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remphish1

Stereo recommendations?

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Sonos Play-5 with (2) Play-1's in stereo. I'm probably about 5 years into Sonos. Started with the set up mentioned and they had babies...I now have 8 speakers total littered throughout the house. Your phone is your remote or you can pull from a laptop or desktop so I have all my music and anything I want to stream at my access. Sonos claims its audiophile quality, I don't think it is quite that good but it is very good and extremely convenient and "clean". I have a 1982 Technics direct drive plugged into the aux port. Its a nearly perfect set up in my opinion. 

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Do you need speakers and a preamp, too?

I’m not sure if I am ready to take a deep dive yet but if you have recommends on those I’m all ears. I looked at one store yesterday and felt overwhelmed

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I went through this process about a year ago.  Like you, I had a half-decent (not fantastic) turntable and not much else worth a damn, and wanted to put something together for about $700-$1000.  I researched the bejeezus out of it, so hopefully I can be of some (limited) assistance.  It's gonna be alright.

 

A couple of questions to get you started: 

1) do you plan on using the stereo system for anything other than the turntable?   Streaming?  Connect to TV?  

2) how much room do you have for speaker placement?  Will they need to be right up against the wall, or can the speakers be placed even 8-12 inches out from the wall?

3) how big is the space that you are looking to fill?

 

What kind of TT do you have, by the way?

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I went through this process about a year ago. Like you, I had a half-decent (not fantastic) turntable and not much else worth a damn, and wanted to put something together for about $700-$1000. I researched the bejeezus out of it, so hopefully I can be of some (limited) assistance. It's gonna be alright.

 

A couple of questions to get you started:

1) do you plan on using the stereo system for anything other than the turntable? Streaming? Connect to TV?

2) how much room do you have for speaker placement? Will they need to be right up against the wall, or can the speakers be placed even 8-12 inches out from the wall?

3) how big is the space that you are looking to fill?

 

What kind of TT do you have, by the way?

I got a Stanton 61 turntable don’t have much room to space new speakers maybe 6 inches off wall? I was primarily going to use the stereo to hookup to my turntable. I appreciate any help

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I can't speak to Sonos, so I'll leave that to others.  

 

You basically need three things:

 

1) A receiver/integrated amp; 

2) Speakers; and

3) A phono pre-amp.  Some of the receivers/amps in your price range may have an included phono stage, but you may be better off spending $100 on a decent independent pre-amp, IMO. For many of the current models, the phono input isn't that great.  That being said, if you run up against the budget wall, you can wait until later.

 

A quick note:  quality is all relative, some audiophiles (real and imagined) may come in here and say you can't get anything worth having for your budget, or tell you to save up another $500 (or whatever) to get something "good", and, well...   :yeaahh     They aren't *wrong*, per se, but down that road lies madness.  Once you upgrade your speakers, your receiver isn't good enough.  And then you start wondering why you're basing a $1500 system around a $300 turn table, so you'd better upgrade that.  OH, and the stylus can really be improved to take advantage of the highs that those diamond tweeters, so pick up an Ortofon Bronze to really make it sing...  I can tell you that a system like the one below will sound pretty darn good, and will hold you over until you're ready for more.  Moreover, each component is not overkill for your TT, or an obvious weak link. 

 

1: The Receiver/Integrated Amp.

Assuming you are planning on filling an ordinary-ish sized room, and don't want to mess around with vintage gear (which would be cheaper but, IMO, trying to shop for used/vintage carries with it its own set of headaches and I didn't find it to be that much cheaper, honestly.  People are wise to the resale value of their stuff. ), I would recommend something like this NAD.  Quality unit, no frills.  That being said: always try to go to a place and listen for yourself.  NAD, Cambridge Soundworks, Marantz, etc... all make good units that would suit you and run between $400 and $600.  Yamahas are solid, too, and run about the same price range, although they tend to also have receivers (which is neither good nor bad, just kind of something to consider: do you want internet radio? Terrestrial radio?). Receivers tend to be a bit heavier/boxier than integrated amps, though.

 

If you are waffling and think you might want to use the system for streaming, I'd spend the extra $100 and get this one. With Bluetooth, and more importantly WiFi, you'll allow yourself some flexibility. It also has a phono input, which may eliminate the need for a pre-amp (at least for awhile). 

