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What is the Best "Bang for the Buck" Sound-Quality Upgrade? - Page 8

Poll Results: What is the best "bang for the buck" sound-quality upgrade?

 
  • 52% (315)
    New speakers
  • 11% (70)
    Upgrade AVR
  • 27% (168)
    Acoustic room treatment
  • 7% (44)
    Multiple subwoofers
  • 1% (8)
    Replace generic cables
605 Total Votes  
post #211 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by mo949 View Post

FWIW, I was worried when I switched from 12awg to 16awg on one longer run (45 ft - which is not supposed to be the right thing to do) and I can't hear the difference.

Check this out.
Using thin wire with a low power amp vs high power amp. Your 8 ohm speakers are 50ft away so you connect them with 100 ft of 29ga wire. That wire has 8 ohms, just like your speakers, so half of your power is lost in the wires, and half dissipated in your speakers. So your 10W amp supplies 5W to your speaker, and it's not very loud. Now change amp to 100W - you'll get 50W to your speakers and they will still be quite loud [assume the wires aka speaker cables don't melt...].- so arguably, large cables are more important to a small amplifier where there's no power to waste [other than the melting / heating issue, which in any real case won't be an issue.]
If you compare 100ft of 12ga wire vs 16ga, the resistance increases from 0.16ohms to 0.40ohms. I also doubt you'll hear any difference.
Although you may have some effect on the damping factor, and in fact get less bass control of your speakers ....
post #212 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Why is this a pointless poll? It has at least two points, one to get people posting/talking and two to get people's opinions. You have to give a thumbs up to AVS and the news breakers and reviewers, they are always coming up with ways to keep us interested smile.gif
I see nothing new or innovative here. Its an obvious question that will get people to post. I highly doubt this is even the first time this poll has been taken.
Edited by Bond 007 - 7/26/13 at 2:59am
post #213 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

I see nothing new or innovative here. Its an obvious question that will get people to post. I highly doubt this is even the first time this poll has been taken.



Out of over 200 posts this is the one your unhappy with? rolleyes.gif
post #214 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Out of over 200 posts this is the one your unhappy with? rolleyes.gif
Im not unhappy with any of them. My post was really speaking more towards this poll than your post.
post #215 of 264
That was my just waking up perception I guess biggrin.gif but we like the poll smile.gif
post #216 of 264
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

I see nothing new or innovative here. Its an obvious question that will get people to post. I highly doubt this is even the first time this poll has been taken.

How about you do a little digging and find out for sure?
post #217 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

How about you do a little digging and find out for sure?
I have better things to do. I can say though, as I would imagine you are aware, this is a very common subject that I see in various threads all the time. Again, its an obvious question.
Im not knockin your poll. Just stating a fact.
post #218 of 264
Why limit this to audio?

A 70 inch LCD for about $1,500 has way more impact for those using 55 inch display or smaller.

After that, a subwoofer for those who don't have one is the audio champ in terms of impact. $300 can get a pretty decent sub.

Wires and cables are in last place. You must know of the true story of the guys who took a wire coat hanger and used it as a digital coaxial cable and nothing was lost during the transmission.
post #219 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyboy View Post

Why limit this to audio?

A 70 inch LCD for about $1,500 has way more impact for those using 55 inch display or smaller.

After that, a subwoofer for those who don't have one is the audio champ in terms of impact. $300 can get a pretty decent sub.

Wires and cables are in last place. You must know of the true story of the guys who took a wire coat hanger and used it as a digital coaxial cable and nothing was lost during the transmission.



You gotta love digital coat hangers biggrin.gif Is this in an article somewhere? I'd like to read it.


Ok I found it, and it's hilarious and true at the same time.
post #220 of 264
Sadly, due to the short distance and the large gauge of a coat hanger, for digital application, coat hangers actually (in theory) should be a better candidate than regular cable tongue.gif
post #221 of 264
I had the chance to swap out several AV cables - one after the other. These weren’t inexpensive but not cra$y either. I'm now a believer that cables make a change. The center channel brightness was tamed by a cable that mellowed the sound in a good way. These speaker cables, I would say are not accurate, but worked in my set-up. The silver video cable made a dramatic improvement in black level and color punch while keeping detail. Then the real shocker was replacing the amp's stock power cable which isn't light weight. Each of the three power cables sounded different. One actually invoked too much base. I kept the one that increased the sound stage... the stock one is now my TV power cable. My system is high mid-fi, but can resolve the difference and all of us in the room experienced the same shocking results so I'm saying cables can be a bang for the buck improvement. But I was lucky to have a bunch of cables at the same time.

