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  1. #1
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Time for my next upgrade

    I've been building a new two-channel system over the past few months. My system now consists of:

    Speakers: Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2
    Integrated Amp: Krell KAV-400xi
    CD Player: Naim CD5i
    Network Music Player: Squeezebox 3
    Interconnects: QED Qunex 1
    Cabling: QED Silver Anniversary XT
    Shelving: Quadraspire Q4
    TV: Sharp Aquos LC-37D62U

    I'm trying to determine my next upgrade. Some ideas I'm toying around with are:

    1. REL T-3 subwoofer. I live in a condo, and I'm looking for a small musical subwoofer that won't disturb my neighbours

    2. Rega P3 turntable, plus a cartridge and phono stage

    3. I can't believe I don't own a DVD Player! Deeply considering an Oppo 981. I'd prefer to purchase an HD Player, but I'll wait until this nonesense sorts itself out.

    Any recommendations on these upgrades, or others to consider?

  2. #2
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    a better interconnect would be a good start too
    the P3 is different than the other 2 in your upgrade possebilities list, I see that you don't have a TT, but do you have records? Vinyl is worth the effort, but it's getting expenive these days...

    then, the sub, if you really think that you need more bass, the sub is the winner, but if you're happy with the amount of bass, don't do it, you're only going to disturb your neighbours...

    the dvd player is also a good tought though...

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  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    No brainer: DVD

    Quote Originally Posted by elapsed
    I've been building a new two-channel system over the past few months. My system now consists of:

    Speakers: Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2
    Integrated Amp: Krell KAV-400xi
    CD Player: Naim CD5i
    Network Music Player: Squeezebox 3
    Interconnects: QED Qunex 1
    Cabling: QED Silver Anniversary XT
    Shelving: Quadraspire Q4
    TV: Sharp Aquos LC-37D62U

    I'm trying to determine my next upgrade. Some ideas I'm toying around with are:

    1. REL T-3 subwoofer. I live in a condo, and I'm looking for a small musical subwoofer that won't disturb my neighbours

    2. Rega P3 turntable, plus a cartridge and phono stage

    3. I can't believe I don't own a DVD Player! Deeply considering an Oppo 981. I'd prefer to purchase an HD Player, but I'll wait until this nonesense sorts itself out.

    Any recommendations on these upgrades, or others to consider?
    I'd say you have a nice system right now. By all means do for the Oppo or some other DVD player.

    The REL might be nice depending on your main speakers, but I don't know the Fidelity Accoustics, so I reserve comment.

    Do you really want to get into vinyl? If you have a sizeable LP collection at the moment, fine, otherwise forget the phono stuff. Contrary to the humbug you might hear around here, decently well recorded CDs sound as good as vinyl. (Oh, but then I'm a classical listener: can't speak for the trivial popular stuff).

    The QED interconnects and cable are fine. They aren't a priority to replace.

    Just my thoughts!!
    Last edited by Feanor; 05-06-2007 at 11:04 AM.

  4. #4
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

    zzzzzzz........

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Contrary to the humbug you might hear around hear
    ZAP!!


  5. #5
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Bill, I think you should replace your DL-110 before you brandish da Fly Zapper 3000XL. DL-110 is definetly not refined, but it serves me well for certain music you probably dont own.

    Elapsed,

    So your budget is around $2K?

    How about a Universal Player for everything except CDs?
    Oppo might be just what you need for visual purpose, but it may be a complete junk when you close your eyes.

    For the TT thing, I would get a modern deck for around $500 and spend the remainder on a good cart/phono pre + whatever you can dish out for accessories. Vinyl set is not perfect, but when I get it right... boy there's not a single "My Avator" that will keep me away from LPs. Well maybe two.... but probably not.
    For the LP you may or may not have.. I dont see the point of Feanor's argument. Sure it's always nice to hear our favorite albums, but I think we like music enough to keep on making purchases. It's a pain in the anus though.
    Last edited by jrhymeammo; 05-06-2007 at 10:12 AM.

