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post #1 of 40 Old 05-06-2020, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Need advice to update my stereo system

Hi

I hope to be in the right forum since my question is about equipment which does not deal with speaker.

I am currently using a Marantz M-CR611 compact system with a pair of Boston Acoustics A25 as well as a Boston Acoustics ASW 250.

What would you recommend to me to “cleverly” update (without spending excessively) the speakers and sub (only if necessary) to have a much more punchy (in term of quality) music listening?

Ideally a bookshelf speaker because it will match what I already have.

I was thinking about maybe a Totem Kin Mini.

I was also thinking of updating my Marantz with a Rotel A12 or another choice that you would also have to recommend me. But perhaps my Marantz is still a good choice and I don't need to update it.

The system is mainly used for:
     • listening to Stingray music stations (via optical output from my TV provider's decoder).
     • movie listening via the optical output of the TV
     • music from my cell phone via Bluetooth

My budget would be around 2000 CAD ( around 1400 USD )

Thank you for your help
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post #2 of 40 Old 05-06-2020, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olipver View Post
Hi

I hope to be in the right forum since my question is about equipment which does not deal with speaker.

I am currently using a Marantz M-CR611 compact system with a pair of Boston Acoustics A25 as well as a Boston Acoustics ASW 250.

What would you recommend to me to “cleverly” update (without spending excessively) the speakers and sub (only if necessary) to have a much more punchy (in term of quality) music listening?

Ideally a bookshelf speaker because it will match what I already have.

I was thinking about maybe a Totem Kin Mini.

I was also thinking of updating my Marantz with a Rotel A12 or another choice that you would also have to recommend me. But perhaps my Marantz is still a good choice and I don't need to update it.


The system is mainly used for:
     • listening to Stingray music stations (via optical output from my TV provider's decoder).
     • movie listening via the optical output of the TV
     • music from my cell phone via Bluetooth

My budget would be around 2000 CAD ( around 1400 USD )

Thank you for your help
How big is the room (including open areas and adjacent room) you have this setup in?
How far away are you from the speakers?
Does your Marantz have a hard time keeping up with your desired volume levels?
What frequency is your subwoofer crossed over at?

Edit: I quickly read through the features on your Marantz and wonder what response curve you have it set to?
Response 1: Cuts low frequencies of 40 Hz or under by -12dB/oct.
Response 2: Cuts low frequencies of 60 Hz or under by -12dB/oct.
Response 3: Cuts low frequencies of 80 Hz or under by -12dB/oct.
Response 4: Cuts low frequencies of 100 Hz or under by -12dB/oct.
Flat: The crossover is set to flat.
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post #3 of 40 Old 05-06-2020, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
How big is the room (including open areas and adjacent room) you have this setup in?
How far away are you from the speakers?
Does your Marantz have a hard time keeping up with your desired volume levels?
What frequency is your subwoofer crossed over at?
The room is about 15 ft x 15 ft but 25 ft x 35 ft with open areas included
I'm about 11 ft from the speakers
The Marantz is currently OK for the sound level I use. In fact I don't listen at a high level to music
The crossover on my sub is currently at around 100
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post #4 of 40 Old 05-06-2020, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olipver View Post
The room is about 15 ft x 15 ft but 25 ft x 35 ft with open areas included
I'm about 11 ft from the speakers
The Marantz is currently OK for the sound level I use. In fact I don't listen at a high level to music
The crossover on my sub is currently at around 100
Subwoofers see the entire open area, not just the listening area like your speakers. Your subwoofer is grossly underpowered for the amount of space it's needs to fill so that would be a good place to start. I'd even suggest dual subs for that space.

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post #5 of 40 Old 05-06-2020, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
Subwoofers see the entire open area, not just the listening area like your speakers. Your subwoofer is grossly underpowered for the amount of space it's needs to fill so that would be a good place to start. I'd even suggest dual subs for that space.
I added a photo that basically show you how my system is setup.

