Where to start

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by JackLonn, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. JackLonn

    JackLonn Agent

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    I am new to digital HT. I purchased a Denon AVR-2500 when they first came out along with a pair of Klipsh CF-2 fl&r, KV3 cc, SW12 sub, and a Boston HD5s for surrounds. Now I'm ready to make the jump to digital and haven't been following the scene enough to know what I need.

    I'm seriously considering a 5803, or comparable separates, along with a new set of speakers. I'd like to continue to use the SW-12 sub but the rest are up for replacement.

    The question I have is, in reading mag. reviews I'll see a set of speakers the reviewer raves about, but usually no mention of a appropriate room size. My new HT room (my wife claims it's my room but I know better [​IMG] ) is 19'x17' w/ a cathedral ceiling that starts at 9' and peaks at 14'. Total room volume is 3,700 ft^3. My budget for the receiver/separates and new speakers is about $6,000. I'm hoping to add a FP later ($3,500 - $4,000 street). So.... any ideas? My biggest problem is distance. I'm 150 miles from any decent audio stores. Yeah, we've go CC and BB, but...

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, JackLonn
     
  2. Jon_Welker

    Jon_Welker Second Unit

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    Jack,

    Seems like you have a pretty big room to fill, especially with those cathedral ceilings. I think you're definitely in the right ballpark from a receiver perspective. Be looking at Denon's, Elite's, Yamaha's, HK, Onkyo, Marantz's, etc. higher end. Or, going separates might be a logical choice as well. Just remember, though, from a budget perspective, the bigger/better receiver you get, the more this takes away from your speaker budget. And, ultimately, those speakers are what's going to have to fill the room. My personal rule of thumb is that if you're going to make tradeoffs, make them in favor of speakers. Yet, you want something good enough to adequately power the speakers, and do a good job as well. I know, it's a b!tch, isn't it?

    Seeing as you're 150 miles from any decent audio/video stores, I would see if you could plan a trip out to some of these places. Kind of like a weekend roadtrip, heck, take a vacation day. Make sure you do your proper homework first, and call ahead to these stores to see what they have. FWIW, I would practice listening to speakers at BB and CC just to get your process down. Also, you might be surprised and find something you like at one of those stores. BB has come a long way in the past year, with carrying Klipsch and Athena, and CC has some good HK and Onkyo stuff, along with Polk and Infinity. And, there's always the internet speaker route, but I'm still a little up in the air on that if you cannot listen to them first through another owner demo. Best of luck, and I hope I helped.
     
  3. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Hello Jack,

    First decide whether you want 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1. I'm guessing you'll move to the latest available. For the budget you have mentioned I would definitely check out separates. Outlaw comes to mind---a processor/power amp duo from them would still leave a large sum for the speakers and they have an excellent return policy.
     
  4. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

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    With $6k budget split 50/50 on speakers and electronics you have a ton of choices. With the size of your room I would be tempted to go 5 identical full range speakers and upgrade sub later when you get FP. Outlaw is certainly a good choice for pre/amp but check out Rotel, Integra, Sherwood/Newcastle,etc. You could also get some great used equip at that price on ebay or audiogon...
     
  5. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I agree with John and just for some suggestions for seperates/speakers I would suggest something like: NAD, Rotel, and Aragon are all very nice. Of course people like different things and they all sound different.

    For speakers I really like Klipsch sound and for a big room I think it will sound more Theater like. Nice warmer/bright sound but it still maintains very nice mids and bass...

    Definantly take a look at Klipsch's reference series. Nicely priced, with very nice sound.
     
  6. JackLonn

    JackLonn Agent

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    Thanks for you input. I'm thinkin'.... How much power would be appropriate for a 3,700ft^3 room assuming average efficiency in the speaker choice. Room is carpeted, the front wall will have 6' high bookcase behind the L&R spkrs (spkrs will be on stands or free standing towers NOT in the bookcase) w/ a screen (I hope) above and behind the cc. Back wall is bare drywall. Okay, it has paint. One side wall has huge fireplace with window flanking and other side wall is fairly open.
     
  7. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    Well, I am of different thinking then most on this site, but I always like to throw out my viewpoint as it just may spark a different way of thinking for some.

    You have a pretty good size room and a cathdral ceiling can be very good for acoustics. If stereo music listening is at all important to you then my suggestion is to do something along the lines of the following:

    Get yourself a nice little receiver for about $500 - Outlaw, Denon, H/K. Just make sure it has the features you want and it will also need preouts for at least the front two channels.

    Use this receiver to power your surrounds and if you chose to have one (with my suggestion you may find yourself not necessarily needing one) your center as well. For these three positions keep the speakers you have and use them - Boston Audio's for surrounds, Klipsch as a center if wanted.

    So now (if my understanding of your budget is correct) you basically have $5500 to spend on a pair front main speakers and a pre and amp stage for them.
    [​IMG]
    http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...ull&1069251257
    Some interent dealer is currently offering a sale price on these nice Reimer Wind GS speakers at 30% off, brand new 5 year warranty, with a 30 day home trial period. Nice deal for a reportedly very good speaker system that is completely hand-built. Here is a link to the company webpage and a review of an earlier version of these speakers.
    http://www.reimerspeakers.com/reviews_musings.htm
    http://www.reimerspeakers.com/windriver.htm
    [​IMG]
    This picture is of their bigger brother the Tetons.

