Originally Posted by ktorpil
Regarding the relative volume difference, my predicament is very similar to yours. Also in my case, 9 o'clock gave me the same output as 11 o'clock on the volume dial. But I don't want to deal with it the way you did, by reducing the Denon's Zone 2 gain, I will have two dissatisfying (in regard to SPL) sources instead of one.
By connecting the CD player directly to the Marantz, the volume difference gets noticeably less. The Denon is the culprit here I believe. Either my settings or the circuitry is causing gain levels to be high when outputting sound to Zone2 AUX. But I really do like it and I want the same high volume for the other devices. That's why I'm asking whether or not getting a better speaker will increase the volume.
That is very close to the problem I was having. My turntable which I consider the standard, for normal playback I would be in the 10 o'clock to the 11 o'clock range, but with the Universal Player, which is what you have, the volume for the same perceived sound was down around 9 o'clock. That means the Universal Player is too loud, and it sounded like it.
For me, attenuator solved it nicely.
As I suspected, the Denon was the problem. I suspect the Panasonic can be connected to both the Marantz and the Denon. HDMI to the Denon for movies, and direct analog connect between the Panasonic and the Marantz for music.
From my interpretations of what you said, when connected directly to the Marantz, there was less of a problem, which confirms my guess.
As to speakers, while the CM10 are better speakers, no they will not solve the volume disparity.
And how loud are you trying to play??? You must be seeking some crazy high volumes from your system, and from what I interpret, volumes that seem beyond the capability of the system. True the CD might sound louder, but I doubt that it sounds better. I my case, the CD sounded really bad, but it was a subtle distortion, it really made the music irritating to the point where I didn't even want to listen to CDs.
A typical Stereo amp with decent speakers should be able to hit 100db average, which is very loud, with the volume setting around 1 o'clock. Note that is AVERAGE volume level, not peak. So, again, how loud do you really want to go???? If you are seeking volumes in excess of 100db average, then you really need different equipment.
But then ... that's just my opinion.
I still think the right solution is Analog connect from the Panasonic to the Marantz for Music Playback. and HDMI from the Panasonic to the Denon for movie playback. Though there may be some aspect of the setup that I have yet to grasp.