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  1. #1
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    Help with Audio 101. What's most important to sound quality?

    Hi,
    As a rookie audio enthusiast with very limited budget (two kids and a wife), I've always wanted to improve the sound quality and still able to pay the mortgage. So I have this question (I'm sorry if this has been asked before) so I can better prioritize my upgrade needs. However I want this question to a general question for future reference, not what I need to do to replace my current set up. Would you please help me rank the following in the order of importance to sound quality.

    1. Speakers
    2. Source (CD/DVD disc)
    3. Player (CD/DVD)
    4. Receiver/Pre-Amp
    5. Receiver/ Power Amplifier
    6. Cable
    7. Power Conditioner - Someone's selling Panamax P.C. cheap and i'm wondering if it's worth the investment.

    I've excluded room acoustics (although I bet it's within top 2) since I use living room as HT and I can only do so much with limited $ and limited WAF.
    Thank you for your advises.

  2. #2
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agidol
    Hi,
    As a rookie audio enthusiast with very limited budget (two kids and a wife), I've always wanted to improve the sound quality and still able to pay the mortgage. So I have this question (I'm sorry if this has been asked before) so I can better prioritize my upgrade needs. However I want this question to a general question for future reference, not what I need to do to replace my current set up. Would you please help me rank the following in the order of importance to sound quality.

    1. Speakers
    2. Source (CD/DVD disc)
    3. Player (CD/DVD)
    4. Receiver/Pre-Amp
    5. Receiver/ Power Amplifier
    6. Cable
    7. Power Conditioner - Someone's selling Panamax P.C. cheap and i'm wondering if it's worth the investment.

    I've excluded room acoustics (although I bet it's within top 2) since I use living room as HT and I can only do so much with limited $ and limited WAF.
    Thank you for your advises.
    I think that you have a good order here. 1 & 2 can be switched at times (only because some sources can be really horrible) And you could add one more to the top. Your enjoyment. That has to be number one IMO. Some say the shape of our ears make a difference. But I wouldn't go changing them.
    Also, room accoustics. That should be in there also. Maybe number 3. Some may say number 1.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  3. #3
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    frankly all of them are of equal importance, but to generally rank them, number 1 is good.
    #2 and #3 are the same and should be fourth. 4 and 5 could be combined and should be second. Room accoustics/treatment should be third. Power and cabling can stay in your ranking order.
    One more that you might want to include is control

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. As for grouping preamp/amp together, do you believe preamp and amp are of an equal importance, not amp then preamp? The reason why I ask is that I may want to do receiver and a separate amp route but if the amp's contribution to SQ is not significantly more than a preamp I might just stick to a good receiver. I want to utilize my existing receiver (Yam HTR 5990) so getting a dedicated preamp is not an option.

  5. #5
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Most seem to say that the pre-amp section is more important than the amp. But it's cheaper to buy amps than to buy pre-amps. I see a lot of, receiver with an amp, systems. It's a more logical upgrade IMO if you can't afford both an amp and a pre-amp in one shot. My plan is to buy a good receiver, (have this part) then upgrade the amps a little at a time. Once I have all the amps I need, then buy a pre-amp. The receiver can then be used in another room all by itself again. Then the process starts over for that room.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  6. #6
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    Being a blacksheep I take a different approach. This is based on money wasted on what was my starter system. Generally speaking, people buy what they can afford at first and may be reluctant to spend more than what the average Joe would spend on audio. Then upgraditis sets in, and what we bought reveals itself as junk.
    Start off with quality components, it doesn't have to be TOTL but it shouldn't be entry level stuff. Yes it costs more intially, but you will save money down the road if you can build on what you already have rather than having to toss everything.

    1. receiver, av/receiver, amps, pre-amp, etc.- example: with cheap receiver you won't hear the difference between a good speaker or cheap speaker regardless of anything else. A good receiver will make even a cheap speaker sound better.

