Smart tip: most, but not all, rack systems are obsolete

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Question: In my youth I had a wonderful Technics system with high volume, deep bass, clear highs and great sound throughout. Back in the day, you could go to the store and buy a complete, perfectly matched system like this. Today, I don’t even know where to start.

My LP collection is gone, so I’ll be listening to CDs and streaming from Spotify. My budget is $ 3,000, but $ 2,000 would be better.

A: Your Technics system was most likely a rack system, consisting of components matched in a bracket or rack and a pair of speakers. These systems varied widely in quality, with the weakest link usually being the speakers.

Back in the day, some low budget enthusiasts (like college students) would buy a rack system and connect it to upgraded speakers to get a complete system and good sound at an affordable price. Rack systems fell into disuse some time ago, and while you can still build a complete system using components from a single manufacturer, this is usually not the best solution as few manufacturers excel in all of them. the categories of components.

That being said, Technics is one of the few brands that can still sell you a complete, uncompromising system. Doing this with high-end Technics components would jack your price up to over $ 3,000, although there is a Technics option that you might not have considered. I will recommend this, with two component systems. Any of these will dramatically outperform the rack system of your youth.

For $ 3,000, I would start with the Polk Legend L200 floorstanding speakers (polkaudio.com), now on sale for $ 1,199. The Cambridge Audio CXA61 amplifier at $ 999 and AXC35 CD player at $ 350 (cambridgeaudio.com) will do the job perfectly, and the Bluesound Node at $ 549 (bluesound.com) will meet your streaming needs.

Allow an additional $ 100 for speaker stands. This comes down to $ 3,197. If you must stay under $ 3,000, swap out the speakers for the Polk Legend L100, now on sale for $ 799.

For $ 2,000, we’ll keep the Bluesound Node and AXC35 CD player ($ 899 total) and replace the speakers with the $ 699 Emotiva Airmotiv T1 + towers (emotiva.com). A $ 400 Cambridge Audio AXR85 receiver will provide plenty of clean power for this exceptional $ 1,998 system.

You said $ 2,000 would be better than $ 3,000. Would $ 1,000 be better than $ 2,000? If so, take a look at the Technics OTTAVA f SC-C70 MKII. It looks like a Bose radio but incorporates a CD player, full streaming capabilities and cutting edge technology. While compact, it looks like a full-size component system using the highest quality speakers and at $ 999 it’s a steal.

When I first heard the original SC-C70 I was shocked at the sound and guessed the price was $ 3,500 given the technology, sound quality, name Technics and materials and construction worthy of a luxury product. When I was told it was only $ 999, I was eager to tell readers about it. Happy buyers have written to me to express their enthusiasm, which matches mine.

Send your questions to Don Lindich at [email protected] Get recommendations and read previous columns at soundadvicenews.com.

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