It's not really one of the "Bang for the Buck" choices - my vote is moving speakers and/or optimizing the level/delay. My main speakers like being five feet out from the wall and toe'd-in just right. While playing with the surround processor, I turned my main's amp off and just ran the center and surround channel amp so I could better balance the rear (side) channels. This included fine-tune adjusting the little volume pots on the amp. Had the tape measure out setting the speaker distance (delay). Somewhere along the way, the surround and the center channel also running (playing music - 5 channel), the sound snapped into focus and it became impossible? to detect where the sound was coming from. I knew right then that was the sweet-setting for the center and rears. Then I brought in the main's which was easy to level adjust. I tweaked the subs to meld with just the mains in two channel mode - impossible? to localize. As long as I don't change the room, the sound is balanced and have no desire to fiddle. Since my speakers are about the right height off the floor, this made for a free "upgrade". PS: the placement of the sub(s), even though I cut-off to them at just 40, 60 Hz, makes a difference for me. I believe setting to music leads to a more believable movie sound-scape.
post #222 of 264
I put the top five in order

1. Speakers
2. Speakers
3. Speakers
4. Room acoustics
5. Roomacoustics

The rest is amazingly unimportant.
post #223 of 264
Provided you're starting from a platform of reasonably decent equipment, from what I've seen it's proper setup which I suppose means room acoustics. I can't even guess how many times I've gone to somebody's house to listen to their new stuff only to find it's so poorly configured they're losing half the capability of what they've got. I just say it sounds great - that's what they want to hear.
Edited by LeeDee - 7/31/13 at 1:49pm
post #224 of 264
Great speakers in a great room set up by Joe blow may only sound "good" or maybe not even that. There's way more to getting better than average sound. Good media, source, processing and amplification also help smile.gif set up by a competent person doesn't hurt either.
post #225 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Great speakers in a great room set up by Joe blow may only sound "good" or maybe not even that. There's way more to getting better than average sound. Good media, source, processing and amplification also help smile.gifset up by a competent person doesn't hurt either.

Ya know! this may be the single most important factor in the whole equation and I may have to revise my list and I'm not kidding ! this alone requires time effort and a whole bunch of sweating the details but in the end really gets that last drop of Fidelity wink.gif And if anyone who adds a single change to their gear and doesn't think a slight speaker adjustment is required , think again this can be critical to a fair evaluation of new gear, cables ,etc... but of course this should be done after the new addition is first evaluated in the current system configuration, yeah good point indeed comfynumb this is one case where 1/4 to 1 inch can yield profound results
wink.gif
post #226 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofan1 View Post

Ya know! this may be the single most important factor in the whole equation and I may have to revise my list and I'm not kidding ! this alone requires time effort and a whole bunch of sweating the details but in the end really gets that last drop of Fidelity wink.gif And if anyone who adds a single change to their gear and doesn't think a slight speaker adjustment is required , think again this can be critical to a fair evaluation of new gear, cables ,etc... but of course this should be done after the new addition is first evaluated in the current system configuration, yeah good point indeed comfynumb this is one case where 1/4 to 1 inch can yield profound results
wink.gif



Your a wise man, and you've helped me realize that "one inch" may make a world of difference. I'm learning wink.gif
post #227 of 264

So the best "bang for the buck" actually isn't on the list: measuring equipment and the time and patience to learn how to use it.

post #228 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post

So the best "bang for the buck" actually isn't on the list: measuring equipment and the time and patience to learn how to use it.



IMO there's more than one thing not on the list that is as important as anything on the list. You can have gear that is highly regarded and reviewed and a lack of understanding how it works or where to place it will severely hinder it's performance. I'm not saying I am an authority or I know exactly what to do with all gear, just that getting to know my set up has made a world of difference.
post #229 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Great speakers in a great room set up by Joe blow may only sound "good" or maybe not even that. There's way more to getting better than average sound. Good media, source, processing and amplification also help smile.gif set up by a competent person doesn't hurt either.
yup, that's what I said in the beginning: professional calibration.

