Audio System Upgrade - Help needed

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by ureka, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. ureka

    ureka
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    I have a current basic audio setup of 7.1. I would like to enhance the sound quality hence looking to upgrade. Usage is 50/50 for Music and Movies. Initial budget is 3K.
    Current setup includes:
    Receiver: Denon AVR-3312
    Front L/R: Polk Audio RTi A7
    Centre: Polk Audio CSi A4
    Surrounds + Back: Speakers from Bose AM10(4-double cubes)
    Subwoofer: BIC America F12
    Media Players: Samsung BD-E6500, Oppo BDP-103
    TV: Samsung 3D LED Smart TV UA46D6600

    Except for the Oppo which is a new addition, willing to change any/all components if necessary.
    Current thoughts are:
    Speakers L/R: Polk Audio RTi A9 or Paradigm Monitor 9 Series 7 or Paradigm Studio 60 or PSB Image T6 or Martin Logan Electromotion ESL
    Receiver: Either keep the 3312 or Pioneer Elite SC 77
    Amplifier: If required NAD C275BEE(150x2) or Emotiva XPA-2(300x2)
    Subwoofer: No ideas yet. But not really satisfied with the sound of the F12
    Surrounds(2) + Back(2): Polk Audio FXi4 or Polk Audio RTi A3

    All suggestions, ideas are welcome.
     
  2. sergiup

    sergiup
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    I've recently become a supporter of the idea that if you're going to upgrade, then do it properly; what I mean by this is don't just go up in the range (ie: Polk RTi A7 to RTi A9), but actually go to something better.

    The other point of this is what do you actually think is lacking / sub-par in your current system? Do a few trips to some HiFi shops and see what you find that suits you.

    You also seem to have a peculiar mix of speakers you're looking at - Polk RTi, Paradigm, PSB Image and Martin Logan. They're all somewhat different - granted, Polk and PSB are big and ballsy, and depending on which Paradigm range you listen to they can also be the same, or a little different. However, the Martin Logan ESL are a completely different beast.

    I would strongly recommend going out and listening to as many of these speakers (and others) as you can; try to get a feel for textile tweeters, metal domes, ribbons etc. Also try to hear the Martin Logan ESL - I love the sound of a ribbon tweeter, but if I had the money and space I would love to own a decent set of electrostatics just for music.

    In terms of receiver, try to aim for something with MultEQ XT32, or one of the Anthem MRX receivers since ARC is arguably ever so slightly better. You can easily add power amps later if you feel a receiver is lacking; also, at this price range it's not really worth going for a dedicated processor + power amp separates setup.

    In terms of subwoofer, if you're going to use it to listen to music then I would advise going for a sealed sub; you seem to be based in the US (or Canada?), we don't know as much about the subs over there so you might try avsforums for recommendations.
     
  3. ureka

    ureka
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    I am currently working on a contract in the Middle East. Unfortunately there are limited options in terms of dedicated HiFi shops that have speakers to test. The brands mentioned were suggested by the retailers as they are willing to import those. The availability for speakers seems mostly US brands although for subs the latest suggestion has been for an REL sub.
     
  4. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I'm also curious what you find lacking in your current system?

    The RTI-A7 are not bad speakers. Perhaps a tiny bit bright side but for the money, very clear with decent bass.

    The BIC Sub is pretty common entry level, there are better, but there are far worse. I can't actually fault it, and for the money (~US$200), it is probably fine.

    But the Polk Audio are about US$950/pair, compared to that, a US$200 Sub falls a little short.

    You've got an above average amp in the Denon 3313 (couldn't find a price on the 3312) which is about US$800.

    Which brings up another point, your budget is 3K but 3k what? Pounds(£)? US Dollars? Hong Kong Dollars? Pesos? Euros?

    If you have an OPPO 103, not much need to upgrade that, unless you want go for the OPPO 105 which is double the price.

    That I can find there is no Pioneer SC-77, but there is an SC-67 which is about US$1,280. That is probably a step up from what you have. Though I'm not sure it is the best step up.

    Consider the Marantz SR6008, highly rated, priced at US$1200. Consider the newer Denon AVR-X4000 for about US$1300. Marantz SR7007 at £1599. And others, Pioneer are good, I'm not faulting them, just not my personal first choice.

    If you are considering EMOTIVA, then consider a full Emotiva system. I recommend the 2x300w in front, and the 3x200w for center and rear, plus one of two available Emotiva Pre-Amp/Processors. If that doesn't appeal to you the Emotive makes 5-channel amp just for Surround Systems.

    Generally speaking you weak links are you Sub and your Surround Speakers, though you may well have reasons for those particular speakers.

    Given that your system is pretty nice already, it is hard to make recommendations without knowing specifically what it is you want to improve? How is your current system letting you down?

    The speakers you have suggested are all good speakers, but they are also expensive, and without knowing what you are trying to achieve, it is hard to make recommendations.

    Also, consider that it might be the room acoustics that are letting you down. If this is a very bare hard-wall minimalist room, then the acoustics are probably terrible.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  5. ureka

    ureka
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    Thanks Steve.
    My reason for an upgrade is for better sound.
    My initial set of speakers were the Bose, which when I got the Polk became my back and surround.
    I quite like the sound of my current Polk Audio RTi A7's but as an entry level purchase, I know it can be improved on. The local retailers suggestion has been to add an amplifier and get matching Polk surrounds.
    Are there any subwoofer brands inparticular you would suggest?
    The budget is 3K pounds.
     
  6. jimarchy

    jimarchy
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    Where are you in the middle east? It's difficult finding decent places to demo but Dubai has one or two places worth visiting. I tend to demo in the UK and take things back with me.
     
  7. ureka

    ureka
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    I'm in Muscat. Any places you can recommend in Dubai for demos?
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  8. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Any comments on your room acoustics?

    The Room Correction built into the amp can make a good room better, but it simply can not make a bad room good.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  9. ureka

    ureka
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    The room acoustics are pretty sound - that was the opinion of the Polk audio retailer when they came to deliver the speakers. The room has a large carpet as well as curtains besides sofa's that sit 7 and other furniture.
     

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