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Complete newbie but have been given some high end (ish) kit - how to make the most of it?

Neilosaur

New member
Jun 26, 2014
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0
Hey folks. Well as the post title says, i'm lucky enough to have been given some (from what I can tell) fairly decent kit - comprising a marantz m660se ki series, a matching marantz marantz cd63mk2 ki , a marantz st-57 fm tuner, a dual 505 record deck/turntable and a pair of mission 701 speakers. Well holy cow. Not bad considering I've been playing music off my phone or through my guitar amp for the last 2 years. Joy level significantly increased.

Truth be told, all this stuff has been lying in a garage for at least 5 years. It was given to a parent a long time ago, who had no interest, so now some years later and equipped with a car it's finally come home with me. At 32 I finally have a decent, 'grown up' stereo. It's all a bit dusty looking, but I wiped it off and linked it all up as best I could and powered it up and Norah Jones never sounded so good. I've often dreamed about building up a decent cd/vinyl collection, of being one of those guys that has a good music system, and a good music library, and uses both actively, but i've only been able to afford really terrible all in one systems so there was never any point - maybe now I can start living the dream of digging in crates for obscure blues records or finding lost gems in charity shop shelves.

This is all good stuff, but I have a couple of questions. I know enough about high end audio / hifi stuff to know that I know almost nothing. So forgive me if some of these questions seem basic, but that's kind of the level i'm starting at. You should also know when answering that my budget moneywise for further items is practically zero. To put it succinctly, I have very little and often no disposable cash!

Onto the questions then;

Speakers - where should I put these? What on? I have heavy breezeblocks in my garden, would these make a decent ad-hoc speaker stand? The alternative is books or on the carpet.

The seperates - I know enough to know that putting them all on top of each other is a bad thing. I'd imagine the amp would overheat, the cd player would have some interference and the record player on top would be affected magnetically - what are the solutions for this? Is there a good budget hack I can utilise? Can I put something inbetween them to provide cooling and shielding?

Remote control - I only have one, it's for the cd player. Is there some kind of universal remote I could programme the different things I have into that would control them all? I remember seeing ones with screens a few years back, very fancy remotes - are there any a few years old that are decentsish? I'm prepared to save up a bit for one of these, so budget is a bit less of an issue but still a consideration

Cables - don't even ask me, there are so many inputs and outputs on the back of these things. I have 2 sets of red and white cables, RCA they might be called? How important is a good set of these, and where can I get them cheaply?

And finally, what are the questions I should be asking but that haven't yet occured to me to even ask - definitely interested in any thoughts or comments here!

Thanks for reading folks, I'm looking forward to your replies. I'm off now to the local record shop to find a copy of dark side of the moon on 12" vinyl.

Best,

Neilosaur.
 

nima

New member
Jan 15, 2014
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Neilosaur said:
Onto the questions then;

Speakers - where should I put these? What on? I have heavy breezeblocks in my garden, would these make a decent ad-hoc speaker stand? The alternative is books or on the carpet.
Brezeblocks would be better temporary solution to books or carpet.

Entry level speaker stands would be much better, also much nicer I think. See if you can find any used examples.

Which? Look here for a start:

http://www.whathifi.com/reviews/accessories/speaker-stands

Neilosaur said:
The seperates - I know enough to know that putting them all on top of each other is a bad thing. I'd imagine the amp would overheat, the cd player would have some interference and the record player on top would be affected magnetically - what are the solutions for this? Is there a good budget hack I can utilise? Can I put something inbetween them to provide cooling and shielding?
You can put the amp on the CDP for a start, but you definitely want to put TT on something absolutely level and stable.

Ikea lack coffee table is the best thing you can get for almost no money.

Neilosaur said:
Cables - don't even ask me, there are so many inputs and outputs on the back of these things. I have 2 sets of red and white cables, RCA they might be called? How important is a good set of these, and where can I get them cheaply?
No need to go overboard with the cables ATM. Again look at cheapest options here:

http://www.whathifi.com/reviews/accessories/audio-interconnects-analogue

You might want to sort everything else (including decent speaker wires) first. Most dealers should let you borrow the cables before you buy, so you can test them at home and hear if they are worth the asking price.

No need to go overboard with speaker cables either.

You might start with the new Cable Talk 3:

http://www.whathifi.com/review/talk-electronics-talk-3

Make sure you use the same lenght for both speakers.

There will be 100 posts here shortly telling you cables don't/can't make a difference. Just ignore that.
 

Tzutzu

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2013
12
0
10,520
Forget about everything else for the moment. Cables, racks, room treatment are all the same important. Just go and buy some music and enjoy :cheers: You can even connect your phone to your nice amp.

Enjoy :rockout: (you have a long and winding :) road ahead).
 

cheeseboy

New member
Jul 17, 2012
245
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0
good haul and hope you are enjoying. :cheers:

this is all imho of course...

get it all rigged up and have a listen. Make sure you play a load of stuff you know really well, and then start from there and use those tracks a guide to keep playing so you can hear any differences. Initially start with the speaker placement. Theres a nice little starter here on the richer sounds website http://www.richersounds.com/information/tips_firstHifi

once you get that sorted, then you can plumb in everything else around that if it's practical. Ideally, yes, some seperation between the hifi parts is good to stop overheating and stuff, so if you have anything you can use, or you want a cheap ikea hack like this one http://www.ikeahackers.net/2011/12/ikea-lack-audiophile-rack.html#at_pco=smlwn-1.0&at_si=53ac1a88af5eb514&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=0&at_tot=1 (although leave more of a gap between the units I say)...

