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Fixed My Calibration... Now Time to Upgrade (1 Viewer)

Dreichler

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So in the last few days, I have been working on calibrating my home theater. I had problems with audio sounding horrible when placed in any mode other than Multi Ch Stereo... Now, I leave the receiver in "Auto" and everything sounds so much better- following my calibration and reconfiguration.

So, now I am ready to upgrade speakers.

  • Currently, I have:
    • Denon AVR-S730H
    • Onkyo SKF-520F for L/R
    • Onkyo SFC-520C for Center
    • Miller and Kreisel Sw-85 for Surround L/R
    • I KNOW, these speakers are garbage, but I have had them forever and knew absolutely nothing about speakers when making this purchase.
      • Anyway, they sound 5x better than they before my calibration and reconfiguration.

  • So, here is what I want to upgrade to and what I want to know...
    • Upgrade Idea #1
      • ELAC Uni-Fi UB51 for L/R ("B" Stock/Refurbished)
      • ELAC Uni-Fi UC51 for Center ("B" Stock/Refurbished)
      • ELAC Debut 2.0 D5.2 for Surround L/R
      • Current Sub- Onkyo SKW-520
        • I will be in a condo, so no need to upgrade to a powerful sub.
    • Upgrade Idea #2
      • KEF Q150 for L/R (Recertified)
      • KEF Q250C for Center (Recertified)
      • ELAC Debut 2.0 D5.2 for Surround L/R
      • Current Sub- Onkyo SKW-520
    • Based on my current receiver, will I need to upgrade it in order to power these speakers?
    • Is there a different speaker setup I should be aware of?
    • Are these speakers tailored more for music rather than movie home theaters?
      • I am pretty set on the ELAC or KEF setup, but am open to other opinions.

  • My usage is pretty much all movies, streaming, TV, and video games. I hardly listen to music, and when I do, I do not care as much for the quality coming out.
  • My budget for speakers is ~$1,000 for all 5 speakers.
 

JohnRice

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One suggestion is that you'll want to, probably sooner than later, upgrade your receiver. Fortunately, you can do these things in stages, and it has the surround modes to play back anything.

The KEFs should be fine. The receiver isn't going to let them be their best, but I don't see any reason there would be problems.

The Uni-Fis on the other hand, are very difficult speakers to drive, and while they will probably sound fine with your receiver, they won't be able to reach anywhere near their potential. The fact is, watching movies and playing video games, those speakers will probably eat that receiver alive. They're excellent speakers. On par with the KEFs, but they will make the receiver heat up, likely to the point of shut-down at times.

If you want to go ELAC, your better choice would be the Debuts all the way around.

BTW, I use a Uni-Fi center in my good system, between (infinitely more expensive) Thiel main speakers. It holds its own quite well, but I'm driving it with an external amp that's stable delivering 300 wpc into 4ohm. And even it heats up on that one channel playing action movies.
 

Dreichler

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One suggestion is that you'll want to, probably sooner than later, upgrade your receiver. Fortunately, you can do these things in stages, and it has the surround modes to play back anything.

The KEFs should be fine. The receiver isn't going to let them be their best, but I don't see any reason there would be problems.

The Uni-Fis on the other hand, are very difficult speakers to drive, and while they will probably sound fine with your receiver, they won't be able to reach anywhere near their potential. The fact is, watching movies and playing video games, those speakers will probably eat that receiver alive. They're excellent speakers. On par with the KEFs, but they will make the receiver heat up, likely to the point of shut-down at times.

If you want to go ELAC, your better choice would be the Debuts all the way around.

BTW, I use a Uni-Fi center in my good system, between (infinitely more expensive) Thiel main speakers. It holds its own quite well, but I'm driving it with an external amp that's stable delivering 300 wpc into 4ohm. And even it heats up on that one channel playing action movies.

Thanks for the suggestions and advice. I was also considering the Debut 2.0 all around, but have read that the KEF Q150's would be a pretty decent upgrade compared to them. I think I will pass on the Uni-Fi's now knowing that my receiver won't give them their full potential. As of now, my receiver and sub are the last things I will upgrade. I think I will go with the Q150's or Debut 2.0's all around.

If I go with the Q150's, is it necessary to get such a "nice/higher end" Debut for surrounds? In other words, would it make a significant difference by going with a less expensive surround? Would I be missing out on anything in reality?
 

JohnRice

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That's solid logic. Look at the many reviews of the Uni-Fi speakers, and you'll find that pretty much everyone is in agreement that they're excellent speakers, but need a lot of low impedance stable power.

I think anything you might save by downgrading your surrounds from the Debuts would be false economy. The Debuts have excellent imaging for the price, which is a real benefit for surround speakers. I suspect the mix of the KEF Qs in the front and Debut surrounds will be a good match.
 

Dreichler

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That's solid logic. Look at the many reviews of the Uni-Fi speakers, and you'll find that pretty much everyone is in agreement that they're excellent speakers, but need a lot of low impedance stable power.

I think anything you might save by downgrading your surrounds from the Debuts would be false economy. The Debuts have excellent imaging for the price, which is a real benefit for surround speakers. I suspect the mix of the KEF Qs in the front and Debut surrounds will be a good match.

I think that is a good setup as well. Going to wait a little to see if the Q150's go on sale soon- or I'll just buy them recertified-- as well as the matching center.
 

John Dirk

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So in the last few days, I have been working on calibrating my home theater. I had problems with audio sounding horrible when placed in any mode other than Multi Ch Stereo... Now, I leave the receiver in "Auto" and everything sounds so much better- following my calibration and reconfiguration.

Sorry to be "that guy" but I have to ask - Why bother optimizing a system you've already decided to replace?
 

Dreichler

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Sorry to be "that guy" but I have to ask - Why bother optimizing a system you've already decided to replace?

No worries! I've had this system for years, and have always just let it be in Multi Ch Stereo because it sounded the best. But, recently- due to quarantine-- I've gotten back into my home theater setup and wanted to optimize it while I had the time. Also, now that I have a much better understanding of the configuration and calibration, I will have a much easier time setting up my new speakers. Also, I've got all this free time, so there's not much else to do.
 

John Dirk

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No worries! I've had this system for years, and have always just let it be in Multi Ch Stereo because it sounded the best. But, recently- due to quarantine-- I've gotten back into my home theater setup and wanted to optimize it while I had the time. Also, now that I have a much better understanding of the configuration and calibration, I will have a much easier time setting up my new speakers. Also, I've got all this free time, so there's not much else to do.

Perfect logic. I'm making a lot of long-needed changes in my theater room due to COVID as well.

Good luck with it!
 

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