Need help buying my first Hi-Fi separates system.


New member
Aug 10, 2019
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I am looking to buying a hi-fi separates kit for the first time, and would greatly appreciate your advice and assistance in guiding me through this. I Apologise in advance for the long blog below...


In January this year, I bought the Philips FWM377 mini hi-fi because it can write directly to a USB device, but have now returned it to the store because of faults (the speaker blew within 5 minutes of switching it on, and in the replacement the RDS traffic news feature didn't work) and got my money back.

My plan was to also buy an iPOD 160Gb Classic so I can at least convert my tapes to a USB device using the hi-fi as I don't have a PC at home (I'm writing this from my work PC).

As I started looking for another hi-fi system which can write directly to USB, I came across a hi-fi separates solution in the Argos catalogue by Acoustic Solutions which featured an 80Gb jukebox, so I decided to explore this avenue further instead, because I thought it might be better to have a complete integrated solution instead of separate devices as all my music will be in one place.
It's a jungle out there!!!
Therefore, I bought the February and April issues of What Hi-Fi? to see what else is available, but not knowing much about Hi-Fi separates, I don't know where to begin. This is where I hope that you are able to advice/assist me...


· I have a big collection of vinyls (mostly 7" singles) and tapes (mixture of singles and albums) which I would like to convert to MP3 format directly using a USB/jukebox. Furthermore, I currently have over 250 CD's, some of which also include music DVDs, but I don't have any films on DVD yet.

· The CD player should allow playback of various formats/media such as CD-R, CD-RW, MP3, WMA, etc.

· The (DAB) tuner needs to have at least 30 presets as I like to store all my favourite stations.

· The jukebox should ideally include the ability to create multiple playlists and at least 160Gb hard drive to allow for growth in my music collection.

I haven't set myself a budget as I don't know what's out there in the market, but would be looking at the budget/low-end (in terms of costs) for a solution. Moreover, I might consider just buying a CD player, Amp, tuner, speakers, and Jukebox/music server for now, and then add the turntable, tape deck, etc. later.


Having looked through the above-mentioned issues of What HI-FI, I am interested in the following:-

CD player: Marantz CD6002,

Marantz CD5001,

Cambridge Audio Azur 340C,

Cambridge Audio Azur 540C v2.

Amplifier: Marantz PM6002,

Marantz PM4001,

Cambridge Audio Azur 340A SE,

Cambridge Audio Azur 540a V2.0.

Speaker (bookshelf): Monitor Audio Bronze BR2,

Cambridge Audio S30,

Mordant-Short Avant 902i,

Tannoy Mercury F1 custom.

DAB Tuner:

Jukebox/Music server:



Tape deck:


Last weekend, I paid a visit to my nearest Richer Sounds & Sony stores to see what they have available. Richer Sounds showed me a Cambridge Audio music server (Model: Azur 640H) with CD player and a 160Gb hard drive for around £600, and at Sony, I saw a music server (Model: NAC-HD1) with a CD player and a 250Gb hard drive for around £700. What do you think of these two products? Would you recommend either of them?

So, this is where I'm at currently with my research. Would you recommend any of the above kit or would you recommend something entirely different to suit my requirements?

Thank you in anticipation of all your help and advice.


· Surround sound or stereo ?

· DAB or Internet radio ?

· Presumably, the internet radio needs an internet connection ? In which case, as I don't have a PC, it's no good for me.

· Is it possible to regularly backup the jukebox/music server, just in case of the hard drive failing/crashing?

· Can the jukebox/music server export/transfer music to, for example, an MP3 player ?

John Duncan

Well-known member
right - the Yamaha CDR-HD1500 covers many of the above (juke box and CD-playing duties), though can't immediately work out whether it will play mp3-encoded disks. Don't think you can transfer data to an mp3 player though, trying to work that one out........

Note that the money you're talking about for a server would buy you a PC which would do pretty much all you ask..........


Thanks very much for your reply.

I mainly tend to listen to Magic FM, Heart FM, Smooth, as well as all the BBC radio stations including Radio 5 for the football.


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