CD stereo system recs?
June 6, 2015 6:08 PM   Subscribe

I listen to most of my music on CD, and want to replace the cheapo Philips stereo and speakers from my student days with a better quality system. Recommendations for receiver and speakers please? Total budget around $500.

This is for a medium sized living room. I just need audio, not a home entertainment system. I mostly listen to jazz and classical, some rock. Requirements:

- CD and tuner. (I know everyone else rips and streams their CDs, but I don't have a smartphone and like to keep my computer off when not in use, so I'm sticking with physical CDs.)
- That said, ability to stream Pandora from my Windows laptop would be nice. (This isn't crucial given my limited budget, though. I'd rather get good sound and no streaming than so-so sound with streaming.)
- Fairly compact/unobtrusive speakers, i.e. either the shelf/wall type or if floor, the skinny tower type.
- I might get a turntable at some point, so it should be able to talk to that.

What are some brands and specific models I should look at?
posted by zeri to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My own opinions:

Go used for the receiver and speakers, go new for the CD player.

I don't know how picky you are but honestly any good name brand stereo receiver is going to do the job fine. My own preferences would be Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, etc. Example.

For the speakers I wouldn't go older than about 5 years and I would suggest bookshelf speakers from PSB, Paradigm, Energy or Polk, just to name a few. Example.
posted by Cosine at 9:03 PM on June 6, 2015

If you want new then I would say:

Yamaha R-S201 $130

CD Player:
Onkyo DX-C390 $180

Audioengine P4 $249

That is a bit over your budget but would be great stuff and all new equipment.
posted by Cosine at 9:07 PM on June 6, 2015

The Pioneer 750 Is the best sounding receiver I've ever heard & can be picked up cheap used if you're slightly patient. I got mine for 65.00 American.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:58 AM on June 7, 2015

Just to note that if you're buying new, at this point I don't think there are any substantial savings to be had by sticking to a stereo receiver and cd player. CD players in particular are vastly more expensive than dvd or bluray players, which will all play cds. Like, bluray or dvd players are commonly less than $50 while cd players are usually over $150, and as far as the output go bits are bits. BUT using a dvd/bluray player would probably require being hooked up to a tv to work the menus unless you're careful to get a player with a useful front display.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:50 AM on June 7, 2015

Denon dm39s ? They’ve just cut the price in half in the UK, which presumably means a new model is round the corner, but it got very high marks from hi-fi reviewers last year.
posted by pharm at 12:51 PM on June 7, 2015

If you don't want to look for vintage stuff (I would if I were in your place, especially your budget place), here are some nice, safe, not-particularly-adventurous budget-audiophile recommendations:

Onkyo TX-8020 receiver, $178

Onkyo C-7030 CD player, $167

Fluance XL7S speakers, $180
posted by box at 2:13 PM on June 7, 2015

I somewhat frequently buy speakers and receivers on Craigslist. I cannot recommend buying used enough. Typically you can find a pretty nice system for <>
Do you have a friend that likes speakers? I would suggest finding someone to go with you to help you audition the speakers. If you're not super concerned about it, though, it's totally fine to listen to a pair, and if they sound good, buy them.
posted by Adamsmasher at 3:03 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

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