Finally building my first serious music/HT system.

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Daniel Johnson, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. Daniel Johnson

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    Ahh, it seems like yesterday I was listening to music through a wedge-shaped Zenith tuner/amp/turntable with Allegro floor-standing speakers with the bass and treble turned all the way up and driving my parents insane... Luckily, my ears and tastes developed past the eardrum-exploding bass and worse-than-nails-on-a-chalkboard highs.

    Most of my High School years were spent building a car stereo, however I always kept my home stereo on fairly high priority, and have continued to add pieces to my system over the years. Well, I recently landed a well-paying job in IT, and it's time to retire all of my old faithful components and build from the ground up, and your comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Currently, I have a harman/kardon AVR85 receiver driving Pioneer CS-D9000 3-way floor standing speakers (the foam surround on one of the woofers has deteriorated over the years, sadly). I recently bought a Pioneer DV-578 universal disc player to tide me over for a while, but that's all going out.

    I'd like to stress musical performance with this system, however it will fairly commonly see movie soundtracks. The component list I'm currently sitting on is as follows:

    Sony Wega XBR KD-34XBR960: 34" HDTV (already have this piece; saw it in action and fell in love)

    Integra DTR-6.5 receiver

    Integra DPS-6.5 universal disc player

    Main speakers: Definitive Technology BP7004

    Surround L/R: Definitive Technology BP7004

    Center: Definitive Technology C/L/R 2500

    Subwoofer: Definitive Technology Subercube I

    What I'd like to ask of you is this: is there gear within the approximate price range that I should also audition before making my final selections? Also, keeping the approximate system range in mind, could someone recommend me power conditioning equipment? Would I need a scaler for optimal image quality?

    Anyway, thanks for reading. I can't wait to start building. [​IMG]
     
  2. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    Without knowing how much any of that stuff costs....what's your price range?
     
  3. MikeDuke

    MikeDuke Stunt Coordinator

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    Thats a budget of $5194 for speakers. I had Def Techs for a long time and really liked them. AV123 has speakers that would fit that budget. ACI speaker systems is another company that would fit that price range. The only thing is I think that those are INTERNET only companies. But they most likely let you have an extended demo in your home. Paradigm might be an option. You have some choices with that budget. I would definitely look around and take my time. Also, that price was list price. If you buy from a store, they will most likely give you a deal.
     
  4. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    If you've got a $5200 budget for just speakers & a sub, you've got a lot of choices. For starters, I've never seen anyone on this forum recommend one of the major speaker producers subwoofers. I'd check out SVS or HSU before DefTech.

    After that, I think you need to ask yourself some questions. First, since you want to stress music before home theater, I don't know why you'd spend the same amount on your front speakers as you're spending on the surrounds (unless you're really really into multi-channel music). That being said, I still don't know if you'd get the most milage with all 4 matching. Second, I'd also consider not buying a center channel at all at this point, and dumping all that money into better fronts.

    Music was my priority as well, which is why I own only 2 fronts at this point and I'll buy the rest when I can. But boy do those two fronts sound awesome.
     
  5. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I will strongly recommend you audition other brands of loudspeakers before buying. I personally can't stand Def Tech's bipolar sound. And I'd sooner buy a subwoofer from a subwoofer company (Hsu Research, Velodyne, SVS) where my dollar will buy alot better performance.

    As for power conditioning: I'd buy a generic panamax surge protector. Chu can give you a much better rundown on power conditioning in the "tweaking, connecting & accessories" forum area than anyone.

    And don't spend more than $150 on cables (and that includes video cables)

    BTW: Nice TV [​IMG]
     
  6. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    Well I think the DefTechs are ok for the HT side but not that great for music and this is coming from a DefTech owner. I think you should audition speakers like Energy, Dynaudio and JMLab before deciding on the DefTechs. You also might look at receivers like Rotel and Arcam or even another Harman Kardon all of which I think are better than Integra for music IMO. Good luck with whatever you buy.
     
  7. MikeDuke

    MikeDuke Stunt Coordinator

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    Giving that someone else mentioned them I will second the JM lab recommendation. That is what I have now. Front's center and sub. I have the Electra Be 927's the cc-901 and the SW900 sub. Personally I would go with the electra's. Maybe not the Be's but the "regular" electras' are quite nice as well. It is a no contest that they are better than Def Tech. For music, they are hard to beat.
     
  8. Daniel Johnson

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    Thanks for the suggestions so far guys. Okay, let's get rhetorical here for a bit. Say I drop everything but the 2 mains, and use my Pioneer DVD player for the time being. So that gives me about 6 grand for 2 speakers (and perhaps a sub), and a pre/pro + amp or receiver. Well, I'd probably be willing to stretch that budget by a grand or so.

    I've seen some of Rotel's pieces, and I especially thought the RSP-1098 was beautiful, so let's start there. Then add their RB-1080 200wpc stereo amplifier, which leaves me 3 or 4 for speakers...

    Suggestions? Revel Performas F30's? Canton Karats? Energy Veritas? Or perhaps a pair of towers and a sub? Man, it's going to take longer to build a full system than I hoped for. [​IMG]

    I've heard Focal's car audio stuff (a few years ago), and the system I auditioned had a bit too much 'zing' on the high end, but it may have been the owner's tastes. I think they were the Utopia series.

    Thanks again.
     
  9. MikeDuke

    MikeDuke Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are willing to do it over time, which is a very good way to do it, then I really suggest that you check out the JM Labs 926, 936, or 927. Price's are around $4200, &5300, $6000.

    It may indeed. But trust me, in the long run you will be glad you did. You can probably get the speakers for less then list. I would just listen to them and see if you like them. You may not and that is cool. It is just what I liked. I have never heard the Revels. The newer F32's are supposed to sound better then the F30's. I could not tell you. What I can tell you is that I have no regrets with my JM's. I was going to get the 926's or 936's, but I could not pass up that Beryllium tweeter [​IMG].
    Good luck and have fun
     
  10. Robert Hoffman

    Robert Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    Daniel, now you're looking to spend about what I did.

    My main focus was 2-channel music. I ended up buying Joseph Audio RM25si mk2 speakers (after lisenting to around 7+ different brands), a Rotel RMB-1095 (it's a 5 channel amp, and some day I will use those extra channels for a HT setup), and a Denon 2900 universal player. I already had a Harmon/Kardon 230 AVR which I use as a pre/pro, and I've recently added a Sony c555es CD changer. I also already owned a SVS 25-31 PC+.

    I would highly suggest checking out Joseph Audio speakers if they have a dealer in your area. For $3500, they sounded better to me than anything else in that price range by a pretty decent margin (including the JMLabs that I heard).

    For cables, I bought a 100ft spool of 12-ga Soundking wire from partsexpress.com for $35 (I think). The others vary from Rat. Shack Golds to some old Monster cable & whatnot. I'm quite pleased with how everything turned out.
     
  11. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    Daniel
    Some of the speakers I like in your price range are the Energy Veritas 2.4, Von Schweikert VR-2, Amphion Xenon, Totem Forest, Montana SP3 or DPS, Dali Helicon 400, Dynaudio Audience 82 and the JMLab models Mike mentioned. All are great for music and HT and all are worth an audition. You just need to find some good dealers in your area and start auditioning speakers with music you are very familiar with. As far as subs go I really like REL subs for music and people here really like SVS subs for HT.
     

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