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  1. #1
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    Need help with upgrade ideas

    As many of you once were, I am an entering the realm of high quality audio reproduction. I am begginging to piece together a system and based on my equipment what would be my most cost-effective upgrade, I have adequate knowledge of audio/acoustics/ placement etc. but when it comes to tweaks/ powere conditioning/ amplification I am a novice. Please help me.

  2. #2
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    I am using b and w 602 s3 as my mains, dm 303 as my rear, denon 2801 as my receiver, marantz 4001 dcd/cd player, monster reference z2 speaker cables, crystal acoustics 12 inch sub, and a 11.75, 14.75, 8 foot room.

  3. #3
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    you might wanna post this (or move this) thread in the 'General Audio' board. there will be more replies there I think...

    any things you don't like about your system? or you think that definately have to be improved?

    I wouldn't worry too much about power conditioning unless you live in a big flat, with cellphone poles around the place and such...
    not that it doesn't make an improvement, but there are upgrades that give more...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  4. #4
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Hey Bigmoney,

    First and foremost, welcome to the forums. When looking at improvements, and all of us could find some, it's first helpful to ask a few questions to diagnos what it is that you feel needs improvement? How far apart from each other and how far apart from the walls are your speakers? Have you employed any treatments on the walls or in the room?
    There may be some things you can do to optimize your setup that won't cost anything at all.


    Now, if you're just looking for a reason to spend some money you'll hear the most difference by moving up the line in speakers or amps. Remember, however, that if you upgrade your mains you'll also want to upgrade your center to maintain a consistency in the front soundstage.

    If you're happy with your speakers you may want to look into adding some external amplification. I was surprised at what a difference switching amps made in my own system. I was already using an external source with my receiver because of the low sensitivity of my speakers but moving up the line from Rotel to McIntosh made an incredible difference to these ears. B&Ws love hi-current, you may find that adding some juice to those babies will give you some extra headroom.

    Good luck, have fun, but make sure to spend some time analyzing your goals before you hop on the upgrade train to nowhere.

    Peace
    Last edited by bobsticks; 01-03-2008 at 09:57 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks a ton......I am responding to your posts duringschool. I hope it conveys my passion.....will post more feedback later

  6. #6
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    what center speaker do you have?

    if you don't have one, that would be a major upgrade.

    also a better dvd player (nothing against the marantz, but a better one is always welcome), or a HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player...

    or, getting a new receiver would make some big changes too...
    it will give you all the newest functions so upgrading the source will be easier, and better sound quality will follow

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  7. #7
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    Let me clarify, I am currently using the dm 303s as my mains but will purchase a demo pair of the dm602 s3 b and w loud speakers to use a s my mains and bump the dm303s to surround. I will use my 300 series b and w center channel. Any opinions on b and w speakers and what can be done to evoke the best performance from them? An amplifier was mentioned, should I use my denon 2801 as a pre amp and what does bi amping entail. Sorry for the boatload of questions, but I am turning to you to educate me as I know your knowledge is huge. I am purchasing the 602s for 450 dollars as a demo, is that a good price, my dealer says they were 650 reatil and took 200 off for the demo. I am using a roughly 1500 cubic feet room (rectangle) will the DM 602s adequately reproduce bass enough that a can sell my crystal acoustics subwoofer? Thanks to all : )

  8. #8
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    I am trying to improve sounstage depth and image. As all audio purists hope, I want to eliminate the feeling of my speakers sounding like they are " coming from speakers" I want them to disapear and be immearsed in the soundstage. Currently They are somewhat non involving. Would an amp fix this, what would you reccomend as a budget amp and are used amps good? Using Acoustic research pro IC cables and have speakers 29 inches from the back wall and 25 in from the sides and roughly 7 and a half feet apart with little toe in.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Buy a higher end CDP like a Rega Apollo, Cambridge audio 740c, Marantz SA8001 SACDP. If these are too expensive then look at the Cambridge AZure 640c, Music Hall CD25.2 and eventhe Marantz 5001. These will give you more of what your looking for. A higher end amp will help as well. Are you looking for 2ch or multichannel HT. If 2ch, then you could look into the outlaw audio RR 2150 receiver for $650 or an integrated amp like Onkyo or Cambridge audio. If your receiver has a preamp out you could look into a pair of the outlaw monoblocks for $650 a pair or a B&K reference sereis 125.2 amp for abour $699. There are many options available depending upon how much you want to spend. The B&K amp can be found at www.audiophileliquidators.com and www.depedableaudiovideo.com The cambridge CDP's can be found at the last address at excellent prices. www.hcmaudio.com carries the music hall.

    By the way, don't waste your money on fancy power cords and conditioners. IMO and professional reviews they dont make a rats ass of a difference and they won't give you what your looking for.

    Hope this helps some. I'm sure others will give some feed back as well.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  10. #10
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    Is my marantz 4001 really inadequate..........I have heard of huge differences that amps make compared to the player. How are monoblock amps better?

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Opinons differ

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    Is my marantz 4001 really inadequate..........I have heard of huge differences that amps make compared to the player. How are monoblock amps better?
    There isn't universal agreement on the typical contribution of various component types to the overall sound quality. My list is as follows:
    • Speakers
    • Room treatments if & where necessary
    • Vinyl playback, viz. cartridge & turntable if used
    • Radio tuner if used
    • Amplifier
    • Preamplifier or DSP processor (if not a receiver system), including phono preamp if used
    • Digital sources, CDP and/or DAC
    • Power supply filters if & where necessary
    • Vibration control devices if & where necesary
    • Speaker cables
    • Component interconnects
    However it is the "weakest link in the chain" that needs to be address first.

    On the other hand you will note that some people insist that upstream components, e.g. CD player, generally take priority over downstream components

  12. #12
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    Thank You. Do you believe my b and 2 602 s3s will reproduce enough bass in my room ( 1500 cubic feet) to sell my subwoofer. Or do you believe my sub is valuable with these speakers ( I am using this sub http://www.crystalaudiovideo.com/product.aspx)

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Only you can determine if you need your sub. How do you think your sub sounds?
    And yes, a CDP makes a world of difference in the sound stage, imaging detail and transparency of music, but an amplifier does as well. They go hand in hand. If I were you, I would consider upgrading the CDP first and see what your system sounds like. Just look at the reviews of CDP's and see how the reviewer describes the sound and how each one affects the music differently. Check out www.stereophile.com for reviews. Then upgrade your amp if you do not get the sound you are looking for. It looks like your interested in 2ch music if your thinking about selling your sub. If thats so, there are some inexpensive 2ch receivers like the Harmon Kardon 3485 which is high current, 120wpc and a good buy. It can be found for under $300. Its a good receiver if your on a budget. Go one step at a time as you make changes in your system and see how it sounds.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  14. #14
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    My sub neither inexpensive or expensive has a price tag of 600 dollars and is thx certified. However it seems bloated. I would like a sub with more precision and punch than a boom/ rumble that seems to just produce a headache and distort my mains. It is 4 ohms and active do the ohms matter? and it has a sensitivity of 93 where as my mains are 88. Thinking an spl meter might be what I need.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Here a few choices to for what you want. REL makes high end subs, some of the best in the world but they also make a few models for under $1000 that are excellent. Very tight precise bass without any boom or muddy sound. Martin Logan also makes the Dynamo for $600. Its non ported like the REL's and is comparable to the REL's. Its more suited towards music like the REL's as opposed to HT use. These are very "fast" subs and match well with speakers like Magnepans and ML because of this. You can hear the Dynamo at any best buy magnolia store. By the way, BB Magnolia can order REL subs. Check out the T-series and Q-series REL subs. Stick with 8-10" subs for tighter bass in the lower prices subs.
    www.sumikoaudio.net

    www.rel.net/index2.htm
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  16. #16
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    My sub neither inexpensive or expensive has a price tag of 600 dollars and is thx certified. However it seems bloated. I would like a sub with more precision and punch than a boom/ rumble that seems to just produce a headache and distort my mains. It is 4 ohms and active do the ohms matter? and it has a sensitivity of 93 where as my mains are 88. Thinking an spl meter might be what I need.

    as mentioned before me (by Blackraven), I'd get a REL sub then...

    exellent subs, and both good for music and for movies...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  17. #17
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Bigmoney, How much are you looking to spend to upgrade your system? Are you wanting to upgrade your amp, CDP, or sub? If you have limited budget, go for the CDP and them Amp IMO. To answer a previous question of yours, yes upgrading from the marantz 4001 cdp will make a big difference if your willing to spend $600 and up! All I can say is audition them with some high quality recorded CD's and read lots of reviews.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  18. #18
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    Thank you to all, I am an on a budget however and would spend around 500. Maybe go used? I am tight on money as I am a student and just bought brand news mains ( b and w 602 s3s). I love them but am looking for so more power to drive them. I am tired of my 4 year old denon 2801 receiver and want to send them some real current not just 90 watts. Can I get a good amp for around 500 used/ new....

  19. #19
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    Thank you to all, I am an on a budget however and would spend around 500. Maybe go used? I am tight on money as I am a student and just bought brand news mains ( b and w 602 s3s). I love them but am looking for so more power to drive them. I am tired of my 4 year old denon 2801 receiver and want to send them some real current not just 90 watts. Can I get a good amp for around 500 used/ new....

    I'd settle with the denon for a while, and save some more money first. I don't think it's really wise to look for a $500 amp (you might find something, but most likely stereo, and only a poweramp...), so I think it's better to save on for a better receiver, you'll get more of an upgrade out of that

    I know that it's hard being a student (given that I'm only 17 myself...), but even though upgrading might go a little slower, it's definatly worth it to save on...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  20. #20
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Words of wisdom Basite, your a smart 17yo!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  21. #21
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    That's damn good list....

    and we all should be taking notes of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    My list is as follows:
    • Speakers
    • Room treatments if & where necessary
    • Vinyl playback, viz. cartridge & turntable if used
    • Radio tuner if used
    • Amplifier
    • Preamplifier or DSP processor (if not a receiver system), including phono preamp if used
    • Digital sources, CDP and/or DAC
    • Power supply filters if & where necessary
    • Vibration control devices if & where necesary
    • Speaker cables
    • Component interconnects
    I have NO experience with a dedicated radio tuner, but I must say phono pre amp should move up a couple of notches. A device that gains 30~80+ dB should be somewhat decent.

    Of course, a source player should be on the very top if someone is determined to reach the highest audio nirvana.....

  22. #22
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    I agree with black raven. I guess I will save little by little for some thing of true quality. That wathe best py I don't start the cycle of replacing equipment everyweek because it's not what I want. Patience will ultimately get me the best product. What are some good amps and do you reccomend buying used. Also regarding the the cd players, not that I doubt any of you, but can someone help me understand how a a cd player can make a substantial difference. I know, a CDP from walmart won't do the job but my dealer told me the marantz 4001 I bought would be very good. Im eager to hear what you have to say because CDP's are out of my expertise.

  23. #23
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    You can always looks for deals on amps such as Rotel RMB-1075. If you are patient enough $600 should be enough.
    Rotel is stable enough to drive a load below 4 Ohm when asked.
    2801 is a good HT receiver but really lacks in juice when paired with speakers such as B&W. 602s arent the hardest speakers to drive by any means, but receivers and amps dont like speakers with huge impedence swings.


    Or you can always choose to become a real man, and take out a loan.

  24. #24
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    what is an impedance swing? Do my speakers have an issue with that?

  25. #25
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    CDP's all have their unique sound. It all boils down to the quality of the DAC's and all the electronics from the quality of the clock, type of power supply like torroidal PS's, capacitors and type of filters and processing of the signal among other things..Some have a warm sound, others have a neutral or more of a cool sound. Some give a more transparent sound with better detail and separation of instruments along with a larger sound stage and better imaging. Some have a pushed back sound which I prefer vs a more foward presentation. If there was no difference in sound then why are there CDP's from $100 to $20,000. You need to find a high end audio store and listen to various CDP's. You might even want to bring yours along to compare and see the difference, or bring one home on a trial basis. My store here will let you take home a $10K CDP on a trial basis. READ THE REVIEWS OF CDP'S!
    For example:
    http://www.avreview.co.uk/news/artic...98884330561360
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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