Here is the deal. I have birthday funds of about $700 to spend on upgrading my stereo system. There will be no more funds for another year, so need to figure out best way to start. I am interested in music only, not movies. I have an old analog system that sounds pretty good. My stereo setup consists of Adcom GTP400 tuner/pre-amp, Adcom GFA-535 amp, Monitor Audio Silver 3i speakers. All were purchased in late 80s/early 90s. I play a mix of classic rock, acoustic folk, jazz, classical and generally at moderate sound levels. Think everything from John Hyatt to Delbert MClinton to Clapton to Jean-Luc Ponty To Bach. Everything is in Itunes Lossless format on computer and will be run off a dedicated laptop or Ipod Classic. So need nice clear bass, but don't need to rattle the walls.
Current room is about 15x22 with doors at either end and tile floors, but am likely to end up in much smaller carpeted space in near future. Again, I do not play music super loud, but not always at whisper level either.
If I understand the info I've picked up, the speakers have nice clean sound but may be a bit weak in bass [45Hz-25Khz, sensitivity 88dB, 8 Ohms, 80 watts, front ported, 5.5" C-Cam mid-bass driver, 1" gold tweeter (been told this means they lean to "bright"?). The amp is listed at 60 watts but reviews at the time said it is more like 80 watts.
Here are the options I have come up with:
1. Spend entire amount on Outlaw Audio stereo receiver. Won't fix any other problems, but will give me digital connections for future and can be used with either laptop or Ipod Classic with Pure i-20 dock (has a DAC).
2. Spend entire amount on factory reburbished PSB compact 10" subwoofer. I'll could add a DAC from Audioengine or Nuforce (have a small credit at Best Buy and this is all they sell) or I could run analog cable from computer but doubt that the sound card from my very inexpensive laptop is very good. However, space is an issue and the price seems really good compared to brand new .
3. Buy factory refurbished PSB compact 8" subwoofer. I would probably use the Ipod Classic, a Pure dock as transport and something like the Dragonfly as an additional DAC (if it is any improvement on the Pure DAC).
4. Buy regular 8 " or 10" sub from either PSB or HSU. Seems that both are well respected but would be limited to bottom of the line stuff because of cost and space considerations. WIth this I could add a demo model MyDac to go with either laptop or Ipod. I'm not impressed with the reviews of the Polk stuff that is all that is available from local big box stores, but am willing to be converted and haven't found anything else that seems to be of similar quality and reasonably small footprint.
I know that most people will say that 8" sub are too small for my space, but locating the box is a serious concern in the future. Heck, since I currently have none and listen to tv without even a soundbar (gasp!), I suspect it would be okay. Tell me if I am completely wrong.
Any advice greatly appreciated. I need to make a decision very soon as some of these items are on sale and may not be there long.