Most overlooked component in a Stereo System?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by paulBAW, Jul 5, 2003.

  1. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    I look around these forums...All the questions seem to be directed at speakers and amps, never the actual source. I was just curious how many people have felt they have overlooked their source. I know I'm debating that theory. I use a 775 mid-level Sony SACD player hooked up to a NAD intergrated and Polk Audio LSi9's. I was thinking of spending $1k near christmass on a power amp, and using the NAD as a pre. I wonder if that $1k would be better spent on a true CD player. Alot of people that I trust and own much much higher end equipment have told me I would.

    Has anybody here ever questioned their source?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Ever notice the Audio/Video source forum? [​IMG] Source is extremely important for music. With an SS analog CD, it will be one of the biggest factors in determining what you hear.

    I would have to agree that you would benefit greater from moving to a more substantial CD/SACD player as much or more than a new amp, especially if we are only talking 2ch. Great DACs and higher quality components will go a long way. I have the 222ES and I am still impressed by this thing every time I listen to it, and it is not even a terribly expensive player.
     
  3. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    The most overlooked component by far is not the source, not electronics, and not the speakers. ITS THE ROOM.
     
  4. Darren Pillans

    Darren Pillans Second Unit

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    You can't overlook anything.

    You should spend the around the same amount for each component.

    If they're not all at the same level, you're ultimately wasting money.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I think that unless you're looking to change the character of the playback device, i.e. choosing models that intentionally introduce euphonics into the signal being played (Consonance, AudioNote, Shanling, etc.) then the single best thing you can do between now and Christmas (other than ordering my Green Mountain coffee beans) is to spend time learning about room/speaker interactions. This way you can work on things like taming resonances, moderating first and second order reflections, improving the speaker placement, etc. Likely you'll be looking towards either using a RS sound meter and test tones to get a handle on your room/speaker frequency response characteristics or possibly a microphone/soundcard/software implementation for doing something similar.
    One can improve their room's acoustics using commercially available products or by taking the DIY approach.
    Now this is a hell of a lot more involved than dropping a grand on something. Not to say that more power might not provide you with a tangible benefit but really, the effort needs to be directed towards the room.
    An interesting thing to do when one takes the time to go into high end and oh so very snotty audio emporiums is to spend time in their listening rooms. Not so much to listen to their speakers, but to take a look around and pay attention to how the room has been set up...the nature of the walls...what's on them...bass traps...diffusion panels.

    As far as spending equally on components, I guess when you've got no budget, you can do just about anything you want. Myself, I heavily heavily weigh purchasing decisions towards speakers.
    If you need recommendations on my favourite coffees, please PM me [​IMG]
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I've been in my new place 6 months, and I am still tweaking my speakers with respect to the rooms they are in. I set them up so that the first reflection is minimized, and try to keep it from being in front of the listening position.

    I like Chu's suggestion, and I actually do this often. I enjoy checking out listening rooms in high end stores for exactly the reasons he gives. One of my dealers has a $100K + room, with a ton of treatments, that I am sure many people who go in there don't even realize are a big part of why it sounds so good. If you took that same system and stuck it in a room with no treatment, it will not sound the same, and would almost certainly not sound as good.
     
  7. Terry Montlick

    Terry Montlick Stunt Coordinator

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    I completely agree about acoustics being the most overlooked component of a home theater. I'm really glad to see forum members acknowledging this.

    Of course, as a professional home theater acoustical engineer, I might be a little biased. [​IMG]
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    And here I thought John, that you approved of my shameless request for coffee beans [​IMG]
     
  9. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    John I know there is a audio/video source forum. Have you seen how many threads and reply's are in there? Much much less then other forums. I'm curious as to what people use as their source in comparison to their amps and speakers. Many times I hear of people using a Paradigm or Outlaw setup and then their is a tiny blurb about their Sony or Panasonic CD player which probably cost them only a 8th of what they spent on their amps and speakers. I continue to read and hear more about how money should be spent on source, and from reading and listening to peoples spec's alot of people are like me. They have been so focused on speakers and amp's they push the source to the side. When's the last time somebody started a thread about a new NAD or ARCAM cd-player with the same passion as a person writing about their Studio 40's or new SVS subs?

    Acoustics are a for sure thing. It's taken me two weeks to allow my speakers to break in. I have them positioned as best as possible. I'm happy with what I have in that respect. Nothing else can be done in this current room situation.

