Best "Budget" / "bang for my buck" 2-channel amp and speakers can I get new?

Ladies and Gentlemen:


BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT:  What the best "bang for my buck" 2-channel amp and speakers can I get new?


BACKGROUND:  I mostly listen to music from the late 1990s through the 2000s.  This includes Electronic Dance Music, alternative rock, pop, and some rap/hip hop.  I also listen to more modern alternative rock and some 1980s rock.


My preferred format is vinyl records.  I have an Ortofon Bronze cartridge, and I just ordered Lounge Audio's dual-mono silver pure analog phonograph preamp.  (At $500, I heard it was a lot of bang for the buck.)


Eventually, I'd like to order a separate unit that allows me to plug in a USB drive and listen to .flac files. I've also heard good things about digital streaming services, so I'll probably get one of these in the future.  Again, I'd like these units to be separate from the amp I'm buying.


I have a Sansui QRX-7001 paired with SP-7500X speakers.  Eventually, I'll send this in to QRX Restore for a full restoration. In the interim, I picked up a few amps/receivers at thrift stores.  But, they all have problems.  I purchased a Technics SA-GX500.  I cleaned it up and rocked it for a few weeks until it died.  Then today, I spent hours cleaning up a Kenwood KA-127, only to find a leaking capacitor as I was putting it back together.  Unfortunately, I have no soldering skills.




- NEW:  I'm tired of cleaning used equipment, and I'm tired of it failing on me, so I'd like to buy something new.

- Compatibility:  It would be nice to swap speakers back and forth between the new system and the Sansui QRX-7001.  But, it isn't critical.

- EQUALIZER:  I'd like the amp to have the capability of hooking up an external equalizer or for it to have an excellent built-in eq.  I like the old-school sliding adjustments.  I don't want to navigate through LCD menus to make adjustments.


- Technology:  I'm NOT looking for a unit with a built in DAC, bluetooth, wireless, etc.  


- Bass: Hearing the full range of frequencies is a necessity for me.  I'd prefer the amp and speakers be able to provide this without the addition of a sub.  Just give me adequate power and big woofers.


- Performance at lower volumes:  I heard 100 watt-per channel systems underperform unless you crank the volume all the way up.  I'm not going to listen to this system at very high volumes, so I need the system to perform (including giving me bass) at low volumes.


- Outputs:  A line out output is preferred.  I'd like to be able to use this to hook up something like an external sub in the event I need to.


- Inputs:  Lots of RCA inputs are preferred.  A built in phono-preamp is not needed, since I'm using an external unit.  I'd prefer the unit did not have digital inputs.


- A tuner to listen to the radio is not required.


- Cost:  I'm looking for the most bang for my buck.  I don't have a budget yet.  (That's why I'm posting here.)  Past what price point will I experience diminishing returns?  Again, I like Lounge Audio's preamp and Ortofon's Bronze phonograph cartridge because of the bang for my buck.


What do you recommend?  I like home-built products.  That's one of the things that attracted me to Lounge Audio.  Their preamps are made by a husband-and-wife-team who do their own R&D and hand-build the products.  But, I'm not opposed to buying from name-brand companies either.


Your thoughts are appreciated!







Those Klipsch speakers look sexy!  They match my taste in aesthetics too!

I’m checking out Schitt now.




Look at Rose Audio integrated amp and streamer. Something like this and get some Tekton speakers like these

You will be rockin the house....for about $3K

If you are into fabulous OLD SCHOOL tone, get The Willsenton R8 or a Line Magnetic Tube integrated amp. You could also go with Audio Research but that really bumps up the price.

The Philharmonic Audio BMR Tower at $3700/pair is one of the best bang for your buck speakers out there and they look gorgeous.  They dig down into the mid 20Hz region too which most reasonably priced speakers can't do.

Elipson Heritage XLS 15.

Similar to Cornwall in design. Much cheaper. Has built in treble and bass controls.  

Rogue integrated. Although it has a built in phono stage that is decent by the way but probably won’t be a match with your external phono. Made in PA. Great value. Find an efficient speaker within your budget. Klipsch, Zu Audio are few examples. 

Topping PA5 integrated amp. 110wpc Class D.$349! SINAD just below the $3K Benchmark amp.

Rogue is a good suggestion. I'd also suggest Atoll. Parasound was on the tip of my tongue (good service, quality product, plenty of control over subs) but then you said you didn't want digital inputs.

Schiit Ragnarok amp is great and work with most speakers.

I don't really think there is a "best bang for the buck" but this Amp was a Huge upgrade from my Rega Brio. That means $2k amps are worth it for me. Above this there are some Hegel and Moonriver amps that has great reviews. 

Also, for me, the amps made a larger improvement than new speakers. 

Forgot speakers but Fyne and Focals are good. Dynaudio and Sonus Faber both has small floorstanders that are price competitive. 