As you can see there is indeed a lot of open area but the main place where I listen to music is where I took the photo.
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Originally Posted by olipver View Post
I added a photo that basically show you how my system is setup.

As you can see there is indeed a lot of open area but the main place where I listen to music is where I took the photo.
Your sub is in the absolute worst possible position there---zero boundary reinforcement, making an already weak sub all but useless.

From the photo I get the impression the only corner in that space is probably diagonally opposite to the TV? Get a wireless sub kit and move that sub (or a much better sub, ideally) there. In Canada your best sub option is probably the SVS PB1000 from electronicsforless.ca or (preferably) an Emotiva S15 (Canadian customs/taxes will add about 8% but otherwise Emotiva ships free from the US if I'm not mistaken):
https://emotiva.com/products/airmotiv-s15

That Marantz compact receiver is probably not very robust, so you may want to consider doing POWERED speakers for your front mains.

Amazon Canada has the JBL 308p for $600CAD/pair and these speakers are known to put out tons of mid-bass which will help given your huge bass-sucking open space:
https://www.amazon.ca/JBL-2-Way-Powe..._pl_dp_12&th=1

That would be a better option, costing less and probably sounding better, than the Totems you're looking at which would probably need a stronger power source to sound their best.
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post #7 of 40 Old 05-06-2020, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Your sub is in the absolute worst possible position there---zero boundary reinforcement, making an already weak sub all but useless.

From the photo I get the impression the only corner in that space is probably diagonally opposite to the TV? Get a wireless sub kit and move that sub (or a much better sub, ideally) there. In Canada your best sub option is probably the SVS PB1000 from electronicsforless.ca or (preferably) an Emotiva S15 (Canadian customs/taxes will add about 8% but otherwise Emotiva ships free from the US if I'm not mistaken):
https://emotiva.com/products/airmotiv-s15

That Marantz compact receiver is probably not very robust, so you may want to consider doing POWERED speakers for your front mains.

Amazon Canada has the JBL 308p for $600CAD/pair and these speakers are known to put out tons of mid-bass which will help given your huge bass-sucking open space:
https://www.amazon.ca/JBL-2-Way-Powe..._pl_dp_12&th=1

That would be a better option, costing less and probably sounding better, than the Totems you're looking at which would probably need a stronger power source to sound their best.

Unfortunately the sofa on which I sit is a sectional. The corner diagonally opposite to the TV is the "L" side of the sectional So no space for it.

Thank you very much for the suggestions of the speakers. I'm going to take a look at these different options.
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post #8 of 40 Old 05-06-2020, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by olipver View Post
Unfortunately the sofa on which I sit is a sectional. The corner diagonally opposite to the TV is the "L" side of the sectional So no space for it.
How about the right of the sofa, directly across from the TV? Even that would be a better place than the current.
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post #9 of 40 Old 05-06-2020, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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How about the right of the sofa, directly across from the TV? Even that would be a better place than the current.
I will try to place it there. Thank you very much.
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everyone around here is happy to help you spend money. but before you fire up the credit card, I would like to suggest a couple of things.

you unit is "network capable" for both Wifi and Wired. HOOK IT UP. DOWNLOAD THE APP. I have a feeling once you move to streaming directly to the unit and not via BT, you may notice a difference.

**Audiophile friends, don't let friends use BT...***

Boston Acoustics is solid gear. if after switching to a better streaming arrangement, you still feel you are lacking punch...its your call.

Sub placement, as mentioned previously, could improve the sound with better placement ( read up on "sub crawl")

Also , that Marantz unit has some quality features: streaming , and it can be used as a pre-amp. It has 60 WPC - decent to middling. if you want more power, you can always add an outboard amp to drive the current speakers or replacements. it has pre-outs.

Consider wall mounting speakers above the TV ( angled toward the MLP) this could also give you more room for a wider speaker.

Totem makes some quality speakers - always seem to be well regarded/reviewed - check out the tribe series ( long, narrow) might fit very nicely in your space.

