Need Component Advice

1

1911

Junior Audioholic
I have wanted to upgrade my system for several years. I had pretty much settled on a McIntosh MA6900 (or C45 & MC7270) paired w/ a pair of used Focal 836Ws, Salk Veracity HT2-TLs, or maybe Revel F206s, among others, which I planned to purchase piecemeal. After a couple of years looking, I got close on a few components but sadly, none were within my budget. A few days ago, I ran across a deal I couldn’t pass up on a pair of Klipsch Heresy IIIs in mint condition, so I purchased them. Now I am reevaluating my component choices. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that after having purchased my new Heresy IIIs, I cannot afford to spend ~$3K on components.

My budget is around $1,500.00, but less is always better. Usage is ~70% music/30% home theater. I want to start with a 2-channel SS system. The ability to expand to 5.1 or at least the ability to add a sub in the future would be desirable. I want to be able to connect a separate DAC (if not integral), my TV, CD/Blu-Ray, Tuner (if not integral, I have a great Kenwood KT-7500) and maybe a music server like the Wyred4Sound MS-1. However, I don’t understand how to correctly connect all this crap together if I have components that do not have provisions for all this. Previously, I had an Oppo BDP-93, but it went TU. Presumably, I could have used it as a pre, of sorts, but I’d have to get a new one and I’d like to stay away from anything made in China, so I’m not sure how to proceed. I also want to avoid complicated, on screen, menus. I guess I want an old-school system with modern abilities, if that makes any sense at all. Obviously, it would be easier if I had a pre-amp/amp or an integrated that accommodated all of this, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Given my blasted budget constraints, I am currently considering the following used components:

Integrated
Yamaha A-S2100
Bel Canto eVo2i (not sure about Bel canto’s other integrateds like the C5i)
Wyred4Sound STI500

*Separates
Adcom GFA 5800, 555 or 535
ATI AT602

*I have no idea what preamps would pair well with these amps and meet my qualifications. I don’t know much about pre-amps, but Adcom has a few models that are processors as well. I do know a bit about the McIntosh C45 & C220, but those exceed my budget.

At this point, I think the best option is the Yamaha A-S2100, as I have read that Yamaha and the Heresy III pair very well. I’m just not sure how to add the connectivity I want to the A-S2100 + I’d need to purchase a separate DAC. I also think Adcom would be a great choice, which would come in under budget. I did find a Bel Canto S300iD (w/ built-in DAC) for a pretty decent price.

I have read several other threads regarding amp selections for the Klipsch Heresy IIIs, but there was virtually no info on pre-amps.

Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
CoryW

CoryW

Audioholic
I have wanted to upgrade my system for several years. I had pretty much settled on a McIntosh MA6900 (or C45 & MC7270) paired w/ a pair of used Focal 836Ws, Salk Veracity HT2-TLs, or maybe Revel F206s, among others, which I planned to purchase piecemeal. After a couple of years looking, I got close on a few components but sadly, none were within my budget. A few days ago, I ran across a deal I couldn’t pass up on a pair of Klipsch Heresy IIIs in mint condition, so I purchased them. Now I am reevaluating my component choices. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that after having purchased my new Heresy IIIs, I cannot afford to spend ~$3K on components.

My budget is around $1,500.00, but less is always better. Usage is ~70% music/30% home theater. I want to start with a 2-channel SS system. The ability to expand to 5.1 or at least the ability to add a sub in the future would be desirable. I want to be able to connect a separate DAC (if not integral), my TV, CD/Blu-Ray, Tuner (if not integral, I have a great Kenwood KT-7500) and maybe a music server like the Wyred4Sound MS-1. However, I don’t understand how to correctly connect all this crap together if I have components that do not have provisions for all this. Previously, I had an Oppo BDP-93, but it went TU. Presumably, I could have used it as a pre, of sorts, but I’d have to get a new one and I’d like to stay away from anything made in China, so I’m not sure how to proceed. I also want to avoid complicated, on screen, menus. I guess I want an old-school system with modern abilities, if that makes any sense at all. Obviously, it would be easier if I had a pre-amp/amp or an integrated that accommodated all of this, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Given my blasted budget constraints, I am currently considering the following used components:

Integrated
Yamaha A-S2100
Bel Canto eVo2i (not sure about Bel canto’s other integrateds like the C5i)
Wyred4Sound STI500

*Separates
Adcom GFA 5800, 555 or 535
ATI AT602

*I have no idea what preamps would pair well with these amps and meet my qualifications. I don’t know much about pre-amps, but Adcom has a few models that are processors as well. I do know a bit about the McIntosh C45 & C220, but those exceed my budget.