    2. Power Conditioner- Doesn't have to be real expensive. Why because everytime you have heavy bass passages in music it sucks volts. So to keep your speakers working at optimum power levels at all times a conditioner will keep the power constant.

    3. Source- Doesn't have to be TOTL You won't hear the difference of TOTL unless you have hi-grade amps and revealing speakers.

    4. Speakers- anything but entry level.

    5. Room Treatment

    6. Wires & interconnects

  7. #7
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    speakers are key, as a kid my first "system" had a record changer in the top!
    But a great set of speakers improved the sound greatly, and were there when I upgraded.
    AS for amps, seperates are always better, you just cant cram a bunch of quality amps into a tiny box.
    Damping factor is one thing, most receivers, when they do bother to publish this, list a factor as low as 30 or 40, even inexpensive amps from outlaw audio have damping factors
    two to four HUNDRED, and their power is rated over the full frequency of 20 to 20kz,
    you'd be surprized how many still rate their receivers at one khz, great if you listen to music in one frequency.
    AND a good strategy for preamps is a receiver with most of the features of a good preamp, you can add amps later and have a basic starter system
    AS for source its not near as important as it used to be, since everything is digital anyway
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agidol
    Hi,
    As a rookie audio enthusiast with very limited budget (two kids and a wife), I've always wanted to improve the sound quality and still able to pay the mortgage. So I have this question (I'm sorry if this has been asked before) so I can better prioritize my upgrade needs. However I want this question to a general question for future reference, not what I need to do to replace my current set up. Would you please help me rank the following in the order of importance to sound quality.

    1. Speakers
    2. Source (CD/DVD disc)
    3. Player (CD/DVD)
    4. Receiver/Pre-Amp
    5. Receiver/ Power Amplifier
    6. Cable
    7. Power Conditioner - Someone's selling Panamax P.C. cheap and i'm wondering if it's worth the investment.

    I've excluded room acoustics (although I bet it's within top 2) since I use living room as HT and I can only do so much with limited $ and limited WAF.
    Thank you for your advises.
    You're on the right track.

    There's a simple way to prove that that speakers are far more important than the other components in your system put together. The the Double Blind Test (DBT).

    We can argue the whether the DBT tells us everything or not, but we don't need to for the point I'm making.

    Here's a few general facts.

    After decades of using the DBT, we still don't have anybody able to repeatedly prove in a DBT that they can hear differences in sound between amplifiers, pre-amps, and digital source components (well,beyond super, cheap stuff anyway). This always pisses off audiophiles who boast night and day differences, then fail to be able prove they hear them. I've been a part of a few. My first DBT was a very humbling experience for me, but it opened my eyes some. That says something about the magnitude of differences in sound. You can spend thousands of dollars more, but differences will be generally quite small. And that's the nature of this industry. The higher you go, the more you have to spend to get even less back.

    There are many objectivists in the industry who use DBT's as crutch to make the statement that all amps, cd players, receivers, etc sound the same. I don't believe that, and I don't believe the DBT is the best test method, but that's neither here nor there and is an old, tiring debate we should avoid.

    What all the DBT haters don't like admitting is that the DBT does reveal that there are differences in sound when speakers are the test component.
    I repeat, we can conclude reliably (and easily) that speakers sound different under DBT conditions, but we can't do the same with the other components. At the very least, we can logically conclude that speakers impact on sound is substantial enough to overwhelm any limitations of a DBT, and that a speaker's impact on sound is far greater than the other components.

    So, speakers should be #1.
    From there, it's easy IMO.

    You need an amp/pre-amp/receiver no matter what. Getting enough power for your habbits and needs is critical to sound quality, because insufficient power sounds horrible. Getting enough power is easy today, but more power and lower distortion is still beneficial. I tend to prioritize the amp/gain stage as #2, with a slight edge towards the amplifier only because in my experience, most pre-amp stages don't destroy the signal and do generally an acceptable job. A weak amp, or an amp that shapes the output in favor of sounding bright or warm has a noticeable impact on sound. I hear less difference in pre-amps than I do amps so I put them at #3. If you buy an integrated or receiver, the two are combined. The pro-DBT crowd often ignores certain reactive characteristics of amps and how they complement speakers when making the statement that all amps sound the same.

