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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!


As the name implies , I'm thinking about adding a nice integrated to my receiver...I know it would increase my system's 2 channel performance, but to which extent?


If it can help , here's my system :


Pioneer elite sc61

Energy-rc 70 speakers

Marantz cd 6004

Marantz ud 5007 blu-ray

Pioneer elite n50

Kimber Kable 8vs speaker cable

Straightwire symphony 2 interconnects...


I feel that the pioneer sc61 is no slouch really in 2 channel performance.. In fact, I think I could live with it for a while... If that damn upgrade itch wasn't biting on my azz... If I were to go to the integrated route, I would be able to shell about 1000$ for a rotel or something that would be a nice match...(open to ideas!)


But.... Does buying an integrated in that price bracket would give me a good return on investment? Or the increase in performance too marginal for the disadvantages ( level matching and all that stuff I would avoid if not profitable enough!) it gives? Say, if it gives me a 5% performance, I would'nt spend 1000$ and try to find another immediate upgrade that would have more impact for less money...(again, if you have any ideas...)


Another factor that makes me hesitate is the size of my room... I live in an apartment and my listening room is about 12 x 12, so the power of the sc61 is really enough,,, So, it wouldn't be much of a power thing, but rather a "quality and accuracy" sound upgrade... Again , will the difference be night and day, or slight?


Thanks in advance to those that take the time to answer my questions, pretty much appreciated!


Jess
 

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If the power you have right now is enough (and it surely is), adding an integrated will give you precisely no audible benefit at all. But looking at your equipment list, I bet you refuse to believe that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback, mcnarus! If there's no noticeable difference, I will get something else! Maybe a nice turntable?



I'm not sure about the looking at your equipment list thing hehe, and the assumption that Id refuse to believe that. I perfectly believe it....


The cables? Don't worry, I won't get an upgrade buzz on them. Contrary to the popular belief, I don't think buying better cables is useless, but I do think that cables just have a very low point of diminishing returns.. I'll never spend more than what i did on cables, it's insane to me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarghon  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23578041


I live in an apartment and my listening room is about 12 x 12 ... Again , will the difference be night and day, or slight?

If you want a night and day improvement, forget buying more gear and address the acoustics of your small square room. That will make literally 100 times more improvement than any "gear" upgrade. This short article is mainly about home recording, but all the same principles apply to hi-fi and home theater too:

Acoustic Basics


--Ethan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23578087


If the power you have right now is enough (and it surely is), adding an integrated will give you precisely no audible benefit at all. But looking at your equipment list, I bet you refuse to believe that.

Yup, the golden cables and the high end media players say "True believer in audiophile myths".


Watch Ethan's highly relevant comment about room acoustics and my suggestion about a subwoofer go by the boards.


Maybe we should turn him onto asynch dacs, biwiring, or passive biamplification, no? ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
First of all, thanks Ethan for the constructive answer, and for the nice info it contents!


Arnyk, I really think you could bring your point without the damn arrogant touch to it. Ethan did, in a diligent manner , and that's why everyone see him as a knowledgeable class-act.. He got straight to the point, without trying to look smarter than the newbie that I am.


TRUE Believer in audio myths? Just because I have a media streamer? What is that kind of dumb assumption? Just because I want to stream and upgrade the quality of of my digital music?


Golden cables? I've paid 200$ for the kimber. My former cables cost me 80$ terminated, and they were the most basic big gauge cable you could get. So... I've paid 120$ for better connectors, better insulation, and a little color that suits well my system. So? It's not like I mortgaged anything to buy cables. Just because of that I'm going to build an altar an sacrifice poor quality wires in the name of my supposedly sooooooooo expensive cables.


Tell me... What is that kind of dumb assumption? If I see someone with nice clothes, he's automatically an *******,because he's going to be superficial, right?!?!


Anyways, thanks for the only thing useful you brought to the conversation, the subwoofer suggestion. I have one already, it does the job well.


To me, the subject is closed, and I won't comment further if it contains any weird assertions of that kind.


