New system from scracth - some advice needed

acalex

New member
Sep 13, 2011
73
0
0
Visit site
Hi to everybody,

my name is Alessandro and I am new to this great forum! I finally got my own appartment and would like to build my own hi-fi system. I really would love to connect different sources keeping a good overall sound quality (I am not a professional tough).

My main concern is be able to:

- Having input from different sources (mainly iphone and pc) using wireless connection. Docking iPhone is fine but I would like to be able to choose a different song even when I am in the kitchen

- Multizone sound. Would like to have output in the living room, bedroom and bathroom at least.

- Radio. I love the radio and would like to be able to listen to internet readio also if possible

- Quality of sound. Doesn't have to be for professional reason, but I would like to be able to enjoy the quality!

- Being able to read MP3 (of course) :)

I know it is a lot of requests, but is there a system which does that? Or....is it possible to build a customized system?

Thanks to everybody!

Alessandro
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
7
18,895
Visit site
Multiroom with access to internet radio and good SQ sounds like Sonos......

what is your budget? do you have any kit at the moment? do you know what kind of sound you like?
 

acalex

New member
Sep 13, 2011
73
0
0
Visit site
Thanks for your reply! I do not have any system at the moment, let's say as first purchase I wouldn't mind spending around 1000 euro, maybe adding ad-hoc pieces in the coming months...I mean for now priority is the leaving room where I spend most of the time (I am working from home often).

Kind of sound, hmmm...I am not a specialist but I like to be able to sit back and enjoy good music, clear voice with no scratches even if I put volume a bit up. I don't listen to lot of electro music so for me the voice is very important. Not sure I responded to your question...

Thanks again

Alessandro
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
7
18,895
Visit site
Hi Alessandro,

I would definitely recommend Sonos for what you want to achieve. It can access all files stored on your computer (if it is on) or on a NAS (all the time) and can be controlled wirelessly by your computer or iPhone. You can also access Internet radio and streaming services such as spotify and napster. It is very easy to set up and has a very stable wireless 'mesh'. Having said all that, therearee cheaper options that do similar things, notably squeezebox.

If you do go this route it is simple to add extra zones as and when you have money, and for smaller rooms where SQ is less important these can be all in one units such as the play 3 or play 5. I should add that you will need a wired connection to your router - if the router is not in the same room as any of your zones you will need to buy a zonebridge, although these are now available for around £32.

Your decision then is what unit to buy and what speakers. A ZP120 has its own amplification, so you would just need a pair of speakers. With a ZP90 you would need an integrated amplifier as well. This would give you greater flexibility to upgrade down the line.

It's hard to recommend amps and speakers with so little to go on, and others are better at that than me anyway. How big is the room? What music do you listen to? Are you prepared to buy second hand? With your budget and experience second hand may be a good idea. Have you listened to any systems that you like? Any you don't?

Cheers,
Ben
 

acalex

New member
Sep 13, 2011
73
0
0
Visit site
Ben,

again thanks a lot! Ok let's start from the easy questions

- Room is approximately 18/20sqm (5x4) with around 3mt ceilings and wooden floor. This is the main room where my fixed pc is with the wireless router.

I already planned to buy an external amplifier with subwoofer and 2 floorstanding loudpseakers for this room, so I can assume the ZP90 is perfect for me. I need to connect it to the router and I will be able to play songs from my fixed pc/iphone using this system? How does it work? Pc connects wirelssly to the ZP90?

For the other rooms I agree with you, I might put a Play3 in the kitchen/bathroom and a play 5 in the bedroom (coming months).

I do not listen to many CDs so I guess a separate CD player would be useless for now, I would rather be playing some radio...not only internet radio. So might need a separate radio tuner or just getting an ampli with radio receiver as well?

Of course I am prepared to buy second hand since I do not have much experience, I just checked brands like Yamaha or Pioneer on the web but they all have minimum 5.1 AV amplifier...is that what I need? I don't really need more than 2 good speakers + subwoofers in the living room.

For the future I would like to transform the room into a small cinema since I am already planning to buy a full hd video projector (for work) to connect to the hi-fi system in the living room to enjoy some movies. Unfortunately I didn't listen to other systems so far more than usual compact hi-fi...

Type of music is wide....from jazz/blues to make some atmosphere, to raggae when I want to feel happier :), to classic music when I want to relax...and of corse the typical commercial music (pop, rock, country etc...).

I really would like to build this right and not jumping to any commercial pre-built system, even something entry level for now but that I can update with time whenever I will have more experience!
Thanks again!
 

acalex

New member
Sep 13, 2011
73
0
0
Visit site
Also have some really "rookie" question...maybe is silly but I can't understand why all the amplifiers that I am checking (Marantz PM6003 for example) do not have an exit for the subwoofer, how I can connect it the sub to it? Or I do not need it?

Thanks :)

What about the Onkyo A-5VL which I am checking now on internet, is that a good amplifier? Or maybe...what are the technical specs which I need to take into account when buying an ampli?? Thanks again!
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
7
18,895
Visit site
No problem Alessandro :)

Indeed, the ZP90 sounds ideal for your needs. It is supplied with an ethernet cable which simply connects the ZP90 and your router. In simple terms, it can then access anything that your router can. So without a computer on, it can stream services such as Spotify and internet radio. If your computer is on and connected to your router (whether wirelessly or wired) the ZP90 will also be able to access anything on your computer. Similarly, if you have a NAS device attached to your router, this will always be on, and the ZP90 will always be able to access the files on it. Basically, the first time you plug it in there will be a period during the setup when the ZP90 'finds' all of your stored file. You can then manually or automatically update later, so it finds new files that you have added.