No matter what equipment you have, if they're not optimized properly, everything means nothing.
post #230 of 264
i'm glad YOU know... but the average joe schmoe consumer will probably "A NEW HDTV!"
post #231 of 264
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

IMO there's more than one thing not on the list that is as important as anything on the list. You can have gear that is highly regarded and reviewed and a lack of understanding how it works or where to place it will severely hinder it's performance. I'm not saying I am an authority or I know exactly what to do with all gear, just that getting to know my set up has made a world of difference.

That's easily the most important single thing, and it's a "free" upgrade.
post #232 of 264
I picked SUBWOOFER

For me adding a good Sub to my entry level 1st gen Pio speakers has been the best bang for the buck IMO, it was as if I had replaced my entire sound system - YMMV though.

I haven't done any response testing of my room yet but that is on the list, along with any treatments needed to improve the SQ
post #233 of 264
I'm having a problem with the AVR. I've never tested two competing room calibration programs in my listening room but I can't help but think they are all competitive with one another and you should be able to get good enough results from any of them. Speakers and room acoustics are on a completely different level and room acoustics are probably at the top of the list. I say so because our group once did listening tests with two different pairs of speakers in two different rooms. The speakers were B&W 802 matrix for the high end and Boston Acoustics sub/sat 6 for the low end. The 802's beat the sub/sats in either room but the sub/sats in the acoustically good room beat the 802's in the acoustically poor room. I just can't imagine an AVR mattering that much.
post #234 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I'm having a problem with the AVR. I've never tested two competing room calibration programs in my listening room but I can't help but think they are all competitive with one another and you should be able to get good enough results from any of them. Speakers and room acoustics are on a completely different level and room acoustics are probably at the top of the list. I say so because our group once did listening tests with two different pairs of speakers in two different rooms. The speakers were B&W 802 matrix for the high end and Boston Acoustics sub/sat 6 for the low end. The 802's beat the sub/sats in either room but the sub/sats in the acoustically good room beat the 802's in the acoustically poor room. I just can't imagine an AVR mattering that much.



I agree with you about room accoustics. I will also tell you my new Marantz pre/pro made a huge difference in sound quality with Audyssey XT32 over my old Sunfire pre/pro with no room correction. I spent a month fine tuning my new pre and when I finally ran Audyssey the difference was undeniable. The Dynamic EQ is amazing at low to medium volumes.
post #235 of 264
I wouldn't fight you over room calibration vs no room calibration. My comment was about placing the AVR so high assuming they all have room calibration of one sort or another.
post #236 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I wouldn't fight you over room calibration vs no room calibration. My comment was about placing the AVR so high assuming they all have room calibration of one sort or another.



I wouldn't argue with that as long as the AVR has the "A" room correction smile.gif some of the cheaper ones use the lite version so to speak.
Edited by comfynumb - 8/25/13 at 8:41am
post #237 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Except that not every system has an obvious "weakest link," nor is the solution always going to be the same.

I noticed "adding an external amp" wasn't on the list. I enjoyed your piece on Popalock's AVS Home Theater of the Month, but was curious if you thought adding an external amp to his setup would be an "upgrade" if he set his speakers to Small and applied a crossover? Would adding one make any difference at all in that scenario?
post #238 of 264
Adding an outboard amp is only an upgrade if the receiver cannot handle the speakers because of low sensitivity and/or low impedance. It is fairly uncommon for an outboard amp to make any sonic difference in the typical home theater.
post #239 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Adding an outboard amp is only an upgrade if the receiver cannot handle the speakers because of low sensitivity and/or low impedance. It is fairly uncommon for an outboard amp to make any sonic difference in the typical home theater.

That's what I've heard/read as well, but imagic mentioned adding one really helped Popalock's Klipsch RF-7IIs when set to Large and I was trying to get some idea if he thought it would have any benefit when they were set to Small and a crossover applied....The consensus in the Klipsch Owners Thread is that when folks added an external amp it really made a difference even on the Heritage line which have above a 96 dB Sensitivity Rating and don't have low impedance dips. {Edit: I am not saying it does, just seeing what others think}
post #240 of 264
I think adding an amp to many AVR's can make a pretty big difference. A lot of AVR's may have ample wattage but lack voltage to drive unruly speakers. There's nothing like having extra headroom. Before my upgrade I used a pair of PSB originals golds (still have them) and my old Denon AVR rated at 100 WPC had a hard time driving them, I added a Parasound amp and later a Sunfire amp and that woke them up biggrin.gif
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