Which Speakers to Upgrade First??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John_VI, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. John_VI

    John_VI Second Unit

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    Hello folks. Just found HTF recently and am enjoying learning about HT on an exponential curve!!
    I'm shopping for new HT speakers, but am not sure I'll have the money to buy the entire package all at once. I have a Kenwood VR-309 receiver (100x5, DD5.1, DTS) which is okay. But....my current speakers came in a cheapo Sony "home theater in a box" set-up, including bookshelf mains, a small center and tiny surrounds. I'm also using a no-name sub. Overall, it's a pretty crappy speaker set-up, but it beats the heck out of TV speakers!
    Regardless of which speaker brand I select, I plan to use mains/surrounds/center from the same mfr to get the best "matched" sound. The sub MAY also be from the same mfr, but not necessarily.
    If I'm going to replace one set at a time - mains, center, surrounds, sub - which should I start with? Most of my use will be movies/TV, and I've read of the great importance of the center channel in movies. My thinking is that I should start with the center, then do the mains, then the surrounds, and finally the sub. The sub would definitely come last if I selected powered mains.
    Thanks in advance for the advice!! [​IMG]
     
  2. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    I would start with the center as well but if you can, save for alittle longer and get the center and front left, right at the same time. The surrounds are not as important as the front stage.
     
  3. Kevin N

    Kevin N Stunt Coordinator

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    I would always be more inclined to set up a really good 2 channel system before moving on to the rest of the setup. If you don't have a sub, you're going to lose alot of bass by just upgrading the center channel. That being said, yes the center channel is the most important channel in a full 5.1/6.1 setup, but, imo, if it's not a complete setup, you'll get the best sound from two good mains.
     
  4. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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    i'm with kevin - mains first, center channel second.
     
  5. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    I agree the mains are a good idea if he was starting an HT, but John already has speakers and wants to replace them. Plus the setup he has now has a sub. I say go for the center because that speaker is use for about 75% of the time in HT.
     
  6. Doug Drake

    Doug Drake Stunt Coordinator

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    John - IMHO, if you can't get all 3 front speakers right now (or would have to compromise the quality to buy all 3 now versus getting just the mains now), put your money towards the best mains you can afford from a speaker family that includes a good, matching center. Then, until you can get the center, run your receiver without a center channel ("phantom" mode) and it will "create" a center channel out of the two mains, and it will match perfectly!!
    Doug
     
  7. John_VI

    John_VI Second Unit

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    Thanks for the advice, folks. I definitely plan to keep the front three speakers matched for obvious reasons. I'm going to keep my eye on the "For Sale" page here and on e-Bay to try to pick up a good deal, and buy whichever speakers I can find a deal on first (mains or center). Then I'll just bide my time and hoard my money until the others become available - or until I break down and buy new ones!!
     
  8. Paul_Dunlop

    Paul_Dunlop Second Unit

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    Hi
    I would upgrade the fronts first, then the center
    Also, remember that by upgrading the fronts, you are also upgrading the surrounds - (by moving the older bookshelfs to the rear). This will give you a good upgrade in one shot.
    Have fun
     
  9. John_VI

    John_VI Second Unit

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    Paul - That's a good idea, and I had considered that. Unfortunately, I have very little room at the rear of my listening position to properly place bookshelf speakers (on stands). My couch is in the middle of - and up against - the back wall, and I have chairs in the corners. So if I put the bookshelfs (on stands) in the corners, then anyone in sitting in the chairs would have a speaker very close to - AND pointed directly at - their head.
    It could be a very short-term solution only, but it is worth a try. Thanks again for the suggestion.[​IMG]
     
  10. Terry Flink

    Terry Flink Stunt Coordinator

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    What is your budget?
     
  11. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Yes, I agree. Mains first, then matching center, and run in phantom mode until you get the center. Mains actually have a larger overall sonic impact in a 5.1 system than the center.
    While you are checking out Ebay, check here as well:
    www.audiogon.com
    This is the best place to buy used (and some new) audio equipment on the Net. Provide a budget and I will point you to some good deals from sellers with whom I have dealt with before.
     
  12. John_VI

    John_VI Second Unit

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    Total budget is about $2,000 for the speakers. I would spend a bit more for the right stuff, but would like to keep it closer to $1,500 if I could.
    For example. A few weeks ago I auditioned Def Tech. The set-up I liked best for my budget was a pair of BP-2006TL mains, a CLR-2500 center and a pair of BP2X surrounds. Problem is that that setup goes for about $2,200. If I could get it slightly used I would, or if I could get new ones cheaper, I'd do that.
    I've also listened to Polk and Infinity, but was not as impressed as I was with Def Tech. I still have a lot more listening to do before I make up my mind, though. Any recommendations for sound equal to or better than Def Tech for
     
  13. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    With $1,500 you should be able to take care of the mains, center, and surrounds, if not the sub too. For example, the Swan Diva 4.1 package should run you about $1,200 plus shipping. Add in a quality sub and you are looking at $1,700 - $1,800 total. The nOrh 4.0 package and the Aperion Audio SW-12 will run you $1,449 delivered. Just be sure to get the front three speakers at the same time to make sure that they are timbre matched.
     
