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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Knowing that each additional dollar spend on a component will get me a decreasing improvement in sound quality, And that some components affect the final sound output more then others.

I would like to know the ideal $$$ allocation in terms of percentage I should pay for each component to get the most sound quality for my hard earned money.


The system should be able to offer great 2.1 sound and to lesser extent 5.1/7.1 HT sound.


components needed:


Power Source

Sound Source(CD Player,DVD Player)

Pre Amp - Processor (digital/Analogue)

Amp

speackers

interconnect


Room treatment highly depend on what I currently have so I will not add it to the list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Weird I haven't received any reply yet. Maybe my question was badly explained. ALL I want to know is how much money you would spend on every HT component to get the best value out for your money.


I think that for a sub 5K system, we should spend


5% on AC Power conditioner

20% on source drive(CD,DVD Audio or SACD)

15% on Pre Amp/ Processor

25% on Amp

30% on speackers

5% on Interconnect


for a >5K system, I guess percentages should differ.


Waiting for your insights/recomendations.



Thanks.
 

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I don't think there is only one right answer.


However, many people would suggest a higher fraction being spent on the speakers. They have the most effect on the quality of what you hear and their prices don't drop as rapidlly as electronics. Also, at comparable quality points, a preamp would tend to cost more than an amp, since it's significantly more complex.


However, don't forget that the whole system is interdependant. The design of the speakers you choose (e.g. low effeciency and/or low impedance) may dictate a more expensive amplifier design than would be required for high effeciency ones.
 

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Since you didn't say what your spending limit is, I'll throw this in... as in this is what I'm doing:


52.50% Speakers

18.75% Integrated Receiver (got a good price :) )

20.00% Sub

08.75% Other (cable/interconnect/AC)


That's what my distribution of funds is like... in this round. Granted it is my main round for purchasing.


I already have a TV (32"), DVD player, and a PS2.


Future purchases will be determined by my evaluation of the current set up (well, I'll have everything in place by July at the latest). I foresee three primary paths for future purchases.
  1. Get a different TV. HDTV CRT or a projector. Though I'm kind of waiting for HDTV to spread a bit more and for projector technology to advance a bit.
  2. Get a 2 or 3 channel amp.
  3. Get a nice 100+ disc changer with dual transports, etc.[/list=1]


    Conclusion: Speakers. It's all in the speakers. Everything else is icing (things you can get later as time (for research, setup, etc) and money permit).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
codemarine wrote:


>>Also, the TV is an important part of any HT, so my feeling is that if you spend $5000 on the stuff listed above then you should spend and additional $2500 on the TV itself.


I am not including the Display set in the setup. it will only be audio solution. Also, % on Speackers should include Front/Left/2R/C/Sub.


I still haven't decided on the budget yet. I know that percentages would differe wether I will build a 5K system or a 12K system. Thus I suggest we study both cases.


>>> 15% on transports


I understand that You think that at this price point, its better to let the processer do the DAC work and use CD/DVD as pure transport with digital out? then how about DVD-A/SACD 5 analogue out???


Selden Ball wrote:


>>>>However, don't forget that the whole system is interdependant.


I am assuming that the system is perfectly matched ie: Speacker/Ampli, Front Speacker/Center .....

Though many factors will affect the sound quality, am simply trying to focus on the price factor. Other factors are eventually discussed in other threads.


Tkx.

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Cow
 

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Cow- Interesting question, especially when taking into account your premise of 'diminishing returns'.


My gut feel is this:


60% speakers (all)

30% amp etc.

10% cd/dvd


But, the above is based on a $5K budget. I feel that the percentages will not hold constant when the budget deviates beyond +/- 25%. The internet has allowed many 'bang for the buck' options, such that a typical consumer can appreciate better quality for his 'hard earned dollars'. I don't know that there is any easily identifiable distinct line at which the opportunity cost curve makes any sudden change. Although, I do think the average 'initial dollars spent gets you to a higher base level' is improving.


Power conditioners, interconnects, speaker wire etc. I think fall outside your parameters.


P.S. If you throw the Video device(s) into the formula - all bets are off (I'm a Plasma owner).


