Looking for a starter setup that can grow with time

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by shamalama, Oct 12, 2017 at 7:52 PM.

  1. shamalama

    shamalama New Member

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    Long time luker, first time poster. I just introduced myself in the "introductions" thread and explained my mission. I didn't want to ask too many questions there since it's not really the place, so here's my followup post here.

    About me: I love great audio, but lost all of my modern audio gear, so while I'm rebuilding, I'm considering setting up a vintage rig.

    My knowledge in vintage audio: zip zero zilch... I only know what I read on this and other audiophile forums and from what I watched on youtube... so pretty much all theoretical stuff.

    My plan: start with a small budget of say $500, for both a receiver and a set of speakers. Is that a good place to start? With time I'll add components and swap out for better components as well. I really don't need to blast music, so I don't need 100 wpc, but my taste in music is very diverse, so I need a setup that's good with all kinds of tunes. Since I don't own or know anyone that owns vintage audio, I don't know what sound I'm looking for. I know Luxman, Pioneer and Marantz have different tone/warmth, but youtube videos are pretty poor sources to hear the difference.

    Can modern speakers be used with vintage receivers? If not, what speakers should I look for? Are monitors better? I know monitors give you a clear sound compared to "tuned" speakers.

    As for receivers, what's a good model to start with. I know over the years I will probably upgrade it, but I'd like one that gives me a distinct sonic advantage over modern amps and receivers. Can I do that with my starter budget? Also I am drawn to Marantz for their aesthetic.

    Should I spend more on the receiver and less on speakers, or roughly split 50/50?

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. bryblob

    bryblob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You can get a lot for 500, I would start with speakers, they will determine everything else. If you're getting speakers from the 70's-90's, expect to have to replace capacitors to reach their original potential, but if they sound good as is, thats good too. Any modern speaker can be used with vintage equipment, the downside to vintage equipment is that it is old and parts can fail.. It's best to get a vintage receiver/amp/preamp restored, replacing electrolytic capacitors that tend to fail over time and resistors that drift out of spec. volume, balance, etc.. knobs need to be cleaned, this can all be done diy if you can solder and desolder parts, if not it will cost money to have someone do it. It sounds like you are looking for something used?
     
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  3. shamalama

    shamalama New Member

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    Because I have no idea what these receivers should sound like at 100%, I would be looking to get one from a technician, or have it serviced by one. Otherwise I'd listen to a receiver that's not at a 100% and think "hey that's pretty good" without realizing it should sound better. ;-)

    If I can get modern speakers to work, I did have my eye on a pair of JBL LSR-305 monitors
    https://www.amazon.com/JBL-Studio-M...F8&qid=1507857596&sr=8-5&keywords=jbl+monitor

    But that leaves me $200 for the receiver or amp. If I don't listen to radio, should I be looking for an amp like the Marantz 1250 (obviously a cheaper model like 1090) instead of a full blown receiver?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 8:38 PM
  4. bryblob

    bryblob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I think some of the modern jbl's are overlooked, those could be nice.., but they are meant for monitoring, of course any; monitor could be used for home use. I want to try some monitors like genelecs. Those JBl's are probably good speakers but you probably wont get user experience here...
     
  5. Ken Boyd

    Ken Boyd AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Welcome to AK. you should post the region where you live so people can give you links to good deals. As far as those speakers ae concerned, they wouldn't be my first choice for a vintage system.
     
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  6. bryblob

    bryblob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've always liked integrated amps over receivers just because generally the more you cram into a case the lesser quality, but there are many exceptions.
     
  7. Markoneswift

    Markoneswift Quartz locked n ready to rock Subscriber

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    Welcome to AK - you should become a subscriber and then you would have access to Bartertown and all the tasty deals within. Can you give us an idea of what sources you will want to use - ie vinyl, tape, digital, streaming etc ?
     
  8. shamalama

    shamalama New Member

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    What speakers would you recommend? What portion of the overall budget? Also amp vs receiver, is one more cost effective than the other (ie value)? I really love the Marantz receiver aesthetic, but I'm leaning towards integrated amp as you suggest bryblob. I am currently reading the articles up over at the select45rpm website, those Brits have some good articles on speakers and amps.
     
