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  1. #1

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    Default Does It Really Get Better Than This

    I've been slowly upgrading and my signature shows where I'm at. I worked with a Parasound engineer today and he helped me set the gain on the amps to accomodate my 2100 preamp.

    The sound is not quite live sounding, but I'm getting close. What is left? Can anyone put it into words?
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  2. #2

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    Whats your source?CD,DVD,music server,etc?
    SDA-2BTL with custom IC
    Adcom 565 monoblocks--Monarchy Audio M-10 preamp
    Theta Data Basic Transport--Camelot Arthur DAC--Camelot Dragon Pro2 MK III
    Harman Kardon T-55c TT
    DH Labs Q-10 Signature Speaker Cables With Furez silver plated copper bananas
    Prophecy Cryo-Silver Reference AES/EBU
    Prophecy Cryo-Silver i2s digital cable
    4 Furutech FP-314Ag with FI-11cu Plugs/FI-11AG IECs--- Power Cords
    DH LABS REVELATIONS ICs-amps
    Revelation Audio Labs Paradise cryo-silver ICs-Source to pre

  3. #3

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    Tweeter upgrades, crossover upgrades, interconnect upgrades, isolation... That's just on the speaker part.:D If you haven't already, there's also acoustic treatments you could do and isolation/raising your subwoofers. After that, upgrading your actual subwoofers. It can only get better, believe it or not. ;)
    Home Theater:

    Onkyo TX-SR805
    Behringer EP2500 for SDA's

    Polk SDA II fronts
    Polk Monitor 5Jr. surrounds
    Polk Monitor 4 back surrounds

    DIY A7-900 and DIY A3-300

  4. #4

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    The source at this time is just an IPOD with Lossless. I also have an Oynko cd player and I don't hear any difference. Will a better CD player make a big difference?
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  5. #5

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    Get an SACD player. Get DSOTM. Enjoy. ;)
    Home Theater:

    Onkyo TX-SR805
    Behringer EP2500 for SDA's

    Polk SDA II fronts
    Polk Monitor 5Jr. surrounds
    Polk Monitor 4 back surrounds

    DIY A7-900 and DIY A3-300

  6. #6

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    I'd get rid of that "Oynko" CD player. They're real pigs.:D
    THE MAN-CAVE 5.1 CHANNEL A/V RIG
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    a/d/s/ HT-400LCR (3)
    a/d/s/ HT-300 (2)
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    Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai
    Sony BDP-S300
    Sony SLV-779HF
    DirecTV HD sat. receiver

    MAN-CAVE 2-CHANNEL RIG (shares sources with a/v system)
    Adcom GFA-5500
    Bose 901 Series VI
    NAD C-165BEE
    Slim Devices Squeezebox Classic
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by thor098 View Post
    The source at this time is just an IPOD with Lossless.
    Good start, but.... Are you using the iPod's DAC? If so then STOP. You need a Wadia iTransport and an external DAC to even start thinking of getting better. Of course, you will need to upgrade the Wadia power supply, and the digital cable, but even the stock Wadia, stock cable, and DAC is a great improvement.

  8. #8

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    OK, just a follow up. It's a year and 1/2 later and I've learned a few things about "better" sound. At the time when I asked "what gets better," I had just updated to a Parasound pre-amp from using a Marantz 2170. I knew it sounded better but couldn't really figure out why. After months of the Parasound, I went back to the Marantz. I learned that the highs and the imaging were much better on the Parasound and everything was so much warmer sounding. Now I've updated my speakers to Magnepan MG 12's. Although they are missing some of the bass and the wide soundstage of my SDA's, everything really came to life. It's pretty cool. Other's have talked about how the soundstage can include depth. I didn't really understand until I hooked up the Maggies. The details and the depth are amazing. I don't think I'll love them forever though. They just seem to be lacking something. I hope someday to get the Polk LSI15's but no one around the Minneapolis, St. Paul area sells them so I have no way to get a demo. I'm hoping they combine the imaging and depth of the Maggies with the warmth and bass of my old SDAs.