    The source player is next IMO. Even the differences between standard receiver DAC's and top of the line stuff is at the point of splitting hairs for most people. At some point it'll be a cost effective upgrade, where additional dollars invested here produce more sound benefit than elsewhere. I can hear differences in most other areas, DAC's/source players are really hard for me these days. Even when I demo some pretty impressive systems, I'm hard pressed to notice a difference in quality DAC's from supposedly inferior ones these days. It's there, but I'd have to spend so much usually that it's never a priority. Even my Arcam CD player doesn't sound light years better than a cheap $100 Toshiba player I have. It's there, but to me the difference between a $100 CD player and $2000 player is still smaller than the differences I hear anywhere else. Except for:

    Cables - you can buy cables that are designed to react to the signal and generate a unique response. I'm ignoring those. I choose my cables for the task of getting the signal from A to B with as little deterioration in sound as possible. I cannot hear differences in quality cables. I can hear differences between quality cables and cheap cables with no shielding or poor connectors under certain conditions.

    I'm not sold on power conditioners, I use one, but I don't hear any benefit. Oh well. Some protection circuitry could be desireable in your area. For the right price, it never hurts.

    To recap:
    1) Speakers
    2) amp, then pre-amp, or receiver/integrated
    3) source player
    4) cables
    5) power conditioning (unless you've got a real problem).

    On a limited budget, I think this order holds even more true than on much larger budgets. Spend as much as you can on speakers without severely crippling any of the other areas. 50-60% isn't too much.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Gerall's Avatar
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    Win Place or Show

    After performing many of the subtile tweaks like Dynamat, interconnects, and speaker cable upgrades....., I found that proper speaker placement and alignment made the most difference. Took 3 people with me in the sweet spot, and a bunch of measuring and calculating, but wow when I had the speakers placed and aligned for optimum, the sound difference was considerable.
    System:
    Cambridge Azur 640c-v2 player
    Technics SL V5 turntable
    Grado MF3-P cartridge
    TCC TC-760LC MM/MC Phono Preamp
    Aric Audio Tubre preamp with RCA 12au7 cleartops (installed on Adcom external processing loop)
    Adcom GFP-345 preamp
    Adcom GFA-5500 poweramp
    Paradigm 11semk3 speakers
    Monster connects and speaker cables.

  10. #10
    His and Her Room! westcott's Avatar
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    Components come and go but quality speakers will last generations and have the biggest impact per dollar for sound quality. Room acoustics are a close second and proper speaker placement, seating distance, room orientation are all key to taking full advantage of a good speaker and sound system. Room acoustics and speaker placement is not expensive if you select the right space to begin with and do some homework on what constitutes a proper approach and provides the best bang for the buck.

  11. #11
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    Another chance to go head to head with Kex.
    I don't doubt that speakers have a great variance in sound characteristics. I'm not saying speakers aren't important, heck all of the components are important to acheiving good sound. But I still maintain that the amps/receiver are the foundation to great sound and this is where the most emphasis should be placed.
    I'll use my Bryston's as an example as this is what I'm familiar with. Now I use both B&W DM 601's and Paradigm Studio 20's v3. On my Bryston 3B-ST both speakers sound good with slightly different sound characteristics. Now change the amp to the 3B-SST and both of these speakers now have an airy quality. Neither of these speakers exhibited this trait with the ST or even my Yamaha av/receiver. So I conclude (not having experience with real expensive speakers) that what I consider elite sound is not possible without the SST amp and the speakers exhibit that quality, the source, as well as their characteristic traits.
    The reason nobody has heard differences in amps in DBT is because it's attributed to speakers. I assure you that the amps/receivers makes the biggest overall difference in what a speaker is capable of.

