best use of $700 for upgrade to analog system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-10-2013, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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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.
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-10-2013, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcksnssn View Post

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.

You could go a long way with room treatments - this may be the best bang for your buck in the current situation - depending on the rest of the room.

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post #3 of 9 Old 02-10-2013, 01:41 PM
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It seems to me that if you plan to do mostly iTunes through your computer and you need a DAC to connect to your Adcom, the Dragonfly seems to be a convenient solution. It seems to me that the subwoofer is a lesser priority for you. You can wait until you find the right one for you - even used might make sense once you decide on the model.
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 03:47 PM
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Those are very nice speakers, and your amp and preamp are not bad either.

I would do one of two things:

1) Get a pair of Monitor Audio Silver RX-2 speakers, which have even better sound and an 8-inch driver which is rated to go down to 40 Hz. Those are great speakers, but they run $850 per pair.

2) Get an NHT B12D subwoofer, which goes down below 30 hz and is one of the cleanest most powerful subs on the market. It cost me $695, and I love it. That will take care of everything below 60 hz, which is about as low as your current speakers probably go.

Space was a big issue for me too, and the NHT is considerably smaller than any other 12-inch sub I could find; it is a 14-inch cube (fantastic piano black finish, too). Its sealed acoustic suspension design not only makes it very free of peaks and resonances, it also allows it to be smaller!
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 04:43 PM
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If you decide to go with a smaller sub check these out

http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/sealed-box
the SB is a 13 inch cube while the NSD is some 14 inches and DSP controlled.


or discuss it on the sub forum.

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 07:16 PM
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With that amount of money look at used markets like Audiogon or even Craigslist. Start with speakers. Find good speakers no older than 5 years, for less than 50% of original price. Do the same for amplifier, but here you can extend age limit to 8 years, and thus even lower percentage of original price. Unfortunately to get good NEW speakers and electronic you need to spend closer to $2000 in today's market.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

Unfortunately to get good NEW speakers and electronic you need to spend closer to $2000 in today's market.

My response is off topic from the OPs - but referring to this statement - a great sounding system can be had for about a grand using Magnepan MMGs and a Crown XLS1000 if the room can accommodate it.

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post #8 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citizen arcane View Post

My response is off topic from the OPs - but referring to this statement - a great sounding system can be had for about a grand using Magnepan MMGs and a Crown XLS1000 if the room can accommodate it.

You would need to add a pair of subwoofers to get a reasonable low frequency output.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-12-2013, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcksnssn View Post

.

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.

(1) Spend the whole $700 on whatever that gets you from one of the better specialist houses such as SVS or Hsu.

(2) Wait until Polk's PSW 505 is on sale and get two or three of them. The advantage of multiple subs is more uniform distribution of bass around the room. Of course they also work together to increase system dynamic range.
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