First 2.1 setup help

Hi everyone, I just landed my first big boy job and to celebrate I am looking to build my first, aspiring audiophile, stereo setup. My budget is between 1000 - 1500 USD I think about 600-700 would be for the speakers and the rest for a sub and amp. I am stuck on speakers for now. I’m hoping for bookshelf speakers that are as close to sonically disappearing as I can get in this price range. I have looked at the Polk r200, the wharfdale evo 4.1, Klipsch rp-600m, and from eBay the Klipsch rb-81 II. I am leaning away from the Klipsch because, from what I understand, they are more theater focused while I am looking to get speakers primarily from music listening. If anyone thinks of some info or advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it. The amount of bookshelf speakers out there is simply overwhelming and I have yet to think about amps and subs I already have a couple of usb dac/amps for headphones, I assume I can just use one of those as a dac for the stereo setup, is that correct?

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I don’t know too much about speakers (other friends here will know much more), but just wanted to say welcome to the forums and congratulations on the new job! :tada:

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You watching movies or straight music?

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Straight music

Get a sub or amp with high pass filter. Think about 2.2 . youre going to be building a collection of bookshelves, least thats what happen to me. :upside_down_face:

I like 2.2 alternative to towers but then again why not 2.2 floorstanders , built in speaker stands ! It never ends.
Back on topic get those wharfdales in 6in woofer is my vote. Classy looking.

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If I was just starting out I’d just get these two items:

NODE - Bluesound

ADAM Audio T7V 7 inch Powered Studio Monitor | Sweetwater

Get a set of $75 stands off amazon a set of cables… For 1k all it it would be a pretty sweet setup! I demo’d the T7V nearfield (didn’t get hiss) and midfield 6-8 feet away in a smallish listening room and it was great.

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Some speaker options.

ELAC Uni-Fi 2.0
Monitor Audio Broze
Wharfdale EVO 4.2 or the Denton’s
Polk Audio Reserves

Look into those, you will find all very good reviews, it just depends on what you are looking for in terms of sound. Your sub? I’d pick the speakers first, your amp second, and then figure out your budget for a sub. I’m not a big sub guy, but that’d be the last thing I get and low key at your current budget, I’d punt the sub for now and add later. Speakers and Amp for $1500ish and you are cooking with gas on the entry level. My speaker options do require some stands, so add that into the budget. Go to monoprice.

I have a Parasound Amp that is well out of your range, but I like the bass Parasound presents and it gets a lot more low end from your speakers that you’d anticipate. There are some in your range that would be good.

If you want a good integrated amp and get some fun features from them…the Cambridge models always get rave reviews and they have all you need at multiple price points. Whatever fits for you. You can get good streaming options with a Cambridge, too.

The IOTAVX SA3 is an integrated amp for $500 that gets rave reviews…check that out. Rotel A11 Tribute is another Integrated Amp that gets good reviews and sounds great.

If you want to stream… get an Allo Boss2 and you are good forever as a streamer and DAC.

I’d be shocked if your system isn’t configured with some of the things in this post. All highly recommended units.

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I like the Bluesound NODE…its a very good piece of equipment, but you really should outboard it to a DAC. The DAC inside is serviceable, but you absolutely won’t get that disappearing effect with it, because its far too narrow in its presentation. I’m not the type of guy that picks up the subtle differences a DAC may have…I’m really not…but the NODE by itself verses simply sending it to a decent DAC like an SMSL is so audibly different, its wild and even I can hear it.

I have the new NODE and I like it a lot…Bluesound is very nice for connectivity and streaming, its just hampered by that DAC. I have used a MODIUS and SMSL SU8 with it and its much much better sounding. I’m waiting on a Bifrost (Black) to pair up with it.

I think with his budget, the NODE is priced out here. Allo Boss2 is a big big winner for like $200 and the DAC is pretty aces for it.

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I am planning on playing downloaded files off my computer so no need for a streaming device for now. I have a zen dac that, for now, I would plan on connecting to an amp then the speakers is that a reasonable chain? If that dac would work fine, what kind of amps should I look for? @BoxingRobes I was leaning toward the Wharfdale EVO 4.1 as I was researching today, do you think the 4.2 would be worth the extra $200?

I have not listened to the 4.1, but have listened to the 4.2…I like the Wharfdales…english speakers have a good signature for music. Do you need a sub ultimately? Yeah. But IMO, and others can disagree, this is all just preference, I’d hold off on a sub and make that a purchase you save for after.

