Need help with a HT receiver/amp/speakers recommendation !! (1 Viewer)

bhelms

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Hi folks! I have some cheapo HTIB systems including a Sony Dream. Those have served me well, meaning that my needs are - at this point of my life - modest at best. (I used to be an audiophile back in the days of vinyl and spent every available dollar on that hobby/obsession. Alas, my hearing is not nearly as acute as it once was and I have trouble discerning the difference anymore between a modest system and a great system other than obvious things like overload distortion. And high volume is no longer a priority either! I just want to "feel" it at a comfortable level...)

So for my living room system I want to stretch the envelope a bit more than my existing equipment allows, and I currently have only a synthesized SS experience, not true DD5.1 or equivalent. I have no objection to another 1-box solution except from what I'm reading here the flexibility is quite limited, and the audio quality on the low end. I have set a budget of ~$1,500 (coincidentally the amount of my pending "rebate") but it's not a hard limit.

Currently I have a Sony XBR2 TV, a Dish 211 receiver, and a Toshiba A2 HD DVR in this location. I want to be able to reproduce "true" surround sound in its various renderings. At some point I will add a BD player in this location as well, so it's looking like I will need capability for 3 sources.

I don't see any advantage to passing-through the HDMI video unless someone can tell me why. The TV has 3 HDMI inputs so I could connect the 3 video sources directly and use the TV as the "switcher". Anything wrong with that logic? Then I would be sending some form of digital audio signal from each source to the receiver. The A2 will do this by either HDMI or optical, and the 211 is optical only, IIRC. (The audio in the 211's HDMI connection is only L+R stereo and not DD5.1, correct?) I have no idea what a BD player will have, but I assume it will offer at least full HDMI and optical.

Best Buy currently has a package system for $900 that includes a Yamaha reveiver (RX-V463BL), 5 Klipsch (?) speakers identified as "Synergy Series Quintet III", and a powered sub identified as "Sub-10". Do you think this would suit my modest needs? I noted that it only has 2 HDMI inputs and no idea what other inputs are available on it.

Knowing my current system and an idea of where I think I'm headed with this, what else could you recommend? Should I be going 7.1 instead of just 5.1? What about that $2K Bose system ??

TIA for your comments and advice, and BRgds...!
 

jayn_j

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Hi folks! I have some cheapo HTIB systems including a Sony Dream. Those have served me well, meaning that my needs are - at this point of my life - modest at best. (I used to be an audiophile back in the days of vinyl and spent every available dollar on that hobby/obsession. Alas, my hearing is not nearly as acute as it once was and I have trouble discerning the difference anymore between a modest system and a great system other than obvious things like overload distortion. And high volume is no longer a priority either! I just want to "feel" it at a comfortable level...)

So for my living room system I want to stretch the envelope a bit more than my existing equipment allows, and I currently have only a synthesized SS experience, not true DD5.1 or equivalent. I have no objection to another 1-box solution except from what I'm reading here the flexibility is quite limited, and the audio quality on the low end. I have set a budget of ~$1,500 (coincidentally the amount of my pending "rebate") but it's not a hard limit.

Currently I have a Sony XBR2 TV, a Dish 211 receiver, and a Toshiba A2 HD DVR in this location. I want to be able to reproduce "true" surround sound in its various renderings. At some point I will add a BD player in this location as well, so it's looking like I will need capability for 3 sources.

I don't see any advantage to passing-through the HDMI video unless someone can tell me why. The TV has 3 HDMI inputs so I could connect the 3 video sources directly and use the TV as the "switcher". Anything wrong with that logic? Then I would be sending some form of digital audio signal from each source to the receiver. The A2 will do this by either HDMI or optical, and the 211 is optical only, IIRC. (The audio in the 211's HDMI connection is only L+R stereo and not DD5.1, correct?) I have no idea what a BD player will have, but I assume it will offer at least full HDMI and optical.

Best Buy currently has a package system for $900 that includes a Yamaha reveiver (RX-V463BL), 5 Klipsch (?) speakers identified as "Synergy Series Quintet III", and a powered sub identified as "Sub-10". Do you think this would suit my modest needs? I noted that it only has 2 HDMI inputs and no idea what other inputs are available on it.

Knowing my current system and an idea of where I think I'm headed with this, what else could you recommend? Should I be going 7.1 instead of just 5.1? What about that $2K Bose system ??

TIA for your comments and advice, and BRgds...!


OK, start with the standard Bose disclaimer. Bose is as good a bargain for systems as Monster is for cables. Middle of the road quality at an absolute premium price.

