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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

Finally looking to upgrade my 5.1 system, including receiver and speakers. Current gear is:

Onyko TX-SR705
Polk Monitor 50s for fronts
Polk Monitor 30s for surrounds
Polk Monitor CS1 for center
BIC America F12

It's been...10 years? since I upgraded my receiver, and my speakers are going on 7 or 8 if memory serves me correctly. Point being, I'd like to spend a little more on the front end and piece together a system that I won't get the urge to upgrade in 2-3 years (well, that's the intent at least).

Room is currently ~16x12', but we'll be moving soon and the hope is to have a house in a few years. So I'm not really too interested in purchasing "for the room", moreso purchasing for the future.

80% movies/streaming and 20% music, although I'd really like to even out that proportion a bit and start listening to more of my FLAC and lossless files through my system while I'm cooking, doing things around the house, having people over, etc.

I've been researching all weekend and think I have a decent grasp on the tier of speakers/receiver I need to look for, but wanted to list what I've come up with and solicit some feedback. Oh also, NOT OPPOSED TO USED/REFURB. In fact I'd prefer to go that route to stretch my $ as far as possible.

Receiver - $750 - $1000
Denon 4300h/6300h
Marantz 6011/7011
- would like to be as future proofed as possible in terms of audio formats supported, ability to connect external amp, ability to support 7.2.4,
musicality, good upscaling for old sources (still play Guitar Hero on PS2 and Wii from time to time), additional zones

Speakers - $1000 - $1500
Martin Logan Motion 20
Monitor Audio Bronze or Silver
Emotiva AirMotiv
Ascend Acoustic Sierra
GoldenEar Triton 7
Elac Debut 2.0 F5
- looking for something that pulls great double duty between HT and music. Have read some great things about clarity of highs with ribbon
tweeters, which is something I'm highly interested in. Hoping any of the above can be powered by any of the amps I'm looking at, in terms of
impedance and sensitivity. If not, have tossed around the idea of powering the fronts with an external amp running off the receiver.

Sub - $400-$500
HSU or SVS, haven't really gotten this far yet honestly. Plan is to supplement the existing BIC F12, and run a 5.2.4 setup.

Surrounds/ATMOS/Center - $$??
Planning on just filling in these gaps with the best matching center from whatever line I end up with, and matching surrounds as well. I do quite a bit of gaming and have read matching surrounds can help create a more enveloping soundstage during gaming applications, which tend to employ more surround effects than movies.

Guidance, criticism, feedback, hints, tips, tricks, questions all welcome. Thanks guys!
 

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you are on the right track... at that budget, you could do an all Hsu or ascend set up. check out the Hsu CCB-8. many will argue against towers - seems to be the way you are leaning. no objections from me on that front.

as far your receiver choice goes, my Denon is solid. Marantz is supposed to have the edge musicality-wise. try and get a feel for HEOS, or another streaming ecossystem, especially since you have FLAC files. Roon, etc. An alternative at your price point is Play-fi - pioneer/onkyo/integra, among others.

hope it helps
 

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Current gear is:

Onyko TX-SR705
Polk Monitor 50s for fronts
Polk Monitor 30s for surrounds
Polk Monitor CS1 for center
BIC America F12

Point being, I'd like to spend a little more on the front end and piece together a system that I won't get the urge to upgrade in 2-3 years (well, that's the intent at least).

Room is currently ~16x12', but we'll be moving soon and the hope is to have a house in a few years. So I'm not really too interested in purchasing "for the room", moreso purchasing for the future.

80% movies/streaming and 20% music, although I'd really like to even out that proportion a bit and start listening to more of my FLAC and lossless files through my system while I'm cooking, doing things around the house, having people over, etc.

I've been researching all weekend and think I have a decent grasp on the tier of speakers/receiver I need to look for, but wanted to list what I've come up with and solicit some feedback. Oh also, NOT OPPOSED TO USED/REFURB. In fact I'd prefer to go that route to stretch my $ as far as possible.

Receiver - $750 - $1000
Denon 4300h/6300h
Marantz 6011/7011
- would like to be as future proofed as possible in terms of audio formats supported, ability to connect external amp, ability to support 7.2.4,
musicality, good upscaling for old sources (still play Guitar Hero on PS2 and Wii from time to time), additional zones

Speakers - $1000 - $1500
Martin Logan Motion 20
Monitor Audio Bronze or Silver
Emotiva AirMotiv
Ascend Acoustic Sierra
GoldenEar Triton 7
Elac Debut 2.0 F5
- looking for something that pulls great double duty between HT and music. Have read some great things about clarity of highs with ribbon
tweeters, which is something I'm highly interested in. Hoping any of the above can be powered by any of the amps I'm looking at, in terms of
impedance and sensitivity. If not, have tossed around the idea of powering the fronts with an external amp running off the receiver.

