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Before you drop cash on that Arcam, I think you should audition the entry level Sim Audio integrated, it's Canadian made just like your Totems.

Its on my list as well. Apparently the Sim/Totem combo is a match made in heaven...I'm just having a hard time finding a dealer. I sent them an email, but they've yet to respond.

Their entry-level model is also a few hundred dollars more than the arcam. So I'll be auditioning both. The advantage to arcam has is that they're carried at the same dealer as the Totems, so I can head exactly how it would sound at home.

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not looked at this thread before, but my dad has a nice linn system i could possibly steal you :)

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not looked at this thread before, but my dad has a nice linn system i could possibly steal you :)

That would be super. Thanks in advance. :P

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(as if anyone cared)

2196vdi.jpg

Yeah. told ya! Love those. I'm not of a vinyl person so I can't comment. It's not that I don't approve of the idea, I'm just too lazy for it all.

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Yeah. told ya! Love those. I'm not of a vinyl person so I can't comment. It's not that I don't approve of the idea, I'm just too lazy for it all.

I don't know...I must be jaded...my computer's music sounded better than the vinyl. Oh well...I got nice speakers instead...life goes on!

I've narrowed things down to three integrated amps/cd combos:

1. Simaudio Moon i-1 ($1500 CAD)

-matching CD player ($1500 CAD)

2. Arcam A70 ($1200 CAD)

-matching CD player ($1000)

3. Arcam Solo Music ($2000 CAD...but incorporates a CD player)

I'm leaning towards #2, because the total cost would be $800 less than option #1. #3 would be my last choice, as the combo option seems a bit "lifestyle" to me, even though its the cheapest.

Thoughts? After these purchases and some stands for the speakers, I'm fucking done...no more! Stop the hifi madness! :eek: I'm gonna be living in tent city if I keep this up.

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I just moved in to a new house. is actually and old house , around 30 years old, but it has a pretty big game room. I already have a 42" inch Sony plasma tv, but i dont have a reciever or speakers yet.. I am not really into the whole surround sound thing, instead, i rather have a 2 side , 1 centre, and a subwoofer setup..

my budget is low, but right now, i dont mind spending around $800 total on the reciver and front side speakers... was wondering what is a good option to look at?

I am located in vancouver, where is a good place to check out?

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I just moved in to a new house. is actually and old house , around 30 years old, but it has a pretty big game room. I already have a 42" inch Sony plasma tv, but i dont have a reciever or speakers yet.. I am not really into the whole surround sound thing, instead, i rather have a 2 side , 1 centre, and a subwoofer setup..

my budget is low, but right now, i dont mind spending around $800 total on the reciver and front side speakers... was wondering what is a good option to look at?

I am located in vancouver, where is a good place to check out?

Check out Teac's DR-H300. Its a DVD/receiver unit specifically for a 2.1 setup. If you want the centre speaker, you're going to have to look for a full 5.1 (minimum) receiver and just omit the two (or more) rear speakers. It retails for $400 CAD, and is a great quality little unit.

That'll leave you with $400 for speakers. For that, I would look at PSB's Alpha B1 or Mordaunt Short's Carnival 2 (both around $300). You won't get great bass from either of them, but it will give you more than a standard satellite will. With the remaining $100 I would get some inexpensive stands for the speakers.

Later down the road you can add a subwoofer from either company (starting around $350).

None of those suggestions are the cream of the crop, but you'll get much better sound quality than buying a generic home-theare-in-a-box.

There's a store called Speaker City in Vancouver that will probably carry the speakers.

Here's a link to a store that carries some of this in Ottawa:

http://www.planetofsoundonline.com/newhifi/index.html

The guy's a cockknocker and they have horrible service, but the site is good to get an idea of prices.

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I don't know...I must be jaded...my computer's music sounded better than the vinyl. Oh well...I got nice speakers instead...life goes on!

I've narrowed things down to three integrated amps/cd combos:

1. Simaudio Moon i-1 ($1500 CAD)

-matching CD player ($1500 CAD)

2. Arcam A70 ($1200 CAD)

-matching CD player ($1000)

3. Arcam Solo Music ($2000 CAD...but incorporates a CD player)

I'm leaning towards #2, because the total cost would be $800 less than option #1. #3 would be my last choice, as the combo option seems a bit "lifestyle" to me, even though its the cheapest.

Thoughts? After these purchases and some stands for the speakers, I'm fucking done...no more! Stop the hifi madness! :eek: I'm gonna be living in tent city if I keep this up.

You're spending too much. The differences between decent sources and amps pale compared to the differences between speakers. If you dropped $800ish on speakers, with the plan of keeping them a while, you can spend much less than you've indicated and get a solid CD Player/Integrated. NAD, Rotel, Musical Fidelity, Bryston come to mind, though I don't know the price points in Canada. Dropping $3k on an amp/cd player doesn't make the least bit of sense to me with much less expensive speakers. Also, CD has a limited lifespan, get the cheapest decent player made.