  9. #9

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    It really all depends on one's tastes.
    all the best,
    mrh

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by thor098 View Post
    ...(of the mg12's)...I don't think I'll love them forever though. They just seem to be lacking something...
    I've owned a number a Maggies, including the MG-12's. If you like their sound, try moving up the Maggie line. Your next stop would be the 1.6's (or 1.7's). Your soundstage will get much larger, and you'll get deeper, more visceral bass. Next stop after that is the 3.6's (or 3.7's). This is where Maggies get really special. This model uses a True Ribbon tweeter as opposed to the Quasi Ribbon in the 12's and 1.6's. the 3.6's also have even lower, more textural bass, but the midrange is what makes them phenomenal, at any price.

    (of the LSi-15's)...I'm hoping they combine the imaging and depth of the Maggies with the warmth and bass of my old SDAs...
    I think you'd be disappointed. I currently own, and listen regularly to, Maggies, SDA's, and LSi's. The LSi's do kind of bridge the gap between the SDA's and Maggies, but they don't do their respective attributes nearly as well. They'd be a big compromise. I say, if you've got the room, use both SDA's and Maggies. Keep the SDA's in place, and move the Maggies in and out when you want. Just make sure to put them as far in front of the SDA's as possible. I did this for a while. It was great, no compromises. I, like you, am looking for a speaker that is a "best of both worlds", but the LSi ain't it.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by thor098 View Post
    I'm hoping they combine the imaging and depth of the Maggies with the warmth and bass of my old SDAs.
    They won't. I'd choose SDA's over LSi 15's everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. IMO, a properly set-up and run pair of SDA's can have some Maggie-like attributes as far a soundstage, none of which LSi15's can really touch. LSi 15's are still very nice speakers, but not on par with a proper set of SDA's and farther away from the Maggie sound than SDA's.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  12. #12

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    Having owned all the speakers discussed (Maggie MMG, MG-20, Polk SDA 1c, SRS 1.2/2.3TL, and the LSi-15's) I agree fully with Brock that the SDA is the best of both worlds solution over the rest, with exception to the large Maggies. I get tight clean bass, liquid mids and highs and a depth that startles me at times. The need far more room to breathe than the SDA's do, but the realism with proper amplification and source components is stunning. Stay with SDA if you cannot set the Maggies at least 3/4 feet into the room.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier

    "The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett

  13. #13

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    Wow, some unexpected replies. Glad I never bought the LSI's on a whim. It's mostly like MHARDY said, It really all depends on one's tastes. But there is something special about the SDA's. My wife loves them because you can listen to them at a fairly high volume and yet be able to talk in the room. They are just so comfortable to listen to. We'll see what happens to the Maggies over time. I'm not letting go of the SDA's yet.
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  14. #14

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    Have you spiked, upgraded the Xover in the SDAs, dynamatted the drivers and applied norez, upgraded Binding Post and IC to your SDAs?
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  15. #15

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    ^What he said^

    Also, have you upgraded your source yet? How about cables?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  16. #16

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    I have not made any mods to the SDA's. I'm not sure I'm up for all that. As for the upgrading the source? Nope not yet but thats next on my list. I've been able to hear a couple demos at a local audio shop - Audio Perfection in Richfield, MN - so I know the difference that will bring. I'm thinking about using a Mac Mini as the music server and then I'll have to decide on the DAC.
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  17. #17

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    Put the $500 you will spend for a MM and put it in your SDAs.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by thor098 View Post
    I have not made any mods to the SDA's. I'm not sure I'm up for all that.
    If you're not up for it, find someone to do them for you. The sonic improvements are substantial.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  19. #19

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    Oh in case anyone is looking for input on cables. I did upgrade the cables as far as I will ever go a long time ago. I have 12 guage wire going to each of the speakers and I found that RCA cables could really change the sound dramatically. I found the the most expensive popular cable - most people know which ones I'm talking about - really flattened the sound. Others sounded tinny. I eventually found some I really liked from a fair priced site on the internet.
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  20. #20

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    Two words.... more money

  21. #21

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    I'll think about the SDA upgrades. Thanks for the input.
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  22. #22

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    Well, you did ask the question.
    I'll go along with the upgrades on the SDA's, but just as important is the source and a dac. Ipods just don't cut it as a quality source imho anyway.

