet or area rug on that floor if it isn't already carpeted.

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    I recently picked up a set of Pioneer SP-BS22-LR and SW-8MK2. Decent sounding for the price. They would sound better if I have more room for the sub. I can't seem to find the right xover frequency for the sub.
    Also matched it with TEAC AI-101 amp.

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    Originally posted by HiSpec
    I recently picked up a set of Pioneer SP-BS22-LR and SW-8MK2. Decent sounding for the price. They would sound better if I have more room for the sub. I can't seem to find the right xover frequency for the sub.
    Also matched it with TEAC AI-101 amp.
    What crossover frequency are you using now? Too high and it will be easier to hear where the bass is coming from, which some people don't like. On those speakers, frequency response is quite flat down to 60 Hz, so that would be my starting point for music. 80Hz would be better for movies. Depends on your room too, since speaker placement can significantly affect bass output.

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    Originally posted by Mitsu3000gt


    What crossover frequency are you using now? Too high and it will be easier to hear where the bass is coming from, which some people don't like. On those speakers, frequency response is quite flat down to 60 Hz, so that would be my starting point for music. 80Hz would be better for movies. Depends on your room too, since speaker placement can significantly affect bass output.
    As of now, they are set at around 75-80Hz. I tried to set it to around 65-70Hz, but I found the mid-bass lacking, so I brought it up to where it is now. Slightly better but still playing around with it.

    I have speaker spikes/cones and a foam pad for the sub. That made it significantly less boomy from the hardwood flooring with about a foot of space from each side.

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    Originally posted by HiSpec


    As of now, they are set at around 75-80Hz. I tried to set it to around 65-70Hz, but I found the mid-bass lacking, so I brought it up to where it is now. Slightly better but still playing around with it.

    I have speaker spikes/cones and a foam pad for the sub. That made it significantly less boomy from the hardwood flooring with about a foot of space from each side.
    Sounds like you're right in the range it should probably be at.

    You can also manually 'calibrate' your sub with test tones and a dbl meter. At some point you wont be able to correct the boomy spots and nulls in the room without software though.

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    Check out Emotiva's Airmotiv line.

    I've got some in my office, and they are some of the best speakers I've ever owned.

    https://emotiva.com/products/emotiva...red-monitors-0

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    That's a big space... I'd recommend towers + amp, and add a sub later. Towers can go low but if you are listening to modern music you will still lose some information without a sub to fluesh out the <50hz region.

    And I'd do a big +1 for Canuck Audio Mart as well. When the dollar was on par, buying hifi new wasn't so bad. Now that everything is 30%+ more it sucks. But absolutely don't buy anything you can't audition locally first.

    I'd recommend you stretch your budget and get Martin Logan ESL towers then pair them with a used integrated amp. Traditional box speakers sound pretty good in that $2k range but electrostats sound absolutely unreal if you can deal with the limitations

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    I would consider Magnapan MMG setup since you don't need the heavy bass. Love the sound signature of maggies.

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    Sorry for the delay, SG.

    An open-concept 900sq.ft room is pretty large and personally would not go with a bookshelf speaker at this budget - a floorstander is my recommendation.

    Since you will be mainly streaming or playing music from a hard drive, we need a way for the music to get there. For ease of use and integration, a Sonos Connect system would be a great place to start. Moreover, you could look into an amplifier that has built-in ethernet or Air-Play if you have Apple products and streaming services like Tidal, for example.

    The amplifier I would strongly recommend getting an integrated amplifier (whether tube or solid-state will depend on you - likely solid state to be honest with the budget). An integrated amp can have a DAC in it (among a slew of other things) but always pre and power amp sections - essentially the all-in-one option. Here are some options:
    w/ DACs
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...fier-like-new/
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...und-mint-demo/
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...055-hegel-h80/

    w/o
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...fidelity-a300/
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...ius-8200-mkii/
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...xcellent-deal/

    Lastly are speakers. They are very personal and think you should audition things first to get an idea of what you like and don't like. Then go online and see what speakers have those characteristics - there are just so many. Again Canuck Audio Mart (CAM) is a great resource to help locate options as well. Tannoy's are awesome speakers and someone in Calgary is selling a pretty nice set.
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...5-tannoy-xt8f/

    Others:
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...-black-finish/
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...36-spendor-a6/
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...eaker-rosenut/
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/detai...ttaf-speakers/

    Cables I would recommend Blue Jean Cables - they're a quality option and not at a ridiculous price tag.

