To Upgrade or To Wait......

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jefferson G, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. Jefferson G

    Jefferson G Auditioning

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    A year ago I bought a HTIB (Pioneer VSX-510 Receiver , 4 surround low quality speakers and a sub). I was at first very pleased with the results because I was so used to the L/R audio experience coming from my TV. However, since then I have been reading this forum constantly and realized that I had been duped by my spontaneous spending.
    I have since been "authorized" by my wife to spend $200-$400 on a variety of upgrades. I have decided that for my purposes the Receiver and Sub will have to do for the time being and I would like to focus on the L/C/R. My first question is that if I had to buy these separately (time frame: 2 months) would I be correct in buying the Center Channel first? My second question is how important is the timbre matching of my lowly surround speakers going to effect the overall experience?
    I have demoed and thoroughly researched the JBL S-series and (compared to my current system) I was very pleased with their performance. Feel free to recommend other brands as well, but remember that you are talking to a beginner who is still working on his Bachelor's with plans for a Masters. Also, simply saving my money and waiting several.....years (AAH!!) is an option.
     
  2. DonJ

    DonJ Second Unit

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    Hey Jeff first off I would say keep on saving. This will give more time to audition more speakers and have the money when you find the set you just can't live without. Second Timbre matching is very important for your rear surrounds. When a Ferrari goes from front to back you don't want the Ferrari to sound like a civic when it gets to your rear channels believe me I heard this before in an acquaintance system. Third to mention other brands I'll say Paradigm I have the Monitor series and they prove to be musical and have a perfect Timbre match to them. Also with them you don't have to be so dependent on you sub for bass so with front to back and left to right transitions you get the bass moving with it. I prefer that others don't
    Here's review link
    Paradigm System 8
    The system is similar to mine the difference I have the Monitor 9 for my mains and the Mini Monitor for my rears.
    the Mini are dipoles there monopoles. I would definitely suggest a system like this, and yes it is worth saving for. Check out all the speaker companies you can B&W, Paradigm PSB,Whafdale etc.... save the whole time then buy and you won't be duped into spontaneous spending and you'll be a lot happier in the long run.
     
  3. DonJ

    DonJ Second Unit

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    I would not buy a center channel first I would get the left and right mains first. Reason being is the majority of sound comes from these in HT and 2 channel music use and if you want to you can use an enhanced mode on you receiver to get a simulated surround mode. I would get a new receiver after getting the mains, simply that the one you current have isn't going to do a good set of speakers any justice. I'm currently run an H/K AVR320 and I love it great for home theater great for music. They just came out with the new model line so the old one is going for rock bottom prices I heard you can get the AVR320 from JandR for $390.00 which is a steal. But again listen to all the receivers you can save the buy the one you can't live without. Hope this helps
    harmankardon
     
  4. Jefferson G

    Jefferson G Auditioning

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    Thanks alot for the suggestions Don. I think I may have talked my significant other into using the my tax return (she doesn't work) for pleasurable use. This should leave me with about $1400 to spend and from what I guage I should be able to scrap up a very acceptable system.
     
  5. DonJ

    DonJ Second Unit

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    That's a good way to go about it. Just take your time and listen to everything then get what sounds best to you.
     
  6. Brian Foley

    Brian Foley Agent

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    Your Pioneer receiver is the last thing I would replace, personally. Dolby Digital, DTS, 100 watts per channel. That's a decent receiver. In order to hear a noticeable improvement from a receiver upgrade, you're going to have to spend a lot more than $400. So I would concentrate on the speakers for now.
    If it were me, I would upgrade L-C-R, sub, surrounds, in that order. Is having five matching speakers ideal? Yes. That's what I have, and it sounds great. But honestly, there are very few times when it's an issue. Much more important that the three front speakers sound as good as possible, because that is where the overwhelming majority of your sound is going to come from. So I would upgrade those 3 first and save the surrounds for last.
    A sub upgrade can make a huge difference. When I first got into home theater, I bought a so-so Klipsch subwoofer, and thought it was just fine. A year and a half ago, I built a DIY 12" sub using first rate components for about $500, and the difference was amazing. If you want to reproduce the thrill of the movies in your home, you need a good subwoofer, period. Here's a quite good one for $400 that would likely be a huge step up in bass quality for you:
    http://www.acoustic-visions.com/Rava.htm
    As far as speakers go, you could ask 50 people here and get about 20 different answers. Of the brands available in stores, Paradigm represents about the best value, I think. If you're willing to take a gamble and mail order some speakers that you can't hear in advance, though, you might be able to get even more bang for your buck. The surest way to do so is to build your own speakers from kits, which is what I did, but there are other mail order options such as Axiom Audio that reportedly offer very good value for the money.
     