  23. #23

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    F1nut is right - do the upgrades. You'll be amazed at how much better they can sound than they do now.
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR BP's, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheet strips installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA A-L transformer

  24. #24

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    OK, its been about a year again and this is what I've done and learned. I would look for advice if anyone has some about my situation. First off, I went to laptop music server with a Cambridge audio DAC on my 2 channel. It made a slight but noticeable difference over the IPOD.

    After that, I stuck it out with the Maggie's and I'm glad I did. It really took about 6 weeks before they stopped sounding better. No lie. And once they were broke in and I got the subs set up right, there were amazing detailed, full and spacious sounding. My wife absolutely loves them and she put up with the low WAF so she could have the sound. Well now we are remodeling and they really do need to go now.

    Stay with me, I,ll get to my point. I always liked my Polk rti8's and sda 2's so in the last year I built a HT around Polk LSI's. overall, I'm pretty happy and I realize my Denon is probably under powered. Even so the dialog on the LSI's is extremely clear. We can turn the volume down and still hear every word.

    OK, this is where it gets interesting. When I hook my LSI15s up to my 2 channel they are extremely bright and basically hurt my ears. I have an old pair of TSI 300s that sound better. I've tried a lot of adjusting and can't make them work. Any ideas? The LSIs are a nice looking speaker and I'd like to see them work.
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  25. #25

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    I keep this thread alive to help those looking to learn. I have an update on the LSI15 s. After a couple months on the ht I noticed that I needed to recalibrate. So with the change on the ht I decided to try them on my 2 channel system again. They now sound amazing. Not quite as detailed as the Maggies but close enough. The overall sound has a lot more of the mid bass punch. They really bring some different music to life. Very enjoyable now. I think they, like the Maggie's, needed a break in period.
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by thor098 View Post
    The source at this time is just an IPOD with Lossless. I also have an Oynko cd player and I don't hear any difference. Will a better CD player make a big difference?
    As NICE as your 2 channel set up is, it deserves a better source. Look into a higher end CDP, or transport/DAC--OR--higher-end streaming source (Bryston/SQBox, etc). There's a lot more to it then just bit-perfect transmission.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 05-28-2013 at 10:42 AM.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  27. #27

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    It can get a whole lot better . . . way better.

  28. #28

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    I like the idea of looking at a new DAC again. Good idea. What is a solution to replace my windows based laptop running itunes for under $2000. I'm thinking about some kind of apple computer. Any better ideas? note that I will never leave digital music. The convenience to mix up the playlists is just to valuable.
    2 CH
    Parasound 2100 preamp
    Polk Lsi15s
    powered by a
    Parasound HCA 1500a
    2 Passive JBL 10" Subs
    powered by a second
    Parasound HCA 1500a

    HT
    Denon 3311-CI
    Polk Lsi15 Fronts
    Polk LsiC Center
    Polk Lsi7 Surrounds
    2 Passive Polk 10" Subs
    powered by ADCOM 545

  29. #29

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    There's lots of great DAC's out there in the under $2k...Wyred 4 Sound, Bryston, Benchmark, and lists goes on and on....

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  30. #30

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    I went to laptop music server with a Cambridge audio DAC on my 2 channel

    Is this still what ur doing? If the dac is usb and asychronous and the files are lossless then u should be gettin gpretty darn goodsound.

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