Sub - $400-$500
HSU or SVS, haven't really gotten this far yet honestly. Plan is to supplement the existing BIC F12, and run a 5.2.4 setup.

Surrounds/ATMOS/Center - $$??
Planning on just filling in these gaps with the best matching center from whatever line I end up with, and matching surrounds as well. I do quite a bit of gaming and have read matching surrounds can help create a more enveloping soundstage during gaming applications, which tend to employ more surround effects than movies.
When it comes to receivers, "future-proofing" is one of the most effective and lucrative chimeras the industry has ever pulled out of its backside. Simply put, there is no such thing and they know it. But they'd lose too much money if there were, and they'd also lose too much money if they didn't continue to push this illusion. The end goal is to keep consumers on an endless upgrade cycle (just like personal computers' operating systems), tossing out perfectly good electronics every 3-5 years, and perhaps making them buy more and more speakers, first it was 5, then 7, then 9, now it's 11, hell by 2020 maybe it'll be 15 or 16 including speakers right under the viewer's buttocks! :D

If you want to "future proof" in light of your future plan to move into a home, the only way to do that is to WAIT UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY MOVE into that house.

In the meantime, what I'd do instead to get an immediate and dramatic improvement is, replace your LCR front stage (the center especially, that Polk CS1 is the second most-complained-about center on this forum). Second step would be to sell off the F12 subwoofer, to get something that plays a lot tighter and deeper, like the Monolith THX 10" or (if you truly want a sub that can grow with you) a Hsu VTF-3. Your receiver, as long as it doesn't have any issues and actually puts out enough power, doesn't really need replacement yet...won't make anywhere as big a difference as replacing the LCR and sub.

Whenever you DO move into a house, THEN I would pick the surrounds accordingly (it will likely depend on the specific room layout) and possibly add a second of whatever upgraded subwoofer you go with if needed. But first, I'd replace the LCR. The Emotiva C1 or C2 would be a very good investment, flanked by either the B1 or T1. If you are one who likes to play super loud, then maybe the Martin Logans would be worth the extra money, or 3 x Ascend 340s, or 3 x Hsu CCB-8, or Klipsch RP-160 with 250C.

Your Monitor 50s can be moved to surround duty for now if you have the floor space. I wouldn't bother with Atmos until you actually move into a house where you can do proper in-ceiling Atmos speakers, because those upfiring modules get very mixed reviews.
 

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For a receiver if you want to spend $1100 I'd look at the NAD 758 v3. It has Dirac Live built in and pre amp outs. There's tons of information about Dirac Live in the Atmos thread and only 1 person has gone back from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all! Zorba, appreciate your candid reply and suggestions. My plan will be to upgrade LCR and sub as first steps. As someone who doesn't play super loud, do you think the Emotiva's would be fine? What other options do you think I should be looking at in that range, aside from those you mentioned? Just trying to make sure I vet all appropriate options.
 

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I’m amazed you didn’t add the Q Acoustics to your list, their 3050s consistently get 5 stars and as a complete AV system with the 3090 and 3010s they are rated among the best. Ok their subwoofer isn’t anything other than average for home theatre use but you don’t have to buy the whole package.

As for home theatre receivers Denon and Marantz are one and the same company in the same way Volkswagen and Audi are, basically the same according to the main dealer I bought my Denon from.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Don't know how I missed the Q Acoustics - I'll give them a look for sure, thanks!

I had read that Marantz was a little better with music, which is why I was slightly leaning that direction. But honestly not set in stone either way, still trying to educate myself a little more.
 

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Thanks all! Zorba, appreciate your candid reply and suggestions. My plan will be to upgrade LCR and sub as first steps. As someone who doesn't play super loud, do you think the Emotiva's would be fine? What other options do you think I should be looking at in that range, aside from those you mentioned? Just trying to make sure I vet all appropriate options.
Yes, I think the Emotivas would be fine for anyone who's not a volume freak.

Two other options I forgot to mention: JBL Studio 230s with 235C (they go on sale every 2-3 months), and HTD Level 3 speakers. Both companies offer free return shipping, which is a nice bonus.
 

