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Mr_Mojo_Risin
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Joined: Aug 15 2012 - 8:09am
Want to upgrade my set-up but not really sure where to spend the money

My current set-up:

Polk Monitor 70 speakers

Pioneer VSX-1020-K

Technics SL-10 turntable

Sonos Connect

I listen to a ton of music (90%) and the occassional movie.  I'm not really interested in surround sound.  The music I listen to is mostly rock (Black Keys, Doors, Stones, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Peter Green), but I also enjoy Soul, R&B, Blues.  

I like to play my music loud and often, and I haven't really been too happy with the sound of my current set-up, but I don't know what area I'm lacking the most in.  I like a warm sound.

I currently have the turntable connected into a small pre-amp, but it is absolutely terrible.  I need to crank the volume on my receiver just to hear it.  So that has been limiting my vinyl listening a ton.  Not sure what the best option would be for that problem.

I have about $1200 to spend. 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have.

jackfish
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Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
If you are not interested in surround sound then

I'd get rid of the Pioneer AV receiver immediately. The Polk Monitor 70s are OK, so you don't need to change them immediately. The turntable is old and may require a new stylus. What is the make and model of the "small pre-amp"?

I'd look at a new stereo integrated amplifier or perhaps an Emotiva USP-1 and XPA-2.

Mr_Mojo_Risin
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thanks for the response

Thanks for your response.

I just recently replaced the stylus on the turntable so thats good to go.

I should have clarified on the "small pre-ampl" its actually a phono pre-amp and is absolutely terrible.  Its a TCC TC-750 Phono preamp and was basically worthless the day I got it.

Is it be possible to keep the Pioneer receiver to power a center speaker and surround backs and then use something else to power the Polk Monitor 70s?

jackfish
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You need to be consistent.
Quote:

 I'm not really interested in surround sound.

Doesn't really square with

Quote:

Is it be possible to keep the Pioneer receiver to power a center speaker and surround backs...

Sounds like you need a better phono preamp and to get advice on a home theater forum.

You could look for a Polk Monitor 40 for a center channel and Polk Monitor 30s for surrounds to have timbre matched speakers, and then get a power amplifier to give your Polk Monitor 70s some more juice. You could connect the power amp to the Pioneer through front preamp output jacks, except that it is a cheap AV receiver without preamp outputs.

Mr_Mojo_Risin
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My apologies

Jackfish, sorry for not being more clear.

You are right, and I should just ditch the Pioneer AV Receiver.  With that being said what would you reccommend I spend my money on?

I'd like to be able to use my turntable and I'll also need the option for A and B speaker selections on the amp.  I have another pair of speakers I'd like to be able to wire in and play stereo music in another room.

What would be my best bet if I only keep the Polk Monitor 70s and my Technics SL-10?

Once again thanks, and sorry for not being clear.

commsysman
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Upgrades

I would say Job 1 is replace the receiver and get a decent amplifier. Those receivers have wimpy power supplies and can't deliver adequate peak current to speakers. Each amplifier channel represents about $20 worth of parts; garbage. The power they claim is a bad joke, for several reasons; it's a big lie.

The best amp I know of for under $1000 is the Music Hall A15.2 which is very good and only $499 from Music Direct. It is very good-sounding, and it has a decent built-in phono preamp. The amp upgrade will make a huge improvement in sound quality. The sound will be much clearer and more dynamic (mo balls...lol).

The second thing I would do is get a decent turntable; the one you have is not the best. I suspect your cartridge is bad, which is why there is little output (also see notes below...).

I recommend the Music Hall MMF-2.2, which you can get for $449 complete with a decent cartridge.

You might want to see what you think of the cartridge that comes with it; it's not too bad. For $100, though, you can buy an Ortophon Red which is better.

Note-DO NOT try to use a Grado cartridge with that turntable; they are unshielded, and the 60 Hz hum will be terrible.

 

Personally, I would just move the receiver to the other room with the other speakers.

I f you are going to want the old turntable in there too, spend $160 on a Musical Fidelity V-LPS phono preamp to use with it, and $99 on an Ortophon Red cartridge for it. Those 2 upgrades will make it much more usable than it is now.

