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Upgrading My Whole System in the Next Few Months- But I'm a Bit Confused... Can I Get Some Guidance/Advice (1 Viewer)

Dreichler

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Connor
  • So this is kind of a long one, but am looking for any help, advice, or opinions in any portion.

  • So my current home theater setup is nothing too special. It's a 5.1 as follows:
    • Denon AVR-S730H
    • Older Onkyo Center and Surround L/R
    • Front L/R Miller and Kreisel
    • Onkyo 10" Sub
    • The whole system is nothing special and I have had it for years- apart from the receiver

  • So here is my confusion...
    • As much as I'd like to buy a complete speaker setup like the Klipsch Reference pack or the Definitive Technology ProCinema 6D, I know I can put together a better system by piecing it together individually.
    • I use the system for 70% Gaming, 25% Movies and TV, 5% Music (If That).
    • Should I save myself the headache of constant comparison of different speakers and just get one of these systems?
      • My budget is $1000. I would prefer to just upgrade the speakers, as I do not care to get a new sub- mine does the job.
      • Should I also be upgrading my receiver?
        • Currently, unless my receiver is Multi Channel Stereo, any other sound mode just sounds horrid and literally unbearable (Dolby + Virtual, Dolby + NeuralX, Multi In + Dolby S, etc.) Not sure if I just have it setup improperly or what the deal is but the only bearable sound mode is the Multi Channel Stereo.
    • What really confuses me the most is the matching of speakers- timbre. I understand what timbre is, but I do not understand how I look at a center and bookshelf speakers and know they will fluently match...
      • Is there specific specifications or design in each product that will identify this "match?"

  • Here is what I currently have planned to purchase:
    • Center: Polk S35
    • Front L/R: Polk S50 Towers
    • Surround L/R: Polk S10 Bookshelf
    • Down the road, I'd like to add rear surrounds or maybe something for Atmos capabilities. My current receiver supports 7.2, but I have not seen anywhere in it an Atmos mode or setting.

  • If I am just looking at this all wrong, please let me know. I am more than happy to view, listen, and learn from other peoples knowledge and experience.
 

Dave Upton

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  • So this is kind of a long one, but am looking for any help, advice, or opinions in any portion.

  • So my current home theater setup is nothing too special. It's a 5.1 as follows:
    • Denon AVR-S730H
    • Older Onkyo Center and Surround L/R
    • Front L/R Miller and Kreisel
    • Onkyo 10" Sub
    • The whole system is nothing special and I have had it for years- apart from the receiver

  • So here is my confusion...
    • As much as I'd like to buy a complete speaker setup like the Klipsch Reference pack or the Definitive Technology ProCinema 6D, I know I can put together a better system by piecing it together individually.
    • I use the system for 70% Gaming, 25% Movies and TV, 5% Music (If That).
    • Should I save myself the headache of constant comparison of different speakers and just get one of these systems?
      • My budget is $1000. I would prefer to just upgrade the speakers, as I do not care to get a new sub- mine does the job.
      • Should I also be upgrading my receiver?
        • Currently, unless my receiver is Multi Channel Stereo, any other sound mode just sounds horrid and literally unbearable (Dolby + Virtual, Dolby + NeuralX, Multi In + Dolby S, etc.) Not sure if I just have it setup improperly or what the deal is but the only bearable sound mode is the Multi Channel Stereo.
    • What really confuses me the most is the matching of speakers- timbre. I understand what timbre is, but I do not understand how I look at a center and bookshelf speakers and know they will fluently match...
      • Is there specific specifications or design in each product that will identify this "match?"

  • Here is what I currently have planned to purchase:
    • Center: Polk S35
    • Front L/R: Polk S50 Towers
    • Surround L/R: Polk S10 Bookshelf
    • Down the road, I'd like to add rear surrounds or maybe something for Atmos capabilities. My current receiver supports 7.2, but I have not seen anywhere in it an Atmos mode or setting.

  • If I am just looking at this all wrong, please let me know. I am more than happy to view, listen, and learn from other peoples knowledge and experience.
Hi Connor,

You almost always want to have matched speakers. Timbre refers to the quality of the sound not related to the actual frequency. You might recognize this as the coloration of sounds, ie woody, metallic , bright, dull, dark or warm.

I would strongly recommend going for ELAC speakers over Polk - better sounding and a better value too.

Here's the system I most often recommend. You can piece it together without the sub or surrounds and add to it over time if it's a stretch for the budget.

Amazon product
Regarding your receiver, stick with it for now, but once you have budget I would definitely move to something with more "guts" to drive your speakers. Try looking for a good used deal at accessories4less.com - you can't go wrong with Marantz receivers.
 

JohnRice

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Connor, I can almost assure you that your system is set up wrong, based on your comments. I don't know what's wrong, or what you're expecting, but All Channel Music should be an awful way to watch movies. Some people like it for music, and I disagree with that as well, but to each their own.

I second Dave on the ELAC Debut 2 speakers. An excellent value speaker, and just a very nice, liveable sound. Great imaging as well, which really benefits movies.

You can keep your sub for now, but I guarantee you that you can do a LOT better, without spending too much. The nice thing is, these things can be done in stages. You can replace your current speakers with the ELACs within your budget. Under your budget, actually, especially of you go with bookshelf models in the front instead of floor standing ones.

BTW, I stay away from additional processing. Since you have a 5.1 system, when you play a 5.1 soundtrack it really doesn't need any additional processing. Just straight DD or DTS, no Neural, Virtual etc.
 