  6. #6
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    *Zap* indeed

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Bill, I think you should replace your DL-110 before you brandish da Fly Zapper 3000XL. DL-110 is definetly not refined, but it serves me well for certain music you probably dont own.
    ....
    For the TT thing, I would get a modern deck for around $500 and spend the remainder on a good cart/phono pre + whatever you can dish out for accessories. Vinyl set is not perfect, but when I get it right... boy there's not a single "My Avator" that will keep me away from LPs. Well maybe two.... but probably not.
    For the LP you may or may not have.. I dont see the point of Feanor's argument. Sure it's always nice to hear our favorite albums, but I think we like music enough to keep on making purchases. It's a pain in the anus though.
    The bottom line here is if you've got the LP collect, you might as well be able to play: sure, clean vinyl sounds good. But you can buy a wack of CDs for the price of a half decent vinyl playback system; (JRA's $1500 sounds about right). And you'll pay dollar for dollar the same for LPs as CDs in general; (they also sell CDs at garage sales).

    Parenthetically, as a classical listener, I'd be out of luck it I had to rely on LPs for my listening. For twenty years CDs have heavily outsold LP in this genre -- and as for new releases on vinyl? moohahahahaha.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular aevans's Avatar
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    I like vinyl, but I know the limitations of the product.. I would upgrade your digital stuff to make it sound more musical, instead of investing a competeing format. maybe an external dac or something similar, I'm not too familiar with your equipment choices, so you would know better.

    A sub would be my number one choice for a recomendation because your missing part of the music right now, if not for your living situation it would be a slam dunk.. one think to think of is that you can always turn the sub off at night for the neighbors, and play it durring the day at reasonable volumes.

  8. #8
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Hey Elapsed,

    You've obviously been busy putting together a pretty solid system. I don't know if a DAC will provide the most utility for dollars spent. That Naim is a very nice unit (as you well know).

    I'm also not familiar with Fidelity Acoustics so only you can be the judge on your bass extension needs. I'm going on the assumption that you put as much effort into your speaker decision as you did the rest of your gear and, under the circumstances, a sub may be overkill.

    Was the figure of 2k yet another arbitrary number that J-Murda pulled out of his magical, mystery Jrhymeammo-land? I never saw that mentioned in the thread previously. For 2k I might consider finding a new/old stock Denon 2910 and a sub. You might be able to pick up both on the used market.

    Happy hunting and let us know which way you go.

  9. #9
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    How are those REL subs, like the T-3? I'm somewhat familiar with their higher end subs.

  10. #10
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    If you've gone this long with out a DVD player, I have to wonder how much you'd even use it. It's interesting that there is some one out there not caught up in the movie rental routine.

    I do like my turntable and it's fun hunting vinyl but if I didn't already have a collection I wouldn't get into it. New audiophile pressings are out there but expensive. Good vinyl isn't that hard to find really. Although, vinyl is not as convenient to play as CD's and I play CD's more. I like to take care of my stuff and I don't always feel like cleaning the record, the stylus and if listening to something for the first time or an album that isn't so great all the way through, you have to get up to skip a track, or suffer through it. Hey, these are real considerations. I have to agree with Feanor on Classical. Classical has more quiet passages than any other music and it's exptremely hard to get quiet from a turntable. Even on good vinyl I still get some surface noise between tracks or on silent passages. I'm using a Rega cart. I've been told others are better at keeping the surface noise down.

    Anyway the sub is the only thing I can't really find a good reason for you not to buy.

    I do have to admit once I got into home theater, I liked it much more than I thought.

  11. #11
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks

    Was the figure of 2k yet another arbitrary number that J-Murda pulled out of his magical, mystery Jrhymeammo-land?
    Of course, were you suprised? I got whatchu need, man.


    Hey Elapsed,

    I had no idea REL offered a sub for $600. Now I'm more than curious. If you go with a T3, I would like to hear your opinion. I've been thinking about getting a "subtle" subwoofer. Neutric Speakon dilly looks like something I've been looking for. How would you hook it up? Unbalanced or NS option? Not sure how good the sub would be, but I can't imagine REL selling less than mediocre products.

