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Thread: Budget Rig

  1. #1

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    Default Budget Rig

    Hello,
    I'm a (poor) student looking to buy a budget hi-fi rig to mainly listen to music. I plan to buy pieces over time since i can't afford a 1k $can hole in my wallet right now.

    Here is my "shopping plan" :

    1. I already have a pair of R15 polkaudio bookshelf
    2. Buy an NAD C320BEE int. amplifier (or C325BEE if I can find one) (400$)
    3. Buy an NAD C521BEE Cd player (300$)
    4. Replace my pair of R15 for a pair of RTi4 (400$)
    5. Buy a <unknown> subwoofer ?

    What do you think? Are they good choices (considering the price range(1k$can overall))? Should I buy the RTi4s before the cdplayer? Do you think the R15 will do the job or a speaker upgrade is preferable? Should i plan to buy a subwoofer?

    Things to consider:

    Space - I don't have much room for big speakers
    Price - Obviously
    Type of music I listen - About everything
    I can't try before buying since i live in a relatively small town and they don't have what I want in stock :(


    anyway, thanks for your answers =)

    (Im french, apologies for possible English mistakes)

  2. #2

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    First off, your English is just fine.
    Second, in your situation, its always best to buy used. Hang around here and you will find a good deal on Polk speakers eventually.
    Third, what do you have for a CD player and int. amplifier at the moment?

    Welcome to the forum.

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    RTi4.. most definitely. Stretch your budget for those.

    Joey
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
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    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

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    Good Gawd man, you can do better than those speakers. Look at these, http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45514

    Only $130.00 and guaranteed to sound better.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Stronzo
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    Orb,

    Welcome to Club Polk. Before I start making suggestions and because I am too lazy to check for myself; are you in the United States or are you in another country?

    If you are located in the USA; there may be better options for you at lower price-point's.

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    Thanks for the welcome and the quick answers :)

    Buying Used might be a good option for the speakers... I will look for it thanks. But for the int. amplifier, I don't know if it's worth it warranty wise etc... I'm kind of new to these electronics so I might be wrong, what do you think?

    Shizelbs >> Right now I only have a crappy sony shelf stereo driving the R15s

    Zero >> I live in Canada

  7. #7
    Stronzo
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    Orb,

    You are a lucky kid – and for many reasons. First, Canada offers some exceptional products that should be very affordable for you up north (Quebec?).

    Buying used can offer tremendous savings and can put you into a whole realm of audio heaven otherwise unachievable by buying new.

    Follow the link below;
    http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/
    Here is a great place to find all sorts of used and even new Hi-Fi without having to worry about those massive shipping bills and duty fee’s.

    www.audiogon.com is a larger worldwide audio flea market that will offer a bigger selection; although the odds are likely that most sellers are in the United States

    When it comes to buying used, I would just make sure that the person you are buying from has solid feedback, provides a detailed description of what you are buying and supplies lots of pictures. Do not be afraid of buying used speakers or electronics such as an integrated amplifiers. Unless you are buying vintage equipment that is older than you are, odds are it will function just fine. The only item I typically stress people to buy new is your source…namely CD Player. This is because those treys and lasers have a life-span and the more they are used..the quicker they die. You have no idea how much a cd player has been used if you buy it that way.

    As for suggestions;

    The XLS is a fine sounding speaker, but its also very large. If I were in your position, I would do this;

    Totem Acoustic MITE - (A very very small bookshelf monitor capable of great range, timbre, soundstaging, and capable of handling all music $300-400 USD)

    NAD C370 - (Much better than the 320 BEE, this unit goes for give-away prices on the internet.. around $400 USD.. it has power, it has finesse, and is a great sonic match with the Totem Mites)

    Look for a NAD CD Player or even try a Shanling tubed CD player (can be found on ebay) This will put you at / slightly above budget… but it will be WELL worth it.

    This system should meet your ergonomical and audio needs – as well as offer you something pretty to look at.

    Good luck!

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    As I mentioned to another poster...The NAD gear you mentioned with a pair of RTi4 or RTi6 Polks would make an excellent 2 channel system. NAD and Polk both make solid gear that outperforms its price (IMO). There have been several here on this forum that have started with very similar setups...some have moved up the spectrum as the upgrade bug hit...others are still running the same gear. It is gear that can last as long as you want or introduce you to the world of Hi-Fi. Go with it and add a sub later if you find you need it. It should be a nice system.
    Last edited by shack; 10-30-2006 at 09:28 AM.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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    I, too, am on a tight budget (thus my user name!) and I have the NAD C320Bee integrated and the C521Bee cdp and am very pleased with them both. Both came out with stellar reviews. I hope to move up the power chain one day as my RTA12C's would like more power please, but for now, both NAD's are doing the job wonderfully and were both a HUGE step up from the equipment they replaced. You'll notice a marvelous difference right away. By the way, you might check out soundseller.com for good deals. I got both pieces of equipment from them. Call or email them for prices as they always sell well below retail.
    "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." Bob Seger

