Advise of Upgrading Existing HT

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Jeff_King, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Jeff_King

    Jeff_King Extra

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    I just signed onto this forum a few days ago and I have to say I am addicted. I am looking for some general advise about how to upgrade my existing home theatre, which I built piece by piece in high school, college and grad school. My current system (and I use the word system loosely) is as follows

    TV: Panasonic CT27SF
    DVD: Sony DVP S530D
    VCR: Samsung Hi-Fi
    Reciever: Yamaha RV501
    FC: Bose 201
    RC: Bose Acoustamas 3
    CC: Definitive: Procenter 100
    Sub: Velodyne CHT 8

    I am just getting out of grad school and I want to upgrade. I know that Bose have to go and they will I just want some opinions on my plan of action.

    The first step is to upgrade my FCs. I want to keep the cost to about $800, and because I live in an apartment building and already have a sub, I don’t need overly powerful fronts. I am thinking about replacing the 201’s with something like Paradigm Ref Studio 20s (which I eventually hope to move to replace my RCs and then again get new FCs.)

    As I know that my current receiver is a bit light to power the Paradigms, step 2 is to replace the receiver with a higher end receiver like the Rotel RSX 1055 or the Arcam AVR 200. (The budget for this portion is about 1300) I would also think about getting a center channel to match my fronts at this point.

    Step three maybe to upgrade the TV or possibly the front channels, in which case I was thinking of adding a two channel amp and using that to power the new fronts. Whether I upgrade the TV or the speakers depends upon the size of the apartment that I live in at the time. If I go with the TV it will probably be something like the Samsung 43in DLP projection, or an LCD if the technology is better by then.

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions, like I should be looking at other things in my price range at any step, the order of the steps or anything…and remember this is a multi year plan and therefore subject to change.
     
  2. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    I would start with the front speakers. Since you already have deftech center you could replace the 2 fronts with def techs (the ones w/out built in subs). I know they sound great I just didn't want to spend the money on them.
    Then I would try and match the rears eventually.
    After that like you listed replace the receiver. I have read many great things on the Rotel.
    Sounds like you know what you want to do and are off to a good start.
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Jeff I like your idea of upgrading by components. My suggestion is that you pick a line of speakers that you like and stick with that, so you eventually wind up with a configuration of speakers that are timbre matched. This will be especially noticeable for you front three.

    If you are happy with the Definitive sound and don’t plan to upgrade the center channel (within a few years) then I think Chad has very good advice.

    Otherwise (as mentioned) decide on a line and go with that. Right now, I think that some of the best speaker values can be found in such internet direct companies like Ascend, AV123 (Onix Rockets) and Axiom.

    1.Replace the fronts (for $800 you could for example get a pair of floor standing Rockets (RS 550s).) and move the 201’s to surround duty.
    2.Upgrade the receiver.
    3.Replace the center (so you get matching sound across the front)
    4.Replace the surrounds (if you really want you can get even better speakers for the fronts—carrying the Rocket example further, get the 750s and move the 550s to the surrounds). Otherwise for less money you get the dipoles (300s) or the smaller 250s for the rears and spend less money.
    5.New sub
    6.New TV (HD)

    But I’d actually get the new display when I really wanted HD.

    This approach is slow, but you wind up with quality all the way. With Rocket 550s and a 200 center up front, you would have a system that would make a good many of us envious. If you had the 750s up front and the 550s in the rear it would be awesome.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    The Paradigm's are a great choice. But you really, really want all 3 front speakers to tone-match. This means buying 3 Paradigms or getting a matching DefTech L/R to go with the center.

    (The goal is to not have sounds change as they transistion across the front 3 speakers).

    Then you can move the Bose to become rear speakers.

    I know you are lusting after Rotel, or separates. But it's really not necessary for movies. (Music - it makes more of a difference.) That Yamaha should work fine for Paradigms and movies. Paradigm does not have a reputation as being hard-to-drive.

    My advice on your next upgrade would be for a HDTV. This will include a tuner or upgrading to your local cable's HD service. An upgrade to a progressive-scan DVD player would be next/at the same time.

    Then, consider upgrading the amp section, followed by the sub.

    If you were not in an apartment, I'd push for a bigger sub eariler (it makes a difference for movies). But you just cannot crank a sub in an apartment unless your neighbors are never home to complain.
     
  5. Jeff_King

    Jeff_King Extra

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    thank you all for your feedback. It is not easy to get my feedback from friends as I am the only one with the HT bug, and my GF is not into HT at all. I know that my front should match my center and I will make that happen as soon as possible. I took a look at those rockets online and they look great, I am just concerned with buying a speaker that I have never auditioned. Although I would be happy to get a full size floor standing for the price of the Par ref 20v3. As I will be living in an apartment for as long as I can predict, I cant see myself with 4 floor standing speakers. That is my I was looking at the Ref 20 now, expecting to move them to the back in a few years.
    Do you of you have those rockets, or have at least auditioned them? Better yet has anyone considered both the Par ref 20 and the rockets?
    I also like the idea of upgrading the TV sooner, but since that will be the focal point of my system I think i will need to put that off until I have more than 1200 to spend, so that means patience.
    As a side question do any of you know how much I would save on the Pars if I went to to Canada to pick them up?
    Thanks again, and it is great to have other people to talk to about this little obsession of mine.
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I have a Rocket setup, Jeff: 550s, 200 and 300s. I have auditioned most of the line and many other lines as well.

    I have not done A/B comparisons among any of these speakers, so it is a bit hard to comment with certainly. I think that you would be very pleased with Paradigms. As you would be with Rockets—though I consider that they don’t sound much like each other.

    I am probably biased towards the Rockets (as they were my eventual choice)—even so, I think that there are a very fine value for HT.

    Following up on Bob’s comment as to your front speakers: the center channel is the most important for HT. If you elect to stay with DefTech, make very sure you are happy with that center.
     

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