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I need some help deciding how to upgrade my current amp and speakers for about a $3K budget. I have a Mac Mini and a CA Dacmagic DAC for source. I need to replace the rest. I am considering a NAD C372 integrated amp and PSB Imagine Towers or potentially the AVI ADM 9.1s with the sub and sell my current DACmagic. Any comments on the comparison of these two options or other suggestions with a 3K budget?


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You cant go wrong wit the rotel integrated amp and a pair of nice B&Ws!





call me silly, but the b&w speakers should be made in england!






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bottlerocket, can you say anything about your room, musical tastes, and any constraints you might have? Were you hoping for a remote, for example? Is your listening room small.. or big? Opera lover?


Also, thinking about your current setup, are there traits you'd like to carry forward (or avoid) in your next system?


edit: Also, FWIW, you could put together an awfully smart headphone system for $3000. Does that idea interest you at all?


2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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It seems obvious to me since you're almost starting from scratch. Your budget is $3K and you want to replace your amp, speakers and you're willing to sell your Cambridge Dacmagic DAC.


Buy the AVI ADM 9.1 with the sub, simplify your system and just enjoy good music. I suspect that you will easily be satisfied for several years before you feel the need to upgrade again.


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Thanks for bringing up headphones. Actually, since I have a family competing for my listening room which is my living room and is a large room, headphones are a really good option. I currently have AKG 240s and use to them frequently. How do you like your Proton and the 702s? I've thought about something like that also. I could upgrade my DAC to something with a good headphone amp and get some 702s or similar for half my budget and probably be just as happy.


My current system has good midrange with the volume up a little, but I am looking for more power and presence at low volume and also better bass response.


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I've come to serious headphone listening in the last year or so. I'm also a family man and I do substantial listening after the kids are in bed. And, you know, my family is mostly interested in a music system as a casual experience. I can rarely really rock my system without agitating the natives.


Anyway so I've come to love headphone listening. I can have the music as loud or soft as I want. I can listen to any..... kind.... of.... music.... I.... want... to! I can blast La Boheme! I can listen to J-Pop! I can wallow in the sounds of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys! And I can hear detail and subtlety in the music that otherwise just gets lost bouncing around in the room acoustic. Well, so you can see, I've become a convert. :-)


I'm very fond of the AKG + Proton combo. For my dac, I wanted to be able to do 24/96 and the Wavelength units are known for their Asynchronous USB code. I don't have the optical out from my older computer.


The AKG's are super comfortable and that was as important as SQ for me. To be my main act, I need to be able to clamp these things on, jump to light speed, hit the galactic beltway, and not return to earth until after many hours of off-world elapsed time . My feeling is, if your head hurts and your ears are being excoriated by a bad fitting 'phones, then you're better off with speakers. However, everybody has a different head. Aye, there's the rub!


You know about head-fi.org?


edit: looking for more power and presence at low volume and also better bass response.

On this point headphones can certainly deliver. And you needn't keep the volume low. :-)


2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Don't know if you are still looking for components for a budget system. You cant go wrong with the Magneplanar MMG's. I have a pair that I modified by replacing the wiring with silver wire and swaped out the cheap cap and inductor. Many love them in the stock form. Only $550/pair. Another great sounding budget component - Winsome Labs Mouse T-amp. Great sounding T-amp and it has enough guts to push the planars. Digital front ends on a budget are a bit more of a challenge. A DIY DAC with transport could be fun and cheap. - enjoy!


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