Do I need to start from scratch? Older B&W LCR speakers, new Polk Audio subwoofer, old Sony AVR - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 04-03-2013, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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You know how sometimes you just get dissatisfied with your home theater system? That has happened to me, so I have been researching how to improve it. After spending a lot of time on this site, and looking at new receivers and speakers, what I have concluded is that I don't know what I am doing. I have also realized there are many helpful people on this site who know a lot about this subject, so I am asking for advice. Simply put, I'm not sure if the weak link is my speakers, or my receiver, or both. The sound isn't terrible but it's not as good as I would like it to be. Dialog is particularly difficult to hear. I'm not looking for anything too fancy or expensive, just better sound. Here is what we are using:

B&W CDM1 speakers (somewhat high-end when purchased in 1996 - why does that make me feel old?)
B&W CC6 center channel (same)
Polk Audio DSW Pro 10" powered subwoofer (purchased last year)
Sony STR-DE545 receiver (purchased in *cough* 2001)
no surrounds

My first thought was to buy a new receiver, leaning towards a Denon, Pioneer, or Yamaha. But then I saw in this forum that B&W speakers are power hungry, so I began to wonder if my CDM1's weren't cut out for home theater duty. Or at least, not with my receiver. Then I read on the B&W speaker thread that B&W made some poor center channels, including the CC6. Maybe the other speakers are okay, but the center channel is the problem. But I thought I matched the center to the L & R when I purchased them, so would it be a problem to swap out the center?

I got so frustrated that I began to consider starting over and buying a whole new system, but that is an expensive impulse. I welcome your opinions and suggestions.

Thank you for your time,
David
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post #2 of 33 Old 04-03-2013, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by david3772 View Post

Maybe the other speakers are okay, but the center channel is the problem. But I thought I matched the center to the L & R when I purchased them, so would it be a problem to swap out the center?
My own experience has been that the cure for incomprehensible dialog is getting a better center speaker (though I'm not familiar with the one you have now). It might be a problem getting a new center to blend with your L & R, but since you're thinking of replacing the L & R, anyway, may as well try it. Updating one thing at a time and listening would be more fun than trying to figure out a master plan, I'd think.

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post #3 of 33 Old 04-03-2013, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by david3772 View Post

Maybe the other speakers are okay, but the center channel is the problem. But I thought I matched the center to the L & R when I purchased them, so would it be a problem to swap out the center?
My own experience has been that the cure for incomprehensible dialog is getting a better center speaker (though I'm not familiar with the one you have now). It might be a problem getting a new center to blend with your L & R, but since you're thinking of replacing the L & R, anyway, may as well try it. Updating one thing at a time and listening would be more fun than trying to figure out a master plan, I'd think.

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post #4 of 33 Old 04-03-2013, 09:38 PM
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I used to have the CC6 with B&W 601s. I thought it worked fairly well for dialogue.

For a different center, I can't remember which it is, but it was either the LCR600 or LCR6 that people like better than the CC6 for pairing with the 600 series. Might look into that.

It might help to upgrade the receiver to one with Audyssey MultEQ room correction. It will help to smooth the in room response, and perhaps it might help your front sound stage. Regardless, you should get some SQ benefit out of it anyway even if the dialogue is still a little difficult to hear.
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post #5 of 33 Old 04-03-2013, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


It might help to upgrade the receiver to one with Audyssey MultEQ room correction. It will help to smooth the in room response, and perhaps it might help your front sound stage. Regardless, you should get some SQ benefit out of it anyway even if the dialogue is still a little difficult to hear.

I was going to suggest the same thing. I replaced my older Yamaha with a Dennon that has Audyssey MultiEQ XT and I gained a new appreciation for my "older" speakers. I did end up moving them to the back and bought the matching towers for the front. Although the cost wasn't significantly better than starting fresh, I think it was the right place to start- for me anyway.

