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Speakers Help - No Clue

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I’m a lamer looking for some help. Need new speakers for following:

My wife has an older (1992) Sony Integrated Stereo AV Amplifier (TA-AV621) she uses to play her favorite CD’s. Attached to this is:
1. Sony CD Player (CDP-C321)
2. Turn Table Technics SL-BD20
3. Sony FM Stereo/FM-AM Tuner –ST-JX521

5 Speakers are attached:

2ea - Front Floor Standing Speakers –Sony SS-U621AV (8 ohms/270 watt)
2ea - Rear Bookshelf size Speakers- Sony SS-U31 (8 ohms/30 watt)
1ea - Center Bookshelf size-Sony ss-CN62 (4 ohms/60 watt)

Speaker Budget ~$200-$300

Any suggestions very much appreciated (including junking this equipment & starting over)smile.gif
post #2 of 22
Junk the equipment and start over wink.gif

Speakers: Infinity Primus 163 x2 or Pioneer SP-BS41-LR x2
Then add a subwoofer : http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-629

A walk down to a pawn shop and you can likely get a much more modern (read: real subwoofer crossover and proper decoding) 5.1 AVR for <$40.
And you should be able to get a CD-Player with a digital out for <$20

Keep your turn-table if you are listening to albums. There's much better, but it would cost.
post #3 of 22
Let me address my issues with the equipment, as I don't want to seem dismissive without consideration.

1. Sony CD Player (CDP-C321)
This is probably fine; but it's ancient and because it lacks a digital out, you are relying on its DAC. Likely you can continue with this happily, but the cost of a used replacement that does have a digital out is so trivial it's hard to argue against replacement.

2. Turn Table Technics SL-BD20
I have no real comment on a turntable. I suspect any replacement would blow your budget

3. Sony FM Stereo/FM-AM Tuner –ST-JX521 (and attached Sony Integrated Stereo AV Amplifier (TA-AV621))
The AVR is low-end, ancient and of a brand not known for quality amps. It's also from the pro-logic era.
A decade newer, higher end, Digital 5.1 used AVR is very inexpensive. Given the use (audio CDs) it's also more than sufficient.

4, 2ea - Front Floor Standing Speakers –Sony SS-U621AV (8 ohms/270 watt)
Sony was not known for the sound quality of its speakers. Between driver design/layout and cabinet resonances; I suspect (I have no personal experience with these speakers) you would be well served by a more modern enclosure. Given your price range, that's gonna be a 2.1 setup.


5. 2ea - Rear Bookshelf size Speakers- Sony SS-U31 (8 ohms/30 watt)
6. 1ea - Center Bookshelf size-Sony ss-CN62 (4 ohms/60 watt)

Not useful for CDs or records; and (I'm assuming) from the pro-logic era so simply not worthwile as center/surrounds.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
JerryLove… Thanks very much for your helpful comments. They’re in no way dismissive – they’re exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

Sounds like it’s more than time for a major modernization wink.gif

Thanks very much for your generous help.smile.gif

I'd certainly welcome any further suggestions for a replacement system.

Thanks again:)
post #5 of 22
I'll second going 2.1 route with your budget. Given a $200-300 budget, what JerryLove recommended looks reasonable and probably your best bet. I don't know much about the infinity primus, but the Pioneer are a typical go to recommendation entry level speakers. Try and audition both and go with the ones you like better.
post #6 of 22
It is hard to recommend any speakers that will sound decent for that budget; you would need to at least double it to make major improvements.

If that is your limit, I think the best sonic improvement would be a new CD player; HUGE improvements in DAC chips have been made in the last 20 years, and the change in sound quality is going to be very noticeable there.

I suggest you consider the NAD 515 player, which is $300.

Another possibility would be to get an Onkyo TX-NR414 receiver to replace the Sony AVR. It runs around $270 at Amazon.

It is very hard to say how good (or bad...lol) your current speakers are without hearing them. Sony has made some fairly good speakers over the years, and some terrible ones.

They currently make audiophile speakers costing over $10,000, and some costing $50 per pair that are not so hot.

My old 2002 Sony 51" HDTV had large speakers and built-in 30W amplifiers that sounded fairly good. The Sony 60" DLP HD TV I bought a few years later has tiny speakers that distort so badly that you MUST connect an external amp and speakers.
Edited by commsysman - 12/14/12 at 12:19pm
post #7 of 22
I have a CD player from the 1980's that sounds better than anything I've bought recently. Has the science of converting a digital signal to analog really changed at all in the last 30 years?