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Hi all,

Finally looking to upgrade my 5.1 system, including receiver and speakers. Current gear is:

Onyko TX-SR705
Polk Monitor 50s for fronts
Polk Monitor 30s for surrounds
Polk Monitor CS1 for center
BIC America F12

It's been...10 years? since I upgraded my receiver, and my speakers are going on 7 or 8 if memory serves me correctly. Point being, I'd like to spend a little more on the front end and piece together a system that I won't get the urge to upgrade in 2-3 years (well, that's the intent at least).

Room is currently ~16x12', but we'll be moving soon and the hope is to have a house in a few years. So I'm not really too interested in purchasing "for the room", moreso purchasing for the future.

80% movies/streaming and 20% music, although I'd really like to even out that proportion a bit and start listening to more of my FLAC and lossless files through my system while I'm cooking, doing things around the house, having people over, etc.

I've been researching all weekend and think I have a decent grasp on the tier of speakers/receiver I need to look for, but wanted to list what I've come up with and solicit some feedback. Oh also, NOT OPPOSED TO USED/REFURB. In fact I'd prefer to go that route to stretch my $ as far as possible.

Receiver - $750 - $1000
Denon 4300h/6300h
Marantz 6011/7011
- would like to be as future proofed as possible in terms of audio formats supported, ability to connect external amp, ability to support 7.2.4,
musicality, good upscaling for old sources (still play Guitar Hero on PS2 and Wii from time to time), additional zones

Speakers - $1000 - $1500
Martin Logan Motion 20
Monitor Audio Bronze or Silver
Emotiva AirMotiv
Ascend Acoustic Sierra
GoldenEar Triton 7
Elac Debut 2.0 F5
- looking for something that pulls great double duty between HT and music. Have read some great things about clarity of highs with ribbon and horizontal-configured Sierra 2 bookshelf (with RAAL) for F
tweeters, which is something I'm highly interested in. Hoping any of the above can be powered by any of the amps I'm looking at, in terms of
impedance and sensitivity. If not, have tossed around the idea of powering the fronts with an external amp running off the receiver.

Sub - $400-$500
HSU or SVS, haven't really gotten this far yet honestly. Plan is to supplement the existing BIC F12, and run a 5.2.4 setup.

Surrounds/ATMOS/Center - $$??
Planning on just filling in these gaps with the best matching center from whatever line I end up with, and matching surrounds as well. I do quite a bit of gaming and have read matching surrounds can help create a more enveloping soundstage during gaming applications, which tend to employ more surround effects than movies.

Guidance, criticism, feedback, hints, tips, tricks, questions all welcome. Thanks guys!
Reviving an old thread here, because I've got a very similar current setup to what OP describes:
Onkyo TX-NR809 AVR
Polk Monitor 70 series II Front L-R
Polk CS10 Center
Polk Monitor 35B Rears
SVS PB-1000 Sub


And I'm toying with making several of the same step-change upgrades:
Denon x4400h AVR
And something like:
Ascend Sierra
The Latest ELAC release from Andrew Jones that gets such good reviews
RBH Impressions
Rythmik F15HP sub


I have a similar (perhaps slightly larger) room... and I was just curious to hear what @AFMan916 went with, and how he feels it compares to his old rig?
 

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Reviving an old thread here, because I've got a very similar current setup to what OP describes:
Onkyo TX-NR809 AVR
Polk Monitor 70 series II Front L-R
Polk CS10 Center
Polk Monitor 35B Rears
SVS PB-1000 Sub


And I'm toying with making several of the same step-change upgrades:
Denon x4400h AVR
And something like:
Ascend Sierra
The Latest ELAC release from Andrew Jones that gets such good reviews
RBH Impressions
Rythmik F15HP sub


I have a similar (perhaps slightly larger) room... and I was just curious to hear what @AFMan916 went with, and how he feels it compares to his old rig?
Can you tell us your budget?
Which Ascend Sierra's are you referring to? Sierra 1's, Luna's, Sierra 2's (with or without RAAL)? Probably the best sounding for the lowest price would be to go with the Luna's left, right and center and perhaps the CBM-170 SE for the rears.

Rythmik Sub is good choice.
 

