Def tech BP30, should I Upgrade?

William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
Well I really think I have to be done with the Sierras. I went into the decision with the same mentality as NIN, hopefully the last speakers I'm gonna buy. I thought that about the Ultras too until I stumbled across the Sierra 2 bookshelf speakers on Craigslist asking $850 less than retail...
LmO! I read that as you were sending the sierras back.
Click bait!!!!!!!
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
LmO! I read that as you were sending the sierras back.
Click bait!!!!!!!
I don't think that's gonna happen, but I do still have time.

Listening to "Bottom" right now, volume pegged at reference and they sound great. No distortion, no clipping. Plenty loud. I think I was worried over nothing before. Those drivers are still jumping but not bottoming out or anything. This is as loud as I've had the Ultras and they sound just as big.
 
A

ap2020

Audioholic Intern
That's pretty good. I think if your speakers still sound great to you, especially if you don't even use them that often, just keep them.

What did you think about this little Infinity sub before it broke? Did it produce "good" enough bass for you all these years?

If so then just get another $500-$600 sub to replace your broken little sub.

Unless you are going "all out" and replace the entire system for a lot more than $3K, I don't think it's worth the money.

Unless you can find a used system for $3K from KEF, Revel, RBH, Monitor Audio, PSB, etc., but there is still no guarantee that they will sound better to your ears.
I never thought that infinity sub was great. But to be fair this was my first system so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. It added some effect but nothing that makes me miss that right now when I play the system.
 
T

twylight

Audioholic Intern
OP,

I owned a full room of DT - including BP 30 for LR. I would add 1st reflectiont traps and ceiling, then a beast mode sub, then upgrade the speakers themselves. Ive spent so much since I undid that room chasing things, there are better speakers, but I made them sound probably 85% of the best stuff just by setup, traps, and subwoofers. I have 10k speakers now which are amazing for music, but those DTs tore it up for movies.
 
A

ap2020

Audioholic Intern
OP,

I owned a full room of DT - including BP 30 for LR. I would add 1st reflectiont traps and ceiling, then a beast mode sub, then upgrade the speakers themselves. Ive spent so much since I undid that room chasing things, there are better speakers, but I made them sound probably 85% of the best stuff just by setup, traps, and subwoofers. I have 10k speakers now which are amazing for music, but those DTs tore it up for movies.
Thanks for your input. Looks like the consensus is I won’t be getting much improvement for $3k compared to what I have. I am ordering the sub this week, hoping for a Father’s Day sale. Will let you guys know how the new sub feels.
 
A

ap2020

Audioholic Intern
Ok, quick Update. The more I read I realized I wanted 2 subs for that wide coverage. I had decided on pb2000 but to save money and 2 pb2000 would be too much for my HT room, I bought 1 pb1000. I will get 2nd pb1000 later. I also wanted something for the living room just to scratch the new speaker itch. So I got klipsch rp-160m, they were on sale at crutchfield. I originally wanted the new 600m but for $250 less, 160m will do just fine. So I hooked up the klipsch and the pb1000 in the living room to test. Wow, did not realize it would be able to fill that much space. My living room is wide open to kitchen, breakfast area and hallway with 15 to 18 ft ceiling. I am very impressed. I want to thank all of you for your input and guidance.
 
A

ap2020

Audioholic Intern
Also, svs has some ultra bookshelves in outlet store for $400 each. Should I give them a try for the living room. I paid $375 for my klipsch. The svs ultras will be $800. Are they $450 better? Sorry I feel like I am going down a slippery slope and can’t resist the urge. I wanted the pinnacle towers but have young kids and wife said no Towers in living room
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Also, svs has some ultra bookshelves in outlet store for $400 each. Should I give them a try for the living room. I paid $375 for my klipsch. The svs ultras will be $800. Are they $450 better? Sorry I feel like I am going down a slippery slope and can’t resist the urge. I wanted the pinnacle towers but have young kids and wife said no Towers in living room
Yes, I think they're well worth $800 from their outlet. They show images of any damage or imperfections and I found some that were nigh invisible. If you don't like them you have 60 days to send 'em back on their dime so it's really risk free. I say go for it. If anything you'll get to demo some nice speakers at home and add to your sonic database. I suspect you're going to really like them.
 
