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Help building a lasting ~$10k system with apartment limitations

Suited

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Hey guys! First time building a system, but have been dreaming about it for a long time, so am very excited and looking to build something that I can enjoy at least for a few years before upgrading.

Because of work, unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I'd like for researching and going to local stores for listening tests (which I will try to do once I have my shortlist), but have been reading forums, reviews, etc.

Still, there are so many nuances that I'm sure I'm missing. So before I make this investment, wanted to ask for advice here (thanks in advance!). Slowly learning about hi-fi, so please pardon any stupid comments/questions.

Some inputs:
  • Use: 70% - lossless digital streaming (due to everyday convenience), 25% - vinyl records, 5% - TV (not a priority, but want to have an option)
  • Sound: detailed but engaging (slightly colored would be better than sterile)
  • Ease of setup/use: would try to avoid components sensitive to fine-tuning that might sound subpar otherwise
  • Aesthetics matter: willing to make a marginal sacrifice in sound quality / pay a bit extra if the system looks appealing
  • Music that I listen to: all sorts of rock (Muse, Queen, Metallica, etc.), some pop (Pink), some acoustic/orchestra concerts; no blues or jazz
  • Live in an apartment but like to listen to music pretty loud
  • Speakers placement: on the TV stand. Think this is the only solution (more on this below)
  • Distance between speakers: 4ft. Know this isn't great (more on this below)
  • Room size: living room is about 12' (depth) x14' (width), but is a part of a larger open layout of 12'x25'
  • Listening distance: ~10 feet
One big limitation is the layout of my apartment (photo below): this corner is the only place to put a system. Believe speakers should typically be 40+ inches away from walls, but mine would need to be pretty close. Is this a deal-breaker or how should I think about it?

The components that I've been looking at from what I've read, but welcome any suggestions:
  • Turntable: Rega Planar 6 with Aria Pro MC. Planning to put it on a Rega shelf below the TV to isolate from the speakers - is this worthwhile?
  • Preamp: Rega Fono MC
  • Streamer: Cambridge Audio CXN (V2). I was also considering EVO 150, but have read that CXA81+CXN (V2) would probably be a more functional and better sounding solution + the flexibility of separates
  • Amp: Cambridge Audio CXA81. Plan to stack them on top of each other and put them on one of those shelves (they fit right in) - any potential issues? Heat?
  • Speakers: Kef R3. Realize they are big for my setup and should be placed away from the walls, but have read about the benefits of 3-way speakers - any advice? Also, the TV is being re-mounted higher.
  • Cables: did not have a chance to research - any recommendations? For the TV, planning to use Apple TV + CXN via AirPlay - this works ok?
  • Anything else missing?
Would massively appreciate any thoughts and recommendations. Thank you!

TV Stand.jpeg
 

RickSanchez

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Not specific to the equipment you listed but some overall thoughts:
1) you should consider a sub. The KEF R3’s are fantastic speakers but a sub can do a lot for your sound, assuming you integrate and cross it over correctly.
2) do research on room EQ (and room treatment). Those efforts will likely do far more for the SQ than any piece of equipment will. (Other than your speakers.) This might lead you down the path of an AVR.
3) if you spend time on ASR you’ll quickly realize price does not equal performance. Performance equals performance. Read the reviews / measurements here before you decide what to buy.
4) don’t spend money on “audiophile” cables.
 

waynel

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Hey guys! First time building a system, but have been dreaming about it for a long time, so am very excited and looking to build something that I can enjoy at least for a few years before upgrading.

Because of work, unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I'd like for researching and going to local stores for listening tests (which I will try to do once I have my shortlist), but have been reading forums, reviews, etc.

Still, there are so many nuances that I'm sure I'm missing. So before I make this investment, wanted to ask for advice here (thanks in advance!). Slowly learning about hi-fi, so please pardon any stupid comments/questions.

