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Been out of the game for a while and would appreciate an opinion...

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Lance Hworth

Lance Hworth


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Posted December 07 2011 - 03:59 AM

I have an old Sony STR-DA1ES. I think I got it back in 2003 and if I remember right, it was the "entry receiver of Sony's top of the line ES line". I paid up for it but it was not the absolute best Sony had. I paired it with a set of Infinity home theater speakers (center, two fronts, two surround). Those speaker were probably purchased in 1998 or so. I also have two 10 inch powered subs (one Infinity, one Polk Audio). I have a home theater room (roughly 12X16). All this has been matched with my Sony 60 SXRD TV that I bought in 2006. I watch regular TV (in surround sound) and movies on DVD and Blu Ray. For the most part I have been very satisfied with the whole package, understanding that it was all getting dated. Well, the TV just blew up (it's own story) and I am replacing it with another 60 inch Sony LED. Sony is giving me a deal on the TV so I have a little extra money to spend. I was thinking about going ahead and updating the audio part. I have identified two what I think are pretty good deals on a receiver and speakers. The Pioneer VSX-821 (regularly $330, on sale $200) and the Polk Audio RM85 speakers (regularly $500, on sale $150). My question: If I replace my existing audio equipment with this newer equipment, will I even be able to tell a difference? Is a middle of the road 2011 receiver better than a really good 2003 receiver? My current speaks show no wear at all, but does 15 years degrade sound quality? Thanks for any help or opinions you can offer. Anything is better than nothing, I promise!

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   John Brill

John Brill

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Posted December 07 2011 - 07:57 AM

Pass on the Polk RM85's. Simply not worth the upgrade as your subs easily handle the lower end of the spectrum and I'm sure what you have now is as good, and probably better than the tiny Polks. On the receiver side, though, an upgrade will give you a couple of added features missing from your HD experience such as HD Audio and HDMI connectivity. However, the Pioneer VSX-821 is only 5.1 which is a bit of a waste if you want HD Audio encoded in 7.1. That leaves you with HDMI connectivity and Apple Airplay if you need/want that. A better choice would be the Onkyo SR-508 which you can steal for $180 (refurbished for accessories4less.com) or the Onkyo-TX-SR608 7.2 receiver for $270. On the speaker side, save up until you have about $1500 to spend and get yourself a matched 7 speaker system. A true upgrade would be something like an Axiom Audio Epic Midi 125 system (~$1500 without the sub for 4 QS-4's surrounds and a pair of M22 fronts and a VP100 center). A similar Polk system would cost you (assuming 4 Fxi A6's, a pair of TSi200, and CS10 center) about the same at, IMHO, 1/2 the quality and performance. Good luck, JB

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