Ranking my upgrades

adabroadabro Posts: 208
edited February 2012 in Speakers
I did a fairly complete overhaul of my system, thought I?d share the info since I use some fairly common equipment that I see people asking questions about. (not sure which forum to put it in so I?ll go with Speakers). Also ? this is just my experience, not making any claims that others would have the same?

I started out with this: Monitor 60?s (F), CS2 (C), Monitor 40?s (S) PSW12 sub, PS3 for music and movies & an Onkyo 503.

I replaced in this order;
1. PSW12 was replaced with a SVS PB10-NSD
2. Onkyo 503 was replaced with the Onkyo 807
3. CS2 was replaced with a CSi A6
4. Monitor 60?s were replaced with RTi A9?s (M60?s went to surround duty)
5. An XPA-3 amp was added for center and A9?s
6. I added an Oppo BDP-93, but kept the PS3 as well

Best ?bang for buck? in order;
1. PB10-NSD ? huge improvement over the PSW12, made me smile...
2. Onkyo 807 ? has Audyssey & more power ? big improvement for movies (with the 503 the dialogue was quiet & special effects were loud ? always had to adjust sound). With the 503 I was always checking to see if the rear speakers were on, with the 807 it?s not an issue.
3. RTi A9?s ? bigger, better, but harder for me to describe differences other then more bass.
4. CSi A6 ? to be honest I didn?t really notice much of a difference.
5. XPA-3 ? I couldn?t hear any difference when I added it.
* - not ranked, but the Oppo is very nice, added the ability to play SACD (bought WYWH ? sounds incredible)

Things I learned;
1. Wait (more) patiently for good deals ? I bought everything on sale, but if I had waited on the Onkyo I could have bought the 3007 for only a few hundred more (big deal here in Canada). I could have got the A9?s a lot cheaper and the ?old? LSi line is now close out priced.
2. I don?t have a ?good? ear ? there were quite a few changes I made that were very hard for me to notice. Fixing issues has had more effect then trying to upgrade.
3. Caution ? I bought the CSi A6 on impulse, and then figured out it was too big to fit over my TV where the CS2 was. I ended up having to buy a new entertainment center to house it under the TV. I then felt the need to replace the M60?s because they did not match the A6, although I did not notice any timbre matching issue.

Things that confused me:
1. Speaker changes were not very dramatic to me ? maybe my ears or maybe I should have gone higher up the food chain.
2. The whole ?do I need an amp? thing ? maybe a different amp, maybe the 807 has enough power for the 9?s, maybe my ears or listening area?

Things I want to try next:
1. Room treatments.

Was it worth it?

Not sure, it was fun to start with the sub and the 807, but went downhill a bit after that. The A6 fiasco with the new entertainment unit was stressful, the A9?s had to be bought online and the first pair was defective, had to be shipped back. The XPA-3 was kind of a non event.

If I had it to do over I think I would have done the sub and the receiver for HT and then bought a separate setup for music?.
Post edited by adabro on

Comments

  • polkfan38polkfan38 Posts: 360
    edited February 2012
    You have a pretty typical review of the changes you made. That change in subs was probably huge! The amp will barely give you 3 dB increase in volume but, could help with peaks durring movies. Room treatment will also be huge but that will depend on the starting point.
    (got a itchy (?) button? LOL!)
    Things are more like they are now than they ever will be!
  • gtaudiogtaudio Posts: 29
    edited February 2012
    Thanks for sharing I could easily find myself in your position. I currently forcing myself not to buy a new receiver because I doubt it would make a huge difference.

    I know I could do better on the subs.

    Yes the A6 is a beast! I ended up mounting my tv to the wall and putting the A6 where the tv was. A great move that improved the room asthetics and viewing angle and distance of the TV but it was a required change to fit the center properly.
  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 14,274
    edited February 2012
    Your new system should smoke your old system IMO..

    Room treatments is a big plus...
  • MudfrogMudfrog Posts: 39
    edited February 2012
    Great review. That is exactly why I decided to go with the monitor line. I don't have a "great" ear but I can tell when something sounds bad. My monitors sound fantastic to me. The only upgrade I see in the future is a new receiver.
    Main HT:
    Speakers: CS2, Monitor 70's, Monitor 30's, BIC F12 12" Sub
    Receiver: Denon AVR-2200W
    TV: 60" Vizio M60-C3- 4K
    HTPC: I3-3220, 4GB, 560ti, 7 TB of HDD's, LG Bluray
    Bluray: Pioneer BDP-150
    Other: Xfinity X1, Xbox One
  • tommyt21tommyt21 Posts: 685
    edited February 2012
    polkfan38 wrote: »
    You have a pretty typical review of the changes you made. That change in subs was probably huge! The amp will barely give you 3 dB increase in volume but, could help with peaks durring movies. Room treatment will also be huge but that will depend on the starting point.
    (got a itchy (?) button? LOL!)

    Just got to t he room treatment phaze in upgraditis myself... So far thats been the second biggest noticable upgrade i've done behind getting my HSU.
    Living Room
    Fronts: RTi A7's
    Center: Csi A6 VR3 "Fortress Plus"
    Front Heights: Rti A1
    Surrounds: Rti A3
    Sub: HSU VTF-2 MK4 Damn this is a good SUB
    Pioneer Pioneer Elite: SC-35-> Emotiva XPA-3
    TV: Lg LW6500 55" Passive 3D
    Blu-Ray Panasonic BD 210
    XboX 360 Slim/Kinect

    Acoustimac red suede panels
  • tommyt21tommyt21 Posts: 685
    edited February 2012
    Toolfan66 wrote: »
    Your new system should smoke your old system IMO..

    Room treatments is a big plus...
    +1 I noticed a massive difference with both above statements. The RTI A series was a night and day upgrade for HT. Even my wife ws like these suckers are amazing compared to the T90e's(M60's) that we had before.
    Living Room
    Fronts: RTi A7's
    Center: Csi A6 VR3 "Fortress Plus"
    Front Heights: Rti A1
    Surrounds: Rti A3
    Sub: HSU VTF-2 MK4 Damn this is a good SUB
    Pioneer Pioneer Elite: SC-35-> Emotiva XPA-3
    TV: Lg LW6500 55" Passive 3D
    Blu-Ray Panasonic BD 210
    XboX 360 Slim/Kinect

    Acoustimac red suede panels
  • adabroadabro Posts: 208
    edited February 2012
    Thanks for the comments, will report back after the room treatments are complete…

    Not sure where all the ? came from…
  • selkecselkec Posts: 187
    edited February 2012
    I totally agree with both these statements...
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,214
    edited February 2012
    Its harder to discern changes in HT than it is in 2 channel. The biggest thing to notice will always be the improved frequency range, such as being able to dig down low with that new sub. With the improved power things should get "cleaner". By that I mean, it shouldn't just be a mess of sound (smeared); it should become easier to tell where that sound is coming from in space, and not sound like its coming from the speakers. You'll also give speakers more authority on the lower end, allowing its sound to become more natural since its able to play all frequencies that it was designed to produce well.

    That's part of the reason I find myself listening to music first and foremost when I get a new link in the chain. You can almost always hear the difference if you're listening for one. Throw in a movie, and it becomes much more difficult.
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