View Full Version : Challenge: Best Bang for the Buck Stereo System/Turntable for ~ $450


williwoods
12-05-2012, 03:23 PM
Hey There Folks,

I have a fun challenge for you. A co-worker of mine wants to put together a Turntable/Stereo from scratch for ~ $450 give or take. It is a female so also keep in mind that Aesthetics are fairly important to her, not to say that us guys don't care.....but you get what I am saying.

She is very much into older gear, however new gear is not out of the question. I would assume that the best bang for the buck would be late 70's - 80's gear. She is also willing to put repair $$ into anything she buys if it requires it, let's not include repair costs in the the build. Let us assume that everything is in good working order for the prices quoted. Let us also assume that she is not into fiddling with anything, let us ignore any tweaks or mods.....for now.

She wants a Turntable, New Cartridge, Receiver and Speakers. Lets avoid interconnects and speaker cables for now.


I realize that alot of this is speculation and hard to pin down as depending on what hot deals come around on CL or Ebay could dramatically change how much bang for the buck you get. Let's assume average prices for the individual pieces ie: don't suggest a $200 VPI TT as that will never happen.


I will suggest the first parts list, I used CL and Ebay to get average prices. I am only suggesting components that I know are decent.

Of course this is all give or take to some extent. I am just curious what others would come up with.


Shure 97XE cart from Amazon for $80
Technics SL-1300 for ~ $120
Pioneer SX-880 for ~ $150
Infinity RSb Speakers ~ $100

Total =$450

scottyh777
12-05-2012, 03:37 PM
Sony PS-X50 Turntable $150 delivered maybe
Sony STR-6065 Reciever $150 delivered maybe
Advent Floor Standing Speakers take your pick $100-$125? $150 delivered maybe

Shure 97XE cart from Amazon for $80

Im at $530 here I think.But possibly get turntable with cart included and it's better than the Shure?

Great system above with lots of power and a good MM phono pre.

Duane
12-05-2012, 03:59 PM
Given the fact that repair costs for used equipment may be part of the overall budget, why not go for something new? A new integrated amp and table might run close to $800 and they would be under warrantee. Just a thought.

majick47
12-05-2012, 04:09 PM
You might as well go all the way if your suggesting new equipment, turntable and intergrated amp, speakers will push the cost to over a $1,000. Warranties are nice but if used equipment should in the future need to be refurbished the total cost wont approach the cost of new. Another factor is new equipment even at the $1000 range I doubt will match the performance/quality of older equipment. Stick with your budget of $450 for used/preowned/vintage.

dumptruck
12-05-2012, 04:15 PM
Vintage:
HK 330c $75
The first decent midrange Japanese direct drive TT that comes along: $150
Shure, or solid stylus for included cart: $80
classic mid-sized EPI, Genesis, or ADS speakers: $175 Also, maybe easier to find, Boston A series (the originals, not the 2011 ones).
= $480

Less Vintage:
AudioEngine A5: $300
ART DJpre II: $40
whatever good deal on a TT can be found with a useable cart (after stylus replacement) included: $110
= $450

No Vintage:
AudioEngine A5: $300
Audio-Technica LP120: $200
= $500. Start with stock cart and internal phono pre, upgrade phono pre ASAP, upgrade cart later / when stylus is worn out.

edit: In my opinion, all of these options will be in the same sound quality range. I have experience with all of this stuff except the ART pre, which everyone seems to think is just fine.

williwoods
12-05-2012, 04:15 PM
You might as well go all the way if your suggesting new equipment, turntable and intergrated amp, speakers will push the cost to over a $1,000. Warranties are nice but if used equipment should in the future need to be refurbished the total cost wont approach the cost of new. Another factor is new equipment even at the $1000 range I doubt will match the performance/quality of older equipment. Stick with your budget of $450 for used/preowned/vintage.

EXACTLY! I feel like you have to spend near $3000 or more to make a new stereo system outperform a quality Used/Vintage system.

Tautatis
12-05-2012, 07:10 PM
I am not sure if the budget she has is realistic. There are a million and one reasons why Technics TT, Shure cartriges etc are sold at that price on eBay, CL or and Amazon. Even though the basic idea of a TT has remain the same since its invention, the truth remain that a $450 Project sounds better than a Technics TT. It also depends "how" she listens to music. I can tolerate Technics or Realistic sound system at work or in my car, but after 8 hours under tube lights in a cubicle, I really need space to unwind and relax. P/se do not give her bad advice. Tell her to save money and invest in something good (not that expensive) that would last several years to a decade.

For example, I bought a Carver system with B&W speakers in 1994 (after getting my student loan for graduate school). I spent $700 (lots of money in 1994) to buy speakers and over a period of a year I completed a Carver system (amp & pre-amp). I kept it for more than 10 years and in 2005, I bought a Rotel (one part at a time - keeping my B&W speakers). In 2012, I bought a Wadia CD player, Rouge Cronus Magnum & a SOTA TT - keeping the same B&W speakers. As I write this I am listening to some obscure Jazz pianist and I will confess the music is so good! I am constantly amazed at how satisfied I am - ask me in 10 years, perhaps I will invest in Audio Research amps etc.

