help! im surrounded by cheap gear.

Nathan Cook

Agent
Joined
Apr 10, 2002
Messages
41
i have a pioneer dolby pro logic reciever with no pre outs. paradigm atoms for mains optimus' in the rear. i want better sound especially with music. i have a pair of marantz mono amps though but nothing to hook them up to any suggestions on good budget upgrades?
 

Selden Ball

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 1, 2001
Messages
412
Real Name
Selden
Nathan,

Speakers make the most difference in the sound you hear, especially with music. (When watching movies, the visual distractions make the quality of the sound slightly less important.) I'd suggest visiting some local audio stores and spending time auditioning speakers in your price range. Sound characteristics vary a lot among the different speaker designs.

The design of the receiver has an effect on the sound too, although it's less. A lot of people think Marantz receivers tend to be more "musical" than Pioneer's.

Since you have some monoblocks, of course you should be looking for receivers that include "preamp outputs", so you can offload some of the speaker power requirements. Most inexpensive receivers are somewhat underpowered. The words they use to specify the power ratings are very carefully chosen to be true but misleading.

I'm also trying to suggest that you should be looking for speakers that have a fairly high effeciency, well above 90dB. Every 3dB increase in speaker sensitivity is equivalent to doubling the power of the receiver's amplifier section.

I hope this helps a little.
 

Nathan Cook

Agent
Joined
Apr 10, 2002
Messages
41
thanks, do you think it would be a good idea to buy an inexpensive marantz reciever and use the pre outs with my amps. or a pricier one and use the preouts. I guess what im asking is, what makes a cheap reciever cheap compared to a more expensive one of the same brand, where do they cut the most costs? is it the amplification, the circuitry, or the features?
 

John Garcia

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 24, 1999
Messages
11,571
Location
NorCal
Real Name
John
Can't be too cheap if you have two Marantz monoblocks.

Every 3dB increase in speaker sensitivity is equivalent to doubling the power of the receiver's amplifier section.
A more efficient speaker does not always translate into a better speaker.

The monoblocks will be overkill for the Atoms, and since you will need pre-outs for the monoblocks anyway, I would say yes to a better receiver. If you want better music, I would suggest better speakers than the Atoms. On a budget, I would strongly suggest the Axiom M3Ti. An excellent value for what you get, and they sound quite good with Marantz gear.

What will be the biggest factor is how much you want to spend on the receiver. Yes, in lower priced receivers, the place you will most often take a hit is in the amplificiation, however with Marantz, the amps are still quite good even in the lower models. I have an older SR4000 running a pair of Titans in my bedroom with no sub and it works very well. I have an SR6200 in my main system, and neither of them has a lack of power.

What sub are you running?
 

Nathan Cook

Agent
Joined
Apr 10, 2002
Messages
41
what sub are you running
unfortunatly i have no sub im gonna build one in the future. my philosophy is upgrade the weekest link first and i think my pioneer reciever is the weekest link, and sadly i think my atoms are the strongest link in my "system" but i think ill check out that axiom.
 

Selden Ball

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 1, 2001
Messages
412
Real Name
Selden
John,

By "well above" I was just thinking of mid-90s. Sorry: I should have been explicit. Some horn speakers are over 100dB, but not everyone likes their sound.

Nathan,

As John pointed out, the less expensive receivers tend to have less power. The manufacturers reduce cost in the design both of the power supply, so less current is available, and in the amplifier circuitry and associated heat sinks, so they can't be used at high volume levels with ineffecient or low impedance speakers.

Underpowered receivers can cause serious problems when cranked up all the way. Since they can't deliver the necessary power, they "clip" the output signal. Sine waves look more like square waves. This distortion introduces a lot of inaudible high frequency noise. That noise will cause the tweeters of your speakers to overheat and eventually can damage them.

Using external amplifiers for the front left and right main speaker channels will make a big difference, dramatically reducing the power needed from the receiver.

I hope this helps a little.
 

John Garcia

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 24, 1999
Messages
11,571
Location
NorCal
Real Name
John
I'm not knocking the Atoms, I actually like them, and had a pair. I returned them because I wasn't pleased with their lower midrange. They seem a bit more accurate than the Titans, and a lot of people say that, but that is only because they roll off higher than the Titan.
After listening to the M3Ti back to back with my Mini Monitors, I was very impressed. They sound very similar for a less than what I paid for the Minis.
The Atoms are a very good place to start if you are on a budget, but you will need a sub for better sounding music and definitely for movies. I would say don't get rid of the Atoms, use them for now, and move them to the rear when you can get some new mains.
I'd say hang on to the monoblocks too, since they will be very beneficial later, as Selden said. Especially if you do go with the Axioms, because they are very happy with plenty of power.
Axiom
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
345,228
Messages
4,735,201
Members
141,417
Latest member
manishatbneha