You might want to look at this system from CC:

receiver: Buy the Onkyo TX-SR606 7.1 Home Theater Receiver - Black and other Home audio receivers & amplifiers at circuitcity.com
4 HDMI inputs and upconversion of analog video. Well rated by the members here (although I have tended to do Denon, I am looking at this one)

speakers: Buy the Boston Acoustics Horizon MCS100 Surround Sound System and other Home audio speaker systems at circuitcity.com

or this one (both are reasonable)
Buy the Polk Audio 5.1 Home Theater System and other Home audio speaker systems at circuitcity.com

I think this will do significantly more than the bundled Yamaha system at about the same price.

The switching is important if you have a family as it provides the WAF of only having to switch one thing to get from the DVD player to the satellite receiver.

I'm not a big fan of 7.1 personally, as very few movies I watfch even make effective use of 5.1, much less the lfe channels. (BUT THIS IS A 7.1 SYSTEM)
 

bhelms

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Great jayn-j, tks! I'll stop off there tonight on the way home. I remember seeing the BA system set up there a few weeks ago but I didn't stop for a listen. Price is OK especially with the "in-store" pickup discounts to be applied. I like the 4 HDMI inputs capability on the Onkyo.

Any harm in not connecting those 2 extra speakers? (Back in the day there was almost as much chance of damaging a high power output "driving" an open load as a shorted one!)

No WAF here (widower) and as far as kids go I am presently a true "empty nester", but there are currently 4 remotes on the table to juggle. Someday I'll "Harmonize" but until then it can't hurt to reduce the complexity!

Tks again and BRgds...
 

NightRyder

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I'll second these recommendations. I like Onkyo receivers, they are a good value, this one also has the ability to decode the new Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio tracks via HDMI that are available on many HDD, so you'll be in good shape when you get a Blu-ray player. :up

NightRyder
 

bhelms

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Tks NightRyder - That's more good news!

I noticed that this 606 model is brand new and not yet available at CC. (Supposedly should be in a couple of days.) So that made me look around at other options and I started comparing to the 805 that is the topic of one stickie in this forum. And that of course raised some questions:

1) What exactly does "THX-certified" mean? The 805 is and the 606 is not. What would I be losing with the 606?

2) Similar question re: HDMI 1.3. In this case the 606 has this compatibility and the 805 (apparently) does not. Is that what allows the TrueHD, MA, etc. signals to propagate over HDMI? (There is also some video color depth/quality implications but probably a non-issue for my XBR2 that won't have the capability anyway. I'm not likely to upgrade that anytime soon!)

3) There would be a 2x+ price difference to go to the 805. What would make that difference worth it? (I.e., what added bennies are there that a "modest" listener could appreciate?)

Also:

4) What is a minimum speaker gauge I should be running. I'm using either 20- or 18-ga now (limited memory, another age related problem!). Do I need that same gauge for all speakers? (Approx. 35' to each rear location.)

Tks again...
 

NightRyder

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Tks NightRyder - That's more good news!

I noticed that this 606 model is brand new and not yet available at CC. (Supposedly should be in a couple of days.) So that made me look around at other options and I started comparing to the 805 that is the topic of one stickie in this forum. And that of course raised some questions:

1) What exactly does "THX-certified" mean? The 805 is and the 606 is not. What would I be losing with the 606?

2) Similar question re: HDMI 1.3. In this case the 606 has this compatibility and the 805 (apparently) does not. Is that what allows the TrueHD, MA, etc. signals to propagate over HDMI? (There is also some video color depth/quality implications but probably a non-issue for my XBR2 that won't have the capability anyway. I'm not likely to upgrade that anytime soon!)

3) There would be a 2x+ price difference to go to the 805. What would make that difference worth it? (I.e., what added bennies are there that a "modest" listener could appreciate?)

Also:

4) What is a minimum speaker gauge I should be running. I'm using either 20- or 18-ga now (limited memory, another age related problem!). Do I need that same gauge for all speakers? (Approx. 35' to each rear location.)

Tks again...

1. THX is basically a seal of approval. They put the equipment through tests to make sure that it performs up to their standards. It's not anything I would worry about.

2. You want 1.3 - See Below:

Understanding HDMI Ver 1.3 — Audioholics Home Theater Reviews and News

What does HDMI 1.3 do that previous versions didn’t do?

HDMI 1.3a adds six benefits to the HDMI palette. The most obvious and easiest to understand is higher data transfer speed. The HDMI 1.3a standard increases single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps), which will support demands of future HD display devices incorporating higher resolutions, Deep Color and high frame rates. Keep in mind that previous versions of HDMI are fully capable of 1080p performance. Even more, the FCC has presented no imminent plans for a “higher” high-definition system than 1080p. Because 1080p has just begun to enter the market this increased bandwidth can be considered more a hedge against future applications than something the industry and consumers can benefit from in the near future.