Regards, Bruce
 

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Not that you asked, but here's what I spent, including my video equipment, on an entire HT:


PJ: 60%

screen: 4%

receiver: 10%

DVD player: 5%

[VCR: already had one, which I use as CATV receiver]

speakers: 5% (five in-wall speakers)

subwoofer: 4%

cables and interconnects: 12%


I admit that it is a little bizarre, but I was on a $5k budget and was able to squeeze the speaker cost better than I could squeeze anything else. And they don't sound bad at all for HT. For pure music listening, they leave something to be desired. And that will be my first upgrade.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by codemarine


Cow, the only reason I separated the subwoofer is that I think sometimes people spend too much on it compared to their other 5 speakers.
Wow, I was starting to ask myself this same question, codemarine. It's a very valid reason. I keep on going back and forth between my room is really large and a smaller one should be enough.

Quote:
Originally posted by codemarine
You can now find solid progressive scan DVD players with DVD-A support for $200 and there is a new Sony CD player that supports SACD in that same price range.
Humm, good information. Looks like I might be looking into this sooner then I thought.

Quote:
Originally posted by codemarine
GoodConsumer, I see you did not factor in the cost of a DVD player or CD player (since you already have them)--but those items *did* cost money and would therefore affect your percentages.


--Steve
I completely agree with you codemarine, my percentages will change depending on what sources you add. The point of my post was to show how I did things. (Sometimes people feel they have to get everything at once, rather then breaking it down into logical steps (to make it more palatable or so they can get what they consider "an acceptable level of quality")). Even though I don't feel well versed enough to give good percentages, I surprisingly found that my figure ended up being roughly close to those suggested. :D Then when you figure in modest costs for sources they get very close indeed. :D :D


A few more things to point out. I only have a DVD player, which can double as a CD player until I find the right fit for me. Also, I did't feel "comfortable" about adding the CD player costs into the percent, for a simple reason: I think CD player costs can vary widely depending on what you want out of it. A simple CD player will cost a lot less then an expensive carousel with dual transports(?). At least that was what I was thinking at the time. Not only that but THE_COW_IS_OK, mentioned 2.1 sound and 5.1 or 7.1 HT sound, not 5.1 music. Depending on THE_COW_IS_OK's preferences for sources, this will change the %'s. Summary, I was basically giving my input for... the "core" components and letting each person (THE_COW_IS_OK in this case) add in what they personally figure to be necessary sources. Once you do that my %'s come really close to codemarine and brucer's suggestion. BTW, I believe my %'s were for a $4000 system (not including the sources).


=====


I think the people, in general, are saying to put more money into the speakers 50-60% (with source, higher without source. ;) ).


-W.T.
 

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One thing to add is that even though 'room treatment' is not included in the list, it is without a doubt a critical step whose benefits should not be underestimated. And probably has more 'bang per buck' than most other high priced upgrades (connectors etc.)


Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for your replies,


Bruver wrote:

>>>One thing to add is that even though 'room treatment' is not included in the list, it is without a doubt a critical step whose benefits should not be underestimated.


Bruce, money spent in the room treatment depend significantly no what kinda room you actually have to deal with. Each poster have a room different then the other. some rooms requires much more work (=>money) to have simlar sonic performance then other rooms. Thus it will be irrelevent to include in the list.


Codemarine wrote:

>>>Yes, I think in that price range a good receiver will do a perfectly adequate job as the DAC.


Goodconsumer wrote:


>>Not only that but THE_COW_IS_OK, mentioned 2.1 sound and 5.1 or 7.1 HT sound, not 5.1 music. Depending on THE_COW_IS_OK's preferences for sources, this will change the %'s.


The system should be able to play 5.1 sound including DTS,AC3, analogue DVDA/SACD sources. Sorry for the confusion.




Code, I own a $200 CD Player and a $700 Receiver(nakamichi AV10). thus will fall well with your percentages. and I can assure you that using analogue out from my CD player gives me a significantly higher Sound quality then the PCM Coax SPDIF Digit out to receiver. I think at this price point , a receiver DAC (used for variable streams(41 KHz,44KHz,93KHz) can hardly be better then a dedicated CD DAC that is optimized to handle pure 41k/16b digital stream.


