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Make my HT better please!


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   werty7777

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Posted January 11 2009 - 09:55 AM

New guy here and looking for ways to improve my current system. Now obviously one can always get better speakers, receivers, and such. So I'm looking for the obvious that all you pros know that can help. For instance I'm thinking I need a seperate amp. I was also thinking getting some BP-6s for side surrounds instead of the ProMonitor 1000s. Here's what I got. Any input would be great. Thanks in advance.

Mitsubishi DLP 73"
PS3 for Blu-ray
Monster Power HTS 1600 (with all components plug in it)
Sony DA5200ES receiver
Martin Logan Dynamo (sub)
Definitive CLR 2000 (center)
Definitive BP2004TL's (fronts)
Definitive ProMonitor 1000's (rear sides)
Definitive BP-6's (rear behind)

Everything is connected via high quality HDMI, speaker wire, and audio interconnects. Using ATT U-verse for provider.

#2 of 37 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted January 11 2009 - 01:09 PM

I'm thinking you need to step WAY up the receiver or separates food chain.. Your speakers and sub deserve much better than a Sony receiver.
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#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Ed Moxley

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Posted January 11 2009 - 01:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett DiMichele
I'm thinking you need to step WAY up the receiver or separates food chain.. Your speakers and sub deserve much better than a Sony receiver.
It's an "ES" series Sony, so it should be pretty decent.
What part of current system are you unhappiest with?
Samsung HL61A750 (LED DLP)            Onkyo TX-SR805
Oppo BDP-83 Blu ray                                  Polk Audio LSi9
Polk Audio LSiC                                  Sony SS-MB100H
SVS PC12-NSD (Sub)                       ...

#4 of 37 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted January 12 2009 - 01:16 AM

I agree with Brett, I think the biggest change would be the upgrade on the receiver. Which one, well that's a different story, for me HK or Denon would do it.
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#5 of 37 OFFLINE   werty7777

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Posted January 12 2009 - 07:37 AM

It is a ES Sony that I paid 1000 bucks for a few years back. Now in hindsight maybe I should of did seperates but a little late now. I suppose I'm just looking for "larger sounds" from the whole set up or just to "fill the room" better. And of course if there are glaring stupid moves I have made let me know that too. Thanks.

#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted January 12 2009 - 09:29 AM

I don't suppose you'd want to switch to a front projector and larger screen? That's my only suggestion.

#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 12 2009 - 09:36 AM

Martin,

Just wanted to welcome you aboard here and hope you make
this forum your new home. Glad to see the veterans helping you out.

 

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#8 of 37 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted January 12 2009 - 12:29 PM

I don't believe that Sony can push enough smoke to drive the BP2004TL's. Even though the sub section is self powered, you are still trying to push five drivers per cabinet off of 120 watts a channel, and that's a manufacturer spec with 1 channel driven, with both channels driven for music it's probably more like 90 a channel and probably dips into the 70's with all channels driven.

I personally believe that Dafy Tech makes great speakers and I think they need more oooomf to sing. You may also be experiencing cancellation issues with three subs going, and since the mains are Bi Polar, they are most likely very picky on positioning.

How do you have them positioned?
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#9 of 37 OFFLINE   werty7777

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Posted January 12 2009 - 02:06 PM

Well honestly Brett you kind of hit what I was wondering. Though I mostly (90%) use it for HT, it does seem to lack when listening to stereo. That's when either the bi-polar thing or the lack of power thing comes in to play. So with that said I wonder how much diference an amp would matter? So I realize that most folks don't speak that highly of Sony receivers but would a amp for the fronts and center be wise? I would amp all 7 channels but that would probably cost more my loving and perfect wife would permit. In case she's reading lol! If an amp is in order...... where, how much, brand, how much power, how many channels, etc. An amp rated at 100 per channel, say a Rotel, be that much better for HT and stereo than the Sony receiver I have? Bottom line is will it be worth it?

