Boost my Paradigm bookshelves with $1500 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-15-2009, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I need some wisdom here. I really love my new Paradigm mini monitor v.5's. I'm trying to set up a great 2.1 system with the possibility of going 5.1 down the road. The problem is that my H/K PM655vxi receiver is getting old.
I don't have a sub, and my audio sources could probably be better (1980's JVC, ipod classic, G4 tibook, xbox 360).
In order of importance what would you upgrade/add?

Use: 70% Music / 30% movies and video games

I feel like i've been going in circles in these forums but so far I have these ideas for an under $1500 budget.
1. Integrated hdmi reciever with a good DAC/ipod compatability (the new pioneer elite introduced at CES 2009 interests me)
2. Pre-amp and amp separates from NAD or Rotel (recommended for Paradigms)
3. Update the source (this is where i get lost... am i losing a ton of quality from my old JVC CD changer or H/K receiver or both?)
4. Sub (if it muddies the highs of my mini monitors i don't want it) suggested by paradigm is PDR-10 i think. open for suggestions (especially budget saving ones. i want bang for the buck here.

i have a hunch i want to update the receiver. it crackles for about 2 seconds when i turn it on.
Help??? i'm a noob.
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-15-2009, 11:09 AM
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First, a few basics: The sound quality of your system is determined, overwhelmingly, by your speakers and the room you put them in. Assuming they're working properly, your receiver and sources are probably just fine sonically, and upgrading them will do little or nothing for you.

That said, upgrading your receiver may still make sense for two reasons:

1. There's that crackly sound, which isn't a good sign.
2. Newer receivers bring better features/capabilities (including iPod compatibility, speaker calibration, etc.)

Your single best move, sound-wise, would be to add a sub, and Paradigm makes fine ones. Don't cheap out here. Paradigm recommends the DSP-3100 for its Mini Monitor system. It goes for $500.

Your worst move, IMO, would be the separates, especially if you're aiming for 5.1 eventually. You'd be going in the wrong direction.

My other advice would be, don't spend the entire $1500 now. By a modest receiver and a sub, and save the change toward 5.1.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #3 of 10 Old 01-15-2009, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. Any recommendations on a good receiver to integrate a paradigm sub and mini monitors? Also, I looked up to the DSP-3100 on paradigm's website and they recommend it for the Titan line. The PDR-10 is recommended for the mini monitors. Am I better off with the 3100? I am a music guy so keep in mind I'm about accuracy and not explosive movie sound.
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-15-2009, 02:10 PM
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Quote:


Any recommendations on a good receiver to integrate a paradigm sub and mini monitors?

Any AVR will do this, so it's really a matter of what else you want in an AVR. I suggest you pose that question in the Receivers forum, maybe with some more specifics about what you're looking for.

Quote:


Also, I looked up to the DSP-3100 on paradigm's website and they recommend it for the Titan line. The PDR-10 is recommended for the mini monitors. Am I better off with the 3100? I am a music guy so keep in mind I'm about accuracy and not explosive movie sound.

Yes, I see that now. Their 6.0 product brochure recommends the 3100 for the Minis, however, so go figure. As for which you should choose, throw that question to the Subwoofers forum.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #5 of 10 Old 01-15-2009, 05:13 PM
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I agree with mcnarus, any modern AV Receiver will allow you to immediately integrate your 2 speakers with a subwoofer. That is done through the bass-management controls on the AVR. Asking which receiver typically will result in Denon fans suggesting Denon, and Onyko pushing onkyo. AVRs can get very expensive really quickly. Something with around 100wpc or more with digital inputs will get you what you need. HDMI inputs is standard as of 2008 so forward planning for 5.1 will not be a problem. Each brand/model will have its nits. So it's up to your wallet and taste.

A new integrated amp would not allow you to easily upgrade to a 5.1 in the future.

In AVS most sub discussion is about stressing high SPL for low effects from movies. Most music can get by with a sub that goes down to 25Hz. The paradigm will be fine. And will work form movies too just not the in your face bass of the uber subs. As an option, other brands (which I've heard) to check out used with a focus on music is REL, Epik, Martin Logan. I say used because that would meet your budget. BTW, adding a sub will clean up your high/mids (by taking off some of the lower freq work), and not muddy your highs as you were concerned about in your first post.

