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Feedback on system and what/whether to upgrade (~$3000 budget) *long


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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   AnthonyMP

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Posted December 04 2002 - 08:00 AM

Shortened version.. full details below.

I am trying to decide what I should upgrade from my current setup and would appreciate some feedback from those that have a better idea of what benefits I would see by upgrading.

My current system is as follows:

Mains: B&W DM602
Center: Snell CC1
Rears: MB Quartz Balcony
Subs: 2 Velodyne VA1012XII

The majority of my listening is with movies/tv though I have music on a lot, just not as focused on it as movies.

I am really only interested in upgrading if it would offer a decent improvemnt in quality. My budget would be $3000 max.

Any thoughts on what I could improve or if it would be worth it to upgrade?


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I am in the evaluation and reserach stage of deciding on a possible speaker upgrade and would appreciate some feedback on what I have currently and what may be worth keeping and some suggestions in what direction I should look to upgrade.

I am not the most demanding listener as I probably wouldn't readily be aware of some subtle differences yet strive to have a quality system. What differences I would be willing to spend for I am not aware of yet as I have never been made aware of such subtle differences or learned to appreciate them.

As of now I am looking to upgrade to the point that I would hear and appreciate some distinct improvements and if anyone is willing to explain why I might be interested in spending for such an upgrade or in what areas it might not be worth it for me, I would greatly appreciate that.

My current system is as follows:

Mains: B&W DM602
Center: Snell CC1
Rears: MB Quartz Balcony
Subs: 2 Velodyne VA1012XII

I will most defintely be replacing the rears as well as the receiver I am using currently. This will be matched with a new HDTV in the 50-65" range.

The use is majority movies/tv but I play music a lot though just not as demanding (ie. mostly in the background while at home). Obviously I would like it to be equally adept at both but don't we all.

I am willing to upgrade but only if there would be a decent sonic improvement. Any suggestions on what I might upgrade to and the type of improvements I could expect as well as how dramatic they would be would be great. I would put my maximum budget at $3000 though obviously any amount I can save without sacrificing qualities that might not be important to me or appreciate in the future (ie. subtle ones) are those I would consider. This would be a major purchase for me so I am not looking to spend that amount but rather the amount that offers the best price/performance before starting to get into minor differences that I might not need/want.

As for 5.1-7.1, that I would have to rely on you cause I don't have any experience with anything more than 5.1 except in the theater and am not sure if that is what the future holds (~10-20 years) and if it makes much of a difference at home.

One last thing, I am planning on moving within the next 6 months or so therefore don't know what room dimensions this will be used in. More than likely something in the 12-14x17-20x8 range.

Thank you very much for reading and any feedback/suggestions.

Edit: If I do upgrade would they be worth anything in a trade in or to sell so I could put that money towards the upgrade?

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   AnthonyMP

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Posted December 05 2002 - 03:58 PM

Posted a sound bite version, though I can't change the title, in case the reason nobody has responded was due to length.

Any feedback is appreciated.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   RichardH

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Posted December 05 2002 - 08:06 PM

I would get the matching B&W center, preferably the LCR6 if possible. Dump the Snell center (or use for 6.1). Dump the pair of Velo's and go for an SVS PC-plus.

This will give you better timbre matching across the front as well as some bass w/ more authority. I think you'd find it was worth the expenditure.

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Scott Oliver

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Posted December 06 2002 - 01:49 AM

Well I say save your money. If you aren't just horribly depressed by what you got, then hold on to that money until you hear something that you know is better then make a move. Use your own ears to decide.

Are there any particular areas that you are unsatisfied with on your current set-up?

The suggestion above of trying to match the timbral qualities of the front three speakers is good, but Snell is a good speaker brand and if you are happy with the vocals you are getting currently, then why worry.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   AnthonyMP

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Posted December 06 2002 - 08:34 AM

Quote:
I would get the matching B&W center, preferably the LCR6 if possible. Dump the Snell center (or use for 6.1). Dump the pair of Velo's and go for an SVS PC-plus.

This will give you better timbre matching across the front as well as some bass w/ more authority. I think you'd find it was worth the expenditure.


When I bought the setup, about 6 years ago, the salesperson greatly suggested the Snell CC1, I had picked out the B&W CC6, because he said it was a better overall speaker and was just as equally timbre matched as the CC6 would be. I knew at the time to go with matched speakers but he assured me that the Snell was a better choice.

But you disagree?

The 2 Velodyne subs ran me about $1500 so one SVS PC-Plus would be an upgrade? How much do they cost (already looked up) and how much could I get for trading in/selling the 2 Velodyne's that I have now?

Anyone heard the differences between the single cs-ultra/16-46 cs+/ and 16-46 pc-plus? (the FAQ says they are virtually identical except for the amp and that that is largely overkill)

Quote:
Well I say save your money. If you aren't just horribly depressed by what you got, then hold on to that money until you hear something that you know is better then make a move. Use your own ears to decide.

Are there any particular areas that you are unsatisfied with on your current set-up?

The suggestion above of trying to match the timbral qualities of the front three speakers is good, but Snell is a good speaker brand and if you are happy with the vocals you are getting currently, then why worry.


The hearing something that I know is better before upgrading is why I posted. I trust the opinions of those that post here and there greater knowledge so was hoping for some feedback in that area. Whether what I have could be decently/significantly upgraded within my budget and what improvements I could expect.

