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starting from scratch


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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   beetle_slayer

beetle_slayer

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Posted November 10 2007 - 06:46 AM

I apologize if this topic has been beaten to death. I am planning to upgrade from my htib. I will have to do it in stages.
Have:
50" Panasonic plasma--720p
FIOS
12' wide, 16' deep room

Will very soon have HD player--they are cheap enough now.


Want: 5.1 surround

Don't care about:
AM/FM/XM
won't listen to cd's much
might listen to ipod--probably not though because my wife likes simple hook up

From what I gather, using a preamp and separate amp will give me much better sound quality than an all in one receiver.

I have also heard a 5 five year old amp is just as high quality as a new amp--given it's a high quality brand. Is this correct?

That question leads me to the question I need answered most. If I just care about SOUND ONLY through my preamp (I can switch HDMI through my TV), is there any reason not to buy an older preamp--just as long as it is good quality with optical in???

My budget is pretty limited so I can only buy in stages. I really liked the sound of the B&W bookshelf speakers--I haven't shopped much. I also like the looks of the Emotiva equipment but I don't know if it is any good.

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   Echo42987

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Posted November 10 2007 - 10:06 AM

Whats your budget that could help out a lot. Preamp are all the exact same thing and always will be. The only differences usually is wattage. Yeah there are other factors but they all have the same functionality.

-Nick-
Home Theater Setup
TV - Sony KDS60A3000
Reciever - Denon AVR2308CI
DVD - Denon DVD1940CI
Fronts - Canton GLE409Center - Canton AV7002Rears - Canton PLUSXL2Sub - Klipsch RW10DPower - Panamax M5300PMCables - AudioQuestGame - Xbox360-PS2/3

#3 of 8 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted November 10 2007 - 10:18 AM

Focus first on the speakers you want and spend the majority of you money on that then choose the electronics. The speakers have the biggest impact on your overall sound. Also, modern receivers sound very good and some of the mid level receivers have better specs than some of the budget separates.

Generally speaking a solid-state amp will last years with no noticable sound compromises. One of the advantages of the receivers is the HDMI switching options that will work best with your TV and future HD player. The pre-amps out there with these features are pretty expensive. You can also add an amp to the receiver later.

While good separates will generally perform better than a receiver, the current mid-level receivers are very good. I don't think the separates will sound that much better than a good receiver. Separates are really for those of us who want to get the absolute last inch of performance from our gear.

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   beetle_slayer

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Posted November 11 2007 - 03:33 PM

My budget for speakers is 2500 total. I figure 500 for a sub, 1500 for center and fronts, and 50o for surrounds. Maybe more on frts and center and less on surround.

As for receivers, I have looked at the Marantz SR5002, or the Rotel RSX-1067. I would consider Denon, but several people I know seem to have had bad luck with the products.

The Rotel doesn't switch HDMI--which is fine since I can use my tv to switch and use the optical to the receiver.

Another option is Outlaw or Emotiva? Any good? I rellay don't want to spend more than $1000 for a receiver or $1500 for amp and preamp.

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted November 12 2007 - 02:15 AM

Quote:
From what I gather, using a preamp and separate amp will give me much better sound quality than an all in one receiver.

Preamp / Amplifier configurations are usually your best bet. But do not count out a receiver as they can do a great job as well. It depends on your goals for your HT and your budget. You can allways add a good multi-channel power amplifier to a receiver later on to add more power. And todays receivers are more likely to have the newest technology first before the preamp versions. Todays receivers are packed with performance and value.

Quote:
I have also heard a 5 five year old amp is just as high quality as a new amp--given it's a high quality brand. Is this correct?

IMHO I would say not true. There are plenty of 10 year old amplifiers that will out perform todays amplifiers. While technolgy allways changes the basic technology for amplifiers has not changed much. It also depends on what level of gear your talking about. You can allways get a great deal on a used high end amplifier that will work just as well as a new one and sometimes better than a new one.

Quote:
That question leads me to the question I need answered most. If I just care about SOUND ONLY through my preamp (I can switch HDMI through my TV), is there any reason not to buy an older preamp--just as long as it is good quality with optical in???

You mentioned that you wanted HD. I would get a new receiver or prepro with HDMI switching. You will want to send the uncompressed PCM to the receiver via HDMI as well as Dolby True HD or DTS-HD Master Audio. All 3 of these audio formats bandwidths are to high for coaxel or optical. You can use optical for the legacy core of DTS-HD or Dolby True HD but you will only get the basic DTS or Dolby Digital using that route. Also you will not have to run multiple HDMI cables to your tv as you can run shorter cables to a receiver and then to your HDTV.

Quote:
My budget is pretty limited so I can only buy in stages. I really liked the sound of the B&W bookshelf speakers--I haven't shopped much. I also like the looks of the Emotiva equipment but I don't know if it is any good.

I am in the same boat as well and I end up saving cash for my upgrades one peice at a time. The key is to research and listen to several differnet models until you find something that fits your needs and pocketbook. Take your favorite movies and music, the ones you know in your sleep. Listen to the same material on differnet models and brands. That is the best way to hear and see diffences between the equipment you are auditioning.

Quote:
Another option is Outlaw or Emotiva? Any good? I rellay don't want to spend more than $1000 for a receiver or $1500 for amp and preamp.

You can get a really nice updated receiver in that price range. There are models from Pioneer Elite, Denon, Yamaha and others. I am looking at the Denon AVR-3808ci receiver which is actually getting rave reviews here and at other sites as well. The 3808 has a retail of $1,600 but can most likely be found for hundreds less online.

