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Question Picking equipment without hearing.

silky320

Active member
Mar 8, 2021
8
3
25
HiFi Noob.. I have an untreated almost empty room 5.8m x 3.96m. Looking for my first "Serious" sound system.. Problem is I have no local shops to listen to the equipment I am interested in buying, Cambridge Audio, Rega, Emotiva, Q Acoustics.. I really like the reviews of the Emotiva TA-100 and the BasX A-300 I also really like the Q Acoustics 3050i but haven't heard either one.. I could always buy what I have heard but standing in an open crowded showroom where the only thing that sounds half way decent is way past my budget or I could copy my Brothers Denon, Kef combination but where's the fun in that ?? Anyone else had this situation or have any suggestions or opinions?? Thanks in advance...
 

12oner

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
92
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45
Welcome/hey/aloha,

So everyone on here will advise auditioning equipment before purchasing, I know you've said you have no local shops but have you tried calling online dealers? Some do offer a home auditioning service and I'd imagine more will have opened up to this service during the pandemic.

Also from the gear you mention if there is a particular combo of amp & speakers that you think you'll really like it might be worth contacting the manufacturers directly. I don't have anyone who stocks Acoustic Energy gear near me, emailed them directly and they actually managed to send a pair of speakers to a private local dealer who could then courier them to my house. So services might be available to you but you just don't know it.

Failing these, you could just buy some equipment blind (items you're confident you could resell without a loss) and sell on eBay if you don't like. I've done this on a number of occasions as gives me the opportunity to try out gear at a cheaper price (secondhand) which I might not ever be able to get hold of now, as older models.

Hope that's of some help.

Cheers
 
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millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
741
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11,270
HiFi Noob.. I have an untreated almost empty room 5.8m x 3.96m. Looking for my first "Serious" sound system.. Problem is I have no local shops to listen to the equipment I am interested in buying, Cambridge Audio, Rega, Emotiva, Q Acoustics.. I really like the reviews of the Emotiva TA-100 and the BasX A-300 I also really like the Q Acoustics 3050i but haven't heard either one.. I could always buy what I have heard but standing in an open crowded showroom where the only thing that sounds half way decent is way past my budget or I could copy my Brothers Denon, Kef combination but where's the fun in that ?? Anyone else had this situation or have any suggestions or opinions?? Thanks in advance...

Been there and done that, and it gets very expensive very quickly. If you're going this route make sure you read professional reviews very very closely, take user reviews with a large pinch of salt (perfect example of that is sid in these parts seems to hate Kef for the sake of hate) , just too user biased. Read the words they use in the review very carfully and the tone of the review as whole. Ie are they knocking a star becasue its exspensive for what it is or are they doing it actually becasue the product has a genuine defiacancy eg user interface problems.

Make sure where ever you buy from has a robust returns policy, like sonos's try for 3 months and return if not happy.

If you can make sure you can listen, even more so if going secound hand for very obvious reasons you dont want a broken product. And in this day age i dont think a video of the product working for about 5 mins is out of the question.

Your choice what you do but i always hear this "no shops near by" statment alot, its not really and excuse in my mind in this day and age. My "local" dealer is 400miles away in scotland bcause they sell the products i want. And they let me borrow the items too for home demo (you may have to lay a small deposit in the first instamce). If the dealers want your custom they willl sort somthing out for you. BUT dont just ring them and say i want to borrow a few products, build a repour talk to them about what you're after and listen to there advice.
 
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silky320

Active member
Mar 8, 2021
8
3
25
Thanks For the replies, I didn't think of any of the suggestions mentioned.. I will look into it further before I make my purchase...
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
502
219
19,270
Have a word with a few dealers as some amplifiers and speaker combinations just do not work due to the way they react together.

Amplifiers on their own will not sound different if used within their capabilities, but once you start adding resistance, capacitance, Inductance in combination (IE: A Speaker) they can sound completely different. (The more expensive amps tend (But not always) to have more beefy power supplies and output stages so changes in sound will be minimal no matter what speakers you connect to them)

Many so called audiophile amp manufactures also design their amps to work optimally with certain ranges of speakers and can sound poor with others.

Do as much research as you can before making a decision and look to dealers that will allow you to return an item if it doesn’t suit. (You may have to pay return delivery charges with smaller dealers as they will not be able to absorb the costs)

Word of warning, many will try and sell you fancy cables made by (So called) Audiophile Hi-Fi cable manufactures, however avoid them like the plague as they are nothing but a complete and absolute con, so just stick quality cables, and if you are still not sure get them from a pro music store as they will be a fraction of the price and of much better quality then the overpriced fancy cables.

Bill
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
373
174
19,070
An even worse con are mains leads. Just stick to the one provided. Don't listen to people who say that their equipment sounds better with esoteric and very expensive leads. They wouldn't tell you if their equipment sounded worse because they all seem to suffer from expectation bias: I've paid a lot of money for this so I will never admit it doesn't do anything.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
617
268
19,270
HiFi Noob.. I have an untreated almost empty room 5.8m x 3.96m. Looking for my first "Serious" sound system.. Problem is I have no local shops to listen to the equipment I am interested in buying, Cambridge Audio, Rega, Emotiva, Q Acoustics.. I really like the reviews of the Emotiva TA-100 and the BasX A-300 I also really like the Q Acoustics 3050i but haven't heard either one.. I could always buy what I have heard but standing in an open crowded showroom where the only thing that sounds half way decent is way past my budget or I could copy my Brothers Denon, Kef combination but where's the fun in that ?? Anyone else had this situation or have any suggestions or opinions?? Thanks in advance...
Hi and welcome. My biggest advice would be to ignore people who tell you to ignore stuff and let your ears decide. Most online sellers have a return policy, which is great since the best auditioning you can do is in your own room. But yes, ordering 10 products and sending them back will get expensive really fast.

I, personally, didn't get to hear Q Acoustics with an amp that works well with them (at least for my tastes), but others simply love them. You could try Q Acoustics and Mission speakers with the Emotiva combo, but don't discount standmounts with a possibility of adding a sub in the future, should you feel the need. Marantz + Dali and Rega + B&W are other combos that work really well.
 

muljao

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2016
263
55
4,970
I am in a similar situation in that there aren't many options to test where I live. I've bought most of my gear without audition.

You say it's your first serious system. I'd gather from that you are listening on a modest setup, so unless you've compared to many or have a specific sound that appeals to you, you'll likely be very happy with a well reviewed hifi setup.

Just try to read a few reviews, don't depend on one. It's hard to know what has been paid for and what's totally independent.

I would however recommend to try and get well reviewed used items from a reputable distributor, online or whatever. It can get you started at a higher level. Just my opinion. Good luck
 
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iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
373
174
19,070
My advice is to start with the centre of the system: the amplifier (or receiver). There are some really good deals on network amps and receivers which will give you a lot of flexibility for future use.

- Loads of digital and analogue inputs.
- A phono stage is you have a record player.
- Multiple speaker outputs if you want to listen to the system in another room.
- AirPlay 2, DNLA and/or bluetooth

We bought a Yamaha R-N602 stereo receiver a couple of years ago and it's a great box of tricks with all the equipment we've got as wel as streaming opportunities. It's sounds great with our record player, Spotify Connect, the TV, my old Minidisc deck, streaming radio apps from my iPhone etc.

Of course you can buy separate components but we thought it was very neat to have the functionality in one box. And it was relatively inexpensive too.
 
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