    JRA

  12. #12
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    That's a pretty good start! Have fun in searching for the perfect piece.



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  13. #13
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I've been thinking about getting a "subtle" subwoofer.
    That's an excellent way of putting it. For a while I had been thinking about test driving the AV123 X-sub after reading so much about it. Maybe I still will, would be interesting.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Hi Guys, thanks for all of the advice! I ended up purchasing the REL T3 a couple of nights ago. Very happy with my purchase, this is a very musical subwoofer, great for a small living small like a condo. I haven't had any complaints from the neighbours yet, and have found it blends very well with my speakers. I have just a tiny bit of volume set, just to lightly fill in the bass. The REL only goes down to 30Hz, but I can't really ask for more in a small 8" sub. I auditionned this sub against a B&W PV1 (which is 3x the price), but I think I will eventually trade up to the PV1 which was very, very musical in a small space, and has no vibrations (does not transmit bass energy into the floor, so less change of disturbing my neighbours).

    Also, very happy with my Fidelity Acoustics speakers. These are transmission line speakers with a 1st order crossover, using a ring raditator tweeter and Scanspeak midwoofer. They are manufacturered locally here in Vancouver. They do have excellent bass response in some rooms that I've auditionned them, but I've found in my space the bass is lacking unless I really crank my Krell (which ends up with a knock on my door!).

    System is slowly coming together, but my next purchases will be an SLR camera and a new espresso machine. Then I can get back to audio.

  15. #15
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Nice choice.

    It's a good sub. I dont think mine has broken in yet, but it is starting to tighten up more and more. Give it more time, elapsed
    It looks so much better without a grill on the passive radiator.

    I'm not getting lower(30s) extention because I have about 8' of extra space behind my seating position. We just gotta play around a bit. But this sub was exactly what I was looking for.

  16. #16
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Congrats to both y'all gents.

    Ain't sardine-style living great. I've got the for sale signs up but with the market as it is I don't see getting into something bigger without taking a beating. Until then, ya make do with watcha got.

    Is it reasonable to hope that the new camera will be used for some pics of the system?


    Cheers

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    I'm with Feanor (again) ... the DVD player's a no brainer, especially since you already own a LCD HDTV. The Oppo is a good option because it also plays DVD-A and SACD, which largely failed in the market but still have a lot of titles available to discover. Plus, all of those discs have high resolution two-channel tracks, many of which noticeably improve upon the CD versions. A universal DVD player like the Oppo adds a great amount of flexibility to your system, especially with so many music DVDs now available (and many of them using PCM audio with higher resolution than CDs).

    The sub could be a nice addition if you're willing to take the time to properly set it up and work with the room acoustics using a parametric EQ and/or acoustical treatments. The utility of a subwoofer, especially in a two-channel setup like yours, depends greatly on the setup and room integration. Done properly, a sub can add a lot of musical enjoyment by extending the range, and improving the midrange coherency by relieving the mid/woofers from having to reproduce the lows. But, having a sub in an apartment can be a major pain because of how unpredictably low frequencies travel through to adjacent units. (i.e., your neighbor could hear bass that's louder and boomier than what you hear in your room)

    I love my vinyl and still have a turntable hooked up to my main system, but if you don't already have an LP collection, I generally don't recommend buying a turntable. It basically boils down to cost -- with turntables and cartridges, there's much greater variation in performance than you'll ever see between CD players, and the entry price for minimally acceptable performance is much higher than you get with digital formats. Cheap turntables have a huge downside especially if they get fitted with inadequate cartridges (cartridges are often very overlooked, but they can easily make or break your vinyl playback, as low end cartridges can sound horrible). And you got a learning curve with setting up the turntable and fitting the cartridge.

    And there's the the vinyl itself. New LPs are now a low volume limited edition specialty product that cost much more than new CDs. Even though the pressing quality is generally good, title selection is limited, and only a handful of stores in a given metro area will stock new vinyl. Then you got used LPs. While one can often find a good selection of vinyl at a reasonable cost, used LPs can vary a lot in their condition and pressing quality. Even different copies of the same album can vary significantly.