HDMI 1.3a also supports a format known as Deep Color. You may see this referred to as Extended-gamut YCC (xvYCC). Deep Color is a new color space used in video electronics. It can support 1.8 times as many colors as RGB. RGB, as you may know, creates colors through a mixture of Red, Green, and Blue primary colors. Deep Color defines colors by means of an algorithm that can specify any color in nature.

This improvement in color performance is significant only in specifications. Current HDTV broadcasts (and the current HDMI standard) uses 8-bit color depth. The new HDMI 1.3a standard with Deep Color capability expands the number of colors viewable on an HDTV from millions to billions, while eliminating color banding and subtle gradations between colors through the use of 10-bit, 12-bit, and 16-bit color depths. It is vitally important to understand that every movie ever transferred to DVD or any other digital format has been done using 8-bit color depth. While the new Deep Color format could provide an improvement in picture quality, there currently is no content (no movies, TV shows or archived material) available that can be easily trans-coded into the new system. With the existing issues of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) just beginning to be worked out it is highly unlikely that Hollywood and the entertainment industry will rush to provide software that is a clone of the original movie quality. The first place Deep Color is likely to be used is in advanced gaming systems, but even that milestone seems beyond the immediate future.

HDMI 1.3a incorporates automatic audio syncing (lip sync) capability. This is a system that will automatically adjust for the difference in electronic latency between the processing circuits of the sound and image. This discrepancy sometimes manifests itself as a slight delay in the sound compared to the image.

HDMI 1.3a supports output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams for external decoding by AV receivers. TrueHD and DTS-HD are lossless audio codec formats used on HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs. If the disc player can decode these streams into uncompressed audio, then HDMI 1.3 is not necessary, as all versions of HDMI can transport uncompressed audio.

HDMI 1.3a provides for a new mini connector for devices such as camcorders.

3. More money buys more power 130W vs 90 per channel, more connections and THX Certification. At the price level of the 805 I'd pay a little extra and get a Denon 3808ci but it doesn't sound like you need that kind of horse power anyway so I'd stick with the 606.

4. I use 12 GA wire with Banna Plugs for all my speaker runs (probably overkill). MonoPrice.com has both wire and connectors reasonably priced.


NightRyder
 

jayn_j

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NightRyder nailed it on the head. I was busy collecting a good THX reference. The THX website is www.thx.com

A good explanation can be found here: Feature Article

I have used both 12 ga speaker cord and 14 ga lamp cord and frankly have not heard a difference. I would not go for less than 14 ga on longer runs. The thinner wire has more resistance per foot. Not a big deal at 5 feet, but it starts to matter at 30-50 feet. A lower resistance means that less current flows at a given amplifier output voltage. Than means you need to crank the volume up to get the same effect. That means less headroom before distortion sets in.

Also, if you are running low impedence speakers (4 ohms), you will find that the cable itself can change the response curve of the speakers.

It probably wouldn't matter in your application, but I have seen cases where a large amp connected to inefficient speakers through a long run of 22 ga caused the wire to become noticably warm to the touch as well.

Also, on your previous question. I wouldn't worry about not using the LFE channels. Most reasonable receivers have provisions for disabling unused channels. I would bet that the Onkyo would not only ground inputs to the amp, but would redirect signal in the processor to the main speakers as well.
 

bhelms

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Tks again, guys! Your answers have been great! "Sounds" like lack of THX certification isn't going to hurt in a "modest" system, but HDMI 1.3a is essential. Too bad the 805 doesn't have that capability (?) Guess I need to confirm that. You're right, I don't need the high power, but I do want the other higher-end capabilities that we're discussing.

I'll stop at CC tonight to see what the scoop is on the 606. I also noted another couple more possible downsides of that unit based on the CC on-line spec. sheet. It says the 606 doesn't have on screen display (? - that's a real head scratcher!) nor a subwoofer output which I take to mean that it has a channel out for a passive sub but no preamp out for a powered sub (?) All of the speaker systems I'm looking at would have a powered sub.

I know the story on the speaker cable resistance issues (EE here). "Back in the days" one of the critical speaker performance criteria was "damping factor". IIRC it's more critical at the lower frequencies where a poor DF would cause bass frequencies to muddy. The best example I knew was a bass drum should "thud" instead of "boom". Best DF was achieved with a very low resistance path, otherwise the circuit can "ring". I know that every milliohm of added resistance in the path hurts the DF, and that's where the heavy gauge cables, gold plated connectors, etc. all played a role. I never hear anything about DF anymore, guessing that a powered sub (amp close to speaker) eliminates a lot of the user-controllable factors. Since most of the 5, 6, or 7 speakers in the system won't reproduce the LFs anyway, perhaps DF is not a factor at all. But I can appreciate all the other reasons for a heavier gauge wire. At today's copper price, I might need to add another $200 to the system price just to pay for the wire!

