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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What would you upgrade first.


I have Era Design 5 speakers in a 5.1 system with a SVS PB10 sub with a Pioneer 94 receiver in a pretty small 1500 cubic foot enclosed room for mostly home theater.


1) Add two more Era D4 surround speakers to give me 7.1. I do have the room behind me (about 5' or so)


2) Many, including the owners of Era, praise/urge the addition of an amp to these pretty inefficient speakers (86dB). Owners over on the Era thread that have upgraded the amps, have praised the changes. The case against it is the receiver is not a bad one, I cross the speakers over to a sub anyway, so how much benefit would an amp add for a mostly home theater scenario...I gotta say, the idea of adding an amp intrigues me, and I keep obsessing over it, but certainly don't want to waste money if there is not much of a difference. I am about 80% home theater and 20% music.


3) Either add a second PB10 or sell my current PB10 and upgrade to a better sub...Here is the deal with my sub. In my room, I get a pretty decent flat response down to 18hz. I am not looking to squeak out much of a deaper response. I typically listen at 15dB below reference at most. When I ran some tests that Ed from SVS gave me to see at what point my SVS ran out of steam, I was able to get to 14dB below reference on the toughest movies scenes I could find before any compression set in. So I am right at my limits with this sub in my room, but it still works within reason. I can't help but wonder if I even could add 3-6dB of headroom, I would have more piece of mind.


Anyway, I know it is ultimately my decision, but what would you upgrade first, if any of these options?


Thanks

Greg
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ******* /forum/post/16954615


What would you upgrade first.


I have Era Design 5 speakers in a 5.1 system with a SVS PB10 sub with a Pioneer 94 receiver in a pretty small 1500 cubic foot enclosed room for mostly home theater.


1) Add two more Era D4 surround speakers to give me 7.1. I do have the room behind me (about 5' or so)


2) Many, including the owners of Era, praise/urge the addition of an amp to these pretty inefficient speakers (86dB). Owners over on the Era thread that have upgraded the amps, have praised the changes. The case against it is the receiver is not a bad one, I cross the speakers over to a sub anyway, so how much benefit would an amp add for a mostly home theater scenario...I gotta say, the idea of adding an amp intrigues me, and I keep obsessing over it, but certainly don't want to waste money if there is not much of a difference. I am about 80% home theater and 20% music.


3) Either add a second PB10 or sell my current PB10 and upgrade to a better sub...Here is the deal with my sub. In my room, I get a pretty decent flat response down to 18hz. I am not looking to squeak out much of a deaper response. I typically listen at 15dB below reference at most. When I ran some tests that Ed from SVS gave me to see at what point my SVS ran out of steam, I was able to get to 14dB below reference on the toughest movies scenes I could find before any compression set in. So I am right at my limits with this sub in my room, but it still works within reason. I can't help but wonder if I even could add 3-6dB of headroom, I would have more piece of mind.


Anyway, I know it is ultimately my decision, but what would you upgrade first, if any of these options?


Thanks

Greg

You sound very happy with your sub, so I would not touch that until you start to get that itch of wondering if you could do better for bass.


I personally don't see an advantage of 7.1 vs 5.1 in movie watching at this point. Most movies are encoded to do 5.1 max and only a select few Blu-Rays are actually recorded in 7.1 to truly take advantage of the extra channels. So most of the 7.1 listening will be your surround information being mixed by your receiver in attempt to logically add the extra channels. I guess I am a purist in this sense that I only want the sound that comes out of my speakers to be the sound that was meant for those speakers.


With that said, I would add an amp. It can be pretty surprising how much more crisp your sound can be when adding a good amp. It will not be a night and day difference though so do expect it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ******* /forum/post/16954615


What would you upgrade first.


I have Era Design 5 speakers in a 5.1 system with a SVS PB10 sub with a Pioneer 94 receiver in a pretty small 1500 cubic foot enclosed room for mostly home theater.


1) Add two more Era D4 surround speakers to give me 7.1. I do have the room behind me (about 5' or so)


2) Many, including the owners of Era, praise/urge the addition of an amp to these pretty inefficient speakers (86dB). Owners over on the Era thread that have upgraded the amps, have praised the changes. The case against it is the receiver is not a bad one, I cross the speakers over to a sub anyway, so how much benefit would an amp add for a mostly home theater scenario...I gotta say, the idea of adding an amp intrigues me, and I keep obsessing over it, but certainly don't want to waste money if there is not much of a difference. I am about 80% home theater and 20% music.


