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floydianpsyche
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How to Upgrade

Hello Guys,

This is my current system configuration:
CD/DVD player: NAD T515
Amlifier: NAD C352 Integrated
Speakers: Monitor Audio RS6 Floorstanders

Could you guys let me know how can I upgrade my system. I am a newbie and totally lost on which would be a sensible upgrade so that I see a good improvement in sound quality.

Thanks in advance.

bifcake
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Re: How to Upgrade

What are you trying to upgrade (i.e. What's missing in your current sound? Is it bass? Is it imaging, soundstaging, air, shrillness, sibilance, etc.?)

What's your budget?

floydianpsyche
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Re: How to Upgrade

Hey AlexO,
I am not familiar with the terms..but let me try to explain...The bass is surely lacking...and I am expecting some sort of a room filling sound...which I dont get in my current system. If I increase the volume to get that room filling effect ...it is tiring to listen for extended periods. I have listened to other systems...where it is loud so that there is a room filling sound...which brings out the details so easily without straining you...I just want to know what it takes to make a system to sound like that...Budget...is not a big concern here...if it will take a 1000 dollars I will upgrade it this month...if it will take $5000 I will have to wait for a year or two...but I want want I am looking for...

bifcake
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Re: How to Upgrade

It sounds to me that the most pressing upgrade is your speakers. Since you're looking for more bass and soundstaging, there are a few speakers I can recommend:

Paradigm Studio 100 = approx $3k new and about $2k used. It's now in it's 4th version. I heard every version since v2 and they all sound good with each version getting progressively better.

Gallo Reference 3.0 or 3.1 = approx $3k new and $1500 used. It's a very good speaker for the money.

Magnepan 1.6 = approx $2k new and $1100 used. It's a giant killer. Incredible midrange, incredible highs, presence and envelopment are unmatched in this price range. Alas, no bass.

I think that your speakers are the most pressing upgrade at this point. Your electronics are pretty decent and can wait to be upgraded once you've acquired the speakers that are capable of taking advantage of better electronics.

jackfish
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Re: How to Upgrade

I'd consider acoustical room treatments, as your speakers are only as good as your room. You also might consider a Monitor Audio RSW-12 subwoofer for $764 to complement your very good RS6s. With the low bass extension taken from your RS6s they will do better. There will be some who say loudspeakers never intergrate well with subwoofers, but there have been successful implementations. Then I'd consider a better, more powerful amplifier like a Musical Fidelity A5.5 ($3000), NAD M3 ($2800) or Shanling A-3000 ($1800).

I'm kinda thinking the problem might not be your loudspeakers but perhaps is your room.
http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/306monitor/
http://www.gikacoustics.com/
http://www.realtraps.com/
http://www.acoustimac.com/
http://www.atsacoustics.com/cat--ATS-Acoustic-Panels--100.html

floydianpsyche
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Re: How to Upgrade

Hey Thanks for the reply,
I have two questions based on what you said:
1)Paradigm Studio 100 can handle 200W....so is it ok to hook it up with a meager 80w/channel NAD C352. Will this 80W/channel be able to drive such big speakers.
2) How an addition of a subwoofer (Monitor Audio RSW12) to my existing speakers (Monitor Audio Silver RS6), differ from replacing it with a speaker like Paradigm Studio 100 or Magnepans like you said.

Thanks a lot for answering my questions...I'm sorry if the questions are too naive...

floydianpsyche
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Re: How to Upgrade

Thanks....so essentially if I move to the next segment of equipments I should be able to hear what I am anticipating... In the mean time could you also tell me how an addition of a subwoofer would be with my existing system for now....I am not able to borrow a subwoofer to try it myself...do you think it would be a good idea...

BillB
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Re: How to Upgrade


Quote:
Hey Thanks for the reply,
I have two questions based on what you said:
1)Paradigm Studio 100 can handle 200W....so is it ok to hook it up with a meager 80w/channel NAD C352. Will this 80W/channel be able to drive such big speakers.

YES, no problem. Paradigm says "Suitable Amplifier
Power Range" for that speaker is 15 - 350 watts.

bifcake
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Re: How to Upgrade

The Paradigms can be driven by an 80wpc amp without a problem. They can handle up to 200watts, but that doesn't mean they need that much power.

As far as a sub is concerned, I have never heard a sub successfully integrated with satellites. Others have differing opinions on the matter, but every time I hear a sub in a system, there's always either a frequency response hole that's not covered by either a sub or a satellite or the tonal quality is different. I prefer full range speakers that have no driver integration issues. Furthermore, you said that you lack soundstaging (envelopment). That's something that a sub won't give you. That requires a different set of speakers.

Hopes this helps.

PS. Don't sweat asking questions. How else are you going to know?

floydianpsyche
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Re: How to Upgrade

Yeah as u say the acoustics in my room is not very good...I just learnt about the clap test and was trying it in my room yesterday...I hear a metallic pinging noise every time I clap...I will look into the links you have shown and try to treat my room for acoustics...

