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04-03-2008, 05:25 PM
I'm a n00b... here's my back story. Used to be really into guitar and know a bit about live audio, but when it comes to home audio, I'm lost.... my friend and the salesperson I've been talking with laughed right out loud at me for asking something as stupid as if I should worry about overpowering or under powering the speakers I'm looking at with the amp in the receiver.... apparently not something you need to worry about that much with home audio, but a big concern for live audio.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. I'm currently looking at B&W's 684's and maybe spending the extra cash for 683's.... so that's my budget. (They're asking for $1200 for the 684's and $1500 for the 683's.... on a side note, is this price fair? It's hard to find MSRP's for B&W)

I really liked the 684's I listened to... I haven't heard the 683's yet, but I hear they're worth the extra cash so I want to at least hear them before I decide.

As for the use of the speakers for me: I'm into my music, I listen to a wide variety... jazz to rock to folk to whatever... so the highs and lows as far as music is concerned is important to me. But the end goal is a home theater. Right now I'm in the market for the main speakers and a receiver, but I'm going to get a center and surrounds eventually and possibly a sub woofer, but I don't know how much I'll need one if I get the 683's.

Are the B&W's a good idea for me for my price range? ($1000-$1500) Any other recommendations? I'm currently looking at the Marantz SR4002 and SR5002 and the Denon AVR-1708 as far as receivers go... any advice would be very much appreciated.

Sorry for the completely n00b post. I HAVE been reading around and trying to learn without asking questions, but I just moved into a new apartment and I'd like to make my purchases before I put the entertainment center in it's place. Thanks for any and all advice and sorry to people who are irked by this post!

04-03-2008, 05:48 PM
I just auditioned the B&W 683, 684, 685, and 686's a couple of weeks ago. The 683's sounded much better than the 684's with deeper and fuller bass. The sound was richer and more satisfying to me and my friend. I would definitely go with the 683's if you can and then add the 686's as surrounds later.

Your eventually going to need a sub if you want to do HT.

Go with the Marantz receivers if you can. You should also include the Onkyo SR605 in that group. Its a very good budget receiver in the $400 range and competes with some more expensive receivers.

04-03-2008, 06:06 PM
Thanks for your quick response Raven!

After a little more research it seems like I should at least look at Paradigm and apparently there's a registered dealer near here so I might go check it out. I've seen a number of people saying Paradigms sound better.... in the end I'm gonna go with what sounds good to me, but does anyone else feel that Paradigms are superior?

Luvin Da Blues
04-03-2008, 06:13 PM
JimmyDThing, welcome

The psb line is also a contender here. But then I'm a bit biased, worth checking out if you can find them in your area.

Mr Peabody
04-03-2008, 06:18 PM
Everyone has to start some where, don't be shy about asking any questions. It's better to ask than to go off and make a mistake.

I personally feel a $1,200 to $1.5k speaker is a bit overkill for a $400 or $500.00 receiver.

Have you heard Paradigm Studio series? They are slightly above average sensitivity and shouldn't cost as much. The extra sensitivity will have them be an easier load for your receiver. Others may know of different options as well. But if none of them give you the enjoyment of the B&W then you must do what you must do. I just don't think a receiver will ever do them justice. Now that I think of it though there are a couple of guys here that drive B&W with receivers. Speaker companies really don't care who buy their speakers but when they design a speaker at a certain price point they typically have a same level of electronics in mind. I doubt if B&W engineers have Marantz, or any other receiver, in their factory listening room.

04-03-2008, 06:19 PM
They have totally different sounds. I prefer B&W in that price range, they have better bass and a warmer sound compared to the paradigms. You should also listen to the NHT Classic 4's if you like a warmer sound.

With speakers its not really which is superior, its what sounds good to your ears. it all boils down to your tastes, I prefer a warmer sound over a brighter or neutral sound.

Think about the sound your prefer and try to find speakers that match it. Also, if you listen to alot of rock you may want a warmer sounding speaker as rock tends to be recorded on the bright side. When you audition speakers bring a variety of music that you like to listen to and take at least 30 min or more to listen to the speakers. Also try to audition them with amps, receivers and CD players in your price range and same brand if possible.

I tend to disagree with Mr. P about the lower priced receiver and $1500 speaker. Sure you will get a little more out of the speakers with a high end amp but you will get worse sound with cheaper speakers. 90 wpc will drive those B&W's just fine and you will appreciate the better sound of the 683's vs cheaper speakers. I think its worse when you have a higher end amp and cheaper speakers.

I used to drive my magnepans with a high current 120wpc JVC AVR and it sounded great. Does it sound better with my Adcom sure, but I would have been worse off with cheaper speakers.

I agree with LDB, give PSB a look!