    Again I would recommend used but only for the speakers and amp. Cables I wouldn't spend a lot of money on but if used only from someone very reputable as there are a lot of fakes, and the Sonos I wouldn't bother with used personally. If other stereo lovers are any indication, it's that this setup will last a year or two, because you'll get the itch to upgrade! That's why I don't think buying new for the amp and speakers are a good idea.

    Just my opinion, hope that helps!
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    I'm oldschool and like some classic speakers from say Harbeth and Spendor... the vintage thinwall construction with high quality british and scandanvian drivers are awesome.

    KEF makes some very delicious speakers that can be had at a much better commodity price than boutique speakers

    I'm not the biggest fan of Focal
    I do like Paradigm Signature and the vintage (V2 series Studio)
    Vintage PSB Status gold with wattage are incredible speakers.

    Monitor Audio's are very nice, especially the Gold & Platnium series... however the lower lines are more like Paradigm and oriented for home theatre

    I personally love totem's sound, but they are all not the same; and suit different use cases. They have a unique signature (balance) but different tones; as they can vary in construction and drivers

    900 sqft is a subjective size in space... you can get away with some really nice bookshelves and a fast yet deep musical sub like an REL and have just amazing sound.

    It depends on how wide you can space your speakers as well and how much dispersion you require.

    Pannels such as Planners or Martin Logan ESL type speakers have a very very narrow sweet spot, yet have such incredible speed and texture in the midrange. (but lack dynamics, and requires a sub)

    Axiom Speakers are surprisingly good for the money; and make the speakers for Bryston, so they are very commendable.

    I'd say Mordent short is also in the same boat.


    as to electronics; don't cheap out... you have to spend as much or more money here to extract the sonic characteristics you want. This is where the power and resolution comes from.
    The speakers just have to display this.

    Dependent on your power needs of the speaker and your room; separates may not be required.

    I like Bryston, I like Musical Fidelity stuff... I'm a fan of Naim, Parasound, etc... Some gear is brighter than others, and pairing is important.

    An important piece is your kit, and if you are using a digital source... get a good DAC.
    Hook a decent FLAC 24bit source (with a good supply with low jitter) to a good DAC like a M1DAC from MF... you guarantee that you are getting as good of resolution you can provide from the software you have.

    Cables are important, but "less" important. I'd say once you get to a decent level of cabling (say even blue jean) you are talking about subtle differences of very little returns and as you spend more here... the more the returns deminish.

    That said I spent good money on IC's, power cords, and richard grey power supplies and these are items I can use through my life... as the component changes, unless there is really a big need to change these chords, I won't.

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    Don't spend any more than Monoprice prices on cables unless you can actually hear a difference in a true *blind* test. "Audiophiles" with supposed 'golden ears' fail this test every time it is conducted. If you think you can hear a difference though and are willing to pay for it, by all means go for it.

    Some good reading before you buy anything:

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/486598/test...aims-and-myths


    "Cable vs Coathanger"

    http://forums.audioholics.com/forums...e-2#post-15412

    $700 vs $12,000:

    http://matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

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    Originally posted by r3ccOs
    KEF makes some very delicious speakers that can be had at a much better commodity price than boutique speakers

    +1 for KEF. I've been really eager to listen to the KEF Reference 1 with my Hegel. And some Tannoy and Monitor Audio as well.

    Had the opportunity to listen to a Devaliet 400 + Tannoy canterbury gr...Ugly but god damn, so amazing. Too bad I'd need a second mortgage.
    Last edited by msommers; 10-28-2016 at 01:28 PM.
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    Originally posted by r3ccOs

    Pannels such as Planners or Martin Logan ESL type speakers have a very very narrow sweet spot, yet have such incredible speed and texture in the midrange. (but lack dynamics, and requires a sub)
    Electrostats only lack dynamics if you don't have a good amp powering them - the ohm rating of the speaker drops a lot as the frequency you try and reproduce increases, down to the 1 ohm range.

    Bad amps like those in cheap receivers will have issues delivering power to the speakers in these events, killing the impact of transients. This would have effects on the rest of the sound too - the whole thing will sound momentarily bad (collapsed soundstage, everything momentarily blurred together, maybe even audible distortion), when really these moments are where electrostats should get their time to shine compared to traditional speakers as the speaker "cone" is basically weightless vs. traditional speakers. They can do anything the music asks of them basically instantly.

    OP's budget is high enough he can get a decent amp and avoid this problem. But yeah, IMO you absolutely need a sub with electrostats.

    As far as the sweet spot goes, with Magnapans it is very narrow due to the straight panel. Martin Logan curves their panels a little bit so the sweet spot is maybe a few feet across - its just enough to cover all three spots on my sofa. And personally I find the listening experience in that sweet spot is so, so good I can deal with all the tradeoffs.