I would keep the money and keep what you have. Assuming everything still works. You won't get much improvement if you're only going to spend $250 or so. Speakers haven't improved over the last 20 years. They've probably gotten worse since many are now made in China.
post #8 of 22
If you want audiophile quality then $2-300 will get you one speaker.

If you want a solution that is within your budget I'd go with something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882120200

If you want to compromise between the two then I'd go the 2.1 rout above except there is no way you are getting a quality sub and 2 quality speakers for 300. In the end a total upgrade with decent equipment will cost you $1000+.

Do some soul searching. If you go with a prepackaged system like I linked and you then want to upgrade later you have wasted your money for instant gratification.
post #9 of 22
The DAC chips used in your 1980s player had a resolution which was effectively far less than 1% of even relatively cheap DAC chips currently used. If you can't tell the difference in the distortion and sonic accuracy, that says a lot about either the amplifier and speakers you are using, or possibly some other factors that make it impossible for you to hear the difference.

DAC chips have become more and more accurate, with major improvements in accuracy and error correction every few years, over and over, for the past 20 years. there are a LOT of errors on the Typical CD due to physical factors in the mastering and production, and better processing power and conversion and correction algorithms reduce the distortion considerably.

Just 10 years ago, the CD players with the lowest distortion and best conversion accuracy cost several thousand dollars. It was quite easy to hear the difference between them and cheaper ones with a low-distortion amplifier and speakers. Now you can get the OPPO BDP-95 for only $1000, and it is perhaps the best you can buy at any price. That is definitely major progress, and the improvements have trickled down to lower-priced units too.




Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

I have a CD player from the 1980's that sounds better than anything I've bought recently. Has the science of converting a digital signal to analog really changed at all in the last 30 years?
I would keep the money and keep what you have. Assuming everything still works. You won't get much improvement if you're only going to spend $250 or so. Speakers haven't improved over the last 20 years. They've probably gotten worse since many are now made in China.

Edited by commsysman - 12/14/12 at 12:21pm
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

I have a CD player from the 1980's that sounds better than anything I've bought recently. Has the science of converting a digital signal to analog really changed at all in the last 30 years?

There are two significant portions affecting sound quality. The DAC and the amp integrated with it.

On truly old models, there's also the issue of laser accuracy (the RedBook standard allows for read errors, but modern CD players won't have them on undamaged disks).

If his CD player were a high-end unit I might recommend differently; but since it can be upgraded for the price of a fast-food lunch, it seems a safe thing to do.

In terms of sonic improvement: this may be a low-gain area; but in terms of cost it's practically negligible. I just gave away 3 CD players of vastly superior quality to what he's using because the market value made them not worth selling.
Quote:
I would keep the money and keep what you have. Assuming everything still works. You won't get much improvement if you're only going to spend $250 or so. Speakers haven't improved over the last 20 years. They've probably gotten worse since many are now made in China.

Well that's simply not true.

But again: If he we sitting on a pair of Infinity IRS Beta's, I'd likely be singing a different tune. He's not. He's got speakers that were not particularly good by the standards of the day; and contrary to your belief: the low-end of the market has improved *dramatically* over the past 20 years. Speakers like the Infinity Primus line, or Pioneer's new line offer performance that would have been far more expensive 20 years ago.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by scipper77 View Post

If you want audiophile quality then $2-300 will get you one speaker.

I'll assume he want's "better than now" with "the best that can be afforded" quality.

I wouldn't start saying "Audiophile" below about $1k per speaker; and I consider those a bargain and you'll still need $1k+ in subs. My most expensive pair is $9k per speaker. It's all relative.

But I assert that the Primus line (particularly the P363), for example, stands up quite well to any $600 pair of speakers you'd like to propose.

Quote:
If you want a solution that is within your budget I'd go with something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882120200

What? He asks for something to play CDs, and you give him a (known for lousy sound) 5-channel HTiaB?!?

I'm willing to accept that there's a subjective element here: but that will have sound quality *far* inferior to my recommendation.

Indeed: It's likely a step down from the current L/R speakers he has.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

I'll assume he want's "better than now" with "the best that can be afforded" quality.
I wouldn't start saying "Audiophile" below about $1k per speaker; and I consider those a bargain and you'll still need $1k+ in subs. My most expensive pair is $9k per speaker. It's all relative.
But I assert that the Primus line (particularly the P363), for example, stands up quite well to any $600 pair of speakers you'd like to propose.
What? He asks for something to play CDs, and you give him a (known for lousy sound) 5-channel HTiaB?!?
I'm willing to accept that there's a subjective element here: but that will have sound quality *far* inferior to my recommendation.
Indeed: It's likely a step down from the current L/R speakers he has.