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post #6 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 12:37 AM
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Recently upgraded my speakers . I have a denon receiver with multieq 90 watts . I had b & w 601 with lcr6 center. Had them for 13years and enjoyed them. Felt though I wanted something more alive sounding and different . Ended up with tekton oriel speakers with pendragon center . High sensative and different sound. More dynamic and bigger soundstage . I really.enjoy them a lot more
My.advice would be to try something else. There has been a lot of new speaker companies pop up I'm the last ten years making some good products. Some people change there system every two years. Me I want another 6-8 years and then I might look again. Its exciting demoing speakers and looking at reviews . When you hook them up its like.xmas morning . Good luck and happy hunting .
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post #7 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 12:52 AM
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without knowing what is bothering you and just going by age of the stuff you listed, buy a new receiver fist. i prefer marantz over the others, but denon and pioneer ones are also good. not a fan on onkyo or yamaha but they have ok models tool. models to consider--Marantz SR5007 good. Denon avr2113. if you can spend a bit more then Anthem MRX 300.

once you calibrate this system there should big a big improvement in sound quality. next step would be to get a new player like oppo bdp-103.

at this point you can consider upgrading all your speakers and going for a 5.1 package for about 1000 if you are still not satisfied, but don't go there all at once. enjoy each upgrade smile.gif
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post #8 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 01:19 AM
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Biggest difference in sq is : speakers , second place speakers , third place room treatments . Yes he needs to provide more info but receiver won't impact sound nearly like. The speakers . He definitely needs to upgrade receiver too to one with room correction . Denon and marantz are fine choices .
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post #9 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GregLee View Post

My own experience has been that the cure for incomprehensible dialog is getting a better center speaker (though I'm not familiar with the one you have now). It might be a problem getting a new center to blend with your L & R, but since you're thinking of replacing the L & R, anyway, may as well try it. Updating one thing at a time and listening would be more fun than trying to figure out a master plan, I'd think.

Greg - Thank you for your suggestion. I may try to swap out the center channel, that would be a prudent beginning. Though a new receiver sounds fun....

David
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post #10 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I used to have the CC6 with B&W 601s. I thought it worked fairly well for dialogue.

For a different center, I can't remember which it is, but it was either the LCR600 or LCR6 that people like better than the CC6 for pairing with the 600 series. Might look into that.

It might help to upgrade the receiver to one with Audyssey MultEQ room correction. It will help to smooth the in room response, and perhaps it might help your front sound stage. Regardless, you should get some SQ benefit out of it anyway even if the dialogue is still a little difficult to hear.

Cel,

Thank you for your suggestions, I appreciate your time. Regarding the center, it seems the LCR600 and LCR6 are older speakers that I would look for online somewhere? I don't see them on B&W's website. Best Buy's Magnolia has a few B&W speakers, but they are a little pricey. It may be heresy to raise this subject here, but do you know anything about B&W's MT series speakers? The reviews I have found are strong, and there is a certain appeal (given I am no audiophile) to replacing my speakers and stands with small speakers.

As for receivers, my ancient Sony is rated at 100w but is seems weak to me. I know power ratings are tricky, I had (have somewhere?) an old NAD with less rated wattage that felt stronger. I think Marantz and Denon have Audyssey (I am learning here they are made by the same company), and Yamaha has something different called YPAO. Have you heard anything about that?

David
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Originally Posted by sheshechic View Post

I was going to suggest the same thing. I replaced my older Yamaha with a Dennon that has Audyssey MultiEQ XT and I gained a new appreciation for my "older" speakers. I did end up moving them to the back and bought the matching towers for the front. Although the cost wasn't significantly better than starting fresh, I think it was the right place to start- for me anyway.

Thanks for the +1 on Audyssey, sheshechic.
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post #12 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by david3772 View Post

Cel,

Thank you for your suggestions, I appreciate your time. Regarding the center, it seems the LCR600 and LCR6 are older speakers that I would look for online somewhere? I don't see them on B&W's website. Best Buy's Magnolia has a few B&W speakers, but they are a little pricey. It may be heresy to raise this subject here, but do you know anything about B&W's MT series speakers? The reviews I have found are strong, and there is a certain appeal (given I am no audiophile) to replacing my speakers and stands with small speakers.

As for receivers, my ancient Sony is rated at 100w but is seems weak to me. I know power ratings are tricky, I had (have somewhere?) an old NAD with less rated wattage that felt stronger. I think Marantz and Denon have Audyssey (I am learning here they are made by the same company), and Yamaha has something different called YPAO. Have you heard anything about that?

David

Yep. Those are models that were out quite a few years back that I saw recommended for the older 600 series. The CC6 was the primary center for the 601s, 602s, and 603s. And those were other models that people were reporting worked better. I haven't heard them, though. You could ask in the B&W owners thread here on AVS. Probably people with experience with them.