Some inputs:
  • Use: 70% - lossless digital streaming (due to everyday convenience), 25% - vinyl records, 5% - TV (not a priority, but want to have an option)
  • Sound: detailed but engaging (slightly colored would be better than sterile)
  • Ease of setup/use: would try to avoid components sensitive to fine-tuning that might sound subpar otherwise
  • Aesthetics matter: willing to make a marginal sacrifice in sound quality / pay a bit extra if the system looks appealing
  • Music that I listen to: all sorts of rock (Muse, Queen, Metallica, etc.), some pop (Pink), some acoustic/orchestra concerts; no blues or jazz
  • Live in an apartment but like to listen to music pretty loud
  • Speakers placement: on the TV stand. Think this is the only solution (more on this below)
  • Distance between speakers: 4ft. Know this isn't great (more on this below)
  • Room size: living room is about 12' (depth) x14' (width), but is a part of a larger open layout of 12'x25'
  • Listening distance: ~10 feet
One big limitation is the layout of my apartment (photo below): this corner is the only place to put a system. Believe speakers should typically be 40+ inches away from walls, but mine would need to be pretty close. Is this a deal-breaker or how should I think about it?

The components that I've been looking at from what I've read, but welcome any suggestions:
  • Turntable: Rega Planar 6 with Aria Pro MC. Planning to put it on a Rega shelf below the TV to isolate from the speakers - is this worthwhile?
  • Preamp: Rega Fono MC
  • Streamer: Cambridge Audio CXN (V2). I was also considering EVO 150, but have read that CXA81+CXN (V2) would probably be a more functional and better sounding solution + the flexibility of separates
  • Amp: Cambridge Audio CXA81. Plan to stack them on top of each other and put them on one of those shelves (they fit right in) - any potential issues? Heat?
  • Speakers: Kef R3. Realize they are big for my setup and should be placed away from the walls, but have read about the benefits of 3-way speakers - any advice? Also, the TV is being re-mounted higher.
  • Cables: did not have a chance to research - any recommendations? For the TV, planning to use Apple TV + CXN via AirPlay - this works ok?
  • Anything else missing?
Would massively appreciate any thoughts and recommendations. Thank you!

View attachment 183814
There is no way I would recommend spending 10k on a system for that placement. Perhaps invest in a good desktop nearfield system ?
 

radix

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I didn't think the CXN v2 has analog input for the phono preamp.

Maybe a NAD M33? I think it even has MC input, so you don't need the Rega Fono MC. It's one box for amp, streamer, phono stage.

I'm sure there's other options too. Naim has some.

I've not used the M33, but it was on my shortlist a while ago.
 

restorer-john

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There is no way I would recommend spending 10k on a system for that placement. Perhaps invest in a good desktop nearfield system ?

He's not going to be stuck in a corner near a doorway forever. Why not buy pieces that can migrate into a proper listening space down the track, rather than be hamstrung to a desktop system?
 

radix

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I didn't see the photo of where you would put the equipment. The R3 are a bit over 16" tall and 13" deep and rear ported. I don't think they would work in that space well. You also likely do not need a lot of watts.

You might do better with the LS50 Meta. It's about 12" tall and still looks stylish.

Another option is the LS50 Wireless II, which you can stream directly to. You can also feed it via WiFi or digital audio (coax or optical). There are turntables w/ wifi and turntables with digital audio out that could go right to the speaker. Basically, you would have just the TT and the speakers!

Did you want your TV going to the speakers too?The LS50 Wireless II can take HDMI eARC.

I've not used the LS50, so please verify before buying! (I do use the R3 and they are big and heavy)
 

Triliza

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Wouldn't the op need some mean of room correction, especially for that particular room? That will be either an AVR (Audyssey or Dirac), NAD M33 (Dirac, Roon but costs $5000), MiniDSP (Dirac) or if he'll consider active speakers something like Genelec 8351B using Genelec room treatment solution (I think they offer one?), although they are as big as R3.
 

oversky

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I would also suggest that do research on room EQ,
especially on balancing left and right channels.
 

MarkWinston

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Genes 8361A and be done with. You have everything there you need. No sub required either. If I had 10k, it would that, period. Dont even need to think for a second there.
 

