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Recommendation for sound system set up

LightsOut

Member
Feb 15, 2020
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0
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Hello High Fidelity lovers!
I’m new to this forum and I ‘m looking to set up a new stereo system (turntable, amplifier and speakers). After a first research I ‘ve already end up to some models but I need to get recommendations. So, first things first. To begin with, kindly excuse my rusty English. I ‘m Greek, I’ m not a native speaker. Also, before I start asking questions, I want to provide you some useful information.

General info:
- My budget is 2000eur in total.
- My living room is 40sqm and the front part is connected with another 15sqm small hall (so typically is 55sqm )
- My listening position will be 3m from each speaker and the distance between the two speakers will be 3m as well (equilateral triangle)
- My musical preferences are: 70% rock (progressive/hard) approx. from 1965 to 1989, 15% metal (heavy/power/thrash) approx. from 1980 to 2000 and 10% gypsy jazz and 5% folk music
- I don’t care about used items

Benchmarking:
After a deep search on the internet and long discussions with friends which have some knowledge in HiFi field I ‘ve end up to some conclusions.

Turntable (Dual cs 505-4 with Ortofon OM10 MM cartridge, approx. 720eur in my country)
During the past weeks, my first research drove me to 4 turntables:

1. Cheap – entry level solution
Numark NTX-1000 (approx. 328eur in my country)
Denon DP-400 (approx. 479eur in my country)
(according to this approach, I could buy an entry level turntable and save the rest of my money for buying an average pre-amp)
or
2. More expensive – intermediate solution
Thorens TD 402 DD (approx. 885eur in my country)
Rega Planar 3 (approx. 879eur in my country)


A friend of mine and also good sound engineer, told me that the majority of the modern turntables (even the famous Rega Planar 3) are suffering from acoustic feedback due to its poor materials and design. He suggested me two turntables which in his opinion are very good and solid: the Dual cs 505-4 with Ortofon OM10 MM cartridge (which is a belt drive) and the top quality Technics SL1200GR (which is a direct drive but way too expensive for me).

I like the design of the Dual cs 505-4 and I read some good reviews for it so probably I ‘ll go with that. The only problem that I see with this turntable is that I read that is discontinued. In my country there is still available in the stores and also Dual claims that they will support this model for another 20 years! To be honest I’ m worrying a little bit, mainly for the spare parts but at the same time I trust Dual because it’s a well known and trustworthy company...

Speakers (Dali Zensor 7, approx. 600eur in my country)
I really know that a pair of quality speakers is a serious investment and an important part of a HiFi at the same time. And, to be honest, I really want clear and neutral sound. Not necessary loud with heavy bass , but clear with layers and depth. I want to hear the organs almost separately and not as a blurry, one layer noisy thing. Taking into account the dimensions of my living room, my total budget and my musical preferences I ‘ve end up choosing the Dali Zensor 7. In this price range I think there are 100% VFM . Very powerful, with magnificent specs for the price. The problem here is that I read that those speakers are discontinued recently. But once again in my country there are still available in the stores.

Amplifier (Yamaha A-S701, approx. 500eur in my country)
Concerning the amplifier, I’ m close to the Yamaha A-S701. I found that this amp is also VFM and has a lot of power. Νevertheless the recommended Amplifier Power on Dali’s is 40 – 150W and the A-S701 high power output is 100W RMS. As I mentioned before, I don’t care about crazy high volume levels, but I don’t want my amp struggling to drive speakers. Also I’m not completely sure about the sound of A-S701. Is it fit to my musical preferences? I read that Marantz or Cambridge Audio amps are closer to classic, 1970’s, rock mood. But the average models of those amps, are poor in Watts and the Dali’s wants a lot of power in order to work properly. It looks like a controversial solution would be the Harman Kardon HK 3770 but I also heard that is discontinued. I’m really confused here...

Questions

Turntable
1. What is your opinion on Dual cs 505-4?
(I ‘m referring mainly to the owners of this turntable)

2. I know that Belt Drive turntables want some extra maintenance. Considering that Dual’s discontinued this model, you think it worths to pay 700+eur for this turntable?

3. Any other suggestion (max 850eur)?
(I want a solid construction, with decent materials for the price)

Speakers

1. What is your opinion on Dali Zensor 7?
(I ‘m referring mainly to the owners of those speakers)

2. Do you think that Dali’s are appropriate for 1970’s rock music?

3. Any other suggestion (max 600-650eur)?

Amplifier

1. As I mentioned before the recommended Amplifier Power on Dali’s is 40 – 150W and the A-S701 high power output is 100W RMS. Do you think is this a real problem? In a scale from 0 to 10 in which number do you believe this amp will be ok to drive those speakers?