At this point, I think the best option is the Yamaha A-S2100, as I have read that Yamaha and the Heresy III pair very well. I’m just not sure how to add the connectivity I want to the A-S2100 + I’d need to purchase a separate DAC. I also think Adcom would be a great choice, which would come in under budget. I did find a Bel Canto S300iD (w/ built-in DAC) for a pretty decent price.

I have read several other threads regarding amp selections for the Klipsch Heresy IIIs, but there was virtually no info on pre-amps.

Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks.
Are you opposed to buying used equipment? I recently picked up a Lexicon A-8 V2 for cheap ($475). Just using a hodge-podge amp setup with a balanced connection to a crown xls-1502 mains, a Pioneer a-10 rears, RBH Sam-200 center, and a RBH sa-200 sub.

this setup totally blows away my Yamaha $1800 receiver, my beast Onkyo tx-nr905 flagship. The sound is absolutely amazing. Im completely stunned when using the logic 7 with music. I just wanted a really good two channel preamp. When I get my Haflers back from a rebuild, this will take over on my RBH T2/r stacks. I believe this receiver in the balanced out for went for $7-8k in its day.
Best of luck man.
 
G

Grandzoltar

Full Audioholic
Nad c388 with both mdc upgrades (hdmi and BluOS). This would be an all in one box setup. If you plan on just keeping a 2.2 setup this would be in you budget. Safe and sound he has a refurb with the BluOS mdc for 1500 I’m sure the would put the hdmi mdc for a few hundred more.
 
B

Beave

Senior Audioholic
How big is your room? How loud do you listen?

My guess is those Klipsch speakers are pretty high sensitivity and can be powered easily by just about any AVR.

Most of the separates you listed are expensive and have way more power than you'd really need for those speakers.

As for certain electronics "pairing well" with certain speakers, this isn't wine/food here. Pairing is audiophile mythology except when you're dealing with certain speakers that are demanding loads, and you're trying to play them at really loud levels.

That doesn't apply to those Klipschs.

So get an AVR. Only problem is that most are made in China.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Yamaha S2100 would be good.

If you can find a used Yamaha CX-A5000 or CX-A5100 under your budget and pair it with a used ATI amp or Yamaha amp, that would be good also.
 
1

1911

Junior Audioholic
Cory W: Thanks for the info. I am definitely not opposed to getting used equipment, in fact, that was my plan and is the only way I can afford the components I really want.

Grandzoltar: Good suggestion and I looked at the C388. Unfortunately, I’m not interested if it’s made in China.

Beave: Room size is irrelevant since I will be moving soon. I listen mostly at moderate levels, but I do crank it up fairly often. I do realize that the Heresy III is an ultra-efficient speaker and does not need high levels of wattage, but it’s nice to have if I decide to change things up in the future. I’ve read that Heresy speakers work better with separates, and especially tubes, but I’m not up for the maintenance requirements on tube equipment. & Yep. Made in China is a deal breaker. Thanks.

AcuDefTechGuy: Thankyousir. I will look into that.

*****

I’ve wanted to get McIntosh gear for almost as long as I can remember. I don’t like the idea of getting components made in China that I will want to replace in the future. If I’m willing to spend ~ $1,500.00 now, I might as well save a bit more so that I can start accumulating the gear I really want. I know that McIntosh gear pairs well with the Heresy IIIs I just purchased and I think, perhaps, a McIntosh C45 paired with a less expensive ATI amplifier would be a relatively cost-effective way to go about this. I could always use the ATI amp for the rear channels if I decide to get a McIntosh amp, such as a MC7270 or maybe a First Watt or Audio Research. I found a C45 w/ the TM1 tuner & the RAA1 antenna for $1.9K, which would be great, but I only have $1.5K to spend right now.

Prior to my Oppo crapping out, I had planned to use it in place of a HT processor, but I don’t know if my current LG BluRay has that capability. I’m not exactly sure how this would work, but I’m reasonably sure it could be done. Then again, this approach won’t give me all the inputs of a decent HT processor.

