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Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

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  • Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

    So, what's everybody here using for their audio front end? Whether you're listening to a T-Amp, a receiver, pro audio stuff, or separates, with all the speaker-talk that goes on around here, I figured it was time for a thread to put the focus on the other gear in our systems, so this is that thread.

    Post pictures, descriptions, or just a list - it doesn't matter. I'm just curious to know what everyone else here is using.

    Here's some of my gack, at least the part that's seeing regular use these days:

    Dayton APA150 Stereo Integrated Amp

    For as many dollars as watts (75 per channel into 4 ohms), this amp was a no-brainer, and is still an amazing value. It's got a solid toroidal power transformer and a large internal heatsink with a temperature-activated fan at the rear that's only run once - when I wired the dual 2-ohm coils of a bass driver in parallel for a brief excursion test, presenting one channel of the amp with a 1-ohm load. It stayed stable into the load, though I wouldn't try driving anything at super-high volume that way. It can definitely take a pair of 4-ohm nominal speakers without issue. I generally drive this from the headphone output of an el-cheapo 5-disc changer and it does well.

    Harman/Kardon AVR 335 7.1-channel Receiver

    This receiver delivers 55W RMS into all 7 channels at once, or 75W from the front two channels in stereo mode. It's got a great, relaxed sound that's not 'warm' or 'cool' - just very nicely in the middle. The ability to route the three optical and three coaxial digital inputs to any of the selectable sources is a great feature, but the receiver lacks HDMI switching, which could leave me with some upgraditis soon. This receiver takes optical digital inputs from a home theater PC (Asus Xonar DX), the aforementioned el-cheapo CD changer, a PlayStation 3, and a 40" Samsung LCD HDTV (550-series).

    Silverstone EB 02

    After using my second-gen SI T-Amp for two months driving my Whetstones speakers in a hotel room in Connecticut, I took a chance on this amp from a company that's better known for their elegant aluminum PC cases than for audio equipment. With its 60-watt power supply, it's definitely a step up from the SI T-Amp (and the Dayton DTA), but for a step up in price ($139). I plan to experiment with an input-cap swap fairly soon. The first amp I bought had a sketchy channel that revealed itself within the first 30 minutes of playing, so I bought a second (rather than fool with any warranty that might have existed), since even for the elevated price the sound quality has been incredible. The internal circuit board is an off-the-shelf T-amp board, with a TA2021B chip-amp under a blue aluminum heatsink that keeps the impossibly tiny chip plenty cool. It sounds great driving the Whetstones, and it's made me want to pursue a high-efficiency two-way design using the Tang Band W6-789E, so that's on the horizon. The amp is currently used at my PC, where it takes analog input from an Asus Xonar D2 sound card via an AudioQuest 3.5mm-stereo RCA cable.
    Best Regards,

    Rory Buszka

    Taterworks Audio

    "The work of the individual still remains the spark which moves mankind ahead, even more than teamwork." - Igor I. Sikorsky

    If it works, but you don't know why it works, then you haven't done any engineering.

  • #2
    Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

    Sony BD-S550 BD/DVD/CD(+burns) player.
    Technics SH-AC500D Digital Processor/DAC
    Technics SA-EX810 100Wx5 (120Wx2) Class H+ receiver
    ...and an older Pioneer 100-cd disc-file- I keep it because it's never refused to play a disc of any sort of audio type. It will play dual-discs, and even some my Sony and older Panny rejected, as well as CD-R's- even for as old as it is.

    "Wolf, you shall now be known as "King of the Zip ties." -Pete00t
    "Wolf and speakers equivalent to Picasso and 'Blue'" -dantheman
    "He is a true ambassador for this forum and speaker DIY in general." -Ed Froste
    "We're all in this together, so keep your stick on the ice!" - Red Green aka Steve Smith

    *InDIYana event website*

    Photobucket pages:

    My blog/writeups/thoughts here at PE:


    • #3
      Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

      HK3385 receiver (looks suspiciously similar to the AVR 335 pictured above) attached to my media server/desktop computer's integrated sound.

