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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Converting HT to 2-ch - pls help.

    Hi all, thanks for reading. i recently acquired a new HT system apparently thinking that i am a 80% cinema : 20% music guy. 6 months later, i realize i am 40% cinema : 60% music! I realize i need to do something about my current system since the music really lacks any sign of life.

    My current system is an entry-level HT system:

    Denon AVR-1905 (80w @ 8 ohm)
    KEF Q4 Front Ch ( 42Hz-27kHz, 90dB @ 8 ohm)
    Mission m5c Center Ch (65Hz-20kHz, 87dB @ 8 ohm)
    Mirage FRX-7 Rear Ch (35-22kHz, 91dB @ 8 ohm)
    KEF 1005 Subwoofer
    HTPC CD/DVD transport (Toslink)

    The question is whether i should change my speakers or add a power-amp or add an integrated amp since the Denon supports pre-outs.
    I've been looking at Audio Analogue Puccini integrateds, Cambridge Audio integrateds and Odyssey Kathargos power-amps. My budget is around US$900 at the moment.

    If anyone can give me some suggestions. I would appreciate it very much.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular thepogue's Avatar
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    I'd grab a used Power amp..

    on EPay...maybe an Adcom...NAD...Rotel....somfinn for short $$$ I think for under $300 you'd hear a big ole difference...then take it from there...

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  3. #3
    Audio Hobbyist Since 1969 Glen B's Avatar
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    There are a few good amplifier buys within your budget range currently at Audiogon, including for example the excellent Aragon 4004 MKII at $599.00

    http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl...ran&1129215781

  4. #4
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    Here is one solution to your 2 channel blues. Get a pre and power amp and use them as I have outlined below. The following is one of my posts from ecoustics. Several folks followed this advice and are living in 2 channel bliss.

    "Use the AVR as yet another source component hooked up to the video or aux on your pre and to power the center and rears. Leave the AVR off completely when listening to 2 channel. I go from the L/R front pre outs on the AVR to the video in on my NAD C162 pre. The C162 pre has 2 sets of pre outs. I use 1 set to go to the power amp and the other to go to the sub so that I have use of the sub for both 2 channel and home theater. I have to set the pre amp volume control to a set mark when I calibrate the home theater and return it to that setting every time I listen to it. It's key to remember to turn it back down before returning to 2 channel use or you can blow your fronts. It's a bit of pain but well worth it to me for better 2 channel music performance."

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artk
    Here is one solution to your 2 channel blues. Get a pre and power amp and use them as I have outlined below. The following is one of my posts from ecoustics. Several folks followed this advice and are living in 2 channel bliss.

    "Use the AVR as yet another source component hooked up to the video or aux on your pre and to power the center and rears. Leave the AVR off completely when listening to 2 channel. I go from the L/R front pre outs on the AVR to the video in on my NAD C162 pre. The C162 pre has 2 sets of pre outs. I use 1 set to go to the power amp and the other to go to the sub so that I have use of the sub for both 2 channel and home theater. I have to set the pre amp volume control to a set mark when I calibrate the home theater and return it to that setting every time I listen to it. It's key to remember to turn it back down before returning to 2 channel use or you can blow your fronts. It's a bit of pain but well worth it to me for better 2 channel music performance."

    Good luck.
    I started out with a Rotel RC 1070 2ch Pre using this method.As posted it can be a pain.I then bought a used Adcom GFP 750 that has HT bypass.Works much better.There are others that have this feature only the Anthem comes to mind though.

  6. #6
    RGA
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    Here is what i would do -- keep everything you have and use ti as a home theater system. You say you don;t like the music that much and IMO you can't throw band-aids at it.

    I would buy a complete two channel system. I would avoid cheap integrated amps as they won;t be enough of an improvement over the Denon.

    For two channel music I would look at something like the recommended system on this site http://www.venushifi.com/recommended.shtml

    I think you could get away with a cheaper cd player though. I have not heard the specific Jolida but the tubes I have heard from them are good. There si also ASL under $1k which are quite good.

  7. #7
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    Try two Outlaw Model M 200 Watt M-Block Amps, by all account's their great.

    http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/index.html

  8. #8
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Without knowing what you don't like about your system, it's pretty hard to make any recommendations. I would just say to remember that speakers will make the most dramatic and cost effective change. Aside from possible room acoustic issues, that would be the first place I'd look.

