• 12-20-2004, 12:16 PM
    Olivertmc
    Long-time Lurker seeks Upgrade
    Hi all,

    I've been a long-time reader (lurker) of this site - pretty much attributing any of my audio knowledge to something I've read on this board over the last 5 years. I tried to be as careful and frugal as possible in assembling my first audio system. While my present system can be used for both movies and music, I am primarily interested in excellent two channel audio.

    The following components make up my present system: Marantz SR-5000; Kef Q15.2 (Mains); Kef Q-95c (center); Boston Acoustic In-Wall (Surround); Sony DVP-NC875VB Black (DVD/CD/SACD); Energy S8.2 (Subwoofer).

    As a gift to myself, I have allotted $1,000 to spend on audio equipment. However, I am unsure of what new component would make the greatest difference in my system. Off the top of my head, I think that I could use a new sub, something with a 10 to 12 inch driver.

    I am interested in your opinions as to what component is in the most need of upgrading (or at least which would most greatly impact my two channel listening). Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
  • 12-20-2004, 12:32 PM
    HT BUFF
    Replace the Subwoofer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Olivertmc
    Hi all,

    I've been a long-time reader (lurker) of this site - pretty much attributing any of my audio knowledge to something I've read on this board over the last 5 years. I tried to be as careful and frugal as possible in assembling my first audio system. While my present system can be used for both movies and music, I am primarily interested in excellent two channel audio.

    The following components make up my present system: Marantz SR-5000; Kef Q15.2 (Mains); Kef Q-95c (center); Boston Acoustic In-Wall (Surround); Sony DVP-NC875VB Black (DVD/CD/SACD); Energy S8.2 (Subwoofer).

    As a gift to myself, I have allotted $1,000 to spend on audio equipment. However, I am unsure of what new component would make the greatest difference in my system. Off the top of my head, I think that I could use a new sub, something with a 10 to 12 inch driver.

    I am interested in your opinions as to what component is in the most need of upgrading (or at least which would most greatly impact my two channel listening). Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    I would look one of 3- Outlaw audio sub $579 , HSU VTF 2-$500, Velodyne Digital Subs(Circuit City)-$550 approx.
  • 12-20-2004, 01:51 PM
    RGA
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Olivertmc
    Hi all,

    I've been a long-time reader (lurker) of this site - pretty much attributing any of my audio knowledge to something I've read on this board over the last 5 years. I tried to be as careful and frugal as possible in assembling my first audio system. While my present system can be used for both movies and music, I am primarily interested in excellent two channel audio.

    The following components make up my present system: Marantz SR-5000; Kef Q15.2 (Mains); Kef Q-95c (center); Boston Acoustic In-Wall (Surround); Sony DVP-NC875VB Black (DVD/CD/SACD); Energy S8.2 (Subwoofer).

    As a gift to myself, I have allotted $1,000 to spend on audio equipment. However, I am unsure of what new component would make the greatest difference in my system. Off the top of my head, I think that I could use a new sub, something with a 10 to 12 inch driver.

    I am interested in your opinions as to what component is in the most need of upgrading (or at least which would most greatly impact my two channel listening). Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Are you setting up a 2 channel system in a separate room or are you trying to augment this in the same room as this H/T set-up?

    It has more to do with system synergy when creating a music reproduction system than it should be about trying to assess a quick fix here or there. I'd consider a separate system for 2 channel - though I'd be tempted to keep the Kef's (kinda of underrated speaker maker from what I've heard - but I haven't heard yours.

    I would probably Add vinyl to the set-up and replace the Marantz with a used Creek, Naim or Sugden(among others) integrated amplifiers which usually have good or better on board phono connection. Add a new Rega P3 or the new Project turntables(The Debut II is very accomplished for not much money even new).

    $1000.00 is not that much for substantial differences or improvements - Another one I might look at is a used Sugden A21(they're best A series amp) or counter from Naim Audio (used), and the Audio Note AX Two at $550.00US, and keep your Sony source player. This would probably run about $1400.00 as Sugden's are tough to find. Another plausible option is an amp from Jolida or Antique Sound Labs. A budget system (that seems popular on another forum) is the Audio Note AX Two and the Jolida A1301a http://www.jolida.com/catalogue/models/jd1301.shtml combined this would be about $900.00 add a $100.00 for stands and get them to throw in a decent cable and it "might" be a good combo - I have not personally heard the amp. You could try the AK forum to find out more.

