In the market for Amp, Sub and a pair of speakers!

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Hi guys,

As stated in the title I'm in the market for an Amp, Sub and a pair of speakers. Currently I'm listening to music through my Sharp XL-HP605.

I have about £400-500 to spend, closer to the £400 mark the better! :) I'll want to make the most out of it by hooking it up to my TV, Xbox, PC and my current sharp hifi, although i will most likely be listening to the majority of my music through the PC. I listen to lots of different types of music a few that spring to mind: acoustic, dub step, drum n bass, indie/rock and dance.

I have a fairly big bedroom so I'll be looking for some floor speakers which will be placed either side of my room. Do you think it is worth hooking up my current sharp speakers as well, any disadvantages from doing so?

A friend of mine has a Cambridge Audio A5 Amp and Mission M2KSAS Sub as well as a pair of old speakers but his music (to me) sounds really good. I'm new to all this so any advice and hardware recommendations would be great!
 
Soldato
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Consider looking second hand for hi-fi stuff. Not too many moving parts and a lot of it is well looked after.

£100-150 should net you a really good stereo amp. The rest can get a very nice set of floor standers.

I'm sure there will be plenty of recommendations but I've recently had experience of both Rotel and Audiolab amps bought 2nd hand from the bay and they've both been absolutely first rate.
 
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Townlea said:
B&W 601 + NAD C325BEE

You won't need a sub... thats a fact!

Correct if I'm wrong but aren't the B&W 601 standmount speakers?

I'm liking the sound of not needing a sub, more money to spend on an Amp and Speakers! :) Does everyone recommend just getting a decent amp and speakers?

sswats said:
you need surround, or are happy with stereo?

I'm happy with just stereo but how much more am i looking to pay if i wish to go surround? Keeping within my price range. :cool:

Trick said:
£100-150 should net you a really good stereo amp. The rest can get a very nice set of floor standers.

I'm sure there will be plenty of recommendations but I've recently had experience of both Rotel and Audiolab amps bought 2nd hand from the bay and they've both been absolutely first rate.

Any models you recommend in particular, within the £100-£150 price mark?


Thanks for the advice guys, greatly appreciated.


*EDIT* Can you guys give me an idea of how much i should be looking to pay for these items new.

Thanks.
 
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Soldato
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If your not fussed about multichannel surround sound then your proberbly wise to focus your money on the stereo gear for now, you can always add something like a Yamaha DSP800 to your setup at a later date for the centre speaker and the rears. only around £70-£80 on the bay.

You defo wont need a sub with a decent set of speakers, a cheap sub will just ruin the sound you will hear, again, if you catch the movie bug you could always hook up a decent sub at a later time.

You havent said much about what style of presentation you like, most brands have a certain signiture style, and with hi-fi sound being such a personaly prefrence some people will love one amp, others will hate it. thats why you should always listen before you buy.

if thats not possible heres a few goodies.

AMPS

Roksan Kandy III - around £200 - £240

Huge power and very exciting sound, I recently upgraded to this from a cyrus III and am loving it. great dynamics, tight bass and sweet trebble.


Cyrus III - around £160 - £200

Really clean and detailed sound, very taut bass, can be a little dry when matched with bright speakers, great build quality though and looks stunning too.


Naim Nait 3 - around £200

Dont let the looks put you off, great sounding amp, a real classic


Arcam Alpha 7, 8 or 9 - around £70-£250

Again another classic, the 7 can be had really cheap, the 8 is a lot better then 7 and worth the upgrade, as is the 9 over the 8. all are very capable amps. They produce a much richer sound then all the above amps, still plenty of detail just make sure you partner them with detailed speakers. I picked up an aplha 8 for my dad, gave him my old mission 751 speakers and the sound is fantastic.


I cant comment of any rotel stuff because I havent heard it.

I have heard a couple of NAD amps, but only there cheaper range, around £250 new, they were nice, a little safe sounding but very nice all the same.

Audiolab gets mentioned a fair bit round these parts, it was a bit of a classic in its day but its just not my cup of t, I did listen to one before I bought my old cyrus III amp. I just found it far to dry and detailed, it bordered on being shrill, very tiring to listen to. I did have the 751 speakers at the time which were bright to begin with.


Speakers

Monitor Audio bronze B2 - around £140 NEW off the bay

Really nice bookshelf speakers, look and sound great fro there price range, very detailed and lively sound


B&W 601 S3around £170 to £200

Again this speaker gets mentioned a lot, its a love it or hate it speaker really, its really lively, huge bass and very forward, if your into dance music then you will prob love it, make sure you get the S3 though, early ones had a very harsh treble.

Mission 751 - seem them go for under £50 :eek:

dont come up very often, and when they do they go for silly money, they are worth far more (hence why I gave my set to my dad rather then selling them) when my old set recently blew (due to my own stupidity) I took them to my hi-hi shop to ask if they were worth repairing or should I upgrade, he said I wanted to get anywhere near the sound I would have to spend at least £500 for a new set of speakers.