04-03-2008, 06:27 PM
Thanks for all of your help! Sounds mostly like what I was thinking.... I need to listen to as much as I can and make my decision based on what I like best.

Mr. Peabody, do you really think it'd be an issue to try to drive the B&W's with either of the the Marantz receivers I'm looking at? Both salespeople I talked to recommended me the same one. I'd like to hear what the speakers sounded like coming from it... I wonder if they'd do that for me.

Thanks again for everyones help!

Luvin Da Blues
04-03-2008, 06:28 PM
We momentarily interrupt this program to bring you an important message.

Blackraven, clean out your mailbox please so I can PM ya.

Thanks for your patience. Now back to our regular programing.

04-03-2008, 06:30 PM
OK, done!

Mr Peabody
04-03-2008, 07:05 PM
The store should definitely be willing to hook up what you want if they carry both brands. A really good store allows in home auditions. At a minimum almost any store should allow a return if not satisfied, the online and big box stores typically give 30 days.

I've heard a lot of B&W but I haven't been in a situation where I could test the limits. I've seen many driven with Denon. Rich, here, drives his with a Yamaha. I didn't mean to imply the Marantz wouldn't drive them more like they are in different leagues. If you like the combo though there's no law agin them being together :)

04-04-2008, 03:37 AM
Mr. Peabody... I currently live in an apartment and will be living here for some time (probably at least 2 years... more than likely more if I go to grad school)... so I can only push the speakers so far. A lot of people are telling me then there's no reason for buying speakers this size, but to that I say.... I'm 23, I could be in an apartment for 7 more years or I could end up buying a house in 2. The point is I have some extra cash and I'd rather spend it on something that will last me a while....

This is also why when looking at receivers I'm looking at something very "future proof." But it seems like the receivers with all the capabilities I'd like are just too far out of my price range! So I'm debating buying on the lower end with a receiver right now and having THAT be my replacement piece later on down the road when I have the means to "push," as you say, my speakers as much as I want. The logic being... I'd rather replace 1 receiver than a receiver and speakers. Is my logic flawed?! I'm going to take a stop in again and see if they'll hook up the speakers I'm looking at to the receivers I'm looking at. I think they will, they are a small business, commission based.

It sucks because every time it's convenient for me to go there, I have to deal with a guy I refuse to buy from... he's demeaning and has an attitude of "I know better than you" about him. When I do buy, if I buy from this store, I'm making it a point to go buy it from a kid who helped me once who only works nights.... he treated me right and gave me what seemed like fair advice. Hell, at first I was looking at bookshelves and it was the sales guy telling me the pro's of it and the friend I took putting the pressure on the more expensive floorstanding!

Luvin Da Blues
04-04-2008, 03:42 AM
If any salesman laugh at me instead of edumacating would NOT get any of my business. All he would get is a big fat F!!ck Off. Is there not any other shops in your area?

04-04-2008, 05:08 AM
In addition to the B&W, Paradigm, NHT and PSB speakers mentioned, in the $1K to $1.5K price range, I'd audition the following:

Monitor Audio Silver RS6 $1K and RS8 $1.5K
Revel Converta F12 $1.5K
Focal Chorus 716V $1.3K & maybe 726V $1.6K
Kef IQ7 approx $1K and IQ9 $1.3K

Even though you won't get the most out of any of these speakers with a $400 - $500 receiver, you should still be able to setup a satisfying combo & you can always upgrade the Receiver later on, if you so desire.

04-04-2008, 05:44 AM
Unfortunately there's not a ton around me... maybe 3 stores that I've found so far. I found a Paradigm dealer that I'm going to check out today, not sure what else they carry. The one I went to and will probably buy from has B&W, Boston, KEF, Klipsch, and JBL... And the last store I can check out has these guys that I don't know ANYTHING about:

Monitor Audio
Tru Audio
Gallo Acoustics

04-04-2008, 06:33 AM
Haha... apparently I won't be able to test drive Paradigm. The dealer here is a car audio dealer!

04-04-2008, 07:10 AM
Unfortunately there's not a ton around me... maybe 3 stores that I've found so far. I found a Paradigm dealer that I'm going to check out today, not sure what else they carry. The one I went to and will probably buy from has B&W, Boston, KEF, Klipsch, and JBL... And the last store I can check out has these guys that I don't know ANYTHING about:

Monitor Audio
Tru Audio
Gallo Acoustics

JM-LABS is Focal.... so on that list I'd check out Monitor Audio, Focal JM-Labs & Wharfedale (Diamond series)...