Habu

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Maybe a pair of Neumann KH310 active speakers, 3-way, horizontal, sealed, easy integration in your appartment.
You can add a KH 750 DSP sub later if required.

61CB19E7-32AE-4CEE-BC39-92CCE35F9DBD.jpeg


PS: Nice Aeron Herman Miller chair ( $2K seating system ) !
 
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Sgt. Ear Ache

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I almost went on a rant about "colored vs sterile" but I won't...lol

OP, your space sounds almost exactly the same as mine in terms of floor space. Your budget however is way way higher than mine. It's your money obviously, and you should spend it however you want...but you can fill that space with fantastic (really...pretty much perfectly-accurate) sound reproduction for far less than 10k.

Oh, and looking at the pic there, is there no other way for you to arrange the room? There's no wall available away from that cubby-hole corner?
 
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abdo123

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with the amount of money spent and with the location constraints i don't think speakers are a good investment for you.

I would get something like the Dan Clark Stealth with a good turntable, phono stage and headphone pre-amp.

and maybe the Qudelix 5K for wireless / on the go use.

Honestly i would rather spend that money on hookers and drugs than get speakers to work in that space, sorry but that corner is just Awful.
 

FrantzM

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Hi


If you are serious, I apologize for the suspicion, we're been sustaining trolling assaults these past days, then you can do a lot in such a set up. There are so many choices...
I may not be able to spend all you money :D

System 1
miniDSP SHD Studio $1000
Puffin Phono Preamp $500
JBL 705p $2500 /pair

System 2
miniDSP SHD Power $1500
Puffin Phono Preamp $500
Kef LS 50 Meta $1600/pair

System 3
miniDSP SHD Studio $1000
Puffin Phono Preamp $500
Genelec 8351B $8000/pair


Systems 2 and 3 have coaxial drivers, you can listen to these as nearfield as you please... System 3 in nearfield configuration is virtually full range.

As for LP/Phono, you will not find much support here. Phono is an old , passé technology. It does not sound better than CD. It cannot. Physics (Science) are against such an outcome. Yes! you can find some samples where the LP is superior to the same performance/recording on CD. the differences lies in the mastering. Not, I repeat NOT, the intrinsic quality of the LP. Just better mastering.

Peace.
 

Sgt. Ear Ache

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with the amount of money spent and with the location constraints i don't think speakers are a good investment for you.

I would get something like the Dan Clark Stealth with a good turntable, phono stage and headphone pre-amp.

and maybe the Qudelix 5K for wireless / on the go use.

Honestly i would rather spend that money on hookers and drugs than get speakers to work in that space, sorry but that corner is just Awful.

Well, I don't know about that. Assuming he's not going to live in that place forever, he could certainly build a pretty "future-proof" rig for that money with ease. However, I would absolutely suggest including a good headphone set-up in that rig for apartment living. Headphones are where I go when I really want to pump up the volume in my "pad." There's lots of space in a 10k budget for both a speaker and a headphone rig...
 

kongwee

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Stand for your KEF R3. I personally used Ultimate Support MS Stand. Doesn't look ugly for studio stand.
 

NiagaraPete

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There is no way I would recommend spending 10k on a system for that placement. Perhaps invest in a good desktop nearfield system ?
I agree. Active speakers like Kali or Genelec. KEF R3 also agreat choice but then you need an amp, maybe the wireless LS50 meta. I don't recal the actual model. Then a sub, Genelec KEF KC62 sub or SVS micro 3000. I can no longer offer opinions on turntables. Maybe 6k in cost.
 

RickSanchez

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Should he? In an apartment? Neighbours...
I get what you're saying. My recommendation was based on:
  • My own experience of adding small subs to my setup in small space at moderate listening levels. (5.2 setup integrated via Audyssey.) Admittedly I think the benefits are more apparent with TV/movie watching vs. music.
  • Giving the benefit of the doubt to the OP when they say "Live in an apartment but like to listen to music pretty loud".
 
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