I feel sick. Can someone help me out with some advice please?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Frustin, Aug 29, 2001.

  1. Frustin

    Frustin
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    I just got back from my friends house this weekend and he has this nice new setup:

    Arcam amp: A-85<br />Arcam cd: CD-72<br />B&W speakers: 603 S2

    Compared to mine:

    Denon: AVC-A10SE (yes i mostly watch films)<br />Pioneer: 717 dvd player (used as cd player)<br />Tannoy: MX-2's front, MX-1's rear.<br />NHT: VS-1 center.<br />Rel: Q150E sub.

    His setup sounds so warm compared to mine when playing music. Mine sounds great for films but musically (even for the house and trance that i like) it doesnt sound (for want for a better word) correct. I realise that the speakers my friend has are a lot more expensive and much better quality.

    Now I know that the rears and the center are not really that relivent when it comes to listening to music but if i am going to change the fronts i need to keep the rest tonally matched. What about bi-poles or di-poles?

    Budget is set at £800. Changing the sub is not an option as i am very happy with it. Do i need to change the center?

    All i need really is some ideas that i can take to my local hifi dealer to listen to.

    Thanks.

    [ 29-08-2001: Message edited by: Frustin ]</p>
     
  2. slingshot

    slingshot
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    I'm probably going to be controversial here, but I don't really think changing the speakers is going to give you what your after.

    Arcam amps always sound warm and musical (too me anyway that's why I use them).

    You may find some improvement by trying a proper CD player i.e the Arcam you suggest or maybe something like a Rega Planet (about 500 quid I think).

    My thoughts on this really are that a different (more musical !) amp would make a big difference, but obviously to get a multi-channel amp that sounds like a half decent stereo amp is possible, but probably a big load of cash. So just as an idea, how about trying a power amp with you multi-channel amp for the fronts, maybe something like the Arcam P85 (or whatever it's called). Obviously in an ideal world you'd want matched amps for all 5 channels but it might work.

    Anyway just some thoughts that may help.
     
  3. Frustin

    Frustin
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    Thanks for the responce. Its not the answer i was looking for really, i wanted you to say something in the regions of...

    "get this type of speakers from this brand" that sort of thing <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

    Ok then maybe i should ask what speakers would greatly improve on what i have already for the type of amp i have (for the above mentioned budget). I love that amp i have and i couldnt afford to change it anyway.
     
  4. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Justin,

    The answer is "it depends" <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

    I hear bigger differences between speakers than CD players or amplifiers, unlike slingshot. You could try auditioning a system at your dealers and try changing the CD player, go back to the original system, change the amp, go back, change the speakers to see what you find. I've also discovered that preference for speakers seems to be a very subjective thing, so don't assume that any speaker that gets 5 stars in a magazine is going to sound good to you.

    With your budget, I would suggest trying matching front 3 speakers from the likes of B&W, Mission and Kef. If you have money left, then consider matching surrounds. One specific recommendation to try would be the Kef NHT2005 egg-shaped satelites. They should be about £500 without the subwoofer.

    Cheers,<br />Liam
     
  5. Lowrider

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    If you liked your friend´s system then get a pair of DM602 S2 (with the subwoofer you dont need 603), a CC6 center (later you can get another pair of 602 for surround, I think it is important for concerts in DVD, CDs use direct with subwoofer).<br />Next you should get the Arcam DV88. If you still not happy, you can get an Arcam amplifier for the front speakers, but I think you will already be much better than now...
     
  6. CJROSS

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    Frustin

    If your looking for more musicality, you cant go wrong with adding an external DAC to your 717, I've added a Musical Fidelity X-24K DAC to my 717 and music performance is excellent (it is the same DAC out of the X-Ray & A-3 CD players - £800) next up I would go for better front speakers I've got small standmounts - Castle Richmonds, your bass is covered adequately by the REL. The good thing about adding this DAC would be that it has a coaxial 'loop' for onward processing (DTS - DD 5.1) ie into your Denon Amp.

    Hope this helps - I would'nt be changing your amp or dvd player. My 717 is used mainly for stereo playback tghrough the DAC. So my reccomendations would be as follows :

    Add offbaord DAC (one with a coaxial output loop for your amp) Keep an eye on <a href="http://www.loot.com" target="_blank">www.loot.com</a> for an X-24K they come up every couple of weeks - I payed £200 for mine from <a href="http://www.midlandaudiox-change.co.uk/" target="_blank">http://www.midlandaudiox-change.co.uk/</a> but you should get one in Loot for £150.

    Change speakers to a pair of musical standmounts either - Castle Richmonds (£250) or Epos MS12 (£429) and sit them on a solid pair of stands.

    Good luck

    <br />CJ

    [ 30-08-2001: Message edited by: CJROSS ]</p>
     
  7. Frustin

    Frustin
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    thanks very much for the input and information. Very muchly appreaciated.

    Oh yes, I wasnt planning to replace the dvd player or the amp.

    [ 30-08-2001: Message edited by: Frustin ]</p>
     
  8. jlanng

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    Don't worry so much about the speakers. They're probably the least important component in a good system. The source is the most important (buying an offboard DAC is a great idea). The amplification is also important, and the speakers less so. A £200 pair can sound very musical in the right system
     
  9. Frustin

    Frustin
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    when you say "pair" I trust you mean speakers?
     