  10. #10

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    As mentioned, NAD gear is a great value and has super bang for the buck. I know you aren't looking for solicitations, but I recently replaced my NAD integrated with tube equipment. I was extremely happy with this piece and only went another direction because I was curious about tubes. I still have it and it would be better with more juice than the current model NAD integrated's you are considering. You will not have to worry about lack of power now or down the road when you upgrade your speakers. You will be hard pressed to find a better integrated with true, real world power and performance, at this price point. This is from the top design days of NAD in the 1980's.
    Here's the link to my listing on this site:
    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...light=nad+7600
    Last edited by univera; 10-30-2006 at 09:53 AM.
    UNIVERA
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    HT setup:
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  11. #11

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    Epos ELS-3
    NAD C320BEE
    Toshiba SD-3960
    inexpensive cabling

    Sounds great. The difference between the NAD and a vintage Pioneer integrated, which you could probably pick up for under 100 bucks, is negligable. The remote functionality of the NAD is nice though. I'd be interested to hear the NAD against one of the Panasonic digital receivers.

    The Toshiba was basically as good as my 1500 dollar Rotel player from 5 or so years ago. 1500 vs. 60 bucks. That was really a no brainer. The Rotel was a tad quieter (if you put your ear up to the tweeter) and was physically quieter (the Toshiba vibrates a lot), but when sitting in my chair listening to both, you'd have a hard time telling them apart.

    Don't waste your money on cables at this point.
    Rega P3 > Parasound Zphono > NAD C320BEE > Polk LSi 15

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    I didnt know we were suggesting speakers other than what he mentioned...

    I suppose if u wanted to stay in the Polk bookshelf camp, the RTi4 are very good around that budget of yours. Otherwise, listen to what the others are recommending.
    Joey's College Gear:
    Current Gear:
    SB3 -> PS Audio DAC III -> Cary Audio SLP-98Phono Tube PreAmp w/ Sylvania NOS 6sn7 tubes -> Plinius SA102 Class A amp -> Martin Logan SUMMIT/Strata Mini -> :D
    Old Gear:
    Martin Logan Vantage (4.75/5)-ML Mosaic (4.25/5)-Onix Ref1 (3.7/5)-Sonus Faber Concerto (3.5/5)-SF Concertino (3/5)-Axiom M22ti (2.75/5)-Polk LSi9 (3.75/5)-LSi7 (3.25/5)-HK AVR330-Rotel RC1070/RB1070/RB1090-SVS 25-31PC+ sub
    RUSH Med School 2008!!:D

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    Why not buy a used pair of LSi 7 speakers instead of the rti 4's? They are around $400 on the used mart and you'll get better detail with them than with the rti's. They dig lower as well and I'm especially fond of the vifa tweet.

    Of course if you do that, you'll have to make sure whatever amp you're buying is 4 ohm stable as well
    Lovin that music year after year.

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    Computer Rig

    Polk SDA CRS+,
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    Morrow Audio MA1 Interconnect,
    HRT Music Streamer II

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Refefer
    Why not buy a used pair of LSi 7 speakers instead of the rti 4's? They are around $400 on the used mart and you'll get better detail with them than with the rti's. They dig lower as well and I'm especially fond of the vifa tweet.

    Of course if you do that, you'll have to make sure whatever amp you're buying is 4 ohm stable as well
    I just bought a pair of Lsi-7's on the flea market for under 350. You won't be unhappy with a pair of these.
    Michael


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    Greeting orb hey seems like you read my mind i'm looking at nearly the same equip on difference i was going for the rti6's a little more omph should still be under your budget. Nad you can't go wrong with them for sure I only here good things about them my only other suggustion might be since you are in quebec why not paradigms vs polks but let your ears be your guide .

    oh by the way what the weather like over there???
    Chicomorales:)

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    Many good recommendations above.

    Personally I have had RTi4's in the past and they are a great speaker, however I just snagged a set of older RT25i's in great shape for only $100. In my opinion these speakers sound quite a bit better than the 4's.

    If you have a little Patience, there are tons of good speakers that can be had in that price range on the used market.

    Welcome to the forums, and have fun building your system!
    HT
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  17. #17

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    double posted,sorry
    Last edited by Orb; 10-31-2006 at 04:34 AM.

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    Thanks for all the replys,


    You all convinced me to buy used and I'll most likely get a NAD C370 (already found a couple of adds in my price range, BIG thanks for the links Zero).

    As for the speakers, be sure I'll check out your recommendations and follow cmy330go advice and wait 'til I find a good deal.

    One last question, what do you think of the NAD C521BEE Cd player? Is it worth it or a 75$ cd player like the Toshiba SD-3960 jderdock suggested would do a similar job (considering I'm not really an audiophile)? Should I invest my money on the speakers instead?