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Hi all, Finally looking to upgrade my 5.1 system
That's how they GET YA! ;)

Receiver - $750 - $1000...would like to be as future proofed as possible in terms of audio formats supported, ability to connect external amp, ability to support 7.2.4, musicality, good upscaling for old sources (still play Guitar Hero on PS2 and Wii from time to time), additional zones
I get it, I think the same way, but have decided it's not worth obsessing over. Receivers constantly have new technology and prices drop, especially discontinued or used. (I scored a buddy a Denon 2312Ci in great condition for $100, saving him about $1300 from what he was going to buy. No 4k switching...so we wired direct to the display, which is better for the sound anyway). Get what you need now, sink the funds into SPEAKERS which make far and away the hugest difference to the system,* and when you get a house and decide if you'll really wire in Atmos etc-or even CAN-then get a different receiver. Actually I do not at all believe you can get a receiver that will really be any better than your very nice Onkyo, unless you move to Denon/Marantz/Audyssey or NAD/Dirac, whose time-based room correction is more powerful and may yield you better sound. I'd spend all the money on speakers and see how your feel.

*inevitably someone chimes in saying the you should spend a bunch of money on the front end and amps "because if the sound isn't there, the speakers can't reproduce it" however this totally misunderstands the relative accuracy of parts of the reproduction chain. With discerning ears and a good system you might hear differences between amps that are like looking through differently lightly dirty pieces of glass, except phono which is maybe like old wavy float glass or coke bottles. Speakers are wildly inaccurate by comparison-I say that as loudspeaker engineer with fond love-they are like looking through welder's goggles or those wavy glass bricks. I turn that paradigm around and say that if the speaker's can reproduce it well, it doesn't matter how great the rest of the chain is.

Speakers - $1000 - $1500looking for something that pulls great double duty between HT and music. Have read some great things about clarity of highs with ribbon tweeters
I'm of the belief that truly good speakers work well for BOTH movies AND music. I do also like ribbons, though I like well-designed (=usually circular/oval) horns as well. I favor towers-even with a sub-over speakers on stands, for an easier bass transition, more mid bass power handling, and because hey speakers on stands are rarely attractive looking.
- Get something that LOOKS NICE. To your SPOUSE, your opinion does not matter, but you knew that already :D
 

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Can you tell us your budget?
Which Ascend Sierra's are you referring to? Sierra 1's, Luna's, Sierra 2's (with or without RAAL)? Probably the best sounding for the lowest price would be to go with the Luna's left, right and center and perhaps the CBM-170 SE for the rears.

Rythmik Sub is good choice.
My *current preferred plan* is to go with:
Sierra Towers (with RAAL) Front L-R
Sierra 2 Bookshelf with horizontally aligned RAAL for center (can't fit the Sierra Center)
And either CBM-170's or HTM-200's for Rears (whichever the AVSForums and/or Ascend people recommend). I got rid of my Rear Speaker Stands and switched to Wall Bracket'd mounts 5 or so years ago with cable-raceways up the wall to them, as my first-born infant son transitioned into Toddler phase...


I don't have a hard/fixed budget, but I don't have endless funds either. I own a pair of EMP Tek (now "RBH") r5bi's in my basement, that I have always *really* liked, particularly for the price I paid for them ($225 for the pair, I think?) For music, I think they image better and have more detail (without being harsh) on the mids/uppers than my previously-described upstairs Polk system does. I've already e-mailed the RBH sales team and gotten confirmation that they would timbre match a new purchase from the RBH Impressions Tower series, so a pair of RBH Impressions towers and a Cent wouldn't take a whole lot of extra budgeting to pulll off in the near-ish future. I could probably pull the trigger on that RBH gear by March or April, no problem, and if I held off until June or July I could probably have both them AND the Rythmik (or similar) sub.

But based purely on what I've read and heard, the Ascend Sierra speakers with the RAAL should achieve a higher level of detail and superior imaging? Without being bright/fatiguing/harsh (I'm not particularly fond of Klipsch/JBL horns, personally... I totally get why others would like them, it's just not my style, it's why I went instead with Polks when I first got "better audio")?

I'll have to go-without for longer to pull off the Ascend Towers. I'll probably have to wait until June or July, and then NOT be able to get the new sub (and maybe not the new AVR either; which isn't as much of a *need* as a *want*, IMO). So for at least temporarily they'd be paired with my current (SVS PB-1000) sub and driven by my current living room AVR Onkyo TX-NR809).

In a nutshell: The five Ascend speakers I mentioned look like they should cost ~$3750, and that's stretching my budget right there. I'm very open to other alternatives/suggestions from the community (that's why I come here/post :)), but I can't go much beyond that as it is. The three RBH speakers can be a more immediate-purchase, without much saving/budgeting required...
 
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