(ps: sorry for my weird english, it is not my primary language.)
 

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All of that super nice gear, so why do you have such low end speakers? Those speakers are not anywhere even remotely close to being good enough to hear any difference. Why do you have a top of the line Marantz bluray playr and a top of the line Marantz CD player? The Bluray player can play the CD's as good or better than that CD player! I would sell the speaker and the CD player and upgrade to some thing better than those Entergy speakers. No way in hell adding an integrated amp will make any difference at all. You seem to have the nack for buying useless upgrades! (no offense)
 

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^Those Energy RC-70s aren't that bad. They're kinda heavy in the upper-bass, but otherwise they're pretty good speakers. Some people even like the upper bass emphasis.


And that can be handled, to some extent, with using the Pioneer's MCACC.


FWIW, I agree with the others that room acoustics treatment is the best way to spend your money. Buying an integrated amp might even be a step backwards, because you'll lose the bass management and MCACC you have now in your Pioneer.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23579437


^Those Energy RC-70s aren't that bad. They're kinda heavy in the upper-bass, but otherwise they're pretty good speakers. Some people even like the upper bass emphasis.


How far into the upper bass is that bass emphasis? Would using a sub help?
Quote:
And that can be handled, to some extent, with using the Pioneer's MCACC.

Agreed.
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FWIW, I agree with the others that room acoustics treatment is the best way to spend your money.

Agreed, especially now that he's revealed that he has a sub.
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Buying an integrated amp might even be a step backwards, because you'll lose the bass management and MCACC you have now in your Pioneer.

Good point about the idea he brought (integrated amp) in here being a potential disaster.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarghon  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23579264


First of all, thanks Ethan for the constructive answer, and for the nice info it contents!

 
 

I can second Ethan's comments from personal experience. The room really is THE most important component in your system, by far (with speakers/sub coming second and electronics a very distant third).

 

I have been all through the upgradeitis syndrome ever since becoming involved in audio reproduction decades ago. I have replaced more amps and speakers and players over those decades than I care to mention. I was a true 'audiophile' or 'audiofool' as I now see it. Despite all the changes and expense, I never seemed to be satisfied or happy with the sound quality. Then one day I happened upon an article that opened my eyes and I used it as a springboard to studying the science behind sound reproduction in the home. That led me to an understanding of how and why the room is the most important factor - and Ethan is totally right in saying that getting the room right will repay itself 100-fold over 'upgrading' electronics.  I now use REW and a good quality calibrated mic to measure my room acoustics and this has enabled me to treat the room using commercially available acoustic panels such as those that Ethan's company sells. Ethan's website is also a mine of useful educational information and I suggest spending a little while there reading up on the whys and wherefores of room treatment. If you are able to go this route, you will transform the sound in your room.

 

As for cables, well, what you have will do no harm, but neither will they improve the SQ any more than Monoprice's offerings. But if you dig them, and know why you bought them and that it wasn;t anything to do with improving the SQ, well, it's your money. Personally, I'd buy Monoprice or Blue Jeans cables and use the cash I’d saved to put towards better speakers or a better sub - or, of course, some nice acoustic panels.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23579472


How far into the upper bass is that bass emphasis? Would using a sub help?

I think the Energy's put out too much energy (haha, I made a pun) in the region just above where a sub would operate, say, in the 100-150Hz region. You might even consider that lower midrange more than upper bass.


Edit: From Soundstage/NRC measurements, you can see there is a hump in the 100H to 200Hz region:

http://www.soundstagenetwork.com/measurements/speakers/energy_rc_70/
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hmmm didn't see it that way Beaveav... I use it a lot for home cinema, so it would be a strike against a integrated for sure. Thanks for the input!


Martycool :


Since when a speaker is supposed to be good for everyone? And... Low-end speakers? Pardon me? I can understand their particular sound is not for everyone, but low end ? If Energy has such a great following in avs, I'm not sure it directly means that a lot of people have bad taste. Are you?


