Help to change the path I took...

Discussion in 'Beginners and Audiophytes' started by NoobieHolic, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. NoobieHolic Enthusiast

    NoobieHolic
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    I'm new to the forum and could use some help because I would like to change the Audio path I started about a year ago.
    Problem is that I've been learning thru trial and error, which has not given me the results I wanted.

    I went with a 5.1 surround approach which was really stupid given that I'm not even a big fan of watching my movies in surround sound. I suppose this happened because at the time a good friend sold me his 2 year old Yamaha RX-V863 Receiver for only $50 (I couldn't pass up a 7.2 730W unit in perfect condition.)

    I figured to get all the sound I wanted for Music then I needed to go with at least 5 speakers and a self powered sub. So this is what I did and since at the time money was tight, I went with 4 Bose 201 Bookshelf speakers, 1 Polk Audio center shelf speaker, and a 150w Yamaha Sub-woofer. (I know, these are not great speakers, but at least give me credit for not buying a WalMart all in one pre-box surround system.)

    I would imagine that per channel, these speakers are getting perhaps 65% of the power they can actually handle from my receiver. They are of course 8 Ohm speakers. I think the Bose 201's are rated at 110W each and the Polk 3 Cone Center speaker is rated at 145 Watts. My Music on CD, Pandora, and MP3 sounds fair given my investment. (To others that don't really know what great sound is they think it sounds far better than I do.) To me it just doesn't sound punchy enough. I don't mean bass, but just not true and clean.

    Question is... If I sell all this set up then (add more money of course) could I just go with a good quality 2 channel high wattage shelf type Amp and hook that to just two really good floor standing speakers? If so then could my self powered sub-woofer still be utilized? Then again I suppose I also need some kind of tuner in which has inputs for my BluRay Player (I use this to play my Pandora, CD's and MP3 music) This Tuner would also need good Pre-outs to the 2 channel amp? I'm a bit confused... I just want to set up a system geared at music and not surround Home theater. I want it crisp, solid and able to put out A LOT of Sound.

    It doesn't need to be a flagship ultra high end set up. I want to keep it as simple as I can and "Try" to do it on a budget. What should my first step be?

    I would really like to drop the surround sound set up and build on something just for music.
  2. ImcLoud Audioholic Ninja

    ImcLoud
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    OK, so first welcome to AH..
    Next what is your budget?
    Now for a music only system, My personal preference is...
    a specific preamp or DAC {which will not really work for you since HDMI inputs is a not the norm for these devices, normally analog rca's, optical, or digital rca will be available}.
    a pair of mono blocks {used to be because "cross talk" could be an issue, now I just like the separate devices}...
    A pair of bookshelfs {something with a ribbon or soft tweeter, warm and accurate} if you are adding a sub there is no reason for a tower, unless the room is very large, and even then, I would go with a larger bookshelf, no reason for the cabinet resonance if you don't need the low end from a towers displacement...
    a pair of sealed fast subwoofers {can get expensive}.

    So that being said we all have our preferences, I hate mixing music systems and movie systems, it irritates me, for music I just want stereo speakers and subs...
    I just built a system for a friend and liked it so much duplicated it for myself but the cost was almost $3000...

    2 svs sb12 nsd subs $1200 but you can also use these and get similar results https://www.svsound.com/dual-subwoofers/dual-sb-1000#.UlIYKlCURD0 for $950
    2 Outlaw 2200 mono blocks $680
    a Parasound 2100 preamp
    and a pair of Carnegie csb1 bookshelfs on sale for $400...

    Now you don't need to spend that much and you can get good results with an AVR, a decent pair of bookshelfs, and a single sealed subwoofer that is known for being musical... Let us know your budget and we will set you on the rite path..

    Another option and one I also like is an integrated amp with external crossovers for the sub.. But you are again going to run into an issue with an hdmi input...
  3. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    it's a shame you jumped in with both feet and your eyes closed, but it's not like you're stuck in your current situation with no avenue of escape.

    You can proceed one step at a time, starting with your speakers. For a first step, I'd suggest you search for a GOOD pair of speakers that you can use, for the time being, with your current receiver and sub. Then ditch those Bose speakers. They are most likey the main source of your disappointment with your current system.

