need advice / AV receiver - speaker upgrades

Fatfudge

Standard Member
hi .. new here, been lurking for a while but registered.

was wanting to ask for some advice on upgrading my AV receiver and maybe my speakers if need be ......

my current budget setup ... my room size is 5m X 4m

pioneer VSX531D AV / Specification | VSX-531D | AV Receivers | Products | Pioneer Home Audio Visual
Wharfedale Diamond 230's floor standing - X2
Wharfedale Diamond 9.1's on stands as my surrounds left and right
Wharfedale 11.CC Centre speaker.

was initially looking at the Denon series starting from the Denon AVR-X2700H but thinking i would be better with the Denon AVC-X4700H for a bit of future proofing.

my main issue is that my pioneer doesnt have a pre out is 130w per ch and the surround speakers (9.1's on stands) seem quiet so was thinking i needed a power amp, i'm presuming a better more powerful AV receiver with increase the volumes to these surrounds???
volume to the floor standing 230's seems fine and i still enjoy the sound from them but feel as if i'm missing out on something better by not upgrading and just making do.

so if i upgrade the AV to the denon 4700 will i still need to buy a power amp to drive the surrounds so they increase volume.

bit out of my confort zone here any help and advice is welcomed.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
hi .. new here, been lurking for a while but registered.

was wanting to ask for some advice on upgrading my AV receiver and maybe my speakers if need be ......

my current budget setup ... my room size is 5m X 4m

pioneer VSX531D AV / Specification | VSX-531D | AV Receivers | Products | Pioneer Home Audio Visual
Wharfedale Diamond 230's floor standing - X2
Wharfedale Diamond 9.1's on stands as my surrounds left and right
Wharfedale 11.CC Centre speaker.

was initially looking at the Denon series starting from the Denon AVR-X2700H but thinking i would be better with the Denon AVC-X4700H for a bit of future proofing.

my main issue is that my pioneer doesnt have a pre out is 130w per ch and the surround speakers (9.1's on stands) seem quiet so was thinking i needed a power amp, i'm presuming a better more powerful AV receiver with increase the volumes to these surrounds???
volume to the floor standing 230's seems fine and i still enjoy the sound from them but feel as if i'm missing out on something better by not upgrading and just making do.

so if i upgrade the AV to the denon 4700 will i still need to buy a power amp to drive the surrounds so they increase volume.

bit out of my confort zone here any help and advice is welcomed.
Hi welcome to the forums.

It would be useful to have a picture or sketch showing your current setup. Position of speakers/TV in relation to seating/main listening position.

Your room is not too dissimilar in size to mine, which is basically a rectangle (4.57m x 3m). Mt TV is on the 3m wall with my sofa on the opposite 3m wall.

The Wharfedale speakers you have are relatively easy to drive. What sort of volume do you listen at in general. It's interesting you say the 230's are fine in terms of volume, but the surrounds seem quiet. Don't forget the surrounds are only effect speakers and around 80% of the Audio you hear comes through the front 3 speakers.

I assume you've run the MCACC calibration, using the mic supplied with your Pioneer receiver. I'm inclined to think that it's a calibration/setup issue. I'd therefore troubleshoot this first before looking to add power amps etc. Unless you listen to near reference volumes, your speaker/AVR combo should be loud enough if calibrated/setup correctly.

Maybe start by doing a factory reset on your Pioneer and re-running MCACC. Happy to help check any settings etc.
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
Hi welcome to the forums.

It would be useful to have a picture or sketch showing your current setup. Position of speakers/TV in relation to seating/main listening position.

Your room is not too dissimilar in size to mine, which is basically a rectangle (4.57m x 3m). Mt TV is on the 3m wall with my sofa on the opposite 3m wall.

The Wharfedale speakers you have are relatively easy to drive. What sort of volume do you listen at in general. It's interesting you say the 230's are fine in terms of volume, but the surrounds seem quiet. Don't forget the surrounds are only effect speakers and around 80% of the Audio you hear comes through the front 3 speakers.

I assume you've run the MCACC calibration, using the mic supplied with your Pioneer receiver. I'm inclined to think that it's a calibration/setup issue. I'd therefore troubleshoot this first before looking to add power amps etc. Unless you listen to near reference volumes, your speaker/AVR combo should be loud enough if calibrated/setup correctly.

