Listening to music with a HT setup.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Harding, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. Dan Harding

    Dan Harding Auditioning

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    When I decided to make the jump from 2-channel audio into 5-channel home theatre several years back, I replaced my trusty Rotel preamp and B&K amplifier with a Denon AVR-3200. While I enjoy surround sound from a movie standpoint, I've always thought that listening to CDs just wasn't quite the same after the transition. It's "missing something"...

    I've thought of replacing the receiver, but the newer Denon models (and most other newer receivers) no longer have an AC-3 RF input for laserdisc players.

    Would adding a mid- or high-end 2-channel amp to drive the fronts make a noticible difference? I figure that for movies, it would take a load off the Denon, freeing its resources to drive the center/rear channels. For 2-channel music listening, I'd have the "cleaner" and/or beefier power of the better amp.

    My current home theater system:

    Denon AVR-3200

    Millenium DTS decoder

    Pioneer CLD-59 Laserdisc player

    Toshiba SD5109 DVD player

    Toshiba TN55X81 55" HD-ready TV

    Fronts: Polk Audio RTA15TL

    Rears: Polk Audio SDA2

    Center: Definitive Technology somthingorother

    Sub: Klipsch 15" powered sub

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    I believe this is known as going to the 'Darkside'....Yes, you will likely get better results.

    Search 'Darkside', you may find some interesting threads!
     
  3. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    If you do intend on purchasing products to attain better 2-channel sound, I suggest a good-quality source component eg. one of the Sony ES sacd players, or a Rega Planet 2K etc. would make as much a difference as adding on amps to the Denon- the Tosh DVD player is really not that good with analog out, nor are the Denon dacs fantastic. There are some good quality affordable 2-channel power amps out there, but for best value, going 2nd hand is best. If you're into DIY, the bottlehead preamp is meant to be very good- I think Saurav in this forum made one, you could ask him for more details.

    Cheers,

    Mike
     
  4. Dan Harding

    Dan Harding Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies, folks. I think I've solved both potential problems, one with a little bit of research, and one with an *amazing* stroke of luck and timing.
    1. I spent most of last night online researching the options for a decent budget single-CD player. Since I've seen both ends of the spectrum taken on this issue ("A DVD player cannot sound as good as a same-priced CD player" vs. "it's all hype, one's as good as the other"), I didn't want to spend a fortune on this issue. I purchased an AMC CD8b refurb direct from AMC, $175.00. I've read a lot of good reports on the AMC CD8* series online, so I figure this is a good start without spending an arm and 3 legs.
    2. I had stopped in at my local hi-fi shoppe yesterday and talked with one of the salesmen that I'd dealt with over the years about my quandry, and he said that there was a possibility he'd get some separates as trade-ins in the evening. He called me right at closing time, said what he'd taken in, and asked me if I wanted the equipment. I'm a novice when it comes to amps, so when he made his pitch over the phone I gambled and committed, figuring worst case scenario I could back out after I checked things out. I had an inkling that this might be one I didn't want to get away. I did some checking online for prices, both Ebay and other places, let my jaw drop, and then made sure I was there when the doors opened this morning. One of the the salesmen who wasn't there yesterday saw me packing up my stuff, saw the price, and blew a head gasket; he was pissed that he hadn't gotten there first. What did I end up with? A pair of Carver Silver 7T Monoblocks. 575 watts @ 8 ohms, 900 watts @ 4 ohms. Mint condition with stands. Price: $350 for the pair. I am *SO* stoked right now.
    *scratches head* Now to figure out how to hook all this stuff up.
    [as he wates for the obligatory "Carver is crap" comments to roll in [​IMG] ].
     
  5. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Dan,
    I'd add one more thing to the mix. Without a doubt adding two top notch separate amps to your receiver will make the music sound better. However, considering that you still will be using the set-up for home theater as well I would suggest that you consider trying to add a third amplifier for the oft-maligned center channel. I am a proponent of creating a seamless front soundstage (L/C/R) for watching movies and if your L/R amps are much better than your center amp you will probably not be satisfied (assuming, of course, that your front three speakers are very similar. My three front speakers are identical). With HT the center channel carries much of the dialogue and without a match you often are shortchanged when watching films, in my opinion. True, for music the center channel does not play the same role (I'm not talking about multichannel audio here, which is a whole different area. My preferences in music still run to 2 channel audio, with my Sony 9000ES SACD player providing some awesome sound.)
    I'm talking from experience here, not from conjecture. About a year ago I decided to do something about my sound and went through a similar situation. I have (had) a top of the line (then) Denon 5700 receiver, but when I added 3 Marantz MA700 Monoblock amps the soundfield opened up appreciably.
    And when I made the move to a separate pre/pro with the Outlaw 950 things aural took another quantum leap forward. As others have said, where sound is concerned, separates are the only way to go and as people switch to this way of thinking they gush about the difference.
    Check out Steve Simon's thread here for one such example.
    When I purchased my 5700 over two years ago I thought I was set for a long time. That "time" was only one year. With the addition of 3 monoblocks last year things got better. Adding a pre/pro (mine is the Outlaw 950 but there are many fine choices out there or coming soon) provided further improvement (in my estimation even a greater improvement than adding the monoblocks although I think some of this effect is cumulative - i.e. the pre/pro allows the monoblocks to better perform up to capability). Next week the 5700 leaves the system as my new amps (Outlaw 755) arrive. I'll keep the 5700 for a bit more comparing with the separates, but then it goes to my son, who is very happy about this.
    The darkside? Hardly. More like the "audio enlightenment" side.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Dan Harding

    Dan Harding Auditioning

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    Huh? What? Huh?

    Deafness achieved.

    Man, my Polks *LOVE* these Carvers. It's like having an infinite well of power to draw from. In the last hour, I've had my stereo louder than its ever been, just seeing how far I could push the volume before things started to distort. I never got to that point; it got too painfully loud first. Serious decibels. I could never come close running just off the Denon.

    First disc I tried was the new 4 Him, to hear how harmonies and acoustic stuff sounded as I slowly increased the volume. Excellent.

    The disc I spent the most time with was Halford - Live Insurrection. Wow. I literally was at the show. I'm going to use "Into the Pit" and "Silent Screams" to demo at the next C-U in Hell! meeting I host (local heavy metal listening group that has met monthly for over 4 years).

    Even at ear-shattering volume, the VU meters on the Carvers didn't ever hit half way to 0db on the peaks. There is *SOOOOO* much power sitting there.

    Also, it may be subconscious, but at regular listening levels it seems like I'm getting deeper and more pronounced bass. Possible?

    Screw selling them for a quick profit; I'm keeping these puppies.

    -Dan
     
  7. Jason_Hil

    Jason_Hil Auditioning

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    Since you mentioned you had a b&k amp before, and considered a higher denon model. Have you considered the b&k recievers. They have more current, and sound much more powerful than the denon especially in 2 channel stereo mode. The 5 channel reciever is 3,000 retail.
     
  8. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    Why not go back to separates with a prepro + power amp setup rather than receivers? It'll bring you much closer to the world of pure stereo audio...
     
  9. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

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    Congrats on the Carver bargain. I say keep the receiver and the Carver and build yourself two completely separate systems, one for 2CH and the other for HT. This can also lead to a case of serious upgraditis. [​IMG] Have fun!
     

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