And I also positioned my speakers according to the Golden ratio as laid out by Cardas Audio (http://www.cardas.com/content.php?area=insights&content_id=26&pagestring) 2 days ago...Now after having my system for a year..I can feel what is sound staging and imaging..I was amazed...it was like listening to a live concert...

bifcake
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Re: How to Upgrade

If you have echoes in your room, put in more soft furniture, bookshelves stuffed with books and a rug. That will cure that.

floydianpsyche
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Re: How to Upgrade

My Monitor Audio RS6s are full range speakers...
(http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/product.php?range=2&product=4&area=2) not satellites...in this case do you think a subwoofer would be helpful...

bifcake
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Re: How to Upgrade

They are billed as full range, but they're not really. I heard them. I think they're good sounding speakers, but they have no bass. In any event, any speaker can be a satellite once you add a subwoofer to it. So, when I refer to a 'satellite', I mean in as in a separate subwoofer/speaker configuration, rather than referring to a bookshelf or a small speaker.

Elk
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Re: How to Upgrade

IMO you have perfectly competent equipment. Your speakers have plenty of bass potential but for organ aficionados and you have good solid amplification.

It is the room you are fighting. It is well worth adding $1,500-2,000 of well engineered acoustic treatments to your system. This will get you well on your way. The soundstage will get wider and deeper, hidden details will emerge, bass will get stronger and cleaner - all at the same time.

It's hard to get excited about buying room treatments. They don't plug in, there are no LEDs or other goodies, etc.

But they will provide what you seek.

59mga
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Re: How to Upgrade


Quote:
They are billed as full range, but they're not really. I heard them. I think they're good sounding speakers, but they have no bass.

Alex,

The term "full range" confuses me. I've listened to a number of speakers that were considered full range but they all had different frequency responses. So how would one define a "full range" speaker"? Or is it more than just freq response? Does being a 2, 2.5 or 3 way speaker have any bearing? Thanks.

Mike

floydianpsyche
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Re: How to Upgrade

Awsome guys thanks for all the insight. I understand that moving to the next segment and acoustically treating the room will surely help.

I want to first extract the best of what I have now...treat my room for acoustics...can anyone one of you help where do I start out...how can I first evaluate the quality of my room...and how should I work towards treating my room...

Again thanks all of you guys for the insights...

bifcake
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Re: How to Upgrade


Quote:

Alex,

The term "full range" confuses me. I've listened to a number of speakers that were considered full range but they all had different frequency responses. So how would one define a "full range" speaker"? Or is it more than just freq response? Does being a 2, 2.5 or 3 way speaker have any bearing? Thanks.

Mike

My definition of a full range speaker is a speaker that covers from 25-20khz with no more than -3db drop off at the frequency extremes. I don't consider speakers that are rated at 35hz, 30hz to be full range. I also don't consider speakers to be full range if they're rated at 25hz with -6db dropoff.

As far as speaker topology is concerned, I really don't care what its design is as long as it achieves its goals. However, I do find that speakers that are truly full range (as per my definition) tend to be 3-way or more and they tend to be on the large side.

59mga
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Re: How to Upgrade

Finding speakers, nowadays, that meet those specs and are reasonably priced ($2k, +/-) is difficult. The closest that I've ever come to such a speaker is a pair of Polk Monitor 10s, that I bought nearly 30 years ago...and still own.

bifcake
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Re: How to Upgrade

I agree that it's difficult, if not impossible to find truly full range speakers in the $2k range. I didn't realize we were talking about a $2k speaker budget. Regardless, my definition still stands with regard to what I consider to be a full range speaker.

59mga
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Re: How to Upgrade

I certainly agree with your definition, of full range. And, yes, at a $2k price tag locating such a speaker (thtsounds good) is nearly impossibe.

If they can make a source (cd, sacd, lp) that produces these frequencies why can't they make a speaker (at a reasonable price) that reproduces the sound?

jackfish
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Re: How to Upgrade

I don't think it is correct to expect a "full range" loudspeaker to be restricted to a specific frequency range. For the reproduction of music it is not necessary to have a low bass extension of 25 Hz

bifcake
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Re: How to Upgrade

I've yet to hear a speaker that extends to 35hz that is as full sounding and complete as one that extends to 25hz. Music tends to sound much more real when a speaker is capable of producing lower frequencies. It's a difference between sounding real and sounding 'nice'. To me, anyway.

Elk
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Re: How to Upgrade


Quote:
The lowest note produced by the largest pipe organ is about 17 Hz, but how often do we listen to this kind of organ music, and if we do, how often is that lowest note hit?


Very few organs even have this capability.

40Hz covers the lowest note on a bass guitar or string bass as well as kick drum.

However, the speaker needs to be able to produce somewhere around 35Hz - 40Hz at full volume and accurate timbre to sound full range. For this to occur, the speaker needs to actually be able to go at least a bit lower. But if it handles 35Hz at -0dB it's full range.

Of course, the opposite end gets just as silly given that few of us can hear past 14-15kHz.

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