3) Either add a second PB10 or sell my current PB10 and upgrade to a better sub...Here is the deal with my sub. In my room, I get a pretty decent flat response down to 18hz. I am not looking to squeak out much of a deaper response. I typically listen at 15dB below reference at most. When I ran some tests that Ed from SVS gave me to see at what point my SVS ran out of steam, I was able to get to 14dB below reference on the toughest movies scenes I could find before any compression set in. So I am right at my limits with this sub in my room, but it still works within reason. I can't help but wonder if I even could add 3-6dB of headroom, I would have more piece of mind.


Anyway, I know it is ultimately my decision, but what would you upgrade first, if any of these options?


Thanks

Greg

I agree with the aboive poster, it sounds like you enjoy your sub so I would keep that. So, here's a few other possibilities:


1. Consider accoustic treatments. I haven't done much myself, but what I did try made an improvement in sound. See the acoustics master thread in Dedicated room building for some ideas about what to do, or start a new thread. I am definitely no expert, but corner bass traps are a good start,as are panels (such as Owens Corning 703 board,covered in accoustically transparent cloth) on the first reflection points of the walls. The try some right behind the front 3 speakers on the front wall, and maybe a few on the back.


There's a ton of info on this, but stick with reading through some of it and experiment.


2. Add in a second sub to smooth out the response. You already like the current sub, so add in a second one may help smooth out the lower frequencies. Try a free program like REW from home theater shack to see how the lower frequencies are affected by placement/additional sub(s)/ EQ for the subs.


3. I didn't find much of an improvement going from 5.1 to 7.1 with my main seat, but I did see an improvement in the other chairs. If it's just you then going to 7.1 is optional, but if you want to improve surround sound for other people in the room 7.1 is a possibility. I guess it depends on how many people watch a movie with you at a time.


Hope this helps, and good luck with your decision.


Darren A.
 

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The FIRST upgrade you should look at IMHO is treating the room. Behind speakers, treating the room has the greatest over all impact on the quality of your sound.


Next up, I would consider adding the external amp. To keep costs manageable and get the bigger bang for your buck, I would only consider a three channel amp for the front three channels. Let the receiver's internal amps handle surround duty. Like raistline says, you won't hear HUGE differences, but you will tighten everything up and have a lot more headroom. With the extra current and damping of an external amp, everything will be more under control, more focused and likely have lower distortion.


As far as going to 7.0 vs 5.0.... I would say placement of the extra pair of speakers would be the deciding factor im my mind. In 7.0, the side surrounds should be directly beside and about 2' above the listening position and the rear surrounds a few feet behind and toed toward the listening position. If this is doable, then and only then would I consider a 7.0 arrangement. Remember, a properly laid out and calibrated 5.1 system will sound far superior to a poorly laid out 7.1 system.


On the subs, I wouldn't get rid of your current sub at all. It is a capable performer. If later, you want to even out room response you can add more subs. Or if you're looking for deeper extension, then you can add a sub that goes a lot deeper. But, I wouldn't get rid of the one you now have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all of the advice guys. Interesting that all three of you put the sub last. Maybe it is because so many people are so passionate about the their subs, but I keep thinking, if I am playing my sub within its limits anyway, what good will upgrading do me. Maybe this imaginary need to play at reference levels that I never do anyway, so whats the point.


I have been thinking about room treatments. I will look into it. I may have a tough time placing them in the ideal location, but I need to dig further there.


Interesting about 7.0. It does seem that there are a few 7.0 diehards, but most people say it is an improvement, but not a huge one.


I like the idea of a 3 channel amp. I was leaning that way as well. Some have suggested a two channel amp for the same reasoning, but for some reason, I have real difficulty believing my mains need a better amp than my center. I would think it is important to have equal power to the front 3.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ******* /forum/post/16956185


Thanks for all of the advice guys. Interesting that all three of you put the sub last. Maybe it is because so many people are so passionate about the their subs, but I keep thinking, if I am playing my sub within its limits anyway, what good will upgrading do me. Maybe this imaginary need to play at reference levels that I never do anyway, so whats the point.

Well, you already have a nice little sub. Adding subs will give you some additional output (usually 3 dB per sub added), but more important is with multiple subs you can really smooth out the in room response.


I have been thinking about room treatments. I will look into it. I may have a tough time placing them in the ideal location, but I need to dig further there.

Room treatments are always a battle with the significant other in a multi-purpose room or non dedicated HT. Check out the DIY threads and forums on room treatments and you will find some fairly creative compromises that will still make a big difference.


Interesting about 7.0. It does seem that there are a few 7.0 diehards, but most people say it is an improvement, but not a huge one.