    RGA, I find it interesting that you recommend the OP follow the recommended systems from your link when you are one of the most vocal proponents of people auditioning and finding what they like while ignoring reviewers. Why is VenusHifi withheld from this standard? Is it because they fawn all over Audio Note? That's mighty convenient.

    On a completely different note, I was in your neck of the woods a few weeks back. Oh my God, now I know why you don't own a car. If you did, you'd surely wreck it from your head snapping back and forth looking at all of the beautiful women! Is it the clean air? Good water? Northern exposure? Whatever, Vancouver just shames LA in the hot chix per capita race (plus, there isn't nearly as much silicon)! I felt like Mr. PotatoHead in Toy Story 2 chanting "I'm a married spud! I'm a married spud!" You are truly blessed to live in such a region, I hope you avail yourself to the bounty bestowed upon you.

  9. #9
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    Reasons

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Happy to know that someone is willing to help.

    Topspeed, yes you are right.. i should have added what i dislike about my system. Well it was my first HT system and I didn't put much thought into it when I purchased it. Now I have speakers that are good at mids to high notes but the bass is somewhat lacking in detail (booming perhaps). Furthermore, there is no dimension and dynamics when listening to the stereo. I would probably change the speakers in future but at the moment, the amplification has to be stepped up a bit cuz even if I did change the speakers.. the Denon wouldn't be able to provide enough power.

    RGA, the recommended equipment at Venushifi doesn't seem to be available for audition in my area and I do prefer solid state equipment. Do i really need to set up 2 separate systems? I wish i could but i can't afford the space and it would exceed my budget.

  10. #10
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Your speakers appear to be pretty efficient so the Denon should be up to driving them. Would better amplification improve the sound? Probably. Damping factors, current, etc. all have an effect on how much you can get out of a speaker. However, if you've got "booming" bass, the first thing I would do is address any placement or room acoustic problems. Do a search here for threads by Richard Greene on room nodes as well as a search for room treatments. You may find that your problem is the room, not the gear. While incremental improvements can be had by switching front-end pieces, speakers and the room acoustics have the most profound effect on sound.

    Now, if you're just looking to upgrade, I'd consider the other's excellent recommendations. Rotel, Parasound, B&K, Adcom, and Anthem all make excellent, affordable gear. Glen's Aragon find is especially inspired as amps are great buys used due to no moving parts and many come with transferrable warranties. I'd be more inclined to buy used from audiogon than ebay as audiogon is populated with audiophiles that normally take very good care of their gear.

    Hope this helps.

  11. #11
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    I have a couple things to say. First for Trashken, it seems to me that a decent two channel amp tied in to your system should do the job for music. As long as you like the sound of your KEF's I think you should hang onto them. I auditioned them a couple times and they are pretty nice speakers. Second I have a few things to say about Venus HiFi. I hardly think that listing three Audio Note components among 15 total constitutes "fawning". I have met Brian B. (the owner of Venus) and spoken to him several times and he is one of the most down to earth, straight shooters you're ever likely to meet in audio or any other business. He is just as likely to recommend Music Hall, Blue Circle, Almarro, Jolida, J.M. Reynaud or Shahinian as Audio Note. If more dealers were like Brian there would be a lot less of those stories about bad experiences at audio dealers. I am not trying to be personally critical here, it's just that knowing the guy a little I wanted to speak my piece. Incidentally, I'm not a customer (yet) or co-worker, just someone with a little familiarity with Venus and Brian.
    Gary

  12. #12
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt39
    I have a couple things to say. First for Trashken, it seems to me that a decent two channel amp tied in to your system should do the job for music. As long as you like the sound of your KEF's I think you should hang onto them. I auditioned them a couple times and they are pretty nice speakers. Second I have a few things to say about Venus HiFi. I hardly think that listing three Audio Note components among 15 total constitutes "fawning". I have met Brian B. (the owner of Venus) and spoken to him several times and he is one of the most down to earth, straight shooters you're ever likely to meet in audio or any other business. He is just as likely to recommend Music Hall, Blue Circle, Almarro, Jolida, J.M. Reynaud or Shahinian as Audio Note. If more dealers were like Brian there would be a lot less of those stories about bad experiences at audio dealers. I am not trying to be personally critical here, it's just that knowing the guy a little I wanted to speak my piece. Incidentally, I'm not a customer (yet) or co-worker, just someone with a little familiarity with Venus and Brian.
    Gary
    Just so we're clear, I wasn't taking a shot at Venus Hifi..

    I was taking a shot at RGA.

