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About me - researching and buying speakers, amp and dac for a 2.1 setup

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Hi from Melbourne

I've decided that I've put up with low quality music playback for too long. I love my music and have started the process of purchasing. Aim is to create a 2.1 setup that can be used for stereo listening as well as TV. I've loved trawling here fore information!

I listen to a broad range of music from most genres (except screamo to name one...erk) and appreciate particularly vocals. I also have a thing for good bass rhythms (ignited by the Jezabel's as of late), am rediscovering some good 70s-90s rock, mixing this with dance/techno and love deep emotive music. In my listening so far I don't like particularly bright speakers, but then I'm not looking for super deep bass. I prefer to be immersed in sound rather than examining every single detail.

First purchases have been the Pure i-20 and then the audio-gd NFB 2.1 (I've got a 4-port optical switch that I'm hoping will work well to connect in the tv system).

Budget for speakers and amp ~$2500

I'm seriously considering two different sets of speakers.

The first option is the Hoyt-Bedford Type 1's paired with the Type 3 Sub which I'm teeing up a listening of.

The Quad 11L Classic is tempting me from the review, but not sure what sub I'd pair it with or where I might listen to it. It is also a reversal of how I was planning on spending my money with the weight being on an amplifier instead of speakers.

I have considered the Ascension (Adelaide) Speakers Woodfox 612SR or 822PS paired with one of their subs (1230ETL/1020TTL/1220T), but won't go there unless a random trip to Adelaide comes up to go for a listen! Funny - like lots of people I arrived at looking at them after thinking about DIY, but find the lack of quality reviews slightly off-putting.

Current thinking is I'll pair the speakers I get with a Redgum Sonofa'GUM 5500 amp (modified with a pre-out) or maybe even a Redgum i35ENR (with remote) if the budget stretches. But then I need to do some listening once I've found speakers...

Have unfortunate perfectionist tendencies which means that I'll find it hard settling unless I find something that immerses and relaxes.

Edited by Randle

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Welcome, Randle.

Good to see that you are putting a lot of research and consideration into your new system.

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Current thinking is I'll pair the speakers I get with a Redgum Sonofa'GUM 5500 amp (modified with a pre-out) or maybe even a Redgum i35ENR (with remote) if the budget stretches. But then I need to do some listening once I've found speakers...

Hi mate, only suggestion at this stage would be to maybe do things the other way round, i.e pick up a Sonofagum first then traipse it around to every dealer in Melbourne listening to as many speakers in your price range as possible. Speakers will make the bigger difference. And check out second hand SNA sellers in Melbourne too, like the fellow selling the Proac clones for ±$1300. Take your time deciding and enjoy a good excuse to listen to whats out there.

That Sonafgum is a safe bet (got one at myself at present) and while others might disagree I think a $600/$1900 split for amp/dac is pretty reasonable. (certainly if you got to get speakers + sub for ±1900 I woulndt spend any more on an amp. A bass-competent floorstander might offer more for your money too, rather than splitting it bewtween speakers + sub, which is going to compromise one/both of them at that price point)

Cheers

B

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do yourself a favor and go to adelaide and listen to them , if you havent talked to edward talk to him , he can adapt to what you need

as far as amps go consider the emotiva xpa2 its value for buck for sure , very good stuff

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A bass-competent floorstander might offer more for your money too
I'd really love a pair of floor standers, but the WAF doesn't like that idea unless it is something of a room feature like the Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus at $95k (she's an architect)!

My room is my 4.5m x 6m (with the speakers on the longer side), so I think the 2.1 may work better. I'd prefer to find something I'll be satisfied with for at least the next few years and wonder if not including the sub might mean I get itchy earlier.

So are you thinking take the Sonofa'GUM shopping and ask stores to demo speakers with it? Do they like doing that?

I wouldn't spend any more on an amp. A bass-competent floorstander might offer more for your money too, rather than splitting it between speakers + sub, which is going to compromise one/both of them at that price point)
Anyone got any other good suggestions at a pricepoint of $1900 for a two stand mounts and a sub? (or totaling $2500 including amp)
emotiva xpa2
Might be out of budget for now since I'll need to get a pre-amp

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greetings

keep us posted on progress

if she wants the naitlus buy her the nautilus

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No shop should mind you taking in your own electronics. Not a biggie if you didnt, the amp is going to make a small difference compared to the difference between listening rooms, and sources will be different too I'm assuming. But would control for one variable - one shop might run there speakers through and entry level NAD and another through Levinson monoblocks, which wouldn't quite be a fair playing field. At least, listen on something of vaguely similar power if you like to listen loud.