The placement was actually easy to do for the 2004tl's they are about 2 feet off the side of the tv which makes them about 8 or 9 feet apart. They are about 14 inches off the wall in back. I have the subs facing towards each other.

The subs don't cancel out I don't think. Don't know if that is more complicated than it sounds but I think I understand. Once again being a rookie in this game I wish I would of just ran across some BP-8's or 10's for the front because with the Dynamo I just don't need all that bass that they provide. I have the 2004's set at about 12 o'clock on the gain and the dynamo set at about 1:30.

#10 of 37 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted January 13 2009 - 12:40 PM

Werty,

I do not personally feel that 100 watts per channel is enough (even if it was a true 100 watts RMS all channels driven). That many drivers need more power, and I am a firm believer in that you can never have too much clean power. Too much power and you just won't be turning up the volume as much. Too little power and you clip the solid state amp, producing a square wave, which is not only very fatiguing to the human ear, but also very damaging to tweeters and midbass drivers.

I wouldn't go with anything less than 200 watts per channel, all channels driven (250 or 300 watts a channel wouldn't hurt!).

I also think you may have some positioning issues. If you have the integrated subs facing one another and you do not have one switched to reverse phase, you are essentially canceling the subs out that are in the towers.

I have my integrated subs facing away from each other for that reason.

The other thing is, your towers are very similar to mine (minus the Bi-Polar and internal amps) I have a D'Appolito M-T-M derangement with side firing reflex 10's. These drivers will only reach down into the 30's and quickly roll off from there. I think you need to find out where your mains start to drop off and then you need to set your Dynamo to fill in that lower octave.

Either that, or don't use the 10's in the Mains, see where the crossover takes place from the mids to the 10's and then set the Dynamo to that point.

Sound is subjective, the best amp in the world may not "sound good" if the source feeding it is not clean. In other words you may be better off just finding a "good" high power amp, rather than a "great" high power amp, because you are going to feed it off that Sony.

Thoughts?
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#11 of 37 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted January 17 2009 - 08:12 PM

Brett: From looking around on the net those Def Tech towers use two 5.25" midbass drivers and two tweeters. I am not sure how loud Martin likes to listen to his movies, but even "just" 70 watts for those 4 drivers should be enough to produce Beavis & Butthead levels. Posted Image

I do agree having too much power is preferable to not enough, but as someone who grew with power meters on all his receivers, I know that - using large unpowered floorstanders with 12" woofers & @89dB SPL numbers - only around 10 to 25 watts was required in "typical" living rooms to produce sound levels that require one to raise their voice to near-shout levels to carry on a conversation. As volume increases power needs rise exponentially but still, at 60 watts NO conversation was possible! Again those were unpowered speakers I used.

Plus, most soundtracks don't have the same amount of action going on in every channel at the same time. And the rears hardly have anything bass-heavy occurring. So a receiver generating its rated stereo power output could actually be possible when watching a 5.1 movie (surround music though is a different story!).

Quote:
If you have the integrated subs facing one another and you do not have one switched to reverse phase, you are essentially canceling the subs out that are in the towers.
Umm, if one subwoofer's phase is reversed, both subs' output will definitely be canceled out.

There's a chance, just a chance, that where his towers are located now could be a good place for low bass reproduction without a separate subwoofer. The DT towers' built-in subs are quite potent - and we're talking about 2 of them in the same room - and any drop in volume because of their placement might easily be overcome by simply turning their amps' volume knob.

As far as phase cancellation between the separate sub and the towers' subs, that would only occur if they are reproducing the same bass signal.......and AFAIK no soundtrack mixing engineer is going to place identical bass signals in the front channels AND the soundtrack's LFE channel (there is no need to - the LFE channel partly exists for that reason). ---> This is assuming the front channels are set to "Large" in the receiver's bass management system. If not, there could be some phase issues in the tower/sub crossover region.