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  9. shamalama

    shamalama New Member

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    Markoneswift, how does one become a subcriber? I have a rather large collection of CD's and FLAC files that will be put to immediate use (spotify as well, but no expectation of audio quality with web streaming). I also have tapes and records in storage which would eventually come out when I can expand the budget to include a tape deck and turn table.
     
  10. jobrewer1983

    jobrewer1983 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Welcome to AK,

    Well if you are not in need of a tuner, I'd suggest a nice integrated amp. A receiver is nice if you listen to the radio.

    Check out your local Craigslist postings. also check for modern speakers. Running a vintage amp with modern speakers can have an upside.

    With a $500 budget, you can build a nice vintage system.

    Kind Regards,
    John
     
  11. jobrewer1983

    jobrewer1983 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If your looking into British audio, look at Quad amps/Speakers, also Onix Amps. My Onix A-60 running some B&W 686s was a fantastic set up. I have a set of the Quad 77-11Ls and I really love them.

    You look for bookshelf or towers?
     
  12. shamalama

    shamalama New Member

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    Not British per se, just that the website was very informative on all amps and speakers. I'll look into those amps, any others you recommend in my price range?

    Speakers could be any size, I have the space.
     
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  13. bryblob

    bryblob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    In my opinion put your budget towards speakers first, then get a receiver/int. amp, really any amp (as a generic term for receiver or int. amp) will work as long as they aren't some ribbon or elecrostatic speakers that need a lot of current..there are tons of speaker recommendations here, basically any amp mentioned here will be good, I would look for something 50watt and above.
     
  14. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Those speakers you linked to are powered - they have their own amplifiers inside. So, a regular receiver or integrated will have a surplus portion included - its power amp section. Nothing wrong with powered speakers, and you could build a nice system using them. All you really need is a source in that case.

    The portions of where to spend your $500 really depend on what you are buying, and if the items are new or used. You can get chip amps now that sound really good (but won't go really loud) for $20, new. Or you might find a good used pair of speakers and want to spend the remainder on a larger, more capable amplifier.

    Nothing will beat your own ears as a determination of what sounds good to you. Lots of us have really no way to try stuff except by ordering it, or getting lucky finding something used. So listen when the opportunity arises.
     
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  15. danrclem

    danrclem Super Member

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    A small Sansui and a pair of Klipsch KG 5.2 or something similar would sound nice.
     
  16. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    Personally, I prefer to mix new and vintage in just the opposite way that the OP is considering. New amp, vintage speakers. The reason? I can neither restore nor repair electronics, but I can recap, re-cone, or refinish speakers, as any reasonable person can easily learn to do PDQ watching YouTube videos. Speakers usually aren't electronically complicated devices.

    I'd look for a deal on a slightly used, new refurbished or on-sale current or recent model integrated amp - maybe a Yamaha AS300/500. However, you can sometimes find the best deal on your local CL, if patient. My object would be to acquire a relatively new, decent amp for the cheapest price I can find. Then what is left is your speaker budget, and that is where you can do really well sourcing vintage models cheaply. Paradigm, ADS, Klipsch, and other common brands are not hard to find.

    Of course, if the vintage look of 70s receivers is what torques your head, then have a go. Hope your luck is better than mine was, on that front.
     
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  17. jobrewer1983

    jobrewer1983 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Well since you asked :) for vintage amps, the Pioneer SA 9100,9500... ect..

    Sansui AU 515/717/919. Great amps, I've fully recapped the 717, great amps!

    ARs integrate (vintage) is a good sounding amp.

    Some of the early National Panasonic integrated amps are very nice. I picked up a 30wpc SS3300... I think I gave 40 bucks for it... the thing holds its own, sounds verry warm, yet nice and sharp. It's actually one of my collectors, I'd not be rid of it.

    I've been more into the 90s gear lately, so not quite as vintage... but the pioneer A-71 (fancy A858), Onix is one of my favorite lines, I recently let of of an A-60, I should have kept it.. The audio analog puccini se is a great amp, I've seen them go for 2-300 used.

    As for speakers... vintage, if possible I'd say look at the JBL L-110 and L-110A by far my favorite smaller JBLs, verry impressive and the XO is just a work of art. The L-150s are quite nice as well, but may be a bit much $$... but you may get a deal! The L-40s, just a good set all around. Some would say the L-100.... i personally don't think they are that great... the L-166s are a more defined set, also the L-112.. the L112 is probably my favorite JBL of all time. Perfect size, and fantastic sound.