Connoisseur line is entry level. Not the reference connoisseur line. Did you know that until recently Energy was ( and still is in many circles) highly regarded? It is not a low-end speaker because of it's now discontinued and verrrrrrryy low price. It's now low price makes it a bargain, not a low-end speaker. Don't overlook them because of that.


The cdplayer useless? Pardon me?Both players are the same price. In fact, they are pretty similar. But hey. A quality bluray player needs a good video chip and a ****load of codec and thx endorsement things and network stuff. You know what? there isn't any in the 6004. You know what? They' ll save money on the dac when building the UD, because again, you know what? It's primarily a video player. And what do you not know? Hell, I didn't have a bluray player, so I bought one So unless the UD is better than the cd 6004 for cd playback ( which is precisely because I bought a cd player, wow, eh?) , I do want the additionnal performance the cd brings and won't sell it . And the UD likely won't be better since the transport is almost he same, and the dac in the UD is Burr brown's lesser model. It' still good, but poorer than the one in the cd6004, which is CirrusLogic top model. So regardless of the two companies reputation, you can already see that cd quality won't be the same. Even if slightly poorer, I do put a lot of importance on the source,


I'm not the only one preferring to have dedicated players for each format, so... I'm not really sure what your point is, since you don't bring any argument why the ud would be better .


A knack for useless upgrades? I asked PRECISELY about integrated to become more knowledgeable about it. PRECISELY because I don't why to buy it if it gives nothing.


And for the no offense... I really don't know why people write that. Maybe it's because they know you will be pissed off for sure. And maybe it's because people that use it, it's simpler to do than actually being tactful. And chose better words that will pass the same message. I'm open to criticism, but not in that kind of words. Thanks for the input anyways, it had the merit of containing suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hmmm thanks again for the input everyone!


Seems like the room treatment makes the general consensus. If I only add bass traps to begin, will it be ok? Or should I treat all the walls at the same time to avoid any .. hmmm... Debalanced reflexions? Don't know if any such thing exists, but would not treating the side walls do some bizarre things to the sound? Like having only lateral reflexions?


Arnyk: The subwoofer point maybe a good one after thinking about it... I do know that a better subwoofer has an immediate impact on the overall tone balance ( right?) but I've never heard what can be classified as a "better tier subwoofer" ... My sub is Klipsch sw110. Not your champion grade type of subwoofer, but I thought it would be decent for a while... Maybe it's time has come


Lastly: room treatment before changing subwoofer, or the opposite? Does bad bass can be as lethal as bad room treatment? More likely closely linked to each other, uh?


Thanks in advance!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarghon  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23579670


Hmmm thanks again for the input everyone!


Seems like the room treatment makes the general consensus. If I only add bass traps to begin, will it be ok? Or should I treat all the walls at the same time to avoid any .. hmmm... Debalanced reflexions? Don't know if any such thing exists, but would not treating the side walls do some bizarre things to the sound? Like having only lateral reflexions?


Arnyk: The subwoofer point maybe a good one after thinking about it... I do know that a better subwoofer has an immediate impact on the overall tone balance ( right?) but I've never heard what can be classified as a "better tier subwoofer" ... My sub is Klipsch sw110. Not your champion grade type of subwoofer, but I thought it would be decent for a while... Maybe it's time has come


Lastly: room treatment before changing subwoofer, or the opposite? Does bad bass can be as lethal as bad room treatment? More likely closely linked to each other, uh?


Thanks in advance!

Good question. I think that most people move up to the better subwoofer because all you have to do is buy a better subwoofer and wheel it in to get some kind of a benefit.


Yeah your SW110 is pretty marginal. I would recommend a 12" sub at the minimum. In fact given the fine AVR that you have, That little Klipsch is probably holding your system back as much as anything.


You have not said anything about what you are doing with MCACC. I suspect that means you are doing nothing with it. ;-)


I recommend that people spend as much on their AVR as they spend on their subwoofer, even though the idea of assuming a linear or even just proportional connection between price and sound quality rankles me. Let's put it this way, if you make good choices and get equipment that is a good value for the price, then you should spend as much money on the subwoofer as you spend on you AVR, if not more. If you get good value for your money, you can easily spend $2K on a sub and still be getting better SQ than you would if you spent only $1K. I'm not sure I can say that about every other kind of component.


