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post #1 of 21 Old 12-12-2013, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
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So it's time to make a move towards upgrading my system. The main objective is to get better two channel out of my current current Monitor Audio Silver Rx 8's as well as more from my Center which is the matching MA Silver Rx Centre. I am currently running this off an Onkyo 3009. I also have an older Integra 70.1 that I swap out some times. That's from an old surround sound set up I don't use anymore

Do I get a decent 2 or 3 channel amp and use either one of those as pre/pro as well as power my surrounds? Or sell my speakers and one of those receivers and put that towards a new set of L/C/R set up? Budget for upgrade would hopefully be no more than $3k so try and find a Demo, close out or used?

In addition to the above I am running Revel IW80's for surrounds in the wall and I have two 12" Atlantic Technology 642e SB's

Thanks for sharing any suggestions
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-12-2013, 10:03 PM
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The Onkyo is pretty solid, I think you would see better returns upgrading speakers first before your amp.
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-12-2013, 10:46 PM
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Well, I say that's a mighty fine set of speakers you have.

My suggestion is to upgrade the amps.

Whenever I have money, I buy Audio by Van Alstine (for 25 years now.)

http://avahifi.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138&Itemid=226
http://avahifi.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=159&Itemid=231

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=48.0
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-12-2013, 10:57 PM
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Speakers! (and perhaps positioning). biggrin.gif

Unless your Onkyo 3009 is incapable of cleanly driving your MA Silvers to your prefered maximum volume levels, adding a power amp will make no real discernable difference to how your system sounds. What are your listening habits like? The 3009 is THX Ultra2+ certified and is capable of driving each of those 90dB/1W/1m sensitivity Silvers to well beyond reference level (theoretical 105dBSPL peaks) at a listening distance of 4m+. Unless you regularly listen at "extreme" volume levels, a power amp will not contribute to anything (except lightening your wallet).

Your MA Silvers are very well regarded speakers though... it may be tough to find a worthwhile upgrade for a $3000 changeover. Is there anything in particular you don't like about how the Silvers perform now? I'm only asking because I just wonder if you have a room or setup issue that's affecting their performance.
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-13-2013, 05:07 AM
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An amplifier will make no difference at all unless you are clipping your amps. That isn't likely. The best thing you can do is integrate a subwoofer into your two channel listening. Make it a 2.1 system in home theater lingo.
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-13-2013, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Awesome feedback guys! Thank you. So my biggest gripe is two channel listening from either streaming Pandora or Spotify as well as from my android. I'd like to get better quality audio from these sources. I agree, the volume and clipping are not an issue at all, rarely have to turn up past 50 unless I'm trying to make a point with my buddies:)

So I am just trying to get the cleanest and most detailed sound out of what I have. Maybe I just have some simple tinkering to do.

I was looking at the new Pioneer Elite's with the USB DAC's as maybe an alternative that may help boost the sound quality through my PC or phone? So that brings up when should I think about adding a DAC and what sources will that improve over the DAC's used in the Onkyo or Integra I currently own But I lose Audyssy

I also think that by dual 12's are great for HT use but could sell those and do a single SVS SB 13Ultra which I think is better suited for music as I had the older version of the SB 13 but though that grass was greener with dual subs. Not sure for me this is the case
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-13-2013, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh yeah. So another common comment I get is that adding an AMP to the onkyo will not change the sound, only amplify the onkyp sound. So if I did grab like a Halo, NAD or VA which all seem to have different audible identities, would they be present if I used the Onkyo as the Pre/Pro? Or does the Pre/Pro have more of an effect on the sound. Laidback, bright, quiet ect....
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-13-2013, 09:45 AM
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You don't add one amplifier's power to another. When you add an outboard amp, you no longer use the amps in the receiver. I said adding an outboard amp will not affect sound in your situation. I was serious. I'm sorry to say DACs won't change anything either. Sonic changes in equipment come from speakers and room acoustics. Finally, Pionee also has room calibration software similar to Audyssey. It is called MCACC.