    As time goes on, you can replace your receiver with a dedicated two channel system, be it separates of an integrated amp or even a good stereo receiver. Yes, they do exist.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  4. BMXTRIX Audioholic Spartan

    BMXTRIX
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    The Yamaha RX-V863 has preouts on it to allow connectivity to a dedicated outboard amplifier if you want to add that at some point. As well, if you ditch the 5.1 in favor of a quality 2.0 or 2.1 system, then you will get more power out of what is already there vs. getting rid of the Yamaha to start off with.

    I would follow the above advice and just trade the 5 speakers (at least) in and focus on a good pair of floor standing speakers.

    I remember in my first system I had a Kenwood A/V surround package, and I ordered a $3,000 A/V receiver and new speakers. The speakers arrived before the new receiver so I went ahead and hooked them up to the cheap Kenwood receiver. I was astounded by the jump in quality by changing out the speakers alone. When the new receiver came in, there was almost zero change in the audio quality that I could hear. So, the lesson I learned that day was about how a good set of speakers make far more difference than a good A/V receiver at 'normal' listening levels. Now, when I turned things up, that was when I was happy to have the far nicer A/V receiver, but you can get as much power as you want by adding an external amp to the existing A/V receiver.

    Lots of choices out there in terms of amplifiers and speakers.
  5. 3db Audioholic Overlord

    3db
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    Its your speakers that is disappointing you the most. As suggested by the last two previous posters, change out your speakers first for some good quality speakers and sub. That will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Since the Yammy has pre-outs, I would use the Yammy as a preamp and buy a power amp to power your speakers if required. Changing out the Yammy will yield very little difference in audio quality.
    3db,
  6. jcl Senior Audioholic

    jcl
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    Plenty of good advice already. I'd recommend that you try and listen to some well setup tower speakers in your price range, you may find that for music you only need towers. Speakers are a personal preference and you would do well to listen to many different brands to start to form your own opinions on what you like and what you don't. Here's an article regarding how to audition speakers - How to Audition Loudspeakers in a Retail Store | Audioholics

    Also, don't spend a lot of money on speaker wire or interconnects. You want your budget going where it matters, which right now is your speakers. As mentioned already, if you find some speakers that you really like, but they cannot be properly driven by the Yamaha, you can add an external amp and use the Yamaha as a preamp.

    HTH
    jcl,
  7. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    I would keep the Yamaha AVR.

    Then get 2 bookshelf speakers and 1 or 2 subs, depending on budget.
  8. NoobieHolic Enthusiast

    NoobieHolic
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    I did forget to mention, the other person that replied is correct... My 7.2 Yamaha Receiver does have a full set of pre-outs. I think many here are correct when they say it's the 4 Bose 201 bookshelf speakers which are my biggest disappointment. As for the larger Polk Audio 145w bookshelf center speaker, I do get really good sound from it. Far better than the Bose 201 speakers. At first I thought this may be because the Bose speakers just are not getting enough power from the Receiver. (I did use the best quality speaker wire I could find.) My line runs are not that long and the gauge of the wire is plenty good.

    Also... Forgot to say that I do not use or feel a need for the HDMI's on the Receiver. I have my BluRay player using it's HDMI to my LED TV for best 1080 Picture quality and then I have a Dolby Optical cable going out from the BluRay to the Optical input on the Yamaha Receiver. (This set up seems to work fine when I use the BluRay player to play CD's, MP3, Pandora, ect...) I don't use this surround system for watching Movies. I prefer to just have the receiver off and use the TV's speakers for movies. It's just music that I use the 5.1 system for. Would the sound improve if I eliminated the Optical input from BluRay to Receiver and use the standard Audio outs from the BluRay to the Receiver?

    The 150w Yamaha Sub is actually not too bad given I only spent $179 bucks for it. Is there a way I could keep the Polk Audio Center speaker and the Sub-woofer, and also keep the Yamaha Receiver, then Find a good yet affordable External 3 Channel Amp to run from the receiver pre-outs to the amp, and buy a pair of good Floor standing speakers to connect to the amp and also connect the Polk Audio center speaker to the amp? I figure I could continue to use the sub Pre-out direct from receiver to the Sub I have. Sort of a 3.1 set up using an external Amp? (Not even sure if they sell a 600W 3 channel amp which would be about perfect I think.)

