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WOrth upgrading Mission M74's? Law of diminishing returns?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Bugblatter, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Bugblatter

    Bugblatter
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    Hi folks. I've had my Mission M74's, M7C1 and m7ds's for four years now, driven from a Yamaha RX-V620RDS. I don't have a sub.

    When I first got them I was really disappointed in the m74's, they didn't seem as bright as I'd expected, pretty muddy in fact. The bass is reasonably good, although it doesn't go down as low as I'd like.

    In time I've become accustomed to them, and it's possible that age has improved them too.

    But looking for speakers for a friend has infected me with the upgrade-bug. I'm wondering if I could get a big improvement without spending a fortune, say up to a grand. The grand limit's more to do with what I think it's worth to me rather than what I can afford, so it's not set in stone. I know I'll probably regret saying that to you guys :D

    Actually I just realised that my current speakers plus the amp originally came to about a grand. Guess I'm still as cheap as ever ;)

    I really like the idea of three-way fronts, I could never really see the point of the M74's two large drivers both handling bass and mid, and I guess I blame that at least partly for the muddiness..

    The MA RS6's look pretty good, although I'm not keen on the fact that the mid driver also handles bass. The RS8's don't have that downside, but do they provide a big advantage over the RS6's? Is my prejudice against two-ways unfounded?

    I also like the look of the MS 906's and 908's. WIth the 908's I particularly like the 10" woofer, although this could just be my age (to me speakers should have large woofers).

    And then there's the sub. I always thought that good floor-standers shouldn't need a sub, but from what I've read here I was probably wrong. I want movies and such to sound good but to be honest I'm more interested in having solid bass for music. I tend to favour forward-throw subs as I live in a flat and don't want the downstairs neighbours to get most of the bass.

    The BK Monolith seems pretty good, of course with this and a pair of MA RS6's I'm already up to a grand, without even considering the surrounds, centre and amp. How much am I sacrificing if I don't upgrade them?

    Speaking of the amp, four years ago it was very well reviewed, but how does it stack up now? If I buy better speakers will it let me down? The Pioneer VSX1015 looks good, and I particularly like the support for bi-amping (I'm currently bi-wiring the m74's).

    I want something good for movies but music is my main priority. Am I losing out by going for an AV amp? What if I took the output from the Yamaha (which is presumably after the pre-amp stage) and fed it to a dedicated power-amp to drive the fronts? Best of both worlds? I like to have music coming out of all of the speakers so just having a stereo amp wouldn't suit me.

    Thinking about it I could always try selling my current set-up, and I could put the proceeds towards the new one. Any idea of a fair price for it, just to give an indication of what that'd push my budget up to?

    I know this is a lot of questions but hopefully you guys can steer me in the right direction. I'm no audiophile but I can't help feeling I can benefit from upgrading.

    Cheers :)
     
  2. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    I upgraded from the 620 to a 2500 and the improvement was certainly there, i mainly had to do this as I bought some new speakers and the 620 couldn't keep up, but the performance is better accross the board.

    Rember if you change your fronts you'll be advised to changed your centre too, otherwise things won't sound quite right.

    Maybe this is a time for you to have an extended audition of some kit and pick something you like. Also i know what you mean on the speaker front, it's a bit childish really (as there are plenty of bookshelfs that can wipe the floor with fllorstanders) but why not choose a speaker becase of the aestetics of lots of drivers, its not as bad as people wanting tinny little cubes and then complaining when they can't get below 100hz ("oh do i need a sub, it'll be intrusive").

    On the sub point a good sub does change movies alot and can impact music too, depending on the whole system really. I got a mission V6as very big powerful and bassy :).
     
  3. Bugblatter

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    Cheers Gaz :)

    Well I've got an old set of speakers with an 18" woofer, two 12" mids and a 100W tweeter. That's one cabinet, the other has a 15" long-throw woofer, one 12" mid and a tweeter. Yep, you guessed it, not shop-bought. My dad made the cabinets and I wired up the crossovers ;)

    Of course they don't sound any good without at least 100W shoved up 'em, haven't used them in years, but I still like a nice big woofer :)

    I've done a little more research on the MS 908A's and I've seen nothing but praise for them, and I've found somewhere that has them for £400 inc VAT, a ton cheaper than I've seen anywhere else. Richer Sounds also carries them so I can audition them there. It's a shame they don't have the MA RS6's too.