If you want better sound from your streams, fix the source. I stream music from MOG. They send the music as MP3 at 320 KBPS which sounds the same as a CD. Subscription is just $5 per month. Spotify will also send you 320kbps MP3's for their $10 per month subscription.
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-13-2013, 10:08 AM
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I think try adjusting your AVR settings is best.

What are your settings on the AVR?

Are you using Audyssey Dynamic EQ for your dual subs?

Are you using Audyssey Flat or Audyssey?

I use Audyssey BYPASS L/R + Dynamic EQ.

What are your speaker channel levels set at?

Changing the trim levels will also affect the Dynamic EQ sound, which affects mostly when your master volume is less than -20.0 (like -20, -21, -22, etc.).
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-13-2013, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

I think try adjusting your AVR settings is best.

What are your settings on the AVR?

Are you using Audyssey Dynamic EQ for your dual subs?

Are you using Audyssey Flat or Audyssey?

I use Audyssey BYPASS L/R + Dynamic EQ.

What are your speaker channel levels set at?

Changing the trim levels will also affect the Dynamic EQ sound, which affects mostly when your master volume is less than -20.0 (like -20, -21, -22, etc.).

The heck with all those settings, I say buy JTR speakers....











eek.gifbiggrin.gif

JUST KIDDING! No cat scratch, get off my back diatribe, please smile.gif

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post #11 of 21 Old 12-13-2013, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

I think try adjusting your AVR settings is best.

What are your settings on the AVR?

Are you using Audyssey Dynamic EQ for your dual subs?

Are you using Audyssey Flat or Audyssey?

I use Audyssey BYPASS L/R + Dynamic EQ.

What are your speaker channel levels set at?

Changing the trim levels will also affect the Dynamic EQ sound, which affects mostly when your master volume is less than -20.0 (like -20, -21, -22, etc.).

The heck with all those settings, I say buy JTR speakers....











eek.gifbiggrin.gif

JUST KIDDING! No cat scratch, get off my back diatribe, please smile.gif

Okay, dogs screaming all day long? eek.gifbiggrin.gif

JUST KIDDING.

Life is good. Love, don't hate. biggrin.gif
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-13-2013, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Life is good. Love, don't hate. biggrin.gif

+1 to that. Life's too short. Just ribbing a bit, that's all smile.gif

But seriously, to the OP, if you had a speaker you REALLY liked the electronics wouldn't matter nearly as much. Find speakers you LOVE, amplify them sufficiently for the maximum volume you will listen at(assuming you picked speakers that can do that), get at least two subs and position them optimally using reasonably priced measuring gear, make sure your room is not an acoustic disaster, and then everything else is small stuff.

That's been my experience at least. Good luck!

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post #13 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwillz View Post

Oh yeah. So another common comment I get is that adding an AMP to the onkyo will not change the sound, only amplify the Onkyo sound.

I'm wondering if you read your own posts?

Are you the same guy who posted:

"So my biggest gripe is two channel listening from either streaming Pandora or Spotify as well as from my android. I'd like to get better quality audio from these sources. I agree, the volume and clipping are not an issue at all, rarely have to turn up past 50 unless I'm trying to make a point with my buddies:"

????

Putting 2 and 2 together your system sounds great when playing discs, but you don't like what it sounds like streaming off the web. You are not alone, and there are solid technical reasons why new speakers, new DAC, new everything won't help. The reason is that your system can't sound better than its source, and most internet audio sources are inherently degraded by the low bitrates that they use.

BTW with the components you have, your system should be very tough to improve on. Great speakers, great subs, great AVR, plenty of dynamic range. About the only thing that is even a little vague is whether or not you've been exploiting Audyssey XT32 and room acoustics.
Quote:
So if I did grab like a Halo, NAD or VA which all seem to have different audible identities, would they be present if I used the Onkyo as the Pre/Pro? Or does the Pre/Pro have more of an effect on the sound. Laidback, bright, quiet ect....

