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Upgrading from 3.1 to 5.1 - What to do?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi! New here.

Would like to get some advice from the experts. : )

I started to build an AV system some time ago and then had to stop midway, wanted surround sound and got up to 3.1, that is.
Moved house recently and am picking up on this now, and have some doubts about the next steps that I'd very much appreciate your help with...

To start off, here's what I currently have:
- Panasonic 50" VT30
- Sony STR-DG820 AV receiver
- Yamaha DVD Player S795 (used as a CD player, died recently)
- Playstation 3
- pair of B&W 685's
- B&W HTM61
- B&W PV-1 subwoofer ("Why?!" - got a real bargain back in the day, less than half price for a hardly used demo unit. Read some scathing reviews, but I actually like it.)
Photo:


This is used:
- 50% for music (CD - rock with distorted guitars mostly, but also folk, stuff with clear vocal harmonies, and bass-driven genres like hip-hop and its sub-genres)
- 50% for BluRay movies + Videogaming


And, to listen to vinyl:
- Technics turntable - SL-BD22D
- Sony TA-FE310R integrated stereo amp
- Pair of SOLID monitors (from Rock Solid Sound Inc?)


The first batch of stuff I bought, the vinyl setup are scraps I got from friends who didn't need'em anymore throughout the years.


Room details:
- area - 50 sq meters (4x12m), organised in the following way (excuse my drawing skills):


So, the left wall of that drawing is all window, glass and metal from ceiling to floor.
The left half of the room we're using as TV place, the right as dining area. There's a small step between both halves (the dining half is higher up), but no other division.
The floor is a marble imitation, some wood polymer.
The house is rented, so no chance of doing structural changes.
The room is echoey, but that also has to do with the fact that it doesn't have much stuff in it yet (no rug, etc).


So, problems/doubts:

1) Listen to CDs
Since the Yamaha DVD Player died, can only listen to CDs on the PS3, which is far from practical - having to turn on the TV to listen to a song gets on my nerves.
Solution - after doing some reading, going to ask to demo the Marantz CD6004 at the store and probably get that one.

2) Listen to Vinyl
Conundrum: Dedicated stereo system for vinyl, or get an AV receiver with a Phono input (my Sony doesn't have one) and play everything through the same setup?

3) Surround system
What to do?
Get B&W CM9s and move the 685s to the back?
Get 683s instead?
Discovered last night that the PM-1s exist, to make it harder to choose.
Very much in doubt about how the HTM61 would pair with each of these, and what would make sense for my room.
Should I just get another pair of 685s for the back?
Would it be worth it to change the AV receiver, in any case?
Right now, when I listen to music/movies, the Sony receiver volume knob goes up to 45% when I'm alone, and around 30% with the wife. Even though I like LOUD music, don't think I've ever cranked it up to more than 66%, it gets uncomfortable.



Thanks for reading. My main passion in the arts is music. I want detail, clearest sound I can afford. My wife thinks this is all just a stupid money sinkhole and that we should get a discman/$50 dvd-player that plays cds and leave the rest as it is. So I'll be upgrading slowly, almost one component at a time, I guess. wink.gif

Looking forward to your input!
post #2 of 3
Quote:
2) Listen to Vinyl
Conundrum: Dedicated stereo system for vinyl, or get an AV receiver with a Phono input (my Sony doesn't have one) and play everything through the same setup?
I'd get:
- a good AVR w/ a phono input; or
- a good AVR w/o a phono input + a good phono pre-amplifier.
Quote:
3) Surround system
What to do?
Get B&W CM9s and move the 685s to the back?
Get 683s instead?
Do you like how the 685s sound? Do you like how they work in your new space? If the answer:
- to both questions is 'yes', keep them up front and get another pair of 685s (or 686s) for surrounds;
- to either question is 'no', it's time to upgrade.
Edited by eljaycanuck - 1/13/13 at 6:49am
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply!
Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

I'd get:
- a good AVR w/ a phono input; or
- a good AVR w/o a phono input + a good phono pre-amplifier.

Any sub-2.000€ recommendation? Or just keep this amp and get an Emotiva XPA-5 (because of the CM9s I mention below, I mean) + a phono pre-amp?
Quote:
Do you like how the 685s sound? Do you like how they work in your new space? If the answer:
- to both questions is 'yes', keep them up front and get another pair of 685s (or 686s) for surrounds;
- to either question is 'no', it's time to upgrade.

I think they could do with more/better bass. Fidgeted with the crossover frequencies on the sub and amp, improved things a little, but not totally satisfying.
Will probably buy the CM9s, but then I'm afraid next thing I'll want to change the center channel. rolleyes.gif
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