Mr Peabody
04-04-2008, 06:55 PM
Jimmy, your reasoning makes sense. You might also buy a receiver with preamp outputs so if you wish you can add a power amp to the front mains at some point to give some extra ummmf. I believe some one mentioned earlier the Onkyo receivers, you should give them a listen. Onkyo has the best high current amp section of the mass market brands. You should notice better bass response, control and better capable of dealing with a difficult speaker load,. Some of the Denon units, which are more expensive, boast "high current" but I haven't heard any of them to see if they rock with Onkyo. The 605 and up are up to date with features. For not a lot more money but maybe forgoing some bells & whistles you might also look for a NAD or Cambridge receiver for better than average music playback.

04-05-2008, 08:14 PM
Sweet... OK, I'm glad it makes sense. Does anyone think it a poor idea to go with the Onkyo 605 and the B&W 683's? Unfortunately, no store here carries both so I can't audition them together unless I buy and return.... this worries me.

04-05-2008, 10:57 PM
The onkyo should be fine with the B&W's. The onkyo has a nice amp section, with a nice relatively high current amp which you will appreciate. If you want to go with a Denon you have to go with a 3000 series denon to get their good high current amps with Torroidal transformers.

04-07-2008, 03:55 AM
Thanks guys for all the help. Now that I'm about ready to go out and buy it... my TV crapped the bed. It's a horrible old TV and I was going to replace it before next winter anyway because I don't really watch too much TV in the summer anyway... but I need SOME TV and it seems a waste not to buy the TV I really want.

So now I'm debating getting a good TV and downgrading my speakers to bookshelves (B&W 685's) for now and still getting the Onkyo 605 receiver... maybe in a month or two when I have some extra cash grabbing a sub. Not exactly what I wanted, but I can't get the 683's AND a TV... just not in my budget.

Seem like a good idea? Sorry, I promise I'll stop! hahaha Thanks again, seriously, to those who've helped me out.

Mr Peabody
04-07-2008, 07:43 PM
Sounds logical to me. It's odd how we couldn't go without TV. You take most of our TV's out and we'd be lost. Even though I mostly watch news in the morning getting ready for work and an occasional movie, some one always has the thing on.

04-08-2008, 04:48 AM
Yeah.... that's true. And I ended up saying "screw it" and I'm gonna get the 683's and a larger TV than I had planned on getting in the first place! Why? Because I don't have a financial problem yet, and I figured I should get one.

04-08-2008, 05:56 AM
OK, Jimmy: Here is (just for fun) my money saving killer system recommendation. Are you state side? If so, here goes...

Sam's club--47" Vizio 1080p LCD HDTV 1374.00 best price vs quality. RX-V663 415.00 cheaper than the Onkyo & decodes latest HD audio formats, also 5 more watts per ch.

By all means, get the 683's if you can and you like their bright sound. Best quality speaker in it's price range. I strongly recommend a sub when you own B & W speakers so for that I recommend going back to dependable for a Velodyne DLS-3750R 10" 350w sub. Comes with a remote which is incredibly handy for volume control (no reaching behind sub feeling for volume knob). 345.00 buys a lot of bass. I have this sub. It blends with my 703's very well. I sometimes wish I had gotten the 12" (for movies) but not very often because the 10" produces so much good warm reasonably fast bass.

Tell us what you end up with. I think your on the right track. Cheers

04-08-2008, 07:29 AM
I prefer plasma over LCD and I'm either gonna go with the Panasonic TH-50PX77U or Hitachi P50V701. I'm gonna go with the 683's and the Onkyo 605.

Subs... maybe in the future!

04-08-2008, 04:09 PM
Right, all excellent equipment. Didn't know how sharp your pencil needed to be when crunching numbers to fit your budget. Knew where some deals were and wanted to share them. Did you or anyone get a chance to check out? They have Onkyo too including the 605. Enjoy! I tested those speakers, they are great.

04-11-2008, 04:26 PM
Hey, you're da guy wif da thing ? (Analyse This), lol, mate you have to watch that.
So funny when Billy Crystal starts talking Mafia :)

Ok, a lot of great advice has been passed throughout this thread, great work guys.

Well, let's state the obvious so I am not misunderstanding...

1. You do have a set budget, with a bit of room to work with, but something way over the
top (price wise), is just not possible.

2. Lows and Highs when listening to music is a high priority for your listening pleasure.

3. B&W's are certainly options.

I was looking around for a new pair of fronts. I spent over 6 months, 30 stores and I lost
cound how many brands/models I auditioned. I set aside a certain budget, it was not
planned I could go over that, at least not much over. After painstaking time, effort, many
brands/models made my ears bleed, some didn't do anything for me, and only three
brands actually impressed me, B&W, Dali, and Dynaudio. Before I go on, I must let you
know that I'm in Australia, in a part where number of choices/variety of brands, cannot
compare to USA or Europe. However my method of reasearch is still sound.

