AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
You know how sometimes you just get dissatisfied with your home theater system? That has happened to me, so I have been researching how to improve it. After spending a lot of time on this site, and looking at new receivers and speakers, what I have concluded is that I don't know what I am doing. I have also realized there are many helpful people on this site who know a lot about this subject, so I am asking for advice. Simply put, I'm not sure if the weak link is my speakers, or my receiver, or both. The sound isn't terrible but it's not as good as I would like it to be. Dialog is particularly difficult to hear. I'm not looking for anything too fancy or expensive, just better sound. Here is what we are using:


B&W CDM1 speakers (somewhat high-end when purchased in 1996 - why does that make me feel old?)

B&W CC6 center channel (same)

Polk Audio DSW Pro 10" powered subwoofer (purchased last year)

Sony STR-DE545 receiver (purchased in *cough* 2001)

no surrounds


My first thought was to buy a new receiver, leaning towards a Denon, Pioneer, or Yamaha. But then I saw in this forum that B&W speakers are power hungry, so I began to wonder if my CDM1's weren't cut out for home theater duty. Or at least, not with my receiver. Then I read on the B&W speaker thread that B&W made some poor center channels, including the CC6. Maybe the other speakers are okay, but the center channel is the problem. But I thought I matched the center to the L & R when I purchased them, so would it be a problem to swap out the center?


I got so frustrated that I began to consider starting over and buying a whole new system, but that is an expensive impulse. I welcome your opinions and suggestions.


Thank you for your time,

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,540 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by david3772  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...dio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr/0_60#post_23161886


Maybe the other speakers are okay, but the center channel is the problem. But I thought I matched the center to the L & R when I purchased them, so would it be a problem to swap out the center?
My own experience has been that the cure for incomprehensible dialog is getting a better center speaker (though I'm not familiar with the one you have now). It might be a problem getting a new center to blend with your L & R, but since you're thinking of replacing the L & R, anyway, may as well try it. Updating one thing at a time and listening would be more fun than trying to figure out a master plan, I'd think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,540 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by david3772  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...dio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr/0_60#post_23161886


Maybe the other speakers are okay, but the center channel is the problem. But I thought I matched the center to the L & R when I purchased them, so would it be a problem to swap out the center?
My own experience has been that the cure for incomprehensible dialog is getting a better center speaker (though I'm not familiar with the one you have now). It might be a problem getting a new center to blend with your L & R, but since you're thinking of replacing the L & R, anyway, may as well try it. Updating one thing at a time and listening would be more fun than trying to figure out a master plan, I'd think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,705 Posts
I used to have the CC6 with B&W 601s. I thought it worked fairly well for dialogue.


For a different center, I can't remember which it is, but it was either the LCR600 or LCR6 that people like better than the CC6 for pairing with the 600 series. Might look into that.


It might help to upgrade the receiver to one with Audyssey MultEQ room correction. It will help to smooth the in room response, and perhaps it might help your front sound stage. Regardless, you should get some SQ benefit out of it anyway even if the dialogue is still a little difficult to hear.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sheshechic

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,456 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23162491



It might help to upgrade the receiver to one with Audyssey MultEQ room correction. It will help to smooth the in room response, and perhaps it might help your front sound stage. Regardless, you should get some SQ benefit out of it anyway even if the dialogue is still a little difficult to hear.

I was going to suggest the same thing. I replaced my older Yamaha with a Dennon that has Audyssey MultiEQ XT and I gained a new appreciation for my "older" speakers. I did end up moving them to the back and bought the matching towers for the front. Although the cost wasn't significantly better than starting fresh, I think it was the right place to start- for me anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,337 Posts
Recently upgraded my speakers . I have a denon receiver with multieq 90 watts . I had b & w 601 with lcr6 center. Had them for 13years and enjoyed them. Felt though I wanted something more alive sounding and different . Ended up with tekton oriel speakers with pendragon center . High sensative and different sound. More dynamic and bigger soundstage . I really.enjoy them a lot more