    I guess the MS 905C would probably be a good centre for the 908's. That'd take me to a little over £500. Not sure if I'd also need a sub, the 908's go down to 35Hz.

    So you reckon the rears would still be fine? If I'm not buying a sub or rears then I could spend £500 or so on a new AV amp, or a power-amp.

    What's a 2500? Is it four times as good as a 620? ;)
     
  4. Knyght_byte

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    if you like music, you should find the RS6 or 8's very much up your street, i own the previous gen, the S6's and i love 'em....gorgeous sound, very refined, yet can punch out staggeringly good bass levels if you like, and thats at hi and low volumes.......

    unless you want to fill a 20ft x 20ft room or bigger, the drivers on most modern speakers of a decent price are usually quite able to satisfy in the bass department.....and with a sub to plumb the lower depths you are laughing :)

    one thing i will say, is check the the sevenoaks website ( www.ssav.com) for your local branches special offers, they may have the S6 or S8's going cheap, altho these will prolly be ex-demo, but might not be........
    you can stay with the same surrounds you got for now without too much worry, but its best to get the matching centre for whatever you upgrade to on the fronts....

    oh, the S6's do like a fair bit of power......so you probably will wanna upgrade you amp at some point, OR just get a decent stereo amp and use the pre-outs on your current one.......if you more in to music than movies i'd suggest doing this to save some money and get more for what you do spend...
     
  5. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    Well i wouldn't say it was 4x as good but some might ;) The one to look out for is the new 2600, electronics to lust over ...

    The rears will be fine with the ms set up, as the rears don't have to match as perfectly and they are sound defusses so i guess that would help mask any difference, although you could always get the matching mas rears for about an extra £150ish.

    You shoud consider a sub if you want the whole movie effect although upgrading the amp may take more of a priority, being 4-5year old model (even though it probably is the best budget-mid model of the time). If you went for a new amp you could also put the mission fronts on as extra rears for 7.1 . If your room is only small some of the smaller bk subs offer great value for money, i.e. performance above there price, they also do a larger version that seems to be enjoying great respect too.

    One last thing, you can get richers to price beat and get an extra £10 of the price, if they sold the 908 for £501+ you'd get £25 of the matched price.
     
  6. lpm

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    Bugblatter,

    I recently became aware of how much m74s improve with plenty of power so I'm going to upgrade my receiver well before I consider changing my m74 speakers. Reason is twofold.

    When I added a good active sub to my system, the m74s whilst never muddy but perhaps a little drab, really came to life. Mids and highs now leapt out at me even though I still had only about 40 watts per channel at best. Others on this forum have recommended 75 watts plus. I don't know how much power your model Yamaha has but few receivers these days (with exceptions of course) give anything like the marketed numbers and adding an active sub really unloads the ampifier section.

    Secondly. I recently upgraded my centre from a m7c1 to a m7c2i and again an amazing improvement, simply chalk and cheese. So much so that one of my sons friends who is a professional high end hi fi system installer and supplied my sub, has recommended going for the AVR300 without touching my speakers. He believes I would have to expend a considerable amount of money for any worthwhile improvement and compares my speakers very favouably with his own very upmarket gear.

    Obviously there are better speakers out there than your Missions but in the spirit of your original question, if you ever intend to add a sub, consider adding it now. Same same with any receiver upgrade. A secondhand m7c2 would also be worth a try unless you really don't like the Missions any more in which case, sell and start again by all means.
     
  7. Bugblatter

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    Thanks for the info guys.

    Yeah the RS6's and RS8's seem damn good. It'd be nice to have a direct comparison between them and the MS 908's, since the RS6's cost £200 more and the RS8's are £400 more. Not necessarily a problem if they're a lot better.

    I had a look at the Sevenoaks site, nothing much there right now but I'll keep an eye on it :)

    The room's around 14'x13'. The m34's have trouble getting the bass across to the other side of the room, not too bad if they're fairly near the rear wall though. Still seems boomy rather than solid.

    I just looked up my amp and apparently I have 90W RMS per channel, which seems pretty good to me. Whether it can actually deliver that across all channels, and without significant distortion, is probably another matter.