For music from stereo sources, there's a situation where operating multiple subs all reproducing the same bass signal - fronts set to "Large" & subwoofer "On" - could result in some messy low frequencies if the receiver's distance settings and the speakers' room locations are not chosen carefully. This is not impossible to accomplish, because I've done it myself in my "mancave" where no WAF is required, but not everyone has that capability.

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted January 18 2009 - 05:43 AM

Lance,




We agree too much power is not a "bad" thing. These Def's need 300 watts per channel, RMS, all channels driven, to sing. That is heavy amp territory!

Sure, if the OP never listens to them at reference levels, they may play ok, but they are never going to be dynamic with such low power. For the mids to have the impact that they should, they need power to move air!

As for the sub section, I was under the impression that if you had two speakers (of any frequency range) sitting parallel from each other, each producing the same exact signal and both in the same phase, that they are going to cancel each other out where the signals meet each other in the air.

Reversing phase of one, makes it push and pull with the other driver so that the signals will sum, rather than cancel. Am I completely wrong on this? (serious question, I am here to learn).

Werty,

How many Midrange drivers are in your Def's ? All the photos show a total of (4) Four 5.25" Midranges (two per front, two per back) but Def's info on the web site says (2) Two midrange drivers per cabinet. I can't find any "large" cutaway images for the 2400's I thought that each did have four mids.



Quote:
Originally Posted by LanceJ
Brett: From looking around on the net those Def Tech towers use two 5.25" midbass drivers and two tweeters. I am not sure how loud Martin likes to listen to his movies, but even "just" 70 watts for those 4 drivers should be enough to produce Beavis & Butthead levels. Posted Image




I do agree having too much power is preferable to not enough, but as someone who grew with power meters on all his receivers, I know that - using large unpowered floorstanders with 12" woofers & @89dB SPL numbers - only around 10 to 25 watts was required in "typical" living rooms to produce sound levels that require one to raise their voice to near-shout levels to carry on a conversation. As volume increases power needs rise exponentially but still, at 60 watts NO conversation was possible! Again those were unpowered speakers I used.

Plus, most soundtracks don't have the same amount of action going on in every channel at the same time. And the rears hardly have anything bass-heavy occurring. So a receiver generating its rated stereo power output could actually be possible when watching a 5.1 movie (surround music though is a different story!).

Umm, if one subwoofer's phase is reversed, both subs' output will definitely be canceled out.

There's a chance, just a chance, that where his towers are located now could be a good place for low bass reproduction without a separate subwoofer. The DT towers' built-in subs are quite potent - and we're talking about 2 of them in the same room - and any drop in volume because of their placement might easily be overcome by simply turning their amps' volume knob.

As far as phase cancellation between the separate sub and the towers' subs, that would only occur if they are reproducing the same bass signal.......and AFAIK no soundtrack mixing engineer is going to place identical bass signals in the front channels AND the soundtrack's LFE channel (there is no need to - the LFE channel partly exists for that reason). ---> This is assuming the front channels are set to "Large" in the receiver's bass management system. If not, there could be some phase issues in the tower/sub crossover region.

For music from stereo sources, there's a situation where operating multiple subs all reproducing the same bass signal - fronts set to "Large" & subwoofer "On" - could result in some messy low frequencies if the receiver's distance settings and the speakers' room locations are not chosen carefully. This is not impossible to accomplish, because I've done it myself in my "mancave" where no WAF is required, but not everyone has that capability.

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#13 of 37 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted January 18 2009 - 06:57 AM

Wow, three hundred watts? Er, even if the DT used four 5.25" midbass drivers that's still a lot of power IMO, e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e power. And reference level is really loud, even for me so unless Martin listens at that level regularly (and is able to i.e. he doesn't live in an apartment) I would think a solid 100 watts - for two 5.25" midbass drivers - should be sufficient, and a Sony ES receiver costing $1,000 should be able to provide that. AFAIK their ES line is built much more heavily than the stuff BB and CC sell.