Sure. Yamaha has YPAO, which many people like. Audyssey MultEQ or better and then YPAO multipoint version (not the regular one), EQ the sub in addition to the speakers. So it's worth getting that as subs can usually use the help in a room.

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Originally Posted by chalugadp View Post

Biggest difference in sq is : speakers , second place speakers , third place room treatments . Yes he needs to provide more info but receiver won't impact sound nearly like. The speakers . He definitely needs to upgrade receiver too to one with room correction . Denon and marantz are fine choices .

Thanks for your input, chalugadp. Do you have thoughts about specific Denon and Marantz receivers? The Marantz SR5007 is at the high end of what I want to spend, though I like the looks of the new slim line receivers that are just coming out.

As for Denon, someone here suggested the AVR-2113CI. I had also considered the AVR-1913, which is a little more highly rated on Amazon and a couple hundred dollars less.

Thanks again,
David
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post #14 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by david3772 View Post

You know how sometimes you just get dissatisfied with your home theater system? That has happened to me, so I have been researching how to improve it. After spending a lot of time on this site, and looking at new receivers and speakers, what I have[ concluded is that I don't know what I am doing.

I share your pain as I am going through this right now! I used to think I knew what I was doing, but I find myself questioning that now.
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Originally Posted by david3772 View Post

I got so frustrated that I began to consider starting over and buying a whole new system, but that is an expensive impulse. I welcome your opinions and suggestions.

What I suggest, and did, was go to "BB" and ask to listen to different HT systems for comparison. What I asked for was a good example of what surround sound "should sound like". Of course they started me off with the highest priced system.... But, what I discovered was that my system was actually pretty good. I went and got the same Blu Ray they demonstrated (X-Men: First Class) and viewed the same chapter. I realized my system was not that far off.

So, I recommend listening to other equipment, systems, etc. before you even think of spending money. What surprised me was that the B&W speakers I sampled (at $1,500/pair), I did not like at all. This is NOT any comment on your speakers BTW. What further surprised me were the Martin Logan speakers, they sounded GREAT, but were one third the price.

I suggest "calibrating your expectations" before you do anything. Listen to other systems, set ups, etc. Then go back and verify if your system is optimized as to Set Up, speaker positioning, wire gauge. I also found distinct improvements by tweaking settings and moving speakers.

Lastly, my best suggestion is something I read here on AVS somewhere: "Listen with your ears, not your wallet". That was a big lesson learned yesterday listening to a lot of equipment.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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Originally Posted by akhter View Post

without knowing what is bothering you and just going by age of the stuff you listed, buy a new receiver fist. i prefer marantz over the others, but denon and pioneer ones are also good. not a fan on onkyo or yamaha but they have ok models tool. models to consider--Marantz SR5007 good. Denon avr2113. if you can spend a bit more then Anthem MRX 300.

once you calibrate this system there should big a big improvement in sound quality. next step would be to get a new player like oppo bdp-103.

at this point you can consider upgrading all your speakers and going for a 5.1 package for about 1000 if you are still not satisfied, but don't go there all at once. enjoy each upgrade smile.gif

Thank you for the advice, akhter.

The Marantz SR5007 is impressive, but a little pricey. What do you think of the Marantz slim line receivers coming out like the NR1504 and 1604? Or is the 5007 just that much beefier?

You mentioned the Denon AVR-2113. I had been looking at the Denon 1913, which is a fair bit less expensive and rated a little more highly on Amazon. is there something specific you favor on the 2113?

Thanks again,
David
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Yep. Those are models that were out quite a few years back that I saw recommended for the older 600 series. The CC6 was the primary center for the 601s, 602s, and 603s. And those were other models that people were reporting worked better. I haven't heard them, though. You could ask in the B&W owners thread here on AVS. Probably people with experience with them.

Sure. Yamaha has YPAO, which many people like. Audyssey MultEQ or better and then YPAO multipoint version (not the regular one), EQ the sub in addition to the speakers. So it's worth getting that as subs can usually use the help in a room.

Thanks again, cel. I didn't know there were different versions of Audyssey and YPAO, but I'll watch for that. It sounds (sorry, pun intended) like either would be a big help.

