Separates/receivers: easiest setup?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Kad, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. Jeff Kad

    Jeff Kad Extra

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    Want the easiest but best sounding solution for a newbie who really doesn't want to spend hours upon hours tweaking system to maximize performance. My hobby is actually listening to the system. I'm considering B&K 307, Pioneer 49tx, or prepro/amp combo like rotel 1066/1095. Trying to keep around $2500-2800. B&K supposedly sounds great and is relatively straightforward to set up, with low freq notch filter and many adjustment/assignment features. Rotel combo gives me mucho juice (200wpc) and separates flexibility. Not yet sure of setup ease/flexibility. What I really like about 49tx is the auto calibration. If it sounds as good as the other options, this would be a no brainer for me. Are there any other auto calibration options out there?

    BTW, speakers will likely be b&w CDM9NT, CDMCNT, M&K s150 Tripoles. Room is roughly 15x18x7 basement, but has some alcoves, non-equidistant spkr placement and will be bright (not much absorbing material), therefore equalization, delays, etc would probably be essential.
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Have you thought about the Outlaw 950 in conjunction with one of those amps? The savings you can get on the Outlaw would put about $400 into your pocket over the Rotel in order to really get an unbelievable amp...like a Classe or something of that Ilk.

    To tell you the truth, I cannot steer you away from the 307. I've heard incredible things about that unit. I plan on auditioning the Rotel in the near future and will report back. I'm a separates guy myself so I would always advise you to go that way, but the 307 might be the one exception.
     
  3. Jeff Kad

    Jeff Kad Extra

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    I hear what you're saying on the Outlaw, but I'm not sure it has the ultimate flexibility I'm looking for, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to wait months to get one. What makes the Pioneer 49tx so appealing is the auto calibration feature. This makes a world of difference to me. If its the sonic equal of the B&K and the others, it's probably a no brainer. (obiGeorge says it is). Unfortunately, I'm pretty busy (hence the need for simplicity and quick setup) so I can't get out and compare much. I'm very interested in this forums opinion of the sonic characteristics of the 49tx. As for separates, WHICH PREPROS OFFER AUTO CALIBRATION?? I believe the Parasound 2500u does, but haven't seen many comments here on that piece. Doesn't anyone own one? With the convenience issue settled, I can get any one of a handful of great amps. Seems there's no shortage of great affordable amps (especially used). Thanks for your reply...
     
  4. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Jeff, clarify what you mean by "auto-calibration". I've heard nothing but good things about the 49tx as well...sounds like a great unit and for far less than the competing Denon 5803.
     
  5. Jeff Kad

    Jeff Kad Extra

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    I'm not a techie, so I'm looking for a processor that will calibrate most of my settings automatically (levels, spkr distance/delay) so that I don't have to sit there and adjust these levels myself with a test tone, spl meter, distance calcs, etc. Maybe I'm wrong or overstating the complexity/time consumption, but I would think auto calibration would make this easier/faster. The 49tx has it, and early reviews say it's a great feature that allows even a bonehead with no patience like me to achieve quick and good results (maybe not the ultimate in calibration potential, but likely enough for me). I'm pretty sure the Lexicon has it, and absolutely sure the Parasound 2500 has it. Don't know if this includes/assumes auto equalization (if this even exists) but I'd pay for that too!!! I do realize I could pay for professional to setup/calibrate, but I assume I would have to recalibrate/equalize every time I swapped out equipment. Am I making sense????
     
  6. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I would hardly call myself a pre/pro expert (with the exception of the Anthem of which I started a group buy), but I think the Anthem AVM-20 has this feature of which you speak. All you have to do is go to the main setup menu and tell the Anthem how far from the "sweet spot" all 7 of your speakers are located (or 5, if you are running a 5.1 setup) and it will automatically calibrate the time delay for correct time alignment of the channels).

    As far as setting the LEVELS of each speaker, I believe you need an SPL meter and do this manually, but this is a feature I would NOT want my receiver or pre/pro to handle for me as your ears are the final judge and I would want the ability to override any settings in the unit.