Another "Boost" for your system - to consider after you get your sub and AVR - would be to cleanup the connections of your sources. The sources themselves are fine but the connections could be improved. While I don't know your JVC, the ipod and Tibook should provide better output if you don't use their analog outputs. Since your tibook does not have optical line out like the later powerbooks. you would need an external USB DAC. Some can be had for $200. Essentially this would be bypassing the ipod and tibook's internal DACs.

good luck, ed


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post #6 of 10 Old 01-15-2009, 06:56 PM
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Any modern 100W per ch receiver will do just fine. Why the need to spend so much?
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-16-2009, 05:32 AM
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I recently added an SVS sb12+ sub to my office sound system (to compliment b&w 600 speakers). It really helped fill in the bottom octave or two. It really makes a significant improvement IMO. I choose this sub because it is compact, has lots of connection options, sounds good with music, and could make a passible HT sub should I ever decide to use it that way.

A new source might help. While modern CD players all sound very similar, that is not always true of ones from the 80's. I guess one question to ask is can you tell the difference between the four sources you are currently using? If not, then you are probably good to go. If so, then you might pick the one you use most and look to upgrade it (perhaps a new CD player, or, external soundcard for your laptop)

I wouldn't buy the latest greatest receiver unless you needed/wanted some of its features. Better IMO would be to buy a deeply discounted one, if you even need to buy one now at all. Since you plan to one day end up with 5.1 you'd want to buy one that supported that when you went that way.

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-16-2009, 07:32 PM
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I bought a dedicated CD player to replace my Oppo 980H. And boy, there is a difference... The new receiver should help too.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-23-2009, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post

A new source might help. While modern CD players all sound very similar, that is not always true of ones from the 80's.

I'm actually in the market for a new CD player and is in the process of auditioning a bunch of them. I wouldn't say they are similar, in fact, I'd say they probably exhibit more sound differences than the amp.
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-24-2009, 12:25 PM
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Time for someone else to throw in their .02 worth. I also have the Mini Monitor v5's, and my music/HT split is about the same (music is mostly rock). I have the Mini's paired with a HSU STF-2 ($380-ish shipped). I absolutely love it for music, crossed over at 80 Hz through my Marantz SR5003 it blends extremely well with the Mini's (set to small of course). Definitely doesn't muddy them up; in fact, it frees up the Mini's from having to reproduce the bass, which I'm sure you've noticed they aren't too great at.

Let's put it this way: I'm upgrading the Mini's to Studio 20's before I'm upgrading the sub. (Also, the Mini's should be great as surround speakers; that's a plus.) The STF-2 is no slouch for home theater either, as long as this isn't too large of a room and you aren't an SPL nut. Music is definitely its strong point though.

I don't think I'd spend the money for Rotel separates at this point (well duh; I obviously didn't ). The Marantz SR5003 I have seems to cut out a bit of the harshness the Mini's tend to have, and imaging seems a bit better. I honestly didn't look into receivers a whole lot; I just heard that Marantz was good for music, and saw that their SR5003 competes features-wise and price-wise with Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, etc., so I went for it. (Rotel and NAD were out of my price range too.) Plus, I wanted 3 HDMI inputs, and the ability to decode DTS-HD and TrueHD onboard is nice. Plus the Audyssey MultEQ is a convenient feature to have.

Well those are the things I went with. The SR5003 seems pretty future-proof at the moment; 90W x7 is plenty of power, plus it means I can passively bi-amp the Studio 20's and still have a 5.1 setup. MSRP on it is $800, I found it for $640. That, plus the $380 for the STF-2, and you're at right over $1k. And you still have $500 or so for new sources if you want. (Personally an HTPC is my source for everything but Bluray; a standalone Bluray player is probably in my future.) Just an option I'm throwing out there since I'm very happy with how it turned out; I'm sure you've found lots of other options too. eD, SVS, PSB, Velodyne all make competing products with the HSU sub; most of those are more geared towards HT use from what I've read. I would recommend going for a bigger sub if you listen to a fair amount of rap or techno, have a larger room, and/or watch a lot of action movies where you want to feel the bass.
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