There are very few retail places around here where I could audition speakers and the selection is slim. Other than just a gut feeling I wouldn't be able to make accurate comparisons between them or know what to look for.

Has more to do with that I have the money and movies/tv/music is a passion so if I could significantly improve the experience/enjoyment than I would consider spending on that.

Thank you both very much for the input, appreciated.

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Scott Oliver

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Posted December 06 2002 - 08:13 PM

Ok if you have a hole burning in your pocket, and not a lot of local dealers around for you to be able to form your own opinion then there are some good web resources. You can do searches for particluar brands on the forums and then also good sources for reviews. Basically saying I wouldn't just rely on opinions out of one place.

www.audioasylum.com - Speaker Asylum and Reviews-Speakers
www.audiogon.com - Great for buying used and also good forums
www.soundstage.com + their archived reviews at www.AudioVideoReviews.com
www.enjoythemusic.com
www.6moons.com
www.positive-feedback.com
www.stereotimes.com

There are others of course but I think the first two have two of the best discussion forums and the later have some of the best reviews.

So before I go rattle off some suggestions, you need to provide some more info. What qualities do you seek in a speaker? What are you partnering them with? Are you looking for a whole speaker makeover? Etc.?

I actually bought a pair of speakers unheard this past spring, because the nearest dealer was 1000 or so miles away for this particular brand. Prior to this however I did a whole lot of listening to everything that was carried locally (None had the exact qualities I was looking for though) to make sure I knew what type of sound I was looking for and then I also researched and mulled on it for about a year.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   AnthonyMP

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Posted December 07 2002 - 05:05 AM

Quote:
Ok if you have a hole burning in your pocket, and not a lot of local dealers around for you to be able to form your own opinion then there are some good web resources. You can do searches for particluar brands on the forums and then also good sources for reviews. Basically saying I wouldn't just rely on opinions out of one place.

So before I go rattle off some suggestions, you need to provide some more info. What qualities do you seek in a speaker? What are you partnering them with? Are you looking for a whole speaker makeover? Etc.?


Thank you for the links.

The answers to your questions I believe were answered in my original detailed post. I don't have the experience listening to many different brands so am looking for analysis on what I have currently and then a general comparison to what would be in my budget if I did upgrade (how dramatic the difference is, etc.).

I will be doing tons of research on my own regardless of what suggestions are made and based on what is made here, and have already done some, but am looking for some context on what I have and what would be in my price range. Without knowing where my current setup places on the curve of things, what might be improved, etc. I am not sure whether an upgrade would offer anything that would interest me. I can afford to upgrade if it will offer a significant benefit but its not like I am looking for any excuse to upgrade. I have read reviews about specific speakers but am hoping for some context to mine since that gap is what will help decide my upgrade and what areas to research.

The brands I am familiar with through reviews and think they carry something that I would look into more are Atlantic Technology, B & W, Bag End, Definitive Technology, HSU Research, Legacy Audio, M & K, Snell, Sunfire, SVS, Thiel, and Velodyne.

For example, I researched the SVS based on reading them here and the above suggestion and they sound great but whether the difference between the two I have now and one of those would be worth me trading/selling/or just replacing them is not something I know how to look up somewhere.

If there is anything that I haven't provided enough info on feel free to ask as your feedback is gretaly appreciated and helpful.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   AnthonyMP

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Posted December 07 2002 - 03:22 PM

I have gone through the product lines of the above and without further info I think I may just get a pair of the B&W DM602's for a rear upgrade. I am a little reluctant to do so as I would prefer not to buy anything until I am sure that I am going to stay with the B&W's as my mains but at this time I don't have any access to make a comparision between what I have and what the other options in my price range are.

I have no idea what to do with the center as I relied solely on the salesperson assuring me that the Snell was a better speaker and match for the B&W mains than the B&W CC6. Unless someone knows better I guess I will stay with that assumption. I could get the B&W LCR6 that RichardH mentioned but only if the Snell is lacking in comparison and other than an A/B comparison I don't know how to gather that info.

The above pretty much applies to the SVS sub. I like the PC Plus 20-39 and that would probably be my choice if I did go with something different but whether one of those is worth me having to ditch the 2 Velodyne's I have now I have no clue.

I think I am at a stand still unless someone can offer some feedback on my current setup with what my upgrade path would be for the budget. Guess I will start looking into receivers and seperates in my price range as I know that is being replaced.

Thank you kindly for your time if anyone has made it this far.

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   AnthonyMP

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Posted December 10 2002 - 04:42 PM

Can anyone give me a comparison between the Snell CC1 and whatever would be the best center channel from B&W that would go with my 602's?

I have done a search and see the comments reagrding the weakness that was the B&W CC6 so understand why the salesperson pushed me towards the Snell. My question now is whether keeping the Snell is a viable option compared to what I would get buying a new B&W center.

Edit: Done some more research into the M&K line. Anyone know how the following would compare to the B&W DM602's?

LCR 650/750/850
S-85

and

750 MKII THX and the 5.1 systems listed at http://www.mksound.com/5-1_sys.html (to 602 mains/rear, equivalent center, SVS 20-39 PC-Plus)

or Atlantic Technology System 270 THX?





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