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WRXer
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Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: Dec 12 2013 - 8:39am
Greetings from the south bay area California

Hello everyone,

I am brand new to the forum, very excited to be here. I am sure that the majority of you here have a much larger knowledge base then I when it comes to audio/video, I figured this is a good place to wear my thinking cap and learn a thing or two.

I have been interested in audio as long as I can remember, I recall taking apart my parents receiver and of course, never putting it back together. I primarily dabbled in car audio until my later 20's. I found that when I was younger the priority for me was being loud and obnoxious, utilizing 90-95 percent of my trunk space for sub enclosures and amp racks. I found that as I aged my taste refined a bit and the "loud and obnoxious" lost its luster. I started striving for quality instead of quantity. I have just recently been bitten by the stereo listening bug and am hooked so far.

Here is what I am working with so far, needs much improvement but I just broke into this about a month ago and utilized some of my existing equipment. I am also working with a pretty tight budget so going out and buying brand new high end gear would entail a verbal lashing from my wife. This will be a build over the years type of scenario.

Processor: My old Onkyo TX-NR905 (was using this for 5.1 and HDMI)
Amp: Parasound HCA-1200
Speakers: Monitor Audio REF705-PMC
Subwoofer: Definitive Technology Super Cube 2000
Power Conditioner: Panamax MR4300
Cables: harware store grade junk for the moment

I figured a decent start, could be worse I suppose. It sounds a whole world better than the entry level B&W bookshelf speakers I was running strait off of the Onkyo. I figured my next step was a processor, but I do not know that for sure. I have about $500 to spend at the moment, while we are at it, make some suggestions if you like.

Thanks for having me, I am excited to be here.

Mike

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

The Monitor Audio speakers are very good IMO.

The Onkyo is NOT. Onkyo receivers all sound tizzy and "hot" to me; too much treble energy and distortion. IMO the Onkyo is 80% of the problem with the sound quality.

What you need is to get away from the crappy-sounding receivers and get a good-sounding one, and which has pre-outs for your amplifier. Pre-outs don't exist on the cheaper ones, so forget a $500 budget.

The NAD T748 version 2 is the perfect solution, so find $650 somewhere and make it sound really NICE. It has the pre-outs and and it sounds very nice.

WRXer
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Joined: Dec 12 2013 - 8:39am
I agree with you, The Onkyo

I agree with you, The Onkyo is definitely one of many weak links in the system. I hated the sound of the Onkyo, even though I got it cheap and it would do the job I needed it to, it definitely couldn't achieve a decent level of sound quality in my opinion. The  Onkyo was running some entry level B&W bookshelf speakers that I have. I noticed that once you went anything above a moderate volume level it didn't get louder, the sound quality just deteriorated. I can up my budget to about $2,000 at this particular moment but I'm leaning toward saving more and taking care of everything at once (processor, source, cables). I would like to invest in some decent equipment but have to keep it somewhat reasonable, I was considering Emotiva because seems like decent bang for the buck. I would like to invest $5,000 total.

THR33P4C
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Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 29 2008 - 10:26pm
Speakers?

How do you like your Monitor Audio speakers? I am considering the RX-1 for my 2 channel and am looking for opinions from people that have lived with them for a while. My main concerns are how they perform at low level listening and how clear the bass is. I realize floorstanders and bookshelves are apples and oragnes but it would still be nice to hear your review...

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

I'll throw in my 2 cents worth, if you don't mind.

IMO Monitor Audio speakers are well-balanced and accurate, but do not have the over-emphasized midrange that many speakers have.

The RX-1 is too small for a main speaker by itself. It is suitable for rear speaker use in a 5.1 system. It has zero bass. 

You should get the Silver RX-2, or the PSB Image B6. those are both very good speakers with some decent bass. They are very good, well-balanced speakers.

Amazon has the RX-2 for $699, and the PSB Image B6 goes for $599 per pair at Audio Advisor.

Some other brands have an over-emphasized midrange, which can make the speaker "image" better and sound very "revealing" with some kinds of music. This can sell speakers...to those who don't know better.

This kind of speaker may sound great for a while, but gets old in a hurry. Avoid them.

commsysman
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Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Receiver
WRXer wrote:

I agree with you, The Onkyo is definitely one of many weak links in the system. I hated the sound of the Onkyo, even though I got it cheap and it would do the job I needed it to, it definitely couldn't achieve a decent level of sound quality in my opinion. The  Onkyo was running some entry level B&W bookshelf speakers that I have. I noticed that once you went anything above a moderate volume level it didn't get louder, the sound quality just deteriorated. I can up my budget to about $2,000 at this particular moment but I'm leaning toward saving more and taking care of everything at once (processor, source, cables). I would like to invest in some decent equipment but have to keep it somewhat reasonable, I was considering Emotiva because seems like decent bang for the buck. I would like to invest $5,000 total.

