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  1. #1

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    Default Building my first system

    *** Begin Background ***
    After years of being underwhelmed by cheap boomboxes, hand-me-downs, and mini-systems I finally committed to building a system that would let me enjoy music once again.

    I purchased an Onkyo TX-8050 (80W 2-Channel networked receiver w/ preamp outs) and paired it with my CD collection (ripped to flac and stored on a DLNA server), my dad's Dual phonograph, and a pair of speakers from one of the mini-systems. Perhaps it was more a function of having the receiver more accessible, or networked than a better sound quality, but I started listening more often. Of course I was shopping for speakers as I was enjoying music (Classical, Jazz, Classic Rock) again.

    I was looking for a first set knowing they would likely move from the 8050 to the HT system or into a bedroom. I wasn't concerned about getting just the right speakers, and was more interested in having a good quality set to compare future purchases against. I purchased a set of Monitor Series II 40s and now enjoy listening even more. I also picked up a CS1 to accompany the 40s when I sent them down to the HT. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come but I can't help but wondering how much better it could be and where the point of diminishing returns is.
    *** End of Background ***

    The Monitor Series II 40s paired with the TX-8050 sound far better than anything I've heard before except live music, but they seem weak in the bass. Not surprising since they're bookshelf speakers. I'm wondering about picking up a set of 70s in an attempt to get a fuller sound, thinking that they'd also voice match to the 40s for a time when they're moved to the HT.

    Would this be a good solution? If I'm not looking for any more volume than I can get with the 40s will it be a problem that they're underpowered at 80watts? I've read in other threads the 70s can be muddy; would I be better off getting 50s or 60s and sub... Or even just a sub?

    Current pricing:
    70 ($360 pair) until 5/2
    60 ($300 pair)
    50 ($240 pair)
    PSW110 ($250)
    PSW10 ($90) until 5/2

    Any suggestions?

    --Dave

  2. #2

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    Default

    The 70's only sound muddy if they are underpowered. They are fairly easy to drive, but if you don't want to add an amp, I would stick with the 40's and add a sub. If what you listed is what's in your price range, I would pick the 110.

    Perhaps this is a sign of things to come but I can't help but wondering how much better it could be and where the point of diminishing returns is.
    It can get much better and really only depends on your budget and long term goals. I can't tell you where diminishing returns are but I have gone from M50's to 70's to LSi15's and really appreciated each step.
    2-channel
    Sources: Pro-ject 2.9 wood Grado Gold cartridge; Oppo BDP-105; Amps: Anthem Integrated 225; PS Audio GCPH Speakers: Polk - LSi15's (sub mod)


    HT
    Amps: Sony - STR-DG1000; Outlaw 200 Mono; B&K Reference 200.2; Speakers: Polk - CS2, Monitor 70's, RC80i's; Video: Optoma HD20; FAVI HD-100


    Man Cave
    Sources: Sony PS-LX410, Denon 3910; Amps: Dared sl2000a, HK 3490, Simaudio Moon LP3; Speakers: Polk - SDA 2A's

  3. #3

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by drberg1000 View Post
    Perhaps this is a sign of things to come but I can't help but wondering how much better it could be and where the point of diminishing returns is.
    Don't worry. It can get a lot better, and I do mean a lot better. I wouldn't start worrying about diminishing returns until you have 30K-50K invested in a two channel system. Even then, you can get improvements that are worth it.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    Don't worry. It can get a lot better, and I do mean a lot better. I wouldn't start worrying about diminishing returns until you have 30K-50K invested in a two channel system. Even then, you can get improvements that are worth it.
    What I'm concerned about isn't ending up with a system I'm happy with. It's the fear of wanting to spend $30K to get it. This will be a living room (25'x17'x8') system, not a setup for a listening room.
    --
    My setups
    =======
    Stereo:
    Onkyo TX-8050
    Dual 1264 Turntable
    Polk Monitor Series II 40

    Home Theater: (needs upgrading)
    Receiver: Optimus STAV 3280
    Screen: Toshiba 40" tube
    Center: Polk CS1
    Fronts: Monoprice 6.5" bookshelves
    Rears: None
    Sub: None

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by hochpt21 View Post
    The 70's only sound muddy if they are underpowered. They are fairly easy to drive, but if you don't want to add an amp, I would stick with the 40's and add a sub. If what you listed is what's in your price range, I would pick the 110.
    If getting clean sound out of the 70s means I need to play them louder than the 40s then they're probably not a good fit. If I need more power to play them at the same volume then I'd be more willing to consider an amp purchase. Would Onkyo's 2x100W be sufficient when bi-amped with the 80W from the receiver?

    Part of the reason I'm looking at the floor units is I think it'll be easier to place the speakers properly. To get the 40s at ear height I'll either have them right up against the wall or need to use some stands/end tables. With the floor speakers they could be more easily moved out of the way when not in use and moved back when actively listening. Of course I'm speculating as I'm new to this.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the 50 & 60 don't have enough range to be used without a sub either. So... buy the sub, and get the 50s if I want a set of floor speakers?

    Do you recommend the 110 for frequency response, power, or some other quality that's harder to measure? $160 seems like a big price difference.




    Quote Originally Posted by hochpt21 View Post
    It can get much better and really only depends on your budget and long term goals. I can't tell you where diminishing returns are but I have gone from M50's to 70's to LSi15's and really appreciated each step.
    Budget is modest. Long term goal is a system that has a clean and full sound and makes me want to start buying music again.
    --
    My setups
    =======
    Stereo:
    Onkyo TX-8050
    Dual 1264 Turntable
    Polk Monitor Series II 40

    Home Theater: (needs upgrading)
    Receiver: Optimus STAV 3280
    Screen: Toshiba 40" tube
    Center: Polk CS1
    Fronts: Monoprice 6.5" bookshelves
    Rears: None
    Sub: None

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by drberg1000 View Post
    What I'm concerned about isn't ending up with a system I'm happy with. It's the fear of wanting to spend $30K to get it. This will be a living room (25'x17'x8') system, not a setup for a listening room.
    You don't have to spend 30K to be happy with a system. I have been happy with every system I have had. In fact, being happy is the main cause of upgraditis for me. The thing sound sounds so good that after some time I start wondering how I can make it sound better.

  7. #7

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    If you're looking for a good deal on one of the subs you're looking at, the polk audio ebay site has them for very discounted prices.

    PSW110

    PSW505


    PSW505
    TV - LG 42" LED
    Receiver - Pioneer VSX-521
    Front speakers - Polk Monitor 40's Series II
    Center - Polk Monitor CS1 Series II
    Surround - Polk Audio OWM3
    Subwoofer - JBL L8400P


    "I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water."

    ~Ray Charles~

  8. #8

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    I have the 60's which I bought from Polk Direct .. very satisfied (esp since earlier pair were PSB Alphas) .. I think you get alot of bang for the buck with the monitors...I use the 40's for my TV downstairs. (No hometheater)
    *************************
    ** Bill Clark Windham, VT **
    *************************

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