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    Originally posted by b_t


    Electrostats only lack dynamics if you don't have a good amp powering them - the ohm rating of the speaker drops a lot as the frequency you try and reproduce increases, down to the 1 ohm range.

    Bad amps like those in cheap receivers will have issues delivering power to the speakers in these events, killing the impact of transients. This would have effects on the rest of the sound too - the whole thing will sound momentarily bad (collapsed soundstage, everything momentarily blurred together, maybe even audible distortion), when really these moments are where electrostats should get their time to shine compared to traditional speakers as the speaker &quot;cone&quot; is basically weightless vs. traditional speakers. They can do anything the music asks of them basically instantly.

    OP's budget is high enough he can get a decent amp and avoid this problem. But yeah, IMO you absolutely need a sub with electrostats.

    As far as the sweet spot goes, with Magnapans it is very narrow due to the straight panel. Martin Logan curves their panels a little bit so the sweet spot is maybe a few feet across - its just enough to cover all three spots on my sofa. And personally I find the listening experience in that sweet spot is so, so good I can deal with all the tradeoffs.
    ESL and Panners have a midrange unlike anything else.

    The ribbon hybrids that many offer still don't compare.

    Now... Hi-Fi is an never ending search for the perfect synergy that I don't think anyone EVER becomes satisfied, and rather than jumping into that game... which has resulted in countless speakers, tables, cables, amps, recievers etc... I would almost suggest looking at Meridian.

    yes they are just "active" speakers... but they are not just active speakers
    https://www.meridian-audio.com/

    Off an IPAD running lossless... when I heard the 7000's series at friend's house; I was stunned.

    No more looking for components, no more looking for cables, speakers and trying to match them for tonality you will never ever find...

    The setup was just synergy... dynamic, musical, punchy, detailed, yet warm

    Tons and I mean TONS of spacial imaging in both depth and width

    No sibilence, and plenty of SPL without ever changing its characteristics

    pretty to boot as well.

    Everything about it technology wise, build and reproduction is IMO reference quality.

    3 systems I really found incredible synergy of matched gear:

    my Dad's old Carver Amazings running on ed Meitner gear (based out of here in Calgary called musitec)

    my Dad's old 801 Matrix running on Krell monoblocks using a high end VPI turntable and grado cartridge

    my old Sonus Faber Cremona running off Bryston 8B ST and a conrad johnson Classic and a Jolida CD player

    PSB Stratus Gold & Parasound monoblocks with a simple Cary CDP

    **I've heard far more "fancy" systems such as Wilson; but the aforementioned systems IMO is the most memorable in regards to how surprisingly good they worked together**

    and to me... still; as much synergy those components had in each system, the Meridian setup is probably the best for PRAT and pace
    Last edited by r3ccOs; 10-28-2016 at 04:12 PM.

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    Originally posted by r3ccOs


    Hi-Fi is an never ending search for the perfect synergy that I don't think anyone EVER becomes satisfied
    this is actually really good advice... OP, maybe just get a Bose system? this hi-fi shit will get you eventually and bleed thousands out of your bank account at a pop

    the active speaker recommendation is also very good.

    I actually only discovered Martin Logan because of my studio monitors... ADAM A5s. They are self-amped reference speakers with ribbon tweeters. A Google search for home theater stuff with ribbon tweeters turned up the Martin Logan Motion box speakers, then I saw the electrostats... a quick trip to K&W Audio later, and I had spent twice as much on front towers than I originally intended. The ADAMs are probably still better sounding than the MLs, but they are in a better room and wouldn't fill my bigger basement space that well. The stereo image is unreal.

    You can run ADAMs in a house for hi-fi very easily too. A7Xs will do well in smaller rooms, but for a bigger room like OP a pair of A77X would be better but way out of his budget.

    If anybody wants in-home demos I could host. Could demo
    - Martin Logan ESL
    - Paradigm Monitor 7s (old, better versions)
    - ADAM A5
    - Sennheiser HD 280 / HD 25 Pro headphones
    - Beyerdynamic DT 880 headphones
    Last edited by b_t; 10-28-2016 at 06:51 PM.

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    Originally posted by b_t

    - Paradigm Monitor 7s (old, better versions)
    I love mine. They're from circa 2000 and still going strong.

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    I've got a pair of older Monitor 5's and they are incredible for the price paid. Not the prettiest speakers but better than a lot of speakers that now cost 2-3X as much IMHO. Paradigm has always delivered huge bang for the buck. We have some older Studio 80's as well which would be tough to match today at double the price. I've got a newer pair of Studio 20v5's in my HT too which have been great.

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