If I were in your position with some components like a DAC on hand…I’d try for a 1000/500 (ish) split on Speakers/Amp.

I’d probably go after an Integrated Amp of some kind, it offers you a Pre-Amp and Amplifier (with some other bells and whistles) and is the wheelhouse at your pricepoint. The Integrated Amp will also have a decent DAC (usually). I think a dedicated Amp in this price point isn’t the best bang for your buck, but thats just my opinion.

Quick question…is this more for Nearfield listening (asking because you said this is going to be mostly playing files from a computer) or for full room listening? Followup – if its for fullroom…we talking small, medium, large room?

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@BoxingRobes full room listening and I would say a small - medium room. While I will be playing files off my computer, these will not be desk speakers.

If you’re going with the Wharfdales…you can’t go wrong with Cambridge, IMO. I’ve not matched them up personally, although I have listened to numerous models from each brand and feel - in theory - you’ll have some good synergy.

Also, if you can stretch the budget another $150 or willing to buy OPEN BOX or USED…Rega IO integrated amp is very nice.

Some might say those $500-ish integrateds don’t give you enough juice for the Wharfs…but for a small room you should be just fine.

if you - personally - are worried about power…the IOTAVX SA3 or an EMOTIVA option (TA-100??) would give you more juice than you need.

You got a ton of options. Just don’t be afraid to send something back if you aren’t happy and try something else…try buying from a company that won’t F you on returns…

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$1500 is a great starting point on your HIFI journey. Still think the subwoofer route is the way when running books or towers with 6in drivers or less. A sub or dual subs provide the sense of scale to the recording, 2.2 is awesome. Also collecting books are fun its like collecting headphones.

Going the subwoofer like emotiva 12in $399 and choice of intagreted amp with remote route will leave you with around $600 for speakers though.

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any speakers will disappear if you position them right. some are just easier then others. i wouldnt let that be much of a determining factor.

what kind of music do you listen to? what kind of sound do you like? there have been lots of good rec’s so far…but with little input from you. no offense to anyone suggesting anything.

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I realize I haven’t been great with input. I am a little overwhelmed lol, I like classic rock, popular 70’s 80’s and 90’s pop, grunge, rock. specifically I like the Eagles, Styx, Rush, Red hot chili, cake, nirvana, Dire straits, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Michael Jackson, Weather Girls, Tears for Fears, YES and I love wilco but I don’t know their genre. I also like metal (Iron Maiden, MegaDeath) classical music (Bach, Vivaldi, Haendel) movie and video game osts. I really like and listen to a lot of genres and I do my best to listen to well recorded dynamic music and I have a lot of fun tracking down original masters that have not been ruined by compression. I am back to leaning away from spending over 700 on the speakers because I do think I want a sub on the first go. Currently I listen on a zen dac or tone 2 pro (dac/amp combo) to Philips fidelio x2hr and I love the soundstage and clarity, so I want something that will at least sound as good as those. as for the type of sound I like, I really am not sure, as I have not spent much time listening to different systems, I think I like a more flat sound where I can hear all the parts clearly; maybe a little warm?


excellent reply! the zen dac has you covered on the touch of warmth. do you live in the states?

triangle bro’s on sale for 349$

emotiva amp for neutral. parasound for a touch more warmth.

edit: rel sub to rythmik, my bad. meant rythmik. the base model is 589$ and all the sub you need for small to medium.

edit: has b stock and open box parasound amps. the 2125v2 is a good one with all the juice you would need(150wpc into 8ohms) for 600$ with a 40hz high pass option built in.

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I do live in the states

I do like sales and I think the Bro3 look good but, until I develop my personal opinion, I hold Zeos’s opinion highly and he does not seem to be a fan. He is saying that the treble is painful; while I do appreciate good treble, I don’t want my system to be fatiguing. I am seeing in the comments that people think he is testing them in a bad room, and they are better suited in a smaller room. I will have them in a basement till I move out of my parents but my basement is not that big.

DMS likes them though

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elac dbr62’s, parasound 275v2, emotiva airmotive se12

edit: changed amps to an amp only

edit2: just remembered cambridge audio(been distracted a lot today) they have fine offerings below 500$ range for amps

edit3: this one is nice and 120$ cheaper then the parasound.

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