  10. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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  11. Matt F

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    I don't think your amp is the problem - when HiFi Choice (who are much more into 2 channel stereo than they are surround sound) reviewed it they said "Sonically, this is easily the most impressive one-box amplifier tested, coming close to equalling the Arcam pair as a stereo amplifier" and the Arcam pair they are talking about is the £2600 Arcam FMJ A22 DAVE/P25 combo - in other words, they rated the AV10SE very highly indeed for stereo duties.

    Wouldn't it make sense to perhaps borrow your mate's B&W 603 S2s and try them out at your place<br />with your amp and DVD player driving them to see if they give you that warmth you are after - if they do then there's your answer i.e. get a pair of 603s or 602s plus a CC6 centre.

    Or you could take your MX2s and sub over to your mate's house and see what they sound like with his Arcam front end - if they do sound good on his system then you could try out his CD player on your system and see if that does the trick.

    If I was a betting man I'd point the finger at the 717 DVD player - although it was very good in its day (and was a lot better at playing CDs than most of that era) it's getting on a bit now and is certainly no match for an Arcam CD72 - side by side I fancy the 717 would sound rather cold and clinical. In view of what I've just said, perhaps your first test should be to borrow your mate's CD72 and compare it with your Pioneer 717.

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. slingshot

    slingshot
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  13. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Frustin

    One thing to consider about adding a DAC to your system rather than a CD player, once you've added a CD player you've got another transport that could stuff up, where as a DAC is hardly going to break down mechanically, that was partly my thinking about adding the DAC to my DV-717, when it eventually goes I'll replace it with another good quality DVD player - your DAC will always be your the hifi source in your system, the transport and the digital output in the 717 is industry renowned for their high quality, this coupled to an external DAC (£200) is better value than adding a £400 CD player where I reckon you would'nt notice any difference.

    I think your amps capabilites even in stereo are above your present speakers performance (even adding a DAC wont do it much justice) so I would try a different pair of speakers. I also agree (as post above) about connecting the sub via the high level input for better bass integration for hifi. In my mind DACs are overlooked and offer better value for money than CD players - when used in tandem with a DVD player of such high build as Pioneer 717. Hope this is'nt confusing.

    CJ
     
  14. Frustin

    Frustin
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    so you dont fancy the DAC idea then?
     
  15. tan1415

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    Hi frustin,

    i know how you feel.<br />I think it's always a bad idea to compare with your friends.<br />When you do this you must consider what you paid for your set and what the aim is for your set.HC or Stereo.

    I agree with a lot of views of the postings here.<br />The Arcam set is made for music and with the B&W 603s a very nicely balanced one at that.

    But i also agree that maybe the ARCAM is better in stereo than the Denon. But Denon is one of the best HT receivers in stereo mode.

    I suggest you can buy a dedicated CDplayer for music. You don't have to go as far as a DAC, but something from the Marantz KI line should be excellent enough for music playback.<br />This will always be better than your DVD player.

    your real problem is i think the speakers. With all due respects to the Tannoy MX series,they are just not in the same class as the B&W 6series.<br />The B&W 6 series could be compared to the Tannoy R /Kef q serie etc not only in price but also performance.<br />In HC where IMO the most important speakers are the center(Dialogue) and Sub(for the bangs) you can get by with lesser fronts and rear and having your Sub provide the excitement and oomph. But in Stereo replay your fronts must in principal work by themself and they can't hide anymore.( how have you connected your Sub? Only via LFE?)

    I think using your 800 GBP to upgrade your speakers is a good idea. It's the weakest link of your setup and regardless what other says. The speaker is where the sound comes out from.I suggest doing it right at once. You don't have to stay with tannoy or buy a B&W ,check out other brands in the same pricerange.<br />Don't skimp on your centerspeaker and ideally all your speakers should be from the same manufacturer/line. With your Sub you don't really need to buy large floorstanders. Some hi class standmounts like the 602 or mission 781 should be good choices too.

    Anyway in the end you can always upgrade your receiver or buy a seperate stereo amp, but before you do this i strongly suggest upgrading your speakers first.
     
  16. Frustin

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    Just to say thanks for all your views. I have taken this all in and i think that what might be needed here is a new set of speakers and maybe a second hand DAC.

    Does anyone know what the AVI DAC is? I cant find a review of it, and i want to know is this what i need?

    [ 03-09-2001: Message edited by: Frustin ]</p>
     
  17. jlanng

    jlanng
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    Why not go for second-hand speakers too? There are plenty about
     
  18. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Justin

    The 717 isn't much cop as a CD player. It just lacks enjoyment and is hard to listen to. The DACs in the denon aren't bad, if you currently use analogue for stereo, why not try a digital connection for CD. Use the cable I sent you if you have any left. If not let me know.

    A separate CD player will certainly help loads here. Look at Arcam / Marantz depending on budget. A separate DAC may be a retro step. I have used loads over the years and few are competitive with modern integrated players. Things have moved along.

    The speakers certainly could do with more oompf but perhaps that is a later project. Plenty of good examples around. B and W if you like stereo, UniQ for a more 5.1 approach. The choice is yours.

    You have the basis of an excellent system and it is a little harsh judging it at this early stage, it is still breaking in. Chill out, you mate has probably been tweaking his for ages. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
     
  19. Frustin

    Frustin
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    Ok so a new CD player then.

    Why do you think the 717 is spitting out some of my CDs? just because its getting on a bit?

    Maybe if i got a lens cleaner?
     
  20. Frustin

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  21. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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