    Then as a pre and amp combo maybe something along the lines of:
    VTL 2.5 and Monarchy SE-100 Deluxe
    http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...515&class&3&4&
    http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...ran&1069430187
    Cary SLP-88 and Rocket-88
    http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...ube&1067000093
    http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...ube&1069168123


    This is but a few of the many options possible, but from my experience you could get better sound going this route for HT and especially for music.
     
  8. JackLonn

    JackLonn Agent

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    Thanks, Scott. You have an interesting idea, but my interest is primarily HT; I'd say about 98%. Okay, that may be a little high, but I'd say I only use my system for critical music listening about 2% of the time. I do use the system for music, but usually background music. All the input I'm getting from my inquiry is really helping me focus on what I need. Thanks to all. One of the items that comes to mind is a really good CC. I have the type of hearing loss that makes it difficult to understand voices when there is background noise, which during action pictures can be a real problem. I find myself saying to my wife "what did they say?" too much I'm afraid.
     
  9. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    That's the exact information that's good to know up front...

    There are other options, but I suggest these:

    Electronics: Outlaw Audio separates... shoot for power amps @ 200 watts per channel... online purchase only, excellent trial/return policy... $2000-2200.

    Subwoofer: any of the online leaders are a good value... SVS... Hsu... Adire... similar trial/return policies... $4-700.

    Speakers (front, center, surround): there are respected online makes here too (Ascend, Axiom), but this is the one area where I would strongly advise you do some preliminary auditioning, even if it meant a 'road trip' to a retailer -- especially in light of your hearing condition... one notable manufacturer skewed toward HT is M&K... other popular and reliable HT performers: NHT, B&K, Paradigm, Canton.

    Speakers vary considerably in sound characteristics, and are most subject to personal preferences and scrutiny.

    Happy hunting.
     
  10. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    JackLonn,

    My requirements are similar in that my emphasis is about 98% movies and I have a similar problem with dialogue intelligibility due to some hearing problems.

    I've been through 6 receivers in the last 7 years and have gotten the best results with my current Pioneer VSX-45TX, primarily due to it's MCACC auto-calibration feature. The unit comes with a microphone to be placed at the primary listening position. One then selects auto-setup in the onscreen setup display and after about 5 minutes or so of wierd noises the receiver sets volume levels for each speaker, speaker delay, and performs an equalization to correct for frequency response problesm due to speaker characteristics and placement.

    The result was the best intelligibility of dialogue, best sound detail, and most convincing surround effects I've ever experienced.

    The 45TX is now discontinued, but the MCACC feature is included in all of their Elite models from the 53TX on up.

    Yamaha also has added this feature with an even more sophisticated equalization stage on some if it's models this year.

    I would strongly recommend that in choosing your new receiver you seriously consider one with this feature. Many receivers offer the flexibility to do an effective equalization manually, including one of my previous ones (A Sony ES model), but I've never been able to achieve comparable results to what the MCACC can do automatically in 5 minutes.

    I think speakers are so much of an individual preference that I'd hesitate to make any recommendation.

    About the only thing I'd say is that due to the size of your room and your hearing characteristics it would be wise to avoid the tiny WAF friendly satellites, but it sounds like you already were far from inclined to go in that direction.
     
  11. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

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    Jacklonn:

    Steve's thoughts on the MCACC are good - it can really steer the sound quality towards your listening position. I have one other weird tweak you might want to try. When I was temporarily without a center speaker I moved a pair of speakers (POLk Lsi15s) to either side of my TV (as close in as possible) and split the center signal to them. I then used my 45tx to calibrate levels, etc. When my neighbor, who has a similar hearing problem, came over to watch a movie, he said it was the first time in 10 years he could understand the dialog in a film. He was so excited he had me write down all the model numbers in my HT. I have since gone back to a more conventional setup, but it might be worth a try for you...[​IMG]
     
  12. JackLonn

    JackLonn Agent

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    I finally made my purchase. After watching FOTR on my new HT 1000 I had an great idea. Keep my CF2's and just get new CC and SS's, then spend the saved $ on Pre/Pro and Amp. Since I already had Klipsch (and like them) I went with RC7 front and RS7 on the sides. To power the new system I went with Anthem AVM 20 and MCA 50. I've got to say, it KICKS ASS! I can't believe how loud it will go, with NO distortion.

    Now my wife wants a more powerful sub, one that she can feel! NO, you can't have her. Any suggestions for subs. I see alot of SV subs recommended here and the prices look right.
     
  13. Heath_E

    Heath_E Stunt Coordinator

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  14. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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  15. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    I second (or third, o wherever i am) spending more on the speakers than the frontend...

    if it were me, i would consider the outlaw 950/7100, especially if you want 7 channels, but i would consider even going cheaper...

    if you go 5-channel, look at the rotel rsx-1055

    but i would spend less than 1/3 on speakers...i might not be willing to go all the way down to th $500 range, but I can't say its a bad idea...

    you can also get the nad t762 for less than $1000 if you try, its got a fan though...

    Btw, for my initial purchase, i did about $3.7k on speakers and $800 on a reveceiver...i have since bought the rotel, and will be looking at selling my speakers and moving up in the world...then ill get a separate amp, then a separate 2 channel pre/pro

    Rich
     

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