The problem there is that Halo, NAD or VA don't have inherently different audible identities.

I used to own a Pass Threshold 4e that sold for about $8k. It sounded no different than a $200 amp, and there is no technical reason to believe that it would.
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post #14 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. I'll start playing around more with the Audyssy and see if I can improve a bit.
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post #15 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Any recommendations or tips on running the Audyssy XT 32 with dual subs and what I should adjust after I run it? Looking at the menu there seems to be all kinds or rat holes I can go down to adjust and tinker with the settings. But I am a novice so I don't fully understand what I should adjust or just leave alone so I get the best out of all of this
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwillz View Post

Any recommendations or tips on running the Audyssy XT 32 with dual subs and what I should adjust after I run it? Looking at the menu there seems to be all kinds or rat holes I can go down to adjust and tinker with the settings. But I am a novice so I don't fully understand what I should adjust or just leave alone so I get the best out of all of this

audyssey faq

audyssey 101

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
LOL!
Why you wouldn't want to join this forum
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post #17 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


Putting 2 and 2 together your system sounds great when playing discs, but you don't like what it sounds like streaming off the web. You are not alone, and there are solid technical reasons why new speakers, new DAC, new everything won't help. The reason is that your system can't sound better than its source, and most internet audio sources are inherently degraded by the low bitrates that they use.

I too have a Denon AVR with internet radio. I've never touched it. Rwillz your post stimulated me to take a listen which actually took a little work because I hadn't even pulled a network cable to it. That done and a firmware update later, and here's a thumbnail sketch of what I saw and heard.

Pretty much guaranteed sub-sub-sub-sub CD/DVD sound quality wall-to-wall. Your stereo ain't broke and you can't fix it because the source is broken.

One cool thing about Denon's internet receiver is that it lists out the audio format info. I saw MP3 formats applied to music that were so bitrate-deprived that I wouldn't use them to just code speech, let alone music. The worst I saw was 24 kbps MP3. To put this into context IMO MP3 starts getting interesting about 128 kbs and you do the math, that's 5 times more bits. MP3 performs much better the more bits you throw at it up to about 192 k, and that's based on DBTs.

Then comes the real bad news. How do you think that your average radio station hooks up streaming? I need to ask my radio station engineer buddies, but I'd bet money they probably put a distribution amp in front of the input to their FM Stereo encoder and run a line from that to the input of the streamer. This would be the same streamer that they use for OTA, no matter that bits are virtually free on the web as compared to slipping them in between the other revenue-producing services including SCA and pagers they send OTA.

Now I get to the really bad news. Every radio station worth its free license uses something like this:

http://www.bswusa.com/Broadcast-On-Air-Processing-Orban-Optimod-8500-HD-P4263.aspx

"Orban Optimod"



Now this is a legacy model, but if the basic nature of FM station owners hasn't changed, your fave FM outlet or internet outlet are probably running the oldest thing they can still get repaired.

What is an Optimod (or its equivalent). Its a box that can make the cleanest most dynamic CD you ever heard sound like its been hypercompressed. Hey it makes Trixie-FM sound as loud as any other outlet in the city, all of the freakin time! :-(

You want all that to sound like a good CD or DVD?

Not in this life!
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post #18 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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ArynK

Wow! That was deep:) Ha

But it was what I needed to hear so thank you. And I will lower my expectations

Also 67Jason - Thanks for the Audyssy FAQ's! I read through that and I definitely need to go through and run it again with a tripod and do a few other things differently after I run it
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post #19 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwillz View Post

Any recommendations or tips on running the Audyssy XT 32 with dual subs and what I should adjust after I run it? Looking at the menu there seems to be all kinds or rat holes I can go down to adjust and tinker with the settings. But I am a novice so I don't fully understand what I should adjust or just leave alone so I get the best out of all of this

Play around with the trim levels (speaker channel level). Increasing speaker channel levels will increase Dynamic EQ effects.

Also play around with increasing sub levels (speaker channel levels for subs).

