Should I replace my speakers instead of receiver?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tim_R_H, Feb 14, 2002.

  1. Tim_R_H

    Tim_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I posted this in the Basic HT area but thought that since my concern is based around my current speakers that maybe this belonged here instead.

    I have been contemplating on replacing my current receiver but I know that speakers can be as, if not more important in getting the best results for HT. I have a variety of speakers that make up my HT and I have heard you should try and use the same brand/performance speakers throughout. I am primarily interested in movies not music. I would like some imput based on the receiver and speakers below as to what part of my setup would benefit me most with a $1000 upgrade. I will be looking at spending another $1000 later in the year to upgrade what I don't upgrade now (receiver or speakers). One of my objectives is to add a rear center channel.

    I have a 14x16 HT room. Due to room setup my rear speakers will have to be ceiling or upper rear wall mounted.

    Receiver - Kenwood 1080VR Dolby Digital : Front 120w + 120w,

    Center 120w, Surround 60w + 60w - all 1kHZ, 0.7% T.H.D

    Front Speakers- Fisher Preference STV9045 Towers (1985) 130w

    40Hz to 20kHZ

    Center- JBL CL505 125w 90db

    Sub- Kenwood SW-300

    Surround- Infinity Minuette 80w 200HZ to 20kHZ 87db

    also have but not currently in use:

    JBL G300 80w 50HZ - 20 kHZ 89db

    I am concerned that as old as my front speakers are they probably weren't designed with digital sound in mind. Is this a valid concern?
     
  2. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I would definitely suggest you look at speakers before a new receiver. And that doesn't have anything to do with "digital", just because that's where I feel you will realize the biggest gains in sound.
     
  3. Tim_R_H

    Tim_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Should I use the $1000 to replace all of my speakers (buy a package) or do I have a particular group of speakers that I should concentrate on upgrading now with the money and upgrade the other speaker(s) and receiver later? I guess my question is are any of my speakers worth keeping?
     
  4. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    i say blow the $1000 on two new mains and a center speaker. spend as much as you can on speakers b/c a good set can last you through many uprades. receivers/electronics have to be replaced every two or so years due to technology changes, but speakers should last you awhile.

    btw- wattage is more of a marketing tool than anything else, so you can usually just ignore it as long as you get quality components.
     
  5. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    I am definately in agreement with Thomas on this one. However, there are some excellent packages out there that come in around $1K. For example, the Ascend/HSU package or Energy Take 5.2. The Def Tech Pro Cinema 100.6 is another option.

    You could also decide to get Paradigm Titan mains, the CC-170 center, and the Aperion Audio SW-12 for just over $1K. That alone will make a tremendous improvement in your system. After you save some more money, you could upgrade your receiver, mains, and center. The Titan mains and CC-170 center could be moved to your LCR surrounds, giving you 6.1 sound.

    Take your time auditioning speakers and enjoy whatever you get next!
     
  6. mctague

    mctague Stunt Coordinator

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    One of the guys at work was asking about how to spend $2k for speakers & a receiver, and us local HT enthusists were wanting to allocate more than 1/2 for the speakers. So I'd go along with the previously mentioned advise of concentrating on your front 2 or 3 speakers, and fill the rest later with your other grand. You already have DD, so you can make-due for a while.
     
  7. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    I also agree that you should upgrade your speakers first. You might want to check out the level 3 package from Home Theater Direct ( http://www.hometheaterdirect.com/ ) it has gotten good reviews for the price, it is right around your budget.
     
  8. Tim_R_H

    Tim_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I am starting to lean toward the speaker upgrade first since I would have to purchase a rear center speaker to enjoy 6.1 sound anyway. Hopefully I can fit it all in my budget this year.

    BryanZ - Are those speaker packages that I can mount from the ceiling/upper rear wall for my surrounds? I can either get free-standing or ceiling mounted speakers for the front but have no choice but to buy ceiling mounted speakers for the surrounds. I have also pre-wired for ceiling mounts on the left & right sides of my HT area in case receivers ever create channels for those(if they haven't already).

    Does anyone have any thoughts on going with all ceiling mount speakers?
     
  9. Terry Flink

    Terry Flink Stunt Coordinator

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    I would suggest you check out www.nohr.com. They have a 5 speaker package fr $850.00 delivered. I replaced a mixed bag of Canton and KEF speakers with the ceramic 4.0 video system. The set up is 5 identical speakers (one shielded) made from ceramic rather than MDF. I have an SVS 20-39CS sub that blends seamlessly with the nOhr's. You would definitely want to use your sub as the 4.0's drop off at around 65Hz. They are very "untradional" looking speakers and I love them. Their website is very informative and full of development background, company philosophy and product reviews.
     