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You're right...I've since reconsidered the whole thing, and have decided to start off much smaller.

I'm still with the opinion that the speakers should be the biggest part of the budget, so I've worked myself down a few pegs with regarding to the additional equipment.

I'm currently looking at Rega's Brio amp ($800) or, preferably, a used Brio or Mira. I'm going to be holding off on the CD player indefinitely, as I'm going to be using my computer as my main source.

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For used, look at audiogon.com, biggest used audio market around, beats the shit outta ebay. Also, if using your computer, get a decent soundcard, please, for the children.

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For used, look at audiogon.com, biggest used audio market around, beats the shit outta ebay. Also, if using your computer, get a decent soundcard, please, for the children.

There's a decent online Canadian market, so I'm hoping to find something there. I'll also be contacting some of the retailers to see about demos, etc.

I use a Mac Mini at home...which I realize doesn't have the greatest sound card, but it sounds on par to my current CD player (give or take).

Is it possible to use an external sound card? Do you have any recommendations?

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Is it possible to use an external sound card? Do you have any recommendations?

Look into www.soundblaster.com they should have 2 or 3 models and prices are not that bad. I know Griffin used to make one too but I think now they only have a surround card.

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You're spending too much. The differences between decent sources and amps pale compared to the differences between speakers. If you dropped $800ish on speakers, with the plan of keeping them a while, you can spend much less than you've indicated and get a solid CD Player/Integrated. NAD, Rotel, Musical Fidelity, Bryston come to mind, though I don't know the price points in Canada. Dropping $3k on an amp/cd player doesn't make the least bit of sense to me with much less expensive speakers. Also, CD has a limited lifespan, get the cheapest decent player made.

so what's he going to do, have a bonfire with all of the CDs he owns? or is the expectation that whatever new format will be taking over the world is going to have backwards compatibility for the cd format? (as you may be able to tell, i spend a lot more time digging up music than reading about gear i can't afford). anyway i don't see $2000 on cd + integrated as being outlandish on a pair of $800 speakers, though yes that assumes that the speakers will be upgraded far before any of the other two.

regarding computer rigs i have an m-audio card going through klipsch 2.1 speakers and i'm pretty happy with it. i have a sub on every sound system except my good one! speaking of which, is it worth going through the same effort to find a sub as you would with any other component? i need one but not really in need of a full blown comparison and auditioning exercise at the moment.

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^^ Thanks Mike.

I have to use either a USB or Firewire connection because my computer has no pci slots. Which of these do you think would be better?

Soundblaster Digital Music SX (is this even compatible with a Mac?)

Behringer F-Control

I can't find any info on what the soundcard would be in my computer currently. I know the card on the older mini's is superior to the newer (for sound quality...granted the new has a digital out). I just don't want to spend $$$ if the sound quality is going to end up being the same.

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...don't see $2000 on cd + integrated as being outlandish on a pair of $800 speakers...

Just to clarify, the speakers were $1200. :D

regarding subs - I think it would be fairly important to invest in something decent, but I wouldn't do as much searching as I would for a pair of speakers....unless of course the speakers you're pairing it with aren't full range, because then it would be work harder.

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Is it retarded that I'm looking at recording devices just to make my computer sound better?

Question - I already know I'm going to be scoffed at...but would it be SO terrible if I purchased an a/v receiver instead of an integrated amp? I'm conflicted. I was looking at the Cambridge Audio models. Is the sound significantly worse or just marginally? Would I even notice?

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step 1: don't get an external sound card, your mac mini is fine as long as you follow step 2a.

step 2: use firewire if your receiver/amp/whatever you are using this time has one, usb transfers information and power, where as firewire only transfers information. the transfer of power within the cable arguably creates noise because it is not isolated from the information transfer

step 2a: use usb if you have to, and run it into a usb dac. run optical out of it into your av receiver/amp/whatever you are using. this will reclock everything and make it sound a lot more open, focused, and accurate. a good DAC is one of the best investments you can make. to make things even easier, your mac mini's headphone jack also doubles as an optical out. you can buy a headphone to optical adapter and a REALLY good optical cable into a receiver/amp (or into a good DAC before that to achieve better results) and it will sound great, too.

step 3: do yourself a favor, get yourself a REL subwoofer dude.. i'm not going to delve into this a lot, as you seem to have your own opinion, which we all do, but at least seek one out to listen to.

on that note, an integrated amp basically IS a receiver. i mean there is an amp, which handles powering, and a preamp, which handles signal processing. an integrated amp is a preamp and an amp that are integrated. an av receiver is a preamp and an amp that are integrated. there are obviously some differences ie. video processing but asking if the difference between such and such products will be significant or marginal depends on every other component in the system, the source, and obviously, how discriminating your ear can be. if you're looking to build a modest home theater later: get an a/v receiver. if you're looking to build a reference quality home theater later, get a really good multichannel amp and start shopping for a/v processors/preamps to add on as time goes by. if you are strictly 2 channel and using a computer as your source, my inclination would be to tell you to get an integrated amp, but its your call at the end of the day..

something tells me you're playing mp3s on this system... i don't know why..

