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I want better audio than I currently have


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#1 of 15 JasonLa

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Posted November 28 2004 - 07:39 PM

I'm not sure the best way to go about it. I have a kenwood KR-V7030 (dinosaur in comparison to whats out today). With kenwood speakers LSK-904 and LSK-028 and they are just as old as the reciever. I also have a PC with built in audio 5.1 Realtek AC'97 with Altec Lansing 5.1 251. Each of which I don't care for the sound since I know I can have better now.

I suppose I could have a few options. I could buy a new reciever and speaker system, or upgrade the pc with new sound and speakers, or combination. I don't know if one is better than the other.

I currently don't own a DVD player except a used DVD-ROM I picked up for my pc a while back. I use my room-mates DVD player (Pioneer DV-333) on my 27" Toshiba 27A43 to watch DVDs. I also use my pc to playback avi and mpgs encoded by various methods, on my tv, from the pc. Audio quality ranges but are likely all encoded in stereo with mayne a few in mono.

My room-mate current uses Creative Gigaworks 7.1 S750 on his pc and they sound real nice, just as good if not better than the Klipsch Promedia Ultra 5.1 RT that he was using before.

I have been told good brands to look at are Paradgim, PSB, and Klipsch. Unfortunately there aren't very many stores around here that carry home audio and I'm having trouble tracking down ones that carry a good variety and have setups designed for listening to the stuff they carry. I am also looking for advice on brands vs price ranges.

Now for what I would like. 7.1 (I assume this means that 6.1 and 5.1 will work with 7.1 setup [but will stereo be processed to some sort of surround sound?]). Some sort of equalizer (maybe with at least 10 bands). Volume control for the different channels and sub (or is this standard). Is it given that DTS, DTS-ES, dolby digital (is EX a 2nd DD), THX are features or will I need to look for or pay extra for something with any or all these? Will i regret having/not having any of these?

Hopefully you have read to this point and not lost interest in helping me due to the length of the post. And I won't add anything else at this point since I'm not really sure what else to add.

#2 of 15 Paul S

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Posted November 28 2004 - 10:07 PM

Buy the best set of speakers you can afford. Only YOU can determine whether you like the "Sound" of a speaker. Just about any receiver will make a good set of speakers sound great. One caveat, electrostatic speakers i.e. Martin-Logan and ribbon "Planar" type speakers require more amplifier power than most.

#3 of 15 Chuck_W

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Posted November 29 2004 - 12:01 AM

Quote:
Now for what I would like. 7.1 (I assume this means that 6.1 and 5.1 will work with 7.1 setup [but will stereo be processed to some sort of surround sound?]).


Most receivers have some form of pseudo-surround processing for simulating surround sound from stereo sources. If you are going with a 7.1 system you might want to look for a receiver with Pro-Logic IIx. Here's a link to the site explaining PLIIx:

http://www.dolby.com....logic_IIx.html

#4 of 15 Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted November 29 2004 - 04:00 AM

Jason,

I really couldn’t tell from your post if you’re dealing with two separate systems – PC and home theater– or if they’re both integrated into one. So I’m only going to limit my comments to the home theater equipment.

For sound quality, the best thing you could do is upgrade your speakers. The brands you mentioned, Paradigm etc. are all good. If you can’t get them locally let us know what brands are available and someone can make a recommendation.

To enjoy DVD’s in 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 you’ll have to upgrade your receiver to a current model with Dolby Digital.

Regarding the equalizer, it’s a problem to use them with 5.1 home theater systems, since they’re only two-channel. About the only thing you can do with them these days is connect them in-line between a CD player and receiver.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#5 of 15 JasonLa

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Posted November 29 2004 - 02:36 PM

Quote:
Buy the best set of speakers you can afford. Only YOU can determine whether you like the "Sound" of a speaker. Just about any receiver will make a good set of speakers sound great. One caveat, electrostatic speakers i.e. Martin-Logan and ribbon "Planar" type speakers require more amplifier power than most.

You lost me on what you are talking about in that last sentence.

It would be ideal, but I can't find a store in the west suburbs of detroit to listen to stuff. The only store I know of that is setup good only has kenwood and sony recievers and speakers. I would like a place that has alot more brands to compare and is set up with a good listening area (not in a warehouse like open area since that will likely not help in knowing what the stuff sounds like). Anyone from this area know of a good place(s)?

#6 of 15 JasonLa

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Posted November 29 2004 - 02:37 PM

Quote:
Most receivers have some form of pseudo-surround processing for simulating surround sound from stereo sources. If you are going with a 7.1 system you might want to look for a receiver with Pro-Logic IIx. Here's a link to the site explaining PLIIx:

This looks like a feature I am going to want on my reciever. Thx for the link.

#7 of 15 JasonLa

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Posted November 29 2004 - 02:49 PM

Quote:
I really couldn’t tell from your post if you’re dealing with two separate systems – PC and home theater– or if they’re both integrated into one. So I’m only going to limit my comments to the home theater equipment.

I was actually trying to find out what would be the better way to go. Feed my pc into the home audio system or feed everything else in the pc. I'm thinking home audio system and output the pc from spdif or something.

Quote:
For sound quality, the best thing you could do is upgrade your speakers. The brands you mentioned, Paradigm etc. are all good. If you can’t get them locally let us know what brands are available and someone can make a recommendation.

I'm hoping someone in the area is on this forum and knows of some more stores. I know of ABC warehouse, Walter's Apliances (the one that only had sony and kenwood last I checked), and places like kmart that don't carry this kind of stuff just cheap shelf systems.

