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What is the Best "Bang for the Buck" Sound-Quality Upgrade? - Page 2

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 #31 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

That's not always true, many systems are well balanced. There's no rule that says all home theater systems have some obvious weak link. If there is no obvious weakness, then what? Should perfectly good speakers be replaced? I would argue that room treatment and a second sub qualify as additions, as opposed to replacements, and therefore offer more "bang for the buck" to AV enthusiasts who already have decent, well balanced systems.

I'm pretty much in that place....really what I need is just a bigger room.
post #32 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by kal View Post

Room treatment x 10000. Everything else is pointless unless you attack the room first.

The problem is that ti's nothing 'sexy' to look at because often they're hidden behind fabric in walls or under the riser, and/or the person has to understand what they're doing (there's some work involved), and/or aethetics do not allow them use room treatment after the room is built.

Kal

there's no point in room treatment IMO if you have a $300.00 HTiB though. You need to have at least decent equipment. I'd order it speakers first then room treatment then subwoofers then avr.

It's mostly situational though, because if you have an old, cheap AVR, it would be much higher on the list to upgrade.
post #33 of 264
i vote for Acoustic Room treatment

when room treatment is not possible, then my second choice would be subwoofer level upgrade, or 2 subs like it was mention.

My third choice of importance would be front speakers and then AVR upgrade

Cable upgrade would be my last choice or non existence if we are talking about budget systems
post #34 of 264
I voted speakers only if your current speakers are not up to task, otherwise it would be acoustical treatments, then more than one sub, then a newer AVR with more advanced Room Correction such as Audyssey XT32 or the like.
post #35 of 264
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
post #36 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavchameleon View Post

I voted speakers only if your current speakers are not up to task, otherwise it would be acoustical treatments, then more than one sub, then a newer AVR with more advanced Room Correction such as Audyssey XT32 or the like.



Good point, room correction is right at the top of the list.
post #37 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

Pointless poll.
I support this statement as there is just no rule of thumb here. Ppl will vote depending on their personal situation. Every system, choice of components, room situation, preferred music and video, biased taste for sound experience will lead to a individual/different best-bang-buck answer.rolleyes.gif
Tendency goes, many ppl started with rather cheap speakers or need to fix room setup before buying new components, coz these ones get upgraded for new technology anyways on a rather regular basis, i think.
post #38 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Good point, room correction is right at the top of the list.

Now THAT'S opening a can of worms.
post #39 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Now THAT'S opening a can of worms.



Only to the ones that haven't tried it. Audyssey XT32 transformed the sound of my setup in an acoustically poor room into sound I never thought was possible in that room. The test is easy, Audyssey on Audyssey off and there's no comparison, and this was after a month of manually tweaking my new pre/pro.
Edited by comfynumb - 7/19/13 at 8:37am
post #40 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Only to the ones that haven't tried it. Audyssey XT32 transformed the sound of my setup in an acoustically poor room into sound I never thought was possible in that room. The test is easy, Audyssey on Audyssey off and there's no comparison smile.gif

Oh, there's definitely no comparison, I'll give you that. It certainly transforms the sound. tongue.gif
post #41 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Oh, there's definitely no comparison, I'll give you that. It certainly transforms the sound. tongue.gif



You didn't like the sound when you tried it?
post #42 of 264
I like what Audyssey and similar products can do in a room, but it is a Band-Aid fix for real acoustical issues in your listening area.

Now, I voted for room treatments, but like so many others stated, it really depends on where you are at currently, or what you upgraded recently.

My first theater many, many years ago, had cheap KLH speakers that I had picked up, and a low end Pioneer receiver. At the time, going to just about any different speaker or higher level receiver was a great "bang for the buck" upgrade. I mean, I couldn't afford $40,000 in speakers, or $60,000 in amps and power conditioning, etc, so my "buck" needed some good "bang."

So I've got a 7.2 setup that costs about $4800 for the speakers and subs. Not "top of the line" like some people with a lot more bank roll, but definitely not crap either and from a couple of "great bang for your buck" companies. That vs. probably $300 in crappy KLH speakers that I upgraded from.

Upgrade cost for speakers about $4000 (treating the 2nd sub separately since it was a voting option). More than 13x what the KLH cost.