You might say but my room is only 11 x 11. I know 11 x 11 rooms because for a while I used one for producing recordings. I used a 12" sub that had lots of Xmax for the size and the day. Made most commercial subs of today look sick. I had an 18" Earthquake subwoofer in the next room put it to shame.


Getting back to room acoustics, working them over has the potential to improve the SQ of your system over the entire audio band, while obviously a sub's benefit are restricted to the bottom end. Most people seem to put room acoustics off to the last, because they imply more work than just wheeling in another component and hooking it up. Chasing room acoustics can make an architect, a carpenter, a paint-and-plaster guy, and an acoustician out of you.


As far as the tiny sub and bad bass, what do your ears tell you? We had a guy here just lately who ran Audyssey to better optimize their system, and all of a sudden their subwoofer started making weird noises during stressful movies and musical passages. He had been instinctively turning it down to protect itself and then it wasn't doing much. Guess what? Getting a much better sub shot to the top of his list. ;-)


So what are you doing with MCACC?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarghon  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23579670


If I only add bass traps to begin, will it be ok? Or should I treat all the walls at the same time to avoid any .. hmmm... Debalanced reflexions?

They're both equally important. Bass traps improve the bass response and clarity, and "reflection absorbers" increase clarity and intelligibility of voices and non-bass instruments. So I'd start with a little of each: One bass trap in each of the four wall-wall corners, plus one absorber at the left and right side-wall reflection points.


--Ethan
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
@ Arnyk;


Hehe you are mostly right about Mcacc... I use the semi-automatic setup, but the only parameters I set myself are subwoofer crossover frequency (80hz), and put the speakers to small... And elevate the center channel volume a little. I think that it could be a good idea to buy a spl meter and tricks of the kind to manually set MCACC, but I feel I don't have enough experience yet. Setting it manually surely brings better results, right? I'll read a lot on the mcacc forum , then! Any crucial parameters I'd need to master first?


About the subwoofer.: I thought that because of the size of my room, a 12" subwoofer would be overkill... And your experience proves quite the opposite! So... A bigger subwoofer would't only be more powerful? If I understand correclty,, it would dive lower thus ranging a bigger bass frequency scale?!?! Didn't really investigate about subwoofers that aren't internet direct, but what I'd have easily available goes like that: Martin Logan , Klipsch, Polk Audio, Monitor audio, Paradigm, Velodyne, Bowers and Wilkins , Wharfedale, Focal, Dynaudio, JBL....

Which one would be your pick?


About the quality of my bass, to my ears it sounds... "ok". I have enough bass for my tastes, but it is not tight and precise as much as I'd want... A little bloated , the bass sounds kind of... Puffy? ... Doesn't destroy my sound quality, but most surely hinders it from the full potential it can attain, right? Again, maybe I've never heard what is really desirable bass, as I don't think that the subs are set up for maximum efficiency in stores...


Thanks a lot for the invaluable info!


@ ethan:


Thanks for the suggestion, I will add a little of each first! For the bass traps, I should use them on the ground level corners first, or the opposite?
 

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I just don't under stand why you bought those expensive bluray and CD players when all you need is a Bluray player as CD's will sound the same in either one! Plus, any marginal benefit that you might get from any equipment upgrades will likely be unnoticeable on those Entergy speakers. I don't care how highly reguarded you say they are, the reality is that they are not transparent enough to notice any marginal improvements you might (or most likely might not) get by upgrading your gear! It is foolish to buy all of that expensive gear when your speaker and room are the major limiting factors. This is madness! I am not trying to be a jerk, but someone needs to talk some sense into you before you blow any more money on a system upgrade that will never benefit you! I have plenty of experience with Entergy speakers, so don't tell me how high end you think they are!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hmmm ok this is going to be the last post answering to your last post.


