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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My receiver (Yamaha R-V902) doesn't have DD/DTS but has 6-ch input and output with separate level controls for LF, C, RF, Rear, and SW. DD5.1 DVDs sound very good as far as the 5.1 separation goes, since I have the decoder in the player. But I don't think any of my speakers are any great shakes.


I got an AVIA disc from the library this week, and during the audio configuration I noticed that my front speakers (big 20-yr old speakers with 10" woofer, 4" midrange, and 1-1/2" tweeter) did not match the tone of my center speaker (BIC Venturi) very well. In fact, they sounded a little lifeless during the tests from 200 Hz down to 20 Hz. The center speaker, surrounds (Yamaha WS-1 or something), and sub (Klipsch SW-8) all sounded pretty decent to my ears. Being that it was over such a limited range, I'm not sure if I really learned anything very useful, but the difference in "tone" was obvious. Is that important?


I know eventually I will need to upgrade both the speakers (maybe all 6 someday) and the receiver. The question is, what's going to make the biggest difference? Also, am I going to get better bang-for-the-buck by getting satellite speakers as a system?


I listened to a pair of floor-standing Boston Acoustic VR940 speakers yesterday. I know they're not top-of-the-line because I saw some of the prices, but I thought they sounded awesome. For about $400, will I be improving my sound as much as buying, say, a $500 satellite speaker system (matched speakers)?


I'm thinking I'll notice the biggest difference by replacing my two front speakers first, but I also think I'd like to upgrade my AV receiver as well. I checked out the Yamaha RX-V630 and the Denon 1803, which seem to have the functionality I would look for.


By the way, I use the AV receiver almost exclusively for video (90%).


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks,


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm surprised I'm not getting any opinions here.


I've pretty much decided to focus on upgrading the front speakers first. Since our HT is in the living room, appearance is going to be key for WAF. It seems that floorstanders would be a little more dressy than bookshelf speakers on stands, and we really don't want to go to a wall-mount.


I've had a recommendation for the "Monitor" series of Paradigm. I've read a lot of good things about Paradigm, so I'm going to look into them.


Any other ideas to point me to? Maybe other forums where I might find more help?


Thanks,


Tim
 

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I would second the Paradigms and you may also want to take a look at PSB's line-up. Klipsch too can sound quite nice and I find their synergy series well worth the money.


Book shelf speakers will give you more bang-for-the-buck and when paired with the proper stands can look quite nice. You will have to decide which is right for you but take a look at some of the stands the Paradigm and PSB dealers have.


I personally would opt for "better" speakers rather than getting a HTiB type set-up that has matched speakers. Yes the sound will be more seamless, but it won't be as clear or sound quite as nice. Plus you can always upgrade the other speakers to match the mains later when more money becomes available.


As far as upgradeing the receiver, I would hold off for now. You will get much more improvement by upgrading the speakers than by upgrading the receiver at this point. Later, after upgrading the speakers, may I suggest getting a processor rather than a new receiver. Amplifyer technology changes very little and hugh sonic improvments in amp design are few and very far between. You could get a processor that is capable of the latest surround modes and use the receiver's amp to power the speakers fia the 6channel inputs. If you want to add more channels than think about getting a seperate amp. For instance you could use the receiver to power four surround channels and the center channel then get a stereo amp to power the mains and have a 7.1 set-up, with a 7.1 capable processor. This way once you have purchased a couple of really good amps you don't have to worry about them any more and can spend more money on better signal processing. Seperates are more money up front but end up saving you more later on if you like to upgrade frequently. Plus their sonic capabilities are far superior to receivers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It looks like I'm on my way to getting some Paradigms. I just spoke to my brother who lives in Canada, and it turns out he has Studio 20s for his satellites and the Servo-15 Sub. He says he can get great prices on Paradigms up there so he is shopping for me this weekend.


kirknelson,

I really like the idea of getting a signal processor but I have no idea what to look for and what they'll do for me. Do you have any suggestions or could you point me in the right direction to learn more?


Thanks,


Tim
 

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Seperates take the two functions of a receiver and split them into two boxes: signal processing and amplification. A serperate processor can save you money in the long run since you only have to upgrade that peice and don't have to pay for a new map section every time like you would with a receiver. They also give better performance by compeletly seperating the low level processing sectionl from the high level amplification section. In addition the reduction of heat in the processing section as well as sperate power supplies help improve the performance.


When looking for a processor you want to look for the same things you would look for in a receiver, minus the amp specs. A good place to start learning about these devices in the coresponding forum here at avs and manufacturer sites that produce such devices.


Here are a few manufacturers to check out:

Theta Digital, Rotel, Adcom, Parasound, Mark Levinson, B&K, Anthem, Krell
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was looking at prices of those you mentioned - OUCH!


Surely, there must be something in the $200 range for just processing DD/DTS? Otherwise, I'm probably money ahead to get a new AV receiver.


Thanks
 

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Check out the Klipsch DD-5.1. It's a preamp made for their self-powered line of computer speakers. I can't speak of it's quality but it's only $200 and comes with DD/DTS decoding! Check it out at http://store.klipsch.com/details.asp?ProdID=8 Do a search in Google and you should also be able to find some reviews. Hope this helps.
 

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Sorry I had mentioned the processor as an idea for a future upgrade. I maintain that spending your entire proposed budget on new/better speakers will yeild much more improvement over upgrading the processor section.


However in the sub $500 price range you are probably correct, you would be ahead to purchase a receiver such as the HK 325, Onkyo TXRS700 or Denon 2802/3 than to purchase a processor of the same price.


Then once your upgrade budget reaches the $1000-$1500 range start looking at high performance HT processors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
kirknelson,


No problem about looking ahead. Right now I am really jazzed because my brother just upgraded two of his Studio 20s to Studio 40s and is selling me his less than 1 year old Studio 20s with stands for $450!


Now I've already got a $50 head start on the next upgrade, which may be a processor or a receiver.


Do you really think a Denon 2802/3 could be had for under $500?
 
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