Speaker upgrade for Onkyo TX-NR809 - Suggestions

Discussion in 'What Speakers Should I Buy?' started by seanos, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. seanos

    seanos
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    Hey,

    My current setup/details:

    Room size: 3x5m, 2m listening distance from front speakers.
    Primary use: Films, Gaming (Some tv/music, though not primary concern).

    Fronts: 2x Tannoy Mercury Custom F4s
    Surrounds: 4x Tannoy Mercury Custom F1s
    Center: Tannoy Mercury Custom FC
    Sub: BK Elec MKII

    AMP: Onkyo TX-NR809


    I'm contemplating upgrading the speakers and would like suggestions.

    Since the AMP is bright, looking for warm speakers, which as I understand it is a some what limited selection; Tannoy or Wharfdale being the main two manufacturers, but I believe certain ranges of other speakers may fall into the warm bracket also.

    Initially was thinking of the Tannoy Revolution Signature range, but they seem to be hard to come by at this point; I believe they're being phased out.

    The Monitor Audio Bronze range fits price-wise, but as I understand it, they're pretty bright and may not suit the Onkyo well.

    I'm not looking to upgrade the sub, I'm still pretty pleased with it.
    I'd like to keep similar to the current setup, e.g. 2x Floorstanders & 4x Bookshelf speakers & a Center.

    Looking forward to any advise or suggestions you may have.


    Cheers!
     
  2. MaturityDodger

    MaturityDodger
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    Hi,
    If the MA BX range is the sort of budget you're looking at, I think that you might want to think carefully about this upgrade.
    I don't think that the BX will be enough of an upgrade to be particularly worthwhile.
    So instead of upgrading all 7, then would you consider just putting your entire budget into a new front three? You'd get something more worthwhile then, and still be able to add the other bits when you get some more cash for it. And even without putting more in, I'd expect the results to be better.

    What actual figure are we looking at for a budget?
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
  3. seanos

    seanos
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    I've a pretty flexible budget, so I'm looking for suggestions more than sticking closely to a budget.
    I probably would upgrade the front three first, then do the bookshelf ones.
     
  4. MaturityDodger

    MaturityDodger
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    XTZ 99-series?
    Fantastic speakers and represtnting good value for money.
    Individual models here: floorstanders, centres
    There are bookshelf speakers too.

    Or they do have a 5.1 package deal at £2070. You might be able to speak to the retailer about a price for the package but without the subwoofer.

    I have some mk1 (the new ones are mk2) and I use them with my Onkyo 709 for film and TV. I have a separate stereo amp (also XTZ) for music.
    I've found the floorstanders to be reasonably current-hungry at times, so some amps struggle to keep hold of them. it can get very noticeable in music playback.

    The speakers are pretty neutral, but have plenty of tuning options (bungs in/out, jumpers to raise and lower woofer and tweeter levels)

    If that's a bit expensive, then I'd still expect the 95-series to be better than MA Bronze.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
  5. MaturityDodger

    MaturityDodger
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    Also, as your main use is film and games, why are you specifically looking for floorstanders as your front pair? The main differences between floorstanders and standmounts are the bass extension, and the price. You'll be operating with an 80Hz crossover, which means there'll be little difference (if any at all) between a floorstander and its equivalent standmount/bookshelf. Except for the price.

    I can justify my floorstanders as I listen to a lot of stereo music.
     
  6. seanos

    seanos
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    Cheers for the advise.
    A concern would be that the AMP couldn't power the speaker sufficiently, I'd prefer not to have to update the AMP for a few yrs at least.
    The 809 is 135W per channel, 25W per channel over the 709, you reckon that would be a sufficient bump?

    I had initially run my setup with bookshelf speakers only, and found a considerable improvement after getting the floorstanders.
    I set a lower crossover for the floorstanders (60Hz or 70Hz if memory serves), so they do handle lower frequencies compared to the bookshelf speakers.
    I suppose as a trial, I could go the other way and get the bookshelf ones first, going 5.1 that way, and if decide there is a noticeable decline go for the floorstanders.
     
  7. MaturityDodger

    MaturityDodger
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    Well my 709 does a much better job than the 508 that I used to have. But still not as good as the stereo amp.

    Manufacturers' quoted watts per channel don't always mean as much as you'd like them to, so take that with a pinch of salt. But undoubtedly the 809 will have more.
    Also bear in mind that you're using the amp to drive 7 channels. Under these conditions, the power supply (single power supply shared between all channels) can struggle.
    I've spent some time experimenting with various layouts and find that 5.1 works best in my room. I can only really imagine people getting better performance from 7.1 if they have quite a large room. I assume you've experimented and found that 7.1 works better for you though? If not, then going to 5.1 could be another way of directing your budget towards quality over quantity.


    I wouldn't go setting your crossover any lower than the recommended value other than for the sake of experimentation. but to your question of whether the FS would handle lower frequencies than BS with lowered crossover, this would depend mainly on the performance of the bookshelves vs. the crossover you set. Some will go down that low.
    With the lower crossover, you're directing more to the speakers and less to the subwoofer. Systems are designed around an 80Hz crossover and it's unusual that you'd want to change that in a standard setting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
  8. MaturityDodger

    MaturityDodger
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    One more thought...
    If you find that your AVR isn't enough to drive hungry speakers effectively, then replacing the whole AVR might not be the best thing to do. Often, adding a stereo power amp coming off the pre-outs is a far more cost-effective fix to the problem.
     
