In today’s modern world where convenience trumps all, some things still hold true. You get the best sound from a quality stereo set up! Yup a good old fashion stereo. Many folks out there have traded in their systems for an all in one desk top mp3 player. That’s cool. However if you can why not do it right? Trust me you will enjoy your music that much more.
This is actually a great time to pick up the pieces necessary to build your own killer system. Being a DJ at heart my pleasure comes from sharing with others. I will share some model information you can research for yourself to build your own killer system.
You can go new or pick up some classic vintage pieces for a great price. First you need to decide whether you want to go with separates or a receiver? For those that don’t know separate’s are: separate amplifier, pre-amplifier and tuner. A receiver is basically all 3 in one or Integrated (amplifier and pre-amplifier only). Keep in mind you get better sound with separate’s and they are typically more expensive.
This list is not the best of the best by any means. It is however my attempt to point you in the right direction so you may begin your quest of building a great system! Keep in mind a lot of the pieces recommended are vintage and you will have to pick them up used. You can find most of this stuff on ebay or stores that sell vintage audio equipment. If you buy something on ebay unless noted, you probably want to have it Bench Tested by a qualified service technician. They can make any necessary part replacements to ensure your purchase performs at the level the manufacturer intended. Try not to let the idea of buying used equipment discourage you. So here you go…
Recommended Key components:
Adcom GFA 555II
Adcom GFA 5802
McIntosh MC 2300
McIntosh MC 2205
Adcom GFP 750
Creek 5350SE (Integrated)
Sansui AU919 (Integrated)
Pioneer SX 1250
Thorens TD 125 MKII.
Technics 1200 MKII
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntable
Mcintosh MCD 205
Music Hall CD 25.2
Ah! NjoeTjoeb 4000 (Can be found new at upscaleaudio.com)
Sennheiser HD 600
A good pair of speakers is mandatory yet it’s something I can’t recommend. I can tell you what I like sonically but your taste may be different? Do your own research. Think about speakers you’ve heard and what you liked about them?
What are your musical preferences? Is it House or do you listen to everything from Blues to Classical? It makes a difference as all speakers don’t reproduce all music well. Speakers with a larger woofer usually reproduce House, Hip Hop and Rock well. However that is not always the case, some bookshelf speaks handle those genres fine. Some manufactures include a chart to show what genres the speaker does well with and where it may struggle. I have a pair of NHT SB3 bookshelf speakers. They sound great with Jazz and Downtempo stuff but struggle with more bass heavy material. Most importantly it’s about the overall construction and quality!
Then think about your space. Is space an issue? You could go with a Book Shelf Speaker, if not go with a Floor Standing speaker. Most importantly get speakers that make you and your ears smile! Here’s what I have learned; a lot of companies make good speakers. Find out what model/speaker put them on the map? When did they make it? Are they still making speakers on that level? Sometimes they do and many times not! Like with many businesses, when the bottom line becomes the main focus and ownership changes, you can see a drop in the level of quality. Check out reviews on current and past models. Reviews are a useful tool to help you sift through the mountain of choices out there.
Don’t rush the process! Take your time and if possible listen to the speaker multiple times with music you know well. Hopefully this will net you a pair of speakers you can enjoy for a while.
When the time is right I hope to snag a pair of these;
These were in many of the recording studios back in the day.
Turntable cartridges: This is a choice you have to make yourself. Almost like speakers, do your research and pick up what will work for your tastes. You will probably run across a lot of DJ cartridges in your quest. Keep in mind that they are typically made for loudness, back cueing and to scratch. You want a cartridge that specializes in overall fidelity casually listening.
Last but not least invest in some quality connects. The audio connects that come in the box are usually cheap. It is worth it and contributes to the overall sound!
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”
Links to help you in your search