    If it's just going to be about improving what you have - I'd probably still look at taking the Marantz out of the chain. I have the Marantz SR4300 - and for a receiver it's not bad - but then that's not saying much.
  • 12-20-2004, 02:01 PM
    Olivertmc
    Thanks for the suggestions. I intend to upgrade the system that I have, and keep it as my main music and movie system. Unfortunately, I do not have another room that I could dedicate to music listening.

    RGA, I most likely will not be able to upgrade to the Jolida (although I would love to). Would you recommend upgrading the Marantz to a more capable a/v receiver? If so, any suggestions?

    By the way, the Kef's are great.

    Thanks again.
  • 12-20-2004, 02:19 PM
    dean_martin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Olivertmc
    Thanks for the suggestions. I intend to upgrade the system that I have, and keep it as my main music and movie system. Unfortunately, I do not have another room that I could dedicate to music listening.

    RGA, I most likely will not be able to upgrade to the Jolida (although I would love to). Would you recommend upgrading the Marantz to a more capable a/v receiver? If so, any suggestions?

    By the way, the Kef's are great.

    Thanks again.

    It sounds like 1) you're leaning toward a new sub, 2) you're not too sure if you should upgrade the Marantz, and 3) you like your speakers.

    You might try splitting your budget between a sub and a 2 channel amp to drive your mains. I'm not that familiar with the KEF sound, but you should be able to ask around and find out what amps others recommend for KEF speakers. A $500 2 -channel amp will probably help bring out the best from your front speakers.
  • 12-20-2004, 02:48 PM
    Olivertmc
    That is a very good idea. Would I need some kind of switcher to run the same front speakers for 2 channel and multichannel applications?
  • 12-20-2004, 03:27 PM
    topspeed
    As long as your Marantz has pre-outs on the back, you'll be able to drive your mains with an outboard amp and the rest with the Marantz. This will also free up the power supply of your receiver so it will be able to drive your center and surrounds with more reserves. I wouldn't look into replacing your Marantz unless it doesn't have the current decoding programs (i.e. DTS, DD, etc.). A new receiver at this price point will likely sound very similar to what you already have.

    For my money, I'd add an amp first if 2 channel was my priority. However, if your system is bass shy, a new sub makes a lot more sense and will give you a more readily apparent upgrade.
  • 12-20-2004, 03:52 PM
    dean_martin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Olivertmc
    That is a very good idea. Would I need some kind of switcher to run the same front speakers for 2 channel and multichannel applications?

    I wouldn't think so. Check your Marantz for preamp outputs and amp inputs for each cnannel. If you have preamp outs you can run interconnects (standard rca audio cables) from the Front L & R preamp outputs to the new power amp's L & R inputs. You may need to do some level adjusting among your fronts, center and surrounds because your fronts will be getting more power (and probably better quality power). Hopefully, your Marantz allows you to adjust levels.

    P.S. According to a review I just found at www.ecoustics.com, the SR-5000 has preamp outs that allow for connecting external power amps. After you select your power amp, you should be in business. The Marantz may drive your center and surrounds a little easier once you've relieved it of driving your fronts.

    You may discover a new upgrade path that leads you to a 3-channel amp for center and surrounds and a seperate A/V preamp/processor.

    Again, I'm not sure what sonic characteristics your KEFs have, e.g., bright, laid back, forward, etc., but you might start looking at amps from Rotel, Parasound, Adcom, B&K, and NAD. You should be able to find something from these manufacturers for around $500. If you want more bang for your buck, you might look at some used amps. I think checking the reviews of KEF speakers on this site and others might give you some hints as to which amps mate well.
  • 12-20-2004, 03:53 PM
    Olivertmc
    Thank you for all the great ideas. I think my best option is to go the new sub/2 channel amp route. Does anyone have a recommendation for a decent two-channel amp at approximately $500-600? Even a couple of manufacturer names would help - I am not that familiar with separates.
  • 12-20-2004, 04:07 PM
    Geoffcin
    You should add a 2 channel amp.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Olivertmc
    Hi all,

    I've been a long-time reader (lurker) of this site - pretty much attributing any of my audio knowledge to something I've read on this board over the last 5 years. I tried to be as careful and frugal as possible in assembling my first audio system. While my present system can be used for both movies and music, I am primarily interested in excellent two channel audio.

    The following components make up my present system: Marantz SR-5000; Kef Q15.2 (Mains); Kef Q-95c (center); Boston Acoustic In-Wall (Surround); Sony DVP-NC875VB Black (DVD/CD/SACD); Energy S8.2 (Subwoofer).

    As a gift to myself, I have allotted $1,000 to spend on audio equipment. However, I am unsure of what new component would make the greatest difference in my system. Off the top of my head, I think that I could use a new sub, something with a 10 to 12 inch driver.

