Separate amps or upgrade speakers first?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by MichaelDDD, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post here; I mulled over the different forums for 30 minutes and really couldn't find the exact category this belongs in. If it belongs somewhere else, my apologies in advance. [​IMG]

    I've got a modest HT setup consisting of:

    32" Sony Trinitron (not a WEGA)calibrated with the Avia DVD
    Samsung PS DVD player
    Kenwood VR-409 receiver
    Kenwood matched speakers (not HTIB)
    Fronts 8" midbass/5.25" mid/tweet (110W RMS)
    Center two 5.25" mids/tweet (110W RMS)
    Surrounds dipole 6" mid/tweet (80W RMS)
    Cerwin Vega LW-15 Sub

    All wired with "OFC" 10 gauge and 14 gauge wire, Monster Cable (yeah, I know) interconnects, etc.

    I carefully setup my system with a db meter and tweak everything until it's just right. (Don't we all? [​IMG]) It sounds pretty darn good to me. But....

    But under lengthy, high-power transients and passages, the receiver sounds like it's gasping for breath.

    I am debating getting separate power amps in the neighborhood of 200w RMS/channel to power the speakers. My receiver has RCA preouts for all channels.

    More than one person (not here in this forum) has suggested upgrading my speakers first before going the separate power amp route. I don't follow this logic, but have done a little research.

    I've got a $1500-$2000 budget to work w/if that helps.

    Can you guys/gals make some recommendations? Thanks much. [​IMG]
     
  2. JamieS

    JamieS Stunt Coordinator

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    It somewhat depends on what your $ options are.

    If you could sell your entire Kenwood setup speakers and AVR what could you get? Would this be added to your budget?

    I will admit I have not heard this Kenwood speaker setup BUT based on past experience with similar things even an inexpensive Paradigm or Enery etc.(or if online Axiom Rocket whatever) speaker system will be a HUGE improvement in sound quality. Kenwood just is not a GIANT in the speaker design or building industry. If it sounds good to you great I'm not knocking them just that pusing more power through what I feel) are inferior speakers just make louder lower quality noise.

    Your receiver most likley does not come close to 100 W x 5 in surround sound. Many less expensive recievers make 100 W 1 ch driven but 50 or even only 30 all 5 driven.

    Even if it did make 100w going to 200 W will agin you 3db. Not much

    It is just my opinion but if it were me (and in some ways it WAS me [​IMG] ) I'd look at selling the whole set (not the TV or DVD etc just speakers and amp) taking that money and combining it with your $1500 - 2000 budget and getting a very sweet sounding new system.

    There are too many combinations to list until I know what you want to do or spend but if I could say one thing if you DO go this way. Don't get hung up on 100 Watts or whatever. I have a Rotel 1055 that is 75 Watts per and it is FAR more powerful than the 90 Watt Denon that it replaces.
     
  3. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    I would say ditto to everything that Jamie said. When upgrading, speakers do the most to change the overall sound of your system. If you can, always get the best speakers possible within your budget.
    As for your budget, you can get a really nice setup for $1500-2000 for 5 speakers and a receiver. I would look at Paradigm Monitors, Axioms, Ascends, Energy, Rocket or any of the others mentioned in the speaker forum. And for the receiver, Marantz, Denon, Rotel, Nad, HK, Pioneer, or even Sony ES would be a step up from your Kenwood, in features and performance. Good luck!
     
  4. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate your input. Due to budget concerns, I can really only upgrade one thing at a time. Still waiting on Ed McMahan to come to my door with my Publisher's Clearinghouse check. Hahahah!!! Little joke there. [​IMG]

    I will start looking into speakers. Have my eye on an Ascend combo right now. Seems like a "best buy" at their pricepoint, which is about my cap right now.
     
  5. DanielGM

    DanielGM Stunt Coordinator

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    Why don't you buy a 2 channel amp and 2 front speakers now, and wait for the other stuff later. That should keep you within your budget
     
  6. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    SPEAKERS !


    man that is a no-brainer....

    spend as much as you can , and some more, for the BEST speakers you can possibly afford before ALL else.

    The other gear changes features and formats every 6 months and the prices drop as well.... not to mention the bargains for excellent equipment found in used pre-pros and amps right now.