I took a look on the net for all the models I was interested in, downloaded the operating
manuals, read lots of reviews, used the positive and negative feedback to bring back to
the store to get the salesperson to address these. The good sales staff never needed to
try to convince me, they let my ears judge what is best for me.

After listening to the Dynaudio Audience 80's, it was pretty good, then the salesperson
decided to plug in the Dynaudio Contours 1.8's Mark IIs. I could not believe it, it was as if
someone removed icecream cones away from my ears. I was able to hear additional
voices, instruments that were not there in every other pair of speakers. The imaging
was incredible, these speakers were on a totally new level. I was glad I found out about
these babies. I found out the price, and it was way beyond my budget. A dialemma.

I found a store which was able to work with my budget, and I was able to get this pair.
In addition I found a way, to scrape, starve, to get these speakers. That was over 5, 6
years ago, and to this day, it was the best decision I ever made in a purchase in my
entire life on this planet. WHY ? I feel you bro, the highs, the lows, the imaging, the
detail I could hear from the CDs, just incredible, I was able to listen to music, even the
same song, for hours, and hours, and hours, and not get what we call in this industry,
"listening fatigue". That basically means, after an hour you have to take a break, and
stop listening, the music grows tiring, regardless on what it is.

Remember that some speakers do perform better in certain genres of music better
than others. I.E. My Dyns are great for classical, opera, great singing voices, jazz etc..
However the lows can be better in other models, so if you're a heavy metal or rock fan,
you may find that advantage in other brands. I personally have found no weaknesses
in my speakers. I can also get sufficient bass each and every time.

The human body/ear drums are able to listen to the same music, a tune etc, for longer
than 1 hour, at a time, even continously. If you can be blessed with finding a pair of
speakers which has great imaging, a good dynamic range, great highs, midrange, and
lows, then you will actually look forward to listening to the next song on your list because
you know it already sounds incredible, regardless on how much you're enjoying the
current track.

I seriously do not believe you should not let a number (in terms of dollars) stop you
from auditioning speakers, or other components beyond your budget. You'll never find
out just how good the best of the best is capable of. Of course it may frustrate you
because you cannot buy it, but all you can go by is what you brought and tested, and
have no experience trying out the class-a, or extreme hi-end stuff. I took my close friend
to a shop, and played one of his favourite prince CDs. I gave him absolutely no advice,
I let him sit down on a chair and listen to When Doves Cry, on a 21K system.

He previously argued that there's no advantage of spending anything more $500 on a whole
system, anything more would be a waste of money. After hearing that song on the 21K
system, he was so exited, impressed, and told me, he heard so many additional voices,
and detail that never heard before in the 10+ years of hearing that track.

I invited a friend over to my place to help me stack my new LCD screen on top of my
cabinet, and I played a few concerts, and CDs through my speakers. He fell in love with
them, and wanted to throw his current speakers away. He begged me to tell him where
he could buy a pair.

It does not matter what type of music you listen to, the fact that you like listening to
music, you WILL appreciate just what a difference GREAT speakers can give you.
Great imaging, the detail, it's just so worth it. I would not necessarily recommend that
most of your funds should go towards speakers, or any particular component. Mr Peabody
pretty much hit the nail on the head, stating that a 1.5K part would be an overkill to a
400 receiver. The main reason is that you risk ending up with a receiver that cannot
efficiently drive a pair of 1.5K speakers. I am currently in that boat, I purchased speakers
worth 6K, and running them through a 1.7K receiver. Does that mean it was a mistake
getting the 6K speakers ? Absolutely NOT, like I said, it was the best purchase. My Dyns
are no longer my weakest component. I do need to get a new receiver/amp to not just
better drive my speakers, but for other reasons anyway.

The importance of getting a great pair of speakers, amp/receiver, source are for different
reasons, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend spending exactly 1/3 of your budget for
each, but as long as the proportion is not too unbalanced. Don't neglect your
interconnects, speaker cables etc. I wouldn't use the $2 pairs that came in the box.

I recently listened to some of my favourite music on a 75K system. Most of the gear
was McIntosh, and the speakers were 35K B&Ws. I thought I was impressed
with my system at home, I actually found so much more detail coming through this
system (well it would make sense wouldn't it ?). One track where I could hear about
10 background voices, this 75K system felt like it was able to pick up 32 background
voices. That's where receivers fall over, in comparison to class-A amps, because
receivers "in general" use algorithms to reprocess, change the dynamics of the sound
that you finally listen to. Class-A amps, power/pre combos, the best of the best
invest their research and development on detail, keeping true to obtaining as much
information out of the original souce, and delivering them through your speakers as
close to the original as possible. Don't get me wrong, people on this thread will start
complaining stating that they are very happy with their receivers, and that is fine. I am not
saying receivers are not good, I have one myself. However I turn off the processing,
which stays true to the original source as possible, makes my receiver last longer
because it does less work, and most things are going to sound good through my
speakers anyway.