Quote:
Reversing phase of one, makes it push and pull with the other driver so that the signals will sum, rather than cancel. Am I completely wrong on this?
You have it right, but the terminology you're using is backwards. Posted Image

To sum the bass, the two drivers need to be IN phase. Out of phase means one driver is moving outwards while the other driver is moving inwards & when that happens it's like adding +1 and -1........which adds up to zero.

Since a musical signal is an AC signal, as long as two drivers or speakers are wired the same they will be in phase. In other words, if the speaker wire is reversed on one speaker i.e. positive lead going to the negative connector post/negative lead going to the positive post, as long as the other speaker is *also* wired that way the two speakers will be in-phase (and proper stereo imaging, the other very audible casualty of out-of-phase speakers, will result). Disclaimer: I've personally never seen a speaker or amplifier damaged by wiring the speakers as described above, so if someone tries doing that and the speaker and/or amp DOES get damaged, don't blame me! Posted Image

The easiest way to demonstrate the out-of-phase effect is to place two speakers about 6" from each other, each facing the other. Play some bass-heavy music with ONE speaker's connections reversed, and the bass should disappear. If it doesn't disappear, then somewhere one of the speaker's leads have been reversed all along. Posted Image I've seen this a lot in A/V retailers' speaker demo rooms. Most obvious example was a pair of large DCM speakers equipped with 12" woofers. Sales guy said their bass output sucked, surprising since those DCMs were built much like a Cerwin-Vega. We looked and the wires were connected correctly.....on the speaker end anyway. So I theorized the wires of one speaker at the receiver end were reversed & he reversed the leads on one speaker and when we hit "play" ta da!! it was the disco era all over again!

#14 of 37 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted January 18 2009 - 08:02 AM

Lance,

I thought I was partially correct. I am still confused though, I thought if you had to identical speakers, wired phase correct and placed them equidistant towards each other, they would cancel rather than sum? I have tried this before and noticed the lack of sound when they cancel but I may have reversed the phase of one speaker to achieve cancellation (it's been a while since I did that) Posted Image

So you think his receiver is outputting enough power to drive those speakers? I still think he needs more power, I know it doesn't come cheap but I don't think these are efficient speakers, certainly not like running a pair of horns.

I guess if he doesn't listen to the music at higher volumes it will be sufficient. And if that's the case then I have no clue what he can do to improve the sound other than room treatments, positioning or new speakers or a new source.
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#15 of 37 OFFLINE   werty7777

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Posted January 18 2009 - 06:10 PM

Interesting.... Well Brett the 2004TL's have 2 5.25" and 2 1" and of course the woofer. I tried moving them so the subs output away from each other and all it really did make the bass "dirty." I don't know if I made sense when I was describing my set-up but the subs, even when facing each other, are blocked by the huge CLR2000, components, and random crap my wife placed on the the Bello stand. I can take a pic and upload if that helps everyone. Just let me know.
Lance, I have all the speakers set to large. My receiver only lets the side and rear surrounds be set to the same thing. Small or large. Since I have the BP-6's in the back I went large. I agree with the messy bass thing you were speaking about. I love bass but know when it is too much for sure. I'm completely sure I have the bass under control in this set-up. Sonically though I think Brett has a point. Freqs do cancel each other at certain ranges. Maybe with the set-up I have, in the room I have, it just makes sense as it is. Where it is located that is.
Now the power thing. After reading and listening to you guys I fully understand that I need more power. However, I'm going to Vegas in a few weeks, so unless I hit it big(not likely) I won't be in the market for any real big money stuff for months to come. I really want to know what other folks think about the receiver I have have. Brett was pretty honest on his feelings and I know others feel the same. But who has actually had a high end ES? Good? Bad?
Brett, I have been into mid to hi-fi car audio for about 10 years and was curious about the statement you had about a "good" amp or "great" amp because I was only pushing it with with my receiver. It has been my experience with car audio that even a crap(Wal-Mart) head unit will sing when matched with a JL 300/4 amp and some Boston components. So how does this really differ in home audio?
I think I really need an amp at this point. I cranked it up today. +24Db on the Sony it it was really not even cool. I had it in 2 channel with sub listening to tunes and it was obviously struggling to do what anyone could want. Up in the post I was questioning the "bi-polar or lack of power thing." Now I get it. I need power.
Long post I know! So the discusion starts on the power requirements. I read that my speakers are pretty freakin efficient. I really don't think I will be able to spring for a mega amp like Brett wants. 300x????? Really????? I think my mains are 250 RMS(without looking) so 300?
With that completely out of my wife's budget in the near future(LOL), would a Niles or Rotel or whatever else I find used be a worth-while investment be that much better. Against my ES? With my money currently, I think I could only swing a 125x2 or 150x2 with an 60x5 or 75x5. Or I could get a 6 channel and bridge it for my center and mains and let the Sony run the rest.
Thoughts? Thanks Lance and Brett!