    I could care less about Brian or his company. Re-read my post and I think you'll get my intent.

  13. #13
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Ok then I will.

    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Just so we're clear, I wasn't taking a shot at Venus Hifi..
    BANG!!
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  14. #14
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    Jolida

    I manage to track down a Jolida 100H CD Player for around $325 used. It's one of the recommended players on VenusHifi. Is it any good?

  15. #15
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    I dunno. Listen to it in your rig, compare it to others, and then you tell us.

    Here's the deal friend, there are no absolutes in audio. Of all the hobbies you could get into, this one is possibly the most subjective of them all. What sounds great to one person could be intolerable to another. Of course, the rampant differences in opinion is also what makes this so much fun ! Going into an audio salon and comparing equipment for hours is a heckuva lotta fun. If it's not, you're definitely doing something wrong. My suggestion would be to get out there and start listening to a lot of different equipment to get a handle on what you like and don't like. Do you like planar's unique sound? Are bipolar's diffuse soundstage more to your liking? Do tubes give you a warm and fuzzy feeling? Audio is a lot like art, you'll know it when you hear it.

    Based on the fact that you feel your bass is lacking and yet are looking at cd players, my guess is that you're shooting in the dark right now. You need to figure out what you're looking for.

    Hope this helps.

  16. #16
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trashken
    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Happy to know that someone is willing to help.

    Topspeed, yes you are right.. i should have added what i dislike about my system. Well it was my first HT system and I didn't put much thought into it when I purchased it. Now I have speakers that are good at mids to high notes but the bass is somewhat lacking in detail (booming perhaps). Furthermore, there is no dimension and dynamics when listening to the stereo. I would probably change the speakers in future but at the moment, the amplification has to be stepped up a bit cuz even if I did change the speakers.. the Denon wouldn't be able to provide enough power.

    RGA, the recommended equipment at Venushifi doesn't seem to be available for audition in my area and I do prefer solid state equipment. Do i really need to set up 2 separate systems? I wish i could but i can't afford the space and it would exceed my budget.
    Topspeed and Trasken -- I said look at something like that system not necessairly that system -- it was just convenient to post because it seemed reasonably priced and work as a second system. But one could just as easily be looking at the Solid State Audio Refinement Complete an Arcam cd player and say the Dynaudio Audience 42 speakers.

    The reason i suggest tube amplification is to be a kind of right turn from what it is your listening to know. Something like the Antique Sound Labs AQ1003DT and some kind of speaker you like that is about 90db and doesn't dip under 4 ohms would probably work well.

    The problem in my view is the receiver which IMO is the thing you want to completely get out of the chain for music listening. i'm generally not a lover of speakers incorporating metal tweeters either. This forum is merely a sounding board to generate different opinions and experiences -- ultimately though it's on you. Adding power amplifiers to your receiver may help -- it helped my wharfedales which are 95db sensiitve and don't go under 5 ohms. But the preamp section was still not great. DVD players typically don;t sound great as cd players either - mine sure don't.

    This is why I suggested it's probably just easier to start over with two channel. Of course if you really like the speakers you have then just adding an amp and a cd player may do the trick.

  17. #17
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trashken
    I manage to track down a Jolida 100H CD Player for around $325 used. It's one of the recommended players on VenusHifi. Is it any good?
    I don't know and I would be cautious. I sent you to a link of recommended set-ups which doesn;t necessarily mean that each part of it will be excellent in a different set-up. Dealers like that carry several products and they figure that many people put together a $1500.00 system and based on what they carry (which isn everything) that is what they feel is the best system for $1500.00 they can put together. For all I know it may be the only system they can put together that cheap so one needs to be cautious.

    I am partial to the speaker but Brian has spoken about Jolida being a good match. I have not heard that specific Jolida. I have heard theior all tube models and some I like a fair bit -- the speaker is easy going liking ss or tube amps. Speakers like that are always good because you may not like tubes now but one day you might and you won't have to change speakers just wanting to change amps. But if you can;t heard the speaker before you buy the point is totally moot.

    Jolida is more noted for amps than anything else - I know nothing of MMF except that they have a following n the budget circles on other forums.

  18. #18
    RGA
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    Topspeed

    Yes the scenery here is quite impressive -- Vancouver island is the pot capital of the world -- and maybe there is a link. See Pot is good.

    You should see some of the girls in my education program. A couple of them are quite the showstoppers and many of the cuter ones are not in any of these pics http://web.mala.bc.ca/education/Club...F04%20pics.htm

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