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The problem is that my mac mini is an older model, so it doesn't have the optical out that the newer models do....only analogue. That's why I thought an external sound card would help.

I'm not concerned about getting a subwoofer. I have one that's sufficient currently, and my speakers seem to produce more than adequate bass for music (to me anyway).

Regarding the a/v receiver vs. the int. amp.....I read a lot of opinions on the subject from "audio" people, and they seem to shun it. But whatever, I only have so much room. I'm getting an av receiver and using it for both movies/tv and music. Movies sound like shit in stereo imo.

I use Apple Lossless...not mp3's. I'm also going to get an Oppo DVD player to listen to the few dvd-a's I have, and also use it as a CD player for the time-being.

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Movies sound amazing in stereo, in most cases even better than they do in surround. The theory of surround sound is based off stereo to begin with. The origins of surround sound were for four speakers not five, and were based off stereo imaging in the front, rear and side sound stages. The center channel was only added in to provide an anchored dialogue for a wider sweet spot. I personally hate the way center channels sound, but again, its all preference! The job of speakers is to play the soundtrack and disappear, I feel that stereo does a much better job of this than 5.1.

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^ Good to know. Are you talking about changing the movie's setting to 2.0 if available, or just forcing it through a stereo pair?

What do you think I should do about the computer soundcard? Stick to the analogue setup I have get an external with digital?

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^ Good to know. Are you talking about changing the movie's setting to 2.0 if available, or just forcing it through a stereo pair?

What do you think I should do about the computer soundcard? Stick to the analogue setup I have get an external with digital?

Some movies will have a Dolby Digital 2.0 or 2.1 track that you can select on the DVD, if not, just set your receiver to Stereo to make it play. If you have some rears and want to try 4.1, just go to Channel settings and set front to large, center to no, surround to large and subwoofer to yes. I'd set the crossover at 100hz. This is all, of course, theorizing that you'd be getting a subwoofer :P

A REALLY good subwoofer for the money that I would be looking at if I was you would be the Martin Logan Dynamo. This sub uses a small footprint and is configurable for forward and downward firing. I love this sub a lot, I think its a tremendous value.

And now for my favorite part of this subwoofer, I'll just quote someone from MartinLogan themselves:

"Multi-Channel Music and Movies

The LFE output of your receiver is where the dedicated .1 signal for your movies or music (DVD-A, SACD, DTS) is passed through. Without this connection the signal would need to be "derived" from the L&R pre-amp outputs. NOT the best way to go for multi channel connection. Also, keep in mind the LFE signal is not always 80hz and below... most newer receivers can be adjusted up to about 120hz. 80hz IS the THX recommendation, however.

Generally the goal for a subwoofer in a movie is not to sound natural, but to draw the viewer in by taking the experience over the top. If you have ever seen any type of explosion in real life... they sound nothing like what you hear in a movie. Truth is, they would be boring if they did.

Note that by using the LFE input the internal crossover is bypassed in a MartinLogan subwoofer. This prevents cascading multiple crossovers.

2 Channel Listening

Most audiophiles want their subwoofer to "blend" with their main speakers in a 2 channel system. This means the subwoofer should not be obtrusive... in other words it should not sound like there is a subwoofer in the room. It should simply compliment where the main speakers taper off.

One of the main ways to accomplish the above goal is by adjusting the crossover setting to match the main speakers performance in a given environment... usually MUCH lower than 80hz. This is why we still have an internal crossover inside of the subwoofer as well.

Also, keep in mind that many receivers will no longer output via LFE in 2 channel if the Pure Direct mode is selected. They will always continue to output via the L&R pre-amp outputs.

The MartinLogan Answer

All MartinLogan subwoofers allow for simultaneous LFE and Stereo connections. This gives you the best of both worlds. The subwoofer defaults to using the LFE connection when a signal is present in multi-channel, but will default to the L&R signal when LFE signal has disappeared. This also means that the crossover adjustment on the subwoofer now becomes active, blending it with the main speakers seamlessly. When you kick your 5.1 movie back in... the LFE signal now bypasses those settings.

Pretty freaking cool, huh?"

This subwoofer retails for $599usd by the way.