Speaker quality is subjective. Sooooo subjective. People can hate a 10 000$ speaker even if in theory it should be well built... If the sonic characteristics they look for aren't present, they won't love a speaker even if it has a plenty of other qualities. Some Ferrari lovers hate Lamborghinis. Does that mean that Lamborghini are crap because their standards aren't the same? If you can't bring some facts, at least articulate your post with info that could be useful.


Plus: all you say is : that thing is crap, it's too expensive, bla bla bla. Where did you bring any argument and/or proof that your OPINION is the absolute truth?


For the room treatment, you're right. It's written all over the net, and there is a lot of facts. Tell me where you found your facts about Energy speakers sucking? Did you find it on http://www.cartomancy.com.au/ ?


Beavav analyzed the graphs, and commented on the slight bump in upper bass. And added some recommandations. That is what I call a constructive post. It's hard denying that bump since it was measured. And you know what? To my ears, it sounds well. The same could be said about ZU speakers, which measure horribly but are loved. So to tell that your ears and preferences are the law to be followed and that anything going out of them is crap seems mighty pretentious.


It wasn't foolish at all buying decent gear first. I just put that step a little too forward. I have the stuff, and I need the room. Is having the room before the stuff really that atrocious ? The two steps had to be done anytways. The ultimate goal is the same in the end. And the results are important, not the order of steps to attain it. Ok, maybe I could have started the two gradually, a room upgrade between two pieces... But guess what? It's called LEARNING.


And it's a f'n presomptuous thing to say to someone, after all the ranting : " I am not trying to be a jerk, but someone needs to talk some sense into you before you blow any more money on a system upgrade that will never benefit you!"


Ok, you aren't a jerk, just someone who uses a communication canal filled with words that will piss off anyone. I know of no one who would be happy being said : You're totally wrong, you like to buy useless stuff and that's stupid, and your speakers suck. All that without anything supporting your sayings. That's not criticism, that is offensive "conclusions". That is the overall content of your 2 posts.


Anyways, my learning curve is upwards now. I understand all the time that I've lost writing about something I shouln't even look at, and concentrate on the posts from people actually being kind and supportive.


Ok, now until then, ta-ta
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarghon  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23583583


About the subwoofer.: I thought that because of the size of my room, a 12" subwoofer would be overkill... And your experience proves quite the opposite! So... A bigger subwoofer would't only be more powerful? If I understand correclty,, it would dive lower thus ranging a bigger bass frequency scale?!?! Didn't really investigate about subwoofers that aren't internet direct, but what I'd have easily available goes like that: Martin Logan , Klipsch, Polk Audio, Monitor audio, Paradigm, Velodyne, Bowers and Wilkins , Wharfedale, Focal, Dynaudio, JBL....

Which one would be your pick?

 
 

IMO you can never have too much woofage ;)  There isn’t really any such thing as 'overkill'. Subs have gain controls. My room is only about 11ft x 11ft and I have TWO of the most powerful subs money can buy - dual Seaton Submersive F2s. Each sub has two 15 inch drivers and each sub has a 1000 watt amp (current models have 2,400 watt amps). But it is the quality not the power that impresses. The two subs smooth out the bass in the room - the quality improves the full frequency spectrum by removing 'masking' from the remainder of the frequency range. 

 

I have a heavily treated room. I use REW and a good calibrated mic to measure the room and what is happening in it. I have Audyssey XT32 to give the 'icing on the cake' and I use a Behringer PEQ for final tweaking. Acoustic treatments or subs first?  Difficult call as both go hand in hand. Acoustic treatments will benefit the entire frequency range if properly done. Subs will give you the foundation for the music. As Arny says, subs are easier - just buy and install. Treatments, as he rightly says, will make an architect, carpenter, builder, painter, plasterer of you. I have been there and done that!

 

I have no comment on your subs list as none of them is familiar to me. All I can say is that since I got the Submersives, I know I will never be changing my subs again. Ever. 