There surelty are decent bookshelf + sub combos for $1900, others will chime in, so I dont want to try talk you out of it, but I cant help but think that the difference between 1k and 1.9k on bookshelves can be huge (at least as things go in this hobby), an idea just being that if there was a bookshelf for $1900 that took your fancy you could possibly happily live without a sub until some time in the future when you've managed to squirrel away the funds for a sub. And a second idea: one can easily DIY a sub for about $600 that will easily outperform anything <$2k.

Cheers

B

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Welcome randle. It's definitely worth a trip out to the Victorian distributor of Hoyt Bedford - there are some lovely options in that range in your budget if you want to buy new.

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... room feature like the Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus at $95k (she's an architect)!

Yes, please ..... :-) :-)

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Guest Muon

A person with perfectionist tendencies getting into this hobby?

I guess we will be seeing a lot of you then ;)

Welcome, and have lots of fun here ;)

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Anyone got any other good suggestions at a pricepoint of $1900 for a two stand mounts and a sub? (or totaling $2500 including amp)

A sensational bang-for-buck system would be:

The Redgum ($600ish)

Usher S520s in your chosen finish (say, piano black - $400)

Sunfire HDS-8 subwoofer - around $1k, but apparently very very good for music use - not boomy and flabby like cheaper subs

Speaker stands - $100-250 or thereabouts

Now, the Ushers are sometimes noted as being a bit bright, but the Usher/Redgum combo is great and goes a long way towards taming the Ushers. The Sunfire is apparently one of the easier subs to integrate into a 2 channel system, and would deliver nice tight full-range performance.

I've previously owned a pair of Dynaudio DM 2/7 speakers ($RRP1200) which you might be able to find cheaper, or even the DM 2/6. These are a step up from the Ushers whilst not being too expensive.

I also like the sound of the Quads. Someone recently posted a link from an audio store website in Victoria who had Quad 11L or 12L for half-price at around $500/pr which is a bargain!

EDIT: Here it is... bugger, the black 12L2s sold for $750: http://sbhifi.com.au/sites/default/files/Floorstock%20Deals%2010-11_11.pdf

Lots and lots of options though... there's many roads that will take you to the same destination. ;)

Edited by pete_mac

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Thanks for the input everyone!

A person with perfectionist tendencies getting into this hobby?

lol.. yeah, I've got no chance right! I'm in the fortunate position of being able to stretch my budget at the moment :) On the weekend it doubled! More details to come

I had a good listen to the Hoyt-Bedford Type 1's on Saturday with James from Audio Addiction. Best combo I've heard for $1095 (they've gone up in price due to increased shipping costs - which the Aussie distributor is wearing on most of their other products! wow that's commitment to their cause!). You might be able to beat what they do secondhand, but I didn't hear others that suited my taste better new. I heard them paired with the Trafomatic Aries. As someone who is not wanting to upgrade in the near future I decided that I needed to spend more now to get a sound that met my needs further into the future. Don't get me wrong, the Type 1's were an excellent speaker, but weren't what I wanted in a speaker.

As an aside, they revealed how I should have definitely found a way to return those iTunes gift cards instead of spending them. Gulp! Should have known better - it was just so cloudy in comparison - ALAC here I come (I knew it was coming, I've just been in denial until I could really sit down with the audio-gd DAC, Pure i-20 and the CD originals through a good transport).

After spending a few hours enjoying the Type 1's it was time to try on the WLM Diva stand mounts for size. WOW! Those speakers sound amazing! Amazingly immersive and musical! Worth a listen and a big step up from the Type 1's (and they should be for 4 times the price)! See here for some listening impressions http://audioaddictionaustralia.blogspot.com/2011/11/wlm-diva-two-models-two-perspectives.html

Listening to them proved to me that the Trafomatic Aries definitely was a good amp and a steal at the price it's going at! I wanted the Diva's, but decided it was probably best not to triple the budget in a week! I have found what I'm going to get... more details to come, but let's just say I'm pretty sure it will blow what I was considering out of the water completely! Stay tuned!

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Guest Muon

Looks like you are enjoying yourself, Randle ;)

You have the right idea too, getting the best speakers you can now :)

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Randle,

Good luck on your quest. Keep on listening for a while, don't let the $ make you make a quick decision. You are lucky to have so many choices to hear different systems / products.