I went from that $200 receiver, to receivers in the $900 range, and I love the increased features and clarity. That is 4.5x the cost of the original receiver.

Single sub to dual sub upgrade has been pretty nice. Not "oh my gosh, that is awesome," but one of those things that helps to fix nulls and peaks in a room. Cost $800. That is 2x the price of the single sub.

Next up, room treatments. I have a partially treated room already with the front wall treated including bass traps. I still need to deal with some echo and reflections in the rest of the room. I am in the planning stages of that and just today figured out the number of panels, sizes, etc. I already had the placement figured out. Total cost for 8 side wall panels and 1 rear wall (thicker for some bass absorption) is $412 premade and shipped, or $235 if I make them and that even includes a custom printed image on the rear panel. Hmmm... They will be the cheapest upgrade of anything I've done. It will also tame the subwoofers a little more, make the speakers sound even better, and since the speakers are fed by the receiver, it will effectively be able to work better too since I can reduce or eliminate the need for Audyssey, and it will help make EVERY listening position (I have 8) sound better, instead of trying to make them all sound just "ok" with electronic room correction.

So where I am today, room treatments are by biggest bang FOR THE BUCK. Everything else was a much larger expense, and while important, I should get results that will equal the receiver/speaker upgrade improvements for a fraction of the cost.

For others that don't have a dedicated space, or a spouse that refuses to allow treatments, then it might not even be anywhere on their list of possibility, and thus already off of their list of coices to even consider voting for. That is their situation. Can't change that.

I haven't been so excited about the improvements I should be able to obtain with the acoustic treatments since I built the room and was blown away by my soundproofing results.

Oh, and cables? Bah... Again, those people with those $40,000 speaker setups can have their expensive cables. If there is any measurable positive effects of using expensive cables (despite any logic or slick marketing), the cost for the amount of *potential* improvement is ridiculously out of proportion.
post #43 of 264
audio technica ATH-M50 with schiit magni and modi! best bang for the buck!!!!!! biggrin.gif
post #44 of 264
^^ Short of having your gear in an anechoic chamber EVERY room falls short of perfect accoustics, even the best treatments don't fix this. Audyssey is room correction not a room bandaid rolleyes.gif that said room treatments can make a world of difference.
post #45 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

You didn't like the sound when you tried it?

Yes and no. It improves some aspects of the sound, and completely wrecks others. There are parts of the tech that are beneficial, but it's still just fancy EQ. EQ can only do so much, and audyssey applies it to "problems" that don't even need solving.

Given a choice between spending an extra $500+ to upgrade to a receiver with a higher level of audyssey, or spending that same money on a second sub or real acoustic treatments, I think the choice is pretty easy.
post #46 of 264
Quote:
In fact, the issue I witness most frequently is "upgraded" speakers that are not fed sufficient power, and bad speaker placement. That's where an AVR upgrade can come in handy.

^This.

Also, I'm going to chime in on room acoustics. My room is quite oddly shaped and it has a drop ceiling, so the ceiling tiles themselves act as an acoustical treatment. I never had a problem with sound in that regard. However, a friend of mine recently set up a home theater and his room is a small box. Holy cow did things sound horrible at first. He set up some acoustical panels and things sound much better, although I think there's still a lot of room for improvement. We still can't get his subwoofer from sounding "boomy", if that makes sense. And yes, we've played with placement so this is one of those situations where I believe adding a second sub will help.
post #47 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

^^ Short of having your gear in an anechoic chamber EVERY room falls short of perfect accoustics, even the best treatments don't fix this. Audyssey is room correction not a room bandaid rolleyes.gif that said room treatments can make a world of difference.

I think bandaid is a fair description, because its not correcting anything. It's not changing your room, it's merely compensating and attempting to cover up any issues it finds. If that issue is due to a speaker that isn't adequately linear...you need better speakers. If your room is too reflective...whatever audyssey does, the room is still just as reflective as before...you need treatments. If you have really poor bass distribution amongst multiple seats....you need a second sub.