  12. #12
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireworm5
    Another chance to go head to head with Kex.
    ??? Don't recall ever going "head to head" with you.
    I'll use my Bryston's as an example as this is what I'm familiar with. Now I use both B&W DM 601's and Paradigm Studio 20's v3. On my Bryston 3B-ST both speakers sound good with slightly different sound characteristics. Now change the amp to the 3B-SST and both of these speakers now have an airy quality. Neither of these speakers exhibited this trait with the ST or even my Yamaha av/receiver. So I conclude (not having experience with real expensive speakers) that what I consider elite sound is not possible without the SST amp and the speakers exhibit that quality, the source, as well as their characteristic traits.
    Actually, I have the same opinion as you up to this point, more or less.

    The reason nobody has heard differences in amps in DBT is because it's attributed to speakers
    Not sure what you mean here? Nothing is attributed to the speakers. They remain constant. The only thing that changes is the amp. Yet despite changing the amp, nobody can reasonably prove under blind conditions that the sound changes.
    When we keep the amp constant, but change speakers, more people notice a difference in sound. Hence, speakers have more impact than amps on sound.

    I assure you that the amps/receivers makes the biggest overall difference in what a speaker is capable of.
    I agree with this statement as well. But the question isn't what makes the biggest difference in what a speaker is capable of, it's "what makes the biggest difference in overall system sound".
    Put differently when building a system, which component will generate the greatest benefit per dollar spent? What would sound better? $300 speakers and $2000 amp, or $2000 speakers and a $300 amp? In my system, a better speaker always sounds better than a worse speaker regardless of the amp used. Better amps, just help the better speakers sound better still.
    Now, with diminishing returns and all, there comes a point where an amplifier upgrade is more cost effective at producing X% improvement than a speaker upgrade.

  13. #13
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    You're on the right track.

    There's a simple way to prove that that speakers are far more important than the other components in your system put together. The the Double Blind Test (DBT).

    We can argue the whether the DBT tells us everything or not, but we don't need to for the point I'm making.

    Here's a few general facts.

    After decades of using the DBT, we still don't have anybody able to repeatedly prove in a DBT that they can hear differences in sound between amplifiers, pre-amps, and digital source components (well,beyond super, cheap stuff anyway). This always pisses off audiophiles who boast night and day differences, then fail to be able prove they hear them. I've been a part of a few. My first DBT was a very humbling experience for me, but it opened my eyes some. That says something about the magnitude of differences in sound. You can spend thousands of dollars more, but differences will be generally quite small. And that's the nature of this industry. The higher you go, the more you have to spend to get even less back.

    There are many objectivists in the industry who use DBT's as crutch to make the statement that all amps, cd players, receivers, etc sound the same. I don't believe that, and I don't believe the DBT is the best test method, but that's neither here nor there and is an old, tiring debate we should avoid.

    What all the DBT haters don't like admitting is that the DBT does reveal that there are differences in sound when speakers are the test component.
    I repeat, we can conclude reliably (and easily) that speakers sound different under DBT conditions, but we can't do the same with the other components. At the very least, we can logically conclude that speakers impact on sound is substantial enough to overwhelm any limitations of a DBT, and that a speaker's impact on sound is far greater than the other components.

    So, speakers should be #1.
    From there, it's easy IMO.

    You need an amp/pre-amp/receiver no matter what. Getting enough power for your habbits and needs is critical to sound quality, because insufficient power sounds horrible. Getting enough power is easy today, but more power and lower distortion is still beneficial. I tend to prioritize the amp/gain stage as #2, with a slight edge towards the amplifier only because in my experience, most pre-amp stages don't destroy the signal and do generally an acceptable job. A weak amp, or an amp that shapes the output in favor of sounding bright or warm has a noticeable impact on sound. I hear less difference in pre-amps than I do amps so I put them at #3. If you buy an integrated or receiver, the two are combined. The pro-DBT crowd often ignores certain reactive characteristics of amps and how they complement speakers when making the statement that all amps sound the same.

