It could take you a while to find the right things building your own budget stereo system. In fact, it could be really difficult too, considering being unsure of what you’re looking for, which was almost what I went through.
Over the past 8 months I’ve listened to quite a number of decent budget speakers at the shops, such as the Polk Audio Rti 3, the Q Acousitcs 2010i, Cambridge Audio S30, or the Boston Acoustics’ A 25. To be honest they’re all pretty good speakers in their price ranges and they are neat musical performers. One day, I’ve decided to add another system to the bedroom with a small budget and so I came back into research and test-listening.
I tested more on the above mentioned speakers, and some others, like the Mission MX1 or Wharfedale 10.1 and finally the Aviano 1 and 2. I tried with several different amplifiers as well. Except for the few pairings that I really did not like, it was not easy to make a decision as musically those speakers were quite potent with minor flaws.
I had to make up my mind out of the multiple options, to get back to the music that I listen to almost everyday. I tested again on some CDs I’d listened to a lot, from Charles Mingus, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, together with several classical pieces. Just with my eyes closed, I was touched by the Aviano’s sweet but strong, tender but potent and heartfelt delivery. A happy feeling… I realized was listening to Mingus’ Boogie Stop Shuffle with a pair of Aviano 1 and the Marantz PM5003. Another interesting pairing that was tried out was the Aviano 1 with the Cambridge Audio Azur 350A, it was quite balanced and detailed, very great for a small room, but it’s just not really my style, personally.
The set-up is basically perfect for this bedroom of about 20sqm (215 sqft), with soft wallpapers, thick carpet and curtain. The speakers sound best if they’re positioned about 30 cm (12 inches) from the wall behind. The bass sound is strong and musical. Details are great on classical and jazz. I also tried biwiring on the speakers as well, the sound stage was better, but seemed to have a little less control and muscle than single wiring. However for jazz, it sounds just right for me.
Besides sources from cds and flac, I will soon try vinyl one day. The Marantz PM 5004 does have a decent phono so many people have said. I will put a review here that day then.