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  1. #1

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    Default Next Upgrade for RTI A9's.

    Hello All,

    I have been lurking on the forums here for a couple of weeks as I patiently waited for my pair of
    RTI A9's to arrive, and so far I am really enjoying them, and glad I joined the club.
    I am a total newbie when it comes to home stereo systems, as I primarily listened to music via
    my modest headphone system, (pc, DAC, tube amp, SS amp).
    I would appreciate any feedback and suggestions for my next upgrade to my current system
    consisting of a pair of RTI A9's and just recently acquired Pioneer SC-1222-k AVR (120W per channel). (http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...vers/SC-1222-K)
    I primarily purchased the AVR for the convenience of switching between multiple sources, network stream capabilities, and the full set of pre-outs for connecting an external amp in the future.

    I finally decided to start a home stereo system because I've always wanted a nice stereo system, and listening through headphones can get a little uncomfortable on hot summer days. Plus, I wanted my TV viewing experience to be a little better than the stock tv speakers.
    My primary concern is for music listening, although the system is setup in the living room and connected
    to the TV. Hence, the reason I do not have a center channel speakers or surround speakers.
    (Although the ongoing Fry's sale price of $99 for the CSI5 center speaker actually made me consider purchasing
    a center speaker for the first time.)

    I am considering several options to upgrade my current system would appreciate any suggestions:
    1. Add a subwoofer- I've been reading up on the $500-$600 subwoofers from SVS, HSU, PSA, etc. It seems that adding a subwoofer would allow more power to be used by the RTI A9's and therefore improve SQ. I live in a condo with poor soundproofing, so I am not looking for any wall shaking bass output.
    2. Add an external amplifier- The consensus on the forums here seem to indicate that an external amplifier
    such as the Parasound 2250 ($1300) would greatly improve sound quality. Cheaper alternative would be one of the Emotiva amplifiers or used Rotel, B& K, Adcom, or Parasound amplifiers.
    3. Acoustical treatments- I do not think that my current listening space is an ideal acoustical environment, as it consists of 40'(l)x 15'(w) x 8'(h) living room, dining area, kitchen with hardwood floors, tile(kitchen), and drywall. I have been researching acoustical treatments, and seems that sound quality could be improved with some acoustical panels on the back and front walls, as well as some rugs, drapes to replace blinds, and bass traps. $500-$800.

    I have a hunch that I might eventually need to do all three options, but I would like some suggestions on which step would most improve my music listening experience.

  2. #2

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    Those A9's can put out a lot of bass, if they are powered correctly. They are rated up to 500 watts, so that in itself should tell you they are power hungry. Adding an amp, 200 watts or more will allow those woofers to wake up. I may be wrong here, but all those drivers are about equal to a 12 inch sub. You may not even need a sub, if you decide to add an amp. Let your ears decide, you like it good enough.

    Then again, many people are happy with the sounds that an AVR can produce alone, and feel an amp isn't necessary. Your AVR is a pretty good, and if you're careful with that volume knob should be alright.

    I think it was good that you passed on that CSI center. The RTI A6 is designed for those speakers. That is the speaker you want anchoring those front 3. Once you hear a timbre matched front stage, you will understand why everybody highly recommends it. Very important in HT systems.

    Maybe a little more info on where you feel your system is lacking will give us an idea of where you should start.

  3. #3

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    I've had the A9's for a little while now and a separate amp was the largest single improvement. Give them good power with plenty of current and you might question the need for a subwoofer, especially considering your living environment/neighbors. The 2250 should do that quite nicely. For me they really woke up around 200wpc.

    Acoustic treatments ALWAYS help, may help dampen sound to the neighbors as well.

