Cost saving digital system - put the money in the Harbeth
Digital electronics is very cheap these days.
The big name HiFi manufacturers are coming up with custom solutions to streaming audio, but with a little research you can match their products and beat their prices. That leaves you more cash to spend where it matters - in the speaker. Using a streamer like the Apple Airport Express (£80) with iTunes
http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/ or a Squeezebox Classic (£170) with its own software
you can get a bitperfect stream to the DAC of your choice.
With the Airport Express, unless you control from your Apple or PC, you will need a remote control - An iPhone will do it, and you may have one. The Squeezebox costs more, but comes with a remote and will replace your FM Tuner giving you access to high quality internet radio streams from all over the world. The Radio 3 stream on my Squeezebox (with my DAC) is better than my Quad 77 FM Tuner. So, bitperfect from a streamer by S/PDIF (Optical or phono lead) into a DAC.
Here are some suggestions
Cambridge DACmagic £230 http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/set_te...ry.php?PID=320
Beresford 7520 ( £140+VAT) or Beresford Caiman (£200+VAT)
The Beresfords have four switchable inputs, a fixed line out and a variable line out controlled by an analogue volume control. Good 'phones amp. Will serve as "Pre-amp"
The TC BMC-2 has 3 (?) switchable inputs, nice volume control and a good 'phones amp. Balanced outputs. Will serve as "Pre-amp"
The other two have more limited facilities.
I use a Beresford Caiman for its sound, its flexibility and because it looks the part in the lounge.
So for about £200 you can get an extremely competent DAC and, provided you need no analogue inputs, a Pre-amp as well. Add the cost of your chosen streaming system - under £400 plus any old computer in the house, which you can still use for other things. That leaves a lot of extra cash for amp and speakers. Spend more if you like, but you will be paying for over engineered products that will sound very little better, if at all.
Put the money in the Harbeth!
Well, that's what I think.
Last edited by HUG-1; 28-02-2010 at 07:38 PM.
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