Well, I picked up my LSi 15 surround package this past Thurs. I hooked up hte LSi 15s to the HK230 refurb I just got. I listened to music all Sat. to break in the speakers and make sure the refurb was all good. It sounded wonderful...just as I remembered in demoing. My wife, after listening to many hours of me listening to classical music, said she could not tell a difference between my old speakers and the LSis. So I casually put in Nora Jones which she is familiar with....she said it sounds much better! She suggested we spend a bit more money to get some good speakers for the bedroom...which means she was very impressed.
Anyways, this is where it gets interesting. After full 12 hrs or so listening, I am comfortable with HK's operation and delighted with LSi 15, so I now hook up the Rotel 1070 amp (new) which was also waiting for the LSi's to arrive (using HK as preamp). I use new cables from bluejeans. Something does not sound right. The sound is not as clean and crisp. It is harsher in the highs and the whole soundstage is compressed. I thought it may just be a slightly "different" sound but after about 3 hrs of listening to CDs, the sound quality is definately degraded. I do A to B comparisons of just HK and HK+Rotel and am convinced HK alone sounds better. Just for kicks, I switch the cables to Acoustic Research pro II between the HK and the Rotel. The sound improves!! Much of hte clarity and crispness is returned and harshness is reduced, sound stage is bigger.
SO...I do a bit more A to B with the Rotel. Guess what...I still like the HK alone better!!!?? This is surprising since HK is only 50w vs. Rotel 100+w.
Now I am surprised and pissed at the same time. I spend all this time and money and end up liking just the AVR the most??
1. HK's sound great with the LSis.
2. Cables make a big difference.
3. Using separates are extremely difficult since preamp/amp/cables all have to sound good together. (Hey, my LSi are not the weak link!). All of the components I used were of good quality based on reviews and such but the results were not impressive.
I will probably be returning the Rotel and I will have to give bluejeans a call and see if they will refund or at least, give me a better sounding cable. (Keep in mind that I only speak my opinion as to hte model of cable I ordered and received) I will also probably contact Harmon Audio and ask if I can upgrade to AVR630 which has 90/75 watts of power for about $310 more. I hope the AVR 630 has the same sound as the 230.
Anyone have thoughts on any of this or my plans?
Of course, the above is merely my opinion and the match between the Rotel and HK may not be ideal. If I had the money, I would try the Rotel with a Rotel preamp but thats mega bucks.
Final Q: The LSiFx surrounds are huge and heavy! How do you guys mount them? Are there special stands that can be used...it has the odd shape.