    I had a look at the Yamaha RX-V2500, which is £800, and the RX-V2600, which is £900. I did find a few RX-V2500's on the US ebay for around £400, obviously they'd be the US rather than UK edition.

    I'd certainly like to do bi-amping, which the RX-V2500 can do, not sure about buying one from ebay though. When I got my current Yamaha it was faulty and I had to take it back to the shop for a replacement. If that happened with this one...

    I'll give Richer Sounds a try on the price beating, they're just down the road from me so that's very convenient.

    I'm not fussed about 7.1, although that may just be because I haven't heard it. It doesn't seem to be all that well supported though, or at least it wasn't the last time I checked.

    If the amp's generally ok then I quite like the idea of hooking up a power amp to it, but then comes the question of whether to get a single power amp for ~£500 or two for ~£250 each and bi-amp...

    Interesting stuff there lpm, I guess taking the lowest of the bass away from the m34's allows them to concentrate on the other stuff. It'd be interesting to hear them with a decent sub just to see if that fixes the problem. BTW it's the m34's not the m34i's you've got?

    So if I'm going to get a sub anyway then I should get it first. Now I just have to decide if I'm going to get a sub anyway, and if so then it needs to be a decent one to keep up with the music :)

    Decisions decisions. The daft thing is that I'm sure any of these solutions would be fine, but of course I want the absolute best performance etc for my money that I can get.

    Anyway it's probably worth a trip to Richer Sounds today, if I can get my arse in gear before they close ay 4pm. So what the hell am I still doing here? :D
     
  8. Bugblatter

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    I should have left my credit card at home ;)

    I auditioned some MS 906's. They looked horrible and sounded worse! That's probably partly because they were beech (speakers should be black, black I tell you! I was gonna do the Fast Show thing here but then if you don't get it I look like a twonk :D )

    The cones also look awful, I think it was the ridges that did it. Ok they're supposed to be for rigidity (geddit?) but they look awful. I'm not keen on this fashion for white cones either. The baffles looked pretty bad too. My m34's look great with the covers off, these looked awful. The same was true of the 908's. They were much smaller than I'd expected, which might be a plus to some but space isn't really a problem for me, I like some meat on my speakers ;)

    They already had the 906's set up in the demo room so I gave them a listen. They sounded much much worse than my m34's. To be fair I think that was probably down more to Richer Sounds rather than MS. Boxy little demo room, narrow and long, packed full of kit, 10'+ ceiling, cheap speaker cable and no bi-wiring. I went right off them though.

    I got talking to the guy about subs and he pretty much agreed with lpm. They have the MS 309's in stock, which I'd heard good things about, in fact the guy has one himself (yeah I know they always say that, I think he had though). Anyway they do a 14-day home trial, which basically means you can buy it and take it back within 14 days for a refund. I figured it was well worth finding out how much of a difference a sub makes.

    So far it's sounding very good from my DVD player with both DVD's and CD's. From the PC, which I use for playing most of my music, it's pretty lack-lustre. I've got an Audigy and I've enabled bass-redirection, cut-off at 200Hz (which is what I've set the sub too as well). I'm finding I have to turn the sub up pretty high to get anything from it, much higher than with the DVD player. Still have some tweaking to do I guess, probably on the PC rather than the sub.

    I guess with a sub bi-amping the fronts will yield less of a benefit as the deepest bass isn't going to them.

    Well I guess it's time to have a good listen and decide if I still want to upgrade anything else, or even take the sub back.

    Thanks for the help guys, I may well be back :)
     
  9. Bugblatter

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    You were spot-on lpm, the effect's more noticeable on some tracks than others but the midrange is a lot better with the sub on. Without it the m34's sometimes just lose control of the midrange (Natalie Imbruglia's "Beauty on the Fire" is a good example).

    The ms309 is pretty refined, but I think I probably like that (still deciding).
     
  10. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    I don't think you can bi-amp the 2500 (no on mine anyway, don't confuse dual binding posts with bi-amp).