Check out Axiom audio (another Canadian brand) the M22 might work for you.

Good luck
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I would not spend for the Totem speakers, as you currently have no high quality sources of music to be able to hear their quality. Go cheaper on the speakers (or keep what you have) and consider upgrading the sub instead.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 05-06-2020 at 10:32 PM.
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post #12 of 40 Old 05-07-2020, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
How big is the room (including open areas and adjacent room) you have this setup in?
How far away are you from the speakers?
Does your Marantz have a hard time keeping up with your desired volume levels?
What frequency is your subwoofer crossed over at?

Edit: I quickly read through the features on your Marantz and wonder what response curve you have it set to?
Response 1: Cuts low frequencies of 40 Hz or under by -12dB/oct.
Response 2: Cuts low frequencies of 60 Hz or under by -12dB/oct.
Response 3: Cuts low frequencies of 80 Hz or under by -12dB/oct.
Response 4: Cuts low frequencies of 100 Hz or under by -12dB/oct.
Flat: The crossover is set to flat.
I do not know if I should be ashamed but I had not looked in detail at the part where the notion of "response" is mentioned. I know from memory that it is set to Flat. I'll try to make adjustments this evening. I changed the place of the sub and it is substantially better. Thank you very much for your help.

Last edited by olipver; 05-07-2020 at 05:21 AM.
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post #13 of 40 Old 05-07-2020, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
How about the right of the sofa, directly across from the TV? Even that would be a better place than the current.
As mentioned in another answer, I changed the place of the sub and it is substantially better. I still have a few adjustments to make tonight to improve everything.
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post #14 of 40 Old 05-07-2020, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smithsabom View Post
everyone around here is happy to help you spend money. but before you fire up the credit card, I would like to suggest a couple of things.

you unit is "network capable" for both Wifi and Wired. HOOK IT UP. DOWNLOAD THE APP. I have a feeling once you move to streaming directly to the unit and not via BT, you may notice a difference.

**Audiophile friends, don't let friends use BT...***

Boston Acoustics is solid gear. if after switching to a better streaming arrangement, you still feel you are lacking punch...its your call.

Sub placement, as mentioned previously, could improve the sound with better placement ( read up on "sub crawl")

Also , that Marantz unit has some quality features: streaming , and it can be used as a pre-amp. It has 60 WPC - decent to middling. if you want more power, you can always add an outboard amp to drive the current speakers or replacements. it has pre-outs.

Consider wall mounting speakers above the TV ( angled toward the MLP) this could also give you more room for a wider speaker.

Totem makes some quality speakers - always seem to be well regarded/reviewed - check out the tribe series ( long, narrow) might fit very nicely in your space.

Check out Axiom audio (another Canadian brand) the M22 might work for you.

Good luck
I did the famous "sub crawling" technique last night and I found a place for the sub where the sound is substantially better. I used (and I'm sorry) my cell phone via BT : I streamed Summer Samba by Patricia Barber for my test. For my defense It was with a FLAC format. The result was quite pleasant. Still a few adjustments to make in order to be completely satisfied I think. thank you very much for all your advice.I appreciate it.
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post #15 of 40 Old 05-07-2020, 05:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I would not spend for the Totem speakers, as you currently have no high quality sources of music to be able to hear their quality. Go cheaper on the speakers (or keep what you have) and consider upgrading the sub instead.
As mentioned in other answers, i made some adjustments. The sound is more pleasant now. There are still a few adjustments to make to improve the sub part. If with all the recommendations I could currently read the "punchy" I am looking for is not there, I will go with your recommendation for the sub. Thank you very much.
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post #16 of 40 Old 05-07-2020, 05:37 AM
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@olipver ...How about a good Harmony universal remote while you got the spending itch? Get that three down to one. Good luck.
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Originally Posted by olipver View Post
I do not know if I should be ashamed but I had not looked in detail at the part where the notion of "response" is mentioned. I know from memory that it is set to Flat. I'll try to make adjustments this evening. I changed the place of the sub and it is substantially better. Thank you very much for your help.
What Marantz calls "response" is what most receivers would refer to as a high pass filter, a.k.a. the "small" setting where it sends most of the low frequencies to the subwoofer. The "flat" setting appears to be the equivalent of "large" i.e. full-range, which is only advisable if you are running speakers that have a 3db roll-off in the 30-40Hz range, usually towers. This feature is most urgently needed when watching movies that have a lot of loud low-frequency effects that could damage smaller speakers if played at high volumes. For music listening, if you are playing at low or moderate volumes and if your sub is lacking, some people actually prefer the "large" setting to get more mid-bass into the room (also called "double bass" because those low frequencies would be produced by both the speakers and the sub at the same time). So, just play with different settings to see what works best according to YOUR listening tastes and preferences.