Dreichler

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Connor
Connor, I can almost assure you that your system is set up wrong, based on your comments. I don't know what's wrong, or what you're expecting, but All Channel Music should be an awful way to watch movies. Some people like it for music, and I disagree with that as well, but to each their own.

I second Dave on the ELAC Debut 2 speakers. An excellent value speaker, and just a very nice, liveable sound. Great imaging as well, which really benefits movies.

You can keep your sub for now, but I guarantee you that you can do a LOT better, without spending too much. The nice thing is, these things can be done in stages. You can replace your current speakers with the ELACs within your budget. Under your budget, actually, especially of you go with bookshelf models in the front instead of floor standing ones.

BTW, I stay away from additional processing. Since you have a 5.1 system, when you play a 5.1 soundtrack it really doesn't need any additional processing. Just straight DD or DTS, no Neural, Virtual etc.

Ya I agree that something in my settings must be messed up. It could be that I never setup with Audyssey as I never had the microphone. But it is also so odd that the Multi Ch Stereo setting sounds the best- and honestly it does not sound bad, its actually quite clear, crisp, and deep. But, when switching even to Pure/Auto, it just sounds so plain/bland, like it is almost playing through an iPhone speaker or laptop speaker.
 

JohnRice

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The issue with All Channel Music is that it's sending everything to all the speakers all the time. That's not what movie surround sound is.
 

Dave Upton

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Ya I agree that something in my settings must be messed up. It could be that I never setup with Audyssey as I never had the microphone. But it is also so odd that the Multi Ch Stereo setting sounds the best- and honestly it does not sound bad, its actually quite clear, crisp, and deep. But, when switching even to Pure/Auto, it just sounds so plain/bland, like it is almost playing through an iPhone speaker or laptop speaker.
It sounds like your subwoofer is poorly integrated, and the all channels stereo mode is actually falsely increasing the base output by routing the full signal to every speaker. a good calibration of your system would probably resolve most of this, but you will definitely get a huge upgrade out of new speakers.
 

Al.Anderson

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If you didn't calibrate, then the normal sound modes will likely sound bad, or weak. All channel music/stereo is usually louder, which often makes it seem better. (FWIW, I do like it for music though.) And Pure/Direct often sounds bad will less than pristine recordings.
 

Pupp

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I used to own an Anthem/Paradigm set up using MillenianOne speakers and a good Paradigm subwoofer. I can't remember the model #, but it's been replaced by the Seismic 110.

I'm actually saving up to get that exact setup again, with the exception of getting the Seismic 110. The Anthem MRX 520 is it's current receiver, I had the first generation MRX 500.
Yes, I'd love to get a much more expensive Anthem receiver, and a better line of of Paradigm's speakers, but cost wise, it's the one I can afford, and frankly, the MilleniaOne speakers are pretty awesome for the size. Just use the Anthem receiver, because there is a massive difference in sound quality between a mass market under $1000 AV receiver, and a high end AV receiver.

Anthem AV and Paradigm are sister companies. Not exactly sure, but I think two brother started the companies.
 

Todd Erwin

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Is the firmware up to date on your Denon receiver? I have the AVR-S930H on one of my rooms, and it did not have Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, or DTS Virtual:X until I ran a firmware update. There are also some bug fixes in the updates. If the receiver is connected to the internet, you should be able to run updates from the setup menu.

Running the Audyssey calibration program should fix some of the issues you are experiencing. You can pick up an Audyssey microphone (model ACM1HB) on eBay for under $50.
 

Todd Erwin

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Regarding your receiver, stick with it for now, but once you have budget I would definitely move to something with more "guts" to drive your speakers. Try looking for a good used deal at accessories4less.com - you can't go wrong with Marantz receivers.
Spring is a good time to shop for receivers, too, as last year's models often get reduced substantially to make room for the new models. In most cases, the difference between this year's models and last year's are minimal (kind of like cars).
 

Pupp

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Spring is a good time to shop for receivers, too, as last year's models often get reduced substantially to make room for the new models. In most cases, the difference between this year's models and last year's are minimal (kind of like cars).

Case in point: I have a great 4k OLED TV, but it's going to take a while to save up for a Anthem AV + Paradigm setup, but needed something desperately as an improvement to the TV's speakers, and found a KIipsch Bar 48 on sale for nearly half off. Nothing like a bonified high end system, but at $300, it's a massive improvement over the 10 watt TV speakers facing backward in my television.

I just bought the sound bar. It's clearly on clearance sale to make way for the new 2020 model.
 

Dave Upton

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Spring is a good time to shop for receivers, too, as last year's models often get reduced substantially to make room for the new models. In most cases, the difference between this year's models and last year's are minimal (kind of like cars).
I'll add in that buying used is a tremendous option. Check out the classifieds forums here and at other fora, as well as usaudiomart.com and ebay - you might find a deal on a slightly older high end model that is too good to pass up.
 

Todd Erwin

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I'll add in that buying used is a tremendous option. Check out the classifieds forums here and at other fora, as well as usaudiomart.com and ebay - you might find a deal on a slightly older high end model that is too good to pass up.
Just be sure it was manufactured after 2015 to be sure it is HDCP 2.2 compliant.
 

Pupp

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I'm planning on just getting a new system installed. The first time I got a Home Theater setup, years ago, I cobbled most of it off of ebay.
 

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