+1 on Schiit gear. For speakers, you better trust your own ears. I am running ATC SCM7’s in my bedroom system and I could live with these a long time as my primary speakers. Try it listen to the Magnepans too.

Check out Odyssey Audio in Indianapolis ... Khartago Amp ... 2 ohm stable/ 100 W ... less than 1K

Did I mention upgradable ... Klaus is the best!


+1 for either the Klispch Cornwall or Forte or Heresy speakers

and a Rogue amplifier or check out


All the best.


In my opinion what you want is a good used integrated from the 2000s, before the widespread inclusion of DACs and the current vinyl revival. Something from Rotel or NAD if in good working condition would fill your agenda. But some of your desiderata are problematic. No amp will provide good bass at low volume without targeted equalization, eg loudness compensation. Look at Yamaha. The AS801 has phono and a DAC because it is a current item and they want people to buy them!  But for value this cannot be beat. And those Elipson Heritage speakers look good to me. Philharmonics are lower efficiency. The KLH 5s get great write ups and are a high value item. 

Belles and Salk have been great combo for me.  Also agree on Odyssey and Schiit...

I would consider adding a pair of REL subwoofers.  Their high level connection allows them to pay like woofers rather than subwoofers.  The key is to dial them in so you can't hear the subwoofers taking over your sound.  

+1 on Belles and Salk.

+1 on pair of subs, but recommend Rythmik instead of REL because the variable phase greatly improves room integration.

The klipsch heritage are great but they arent cheap - cornwall iv are huge and unless you have the room for them itd be a waste. They do however play very well at lower volumes but still need room to breath. The forte iv probably make more sense and are a bit less expensive. If you decide to go klipsch call hifi heaven - they have b-stock on all the models and you get a huge discount. Ive owned a few bstock pairs and couldnt find anything wrong with them. Typically the veneer isnt perfectly matched, but mechanically they are perfect. As for an integrated - the denon 1600ne or newer 1700ne are really great little amps. They cost about $1600 - if you want to go tube checkout Cayin, they have a few great integrateds that come in under 2k. Budget would help to know tho. Line magnetic makes some great gear as well. I loved the LM 845-premium. Just fantastic. 

Monitor Audio Silver 500 7G. Read any review and just about the first thing they'll say is they sound like they cost 2X as much as they do - $3400. You get real technology here, not off-the-shelf components. Add a Rogue Sphinx, Schiit Ragnarok are great values, but for $500 less you can get a Marantz PM7000N that will easily match their performance and not doing you another $100-200 for a remote. Or step up to a Marantz Model 40N. I know you said you didn't want streaming and DACs, etc, but this will let you dip a toe into digital without compromising basic functionality or budget. Shpright and you could bring home the package for around $5000. You could also go with Magnepan 1.7i if you have the room and the SAF. Set up properly the Maggie 1.7s will hold their own against any 10-20k speaker in a box. If the Klipsch Heresy IV really appeal, the you might go with a Luxman SQ-N150 and leverage the Heresy 10+dB efficiency advantage to get the same dynamic range as a conventional speaker driven by 100-200 Watts. And you'll be the only one on your block - Hell, your county, maybe state - with a Luxman Tube amp.

Emotiva XPA Gen3 - 2 channel (or more if you like). Check pro reviews ( i did). Easily best bang for the buck in the industry. 

And, wins year after year after year in several categories in the pro press, anything Magnepan - whatever your budget allows. 

+1 for Philharmonic Audio BMR Tower. Great speakers, I like them better then my Persona 3f’s that were 4x the price. Much better bass and sweeter highs. $2700

Don't own one, but test drove the Hegel H190 integrated amplifier, about $4,300.....also has built in streaming capabilites should you ever decide to add that to your mix. I didn't end up buying the Hegel in the end as I went with separates from Denafrips (Pontus II DAC, Hades Pre-Amp, Thallo Amp....$5000 for the stack).......but if I went the integrated amp route, the Hegel would definitely been my choice.

A Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III and a pair of Harbeth C7ES XD with 2 REL T9x subs can sound as good as anything.  

Think smooth, atmospheric, natural and a huge sound stage.  

High value amps:

+1 Rogue Audio

+1 Schiit Audio

+1 Odyssey Audio

High value full range speakers:

+1 Tekton

GoldenEar Triton

Monitor Audio Silver


if needed, perhaps open a high value cables thread

you will find great components at excellent prices at Underwood HiFi. Their Warp One amp has gotten excellent reviews. I have their LSA Voyager 350 GaN amp, and their Emerald Physics 3.4s speakers, which they no longer make, but they sell some really fine speakers as well


The best value by far is in active speakers.It seems you get the amplification for free and now with mainstream speaker makers like Dynaudio,Focal and Tannoy producing those products there is plenty of high quality choice.