Cheers,

Br1ck
12-05-2012, 07:34 PM
Marantz 2220 or any 22xx up to 50 watts...$150 prices here escalate 50+watts

AR XA $100 to $150

Stylus for the Shure cart if it comes with a 91ed

Dynaco 25, AR 4a, Advent speakers.

williwoods
12-05-2012, 07:58 PM
I am not sure if the budget she has is realistic. There are a million and one reasons why Technics TT, Shure cartriges etc are sold at that price on eBay, CL or and Amazon. Even though the basic idea of a TT has remain the same since its invention, the truth remain that a $450 Project sounds better than a Technics TT. It also depends "how" she listens to music. I can tolerate Technics or Realistic sound system at work or in my car, but after 8 hours under tube lights in a cubicle, I really need space to unwind and relax. P/se do not give her bad advice. Tell her to save money and invest in something good (not that expensive) that would last several years to a decade.

For example, I bought a Carver system with B&W speakers in 1994 (after getting my student loan for graduate school). I spent $700 (lots of money in 1994) to buy speakers and over a period of a year I completed a Carver system (amp & pre-amp). I kept it for more than 10 years and in 2005, I bought a Rotel (one part at a time - keeping my B&W speakers). In 2012, I bought a Wadia CD player, Rouge Cronus Magnum & a SOTA TT - keeping the same B&W speakers. As I write this I am listening to some obscure Jazz pianist and I will confess the music is so good! I am constantly amazed at how satisfied I am - ask me in 10 years, perhaps I will invest in Audio Research amps etc.

Cheers,


The truth is thousands upon thousands of folks have been very happy with a middle of the road Technics TT like the SL1300. I also bet quite a number of folks here will argue with you about your opinion that a Project TT sounds better than a Technics, that is kind of vague anyway since there are many variables such as which exact model and which cart etc...

I hear your point. its just that as a first timer into this $450 is already a pretty big nut and you gotta start somewhere. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the direction I am giving her, I very much don't agree with you that I am giving bad advice. The first question I asked her was "how much do you want to spend".....her answer was $450. if she wants to spend more she can, but this is where she wants to be and I think that is a very reasonable starting point, its a realistic number and starting point.

C6Bill
12-05-2012, 08:15 PM
What part of the country are they in and what type of music do they listen to ?

I like the direction you are going in, they should be able to put together a real nice sounding vintage system in that price range :thmbsp:

dumptruck
12-05-2012, 08:17 PM
I think you should go with my second recommendation :pat-self-on-back:. No muss, no fuss, minimum cables, minimum space, and easy on the eyes. I did forget to put stands in the budget, but maybe she has something for that.

Danimal
12-05-2012, 08:27 PM
I am not sure if the budget she has is realistic. There are a million and one reasons why Technics TT, Shure cartriges etc are sold at that price on eBay, CL or and Amazon. Even though the basic idea of a TT has remain the same since its invention, the truth remain that a $450 Project sounds better than a Technics TT. It also depends "how" she listens to music. I can tolerate Technics or Realistic sound system at work or in my car, but after 8 hours under tube lights in a cubicle, I really need space to unwind and relax. P/se do not give her bad advice. Tell her to save money and invest in something good (not that expensive) that would last several years to a decade.

For example, I bought a Carver system with B&W speakers in 1994 (after getting my student loan for graduate school). I spent $700 (lots of money in 1994) to buy speakers and over a period of a year I completed a Carver system (amp & pre-amp). I kept it for more than 10 years and in 2005, I bought a Rotel (one part at a time - keeping my B&W speakers). In 2012, I bought a Wadia CD player, Rouge Cronus Magnum & a SOTA TT - keeping the same B&W speakers. As I write this I am listening to some obscure Jazz pianist and I will confess the music is so good! I am constantly amazed at how satisfied I am - ask me in 10 years, perhaps I will invest in Audio Research amps etc.

Cheers,
I'm $550 deep with system in my signature. You can put together an awesome system on the cheap if you are patient and do some research. Yes - $550... I will grant you the fact that I bought well, sold better and then upgraded repeatedly but it can be done. It is far from the best system on here but I can assure you the cost does not reflect it's spectacular sound.

williwoods
12-05-2012, 08:33 PM
What part of the country are they in and what type of music do they listen to ?

I like the direction you are going in, they should be able to put together a real nice sounding vintage system in that price range :thmbsp:

California

Jazz and classic rock seems to be the collection she has. I think her record collection is a hand me down collection from Mom and Dad or something. I know she mentioned Miles Davis and Jimmy Hendrix.