  7. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    Here's a second opinion, Jefferson.

    IMHO opinion timbre matching is critical in the L-C-R domain, less so in the surrounds. There's more ambiance than front-to-back panning in MOST movies. But from a purist standpoint, no argument here that timbre matching is a good thing all around.

    I would wait and buy the L-C-R's in a set that matches. JBL is a very good choice. Good product and a long established brand. There are many others, of course.

    In HT the center is VERY IMPORTANT, arguably more so than the L&R in the sense that most dialog originates from it, but also can be very demanding. A couple trying to carry a conversation (on screen) over Niagra Falls (or any other loud environment) can place great demands on the center channel.

    You do not mention what sub you got, so it is hard for me to say that a sub or receiver should be second.

    Let me just say that, if your sub is so-so, a good one will make a most pleasurable upgrade, as evidenced by the enthusiastic remarks of owners of good subs on this forum.

    Do a search under SVS, HSU, Adire, Stryke, Revel, etc and you will soon learn what I am talking about. A good sub ranks #1 in the "WOW" factor. Again IMHO.

    Best regards and Happy HT!
     
  8. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    Mr. Foley and I must have been writing our responses at the same time and we appear to be on the same wavelength.

    So the "second opinion part" of my previous posting refers to the ones prior, as I agree on just about all he said. He also articulated very well on the subject of speaker brands, which I really shied away from. Brand loyalty in speakers and speakers in general bring out the deepest emotions of hard core audiophiles. Or so it seems.

    In any event, not sure that I would flat-out agree that Paradigm is the "best value around" but it is most certainly another good speaker choice nevertheless. I would not attempt my nomination what the best value out there, because there are some many choices.

    Best regards.
     
  9. Archie M

    Archie M Auditioning

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    This is my first post on this forum, so take it with a grain of salt. I just wanted to let you what I've done since my wife bought me the same HTIB. I actually picked it out based on price and ability to upgrade, knowing full well that it would need upgrades. I was happy (or so I thought) with the tv sounds, but very unhappy w/the stereo. So, I found a pair of polk rt25i at a great sales price and was feeling pretty good (and still am for the money, $99/pr). Recently, I bought a sony cn495 and the differnce blew me away! I may return it and get a polk center to match the L/R. If you wait for your tax return, you can do alot, but if you want somethng immediately, new L/C/R's will be a dramatic improvement.
     
  10. DonJ

    DonJ Second Unit

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    Hey Brian I have to disagree with this statement.
     
  11. Jefferson G

    Jefferson G Auditioning

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    I want to start out by thanking everyone that took time to reply to my message. As a veteran of the net and various other online interaction arenas, it is nice to be so warmly recepted even as a "newbie".

    Don: By chance I mentioned my HT love to a neighbor and he introduced me to his Home Theater....powered by a H/K AVR320. Just for fun I brought over my L/C/R for a demo and even with the low quality speakers there was a minute difference that could be heard (indifferent to the mocking of my wife). The problem here is that I would like to get as much as I can out of the money that I am "allowed" to spend by my wife. She is a strict budgeteer (yes, bugeteer, not budgeter) and monitors my buyin habits closely. It was made very clear whatever was bought is going to be a long-time standing in the Goseland home for years to come. Seeing this, for me the most important thing will be to find L/C/R, Sub, Receiver, surrounds in that order. I'll just see how far my money will stretch

    John: The sub I own is a Pioneer SV-105 (not sure on the Alpha prefix) a self-powered 100 W sub with a range of 35 -20,000. It being my first sub, and only having PC speakers to compare to I was in love. However, since being introduced to the above mentioned neighbors SVS sub, it sounds like a pop-gun. Again the problem here will be to explain to my wife why the sub needs replaced. Good old-fashioned imagination will be needed dearly here.

    All: A note to other readers that would like to contribute some input. I've been contemplating the HTD Level 3 series of speakers. I noticed you can get mains (bookshelves), center and powered sub for 800.00 shipped. Anyone have experience with these and/or is this a good price for the quality and quantity of the merchandise being received.
     
  12. DonJ

    DonJ Second Unit

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    Thanks for taking my views into consideration. If you want to go after a new L/C/R I would look at Paradigm I love mine and at the price range you are looking at you could go Studio Ref or Monitor. I have no idea about HTD Level 3 series, is HTD and acronym because the name is not familiar.
     

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