Your Boston A25s claim to have its 3db roll off at 55Hz, so I would try Response 2 first, which is a 60Hz crossover; in case Boston is being optimistic in that spec (many speaker companies routinely embellish/exaggerate their specs) you might want to try Response 3 (which is the most commonly used 80Hz crossover) as well to see if it would make the speaker's output clearer especially in the upper mids and treble region.
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post #18 of 40 Old 05-07-2020, 05:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
What Marantz calls "response" is what most receivers would refer to as a high pass filter, a.k.a. the "small" setting where it sends most of the low frequencies to the subwoofer. The "flat" setting appears to be the equivalent of "large" i.e. full-range, which is only advisable if you are running speakers that have a 3db roll-off in the 30-40Hz range, usually towers. This feature is most urgently needed when watching movies that have a lot of loud low-frequency effects that could damage smaller speakers if played at high volumes. For music listening, if you are playing at low or moderate volumes and if your sub is lacking, some people actually prefer the "large" setting to get more mid-bass into the room (also called "double bass" because those low frequencies would be produced by both the speakers and the sub at the same time). So, just play with different settings to see what works best according to YOUR listening tastes and preferences.

Your Boston A25s claim to have its 3db roll off at 55Hz, so I would try Response 2 first, which is a 60Hz crossover; in case Boston is being optimistic in that spec (many speaker companies routinely embellish/exaggerate their specs) you might want to try Response 3 (which is the most commonly used 80Hz crossover) as well to see if it would make the speaker's output clearer especially in the upper mids and treble region.
A big thank you for all this valuable information. I will try them later. Thank you so much.
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Originally Posted by olipver View Post
I did the famous "sub crawling" technique last night and I found a place for the sub where the sound is substantially better. I used (and I'm sorry) my cell phone via BT : I streamed Summer Samba by Patricia Barber for my test. For my defense It was with a FLAC format. The result was quite pleasant. Still a few adjustments to make in order to be completely satisfied I think. thank you very much for all your advice.I appreciate it.

To really dial in your sub and properly combine it with your speakers, consider getting a UMIK-1 microphone and download free REW. REW is a software that will allow you to fully analyze your system across the full frequency spectrum. Using it, you can perfectly match your sub to your speakers and also find the absolute best location for your sub without having to guess. It is quite common for folks to have some destructive interference between speakers and subs around the crossover point and have no idea. With your system finely calibrated it will help you determine what you need, if anything, to make you happier.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by olipver View Post
I did the famous "sub crawling" technique last night and I found a place for the sub where the sound is substantially better. I used (and I'm sorry) my cell phone via BT : I streamed Summer Samba by Patricia Barber for my test. For my defense It was with a FLAC format. The result was quite pleasant. Still a few adjustments to make in order to be completely satisfied I think. thank you very much for all your advice.I appreciate it.
No need to apologize for using BT - I get it. its easy. (and I am an anti-BT snob for fixed installations) However, using a FLAC file probably doesn't really make a difference(per say) because sending it over BT is like using a "skinny"/"degraded" wire. But I am glad you noticed a difference ( confirmation bias?).