      I'm trying to decide what speakers to build for an Aiwa bookshelf stereo that has damaged speakers from being attached to the previously mentioned HK3385 and played way too loud. The little stereo might put out 15 watts, but it's always been plenty loud, it should be better than whatever is built into the television.


      • #4
        Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

        Main HT system
        HK 635 receiver, PS3, LG progressive DVD player

        Upstairs stereo
        HK 3390 receiver, PS2, JVC DVD player

        I've been really happy with the 635 for home theater and or music the past 4 years so I'll wait for it to die before upgrading to an HDMI receiver. In general I've really been pleased with HK's refurbished receivers and would recommend them to anyone in the market for a receiver.

        Take it easy
        "I like Brewski's threads, they always end up being hybrid beer/speaker threads based on the name of his newest creation." - Greywarden

        Breakfast Stout - HiVi RT2 II/Aurasound NS6
        Imperial Russian Stout - Vifa DX25/Fountek FW146/(2) Fountek FW168s - Built by Fastbike
        Ruination 2.5 way - Vifa DX25/Fountek FW168
        Levitation TM
        - Vifa BC25SG15/Fountek FW168


        • #5
          Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

          Yamaha RX-V663 A/V receiver
          A couple of Class D Audio amps
          Sony PS3
          Scientific Atlanta cable TV receiver/DVR

          5.1 system, Class D amps power L/C/R and sub, surrounds powered by Yamaha.


          • #6
            Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

            Alternate between a Pioneer SX-1050 and SX-1280. In the evening, always have the lights off and let the Pioneer's warm whisky coloured glow meld with the music. I ruin the effect by feeding it with a 5-disc Sony multiplayer I bought from work for $20 when they changed their "on-hold" music system.


            • #7
              Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

              Yamaha HTR 5930 5.1 Receiver
              Pioneer Elite A35R Amp
              Sony CE375 Carousel Player
              JVC XL-V182 Sngl. disc player
              Oppo DV980H DVD/SACD player
              Last edited by jerryanderson; 01-09-2011, 08:59 AM.


              • #8
                Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

                Here goes; piece, when acquired, and so on:

                Mackie MS1402VLZ mixing console, spring '98, first 6 channels mic/mono line, next 4 channels mono/stereo line, 3 band EQ, XLR outs. Very clean, usually fed by--

                Behringer PX1000 and PX3000 patchbays, summer '08 and spring '10. These are linked to--

                Sony CDP-361 1-disc CD player, winter '95-96. Cheap and simple player, yet brainy, quick, reliable, and never spits out a disc, like Wolf's Pioneer. Sounds great, too!

                Sony CDP-CE275 5-disc carousel. Same as above, but maybe not quite as clear-sounding. Wait'll I get that Ultramatch 24/96!

                Sony DVP-NS57P 1-disc DVD player, spring '08. Also low-priced. For viewing in the main; sometimes if I'm feeling "saucy" I'll feed it a CD...

                Sony MDS-JE510 Minidisc deck. Record/play, summer of Can't Remember :-). Stereo digital recording before CD-R went affordable! Does the Indy 500 every year and the occasional live recording.

                Sony Playstation 2, the big first-gen one with the wind-tunnel fan. For my racing games ;-).

                Stanton T-120C turntable, spring '06. HEAVY!! STRONG direct-drive motor. Built-in RIAA preamp. For now fitted with a Stanton Trackmaster II-RS integrated cartridge. I also have a Stanton 500 collecting dust. Thinking about trying a Grado cart, though...

                RCA Hi-Fi stereo VCR, spring of Who Really Cares. TV tuner fed by the Dish Net receiver downstairs so's I can listen to Sirius ;-). Also plays back my racing videos still on tape.

                RCA 26" CRT monitor.

                Various Minidisc and CD portables... and also some cassette decks that need repair!

                Cabling: Mostly Belden, some ProCo...

                Mackie M-1400 and M-1400i amplifiers, spring '97 and '09. 250 w.p.c. at 8 ohms, 425 at 4 ohms, 600-something at 2 ohms. Also bridgeable as low as 4 ohms. "Go on, abuse me more I like it...!" Has built-in low and high-pass crossovers plus CD horn EQ that come in handy for my speaker cabs... can't wait for that DCX 24/96 though!

