1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Upgrade Question, which component?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by bluecat, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. bluecat

    bluecat
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hi,

    Apologies for asking this - as it's the sort of question that really annoys me.

    Which Hi-Fi component's quality makes the most difference to sound quality?

    Now... before you say, all of them, or it depends, or anything like that - I'll just add something to the question... If you bought top of the range speakers, but had a terrible old crappy CD player, would that produce better sound than a fantastic top of the range CD player through terrible speakers? Yes. It would. So good quality speakers are more important than CDP quality. Yes? No? Yes? :) Heh...

    Currently:

    CDP: Technics SL-PG490
    Amp: Pioneer A-107
    Speakers: Mission 700
    Cables: Random

    So here's the real question - given that all my hi-fi equipment is bottom of the range separates, what should be improved first. Speakers? Amp? Cables? or Sources? I can probably stretch to upgrading a bit, but not all.

    Currently I'm thinking new speakers and cabling plus replacing my classic Audigy with an M-Audio 2496 . Keeping the Pioneer A-107 and Technics SL-PG490 cd player.

    Doing the right thing? Advice? :)
     
  2. booktrunk

    booktrunk
    Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Messages:
    602
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Ratings:
    +3
    I think it's the old garbage in, garbage out :)

    But to be honest most CD Players can give a reasonable sound. I'd have thought that at the low end pretty much any player would do.

    The amplifier is important from what I underdstand there is more chance of damdging a good speaker by using and underpowered amp with it rather than an overpowered amp.

    So an amp is important, along with the speakers. It might be worth listening to amps/speakers together in combination and decide what you want as a long term combo and then upgrade one of the two bits at a time.

    Speakers or amp first... Just gut instinct i'd go with the amp, don't ask me why but I would.

    EDIT: Cables n stuff, fluff yes you don't want the 50p interconnects but Richer Sounds cheapest set of cables would do and £1 a meter speaker cable, or decent quality 2 core power cable from B&Q :) Don't worry about the cables n stuff yet. I suppose there is a use for tuning your system slightly but then it's not worth worry about that till everything else is sorted.
     
  3. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Messages:
    852
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +9
    imho, with budget separates I wouldn't worry too much about cabling - just use some decent thick OFC speaker cable (the kind of stuff you can get from Maplins for about £1/m) or CAT 5 and buy or make properly screened interconnects... I heard a big difference upgrading the bell-wire that came with my speakers to a decent thickness cable, but listening blind couldn't tell the difference between that and much more expensive cable...

    I haven't heard your CD player/Amp, but assuming they're not terrible (the old technics players I've heard haven't been bad, and the pio amps pretty decent) then upgrading your speakers and soundcard sounds like a good plan. One alternative to upgrading your soundcard might (if your current one has a digital out) be to buy a cheap external DAC - if your CD has a digital out you could run them both through the same DAC and get 2 upgrades for the price of one ;)

    With the speakers, you just want to make sure they sound OK with your amp/your amp can drive them well. I don't know how much you plan to spend - IIRC the mission 700 were a fairly decent pair of budget speakers, so bear in mind you may have to spend a bit more or shop carefully to get a big improvement.

    EDIT: assuming the amp's not underpowered and you're not buying a pair of speakers that would massively outclass the amp, my instinct would be to do the speakers first...don't ask me why ;) And come to think of it, those little missions aren't bad...

    Jon
     
  4. superpixel

    superpixel
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I'm not gonna answer the 'philosophical' question, as I hate it too!

    As for the real question: What do you use your soundcard for? What exactly are your interconnects and speaker cables? What is your budget for this upgrade? And probably most importantly: what music do you listen to, at what kind of volume, and what kind of sound do you like?

    Either way, I'm inclined to say the biggest bang for your buck is to leave the soundcard and cables, and just get the best second hand amp and speakers to your liking. One or the other isn't an option IMHO: Your current speakers won't reveal the performance differences of amps, but then your current amp won't drive a quality pair of speakers and the sound will likely get worse.
     
  5. bluecat

    bluecat
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Music music music... Mostly just playing, but occasionally recording guitar tracks, hense really why I'm thinking of getting a real sound card. I don't use surround or EAX stuff for games ever and for 56quid I can buy a M-Audio Audiophile 2496, which has phono outputs etc. I think that purchase is pretty much decided on.

    Don't want to get in to a conversation about the differences between PC and CD source music, MP3 compression etc etc. I know lots about that.

    Ermmm... No idea. The interconnect I use for the CDP to Amp is a £5 quid one from dixons, the computer to the Amp even less so! As for speaker cables, not sure of the make... a friend gave them to me, probably nothing special.

    Something like £500-600. I'm currently thinking something like £350 for new speakers and £200 for a new amp (or cd player), depending on what you guys think really. I'm interested in the NAD C320 and something like the Wharfedale Pacific Evo 20s. For cables, I'm considering QED S.A. for the speakers, and a couple of QED Qunex Twos for the interconnects. My thinking on getting better cabling is that they'll last for a further upgrade - and do really need replacing.

    Yikes - All sorts. Seriously, my music listening is very eclectic. Some favourites are: Bloc Party, Belle&Sebastian, Orbital, Coldplay, Mylo, Dream Theatre, Radiohead. I suppose you could say I like indie/rock/electronica. I'm really looking for that kind of punchy, tight(?), clear bass that moves you - The sort I currently only hear in hi-fi stores :) I suppose a medium volume. I like to hear the music properly - but not annoy the neighbours too much.
     
  6. Londondecca

    Londondecca
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2003
    Messages:
    2,080
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +96
    For that kind of budget you should be able to get a huge leap forward in quality especially if your willing to look at second hand equipment.

    There are two other issues which are also worthy of serious consideration, firstly the synergy of the equipment can make a big difference and secondly, the acoustic interaction with the room can bring the biggest changes in sound quality, IMO.
     
  7. Knightshade

    Knightshade
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Messages:
    1,971
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +43
    Pretty much your choice really. It's never easy to upgrade a bit at a time. If you have your eye on a complete system then try and arrange a demo if you like it, work towards it.
    Most CDP's in the budget you are looking at will sound pretty much the same, The amps and speakers will probably effect the sound more. Cabling will have little or no effect. Making your own will save a great deal.
     
  8. bluecat

    bluecat
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Well, I'm planning on taking my amp and CDP down to my local hifi shop and trying out a few speakers. As for room acoustics - I can't really think about that - I'm just out of uni and not settled at all, renting and moving about a bit y'see. I'll probably be moving again in 6 months...
     
  9. Londondecca

    Londondecca
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2003
    Messages:
    2,080
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +96
    I should have said speaker location and seating position can make a profound difference to the sound quality. Great speakers in the wrong place will sound dreadful whereas cheaper speakers in the perfect place can sound (relatively) good
     

Share This Page

Loading...