Help me Build a Decent small system to play vinyl in my apartment for $2500

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ZOMPAPA216, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    Hello all, I have been doing a lot of research regarding budget hi-fi as of late and am new here. I'm currently saving up for a small hi-fi system for vinyl in my apartment living/dining room. My budget is a $2500 maximum. Your input and advice on these products would be appreciated.

    First... The Deck...

    I have narrowed it down to two contending turntables based on online research, aesthetics, and personal taste.

    1.) Sota Moonbeam iii (likely to be initially fitted with an Ortofon 2mm blue cart) + Sota I-Clamp, and dust cover

    2.) Pro- Ject 2Xperince SB DC (fitted with the Sumiko BluePoint) (clamp, cartridge, dustcover, are included)

    The Pro-ject seems to have a nicer tone arm of the two, even though the Sota sports a Rega RB202, rega makes nice arms I have heard that the cables are integrated on this model. The Project also comes stock with a speed box, clamp, and dustcover, which I would have to buy separately with the Sota, so they work out to be about the same price.

    Sota has an amazing lifetime upgrade policy so if in a few years I want to upgrade to a better deck I get a 100% return on my investment going toward another Sota. Even though I would prefer to be using my next table forever, and just buy more LPs

    Next... The Amp
    For my amp stage I am considering two models as well both with integrated phono stages:

    1.) The PS Audio Sprout

    2.) Marantz PM5005

    Both seem solid and have had decent reviews. Idk if either one is better than the other they both fall in at the same price. I like that the sprout is small, but I also like that I can get a matching CD player for the marantz if I so choose in the future.

    Finally... The Speakers...

    I have a couple of models that I am currently considering:

    1.) Wharfdale Diamond 220s

    2.) Dali Sensor 3


    I am looking for versatile, musical speakers, that perform well at low and moderate volumes, and aren't afraid to get a little loud sometimes. My LP collection is all over the place from folk and blues, to free jazz and kraut rock, to reggae and post punk, synth to sitar, oh and Zappa. Basically I am looking for some Speakers that aren't finicky about placement, are expressive for the price, and are fun to listen to. They will be placed close to a wall in my space, and the room is Roughly 20 x 14.

    In conclusion...

    I think that based on my research that I have found some options that seem to be solid for the pricepoint and won't leave me immediately wanting upgrades for me to feel satisfied with my home listening. I just need to really narrow it down and make the actual decisions on what I should pull the trigger on. Any links, opinions, or better yet a/b owner input would be appreciated. Thanks

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    I'd ditch the idea of the Sprout - while having a nice form factor and features, it also has a bass boost that can't be defeated. I imagine with something like the Zensor 3's it'd almost certainly be overkill.

    I should add I think the Zensor 3's are great speakers.
    BGLeduc, Ntotrar, EmmEff and 2 others like this.
  3. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    Thanks for the input, I have read that the sprout had a bass boost, but didn't realize that it was not defeatable. That actually might be a deal breaker with the ps
  4. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Turntables seem blah to me - for that price - I'd likely look at the new Planer 3 (rega) - or even RP3 for less - I'm seeing it on Amazon for 799 - many more positive reviews for the RP3 than the two you are looking at.
  5. btf1980

    btf1980 Forum Resident

    I'd nix the PS Audio Sprout entirely. The Marantz is better imo. I've heard them both. Of course, this is all subjective so you may like it. If you aren't married to either the PS Audio or Marantz, I'd personally look into a used Rega Brio-R. A new Brio model just came out, so the previous model can be had for around $600 used. It's a great little amp for the money with a nice phono stage. It's one of the best deals in hifi.

    With regards to turntables, I 2nd the recommendation of the new Rega Planar 3 over the SOTA and Pro-Ject. You can get the Planar 3 with the Elys 2 cart for a little over a grand brand new. Add in a TT-PSU and you're all set.

