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Noob questions re purchasing a new sound system

Cloodie

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Jul 11, 2020
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I've joined the forum as I'm looking for some information to help me choose a new system.

First of all, it's around 15 years or since I bought anything to play music on and that was a Denon UD-M50 cd player. I'm currently still using this.

In the coming months I'm going to be moving house and I'm looking for a new system but I'm pretty lost in terms of what is out there and what I need so I have a few questions.

First of all, I'd like a system with wireless speakers so there are no cables running anywhere. If I purchase a cd player with wireless speakers will this have any impact or loss of sound quality compared to that of a system where the speakers are connected by wires?

Secondly, I may also be looking to add a turntable at some point that would connect to the above. What do I need to consider or look at if I'm going down this route?

Thanks in advance for any advice and could I please ask that you assume you are talking to an idiot when replying as I genuinely have no great knowledge in this area despite my love of music and hefty cd collection :)
 

Gray

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Welcome to the forum.
Couple of general points for you.
Remember that wireless speakers need to be close to mains sockets.
And think carefully about your sources as they will dictate the amount and types of inputs your speakers will need.
Could you be into streaming? Have you got a vinyl collection at all?.....otherwise it might be an idea to check the price of the vinyl itself before getting a turntable.
 
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Cloodie

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Welcome to the forum.
Couple of general points for you.
Remember that wireless speakers need to be close to mains sockets.
And think carefully about your sources as they will dictate the amount and types of inputs your speakers will need.
Could you be into streaming? Have you got a vinyl collection at all?.....otherwise it might be an idea to check the price of the vinyl itself before getting a turntable.
I've never streamed and it's not something I'd really be looking at I just like the idea of playing cd's and the better sound quality. As for vinyl, I've bought a few albums on vinyl lately despite not currently having anything to play them on. So far it's all classic albums that I already have on cd.
 

Gray

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Only asked about vinyl as retailers are exploiting the renewed interest so it would be a bit expensive to start a collection now.
There are turntables that can transmit by Bluetooth to the BT receiver in wireless speakers but that option is best avoided - turntables require a phono preamplifier which is commonly built into integrated amplifiers but not wireless speakers - in which case you'd need a TT with a built-in preamp (Rega, for example, sell such a model) and need that to be wired to the analogue line input of the speakers.
As for CD, your Denon could still be a viable option, though it too would need to be physically wired to the speakers.
I get what you say about streaming (although streaming enthusiasts will happily point out that they get as good, or better, than CD quality and limitless choice for their monthly subscriptions).

The bottom line:
With your specific intended sources and lack of any streaming /Bluetooth requirement then wireless is not your best option.
Far more useful and better value for you would be a conventional, wired system.
 
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jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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I've joined the forum as I'm looking for some information to help me choose a new system.

First of all, I'd like a system with wireless speakers so there are no cables running anywhere. If I purchase a cd player with wireless speakers will this have any impact or loss of sound quality compared to that of a system where the speakers are connected by wires?

Secondly, I may also be looking to add a turntable at some point that would connect to the above. What do I need to consider or look at if I'm going down this route?

Thanks in advance for any advice and could I please ask that you assume you are talking to an idiot when replying as I genuinely have no great knowledge in this area despite my love of music and hefty cd collection :)
Firstly, wireless speakers have a mains lead, so you'll still have some wires. Possible options are Dynaudio and Dali. For example, in the Dynaudio set-up, the CD player would be wired to a Dynaudio Connect, which then transmits the sound to the speakers, wherever they may be. Your speakers can even be in a different room if you like.

Best bet is to find a reputable dealer who can demonstrate such a set-up for you.
 
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jonathanRD

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............ I genuinely have no great knowledge in this area despite my love of music and hefty cd collection :)
Hi Cloodie, a love of music and a hefty cd collection deserves a decent system and I'm sure you will derive a lot of pleasure from it. Don't be put off by the endless options which can be very confusing even to those that have some knowledge. Be patient, take your time, do lots of research and as per the previous advice, visit a local hifi dealer to get some early ideas about what's available. Don't feel obliged to immediately go with what the dealer advises either. You could even come back here and post an update and ask further advice.
 
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Gray

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By choosing exclusively wireless, your product options would (necessarily) be more limited - meaning less chance of you finding the optimum sonic match for you and your room.
Personally, I wouldn't want my choices compromised, but if wireless is your priority.......
 

Cloodie

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Jul 11, 2020
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Thanks for the advice so far. In terms of a wireless system limiting my options, it' not something that's set in stone. I'd be fine to go with wires if this means better sound quality etc

As for budget and room size, I'm looking for something under £1000. That doesn't mean it has to be up to that price point just that it's the maximum I'd be looking to spend. If it came in a good bit lower than that then all the better. The room size is 21'10 by 14'1 (according to the estate agents floor plan :))
 
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rainsoothe

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Hi - if you can place your speakers away from walls (around 25-30cm at least)), I'd look at the Rega Io + Triangle BR 03 + Marantz CD 5005. You will have to factor in a pair of stands, though, so if this combo is way over budget, just use your current CDP for a while. On the upside, the Rega Io has a phonostage, so when you decide to ad a tt, you'll have that covered.
 
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Cloodie

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Everytime I read something whether it be replies here or just on the web in general I seem to end up with more questions than I started with :D.