As far as your soundcard, honestly, you're fine with what you have. an external soundcard will really just complicate things and the improvements will be minimal at best, upgrade the most important stuff first: Speakers will give you the biggest difference, source 2nd, amplification 3rd, cables/dac/other accessories last.

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Very interesting.

I think ideally, I'd like to have a 4.1 system (well, that's what I have now). I'm not a fan of the centre channel either. If I spent $1200 on my main speakers, I want them to be used...not for just l/r output.

The ML sub looks very cool. I'll hopefully be able to sell mine one day so I can upgrade.

I think you're right about the soundcard...it only complicates things. Saves me some $$$ too. :)

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I've followed this thread closely over time and it's a good one that deserves a resurrection. And I should add that Gimme, no offense my brother, but it's interesting to read your schizophrenia over the arc of this thread--you're all over the place! But I understand completely being new to the game myself. It's so hard to know where to start! But one is left to wonder, where is Gimme now in his evolution?

On another note, I picked up a NAD 614 cassette deck for $20 on Craig's List the other day. I'm bringing back tapes! It's amazing how good 20 year old tapes can sound if given the chance. Even though the top end has thinned out a bit, my dubbed copy of Brian Eno's Another Green World was moving me.

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I'm pretty much all over the place in every aspect of my life...so it's no surprise. :rolleyes:

Where am I now - I bought a turntable...hated it...returned it...bought Totem speakers with the credit...love them...ripped all my CD's into lossless files...sold all my CD's...bought speaker stands with the profit...and am loving my set-up. :)

Oh, also received a pair of Grado headphones for use with my Ipod, which I also love.

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ha! so yeah, i was having trouble with my NAD C521BEE (or someshit, right?!), it was not tracking right, you know, skipping on brand new CDs, so i trudged over to my local hifi joint and got up in the owner's grill, not really lol, but i asked if he had a CD lens cleaner, and he was all "PSHAW! those don't work. here is the number for NAD, but it will cost you a grip to get it serviced, you are better off with this Cambridge Audio Azure for just over $600 bucks, but you know, they are assembled by Azns, it would be more cost-effective to get this REGA jawn right here for $1200, assembled by dudes who can be held accountable, etc" so i peaced out and ambled over to a local general store, dropped 15 bucks on the counter (cash money), went home and ran the cleaning disc through maybe four times (it didn't do jack at first) and then BAM! the cd player was playing discs like it was right out the box! i saved my some $1000 that day. spending it on a REGA turntable, methinks.

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Good storyz y'all.

Turntables are for rich people...you need $$$ to buy one, $$$ to replace the needle (almost right away cuz the shit they put on is...shit), $$$ for cleaning the stylus, $$$ for cleaning the vinyl, $$$ for isolation, $$$ for a proper stand......and then you gots no $$$ left for fuckin records!

My 2 cents - LP = ripoff. CD's sound better anyhoo.

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I could not disagree more. I listen to my turntable about 90 percent of the time when I am REALLY listening to music. My current turntable is a Technics that I got about 7 years ago. I have never replaced the needle. I have never used a record cleaner. I don't buy into this audiophile bullshit; i am not after fidelity, that only reduces the charm. i seek warmth. isolation is bizarre and unnatural, i like the sounds to blend with my environment. and furthermore, i rarely pay more for a record if it is available on CD for less, though i admit to sometimes having the same album on both CD and vinyl.

oh, and all my gear is stacked in a rolling IKEA table.

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ha! so yeah, i was having trouble with my NAD C521BEE (or someshit, right?!), it was not tracking right, you know, skipping on brand new CDs, so i trudged over to my local hifi joint and got up in the owner's grill, not really lol, but i asked if he had a CD lens cleaner, and he was all "PSHAW! those don't work. here is the number for NAD, but it will cost you a grip to get it serviced, you are better off with this Cambridge Audio Azure for just over $600 bucks, but you know, they are assembled by Azns, it would be more cost-effective to get this REGA jawn right here for $1200, assembled by dudes who can be held accountable, etc" so i peaced out and ambled over to a local general store, dropped 15 bucks on the counter (cash money), went home and ran the cleaning disc through maybe four times (it didn't do jack at first) and then BAM! the cd player was playing discs like it was right out the box! i saved my some $1000 that day. spending it on a REGA turntable, methinks.

diddy - had the EXACT same shit happen to me with my NAD - took it to my guy (christened 'the tube guru') who cleaned the lens and made it right. Funny how much gankage some of these guys try to get away with. :mad:

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Good storyz y'all.

Turntables are for rich people...you need $$$ to buy one, $$$ to replace the needle (almost right away cuz the shit they put on is...shit), $$$ for cleaning the stylus, $$$ for cleaning the vinyl, $$$ for isolation, $$$ for a proper stand......and then you gots no $$$ left for fuckin records!

My 2 cents - LP = ripoff. CD's sound better anyhoo.

you trippin'

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