Maybe start by doing a factory reset on your Pioneer and re-running MCACC. Happy to help check any settings etc.

hi jester thanks for the reply.

i tend to listen to my music loud as possible without having the neighbours at my door, same for watching films.

i understand that the fronts are the main sources of volumes.... i had issue with the centre speaker too where the dialogue was washed out / overwhelmed by the main audio from films ended up boosting the volumes within the settings menu if i remember correctly.

i contacted wharfedale directly soon after i bought these speakers but they told me to contact pioneer so i never bothered tbh.

i done the initial calibration setup too .. i'll have to dig out the bag with the mic tomorrow and do the factory reset and rerun calibration.
 

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Hianholland

Active Member
Have you tried playing music in 'extended stereo' mode as I think that should send the sound to all speakers at the same volume. If the rears work as expected then would this not indicate the 'issue' is more related to how the surround sound is set up, as Jester1066 suggests, and recalibration/volume adjustment is needed rather than more juice to run the speakers.
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
Have you tried playing music in 'extended stereo' mode as I think that should send the sound to all speakers at the same volume. If the rears work as expected then would this not indicate the 'issue' is more related to how the surround sound is set up, as Jester1066 suggests, and recalibration/volume adjustment is needed rather than more juice to run the speakers.

hi hian.. i tend to do that but the surrounds still seem a lot quieter than they should be, but could just be my ears.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
@Fatfudge Did you reply to my post with some pictures previously. I'm sure I saw some pictures of your setup, but they and your reply have vanished???

I'm sure I saw your AVR on the top.of a 3 tier stand, with your centre speaker on the middle tier. Can you re-post these pictures? You also mentioned that dialogue was washed out? Try switching the positions of the AVR & centre speaker as the speaker is a little too low at present. Then re-run the calibration.

Do you have a subwoofer in your system. If so which model?
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
@Fatfudge Did you reply to my post with some pictures previously. I'm sure I saw some pictures of your setup, but they and your reply have vanished???

I'm sure I saw your AVR on the top.of a 3 tier stand, with your centre speaker on the middle tier. Can you re-post these pictures? You also mentioned that dialogue was washed out? Try switching the positions of the AVR & centre speaker as the speaker is a little too low at present. Then re-run the calibration.

Do you have a subwoofer in your system. If so which model?
hi jester...
pics and post still up....not sure why you can't see them.

i'll swap those around tomorrow so i don't annoy the neighbours.

i dont run a sub.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Strange. Definitely can't see them pictures! Have shut Down my browser & cleared cache etc - still can't see them???

i dont run a sub.
Amy reason why?

Running a sub helps in the following ways:

1. It takes load off you main 230's as all the low frequencies are handled by the subwoofer - which is designed for this (and only this) purpose.

2. Even the biggest floorstanders cannot go as low in terms of frequency response as a subwoofer can.

For example. The frequency response of your 230's is:
(+/-3dB) 40Hz - 20kHz

Most subs will go down to at least 20Hz!

3. The .1 in say a 5.1 speaker system is the LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel that a sub reproduces. Movies are recorded with a specific LFE channel content, so without a subwoofer you don't hear this content and are missing out on soo much.

I would certainly consider investing in a good quality subwoofer, before spending on a power amp/new receiver.

If you're concerned of bass annoying your neighbours there are ways to combat this. A correctly configured sub should not be boomy, but blend seamlessly with your other speakers so you don't "notice it"

Spending around £400-£500 (new) less if your happy with second hand on any of these subs will improve sound quality more than a power amp/new AVR imo:





In fact any good quality sub will improve the sound quality.

Do you use your system for mainly music or movies? What percent for each? In my case mines 50/50 music to movies. So I've gone for sealed subs, as they're generally better for music. Ported subs give deeper bass, which some prefer for movies.
 
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Fatfudge

Standard Member
awesome reply jester... that is something i never thought of at all as nuts as that sounds.

i live in a top floor flat with neighbours below and next to me so the thought of a sub vibrating their roof and walls put me off and i was on a tight budget when i bought this setup.

as of right now i mainly use for music probably 80 / 20 for now......

had a look at those subs .. will probably buy this one Platinum P12300-SB.
btw.. what sort of cable do i need to connect to the AVR?

i appreciate the help...
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
awesome reply jester... that is something i never thought of at all as nuts as that sounds.

i live in a top floor flat with neighbours below and next to me so the thought of a sub vibrating their roof and walls put me off and i was on a tight budget when i bought this setup.

as of right now i mainly use for music probably 80 / 20 for now......

had a look at those subs .. will probably buy this one Platinum P12300-SB.

i appreciate the help...
You're very welcome. The P12-300SB is a fantastic sub. Since you main use is music though, if you can stretch the budget a little further I'd actually get this sub: (in Forward Firing "FF" configuration):


The XXLS400 has a better quality driver (woofer) and is better for music based systems, but can handle itself on movie duties too. Get the forward firing one as it will help reduce the potential of any bass vibration going through your floor.

