Start Listening Right Away With This Super Affordable “Just-Add-Speakers” Hi-Fi System!

Setup is quick and easy with this Best Streaming Amplifier/Best Bookshelf Speaker combo!

Have you ever heard of the K.I.S.S. principle? K.I.S.S. started as a U.S. Navy acronym for “Keep It Simple Stupid,” meant to convey that most systems work best when you design them simply.

When it comes to Hi-Fi, there are some advantages to building a system with many components. However, when you’re trying to put together an affordable setup, it can make sense to take advantage of new high-quality combination components.

For example, there are some great “just-add-speakers” streaming amplifiers out there that combine high-resolution multi-room Wi-Fi music streamers with pre/power amps. They play music from all the major music services like TIDAL, Spotify, Qobuz, and more, plus they also play tracks from USB drives and drives connected to your local network.

All you need from there is a good pair of speakers and some speaker wire, and you’re ready to go. We also recommend speaker stands for bookshelf speakers and an audio rack, but they’re optional.

Things don’t get any simpler than that.

Here’s a three-box system that we recommend for simplicity, value, and engaging sound quality. This system will sound good with a wide variety of music, but it will especially sound good with midrange centric material like Jazz, Americana, Classic Rock, etc. We designed it for an average-sized family room.

The Setup:

Total: $2698

Optional Accessories:

The Source/Amplifier: Marantz PM7000N Stereo Integrated Amplifier ($1199)

There are certain amps that sound “right” as soon as you switch them on. The Marantz PM7000N Integrated Stereo Streaming Amplifier is one of them. It has a clean, weighty performance that takes command of speakers and bends them to its will. It produces deep deep bass, has a beautiful open midrange, and a sweet treble that isn’t overdone.

The high-current amp stage is capable of handling demanding 4 ohm speakers (like the Polk Legends we matched it with) with no issue, and the internal DAC is compatible with high-resolution PCM and DSD files. No MQA though.

In addition, the Marantz has an app-based multi-room streamer built-in so that you can play music from a bunch of music services (like TIDAL and Qobuz) plus your local Network Drive right out of the box. Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2 are also on deck for quick connections from an iOS or Android device.

Have you tried Hi-Res streaming yet? Rediscover your favorite albums in studio quality with a free trial of Qobuz.

Along with that, there’s also a ton of physical connections so you can expand your system with external components like a CD Player or Turntable later on.

Key Features/Specs:

  • 60 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms & 80 watts x 2 channels into 4 ohms
  • 4-ohm speaker capability
  • 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog converter (supports high-res PCM-based files up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD files up to 5.6MHz)
  • high-current toroidal power transformer for demanding loads
  • Built-in Bluetooth and AirPlay2 for quick streaming (aptX codec)
  • Built-in headphone amplifier
  • front-panel tone controls (treble and bass)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for listening to music from a network, includes support for TIDAL, Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify
  • Type-A USB port on rear panel for connecting a disk drive
  • Four stereo RCA audio inputs (including a MM phono input)
  • Stereo RCA audio out for recording
  • 1/4″ headphone output on front panel
  • Mono RCA subwoofer output

Buy: Amazon and Crutchfield

The Speakers: Polk Legend L200 Large Premium Bookshelf Speaker ($1499)

The Polk Audio Legend L200 just wowed us when it came to their soundstage, imaging, sweet highs, bass weight, and beautiful, natural-sounding midrange. These speakers do it all, but if you’re hooked on a liquid midrange, then you need to give these speakers a shot.

Just be aware, these speakers are very demanding when it comes to amplification, which is one reason why we picked the Marantz to go with them. However, if you take the time to match them well (we’ve done that for you already) and dial in the positioning, you’ll be greatly rewarded.

Key Features/Specs:

  • 1″ ring radiator tweeter with waveguide for focused highs
  • 6-1/2″ Turbine Cone midrange/bass driver
  • frequency response: 46-38,000 Hz (-3dB)
  • impedance: 4 ohms
  • sensitivity: 85.5 dB
  • recommended amplifier power: 30-200 watts
  • bass-reflex enclosure with rear-firing Enhanced Power Port
  • dual sets of binding post speaker terminals for bi-amping or bi-wiring
  • removable magnetic grille
  • real-wood veneer finish
  • 8-3/8″W x 15-11/16″H x 13-5/16″D

Read our full review

Buy: Amazon and Crutchfield

In the final analysis:

The Legend bookshelf speakers maybe the best Polk has ever built, as they just pour out music in such a natural way. When you combine them with a strong amp like the Marantz we matched them up with, they will give you a lot of musical enjoyment for not a whole lot of cash. Bring this gear home, hook the speakers up, plug the amp into the wall, then log into your music service of choice. Then smile as you enjoy your music. Simple.

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