Upgrade or Scrap my Sony HTIB for a new system?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Stephen Gladwin, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. Stephen Gladwin

    Stephen Gladwin Stunt Coordinator

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    First off, I just want to say that this is a GREAT forum and has been an integral part of my continuing education in HT! I wasn't sure if this exact area was the appropriate place to post my question, but here goes....

    I have a Sony HT-DDW670, 600 Watt home theater system. Basically, I'd like to have more oomph and realistic bass for a sub (my current Sony sub is 100 watts) and more definition/clarity for the center channel. I have around $800 to spend and the room I'm in is 9ft, 1 inch high X 19ft, 7inch X 13ft, 3 inch. So I'm thinking of two things:

    1)Do I buy a new center channel and a new sub, and keep the other sony speakers (the front left/right ones and the surrounds) OR...
    2)Do I scrap the system completely for a new one?

    ---If I did #1, I was thinking of buying a JBL EC35 center speaker and a SVS 25-31 PCi subwoofer. My questions for this route are:
    a) Would these higher-end speakers overpower the remaining sony speakers and make the system sound lopsided? All the sony speakers are 100w/ch. Also, how do people feel about these components? I know everyone loves SVS, but how about the JBL for a center?
    b) Is my Sony 600 watt receiver powerful enough to drive these new components?
    ---If I did #2, which speaker systems do you recommend for my price of $800? I've seen wowie-zowie systems like the HSU Ventriloquist and the like, but are these just overpriced white elephants?
    ---Finally, which cables do you recommend for connecting high-end speakers?

    ***THANK YOU in advance for the help!
     
  2. Jonathan T.

    Jonathan T. Stunt Coordinator

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    You can use any sub you want with that receiver, and it won't matter since all the receiver has to do it output a line level signal.

    As for the JBL center, its not bad, but I think you could do better. Reason why is you have to expect to eventually replace ALL of your speakers, and if you start with a JBL center, you are stuck with JBL for the rest if your speaakers unless you mismatch them, which is less that optimal. JBLs lower priced speakers are only so so, IMO.

    If I were you I would look at getting a center from Infinity, or Paradigm, maybe athena. SO many choices.

    Now, is option 1 or 2 better? Well with option to you could go with a Infinty Primus Home theater pack, and get a sub of your choice to go with it, and come in around 800, and that would give you a significanlty better system that you have now. But if you choose option 1, and build that system over time, you will end up with something exceptional.

    Peronsally, I'd go option 1.

    As for your cables, just buy good quality heavy guage speaker wire. Lamp cord would be considerably cheaper, but I find the wires to be course and hard to work with, so I think buying real speaker wire is worth it.

    For interconnects, buy good quality, but do not buy the premium grade stuff, especially with digital cables like Optical....
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Stephen, since you're asking for specific speaker advice, your thread has been moved to Speakers. Remember, the Basics area is for general discussion at the beginner level.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Nothing from HSU is a white elephant. Though I have not heard the VT-12, I highly doubt it would be an exception to the very high quality of their other products.

    I think you're shooting a tad high on the sub (not that that is totally a bad thing) and leaving yourself too little for the other speakers. That sub would be a 500% difference from the Sony sub, IMO. Unless you have a very large room, I'd say you would be fine with a PB-10 and put the extra $$ toward upgrading all 3 front speakers. You could probably do it too by checking www.ecost.com and www.onecall.com for specials on JBL Northridge E speakers. This will make a big impact on your sound quality. Will your receiver handle it? Yes, but I'd look at upgrading it down the road too.

    You could also look at Paradigm's Titans and a CC-170. Should run you around $400, leaving the rest for the sub, which would stretch your budget a bit for the PB-10, so maybe you'd have to space it out a bit.

    Any decent speaker wire should work fine. Check out Soundking at www.partsexpress.com
     
  5. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    You might consider getting a new sub and pair of front speakers, and run a phantom center channel. A good pair of main speakers will image well enough that you can do without a center channel for awhile.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Brian's idea is also a good one. I've never been impressed with the phantom center, but your sound would still be improved and you will end up with a better pair of speakers + sub than if you try to get a set of 3 + sub.
     
  7. Stephen Gladwin

    Stephen Gladwin Stunt Coordinator

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    Garsh! Thanks so much for the detailed and prompt responses everyone! You've given me much food for thought and some nice options. Maybe I'll post again soon in this thread with some of my speaker candidates.
     
  8. Arcadiy Kantor

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    For what it's worth, I just bought a set of JBL speakers from J&R: I got 2x E80s, the EC35, and a pair of the E20s. These speakers go on clearance there on occasion, and I managed to get all five speakers for a total of $570. I have been very pleased with the sound, calibrated with MCACC from my receiver.

    If I were you, what I would do is buy the front three speakers for now, and use the Sony fronts as your surrounds. If you are thrifty enough with those three front speakers, you should be able to fit the SVS PB10-ISD into your budget as well.
     
  9. Stephen Gladwin

    Stephen Gladwin Stunt Coordinator

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    OK...I've made up my mind. It seems like the popular consensus around here is it's best to pump up the LCR speakers. I am pretty sure I'm getting an SVS PB10. So that's around $470 (price includes shipping) off from my $800 budget. So I have around $300 for LCR speakers. How is the JBL EC35 for a center? But I've heard good things about Athena too. And does it make much of a difference if a center is 2-way or 3-way? Finally, what do you guys recommend for LR speakers?
     
  10. Arcadiy Kantor

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    Your L/R speakers and the center channel should match, so you're definitely best off getting all three speakers from the same company/product line.

    As to the EC35, I think it's a pretty good center for its price ($180 shipped at J&R). I do think it's a step up from the Athena center, which is considered by many to be the "weak" point of the Athena line. But then again, the Athena center can be had for only $100...
     
  11. Stephen Gladwin

    Stephen Gladwin Stunt Coordinator

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    Alright...I think I'm ready to take the plunge[​IMG] I'm getting two JBL E80s, a JBL E35 center channel, and 50 ft of Monster Cable XPMS50. I'm holding off for a little while on the SVS sub. *Only question: is the Monster Cable a good match for these speakers? Thanks again everyone!
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Monster is fine. Nothing better or worse about it, except that sometimes it is a bit overpriced. I use it in my main system (X1S for mains, paintable XP for surrounds), but I always picked it up at a big discount.

    Wire will generally make the least difference in your system, unless you've selected an AWG that is too small for your application, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.
     
  13. Arcadiy Kantor

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    I wouldn't waste the money on the fancy Monster Cable, personally. That money is better saved to be put towards your shiny new subwoofer. [​IMG]
     

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