I also saw a Yamaha RX-V188BL that might be equivalent to the 805 for about $100 less ($1,100?). But it does have the 1.3a and TrueHD, DTS-HD MA capabilities as well. This unit also has phono inputs, and I assume (hope!) those would be like 5mV level - might allow me to still connect my turntable! Might be worth checking out...
 

NightRyder

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Tks again, guys! Your answers have been great! "Sounds" like lack of THX certification isn't going to hurt in a "modest" system, but HDMI 1.3a is essential. Too bad the 805 doesn't have that capability (?) Guess I need to confirm that. You're right, I don't need the high power, but I do want the other higher-end capabilities that we're discussing.

I'll stop at CC tonight to see what the scoop is on the 606. I also noted another couple more possible downsides of that unit based on the CC on-line spec. sheet. It says the 606 doesn't have on screen display (? - that's a real head scratcher!) nor a subwoofer output which I take to mean that it has a channel out for a passive sub but no preamp out for a powered sub (?) All of the speaker systems I'm looking at would have a powered sub.

I know the story on the speaker cable resistance issues (EE here). "Back in the days" one of the critical speaker performance criteria was "damping factor". IIRC it's more critical at the lower frequencies where a poor DF would cause bass frequencies to muddy. The best example I knew was a bass drum should "thud" instead of "boom". Best DF was achieved with a very low resistance path, otherwise the circuit can "ring". I know that every milliohm of added resistance in the path hurts the DF, and that's where the heavy gauge cables, gold plated connectors, etc. all played a role. I never hear anything about DF anymore, guessing that a powered sub (amp close to speaker) eliminates a lot of the user-controllable factors. Since most of the 5, 6, or 7 speakers in the system won't reproduce the LFs anyway, perhaps DF is not a factor at all. But I can appreciate all the other reasons for a heavier gauge wire. At today's copper price, I might need to add another $200 to the system price just to pay for the wire!

I also saw a Yamaha RX-V188BL that might be equivalent to the 805 for about $100 less ($1,100?). But it does have the 1.3a and TrueHD, DTS-HD MA capabilities as well. This unit also has phono inputs, and I assume (hope!) those would be like 5mV level - might allow me to still connect my turntable! Might be worth checking out...

It looks like the 606 does have both OSD and a SUB pre out. Here are the specs at Onkyo's site.

Onkyo TX-SR606 - 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver | Model Information | Onkyo USA Home Theater Products

NightRyder
 

jayn_j

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If you are looking to move up to the $1100-1200 range for the receiver, I would give a serious look at the Denon 2808 / 988 (two model #s, same product). I have always been happy with Denon products for build quality, cleanliness of sound and reliability.

Also, it looks like the 606 is so new that even the big online places like Crutchfield and one-call don't have it yet.
 
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NightRyder

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If you are looking to move up to the $1100-1200 range for the receiver, I would give a serious look at the Denon 2808 / 988 (two model #s, same product). I have always been happy with Denon products for build quality, cleanliness of sound and reliability.

Also, it looks like the 606 is so new that even the big online places like Crutchfield and one-call don't have it yet.

I love my Denon! :D. If the OP doesn't mind mail order he can call 6th Ave Electronics and get a Denon 3808ci for $1100 to $1200 delivered! You have speak to a salesman to get the deal. They are an authorized dealer so no worries about that.

AVS Forum - View Single Post - The "Official" Denon AVR-3808CI Thread

Here's lot's of info on the 3808ci

The "Official" Denon AVR-3808CI Thread - AVS Forum

NightRyder
 

bhelms

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Tks again. I spent about 2 hours last evening between BB and CC. At BB I wanted to hear those Klipsch speakers (not impressed) and see if they would bundle that with a better Yamaha receiver. But they don't have any Yamahas, or any other receivers for that matter, that offer 1.3a and the TrueHD/DTS HD Master Audio capabilities. The Yamaha I mentioned above is part of the "Magnolia" series, whatever that is, and my rather rural store doesn't carry that line. BB is not looking like the "best" choice for me at this point...!