    The source player is next IMO. Even the differences between standard receiver DAC's and top of the line stuff is at the point of splitting hairs for most people. At some point it'll be a cost effective upgrade, where additional dollars invested here produce more sound benefit than elsewhere. I can hear differences in most other areas, DAC's/source players are really hard for me these days. Even when I demo some pretty impressive systems, I'm hard pressed to notice a difference in quality DAC's from supposedly inferior ones these days. It's there, but I'd have to spend so much usually that it's never a priority. Even my Arcam CD player doesn't sound light years better than a cheap $100 Toshiba player I have. It's there, but to me the difference between a $100 CD player and $2000 player is still smaller than the differences I hear anywhere else. Except for:

    Cables - you can buy cables that are designed to react to the signal and generate a unique response. I'm ignoring those. I choose my cables for the task of getting the signal from A to B with as little deterioration in sound as possible. I cannot hear differences in quality cables. I can hear differences between quality cables and cheap cables with no shielding or poor connectors under certain conditions.

    I'm not sold on power conditioners, I use one, but I don't hear any benefit. Oh well. Some protection circuitry could be desireable in your area. For the right price, it never hurts.

    To recap:
    1) Speakers
    2) amp, then pre-amp, or receiver/integrated
    3) source player
    4) cables
    5) power conditioning (unless you've got a real problem).

    On a limited budget, I think this order holds even more true than on much larger budgets. Spend as much as you can on speakers without severely crippling any of the other areas. 50-60% isn't too much.
    What he said. ;-)

    Seriously though, that is the exact order I would recommend too (and for many of the same reasons). Technically I would put the source (not the player mind you, but the music source) as number one before speakers, but you really can't control that much of the time (there's lots of bad sounding source material out there that will sound bad on most anything, but that can't be helped unfortunately). A good set of speakers will reproduce what is on the source material as well as possible, and out of the things you can regularly control, that makes them most important in my book.

    At the end of the day, enjoying the music is my recommendation. :-)

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
    Coda 2 X 200 Watt Amp
    Rotel RB-985 5 X 100 Watt Amp
    2 Tyler Acoustics 2 Piece Linbrook Signature System
    1 Tyler Linbrook Signature Center Channel
    3 Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors
    1 ACI Titan II Sub
    Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD
    Panasonic BDT-210 + 350 Blu-ray
    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
    Sony 55NX-810 1080p 3D-LED HDTV

    Office:
    Opera Audio Consonance CD-120
    Jolida 1301A 2 X 30 Watt Int. Amp (Sovtek Tubes)
    Opera Audio Consonance Eric-1 Speakers

  14. #14
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    What would sound better? $300 speakers and $2000 amp, or $2000 speakers and a $300 amp? The former.
    Maybe you haven't had a cheap amp powering speakers. In my case there was no significant difference between the $300 pair and $700 pair until and upgrade in receiver. Then it became apparent which was the better speaker and admittingly a significant difference in sound for the better. This pales in comparisn to the drastic change in speaker performance when I first powered my Studio 100's with my Bryston 3B-ST. My jaw hit the floor when I heard the difference. Now your thinking that these speakers were under powered by my Yammie. Well the same thing happen when I changed the amp for my center from the Yammie to Bryston. It was if there was a hole in the center soundstage and now the gap had been filled.
    So I submit that you would get a much biggar sound improvement when going from a cheap amp to expensive, then you would going from a cheap speaker to an expensive speaker without an adequate amp powering them. Amps and speakers of equal caliber, differences would be marginal in comparison IMO.

  15. #15
    His and Her Room! westcott's Avatar
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    I guess I will have to trade in my Klipsch reference speakers and my Denon AV receiver for a Bose speaker system and a Bryston amp.

    What was I thinking???

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by westcott
    I guess I will have to trade in my Klipsch reference speakers and my Denon AV receiver for a Bose speaker system and a Bryston amp.