I really only brought up the whole theater in a box thing because we were already talking about replacing the CD player, receiver, and speakers and his budget is $300. I was sure to mention that this was a waste of money if he wanted better sound in the long run because he would be replacing everything again. The biggest issue I see here is I have no idea how good or bad his current speakers really are. For all I know an upgrade to a modern receiver with his current speakers attached would make a world of good.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
"I'll assume he want's "better than now" with "the best that can be afforded" quality."

jerryLove... Thanks for clarifying - that's what I'm thinking. In my original budget estimate ($200-$300) I was thinking just speakers only but, with your suggested upgrades I would increase my budget accordingly & promise not to fall on my sword for a $100 (+/-) when the upgrades fit my objectives smile.gif
Edited by peachman - 12/14/12 at 1:10pm
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all of you for being so generous with your time and sharing your expertise with me. It was very helpful in my understanding the solution & making an informed decision.

I just pulled the trigger on:
1. the Infinity Primus 163 speakers
2. the Dayton Audio SUB-1200 12" 120 Watt Powered Subwoofer

Doing some research now on a CD player with Digital Out.

Thanks again smile.gif
post #15 of 22
Does a dedicated CD player make that much if a difference? Why not just use a DVD or blu-ray player? Of course my budgets are all entry level so that gives you an idea of my current audiophile level. wink.gif
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Does a dedicated CD player make that much if a difference?
No.
Quote:
Why not just use a DVD or blu-ray player?
You can, and will likely never know the difference. On paper there might be advantages to a dedicated CD player, but you don't listen to paper.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Does a dedicated CD player make that much if a difference? Why not just use a DVD or blu-ray player? Of course my budgets are all entry level so that gives you an idea of my current audiophile level. wink.gif

All my music is played from a Bluray disk player.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsianMan View Post

Does a dedicated CD player make that much if a difference? Why not just use a DVD or blu-ray player? Of course my budgets are all entry level so that gives you an idea of my current audiophile level. wink.gif
No. I use a BD player on two of my systems (because I have video on them) and a DVD player on the third (because it plays SACDs). No down-side to using a more capable player.

But costs are likely to be higher, and the OP is on a very restricted budget.
post #19 of 22
Good point. I was making the assumption that OP would have one already.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The DAC chips used in your 1980s player had a resolution which was effectively far less than 1% of even relatively cheap DAC chips currently used. If you can't tell the difference in the distortion and sonic accuracy, that says a lot about either the amplifier and speakers you are using, or possibly some other factors that make it impossible for you to hear the difference.
DAC chips have become more and more accurate, with major improvements in accuracy and error correction every few years, over and over, for the past 20 years. there are a LOT of errors on the Typical CD due to physical factors in the mastering and production, and better processing power and conversion and correction algorithms reduce the distortion considerably.
Just 10 years ago, the CD players with the lowest distortion and best conversion accuracy cost several thousand dollars. It was quite easy to hear the difference between them and cheaper ones with a low-distortion amplifier and speakers. Now you can get the OPPO BDP-95 for only $1000, and it is perhaps the best you can buy at any price. That is definitely major progress, and the improvements have trickled down to lower-priced units too.

Do you have links to back this up? All a DAC does is create an AC curve out of a square wave curve. Something that was mastered probably in the 1960's. My CD player frrom the 1980's has 8x oversampling. Are you saying modern players have 800x oversampling? Even if they did, it wouldn't make an audible difference.

I'm using a denon 4311 receiver in a 11.3 setup with a NAD T955 amp for the front 5. Everything sounds great. It's just my 1980's CD player sounds better than my brand new 3D blu-ray player. Probably has nothing to do with DACs. It likely has a better pre-amp.
post #21 of 22
Some of those 80's CD players had much better analog sections then many recent players with obvious exceptions of Oppo95/105 and a few others. Thus if using the player's DACs, you might prefer an older version. When my CD player was OOS I tried substituting my Sony DVD player which was highly regarded and I noted a big drop in SQ for music, this was likely in the late 90s/early 2000s. CD player from later 80s I am guessing.
Edited by jima4a - 12/17/12 at 8:44pm
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by peachman View Post

Thanks to all of you for being so generous with your time and sharing your expertise with me. It was very helpful in my understanding the solution & making an informed decision.
I just pulled the trigger on:
1. the Infinity Primus 163 speakers
2. the Dayton Audio SUB-1200 12" 120 Watt Powered Subwoofer
Doing some research now on a CD player with Digital Out.
Thanks again smile.gif

Please let us know your experiences with the setup.
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