  10. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    If you have $2,000 to spend in separate chunks, you might keep yourself flexible to go $1200 on the speakers and $800 on the receiver, because there are many fine receivers with all the features you need for about $800. And you can never have too much to spend on speakers.
    I also agree that you might look at replacing just the mains and center for now. For $1200, or even $1000, you can get an excellent front soundstage. Your rears do NOT necessarily need to match for the time being. You can get new rears and a subwoofer later, though I would recommend tower mains if you hold off on the sub.
    If you want the whole thing now, the HTD lvl 3 (probably combo "y") is a good option. Lots of people like the Norhs, but look at the pictures carefully first. People either seem to love or hate the way they look. Finally, take a look at Divas by Swans. They are having a sale right now where you can get a system possibly better than anything mentioned here for $1200. See:
    http://www.av123.com/divaproducts.html
    and here:
    http://www.av123.com/popup.html
     
  11. Tim_R_H

    Tim_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    What do I need to look for when buying new speakers to know that they are good (Frequency Response, Db, Watts,?), and what numbers are good? I know part of it is just personal preference.

    Also would it be safe to assume I could get good theater sound out of smaller ceiling mounted speakers as long as I have a sub or is it still better to go with Towers for the front three?
     
  12. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    It's really not possible to pick speakers from a list of numbers and guarantee happiness. I've tried. Think of it like a dating service - Pics and a paragraph do not compare to 24 hours of exposure. Go by reputation, and if you can't audition in person then make sure you can return them economically. Some speakers are just ugly to me, and I wouldn't want them no matter HOW they sounded, so that is a good way to shorten the list. The older I get and the more experienced, the less important looks seem to be, though.

    Speakers are not permanent fixtures in the house. If you feel you made a mistake, there's always Ebay!
     
  13. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Tim,

    I do not believe so. I mainly use stands, tops of bookshelfs, and the top of the entertainment center for the nOrh 4.0s that I've got and have never had a problem. The main concern for any wall/ceiling mounted speaker is the weight of the speaker. For the 4.0s you should be able to install a small bookself or even use some plant hangers for them.

    As they say, where there's a will there's a way. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of creativity to find that way.
     
  14. Tim_R_H

    Tim_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I will definately give the nOrh 4.0s a look. They seem to get great reviews.

    One more question. should the rear center speaker be matched (the same speaker) with the surround speakers? I'm assuming so. I'm not seeing many speakerpackages that include the rear center speaker.
     
  15. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Yes, it is mainly personal preference. As far as numbers, look for a flat frequency response that does not over or underemphasize any part of the frequency spectrum. Also, base extension is obviously a measurable number which is relevant.

    Bookshelf sized speakers will sound great for HT, and offer great bang for the buck. But you need a *good* subwoofer if you are going with bookshelves for mains, because the sub will be doing midbase duty in that case, not just the very low stuff. Micro sized speakers (tiny cubes or the like) put too much duty on the sub, and IMO will usually end up leaving your system with problems in the base department.

    You will notice that the most commonly recommended speaker packages on forums of this type are Divas by Swans, Norh, Axiom, HTD, and Paradigm. The former 4 are online only (you cannot demo them), but are all considered as overachievers in price/performance because you are essentially buying at a near wholesale price. Paradigm is sold only in B&M but also has a reputation as a strong overachiever.

    Yes, a rear surround should match the sides, but this is NOT as critical as matching mains to a center. HTD sells individual speakers which helps if you want to match a rear surround.

    Go by reputation, looks and price if you buy from an online only, and make sure you have a 30 day trial period. Most do.
     
  16. Tim_R_H

    Tim_R_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I looked at the norhs and don't feel thier unconventional style will work for me. Has anyone done a comparison between the HTD and the Divas by Swan? The HTDs ($989 Lvl 3 Pkg Y) are a couple of hundred cheaper than the Divas ($1199 4.1 floor, C3 center, 2.1 surrounds) and the HTD package comes with a sub. If the Divas are noticably better then I would be willing to pay the higher price and stay with my current sub for now. Also does anyone know of any good speaker ceiling mounts that would work with either the HTD or Diva 2.1 surrounds?
     

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