S

SimplyEpic

Audioholic
Been having such a hard time myself with all of this talk and I have had my speakers for about a month. I keep debating on whether to "upgrade" from the Pinnacles to the Ultra's. I have been looking at the specs and some reviews and don't know how much if any improvement I would get from replacing my front L/R Pinnacle towers with the Ultra's. I must fight the urge.... don't give in to temptation.... such hard decisions lol

I do love my setup and the 2 PB-4000's are amazing. I had to dial them back a bit. When they were in extended mode in my room it was moving the couch with multiple people on it while trying to watch Midway lmao o_O
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
If you have a sub in the mix I don't think you're going to notice much difference between the Pinnacles and Ultra towers. You need lots of room for the Ultra towers to perform their best. You'll want a good distance from any room boundaries.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
That said, if you're in the Phoenix area I know someone who has a pair of Ultra towers in great condition for $1500...
 
S

SimplyEpic

Audioholic
Unfortunately I am in Minnesota but I do have a friend that lives in Tucson and will be driving down from MN.... Hmm maybe upgrade to a 7.2 lol. That is a great deal. I just have no way to get them here without ruining the discount by adding shipping. That would be a great system Ultra L/C/R and 4 Pinnacle surrounds with dual PB-4000's.
 
A

ap2020

Audioholic Intern
I am pretty sure your speakers will if they haven’t already voided your foundation warranty... lol
 
M

MAXinAZ

Enthusiast
That said, if you're in the Phoenix area I know someone who has a pair of Ultra towers in great condition for $1500...
Damn good price and close to me how much better or do they compare to RP8000’s
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Damn good price and close to me how much better or do they compare to RP8000’s
I haven't heard the RP8000s yet, but have read or watched video comparing the 2. Most folks seem to prefer the Ultras. There was one who preferred the 8000s but he's a self admitted Klipsch fanboy, so...

@shadyJ has spent some time with the 8000s and also reviewed the Prime Pinnacles not long ago.
 
S

SimplyEpic

Audioholic
I can say from my limited experience I like my Pinnacles better than the RP8000's. The Klipsch have more output/volume but I feel in my experience the Pinnacles have a better overall sound. Just more balanced where the Klipsch were brighter and more in your face. I also feel the Pinnacle are a bit better off axis and provide for a larger listening space with less drop off when off axis although they are both close in that aspect.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
I can say from my limited experience I like my Pinnacles better than the RP8000's. The Klipsch have more output/volume but I feel in my experience the Pinnacles have a better overall sound. Just more balanced where the Klipsch were brighter and more in your face. I also feel the Pinnacle are a bit better off axis and provide for a larger listening space with less drop off when off axis although they are both close in that aspect.
This is my experience too. The Klipschs were more forward, and the SVS speakers were warmer and more laid back. I liked 'em both, and you should just go for whatever sound you prefer more.
 
S

Snowpuppy

Enthusiast
Hello Everyone,
First post here. I have read great discussions and learned a lot from this forum and the knowledgeable members. I wanted to get your input on a dilemma.
All this reading about great speakers have gotten me an itch to get some new speakers. I will be completely honest, I don’t use my home theater much Between work and kids, but I do appreciate it when I do use it.

I currently have a pair of def tech bp30 as the front left and right speakers, clr2002 as center and bp2x as rears. My sub died so in the market for a sub and that is what got me thinking of upgrading the whole set up.

