Recevier to seperates transition advice needed

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by GaryMil, Feb 23, 2002.

  1. GaryMil

    GaryMil Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi everyone. This is my first post on this forum. I have to admit I'm very impressed with everything that I have read so far.

    I currently have a Denon 2801 that I'm using as a preamp. My amp is a Sherbourn 5/1500A. These are powering B&W CDM7 SE's for mains, a CDMC SE Center and B&W Rock solids for the rears. My subwoofer is a Paradigm PS1000(a little boomy sometimes). I have a Onkyo C330 CD changer and a Toshiba 2109 DVD player. I'm using monster cables for everything.

    With the addition of the Sherbourn and the B&W's CDM's(I upgraged from B&W 602s last year), my system has made a quantum leap for both HT and music. I've been listening to more music then I ever have. I originally used the system for 90% HT, but lately I would say its down to 60%.

    Now the tough part, I figured the upgrade of the speakers and the amp would give me the most bang for the buck as far as sound improvement is concerned. Now I want to further improve it, but I've been wondering how much of an improvement I would get if I replaced the Denon with a pre-pro (I'm on the waiting list for the Outlaw 950) or would I get a greater improvement if I purchased a high-end CD/DVD player.

    I'm getting the upgrade bug again, but I'm not sure which direction I should go. I guess I'm concerned that the pre-pro will not make that much of a difference in sound quality. I do want DPL II tho, but can live without it. I also can't go to 6 or 7 channels because of lack of spousal agreement and I would need another amp.

    I also have a pair of Rockustic Pavaroccis (awesome outdoor speakers by the way) by the pool that will also need to be powered. The 2801 has the A/B buttons which makes it easy, If I go the pre-pro route, then I'll need another amp(probably could keep the denon for that tho).

    I was also playing with the idea of getting rid of the PS1000 sub and getting a SVS.

    So anyway, some advice for the next step in my systems evolution would be appreciated.

    BTW, I was offered a pair of Denmark brand speakers from a couple of guys in white van yesterday. I played dumb and had some fun with these guys. I listened to the pitch and took a look at the speakers and the literature. The speakers actually looked nice, almost like a pair of B&W CM4's in maple. From what I've been reading about the White van speaker scam tho, I'm sure these speakers sound like crapola and probably self destruct in about a week. This happened in Monmouth county New Jersey, so warn your friends about it fellow Jerseyites. They're in our neighborhood!
     
  2. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    I'd say a prepro would bring a more significant sound improvement, as well as more features, than a CD/DVD player would. Of course, with a DVD player upgrade, you'd also most probably get a improvement in image quality(which is also more apparent IMO), unless you already have a good progressive scan model. Keep in mind that with a prepro upgrade, you'd get better DACs too, which you'd then be able to make use of with your CD/DVD player, hence giving your CD/DVD player sort of a "free" upgrade as well.

    If you ask me, I'd upgrade to a prepro first before looking at a DVD player, unless you have a non progressive scan cheapo DVD player and a good HDTV or projector that accepts progressive scan input.
     
  3. GaryMil

    GaryMil Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the input Sihan. I was leaning towards purchasing the Pre/Pro but I'm still wondering how much better my sound will be. I do have decent speakers (B&W) and a decent amp (sherbourn) but I do have an old entry level DVD player and an old cd player. I guess the DVD player is ok for now because I don't have an HDTV yet, the CD player only has an analog output, therefore I'm stuck with the dacs from that unit.
     
  4. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    GaryMil, looks like you have pretty vintage DVD and CD players, if your CD player doesn't even have a digital output in the form of a coaxial or optical jack. I might be wrong, but I think your DVD player would have better DACs than your CD player, and you'd be better off using your DVD player for playing both DVDs and CDs.

    Anyway, the 2801 should be significantly newer than either of your 2 players, so its your call whether to upgrade it so soon(its what, 2 years old at most?)

    Another choice would be to upgrade both your prepro and your CD player. A decent CD player would only cost a few hundred bucks, a small percentage of the cost of a decent prepro, but I guess it also depends on your budget.
     