 

I think you have an interesting journey ahead!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarghon  /t/1483835/adding-an-integrated-to-a-receiver-affordable-upgrade-or-not#post_23584068


Hmmm ok this is going to be the last post answering to your last post.


Speaker quality is subjective. Sooooo subjective. People can hate a 10 000$ speaker even if in theory it should be well built... If the sonic characteristics they look for aren't present, they won't love a speaker even if it has a plenty of other qualities. Some Ferrari lovers hate Lamborghinis. Does that mean that Lamborghini are crap because their standards aren't the same? If you can't bring some facts, at least articulate your post with info that could be useful.


Plus: all you say is : that thing is crap, it's too expensive, bla bla bla. Where did you bring any argument and/or proof that your OPINION is the absolute truth?


For the room treatment, you're right. It's written all over the net, and there is a lot of facts. Tell me where you found your facts about Energy speakers sucking? Did you find it on http://www.cartomancy.com.au/ ?


Beavav analyzed the graphs, and commented on the slight bump in upper bass. And added some recommandations. That is what I call a constructive post. It's hard denying that bump since it was measured. And you know what? To my ears, it sounds well. The same could be said about ZU speakers, which measure horribly but are loved. So to tell that your ears and preferences are the law to be followed and that anything going out of them is crap seems mighty pretentious.


It wasn't foolish at all buying decent gear first. I just put that step a little too forward. I have the stuff, and I need the room. Is having the room before the stuff really that atrocious ? The two steps had to be done anytways. The ultimate goal is the same in the end. And the results are important, not the order of steps to attain it. Ok, maybe I could have started the two gradually, a room upgrade between two pieces... But guess what? It's called LEARNING.


And it's a f'n presomptuous thing to say to someone, after all the ranting : " I am not trying to be a jerk, but someone needs to talk some sense into you before you blow any more money on a system upgrade that will never benefit you!"


Ok, you aren't a jerk, just someone who uses a communication canal filled with words that will piss off anyone. I know of no one who would be happy being said : You're totally wrong, you like to buy useless stuff and that's stupid, and your speakers suck. All that without anything supporting your sayings. That's not criticism, that is offensive "conclusions". That is the overall content of your 2 posts.


Anyways, my learning curve is upwards now. I understand all the time that I've lost writing about something I shouln't even look at, and concentrate on the posts from people actually being kind and supportive.


Ok, now until then, ta-ta
 

If you can look beyond the writing style, he makes some very worthwhile points. The main point about the speakers is, really, that you haven’t actually heard them yet. You have heard the room a lot, but the speakers less so, if you follow me. The room is by far the most significant component in your system and the one that most influences what you hear. $20,000 speakers in a bad room will likely sound a lot worse than $1,000 speakers in a good room. It is perhaps significant that those who have made a lot of effort to make a really good room will often use speakers that some would consider 'cheap' or 'unworthy'. Why is that?  Now I am not advocating crappy speakers by any means (and low coast does not invariably mean low quality) - the speakers and sub are right there in line with the room in terms of where to spend money to get better sound. Put low cost (but good) speakers in a great room and the sound will be terrific. Use better quality speakers with better FR performance, on/off-axis performance etc, in a good room, and they will really, really shine. 

 

As far as electronics are concerned - they make very little difference in these digital days. Did you know that the DACs in your high-end CD player cost probably less than $10?  Did you know that even these low-cost DACs have a FR from 15Hz to 40,000Hz that deviates by only a tiny fraction of a dB?  DACs cannot be differentiated in properly conducted ABX tests, so why worry about them?  Nowadays, any decently designed and made (read: inexpensive) Bluray or CD player will perform as well as any other, so there's a great place to save money and put it where there really is a difference: the speakers and room.  I am not trying to disrespect you or your choices so far - there is absolutely nothing wrong with what you have bought - but your money will be better spent in the future if you use the knowledge you are now acquiring, that's all. So electronics - buy any you like, but remember they make very little difference to what you hear. Cables - buy Monoprice or Blue Jeans and forget about them. And don't even consider rubbish like special AC power cords and so on!
 
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