My question to you is, should I upgrade if my budget is about $3k for all the speakers. Is there anything significantly better in that budget compared to what I have? I don’t want to spend $3k for a marginal improvement since I don’t use the home theater that much.
Thanks in advance for your help.
I know this is from last year, but I didn’t see anything stating that you bought new speakers yet, so I thought I’d throw in my 2¢. First, you don’t need new speakers. Personally, I think Def Tech BP30’s sound great (if given enough power). I own a pair, and if you give them enough juice they really do a great job. They were the TOTL offering from Definitive when they came out, back before they started adding powered subs to their towers (I’m not a fan of towers with powered subs, they always eventually crap out, leaving the speakers sounding crappy), and to this day they still get great reviews. They also excel in a surround sound setup, as they’re bi-polar. This isn’t to say that there aren’t “better” speakers out there (for music anyway), but with your proposed budget, I don’t really see you getting anything that wouldn’t just be a lateral move, meaning that you’ll have spent $$$$, but not have a meaningful improvement in overall sound quality.
My recommendation would be to start by replacing your subwoofer that died. I was able to pick up a Velodyne HGS-18 (MSRP $3000, 1250 watts RMS, 3000 watts peak, rated to 14Hz low end, in room extension measured down to 9Hz) used for $800. While it doesn’t have the bass management options that the newer Velodyne DD-18 (MSRP $6000) has, I was able to pick up a Velodyne SMS-1 that does all of that for $10 at a local thrift shop. That HGS-18 will stand up to any sub on the market today, and for significantly less coin. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love to try out an SVS PB-16 Ultra, but I really don’t think any increase in performance would be worth the added $2200 in cost, at least to me. If I were looking for a subwoofer, I’d look at the used market, and save some cash for other parts of your system, which I’ll discuss shortly. Velodyne & SVS would be my top pics, you should be able to find a Velodyne HGS line subwoofer or an SVS PB-13 Ultra for around $1000 (or less) if you look around a bit.
The other thing I’d recommend, at least for now, is better amplification. You can pick up a Sunfire Theater Grand 200 watt X 7 amplifier for around $1000, or if you really want to go nuts, there’s the Sunfire TGA-7401 Theater Grand amplifier that puts out 400 watts X 7 channels. I’ve seen it available as low as $2500, and if your sub costs you $1000, that puts you just $500 over budget. If you go for the 200 watt option, you’re around $1000 under budget, and you can use the extra 2 channels to bi-amp your fronts. Or you could always pick up a Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature amplifier (405 watts per channel X 5) for around $2k, which puts you right at your $3000 budget. I’m not pushing Sunfire as a brand, B&K is great too, as are other brands. It’s doubtful that purchasing a brand new subwoofer and some new speakers will give you the same sort of ROI as a used high end sub and a monster amp will. Depending on your receiver, you probably aren’t driving your current speakers with enough juice to make them really sing. External amplification will make a HUGE difference, especially for big towers with 6 drivers a piece.
Another option would be to get a high end used sub, a new receiver with quality amps and Dolby Atmos decoding, and some Atmos speakers as well. You can either have them mounted in the ceiling (which sound best), or Definitive sells ones that sit on top of your towers and fire up at the ceiling, reflecting back down at you. This probably isn’t the absolute best route to go with, as there isn’t a ton of Atmos content out there, but it does sound pretty amazing when you hear it.