Few modern components have the have the build quality and longevity McIntosh has. Yes, there’s the über high-end stuff that’s incredibly well engineered but, alas, they’re way over-budget for me. I think the Yamaha A-S2100 is likely another and probably one of the few non-McIntosh units I would consider that meets or is near my budget. The Yamaha is a great sounding amp, + when used with AV equipment that has a trigger output, they can switch on and enter HT-bypass mode automatically from the 12V trigger on a HT processor – correct?

Do y’all think my idea of paring a McIntosh C45 with an ATI amp and using my DVD (or a HT Processor) is a good idea? Since the C45 is a multi-channel pre-amp, I don’t think I need a HT bypass since I can use either of the 5.1 inputs – correct? (I’m sure you can probably tell that I don’t fully know what I’m talking about.)

Thanks.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I think it's fine to want McIntosh (or any other brand).

Just realize that at the end of the day, they won't sound any better than anything else that cost significantly less.

You could just wait and see if you could find a used McIntosh Integrated Amp and use it only for 2Ch.

Later if you want a Multi-Channel 2nd System, then just get an AVR (like Yamaha). But your MAIN 2CH MUSIC system will be your DREAM McIntosh Integrated Amp system.
 
1

1911

Junior Audioholic
AcuDefTechGuy: Really? I'm not sure I believe that. Are you saying that there's no difference in the sound between McIntosh gear and, say, a cheap $100.00 made in China receiver? No difference between SS & tubes? I recently listened to a McIntosh system, built around a MC275 and the sound was sublime - clearly better to my ears than my old Pioneer. I know you have a lot of experience w/ audio equipment as you've advised me a few times in the past, but that's a hard pill to swallow.

Different subject, but I know that in car audio, there's a major difference in sound quality between the factory system in my Acura, which pales in comparison to the custom Alpine/Focal system I put into my old Mercedes.

If that is indeed what you're saying, then why bother with any of this? My old Pioneer VSX does double duty for music and movies would suffice.

... And that's what I've been doing these last few years - looking for a good deal on a McIntosh Integrated, which I'll continue to do, unless you can talk me out of it.
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Better not get the newer McIntosh gear as they do have those pesky foreign components in them. Assembled in the USA....
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
AcuDefTechGuy: Really? I'm not sure I believe that. Are you saying that there's no difference in the sound between McIntosh gear and, say, a cheap $100.00 made in China receiver? No difference between SS & tubes? I recently listened to a McIntosh system, built around a MC275 and the sound was sublime - clearly better to my ears than my old Pioneer. I know you have a lot of experience w/ audio equipment as you've advised me a few times in the past, but that's a hard pill to swallow.

Different subject, but I know that in car audio, there's a major difference in sound quality between the factory system in my Acura, which pales in comparison to the custom Alpine/Focal system I put into my old Mercedes.

If that is indeed what you're saying, then why bother with any of this? My old Pioneer VSX does double duty for music and movies would suffice.

... And that's what I've been doing these last few years - looking for a good deal on a McIntosh Integrated, which I'll continue to do, unless you can talk me out of it.
Well, I should not make such a big generalization like that. :D

I should give a specific example like a $10K McIntosh Integrated amp vs $2-4K Yamaha Integrated amp, not a $300 AVR.

But in general, you will pay a huge premium for certain brands that won’t sound better than other brands that cost less.

So the Yamaha S2100 will sound just as good as any McIntosh integrated amp.

But if Mac is your ”dream”, there’s nothing wrong with saving your money to buy it.
 
1

1911

Junior Audioholic
AcuDefTechGuy: ok. I hear ya and I can understand that. I don't absolutely have to get McIntosh gear as I realize there's a lot of equivalent gear out there that is less expensive (which is certainly good). What I'm struggling with is what to get that's not made in China. American made is the most desirable. I've read a lot of good things about Rouge Audio, which is made right here in America, but the lack of tone controls and the fact that I'd have to deal w/ tubes has me concerned. I believe the Yamaha A-S2100 is made in Malaysia, which is not so appealing, but at least it not MIC.

I think a quality integrated or an ATI amp, paired with a quality pre (whatever that may turn out to be) and a decent digital processor of some sort, would probably be the way to go.

