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Speakers or Receiver first?


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24 replies to this topic

#1 of 25 OFFLINE   Chris_Smith

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Posted November 29 2005 - 05:38 AM

I am upgrading my receiver and speakers. I am looking at the Athena F1, C1, B2 for speakers and a Harman Kardon 325 for the receiver.

Due to money limitations I can only get either the speakers or receiver now and the other in about 6-8 months. Right now I have a Sony De545 receiver and Sony MB215 bookeslf speakers and matching surrounds/center.

Would I be better off getting the speakers first or the receiver? I am thinking if I get the receiver first it will make my current speakers sound better than they do now.

#2 of 25 OFFLINE   ColinM

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Posted November 29 2005 - 07:19 AM

Speakers.

The difference between speakers is larger than the diff between receivers.
You call that a knife?

#3 of 25 OFFLINE   WayneO

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Posted November 29 2005 - 08:12 AM

Speakers make the most difference. If there are possibly better speakers you want at higher cost, buy the receiver and save for those.
If the best advice is "listen for yourself", then why offer your opinion?

#4 of 25 OFFLINE   DevinJC

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Posted November 30 2005 - 06:15 AM

Speakers.

#5 of 25 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted November 30 2005 - 07:17 AM

Not to be redundant but, speakers. The difference between the 325 and the DE515 will be quite noticable IMO, but speakers are going to make a bigger difference.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
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#6 of 25 OFFLINE   Dick Knisely

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Posted November 30 2005 - 08:24 AM

Another vote for speakers. Don't know those specific models but for most people the speakers are the limiting factor in how something sounds (well, ignoring environmental factors which can be huge as well). So, a better receiver will quite possibly just show the limitations of the current speakers even more. Better speakers are much more likely to show that your current receiver was limited by the speakers -- the improvement is greater.
I am not young enough to know everything. -Oscar Wilde-

#7 of 25 OFFLINE   Chris_Smith

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Posted November 30 2005 - 11:43 AM

I purchased new speakers tonight. I ended up going with Paradigm Phantoms, Titans, and a CC-170.

I am going to wait and get the receiver in a couple months.

Thanks for all the responses.

#8 of 25 OFFLINE   DevinJC

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Posted December 01 2005 - 05:10 AM

Nice speakers for the price. Posted Image

<- Admitted Paradigm Fanboy.

#9 of 25 OFFLINE   ColinM

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Posted December 01 2005 - 07:28 AM

Do you feel it was the right thing to do? Has the theater experience improved?
You call that a knife?

#10 of 25 OFFLINE   Chris_Smith

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Posted December 01 2005 - 09:51 PM

With the Sony receiver I found there was a noticable improvement. Things were clearer and more crisp. I still had the hiss from the receiver though.

LAst night I went out and bought a Pioneer 1015. It's not as nice as the Harman Kardons I was looking at but it was an open box special and I got a really good deal on it.

It sounds really awesome now. It is amazing how much better it sounds. Now all I need ot get is a sub.

Thanks for all the help.

#11 of 25 OFFLINE   ColinM

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Posted December 02 2005 - 12:29 AM

That confirms it then - both make an improvement. I wonder now, which is most effective?
You call that a knife?

#12 of 25 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted December 02 2005 - 01:36 AM

Funny - when I saw just the title of this thread I thought it was like "Chicken or Egg first?"

I'm probably one of the biggest advocates of modest power requirements on this forum. I just do not buy that big powerful expensive amps are needed. In my long storied HT progression I have kept my main speakers the same and gone in stages:
  • Old DPL-Only receiver with great stereo but inadequate center and rear amps. (the LD days...)
  • A powerful THX receiver with outboard decoders
  • A massive flagship DD-ready THX receiver
  • Mega powerful 5.1 seperates
  • Mega Powerful separates with 7.1 and all the processing bells and whistles
  • Old middle-of-the-road/cheapish DD only receiver
  • Older fairly high model THX Select 5.1 receiver
I used to think big amps and bells and whistles were the thing. Now I think at least 80% of the HT public would be perfectly served by a $400 receiver despite the pretentions of golden ears and power sucking speakers....

That said, Amps do make a difference, and different EQs and granularity are meaningful. I personally think the inexpensive Sony receivers are about the most dreadful sounding stuff out there..... And Pioneers cosistently represent just about the best value-for-dollar in the home receiver market, delivering rich, full, authentic sound for very little dollars.

So I'm guessing you're a happy camper!
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#13 of 25 OFFLINE   Chris_Smith

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Posted December 02 2005 - 02:01 AM

I think the difference was about equal for both. I am saying that because my Sony had developed a hiss that could be heard during quiet movie scens. And it lacked video switching which I need for my HD stuff.

When I added the new receiver it was even better. I can't believe how much better 2ch stuff sounds with DPLII.

#14 of 25 OFFLINE   ColinM

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Posted December 02 2005 - 02:31 AM

Agreed - low end Sony sucks carpet. I forgot that I had one, too, it was quite bad.
You call that a knife?

#15 of 25 OFFLINE   Dick Knisely

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Posted December 02 2005 - 02:39 AM

In my experience, Sony makes good video gear and lousy audio gear. Doubly true at the low end.
I am not young enough to know everything. -Oscar Wilde-

#16 of 25 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted December 02 2005 - 06:40 AM

I agree with speakers obviously, but is anyone going to mention the ROOM? This is as important as the speakers...

#17 of 25 OFFLINE   Dick Knisely

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Posted December 02 2005 - 07:56 AM

Uhhhh... Chris, the OP didn't really ask about upgrading the roomPosted Image Now if a new house was an option, then we'd have a whole different discussion.

Seriously, I agree with you -- the room has the potential to make a bigger difference than changing speakers or receiver but, at least in my case, there's only so much I can get away with on that score!Posted Image
I am not young enough to know everything. -Oscar Wilde-

#18 of 25 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted December 02 2005 - 08:03 AM

room treatments are simple and don't need to involve construction from the ground up by any means! This can also be done for a lot cheaper than speaker or receiver upgrades...

And the room is hugely fundamental. I was just pointing out that people tend to ask these kinds of upgrade questions "what will make the biggest difference, compoennt X or Y" and they never ask about the room. In most cases the room has not been treated at all, and considering that the room is at least as important as the speakers, it should be considered. Why not asking: "what sould I upgrade, my speakers or my room?" This is a much better question. Speakers V receiver is easy, speakers make a much bigger difference. Speakers V Room is a lot harder, because they are both SO hugely influential. I'll bet the OP's room has not been treated, in which case a huge improvement can be had by dealing with room acoustics, perhaps more so than new speakers, and CERTAINLY moreso than a new receiver.

#19 of 25 OFFLINE   ColinM

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Posted December 02 2005 - 08:24 AM

Like what? Bass traps, diffusors, absorbers...based around making SONY bookshelf speakers perform better?

Now if he stated he had Linn's or B$W's, we might think more about optimization. But when a guy's driving a Pinto says he's thinking about an Escort, we don't tell him tint the windows, do we?

(No offense to any Sony owners. They serve their purpose well.)

Now is the time to optimize!

Address placement issues, reflection points with the usual treatments.
You call that a knife?

#20 of 25 OFFLINE   Marty M

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Posted December 02 2005 - 08:30 AM

Warning! The upgrade bug can be addictive, but it is a nice addiction to have. I am also a huge Paradigm fan. I hope you will enjoy your set up.
Lawn Ranger Motto: You're only young once, but you can be always be immature.