CC of course did not have the Onkyo 606 and they don't expect to have one until the 10th. (The guy was being realistic about the May 3rd "availability date" as far as in-store goes.) They did have a couple of 805s however so I got a good look at that model. (They actually had a returned 805 on their "scratch and dent" pile for $770. I am a strong believer in buying "second chance" merchandise and have had a great track record with those over the years with 2 exceptions that were both mitigated to my satisfaction. But for some reason I felt leary about this one. They couldn't give me a clear history and it has apparently never been RTV'd for service. So there is probably some kind of "mystery" problem with it. The salesman even said he was considering it for himself but decided against it. I appreciated his honesty. That unit was there the last time I was in about a month ago, but at the time I didn't realize I would be interested in that level. I'll bet I could get it for even less at this point!) I learned some good things about the 805 however, including that it does indeed have 1.3a and DD TrueHD, etc. About the only thing I could see possibly negative about it is the limited upconverting capabilities that JoeSP reported in his sticky. I'm not sure how much that would matter to me. As far as DVDs go I have the upconverting capability in my A1 (and those look great!). How good is upconverted SD channel programming from the 211 with the 805 vs. other receivers? I guess that's what's at stake.

Speakers - I looked at a bunch and heard a few. In fact I have now expanded my scope there as well! (So much for the $1,500 budget!) I like the Klipsch idea but I'm thinking that's like Bose where I'm paying for a name. (Again, my hearing at this point can't pick out the subtle differences in the high end where I always thought the real "life" of music/audio existed.) I looked favorably at JBL (long time fan, still have my L65 "Jubals" from the 70s), BA, and Polk. At CC I ended-up pricing both a BA and Polk system, both cases the best they had on display. The BA system had floor-standing fronts and a 12" powered sub, total about $1,350 plus tax for 5.1 worth of speakers. The Polk system also had the floor standing fronts and was clearly a higher-level system, model #s Monitor 70 (fronts), Monitor 40 (rears), CS2BK center and PSW125 sub on sale for $1,730. Bundled with a new 805 it would be $2,712 including the tax, so they would be shaving another ~$275 plus tax off the deal. That "sounded" pretty good to me! The rears are $179 a pair. I'll "dicker" by asking if they would cut another $250 off, and when they balk on that I'll ask if they'll throw-in another pair of the rears so I can go 7.1 from the start. Any thoughts on all that?

I'll research the Denon units. I know CC has an AVR988 (?) in the system driving the Polks I listened to, but see below! In honesty the 805, and probably any equivalent Denon is overkill for my needs and I might hold out for the 606, especially since you guys confirmed that the two "negatives" I thought I noted were not in fact real. I'm guessing the ~$275 additional discount CC quoted would be significantly less if at all with the 606 especially since it's brand new. So the bundled deal is what's really driving the idea of the 805 for me. If CC will offer another comparable deal based on the Denon (list at $100 more at CC) then I might bite. I have bought equipment mail order before and have no problem with that. I'll need to research the 3808 a bit to see what else it offers. Maybe it has the upscale upconverting? (I think the 805 uses the same Faroudja video processor as the Denon 3808? The better Onkyos use a HQV Reon-VX, whatever that is.)

Some anecdotes: When I "shop" in a big box store I rarely use salesman help. I usually know exactly what I want and I am in and out in a flash with minimal "assistance" (interference!). This project was different as I needed to listen to systems and needed someone to talk price.

At BB I was immediately greeted. At first I deflected help, but then when I couldn't find what I wanted a knowledgeable sales person came to my aid. She showed me what I had come in to see, showed me some upscale stuff and helped me figure out a price (often unclear whether a displayed speaker price is ea. or pair), helped research some stuff on the BB and mfgr's websites, asked other salesmen some questions on my behalf, and was a pleasure with which to interact. Too bad they really couldn't help me with a receiver that met my minimum requirements (now baselined at the Onkyo 606).

At CC I had to hunt down a salesman. Our local store is apparently not doing well (true of the chain?) and it showed, few customers and even fewer salesman vs. BB! Turns out they are no longer commissioned like they used to be - explains why they don't assault you as soon as you hit the floor! The guy who finally was "assigned" to me was quite helpful and reasonably knowledgeable however and I was with him the better part of an hour including the discussion about the aforementioned "S&D" 805. I sat down in their best HT display with those Polks, a Denon receiver (988?) and "Transformers" (from a Toshiba HD DVD!) on the 70" DLP. Looked and sounded great! (The sound was somewhat confounded by a loud BA system in the next "cube".) After a while I realized that I wasn't hearing much bass. I approached the sub. It was lit up and connected, but otherwise dead! (The bass I was hearing was coming from the BA sub, different program but fit in with Transformers to an extent!) Then I realized there wasn't much action from the front, only in the center. I checked, and sure enough both front towers were also dead! I called the salesman over (he had been off talking to the manager about the system price for about 15-mins.) and he was both amused and frustrated. He fiddled around with the Denon, on-screen setups, "white noise", behind the receiver, etc. Nothing would bring back the 3 missing speakers! What a way to sell high-end HT !!! What I heard sounded great. I can't wait to hear the whole system! The salesman explained that they had "problems with Denons". They are great when they work but when something goes wrong "it takes an engineer to figure them out!" I thought all this was a major chuckle! I won't let this experience sway my opinion of Denon and will research those models you guys provided.

