What to upgrade?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lee Carbray, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. Lee Carbray

    Lee Carbray Second Unit

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    I am thinking about doing some upgrading in the new year. I cannot afford a good enough TV to warrant an upgrading that, and I plan to build my own sub. I also am happy with my dvd, so that leaves speakers or receiver. My current set up is

    Receiver: Kenwood 509
    Mains: JBL n28
    Center: JBL n-center
    Surrounds: JBL N26

    My budget is going to be around $1000 cnd. My questions is, is it worth it at that budget to upgrade. If so what would make a better improvement, speakers(I am thinking just the mains so it would actually be an upgrade) or receiver. Running 80% ht 20% music. My room is about 20' x 10' x 8'.

    Anybodies $0.02 is appreciated.
     
  2. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I would upgrade your receiver to a Denon 1803, Pioneer 811S, or Panasonic HE200 and add another pair of N26s for a 7.1 speaker setup. I'm not sure about exchange rates, but i know this could be done for around $600 US at the most, including shipping, if ordered online.

    The N28s are great speakers, and to upgrade without leaving the N series, you wouldn't be gaining much, especially since you're heavily weighted in favor of HT. 2ch music without a sub would sound better with N38s or N310Ds, but HT w/ a sub would not be noticeably improved.

    Also, you didn't mention what sub, if any, you're using. If you currently don't have a sub, you could get a Sony SA-WM40 for around $130 US + shipping.

    Looking at the best prices online you could get the following (all prices US):

    Denon 1803 - $333 + SH
    Sony SA-WM40 - $128 + SH
    JBL N26s - $90 + SH

    TOTAL - $551 + shipping

    This price would be even less if you went with the Pioneer 811S, which (in my opinion) sounds just as good as the Denon 1803. I had the 811S and upgraded to the 1803. It was a free upgrade through a friend, so i can objectively say that both sound equally good. The Denon does add a few features (80hz crossover, phono input) and is built like a tank, but it lacks the full pre-outs of the 811S, and the remote is not as user friendly.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  3. JayDaniel

    JayDaniel Stunt Coordinator

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    Before you ask for suggestions for upgrades, tell us what you aren't happy with. What don't you like about your current setup. Figure that out first, and then you can get some better, more specific help.

    For example, you seem to have a nice system. Does it not have enough power? If so, another receiver may not help. I think the Kenwood is rated at 100 watts/channel. You may want to go the separates route.

    If it is your speakers your are unhappy with, I'd suggest adding a sub first (borrow one for the weekend) and see if it makes your speakers "come alive". I'd think that since you are using your setup for 80% HT, then a sub is an absolute must. You might find you really like your system if a sub was added.

    Hope this helps.

    JayDaniel
     
  4. Lee Carbray

    Lee Carbray Second Unit

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    Actually I do have a sub, but have already planned to upgrade that with a DYI.

    It's not that I am really unhappy with anything, I just have the upgrade bug that's all. All I wan't to know is with my current set up will I get better performance gains putting the money towards a receiver or speakers. I am not sure that for $1000 it would make a big difference and thought I would get some opinions.
     
  5. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Since you have pretty good speakers, i'd say replacing them isn't the way to go. That's why i suggested getting a receiver that does 6.1 decoding and has 7.1 speaker setups as an option, then adding 2 more N26s for the rear channel. Upgrading to better mains still within the N series won't offer pronounced gains in performace, other than some in 2 channel music when not using a sub. Since you're balance is 80/20 in favor of HT, bigger N Series mains would not be the best alocation of funds.

    If want to put all of your $$ into one component, then i would say go w/ the receiver. For $1000 canadian, you might even be able to pick up a Pioneer Elite 43TX or Denon 3802 up online. This will make a dramatic improvement on 5.1 and 2ch music, but you won't get the full effect until you move up to 5.1 or 6.1.

    You could get a Pioneer Elite 43TX and another pair of N26s for $790 US + shipping, online. That's probably more than $1000 canadian, i'm not sure about the exchange rates. A Denon 3802 and another pair of N26s would run you around $760 US + shipping, online. This is still probably more than $1000 canadian, but i'm guessing it's really close.

    Just a couple of options to thing about.
     
  6. Greg*go

    Greg*go Supporting Actor

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    Lee,
    I'd definitely upgrade the receiver in that situation. As far as the 6.1 or 7.1 is concerned though, I suggest you listen to them before investing any kind of money into it. I've heard people say that the 6.1 is better then 5.1 in larger rooms, but isn't needed for smaller rooms. It's all a matter of taste though; some people like it, some don't. (I believe discrete 7.1 still isn't out yet, so I'm not even worried about that format right now) The Denon 1803 and the Yamaha 5560 are both decent receivers for US$500 MSRP. You might want to take a look at them. But then, if you have the upgrade bug right now, these receivers probably won't get rid of it. SO you might want to hold off and wait til you have $2000 or so. [​IMG]
    I'll probably be looking for a receiver sometime in early summer for about the same price range. I'm not trying to look at anything yet (I have enough things to worry about right now), but sometimes you can't help but look when you are bored.
     

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