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Budget set up

tommitches

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Jan 23, 2021
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I'm sure threads like this have been started hundreds of times but I'm a newbie looking to get a set up on ideally around £200-£300 budget (already have a turntable). Looking for recommendations or what people have going 2nd hand.. (I know you should listen, work out what you like, know what works for your room etc etc but just looking for a half decent set up for a normal sized living room). Maybe something that can be upgraded over time would be good. Thanks
 

NorthEastVinyl

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Dec 10, 2020
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Then that opens your options a little. I must say I'm a novice too so won't even attempt second hand recommendations.

Not loads of options for new within the budget but my wide has a pair of these speakers on her system and they have impressed us for the money:


That leaves £200 for the amp (appreciate you'll need to find a few quid for cables too). I have an Onkyo A-9010. If you can get hold of one I'd highly recommend though I think they're quite hard to get hold of now (they may even be inflated above the £200 they were at the time they were discontinued. It has a phono stage.

Assuming you can't find one, I can see a couple of options based on a very quick look. This Marantz comes within budget:


or stretch the budget a bit for this Cambridge that doesn't have a phono stage:


Either way, definitely wait for advice from other members. There are many others who have a far greater breadth of knowledge than I.

Good luck with your search.
 
Last edited:

millennia_one

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Sep 1, 2014
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For that budget I’d certainly go second hand.

look for a nice NAD320bee loads of power and drive. Pair that with some mission 701s
You’d have a proper good setup that will get you into the hobby and will last many years

you could also try a second hand Rotel ra01 with some kefs cresta 2 or some q1s. Really nice setup.

you’d struggle to get sound like this today for this sort money. Back in the day especially the rotel system would have set you back around 600 quid or so. be around 1k in todays

You’ll need some stands for the options that I’ve listed. Plenty of Atacamas for around 20 quid on eBay. Some nice 24se will do the trick and really doesn’t get any better than this even today.
 
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plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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I'm sure threads like this have been started hundreds of times but I'm a newbie looking to get a set up on ideally around £200-£300 budget (already have a turntable). Looking for recommendations or what people have going 2nd hand.. (I know you should listen, work out what you like, know what works for your room etc etc but just looking for a half decent set up for a normal sized living room). Maybe something that can be upgraded over time would be good. Thanks
I would be looking at a Arcam A75. I owned the A65+ for 7 years and still remains one of my favourite sub-£1000 integrated amps. The A75 is the A65 with an extra 10 watts per channel, otherwise it's identical.

It's flexible when it comes speaker matching, although I would recommend Monitor Audio Bronze 1 or 2, if budget allows.

These Arcs come with a fabulous built-in phono stage and more inputs than you need.

Regard speaker stands, it's a bit of a misnomer with the word "bookshelf", because unless you have sealed cabinets, nearly all speaker require breathing space. A decent pair of stands does lift the speaker performance to another level, and can be purchased on auction sites for around £60.
 
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millennia_one

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@millennia_one Thanks for the advice and recs! Out of interest why do you say I'd need stands - just because those you've mentioned don't work as 'bookshelf' speakers? Or is it a better idea to go with stands anyway?

@NorthEastVinyl Thanks for your help!
By all means place them how you like but book shelf speakers work Better on deadicated stands keeping them away from things such as your turn table.

Oh and the options I mention are standmount speakers
 
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knaithrover

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Nov 24, 2013
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From my experience.....and second hand as follows:-

Arcam A85
Nad C320Bee
Nad D3020
Marantz PM 5 or 6

Monitor Audio BX2 or RX1
Dali Zensor 1 or 3
Loads of Q Acoustics which are cheap new and even cheaper 2nd hand
 
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plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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From my experience.....and second hand as follows:-

Arcam A85
Nad C320Bee
Nad D3020
Marantz PM 5 or 6

Monitor Audio BX2 or RX1
Dali Zensor 1 or 3
Loads of Q Acoustics which are cheap new and even cheaper 2nd hand
The A85 and Nads don't come with a phono stage. Given the OP's budget is £300 that'll take it way over, once you've factored in stands and a separate phono stage.
 

tommitches

Active member
Jan 23, 2021
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I would be looking at a Arcam A75. I owned the A65+ for 7 years and still remains one of my favourite sub-£1000 integrated amps. The A75 is the A65 with an extra 10 watts per channel, otherwise it's identical.

It's flexible when it comes speaker matching, although I would recommend Monitor Audio Bronze 1 or 2, if budget allows.

These Arcs come with a fabulous built-in phono stage and more inputs than you need.

