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  1. #1

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    Default Stereo Sanity Check

    So, help me out guys. You may want to crack a beer for this one, it's a little long-winded, sorry...
    I'm a married, 3 kids, enlisted AF guy (read limited budget for the past 18 years), and am seriously questioning the issue of "upgrade-itis" by those who continually swap components out. Sure, it's to get that much closer to the real thing, but I think it's become an obsession for most people. Some of these guys I've met have even said they can't tell a difference between cables, biwiring, etc.
    I've personally gone through a few mid-fi components over the years, as memory serves:
    1. Yamaha R-700 receiver with Genesis 110s (I do miss those, first good system)
    2. The Carver Receiver with Dahlquist DQM-9s (good and loud)
    3. NAD 1600 pre and 2400 power amp with the DQMs (lotsa dynamic range), then Energy 4.1Es
    4. Leak Stereo 50 amp with the NAD 1600 with the 4.1Es (slightly fatiguing)
    5. Modded Magnavox 6V6GT console amp (nice, but low power) and Monitor 5As, home-made Buschhorn folded horns, Wharfedale W70Ds, Vandersteen 1Bs, New Large Advents
    6. Currently have NAD 7000 and HK 680i receivers driving Monitor 5Bs.
    This is nothing compared to some guys, but my wife thinks I'm nuts, because it all sounds the same to her. Giving some thought to that statement, I can't say any of it really, really stood out, although some were not so hot.
    Today, I did an A/B comparison of the two receivers driving the Polks, and I feel they both sound pretty damn good, almost identical, except the HK has slightly more bottom end, and a tiny tad more forwardness to the treble. Could be the 60 watts of the HK vs. 40 watts of the NAD. The HK tuner is slightly more sensitive than the NAD. Am I missing something? Do I have a tin ear after all? The NAD is supposed to be a great mid-80s piece, and the HK supposedly a so-so early-80s piece.
    I'm tempted to take both into my local hi-end joint (Advanced Audio in Tacoma) and ask if he'd hook them up and compare to the "good stuff" and see if I can even tell any difference. I stopped in a few weeks ago to listen to Vandy 2CE Sigs, and he asked what I would be driving them with, and I told him about the NAD; he looked a little disappointed. "Alright, then" I thought. I'll bring it in. Kinda embarrassing, though, if I don't intend to buy any of his products.
    Or, if there is truth to it, should I not even tempt myself by doing the comparison, thereby causing me to lust for the good stuff?:o

  2. #2

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    Default

    Well as I see it,your really not getting a big difference in sound quality because you keep switching the same type of gear for gear of the same quality or slightly better.What really matters is.....are you happy with the way your system sounds??? If yes,then don't bother upgrading,if no,save your coinage,buy good quality used gear,best bang for the buck.The best advice I can give you at this point is to try and get your ears on as many different pieces of gear as you can.Either at shops,friends houses,other Polkies.Get a feel for what your ears like and what you consider to be a big improvement.Then go after the gear on the used market.Most of us here,have many pieces bought used.Stay away from e-bay.Look here in our for sale section or on Audiogon.There are a few other places to look also and hopefully others will chime in here with them.I hear what your saying about the wife,mine was the same untill I made the jump to better speakers and seperate amplifier.Look at the location of our members,see if any are near you,we are a friendly buch....well,most of us.More than likely,you can get your ears on some of there gear.BTW...we have a few military members that are stand up guys,good people,the best you will find anywhere,chat with them to see if you live nearby....Good luck Pal.



    Hey.....Just noticed....1000+ posts,and none that make any sence.
    WOOOOHOOOOO......I'm a polkhead...I've got head...yeah baby
    Last edited by tonyb; 04-24-2007 at 06:13 PM.
    legacy Focus 20/20
    Butler tdb 2250
    Pioneer 59AVI
    Pioneer BDP 320
    50 in. Pioneer Kuro pdp 5010
    FX 500 surround
    Reality cables
    Pioneer elite vsx21
    Sonos-Cullen mod.
    Audio Metallurgy GA-0 digital
    PS Audio Quintet
    Cary Xciter dac

  3. #3

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    Default

    Tony, nice try, but no one has contributed less in their first 1000 posts than me. Just posting pics of your SRTs is much more than I could ever offer to the forum.

    Oh, and go listen to the Van's, TinMan. You can get a pair of those for very reasonable money. Not like going to listen to Wilson or anything that would really ruin you financially :)
    Stereo Rig: Hales Revelation 3, Musical Fidelity CD-Pre 24, Forte Model 3 amp, Lexicon RT-10 SACD, MMF-5 w/speedbox, Forte Model 2 Phono Pre, Cardas Crosslink, APC H15, URC MX-950, Lovan Stand
    Bedroom: Samsung HPR-4252, Toshiba HD-A2, HK 3480, Signal Cable, AQ speaker cable, Totem Dreamcatchers, SVS PB10-NSD, URC MX-850

  4. #4

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    Welcome Tin,

    All I can add is that when you hear gear that makes a difference, you will know it. I have demoed many different types of gear over the years, some barely cracked a smile on my face, others gave me ear wood and a standing ovation. If you get the bug, I suggest you go to Best Buy and get an Ipod, save yourself - it is too late for the rest of us.
    V
    Let me tell you something about life, around every corner monsters await. I know, I am one.