    I'm getting a pair of MIT shotgun interconnects and speaker wire which i'm going to A/B with some Master Series. Between now and christmass I'll be taking my Sony SACD player (Which uses the same DAC's as the 222ES) to a couple places and doing A/B's against some NAD, ARCAM and ROTEL. I want to hear the difference everybody has been telling me I'll get.
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    just make sure you level match at the very least. It is to me at least a rather depressing thought that nothing can be done with your room.
     
  11. Scott McC.@home

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    I would think that as long as the information coming out of your CD/DVD player is digital (or analog for video, especially if you're using an HTPC/nice DVD player), there really wouldn't be any difference, the signal is kept in a digital form until it reaches the reciever, so until the DAC's in your reciever kick in (which, I might add, are often better then the ones in your equipment), the signal is EXACTLY the same as the information on the CD, how would a more expensive player impact that?
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The DACs in my 222 are better than my receiver's.

    The DACs in the 775 are the same, but the signal path, the other electronics and the chassis are not. I considered the 775, but after listening to it, I was not much more impressed with redbook CDs vs my CA70ES, so I shopped around and found a used 222 for not much more than a 775. The build quality of the 222 vs the 70ES and 775 is considerably better, and weighs in about twice the that of the other two (not that weight is as significant a factor).

    IMO, taking your player to a dealer to compare it in their room and their gear, is not going to tell you how it will sound in your system. You need to bring the components to your system if possible.

    I think Paradigms are great, but I get tired of hearing about them sometimes too.

     
  13. The room. now tell me...out of all the pictures of everyons system...music and HT...how many of them even had attepts at treating the room. more than just placement...but diffusers, absorbers, and resonators.

    it is one of the most effective, and potentially the cheapest fixes that hardly anyone does.
     
  14. JamesCB

    JamesCB Second Unit

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    The room. Especially the ceiling. I could not beleive the difference it made when I put an absorber on the ceiling. In both two channel and HT, cleaner, more detailed midrange and cleaner dialog from the center. I urge everyone who is serious about HT and music to TREAT YOUR ROOM. Speakers, sources, amps, whatever. The ROOM has the MOST (I mean the MOST) impact on how your system sounds.
     
  15. here are some basic treatments that I used in the old system. There are some treatments on the rear wall, and there is now a heavy curtain accross the 90% of the front wall. Those round things are helmholtz resonators (bass traps) wrapped in the same material that makes up the wall treatments.




    Side wall






    Ceiling
     
  16. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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  17. Albert Damico

    Albert Damico Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu-Gai:

    Try Sterlingmooncoffee.com. The don't even roast the beans until you order!
     
  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    and I will. now the phase of the moon...I think you're on to something!
     
  19. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    What brands or stores would you suggest for room treatments? My HT system currently is all centered around a surround reciever. Many components are hopefully going to be upgraded within the next 2 years. IMHO speakers are a big part of the systems sound but the room is right up there with speakers. You are right there are people who dont even look at there room. The room and all the components all work together so picking the right gear and tuning a room for the best sound is crucial. I will be moving soon but would like to learn about what it takes to tune a room so that my next place will help my system sound better.

    Current System:
    Yamaha RX-V995 Reciever
    Marantz LV-520 Laserdisc Player
    Sony DVD-S9000 ES DVD/SACD Player
    Denon DCD-1290 CD Player
    Denon DTR-2000 DAT Recorder
    Toshiba 31" DVTV
    Altec Lancing - Voice Of The Theater (Main Channel)
    Polk Audio CS100 - Center Channel
    Advent Marbles - 2 pair for rear channel

    Currently no room treatments. IMHO my main speakers are the strongest part of my ht system so there is plenty of room for improvment here!

    Upgrades:
    DVD-A & SACD multi channel player - Adcom, Denon
    Reciever - Denon, Pioneer Elite or
    Pre-pro - Sunfire, Rotel, B&K
    Amplifiers - Adcom, Parrasound, Cinenova
    Projector - Infocus (Starter Projector)
    Pioneer Elite LD to replace Marantz
    Custom built center channel and rear channel cabnets to compliment my Altec Lancing's. Using pro JBL components.
    Wall treatments will be crutial since I am using hf horns in my ht configuration.
    My vintage speakers will need to be re-insulated and tuned for max performance.

    I live in CA so any advise on where to buy room treatments would be greatly appreciated.
     
  20. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Heh... I guess I am one of those nutballs who spent the
    money on amps and such and didn't on the source...

    Parasound Halo P3 (PreAmp)
    Antique Sound Labs Wave-20's (Tube Monoblocks)

    CD Source: Panasonic CV-51........ [​IMG]

    But if it's any conselation I do have an XM Tuner
    and a nice Technics turntable also...


    I am upgrading the CD Player but there are more important
    items to change first.
     

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