    Is this sort of what you are referring to?
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    jeff -
    you're looking at the same level of gear i'm going for my next round.
    no offense, but i wonder if maybe you're overestimating the time involved to calibrate?
    it's not at all difficult. fifty to seventy-five bucks (for a dvd and spl) and about two hours should be more than enough time to calibrate your stuff. it's a pretty quick and painless process. you don't even have to get into deep-level stuff.
    adjust the speaker distance, adjust the output of each speaker and you're done. however, with that level of gear, i'd probably want to "just make sure" by fine-tuning.
    like i said, i know it really sounds like you're shooting for auto-calibration. just thought you'd like to hear a differing opinion. [​IMG]
     
  8. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I recently upgraded to the Pioneer 47TX (the little brother of the 49TX). This unit also has the MCACC auto-calibration feature. It works very well, adjusting speaker levels, distances, sizes and setting a room equalization. In my case, the MCACC got the speaker levels and distances correct, but was off on the size (it set them all to LARGE) and LFE level. I readjusted these settings manually. The room eq did seem to smooth out some frequency problems I usually experience in my less-than-perfect room.

    Setting speaker levels with an SPL meter and test disc should not take more than 30 minutes, though. Most newer receivers will automatically calculate the proper delays -- all you need to do is input the distance you sit from each speaker (in feet or meters). Also, be aware that Pioneer's MCACC program does not calibrate the speaker levels and delay for the 7.1 channel analog inputs that you may want to use for DVD-Audio or SACD. You will still need to adjust these via the DVD-Audio/SACD player's setup menus.
     
  9. Jeff Kad

    Jeff Kad Extra

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    Ted, Evan, thanks for the replies. I do want to be able to tweak the system eventually, and the 49tx (says obiGeorge)and others do allow that flexibility, so I think I'm ok there. But with the auto cal, I can get a good result "out-of-the-box", and tweak later when and if time allows. Ted, you're probably right that I could do it myself in 2 hours or so, but I'd rather let the prepro do it for me initially, enjoy music/ht now, and find the 2 hours later to tweak for better performance. With two kids, long hours, and a busy schedule, simple and quick mean everything to me right now. Evan, the Anthem looks like a great piece, and I would love to own it, but it and a good amp push it out of my price range. Thanks again.

    BTW, anybody know anything about the Parasound 2500u???
     
  10. Jeff Kad

    Jeff Kad Extra

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    Thanks Scott! Exactly what I'm hoping for out of the 49tx, although I realize that addtl adjustments will be necessary. DVD-a and SACD will have to wait, I'll be happy to listen to regular cd's for now, but like the fact that the 49tx has bass mgmt for 5.1 analog...
     
  11. Jeff Kad

    Jeff Kad Extra

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    BTW, has anybody else heard the 49tx in comparison to other units like the B&K 307? obiGeorge says its evry bit as good sonically if not better, and has a warmer sound which would mate well with my B&W CDM 9NT's. Anybody else heard this unit???
     
  12. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Those B&W speakers get a lot comments like "detailed and bright" from what I could find. You mentioned your room would make things even brighter. If you stick with B&W speakers you need to keep this in mind(they also seem to take awhile to break in and are brighter in the breakin period). B&K (amps and preamps) would be a good match with such speakers since they lean more to the darker/warmer side. Hopefully you can demo some broken in B&W speakers with whatever you decide on getting.

    I am zeroing in on your speakers/room setup, which are both bright. You need to consider this before making your amp/preamp decision IMHO.

    The calibration is the easy part. However, all the calibration and setup tweaks in the world will not fix a speaker/room problem. Since you have a lively room, you could certainly start with the B&K receivers (either 305 or 307). They are some of the warmest around. Then tackle the speakers with hopefully some demos in your room. You may love the B&W's but then again (even with the warm B&K gear), you may still opt for different speakers.
     
  13. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Jeff,

    I am not sure how much this helps, but I am using B&W 600 Series speakers with the 47TX. I am very happy with the match between speaker and receiver. I do not like a bright sounding setup, and think this combo gives a detailed, but not overly bright, sound. I have not heard the CDM NT's though, so I do not know how similar they sound to my 600 Series -- 604S2 mains, 602S2 surrounds and LCR6S2 center.
     
  14. JaleelK

    JaleelK Second Unit

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