Quote:
I would consider Denon, but several people I know seem to have had bad luck with the products.

Denon makes a very good product and packs top notch performance that is some of the best available. There are other very good brands out there but Denon has there act together. To my knowledge most people do not have problems with Denon and it is unfortunant a few friends had problems. I would highly recomend Denon and the only other receiver I am looking at besides Denon is Pioneer Elite so far.


As far as Emotiva goes I have not hear of them before to be honest. I just went to there web page and the gear apears to be nice. I do not remember seeing anything about HDMI 1.3a, Dolby True HD or DTS-HD Master Audio. And while it is not manditory that you have these capabilities it couldn't hurt to have the newest features to keep your HT current on technology. That is if you want to take full advantage of the newest lossless audio formats on many of todays HD titles. In that case you will also want to make sure that the HD player you buy will bitstream DTS-HD and Dolby True HD via HDMI 1.3a to a new receiver or pre/pro.

Quote:
Focus first on the speakers you want and spend the majority of you money on that then choose the electronics.
I agree, speakers are also one of the most important part of your system and the voice of your home theater. You can have the best gear in the world hooked up to bad speakers. And it will sound like garbage! Audition speakers and then match a receiver or pre/pro to those speakers that will provide enough power to properly run those speakers. One of the worst things you can do is underpower a speaker where you push the amplifier into distortion and clipping. Its a good way to damage or fry your speakers.

I hope this helps.

Dave
Supporter of 1080p & 4K video / Supporter of Lossless PCM, Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio / Say No To MP3 & WMA / Say no to Bose & LG!
 

 


#6 of 8 OFFLINE   beetle_slayer

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Posted November 14 2007 - 07:06 AM

Thanks, it does help a lot. I think I'm going to go with a receiver--Marantz seems to have some nice stuff and name recognition to go with it. I'm going to go listen to somemore B&Ws tomorrow. The only downside is a lot of stereo/theater places are smoke and mirrors.

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted November 14 2007 - 11:57 AM

Quote:
The only downside is a lot of stereo/theater places are smoke and mirrors.

That is why you need to find a good home theater place that will be up front with you. And one thing for you to remember when shopping for speakers. Is do not be suprised if they sound different after you get them home. Things like the size of the room and the amount of furnature as well as the placement of the furnature also affects the sound. Marantz is nice gear, but I would also look at Denon as well. Denon is getting rave reviews and owners love them. Denon I think has the newest Audusy incorperated in there new receivers. Both Denon and Marantz are actually owned by D&M Holdings.

D&M Holdings Inc:
Denon
Marantz
McIntosh
Boston
Snell
Escient
Replay TV

If you are favoring the Marantz thats cool. But audition Marantz, Denon, Pioneer Elite and Yamaha. Look at features and specifications and then price. Plan out your home theater and do some research on what might be just around the corner. Make sure you have enough inputs to handle what you have now and what you are planing on owning in the near future. If you future proof your system as much as possible it will save you from spending more money than you need to. Especially if you end up replacing something because it did not meet your needs and you end up buying something twice when you really did not need to.

I am also in the middle of upgrading as there are a number of outdate peices in my home theater. I am seriously looking at the Denon AVR-3808ci receiver with HDMI 1.3, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, DTS, DTS-ES and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. And it has alot of other features as well that make it a power house in the receiver market. I am also looking at upgrading my Sony BDP-S300 because I was impacient and did not wait for the player I should have purchased from day one. But I am looking at a upcoming Denon Blu-ray or a Pioneer Elite Blu-ray player. I am really sold on Denon but there is more than one brand out there and more than one way to build a really nice home theater. Take your favorite CD's and movies with you. Titles that you know like the back of your hand and audition equipment and do research on them. And if there are no major problems and you like what you see and hear, then it is the perfect purchase for you. Let us know what you end up with and what you think about it after you have had it awhile.
Supporter of 1080p & 4K video / Supporter of Lossless PCM, Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio / Say No To MP3 & WMA / Say no to Bose & LG!
 

 


#8 of 8 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted November 14 2007 - 02:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by beetle_slayer
Thanks, it does help a lot. I think I'm going to go with a receiver--Marantz seems to have some nice stuff and name recognition to go with it. I'm going to go listen to somemore B&Ws tomorrow. The only downside is a lot of stereo/theater places are smoke and mirrors.

There are a few good audio stores out there. I wouldn't recommend the big box stores like Best Buy or Circuit City, but some of the local store and smaller chains live and die by customer service. Before going do your research and find out prices and don't buy the first time in the store. Listen to as many different speakers as possible and don't focus on the highest priced speakers and equipment. There are real bargains out there if you look. ALso, most retailers will knock off 10% of speakers and electronics, but you need to ask for it.

It is true speakers will sound different at than they did in the showroom, but speakers will generally have the same sound characteristics no matter where they are. A paradigm speaker will sound like a paradigm speaker anywhere as will a Klipsch, Boston, Definitive Tech...

I find the difference in bass performance to be the most noticable when speakers are in different room. The mids and treble will also be different, but not as obvious to me. However, the speaker will maintain it's basic sound characteristics in your home as in the show room.

I added sound treatments to the room that houses my 2 channel set-up, and it made a dramatic difference. However, the Paradigm Studio 20s still sound like the 20s I heard and liked in the showroom.


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