    Between those two things you may think you've got new speakers. :p
    Down
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    Parasound HCA-3500 - HCA-2003A - Marantz SR7005
    Sim2 D60 - Dragonfly 106" Panny 500

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  4. #4

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    I have the A9's in my home theater and adding an external amp will really wake them up, the Emotiva amp would be ok for an HT setup but I think for music the Parasound would be a better fit, even though the Emo would be cheaper. All of the ideas would improve your sound, adding the sub would be last on my list of the ideas you have posted. The A9's will go pretty low given enough power
    Home Theater
    Onkyo PR-SC5508 Sharp LC-70LE847U
    Emotiva XPA-5 Emotiva XPA-2 Emotiva UPA-2
    Front RTi-A9 Wide RTi-A7 Center CSi-A6 Surround FXi-A6 Rear RTi-A3 Sub 2x PSW505
    Sony BDP-S790 Dishnetwork Hopper/Joey Logitech Harmony One Apple TV
    Two Channel
    Oppo 105D BAT VK-500 w/BatPack SDA SRS 2.3 Dreadnought Squeezebox Touch Apple TV

  5. #5

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    Don't spend money on a sub. Once you wake the a9 up with more power, you're going to have to make a serious investment in a sub to increase the experience. No emotiva on them either: it's a match made in hell.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  6. #6

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    I have rti12s and the 2250, same basic setup. External amplification helped immensely and a used 2250 can be had less than 1300 easy. Paid 800 for my own and its in great shape, just have to be a little patient and shop ebay and audiogon. Also that Csi5 on sale for 99 is a steal and will be perfectly timbre matched if not the same exact build style! If you watch movies I believe you will come to the conclusion that a sub would be nice eventually. A9s and 12 can hit some low notes but a sub will do so with more power and authority. Jmo
    AVR - Onkyo NR809
    500gb HD for MP3 and FLAC files
    Amp - Parasound 2250 - FOR SALE BTW!! PM me if interested!
    Mains - Polk RTi12 towers
    Center - CSi5
    Surround - FXiA6's
    Sub - psw505
    Movies and games - PS3
    TV - Toshiba 52" HD

    Every vehicle has one good nuetral drop in it

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    Don't spend money on a sub. Once you wake the a9 up with more power, you're going to have to make a serious investment in a sub to increase the experience. No emotiva on them either: it's a match made in hell.
    Based on my experience I completely agree. I used to have two PSW 505's which are no slouches, but in a larger room like mine they didn't add enough to justify their existence. Sure, I could turn them up and you would notice them more, but it sounded like crap, garbled, didn't blend well, distracted from the experience. The HSU on the other hand makes a head a shoulders difference when it's on, and it never calls attention to itself, you just hear and FEEL the bass in a way that even THREE PSW505's just could not replicate. Yes, I tried. :D

    Of course with Parasound power you'll be pissing off neighbors without a sub.
    Down
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    Parasound HCA-3500 - HCA-2003A - Marantz SR7005
    Sim2 D60 - Dragonfly 106" Panny 500

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  8. #8

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    That AVR may be fine at lower to moderate volume levels. Many people on the forum have had good results with the Pioneer receivers. In a larger room and no neighbors, I believe an external amp is a great improvement for SQ and headroom. Having a high current amp with the A9's may get you evicted from the condo. Parasound and Wyred 4 Sound work very well with the A9's. I've tried both. Since your living in the condo, I'd hold off on the sub and look at what your using as a source, the CSIA6 center (excellent center) for HT or maybe an external dac.
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Source: SONOS Music System, DAC: W4S DAC-2, Pre/Pro: Marantz AV8801, Amp: W4S MC5, Front: Polk RTIA9, Center: Polk CSIA6, Surrounds: Polk FXIA6, Sub EQ: DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033C, Subs: 2 - Polk DSW PRO660WI, IC & Speaker Cables: Signal Cable

  9. #9

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    Thank you everybody for your advice and suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpf65 View Post

