Legacy 2 Channel Audio System...need opinions versus new gear - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-01-2012, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I have an old system (one component is relatively new) that was certainly great for audio back in the day. I'd like opinions on what I have in terms of today's technology AND what could be integrated with the Denon 3313 I was about to buy with surround speakers to use for Film/TV.

Thanks for all advice and insight!

Rotel 990BX Pre

Bryston 3B Power Amp

Vandersteen Model 2 speakers

Cambridge Audio 840C CD player (used to run the Apple with Plex and/or any digital audio through as a converter)

Apple MacMini, Apple TV, Netgear NAS to run digital audio.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-01-2012, 04:23 PM
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Your pre and power amps are fine, and won't likely be bested by very much out there now because in terms of linear amplifiers, there hasn't been much if any change or new technology in years. The Vandersteens are not my personal cup of tea, but are fine and if you have no issues with their performance, why change unless you have the overwhelming desire to spend money?

Likewise the digital gear is all good and any 'improvement' by substituting a different unit is likely to be largely imaginary.

To add HT functionality, there are two ways you can go about it.
1: Run everything through the Denon and not use the Rotel pre. Use you Bryston by sending signal to it from the Denon pre out (assuming it has them) for L/R. Surrounds will be powered by the internal Denon amps, and all levels set by the Denons calibration features.
2: Run all H/T sources as described in (1). If you wanted, you could still go 'purist' and run the Cambridge analogue outs to the Rotel pre, and when only using 2ch sources either unplug the Bryston from the Denon, and use the Rotel as pre, or use a selector box.

I doubt the difference in 2ch will be all that dramatic between 1 and 2 but may help your 'inner audiophile' come to accept the inhumanity of having HT gear present in system.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-02-2012, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the feedback.

Am curious about your opinion on the Vandersteens. Back in the day, they were considered very "flat" and as I'm a musician who was used to studio monitors, I was lead to believe that some of the others in the range had more prominent or punchy bass etc.

I'm thinking of doing just what you say and lose the Rotel as I don't think the Denon will add any substantial noise to the chain and it's very limited in terms of remote control ability.

Any thoughts on the Cambridge as my D/A for everything? I have the two extra inputs to use and I have two inputs to the Denon (one sadly has to go to the Time Warner cable box that will not send Dolby over HDMI)
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-04-2012, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovrdrvn View Post

Am curious about your opinion on the Vandersteens.
I heard a pair many years ago, and thought they were OK, if a little bland. My tastes are not for that style of speaker any more (not for years). If you like them and they do all you want, keep them until you hear something you feel is substantially better that you can afford.
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Originally Posted by ovrdrvn View Post

Any thoughts on the Cambridge as my D/A for everything? I have the two extra inputs to use and I have two inputs to the Denon (one sadly has to go to the Time Warner cable box that will not send Dolby over HDMI)
I have the same basic converter stage (DACMagic) in my bedroom system and it's very good.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-04-2012, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovrdrvn View Post

Thank you so much for the feedback.
Am curious about your opinion on the Vandersteens. Back in the day, they were considered very "flat" and as I'm a musician who was used to studio monitors, I was lead to believe that some of the others in the range had more prominent or punchy bass etc.
I'm thinking of doing just what you say and lose the Rotel as I don't think the Denon will add any substantial noise to the chain and it's very limited in terms of remote control ability.
Any thoughts on the Cambridge as my D/A for everything? I have the two extra inputs to use and I have two inputs to the Denon (one sadly has to go to the Time Warner cable box that will not send Dolby over HDMI)

The Vandersteens you have are the smaller ones with 8" woofers. My recollection of the larger ones was that they were fine sounding speakers but lacked total authority in the bass range. The ones you have would be candidates for enhancement with a good, well-integrated subwoofer.

If I were you, I'd set aside the existing preamp and power amp, and replace them with the AVR set up to be a 2.0 system controller. The first upgrade after that would be a good powered subwoofer. Then, I'd move into the world of multichannel.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-04-2012, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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So while I figured the Rotel was good to do...you are saying that the Bryston doesn't add anything quality wise at this point?

I could see buying a good subwoofer...could it be used for the multi channel as well as the 2 channel audio?

And still VERY curious if my Cambridge D/A is a good option for now (i'm not sure my ears are capable of assessing a higher end D/A but certainly curious to where this one rates in your opinion)
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-05-2012, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovrdrvn View Post

So while I figured the Rotel was good to do...you are saying that the Bryston doesn't add anything quality wise at this point?

I wouldn't expect it to.
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I could see buying a good subwoofer...could it be used for the multi channel as well as the 2 channel audio?

Absolutely!
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And still VERY curious if my Cambridge D/A is a good option for now (i'm not sure my ears are capable of assessing a higher end D/A but certainly curious to where this one rates in your opinion)

The days when one could sort DACs by ear have long gone. The converters in the receiver are going to be very good.

My point is start out simple - make your new system as simple as you can and see how it sounds once you get all the changes worked out.

Then proceed along the lines of the biggest sonic improvement for the buck, which is going start out being the speakers and the room, given your current setup. Your current setup is centerpieced by some nice little speakers, which can benefit from a pick-me-up at the low end of the frequency range.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-12-2012, 11:22 PM
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I have build a PC media player using an M-audio soundcard 1010lt. I also use the unit for playback of dvd, cd and bluray. The PC is also used to process the signal from two phono preamps running three different turntables.

I use a Quad 33/405 preamp amp combo purchased for $ 50 used, running a 15$ pair of Klipsch Heresies.

This combo of very old and very new works for me, I do not see any reason to discard old amps or speakers for something new when the old is of good quality and still performs well.

I have listened to newer speakers, B&W, kef, paradigm, energy etc, and I found that I prefer the sound of the klipsch to any of those, even to that of the kef 104/2 that i run powered by hypex AS 2.100 amps.
I also found that using a behringer deq2496 room correction unit you could correct the speakers to an extend that the differences almost completely vanish.
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