I guess I need to do some more research.
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
AcuDefTechGuy: ok. I hear ya and I can understand that. I don't absolutely have to get McIntosh gear as I realize there's a lot of equivalent gear out there that is less expensive (which is certainly good). What I'm struggling with is what to get that's not made in China. American made is the most desirable. I've read a lot of good things about Rouge Audio, which is made right here in America, but the lack of tone controls and the fact that I'd have to deal w/ tubes has me concerned. I believe the Yamaha A-S2100 is made in Malaysia, which is not so appealing, but at least it not MIC.

I think a quality integrated or an ATI amp, paired with a quality pre (whatever that may turn out to be) and a decent digital processor of some sort, would probably be the way to go.

I guess I need to do some more research.
I prefer things that are made in North America too, but for entertainment electronic devices, the main thing I look for is build quality, parts used and the ultimately top specs with great measurements are most important. There are plenty of high end audio gear that are made in China, that's reality. Take a look of the ASR reviews/measurements, you will find no shortage of DACs/Headphone amps (just for examples) in their top 2 buckets based on measurements, were made in China. Conversely, you can see some high end amps made in the US, even a couple of Audio Research power map, measured poorly. Mc gear are certainly not cheap, but they are not really that expensive either. I highly doubt they would make in into the top 20, or even 30 list.:D In my opinion they do represent great value in the so called high end category.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Higher end Denon/Marantz are made in Japan, but I wouldn't know what models. I think that's the same for certain Yamaha parts as well.

If you're primarily 2ch then you will sadly pay more for less just because of the way the market is.

If you want MAC stuff (understandable for sure) then I wouldn't hesitate to grab something used. The used market for that gear is quite large. There are a lot of American brands that would probably make you very happy, but would be used. Used is great if the person took care of the part and it isn't too old. I'd trust lots of guys on here (and have) so we are one source. Audiogon is another, but they are pricey.

Are you sticking with analog or are you wanting something that is all in one and can process digital sources? Sorry if you've answered this already.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
AcuDefTechGuy: ok. I hear ya and I can understand that. I don't absolutely have to get McIntosh gear as I realize there's a lot of equivalent gear out there that is less expensive (which is certainly good). What I'm struggling with is what to get that's not made in China. American made is the most desirable. I've read a lot of good things about Rouge Audio, which is made right here in America, but the lack of tone controls and the fact that I'd have to deal w/ tubes has me concerned. I believe the Yamaha A-S2100 is made in Malaysia, which is not so appealing, but at least it not MIC.

I think a quality integrated or an ATI amp, paired with a quality pre (whatever that may turn out to be) and a decent digital processor of some sort, would probably be the way to go.

I guess I need to do some more research.
If you want digital processor, then a used pre-pro (Yamaha CX-A5000, A5100, A5200) + a used amp (ATI, Yamaha, etc.) is the way to go.

If you don't need a processor, then a used integrated amp from McIntosh, Yamaha, Anthem, Denon, or Marantz would be good.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
AcuDefTechGuy: ok. I hear ya and I can understand that. I don't absolutely have to get McIntosh gear as I realize there's a lot of equivalent gear out there that is less expensive (which is certainly good). What I'm struggling with is what to get that's not made in China. American made is the most desirable. I've read a lot of good things about Rouge Audio, which is made right here in America, but the lack of tone controls and the fact that I'd have to deal w/ tubes has me concerned. I believe the Yamaha A-S2100 is made in Malaysia, which is not so appealing, but at least it not MIC.

I think a quality integrated or an ATI amp, paired with a quality pre (whatever that may turn out to be) and a decent digital processor of some sort, would probably be the way to go.

I guess I need to do some more research.
Rogue? How about Odyssey Audio? http://odysseyaudio.com/ How about Tommy Daniels' Cherry Amps? https://www.cherryamp.com/

Higher end units from Denon/Marantz are made in Japan, believe Vietnam for the bulk of the rest. Pioneer would be Malaysia often and I suppose some Onkyo now, too. Not that country of origin has much to do with anything, as many components are still going to be of Chinese origin.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I think reliability, quality control, and customer support are significantly more important than where a component is ASSEMBLED.

@M Code can elaborate more on that. :D
 

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