if you really want the benefit of using a FLAC file, put your Marantz on your network and stream from your computer - the app should be able to see your computer as long as you are on the same network/subnet.
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post #21 of 40 Old 05-07-2020, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smithsabom View Post
No need to apologize for using BT - I get it. its easy. (and I am an anti-BT snob for fixed installations) However, using a FLAC file probably doesn't really make a difference(per say) because sending it over BT is like using a "skinny"/"degraded" wire. But I am glad you noticed a difference ( confirmation bias?).

if you really want the benefit of using a FLAC file, put your Marantz on your network and stream from your computer - the app should be able to see your computer as long as you are on the same network/subnet.
I'm already watching to some DLNA NAS product
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post #22 of 40 Old 05-07-2020, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by olipver View Post
A big thank you for all this valuable information. I will try them later. Thank you so much.

Sometimes those small adjustments may seem mundane, but can make a big difference as you've discovered just by moving the sub. The issue you're facing is the sub is too small for the room so adding a 2nd one would be very beneficial and wouldn't break the bank. You'd just need Y splitter for the 2nd sub. IMO you should get the best you can out of your current speakers then decide if you want higher resolution speakers like Kef LS50, Canton Vento and so on.
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...r-black/1.html
https://www.amazon.com/Hosa-YRA-104-...E6195C240895DF
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post #23 of 40 Old 05-08-2020, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
Sometimes those small adjustments may seem mundane, but can make a big difference as you've discovered just by moving the sub. The issue you're facing is the sub is too small for the room so adding a 2nd one would be very beneficial and wouldn't break the bank. You'd just need Y splitter for the 2nd sub. IMO you should get the best you can out of your current speakers then decide if you want higher resolution speakers like Kef LS50, Canton Vento and so on.
https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...r-black/1.html
https://www.amazon.com/Hosa-YRA-104-...E6195C240895DF
I read a lot yesterday about the famous question "what should be the size and the power of a sub for the size of my room". It almost looks like the quest for the Holy Grail. And I could actually notice that my submarine was only 100 watts. In a previous answer, I was told to take a look at the SVS PB-1000 and there is currently a great price on the Kef Kube 10b. I could see that the Totem Rainmaker was also at an attractive price. The fact remains that the adjustments made yesterday improved the quality of the music. During a test with a film I still have adjustments to make .... so many changes and / or adjustments in anticipation It's my birthday today, so why not change my audio equipment
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post #24 of 40 Old 05-08-2020, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olipver View Post
I read a lot yesterday about the famous question "what should be the size and the power of a sub for the size of my room". It almost looks like the quest for the Holy Grail. And I could actually notice that my submarine was only 100 watts. In a previous answer, I was told to take a look at the SVS PB-1000 and there is currently a great price on the Kef Kube 10b. I could see that the Totem Rainmaker was also at an attractive price. The fact remains that the adjustments made yesterday improved the quality of the music. During a test with a film I still have adjustments to make .... so many changes and / or adjustments in anticipation It's my birthday today, so why not change my audio equipment
A ported sub PB-1000 will have much higher output below 40hz which is a big + if you're and action movie fan. A sealed sub Kef Kube 10b will have a more shallow drop off and won't have that high impact tactile feel, but will excel with music. A sealed sub will also have a smaller footprint. I went with dual Kef Kube 10b's because my focus is more musical, though they do a pretty good job for movies and games.
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post #25 of 40 Old 05-08-2020, 07:22 AM
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Op,

Back to your original question about speakers.

I like the idea of using Totem speakers, although I don't own any of their products, they were on my short list of speakers when I was looking. Take a look at their Sky model. I think you'll be impressed. New they are out of your budget, but they show up on the used market every now and then.

Also on the used market you may want to consider B&W's 705's, and even better, their 805's. Both of which will sound much better then your current setup.