The only unquestionable use of this kind of EQ IMO is to correct for low frequency room modes at a single seating position....but there's no version of audyssey that let's you do just that and only that.
post #48 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Yes and no. It improves some aspects of the sound, and completely wrecks others. There are parts of the tech that are beneficial, but it's still just fancy EQ. EQ can only do so much, and audyssey applies it to "problems" that don't even need solving.

Given a choice between spending an extra $500+ to upgrade to a receiver with a higher level of audyssey, or spending that same money on a second sub or real acoustic treatments, I think the choice is pretty easy.



Good treatments plus Audyssey equals audio nirvana IMO. Adding a sub does nothing for the other speakers in your setup. Sure the extra bass is nice.
post #49 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

^^ Short of having your gear in an anechoic chamber EVERY room falls short of perfect accoustics, even the best treatments don't fix this. Audyssey is room correction not a room bandaid rolleyes.gif that said room treatments can make a world of difference.

But who wants to sit an in anechoic chamber? rolleyes.gif

I stated that Audyssey has done some really good things for me, but it is designed to fix issues with the room, correct? It is not perfect, correct? It has to take all listening positions into consideration and sort of averages them out based of some really elaborate algorythms, correct? You can place the mics anywhere you want (good idea to follow some of the guides online) and it isn't as simple as just putting it all around your listening area, correct? Even those expansive guides will tell you that if you focus the mic in one area, it will sound really great there, but at the sacrafice of other LPs (listening positions) or you disperse the mics a little more and try to improve all of them, but not have one single "awesome" spot, or some combination in between, right? So what can you do to, as I mentioned above, reduce or eliminate what Audyssey is needing to do? Fix the room. Just like going from $4,000 speakers to $40,000 speakers isn't in everyone's budget or feasable, neither is making a theater an anechoic chamber. rolleyes.gif

Fixing the most blatent issues inside a room using acoustic treatments means that every seat improves as you are actually FIXING some of the issues. Anything that is trying to compensate one thing, at the expense of another really is a Band-Aid fix. It isn't actually fixing the problem. That doesn't mean that you can't still use something like Audyssey. It just mean that Audyssey can fine tune that last little bit, without having to deal with adding or subtracting audio to fix the major stuff.

Room treatments are like stitches to close a big cut, and Audyssey is the Band-Aid on top to help it heal a little better. I never meant to insult you or Audyssey, but there is a clear difference. And one more time, I never bashed what Audyssey tries to do, and even said that I like it.
post #50 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Good treatments plus Audyssey equals audio nirvana IMO. Adding a sub does nothing for the other speakers in your setup. Sure the extra bass is nice.

I am hoping that I achieve audio nirvana when my treatment panels go in and I run a fresh Audyssey calibration. smile.gif I know, without a doubt, that my end result will be better than it is today without the treament panels.

A second sub helps to reduce the nulls and peaks. When I had a single sub, it was great in my seat, but the second row of seats had a null right in the middle two seats and they couldn't really hear/feel the LFE of movies or bass in music. That has greatly improved with a 2nd sub. Not perfect, but again, you have to factor bang-for-the-buck when looking at having to add 4 subs to hit a point about as close to perfect as possible, and that just doesn't work for most people.

It is not, or at least should not, be about having more/louder bass. My first sub by itself was more than enough for my 14'x24'x8' space. I have it dialed down to about 1/4th of the max level at the sub. Lots of capacity left. Again, the point isn't to be louder, but to be cleaner and better for all listening locations.
post #51 of 264
^^ I guess everything I said was wrong to the AVS know it all bunch have a good day and if you need help with achieving that last little bit of audio nirvana stop over at the Audyssey thread they are very helpful. Even if there's over 65,000 band aid posts on there biggrin.gif one little statement and everybody goes crazy biggrin.gif
post #52 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

^^ I guess everything I said was wrong to the AVS know it all bunch have a good day and if you need help with achieving that last little bit of audio nirvana stop over at the Audyssey thread they are very helpful. Even if there's over 65,000 band aid posts on there biggrin.gif

There's no need to take it personally.
post #53 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

There's no need to take it personally.



I could have worded that a little
better but nothing personal taken, its all just opinions smile.gif
post #54 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

There's no need to take it personally.