    What was I thinking???
    I think i'll sell my PSB Platinums for some bottom end KLH speakers and use that money on more amps so I can smoke my Platinums.

  17. #17
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wireworm5
    What would sound better? $300 speakers and $2000 amp, or $2000 speakers and a $300 amp? The former.
    Maybe you haven't had a cheap amp powering speakers. In my case there was no significant difference between the $300 pair and $700 pair until and upgrade in receiver. Then it became apparent which was the better speaker and admittingly a significant difference in sound for the better. This pales in comparisn to the drastic change in speaker performance when I first powered my Studio 100's with my Bryston 3B-ST. My jaw hit the floor when I heard the difference. Now your thinking that these speakers were under powered by my Yammie. Well the same thing happen when I changed the amp for my center from the Yammie to Bryston. It was if there was a hole in the center soundstage and now the gap had been filled.
    So I submit that you would get a much biggar sound improvement when going from a cheap amp to expensive, then you would going from a cheap speaker to an expensive speaker without an adequate amp powering them. Amps and speakers of equal caliber, differences would be marginal in comparison IMO.
    I guess we will have to agree to disagree here...

    I am not in the camp that says "all amps sound the same," etc., but if you are using a pair of shoddy speakers, the fact that you are powering them with MBL amps costing $50,000 each does not help much. If the speakers don't have the capability to accurately reproduce the sound of the source material, then does it really matter what amp is powering them? That said, I definitely feel it is important to find a pre amp and amp that power them well in order to get the best results... but as to order of importance, I stand by my (or should I say Kex's ;-)) comments.

    In answer to your question about $2000 speakers and a $300 amp, versus a $2000 amp and $300 speakers...

    Try out some Opera Audio Consonance Eric-3 thin floorstanders ($1800/pr. retail), coupled with an entry level Jolida 35 watt integrated tube/ss hybrid amp ($300 retail) and you tell me? I think I would put those guys up against just about any $2000 integrated amp/$300 pair of speakers combo and not be too frightened... That is assuming the components are all bought new at today's prices. :-) And that is just one combo... I could think of many many more that would fit here.

    Like I said, we will have to agree to disagree....

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
    Coda 2 X 200 Watt Amp
    Rotel RB-985 5 X 100 Watt Amp
    2 Tyler Acoustics 2 Piece Linbrook Signature System
    1 Tyler Linbrook Signature Center Channel
    3 Tyler Taylo Reference Monitors
    1 ACI Titan II Sub
    Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD
    Panasonic BDT-210 + 350 Blu-ray
    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
    Sony 55NX-810 1080p 3D-LED HDTV

    Office:
    Opera Audio Consonance CD-120
    Jolida 1301A 2 X 30 Watt Int. Amp (Sovtek Tubes)
    Opera Audio Consonance Eric-1 Speakers

  18. #18
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    I hope this cleared it all up for the OP.
    Maybe a good balance is needed.
    Even a pair of Apogees would sound like crap drived by an Emerson all in one box. But a Krell amp won't make those Bose sound any better either.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  19. #19
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    I guess we will have to agree to disagree here...

    I am not in the camp that says "all amps sound the same," etc., but if you are using a pair of shoddy speakers, the fact that you are powering them with MBL amps costing $50,000 each does not help much. If the speakers don't have the capability to accurately reproduce the sound of the source material, then does it really matter what amp is powering them? That said, I definitely feel it is important to find a pre amp and amp that power them well in order to get the best results... but as to order of importance, I stand by my (or should I say Kex's ;-)) comments.

    [That is the point I'm trying to make.
    Having a good amp, you'll may exceed the limits of a cheap speaker. It is at the point that a speaker upgrade is in order. Having a speaker with the capability may not sound any better unless you have an amp that can power them to their potential. So a good amp should come first to realize a speaker's potential.]

    In answer to your question about $2000 speakers and a $300 amp, versus a $2000 amp and $300 speakers...