Try different Audyssey settings w/ Dynamic EQ, but turn off Dynamic Volume.

Audyssey vs Audyssey Flat vs Audyssey Bypass L/R.

I ended up with Audyssey Bypass L/R + Dynamic EQ, but everyone is different.
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post #20 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I too have a Denon AVR with internet radio. I've never touched it. Rwillz your post stimulated me to take a listen which actually took a little work because I hadn't even pulled a network cable to it. That done and a firmware update later, and here's a thumbnail sketch of what I saw and heard.

Pretty much guaranteed sub-sub-sub-sub CD/DVD sound quality wall-to-wall. Your stereo ain't broke and you can't fix it because the source is broken.

One cool thing about Denon's internet receiver is that it lists out the audio format info. I saw MP3 formats applied to music that were so bitrate-deprived that I wouldn't use them to just code speech, let alone music. The worst I saw was 24 kbps MP3. To put this into context IMO MP3 starts getting interesting about 128 kbs and you do the math, that's 5 times more bits. MP3 performs much better the more bits you throw at it up to about 192 k, and that's based on DBTs.

Then comes the real bad news. How do you think that your average radio station hooks up streaming? I need to ask my radio station engineer buddies, but I'd bet money they probably put a distribution amp in front of the input to their FM Stereo encoder and run a line from that to the input of the streamer. This would be the same streamer that they use for OTA, no matter that bits are virtually free on the web as compared to slipping them in between the other revenue-producing services including SCA and pagers they send OTA.

Now I get to the really bad news. Every radio station worth its free license uses something like this:

http://www.bswusa.com/Broadcast-On-Air-Processing-Orban-Optimod-8500-HD-P4263.aspx

"Orban Optimod"



Now this is a legacy model, but if the basic nature of FM station owners hasn't changed, your fave FM outlet or internet outlet are probably running the oldest thing they can still get repaired.

What is an Optimod (or its equivalent). Its a box that can make the cleanest most dynamic CD you ever heard sound like its been hypercompressed. Hey it makes Trixie-FM sound as loud as any other outlet in the city, all of the freakin time! :-(

You want all that to sound like a good CD or DVD?

Not in this life!

Great post! I've never listened to internet radio through my main system, and lucky I haven't!

The OP specifically mentioned Pandora and Spotify though. Those services stream at, or near, CD quality, depending on how you stream it.

From Spotify:
"Spotify uses 3 quality ratings for streaming, all in the Ogg Vorbis format.

~96 kbps
Normal quality on mobile.
~160 kbps
Desktop and web player standard quality.
High quality on mobile.
~320 kbps (only available to Premium subscribers)
Desktop high quality.
Extreme quality on mobile.

From Pandora:
"Audio Quality
Pandora on the Web plays 64k AAC+ for free listeners and 192kbps for Pandora One subscribers. All in-home devices play 128kbps audio, and mobile devices receive a variety of different rates depending on the capability of the device and the network they are on, but never more than 64k AAC+."

I stream at least a dozen services through my Sonos system and it is hooked up to my main AVR as well. Generally, the quality is outstanding. Services such as Rhapsody(192kbps), MOG(320 kbps), and Wolfgang's Vault(320 kbps) are indistinguishable from CD and Pandora is usually very good as well, just not as good as the others.

So long as the OP is using the higher quality streams from these companies there is no reason he shouldn't be able to get great SQ. I know I do.

JTR Noesis 212HT x 3 (LCR) powered by Lab Gruppen 10000Q amp
CHT SHO-10 x 4 (sides and rear) powered by Denon 4311
JTR S2 x 2
CHT 18.1 x2
Oppo BDP103D bluray player/Sonos/PS3
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post #21 of 21 Old 12-14-2013, 12:16 PM
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At 3K you might be able to pick up a pair of Ascend Sierra Towers with RAAL tweeters or Salk SongTowers but the ultimate limitation is your low bitrate source, you might see a small improvement because the speakers are better, but listening to radio streams will hamper your performance significantly.
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