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best approach to building a system for the long run

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Rob_E_G, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. Rob_E_G

    Rob_E_G Auditioning

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    Hi,
    I'm new to the HT/Music world. I've been looking around this site for a couple days and I have to say it has been pretty helpful in deciding on what components seem to be best for me.

    One question I had that I couldn't seem to find an answer for: is it smart to invest alot in a receiver, say the Denon AVR-3805 or even a Rotel 1056, or hold out and wait for better technology coming out soon and spend more on better speakers and upgrade the receiver later.

    Basically, I like the Denon AVR-3805 and want to justify spending that kind of money. I also don't want to be beating my head against the wall in a couple years if superior equipment comes out and I'm stuck with an out-dated receiver and sub-par speakers. Any inside info on anything new coming?....

    I'm looking to get the Denon 3805 and either slowly build a Swan HT system, or get the whole Fluance 5 SX-HTB HT system, spending $400 or less on speakers initially. I'm looking to buy high quality stuff to last a long time, say at least 10 years. I also want to impress people when they come over.[​IMG]
     
  2. Girish

    Girish Stunt Coordinator

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    Location:
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    girish
    The two things which make most impact on your theater are
    (1) Front Speakers
    (2) Acoustics of the room
    Yes its a wise idea to invest first in good quality speakers because once you have good speakers you can always upgrade the receiver or more likely switch to separates(peramp and amplifier)
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Preamp technology marches on, but has not really substantially changed since the introduction of discrete 5.1 Dolby Digital. Over the years I went from a Prologic receiver (great back in the LD days - I remember when Dolby AC-3 was brand new!) to a Dolby digital setup, added dts, then upgraded to separates, then upgraded again to 7.1 and ES/EX, etc. After a few years of (obsessive?) compulsive upgrading I sold off all my stuff and went back to a modest 1997 model Dolby Digital receiver (a Pioneer VSX-D606S). That is the centerpiece of my audio system today. I am happier now than I was before because I found the 4 channel rear soundfield distracting and my system is very simple.

    I kept the same front speakers, excellent B&W 602s, through the whole upgrade process, and I have a turbo ass-kicking infinite baffle subwoofer built into my house. Speakers are where you need to spend your money. As long as you have a decent sub you don't need big amps, and the high-tech surround stuff with multi-multi channels being derived from a 5.1 soundtrack is overkill.

    IMO, of course.

    Based on my experience, I'd recommend finding a good older used Dolby Digital receiver and putting the lion's share of your budget towards speakers. You may need things like component video switching and such, and that would justify the extra expenditure in a newer more modern gear.
     
  4. Gabe Goddard

    Gabe Goddard Auditioning

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    For what it's worth, I struggled with the same thoughts when I bought my receiver. I ended up throwing down some serious coin (at least for me) on a B&K AVR 307 (I think the new model is the 507). It's 7.1, but I don't use the 2 extra channels (not yet...I envision using them for music in a different room...but I digress).

    One of the biggest selling points for me was the fact that B&K will upgrade the receiver for about $500.00. I have not utilized this service, but I might if it deem it necessary.

    I agree with the others that speakers are more important. I spent more on speakers than I did the receiver and don't regret it.


    Gabe
     
  5. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    I prefer to work backwards, so ditto starting with the speakers. Also, properly maintained high quality speakers will last a long time and the truth is that dynamic speaker technology has not changed much in the last 10 years. Find the ones you like best in your price range and get them.

    If your budget puts you in the receiver market, get the best one you can afford that will drive your speakers, but make sure it has pre-outs, so you can add a separate power amp later.

    If your budget allows you to go directly into separates, get a real good power amp. Like speakers, good power amplifiers last a long time and of all the audio and HT equipment available, I believe high quality used power amps retain their value better than any other component. Couple the amp with a good receiver or pre-pro that mates well with the amp and speakers.

    Source components would be last on my list. There is tremendous varieity and price points here. If you are into vinyl you could spend anywhere from $200 to $20,000+. And digital sources always seem to be improving, particularly universal players. High end turntables retain their value very well, but digital sources become outdated faster than any other component and (with a few exceptions) lose value faster than any other component.

    Also make sure that you budget for surge protection. If you can afford it and you have dirty AC power, filtering is also something you should consider.
     
  6. Rob_E_G

    Rob_E_G Auditioning

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    OK, sounds like the way to go is getting good speakers first. I'm really interested in either Swan 5.2's or 6.1's in faux cherry for my fronts. Wanted to know if the B&W DM603 S3's or even one of their bookshelves would be a better investment then the 6.1's, sound-wise/quality wise. I'd like to audition this stuff, but I can't find any place around me in New Jersey that sells B&W's. Their site's dealer locator doesn't work for me for some reason. I'll be doing the stereo thing at first and could move things around later.

    Only thing I'm worried about is that I'm going to use a Sony STR-885 that I received as a gift a year ago when I was still in school and didn't have any cash for speakers. Since I had no use for it right away, I let my parents use it with some Boston Acoustic bookshelves after their old Yamaha (c. 1970's, which sounded great) got hit by lightning. I know compared to the old Yamaha, the Sony sounds like crap with music, OK with movies, but seems like it's ruining the speakers, making them seem a lot less clear and mushy/muddy at all sound levels. So I really don't want to pair some nice speakers up to that thing if it's going to wreck 'em. Is this possible? Is there something, on the less expensive side, like a used amp maybe, that I can use to ensure the power going to them is conditioned and "clean?" Thanks guys in advance.
     
  7. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    I know I'm in the minority here, but I find the price/value ratio of one or two year old receivers, or pre/pros to be a very compelling purchase.

    There hasn't been much advancement since 7.1 and digital in/outputs, so if a receiver has that you are fine. And the Outlaw 950 pro that I bought for $900 still sounds as good as ever did, even at the ~$500 they go for today.

    Same thing with speakers. If you can find a slighter older model on sale for cheap, it's going to sound exactly as good as it did at full price last year. It might even sound better if you knew it was a steal.

    Never paid full price for anything in my setup, and it sounds awesome.
     
  8. Rob_E_G

    Rob_E_G Auditioning

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    Thanks a lot for all the advice so far.

    I decided to go the separates route and just got an Angstrom 200 for VERY CHEAP, the next step is an amp of course. I'll be looking into used 5 channel amps next like Adcoms,B&K's, etc.

    Anyone know anything about the Angstrom 200, does it need to be paired with the 205 to work, or is that just kind of an accessory? I think I read that it decodes an extra format, something like that. I searched everywhere, this site and google, and could not find much on it besides it being rare and very good. The deal on it was seemingly so good that I snatched it up before someone else did.
     
  9. John S

    John S Producer

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    Hmm Be carefull with the Angstrom product though, most of them were ProLogic only, there were some upgrades for DTS, I do think the 205 will be needed to get Dolby Digital, if so I'm not sure how good of a deal one would really be at any cost.
     

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