Receiver / bookshelf speakers for audio n00b
September 13, 2022 3:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm several decades out of knowing anything about stereo equipment, but now find myself with a small amount of space where I could set some up and get some LPs and CDs out of storage. I need some help in knowing what to buy.

I am half deaf, so by no means an audiophile, but can generally tell the difference between "total garbage" and "pretty good". I'm looking for some pretty good, experience-rooted suggestions for:

1) A receiver / amp
2) Bookshelf speakers

I'll be running a CD player and a turntable through it. I have a subwoofer. Budget for this is flexible, but affordable options would be great (I'm keeping an open mind here at the start). Available vintage and new are both of interest.
posted by ryanshepard to Shopping (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What models are the CD player, turntable, and subwoofer you want the system to work with?
posted by ZaphodB at 3:50 PM on September 13, 2022

Response by poster: What models are the CD player, turntable, and subwoofer you want the system to work with?

I actually have a number of each, all in storage - the only model # I have on hand is one CD player, a 1990s Pioneer PD-4300 (I also have a Sony 6 CD changer of the same vintage). The turntable is a mid-range Pioneer from the same era.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:57 PM on September 13, 2022

Best answer: Having owned vintage audio equipment in the past, and tiring of repair bills (and unreliable information, and the audiophile ecosphere), I was given a discontinued, non-bluetooth version of the Yamaha R-S202. Newer Yamaha stuff both sounds good, and appears to be relatively bulletproof (their life cycles before they release new products seems to be pretty long, which to me is a good sign). It can accomodate a powered subwoofer, but we don't use one, so I can't comment on that requirement. Ours drive a pair Dayton B452 speakers, which, for the size and price, are pretty damn good.

We run a home theatre PC, turntable and have a loose 3.5mm jack for phones or shit if anyone wants to commandeer it (back when having people over was a thing). A+++ will Yamaha again (but probably won't have to for a really long time).

I cannot handle the audiophile game, and this setup is both simple, reliable and sounds better than (granted, a small) sampling of other home listening experiences I've had or been witness to.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:42 PM on September 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

I literally just set up my receiver/tape deck/CD player/record player this week and dusted off my old Bose 101s and I have to admit, they're a zillion years old, super compact and still sound great. They're also easy to mount just about anywhere. And they'd match the vintage of your system.
posted by jessamyn at 4:45 PM on September 13, 2022

If you're willing to put a little effort into hunting, some great deals on receivers can be found at thrift stores. Barring that, I have a pair of Yamaha TSR-7850s that I picked up for about $250/each on a discount site that sound substantially better than the cheap receivers but seem to be going for more these days.

The same thing is true of speakers - if you're willing to wait and hunt, you can find some excellent speakers for next to nothing at thrift stores but there's also a lot of junk to wade through.
posted by Candleman at 4:47 PM on September 13, 2022

The Micca MB42X speakers punch way above their price point, provide a lot of detail without being fatiguing and are fantastic paired with a subwoofer because they’re light on bass.
posted by mattholomew at 5:05 PM on September 13, 2022

I also have the Yamaha R-S202 and that is connected to pioneer speakers from their E. Jones line. It is just great for listening to stereo.

I even use the speaker switcher to use it in two different rooms. And I like these speakers so much I am sitting next to a set of towers from the line, I also use them in my living room, have another set of older towers in the basement and have a set for surround sound. I just realized I have like a dozen of them. Every generation of them gets better but apparently there is too many people like me because they are always out of stock now.
posted by zenon at 8:14 PM on September 13, 2022

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