Quote:
Regarding the equalizer, it’s a problem to use them with 5.1 home theater systems, since they’re only two-channel. About the only thing you can do with them these days is connect them in-line between a CD player and receiver.

How do you adjust the levels at the different frequencies then if no equalizers? Is there some sort of built in EQ? I am always adjusting the EQ on my pc to raise or lower certain frequencies if they are too loud or soft when watching encoded video.

#8 of 15 BillHewitt

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Posted November 29 2004 - 03:49 PM

Jason,

Which part of Detroit? There are a few good audio stores in the 14 Mile & Woodward area (The Gramaphone and Audio/Video Solutions), but that's probably a bit of a drive for you. You might want to try using the dealer locator on some of the audio manufacturers' websites to find places closer to you, as well. The phone book might also help.

#9 of 15 JasonLa

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Posted November 29 2004 - 05:09 PM

Quote:
Which part of Detroit? There are a few good audio stores in the 14 Mile & Woodward area (The Gramaphone and Audio/Video Solutions), but that's probably a bit of a drive for you. You might want to try using the dealer locator on some of the audio manufacturers' websites to find places closer to you, as well. The phone book might also help.

That would be a good drive, but if that ends up being the closest or best place to go I won't mind the drive. i was hoping to narrow down the search. I have an old 2003 phone book and for some reason newer ones haven't been provided. If i use the online yellow pages I'm afraid I'm not sure how to proceed. I assume there is a audio category or something if i were looking in the hard copy of the book. I have the west/northwest area one.

#10 of 15 Paul S

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Posted November 30 2004 - 12:24 AM

You might want to go to the Magnapan website. There you will find examples of a "Planar" type speaker. These are flat panel type speakers and generally considered to have excellent sound. These are not box type speakers but flat panel type (thin like the new tv's). Many people rave about the quality of audio these speakers can produce. They have some pretty nice offers for a starter set. If nothing else give the website a look.

#11 of 15 JasonLa

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Posted December 05 2004 - 06:52 PM

Ok I know its been a few days, here is what I have found so far in the area.

http://www.audiovide...s/products.html

This would appear to be the closest to me. I'll check into some of the other stores tomorrow when they are open. I got this one from the retailers list off of klipsch site. But it looks like it might be a good start.

I'm not certain yet what kind of speakers I want but if the small ones like the klipsch reference bookshelf speakers are just as nice sounding as the larger floor standing models then I might go with the bookshelf sized ones. If I go with the larger floorstanding I will need to rearrange the living room. Which isn't a problem. I don't want to cheap out and get crap but I also don't want to spend a small fortune. I can always buy pieces at a time if the overall amount is going to be high.

The living room is 14' x 14' give or take 6".

#12 of 15 Charles Gurganus

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Posted December 06 2004 - 01:36 AM

Last time I checked you can still get the excellent NHT superone XU speakers at onecall.com for about $130 each. Those would mate well with Harmon Kardon's avr230 receiver (about $400). Add a decent sub and you are good to go.
Charles

#13 of 15 Nathan Stohler

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Posted December 06 2004 - 02:34 AM

Quote:
How do you adjust the levels at the different frequencies then if no equalizers? Is there some sort of built in EQ? I am always adjusting the EQ on my pc to raise or lower certain frequencies if they are too loud or soft when watching encoded video.


Some receivers have built-in EQs you can use. Some receivers (Pioneer comes to mind) even have an auto-EQ feature that will automatically calibrate your system to make the frequency response as flat as possible.

Whether you use a built-in EQ or a separate unit, you shouldn't be needing to constantly adjust your EQ once it's set (although you'll want to re-equalize if you buy new speakers or something).

--Nathan

#14 of 15 JasonLa

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Posted December 06 2004 - 06:55 PM

Quote:
Whether you use a built-in EQ or a separate unit, you shouldn't be needing to constantly adjust your EQ once it's set (although you'll want to re-equalize if you buy new speakers or something).

Its usually the stuff on the pc that I end up needed to re-equalize. Sometimes the audio is real bad and has inballanced low or high frequencies. I wasn't sure if I would need to on anything else as right now I don't have an equalizer on my current setup but find i sometimes have to turn the bass up or down.

#15 of 15 JasonLa

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Posted December 11 2004 - 05:45 PM

I'm thinking of getting the Denon AVR-1905. I can get one for around $340 or a little less depending on warranty for a quality refurbished unit and is certified operating as a brand new unit by denon from a few online retailers. I'm trying to find a retail store that might go that low with flexible extra for what i would pay in shipping so I'm thinking i would be willing to spend about $375 thats about 25% off MSRP.

The main thing now is to find speakers I like in my price range. The klipsch speakers I was looking at go for way too much. The RB-75 are $1200/pair and the RB-35 are $800/pair. Anything lower in model is not enough watts for the reciever. So I was thinking of looking at B&W models DM 303, DM600, or DM601. MSRP of ~$140-~$185/each. After doing the math for the 600 and 601 models though i think they are out.

B&W site recommends the LCR60 for center thats about MSRP of ~$315, and ASW600 for sub thats about MSRP ~$630. Thats when choosing the DM600.

When choosing the DM 303, center LCR3 is MSRP ~$225 and sub MSRP ~$395

Grand total ~$2275 with the 600 series. with the 300 series ~$1860. I would like to get as low as $1200-$1400. Am I pipe dreaming or are there some other nice speaker options and/or reciever option to go with and not sacrifice too much quality. I'm thinking its mainly the fact that I want 7.1 that is why the cost is so high.

Anyone have any thoughts on any of this? And did i get the currency conversion right? Because if my prices are actually higher than they would be MSRP in US$ then I will feel alot better Posted Image


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