    Chicomoralessxm >> Getting cold, no snow yet though :)

    Thanks for you time!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orb
    One last question, what do you think of the NAD C521BEE Cd player? Is it worth it or a 75$ cd player like the Toshiba SD-3960 jderdock suggested would do a similar job (considering I'm not really an audiophile)? Should I invest my money on the speakers instead?
    I, like many others, fell fell for the "Audiophile CD quality in a $50± DVD player" line. I thought what the hell, "it's only $50 at BB"...so I bought one, I couldn't get it out of my rig fast enough. A "decent" DVD player at best. I gave it to my mother to use on her 27" TV. It's CD ability is greatly overrated. My 13 year old Sony entry level CDP was a lot better. Get the NAD.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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  20. #20

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    Get the NAD C521Bee. I sure love mine.
    "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." Bob Seger

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    Quote Originally Posted by shack
    I, like many others, fell fell for the "Audiophile CD quality in a $50± DVD player" line. I thought what the hell, "it's only $50 at BB"...so I bought one, I couldn't get it out of my rig fast enough. A "decent" DVD player at best. I gave it to my mother to use on her 27" TV. It's CD ability is greatly overrated. My 13 year old Sony entry level CDP was a lot better. Get the NAD.
    I actually bought it because it was A) A DVD player and B) it was cheap. It didn't need to redbook CD for me as I had a dedicated $1500 dollar Rotel..it just needed to play DVDs (and it didn't even need to do that well....it just need to be CHEAP).

    I read some stuff on AudioAsylum about the player being decent at CD playback so I tried it out...why not?

    Long story short: I don't own the Rotel anymore. A good quality, modern player with an up-to-date DAC may be better, but the Toshiba is no worse than Rotel's best player of only a few years back. You really have to listen hard to hear a difference. There is no chance you could differentiate the two in a double blind test.

    It is significantly easier to differentiate the Toshiba from my Sony player, which came out around the same time as the Rotel.

    It's possible that my system may not be resolving enough to hear the difference between the Toshiba and the old Rotel flagship. It is, however, resolving enough to show the difference between the Toshiba and the Sony.

    Orb, I don't think it would hurt to try to the Toshiba. If you could get a demo on an NAD player or something comparable and A/B them, you might find yourself saving a few hundred dollars.....maybe not.
    Last edited by jderdock; 10-31-2006 at 11:09 AM.
    Rega P3 > Parasound Zphono > NAD C320BEE > Polk LSi 15

  22. #22

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    Orb, any NAD purchase will be a good one. I have an older Toshiba DVD player that I have a very tough time telling the difference between it and my NAD 541 cd player in terms of sound. The TS is a bit heavier in the bass and maybe a bit brighter, but it may not be "real" sound and may overemphasize that aspect.

    I looked at the C370 and the numbers look great. Lots of clean, high power/current 120wpc@8 ohms. http://207.228.230.231/info/NAD_C370.pdf


    However; my last plug for my older 7600 is that while power numbers are great, check out the headroom. The 370 seems to have plenty, but the 7600 has a TON! 600w dynamic power at 4 ohms. The 370 has 340w at 4 ohms and 210w @ 8 ohms. Since you are considering bookshelf speakers, I would think the power rating will do you fine. However; you will ultimately go for bigger speakers down the road which will like more power. May not matter, but you will have a hard time maxing the 7600. Additionally, you could add a matching seperate NAD amp down the line for $3-400 via pre-amp outs and have over 1KW of dynamic power!

    Keep in mind as well the 7600 has a great phono stage. The 370 has no phono stage if you decide to get into vinyl and this unit has a top notch tuner. Why not gain a tuner and phono stage when both receivers have the same distortion levels...Older and with a few scratches, but with more power, headroom, a tuner, phono, and just as clean performance as the new unit. I'm in no way dying to sell this piece, trust me. It's just a bad mofo. Sales pitch over....

    If you just want something new with original boxes, etc and no scratches, who can blame you....I just love this piece and would like to see it stay in the family. You don't see these come around often as people don't tend to part with them.
    Last edited by univera; 10-31-2006 at 01:04 PM.

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    what the price on the c370 by the way guys i was looking at the c325bee its about 400 na d for sure the nad over the toshiba you could even take a look at the entry line cambridge audio azur 340
    Last edited by Chicomoralessxm; 10-31-2006 at 10:10 PM.
    Chicomorales:)

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    I've demo'd the Azur 640 vs. the Rotel RCD-1070 / 1072 vs. the Onix XCD-99 and the Onix was clearly the best of the bunch. With the Onix you also get a 3 year warranty. Hard to beat for a "budget" SS player. Then again you could look for a Kavent CD-731 or Sheng Ya CD-S10 (tube CDP twins).
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halo
    .....Onix XCD-99 and the Onix was clearly the best of the bunch. With the Onix you also get a 3 year warranty. Hard to beat for a "budget" SS player......
    Somebody needs to teach them how to take pictures of a component. Those are worthless!
    HT
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    I owned it for a brief "trial" period and it is, IMHO, a very good looking CDP. :)
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

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    hey orb i speak french if you ever have any trouble on here you can just pm me but your english seems to be just fine. i am also a student on a budget :) i would for sure buy used and get better than the rti4 to begin with because you will upgrade those later anyway so might as well save yourself the money, id either get rti6 at least or some lsi7's or rti8's (i dont know if you have room for floorstanders but i have had mine since the day i moved into my dorm in college and people throughout my dorm knew exactly what kinda music i listened to if you know what i mean ;) )

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    rti6's would be your saving and you can't go wrong with them thats what i'm going for myself.....uhh i think :)
    Chicomorales:)

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