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  1. #1
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
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    So how can you tell what your missing??

    Hello Everyone,
    I've been enjoying higher end music (e.g. sans boom box) for about a year now. For years, I just didn't know what I was missing.

    My upgrade path is listed below. At each step, there was this huge realization that I've discovered some new listening pleasure that I just didn't know existed:

    - Denon 687 HTIB with poor speakers: "I thought, wow! I've arrived at musical nirvana"

    - Swap in a very old pair of Carwin Vega Speakers: "I thought, wow! I've arrived at musical nirvana"

    - Get a wonderful pair of Klipsch RB-5 II's: :dito

    - Get used B&W 684's: dito

    - Bought a very old, broken H/K PM655 integrated amp and fixed it: dito

    - Got a great deal on a refurbed: Denon 3930 CD/DVD player: dito


    So at each step, I've learned something and so can see that this new thing added so much to my musical enjoyment. But the question then becomes, what is next?

    So my question is, I love my setup (as long as the H/K is actually working). But, I'm just thinking: what am I missing? What can I do now to actually make the next big step, without spending to much money?

    I've gone and listened (multiple times) at Myer Emco all the setups and brought in my own CDs. But it's not like being in my home. They all sound good, and while I can hear a difference (lets say between a B&W 684 and a B&W CM9), it's not like night a day. With me it seems that after I listen to music for days, I gradually grow to appreciate a setup more.

    So, how do you guys know what is the best bang for the buck? When do you draw the line and say "I've arrived at musical nirvana and so don't need to go one and upgrade yet again"? Are you ever satisfied with what you have? Do you ever have an uneasy feeling that there is just something huge out there that your not enjoying...because you just don't want to through hundreds of dollars at it?

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    Last edited by manlystanley; 09-03-2009 at 02:44 AM.
    Listening/Movie Room: ADCOM GTP-500, XPA-2, Denon 3930ci, Front: Jamo C809; Surround: Klipsch R-5650-S; Back: R-5650-S; Denon AVR-687,. Projector: Sharp XR-32X.

    Family Room: Denon avr-687, Denon CD player, Klipsch RB-5II

  2. #2
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manlystanley
    .......When do you draw the line and say "I've arrived at musical nirvana and so don't need to go one and upgrade yet again"? When I'm dead, Seriously, money is my final decision maker Are you ever satisfied with what you have? I plan on topping out around $25K for my 2 Ch. rig, I hope I'm satisfied then. Do you ever have an uneasy feeling that there is just something huge out there that your not enjoying...because you just don't want to through hundreds of dollars at it? Always is something better for your rig, just have to know when to put the money up for upgrades or be satisfied with whatcha got for the time been.

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    Cheers, LDB
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  3. #3
    RGA
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    The best advice from me - is to listen to "systems" created by good dealers or companies that make such "complete" systems - even if they're way way out of your price range. After Auditioning Audio Note's level 5 complete 2 channel system (at about $350,000) and it's not their top of the line I began to fully appreciate what I was missing and everything else I heard was missing.

    When you hear those systems you appreciate what upgrades you need to make. And although you may not get to that ultimate system due to finances you can take steps to know which product at your price range is moving you in the right direction and which ones are not.

  4. #4
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manlystanley
    So how can you tell what your missing??
    Use an unamplified music reference. Choose from any number of genres. Hearing a spectacular system will help, but there's nothing like comparing a pile of electronics and transducers to nothing !

    rw

  5. #5
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    your HK looks good on paper

    i looked in the user manual, the specs are good and the unit is heavy at 22#. i always say that a good spec to look at is the weight. as good as it is, i am sure it would be surpassed by separate components. start with a tubed preamp like a used audio research or conrad johnson and run it into the hk.

    that may make a believer of you. then your next job is to find a good amp. the odyssey khatargo reviewed n the absolute sound magazine this issue is a steal at its $800 list price. otherwise i suggest adcom amps like the gfa 5400 or 5500. both are VERY hard hitters and sound very nice.

    then later, a sacd player could be tried. they tend to sound very good on conventional CDs in addition to sacd because they upsample before filtering the data stream which reduces the ultasonic ringing perceived by the listener.

    then a trip into analog may be in order with the purchase of a tt/arm/cartridge to sample whats possible with another part of our hobby.

    you asked.
    ...regards...tr

  6. #6
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    http://manuals.harman.com/hk/Service...PM655%20sm.pdf

    Looks like a solid unit and looks to be a DIY-Galore even for an idiot like me.

  7. #7
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Stanley I don't have the technical knowledge of bad ass 2 -channel that these guys do. However, one thing I would recommend, is to take a personal inventory of the different styles of music you enjoy, and how you like each one presented. Hopefully from this there is one or two themes between all styles that you can apply to your purchase, and to your system's overall sound. This will greatly influence what you buy, but more importantly, what you don't buy.

  8. #8
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    Sometimes I can tell what Im missing by listening to good headphones. Headphones are naturally detailed and the acoustics are designed by an engineer so you know whats on the recording.

  9. #9
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EYEdROP
    Sometimes I can tell what Im missing by listening to good headphones. Headphones are naturally detailed and the acoustics are designed by an engineer so you know whats on the recording.

    ...dROP, I never loved another man until today....until that is...I met you...indeed headphones are a great way to discern details, create world peace and ease the pain of anyone suffering...where have you been? Check out the burn-in thread...