    If I owned hell and this place, I would rent this place out and live in hell.

    Mains: Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1
    Preamp: Modwright SWL9.0SE
    Amps: Butler TBD2250, PS Audio Trio
    PrePro: Cary Cinema 6, Outlaw 990
    DAC: Benchmark DAC1
    Universal Player: Denon 2900
    Cables: StraightWire Encore II, Kimber Hero, Audioquest Type 4, CV-8, Columbia DBS
    Power Conditioner: Belkin PF60

  5. #5

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    I don't want to offend anyone here, but all I can say is that IMO as you spend more for audio equipment, the differences between upgrades is less significant. Someone on another forum once explained it as the point of diminishing returns; when you reach the ultra high-end of the high-end market, spending more $$$ is going to provide less return than with lower-end equipment.

    I feel that the best value is achieved somewhere in the middle-range, not too cheap or not too expensive. I think what you have is some decent equipment.
    polkaudio RT35 Bookshelves
    polkaudio 255c-RT Inwalls
    polkaudio DSWPro550WI
    polkaudio XRT12 XM Tuner
    polkaudio RM6750 5.1

    Front projection, 2 channel, car audio... life is good!

  6. #6

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    Did you change out the tweets on the Monitor 5's. Made a big difference to me.
    engtaz

    I love how music can brighten up a bad day.

  7. #7

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    TIN

    All the above advice is good. I had good luck with ebay however. Try and get a phone # if possible of the person selling. Check out the Audio Critic if you want to know what engineers say about much of the electronics for sale today.

    There is a ton of BS out there, but it's fun to switch out equipment.

    IMHO speakers and there placement in the room and the room make the biggest difference in the sound you hear.

    Have a blast and you are nuts, like us all.

  8. #8
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    "Some of these guys I've met have even said they can't tell a difference between cables, biwiring, etc."

    If you're pretty happy with what you have, consider tweaking it with new cables and speaker wire if you haven't done that already. There's plenty of threads on here discussing likes and dislikes about cables and such.

  9. #9

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    I've bounced around the audio spectrum, bt for me it was worth it......and fun. its just my hobby. the set ups I have now make me pretty happy, and while there not cheap, there is much more ridiculously higher priced gear out there.

    that law of diminishing returns isnt a theory, its a fact. higher up you go, the less of an improvment you get for the coin.

    I think I'm pretty much at the point where that law will stop me from going much higher, but in the future? who knows. what will be will be.

    byt he way, I had a used pait of Vandersteen 2c's back inthe day, and rank pretty high on my speaker bang for buck list. great speaker, and thoroughly enjoyed the time I had with them
    Theater - Polk LSi15, LSiC, LSi9 speaks, DIY Sub (142.5L box, SVS plus driver, 500 Watt plate amp)...Outlaw 990 pre/pro, Carver TFM45, 2 X Outlaw M200 . Rotel RB980 . PS3, Monster 3600 power center

    2 Channel -
    Anthem Pre 2l, Jolida JD100 CD player, CAL Sigma DAC, Carver m4.0, Polk LSi9 w external modified Crossovers (thanks Trey!)

  10. #10

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    I love my system as it stands now. I have spent about 1350.00 this year on upgrades (not too much but a good amount of money) My problem is I read this fourm and mags. and think "if I do this I might like it even more". I like my Yammi 2500 but after reading this fourm and then going out to hear some pre/pros I have no doubt I will be buying another 2-channel amp for the rear speakers and a higher end pre-pro like the Anthem I looked at with in the year. This hobby is freaking expensive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Michael


    Samsung 50" HD DLP
    Yamaha RX-V2500
    (2) Outlaw 200
    Adcom GFA 555
    Sony BDP300
    Denon 2900 DVD
    Lsi9's mains
    Lsi7's rear
    Lsic center
    12.1 SVS driver in 4.53 cuft. tube
    Harmony 880

  11. #11

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    You have pre amps outs, just add amps and stir.:D
    engtaz

    I love how music can brighten up a bad day.

  12. #12

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    Add a dash of cables to taste and serv.
    Michael


    Samsung 50" HD DLP
    Yamaha RX-V2500
    (2) Outlaw 200
    Adcom GFA 555
    Sony BDP300
    Denon 2900 DVD
    Lsi9's mains
    Lsi7's rear
    Lsic center
    12.1 SVS driver in 4.53 cuft. tube
    Harmony 880

  13. #13

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    He did say "Stereo Sanity Check" nothing sane about audio, it's addictive and way too passinate to be sane.
    engtaz

    I love how music can brighten up a bad day.

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