Audiophile stereo setup questions - Need help!


New member
Aug 10, 2019

I'm planning to buy a nice entry-level audiophile stereo setup for vinyl records, but I still need some advice. My budget would be approx. €5000 (max. €5500).

This is what I have in mind:

- 2x B&W CM8

- Rotel RC-1550 or RC-1580 (€650 vs. €1200)

- Rotel RB-1552

- Clearaudio Concept with MM or MC (€1100 vs. €1400)

- Maybe a Clearaudio Smart Phono?

I'm already 100% sure for the CM8's, the RB-1552 and the Clearaudio Concept.

First problem is the choice between the Rotel RC-1550 and RC-1580. The RC-1580 supports a MC-phono input, whether the RC-1550 only supports MM. I got the advice to choose the RC-1550 together with a Clearaudio phono preamplifier... This way if have MM and MC and the sound should be better then the RC-1580 without a Clearaudio phono preamp?

Although I could choose the RC-1580 and buy a Clearaudio phono preamp in the future...

Then the Clearaudio Concept. All the parameters are set in the factory... But what if (in the future), I want to upgrade with another Clearaudio cartridge, is it just plug-and-play (because all the settings where done in the factory) or does the turntable need adjustment? If it needs adjustment, then I'm more likely to buy the MC-version.

Finally I would like to have some information about correct speaker- and interconnectcables.

I'm not planning to spend a fortune on them, I just want some decent price/quality cables. It's also easy to upgrade cables in the future.

For interconnects: Chord Company Crimson Plus? Since they won the award for best interconnect.

And for speakercables I got the advice to get a pair of Transparent Cable Waves:

Final question: what do I need to connect the Rotel RC-1550(80), the RB-1552 and perhaps the Clearaudio Smart Phono?

2 interconnects from the RC-1550(80) to the RB-1552 input? But how should the Smart Phono be connected?

This is al new to me, hence the simple questions. ;)

Hope I get some good advice! :grin:




New member
Apr 8, 2011
Would you like me to recommend some alternatives to the Clearaudio / Rotel / B&W combination that would sound far better and still keep you within your 5000 to 5500 Euro budget?


New member
Jul 25, 2011
As regards the Clearaudio Concept, it is set up at the factory but, if you change cartridge, you'll have to configure the cartridge using a protractor (there's probably one with your turntable), set tracking and antiskate. Not as hard as it sounds - used to get it done and dusted in 10 minutes in my turntables heyday!

Can't comment on the rest as have no idea what the phono preamps on those amplifiers are like. As to cables, ask your dealer what's good then haggle with them to include them with the deal. Worked for me, anyway.


Thanks guys. :)

Another question:

Would it have some benefits if I'd buy a RC-1580 + RB-1582 and use the Clearaudio Concept with them... And then perhaps in the future buy a Clearaudio SmartPhono as an upgrade.

Or, would it be better to go straight for the RC-1550 + RB-1582 + Clearaudio Concept + SmartPhono?


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