So for now, my thinking is that I'll initially start with a cd player and wired speakers. Normally when I speak of a cd player I mean a stand alone product but now I'm thinking a cd player and an amp to go with it. The reason being when I decide to purchase a turntable, I'll need the amp for it.

So this leads to the first question, when I purchase a turntable I see talk of a pre-amp, is this something I'll need in addition to the amp? I'm currently liking the idea of the Rega Planar 1.

Secondly, and it's my last question on wireless speakers, from what I read in the article above and elsewhere using wireless speakers for a turntable definitely seems a big no no and part of this is to do with the fact that you are taking an analogue signal and digitising it, which kinda defeats the purpose really (if I've read things correctly). If that's the case then this issue doesn't necessarily apply when thinking of cd players?
 

12th Monkey

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If you go down the wired route, you need source (CD, vinyl), amplification and speakers. A preamp and power amp are in the same box in most, it'll be called an integrated amp and will have inputs and speaker terminals.

If you go wireless, I think (but don't quote me here) almost all wireless speakers have built-in amplification, hence the need for their own power. So you'd only need a source to get music.

That doesn't make wireless automatically better value - you are paying for the amplification whether it's in wireless speakers or a separate integrated amp.

Separate pre-and power amps tend to be for higher-end gear (so I wouldn't worry about that at present), but there's a small thing to consider re adding vinyl later. Almost all sources (CD, streamer, tuner etc) operate at what's called line level, which means the signal that they output (putting it simply) is at the same approx. voltage level - you just plug and play. Most turntables output a much smaller signal, which needs a boost (from what's called a phono stage) to get it up to line level.

There are three ways to address this:

1) Buy an amp with a built in phono stage - it'll have a dedicated input for a turntable.

2) Buy a turntable with a built in phono stage.

3) Buy a separate phono stage when you buy a turntable.

Option one would appeal more to me in your shoes, but leaves less scope for upgrading in future.
 
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Gray

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I see that there is a Rega Planar 1 Plus which comes with a built in phono stage.
That would be a good choice. If you research TTs with built-in phono preamps you'll see that you can usually bypass the amplification and use the cartridge direct into an integrated amp with its own phono stage if you preferred the sound that way.
I was a bit surprised to have just read that with the P1 Plus, you must use the amp (I worked at Rega, but in the days before the P1). That's no real problem because you can be pretty sure it will be good - does just mean not having the option to experiment if you were to buy an integrated with its own stage.

If you look on the back of your Denon unit, you'll see that it has an optical digital output. This means that you don't have to rush into buying any new CD player. If you were to choose an amp with digital inputs (such as the Marantz PM6006) a low cost Toslink optical cable would connect the Denon to it - in which case you'd be using the DAC in the Marantz rather than the one in your Denon.
You might well find a new CDP is unnecessary - since they're (arguably) only as good as the DAC they're using.
 
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12th Monkey

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Without wishing to add further confusion, I'm sure I read somewhere that coax digital outputs were unmolested, but that optical ones had been converted to analogue and had to be re-digitised.
 

Gray

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Without wishing to add further confusion, I'm sure I read somewhere that coax digital outputs were unmolested, but that optical ones had been converted to analogue and had to be re-digitised.
I don't think that's the case.
You might find that, compared to coax, optical digital can't always handle the highest PCM resolutions - but for CD, no difference.
(Although, no doubt, there will always be those who prefer one form of digital sound to another!).
 

Al ears

Moderator
Without wishing to add further confusion, I'm sure I read somewhere that coax digital outputs were unmolested, but that optical ones had been converted to analogue and had to be re-digitised.
Are you sure? That's not my understanding but I could be wrong. How can you send an analogue signal down a bit of glass?
 

Cloodie

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Jul 11, 2020
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In terms of a cd player this would be my priority first of all as I have about 600 cds but only about 5 lps. My current cd player is struggling at the moment to read cds and while I realise it might be something as 'simple' as cleaning the lens I do like the idea of something newer and a bit more modern looking. As I'll be purchasing this for a house move looks are playing a big part in this as well.
 
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12th Monkey

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Are you sure? That's not my understanding but I could be wrong. How can you send an analogue signal down a bit of glass?
Nope, I'm far from sure, though what I meant was that optical would have been through the CDP's own DAC and then re-converted to digital before becoming light once more.

Like I say, can't recall where I picked that up and therefore its veracity is very much open to question!
 

rainsoothe

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If CD playback is a priority, you really can't beat Marantz players in the budget category, and even their higher models are very good at their respective price ranges. The CD5005 is basically the 6005 but with no digital inputs (which you don't need).

Alternatively, if you want to buy an amp with digital connectivity, you could get a transport (wich just spins and reads the CD) and use the DAC in the amp. For instance, if you wanna match aesthetics, there's the Cambridge Audio CXC + CXA61 or 81, or the Audiolab CDT6000 + 6000A. I find Audiolab a bit clinical and CA amplification a bit bright (but also warm in the bass) - so you really should audition and let your ears decide.

For matching visuals, a Marantz cdp + amp (CD5005 + PM6006 for instance) would be a great match with Dali speakers. But imo the system I first suggested will be superior - worth it? Only you could tell.
 

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