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post #1 of 6 Old 06-14-2012, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello AVSers,


I am in the process of upgrading my system and looking for a few suggestions. I am currently running a rotel rsp-1570 processor along with a rotel RMB-1575 amp. I have these components hooked up to B&W 804D towers and a polk center channel and surrounds. My sub is a def tech super cube reference. I will be purchasing a B&W 800 series center channel and surrounds. The components I am interested in upgrading is my processor and amp. I purchased the rotel gear without audition (stupid) but, I got a deal on it I couldn't pass up. I have never really been impressed with the combo. It sounds nice but, the music just doesn't have much life to it regardless of source material. I have double checked all my processor settings and calibration and everything is as it should be for my room. My room is large with a vaulted ceiling then opens into the dining room. I'm sure my room acoustics don't help anything but, there's nothing more I can do about that. It seems as if the towers aren't getting enough wattage. My amp is rated at 250wpc @8ohm. I have read on a few sites that the class D amp just isn't as "musical" as a class A or A/B. I don't know if there is any truth to that or not. I just feel like I should be getting better sound from the B&W 804's. The 804's are bi-ampable but, My current configuration is single amped. I use my system mainly for TV/Movies but, I also enjoy 2-channel vinyl listening. I have a VPI scout turntable that is connected to a rogue ares phono pre-amp. I also like Blu-ray audio and SACD played through my oppo. I have set aside about $8000.00 usd for the processor/amp combo. I may also consider adding a pre-amp to the mix. I have also thought about getting away from multi-channel amps and going to monoblocs on my towers. If I do that, then What would you suggest to power my center and surrounds? Does anyone make a 3-channel amp? Does anyone here own the 804D's and what processor/amp combo are you using? I know Classe' equipment is made by the B&W group and that would be an obvious line to try but, what are a few other brands that pair well with B&W. I Hope to get some good suggestions here and then go do some auditions and see what I think. Thanks in advance.

Andy
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-14-2012, 10:58 PM
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The reality is that your amp/processor are just fine in terms of sound quality (barring defects) and although you do not specify room size, it is doubtful that you need nearly as much as 250wpc (your speakers are rather efficient).

it's most likely room acoustics, so either treat your room (which may be an esthetic impossibility), or get a good room correction system (you are in the ballpark for something like ADA's TEQ line with Trinnov Optimizer).

Personally, I don't understand how in this day and age Rotel sells a rather expensive processor without room correction, but I suppose good marketing can turn a glaring deficiency into a "purist's" dream. (Although I've always liked Rotel's box design, which is certainly worth something.)
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-15-2012, 03:47 AM
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+1 On the acoustics point. But you know that as you mentioned it yourself. Maybe you could add discrete looking absorbers to the (vaulted) ceiling? In nature (where man evolved in the African savane), there is no "ceiling", hence IMO the ceiling in a listening room needs to be as absorbant as possible (using thick absorbers) in order to sound "natural"...

I did read a lot of good about the Classé SSP, but this one piece would blow your entire budget. I do believe the pre-pro is more important than the amps (if the amps are powerfull enough), so you should replace that first and hear what it gives. Two other pre-pro's spring to my mind: the Denon AVP (can be found used and/or upgraded to Audyssey XT-32, the nec plus ultra of room correction) and the Arcam FMJ AV888 (which is supposed to be very good with music, some claims it sounds nicer - warmer - than the Denon).

Alternatively, a pre-amp with HT-Bypass would indeed improve the 2 channel experience. Parasound has a nice one.

After this, you could think about replacing the amps. I have 2 Emotiva XPA-1 powering my Jamo's, with very good result. And they have a XPA-3 3ch amp.

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post #4 of 6 Old 06-15-2012, 04:12 AM
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+2 on the Acoustics. Sounds like you are fighting a problem with your room. Actually, I would do three things if I was you.
1) Replace the center channel with an 800 Series B&W Center Channel that matches your 804s. This will allow you to have timbre matching across your front soundstage. You are going to do that eventually which is good.

2) Take some of the $8000 and use a little bit towards room treatment. They make very nice looking room treatments with different art work on them that you can hang in your room. It will just look like you have hung different paintings of art through out your room. To get you started, you should look at Bass Traps for your corners to cover from floor to ceiling and then look at absorption panels to put at your first reflection points. That should be good enough to get you started.
Links for Acoustic Treatments:
GIK Acoustics: http://www.gikacoustics.com/index.html
Real Traps: http://www.realtraps.com/
Auralex: http://www.auralex.com/

3) Now listen to your system for a while and decide if you are satisfied.

NOTE: No electronics and/or speakers in the world is going to fix a problem with a room. Throwing money at electronics to fix a problem with a room is a big waste of money. The way to fix a room is with Acoustic Treatments.

I hope this was helpful.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-16-2012, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the suggestions guys. I am about to move to a new house so I will make my theater room more acoustic friendly. If I don't find the results I am looking for then I may upgrade. I will work on room acoustics first.

Andy
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-16-2012, 11:31 AM
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First off, do not go and blindly start adding room treatments, such as absorbion panals and bass traps. Before you do that, you need to invest in a measurment device to easure your room acoustics and see where the problem area's are at, then based on those measurements, you can start tweaking the room with panals and traps. As far as your current pre/pro and amp, you have very good combo of Rotel gear that should work just as good as anything else that you can buy for 8k. Amps pretty much all sound the same, and, yours have more than enough wattage and current. There is a very small amount of difference in sound quality between pre/pro's, but, not enough to make a big enough difference to warrent an $8,000 dollar expendature. I personally think you would be better served by either, a) getting a stand along room correction devise to custom EQ your room and speakers together, or b) sell the Rotel pre/pro and go with a pre/pro with room correction built in. I also think that you would have a freaking HUGE jump in performance by taking that money and adding a B&W htm1d, as that is one of the greatest cental channel speakers ever made. Some might say that you need to go with a htm4d to match your front 804d's, but the htm1d will blow the htm4d completely out of the water! Plus it will match just fine with your 804d's as they are all voiced to work fine together.
'

If this were my system and my money to spend, what I would do is, first buy the htm1d (if you can find one, they are discontinued and were replaced with the htm2d, which isn't near as awesome as the htm1d) as that is going to turn your good setup into a monster eating bad a** setup, then look for some sort of room correction devise or possibly use a Behringer or QSC signal processor to use as filters to tweak your mains and center as well as your sub(s). If you did all of the stuff I described above, then you would have a system worthy of any audiophile on the planet!
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