    I suppose another option would be to keep what I have and for $900 I did find a Emotiva 1000w 5 Channel Amp, in which If I pre-out to it should wake up the 4 Bose speakers and 1 Polk Audio speaker, then when I can afford it replace my Bose 201's for better bookshelf speakers. The Yamaha Receiver specs claim 105W per-Channel to 8 ohm speakers, but from what I have been reading (this is not exactly a true per channel wattage.) I'm pretty sure if I did that then my sound should improve on my existing speakers. Not to mention that at even at half volume The amp in my Yamaha receiver feels like it's getting way too hot.
  9. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Speakers don't "put out" watts. They absorb them.

    Kinda like tire ratings on a car, just because they have a "V" rating doesn't mean you need a car that can do 149 mph for them to perform great.

    Pick the truth you want to believe and do what you want. It's your money, not ours.

    But, effens it were me, I'd take that $900 and replace those fargin' bose speakers with two good ones, and maybe a nice timbre matched center channel, and be done with it!
  10. BMXTRIX Audioholic Spartan

    BMXTRIX
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    1. Speakers
    2. Amplifier
    3. Call it a day

    HDMI will deliver the best audio connection to the receiver unless you have a top dollar BD player with great DACs in them. Short of Oppo, this isn't likely.
    Toslink or S/PDIF will give the next best audio connection
    RCAs can deliver very good quality, but typically won't be better than the two digital formats listed above.
    Don't waste one penny on 'good' cables. Get appropriate cables at all times for a fair price.
  11. NoobieHolic Enthusiast

    NoobieHolic
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    Yes, I', fully aware that speakers do not put out wattage, but rather absorb wattage. What I was saying is that perhaps my receiver is not pushing enough wattage to the Bose speakers. Perhaps I will take your suggestion and sell all 4 Bose speakers and the 1 Polk center speaker. I can put that money toward the 3 better quality speakers you mentioned. I can always then add a nice Amp later when I can afford it.
  12. hizzaah Full Audioholic

    hizzaah
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    You're not going to get the quality you're looking for by increasing the available wattage to Bose speakers.. Is $900 your budget? If you give an actual hard number to work with, we can help you find good values in your price range!
  13. ski2xblack Audioholic General

    ski2xblack
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    You haven't even chosen speakers yet. That comes first and will dictate how much power you need. And unless you have a huge room, listen at ear-blistering levels, or both, you most likely won't need outboard amps. Either way, cross that bridge when you come to it. Spend the bulk of your efforts on choosing the right speakers.
  14. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Well, what can I say. You got us.

    Obviously, out of the six or seven respondents to your question, none of us here, even the professionals, had the intellegence to take that into consideration.

    We hang ourcollective heads in shame.
  15. Ponzio Audioholic General

    Ponzio
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    Noobie, let me summarize what I think everyone here seems to be telling you.

    KEEP THE YAMAHA AVR.

    GET NEW SPEAKERS TO REPLACE THE BOSE 201'S. KEEP THE POLK SURROUNDS, FOR NOW & GET A MATCHING CENTER (preferably the same series as your new front speakers later for HT). TEST THE SOUND QUALITY DIRECT FROM YOUR PC/LAPTOP/DVD PLAYER BEFORE PURCHASING A DAC (the internal Yamaha sound processors aren't too shabby).
  16. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    But Bose 201's don't really open up until you put them on a 4.5 kW tube amp.
  17. herbu Audioholic Samurai

    herbu
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    I'm nobody that should be listened to, but I'm confused. If you're not interested in surround for movies/TV, why surround at all? Why a center speaker? Why not simply 2 fronts or 2 fronts and a sub?
  18. 3db Audioholic Overlord

    3db
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    The OP has us all confused. :)
    3db,
  19. cpp Audioholic Field Marshall

    cpp
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    1. New speakers, then set back and listen to your system before you proceed
    cpp,
  20. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Not as confused as he himself seems to be.

    ...or maybe we're being played?

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