Receivers "normally" provide better dynamics, that is partially why some people end up
buying a graphic equaliser. Amps, (class-A, and the very best of what you can get),
provide better detail, stay true to the original source, without coloring in the music.

Consider using photoshop. If you're given a poor resolution picture, you need to maintain
the quality, but increase the size. Any knowledgable graphics person, or graphics artist
will tell you straight away that there's no way that's going to happen no matter how good
at photoshop you are. However there are many tools you can use to enrich the blacks,
use a pallet to colour in the areas, enchance the sharpness, or blurness, change the
hue, etc. Yes you can make it look better, Photoshop is a great touch-up tool.
However a printing company was going to do a poster for a client, need a 1024 x 768 hi resolution image to do the job, and was given a 800 x 600 image with half the resolution,
they'd turn back and ask for a higher res, large image from the client. It is always better
to work with a better original.

That brings me to the point that the source is very important as well, hence the phrase,
garbage in, garbage out. A good cd player for example is not something that should be
overlooked. That is something I will need to get in the future.

It is a dialemma that many people that have both 2 and 5.1 channel systems have. They
prefer the 2-channel system over the 5. They know that the 2-channel system provides
better reproduction of the music as many of those systems are running through good
amps and good speakers. The 5.1 jobs are usually through receivers, there's a smaller
proportion of preamps that have 5.1 inputs. When you add rears, surround rears, centre,
surround rears, and sub woofers, you are most likely to find more weaker links in the
overall system. Before anyone gets a change to whinge about that last comment, yes I'm
sure all of you have done an excellent job with the equipment that you have, and that it
sounds fantastic.

I'll reiterate, anyone who is seeking for a component, listen to models even beyond
your budget, you need to know what the very best of the best can do. You're doing
yourself a disservice if you never get to find out just how much detail exists in your CDs,
and what some of your other components are capable of. For practical purposes you
may find out that the weakest component is a different one to what you throught.

Also take your sweet time before making the informed decision. Nothing wrong with
audtioning more and more components. You need to find out which stores you can trust,
which shops have poor setups, which store staff know what they are talking about, and
know when someone in the shop is jerking you around.

One thing that I would hope some people would consider, customer service, or a lack of
it. I work in a highly focussed customer service environment. I know poor service when
I get it, same as that Doctors make the worst patients. If I find out for a certain amount
of time that the sales staff does not welcome my business, or isn't being a professional
about their job, they have lost my business.

You can get a good cheap deal from someone who had poor people and business skills.
That may save you dollars, but if you have to return to them for either repairs, servicing,
purchase of new products, you may find yourself in a difficult position. It is worth building
a good business relationship with the store you buy your gear from. They have the interest
in keeping your business. If they are good enough to help, they can get something that
they do not necessarily stock, like a higher model that is not in the store.

Get out a book, or make an electronic document to make notes of each store you have
been to, what models you have auditioned, and strenghts, weaknesses you have found.
Go back onto the net and research for other reviews, find out if they have found the
same strengths, weaknesses, or they have all been happy. If the latter is the case, then
you may consider a poor set up in the shop, and that it may sound better in your home.
You could also ask to borrow the component for a day or weekend. It may require you to
place a deposit, to cover their a$$es. Negotiate terms for that, so that there's no
misunderstandings, or lawsuits. If you cannot take them home, ask if you can bring in
your receiver, or other components in, so you can hook it up to theirs which is better
than nothing.

Let me know how you go, good luck.


Mr Peabody
04-11-2008, 06:25 PM
Whooooo, Ozzie, that was exhausting dude, but I'm with you.

When you get some current under those 1.8's you won't be wanting any more bass. Do you have Krell down there? What did the Dynaudio dealer use to drive his stock?

04-11-2008, 09:18 PM
Wow Ozzie, thanks for the really in depth response. I agree with you about not limiting yourself to a budget... but at the same time, I can't afford McIntosh ANYTHING, haha... on a side note, they're made about an hour and a half from where I live... I could easily drive to the building they hand-craft their awesome equipment. But I don't listen to that stuff because I have a really bad habit of dwelling on how much better something is than what I have.

So I'm trying to do the "happy medium" thing... this is a perfect example. I went into this with the idea of spending $1000 max and getting bookshelves that I would later move to the back as surrounds when I had a bigger place. Then I figured why not at least listen to the floorstanding speakers the place I was at had to offer and I was blown away by the B&W 684s for their price... and at $1100 they weren't really that far out of what I wanted to spend. Then I figured I'd look at the better model because a lot of people said it was worth the extra cash, and the 683's are just phenomenal in my opinion... and honestly what I'll probably buy. I honestly can't really afford all that I'm buying, but I haven't spent any money on myself in a long time and I just feel I deserve a treat so I'm gonna get what I want. My point is that if I keep looking at more expensive speakers, as you say... I will hear more and more and be more and more blown away by how great they are and I'll want that instead. So I am limiting myself a little bit.

