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Good small HiFi recommendations?

0b5cur1ty

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I wonder if my fellow sf-ers are able to help me out with some advice here:

I will shortly be moving to a new apartment with some space/furniture placing limitations, meaning I won't have room for a full size HiFi separates system. Floor space is at a premium, considering the layout I'm planning, so I was ideally looking for a system that could be entirely contained within a large, robust, shelving case that will cover the end wall of the living room - including the speakers.

The problem is, I'm passionate about music and want good sound quality. My current (ancient and ailing) system of Marantz CD player/amp and JPW loudspeakers still sounds good and I'd like something capable of sounding at least as good. My initial candidate was a Tivoli Audio system of model two / model CD and model sub but I auditioned this yesterday and, whilst impressive in isolation for such tiny boxes, it lacks depth and detail compared to my current system. Now I'm thinking about a small system like the Denon DF107 or a small CD receiver like the Marantz M-CR502 or Arcam Solo Mini, paired with small-ish speakers that won't mind being on a shelf rather than on a stand.

Does anyone have experience of solutions like this? Can anyone recommend any other options for good sound from a small system?
 

Plestor

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Headphones. Also helps with noise restrictions.

I've never heard those kind of systems sound good. I can provide specific suggestions if you want here.
 

Artisan Fan

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Really depends on the budget - probably $1.5-2K will get you a terrific compact system. I have been impressed with the Peachtree Audio iDecco (see review in The Absolute Sound). Great tube based one box with integrated tube amp, headphone amp, and DAC for $999. Great deal and it sounds terrific. I heard it with the Zu Audio speakers. http://signalpathint.com/index.php/iDecco/idecco2.html Pair them with the some PSB or Paradigm or AudioEngine speakers and you have a great system.
 

Yo-han

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i have the denon f107 setup, good bang for the buck so would recommend it. It isn't very compact though, builds kinda deep with all the cords plugged in in the back.
 

0b5cur1ty

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Originally Posted by voxsartoria



- B

Am I right in thinking that's the model M? I've read some mixed reviews of the Geneva products - do you have personal experience of them? If so, I'd appreciate your impressions as this would be an option space wise.

Originally Posted by Plestor
Headphones. Also helps with noise restrictions.

I've never heard those kind of systems sound good. I can provide specific suggestions if you want here.

Thanks, but I dislike listening to headphones.

Originally Posted by Artisan Fan
Really depends on the budget - probably $1.5-2K will get you a terrific compact system.

I have been impressed with the Peachtree Audio iDecco (see review in The Absolute Sound). Great tube based one box with integrated tube amp, headphone amp, and DAC for $999. Great deal and it sounds terrific. I heard it with the Zu Audio speakers.

http://signalpathint.com/index.php/iDecco/idecco2.html

Pair them with the some PSB or Paradigm or AudioEngine speakers and you have a great system.

Sorry, I should have been more specific - I'm looking for a CD-based system. Nice looking device though.

Originally Posted by Yo-han
i have the denon f107 setup, good bang for the buck so would recommend it. It isn't very compact though, builds kinda deep with all the cords plugged in in the back.
Thanks for the comment. The depth is not such an issue (it would go in a deep bookcase). Are you using the matching Denon speakers? How does it compare to other small systems?
 

Artisan Fan

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Originally Posted by 0b5cur1ty
Sorry, I should have been more specific - I'm looking for a CD-based system. Nice looking device though.
No problem. All you need to do is add a CD player to the inputs. The Oppo 980H I have is slim and small but sounds decent. A bit of advice from my experience. You are better off getting a well made piece from a good high end audio brand. The more mass market one-piece systems don't usually sound as good or last as long.
 

0b5cur1ty

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Originally Posted by Artisan Fan
No problem. All you need to do is add a CD player to the inputs. The Oppo 980H I have is slim and small but sounds decent.

A bit of advice from my experience. You are better off getting a well made piece from a good high end audio brand. The more mass market one-piece systems don't usually sound as good or last as long.

Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately there seems to be an insane markup on the iDecco over here. 999 dollars = 1390 euros, would you believe?

I do take your point about quality - I bought decent separates last time and they've lasted me 12 years and given a great deal of listening pleasure in that time.
 

Artisan Fan

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Originally Posted by 0b5cur1ty
Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately there seems to be an insane markup on the iDecco over here. 999 dollars = 1390 euros, would you believe?

I do take your point about quality - I bought decent separates last time and they've lasted me 12 years and given a great deal of listening pleasure in that time.


Sad to hear about the markup. That sometimes happens. Glad you get the quality concept...it will serve you well.

A few well made pieces >> more not well made pieces.
 

0b5cur1ty

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Originally Posted by Artisan Fan
Sad to hear about the markup. That sometimes happens. Glad you get the quality concept...it will serve you well.

A few well made pieces >> more not well made pieces.

Artisan Fan - I owe you a big thank you. Whilst it took me a little while to get around to it, your original post made me think about possible HiFi solutions in a quite different way. What I missed with my original reaction and realised a little later (bear in mind it's over a decade since I last bought HiFi) was that you were pointing me towards high quality equipment that could accept an optical digital signal and translate it using its own DAC, making the source 'just' a digital transport and less relevant to sound quality.

As a result of this, and bearing the space restrictions in mind, I am now seriously thinking of using my Mac Mini (controlled by Front Row and an Apple remote) as a combined media source and CD/DVD transport outputting an optical signal to something like the Peachtree amplifier (though probably the Nova rather than the iDecco) and suitable speakers, or AVI's ADM9.1 active speakers with built-in DAC. I had also thought the already-on-my-list Arcam Solo Mini might provide a suitable in-between option (with the Mac feeding it for DVDs and media from the hard drive or internet) but it appears to lack an optical input, unless the USB port can be used for that.

Much food for thought - and thanks again for that. As a final favour, would you care to give more specific loudspeaker recommendations for use with the Peachtree products?

Originally Posted by audiophilia
Go Lenehan. Chk Audiophilia for the reviews. Small footprint. Awesome!
Thanks for the recommendation but these are just the speakers I believe.. and a little out of my price range.
 

Artisan Fan

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Originally Posted by 0b5cur1ty
Much food for thought - and thanks again for that. As a final favour, would you care to give more specific loudspeaker recommendations for use with the Peachtree products?
You are very welcome. I have heard the Peachtree products drive Zu Audio Essence and Soul speakers beautifully. It really depends on your budget and size restrictions. There are any number of great monitor size speakers, I would suggest the following to look at: **Epos ELS-8 **Paradigm Series, Reference series if you can afford it. **PSB Audio **AudioEngine A5 Now the remote control music server is a great idea. The Nova has a terrific DAC with the high quality ESS chip. A good friend uses an iTouch to control a MacBook Pro which he outputs to a Wadia for a DAC. Great sound quality and the Apple software is as good as even the dedicated music server products.
 

0b5cur1ty

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Originally Posted by Artisan Fan
You are very welcome. I have heard the Peachtree products drive Zu Audio Essence and Soul speakers beautifully. It really depends on your budget and size restrictions. There are any number of great monitor size speakers, I would suggest the following to look at:

**Epos ELS-8
**Paradigm Series, Reference series if you can afford it.
**PSB Audio
**AudioEngine A5

Now the remote control music server is a great idea. The Nova has a terrific DAC with the high quality ESS chip. A good friend uses an iTouch to control a MacBook Pro which he outputs to a Wadia for a DAC. Great sound quality and the Apple software is as good as even the dedicated music server products.

Thanks!

I'm a bit curious as to the AudioEngine recommendation - as these are powered speakers, apparently without normal speaker cable inputs, how would you use them with the Nova?
 

Artisan Fan

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Originally Posted by 0b5cur1ty
Thanks!

I'm a bit curious as to the AudioEngine recommendation - as these are powered speakers, apparently without normal speaker cable inputs, how would you use them with the Nova?


You use the Nova as a DAC.
 

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