    Maybe a little more info on where you feel your system is lacking will give us an idea of where you should start.
    I guess I should clarify that I do not feel that my system is "lacking" at the moment.
    In fact, I am enjoying them quite a bit, as these are my first receiver/ floor standing speakers.
    Coming from headphones, I am really enjoying the imaging, sound stage, and the ability to physically feel the bass.
    Although music sounded a tiny bit on the thin and bright side when I first got them a week ago,
    I can definitely feel an improvement in the bass, probably attributable to break in of the speakers.
    My better understanding of the receiver settings also probably helped improve the sound quality a bit, as
    I mostly listen through pure direct mode.
    I guess the reason I originally wrote my post was that I usually like researching through the forums and internet
    about future purchases quite a bit. Almost a sad addiction.
    I couldn't help but see all the comments about how an external amp with 200 wpc is needed to get the best out of the RTI A9's, and get excited about future upgrades.
    I've had the speakers for a week, the receiver for 2 weeks, and external DAC for a couple of months.
    I'm gonna try to slow down and enjoy the system for a bit while the speakers break in more, at least a few more weeks.



    Quote Originally Posted by Thorton View Post
    That AVR may be fine at lower to moderate volume levels. Many people on the forum have had good results with the Pioneer receivers. In a larger room and no neighbors, I believe an external amp is a great improvement for SQ and headroom. Having a high current amp with the A9's may get you evicted from the condo. Parasound and Wyred 4 Sound work very well with the A9's. I've tried both. Since your living in the condo, I'd hold off on the sub and look at what your using as a source, the CSIA6 center (excellent center) for HT or maybe an external dac.
    Due to poor sound-proofing of the building, I do have some doubts on how aggressive I can plan my future upgrade plans.
    I moved in several months ago, and probably stuck here for at least a couple of years, and unless my neighbor upstairs is a 300 lbs offensive lineman, I'm pretty sure the lack of proper sound proofing is to blame.
    Although it seems that mid-range or high tones are not so easily heard.
    Maybe I need to test the limits of my neighbors and the sound proofing with the equipment I have first, lol.

    As for the high current amp issue, unless I'm mistaken, it seems to be a majority consensus that an external, high current amp would provide an improvement in overall sound quality even at moderate volume levels. Currently, I haven't gotten any louder than -20dbs on my pioneer receiver, which is about 2- o'clock on the volume dial.

    Source-wise, I purchased an external DAC for my headphone system a couple of months ago, and now use it for both my headphone and 2.0 speaker systems. I do occasionally play CD's of music that I don't have on my laptop through my blue ray dvd player. So a source or DAC upgrade is not in my urgent upgrade plans.
    http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/daccord.htm
    So I usually listen to music with the following setup:
    Laptop(WAV and a few FLAC files>DAC>AVR>RTI-A9.

    As for the center channel speakers, I only brought it up only because of the current sale price of $99.
    I do not watch many movies at home, and currently do not intend on focusing much resources for HT.
    Last edited by howie75; 09-12-2013 at 08:02 PM.

  10. #10

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    The idea of an amp isn't to make things louder or sound better at louder volumes. A good quality high current amp will benefit your speakers at lower volumes more than anything. It doesn't really matter the "theoretical power" you have available, most people will stay at or below 80dB. Take any moderate to high quality speaker, feed it higher current, and it will usually sound better.

    The point is not for sound quantity, it's for sound quality.

  11. #11

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    Hence me dropping serious coin (for me at least) on some 28 wpc tubers. My other amp is 16 watts of vintage solid state...
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpf65 View Post
    The idea of an amp isn't to make things louder or sound better at louder volumes. A good quality high current amp will benefit your speakers at lower volumes more than anything. It doesn't really matter the "theoretical power" you have available, most people will stay at or below 80dB. Take any moderate to high quality speaker, feed it higher current, and it will usually sound better.

    The point is not for sound quantity, it's for sound quality.
    That's what I assumed also.
    As I have been looking at some used high current amps, such as the Parasound 2250, I realized that the selection of used 2250's are very limited. I did come across some older Parasound amps with lower WPC, but with similar current (45amps). If I don't plan to listen at very high volumes, would it be unreasonable to think that the two amps(125wpc vs 250wpc) would sound familiar?