David
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Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post

I share your pain as I am going through this right now! I used to think I knew what I was doing, but I find myself questioning that now.
What I suggest, and did, was go to "BB" and ask to listen to different HT systems for comparison. What I asked for was a good example of what surround sound "should sound like". Of course they started me off with the highest priced system.... But, what I discovered was that my system was actually pretty good. I went and got the same Blu Ray they demonstrated (X-Men: First Class) and viewed the same chapter. I realized my system was not that far off.

So, I recommend listening to other equipment, systems, etc. before you even think of spending money. What surprised me was that the B&W speakers I sampled (at $1,500/pair), I did not like at all. This is NOT any comment on your speakers BTW. What further surprised me were the Martin Logan speakers, they sounded GREAT, but were one third the price.

I suggest "calibrating your expectations" before you do anything. Listen to other systems, set ups, etc. Then go back and verify if your system is optimized as to Set Up, speaker positioning, wire gauge. I also found distinct improvements by tweaking settings and moving speakers.

Lastly, my best suggestion is something I read here on AVS somewhere: "Listen with your ears, not your wallet". That was a big lesson learned yesterday listening to a lot of equipment.

Hello bizwiz, good to hear your story. I think your suggestions are good. I will sit down and give my system a more critical listen, and then I will go and listen to new systems. And - I am convincing myself of this - I will not spend gobs of money without due consideration! And I will follow your credo of listening with my ears, not my wallet.

I have read great things about Martin Logan speakers, I would like to hear them. I remember auditioning a lot of speakers before I bought my B&W's. I had forgotten that at the time I bought them I paired them with a Rotel preamp and amp, which I think made them sound much better than they do now.

David
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post #18 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 12:21 PM
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Thanks again, cel. I didn't know there were different versions of Audyssey and YPAO, but I'll watch for that. It sounds (sorry, pun intended) like either would be a big help.

David

They definitely can improve SQ. Whether they will help with your dialogue issue, that I can't tell you.

Also, Costco was running a deal on the Pioneer 1522K receiver for $600. I understand it's equivalent to the Pioneer Elite SC-65. So in other words, if that's at all in your budget range, you can get a high end receiver for a mid-level price. Pioneer uses the advanced version of MCACC room correction in that receiver. Worth looking into.

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Originally Posted by david3772 View Post

Hello bizwiz, good to hear your story. I think your suggestions are good. I will sit down and give my system a more critical listen, and then I will go and listen to new systems. And - I am convincing myself of this - I will not spend gobs of money without due consideration! And I will follow your credo of listening with my ears, not my wallet.

I have read great things about Martin Logan speakers, I would like to hear them. I remember auditioning a lot of speakers before I bought my B&W's. I had forgotten that at the time I bought them I paired them with a Rotel preamp and amp, which I think made them sound much better than they do now.

David

Again I just want to say that my "B&W speaker listening experience" is in no way an opinion of your current speakers. I also had the same receiver (Sony STR-DE545) in my bedroom set up, and I must say I thought it was a decent AVR. I was pleased with the sound. In fact, I thought it was a very good value.

My point is that it seems you have pretty good equipment, that should sound "pretty good". I'm getting the sense that your expectations are reasonable, and you've just hit that point where you start to question your current set up. I feel that I have been let down by the "modern" equipment I've purchased. The Polk speakers I bought for surrounds were terrible, and I recently 'dug out" some old speakers to replace them.

So, first things first, go listen with an open mind and "blind ears". As for the Martin Logans, I was using them as an example as well. The B&W, Definitive Technology speakers I listened to were a let down. When the salesman finally got to the ML Motions I was shocked at the "price/sound quality" ratio. Even the sales rep admitted they sounded much better than the B&W and DT speakers.

Simply take it step by step....

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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Also, Costco was running a deal on the Pioneer 1522K receiver for $600.
It's a very nice receiver. I paid $1000 for mine, a few weeks ago.

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post #21 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Again I just want to say that my "B&W speaker listening experience" is in no way an opinion of your current speakers. I also had the same receiver (Sony STR-DE545) in my bedroom set up, and I must say I thought it was a decent AVR. I was pleased with the sound. In fact, I thought it was a very good value.

My point is that it seems you have pretty good equipment, that should sound "pretty good". I'm getting the sense that your expectations are reasonable, and you've just hit that point where you start to question your current set up. I feel that I have been let down by the "modern" equipment I've purchased. The Polk speakers I bought for surrounds were terrible, and I recently 'dug out" some old speakers to replace them.