    Supprised the MS sounded so bad but like you say it could be for a multitude of reasons and i don't think the missions are bad speakers anyway, although you could always go for the m35's :p http://www.mission.co.uk/product/m3iseries/loudspeaker_m35i.htm or even the big(ish) m5 http://www.mission.co.uk/product/m5/loudspeaker_m53.htm or v6 series http://www.mission.co.uk/product/volare/loudspeaker_v63.htm (hmmm shiny black cones).
    You could also look at these http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/MISSION-753-F...822035004QQcategoryZ14993QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    no fat woofers but lottttts of cones :smashin:


    For the sub its generaly suggested to try and keep it below 100hz crossover, this reduces localisation and removes the more stresful frequiencies from the amp and speakers and this is the range that th fat speaker is ment to work at.
     
  11. Devil On Your S

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    I've recently upgraded from Mission M73i's to Quad 11L and then Quad 12L (to recover some lost bass!). I'd say the far cheaper Mission M73i had the most detail of the 3, but I moved to a smaller room and it became too "in your face" and fatiguing. If you've got the room size, I'd say stick with the missions. Maybe not that sweet, but full of detail and accuracy :)
     
  12. Bugblatter

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    Ahh yes, the 2600 allows for bi-amping, got them mixed up :)

    I was surprised at the 906's too; if I'd bought them and they sounded like that I'd be very disappointed and looking for a refund. I suspect that if I'd brought them home they'd have sounded a lot better though. How do RS expect to sell any speakers when they make them sound so bad? They looked scuffed and grimy too!

    Since my last post I'd reduced the crossover frequency to around 120Hz on the PC, I may as well put it down to 100Hz if that's the standard. I've kept the frequency at max on the sub assuming that it only makes a difference if you're connecting other speakers to the sub (I could be wrong on that).

    The problem with the signal from the PC is that there's just not enough signal going to the sub, and reducing the cutoff frequency has reduced it further still. I'm connecting the PC to the amp using six (Ixos) phono's rather than a digital connection and I'm having to turn the sub up well over halfway. Got a few things to try though :).

    I might see if Sevenoaks has the MA RS6's in store so that I can audition them. I also want to see what they look like in the flesh. I may well end up sticking with the M34's though, I'll try them for a while with the sub.

    I could still add a power amp, although with the sub taking some of the strain from the amp it's probably not needed.

    Thanks Devil, I have to admit I'm hearing more detail from the m34's now that I've got a sub. Of course the m34i's are supposed to be better in the midrange than the m34's, so you probably got more detail than me.
     
  13. lpm

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    Bugblatter

    Glad its been worth the experiment so far. I think the Missions are really good given half a chance and if you can get a few more years out of them while you get the rest of your system sorted, all the better. I do have m74 not m74i or m34 by the way. I only have the "i" version in my new centre and rears (for 7.1). I took it that you had m74 from the thread title and 1st post. Not too much difference though. In my current receiver research, I have found that listening to the receivers using a pair of m34i is so close that its pointless me lugging the m74s around.

    Re receiver power, my Marantz is rated at 85watt per channel but tests have it dropping to 35 watt into 6 channels. Some older Denons and Yammies have done even worse. Newer mid range receivers tend to be a bit closer to the truth but Arcam, Rotel, NAD etc can pretty much be trusted.

    The sub itself is a whole new world to get right. If you haven't done so yet, do try setting all of your speakers to small and crossing over at say 80 or 100hz on the receiver (most people automatically start with floorstanders set to large). Switch out the sub crossover if it has a switch or set it as high as possible otherwise. The Pros and cons of this are argued in many other forums but it does fully offload the receiver of the low frequencies so for the sake of experiment, try it if you havent already. I generally run all speakers small for surround and the m74s large for 2 channel. I can give plenty of references to discussions on this issue if you like.
     
  14. Bugblatter

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    Ahh yes, I keep getting the m34's and m74's mixed up, it's definitely the m34's I have. Probably... ;)

    As it happens I'd already changed all of the speakers to small, I'd tried them both ways and that sounded much better. According to the manual setting them to small causes any frequencies below 90Hz to be sent to the sub, that isn't adjustable but it seems fine to me.

    Of course none of that has any effect when I'm playing from the PC. I'm sending six signals down six phono's and the amp's just amplifying those channels as they're sent to it. I've set the cutoff on the PC to 100Hz which works fine apart from the volume level going to the sub. I might try having the sub output from the amp going into the sub's L-input and the sub output from the PB going into the sub's R-input, bit unorthodox but it might just work :)
     

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