Time to Downsize and Upgrade My Audio System

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by youraveragevinylcollector, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Commerce, GA
    As much as I love my Kenwood KL-999Z speakers, they're just too old and too big, and they're taking up real estate in a small bedroom, and my massive 90s Pioneer AV reciever just isn't getting the job done. Once tax season comes for me, I'll be spending roughly $300-500 on a new speaker system and/or receiver. I've got no clue what to go for, but I'm just trying to look for bookshelf speakers with a rich but crystal clear sound, detail and the ability to be cranked loud when needed to is what I need. Good bass and high end response, and a phono stage that can handle virtually any phono cart, including my AT-440MLb, which I may change to a Shure, but I'm still on the fence about it. I've been looking at Klipsch, but they just seem pretty expensive, and I need some options, whether it be powered or regular speakers. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Commerce, GA
    (bumping for more attention, 2am isn't the best time for forums)
  3. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    There is a lot of competition in the integrated amp/receiver arena right now, particularly in the sub-$500 category. Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon, NAD, and other companies make decent integrated amps and receivers in your budget. Some of these have phono stages and some don't, you'll need to shop around. I wouldn't expect a lot out of the phono stage quality/performance wise though - it should be more like something to tide you over until you can get a high-performance standalone one. If you want to save a few bucks, look at refurbs from places like Accessories for Less. Be sure to read the fine print on the return policy and warranty wherever you buy.

    Re: speakers, that is another area that is fairly competitive right now, especially in the sub-$500 category. Speakers are very personal and it's hard to make suggestions without taking a shot in the dark. You'll just have to try them which can be hard these days. Some things that can narrow the field are looking at specs and how the speaker is built. For example, if you say that the speakers need to be near a wall, that should automatically eliminate all speakers with rear ports, because most of those need to be at least 1 foot away from the wall. Or if you say you need a speaker with good bass response, that would eliminate speakers that don't go very low (e.g. some bookshelf speakers only go to 50-55hz on the low end and are designed to be used with a sub).

    If it were me I would try to narrow down the speaker choices first, then figure out how much power you need out of an integrated amp in order to get the speakers at the volume you want without too much struggle. That would then help narrow your amp choices.

    How large is the room you are putting the speakers in? When you say loud, how loud? Have you measured your "loud" listening volume in decibels?
  4. Tim Irvine

    Tim Irvine Forum Resident

    Austin, Texas
    I’d get a Yamaha integrated and hit eBay for a pair of smaller ADS speakers.
  5. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Commerce, GA
    It's the size of a typical guest bedroom, probably an 11x13 or something like that. They don't have to get loud too often, as my average listening volume is 55-65 dB, and loud is probably 75-85 or around there, I'd assume. Speakers are going to have probably a foot of space behind them, as these speakers are probably going to be sitting on a shelf of some kind or something, but I'd have to find some different options if I need to get a subwoofer, as I'd have no clue where I could put it.
  6. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    $300-$500 is not much money to get a quality system. But, I bought a 1993 Yamaha RX 535 for my GF and was surprised how clear it sounded for solid-state, beats the earlier Yamaha CR series by a mile. Wharfedale Denton are good sounding speakers. Both are doable for $500.
    The AT-440 is a fine cartridge. The Wharfedale speakers will smooth out the AT-440 high frequencies.
  7. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    If you want to get an upgrade in quality $300-$500 might just get you some reasonable stand mount speakers. For amp and speakers I think you need double your budget without guarantee of real improvement.
  8. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Resident Scatterbrain

    Ontario, Canada
    Perhaps a used NAD/Rotel/Cambridge integrated and some used PSB Alphas, Wharfedales, Paradigm or even B&W bookshelf speakers? Some of the older integrated amps had decent phono stages built in too.

Share This Page