My.advice would be to try something else. There has been a lot of new speaker companies pop up I'm the last ten years making some good products. Some people change there system every two years. Me I want another 6-8 years and then I might look again. Its exciting demoing speakers and looking at reviews . When you hook them up its like.xmas morning . Good luck and happy hunting .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
567 Posts
without knowing what is bothering you and just going by age of the stuff you listed, buy a new receiver fist. i prefer marantz over the others, but denon and pioneer ones are also good. not a fan on onkyo or yamaha but they have ok models tool. models to consider--Marantz SR5007 good. Denon avr2113. if you can spend a bit more then Anthem MRX 300.


once you calibrate this system there should big a big improvement in sound quality. next step would be to get a new player like oppo bdp-103.


at this point you can consider upgrading all your speakers and going for a 5.1 package for about 1000 if you are still not satisfied, but don't go there all at once. enjoy each upgrade
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,337 Posts
Biggest difference in sq is : speakers , second place speakers , third place room treatments . Yes he needs to provide more info but receiver won't impact sound nearly like. The speakers . He definitely needs to upgrade receiver too to one with room correction . Denon and marantz are fine choices .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter #9

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregLee  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23162247


My own experience has been that the cure for incomprehensible dialog is getting a better center speaker (though I'm not familiar with the one you have now). It might be a problem getting a new center to blend with your L & R, but since you're thinking of replacing the L & R, anyway, may as well try it. Updating one thing at a time and listening would be more fun than trying to figure out a master plan, I'd think.

Greg - Thank you for your suggestion. I may try to swap out the center channel, that would be a prudent beginning. Though a new receiver sounds fun....


David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter #10

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23162491


I used to have the CC6 with B&W 601s. I thought it worked fairly well for dialogue.


For a different center, I can't remember which it is, but it was either the LCR600 or LCR6 that people like better than the CC6 for pairing with the 600 series. Might look into that.


It might help to upgrade the receiver to one with Audyssey MultEQ room correction. It will help to smooth the in room response, and perhaps it might help your front sound stage. Regardless, you should get some SQ benefit out of it anyway even if the dialogue is still a little difficult to hear.

Cel,


Thank you for your suggestions, I appreciate your time. Regarding the center, it seems the LCR600 and LCR6 are older speakers that I would look for online somewhere? I don't see them on B&W's website. Best Buy's Magnolia has a few B&W speakers, but they are a little pricey. It may be heresy to raise this subject here, but do you know anything about B&W's MT series speakers? The reviews I have found are strong, and there is a certain appeal (given I am no audiophile) to replacing my speakers and stands with small speakers.


As for receivers, my ancient Sony is rated at 100w but is seems weak to me. I know power ratings are tricky, I had (have somewhere?) an old NAD with less rated wattage that felt stronger. I think Marantz and Denon have Audyssey (I am learning here they are made by the same company), and Yamaha has something different called YPAO. Have you heard anything about that?


David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheshechic  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23162690


I was going to suggest the same thing. I replaced my older Yamaha with a Dennon that has Audyssey MultiEQ XT and I gained a new appreciation for my "older" speakers. I did end up moving them to the back and bought the matching towers for the front. Although the cost wasn't significantly better than starting fresh, I think it was the right place to start- for me anyway.

Thanks for the +1 on Audyssey, sheshechic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,705 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by david3772  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23163444


Cel,


Thank you for your suggestions, I appreciate your time. Regarding the center, it seems the LCR600 and LCR6 are older speakers that I would look for online somewhere? I don't see them on B&W's website. Best Buy's Magnolia has a few B&W speakers, but they are a little pricey. It may be heresy to raise this subject here, but do you know anything about B&W's MT series speakers? The reviews I have found are strong, and there is a certain appeal (given I am no audiophile) to replacing my speakers and stands with small speakers.


As for receivers, my ancient Sony is rated at 100w but is seems weak to me. I know power ratings are tricky, I had (have somewhere?) an old NAD with less rated wattage that felt stronger. I think Marantz and Denon have Audyssey (I am learning here they are made by the same company), and Yamaha has something different called YPAO. Have you heard anything about that?


David

Yep. Those are models that were out quite a few years back that I saw recommended for the older 600 series. The CC6 was the primary center for the 601s, 602s, and 603s. And those were other models that people were reporting worked better. I haven't heard them, though. You could ask in the B&W owners thread here on AVS. Probably people with experience with them.