  5. GaryMil

    GaryMil Stunt Coordinator

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    Quite a dilemma I have. My budget and apouse will permit only one upgrade. I could use the DVD player for cd's and use the dacs on the new prepro. It would be inconvenient since its a single disc system, but it should accomplish the task.

    I'm still wondering if I'll get a significant improvement in sound if I did swap out the denon for the Outlaw pre/pro. Would it be as significant as when I added the amp or upgraded the speakers?
     
  6. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    Well, I'm in the camp that believes the speakers make the most difference, followed by the preamp stage, followed by the amp, but there are obviously exceptions to this. I'm not so sure about the source, haven't really made up my mind yet [​IMG]
    Anyway, your speakers and amplifiers are good enough that you should be able to hear a noticable, if not significant improvement from going to a separate prepro. I've no first hand experience with the Outlaw 950(so far only a handful of people have), so I can't comment on that.
    If your budget is around that of the price of an Outlaw 950(below $1000, that is), then I can't recommend that you get both a CDP and a prepro, since its quite impossible to get decent units below $1000 combined. In that case I'd suggest the prepro first.
     
  7. GaryMil

    GaryMil Stunt Coordinator

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    So you believe that the preamp stage can have a more significant affect on the overall sound quality then the amp stage? Interesting, if thats the case then I'm in for one hell of an upgrade.
    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  8. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Gary,

    I'm also in the camp that says that past a certain point, the preamp is going to have more of an effect than upgrading the amplifier. Certainly the Outlaw has had extremely good reviews in terms of noise levels and sound quality, although perhaps less so in terms of its speaker management features.

    Another thing to consider is "room treatments". e.g. what have you done to tame room reflections with diffusers or absorbers? Open bookshelves with irregularly sized books (diffusers) or heavy drapes (absorbers) at the first reflection points can do quite a bit to improve the sound. Moving the speakers slightly and toeing them in can also make significant improvements at the "sweet spot".

    Of course, such mundane modifications are not nearly as much fun as pretty new toys, but are a lot less expensive. Changing the decor significantly may or may not meet with spousal approval, though.

    [p.s. your mention of the sub sounding a little boomy suggests that you may not have done much to equalize its output for your room's acoustics. A device like the Bheringer(sp?) Feedback Destroyer (aka BFD) is inexpensive but can do a good job of reducing the peaks that cause the kind of distortion you mention.]
     
  9. GaryMil

    GaryMil Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, so this is what I figure I'll do. I'll purchase the 950. I'll utilize my DVD player as a cd player and use the DACs in the 950. I might get flutter tho, but I'm sure the DACs in the Toshiba 2109 stink so I'm sure it'll be a massive improvement.

    I can put an a/b switch between the rears and Rockustics and set the 'B' to be driven by the second zone from the 950. Doing this configuration, I won't need another amp.

    I might have some sound degradation in the rears, but the Rocks will benefit by being driven by the Sherbourn and Outlaw combo. I can then sell my Denon to help recoup some of the cost of the Outlaw.

    Does this make sense? Do I have a clue?
     
  10. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Gary, since you mentioned music has become more of a priority I would suggest you upgrade the sub 1st.
    I owned CDM7SE's for a couple of years and had them paired with a lesser B&W AS6 sub. When I upgraded to a Rel Storm III sub the whole soundstage and image improved immensely.
    The CDM7's really need a decent sub to complement their mid-upper frequencies, when the sub is blended properly, the results are impressive. A pre/pro, IMO, will not have as much benefit at this point as a good sub.
    Selden made very good suggestions also, room treatments can be very effective if your room does'nt meet "Golden Ratio" standards. Try moving your current sub to a different location, that may help. Also, have you calibrated your sub carefully, for music listening keep the sub volume level equal with your mains. Another suggestion for blending your sub with your mains inexpensively is to purchase 1 of the Stereophile test CD's. They contain bass warble tones that are very helpful for blending your sub as well as placement, you will need an SPL meter however.
    Maximize what you already have in your system by accurately adjusting your speaker distance/toe-in(as Selden suggested)
    Mike Knapp initiated a thread in the "Tweaks" section which could be very helpful to you so I won't go into detail what has been mentioned there. Good luck, enjoy your search for "the holy grail" [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     

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