Most of you agree that for a 5K budget, its better to go for a receiver solution then seperate preamp- processor/ Ampli. Though I know by experience that a seperate amp would lead to a noticeable sonic improvement. Thus I am rising my price point from 5K to 8K. That might lead more room for options and discutions.


Another thing is that I am a bargain hunter ( as we all do :) )as long as the discount will not afect the sonic quality of the product. that assumption might not affect the % directly but my 5K System is actually 8K system in MSRP terms. and As u agreed, higher priced system would eventually lead to different % thus % are changed indirectly :)


Please do not include the display (PJ/Plasma,DirectV) in the price cause we are seaking an optimal SONIC quality for a price by changing audio components $$$ allocation.


We are tackling the law of "diminishing returns" as bruce V well said of an audio system. each component affect the sound with varying degrees. and Every component have different "diminishing return curve". Based upon those 2 factors there should be an optimal price allocation for a system @given price point.



C'mon guys, 8K system is lots of money(for me at least). what are those %s?



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COW
 

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Hey not fair- you just moved the goal post!


I won't take another stab at that as I feel @ 8k you are already well into 'diminishing returns'.


Room treatments- while it is true that it will vary, still $1.00 /sq ft treated area is dirt cheap.


Regards, Bruce
 

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I honestly don't have a clue, and as I said before "I don't know that there is an easily identifiable distinct line (optimal). It is extremely subjective. And my 'subjective opinion' is that $5k is a lot of 'my hard earned dollars' and that $8K is a heck of a lot more. (ie. two $4k systems). Everyone's results will obviously vary.


Sorry- not very fact based at all, is it?


How do you assign value to benefit. $$ per watt?? $$$ per feature??? $$ per what someone hears would never make it as a standard, would it?


Regards, Bruce
 

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No question that is 'bang for buck', you've got a system that others have probably spent 2 X $ to achieve similar results (subjective). That was one of my eariler points. Internet has allowed you an extreme advantage. But not all can even afford that and may be happy at 1/2 the cost. That's a big room too.


Regards, Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bruce wrote:


>>>Hey not fair- you just moved the goal post!

I haven't changed the goal. Simply specified that the $5K involves used bargain equipments that could propably have a MSRP of 8K.


>>>I honestly don't have a clue, and as I said before "I don't know that there is an easily identifiable distinct line (optimal). It is extremely

subjective


True, Each persons perception of gain in quality for each additional dollar spend would be different in terms of %. Thus the diminihsing Return(quality) curve will be different for each 1 of us. This is the results of many factors such us:


1- Room environment. (I assume that the system operates in Treated room)

2- The same component @the same price do have varying sound quality

depending on the Brand and model number. This is an interesting subject to deal with. Hopefully we got magazine reviews and internet sources that rate components and help us picking the models among others in same price range that will provide best sound for the bucks. THus we can just keep those as reference and avoid the rests.


4- Person physiological ability to hear. (nothing can be done about it)

5- Person subjective quantization of sound quality gain. (It can be worked out by defining a grading scale).


For reasons 3&4 , every person will give us different percentage. But, due to the fact that will have several people (hopefully :) ) providing us with there views, we can reach a concensus on whats the optimal allocation %.


Thats why we need the highest Number of insights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Simply to recap the request.


What you think is the optimal $$$ allocation in terms of % one should pay for each component to get the optimal sound quality for his money.


The system should worth 8K$. Be capable of 2.0/5.1 music.


Concidered components:


1- AC Power Source (Surge protector/Line conditioner/Balanced power...)

2- Front Speackers

3- Suround Speackers(C/2R/Sub)

4 Source(CD/DVD SACD-AUDIO)

5- Pre/Processor

6- Amp

7- Cables(Speacker Cabbles, Interconncect)


PS: No Display Please or any other video hardware.

You can change system compoenents at will.

Assumptions:


1- Each components on its own gives best value for its money.

2- Room is perfectly treated.

3- Components Are perfectly match together.
 
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