Sure. Yamaha has YPAO, which many people like. Audyssey MultEQ or better and then YPAO multipoint version (not the regular one), EQ the sub in addition to the speakers. So it's worth getting that as subs can usually use the help in a room.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by chalugadp  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23162807


Biggest difference in sq is : speakers , second place speakers , third place room treatments . Yes he needs to provide more info but receiver won't impact sound nearly like. The speakers . He definitely needs to upgrade receiver too to one with room correction . Denon and marantz are fine choices .

Thanks for your input, chalugadp. Do you have thoughts about specific Denon and Marantz receivers? The Marantz SR5007 is at the high end of what I want to spend, though I like the looks of the new slim line receivers that are just coming out.


As for Denon, someone here suggested the AVR-2113CI. I had also considered the AVR-1913, which is a little more highly rated on Amazon and a couple hundred dollars less.


Thanks again,

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by david3772  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23161886


You know how sometimes you just get dissatisfied with your home theater system? That has happened to me, so I have been researching how to improve it. After spending a lot of time on this site, and looking at new receivers and speakers, what I have[ concluded is that I don't know what I am doing.

I share your pain as I am going through this right now! I used to think I knew what I was doing, but I find myself questioning that now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by david3772  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23161886


I got so frustrated that I began to consider starting over and buying a whole new system, but that is an expensive impulse. I welcome your opinions and suggestions.

What I suggest, and did, was go to "BB" and ask to listen to different HT systems for comparison. What I asked for was a good example of what surround sound "should sound like". Of course they started me off with the highest priced system.... But, what I discovered was that my system was actually pretty good. I went and got the same Blu Ray they demonstrated (X-Men: First Class) and viewed the same chapter. I realized my system was not that far off.


So, I recommend listening to other equipment, systems, etc. before you even think of spending money. What surprised me was that the B&W speakers I sampled (at $1,500/pair), I did not like at all. This is NOT any comment on your speakers BTW. What further surprised me were the Martin Logan speakers, they sounded GREAT, but were one third the price.


I suggest "calibrating your expectations" before you do anything. Listen to other systems, set ups, etc. Then go back and verify if your system is optimized as to Set Up, speaker positioning, wire gauge. I also found distinct improvements by tweaking settings and moving speakers.


Lastly, my best suggestion is something I read here on AVS somewhere: "Listen with your ears, not your wallet". That was a big lesson learned yesterday listening to a lot of equipment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter #15

Quote:
Originally Posted by akhter  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23162788


without knowing what is bothering you and just going by age of the stuff you listed, buy a new receiver fist. i prefer marantz over the others, but denon and pioneer ones are also good. not a fan on onkyo or yamaha but they have ok models tool. models to consider--Marantz SR5007 good. Denon avr2113. if you can spend a bit more then Anthem MRX 300.


once you calibrate this system there should big a big improvement in sound quality. next step would be to get a new player like oppo bdp-103.


at this point you can consider upgrading all your speakers and going for a 5.1 package for about 1000 if you are still not satisfied, but don't go there all at once. enjoy each upgrade

Thank you for the advice, akhter.


The Marantz SR5007 is impressive, but a little pricey. What do you think of the Marantz slim line receivers coming out like the NR1504 and 1604? Or is the 5007 just that much beefier?


You mentioned the Denon AVR-2113. I had been looking at the Denon 1913, which is a fair bit less expensive and rated a little more highly on Amazon. is there something specific you favor on the 2113?


Thanks again,

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter #16

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23163477


Yep. Those are models that were out quite a few years back that I saw recommended for the older 600 series. The CC6 was the primary center for the 601s, 602s, and 603s. And those were other models that people were reporting worked better. I haven't heard them, though. You could ask in the B&W owners thread here on AVS. Probably people with experience with them.


Sure. Yamaha has YPAO, which many people like. Audyssey MultEQ or better and then YPAO multipoint version (not the regular one), EQ the sub in addition to the speakers. So it's worth getting that as subs can usually use the help in a room.

Thanks again, cel. I didn't know there were different versions of Audyssey and YPAO, but I'll watch for that. It sounds (sorry, pun intended) like either would be a big help.