But so far, nothing I have heard so far has compared to the 683's. The stuff I don't know much about is the inability of cheaper receivers to drive the speakers. Some people tell me that it matters and others tell me it doesn't. B&W recommends something with 25-200 watts and Hi-Fi Choice magazine recommends going nowhere below 50 watts... and the Onkyo I'm looking at provides 90 watts per channel. Can someone explain to me why a more expensive speaker will make a difference with the same power rating?

Also... I agree, I don't like any processing being on either... especially with only 2 speakers, to me it sounds fake and you can tell it's been processed. Honestly when listening to music, all I need are the 2 floorstanding speakers, the surrounds and the center and the sub just distract me and the imaging is good enough to make it seem as though there IS a center channel between them. The only reason I want 5.1 is for movies, which is a big hobby for me in the winter... it's how I get through my cabin fever. In the summer, though, I hate being inside and when I am the last thing I want to be doing is sitting in front of the TV. I'm going to love being able to turn on some tunes and sit out on my balcony and listen to some crisp clear music the way it was meant to be listened to.

As I've said, the receiver is going to be temporary. I can't afford a good one right now so I'm gonna get the one that provides me with all the inputs I need and can drive my speakers at least somewhat. I know it won't sound as good as what they're using in the store I'm buying from, but it'll have to do. And I was planning on doing exactly what you said... bringing it in to listen before I buy. Plus I found the receiver for about $100 less online, so I'm gonna buy it at a local store, bring it to the speakers store, hook it up and listen, then return it and if I liked it, buy it online.... cheap, I know... but $100 is $100 and I need to save as much as I can.... especially since I'm buying a TV too.

I haven't been able to audition much because of the limitations of stores near me. As far as I can tell, there's only really 3 stores here that carry anything worth listening to. And one of them, the best they had were Paradigms which in my mind didn't match up to the B&W's that I'm looking at... though they would save me quite a bit of cash, I'll always know I could have had the speakers that really blew my mind. What makes it more difficult is the fact that I refuse to buy from the guy who I originally talked to. As you said, there are good and bad salespeople. This guy is bad. He made me feel as though my knowledge of the products were inferior to his and made me uncomfortable about asking questions. Unfortunately, he's there almost all the time and he's ALWAYS there when it's convenient for me to go in, and the salesperson who I plan on buying from is in graduate school and only works certain hours that don't mesh well with my free time. Part of me wants to inform this guy that he makes it harder for me to go into the store. I work right near the store and I always want to go listen to their stuff on my lunch break, but I know he'll be there and he'll corner me and make me feel uncomfortable, so I don't go.... in my mind, he's losing the company money. The other guy I talked to was very helpful. Explained to me the benefits of floorstanding over bookshelf speakers while still being fair about the cheaper and less lucrative for him bookshelves I was looking at.. basically told me that he can tell me whatever he wants to but what it comes down to is what sounds good to me and what works for me... he happened to like the same speakers I did, but he didn't push them on me... just explained the advantages and disadvantages of everything he had me listen to.

The other stores.... the paradigm place doens't have anything I really liked that much and they're pretty far away, and the other place isn't convenient and has hours that make it tough for me to get there... I actually haven't gotten there yet (one of the reasons I haven't bought the speakers yet).

So I guess in essence, what I'm trying to say in this post is:

1.) I agree, limiting to a budget is exactly what it says... limiting, but that I have to deal with it like an alcoholic... sometimes there's just too much temptation to handle.

2.) Can someone explain to me better why more expensive receivers are better? Should I be looking at an amp instead of a receiver?

and 3.) My biggest limitation is beyond my control... and that's exposure of different brands and models for me to audition. Out of 3 places, 1 doesn't have anything I'm really interested in and is far away, 1 has hours that make it difficult for me to get there, and the last has an a$$hole working almost all the time who makes it difficult for me to stay in the store for more than 15 minutes.

Mr Peabody
04-11-2008, 09:46 PM
2. Yes, you should be looking at least for an integrated. A better receiver will offer more features and some give more power, which don't mean a lot, because in the morning it's still a receiver. All watts are not created equal.

3. There are several online stores that carry higher end gear that will give you a 30 day return option. Do some research and give them a try opposed to not ever hearing your dream speaker to it's potential. are very good at steering you in the right direction and carry B&W so have experience with what might match well. Also, they usually have a pretty good selection of "demo/used/close out" list. carry some great brands. Never really received good advice from them. carry some nice brands. The owner is knowledgeable and a nice guy.