If you can spend $2000, then my advice is to get the Cambridge Audio 651R receiver. It costs $1999 at Audio Advisor.

It has superb sound quality, and enough power to run virtually ANY speaker systems with power to spare; no additional amps needed or desired.

That will put you in good shape, and has the high quality to last you a long long time.

You can advertise the Parasound amp in the AVS Forum Classified Audio section and get some cash for it. The Onkyo will probably get a few bucks too.

As for a source, I suggest putting $500 into an OPPO BDP-103. check it out on the OPPO website.

bierfeldt
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Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
If you prefer separates

You could consider a Marantz processor and either a Marantz or Outlaw power amp.  The AV7701 is $1699 depending on your power and # of channel requirements Outlaw has balanced Amps from $1700 to $2150.  Alternatively, Marantz has a 7 channel MM8077  at $2399. 

I have a slightly dated Marantz AV7005 and an MM8003 (3 years old).  I love the sound though I feel that the amp is a bit weak for a rating of 170W into 6 ohms.  The MM8003 was an 8 channel version of the MM7055 which is currently in the line.  The MM8077 has a different transformer and appears to be a higher end, more powerful unit.  Again, the sound quality is fantastic, it just isn't quite enough to power the speakers I have as they are relatively inneficient. 

I noticed a dramatic reduction in humm/airiness from my old Carver System and compared to my Denon and Onkyo receivers.  When I switched to balanced cables, the sound improved in a more noticable way.  It isn't perfect, but for the money I think it sounds darn good.  Only you could judge if you feel it is superior to the Cambridge receiver (or any other receiver for that matter).  I use the system 70/30 video to audio.  I have a Rega turntable attached along with a CD & PS3.  I use the system for 2.1 stereo, 5.1 for movies and 7.1 for gaming.     

commsysman
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Last seen: 21 hours 20 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Amplifiers

Just an amplifier note or two...lol.-

I have used a Bryston 3BSST2 for several years and it is really excellent-sounding. All of the Bryston T2 series are very good.

I recently tried out a Musical Fidelity M6PRX amplifier, however, and the sound is even better. The ONLY thing I have ever heard that was better is the Audio Research VS115 120-watt vacuum-tube amplifier (which is $7000). I bought it. I think it is a steal for only $3495. It puts out 400 watts plus at 4 ohms.

Both amplifiers have plenty of power for my Vandersteen Treo speakers, which have 84 db/W sensitivity, but maybe a little extra can't hurt...lol. 

My 3BSST2 puts out 250 watts at 4 ohms, and I am going to sell it for $1800 (current price is $4495). Send me a PM if anyone is interested. It is just like new and still has 15 years of the 20-year warranty to be transferred to the new owner (isn't Bryston's warranty absolutely amazing?).

For a high-quality system, balanced connections are a definite plus. I use them between amp and preamp and also between my OPPO and the preamp, and I have ordered the Musical Fidelity M1ViNL phono preamp, which also has balanced outputs to go to the preamp.

 

 

bierfeldt wrote:

You could consider a Marantz processor and either a Marantz or Outlaw power amp.  The AV7701 is $1699 depending on your power and # of channel requirements Outlaw has balanced Amps from $1700 to $2150.  Alternatively, Marantz has a 7 channel MM8077  at $2399. 

I have a slightly dated Marantz AV7005 and an MM8003 (3 years old).  I love the sound though I feel that the amp is a bit weak for a rating of 170W into 6 ohms.  The MM8003 was an 8 channel version of the MM7055 which is currently in the line.  The MM8077 has a different transformer and appears to be a higher end, more powerful unit.  Again, the sound quality is fantastic, it just isn't quite enough to power the speakers I have as they are relatively inneficient. 

I noticed a dramatic reduction in humm/airiness from my old Carver System and compared to my Denon and Onkyo receivers.  When I switched to balanced cables, the sound improved in a more noticable way.  It isn't perfect, but for the money I think it sounds darn good.  Only you could judge if you feel it is superior to the Cambridge receiver (or any other receiver for that matter).  I use the system 70/30 video to audio.  I have a Rega turntable attached along with a CD & PS3.  I use the system for 2.1 stereo, 5.1 for movies and 7.1 for gaming.     

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