While I'm not all that familiar with subwoofers (I'm learning), assuming you have the space, you may want to try and find another ASW 250 to match your existing sub. Bigger is better but two small subs are better than one big sub and I think used 250's, are affordable on the used market.


AND ---- Happy Birthday. Send me some cake and ice cream :-)
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post #26 of 40 Old 05-08-2020, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewmr View Post
Op,

Back to your original question about speakers.

I like the idea of using Totem speakers, although I don't own any of their products, they were on my short list of speakers when I was looking. Take a look at their Sky model. I think you'll be impressed. New they are out of your budget, but they show up on the used market every now and then.

Also on the used market you may want to consider B&W's 705's, and even better, their 805's. Both of which will sound much better then your current setup.



While I'm not all that familiar with subwoofers (I'm learning), assuming you have the space, you may want to try and find another ASW 250 to match your existing sub. Bigger is better but two small subs are better than one big sub and I think used 250's, are affordable on the used market.


AND ---- Happy Birthday. Send me some cake and ice cream :-)
The OP is in Canada and it's slim pickings on the used market in his area. Prices on equipment is considerably higher (in most cases) as well. Good subwoofers in particular have limited options with high pricetags.

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post #27 of 40 Old 05-08-2020, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olipver View Post
I read a lot yesterday about the famous question "what should be the size and the power of a sub for the size of my room". It almost looks like the quest for the Holy Grail. And I could actually notice that my submarine was only 100 watts. In a previous answer, I was told to take a look at the SVS PB-1000 and there is currently a great price on the Kef Kube 10b. I could see that the Totem Rainmaker was also at an attractive price. The fact remains that the adjustments made yesterday improved the quality of the music. During a test with a film I still have adjustments to make .... so many changes and / or adjustments in anticipation It's my birthday today, so why not change my audio equipment
A PB1000 would be a marvelous birthday present to yourself, two would be even better.

Or one of these---they do ship to Canada and a forumite today reported that his stuff just arrived without any added Canadian duties/taxes, somehow...a Covid 19 bonus?
https://emotiva.com/collections/subw...s/airmotiv-s15

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #28 of 40 Old 05-08-2020, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewmr View Post
Op,

Back to your original question about speakers.

I like the idea of using Totem speakers, although I don't own any of their products, they were on my short list of speakers when I was looking. Take a look at their Sky model. I think you'll be impressed. New they are out of your budget, but they show up on the used market every now and then.

Also on the used market you may want to consider B&W's 705's, and even better, their 805's. Both of which will sound much better then your current setup.



While I'm not all that familiar with subwoofers (I'm learning), assuming you have the space, you may want to try and find another ASW 250 to match your existing sub. Bigger is better but two small subs are better than one big sub and I think used 250's, are affordable on the used market.


AND ---- Happy Birthday. Send me some cake and ice cream :-)
First of all, thank you

As pase22 mentions, good quality audio equipment is quite expensive here.

I'll take a look at the different options you mention ... for B&W the 607 model is the most affordable

Thank you very much
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post #29 of 40 Old 05-08-2020, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
A PB1000 would be a marvelous birthday present to yourself, two would be even better.

Or one of these---they do ship to Canada and a forumite today reported that his stuff just arrived without any added Canadian duties/taxes, somehow...a Covid 19 bonus?
https://emotiva.com/collections/subw...s/airmotiv-s15
Would I be wrong to put a Kef Kub 12b instead of 2 Kef Kube 10b?

As you said, order in the USA I will have to pay local taxes as well as customs clearance so the product will be quite expensive.
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post #30 of 40 Old 05-08-2020, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by olipver View Post
Would I be wrong to put a Kef Kub 12b instead of 2 Kef Kube 10b?

As you said, order in the USA I will have to pay local taxes as well as customs clearance so the product will be quite expensive.
With all the open space you have, I'd go dual to get more output.

How much are those KEF subs up there?

I've been told that Canadian taxes/duties are about 8%

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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