C6Bill
12-05-2012, 09:12 PM
Just a quick look through Barter Town :thmbsp:

Sansui AU 7500 Integrated Amp $250
Yamaha YP-D6 turntable $125
Infinity RSa 2-Way Speakers - $80


I put my first system together at an AK get together

Kenwood KR-7600
Sony PS-X6
KLH 5's
Stanton cart
Total price $425

williwoods
12-05-2012, 09:29 PM
Yeah Barter Town would be the way to go for sure. I have yet to sign up for it myself. I will suggest this to her.

redbeard74
12-05-2012, 09:31 PM
Just a quick look through Barter Town :thmbsp:

Sansui AU 7500 Integrated Amp $250
Yamaha YP-D6 turntable $125
Infinity RSa 2-Way Speakers - $80


That seems like a lot of bang for the buck. But she might like fm or am.
Maybe substitute a Sansui 5000X for the AU-7500 in that case. $250 should get one in good shape.

C6Bill
12-05-2012, 09:35 PM
Lots of good equipment available in CA, maybe check with Chicks, he knows where all the good stuff is out there :thmbsp:


If she wanted to up her budget, a whole bunch, there is a 9090 and a 9000 available right now in Barter Town :drool::drool::drool:

derekva
12-05-2012, 11:52 PM
My advice: hit the thrifts and keep an eye on CL and Bartertown (largely avoid eBay unless you want to pay too much). While I'm nowhere near the level of Chicks, here's a system I put together over a period of approximately five months, to prove it can be done if you take your time and have a bit of luck.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7065/7075383111_b2431c9651_b.jpg

Technics SL10 + EPS310mc ($35)
Luxman L100 ($25)
Realistic Minimus 7W ($10)

Granted, the Technics required disassembly and lube (about 2 hours of my time + $10 in bicycle grease), the Luxman required $45 in servicing to repair the left channel on the phono board and I also put $20 into the Realistics to upgrade the crossovers. Still that's well under the $450 target.

-D

Balifly
12-06-2012, 12:12 AM
My advice: hit the thrifts and keep an eye on CL and Bartertown (largely avoid eBay unless you want to pay too much). While I'm nowhere near the level of Chicks, here's a system I put together over a period of approximately five months, to prove it can be done if you take your time and have a bit of luck.


Technics SL10 + EPS310mc ($35)
Luxman L100 ($25)
Realistic Minimus 7W ($10)

Granted, the Technics required disassembly and lube (about 2 hours of my time + $10 in bicycle grease), the Luxman required $45 in servicing to repair the left channel on the phono board and I also put $20 into the Realistics to upgrade the crossovers. Still that's well under the $450 target.

-D


That cartridge alone is worth...........lots (don't want to relegate this thread to the Dollar & Sense forum).

williwoods
12-07-2012, 10:42 AM
Any other suggestions?

leesonic
12-07-2012, 11:14 AM
Easy.

British/German

Dual 505 turntable with Ortofon ULM cartridge to match.
NAD 3020 amp.
Mission 700 speakers (the originals with the white baffles).

American/Japanese

Sansui SR-222 turntable, AT95E cartridge.
Sansui AU-317 amp.
Acoustic Research AR18S.

You could obtain either of these systems under $500 with some careful shopping. You did say receivers, so I'd go with the matching NAD or Sansui tuner. Those 317s are creeping up in price, so you could maybe substitute a Sansui A-60 or A-80 amplifier in place.

Lee.

sxty8goats
12-07-2012, 11:29 AM
M91ED w/ New Generic EVG stylus will cost you somewhere between $35 and $55 if you search the Bay for a bit. Stylus is @$14, the cart ranges from $20 to $40. It will blow away the M97xe if you like a full warm sound with clear highs. They sound great on the Technics SL models mentioned here. I've run them on SL1200Mk2, SL1600Mk2, SL1800 and SL1950.

leesonic
12-07-2012, 06:05 PM
How could I forget, the best speaker bargain of the decade? Of course, I'm referring to a pair of DCM KX10 Series 2. I'm listening to a pair as I type, I drove all the way out to Delaware to pick these up. Very efficient speakers, will partner well with low powered receivers and amps.

Lee.

Br1ck
12-07-2012, 06:20 PM
Nor Cal or So Cal?

bearchuck
12-07-2012, 08:38 PM
When I first started out, I owned several of the pieces already mentioned in this thread, and I would definitely recommend them to anyone just starting out in the world of vintage gear. All are capable performers that can be found for reasonable prices on Bartertown, Craigslist, eBay, etc etc).

Sony 6065 ($150)
Harman Kardon 330C ($60)
AR-XA ($250 ... but it was pretty heavily modified. You can obviously find them in stock form for less)
Dual 1229 ($140)
Genesis Model 10 Speakers ($40)

The Genesis speakers are definitely a great value because they fly a bit under the radar. I'm also a big fan of ADS, which can be had for under $200 depending on the model.

The Hagerman Bugle is a great preamp that you can buy for about $160. However, if you're good with a soldering iron and schematics, you can buy a kit and the components for nearly half that. I also have an ART DJPRE II, which is a very capable performer. It won't blow your mind, but for $40 it's decent.

Good luck! I think it's a great thing you're doing for your friend. I'm sure you'll be able to put something together that sounds really nice. Maybe she'll be content for years to come, but if not, she'll have a terrific jumping off point should she decide to upgrade!