  10. #10
    Music Lover
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    Quote Originally Posted by manlystanley
    .........
    I've gone and listened (multiple times) at Myer Emco all the setups and brought in my own CDs. But it's not like being in my home. They all sound good, and while I can hear a difference (lets say between a B&W 684 and a B&W CM9), it's not like night a day.
    ......
    Well I can't tel you what to do, however, I can relate my personal threshold for selecting the gear. That last part of the last sentence I quoted is my criteria. If I hear a piece of gear and it reveals limitations of my system or another system enough for me to notice and/or bother me. Then that's enough, right there.
    Of course, at the end of the day the price issue steps in and makes itself known. I know I'm going to like the Sentinels or the MAXX3s but that really doesn't matter much as I'll never plump that kind of money for stereo gear, even if I won the lottery. The guilt would drive me right out of the store.

    My $0.02
    Rudy

  11. #11
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifitommy
    i looked in the user manual, the specs are good and the unit is heavy at 22#. i always say that a good spec to look at is the weight. as good as it is, i am sure it would be surpassed by separate components. start with a tubed preamp like a used audio research or conrad johnson and run it into the hk.
    you asked.
    Hello jrhymeammo and hifitommy,
    Your right about the H/K PM655. I'm listening to it right and and it sounds amazing! Before I got it I drove my B&W 684's with a Denon 687. It sounds yuk compared to my H/K. In fact, I don't have a center speaker and during movies, about the 5-10% of the spoken text was just not understandable. But, with the H/K, it sounds so good!

    So, why am I trying to upgrade? For three reasons: I'd like to be able to get radio some times. The H/K seems to drift in power so that the sound stage at times collapses and shifts. Finally, there is no remote, so I'm constantly getting up adjusting the sound.

    There is one other little reason, it's kind of fun upgrading. Looking for the best deal, reading specs, etc. This stuff is a time sink, but it is lots of fun.

    Take care.

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    Listening/Movie Room: ADCOM GTP-500, XPA-2, Denon 3930ci, Front: Jamo C809; Surround: Klipsch R-5650-S; Back: R-5650-S; Denon AVR-687,. Projector: Sharp XR-32X.

    Family Room: Denon avr-687, Denon CD player, Klipsch RB-5II

  12. #12
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manlystanley
    .

    There is one other little reason, it's kind of fun upgrading. Looking for the best deal, reading specs, etc. This stuff is a time sink, but it is lots of fun.



    I agree with you Stan, super fun. My only issue with upgrading is the money aspect. I am 32 years old, in my early 20's I went through an upgrade phase. Now I have a young family, mortgage, etc and certainly don't have the capital I once did. It's tough to climb the ladder nowadays, a few wrungs up and its easy to go broke. I have a nice pile of hi-fi gear but I now enjoy mod's, fixing, etc. Finding an old gem and re-vamping it is wicked fun and much less on the pocket book. A sort of pseudo-steampunk. If you enjoy "the hunt", then used or vintage gear is the way to go. One of my favorite posters on this site is "the kid". He's like an Indiana Jones of audio, always snagging something interesting...anyhow kind of off topic...your set-up sounds super good...enjoy!

  13. #13
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    Glad to hear your upgrades have all made you feel good! On that note, I'm looking for a mini-system with some degree of sound control (EQ would be nice) without going for the multi-hundreds (or more) of components. I've looked at the Denon D-M37S, but I have yet to listen to it (I know, sounds stupid, but I haven't made the time to really shop yet).
    I see you have some experience with Denon products...any suggestions?

  14. #14
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsound
    Glad to hear your upgrades have all made you feel good! On that note, I'm looking for a mini-system with some degree of sound control (EQ would be nice) without going for the multi-hundreds (or more) of components. I've looked at the Denon D-M37S, but I have yet to listen to it (I know, sounds stupid, but I haven't made the time to really shop yet).
    I see you have some experience with Denon products...any suggestions?
    The real question throughout all this, and not just to you jsound, is "what's appropriate for the room?".

    Equipment is a tool to get where ya wanna go. What room size and configuration do you have? It'll have a huge bearing on the advice given...and if it doesn't, question the source of the advice....

  15. #15
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    A half serious/half off the cuff answer would be-You know what is missing once you have found it... My two cents below......

    Your question and dilemna is one that is often discussed and has been discussed here before in various threads and topics. I think you have received some good advice here but I also think that in the end it depends on the individual. Room size, items in the room, type of music preferred, volume you prefer it at, hearing ability, gear compatability,economics all affect how we view our systems and the quality of our systems IMO. Yes there are ways to measure how accurate music/sound is produced in a room but that does not automatically translate to an enjoyable music experience for every individual. As much as some would like to make home audio a science it is IMO a hobby. Like any hobby you are going to find people with different tastes and preferences. Listening to their opinions can help guide you in the right direction but you have to make the decision as to what you like and when you feel you have reached your audio destination. One of the reasons I like playing around with picking up the older gear is that alot of it sounds pretty d*^# good, often has some unique aesthetic appeal and the cost allows me the luxury of trying things out and hearing what I like. That approach works for me but might not work for you,only you will know that answer. If you are the type of person who is always thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side then this hobby will become very expensive for you because you will always be looking for that next piece of gear that will be the one that takes you to audio bliss. If you are not that type of person I would just say keep an open mind and open ears to what comes your way. If you find something that makes you happy then regardless of the cost or the reputation of the gear then you have found what you were missing.

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