2. Do you think that Yamaha A-S701 are appropriate for 1970’s rock music? If not could you suggest another amp with more classic rock characteristics and feel? (kindly remember that Dali’s need a lot of power in order to work correctly)

3. What about Harman Kardon HK 3770? Is it worth? Is it close to Yamaha’s quality levels? And the most important: is it suitable for classic rock music?

4. Any other suggestion (max 500-600eur)?

And 2 final, additional questions:
- With this set up, is a pre-amp necessary?
- With this set up, is a subwoofer necessary?

Thank you in advance for your time!
 
Last edited:

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
1,758
1,143
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Hello Greek man, welcome to the forum, you've given us plenty to read 📘
Here's some things you don't need to worry about:

'Rusty' English - You write and spell better than many English people.

Acoustic feedback on turntables - No real problem if you position with care.

Belt drives needing more maintenance - Hardly. My Thorens TD160S must be 30 years old -don't tell anyone here but I'm still using the drive belt it came with.
(Don't follow my example on that!)

Matching amplifier and speaker power ratings - don't get too concerned by the figures, 50 - 70 Watts amps can often sound as loud as ones quoted as 100W.

As for recommendations. Owners are likely to be biased in their opinion. It's your opinion that matters. Take recommendations and reviews as a very rough guide. Once you actually listen to stuff, you might be surprised how much you disagree with others' opinions.

I've owned (or played about with) all but Dali and Yamaha of the brands you've listed. I know that people like Yamaha and Dali get good reviews.

From your turntable choices, I'd go for Thorens or Rega, but then I own a Thorens with a Rega arm, and I used to work at Rega (see what I mean about being biased).
Ages ago I owned a nice PM650 Harman Kardon amp, but we don't hear so much about HK in England these days, so no idea about that model you're considering.
Marantz amps are well liked by many of us here. We've found them to have good built-in phono stages - which would mean you didn't have to buy a separate pre-amp.
As for speakers. Massive differences in their sound.
Main advice is to consider and get to hear a few different brands. It's not always easy but if you can get a home loan, it can be very useful - some would say essential.
Others should be along with some advice soon.
Good luck with your decisions and enjoy the music.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Hello Greek man, welcome to the forum, you've given us plenty to read 📘
Here's some things you don't need to worry about:

'Rusty' English - You write and spell better than many English people.

Acoustic feedback on turntables - No real problem if you position with care.

Belt drives needing more maintenance - Hardly. My Thorens TD160S must be 30 years old -don't tell anyone here but I'm still using the drive belt it came with.
(Don't follow my example on that!)

Matching amplifier and speaker power ratings - don't get too concerned by the figures, 50 - 70 Watts amps can often sound as loud as ones quoted as 100W.

As for recommendations. Owners are likely to be biased in their opinion. It's your opinion that matters. Take recommendations and reviews as a very rough guide. Once you actually listen to stuff, you might be surprised how much you disagree with others' opinions.

I've owned (or played about with) all but Dali and Yamaha of the brands you've listed. I know that people like Yamaha and Dali get good reviews.

From your turntable choices, I'd go for Thorens or Rega, but then I own a Thorens with a Rega arm, and I used to work at Rega (see what I mean about being biased).
Ages ago I owned a nice PM650 Harman Kardon amp, but we don't hear so much about HK in England these days, so no idea about that model you're considering.
Marantz amps are well liked by many of us here. We've found them to have good built-in phono stages - which would mean you didn't have to buy a separate pre-amp.
As for speakers. Massive differences in their sound.
Main advice is to consider and get to hear a few different brands. It's not always easy but if you can get a home loan, it can be very useful - some would say essential.
Others should be along with some advice soon.
Good luck with your decisions and enjoy the music.
Greys response makes good sense. There are many first time posters think we can whistle up a brilliant system given very limited information. My advice as always is to get yourself to a dealership what country you happen to be in and audition as much as you can
Reviews are useful to define a shortlist but that's about it.
I have been surprised in the past how much a reviewers opinion differs from my own.
Get your source right and speakers that work well in your listening room and the amplification is to some extent the least important providing v it can adequately drive you speakers.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
914
444
5,270
Prices mentioned are very high for level of gear discussed. If you do get Dual I'd suggest a better cart than OM10

Will you be ok to buy of UK ebay?
 