So all-in-all, looks like I'm quickly moving toward a higher-end system with larger speakers that can use the power of a 606 or better receiver. I think under the circumstances I could lever a great deal at CC on equipment they have in stock, and that would include either the O 805 or D 988 at about the same price. I really need to evaluate those Polk speakers vs. the JBLs at BB however. The ones I was looking at there would be about $1,180 (no discount?) but those were a step lower than the best BB had and those better ones would probably be more comparable to the Polks. CC might get even more aggressive with their price if I tell them I want to see the 606 first. Time to set the hook then!

A quote based on one of my life's mantras to sum-up my current situation: "I have sought a solution to my enigma. My quest to find answers has served merely to raise a whole new set of questions. In many ways I believe I am as confused as ever, but on a higher level and about more important things...!"

Need to get back to work...
 
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jayn_j

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One other thing to consider now that you are upscaling the speakers, is to make sure that the new speakers have enough efficiency that they can be driven by a modest amp. I don't expect a problem there, but if your listening level requires cranking up the volume, you will start to see the amps driving into distortion.

Again, I don't see a problem with what you are looking at, but bigger speakers usually require bigger amplifiers. Otherwise they drive into saturation on the peaks and that not only sounds bad, but that is what will kill a speaker as well.

BTW, on the Denon, it sounds like the main speakers were shut off. The main channel is what drives the sub, so I could see that going away as well. There are buttons (under the cover) on my ancient Denon amp for turning off each of the channels. You might try that.
 

bhelms

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Tks again. I 'hear' you on the distortion issue. I know the worst thing you can do to tweeters is send them squarewaves...! I like an amp that is just cruising when I'm at high volume demand. My venerable Kenwood KR9600 at 160 w/ch was hardly ever put to test even with my relatively inefficient JBLs. Of course that was only 2 channels. Altho' I don't plan on listening at generally high volumes, modern dynamics can certainly make some cruel demands on a system. (I hear that clipping sometimes with my chincy system now!)

If the salesman at CC can't figure out the Denon's problems I'll make your suggestion.

Some updates - I'm growing increasingly interested in the AVR-3808CI !! The 2808 looks good, but it only has the 2 HDMI inputs and I will outgrow that fast. I also like the internet capabilities of the 3808 tho' I won't be using them anytime soon (have only dial-up at home now).

If I decide to go with the Polk speakers I mentioned above at CC, I can get essentially the same prices as I showed without packaging-in the 805 by buying on-line for store pick-up. (Looks like they were merely matching the website prices in the "reduced" store prices they quoted!) So if they won't match those prices over the counter then I will indeed order on-line. But I do want to check out other options first, like the JBLs.

There's a local independent high-end audio retailer that probably carries the Denon - they used to have that line anyway. I'll check them out for the receiver and if they have that then I might buy it from them possibly packaged with some speakers they have like Paradigm. (I do like to spend my bucks locally when I can to support the indies. They're the only ones that do any on-site servicing anymore but not all do.) Price might be an issue however. I'm finding the 3808 on-line as low as $1,099 plus about $65 shipping, $999 for refurbs. I won't pay more than perhaps an extra $100 to $150 to a local guy, meaning that they need to be in the $1,200 range. Maybe if bundled with speakers...
 
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NightRyder

1978 Y88 T/A 6.6 4 spd
Supporting Founder
Sep 9, 2003
3,545
8
NW Oregon
There's a local independent high-end audio retailer that probably carries the Denon (used to have that line anyway). I'll check them out for the receiver and if they have that then I might buy it from them possibly packaged with some speakers they have like Paradigm. I'm finding that Denon on-line as low as $1,099 plus about $65 shipping. $999 for refurbs...

Be careful where you buy Denon online! They won't honor the warranty on a component purchased from a unauthorized dealer. For an authorized dealer you have to call to get a good price because they aren't allowed to advertise discounts. Here is their list.

Denon USA | Authorized Online E-Tailers

NightRyder
 

bhelms

Thread Starter
"Wannabe Retiree"
Lifetime Supporter
Feb 26, 2006
7,788
844
Central PA
Tks, NR!

