How much has speaker technology improved in the past 5 years? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Haven't logged on here in over 5 years. Had spent thousands of dollars on Polk audio 7.1 speakers. Now I'm thinking of getting another 7.1 speaker system in a different room purely for audio (which is not suitable in my home theater). So I need to ask you guys, how much have speakers improved since then? Will the sound quality be much better if I spend the same amount as I did 5 years ago?
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post #2 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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And while we're at it, how much has AV receiver technology improved over the past 5 years? I've noticed that prices have dropped, with 7.1 much more common now, and the receivers are a couple inches smaller in depth (height and width still pretty much the same though).
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post #3 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 07:06 AM
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AVR technology has improved dramatically as far as bells and whistles go. Speaker technology has been relatively unchanged for decades.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #4 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 07:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andytoh View Post

Will the sound quality be much better if I spend the same amount as I did 5 years ago?

I have a set of Klipsch speakers and am under the opinion that dollars-to-dollars, our nineteen year old speakers vs today's equivalent, we'd have to increase our adjusted for inflation budget by fifty percent to improve on the sound quality. In the meantime, the facts of life included, my hearing ain't nothing like it was eighteen years ago. So in direct response to your question, spending the same you did five years ago, would be a downgrade as you haven't adjusted for inflation.

Inflation Calculator

I paid $2,200.00 for my speakers (Epic, CF-3's) in 1993. Using the calculator, I'd have to spend; $3,488.00 to buy similar priced replacement speakers.

A set of Klipsch, RF-7 II's can be had, depending on where they're purchased, for about $3,200.00, or if B-stock, much less. To beat the sound of the Epic, CF-3's, my opinion, I'd have to step up to a pair of Martin Logan, Theos and change the accompanying center channel to replace our current choice, a RC-64 II. To get an improvement in the subwoofer sound quality, current technology vs old technology, would be much easier (subs have improved dramatically) by stepping up to a pair of Epik, Rythmick or Hsu subs of equal size. But to get an improvement that's a step above, I'd have to step up to a pair of Martin Logan, Depth i.

The point of the above, one would have to set their budget according to inflation just to break even and if they don't adjust for inflation, they'll be expectedly stepping down in quality. If the individual is wanting an improvement, I say it's a safe bet, adjusted for inflation, they'll need to increase their budget by fifty percent.

Hope the above helps give you sufficient insight to answer your question.

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post #5 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 08:09 AM
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Wow. Imo, it's highly subjective and it also depends on what you are used to and it may be better to pose your question in the Polk Owners Thread insofar as your particular speakers are concerned...To give a second opinion in regard to the Klipsch lineup, there has been considerable advances in compression driver technology and the materials making up the LF drivers have improved quite a bit in the last 15 years or so...That said, there is an argument to be made that when some of these larger conglomerates are picking up some of the reputable speaker companies from the past that profit over quality could become a consideration.
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post #6 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 08:13 AM
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I don't agree. If older speakers sounded so bad then there would be no market for vintage speakers. Plus the materials used is an old wives tale. The exotic materials some of the manufactures use is just a marketing technique. Some of the best speakers out there use plain old paper cones.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #7 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

...I paid $2,200.00 for my speakers (Epic, CF-3's) in 1993. Using the calculator, I'd have to spend; $3,488.00 to buy similar priced replacement speakers.
A set of Klipsch, RF-7 II's can be had, depending on where they're purchased, for about $3,200.00, or if B-stock, much less. -

Fwiw, it appears that folks are getting the RF-7IIs well under the MSRP and you wouldn't need to spend anywhere near the $3200 to $3488 for an upgrade--Just like you found the comparable RC-64II for considerably less and you would have a front soundstage that would match seamlessly and you could move your Epics to Surround duty.
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post #8 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyng_fool View Post

I don't agree. If older speakers sounded so bad then there would be no market for vintage speakers. Plus the materials used is an old wives tale. The exotic materials some of the manufactures use is just a marketing technique. Some of the best speakers out there use plain old paper cones.

I didn't say older speakers sounded bad and I agree that Klipsch Heritage speakers are excellent bang for your bucks, but they are larger than what most people want for Home Theater.
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post #9 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

Fwiw, it appears that folks are getting the RF-7IIs well under the MSRP and you wouldn't need to spend anywhere near the $3200 to $3488 for an upgrade--Just like you found the comparable RC-64II for considerably less and you would have a front soundstage that would match seamlessly and you could move your Epics to Surround duty.

B-stock vs full retail vs discount pricing. It's all in the comment.

As to moving floor standing speakers to surround duty, it will never happen as we like a "normal" looking living room in which to watch television and movies. Where technology is seamlessly (unnoticeably) integrated into a contemporary living environment. A room when one looks in, one sees a warm inviting place to sit and have conversation or when cold outside, wants to sit, watch the fireplace flicker and read a book; old school values.

