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Upgrade options...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My current system consists of NHT 3.3's bi-amped with a Lexicon NT312(Bryston 5B ST) running the highs and a Keiga sub-amp running the LF, sourcing from my laptop through a UMC-1. I've enjoyed this current set-up for about 6 months, but I feel these speakers have more potential than what I have provided thus far. The bass seams slow and slightly undefined and while the HF sounds wonderful, I find myself pushing the 312 to its limits and feel the speakers have more to give past that point.

My two ideas at this point are:

-Monoblocks or a big stereo amp. My budget is $2-$2.5k, so far I've been leaning towards Emotiva XPA-1's or W4S ST1000, however I'd love to get a deal on a used Krell KSA-250

-I demoed GoldenEar Tech Triton Two's once and really like their sound. Possibly sell the 3.3's and keep my Lex 312 to power those?

I also plan on buying a decent DAC (DACMagic Plus, Rega DAC, PS Audio DL III) soon to further improve my signal chain.

Does anyone have any more input on amps in that price range? Or has anyone been able to compare 3.3's to the Triton Two's? Any input is very much appreciated and thanks in advance!
post #2 of 11
I think your passive bi-amp scheme is a waste of power (and that's me being brutally honest), so I'd probably nix that. I'm also skeptical that you're approaching 150wpc (or more) into those speakers - if you are, I wouldn't worry about a thing; you'll have hearing damage soon enough. Basically, pick an amplifier, and go with it. The Bryston should be suitable by itself.

Now onto things that make sense:
The complaints about sound quality are going to be most helped by:

- Room treatments
- New speakers


Buying more expensive amplifiers, or a more expensive DtoA, or a more expensive computer, or anything of that sort, will not really do that much for you (Aside from put a dent in your pocketbook). New speakers may or may not make sense, it depends on how well treated your room is thus far; if you're already at the limit on that side of things, new speakers is probably what I'd consider next.

Finally, you might consider adding a sub to the system, to round out the low-end. Since you already have the UMC-1, that's somewhat easier. I vaguely remember one of the complaints about the UMC was the lack of sub EQ though, so a newer AVR might be a consideration (I'd go check the UMC thread or check the Emotiva forums; do know that the UMC is a "black sheep" and that fans can be somewhat touchy if they think you're deriding the unit (mostly because it's a component that a lot of people love to hate)).
post #3 of 11
Check out the Naim Nait 5i integrated amp, I got one recently and it can power out the bass very well. Its also got great mids and highs. I have yet to turn mine up past 9 oclock on the volume dial, this little things a beast.

however if you need a subwoofer output, the 5i doesnt have one. You would have to step up to the XS from Naim.

however different speaker might be a good move as well.
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by callas01 View Post

Check out the Naim Nait 5i integrated amp, I got one recently and it can power out the bass very well. Its also got great mids and highs. I have yet to turn mine up past 9 oclock on the volume dial, this little things a beast.

Volume dial numbers tell us nothing at all about a device's performance; they just reflect internal gain and speaker sensitivity relative to your room. The qualification of the "sound signature" tells us nothing either as that's influenced by your room and speakers (as well as perception biases).

http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=58829
http://www.roger-russell.com/truth/t...goodamplifiers

That Naim also drops 100wpc off of the Bryston, which is not insubstantial - it's unlikely to be an upgrade in terms of performance.


Quote:


however if you need a subwoofer output, the 5i doesnt have one. You would have to step up to the XS from Naim.

Many active subwoofers, and stand-alone subwoofer amplifiers, can accept a speaker-level input and provide a speaker-level output back to the speakers. You could therefore, in theory, hook up a subwoofer to this (or any other) amplifier. You don't have a proper xover, just an LPF, but it can still work (it's better than nothing in many cases). Just something to think about.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
walbert, thanks for your detailed reply!: If your not familiar with the 3.3's, they each have a built in subwoofer. I'm running them much as you described here:
Quote:


Many active subwoofers, and stand-alone subwoofer amplifiers, can accept a speaker-level input and provide a speaker-level output back to the speakers. You could therefore, in theory, hook up a subwoofer to this (or any other) amplifier. You don't have a proper xover, just an LPF, but it can still work (it's better than nothing in many cases). Just something to think about.

