Oh the dilemna? Have some spare cash, most bang for the limited bucks - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-13-2014, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm a newbie here, so please understand that. I have I guess what be a high end system, over the years added here and there as $$ and SO allowed. Anyways SO has left, not sure for good, she's off finding herself'.

 

Here's my dilemma. I have some extra cash to spend, figure I might upgrade something in my system. Here's what I have.

1. Marantz UD9004

2. CBIII HD with extreme & superior dacs from last upgrade

3. Aerial Model 9's upfront

4. Aerial 7B's in the back

5. Aerial CC3

6. Dreadnaught II with 5 channels

7. WireWorld interconnects the 2nd highest in the line, most date from 3-4 years ago.

8. Music collection about 1500 CD's, SACD's etc

 

Being a cheapskate or champagne tastes on a make my own soda budget, I'm looking in the used market, most likely AudioGon, possibly, maybe Ebay.

 

So what would deliver the most bang for the bucks? Bucks being $4-5K?

 

1. Theta CBIV upgrade?

2. Better Theta amps?

3. Aerial SW12 subwoofer?

4. Aerial CC5 center speaker?

5. Theta Gen??? dac?

6. I also hike, walk a lot, have almost all my music on ipod, with Cambridge dock, maybe do something better for that? Serious listening on the Marantz, but the dock also charges, so listen to that for background music.

 

So thinking of something, no real time frame but soon I think

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post #2 of 7 Old 04-13-2014, 10:42 AM
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If you currently have no subs, then subs would make a fair bit of difference. 2 is always better than one, as is 4 better than 2.

Also, room correction, as in Dirac, which comes with the cb4 upgrade would also make a large improvement. Along with the other benefits the pr3 card brings.

Have a chat to your local theta dealer, perhaps VGI can do you a good deal. You never know you may be able to get a cb4 upgrade and a used SW12 within your budget!
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-13-2014, 01:29 PM
 
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An Aerial CC5 center speaker (mine is listed on Audiogon, but I would recommend this anyway) and a JL Audio subwoofer (get two of them actually). Buying the CC5 used and the two JL Audio subs (12" woofer per sub) will run you perhaps a bit over 5 grand but will well be worth it.

 

Many years ago, I had a CC3 center, and the CC5 was a big sonic upgrade.

 

I luv Aerial, but the JL Audio subs are among the very best out there, and I sold my three Aerial subs and now have two JL Audio f212s (each sub has two 12 " woofers - this is more expensive and you in your budget can get by with less - 2 subs helps equal out room mode issues).

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post #4 of 7 Old 04-13-2014, 07:42 PM
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Here are my votes; essentially I agreed with rec by dj and Steve above, with some more comments:

1. Subwoofer - If this system is used a lot for watching movies, and you don't yet have a subwoofer, then subwoofer is first on the list. Although I have not heard it directly, from what I have read, I would go with JL Audio Fathom 112 or 212, as opposed to Aerial. If this system is mostly for music and rarely for movies, then subwoofer is not as important.

2. Amp: More powerful amps for the front 2 or front 3 speakers. Here I would recommend to also consider Krell, specifically the FPB 200/300, besides the excellent Theta amps. Aerial tends to have a warm tonal balance, and the Krell is a perfect counter for that - it reduces the warmth to make soundstage more transparent.The Krell's reproduction of deep bass will take you to where you've never been before :-) and they are the most reliable of all the amps I've owned. They are available on Audiogon for a fraction of what they used to cost.

3. Gen VIII: brings your system to serious audiophile level; as good as Extreme is, it's no match for a stand alone DAC.

4. CB IV HD: Why is this below the Krell amp and Gen VIII? Easy, you can't room-correct a 5 channel amp to sound like a SOTA stereo amp, or another example, a Japanese receiver into Gen VIII. tongue.gif The front 3 channels are (of course) major determinants of good sound for both music and movies. I would make those right before anything else, therefore good, big speakers and good, big amps up front first.

5. CC5 vs. CC3: I recently replaced my Thiel MCS with Aerial CC5 and will admit the CC5 blows me away with its dynamics. It matches step for step the huge Thiel towers in my system. The CC5 is, all things considered, among the very best of high-end center channel speakers, and certainly the deepest sounding. That said, with dual 9 inch drivers, the bass is warm, and may not be a good match for your main speakers with what seem to be 7 inch bass drivers (?). So this one you might want to take a listen before making the jump.

Sorry to hear and hope things will go up from here for you. Maybe do number 1 and number 2 first (that's 5000 for used Krell FPB and Fathom 112/113), and when there is closure, celebrate with number 3. Gen VIII would have been ranked even higher had it not cost so much, and if music is priority.

Regards, Can
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-14-2014, 06:14 AM
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Oops I forgot about Gen VIII; added to list above.

Regards, Can
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-14-2014, 06:40 AM
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What will give you most bang for the buck is a function of your listening profile, and the acoustics of your room.

Some considerations; If you have a mediocre or poor room, you will benefit most from DRC and waiting for the CBIV with Dirac is your best bet. If you listen a lot to "special effect" movies getting sub(s) is a good idea. If you listen to "regular" movies upgrading the center channel will do miracles for clarity of dialogue.

If you listen critically to 2 channel music a lot, the Gen VIII route is worth considering. Thenagain, you may be expanding your 2 channel to MCH which changes the equation again (are you using the HDMI out of the Marantz into the CBIII or are your running analog - another variable).

Irrespectively, I'm a great believer in the balanced system / weakest link philosophy, and your 5 channel amp does not cut it for the system you have. So while may be not the best bang for the buck, I would get a good stereo amp to balance out your system. At some point you'll have to bite the bullet on the amp, so might as well start thinking about it now.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-14-2014, 07:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cannga View Post


5. CC5 vs. CC3: I recently replaced my Thiel MCS with Aerial CC5 and will admit the CC5 blows me away with its dynamics. It matches step for step the huge Thiel towers in my system. The CC5 is, all things considered, among the very best of high-end center channel speakers, and certainly the deepest sounding. That said, with dual 9 inch drivers, the bass is warm, and may not be a good match for your main speakers with what seem to be 7 inch bass drivers (?). So this one you might want to take a listen before making the jump.

Sorry to hear and hope things will go up from here for you. Maybe do number 1 and number 2 first (that's 5000 for used Krell FPB and Fathom 112/113), and when there is closure, celebrate with number 3. Gen VIII would have been ranked even higher had it not cost so much, and if music is priority.

 

The CC5 is an outstanding match with Aerial 9s - I should know, I had that setup for some years. Only reason I am selling my CC5 (at a used price he can afford a CC5 and two of the JL Audio 112 subs new from Craig/VGI) is because I moved my front projection screen up the wall a bit and my new setup has a matching Aerial 7t for center (along with four other 7ts and two JL Audio f212s). Also, re the sub, two with one woofer is better than one with two woofers because they can be placed in separate locations and will smooth out the bass and again, all this will fit his budget.

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