Cheers Frank

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Definitely! Maybe a little too much :)

Was just reading an older Diva review... I'm not the only one that loves those speakers! http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/wlm/divamonitor.html

take it from someone who's shown the 'signs' before as well. Buy the Divas mate..... you're still daydreaming about them! If you plan on buying once - don't sweat the fact that they're a bite more expensive - it works out cheaper to only buy once (just as my other half!) :)

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Hi Randle, you are a newie on here too hey? I know you are not technological deficient like me though. It was great to see you on the weekend. Thanks for the kind words.

You can let you wife know that she now has mine hooked on whatever that frenchy art house music was- guado or guato, i know i wrote it down somewhere... :P Any way we will be buying it :thumb:

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Who ever buys just once? :P I'm sure there is a forum somewhere for disgruntled wives whose husbands suffer from severe upgraditis! In fact I think mine would volunteer as a moderator of such a forum...

In all seriousness though, I know what you are saying, and if you purchase a product that really suits you- than you are much more likely to be content over the longer haul.

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So I had found what I was going to get... maybe it's not too much to triple the budget in the short term for long term satisfaction :)

Buy the Divas mate..... you're still daydreaming about them!
You're right!

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So when listening to the WLM Diva's at James' (Audio Addiction VIC), my wife heard them and said to James - "how much extra to get these?". James told and looking to me she said, "should we just get these since we both really like the sound!?" Unbelievable (that's why I married her)! I thought I was going to be the one stretching the budget and not her! I said, no, but here I am a week later having said yes! I'm thinking it was a very good decision!!

Order placed for speaker and amp!!!! WLM Diva Monitors and WLM Sonata amp!!!

Here is my setup...

Amp: WLM Sonata (ex-demo) with remote

DAC: audio-GD nfb2.1

Source: Pure i-20 and Airport Express (would love, but don't need a CD player)

Speakers: WLM Diva Monitors in Tineo with Audio Addiction custom stands

Cables: WLM Lyros interconnects, WLM Stratos speaker wire, DH Labs Silver Sonic d-75 Coax & Deluxe Toslink

Now to wait... VERY EXCITED!

PS. yes - I tripled my budget! I began to realise over the last months of researching that quality comes at a price! Have really enjoyed the process! Audio Addiction VIC and Tony (QLD) have been great to deal with - very helpful! They really do love music and have gear to match! I hear rumors that the Gran Viola might be coming into Australia - this is the speaker that Srajan from 6moons describes as "the best sound I'd ever heard, period"

but... they are definitely not in the budget

Edited by Randle

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So when listening to the WLM Diva's at James' (Audio Addiction VIC), my wife heard them and said to James - "how much extra to get these?". James told and looking to me she said, "should we just get these since we both really like the sound!?" Unbelievable (that's why I married her)! I thought I was going to be the one stretching the budget and not her! I said, no, but here I am a week later having said yes! I'm thinking it was a very good decision!!

Brilliant! As most SNAers would attest, you're a lucky man!

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Guest Muon

Congrats Randle :(

One question, does ya' wife have a sister :)

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Sorry - she only has a brother and well his married... bad luck!

So the last couple of years have blown past! It's now ending 2013! Since January 2012 I've had my first child, moved house / moved jobs and been enjoying my system the whole way!
I've also added an Oppo BDP-93 to the mix and an optical audio switch.

 

So how is the WLM Sonata /  WLM Diva combo? Absolutely sublime. I used to hate live recordings. I now go searching for them because my system takes the music and transports me there. For someone that loves acoustic music I can feel the rhythm, hear the detail and fall in love with those pieces of music I'd forgotten about. Swapped the tubes at the start of this year and couldn't believe the difference in detail the new ones made.To be honest I've been spending the last year and a half just enjoying the music. It is like these speakers have taken me there and I've forgotten they are in between the music and me. Listening to my parents Bose wave radio brings me back to reality!

 

I'm back gracing these forums as I seek to fill out the bottom end a little with a sub-woofer. Currently looking at the Rel R328 vs Rythmic F12 vs SVS PB13 Ultra. I max out at $2K but would prefer less. Will start a thread.

 

I'm still waiting for a DAC that supports HDMI with ARC so I can integrate home theatre without buying a big AVR for the purpose (with a bunch of features I don't need). The NAD M51 was so close, but not exactly quite what I want.

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