I'm going full range out of the UMC-1 into the line level inputs on the sub amp and going from the line level outputs of said amp into the Bryston. Its essentially like having two corner loaded sealed subs in the room, I think they have way more potential than I'm giving them. I just don't think a so-so plate amp is the correct way to do things here.

I have also tried running them with the Bryston alone. The bass was almost unnoticeable, it lacks the required juice to run 2 12" subs and the HF. Thats what makes me think I want a higher powered stereo amp or monoblocks.

As far as the room goes, its a dome home, so there are no parallel walls, however its a pretty open floor plan. The one thing I do have a problem with is a metal spiral staircase which sits directly behind the seating position. Its very resonant and certainly doesn't help things, I've tried to combat the problem by wrapping it with some thick cloth drapes which did seam to help a little. I do plan on finishing my basement at some point, to which I'll move my system and can build in room treatments.

Does anyone else have any amp recommendations in the $2000-$2500 range? Or am I completely wrong on this and I should dump my 3.3's and move on to something else?

Thanks for all the responses!
post #6 of 11
You have got to be kidding me!

You have a Bryston amp that puts out 120 watts/ch and you think you need a different amplifier to get some bass? You need a reality check. That amplifier is well-known in pro audio and other circles as one that has KICKASS bass!!!

I suggest you look everywhere else for your problem, not there. "going from the line-level outputs of the sub amp into the Bryston" sounds like a major problem. You should try going from an adjustable line-level source to the Bryston and then drive the 3.3 speakers with the Bryston alone. Get rid of the "sub amp".

Try hooking up a decent preamp or other signal source to the Bryston, drive the speakers with the Bryston alone, and you will have all the bass your speakers can put out. The idea that the Bryston does not have enough power to drive the 3.3s is nonsense. The problem has to be in your signal source or speaker positioning. Positioning is most likely 90% of the problem.

A dome home does seems like the perfect shape to suppress bass; you might have a fundamental problem there, along with the fact that the positioning of the 3.3s relative to the walls is known to be a CRITICAL factor, as it says in the 3.3 manual!! You need to spend a LOT of time moving those speakers around an inch at a time until you find where they work best.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobok View Post

walbert, thanks for your detailed reply!: If your not familiar with the 3.3's, they each have a built in subwoofer. I'm running them much as you described here:

I'm going full range out of the UMC-1 into the line level inputs on the sub amp and going from the line level outputs of said amp into the Bryston. Its essentially like having two corner loaded sealed subs in the room, I think they have way more potential than I'm giving them. I just don't think a so-so plate amp is the correct way to do things here.

I have also tried running them with the Bryston alone. The bass was almost unnoticeable, it lacks the required juice to run 2 12" subs and the HF. Thats what makes me think I want a higher powered stereo amp or monoblocks.

As far as the room goes, its a dome home, so there are no parallel walls, however its a pretty open floor plan. The one thing I do have a problem with is a metal spiral staircase which sits directly behind the seating position. Its very resonant and certainly doesn't help things, I've tried to combat the problem by wrapping it with some thick cloth drapes which did seam to help a little. I do plan on finishing my basement at some point, to which I'll move my system and can build in room treatments.

Does anyone else have any amp recommendations in the $2000-$2500 range? Or am I completely wrong on this and I should dump my 3.3's and move on to something else?

Thanks for all the responses!
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

The complaints about sound quality are going to be most helped by:
- Room treatments
- New speakers

This. Especially bass traps since the problem is a lack of bass.

--Ethan
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

Volume dial numbers tell us nothing at all about a device's performance; they just reflect internal gain and speaker sensitivity relative to your room. The qualification of the "sound signature" tells us nothing either as that's influenced by your room and speakers (as well as perception biases).

http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=58829
http://www.roger-russell.com/truth/t...goodamplifiers

That Naim also drops 100wpc off of the Bryston, which is not insubstantial - it's unlikely to be an upgrade in terms of performance.