No kidding, geez. eek.gif I even made a point of NOT bashing Audyssey and even saying that YES I like it and that I will be running it after adding treatments. Then, some how, when I point out the facts that there are real things that can fix the problems that Audyssey does its best to do (as well as fix things that Audyssey can't do, just as with LFE/Bass) as a means of education, I am the jerk? I point out that more subs isn't (or shouldn't) be about louder bass, and that is bashing? I don't think so.

I went back and re-read my posts and don't see any attacks, but some people just don't like to hear other people's experience or knowledge even when they are just trying to help.

So comfynumb, I am sorry that you took them that way. I can't change your perceptions of my posts, but I can at least say "sorry" that you somehow thought they were attacking comments towards you.
post #55 of 264
As many of you have stated, it is dependent on your current setup and needs. If I look back at my history of upgrading (audio only) I first replaced all the speakers. I upgraded to a "better" setup though I know plenty of you have speaker setups that make mine look like a HTIB setup. From there I upgraded the receiver...twice. The first for more power, the next for more features like XT32 with additional power. Form there I added a second subwoofer. Now I am building my own acoustic panels hoping to achieve that "audio nirvana" as it was so eloquently described earlier. After that I plan to add a separate amp for the front sound stage, possibly the first 5 channels in my 7.2 setup. The cables have always been generic eek.gif After all of that is done, I will repeat the whole process again. Always upgrading, always improving, never really sure what it is that I am aiming for, but loving every moment.

I disagree that this poll is pointless. It allows everyone to see that given their current setup, what are you most likely to change. It does not mean "what should everyone change in their setup". I feel I have placed a good amount of effort on upgrading the pieces in the order I feel are important. That is what this poll is asking IMHO. Being fairly naive as compared to many of the posters on this forum, I feel that this type of information allows me to make more informed decisions, even if it is not the "gospel", if you will. I thank everyone for their input.
post #56 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickbuol View Post

No kidding, geez. eek.gif I even made a point of NOT bashing Audyssey and even saying that YES I like it and that I will be running it after adding treatments. Then, some how, when I point out the facts that there are real things that can fix the problems that Audyssey does its best to do (as well as fix things that Audyssey can't do, just as with LFE/Bass) as a means of education, I am the jerk? I point out that more subs isn't (or shouldn't) be about louder bass, and that is bashing? I don't think so.

I went back and re-read my posts and don't see any attacks, but some people just don't like to hear other people's experience or knowledge even when they are just trying to help.

So comfynumb, I am sorry that you took them that way. I can't change your perceptions of my posts, but I can at least say "sorry" that you somehow thought they were attacking comments towards you.



No no it's my fault and I appogize to you and bd2003. I just took a Midol I'm all better now biggrin.gif
post #57 of 264
Really none of these. When I first started into this nonsense, the biggest bang for the buck was to upgrade my wire gauge.
post #58 of 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Good treatments plus Audyssey equals audio nirvana IMO. Adding a sub does nothing for the other speakers in your setup. Sure the extra bass is nice.

I disagree that adding a sub doesn't do anything, it does a lot , to the point it can blow you away in movies and music without some expensive speakers.

see my signature.
My room is not dedicated, tiny speakers like the Q acoustics 7000, audissey xt32, with no sub calibration, but adding a subwoofer like the Ken kreisel DXD-808, it ,perform so well in music and movies , that i dont have necessity of buying other speakers , the dxd808 it was a tremendous upgrade to my system.

i had chance to try the b&w685 5.1 system in my room, and the dxd808 was the best ugrade ive done miles away...
Edited by canton160 - 7/19/13 at 6:08pm
post #59 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

+1

Nice thread Mr. Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Good treatments plus Audyssey equals audio nirvana IMO. Adding a sub does nothing for the other speakers in your setup. Sure the extra bass is nice.

-1

Poppycock!

If you are running your speakers full range off of an AVR, adding a sub will allow you to cross the lower fq's to the sub and take some stress off of your AVR. Some speakers can dip well below their 8ohm (and the AVR's 8ohm) rating...
post #60 of 264
Too many variables to say one thing is 'best'. it really depends on the equipment in place already and the room. If you already have 'decent' equipment - room arrangement/treatment would be the best bang for the buck, but if you are starting with a $500 HTIB then things are different and upgrading specific components of the audio chain is more important.
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