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
980
175
19,070
Dali zensor 7 they don't make anymore, dalis i don't like when playing loud the highs get harsh,fattiguing

Q acoustics 3050 are very cheap at richer sound (the 3050 shoud have the bass the 3020 lack and it has 92db sensitivity perfect for entry level amps)

Atm a pair or wharfedale diamond 230 goes for under 300 euros in my country. (slightly cheaper than richer sound)

Rega p1 + Rega Exact MM is cheaper than a p3 with a Rega Elys 2 MM (stock cartridge), youe would still have enoughh for a good truntable mat and a basic turntable shelf if you happen to need one


Dali zensor i have heard goes well with somehing like a Marantz PM6006

Also consider rega brio r and audiolab 6000A

Turntable rega p1 with a god cartridge, even when a p3 mmight sound better with the same cartride you can for less money get a better for the p1 and still be under the price of the p3

If you need a cdplayer i would get a yamaha CD-S300 one of the best low budget player (cheaper than a marantz CD6006)
 

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
980
175
19,070
Prices mentioned are very high for level of gear discussed. If you do get Dual I'd suggest a better cart than OM10

Will you be ok to buy of UK ebay?
OM 20,30 and 40 stylus can be used with a OM10 i would only go for a 20 or mabye 30 if there something different with the OM40 cartridge that makes it sound worse if used on a OM10 (change stylus on a OM10 to a OM40)
 

Esra

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2011
59
19
18,545
Seems to be a pretty solid choice and nothing to blame considering the price.

You can get the Dual for 300 Euro in germany new on amazon ,just for your information. I don´t know how much you are into vinyl but 700 Euro +budget can buy you a lot of cd and minimum 5 year subscription to upper tier streaming services in greece i guess .Just think about it if it is worth to get into vinyl if you don´t have a huge and rare collection.If you consider streaming Yamaha Rn803d is worth a closer look as it has all what the 701 has + streaming and room correction for a little bit more money.

Speakers.
Only you can find out if the Zensor 7 or other speakers work for you in your room.Tendentially Zensors are on the brighter side and can be harsh if played loud in a "cold" room.
Take a look at Kef q550 for similar price and Klipsch RP-8000F for a little more .
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
618
269
19,270
Hi. Awesome first post, by the way.

As thee others have started, everything is a matter of preference, so try to audition if you can. I'll just give my personal opinion. I like a rhythmically apt presentation and, in my limited experience, Yamaha's lower amps (so everything up to, and including AS 801) have a pretty wimpy, purposeless bass, which can be ok for small classical or jazz ensembles, but pretty disappointing with prog or other complex stuff. The Dali Zensor 7 also sound pretty wooly in the bass, so with Yamaha amplification bass would be all over the place.

Instead, I'd look at the latest Rega Brio R or Cyrus One (these both have very decent integrated phono preeamps), or the Cyrus One HD if you can fit one in your budget (only if you need digital inputs). Also, I know you said you don't care about sh, but when amplifiers are concerned, there's little that can go wrong, and you could get a Naim Nait 5si within your budget. All these are in a different league from the Yamaha or HK. If you can't get them in Greece, check some online UK shops, because I think stuff is a bit overpriced in Greece, and it might actually be cheaper to pay for delivery from the UK than buying locally (unless your dealer gives you a discount).

For speakers, look at the Dali Oberon 5 instead, or the Q Acoustics 3050i. I prefer the Dali, but the QA might be better suited for your room.

As for tt, don't even think about the Numark or the Denon, they're horrible.
Thorens is ok, and so is the Dual, probably. But I would get a Rega Planar 2 or even 1, whatever leaves room for any of the amp+speaker listed above and a Nagaoka MP110 cartridge (don't go for a Rega cart, unless it's Ania or above). For isolation, buy a bamboo chopping board from Ikea (Appitilig I think it's called) and put that on 3 Vibrapods or sorbothane feet if the Vibrapods are too expensive. If you hate the Idea of belts and manual speed change, the Audio Technica LP5 or LP5x are also great, and less fussy about isolation. They're also more sturdy. IMPORTANT: if you buy a tt with built-in phono preamp, make sure you turn it off if you want to plug it into an external phonostage, such as the one in a Rega Brio or Cyrus one.

Good luck!

P.S.: a note on watt figures: there's more to it than just the numbers. First of all, doubling the number of watts only increases percieved volume by 3db. So a 100w/ch amp will only sound 3db louder than a 50w/ch amp when used with the same speakers. Also, most of the time, you'll be using a surprisingly low number of those watts (which is great). I suspect you'll almost never go much past half the volume these amps are capable of.
 

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