                Not Used Much Dept.

                Radio Shack MPA-200 amplifier, summer '08. Stereo only. 100 w.p.c at 8 ohms, maybe more into 4 then fuhgeddaboutit! Replacement for one bought new summer '96 then sold. Is it bad enough I bought it once for full price ($300), let alone again for $100-ish?? Still in all, it sounds decent and has no fan!

                Last edited by MusicForMatt; 06-19-2010, 02:42 AM.
                Because the MUSIC matters...


                • #9
                  Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

                  For now:
                  Main = Oppo BDP-83 + Marantz 4002

                  But, I also have a Well Tempered Record Player with a Van den Hul Grasshopper cartridge + Sonic Frontiers tube phono preamp + a broken Pioneer PD-65 CD player + Audio Research LS7 tube preamp + a MacCormack DNA-125 amp and an Aragon 4004 Mk II amp that I don't listen to right now.


                  • #10
                    Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

                    Main System HT:

                    Onkyo DVCP 702 6 disc DVD:
                    Never really used anymore...all source input/streaming audio and video, Netflix has switched to to my new...

                    Xbox 360 Elite

                    Technics SH AC 500D "Surround Processor" taking all input info, has DTS (not automatic, but switchable) DD and Two Channel. Pumping 6Ch. It adds headroom via Analog out to....

                    KLH R 5100:
                    El Cheapo 5.1 Receiver I bought from BB on sale quite a few years ago...But it has 6 Ch input, and it does absolutely no coloring of the audio, It's still pumping, so although I have severe upgradeitis, I don't have an excuse for the wife to get my next...(Either Onkyo, HK, or Yammy is in my sights)
                    Last edited by Kevin G.; 06-18-2010, 09:41 AM.
                    If I can't afford it...I don't need it


                    • #11
                      Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

                      Cambridge Azur 840C

                      Denon DVD/SACD/DVDA player (1080i) - don't remember the designation

                      Denon AVR3806 AV Receiver (110x7) only using 2 channel now

                      Cables are (just kidding) buyout 14Ga from a while back with Rat Shack Bananas :p

                      Cheers / Robert


                      • #12
                        Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

                        Originally posted by robert View Post
                        Cambridge Azur 840C
                        Robert, if I left any drool-marks on your player at InDIY I apologize in a most humble (and untimely) manner! :p:D

                        "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife"

                        AHA! He didn't say CD player!!
                        Because the MUSIC matters...


                        • #13
                          Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

                          Main System:

                          Systemdek IIX table w/Grado Sig cartridge
                          Sony SACD player
                          NYAL Minuet in A preamp
                          PS Audio Sigma 250 amp

                          Philips BluRay player
                          Outlaw 970 pre-processor
                          3 Audionics CC3 amps for LCR and LS/RS
                          NAD 1050 for rear 2 channels

                          Since I collect vintage hifi I have WAY to many other systems/pieces to list. Just the count on power amps is now at 139.


                          • #14
                            Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

                            In my main 2 channel system:
                            • Marantz CD5001 for redbook playback
                            • Sony DVD-NS500V for SACD
                            • Bang and Olufsen RX-2 for vinyl
                            • Newly Acquired: Nakamichi CR-1A cassette tape deck!

                            All feeding into a NAD C325BEE integrated amp. I'm quite happy with all this gear except the SACD player. The tape deck I got for $25 through Craigslist just a few days ago; I'm really surprised how good tape can sound. :D

                            In another setup I have a NAD C525BEE redbook player and a gainclone amp, driving Roman's Microbes:

                            Attached Files


                            • #15
                              Re: Post Your Audio Front-End Gear

                              A Linn Wakonda preamp, a Quad 99 CDP-2 CD player (which just recently replaced my Linn Ikemi CD player), and a Quad 909 power amp. For FM I have a Sangean HDT-1 HD Radio Tuner which is always tuned to the local PBS station which broadcasts "classical" music 24/7.