 

2) Speakers:

Speakers are tricky.  There are a lot of cheap speakers and a lot of really expensive speakers, and a gulf in between.  After doing my own research, i decided that ELAC makes the best of the cheap(ish) speakers, and are the best bang-for-your-buck until you want to devote $800+ on speakers, alone.  They aren't the most stylish things ever, but they aren't hideous, either. 

 

So we're at $800.

 

3) Phono Pre-Amp

If you need a phono pre-amp, I recommend the U-Turn Pluto (it's what I have). It's highly regarded for its price range, and kind of like with the speakers, unless you want to spend a lot more to get a good tube pre-amp or something, you're better off getting the best of the lower-priced options than getting something that's $150 more expensive but only arguably "better".  

 

And that brings you to about $900.  So you'd have $100 left over for speaker stands and cords! 

 

Re: speaker wire: get a heavier gauge but don't break the bank on it.  Same for the component cables: some people swear by the $50 varieties but the claims are dubious at best and in any case, at the level of system you are putting together, it would be overkill to spend more than $12 a set.  

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MountainGerbil, that's some excellent advice. My father was really into Hi-Fi when I was growing up and so he put together a little stereo for me that I still use ~20 yrs later, with minor changes. I have just two comments: 

 

1. While my stereo isn't airplay/bluetooth compatible, if you do decide to go vintage, you can always connect a device to your integrated amp via a 3.5mm cable. I have a very old NAD integrated amp, and so one of my inputs is the 3.5mm cord which I plug into my iPhone or old iPod. 

 

2. This I'm a little less sure of, but I believe some turntables have a phono stage built in which would eliminate the need for a phono pre-amp. I have this turntable which does have that, and I'm quite happy with it. 

 

For whatever it's worth, I have a pair of Triangle Titus bookshelf speakers which are nice enough. Future upgrades will be a nice tube amp and some Dynaudio bookshelf speakers, but I've been saying that for years now! I use my stereo for vinyl only at this point and everything else I play through my Songs play 1s. FWIW, I'd recommend Audiogon for shopping for used equipment online. 

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Thanks Mountain appreciate the thorough advice and it makes sense. I kinda was hoping to upgrade 1 piece at a time but maybe it makes sense for me to wait and save up so I can do it all at once. I have some thinking and lots of research to go! Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction

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There is nothing more enjoyable than agonizing over what stereo equipment to buy. I am currently in my Sonos stage right now but before that I had a hearty  bookshelf system with 6" Bowers and Wilkins, center channel and a sub.  I miss that set up but definitely prefer my current. Regardless, the thrill of the hunt is almost as fun as plugging in whatever you go for. It would be hard at this point for me to go back to a non-wifi set up. 

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Yeah, it's very handy to be able to not only stream via WiFi in higher quality formats than Bluetooth, but also to use my phone as a remote.  I don't think I've ever touched my volume knob.  And being able to hook my TV sound up wirelessly to the stereo is nice.

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1. While my stereo isn't airplay/bluetooth compatible, if you do decide to go vintage, you can always connect a device to your integrated amp via a 3.5mm cable. I have a very old NAD integrated amp, and so one of my inputs is the 3.5mm cord which I plug into my iPhone or old iPod.

Also, you can make your old amp Airplay compatible by plugging an Airport Express into the 3.5mm port. Even the old model has an audio port, and nowadays you can easily pick one up from Craigslist or eBay for less than 50 dollars.

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Hi all,

 

I am very happy report that I just vaporized my crappy Pioneer car stereo in the boat. The thing was a total piece of junk. It frequently overheated, it had about two mouse-farts worth of amplification and the Bluetooth range was 30 cm on a good day. So, destroying it with an interesting wiring mishap is a blessing, as I am now able to start again with a clean slate.

 

I am looking for a decent stereo head unit, with Bluetooth, Spotify if possible and an iPhone app. I am not all that keen on the marine stuff, it seems terribly overpriced and the interior of my boat is drier than many of the cars I have owned, so it doesn't seem important. I figure people here must also be using car stereos in their boats and might have some recommendations.

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