  14. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    Location:
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  15. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Divas by Swans is a very good recommendation. I have heard them and they sound great, and look great. The only drawback is that you cannot demo them first.
    OK, here is a system that will sound way beyond what you think that kind of money will buy you:
    Paradigm Studio 40's (new):
    http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...ull&1019054889
    $750 (he will probably take an offer at this price)
    Studio CC Center (new):
    http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.p...ull&1018829549
    $350
    And grab a pair of Pradigm Titans ($220) or Atoms ($160) for rears and a sub in the $400 range like the Hsu VTF-2 or Adire Rava.
    All that will run $1700-$1800. You can demo Paradigm at a local dealer.
    I do agree that you will need a new receiver though. You can get by with this one for a while but don't drive it too hard. Good luck with whatever you decide.
     
  16. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    "your receiver is in no way capable of running DefTech towers well IMO. unless you use separate amplification with these speakers and your receiver, you will surely blow them before you get any considerable use out of them."
    There have been plenty of people who have driven Def Techs with receivers and have gotten good results. I have run them full range, with a Yamaha DSP-A1 and with no external sub, and I have never seen my speakers strain. Certainly separate amplification can improve performance, but they should sound great with a receiver.
    "also, consider this: DefTechs are excellent speakers for HT (very, very good), but they do lack some in the music department."
    That's not true (IMHO). With proper placement and attention to associated equipment, they should sound just as nice with music as with movies (IMHO). I know some people who preferred the bp2000TL to the B&W Nautilus 802 (8k/pair) for music (and also for HT, of course).
    Take a look at my DT setup guide:
    http://www.audioutopia.com/cgi-bin/Y...num=1006931043
    John VI, you should get the bp2006TL along with clr2300...these have matching drivers (although all Def Tech speakers have a signature sound, so you can mix and match with great results). So a pair of bp2006TL, a clr2300, and a pair of bp2x's will run $2300 list price...and you should be able to get this down to around $2000 if you buy the whole package and bargain with them. If you want something a little cheaper, check out Def Tech's new PowerMonitor500's...(5) PowerMonitor500's would be $2125 list price...and street price should certainly be no more than $2k. This would be a killer setup as well.
    Good luck!
     
  17. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Bob, I think Thomas was saying that he would need separate amplification *with* his $200 Kenwood receiver, not that no receiver will properly power the Def Techs. His statement contains a slight oversight in that his receiver probably has no preouts, but I am guessing his point is that John needs more amplification than his particular receiver can put out.
     
  18. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    That's a reasonable assumption. The Kenwood is $200 and they list it as 100 watts per channel? Wow. Actually what I feel is most important is finding amplification which matches well with your speakers. If John is looking at new receivers, I would highly recommend Yamaha. But then again, I am biased [​IMG]
     
  19. John_VI

    John_VI Second Unit

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    Wow! Lots of great feedback, thanks a lot, folks!
    Regarding my receiver, I agree that I need a new one. It's getting a little finicky even now, and at times won't respond to the remote for a half-hour or so. It does NOT have pre-outs, so I'm kinda screwed there. Ideally, I would like to buy a nice 6- or 7-channel amp and hook it up to the receiver's preouts, and then upgrade to a nice pre-pro in the near future. Since that is out of the question I would have to go with a new receiver, and save the separates for somewhere WAAAAY down the road.
    But my first order of business is the speakers. With 15-month-old kids in the house, I won't be cranking up the sound anytime soon, so I'm not worried about setting the speakers on fire with a crappy receiver. OTOH, I think the Kenwood has plenty of power to drive the speakers to the moderate levels I plan to use, and still provide very good sound.
    Let's face it, if I had my choice I would get the speakers, a nice amp and a good pre-pro. Given budget restraints and the fact that I have an "acceptable" receiver today, I'll settle for the speakers now and upgrade the receiver in the near future.
    Again, thanks for all of the wonderful advice and the ongoing discussion. I look forward to even more!! [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  20. Paul_Dunlop

    Paul_Dunlop Second Unit

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    Hi John
    Regarding surround placement in the rear corners, your issue could be resolved with Wall Brackets instead of stands. Due to the fact that your couch is against the back wall (same as mine), it is recommended to raise the surrounds to above ear level anyway. I bought some brackets that swivel side to side and tilt up or down - they were $70.00 CDN, so a lot cheaper than stands anyways.
    Hope this helps.
     

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