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Old vs New stereo amps 
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I am thinking of dipping my toes into quality audio equipment and I don't have any previous experience. I am considering a decent amp and couple of decent bookshelf speakers to pair with my pc. I listen to ripped CDs (uncompressed format, mixture of FLAC and WAV) and internet radio on a decent sound card. Currently I have 2.1 PC speakers, 6yo, £150 when new. They don't cut it anymore.

I am thinking of spending up to £800 on an amp. I need an advice on this:
Do I go for a new current product off the shelf or do I buy used one (up to 5 years old) that is going for half or less of what it was going for initially (still up to £800)?

Does the sound quality deteriorate with age or will it sound as good as it did when it was new? Is the old stuff likely to break?
Example of an old product: 5yo, £1500 a new, now for £750, decent reviews.
https://www.avforums.com/threads/primar ... r.1987981/

What I don't want, is to buy something cheap that I will want to upgrade after a one year. I would like to keep it for at least a decade.

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Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:07 pm
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If you are looking to spend that sort of money the most important thing I think is to actually hear the kit in action, preferably with the speakers you are planning to get.
Ideally you want to be able to audition it in the location it'll go.

My cousin sells high end audio kit. Generally speaking, the audio quality improves a bit from new as it beds in (so he says anyway, I can't normally tell the difference personally).
New kit will come with a warranty so if it does go bang you've got a fair chance of getting it replaced. Any warranty cover you get on older kit is likely to be more limited.

Also consider that, while it's important to have in mind an upper limit on your budget, there's really no point in spending more money if you can't hear the difference - again, it's important to audition the kit you are considering.

If you'd like the details of my cousins firm drop me a PM.

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Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:41 pm
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I'm quite the audio nutcase, so I love this kind of question.

My first question would be have you found a set of speakers that sound good in your room? No amount of quality source / amplification is going to make up for poor room-speaker interaction. I'd also recommend spending the lion's share of your total budget on the speakers, you'll generally get far more bang for your buck that way.

Personally, I tend to lean towards getting good second hand components, generally via here: http://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum.php, I know you don't always get the warranty you might get with new gear, but you again get an awful lot more bang for your buck, and should something go wrong you can always get things serviced / repaired.

Do you have a budget for the total setup? Also, how big is the room, and what sort of thing do you like listening to?

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Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:25 am
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I haven’t found a pair of speakers yet but I am more clear about what I want.

I am planning two new speakers that will be placed on stand mounts, probably £500-£1k for the pair, plus stands and cables. I was thinking along the lines of B&W (685 S2 or CM5 S2). I want something that I can keep for a long time (10 years, even if it is not as main pair, i.e. maybe get a floor standing speakers and using these mount standers as a rear pair in 5.1 setup later).

As for room-speaker interaction, I am planning to move next year to a new place so my current room is not that relevant. Is it crucial at this price level to consider that? Will one pair of speakers be much different from another in this aspect? If so that I happy to wait to move into new place first.
The reason I am thinking about getting my setup now is that my girlfriend might feel more inclined to get involved in my personal spending once we start living together. Right now I can easily get away with spending 2k on this.

I listen to pop (old U2 stuff, INXS, Morcheeba, mostly 90s) and rock (Offspring, RATM, Metallica) from FLACS and WAVs, plus modern pop from streamed internet radios. But mostly easy listening, I don’t have enough energy for RATM very often, even though I love them to bits.

So budget, as I mentioned is up to 2k but I would like to get this done within £1700. Cables and stands in my mind would take up to £200 so that leaves £1500 for the amp and speakers. Priority for me is the musical performance. Initially I was thinking about getting a home cinema receiver but I am sure they sound crap compared to what I am hoping to get. Having digital inputs would be handy (but not crucial) to attach Sky box, a tv and streamer of some sort (obviously in stereo config only, I am not too bothered about 5.1 right now). I would like a setup that will keep me happy for the next ten years - under no circumstances I will want to get another stereo amp! That’s why I am willing to spend up two grand on this, to get this right the first time.

This actually makes me think that I will have to audition the setup, which probably won’t be possible with used equipment, right? Or how does the buying used stuff work?

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Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:14 pm
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For me, if I buy something second hand without having heard it, it's done so knowing that I can shift it on pretty easily for minimal loss if I don't like it. If you're prepared to chop and change a little over the next few months, that may be an option for you.

Most people, certainly on the Wam, will be more than happy for you to come and hear something in-situ before you buy, and you can just walk away if you don't like something.

Also, a lot of dealers will have a mix of ex-demo and second hand stuff that you can go try too. Something that would be handy to know is where abouts you are based in the country?

Given that you can afford a little time to wait, I'd highly, highly recommend trying to get to the Wam show (held end of March). Unlike most hifi shows, it's not a trade show but instead people turn up with their own kit and set it up in Scalford Hall Hotel near Melton Mowbray. There's simply nothing like it for being able to sample a huge range of equipment without any kind of pressure etc. I'll certainly be there, although I won't be exhibiting this time around.

I've got a friend who's a hifi reviewer for a living, I'll see what he recommends.

The final thing, ignore What HiFi, they've been spouting bollocks for decades.

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Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:50 pm
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