So, first things first, go listen with an open mind and "blind ears". As for the Martin Logans, I was using them as an example as well. The B&W, Definitive Technology speakers I listened to were a let down. When the salesman finally got to the ML Motions I was shocked at the "price/sound quality" ratio. Even the sales rep admitted they sounded much better than the B&W and DT speakers.

Simply take it step by step....

I understand you aren't criticizing my current speakers. They are great looking speakers, but I have to believe speaker technology has come a long way in 17 years. Plus the new speakers would be....you know......new. But as you stated, newer is not always better. I may be hitting a Magnolia store this weekend. I'm hoping to check out some receivers and hear the ML Motion 10's and 12's. Do you know which ones you heard?

David
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post #22 of 33 Old 04-04-2013, 08:43 PM
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They are great looking speakers, but I have to believe speaker technology has come a long way in 17 years.

Maybe not as much as you might think. But I think we grow used to a speaker's sound after a while, and something new can be very refreshing. smile.gif

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I may be hitting a Magnolia store this weekend. I'm hoping to check out some receivers and hear the ML Motion 10's and 12's. Do you know which ones you heard?

David
Hi David,

The MLs I heard were the Electromotions with the membrane speaker, but I was really impressed by the Motion 4! It is only $250.00/speaker but it sounded incredible! It is small, only has power up to 75W, but again the sound was unreal. The center I liked was the Motion 8 ($400). Very clear, very good sound. I would sample all the Martin Logans, as the Motion SLM 4 didn't sound that much better, but was twice the cost.

What I also liked about the ML Motion 4 was it was reasonable to get all four (or five, six) speakers to "match", as we hear about it so much. They were also small so the "wife factor" gets a big plus there! They sounded great with music, movies, everything.

I add that "new" is not always better; my favorite speakers are my oldest ones. For some reason they seemed to make them better in the old days. However, you do have a point about technology, and that is where you have to be careful. Who is using technology, and who is not? Companies have cycles, as do the products. In this case I discovered that Martin Logan is now one of the leaders, where my old favorite "Polks" are going the way of "Bose", relying on marketing and price points.

Again, objective listening is the answer, and try not to look at prices before you listen. For example, I "wanted" the $1,500 B&W speakers to sound better, but they didn't.

I do understand the mindset that "my system is old, therefore it must need improvement". I think we all do this, but I would kill to get back my old Marantz receivers I gave away as a kid. But be careful in this day, as there are so many choices, and many poor values.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Maybe not as much as you might think. But I think we grow used to a speaker's sound after a while, and something new can be very refreshing. smile.gif

Both good points. I'm thinking the receiver will likely go, I forgot to mention the radio in the receiver has never really worked. By that I mean you can't listen to radio stations. I've tried different antennas, nothing seems to help.

David
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Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post

Hi David,

The MLs I heard were the Electromotions with the membrane speaker, but I was really impressed by the Motion 4! It is only $250.00/speaker but it sounded incredible! It is small, only has power up to 75W, but again the sound was unreal. The center I liked was the Motion 8 ($400). Very clear, very good sound. I would sample all the Martin Logans, as the Motion SLM 4 didn't sound that much better, but was twice the cost.

What I also liked about the ML Motion 4 was it was reasonable to get all four (or five, six) speakers to "match", as we hear about it so much. They were also small so the "wife factor" gets a big plus there! They sounded great with music, movies, everything.

I add that "new" is not always better; my favorite speakers are my oldest ones. For some reason they seemed to make them better in the old days. However, you do have a point about technology, and that is where you have to be careful. Who is using technology, and who is not? Companies have cycles, as do the products. In this case I discovered that Martin Logan is now one of the leaders, where my old favorite "Polks" are going the way of "Bose", relying on marketing and price points.

Again, objective listening is the answer, and try not to look at prices before you listen. For example, I "wanted" the $1,500 B&W speakers to sound better, but they didn't.

I do understand the mindset that "my system is old, therefore it must need improvement". I think we all do this, but I would kill to get back my old Marantz receivers I gave away as a kid. But be careful in this day, as there are so many choices, and many poor values.

Hi Bizwiz,

The Motion 4's sound interesting. As I mentioned in an earlier post, small speakers do have some appeal. I'm wondering about the 75W rating, though. Does that mean a receiver like like the Denon 2113 (95W per channel) or Marantz 5007 (100W) is too much power for the speakers? If I buy a new receiver I will likely keep my current speakers for now, but I'm still going to look around. Your suggestion to try to avoid looking at pricing when listening is also very good advice.