    Exploring vinyl can be rewarding, but be aware that getting the most out of it will require a significant investment in both time and money if you're not already into the format.
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  18. #18
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    Transmission lines done correctly are very effective. Have you played with speaker placement? Another thing to keep in mind is Krell amps have an iron grip control on bass response, you'll get accurate fast bass, hard hitting, but no matter what you do you won't get rumble or flabby bass. The only way to get that would be through inflated settings of a sub. I could take Rap or Dance discs that would make car subs boom and drop them into my Krell system and the bass was there but it was so tight and controlled that the sound was quite different. As good as Krell is people who like that type of boomy bass will not like Krell. Krell plays extremely deep though with the right speakers. Put in something like the first track on Paula Cole and when that low frequency comes in it is amazing.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Is it reasonable to hope that the new camera will be used for some pics of the system?
    I haven't gotten the new SLR yet, but here are some pics I took tonight





    Last edited by elapsed; 05-20-2007 at 10:47 PM.

  20. #20
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Nice choice.

    It's a good sub. I dont think mine has broken in yet, but it is starting to tighten up more and more. Give it more time, elapsed
    It looks so much better without a grill on the passive radiator.

    I'm not getting lower(30s) extention because I have about 8' of extra space behind my seating position. We just gotta play around a bit. But this sub was exactly what I was looking for.
    Does the grill come off? I'm nervous to give it a strong tug, would be curious to see how this looks..

    I'll give the sub time to break in, my dealer gives me a year to decide if I want to upgrade. Thanks for the advice!

  21. #21
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    First, why a DVD player for a two channel system? I am assuming it is for SACD, but I'm not sure. Second, have you ever thought of going with a more full range speaker? Personally, I am not a fan of powered sub-woofers? As for the Rega P3; I'm not sure you could better for the money.
    Say what you mean, mean what you say!

  22. #22
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by radtech13
    First, why a DVD player for a two channel system? I am assuming it is for SACD, but I'm not sure.
    This is my only system, it is two channel. Why shouldn't I enjoy DVD's? My system is 90% music, 10% TV, I didn't see the point of budgeting towards a mediocre 5.1 system in a small space when I could have a fantastic two channel system.

    Quote Originally Posted by radtech13
    Second, have you ever thought of going with a more full range speaker?
    I'm quite happy with my speakers.. Again, these were purchased for a small space, I wasn't looking for the bass extension.

    Quote Originally Posted by radtech13
    Personally, I am not a fan of powered sub-woofers?
    Ideally I would purchase a passive sub, but I don't see the point in such a small space with an 8" woofer. I'm not looking to drive the subwoofer hard, I'm just looking to add some warmth to my system and at a very low volume. The 150 watt high current Class AB amp in the REL will do me just fine, and doesn't break the bank.

  23. #23
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    I get it. For me two channels means audio only, never thought of it for movies. So yeah, a DVD player would therefore make sense. Not knowing your price range, but how about the Adcom GDV-870. List price is $599.00. Have a friend who auditioned one recently. He like it quite a bit.
    Say what you mean, mean what you say!

  24. #24
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Made a huge change today, I traded my Krell KAV-400xi for a Naim NAIT 5i integrated. All I can say is... wow! The synergy with the Naim CD5i is just outstanding. This is exactly the sound I've been looking for. Interestingly enough, I don't feel the need for the REL subwoofer anymore, the Naim produces exactly the bass I was looking for, and far more than the Krell. Who'd have thought?

    Also decided to pick up my first turntable. Got an excellent deal on a low millage Rega Planar 3 w/ motor upgrade and Eichmann Bullets, plus a 10x5 Dynavector Cart. But of course I'll also need a phono stage, so I put in an order for a Naim Stageline and FlatCap 2x power supply. Everything is being set up this Friday, can't wait!

  25. #25
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    elapsed,
    those are very good pics (even without the new camera). It looks like you know what you're doing. Which SLR are you considering?

    To stay on topic - nice system too. I've been curious about the Naim stuff, but with their connection method it seems "whole system" is the way to go.

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