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Receiver/Speakers combination?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by ttree sound, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. ttree sound

    ttree sound
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    Hi all,

    I have just in the last few days upgraded from my 12 months old Pure Digital Digitheatre Platinum surround sound system to the following:

    Arcam AVR300 Receiver

    PMC DB1+ fronts and centre

    KEF KHT 1005 wall mounted rears

    REL Q400E sub

    This combination sounds pretty good, even when compared to the Mission ???? £20000 a pair speakers that I listened to in the shop where I bought them at.

    My listening habbits are 50 - 25 -25 music,movies and tv. The source of these is my home built PC which has a Terratec DMX 6FIRE sound card. This has the ENVY 24 sound chip on board.

    When making a direct comparison with a SONY cd (separates) player connected to the AVR300 to my PCs DVD/CD ROM drive using identical cds, I could not tell the difference when listening through a pair of good quality technics headphones.

    Two questions -
    1 Will I notice a good improvement by using an Arcam cd player

    2 If I decide to change the front/centre speakers for something like PMC TB2 or Dynaudio contour 1.3 mk11, will I notice a dramatic improvement, taking into account that the low frequencies are being handled quite well by the REL Sub?

    Kevin
     
  2. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    I'm not familiar with your p.c. components (I believe CD's should are heard best on a CD player ;) ), but I reckon your other components are very nice. Should you get a CD player? Best to demo a couple with YOUR speakers - Technics headphones aren't likely to give you much of an idea.

    Better speakers? Well the DB1+'s are still great speakers and you could go up a level or two, but then perhaps your AVR300 is going to be the limiting factor? It's a great receiver and a good stereo amp; but if you really want good CD sound, use the £1200-ish pounds you have for a CD player and a quality stereo amp.

    Keep the PMC's, they have more to give IMO. :)
     
  3. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Hi Ttree,
    At the moment it sounds like you have a fairly well balanced system. The amp is certainly the weak spot. I'm not familiar with the PC soundcard that you're using but i've experimented with others from low to high end with mixed results. Best I found was the RME Digi 96/8 PAD (Unfortunatly I sold it a week or so ago!) Retail is about £200. This compared quite well with £3000 of transport and DAC. But to get the best out of it you'd need about £12,000 of amplifier and speakers.
    I expect even at the moment the AV300 is limiting what your sound card can do. I certainly wouldn't suggest you get an external CD player unless you have several thousand to spend on a transport and DAC combo. I doubt you'd be able to justify it to yourself.
    Nobber is right about the PMC's the TB2's are slightly better but if you have a sub then you don't have to worry. Unless you have older speakers. The TB2's now have the fabric dome tweeter of the bigger monitors. Just means they are even smoother...

    One option would be to use your receiver as a pre amp and buy a high quality Power amp to power the front 2 speakers? I don't really know how good at stereo the arcam is. As with all AV amps unless you spend a fortune it's probably a compromise.
    HTH
     
  4. ttree sound

    ttree sound
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    Thanks to your replies,

    Nobber22, the Technics headphones that Ive got are indeed pretty good and compared to the Seneissser rh85 cordless that I today took back to the hi fi store where I purchased them, were outstanding. I was really dissapointed with the rh85, they lacked clarity and sounded muffled overall, if this is the best that cordless can do then never again will I touch them unless you can obtain a digital transmission version which I doubt at this moment in time. I also compared my headphones today in the shop on their Naim equipment with a £150 plus pair, these sounded more laid back in the female vocals track but the clarity was difficult to tell apart, so much so that I think I would be wasting my money on another pair offering marginal sound improvement, unless someone can recommend any others.

    I also brought back a cd player to compare and decide if I need to buy one, the shop thought I should give the Arcam cd72 a try.

    Again, I could not tell the difference either through headphones or throug my DB1s, so I am not going to buy one just yet.

    They also suggested I try a power cord with a mains cleaning mechanism on it which should improve overall sound quality, I thought ok until they told me the price which was £220.

    I am new to this game but my first impressions are that there is a lot of money to be spent in trying to achieve that elusive perfect sound which is really like that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I see black as black and white as white and even though my system currently does sound pretty good, to improve it would cost a lot more, so much more that I think that I'de be going down the diminishing returns path rather rapidly by spending any more money. I think the customised PC has a lot to offer the HI FI world and is a much more flexible and cheaper option than some separates.

    Does anyone else have similar thoughts on this.
     
  5. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Maybe,
    Certainly right about the diminishing returns part though. You can blow a big fortune searching for the best possible sound but there are also some musical gems around which are often a pleasure to discover. The custom PC route may be one future but will it replace seperates? Not so sure about that.
    As I said i've listened to a few soundcards and have to say sometimes I was quite impressed but I always end up back at a CD/DAC combo. For some reason the music just sounds more natural. Maybe it's the timing or the fact that the other electronics in the PC get in the way?
    Be good to see if you could demo a high end amp just to see what your sound card will do.
     
  6. NaimBoy

    NaimBoy
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    I can't comment on the CD vs PC side of things being a confirmed Naimee, but I have to agree with Knightshade & Nobber22 - changing your speakers is not going to be the answer by itself.

    I've used the Contours for several years until recently, and they are indeed superb speakers as long as there's plenty of space around them for the ports to breathe, but they're not the easiest thing to drive. Good as the AVR300 is I suspect you'd need to do as Knightshade suggests and get an additional power amp to get the best out of them.

    Is there something in particular that you don't like about the sound of your new system ? or are you just getting a headstart on the upgraditis ? :D

    And yes, it's not going to get cheaper from here on in...... :eek:
     
  7. ttree sound

    ttree sound
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    Yes, I just maybe getting a premature touch of that upgraditis, I today spent the best part of an hour discussing at length the merits of fitting a new power cord which cost £220, it was a fellow customer that was recomending this to me but I resisted - at least for the time being. I returned the Arcam cd player - again for the time being as my birthday is only a couple of weeks away and my wife has no idea what to buy me - for the time being?

    I am extremely impressed by the delicate and natural tones that this system produces, with immence dynamic range particularly whilst watching and listening to some DVDs - everything shakes then its back to some whisper quiet vocals and surround effects. A well recorded cd appears to show the pedigree of the speakers, one in particular is Mindy Smith - one moment more (country) awsome and dreamy at the same time. Has anyone listened to this?

    If I do get a cd player, what do you recomend as long as its not too expensive as Ive spent almost £4000 already?

    Kev
     
  8. NaimBoy

    NaimBoy
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    Not familiar with Mindy Smith - try Katie Melua "Call off the Search" - if the title track doesn't get the hairs standing up on the back of your neck then there's something wrong IMO....

    I'm probably not the right person to ask about reasonably priced CD players :D but I'd hope something in the £800-£1200 range should do justice to the rest of your kit..... although if you want to spend more......

    At the end of the day, if you're happy with it as it is then don't worry about it - buy some more CDs and sit back and enjoy.... :thumbsup:
     
  9. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    A really serious contender (I'm very impressed with it!) is the Densen Beat 400+. I think it retails at about £1200. A really nice musical CD player. Not the most detailed but certainly one of the most enjoyable players for the money. Or I'm sure Mark Would recommend this 'Something by Naim... Nait5 maybe?'
     

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