I really cant rate these enough for the price, granted they look a little dated, and with rubish amps they sound carp, but stick them on the end of some quality electronics and the shine.



other goodies are Epos, wharfdale 9.1


The only other things I would suggest is to save some money for speaker stands and cables, they make a huge differance, dont have to go crazy but you will notice a differance if you get any of the stuff iv mentioned

Van Damme blue speaker cable is cheap and well regarded

Mark Grant interconnect - best £25 you will spend on your hi-fi
 
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Thanks for the info kidloko I'll take a look at those products, although I'm not in the market for standmount speakers.

I like the look of the Acoustic Energy Aegis Evo 3 Speakers, certainly worth considering.

Has anyone tried the B&W DM604 Floor standing Speakers? I really like the look of these but as for quality I'm clueless. See them floating around far cheaper then advertised new in online stores too.

Any other recommendations? Is it worth hooking up my two current speakers?
 
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Soldato
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Here's a vote for Audiolab stuff. I recently bought a suberb 8000a mk III for £100 off ebay and it's just amazing.

Prior to that I found a Rotel 971, again off ebay for about £80. It sounded excellent, if a little bright and treble friendly on my speakers.
 
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Sorry didnt realise you were after floor standers, the Acoustic Energy Aegis Evo 3 are a cracking speaker for the money. Buying a decent set of floorstanders for that money is quite difficult,


Take a look at the Mission 752 ( get the freedom model ) or even better the 753, these were proberbly the last great mission speakers. the 753 can be a bit much for a small room, the 752 are stunning speakers for the money

I would stay away from the B&W 604, I heard a set and couldnt hear anything other then overblown bass, didnt like them at all.
 
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Ok I'm able to get the Acoustic Energy Aegis Evo 3's for £211 delivered from petertyson.co.uk! :D I'm pretty adamant I'll be getting these.

The question is what amp to complement them? I like the look of the NAD's - NAD C320BEE and NAD C325BEE and the difference between the two seems minimal. The only noticeable difference seems to be the MP input which has been added to the C325. For roughly £40 more I'm not entirely sure this is worth it, or am i missing something?

I also had a look at kidloko's suggestions. The ROKSAN KANDY III is far too expensive, although i will keep scouring the bay. ;) As for the Arcam Alpha's and Naim Nait's they don't look anywhere near as nice as the Roksan and NADs and With my amp being on show I'd like it to look decent.

Any other amps out there worth checking out? What about cabling? I don't want to be spending much on cables.

Thanks for the help guys, much appreciated! :)
 
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NAD and Roksan Candy have quite difference in sonics, NAD more softer, Roksan quite bright.

If you're looking at Audiolab, avoid the 8000A. They're not very good. Get the 8000S instead, for around £230. Not the new silver ones (IAQ) before the buy out (black)

The Audiolab sound will be ideal for that sort of music, fast dynamics. NAD are a bit too soft IMO, a "safe" sound but lacking excitement.
 
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Tbh you don't really need to spend a lot on expensive speaker cable. I've just replaced some QED original (think it was £2.50/metre) speaker cable with a run of power flex I bought from B&Q (£9.99 for 10m) and noticed that it actually sounds better.

You can also use cat5 network cable if you have some lying around spare.

It is worth spending about £20 or so on a decent interconnect though, the ones that come in the box with a CDP are usually pants.
 
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squiffy said:
If you're looking at Audiolab, avoid the 8000A. They're not very good. Get the 8000S instead, for around £230. Not the new silver ones (IAQ) before the buy out (black)

Is it possible to provide a link? Searching the net i can't see The Audiolab 8000S for that price? :confused:
 
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kidloco....i'm pressuming all the prices you listed are from the bay?

Even so, £200 for a kandy 3 is a bit cheap?!

as with most other prices you've listed.

they guy asked for a stereo setup for £400, yet people are listing £600 - £800 single items, which even second hand will cover his budget.
 
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If you can find them, at the right price, Mission 752, and 753's are very nice speakers, the 'Freedom' versions have a very smooth, yet detailed treble, and a better bass too. The 'standard' models are good, but if you run them on detailed amps like audiolabs they can sound rather harsh.
 
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Don't bother with surround sound unless you have a lot to spend. A cheap AV amp coupled with cheap surround speakers won't sound very good.

It's miles better to simply get a damn good AMP (I've got a NAD C320BEE being delivered tomorrow morning) and a damn good set of speakers.

A sub is not necessary if you buy speakers known for heavy bass, eg ACOUSTIC ENERGY AELITE 3 speakers. Mission also make basey speakers.
 
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Tommy B said:
Don't bother with surround sound unless you have a lot to spend. A cheap AV amp coupled with cheap surround speakers won't sound very good.

A sub is not necessary if you buy speakers known for heavy bass, eg ACOUSTIC ENERGY AELITE 3 speakers. Mission also make basey speakers.


I agree with your first point, but not your second (if the system is going to be used for movies) Unless you buy world class speakers and amplifier, those speakers won't be full range, and it would be best to buy a subwoofer. For music you don't need a subwoofer. Those AE speakers won't match the depth of a good subwoofer, you're still missing a considerble amount of ultra low bass (even with room gain) my previous speakers went down to 35hz, and even my older lower quality subwoofer (to the one I have now) had far lower bass than the main speakers.
 
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