Upgraditis: Which would produce the greatest improvement?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Karim Nogas, Oct 21, 2001.

  1. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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    I have upgraditis and am wondering which of the following would improve my system the most.
    Currently:
    Receiver: Denon AVR-3200
    Mains: Mirage OM-10
    Center: Mirage OM-C2
    Rears: Mirage OM-R2
    Sub: Mirage PS-10
    DVD: Sony DVP-S500D
    1) The DVD player is a second generation Sony. It’s not a highly reviewed item but it has done the job. It is used with a Sony 53XBR300 and produces a gorgeous picture. Sitting at about 13-15’, I don’t think a progressive scan player (even a Camelot which I was thinking at one point) would make a big impact. The only consistent problem is moire which might be helped with ISF calibration.
    2) The 3200 doesn’t support DTS (it needs a Technics add-on). But with all the new sound formats, I was thinking about a Denon 5800 or 4802. But then that would mean I’d need two new speakers for the extra surround channel. I was thinking I could move my OM-10s to act as the surround L/R and the OM-R2s would act as the surround back L/R. I would then probably go with the new Mirage OM-5s for new mains. New loudspeakers and receiver would be the most expensive option.
    3) The sub has also been considered a weak link although it has done the job. It has a 10” cone and internal amp. I had a hard time setting it up but I think I finally have it set right at 80Hz, LFE 0 dB on the Denon, 2 out of 10 volume on the sub and 9/9 max bass on the Denon. This produces substantial bass at reference level (0 db on the Denon) that shakes the room without hurting the listener or overbearing dialogue.
    That being said, everyone is raving about SVS and I’m wondering if a “real” subwoofer (not that mine has done a bad job), would be a worthwhile upgrade.
    4) Last, although I don’t know anything about separates, I’ve been reading and moving in that direction might be feasible. I was thinking about maybe using the Denon as a pre-amplifier and buying a 5-channel amp. Alternatively, maybe a couple of monoblocks to just power the mains.
    I’m not looking to spend just for the sake of spending and saying I have another component, but want to see substantial improvement as I am pleased with what I have. That being said, let’s assume a budget of around $5,000 US.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank-you
     
  2. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    With that equipment list, I'd say the sub would be the biggest. Then the receiver.
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    Dustin
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    My Adire Tempest Sonosub
     
  3. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Versatility would be my motivation.
    I love bass, but I would go for a new receiver/speakers.
    Personally, when i upgraded to the less expensive 3801 with DTS-ES and EX capability, i just loved it.
    Depending on your room size, you can get by with just one additional speaker.
    Not only do i love the sound of movies (TPM), but there are a few really nice music CD's out there that take advantage of DTS-ES (Sheryl Crowe-Globe Sessions) that i love.
    My .02 cents [​IMG]
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  4. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Karim, I'd say receiver (or pre/pro and amps) first then the subwoofer for upgrades. I think a receiver with more power or even better a pre/pro and multi-channel amp would really bring out the sound from the Mirage speakers you have.
    Patrick
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  5. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    Definately upgrade the receiver.
    The Denon 5800 is a beauty but also
    a 5 channel outboard amp and pre/pro would be
    a nice addition.
    Add an SVS Ultra to the LFE.
    I bet the Mirage speakers sound great already.
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    Trevor..
    My HomeTheater S.E. Sonically Enhanced
    *Outdated pictures due to recent upgrades!
     
  6. Craig

    Craig Second Unit

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    I vote for the subwoofer. I have the Mirage OM10s for my mains and I replaced my Mirage BPS150i with a single SVS 20-39PC, the difference is astounding. As soon as the budget allows I'm going to add a second SVS, they're that good!
    [Edited last by Craig on October 21, 2001 at 07:01 PM]
     
  7. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the reply guys.
    Trevor,
    So you wouldn't use the Denon-3200 as a pre-amp? What pre-amp and 5-channel amp would you recommend?
    TIA.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

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    Karim,
    Before you go out and upgrade your front end, you need to evaluate your individual situation. For instance, to you typically buy movies, or just rent them?
    If you frequent the video stores, there is no reason to worry about DTS or 6.1, as most stores rent only the “common denominator” Dolby Digital 5.1 discs. Personally, I’m a renter, and I have never missed 6.1 or DTS.
    Of you buy a lot of discs, then it might be worthwhile to consider a DTS or 6.1 upgrade, since you would be able to choose releases that utilize those formats.
    You seem to be satisfied with your sub, so there is no reason to get another one. I would instead recommend a dedicated equalizer for your sub as a “must have” upgrade. You will be amazed at the improvement, and it will be cheaper than any of the recommendations you have received so far. If during the testing to set up the EQ you determine that your sub is not as good as you thought it was, then you might consider upgrading to a SVS.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
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    My Equipment List
    [Edited last by Wayne A. Pflughaupt on October 22, 2001 at 04:12 PM]
     