    Invest wisely in great speakers now.... the other stuff you can fill in later as your budget allows.

    my .02


    BOK
     
  7. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Micheal,

    Speakers by far. Even if you just pickup the front three and a nice 3 channel amp that would be the best option. If your close to the Canadian border you could get some nice Paradigms, PSB, etc(Built in NA) for a steal with the exchange rate.

    Kevin
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Speakers or maybe just bank the money for now and save up a bit more to get whatever floats your boat in the way of receivers/amps, etc. Even if it took a few months, it's time you could spend listening and deciding what you do and don't like.
     
  9. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    The idea of getting just the front three is appealing; a small cost savings there.

    But what about the fact that my surrounds would then not be voice-matched to the other three? How important is that in the big scope of things?

    I'm definitely getting the speakers vs. the amps though. That much, you guys have helped me decide. [​IMG]

    Thanks.
     
  10. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Wouldn't worry to much about the rears unless your listening to DVD-A. For movies you'll be fine.

    Kevin
     
  11. JimmyK

    JimmyK Second Unit

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  12. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    MichaelDDD has 2 areas he has to address...

    1. Better power
    2. Better speakers.

    If he buys better speakers now, he may have some issues driving them with his current reciever.

    If he cuts back to buy a lesser set of speakers to buy a better receiver and accomplish both tasks he's making a rather large compromise on both fronts.

    If he upgrades his power and leaves his speakers alone then I don't think he will accomplish much other than make him want to upgrade his speakers that much quicker.

    Personally I'd save up some more $$ and buy both quality amplification along with quality speakers. Another $1,000 would go along way in this effort and I would think that is extremely doable in the coming months. Then he can concentrate on buying a sub [​IMG]
     
  13. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    I vote for the speaker upgrade, front 3. Then the receiver. No need for a big dollar receiver, either, just one with pre-outs for the amp that will follow. Then decide on the proper surrounds - dipole / direct, etc., whatever works in the same product line.

    If you bought Klipsch right now, their efficiency would likely double / quadruple the apparent power coming from the Kenwood, major bang for the buck.
     
  14. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hey there,

    This place is great. [​IMG] Lots of helpful replies.

    I already own a sub. A Cerwin Vega LW-15...but I've been kinda unhappy with it for ahwile. It's good for music, but "farts out" too quickly with "big boom" DVD tracks. Don't know whether that's a fault of the puny 150w amp or the cabinet...either way, it's not cutting it. Maybe the fact that I like it numbingly loud has a wee bit to do with it? [​IMG]

    For good, better or worse (in relation to my main speakers dilemma), I already ordered a new one. A SVS PB2 Plus. The deal was too good to pass up. It is done and I'm happy with my purchase. [​IMG][​IMG] It should be the last sub I buy for QUITE a long time. I rationalzied it out this way. I paid almost $500 for the CV. If I'm going to upgrade, that would mean going up a tier or two in price...there is NOTHING in the price range of the PB2+ that compares. Voila! Instant self-gratifying purchase power!

    OK, back on-topic. My Kenwood receiver has preouts for all channels...hence, this thread. [​IMG] I'm going to keep it for now; it's only two years old. Aside from a small power defecit, the only other main thing it lacks (IMO) is component switching inputs, which doesn't matter right now b/c I only have one component input source; my DVD player, which is hooked straight into the TV.

    When I finally do upgrade my receiver, I'll be stepping up a few notches. Around the $1K pricepoint is what I'm aiming for. A 7.1 channel, with component input switching, etc.

    But for now, I think my best choice is to get some new speakers. This is based on recommendations from this forum and a couple of others. Plus, of course, my own thoughts thrown in for good measure. I can sell my current ones for a few hundred and put that towards the bill for my new ones. The Kenwood towers have been good to me. In context of what they are, of course. I guess my ears have "grown up" a bit and I now want better. The bug has bit me.

    Currently eying an Ascend Audio setup...would go nicely with the SVS.

    I will have to go looking to see what 5-piece (mains, center, surrounds) I can get for $1K, total, to do some comparison shopping. But that's another thread in the Speakers/Subwoofer Forum. [​IMG]

    You've all been very helpful; influential in my decison, and I appreciate that. I'll be around with my other 4,000 questions in short order. :b
     

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