My setup - What is the upgrade path? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-28-2010, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for some guidance on what my next upgrade should be in my system.

Room: 4400 CF with odd shape, sloping cathedral ceiling and openings to kitchen in the back.

[PICTURES & DIAGRAM BELOW in this thread]

75% HT and 25% music. I prefer to see movies at home since the sound is sooo much better than in most theaters (except IMAX). I care for sound quality way more than I care about video excellence.

Electronics

Pre/pro - Anthem AVM-20 v2.2
Amp - Rotel RMB-1095
EQ - Behringer BFD with REW - for the dual subs (see below)
CD / DVD - NAD T571 (5-CD changer)
Phono - Rega Planar II (rarely used)
TV - Sony XBR9

Speakers

Mains: B&W 804N
Center: B&W HTM2
Surrounds: B&W 805N
Subs: dual Velodyne HGS-12 (with the HGSx amps), located near the mains

Speaker wire / Interconnects - decent, but not audiophile stuff. I'm just not a believer in mega-dollar cables relative to the impact of the components themselves on the sound quality.


What's next??

I was originally thinking that the next upgrade would be the subs, but an audio shop suggested that the limiting factor might actually be the pre/pro. I'd be interested in your thoughts about this system. Having a demo of a much more expensive system, NOT in my room, I can see that there are clear opportunities to improve in many areas.

Budget would be to reasonably improve this system with reasonable improvements that don't fee "over the top". There's no unlimited budget here!

If it were you, what would your upgrade path be, and why??

Thank you!
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-28-2010, 01:39 PM
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If it were my system and I were looking to upgrade, I would go this route (assuming modest budget):

1) Upgrade DVD player to Oppo BDP-83. This will not only allow you to get significantly improved video quality, but you will also get the improved codecs like DTS-MA and DD True HD which should also give you a nice jump in audio quality. The analog outs on the Oppo will allow you to keep your AVM-20 (for now). If a few hundred bucks doesn't matter here, you may even want to jump to the BDP-83 SE which will give you improved analog performance for movies and music. You can use the HDMI down the line if you swap pre/pro's.

2) Upgrade subs. Without seeing your system and knowing what your needs are for placement/aesthetics it's hard to recommend a specific sub. However, strictly speaking on performance - SVS subs are very tough to beat, but most of them can be pretty big (I have an Ultra myself). If you need to go smaller, you may want to try a JL Audio F112 or 113, or even some of the new SVS sealed subs that are coming out soon.

3) Possibly a new pre-pro. With all the options that are out there, you have lots of choices here, especially now that there are so many options for room correction - but I would do the other two first and then decide if you really want to make this step.

EDIT: I should also say that someone will probably jump in quickly to say room treatments should be at the top of your list. I would tend to agree with that - but pictures would really help here as well to know what we are dealing with.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-28-2010, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddy999 View Post

I'm looking for some guidance on what my next upgrade should be in my system.

Room: 4400 CF with odd shape, sloping cathedral ceiling and openings to kitchen in the back.

75% HT and 25% music. I prefer to see movies at home since the sound is sooo much better than in most theaters (except IMAX). I care for sound quality way more than I care about video excellence.

Electronics

Pre/pro - Anthem AVM-20 v2.2
Amp - Rotel RMB-1095
EQ - Behringer BFD with REW - for the dual subs (see below)
CD / DVD - NAD T571 (5-CD changer)
Phono - Rega Planar II (rarely used)
TV - Sony XBR9

Speakers

Mains: B&W 804N
Center: B&W HTM2
Surrounds: B&W 805N
Subs: dual Velodyne HGS-12 (with the HGSx amps), located near the mains

Speaker wire / Interconnects - decent, but not audiophile stuff. I'm just not a believer in mega-dollar cables relative to the impact of the components themselves on the sound quality.


What's next??

I was originally thinking that the next upgrade would be the subs, but an audio shop suggested that the limiting factor might actually be the pre/pro. I'd be interested in your thoughts about this system. Having a demo of a much more expensive system, NOT in my room, I can see that there are clear opportunities to improve in many areas.

Budget would be to reasonably improve this system with reasonable improvements that don't fee "over the top". There's no unlimited budget here!

If it were you, what would your upgrade path be, and why??

Thank you!

Before you go out and spend money, ask yourself these questions?
"Do I really need to upgrade?"
"Are my speakers sounding horrible"
"Do I want to upgrade just because I see other people with newer toys (in AVS forums), so I want newer toys too"

Seriously dude, I don't see the need for you to upgrade unless your gear suddenly started to sound like it was a clock radio.
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Eric - thanks for the ideas. As I said the video processing is not that important to me, altho I would like to get an inexpensive blu-ray. I hadn't thought about using the analog inputs on the AVM that way, however, so that's an interesting idea to extend its life. I'm still running 5.1, and so far don't really care about 7.1, 9.1 or xxx.1 formats, but the HD audio sounds interesting, and I think you're suggesting that I could get that via the analog inputs since the processing would be in the Oppo?

Kevon - I appreciate the sentiment. It's hardly "broken", but it's a hobby that once in a while i get to indulge in, wife and budget permitting. I've purchase nearly all of my stuff on the used market so while I'd LOVE to dump in big bucks, I can't. BUT - I do like sound quality and when I'm feeling the urge to upgrade, I'm looking for ideas on where to put the next marginal investment.