Don't worry about cables and all that jazz till you get it all up and running and have had a good listen. Then only can decide if you think anything is missing or you want to improve on anything. You've got enough to get started now.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
1
0
For stands look on ebay or local ads, you should be able to puck some up for about £20, they should be high enough so the tweeters are level with your ears when you are sitting in yr normal listening position.
 

CarlDW

New member
Dec 29, 2011
23
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0
As has been mentioned previously, Ikea LACK side tables cost next to nothing (a fiver I think) so in the first instance a couple of them would suffice to place your hi-fi on.

Speaker stands, these can be had for peanuts on eBay, just make sure they are solid and ideally can be filled with dry sand or some other suitable material. If you look on Amazon, Fisual do some reasonable stands new for £50.

As for RCA interconnects and speaker cables, again take a look on Amazon for Fisual interconnnects and Van Damme speaker cable. Not very expensive but good quality and more than good enough.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
1
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Yes I would go for Van Damme Blue, can be had from Maplins about £3m. Or online. most multi strand OFC will also be fine as long as thick enought, I would get at least 2.5mm, 79 strand is a good cheap one.
 

Neilosaur

New member
Jun 26, 2014
1
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0
Thanks guys, for all the input so far - will defo try that trick about having a few reference tracks and trying the speakers in different places after i've had a read of that article. For now I've just put the speakers on 2 breeze blocks standing up long ways, seems to be fairly stable and does elevate them off the floor a little bit. Sound is amazing, i'm really happy with it. Seems that everything is just clearer, like there's more seperation between the frequencies, nothing sounds cloudy, there's more detail. The bass is punchy and clear without being too loud and the mids have detail without being overshadowed by treble. Loving it! Went to the local sue ryder shop and bought Dire Straits brothers in arms (the one with the resonator guitar on the cover) for £1.50 - cracking album, great price, extremely happy!

There is a dark looming cloud, however. This morning when I turned the amp on, nothing. I checked all the connections (even though it'd been working fine the night before) but all was connected as it should be. The CD was playing, everything was on, but no sound. Then for a moment, maybe 3 seconds, there was suddenly music. Then suddenly it stopped again. I resolved to just leave it alone and see if it'd come on by itself and sure enough after a bit (not sure exactly how long, as I went upstairs), it was back on and staying on. Odd.

Just now when I went to put on my new dire straits record, it did the same thing. This time I sat and waited, and it took about 2 mins to start working properly. Maybe two and a half. Same as before, silence, then a second or two of music, then nothing, then it's back and stays on. I think something in the powertrain must be amiss from my very rudimentary understanding of how these things work but I've no clue as to what, or if it's a problem that will get better by itself, or get worse as time goes on. Should I just leave the amp on all the time? There's no issue with doing that if I want to/if it's a good idea. Maybe they dont like being turned on and off all the time? Maybe it's a spider slowly frying that'd crawled in and made itself at home over the years the amp was in the garage?

Impossible ask I know, to diagnose this problem from the above, but does anyone have any clue what it could be and if it's something I need to get fixed?

Oh, also, what is the "CD Direct" button for? I read somewhere it bypasses the casette gubbins or something, it also seems to bypass the balance control too, but I'm not really sure what that means in terms of what it does to the sound and why/what i'd want it for? why is it called cd direct when it works with vinyl?

Answers on a postcard, would love to know! :)

Thanks again guys, I'll keep you posted..
 

nima

New member
Jan 15, 2014
29
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0
"CD Direct" bypasses balance control and tape output, it is supposed to give better sound, but the difference is negligible.

Try putting small balls of blu tack or silly putty or similar under your speakers' corners so they attach to the blocks, it should fix the sound a bit and also prevent new scratches... I liked those Mission 701 very much - the best Mission speakers ever, if you ask me. Enjoy. But please place the TT on something solid and level.
 

PEAYEL

New member
Dec 13, 2008
19
0
0
As has been said listen to loads of music, take a year at least. You'll work out what you like and don't like by doing this.

After being in storage every component will have dust and possibly damp in it. Please vacuum each component with the brush attachment. Especially the amp vents and other vents that you can see. If you are handy with a screwdriver take off the cover to the amp and clean with a soft brush everything that you see, vacuum gently all the dust away.

Breeze blocks can make great speaker stands and also a TT stand. If the breeze blocks are on their ends cut up squash balls and place two on each block. If you get a piece of hard wood or a granite chopping board and place this on the four halves so that it makes a bridge, you will have a solid stand base for your speakers. A little blu tac under each corner of the speaker and you're done. This can be repeated for the TT, but using larger bridging material, and a spirit level.

Please look at a website called IKEAhacksers.net for some good ideas on stands etc. The IKEA Lark seems a popular starting point.

Please go here for all the manuals you need http://www.marantz.co.uk/uk/support/pages/manuals.aspx .

If you want you can use the half a squash ball under each corner of the separate units until you can afford a stand, I would ensure that the amp is placed with a minimum of 10cm gap above it.

Get on eBay for cables and then compare with Amazon etc. You can pick up QED and other quality cables for next to nothing if you're savvy.
 

visionary

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2008
77
0
18,540
Re-check and clean all electrical contacts

If you go here you should be able to find manuals for your Marantz kit, might help and will certainly explain things like CD Direct for you.

Sounds like a fab "starter" system for you. Enjoy!

Main thing to remember is play lots of music :) If, after a good while, you start to feel the sound needs more (insert as required) then start changing things but first play music
 

nima

New member
Jan 15, 2014
29
0
0
I've just seen these

http://www.whathifi.com/review/soundstyle-z2

ex display going for GBP30 at

http://www.musicraft.co.uk/special-offers/
 

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