Regard speaker stands, it's a bit of a misnomer with the word "bookshelf", because unless you have sealed cabinets, nearly all speaker require breathing space. A decent pair of stands does lift the speaker performance to another level, and can be purchased on auction sites for around £60.
Interesting, so potentially worth spending ~£200 on good amp and getting cheaper speakers?

Sounds worth spending that little extra to get stands too.

Re phono, the turntable I have does have one built-in but presumably won't be as good as a built in one in the above mentioned amps.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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Interesting, so potentially worth spending ~£200 on good amp and getting cheaper speakers?

Sounds worth spending that little extra to get stands too.

Re phono, the turntable I have does have one built-in but presumably won't be as good as a built in one in the above mentioned amps.
I would suggest the amp is the backbone or the foundations of a good system. I had my A65+ with 40 year old Wharfedales, Monitor Audio RS6s and demoed with PMC GB1i. All very different but sounded the dogs with the Arcam. They are very versatile and looks really cool in black with silver tone controls and lettering.

As regards a turntable phono stage, I haven't had any experience with one, so couldn't say if it's better or worse than the amp version. As that particular Arcam comes with a 30-day returns policy, it's worth a punt IMO.
 

tommitches

Active member
Jan 23, 2021
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I would suggest the amp is the backbone or the foundations of a good system. I had my A65+ with 40 year old Wharfedales, Monitor Audio RS6s and demoed with PMC GB1i. All very different but sounded the dogs with the Arcam. They are very versatile and looks really cool in black with silver tone controls and lettering.

As regards a turntable phono stage, I haven't had any experience with one, so couldn't say if it's better or worse than the amp version. As that particular Arcam comes with a 30-day returns policy, it's worth a punt IMO.
Yeah it does look really nice!
Sounds like a worthwhile investment. Thanks so much for the advice, I'll update with the outcome!
 

knaithrover

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Nov 24, 2013
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The A85 and Nads don't come with a phono stage. Given the OP's budget is £300 that'll take it way over, once you've factored in stands and a separate phono stage.
Good point the nad amps dont have a phono stage, there are loads of cheap external phono stages to be had 2nd hand though v cheap. My A85 definitely had a built in phono stage which was really very good.
 

tommitches

Active member
Jan 23, 2021
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Hi - this has been a while coming (house moves etc got in the way) but I now have a set up! Pretty much followed your advice @plastic penguin and got myself an Arcam A75 and Monitor Audio bronze 1s. Set them up today for the first time and facing a slight problem...

The Speakers have 2 connections "HF" and "LF", when I connect to "LF" the sound is very bass heavy - with the bass all the way down on the amp and treble all the way up it is just about okay. And with the "HF" there is pretty much zero bass (turning bass up doesn't help). Tried it wired with a combo HF/LF but didn't seem to play at all...

My arrangement is not good at all yet - I've no stands yet and what they are on isn't great but this can't be the whole issue surely, there just seems to be no balance I can find. Any ideas?

You're welcome.
Please let us know how you get on.
 

tommitches

Active member
Jan 23, 2021
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you need some jumper cables to join the hf & lf together, or a second run of speaker cable to the amp. (can of worms)
Gosh it's a minefield this hifi lark! Right jumper cables sounds straightforward hopefully, will look into getting some. Thanks!
 

tommitches

Active member
Jan 23, 2021
11
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What about the metal links that go between HF and LF terminals?
Have you not got those?
No! Bought second hand maybe that's why.
Have heard some chat about 'bi-wiring'(I think this was what @bigfish786 was alluding to) but jumper cable sounds more straightforward and that is what I'm after at this stage haha
 
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Gray

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No! Bought second hand maybe that's why.
Have heard some chat about 'bi-wiring'(I think this was what @bigfish786 was alluding to) but jumper cable sounds more straightforward and that is what I'm after at this stage haha
I thought someone may have lost them (they obviously weren't using them but it's so careless and unnecessary not to keep hold of them for future use :().

So you've currently got a single run of cable and is it terminated with banana plugs?
 

tommitches

Active member
Jan 23, 2021
11
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I thought someone may have lost them (they obviously weren't using them but it's so careless and unnecessary not to keep hold of them for future use :().

So you've currently got a single run of cable and is it terminated with banana plugs?
I'll double check the seller hasn't got them lying around somewhere
Yes exactly single cable with banana plugs both ends
 
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Gray

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I'll double check the seller hasn't got them lying around somewhere
Yes exactly single cable with banana plugs both ends
If he hasn't got them, don't spend too much on jumper cables.
The reason I asked about your cable....some people use bare wire - in which case it's easy enough to make jumpers out of a small piece of the same cable.

Seriously, you only need to link the terminals, copper wire, bits of coat hanger through the holes in the terminals (the ones intended for bare wire connection).
The jumpers don't need to be 'special' (expensive).
 
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