Many active subwoofers, and stand-alone subwoofer amplifiers, can accept a speaker-level input and provide a speaker-level output back to the speakers. You could therefore, in theory, hook up a subwoofer to this (or any other) amplifier. You don't have a proper xover, just an LPF, but it can still work (it's better than nothing in many cases). Just something to think about.

i guess one would have to hear it to be certian.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...ostcount=15394
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobok View Post

walbert, thanks for your detailed reply!: If your not familiar with the 3.3's, they each have a built in subwoofer. I'm running them much as you described here:

I'm going full range out of the UMC-1 into the line level inputs on the sub amp and going from the line level outputs of said amp into the Bryston. Its essentially like having two corner loaded sealed subs in the room, I think they have way more potential than I'm giving them. I just don't think a so-so plate amp is the correct way to do things here.

I have also tried running them with the Bryston alone. The bass was almost unnoticeable, it lacks the required juice to run 2 12" subs and the HF. Thats what makes me think I want a higher powered stereo amp or monoblocks.

As far as the room goes, its a dome home, so there are no parallel walls, however its a pretty open floor plan. The one thing I do have a problem with is a metal spiral staircase which sits directly behind the seating position. Its very resonant and certainly doesn't help things, I've tried to combat the problem by wrapping it with some thick cloth drapes which did seam to help a little. I do plan on finishing my basement at some point, to which I'll move my system and can build in room treatments.

Does anyone else have any amp recommendations in the $2000-$2500 range? Or am I completely wrong on this and I should dump my 3.3's and move on to something else?

Thanks for all the responses!

So would I be nuts if I said these sound like the Polk LSi 15's from hell? (At least from the amplifier's perspective).

I'd probably move on to another set of speakers if they're that much of a nightmare in your room/to use; no need to have an overly complicated electronics setup or something like that.

Additionally, the lack of bass management capabilities relative to your setup probably isn't helping. In theory, you could drive the "subs" in these speakers from an AVR/SSP's sub outs (through an amplifier), and have them managed in that way (or use something like a Velodyne SMS), but it seems like quite a lot of trouble versus a new pair of speakers and a conventional subwoofer (which can be placed in it's ideal location, instead of dictated by the speakers).

Just something to think about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by callas01 View Post

i guess one would have to hear it to be certian.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...ostcount=15394

Not really; transparent is transparent, and subjective, sighted, non-controlled evaluations don't tell us anything. It's a lesser amplifier, and it costs quite a lot for the few features it does offer - sounds high end to me!
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobok View Post

My current system consists of NHT 3.3's bi-amped with a Lexicon NT312(Bryston 5B ST) running the highs and a Keiga sub-amp running the LF, sourcing from my laptop through a UMC-1. I've enjoyed this current set-up for about 6 months, but I feel these speakers have more potential than what I have provided thus far. The bass seams slow and slightly undefined and while the HF sounds wonderful, I find myself pushing the 312 to its limits and feel the speakers have more to give past that point.

My two ideas at this point are:

-Monoblocks or a big stereo amp. My budget is $2-$2.5k, so far I've been leaning towards Emotiva XPA-1's or W4S ST1000, however I'd love to get a deal on a used Krell KSA-250

-I demoed GoldenEar Tech Triton Two's once and really like their sound. Possibly sell the 3.3's and keep my Lex 312 to power those?

I also plan on buying a decent DAC (DACMagic Plus, Rega DAC, PS Audio DL III) soon to further improve my signal chain.

Does anyone have any more input on amps in that price range? Or has anyone been able to compare 3.3's to the Triton Two's? Any input is very much appreciated and thanks in advance!

Your electronics and speakers look pretty darn good. How about room setup and acoustics?
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

So would I be nuts if I said these sound like the Polk LSi 15's from hell? (At least from the amplifier's perspective).

I'd probably move on to another set of speakers if they're that much of a nightmare in your room/to use; no need to have an overly complicated electronics setup or something like that.

Additionally, the lack of bass management capabilities relative to your setup probably isn't helping. In theory, you could drive the "subs" in these speakers from an AVR/SSP's sub outs (through an amplifier), and have them managed in that way (or use something like a Velodyne SMS), but it seems like quite a lot of trouble versus a new pair of speakers and a conventional subwoofer (which can be placed in it's ideal location, instead of dictated by the speakers).

Just something to think about.



Not really; transparent is transparent, and subjective, sighted, non-controlled evaluations don't tell us anything. It's a lesser amplifier, and it costs quite a lot for the few features it does offer - sounds high end to me!

no worries, Ill defer to your obvious expertise, and enjoy my system.
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