    I am interested in your opinions as to what component is in the most need of upgrading (or at least which would most greatly impact my two channel listening). Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.


    The Marantz is a capable receiver, but the addition of a 2-channel amp for the mains should make a notable change, especially when listening in STEREO.

    I use separate amps in my setup, and I also direct the analog output from my CD player though a separate preamp. While you can still use your receiver as a preamp, I've found that a dedicated separate component works better.

    If your looking for a big change for HT, then a larger, more powerful SUB will make a difference. It will not as make much of a difference for music, as for HT though.
  • 12-20-2004, 04:11 PM
    NickWH
    You can definitely find a good 2-channel power amp on the used market for that kind of cash. Look for names like NAD, Rotel, Adcom, Parasound, B & K...there are many more but you would have to increase your budget.

    Or, you could buy online direct:
    http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/200.html

    You'll need two, but I can't think of a better deal, watt-per-dollar.
  • 12-20-2004, 04:14 PM
    Geoffcin
    You should add a 2 channel amp.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Olivertmc
    Hi all,

    I've been a long-time reader (lurker) of this site - pretty much attributing any of my audio knowledge to something I've read on this board over the last 5 years. I tried to be as careful and frugal as possible in assembling my first audio system. While my present system can be used for both movies and music, I am primarily interested in excellent two channel audio.

    The following components make up my present system: Marantz SR-5000; Kef Q15.2 (Mains); Kef Q-95c (center); Boston Acoustic In-Wall (Surround); Sony DVP-NC875VB Black (DVD/CD/SACD); Energy S8.2 (Subwoofer).

    As a gift to myself, I have allotted $1,000 to spend on audio equipment. However, I am unsure of what new component would make the greatest difference in my system. Off the top of my head, I think that I could use a new sub, something with a 10 to 12 inch driver.

    I am interested in your opinions as to what component is in the most need of upgrading (or at least which would most greatly impact my two channel listening). Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.


    The Marantz is a capable receiver, but the addition of a 2-channel amp for the mains should make a notable change, especially when listening in STEREO.

    I use separate amps in my setup, and I also direct the analog output from my CD player though a separate preamp. While you can still use your receiver as a preamp, I've found that a dedicated separate component works better.

    If your looking for a big change for HT, then a larger, more powerful SUB will make a difference. It will not as make much of a difference for music, as for HT though.
  • 12-21-2004, 05:14 AM
    kexodusc
    Seems everyone is pretty much in agreement about the addition of a good 2-channel amp, I have 3 separate power amps in my HT. The added power and performance is worth it.
    Olivertmc: If I were you, I'd buy a decent used Rotel, Adcom, NAD, Parasound, etc amplifier, 60 WPC or higher for $100 - $200 or so... maybe that again on a pre-amp, then drop the rest on your subwoofer. You could probably even find a capable separate integrated amp with some power from NAD, Arcam, etc.. Just feed it the signal from your receiver and have it drive the front mains, and connect the CD player directly to it. You'd probably enjoy that for music more than your Marantz, and still have the benefit of additional power during HT playback.
    You've really got a lot of options, take your time and have fun shopping.
  • 12-21-2004, 05:40 AM
    Olivertmc
    Everyone has been very helpful - Thanks! Once again, I was provided with options that I never knew existed. This is a great site, and I look forward to participating in more discussions in the future (the first post is always the hardest).
  • 12-21-2004, 05:18 PM
    Olivertmc
    Monoblocks?
    What are the pros and cons of going with a monoblock set up (e.g. Outlaw) rather than the standard 2 channel power amp? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • 12-21-2004, 05:31 PM
    NickWH
    Uh, more power...each amp has it's own power supply. While there are stereo amps that are designed to be "dual mono," the mono block amp is the original. Some might also say that because each channel is completely seperated, there is no crosstalk or other distortions from one channel's signal being leaked into the other.

    I just recommended it because you can get 200wpc for $574, new.

    https://www.outlawaudio.com/mofcart/electronics.html

    Here is a review:

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...er-4-2003.html

    "I am not going to sit here and write that the Outlaw 200 sounded as smooth as my Balanced Audio Technology VK-500 (250 watts per channel) or McIntosh MC-602 (600 watts per channel), each of which costs thousands of dollars, but it sounded just fine. It isn't meant to scare Mark Levinson or any other ultra-high end manufacturer. It is meant to deliver some rear end kicking dynamics for a home theater evening, yet sound clear and quiet for music, and still be affordable for anyone. This would be a great little amp to add to a mass market receiver pre-outs, on for example, just the center channel, where most of the energy is concentrated."