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I know this is from last year, but I didn’t see anything stating that you bought new speakers yet, so I thought I’d throw in my 2¢. First, you don’t need new speakers. Personally, I think Def Tech BP30’s sound great (if given enough power). I own a pair, and if you give them enough juice they really do a great job. They were the TOTL offering from Definitive when they came out, back before they started adding powered subs to their towers (I’m not a fan of towers with powered subs, they always eventually crap out, leaving the speakers sounding crappy), and to this day they still get great reviews. They also excel in a surround sound setup, as they’re bi-polar. This isn’t to say that there aren’t “better” speakers out there (for music anyway), but with your proposed budget, I don’t really see you getting anything that wouldn’t just be a lateral move, meaning that you’ll have spent $$$$, but not have a meaningful improvement in overall sound quality.
My recommendation would be to start by replacing your subwoofer that died. I was able to pick up a Velodyne HGS-18 (MSRP $3000, 1250 watts RMS, 3000 watts peak, rated to 14Hz low end, in room extension measured down to 9Hz) used for $800. While it doesn’t have the bass management options that the newer Velodyne DD-18 (MSRP $6000) has, I was able to pick up a Velodyne SMS-1 that does all of that for $10 at a local thrift shop. That HGS-18 will stand up to any sub on the market today, and for significantly less coin. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love to try out an SVS PB-16 Ultra, but I really don’t think any increase in performance would be worth the added $2200 in cost, at least to me. If I were looking for a subwoofer, I’d look at the used market, and save some cash for other parts of your system, which I’ll discuss shortly. Velodyne & SVS would be my top pics, you should be able to find a Velodyne HGS line subwoofer or an SVS PB-13 Ultra for around $1000 (or less) if you look around a bit.
The other thing I’d recommend, at least for now, is better amplification. You can pick up a Sunfire Theater Grand 200 watt X 7 amplifier for around $1000, or if you really want to go nuts, there’s the Sunfire TGA-7401 Theater Grand amplifier that puts out 400 watts X 7 channels. I’ve seen it available as low as $2500, and if your sub costs you $1000, that puts you just $500 over budget. If you go for the 200 watt option, you’re around $1000 under budget, and you can use the extra 2 channels to bi-amp your fronts. Or you could always pick up a Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature amplifier (405 watts per channel X 5) for around $2k, which puts you right at your $3000 budget. I’m not pushing Sunfire as a brand, B&K is great too, as are other brands. It’s doubtful that purchasing a brand new subwoofer and some new speakers will give you the same sort of ROI as a used high end sub and a monster amp will. Depending on your receiver, you probably aren’t driving your current speakers with enough juice to make them really sing. External amplification will make a HUGE difference, especially for big towers with 6 drivers a piece.
Another option would be to get a high end used sub, a new receiver with quality amps and Dolby Atmos decoding, and some Atmos speakers as well. You can either have them mounted in the ceiling (which sound best), or Definitive sells ones that sit on top of your towers and fire up at the ceiling, reflecting back down at you. This probably isn’t the absolute best route to go with, as there isn’t a ton of Atmos content out there, but it does sound pretty amazing when you hear it.
I can agree with upgrading subwoofage, but imo you have the rest entirely backwards. I would absolutely put my money into speakers before amplification. Unless op is exceeding limits a new amp is just a lateral move. Speakers, by far, have more impact on sq than any other component in the chain. Solid state amps are designed with one goal in mind. Transparency and accuracy. It's very mature tech and by now the major players have it down to distortion levels so low that they all fall well below the ability of human hearing. Any perceived differences are just bias or placebo, provided everything else is equal and operated within spec.