Well, I made a real "mistake" stopping in at that high-end store yesterday. Now nothing less than the Paradigms he's selling (or equivalent) will do for me! The new budget is approaching $3,500 plus tax. In fairness to those Polks at CC, I'll probably still want to hear that full system operating first and there is no possibility for a direct A-B comparision. But I think there will be enough difference that I won't have to worry about that! The Paradigm system is at least a notch up in all respects vs. the CC Polks, and the Paradigm sub is a 300-watt RMS unit vs. 100-watt for the Polk. Talk about power to spare!

That store no longer carries Denon as a line but he is still an authorized retailer and is getting me a price on the 3808. It's readily available but not locally.

I hear you re: the potential service issues. Indeed, the $1,099 price I mentioned is from 3 sources that are NOT in that Denon-authorized list! So the price you mentioned of ~$1,200 is probably more realistic.

That's one of the reasons I approach on-line purchases with caution. I've never had a problem but there's always the first time! My general assumption is that if I buy equipment from a local indie store, they will have to handle the servicing. Better if they have an on-site service shop (rare these days, and this place no longer does) but if they want my loyalty they'll make good on any issues, and to this point that has been my experience. That's not to say that a big box store wouldn't do the same, but I always feel a little bit better dealing with "the owner". I have done a moderate amount of business with this store over the past 20 years or so and they recognize me as a "regular". That's why I said in my previous post that I'll be willing to pay a bit extra to a local guy in order to have the extra assurance. And they earn my loyalty by taking care of me. So far, so good!

That store did have a couple of great Sony receivers comparable to the 3808, notably the STR-DA5300ES. No internet capability, but since I have a Sony TV the "Bravia Theater Sync" is a real convenience factor that I would have and that would also work great with a future Sony BD player. I need to learn the difference between the Faroudja DCDi "Cinema" chip in the Sony vs. whatever the Denon has. I found C/Net reviews for both models - 3808 and 5300 - and they are about equal in acclaim.

Decisions, decisions! But this is a fun "problem" to have...! More to follow real soon...!!

UPDATE: My local guy just called back with his price on the Denon in the package - $1,450. The Sony 5300 would be $100 less, probably because he has them in stock. If I go that route the whole package is now $3,760 plus tax. I'll try to get him to throw-in 150 ft of 14-ga. speaker wire...
 
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Skibum

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 8, 2008
682
0
Bozeman, MT
Just my two cents, I've never heard a theater that costs less than $10,000 that can blow you away like mine. I'm using a Paradigm/Triad/Sonance/Velodyne/McCormack setup and I can't be more pleased. Let's just say I'm REALLY happy my roommate installs ultra-high end media systems for a living. XD

p.s. I use a cheaper Pioneer receiver that has 7.1 preamp outputs; I don't need wattage because it's all externally amped. Sounds amazing.
 

bhelms

Thread Starter
"Wannabe Retiree"
Lifetime Supporter
Feb 26, 2006
7,788
844
Central PA
Tks, all! Well, I pulled the trigger on Sat. I ended up with that Sony 5300 receiver, and Paradigm Monitor 9s in the front, Titans in the rear, CS-290 in the center, and a 3200 sub. Went with 14-ga. wire to the speakers (except coax to the sub). 50' runs to the rears was the worst case. (They're not that far back but I'll need that much wire to run through the basement.) The current "rears" are actually in the surround positions and the receiver is configured accordingly. If I eventually add the surround backs I'll probably go with the Titans again. I actually considered going with the Monitor 11s for the fronts, but frankly I didn't like their sound. The 1" larger drivers gave more emphasis to the bass and I thought that really "muddied" the result. I'm sure I could tweak their set-up to improve things, but since the 9s have the same tweeter as the 11s I didn't think that would make any significant difference on the top end. I'm happy with the 9s and glad I made the comparison. Sometimes bigger is not necessarily better!

I bit on one overpriced HDMI cable and probably overpaid for the speaker wire as well. (I allowed the small store to get a few $$ profit out of me!) But any additional cables I will buy from monoprice. I'll need a couple soon.

Took 5+ hours to tear out my old stereo that I hadn't powered-up in at least 10 years (I stopped using it when I discovered the compliance on both woofers was falling apart, now completely gone!), clean-up all around, and install all the new stuff. It all came off without a hitch. Almost midnight before I powered-up for the first time.

In a word - AWESOME !! I still have a LOT of work ahead of me to learn all the functions, and the remote is currently a hassle (non-intuitive), as pointed-out by the C/Net review. But the Sony GUI is very cool, easy to navigate. I may actually learn that remote at some point. If not, I'll "Harmonize", but that will have to wait a bit. I also have to calibrate the system, but I thought I'd wait to learn more of the features, etc. first, and I still need to settle on final locations for the center and rear speakers.