  9. seanos

    seanos
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    I assumed manufacturers numbers weren't gospel, which is why I was more interested in the comparison between two of the same manufacturers products of the same range than pure Watt levels.

    I didn't think of the difference between driving 4 & 6, and of course that makes sense - thanks for pointing it out.
    I think I'll go for the bookshelf + center to start with, then possibly the floorstanders, I can decide at that point if I want to go with another set of bookshelf speakers (and as per latest post a stero amp to drive the front set).

    It was here initially that someone mentioned setting crossovers depending on the speaker, and that larger floorstanders would benefit from a lower crossover than bookshelf ones - which made sense. It seemed to yield positive results, I recall doing a fair bit of messing about with crossover settings and was happy with the end result.

    I hadn't thought of adding a second amp to power the front speakers; might investigate doing that; though looking at the price of the speakers, definitely think it will be a upgrade process of multiple stages.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
  10. MaturityDodger

    MaturityDodger
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    Even for that, the numbers aren't everything. Other factors come into play than just the wattage. Ability to give a lot of instantaneous current for example.
    That sounds sensible if you are now in two minds over floorseander vs. standmount. But don't necessarily just take my answer that you don't need floorstanders - there are other valid reasons to have them. Looks, cost of buying decent stands, ability for stereo music to name a few.
    Also, when you found the improvement from bookshelf to floorstander before, how were the bookshelves mounted? Were they in the same sort of position as the floorstanders? Positioning and room effects are every bit as important as choice of equipment.
    If you've experimented and found it sounds better with different crossover values, then that is the correct answer.
    If the price of the speakers is too high, there are cheaper options. That was just the first thing that came to mind when you said budget was flexible, but you were thinking of getting a whole 7.0 set of BX.
    I use my stereo amp as a power amp for 5.1 and find it works well.
    But if I were just using it for 5.1, I might have found my money more effectively used by putting it all into a better AVR. But I suppose that's a little irrelevant, as you already have your AVR ;)
     
  11. seanos

    seanos
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    Nah it's not too high, but probably the limit of what I'd be prepared to spend, I assume little point spending more due to size of room & AMP I'm pairing with.
    I hadn't heard of them before, but after doing a little research they definitely seem worth further investigation.

    They were on speaker stands, approximately the same level as the floorstanders.

    My AVR was a reasonable upgrade from the previous one, and seemed more than enough for what I had :)


    Another question about the XTZ (kind of), if you don't mind, relating to positioning.
    My front three speakers are positioned pretty well I believe; directly on front of me approximately two meters away, and I'd be sitting in the middle.
    The surrounds I believe are somewhat less optimal; I have them mounted just above head level (standing), so 1.9 -> 2m height, and they are mounted level (no downward angle).

    I find it works well enough in my current setup, are the XTZ speakers more sensitive to positioning, from some brief reading of reviews/info, they seem to have more directional tweeters.
    I'd prefer not mounting any lower, I would be too likely to walk into them.
    Tilting them at a downward angle would improve the situation I'd assume?
     
  12. MaturityDodger

    MaturityDodger
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    Yes, they have ribbon tweeters. Ribbon tweeters (and the horn that they're in) don't radiate sound uniformly in two dimensions like a normal driver (the normal two dimensions being up/down and L/R. Forward/backward isn't really relevant to the dispersion). instead it gives much more of a one-dimensional radiation pattern. Sound from the tweeter is concentrated on a plane level with the tweeter, and drops off as you move above or below this plane.

    I have mine mounted at around the same height as yours, but on wall brackets that allow them to tilt downwards.

    There are valid options from other manufacturers - hopefully somebody else will pipe up with some suggestions before I have time to have a look around for you.
     
  13. l34052

    l34052
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    I would think more about the silver RX range with a quality amp like the 809, bx's will sound good but they will no way do justice to the amp.

    I have a 708 and had bx1/2 and bxfx rears and the sound was good but when i changed them RX's the sound was hugely improved and well worth the extra.
     
  14. seanos

    seanos
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    I was under the impression the MA Silver/Gold ranges are very much on the bright side.
    The reason I was initially curious of the MA Bronze range was that I'd heard they were a lot warmer in comparison.

    Cheers for the suggestion though.
     
  15. l34052

    l34052
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    Its definitely a sound you either like or dont yes.

    Some say its bright but to my ears its a chrystal tinkly character i like that other speakers just dont have.

    The best way to decide is to have a listen with your own ears and see what they like.
     
  16. seanos

    seanos
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    Had a demo of System Audio speakers over the weekend.
    Was pretty taken back by their sound, very impressed.

    Pretty tough finding reviews of them, but the ones I did find were all very positive.
     
  17. seanos

    seanos
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    Just an update...
    I ended up going for 2x System Audio Aura 30 fronts.
    Paired these with a System Audio Exact centre, got it second hand for about 1/3 of the price, so pretty pleased.

    So far very impressed, still running them in, but sound has a lot more detail, lot clearer, after listening to them, realised how muffled or overly warm the Tannoy's were.

    So far, the Onkyo seems to power them fine; may end up going for power amp after a while if it seems music may benefit.

    Thanks for the suggestions anyway -- very helpful overall.
     

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