Seven speakers are GREAT when you can place them properly. But I've heard many five speaker systems properly laid out and calibrated that sound far better than most seven speaker lay outs I've heard.


I like the idea of a 3 channel amp. I was leaning that way as well. Some have suggested a two channel amp for the same reasoning, but for some reason, I have real difficulty believing my mains need a better amp than my center. I would think it is important to have equal power to the front 3.

Ideally, a totally separate amp for all channels driven and stand alone HT processor is best. But, barring that.... pulling the front sound stage away from the receiver does give you some improvements in headroom, dynamics, control and less distortion.... which is always a good thing.

.
 

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As I read your OP, I was thinking about a reply. Then I read quad's reply and thought he said *everything* exactly as I would have said it.


First, acoustic treatments. Second, a 3-channel amp. Third, a second sub.


One other thing to consider: Do you have a BluRay player, and is your receiver Dolby TrueHD/DTS MA capable?

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john /forum/post/16957016


As I read your OP, I was thinking about a reply. Then I read quad's reply and thought he said *everything* exactly as I would have said it.


First, acoustic treatments. Second, a 3-channel amp. Third, a second sub.


One other thing to consider: Do you have a BluRay player, and is your receiver Dolby TrueHD/DTS MA capable?

Craig

Yes I do have a blue ray player and my receiver does decode the newer audio formats so I am all set there. Nice to see agreement.


As far as acoustic treatments, what is a good budget price for a panel? My local high end audio dealer makes them for $150, does that sound like a good price? I will do some research in the above mentioned thread.


I see Emotiva has a good deal on their XPA-3 amp. I used brick and morter amps used on audiogon.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ******* /forum/post/16959869


Thanks Craig. Nice pricing. Now I have to do some research on how many I will need, and if I can place them in good spots in my room.

They have an "educational" page on their site that helps you determine numbers and placement. Also, you can PM Bryan Pape, (Username bpape), who is an acoustician and works for GIK. He's a very helpful forum member.


The realtraps website has some excellent educational materials also:

www.realtraps.com


Craig
 

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If you add treatments you will need to add more power for the same level of loudness which makes needing more power more important. You do not listen loud now so that might not be a problem. I have owned that SVS sub and know its capabilities. I would get both the treatments and amp. I would get 2 behringer ep-2500's over the emotiva. Same price, one extra channel and much more power and stable into 2 ohms at very loud levels with little distortion.
 

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I was going to ask about the blu-ray player but I see that Craig already did.


You seem to have come full circle. It's a blessing and a curse if you like to upgrade.


If you are happy with what you have then stay put. Treatments can help..


It doesn't sound like you have the space nor need to worry about the two additional speakers yet. Doesn't seem to be the biggest bang for buck.


An amp can be a good investment. You then don't need to worry if you upgrade your speakers someday that may require an amp to power them properly but that's your call. I needed an amp before I could upgrade to my current speakers as they are inefficient and power hungry.


When I came full circle I started with my display and upgraded to a larger size. Are you happy with your display size or could bigger be more fun?


Then I started all over with my speakers, then amp etc..........



Maybe my circle will never really close?


It sounds like you have what you need. Your blu-ray plays CD's?


Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater /forum/post/16960095


I would get 2 behringer ep-2500's over the emotiva. Same price, one extra channel and much more power and stable into 2 ohms at very loud levels with little distortion.

Interesting. I will have to look into that. I am a little worried about fan noise, as my rack is behind me, and pretty close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CETA1 /forum/post/16960435


When I came full circle I started with my display and upgraded to a larger size. Are you happy with your display size or could bigger be more fun?



It sounds like you have what you need. Your blu-ray plays CD's?


Rick

I am good with my display...I have a Marantz front projector with a 106" screen from 10'.


Yes I do use my blu-ray player for cd's, but I am not totally convinced that a dedicated cd player makes much of a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s44 /forum/post/16960733


The Eras not only like some power, but they can handle it. Get the amp at some point.

That is the one consistant message I keep getting over and over again with these speakers.


Thanks for all of the continued help here guys.

Greg
 

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Upgrade it all! Dont think about it and suffer the consequences later.



SQ for the dollar tho, I'm definitely in agreement on the room treatment. One of the best upgrades value-wise I made in my room.


Another one that no one has seemed to mention is speaker placement....of course, cost is minimal (some speaker wire or sub cable maybe) and the results can be very rewarding. Front 3 in a slight arc with the tweeters at ear level, surrounds placed properly, sub in the best spot, etc. can all make a big difference in the way an existing system sounds.


Of course dis-regard this suggestion if this has already been done.
 
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