I assume that the phono preamp that is built into the SL-10 is defective? It did come with its own phono preamp, you know. The original cartridge was a very-low-output moving-coil cartridge, so it requires a ton of gain. I suspect that maybe you are using a cheap phono preamp now that does not have the gain for a low-output moving-coil cartridge. A lot of phono preamps are for moving-magnet cartridges only; they put out 100 times as much as a moving-coil cartridge.

 

 

Mr_Mojo_Risin wrote:

My current set-up:

Polk Monitor 70 speakers

Pioneer VSX-1020-K

Technics SL-10 turntable

Sonos Connect

I listen to a ton of music (90%) and the occassional movie.  I'm not really interested in surround sound.  The music I listen to is mostly rock (Black Keys, Doors, Stones, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Peter Green), but I also enjoy Soul, R&B, Blues.  

I like to play my music loud and often, and I haven't really been too happy with the sound of my current set-up, but I don't know what area I'm lacking the most in.  I like a warm sound.

I currently have the turntable connected into a small pre-amp, but it is absolutely terrible.  I need to crank the volume on my receiver just to hear it.  So that has been limiting my vinyl listening a ton.  Not sure what the best option would be for that problem.

I have about $1200 to spend. 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have.

Mr_Mojo_Risin
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Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: Aug 15 2012 - 8:09am
Thanks everyone for your

Thanks everyone for your inputs.

I went with the Music Hall A 70.2 and have been very happy.  Its got the power I was looking for.

But now its got me looking for a speaker upgrade, any suggestions on something better than the Polk Monitor 70s I have now?

commsysman
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Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Speakers

I could name at least 100 speakers that are a LOT better than what you are using...but your budget may have some limits. I assume that we are speaking of floorstanding speakers. That's a very good amplifier, by the way.

I am using a pair of Vandersteen Treo speakers, and the sound is to die for. They cost $5995, and are a bargain at the price IMO.

Going down some in price, the PSB Image T6 speakers are very very good, and only $1300 per pair. I had them for two years in one of my systems, and they are damn good speakers.

For $860, at KEF Direct, you can get a pair of C7 speakers; those are also very good speakers.

For $798, you can get a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 10.4 speakers.

They are all a lot better-sounding than what you have and IMO are the best available at their respective price points.

You may want to say some more about your budget and exactly what your priorities are for speaker performance characteristics.

If you don't have at least $800 to spend, you may want to stay with what you have.

Mr_Mojo_Risin
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Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: Aug 15 2012 - 8:09am
Thanks for your detailed

Thanks for your detailed suggestions commsysman.  Those Vandersteens seem awesome, but I'd like to try and keep it under $1200 or so.

I'll check out the ones you suggested.

I really like the look of old school speakers (ex. Bose 901, Klipsch Hersey).

Any reccommendations on speakers that are actually good that have that "vintage" kind of look?

jgossman
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Joined: Aug 18 2011 - 6:21am
Large Advents..

On 8-10" stands.  Easy to drive, look cool in the right room, work well with tubes and solid state.

Focal Chorus series are about as good as I've heard, nearly regardless of price.  Once you hit 2 or so grand, diminishing returns sets in pretty quickly with speakers.  I'm not telling you not to spend as much on speakers as your hearts desire, I'm just telling you a properly driven 700 - 2000.00 speaker from a reputable brand will sometimes embarrass some boutique brands.  I was recently shocked (not in a postive manner) at the horrid sounds coming from a set of Wilson Puppy/Watt (using mostly Focal drivers) with my frame of mind being my 450.00 (7 years ago) JMLab Chorus 706's.  You have to remember that often boutique brands are purposely designing speakers to do one or two things VERY well, and often fail miserably when not used with the type of amplification the builder used to reference his design, etc.

I'm using a pair of early to mid 90's B&W Matrix 3 S2 (just before they stopped manufacturing them).  According to my dealer and a speaker repair person/audiophile, B&W discontinued them because they so squarely out performed the new Kevlar driver series which sounded worse, were harder to drive even though supposedly more sensitive, etc.  If you put the old and newer series together, it could be argued that the newer series are far uglier too, but for another discussion.  Anyway, you can get a very nice example in oak or black ash for 600 to 800.00.  The evidently rare rosewood option that I stumbled into are more in the 900 to 1200.00 range.

Make of it what you will, but I think you'd be happy with any of them.

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