Will a new receiver be worth it?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by SteveNi, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. SteveNi

    SteveNi Auditioning

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    Hi everyone, I am new to the forum even though I have been trolling around here for a few months now. This seems like a great place to get advice so thanks in advance.

    I now have the following setup:

    Pioneer VSX 811S
    Polk RM6600
    Polk PSW350


    99% of the time this is used for HT only.

    I believe the 811 was a good buy for the money but I was expecting more power out of it. I used to have an old Pioneer from the early 90s and the 811 does not even come close to the power of my old one.

    Would a better receiver like the Pioneer Elite VSX-55Txi be worth the money with my current speakers?
    What can I expect if I upgrade the receiver?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. Dennis Gardner

    Dennis Gardner Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,

    The 55TXi is a great piece, but the 6600s may not let it shine through in all its glory. Your current setup is probably matched well for what they were meant to do, but jumping to a topshelf receiver may show how small your Polk sats are.

    I think that you have run into what alot of us here have experienced in the last decade of multi-channel growth. Small speakers with subs took hold of a market that you and I remember from 2 channel days of monitors with 12 inch woofers being the bomb and changed what we here from our receivers amp section. The 6600s are great at giving you surround sound with very little intrusion into your room and fit the scenario much the same as Bose did with their little cubes and the sub can be hidden if needed also. They looked great and sounded good with Dolby Pro Logic and its narrowed frequencies. Full range Digital surround begs for a little larger speaker. Even Polk phased out the 3 inch mids and put 5 & 6 inchers in the newer satellites.

    I imagine that your Pioneer may not put out quite as much as the old 2 channel model did but you may be missing the fullness coming from your main speakers that we all heard from our bigger stereo versions. This is most noticeable during music passages.I have Polk 6600s and 5400s and found that when I went to RTi25 bookshelf models that would handle the lower mids and upper bass passages better, my weak amp came alive. Of course each time that I upgraded some piece of equipment, it showed weak links up or down the audio line from the new piece, thus the neverending path of upgraditis.

    You might audition a larger center or front models in place
    of the satellites to see if this helps your sound.

    I moved my way to Polk CS350LS center, RTi70 mains, RTI55 surrounds driven by a Harman Kardon 7200 receiver with dual 12 inch shiva subs in my Projector theater. I still use the 6600s in a smaller room for great surround.


    Just my 2 cents,

    DG
     
  3. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    I definitely agree w/ Dennis's assessment.

    I would further add that your problem now isn't just upgrading one piece of equipment, since your equipment is all about the same hifi level. You've reached a plateau and any single upgrade path will probably not be sufficient. This will go back to Dennis's comment about upgrading one thing only to lead to upgrading another.

    I would say if it's just one thing over another, I would go speakers first to max out your receiver and then go to the uber receiver.
     
  4. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Dennis & Ernest hit it on the head. Speakers are just as important as a receiver. Like they mentioned you may want to start upgrading your speakers first then look into a receiver. I did this about 3 years ago and it made a huge difference. Now I am working on getting into seperates.
     
  5. SteveNi

    SteveNi Auditioning

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    Thanks for the advice. I knew my speakers were not "top of the line", but I thought my receiver was my weak spot.

    Any suggestions on speakers?

    I would like to stay with smaller book shelf speakers that can be mounted on the wall or fit onto stands. I was looking at the Polk RTi4 and RTi6 speakers which leads me to another question.

    Crutchfield suggests using the RTi6's as mains and the RTi4's as surrounds. I was under the impression that it is better to have them all the same. True?

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Dennis Gardner

    Dennis Gardner Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,

    Either the 4s or 6s will make great choices. Crutchfield makes the statement of using the 6's since if you were listening to music through the fronts only, they would possess a slightly fuller extension due to the 6.5 inch mid-woofer. The specs on those 60hz for the 4's and 50 hz for the 6's are both acceptable if your sub is crossed over at around 80 hz. I would probably buy based on how they would fit your stands, cabinet, wall mounts etc. Just realize that you are into 12-14 inch tall speakers now and wall mounts stand out in appearance more than some type of floor stands will. You could probably buy them a pair at a time and use them with your current Polks as surrounds for awhile to find the right size for your room. Beware that upgrading the fronts will show how weak the 2600 center will sound between them. A larger center may make more of a difference to your movie enjoyment than either fronts or surrounds since all dialogue comes through it. The CSi3 or 5 are great centers.

    Some buy smaller fronts to try, and then find themselves moving them around to surrounds to make room for larger fronts. The fuller front soundstage is most important in anchoring the sound around your monitor. Matched units all around sound the best when the information is identical such as in 5 or 7 channel stereo modes, but during movies, soundtracks don't ever put the same info into all tracks at the same time, only as action moves around. Matching brands or type of tweeters throughout your system within the brand makes them sound more alike, which is preferred (matching timbre).

    I really like the new RTi's from Polk and am sure that you would enjoy the line as a great starting place to make an upgrade. Many like them better for movies than the pricier LSi line.

    Just look how great the RTi10's look without grills with those dual 7 inch woofers on spikes!

    Enjoy the trek into better sound,

    Dennis
     
  7. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    Just my .02 cents.

    I have the 45TX and the 41TX Pioneer ELites.

    The 41 is really not much different than the 811.

    I have a Adcom 545 II amp (two channel that I use to drive the mains on my basement theater. Nice combo. I too listen to 99% HT although being an old rocker I bought my Living room system and I wanted the big sound like I used to get in the late 70s.

    Well - it worked and I spent a lot of money (for me).

    But, I found after I put my basement system together that HT is not as demanding as listening to music.

    So, I recommend that you start with the center, and FL, and FR for upgrades on the speakers. You don't have to spend a fortune. Buy a good two or three channel amp at 100 wpc to go with the Pioneer. ADCOM is great and cheap. You should be able to get the 545 for $200.Use it to drive the new speakers.

    Use your other speakers for the surrounds and you'll be amazed. Spend more money on the sub. SVS is great and is my next purchase for the basment theater.

    Here's my setup and I could have spent less on the living room and more on video.

    LIVRoom
    Pioneer ELite 45TX
    Pioneer DVR 7000
    Toshiba 57HDX82
    Paradigm Studio 40's,CC, and ADP's.
    Def Tech Pro 100 Sub

    Basement
    Pioneer Elite 41TX
    Adcom 545
    Toshiba SD-2200 DVD
    Pioneer Mains
    Bose Center and SR, SL.AM-10's
    Sonanace Symphony In ceilings for SBR and SBL.
    Sony 36 inch TV

    I'll be buying a new PJ for the basement and a SVS sub.

    I have no sub in the basement right now and the sound is very good and its cheap. I was really suprised. Not good for music but HT is another matter. Fast and Furious is great.

    If your really into upgrading I have the 45TX and I'm absolutely sure you'll be amazed be either the 53 or 55Txi.

    I love my 45................

    We recently lost Band of Brothers for 12 hours and the 45 performed at loud volume levels flawlessly.

    Good Luck...........

    Mike
     

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