  9. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    with out knowing a bit about you, your tastes and your room its impossible for us to help you in a meaningful way. How large is your room? Do you have room for a rear center(s), do you tend to be a 2 channel music guy or a movie guy? Personally if it were up to me I'd add a decent set of amps...either a 5 channel amp, a set of monoblocks or two of the acurus amps that are now available for a good price or even the new Outlaw power amp (Approx $1500). Continue using your denon as a pre amp for the time being (does it have 5.1 pre outs?) and wait till the new Outlaw pre amp is released then sell the 3200 and replace it the the outlaw 950. ($approx $900) At this time you'll have the hard ware to support 6.1 surround so you can then add or move speakers as you see fit. Assuming you're willing to spend all $5K that should still have budget left over to add a rear surround and an SVS or Adrie Sub...you'd also have a kick butt audio system....of course if your pre amp can do DTS you'll need to upgrade the dvd player as well in which case I'd look at one of the new Sony SACD players. There's one coming out soon (if not already) called the DVP-NS500V that should retail for $280ish and one around $850 called the DVP-NS900V.
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  10. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, here's more info:
    Room Size: 16.5' x 21.5' x 10' (cathedral ceiling)
    Listening/Viewing Distance: 13' to 15'
    Listening Level for Movies: -8db to 0db (Reference Level)
    Listening Level for Music: -20db to -10db
    Movies (65%) to Music (35%).
    I own a little over 300 DVDs and purchase new ones every month so the collection will keep growing. DTS and the new formats are not a concern until there is more software available. If I do purchase a new pre-amp or receiver, I would want to future proof myself.
    For music, I prefer two-channel over anything else.
    The Denon does have 5.1 pre-outs. The OM-R2s are wall mounted so if I go to a 6.1/7.1 system, they will have to act as the surround back channel.
    I am leaning toward separates and the Cinepro 3k6III multi-channel amp looks intriguing. It's for 6 channels but you can bi-amp the center channel.
     
  11. Mike_Reznik

    Mike_Reznik Stunt Coordinator

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    Karim,
    I tend to agree that your speakers should sound just fine. Based on the dimentions of the room and having a cathedral ceiling, your best upgrade option would be getting separates. A nice five channel poweramp (many good choices out there around $2k) and adding a second sub. If you still have some money left over you should get a new sound processor.
    Here are just a few suggestiong IMHO:
    PowerAmps around $2K all at 200 wpc or higher:
    Sunfire Cinema Grand
    Rotel RMB-1095
    B&K Ref 7250
    Parasound HCA-2205
    Sub:
    a second PS-10
    SVS
    or paradigm servo15
    Processors:
    I can't really comment on this b/c I'm not sure what you are looking for 5.1 or 7.1, DTS ES, etc...
    You should definately check out audiogon.com You can find some great deals on audio equiptment there.
    Good luck!
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  12. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Mike and everyone else for your suggestions.
    I think it could be rewarding in the long-term to slowly convert to separates.
     
  13. Ronald Aguilar

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    Karim-
    You might have a little problem with the separates. You have pre-outs on your front and center channel only. You don't have it for the rear. I also had the Denon 3200. I found that it was a little under powered! It could have been just me (or my speakers, Energy C-8's, C-2's and AC-300). Anyway, I put a Denon POA8300 for the fronts and center and it made a large difference. I was still concerned about the rear though. I then moved into anew house and my wife said that the speakers sounded a little flat. I upgraded the amp to a Parasound 1500-A (I think) with more power and more life came out of the speakers. Anyway, after time I ended up upgrading the receiver to a Denon 4800 and wow....
    I don't currently have a SVS, but a Energy 12 inch sub. I have young kids, so the SVS is out of the picture. They just produce too much bass and it would keep the kids up at night (when my wife and I watch movies). I even had to turn down my sub. Anyway, a nice addition was bass shakers! Now we get the shaking without shaking the whole house. That was a nice addition.
    So, to sum it up, I add power to the front 3 speakers or replace the receiver.
    Ron Aguilar
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  14. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Ron!
    I did notice (after my above post) that the 3200 doesn't have pre-outs for the surrounds.
    Slowly but surely...
     
  15. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Receiver, is the best bet I think. Granted, I'm pretty sure the 3200 really sounds great, but you can get a receiver with pre-outs, 6 or 7 channel inputs for DVD-Audio or SACD Multi-channel, DTS including ES and DD-EX, DPLii all for a reasonable price and equal quality if not better depending on how much you are willing to spend. Speakers are the most prominent source of sound difference when an upgrade occurs but a receiver can make a noticble if not a substantial difference in sound reproduction. I'd get the receiver, when I got my new receiver (HK AVR 500) it made such a profound difference from my old Kenwood (209). I had some cheap Jensen HT speakers as well as some Sony bookshelf speakers for surrounds and I heard things from the speakers I never heard before using the Kenwood. Receiver, man be the receiver, do the receiver [​IMG]
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