Looking to rebuild audio system, seeking advice

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs & Equipment' started by PhaseNoise, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. AeonF1

    AeonF1 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Just be careful with your budget and because in the end you might be spending way more than you were expecting as the hole can get pretty deep. Also take advantage of manufacturers that offer free auditions. Not to be a SVS shill but they do offer a free 45 day in-home trial, probably to make up the lack of presence in your local audio shops.
    I run the following 5.1 setup:
    • Denon AVR-X4300H - $800
    • SVS Ultra Bookshelves - $1000
    • SVS Ultra Center - $700
    • SVS Prime Satellites (Surrounds) - $165 at SVS Outlet
    • SVS SB13-Ultra Subwoofer - $1000 at SVS Outlet (discontinued)
    • Speaker cables, banana plugs, subwoofer cable, 18 Gbps capable HDMI cables, speaker stands, etc - $300~
    • 10'x10' shaggy rug (living room has hardwood which isn't good for acoustics) - $150
    Total was roughly $4000

    And this is for an apartment setup! I could've mixed and matched with different brands but felt kinda lazy because of the logistics of it so I just commited to one brand after enjoying the bookshelves so much. I thought I was gonna be happy with a simple 2.0 setup but eventually the itch just kept coming until it was a full blown system. When we do purchase our first home, I'd move the bookshelves to the surround positions and pick up the Ultra Towers along with a 2 or 3-channel amp to power the LCRs. I don't plan on dabbing into Atmos anytime soon because if I would go route, I'd have to go the downward firing speakers way which takes some commitment because of the wiring and mounting speakers in the ceiling to ensure a clean setup. Just picked up a 65 inch LG OLED C9 and now I just realized I'm gonna be spending about 10 grand when it's all said and done.

    I've considered KEF and Polks (they had a great rep back in the day, not sure about now since they went mainstream). Klipsch IMO are quite bright (some would call it harsh) but it really depends on the genre of music you listen to. The Andrew Jones designed ELAC Uni-fi's are a decent budget option comparable to SVS Primes. Same dude that made those famous but super cheap Pioneers. All I gotta say is once you move up the tiers, its really difficult to downgrade as you train your ears to what quality sound is. Unlike most electronics, I think of speakers as a long term investment given that even old speakers can sound really great. My Dad is currently still rocking some 30 year old Polks.
     
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  2. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise [H]ard|Gawd

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    Sounds like a sweet setup. I am really interested in the SVS ultras. I tend to keep things forever, so climbing cost ladders doesn't freak me out unduly - as long as it means I am satisfied and have no recurring upgrade itch. My last system lasted ~15 years, until they had to go away in a divorce settlement (jerk). Not doing THAT again, so the next step will be in service until I can't hear anymore.

    I am probably going to go incremental, if no other reason than I string out the thrill of upgrades:
    Phase1: Receiver and 2x SVS ultra towers
    Phase2: Center channel. This is probably going to require some entertainment center / TV stand alteration too.
    Phase3: subwoofer (I have one, but it's not on the quality level of the SVS gear)

    I can't wait until I get some time to really do this. The thought of having incredible audio again makes me tingly. I've put up with the "temporary" solution for too long, guldurnit.
     
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  3. mashie

    mashie Mawd Gawd

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    I have a SVS subwoofer and 15 Monitor Audio speakers in my setup. Immersive sound at it's finest.

    If I was rebuilding the system today I would go full DIY though based on price/performance.
     
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  4. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise [H]ard|Gawd

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    Turns out one friend of ours had SVS speakers (prime - not ultra), and they really did sound quite nice.

    I commandeered the system to play my checklist, and was really impressed. In particular, Bach's cello suite in G Major (one of my all-time favorites) sounded incredibly rich and ... correct. And then Osbourne's Diary of a Madman was also really good.
    I think the thing I liked about them was a lack of over-emphasis, which some sets do to cover a lack of real range. No overly harsh highs, and no weird booming bass passband (which I hate).

    Hoping to obtain some decent kit this week or the next. As one my managers once said "Let's light this candle."
     
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  5. XXXStevemanXXX

    XXXStevemanXXX n00b

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    Damn, some of these audio setups are insane. I could never fathom spending $3000-$10,000 on home audio gear, but damn Id love to listen to it and see what the difference is. I cant even talk myself into spending the cash for a good Reciever and set of Klipsch speakers. I did however get a Klipsch RSB-11 Sound Bar which does sound good but I'm getting the itch to at least upgrade to a Klipsch 2.1/3.1 or something setup to start with after reading this thread.
     