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted January 19 2009 - 02:32 PM

Werty,

Amazing how different rooms respond so differently isn't it? My subs do not work inward facing. I am glad that having yours turned in seems to be the best setup in your room. It's always worth experimenting, that's about the only free thing we can do!

Another thing, do you have your mains toed in and tilted up at all? I run my mains at about 30 degrees toed in, and about a 2 degree tilt, higher in the front. That all depends on the height of the tower and ear level at seating position, but since it's free, something else to experiment with.

Right now in my setup (and the high frequency side of my towers are somewhat efficient) I am running the mains off an Onk 806 in Bi Amp mode. The high side is a pair of pure magnesium 5.25" mids and a 1" Ti dome per cabinet. I am sending one channel to the high side and one channel to the low side. In a perfect world that would be 130Watts + 130 Watts, but due to the passive internal networks, it's more than likely that they are not getting anywhere near that much.

I still think my mains could use MORE power... I've seen 5.25's do amazing things when fed lots of good clean power.

Speaking of car audio...

In my last boat, I was running a Kicker 700.5 off a Pioneer Premier CD8900 head unit and feeding four Polk Audio Momo 6.5 coax's and those things sung like you can't imagine.. They were fed lots of clean power and even in the open air environment of a boat, even with a big block roaring behind you, they still put out enough to drown out an unmuffled big block Posted Image

I subscribe to the theory that all components have to be good. If a source isn't up to snuff, there's no sense using high end amps and speakers. And the same goes for using a great pre/pro, amps and cheap speakers.

Balance is a good thing!

Also, is it possible that the Def Tech's just aren't accurate enough for you? I love those DT Towers, but Bi Polar mains aren't known to be point source accurate. They are, airy and open because of the diffuse nature of the design.

That may not be pleasing to you?

I personally love airy and point source accurate speakers, just depends on the day of the week Posted Image

I'm going to refrain from making any power recommendations because I'd have you buying a set of Parasound Halo JC1 Monoblocks Posted Image
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#17 of 37 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted January 19 2009 - 07:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett DiMichele
Lance,

I thought I was partially correct. I am still confused though, I thought if you had to identical speakers, wired phase correct and placed them equidistant towards each other, they would cancel rather than sum?
I think what you may be thinking of is the situation when two speakers are in a room together and that their output cancels out in certain locations in the room. That happens when their soundwaves move through the room, reflect off of the walls/ceiling/floor and as a result their phase - relative to each other - changes so when they meet they partially or completely cancel each other (depending on how out of phase they are).
Quote:
So you think his receiver is outputting enough power to drive those speakers? I still think he needs more power, I know it doesn't come cheap but I don't think these are efficient speakers, certainly not like running a pair of horns.
Let's put it this way: if someone asked me how much power a small unpowered speaker - a speaker comprised of just two 5.25" woofers and a couple of tweeters (say one of these faced to the rear, a not-uncommon design feature), I would have no problem recommending a one thousand dollar receiver, which I am quite sure would power a pair of these to very high levels.

