Getting started with a second system...

Here's the situation: I would like to create a second system for around $2500. My initial thoughts are to maybe try the Quicksilver Minis paired with the Sonographe pre, or perhaps even a (gasp) Wakonda or something of the sort. I'd need a remote for volume control, and preferably I'd like tone controls to even out room response and questionable recordings. The room is very active, with hardwoods and little furniture. Speakers might be Dynaudio Audience 52s, but I'm very open to suggestions. My listening tastes run from jazz to Radiohead, but virtually no classical or heavy rock; most listening will be done at reasonable levels.

I think I'd like to look at separates, so I can upgrade as I go along. I would prefer tubes to ss. So, any suggestions? Canary Audio? Cary? Rogue?

Your thoughts are very much appreciated!
My second system tends to get hand me downs and stuff to play with. No definite plan.

A neutral inexpensive preamp that has tone controls that can be bypassed, and a remote control volume is the Cambridge Audio C500. Can add a decent moving magnet phono stage as well. I played around with one a long time ago, along with the Sonograph and felt the Cambridge was slightly better. I felt the Sonograph was colored in an attempt to make it sound tube-like. Just made it dull. The Cambridge being pretty neutral means it can be combined with a much better amplifier than what Cambridge offers without degrading the sound. It sells pretty cheap, so you can always resell without losing big bucks, it if you want to upgrade later.

If you are interested in tubes, you may want to try a used 300B or 2A3 SET Amp with some efficient (94db or above) speakers. While the Bass might be a bit light for Rock, the presence will knock you out - especially in Jazz.

If you want to go with Push Pull tubes (slightly better bass but does not have the presence of SET), I would recommend you look at the AES, Rogue, Quicksilver or Decware Zen for moderately priced gear. You can get away with more moderate speaker efficiency (89db+).

I originally went from SS to Push Pull tubes and then migrated to SET. Be warned, if you go down the SET path for your 2nd system, it just might force you to "upgrade" your primary system!
The AMC CVT-3030 tube integrated amp has tone controls and a phono stage as well. They sold for $999. Now discontinued, but Spearit Sound has some new ones with factory warranty for only $499.
There was another very good thread on a similar topic a while back. Unfortunately, a thorough search of the archives turned nothing up.

First of all, i would suggest the following:

1) Start with efficient speakers that are of "normal" impedances. This opens up all kinds of doors in terms of amplifiers to choose from.

2) Pick components that are on the opposite end of the spectrum from what you already have in your first system. In other words, if you have primarily all SS gear in the first system, try tubes in the second system. This will produce a LOT of fun and learning while giving you an even bigger list of experiences to draw from in the future.

3) Try to work as many "DIY" ( Do It Yourself ) type projects into the system that you can. This will once again add a lot of fun and hands on experience / learning while also keeping costs down to the bare minimum.

4) Pick up a copy of Vance Dickason's "loudspeaker design cookbook" and a subscription to Audio Xpress

5) Keep us posted as you proceed : )

Honestly though, try checking out some of the little ASL's tube monoblocks ( less than $250 a pair ), try modifying a PAS 3 preamp or build a Bottlehead unit from scratch ( less than $300 ), build a single driver full range speaker system or some simple two-ways ( less than $300 for all parts included ), build all of the associated interconnects, speaker cables, power cords, etc... ( less than $300 ), find good yet inexpensive "old but reliable" source components and then work on "tweaking" them into "modern day contendors" ( less than $250 apiece ), build your own rack ( less than $100 ), etc...

All of this can be done using the resources that we have available to us on the net. You can come up with something that is PHENOMENALLY musical and the most fun that you've ever had for well under $2K ( not including bizarre sex rituals or massive outings to restaurants of fine cuisine ). Of course, this takes into account that you are willing to get your hands dirty, make mistakes, have a selection of tools available and are up to challenging yourself in ways that you may have never done before. Either way, it would provide you with both a "hobby" and something to be extremely proud of when all is said and done. Sean

PS... This would be a GREAT way to introduce a youngster to the joys of hi-fi too !!!
RyanP100, My personal experience with Canary is that their gear is very well built. Considerally better than Rogue. But the good folks at Canary are extremely hard to get a hold of. Whereas Mark O'Brian and crew of Rogue are there for their customers. Cisco