  6. Algrim

    Algrim [H]ard|Gawd

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    You could afford a lifetime of live music trying to replicate how live music sounds in your listening room. :eek:
     
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  7. mashie

    mashie Mawd Gawd

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    A soundbar is an upgrade from the TV speakers but not much more.

    My cinema room setup is already blowing the local cinemas out of the water both from both a picture and sound point of view (OLED and 9.1.6 sound) and that is before the upgrades planned for next year.
     
  8. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise [H]ard|Gawd

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    I've been told by someone who is very into audio - I should replace the Yamaha receiver options with a Marantz. My original choice stemmed from years of using Yamaha gear and an inside guy, who while is of course competent, may have A Dog In the Hunt.

    Anyone have a thought on this? I was that close to pulling the trigger when new concerns came in from a friend of mine.[

    I'm assuming it doesn't really matter for someone like me, who is not the top 5% listener. But if there's a big issue here people know about - I'd love to hear feedback. From specs I can read, the receiver isn't really going to be a limiting factor either way.
     
  9. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Yamaha is a top shelf player and there isn’t a thing wrong with their units. Sounds like someone has an axe to grind.

    I’d actually say Yamaha units are some of the best and in my local repair shop owners experience (certified repair shop for nearly every brand) he says Yamaha are the most reliable brand of all of them. Followed by Denon/Marantz. (Same company/same guts inside)

    Both Yamaha and Denon/Marantz brands are top shelf consumer gear.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019 at 4:39 PM
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  10. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You're going to have to get extremely specific about the differences. I'd start with user experiences and speaker pairing, but I wouldn't really know where to take it from there. My old Yamaha drives a pair of cheap 5" Klipsch bookshelves in the bedroom, got a newer Pioneer doing 7.1.2 in the living room, for whatever Atmos is worth.
     
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  11. PhaseNoise

    PhaseNoise [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thanks guys. I don't know that there is actually any specific issue here - just some last-second input from someone who has designed audio parts for 50 years. He's also obsessive to a degree which is possibly unhealthy. Literally - has designed his living room with each "wall" to be a speaker, selected furniture for its acoustic properties, etc. He is absolutely brilliant, no questions asked, but I don't know if his ears are that much better than mine, or if he's gone off the rails a little. It could be both.

    I've got good ears, but have never been able to tell if others have better ears, or are just on a mission / agenda.

    I've personally loved yamaha gear. I had a keyboard, drum set, a guitar, 2 receivers, and the (sadly) soundbar I have now. The stuff is generally very good. The soundbar needs to be taken out back and put out of its misery. But that's the exception.

    I'll chalk this up to pre-sale jitters.

    Failing that, look for my post in the For Sale forums... ;)
    Thanks again for the reality check. F it, I'm going Aventage and SVS ultra, and the odds-on guess is I will love it.
     
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  12. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Nothing wrong with that level of anal- however, I would put a nod toward ranking stuff in terms of overall effect for the cost / bother.

    If you wanted to do a 'home theater room', you'd yank off the drywall and start anew; and if you wanted to do a music listening room, you'd do the same, and you'd wind up with two different rooms :)

    [I can't really help you with the dilemma at hand though, sorry- I don't have great ears due to a variety of reasons beyond genetics, which I also suspect, but still love great audio]
     
  13. mashie

    mashie Mawd Gawd

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    The only main difference between the different AVR's on the market is the room correction software they come with, Denon/Marantz use Audyssey while Yamaha/Onkyo/Pioneer each use their own home grown versions.

    The most expensive units use Dirac Live/Room Perfect/Trinnov Optimizer.

    My next processor will use Dirac Live.
     
  14. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Ouch. And that doesn't come with an amp.

    There are other options, of course, but it seems to be pretty rough going at that level.
     
  15. mashie

    mashie Mawd Gawd

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    It's the Monoprice Monolith HTP-1 that I'm aiming for.

    Emotiva have some serious problems releasing kit that isn't in Alpha/Beta status. Just look at the RMC-1, 6 months after the release they have yet to get some of the most basic functions stable and Dirac Live is yet to be rolled out.

    The lowest cost option for Dirac Live is the NAD T758v3 AVR. It still needs a 4ch external amp to drive a 7.1.4 setup but the owners seems fairly happy with them.
     
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