I played some CDs first, as I was doing in the store for comparison. Never heard any of them sound that great. And they sounded better than the system did in the store. I then put in Transformers for a first A/V test and was blown away; I heard many things I never heard the first 2 times! Only intended to play a bit and ended-up watching the whole thing!

On Sun. I got my old turntable working and loved it! I haven't heard anything from vinyl in quite a long time, and never in SS (even if simulated, it beats just stereo IMHO). Comparison to digital will be cool, but I have a number of records that AFAIK were never released on CD so it's great to have that capability back. Bad news on my R-R tho' - it's not working. The FF and REW drives are fine, but the 3rd motor that drives the capstan in Play isn't turning at all. Gotta tear into that one soon. I didn't try my cassette deck yet.

Last evening I played Pitch Black (for the nth time - big Vin Diesel fan!) and again heard stuff I never knew was there, and had the true SS experience for the first time with that movie. Sitting in the middle of all those "creatures" flapping about is "out of this world" !!

Lots to learn and lots to enjoy! And hopefully some time now to do it.

Tks everyone for your help and suggestions! Once again my affiliation with SatGuys cost me a huge bundle as I went from about $1,500 budgeted to almost 3 times that! And I love every penny and moment spent on/with the toys...!
 

NightRyder

1978 Y88 T/A 6.6 4 spd
Supporting Founder
Sep 9, 2003
3,545
8
NW Oregon
Tks, all! Well, I pulled the trigger on Sat. I ended up with that Sony 5300 receiver, and Paradigm Monitor 9s in the front, Titans in the rear, CS-290 in the center, and a 3200 sub. Went with 14-ga. wire to the speakers (except coax to the sub). 50' runs to the rears was the worst case. (They're not that far back but I'll need that much wire to run through the basement.) The current "rears" are actually in the surround positions and the receiver is configured accordingly. If I eventually add the surround backs I'll probably go with the Titans again. I actually considered going with the Monitor 11s for the fronts, but frankly I didn't like their sound. The 1" larger drivers gave more emphasis to the bass and I thought that really "muddied" the result. I'm sure I could tweak their set-up to improve things, but since the 9s have the same tweeter as the 11s I didn't think that would make any significant difference on the top end. I'm happy with the 9s and glad I made the comparison. Sometimes bigger is not necessarily better!

I bit on one overpriced HDMI cable and probably overpaid for the speaker wire as well. (I allowed the small store to get a few $$ profit out of me!) But any additional cables I will buy from monoprice. I'll need a couple soon.

Took 5+ hours to tear out my old stereo that I hadn't powered-up in at least 10 years (I stopped using it when I discovered the compliance on both woofers was falling apart, now completely gone!), clean-up all around, and install all the new stuff. It all came off without a hitch. Almost midnight before I powered-up for the first time.

In a word - AWESOME !! I still have a LOT of work ahead of me to learn all the functions, and the remote is currently a hassle (non-intuitive), as pointed-out by the C/Net review. But the Sony GUI is very cool, easy to navigate. I may actually learn that remote at some point. If not, I'll "Harmonize", but that will have to wait a bit. I also have to calibrate the system, but I thought I'd wait to learn more of the features, etc. first, and I still need to settle on final locations for the center and rear speakers.

I played some CDs first, as I was doing in the store for comparison. Never heard any of them sound that great. And they sounded better than the system did in the store. I then put in Transformers for a first A/V test and was blown away; I heard many things I never heard the first 2 times! Only intended to play a bit and ended-up watching the whole thing!

On Sun. I got my old turntable working and loved it! I haven't heard anything from vinyl in quite a long time, and never in SS (even if simulated, it beats just stereo IMHO). Comparison to digital will be cool, but I have a number of records that AFAIK were never released on CD so it's great to have that capability back. Bad news on my R-R tho' - it's not working. The FF and REW drives are fine, but the 3rd motor that drives the capstan in Play isn't turning at all. Gotta tear into that one soon. I didn't try my cassette deck yet.

Last evening I played Pitch Black (for the nth time - big Vin Diesel fan!) and again heard stuff I never knew was there, and had the true SS experience for the first time with that movie. Sitting in the middle of all those "creatures" flapping about is "out of this world" !!

Lots to learn and lots to enjoy! And hopefully some time now to do it.

Tks everyone for your help and suggestions! Once again my affiliation with SatGuys cost me a huge bundle as I went from about $1,500 budgeted to almost 3 times that! And I love every penny and moment spent on/with the toys...!

Sounds like an excellent system! I hope you get many years of enjoyment from it. :)

NightRyder
 

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