David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Discussion Starter #17

Quote:
Originally Posted by bizwiz41  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23163544


I share your pain as I am going through this right now! I used to think I knew what I was doing, but I find myself questioning that now.

What I suggest, and did, was go to "BB" and ask to listen to different HT systems for comparison. What I asked for was a good example of what surround sound "should sound like". Of course they started me off with the highest priced system.... But, what I discovered was that my system was actually pretty good. I went and got the same Blu Ray they demonstrated (X-Men: First Class) and viewed the same chapter. I realized my system was not that far off.


So, I recommend listening to other equipment, systems, etc. before you even think of spending money. What surprised me was that the B&W speakers I sampled (at $1,500/pair), I did not like at all. This is NOT any comment on your speakers BTW. What further surprised me were the Martin Logan speakers, they sounded GREAT, but were one third the price.


I suggest "calibrating your expectations" before you do anything. Listen to other systems, set ups, etc. Then go back and verify if your system is optimized as to Set Up, speaker positioning, wire gauge. I also found distinct improvements by tweaking settings and moving speakers.


Lastly, my best suggestion is something I read here on AVS somewhere: "Listen with your ears, not your wallet". That was a big lesson learned yesterday listening to a lot of equipment.

Hello bizwiz, good to hear your story. I think your suggestions are good. I will sit down and give my system a more critical listen, and then I will go and listen to new systems. And - I am convincing myself of this - I will not spend gobs of money without due consideration! And I will follow your credo of listening with my ears, not my wallet.


I have read great things about Martin Logan speakers, I would like to hear them. I remember auditioning a lot of speakers before I bought my B&W's. I had forgotten that at the time I bought them I paired them with a Rotel preamp and amp, which I think made them sound much better than they do now.


David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,705 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by david3772  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23164007


Thanks again, cel. I didn't know there were different versions of Audyssey and YPAO, but I'll watch for that. It sounds (sorry, pun intended) like either would be a big help.


David

They definitely can improve SQ. Whether they will help with your dialogue issue, that I can't tell you.


Also, Costco was running a deal on the Pioneer 1522K receiver for $600. I understand it's equivalent to the Pioneer Elite SC-65. So in other words, if that's at all in your budget range, you can get a high end receiver for a mid-level price. Pioneer uses the advanced version of MCACC room correction in that receiver. Worth looking into.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by david3772  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...lk-audio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr#post_23164532


Hello bizwiz, good to hear your story. I think your suggestions are good. I will sit down and give my system a more critical listen, and then I will go and listen to new systems. And - I am convincing myself of this - I will not spend gobs of money without due consideration! And I will follow your credo of listening with my ears, not my wallet.


I have read great things about Martin Logan speakers, I would like to hear them. I remember auditioning a lot of speakers before I bought my B&W's. I had forgotten that at the time I bought them I paired them with a Rotel preamp and amp, which I think made them sound much better than they do now.


David

Again I just want to say that my "B&W speaker listening experience" is in no way an opinion of your current speakers. I also had the same receiver (Sony STR-DE545) in my bedroom set up, and I must say I thought it was a decent AVR. I was pleased with the sound. In fact, I thought it was a very good value.


My point is that it seems you have pretty good equipment, that should sound "pretty good". I'm getting the sense that your expectations are reasonable, and you've just hit that point where you start to question your current set up. I feel that I have been let down by the "modern" equipment I've purchased. The Polk speakers I bought for surrounds were terrible, and I recently 'dug out" some old speakers to replace them.


So, first things first, go listen with an open mind and "blind ears". As for the Martin Logans, I was using them as an example as well. The B&W, Definitive Technology speakers I listened to were a let down. When the salesman finally got to the ML Motions I was shocked at the "price/sound quality" ratio. Even the sales rep admitted they sounded much better than the B&W and DT speakers.


Simply take it step by step....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,540 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145  /t/1466627/do-i-need-to-start-from-...dio-subwoofer-old-sony-avr/0_60#post_23164650


Also, Costco was running a deal on the Pioneer 1522K receiver for $600.
It's a very nice receiver. I paid $1000 for mine, a few weeks ago.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top