David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david3772 View Post

Hi Bizwiz,

The Motion 4's sound interesting. As I mentioned in an earlier post, small speakers do have some appeal. I'm wondering about the 75W rating, though. Does that mean a receiver like like the Denon 2113 (95W per channel) or Marantz 5007 (100W) is too much power for the speakers? If I buy a new receiver I will likely keep my current speakers for now, but I'm still going to look around. Your suggestion to try to avoid looking at pricing when listening is also very good advice.

David

Hi David,

Thanks for the compliment. As for the ML Motion 4s' power handling of 75W, I wouldn't worry about it. I tried them with a Pioneer Elite VSX-60 (90 watts X 7) "at volume" and they easily handled it. It is a good question to ask when you listen to them.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post

Hi David,

Thanks for the compliment. As for the ML Motion 4s' power handling of 75W, I wouldn't worry about it. I tried them with a Pioneer Elite VSX-60 (90 watts X 7) "at volume" and they easily handled it. It is a good question to ask when you listen to them.

Thanks.
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When looking at avr's my go to budget avr is the denon 1713. It can be had for $300 at A4L.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1713/DENON-AVR-1713-5.1ch-Networking-Receiver-w/AirPlay-3D-Ready/1.html

This avr has audyessy xt which is their second highest form of room correction. It has reasonable power for the price and pretty good on features, give it some thought.
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David,

Have you thought about adding surround speakers to your set up? After rereading your initial post, I see you do not have any. Perhaps this may be an improvement to your listening enjoyment.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petden View Post

When looking at avr's my go to budget avr is the denon 1713. It can be had for $300 at A4L.
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1713/DENON-AVR-1713-5.1ch-Networking-Receiver-w/AirPlay-3D-Ready/1.html

This avr has audyessy xt which is their second highest form of room correction. It has reasonable power for the price and pretty good on features, give it some thought.

Thank you for the suggestion, Petden. I spent some time over the weekend looking at new equipment and then fiddling with the settings on my Sony receiver. I may try to live with it for a while, but I have been told here of the value of Audyssey and the Denon 1713 seems like a good way to get there.

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Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post

David,

Have you thought about adding surround speakers to your set up? After rereading your initial post, I see you do not have any. Perhaps this may be an improvement to your listening enjoyment.

Interesting observation, bizwiz. I was considering that myself. My experience is becoming oddly similar to yours. I did hit BB/Magnolia yesterday. Like you, I concluded that for the most part my system really isn't that bad - especially after I came home and spent a fair amount of time going through my Sony manual and altering settings.

I am fairly puzzled by my experience listening to speakers at the store. For the most part, the speakers - even the somewhat expensive ones - were unimpressive. I don't know what was going on with the Motion 4's, which I made a point of listening to. The highs were crisp and clear, but the middles were a little muddy and the bass non-existent. When I asked it they were wired right, the salesman said all bookshelf speakers were bass limited and needed a sub to round out the sound. I'm sure the speakers you listened to sounded better than what I heard. My wife and I listened to several pairs of bookshelf speakers, and they all shared a similar affliction. At which point the salesman suggested I would be happier with a pair of nice big tower speakers. I really wonder if the store had some wiring issue or incorrect crossover setting. It was strange. The positive side of the story is that we came home and cranked up our old B&W's and were impressed with the sound - including the bass.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I found a center channel volume setting in my ancient Sony that I had overlooked. Really embarrassed! I had changed one setting trying to resolve the issue, but last night I found a center channel volume adjustment that did the trick. That beings said, at BB I did develop admiration for the Marantz SR5007. I don't need it, certainly, I just kind of want it. I'm going to try to resist that urge, I think, though I'm wondering how much that would improve my setup.

Now back to your interesting observation: I was thinking about surrounds last night, and started looking at some online. Do you have any suggestions? I am not keen on wall mounting, and would probably put the speakers on stands. I came across the Polk RM6751 (too small?) and the Polk FXI A4 (bipole/dipole. Are Polks any good any more?). Maybe RTI A1's? I'm not hung up on Polk, I just kept coming across them. I confess to knowing nothing yet about bipole and dipole.

David
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