As previously said, the cheapest way to control this is with an iPhone / iPod touch, if you have one already. There is a dedicated controller but it is expensive and not that much better, according to users. You can use this to control it, whether or not your PC is on. I would highly recommend subscribing to Spotify premium, as this gives you an amazing selection of mostly good quality music for a reasonable price.

Your plan for your other rooms sounds sensible. When funds allows, I am thinking of adding a ZP90 and some small pro active speakers as a small but quality office set up.

As for a tuner - as long as you have decent internet speeds, you will have access to many internet radio stations via the ZP90. If you want to listen to FM you may want to consider a separate tuner, but I'd see whether you still want to after using the ZP90 for a few months.

Given the size of your room, I can see the sense in having floorstanders. If it were just for music, I would question whether you need floorstanders and a subwoofer, but you say you may be planning to have a projector. Down the line will you be wanting a surround sound setup or stick with 2.1? This will also dictate your choice of amplifier. If you may want 5.1 surround sound in the future, then an AV receiver (that you have been looking at) is the way to go. If 2.1 is the most you will go to, then a stereo integrated amplifier is what you want. As you are on a budget, I would recommend going for 2 floorstanders initially (and spending a bit more on them than if you were getting a subwoofer as well), and then when funds allow add a sub (if you still want to). As long as it has speaker-level inputs you should not have a problem.

Cheers,

Ben
 

acalex

New member
Sep 13, 2011
73
0
0
Visit site
Great answer, thanks a lot! So I start underestanding something...I am glad :D

So as a recap I would start buying an Ampli + 2 good floorstanding speakers for now to connect to pc and play MP3 and internet radio from pc.

Regarding the choice between 2.1 and 5.1 is a difficult one. I guess 2.1 can provide better sound quality (using a stereo integrated amplifier) whilst 5.1 will give me more versatility should I think of setting up a "movie room". I thinkI will stick with 2.1 for now...what do you think?

As a next step I would buy Sonos ZP90 to add multizone and start streaming using my iPhone as a remote control. This is a great upgrade since I won't need to go phisically on pc to change music since the application running on my phone will allow to select music remotely from my fixed PC also, correct?

I also read most of the 5-stars reviews on this great site and found these names as amplifiers

- Denon PMA 710

- Yamaha AS-500

- Rotel RA-04SE

- Marantz PM6003

- Onkio A5-VL

Do you have any on any of those?

As regarding speakers I saw the Tannoy Mercury V4 and the more expensive Aviano 6....suggestions?

Thanks again!
 

busb

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2011
84
6
18,545
Visit site
Hi Alessandro

Welcome to this forum. I have 2 floor standing speakers, fed by a stereo amplifier. I listen to CDs, my iPhone & TV through this setup. My DVD/BR player feeds both sound & vision via HDMI to the TV. The audio from my TV is fed to a stand-alone DAC via its optical out. I consider my TV to be a main source of audio - the internal speakers are never used. The TV is wall mounted & centred between my floorstanders. If you watch TV, consider it as part as your Hi Fi system from the start rather being a separate system as many people seem to do.

My opinion is to not bother with a surround system until you are ready to spend serious money on a decent AV amp & extra speakers - a decent stereo setup will sound far better than a surround system system for the same budget! My personal view is to get the right speakers that work well in your room & spend half your budget on them - even if this means buying used equipment to go with them. Although the quality of the source is important, my view is that the amplifier is even more so. You can always replace the amplifier for a better one at a later date. However, all the theory about how to spend your given budget goes out of the window if you can find a bargain, either used or ex-demo. Most of my Hi Fi was bought this way!

As for reviews - they should be taken as a guide only - your ears are far more important - have faith in them! As for which brands, all I can usefully say is that there are many of them! The best way of buying a decent sound system is to take your time, read up & listen to equipment from several shops if your situation allows. Getting the speakers right is the 1st stage - they define the overall sound in a particular room & a good amplifier will get the best from them. I would also suggest NOT spending silly money on cables for your 1st system - I feel they have the least effect on sound quality. Also consider where the equipment is going to be put & on what. Have fun choosing - if you love music, you will enjoy it more through a well chosen system!
 

acalex

New member
Sep 13, 2011
73
0
0
Visit site
Thanks guys for all your replies, you are really helping me to get this straight!

So I think I will buy some great floorstanding speakers and a good ampli for now and take from there. I am indeed not in a rush to get surround sound since I still do not have TV at home and it is not a priority for now!

As I sad I will spend some time to find a good set of ampli+speakers and see...the problem is that here in Belgium is quite difficult to find a decent shop, that's why I am looking a lot on the internet...but you are right that I can't buy without trying any of that!

What about the speakers I mentioned? Any good? ;)

Thanks again
 

acalex

New member
Sep 13, 2011
73
0
0
Visit site
I bought my first set!!! I am proud ;)!
I sat in that room for almost 3hs and listened to all possible combinations of ampli speakers but the ones I got very impressed are the Monitor Audio Silver RX6...outstanding...nothing to compare with the Bronze. They were slight over my budget but I said I am gonna keep them for long time...paid 900 euro the black pair...

Ampli I tried different ones, the Marantz 6300, the Arcam A18, the Vincent SV129 and also the more expensive Denon, but in the end I preferred the Vincent Sv129 which was down to 499 from 699 as it was the demo one.

He also advised me to add a DAC since I will be mainly playing MP3 from my pc for now...is that a good idea?In the end I bought it since he told me that playing directly from that source wouldn't have been that great.

I am just wondering...is that replacing the Sonos ZP90 which I would like to buy in the coming months? I mean...is the ZP90 also a converter? Or they are two complementary products?

Thanks again!
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts