• 01-08-2005, 01:45 AM
    trancenut
    Newbie: Is it possible to have too much power?
    I'm looking to upgrade my audio system. Currently I have ... nothing ... so it's a pretty extensive upgrade!

    Here are some details about the anticipated use of the system. I will be connecting my computer to my audio system to listen to digital music. I live in a 800 sq foot studio and listen to music while cooking in the kitchen and while in living room. When I watch DVDs I could be anywhere in the apartment but am mostly in the living room or in bed.

    I have a few questions:

    1) Is it possible to have too much power? I was thinking about getting the Denon AVR-3805. Given my limited space (and proximity to neighbours!), am I just throwing money into a component that I won't be able to take full advantage of?
    2) Assuming people continue to recommend component-based systems instead of HTIB, what speakers are recommended? I'm looking to spend about $2500 in total on speakers, subwoofer and receiver. I was looking at Infinity Primus but they didn't have many reviews here. Polk seemed to have a bunch of reviews.
    3) Is there a point in getting surround sound given I like to watch DVDs throughout the condo? For this I'll try to draw my floor layout so people can see where I'm talking about.
    <pre>----------------------------------------------------------------
    | kitchen computer c tv |
    | ou |
    | c |
    | dining table h |
    | |
    | ------------------- | bed |
    | bathroom | bed shelves |
    |---------------------------------------------------------------|</pre>
    4) In order to hook up my computer to my receiver, it appears that all I need is a sound card. I was looking at the internal m-audio revolution card but the going trend in the forums seems to be external cards and devices (Xitel Hifi-Link, Airport Express, etc). Is this because the computer interferes with the audio signal or do external devices just produce better signals?

    Any advice, comments, suggestions are welcome. I'm pretty much an audio novice so you can safely make the assumption that I know nothing.

    Thanks in advance!
  • 01-08-2005, 10:14 PM
    Manimal
    Don't worry too much about power.Normal listening level is usually around 1 watt RMS. Doubling of power only gives you a 3db increase of volume. Say you had a 100 watt receiver. Adding another hundred watts wouldnt do much but give you another click on the volume knob.

    However generally the more watts the better. This is because you have more headroom. Bass frequencies suck the power out of amplifiers, and with more power you can saftely run at louder volumes without worrying about clipping at a loud part in the song or movie you are listening to.
  • 01-09-2005, 11:49 AM
    thepogue
    my take...
    buy used gear and get the most for you $$$....alot of audio-nuts get the fever and sell equipment just to have bigger/better/newer...I have a few buddies that just gotta have the best biggest!! and I just follow them around and pick up great used gear at great prices...also I'd look elsewhere for speakers besides Polk and or Infinity...I'm sure they have good speakers but I KNOW they can be blown away and most price points. I own Paradigm 100's v.2 and they can be had for about 1200 give or take and they where (IMHO) great bang for buck speakers @ 2100 brand new...1200 used and they are a steal...not at all the best...but just a speaker I know...and know you can steal...and know for the most part can best most of the polk/infinity line.

    good luck!!!

    Peace, Pogue
  • 01-10-2005, 08:33 PM
    trancenut
    Thanks for the replies. I think I need to simplify my question since I'm getting a lot of views but few responses.

    My tv is pretty much stuck in the corner in the diagram above. I have a brick wall on one side, a window and brick wall on the other side. Am I going to be able to get decent sound from front and center speakers with this acoustical layout or am I just wasting my money if I spend $2500 on some components?

    And related to this, my couch/tv layout is not in an optimal position for surround sound. Can you still get decent surround sound from positioning that's not optimal or is it a waste for me to get surround speakers?
  • 01-11-2005, 07:46 AM
    bargainseeker
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by trancenut
    Thanks for the replies. I think I need to simplify my question since I'm getting a lot of views but few responses.

    My tv is pretty much stuck in the corner in the diagram above. I have a brick wall on one side, a window and brick wall on the other side. Am I going to be able to get decent sound from front and center speakers with this acoustical layout or am I just wasting my money if I spend $2500 on some components?

    And related to this, my couch/tv layout is not in an optimal position for surround sound. Can you still get decent surround sound from positioning that's not optimal or is it a waste for me to get surround speakers?

    The short answer is "Yes, you can get decent sound with this acoustical layout". However, you have an unusual situation which requires an unusual solution. Because you want to fill a large area with sound and want to be able to listen from many places, I would recommend omni-polar or bi-polar speakers for all channels with the possible exception of the center. I have two alternate speaker recommendations: (1) The Mirage Omni series (review here) or (2) Axiom QS8 speakers all the way around and an Axiom VP150 for the center (review here). For a subwoofer, I recommend one of the cylinder-shaped models from SVS or Hsu.

    I recommend the following speaker placement: Put the cylinder subwoofer behind the TV and the center speaker above or below the TV screen. Put the left and right main speakers on either side of the TV, with about 8 feet of space between them. Draw a large imaginary circle around the right hand seat of your couch that goes through the TV and space out the surround and rear speakers around this circle.

    For the best sound, you will probably need to add some acoustical treatments to the room such as drapes, tapestries and/or rugs to tone down reflections.
  • 01-11-2005, 08:11 AM
    thepogue
    I second the motion!!!!
    I think this advise is sound (no pun intended). Peace, Pogue


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bargainseeker
    The short answer is "Yes, you can get decent sound with this acoustical layout". However, you have an unusual situation which requires an unusual solution. Because you want to fill a large area with sound and want to be able to listen from many places, I would recommend omni-polar or bi-polar speakers for all channels with the possible exception of the center. I have two alternate speaker recommendations: (1) The Mirage Omni series (review here) or (2) Axiom QS8 speakers all the way around and an Axiom VP150 for the center (review here). For a subwoofer, I recommend one of the cylinder-shaped models from SVS or Hsu.

    I recommend the following speaker placement: Put the cylinder subwoofer behind the TV and the center speaker above or below the TV screen. Put the left and right main speakers on either side of the TV, with about 8 feet of space between them. Draw a large imaginary circle around the right hand seat of your couch that goes through the TV and space out the surround and rear speakers around this circle.

    For the best sound, you will probably need to add some acoustical treatments to the room such as drapes, tapestries and/or rugs to tone down reflections.