I know this is an older thread but I couldn't let this one go... lol. :p
 
S

Snowpuppy

Enthusiast
I can agree with upgrading subwoofage, but imo you have the rest entirely backwards. I would absolutely put my money into speakers before amplification. Unless op is exceeding limits a new amp is just a lateral move. Speakers, by far, have more impact on sq than any other component in the chain. Solid state amps are designed with one goal in mind. Transparency and accuracy. It's very mature tech and by now the major players have it down to distortion levels so low that they all fall well below the ability of human hearing. Any perceived differences are just bias or placebo, provided everything else is equal and operated within spec.

I know this is an older thread but I couldn't let this one go... lol. :p
I appreciate your reply, and while you’re correct that changing the speakers will change the sound of a system more than any other component (not always for the better though), I don’t believe I have anything backwards here, and I’ll explain why I feel that way.

First, he is just looking to “upgrade” his system. He doesn’t say why though, maybe he has some extra money laying around, and he just wants something new. Maybe he’s unimpressed with the performance or sound, or maybe he thinks newer speakers will just automatically sound better because they’re new, we don’t know. What we do know is what components he currently has, so that’s what I’m basing my suggestions on.

Currently he’s powering his system with a ~ $500 lower to mid-range Denon receiver (AVR-1912), which is rated at 90 watts per channel. When you start running 5 or 7 channels off of a relatively lower end AVR like the AVR-1912 though, you typically end up only getting around 30 to 50 watts per channel (if you’re lucky). The Definitive BP30’s are massive towers, with four 6-3/4” mid/bass drivers & 2 tweeters in each enclosure, and they’re rated for 20-500 watts of power. These speakers love power, and they can sound pretty underwhelming if they’re underpowered. It’s not that they ever sound bad, as they have a fairly high sensitivity @ 91dB, but the more (clean) power that you feed them, the better they perform and sound. My recommendation of a 200-400 watt per channel Sunfire (or similar) amplifier would be a massive improvement upon the (maybe) 30-50 watts his current AVR is feeding the BP30’s now. The difference in the way the BP30’s will sound with quality separate, high power amplification is most certainly not placebo or bias, it’s more like a game changer. Feeding a speaker 40 watts that sounds best with 150-200+ watts of power isn’t going to bring out the best in those speakers. Honestly, a low to mid range, low powered AVR isn’t going to make any speakers sound their best, even if it is from a reputable manufacturer like Denon. Nowadays, with all of the technology (along with the licensing fees for all of those logos), you can’t really expect to get great amplification from a $500 receiver, unless you’re buying from the used market that is. The BP30’s were Definitive Technology’s flagship speaker, they just require more than 50 watts to sound their best.

There are a couple of other reasons I didn’t recommend to buy new speakers. First, his budget is around $3k, and that needs to include a subwoofer (or 2). After having purchased a good sub (or 2), assuming he’s buying new, what is he going to get that will be a significant improvement upon what he already has? Keep in mind that the BP30’s are already $3000 speakers (adjusted for inflation), and from my experience (and opinion), they excel in a home theater setting. Sure, speakers are highly subjective to the listeners taste, but he never said he doesn’t like them. What he did indicate though is that he hates buying something and then returning it because he doesn’t like the way it sounds. Why not feed the speakers he currently has with the amount of power they sound the best with, and go from there? There’s another reason that I might advise against different speakers though, and that’s because the BP30’s are bipolar, and he’s probably used to getting that type of sound in his home theater. Monopoles are going to sound quite different, and they don’t really provide the same type of sound field that you get from bipolars. While I’m sure he could find speakers that sound good to him, he may find the experience a bit lacking in comparison to what he’s used to. When I switched to bipolar speakers in my HT setup, they provided a huge improvement, and it wasn’t just me that felt so, my wife commented on it before I had even said a word. I’ve run a ton of different speakers, including higher end offerings from Polk, NHT, Energy, Klipsch, Canton, Martin Logan, Bower & Wilkins, and Paradigm studio series, and the Def Tech bipolars simply sound better to us for home theater. They sound really good with music as well, but I do have a couple different 2 channel setups that sounds better, in my opinion anyway.

This is home audio though, and everyone has their own opinion on what works best and sounds best, and no opinion is wrong. Everyone’s rooms are different, and their ears and sound preferences are too. Home audio is a lot like food and beverages, we can all (usually) agree that some foods or beverages are “higher end” than others, but our preferences for flavor (or sound) profiles may not be in agreement. Are there better speakers out there, especially for 2 channel listening? Absolutely! I’m not saying that it’s impossible for him to find other speakers that will sound better to him, or that BP30’s are the “end all-be all”, what I am saying is that his current speakers are underpowered, and they will sound noticeably better if fed the proper amount of quality wattage.

If he had said he was unhappy with the sound of his current system, then I’d agree with you to change the speakers first. Changing speakers will absolutely have the biggest impact on changing a systems sound. You mentioned that a different amplifier would be a lateral move, yet the same could be said for speakers, and it may even be taking one step back if he ends up buying speakers that don’t sound as good to him in his room. In this situation though, his current receiver just doesn’t have enough power to make his current speakers sound their best, and they’re very good speakers if you provide them with enough power. He’s looking to upgrade, and new speakers may or may not be an upgrade to what he currently has, but providing his current speakers with 200-400 watts of quality amplification, as opposed to the small amount they’re getting now, will certainly be an upgrade. Once again, this is my opinion on what would be the best way to upgrade his current system. If he was running a Pioneer Elite SC-37 (or similar) receiver with ICEpower or D3 amplification and 135 watts per channel (5 channels driven), or a Denon AVR-4308 with 145 watts per channel (5 channels driven), I probably wouldn’t suggest adding an amplifier, and I’d probably agree with you and suggest that he try different speakers, or at the very least to make sure that he’s used the Audessey room correction, and tried some things with his room first, such as speaker position and room treatments.
 

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