  13. #13

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    I had a Parasound HCA-1206, 135wpc 30Apc and the A9's were definitely very nice sounding and FAR better than running them off an AVR, but bumping up to the HCA-2003 220wpc 45Apc really opened them up, and made them sound like the big speakers they are, but not in a bad way. Just made them sound fuller, more dynamic, it was a nice 'sweet spot' amplifier for the speakers.

    The HCA-3500 350wpc 120Apc was not as noticeable of an increase, the bass is a bit fuller, dynamics a bit more refined, but the biggest thing is I can listen up to 10db louder without any sign of strain and reduced listening fatigue. IE the comfortable spot with the A9's and the 2003 was around 75db. Above that they started sounding strained, harsh, pointed, and I really didn't like listening for very long like that at all. Now with the HCA-3500 I can enjoy them up to 85db for longer periods just fine, and even some music up to 100db is tolerable.

    In summation, quality over quantity is king. Considering you won't be able to turn it up much with neighbors and all, I bet if you had 150-200wpc of good high current power you'd be pretty happy. But of course, more never hurts. :)
    Down
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  14. #14

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    [QUOTE=Inspector 24;1962500] Just made them sound fuller, more dynamic,

    That's definitely the goal I am going after.
    I am quite enjoying my system when I can find the time to.
    In the meantime, I'm keeping my eyes open on craigslist, ebay, audigon for a high current
    parasound amp.
    Due to some recent audio equipment purchases, I'm trying to implement some self control
    and trying to look for amps closer to the $500 mark.

  15. #15

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    "Just made them sound fuller, more dynamic,"

    That's definitely the goal I am going after.
    I am quite enjoying my system when I can find the time to.
    In the meantime, I'm keeping my eyes open on craigslist, ebay, audigon for a high current
    parasound amp.
    Due to some recent audio equipment purchases, I'm trying to implement some self control
    and trying to look for amps closer to the $500 mark.

  16. #16

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    A seller on audiogon has a few hca3500's for sale. Not $500 but would drive the crap out of your A9s.
    AVR - Onkyo NR809
    500gb HD for MP3 and FLAC files
    Amp - Parasound 2250 - FOR SALE BTW!! PM me if interested!
    Mains - Polk RTi12 towers
    Center - CSi5
    Surround - FXiA6's
    Sub - psw505
    Movies and games - PS3
    TV - Toshiba 52" HD

    Every vehicle has one good nuetral drop in it

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by snake1 View Post
    A seller on audiogon has a few hca3500's for sale. Not $500 but would drive the crap out of your A9s.
    This, all day long. I've played mine at a solid 100 dB and my ears were happy, before the 3500 anything over 95db and I started cringing, though the max I regularly listen is 85 dB... That's a super comfortable volume for me now where I used to listen at no more than 80db.

    That is a LOT of amp for the money!!
    Down
    RTiA9 - CSiA6 - FXiA6 - Dual HSU VTF-15H
    Parasound HCA-3500 - HCA-2003A - Marantz SR7005
    Sim2 D60 - Dragonfly 106" Panny 500

    Up
    LSi9 LSiC - RX-V3000

    RT5000p Waiting in the Wings...

  18. #18

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    SC1222K is same as Pioneer Elite SC61 with 1 year warranty instead of 2

    it's got class D amp and should be fine for everyday listening levels with your RTiA9....If my HK AVR broke, this SC-61 in plain clothing will be my replacement.....
    Video: LG 55LN5100/Samsung LNT4065F
    Receiver: HK AVR445
    Source: OPPO BDP-93
    HT: POLK SPEAKERS RTi6, FXi3, CSi5 - Sub SUB-1200
    2Ch system: MC2105, C-26, AR-XA, MR-80, AR-2A, AR9, BX-300

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