Quote:
And if that's the case then I have no clue what he can do to improve the sound other than room treatments, positioning or new speakers or a new source.
There is of course the chance that the Sony just doesn't have the type of sound Martin likes. I am one of those wacky people Posted Image that beleive different receivers can also sound different - preamps and power amplifiers can be easily "tuned" to produce different sonic signatures. This is not some dark secret or anything & can be found in any comprehensive amplifier design book. And heck some amps sound audibly different simply because they cannot handle a certain speaker's impedance and other similar issues!

And you're right about the DT's special sound radiating capabilities. Like electrostatic and dynamic planar speakers (Magneplanars & 1970s and 1980s Infinitys), DTs "spray" their sound (pretty much) all around the room so they sound softer in a manner of speaking than conventional speakers, even if the volume level is the same. The exact opposite would say be a pair of Klipschs, especially from their Heritage series: a pair of Cornwall IIIs would be like a Corvette and the Definitives, an Audi sedan with a V8. Both very competant designs but very different in their goals.

#18 of 37 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted January 19 2009 - 07:58 PM

Martin: Very few mid-fi companies like Pioneer or Yamaha sell power amps anymore so this is one of the amps I would recommend to try:

B&K Reference 125 (@$600, built in Buffalo New York!)

This amp may seem to produce little more power than your Sony, but power amps like this usually have much sturdier power supplies and much more heavily-built amplifier sections, so this amp's 125 watts has much more "grunt" behind it than the Sony's. Car analogy again! Posted Image A hi-rpm 2.0 liter four cylinder and a 5.0 liter Chevy V-8 may both be generating 200HP, but the Chevy will have much more torque on hand. So when the A/C is turned on and all your friends pile in, the V-8 will barely notice vs. the 2.0 liter engine which will be huffing and puffing trying to deal with the extra load.

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   werty7777

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Posted January 23 2009 - 03:07 PM

Brett, I have the mains toed in about 20 degrees or so. That way they are pointed towards the main veiwing area. I don't have them tilted up though I think I will try that. I bring them up a few degrees and they would be right at ear level. Good suggestion! I really love the all the Deftechs I own with HT. But with music they are a nightmare honestly. I listen to music in my cars really loud and I expect the same results in my house. I know it is a different beast but if I can put 4 or 5 k in a car and win some competitions I sure should be able to put the same in my home audio and be happy. At this point I believe that when I crank it up I'm really fatiguing the Sony. I'm sure if I apply the power like you said they will be pleasing to my ears. BTW with amp recommendations that cost that much I'm glad your going to refrain from helping. LOL!

Lance, interesting that you think some receivers sound different. Now I wonder. Here's a interesting note that may be obvious to everyone on this site except me. I generally listen to music via AT&T uverse. It has like rhapsody or some music channels like that. So am I listening to something that was super compressed and has very limited bandwidth thus resulting in crap sound regardless of what receiver and/or amp combo I'm using?

Okay so I was looking around at amps. I was liking what I saw from the B&K reference 200.3. I know it makes it a weird situation if I choose to upgrade to an amp or amps for all 7 channels but I don't know if I would need to. Correct me if I'm wrong but if I used this, or another recommended amp, to run the fronts and center the Sony receiver could easily push the other 4 speakers.

Thoughts on the 3 channel amp and Sony combo?

Thoughts on the B&K 200.3?

Thanks all!

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted January 23 2009 - 04:04 PM

Werty,

Your comparison of car audio to home audio tells me you need more power....

With a solid system in a car it's easy to hit 110-120Db and to do the same in a home environment requires tons of good clean power and drivers that can capitalize on the power.

You sound a lot like me.. Don't get me wrong, I listen to music quietly too, for example right now it's not more than 75Db and that's the norm for me.. But when I crank it up, I really like to crank it up.. I love my mains, and they are pretty dynamic.. But when my Line Array's are done... nothing is going to compare Posted Image

I don't want to thread jack to talk about my DIY speakers, but if you are curious, feel free to private message me Posted Image
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