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Cyclcone's picture
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: Oct 20 2011 - 10:40am
Better upgrade alternative - replace speakers or add amp

First time post and new to audiophile world. I have what I consider a medium end surround setup (probably low end for folks on this site) and wondering what's the best way to increase two channel sound for playing music.

Currently have a Marantz sr4003 receiver with Polk VM 20 center and Polk VM 10's for fronts and rears. I'd like to keep the surround sound for movies. I'm wondering if I would hear a noticeable increase in stereo sound quality with either:

1. Replacing the two left and right front speakers with better quality speakers

2. Adding a two channel amp to power the left and right fronts. Receiver has preouts. I assume this would work. We like to play loud music periodically. THough we can get it loud enough with the current set up, i'm wondering if an amp would make it sound better at all levels, including loud.

Looking to spend $400 or under. I see some good deals in price range on Audiogon. Thoughts? Suggestions on upgrades? thanks

Kal Rubinson
Kal Rubinson's picture
Last seen: 3 hours 50 min ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 9:34am
Tough call but it hinges on

Tough call but it hinges on your feelings about the speakers.  If they are loud enough and float your boat, you should keep them.  The SR4003 is getting long in the tooth and will be due for replacement (a lot has happened in AVRs since 2008) and having external power amps would make your choices easier when that time comes.

All that said, changing speakers will almost always have the greatest impact on the sound...................................

crankyaudioguy's picture
Last seen: 5 years 9 months ago
Joined: Mar 15 2011 - 3:52pm
If you haven't upgraded yet ...

As the other poster said, it's a tough call, but I think you would gain more by upgrading the front speakers. Perhaps the PSB Alpha B1s or Paradigm Atoms--they have had critical acclaim. There are some more in this range out there as well--check out NHT Super Zeros.

An interesting other thought might be possibly Audiogine 5+'s ($399), which are active and have 50 rms watts/ch built-in. You would connect these to your pre-out's and use their remote to control volume. You would, in effect, be getting a new amp and speakers this way. (You could still use your sub if desired). You could keep these along with your Polk's and use the AE's only when 2-channel listening. (They are small).

The difference between 80w/ch (of your Marantz) and 50 is not as much as you think since power operates logarithmically on the ear (i.e you need 10 times the power to get twice as loud).

Cranky Audio Guy, Inc.

JoeE SP9
JoeE SP9's picture
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: Oct 31 2005 - 6:02pm

What is today? Is it spam Wednesday?

commsysman's picture
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am

I agree that you should get new front speakers as the most cost-effective way to improve your sound.

The PSB Alpha B1 should be the first choice there; amazing speakers for only $300.

The receiver you have is fine sonically; the only reason to change that would be if there are capabilities that you need that it doesn't have, which does not sound like the case.

By the way, are you sure that you have a VM20 center?

It seems like it costs 4 times as much as the VM10 speakers; seems like an odd combination. Whatever.

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