Before you order give BK a ring - (0)1702 527572 - and ask to speak to Tom.

He's brilliant will advise the best model for you, based on system use etc. I suspect he'll agree with me, but may suggest 2x BK Double Gems! 😂😉

The subs are all hand built in the UK & have a choice of real wood vaneer finishes. They are a forum favourite!

Once you've got the sub. Message me. I'll help you set it up correctly - via this thread or PM (whichever you prefer mate!) 👍🏼
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Also don't forget. There's nothing stopping you from upgrading elements of your system in stages. It may well be that better speakers are likely to improve sound quality, but adding a sub to your existing setup is imo a must and will help the Wharfdales perform to the best of their abilities.

If you look at my signature in my profile you'll see my setup. This kit list took me a few years to build up - and I still haven't finished! 😂
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
will do thanks again for the help... will call them on monday morning and see whats up.

indeed man saw your stuff in profile ... any pics?
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
indeed man saw your stuff in profile ... any pics?

I've pm'd you. Unfortunately not. I'm currently only running a 2 channel setup through the Audiolab, as I'm waiting for a custom AV cabinet build to house all the other stuff! Will start a thread about that whole build when it's done. Covid has caused loads of delays & some design changes mid build haven't helped! 🤣
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
btw.. what sort of cable do i need to connect to the AVR?
Just seen this part of your post. Simple answer is an RCA cable.... Buy you don't need one as BK provide all cables needed with their subs!
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
I've pm'd you. Unfortunately not. I'm currently only running a 2 channel setup through the Audiolab, as I'm waiting for a custom AV cabinet build to house all the other stuff! Will start a thread about that whole build when it's done. Covid has caused loads of delays & some design changes mid build haven't helped! 🤣
i seen your PM buddy.....

hope you get it sorted soon... sounds like a banger of a setup you have anyhoo.
will keep you posted.
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
i managed to fix a few issues with this today....

stripped everything down from the AVR and speakers, checked and resoldered the speaker cable ends / re-connected to AVR, moved centre speaker to new postion, done factory reset on the AVR and recalibrated and tweaked settings..... HUGE differance in sound quality.

one thing i''m not confident about though... on the 9.1's on the stands they are bi-wire speakers so 4 terminals but i haven't bi-wired them only using 2 terminals .. double checked the manual but it isn't clear which ones i should be connecting to so i used the bottom 2... is that right?

just gotta get my sub now then i'm jamming.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
i managed to fix a few issues with this today....

stripped everything down from the AVR and speakers, checked and resoldered the speaker cable ends / re-connected to AVR, moved centre speaker to new postion, done factory reset on the AVR and recalibrated and tweaked settings..... HUGE differance in sound quality.

Had a feeling a recalibration would help. Also moving the centre speaker to a better position and re-doing the solder would of played a positive role in the improvement. Happy that this has had the desired result mate. 🙂

one thing i''m not confident about though... on the 9.1's on the stands they are bi-wire speakers so 4 terminals but i haven't bi-wired them only using 2 terminals .. double checked the manual but it isn't clear which ones i should be connecting to so i used the bottom 2... is that right?

Bi-wiring speakers offers no improvement over single wired (if wired correctly). It's just a waste of speaker cable imo.

As long as the supplied gold bridge connector plate is securely screwed as pictured, it won't matter if you connect the top red & black terminals or bottom red & black. You could even connect one top & one bottom terminal (as long as one is red and one is black it'll be fine).

just gotta get my sub now then i'm jamming.

As soon as you get the sub. Message me & I'll help set it up in your system. You'll need to have your calibration mic handy (to EQ the new sub into the system).

Edit I've added a picture of the rear of your speakers to show how the bridging plate is positioned:

whrf-dia-91-carbon_l_4-large.jpg


*Zoom in to see - The plates go across the top & bottom red & black terminals respectively.
 
