Basement system for $5000 or less

I am interested in putting together a dedicated audio system for a 14 x 13 x 8 finished basement room. I would like to use all tube-based gear, if possible, and I would be listening primarily to jazz with occasional classical and rock. I would like some recommendations for the following:
1. Preamp (tubes)
2. Amp (tubes)
3. CD player
4. Speakers
I am willing to buy used, and would like to keep the total price less than $5000. Recommend to your hearts content!
Rogue Audio Cronus integrated amp
Vandersteen 2Ce Signature speakers
Jolida 100A CD player
Harmonic Technologies cables
2 Telefunken 12AX7s for the Jolida

Change to spare!
Something to consider, in a room that size if you do not have adequate ventilation, and even if you do have adequate ventilation, you will potentially be cooking yourself out of the room by having too much heat generated by tube equipment. This is especially true if you do not have at least one set of HVAC supply and return. Do not underestimate the amount of heat generated by tube equipment. If the environmental controls are not done properly it can make the room stifling. I know one couple who put in serious money into a listening room in their upstairs; in summer the room is heated so much by their tube amps that they cannot use the system - it gets over 80 degrees in the room. It's actually caused them to lose some interest in two channel audio. They predominantly use their lower end equipment now since it doesn't generate as much heat!
So, you may want to consider ss gear as an alternative. Today, if equipment is set up/matched properly you would likely find as much enjoyment in a hybrid rig (tube pre/ss amp(s)) as anything. A good quality integrated (either hybrid or ss) will allow you to accomodate a much nicer set of speakers and decent cabling.

Do you have any WAF (wife acceptance factor) needs? If you don't need the system to be esthetically pleasing, you can spend WAY less than $5000 for a killer basement system. Oh, and no need to worry about heat either. Simply build a system around a good SET amp that uses only a single output tube per channel. This will keep the heat down and will reduce retubing cost.

Since you only list a CD player as source, you could go with a good CD player that has variable volume control and completely skip the preamp. This again keeps your cost down and reduces heat.

Lastly, speakers could be any high-efficiency design from a simple open baffle (piece of plywood with a quality full range driver stuck in it), to a complex horn loaded system using a single driver. I'm currently using this single driver speaker (I bought the review pair):

They aren't pretty, but they are inexpensive and very easy to build. They sound fantastic too!

So, You could buy a good CD player with variable volume control for $800-$2500, a good 2A3 SET for $500-$1500 and a pair of high efficiency speakers for $400 (open baffle DIY) to $600 (HempAcoustics DIY) to $1800 (Omega Max Hemps) and have a great sounding system. It would cost between $1700-$5000 depending on your choice of components.

There are lots of other alternatives, but I like the "simpler is better" philosophy.....


Here is my second system; the prices are for new pieces of equipment:

Jolida JD1501RC integrated amp $650
Consonance CD-120 Linear cdp $700
Buggtussel Somu speakers $1000
PAD Musaeus 2m speaker cables $450
PAD Musaeus 1m RCA inteconnects $300

TOTAL $3100
Ok I'll bite:
1. Preamp- None
2. Amp- Conrad johnson MV-52 tube amplifier
$900 used
3. CDP- Mcintosh MCD201 CD/SACD w built in volume control
$1800 used
4. Speakers- Devore Gibbon Super 8
$2100 used
5. Lokie consulting fee- $200
Dave, forgot to mention the two Chinese 12AX7 tubes that come with the Jolida 1501RC are nothing special and actually hold back the sonics this unit is capable of. I changed the Chinese tubes out to Electro-Harmonix and noticed a very obvious improvement. A friend of mine in Tampa just put NOS (from the 1950s) Dutch Amperex 12AX7s in his Art Audio Vinyl One and advised that the improvement was spectacular. I plan to try these in the Jolida 1501RC.

I know you said "all tube" but I do have another suggestion. One of my system iterations uses a Red Wine Audio Clari-T amplifier w/volume control. It is very good with the right speaker. I'm currently using it with my Hemp Acoustics. It is a very good system and it is very inexpensive for the sound quality it achieves. I use a variety of CD players with it. Here's the prices:

Red Wine Audio Clari-T (full upgrades, used) $425
Meridian 508-24 (used) $1000-1200
Hemp Acoustics DIY speakers $600

Total=$2025 or less if you get a lesser CD player

If you substitute a Cary CD-308, Consonance 120 Linear, etc., you can drop the price to well under $2000 and have a great sounding basement system.

There's always more than one way to skin a cat.........


Does anyone know of dealers for Totem Acoustics, Jolida, and Vandersteen in Illinois (central Illinois preferably)? Again, thanks for all the advice.

Dave, as far as Jolida goes I would highly recommend Walter at Underwood HiFi.
Dave, where in Central Illinois you reside? Me, Chicago!

VR2's speakers Used $1499 Great sounding and only 3 months used and with a 10 yr warranty :)original price $3,000
Shanling STP 80 tube amp $850 With Electros EL 34 new $1,800
Shanling T-200 $1,300 with WE 396A tubes new $2,695
DNM Reson Cables/Interconnects $250
DH Labs Q10 and BL 1 $380
Bedini Quadrabeam Ultraclarifier $80 demo used directly from Bedini
Cd Stop Light $20

Total $4,379! Compared to "new" $7,495 without the cables and additional tweaks needed total new would of been $8,225! Superp sounding system and I mention that all the components were purchase "used/new

Tweaks are coming! :) maple platform, brass footers and few minor things and WHAM great system! Lastly, you cant go wrong with Rogue Cronus amp, very good used prices... Great Tube amp as well!
Thanks for all the great suggestions. Ultimately, I went with the following setup:
1. Rogue Cronus integrated
2. Dynaudio Focus 220 speakers
3. Rega Apollo CDP
4. Project XPression turntable which I had before
5. Cobalt Cables speaker cables/interconnects
Overall, I could not be more happy with the results thus far. Again, thanks for all of your help.