iPod Centric Hi-Fi Set-up

admin_exported

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Hej,

I have been reading around the forum for quite long and it has provided me with tons of useful information. However, now I would like to ask the more knowledgeable people out there for some opinions regarding the best way to juice an iPod in a small living room setting (~25 m2). I am currently replacing all my MP3’s by ALAC’s so I can enjoy the full detail of the music – I love the idea of having one’s musical collection in one small machine that you can listen both at home and on the move; a while ago, I got a pair of Beyerdynamic T50p in order to fulfill the portable part of my scheme: I don’t know if they are the best in town, but they were rated highly and I honestly love with passion the level of detail I get from those cans (though, to my taste, the bass might be a wee bit too powerful, oh well, still love them!). I digress…

I have come to two possible schemes, one of them simpler, the other... more complicated (the latter being the one I favor the most even though it’d imply saving for a longer while):

[*]I. The simple set-up:
ONKYO TX-8050 + SPEAKERS: I haven’t found _ANY_ reviews on this machine, so I don’t know how good it is. I don’t know either if it will be compatible with ALAC (I guess that the iPod would do the decoding of the files and then handle the digital signal to the ONKYO, but that’s just my educated guess – does anyone know?).

Does anyone have any insight on this amplifier? It seems to have it all: Jack of all trades, master of none, perhaps?

I will deal with the speakers later on, as that’s something I know almost nothing about.

[*]II. The complicated set-up: Digital iPod Transport + DAC + AMP + SPEAKERS
-Digital Transport: Cambridge Audio iD100 Digital Dock vs. ONKYO ND-S1 vs. Pure Digital i20

-DAC: this is the only sure thing: CA DACMagic - as it seems that everyone luvs it!

-Amplifier: CA Azur 650A vs. Marantz PM6004 (this last one would require extra-extra savings)

-SPEAKERS: and well, this is quite foggy for me now… basically debating how much I should spend here, in (approx.) increasing price order, I have considered:

Monitor Audio BX1 > Monitor Audio BX2 > B&W 685 > KEF Q300 > Monitor Audio RX1 > Monitor Audio RX2. Would the MA BX2/RX2 be an overkill for my little living room?

This is all based on reviews I have read and, of course, I would have to test them (if I find them on exhibition).

But, well, there you go! Feel free to comment and suggest!

Thanks!
 

chebby

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Or a Marantz M-CR603 (£450)

+ AirPlay (free download from Marantz at the moment)

+ some decent £400 - £1000 speakers (think of Monitor Audio RX1s up to PMC DB1is)

+ iPod Touch or iPhone (for use with Airplay)

Airplay will allow you to circumvent the whole 'tethered dock' or iPod transport hooha with all of their extra boxes and cables.

Or you can use the nearest hosted iTunes - with Airplay - and take the iPod out out of the loop entirely.

Or you can simply use the Apple iPod's own USB connection straight into the front panel of the M-CR603 which exploits the DAC built in to the hifi rather than the one in the iPod itself. (Better than using a dock.)
 

jaxwired

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Since you are looking for a compact solution, why not consider the new Rega Brio and matching Rega DAC. They are half width and have both received sellar reviews. Combine these with one of the digital iPod docs and you're all set. As for speakers, there's so many great choices, just go audition.
 
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Anonymous

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That looks great! One rookie question, though, when connecting it into the iPod via USB (I do already have an iPod, will be getting an iPhone if and when they ship them with large enough disk storage!), will the format in which my files are coded matter? As I said before, I assume that the iPod will do the file reading and decoding, passing on the digital signal ready to be converted into something amplifiers and speakers can understand - but I am not so sure!

I will add this to my list of considerations! Thanks!
 
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Anonymous

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The Rega's look good but they are a little bit outside my budget - I could readjust but I can sacrifice a little bit of physical space (Plus, I'm living in Finland and I found only one dealer... :/)
 
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Anonymous

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Okej, now I have to update my post, as the simpler option was overtaken by the Marantz MCR603. It does really look tempting, but would I be sacrificing expandibility and quality with an all-in-one system? Or is it maybe old-fashioned to "frown upon" multicomponent systems? I mean, the technology is there, isn't it?
 

chebby

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It really depends on...

How much you are going to spend on the seperates.

How much space and tidiness is a factor.

How much you are going to need all the sources and flexibility the M-CR603 offers.

A lot of people here have never heard the M-CR603 and will (of course) recommend almost any seperates against any all-in-one unit because that has been the received wisdom for so many years.

Put it this way... I sold a two years old, entry level Naim seperates system (tuner, CD, amp) and bought the M-CR603 to de-clutter my hifi.

I expected a drop in outright quality and that was true - of course - but nowhere near as much of a drop as expected, and not enough to make me think I had made a mistake. (In fact I am playing far more music - in far more ways - nowadays than ever before.)

Given a fixed budget, I would rather have the M-CR603 with great speakers than a pile of Marantz entry level seperates and iPod transport/dock/DAC etc. with budget speakers.

Ultimately you must listen to all the options within your budget and decide. My priorities are not the same as yours.

PS The front panel USB is "made for iPod" (and iPhone) according to Marantz and is labelled as such.
 
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Anonymous

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Writing this while listening to my mcr 603. It really is a neat bit of kit. Capabilities with digital music are excellent. I mainly listen to digital music via a logitech squeezebox. Started running it through the mcr 603s digital optical in and noted a big jump in quality. I am now committed to re ripping my mp3s in apple lossless as I can now hear the difference having been cynical about the difference with my previous budget separates set up. I have a pair of dali zensor 1s that sound great.

Andy.
 
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Anonymous

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I'm about to go the Airplay way, as well. My setup will be PC -> DAC -> amp. Then I will use my iPad to wirelessly remotecontrol my PC's iTunes library. Argon has just released an entrylevel 50w amp with buildin DAC. You can get it in Hifiklubben in Finland, I believe(?) I'm from Denmark, it's in stock here.
 
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Anonymous

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Chebby: hej! thanks for the great and useful insights! I appreciate them! I have to admit that I am quite new to the HiFi world... thus, I am aware that my seemingly prejudice is based on the "received wisdom" you just mentioned.

I think I will finally opt for the all-in-one solution.

Thanks again!

Svedel: I have to check! There's no hifiklubben.fi so I will check if the Swedish one delivers to Finland... otherwise, it'll have to be amazon.de!
 

bay24

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For £1000 (which sounds like how much you are looking to spend) I would seriously see if avi have any of their neutron v 2.1 set ups left, they were selling them at £900. Amazing for the money as you get some very good speakers, very good sub, dac, pre and power amps for that money.add an airport express or digital dock and you are away! I would say the DAC is quite a step up from the DAC magic to my ears as well.
 

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