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post #10 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

B-stock vs full retail. It's all in the comment.

I agree, but no one pays full retail and there are posters in the Klipsch thread that are getting A and B stock for the same price...
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post #11 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

...As to moving floor standing speakers to surround duty, it will never happen as we like a "normal" looking living room in which to watch television and movies. Where technology is seamlessly (unnoticeably) integrated into a contemporary living environment. A room when one looks in, one see a warm inviting place to sit and have conversation or want's to sit, watch the fireplace and read a book; old school values.
-

I agree if you only have one room to do all of the things you mention but let's face it, a TV has nothing to do with "old school values," and the argument could be made to get rid of it (as well as all of the other crap that makes up the modern Home Theater) if that's your goal or limitations...That said, if one was to have a dedicated room for Home Theater and wants to appreciate the material experienced as an art form, alot can be accomplished with SQ in mind...
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post #12 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

I agree if you only have one room to do all of the things you mention but let's face it, a TV has nothing to do with "old school values," and the argument could be made to get rid of it (as well as all of the other crap that makes up the modern Home Theater) if that's your goal or limitations...That said, if one was to have a dedicated room for Home Theater and wants to appreciate the material experienced as an art form, alot can be accomplished with SQ in mind...

That's your argument.
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post #13 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 11:46 AM
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Back to the OP's original question. If you are thinking of using this system purely for audio I'm wondering why you are thinking of going 7.1? There is virtually no music that is mixed for 7.1 audio and very little that is mixed for 5.1

IMHO I think you would be much better served by putting your resources into a higher quality 5.1 system or even an excellent 2.0. Unless your room is very large or very unusual you will get amazing stereo imaging from a high end 2 channel system.
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post #14 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cabinguy View Post

Back to the OP's original question. If you are thinking of using this system purely for audio I'm wondering why you are thinking of going 7.1? There is virtually no music that is mixed for 7.1 audio and very little that is mixed for 5.1
.

Fwiw, I use my Home Theater for 90% multichannel music and although it's 5.1 material, being able to convert it to 7.1 is sublime when using large speakers all of the way around. On my Denon AVR 4806 it allows me to matrix the rear channels so that it actually sounds like there is an independent rear channel. That said, I don't know anything about the speakers that the OP owns.
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post #15 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cabinguy View Post

Back to the OP's original question. If you are thinking of using this system purely for audio I'm wondering why you are thinking of going 7.1? There is virtually no music that is mixed for 7.1 audio and very little that is mixed for 5.1
IMHO I think you would be much better served by putting your resources into a higher quality 5.1 system or even an excellent 2.0. Unless your room is very large or very unusual you will get amazing stereo imaging from a high end 2 channel system.

This is not just for listening to music. It's a unique situation where I want sound coming from as many different speakers as possible. True surround sound or not is not that critical here. I am trying to simulate something actually. I would place 20 speakers if possible.
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post #16 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 01:11 PM
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What are you trying to simulate and what AVR or processor do you have?
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post #17 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

What are you trying to simulate and what AVR or processor do you have?

I haven't bought the receiver yet. Any good 7.1 receiver should do fine for me, unless that have been new features developed in the last 5 years that I'm not aware of that can help my project. Pretend you are in a middle of a dancefloor with music and wild cheering coming from every single direction. That's what I'm trying to simulate. Please don't ask why. As you can tell, this is not a second home theater I'm building here.
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post #18 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by andytoh View Post

... Pretend you are in a middle of a dancefloor with music and wild cheering coming from every single direction....

I feel like someone else may be more qualified to help on your unique request, but this line reminded me of a real-life situation I was in with Burning Down the House playing. biggrin.gif Thanks for the memory and good luck in your endeavor.
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post #19 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by andytoh View Post

I haven't bought the receiver yet. Any good 7.1 receiver should do fine for me, unless that have been new features developed in the last 5 years that I'm not aware of that can help my project. Pretend you are in a middle of a dancefloor with music and wild cheering coming from every single direction. That's what I'm trying to simulate. Please don't ask why. As you can tell, this is not a second home theater I'm building here.
With trying to place that many speakers you may end up with more problems than you solve. I would try 7.2 to start with and see how you like that. If that's not enough then go up from there.

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #20 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by flyng_fool View Post

With trying to place that many speakers you may end up with more problems than you solve. I would try 7.2 to start with and see how you like that. If that's not enough then go up from there.

Well, that's something I didn't hear about 5 years ago. I'll look into 7.2.
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post #21 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by andytoh View Post

Well, that's something I didn't hear about 5 years ago. I'll look into 7.2.