    Try out some Opera Audio Consonance Eric-3 thin floorstanders ($1800/pr. retail), coupled with an entry level Jolida 35 watt integrated tube/ss hybrid amp ($300 retail) and you tell me? I think I would put those guys up against just about any $2000 integrated amp/$300 pair of speakers combo and not be too frightened... That is assuming the components are all bought new at today's prices. :-) And that is just one combo... I could think of many many more that would fit here.

    [You would be hard pressed to find a tube amp around here.
    But again you point out the importance of having the right amp to make these speakers sing. So an adequate amp is necassary to bring the best out of a speaker. The fact it only $300 bucks is bonus. Now how much better would the Opera's sound with a $2000 amp?

    If I take my $300 Cerwin Vegas hook them to my $2000 power amp. These speakers would sound pretty good as I would be driving them to their potential. Now if I take my $2000 Studios and hook them to my $500 av/receiver, it wouldn't even power them and it would sound like ass. So a good amp with cheap speakers would be better than a cheap amp with good speakers "nuff said."]

    Like I said, we will have to agree to disagree....

  20. #20
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Wireworm5]I take my $300 Cerwin Vegas hook them to my $2000 power amp. These speakers would sound pretty good as I would be driving them to their potential. Now if I take my $2000 Studios and hook them to my $500 av/receiver, it wouldn't even power them and it would sound like ass. So a good amp with cheap speakers would be better than a cheap amp with good speakers "nuff said."]
    I/ QUOTE]

    With respect, I would take the $500 receiver and use it to power your Studios. ;-) It is not the ideal fit of course (and certainly your Bryston is a better one no doubt), but unless you are listening to rap or heavy metal, the $300 CVs most likely are not going to sound too accurate with *any* amp, even the $50K MBLs I mentioned, or your $2K Bryston. I'll take the receiver/Studios combo every time, but that is just me. I certanly respect your opinion to the contrary...

    ---Dave
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  21. #21
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Kex is right (again)

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    You're on the right track.

    ...
    To recap:
    1) Speakers
    2) amp, then pre-amp, or receiver/integrated
    3) source player
    4) cables
    5) power conditioning (unless you've got a real problem).

    On a limited budget, I think this order holds even more true than on much larger budgets. Spend as much as you can on speakers without severely crippling any of the other areas. 50-60% isn't too much.
    I endorse Kex's sequence above 100% and furthermore agree that in entry and mid-level system one would expect the speakers to cost as much as the other stuff put together. Once you get into upper-mid and high-end systems things become a lot more unpredicable in turms of the cost split, though the order remains the same.

    By the way, if you've got vinyl playback in the equation, you could probably put the cartridge in as '1B', the phono preamp in as '1C', and turntable as '2B'. (But it ain't a problem for me. )

  22. #22
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    1) SPEAKERS
    2) everything else
    You buy good amps so they wont run outta gas when power is required, not to mention quality amps last longer.
    As for double-blind stuff, thats like arguing angels on the head of a pin.
    Truth is most electronics are pretty good these days, the only area where construction
    and design are key is speakers, where a lot still use intuition and guesswork
    TO say anything besides speakers is more important is silly, since speakers translate
    EVERYTHING into sound
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
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  23. #23
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    True that each component is important, but the Preamp is the heart of the system. Speakers are also critical. Better to have a good preamp and ok amps and source I think. As much as I loathe to spend money on cables, they do make a heckofa difference.

  24. #24
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    I double agree....

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    I endorse Kex's sequence above 100% and furthermore agree that in entry and mid-level system one would expect the speakers to cost as much as the other stuff put together. Once you get into upper-mid and high-end systems things become a lot more unpredicable in turms of the cost split, though the order remains the same.

    By the way, if you've got vinyl playback in the equation, you could probably put the cartridge in as '1B', the phono preamp in as '1C', and turntable as '2B'. (But it ain't a problem for me. )
    Sounds like a great lineup!

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