I'm happy to hear from others. Thank you both.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddy999 View Post

Eric - thanks for the ideas. As I said the video processing is not that important to me, altho I would like to get an inexpensive blu-ray. I hadn't thought about using the analog inputs on the AVM that way, however, so that's an interesting idea to extend its life. I'm still running 5.1, and so far don't really care about 7.1, 9.1 or xxx.1 formats, but the HD audio sounds interesting, and I think you're suggesting that I could get that via the analog inputs since the processing would be in the Oppo?

Correct on the improved audio of the Oppo. It will pass all the new codecs over it's analog outputs, even as 5.1. Even though the video processing isn't that important, many people find that the audio improvements blu-ray has over traditional DVD is every bit as impressive as the video improvements it provides (and they are pretty big IMO).

Oppo also has a 30-day money back guarantee, so there's really no risk to trying it out and seeing if you like what it does.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 08:33 PM
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If you haven't done it yet, get your system calibrated. I did and it was a good investment. I had the audio portion calibrated not the video yet. Like you, I am partial to the sound quality more than the video quality.

But it made a big difference. I had to do an attitude adjustment because upgrading is a tangible step--you get a new component that you can see, touch, etc. Calibration is an intangible step. You have to take a leap of faith that it will be a wise investment but there is nothing to look at to give you a sense of "upgrade'.

'
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post #7 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 10:32 PM
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Just my opinion,spend money on bass traps & panels.Maybe diffusion if it fits your room/speaker-seating placements. DIY if you roll like that.Pay for pro-EQ later if you still feel the need .Then more subs, head room is a great thing to have with todays movie soundtracks.For what its worth.....
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post #8 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 11:08 PM
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+1 on the Oppo 83 (or SE). Not only for all of the reasons already mentioned, but for the awesome sound of DVD-A & SACD.

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post #9 of 18 Old 03-02-2010, 07:09 AM
 
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+2 go the oppo u will like that player,it also plays high res audio cd's. (dvd a)
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post #10 of 18 Old 03-02-2010, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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One of you mentioned wanting to know more about the room. Diagrams are here. TV is actually a 46".

Top-down view


Room profile view
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post #11 of 18 Old 03-13-2010, 04:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Diagrams above show the layout. Here's some pictures. TV is 46" Sony XBR9 which happily has a matte screen helping a lot with all of the windows in this room. North is behind the TV, so no direct sun from the back.

Main room shot



Main room - cathedral ceiling



Power and BFD EQ for Subs



B&W HTM2 Center and NAD T572



Anthem AVM-20 V2.2 and Rotel RMB-1095 Power Amp



Right front B&W N804 plus Velodyne HGS-12



Left Front B&W N804 and Velodyne HGS-12



B&W N805 Surround - Left



B&W N805 Surround - Right

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post #12 of 18 Old 03-13-2010, 05:39 AM
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Awesome, nice to finally see some pics. Did you get any upgrades yet or is those pre-upgrade? And if none yet, did you decide what you are going to add?


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post #13 of 18 Old 03-13-2010, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Nothing yet. Blu-ray first with the 6-channel analog outs. Maybe Oppo, but looking at Panny or LG for now. Playing with the internet connection on the TV this weekend to see what that's all about.
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post #14 of 18 Old 03-13-2010, 06:41 AM
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For me, the biggest issue is recommended viewing angle, 10' is much too far away for a 46" tv and a 1080p source(approx 6 feet recommended) especially with the horrible size you get out of a native widescreen movie. At 10 feet, your best bet IMHO would be one of last/this years 82" Mitsubishi DLPs. (Your sound setup and video setup seem at odds to me, you have theater sound but perhaps not a theater viewing experience).


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post #15 of 18 Old 03-13-2010, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Johnny, I don't disagree, but both me and wife thought even a 52 would be too big for us as we get motion-sick from the larger screens. No idea why that's true at home, and not true in the theaters. But we looked at other in-home setups with 50 and 60" sets at 10-12 feet and we didn't like the experience. The other factor is that this is a family room, not a dedicated theater, so there was some consideration to form factor as well.

So it's a compromise on the video, which is less important to me personally in any case.

As far as viewing angle, I sit in the middle, and the wife doesn't care a lot about the slightly degraded contrast to the sides. Who am I to argue with that?
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post #16 of 18 Old 03-13-2010, 12:19 PM
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Yeah I'd say that while something in the high 50's to 60's would be "better" from a viewing standpoint at your distances you're in control of your system and if the size works then so be it. You have an excellent audio setup and I'd be interested to know if you plan on upgrading your preamp or just be happy with something like an Oppo or Panny with 7.1 analog outs? It's really all the same in the end but with many now opting for newer preamps with HDMI capability it seems the days of the players with analog outs are coming to an end. I have my Panny BD55 and love it but I'm getting the itchy trigger finger for a preamp with HDMI. Still, I can understand the desire to keep a nice piece like that Anthem. Thanks for sharing and keep us up to date!


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post #17 of 18 Old 03-13-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Dunno about the preamp. It might be the limiting factor in the existing system at this point but I cannot afford an upgrade to that now.

But $200 for a blu-ray is doable and then I'll at least get the benefits of the video and audio formats from blu-ray to start!
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post #18 of 18 Old 01-30-2011, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quick update and a question. I punted on the OPPO BD player for now and got a Panny BD-85K w/analog outs, and that's just fine for me, and sounds very good on video.

NOW - as I'm still a bass-head for music and HT I have an opportunity to update subs with a DD-15 that's available nearby.

Is it crazy to replace one of the HGS-12x's with a DD-15 and still run both? Would I get the benefits of the 2-sub smoothness, or will the DD-15 just over-run the smaller box?

Also - can the DD-15 EQ both itself and the HGS-12 from its onboard system?

Any sense for what a used HGS-12 would be worth in the market?

Thanks......
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