Which Onkyo were you looking at? If you didn't want surround sound, spend the same amount of money and get the 9555 integrated.

04-11-2008, 11:19 PM
There are still some very good 2ch receivers that are very good. The outlaw audio RR2150 is a very good buy at about $600. It has gotten great reviews and has plenty of high current power at 100wpc at 8ohm and 160 at 4ohm (it really puts out more power than what its rated at when its been tested). It has preamp and sub outs as well as bass management so you can use it as a 2.1 system. Its a lot of receiver considering the price since they only sell direct online. If you browse the outlaw forum, you will see that people really like them You should also consider the Onkyo integrated and the cambridge audio integrated amps. www.spearitsound carries the cambridge audio line.

04-12-2008, 03:50 AM
Which Onkyo were you looking at? If you didn't want surround sound, spend the same amount of money and get the 9555 integrated.

First... thanks for the advice.

Second, I'm looking at the TX-SR605 (

And I do want to do surround sound... eventually. I also need something to port all my devices through so I figured I'd get a few birds with one stone. Is there any way to do both? Ideally I'd like to be able to use just the 683's when listening to music (I don't think they require a sub and I really do think surround distracts when listening to music... it should come from in front of you, as though the band is right there and you're listening), and then be able to switch to 5.1 for movies.

I don't know a ton about this type of stuff so I don't even know if that's possible. And if it is, I bet it isn't cheap.

If any of you have some free time and have AIM or MSN... put me on your buddy list, I'd love to talk to any of you... you're all very friendly and informative.

AIM: <a href="aim:goim?screenname=JimDzembo">JimDzembo</a>

Edit: Maybe I should be looking at an amp and an AV switch instead.

Mr Peabody
04-12-2008, 11:08 AM
The 605 will allow for just stereo listening, I'm not sure if it has a "direct" mode to bypass the internal DAC for stereo but several HT receivers feature that.

To integrate both an HT and a 2 channel system, your receiver has to have preamp outputs. I believe you have to go up to the 705 or 805 for that. Then you need an integrated or stereo preamp that has a "bypass" or "theater bypass" feature. When this is selected the input goes directly to the power amp bypassing the preamp controls. You hook the front preamp out of the receiver to the "bypass" input. This allows the integrated to be a slave to the receiver when using it for surround sound and the integrated/power amp will drive the front 2 channels. You run your stereo components into the integrated and your video components to the HT receiver. When listening to 2 channel the receiver won't be on. You will need both on though for surround sound because the integrated is driving the front mains.

You will also need preamp outputs if you want to just add an external power amp. So research which models offer a preamp out.

04-12-2008, 09:10 PM
Mr Peabody : Yes I have seen some Krells, but there is a very limited range,
also I am not entirely sure if they have the top of the Krell range there. I
will pay close attention if any shop I go to sells them.

The place I brought the Dynaudio may have old stock, there is one other
shop I found the Parasound units where they have much of the range
above of what I have. The Confidence series go for about 16K. Those
floors are much taller than mine, I guess I could use the 16K ones
as a centre for our local basketball team (haha would of been funny
if we were talking about "centre speakers") :P

Jimmy, thanks for the feedback. I took a look at the TX-SR605 , looks
impressive. Have you taken a look at the RX-V3800 from Yamaha ?
Download the manual, take a look at the features, the back panel,
compare it.

The key features you are looking for in a new receiver :

1. One which has an actual Master HD, Dolby Pro Logic, and True HD decoders.

2. DTS-HD High resolution Audio decoder. Dolby Digital, DD EX decoders.

3. HDMI 1.3a , at least 2, ideally 3 HDMI inputs.

4. Analog video up-scaling from 480i or 480p/576p to 720p, 1080i/1080p.

The latter must do this via HDMI cable, so whatever HDMI cable you buy,
make sure the data transfer is at a very high speed. They will likely be
more expensive than you're willing to pay.

With receivers you will want to buy something that is as "future proof" as
possible. HDMI 1.3 is most likely to be released on HD media by 2009.
The current format that's on HD media today is HDMI 1.1

Make sure the speakers which have a power rating, end up with a
receiver that can drive the speakers very well. I.e. you will need probably
30 to 50 percent more power per channel than what the speakers
demand. Why ? That is because you are most likely to be plugging in
much more than just speakers into the back of your receiver. It is more
likely you will like me and plug everything that has a composite out, even
my kitchen sink if it had it haha. It helps a lot to have a lot of reserve
power IF you can have it. Unfortunately receivers never had the
trait of offering as much power per channel. Power amps have that
advantage (in general).

The back of the receiver is most important, it's what other possibilities
you have 2 to 5 years down the track. It must be something you know
you won't need to uprade again in 4 years time. If you feel that's
possible, then better consider the power-pre option, as some media
centres do allow for multi-channel input, plus you can actually buy
7.1 channel power amps. Just take a look around at the major
brands, see what they can offer feature wise, then check the price.

Like me, it may be worth holding back saving up 2 to 5 more months
down the track if you can get something that you will end up being
much more happy about.

If you end up getting bookshelf speakers, then most receivers will
be able to provide enough juice to them (SHOULD, not a guarrantee).
I was most impressed with the way Dynaudio speakers imaging,
regardless of type, size, shelves or floorstanders etc. At least check
out as many brands as you can. Can't do harm. At least you will
be able to find out for yourself which reviews you read apply to you,
and are true, and which ones are porky-pies.


Mr Peabody
04-12-2008, 09:36 PM
With Krell their entry level will kill most of anything you can afford and I doubt you really want to see or hear further up as it is attached to hefty price tags.

I personally wouldn't get caught up in upscaling video with your receiver. Most DVD or BR will upscale and as I understand it, HDTV's will upscale the incoming signal to it's native resolution anyway. So further upscaling could actually degrade the picture and in the least be unnecessary.

04-12-2008, 10:45 PM
Your better off letting the TV handle any upscaling. Every thing that I have read states this is the way to go.

04-13-2008, 05:43 AM
As long as there IS an upscaler somewhere in your system, it is better having
it somewhere than nowhere. If your screen cannot do this, then get a player
which can do that, if not, then receiver is the last option.

As for dismissing anything above your budget, I disagree. There is
nothing wrong getting something very nice, within reason. It is definately
worth audtioning as much as you can. You need to find out just how good
some brands and models actually are. Many people just won't stop advising
don't audition anything above your budget, that's is not helpful at all.

If you never end up auditioning the best, you will never have a real
experience idea on just how good sound can be reproduced, processed,
what your ears can pick up in the better systems that the low end
systems cannot. Ok you cannot buy this or that, but you gain experience
for yourself by finding out new features and new technologies of components.
I got shown a 50K projector, then saw a HD DVD movie run through it.
Absolutely incredible experience. It was a real eye opener to see just how
great some systems actually are. It was totally worth it. I now know with
my own eyes and ears just what full HD is, the Master HD sound, on a
large screen etc.

You gain no disadvantage of testing out equipment beyond what you can
spend. Look at it this way, if you end up finding out about a specific
system that you absolutely loved, but never gave yourself the chance to
audition it before, then you'll be kicking yourself. Saying no I won't buy
it is free. It is in your best interest to pester the sales staff and audition
what you can. It is their job to show you, you have all of the power to
buy in their shop or simply walk out. Let them earn their money, don't
let them push you into buying only something you can afford, and
never having a chance to try out what are their best sellers, what their
expensive clientel buy, you need to find out how they service those
people. If you are NOT impressed with their best stuff, perhaps their
mid-low end stuff are unlikely to be that good either.

Mr Peabody
04-13-2008, 12:18 PM
I have to agree with you Ozzie. I've heard a lot of gear that I can't afford and the gear I currently own is more than what I should have spent. Like you said though the experience and knowing what high quality gear can do is well worth the effort. My passion for audio is what drove me to go and listen. When I heard something new was in I didn't hesitate to go listen, it's like a new exhibit at the art museum. I may not have bought the $100k speakers but I bought the best I could afford and no harm was done by checking the flagships. I mean no offense but more people on this board need that experience, too many want big amps and speakers but fail to see, or have heard, the importance of a good source component. Some argue the mega dollar gear isn't worth it and you only gain a little for the lot spent, some still argue all amps are the same, or CD players, I think if they had more experience in the upper end of things these arguments would fall off drastically.

When I was talking about the Krell, it was tongue in cheek. We may not be able to afford the $15k monoblocks but by all means one should experience it. It might sound odd but by listening to the larger Krell it helped me to better understand the sound of my integrated.

The only draw back is sometimes ignorance is bliss, you are sitting in your listening chair with a smile and thinking, "I don't see how it could get any better than this", then when you check out some of the higher end gear your bubble gets burst. Some keep chasing, some say, "yes, it's better but I'm satisfied for now". I'm fortunately at that point now, there is better and I could probably upgrade some where but I really am afraid to change anything because I like what I am hearing now. I try not to sell my choices too hard, but I've owned Arcam, Krell and heard several other brands, when I heard Conrad Johnson though, it was, "yeah, that's, what I'm talking about". There are a few trade offs when compared to powerful gear like Krell but CJ's strengths are much stronger than the weaknesses are weak.