    For speakers, I'd toss in the Wharfedale Denton 80th anniversary into the mix at this price range. If you don't mind used, you can score a B&W CM1 S2 for around $600 to $700. There's one on Audiogon in that price range. The B&W 685 S2 is also a more affordable option.
  6. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    Yeah I think the marantz is going to be the way I go with the amp based on the fact that the sprout has a bass boost that is undefeatable.
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  7. rl1856

    rl1856 Forum Resident

    Marantz. I read the review of the Sprout and was not impressed. My conclusion is that the sound of the amp would vary greatly depending the speakers used, and the PS does not seem to be very robust.
    ZOMPAPA216 likes this.
  8. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    Ok so marantz amp seems to be the consensus.
    Does anyone have any actual experience with the Sota or the Pro-ject? Lots of Rega love, but honestly I just like the look of the more substantial build and the wood finishes of these models.
    Or the Wharf's or Dali's? Denton's included.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  9. Rentz

    Rentz Forum Resident

    One thing to consider on the marantz is there is no sub preout if you wanted to add a sub. I was set to order a pm series until I realized that
    ZOMPAPA216 likes this.
  10. Ivand

    Ivand Forum Resident

    Houston, TX
    I love my Dali Zensor 3. If fun is what you're going after, these entry level speakers will do the job. They're also forgiving with poor recordings in my experience. The Z3's don't offer the same level of detail and can't match the midrange of my PSB Imagine 2xt but again, everything you throw at them is fun.

    Check the thread on the Z3's on the link below.

    Dali Zensor 3 Owners' Club »
    ZOMPAPA216 likes this.
  11. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    What did you settle on instead?
  12. Rentz

    Rentz Forum Resident

    Still trying to decide hah
    But the lack of sub out was a deal breaker for me, you can get them with marantz I think the pm8005 has it as do the avr but those are more than I wanted to spend or need . I'm really curious about the emotiva ta100 myself, but can't find many user reviews.

    If you don't plan to add a sub the marantz will be good for you
  13. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    Initially I don't think that I will need a sub, I'm trying to keep it simple and relatively inexpensive. I can always upgrade, but I'm trying to find something that I will be able to live with that will hold up in my price range.
  14. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Supper's ready

    Brio R, RP3, Exact and RS1: All Rega all the time...

    Ok the Dali's would be fine and if you need a sub in the future a REL will speaker level with the Brio just fine.
    WapatoWolf and Robert C like this.
  15. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    Cool, thank you.
  16. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Seems like you can get the RP3, Marantz, KEF LS50 (which everyone seems to love) 799, 1200, 500 - for your total budget - then pick up a Shure cart from less than 100 and upgrade it down the road when you have more funds.

    I'd want the largest portion of my budget to go into the speakers.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
    Stone Turntable and Robert C like this.
  17. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    According to the what hi-fi review of the KEF LS50 they are a bit finicky about the equipment that you partner it with.
  18. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Yeah - but I've also read nothing but love for the KEFs - even the reviews where in the end someone went with something else - it wasn't very easy for them.
    ZOMPAPA216 likes this.
  19. Tom Littlefield

    Tom Littlefield Well-Known Member

    New Hampshire, USA
    I bought the Moonbeam about six months ago from The Needle Doctor. I ordered it with the 2M Blue as well, but when I got it they had shipped it with the Bronze at no extra charge. Very nice surprise (-;

    You are right about the cover, it's a $189 upgrade, but very well made and a must in my opinion.

    That are is the entry level Rega arm, a couple of weeks ago I hade it upgraded to an Acoustic Signature TA-500. So I went from a $400 arm to a $900 one and it made a great improvment. Plus the shop that I bought it from gave me a $200 trade-in for the Rega.

    But the moonbeam with the stock arm and the 2M Blue is a great TT.
    eyeCalypso and ZOMPAPA216 like this.
  20. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Eagle, Idaho
    I love SOTA tables and own a Comet, but be advised - their 'trade in' policy is total bullsh*t.

    I talked to them two weeks ago about trading in my Comet and they wouldn't even make me an offer on it trading up on a $2700 table. They just told me to sell it myself.
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  21. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    That's a shame to hear, I really like the idea that they are made in the States, and offered a trade up policy.
  22. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    Right on I was planning on going through needle doctor as well.
  23. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    Settle on the best sounding speakers you can afford. A great amp won't make crappy speakers sound good....

    P.S. I'm a Marantz amp fan, for what it's worth...
  24. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    Agreed I am trying to get a decent table\arm & cart setup, a decent amp with a phono stage and and enough power to drive a decent set of bookshelf speakers
  25. ZOMPAPA216

    ZOMPAPA216 Member Thread Starter

    The brio, the planar 3 w elys 2, the rega speed box, and the Dali 3 put me over my price point by $500 I'd honestly rather put that money into records.

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