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Fatfudge

Standard Member
awesome dude thanks again for the replies... puts my mind at rest.

appreciate the effort will give you a shout when i get my sub.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
appreciate the effort will give you a shout when i get my sub.
Hi
Just wondering if you managed to get your sub yet and set it up etc?
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
Hi
Just wondering if you managed to get your sub yet and set it up etc?
heya jester... not managed to get the sub yet, when i went to buy it it wasn't on sale so called them up and they mentioned something about their driver units being stuck on a boat near suez ... they back on sale now so ordered one on friday, they have 7 - 10 day turnaround time so hopefully will get it middle of next week.

getting this one... XXLS400-DF & XXLS400-FF.

i also went and bought a Denon 4700 AVR and new speaker cables.... AudioQuest Type 5 Speaker Cable - Price Per Metre - Speaker Cables - AV Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

will keep you posted thanks for asking.
 

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Jester1066

Well-known Member
heya jester... not managed to get the sub yet, when i went to buy it it wasn't on sale so called them up and they mentioned something about their driver units being stuck on a boat near suez ... they back on sale now so ordered one on friday, they have 7 - 10 day turnaround time so hopefully will get it middle of next week.

getting this one... XXLS400-DF & XXLS400-FF.

i also went and bought a Denon 4700 AVR and new speaker cables.... AudioQuest Type 5 Speaker Cable - Price Per Metre - Speaker Cables - AV Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

will keep you posted thanks for asking.
Wow.....

You've really gone "all in".... Hope you're liking the 4700? Bit of a pain with the sub being delayed, but will definitely be worth the wait.

I have the predecessor to the 4700, so will be more than happy to help with calibration and tweaking etc. Just PM me! 🙂👌
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
hey ... jester. thanks for the reply.

aye i am indeed, the 4700 gave my wharfedales a new lease of life after having to mess about with the settings for hours, denon not giving you a paper manual doesn't help since you have to try and find a digital one then when you need something specific it is a pain having to try and find what it is you need, least with a paper one it's far easier to flick to the pages you need.

couple of major annoying issues i'm having though is that the bass still feels flat and i need to pump up the volumes loads on the 4700 compared to the pioneer avr with the pioneer @ 35 volume that was insanely loud and thumping bass, the denon im having to jack it up beyond 60 volume at times which is loud but the bass just isn't the same.... was thinking the speaker cables need to burn in a bit yet for it to normalise.

running the multi channel mode for listening just now since it seems to sound the best.

done the calibration with speakers in the listening postions and then set the DB levels and the individual bass and treble have them all on max and the bass still sounds kinda flat compared to the pioneer which can't be right.

also im sure there's meant to be a graphic EQ you are meant to be able to adjust, looked it up but tbh the online manuals are a mess cos it tells you to flick to several differant pages to find what you looking for even then it isn't clear at times so manually going through each setting and seeing how they sound is painfully slow and awkward.

also the 4700 has a bug where it isn't always picked up by the pc when it should even after power cycling the avr and rebooting pc its hit n miss whether my pc picks it up which worked almost flawlessly with my pioneer avr.

will wait til i get my sub and my filtered / shielded mains power lead
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
couple of major annoying issues i'm having though is that the bass still feels flat and i need to pump up the volumes loads on the 4700 compared to the pioneer avr with the pioneer @ 35 volume that was insanely loud and thumping bass, the denon im having to jack it up beyond 60 volume at times
Set your volume scale to the Decibel range rather than absolute (as is currently). The absolute scale has no real relevance, the decibel scale will give a more accurate idea of listening levels, relative to the calibrated level of -75dB.


The bass will be better when you integrate your sub into the system.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
Post all your "post Audessey" speakers levels & setting in a series of screen shots, as the bass I get from my 4500 is pretty good tbf. So I do think something might be off. The Denon does have a different sound signature to the pioneer. So could (at least in part) be that your ears need to adjust and become acclimatised.

Obviously no multichannel AVR is going to be as good - sound wise - for pure stereo music to a dedicated stereo integrated amp, but the 4700 is not terrible at stereo/music. Have you tried it in "Pure Direct" - selected by the yellow button on remote - iirc?
 

Fatfudge

Standard Member
"Set your volume scale to the Decibel range rather than absolute" how you do that?

when i set it with the yellow button on the remote for the direct modes.... direct / pure direct auto .. it sets it to 2 speakers.
 

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