    Klipsch KG2 and or KG4. I'm not a horn fan at all, so the 4s were a bit harsh on my ears but the 2s for me are by far the best sounding klipsch. Just my thoughts... they seem have a such a clear natural sound.

    B&W 686, 656, DM-640, 630. Im a big B&W fan, I've since got rid of my BW gear, but it always finds a way back :)

    Thiel 1.0- 1.9... or what ever it stops at... the thiel line is always fantastic.

    Snell.. some of the older K/E/J can be found for not so much. Verry impressive speakers.

    M&K speakers... 2B and 1B...

    Again this is my bias opinion. Just remember make sure it sounds good to you, if you are able to demo the gear prior to buying, do so. Also ask question on the site, there have been times that I get good info on the site and it has saved me time and money.

    Hope your get a good system going, love seeing the vintage gear still in use!

    Kind Regards,
    John
     
  18. xero-D-hero

    xero-D-hero Super Member

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    1,915
    Starter vintage set-up (w/room to grow) recommendation huh.

    Ok here goes:
    First an integrated amp: My choice is a Sansui AU-317.
    Next the speakers: I'd probably get some JBL LX-22 -or- LX44 speakers (also includes LX-300/LX-500 -or- LXE-330/LXE-770 -or- ARC-30/ARC-70).
    Heck for that budget you can probably also get the TU-317 tuner.

    If you go after the bigger AU/TU stuff you should expect the prices to go up accordingly,possibly pushing this over-budget.
    Same with a lot of the JBL's,ie: if you're shopping for the more desireable models you should expect higher prices as SOP.
    Hunting big game is fun,but I would'nt advise a beginner to do so at the expense of considering smaller prey.
    But sometimes a big fat deal just walks right in front of you begging to be taken down.

    FWIW I got my Sansui AU-217 & TU-217 for < half the stated budget here,and those both included the optional rack handles.
    And those JBL LX series speakers can routinely be found for much less than the remaining budget.

    Only reason I'm recommending the AU-317 here over the AU-217 is the fact that the AU-317 has the pre-out/amp-in as a nice bonus.
    For me that was NBD as I have plenty of other gear that I could use if I wanted more wpc.
    But that feature can be very beneficial as one starts moving up to bigger & better things.

    Then later on you can add a nice Sansui TT & maybe a maybe nice DAC to bring the rig into the modern era.
    If you end up needing more inputs that's NBD as there are a couple good ways to approach that situation.

    All I can say is I love my AU-217/TU-217/SE-80 ~ JBL LX-22 rack rig,it aint going anywhere anytime soon if I have a say in the matter.
    Sounds great no matter what I'm listening to as well. One would be hard pressed to top this rigs SQ for the short $$$ invested in it

    [​IMG]

    BTW this reminds me that this is an older pic and I need to update it.
    I have since re-arranged things and slid a Magnavox CDB-470 (TDA1541/CDM-2 CDP) in there as well.
    http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?media/albums/sansui-au-tu-217-se-80-rack-rig.454/

    Anyhow that's JM2¢ ~ FWIW ~ YMMV

    Bret P.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017 at 1:54 AM
  19. soundmotor

    soundmotor super modified Subscriber

    Much of the mid-line electronics from the 70s silver face up to mid-late-90s BPC (black plastic crap) performs fine and the prices vary wildly. IMO, for speakers though the good ones cost more. That said, I would likely put more towards better speakers that I wouldn't upgrade in the near term and less for the amp. In the Boston area I've seen some great deals on 80s-90s integrateds and receivers in the $50-$60 range. With a $500 budget you could like squeeze a decent Japanese TT in there too.
     
  20. shamalama

    shamalama New Member

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    Location:
    Quebec
    Wow thanks everyone, that's A LOT of great info :) Bryblob even did a local search for gear that could fit what I'm looking for- you're a super community.

    So the resounding message here is the lion's share of the budget goes towards good speakers. that's great advice, since I was thinking the opposite before posting.

    That's some good advice. I did some more reading and the AS500 seems to have a lot of great reviews and a loyal following.

    The big question in my head: would a video receiver be a better way to go? Say a Yamaha RX-V681 so I'd get HDMI support as well? Or is the AMP quality huge between the AS500 and the V681?

    I will definitely start hunting for the speakers you guys have listed.

    edit: are Sanusi 530c speakers any good?
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017 at 10:56 AM

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