FWIW, placing a bunch of speakers around the room comes with a cornucopia of problems. As I post, I have no idea what you do or don't know. The more speakers, the more speaker interacting problems; sound waves fighting with each other. As a recommendation, purchase the AVR and speakers, set the system up in a 3.1 or 5.1 configuration, dial the system in and then add the side surrounds. As you add speakers and become familiar with the room analyzer and speaker placement, you'll better understand the need to ease into a multiple speaker configuration.

In the simple, the question might be; how hard can it be to place and hang a few speakers in a room? And the answer, very, very hard if you're not onto what's what, with what. Hope the above insight helps with your questions.

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post #22 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

In the simple, the question might be; how hard can it be to place and hang a few speakers in a room? And the answer, very, very hard if you're not onto what's what, with what. Hope the above insight helps with your questions.
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What?biggrin.gif

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #23 of 31 Old 09-03-2012, 04:06 PM
 
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What?biggrin.gif

LOL

I know.

eek.gif

And as I relax, there's more to follow.

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post #24 of 31 Old 09-04-2012, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by andytoh View Post

I haven't bought the receiver yet. Any good 7.1 receiver should do fine for me, unless that have been new features developed in the last 5 years that I'm not aware of that can help my project. Pretend you are in a middle of a dancefloor with music and wild cheering coming from every single direction. That's what I'm trying to simulate. Please don't ask why. As you can tell, this is not a second home theater I'm building here.

More isn't necessarily better if you're trying to create that effect. Hell sitting in the sweet spot in a good set of stereo speakers should create the sense of spaciousness you're looking for (even "placing" surround effect where they're intended)....that's the point of imaging after all. A set of high quality headphones will make you realize this is true. Seems a lot of people (and speaker and component manufacturers have lost sight of that.)

The point of adding additional speakers is to deal with imaging issues as you try to accommodate additional seating positions and/or challenging room layouts. But in a lot of ways, adding speakers introduces a lot of issues that ruin imaging as well.
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post #25 of 31 Old 09-04-2012, 10:16 AM
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I think the more speakers the better. 2 channel music sounds much better playing all 5,7,9 or 11 speakers than just playing stereo on the front 2.

To answer the original question...
As far as AVRs, the biggest change from 5 years ago is improved room correction software. Audyssey has improved a lot over the past 5 years. Other enhancements are more channels and lossless audio.

As far as speakers, the only change I can think of is there are a lot of surround sound speakers that can be set to di-pole or bi-pole, depending on your preference. The subwoofer selection is a lot better than 5 years ago. There are more ID companies selling good subs.
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post #26 of 31 Old 09-04-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I did get a second subwoofer now. I'm thinking of getting the Yamaha 7.2 RXV673B receiver. Due to the furniture I have in the room, one subwoofer will be on the floor while the other one will be raised 22 inches from the floor. I hope that is still an okay set-up.
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post #27 of 31 Old 09-05-2012, 03:32 AM
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post #28 of 31 Old 09-05-2012, 06:29 AM
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If you've got unlimited money you could go for something like that. Holy crap that thing is expensive!

Dumb enough to spend lots of cash on this junk!
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post #29 of 31 Old 09-05-2012, 06:34 AM
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Expensive and probably obsolete in a short time.

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post #30 of 31 Old 09-05-2012, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mystik610 View Post

More isn't necessarily better if you're trying to create that effect. Hell sitting in the sweet spot in a good set of stereo speakers should create the sense of spaciousness you're looking for (even "placing" surround effect where they're intended)....that's the point of imaging after all. A set of high quality headphones will make you realize this is true. Seems a lot of people (and speaker and component manufacturers have lost sight of that.)
The point of adding additional speakers is to deal with imaging issues as you try to accommodate additional seating positions and/or challenging room layouts. But in a lot of ways, adding speakers introduces a lot of issues that ruin imaging as well.

I disagree. Imaging isn't the whole story. Some listeners prefer pinpoint imaging, and that can be the recording techniques as much or more than speakers or room or setup. Other listeners want the widest soundstage possible. Research shows that the vast majority of listeners prefer reflections and the perception of envelopment. For the typical small home listening room, that means multiple speakers. I personally believe movie soundtracks have improved over the last five years to better take advantage of multichannel home systems. Just compare LOTRs to Tron Legacy or the recent James Bond movies, for example. it's not just bullets, arrows, and explosions in the surround channels. There is a room-filling, enveloping ambience that you just won't reproduce with 2.0, 2.1, or 3.1. As for headphones, I might agree depending on the model, but they can sound so different tonally, not to mention the differing abilities to convey spaciousness. The high-end AKG models aren't confined to the head, but not all headphones can boast that. Satisfying, yes, but not equivalent to a multichannel surround system.
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