Starting from Scratch

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  • thatguyyoulove
    Member
    • Aug 2010
    • 44

    Starting from Scratch

    So I am looking to dump $1000 to $1500 into a completely new sound system. I have been pouring over forums for a few weeks absorbing as much information as possible relating to speakers, receivers, soundcards, and formats.

    I am thinking about picking up a 2310ci as it can be had for much cheaper than the 2311ci and I don't really care about hdmi v1.4. I am mainly interested in SQ and Audessey MultEQ. My current setup consists of a quad core computer that I built a few months ago, Auzentech Prelude sound card, 42" HDTV mounted to my computer desk, and a cheap Philips HTS3544 5.1 system that I got for $150 3 years ago or so. As such my only source of audio or video is the computer. I primarily use my sound system for movies (I have 700 or so on my computer).

    Due to that I wondered if getting an Emotiva UPA-5 5 channel amplifier and a pro quality sound card would yield better results as I have absolutely no need for any of the video/audio switching/HD radio/etc. I would need to do all of the room correction manually though I do wonder about time domain issues as I know that Audessey corrects for those and others have said it is very important but I don't know of any other way to correct it. Can Room EQ Wizard be used for that?

    If I did go with the UPA-5 then after that and a sound card I would only have $800 or so for 5.1 (or 5.0 if the front L/Rs were fullrange). Will speakers of this caliber even be able to take advantage of the extra headroom offered by the amp? I plan to build my own. Right now I am leaning towards Curt_c's Aviatrix design: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=216432
    Can I buy better speakers than I can build at the $700-800 price level? How about the $1000 price level (to go with a 2310ci)?

    So to clarify:

    1. What are your thoughts on spending about $300 extra on getting much larger dedicated amps and a nice sound card (probably Auzentech Bravura) and having $300 less to spend on speakers vs. buying a 2310ci.

    2. Will a $700-800 set of 5.0/5.1 speakers take advantage of the larger amp vs a receiver with $1000 speakers?

    3. Can a better deal be had buying speakers vs. building them?
  • Hammie
    Senior Member
    • Oct 2005
    • 304

    #2
    Why do you NEED a 5.1 or 5.0 setup now?

    I would get your electronics and then spend the $700-800 on some decent front speakers. You can get a much better quality speaker by going with a 2.0/2.1/3.1 system first and then adding additional speakers later.

    Yahama 665 = $288
    Emotiva UPA-2 = $349
    HSU Research VTF-1 Subwoofer = $379

    That leaves you with $500 for either two or three speakers. You could probably use your old Philips for surround in the mean time. This way you can get better speakers over time.

    Decent brands to look into are:

    - B&W
    - Dayton
    - Definitive Technology
    - Emotiva
    - Energy
    - Klipsch
    - Monitor Audio
    - Polk Audio

    There are obvious tons of other speaker companies out there, but these are the ones that will have nice speakers in $500 price range for your front two or three.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Hammie; 04 October 2010, 13:28 Monday. Reason: Added manufacturers
    Panasonic TC-P65VT30
    Onkyo Pro PR-SC5508 | M2Tech Young DAC | Emotiva XPA-1 (x3), XPA-2
    Oppo BDP-93 | DirecTV HR23-700 HD-DVR | Pioneer PL-670 Turntable
    Sony Playstation 3 | Nintendo Wii | Apple TV 2, Mac Mini (iTunes Server), iPad
    B&W 804S, HTM3S, CWM DS8 | SVS PB12-NSD | Denon AH-D2000 Headphones
    Tripp Lite HT1210ISOCTR Power Conditioner, SMART1000LCD UPS System
    My Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Setup
    Next Upgrade: Cables

    Comment

    • deewan
      Senior Member
      • Feb 2009
      • 284

      #3
      Originally posted by thatguyyoulove
      3. Can a better deal be had buying speakers vs. building them?
      Plain and simple. When you buy a pair of $500 speakers, that $500 has to cover the research and development, manufacturing cost, advertisement cost, manufacturer, middle man, and retailer profits. Not much is left over to go into components. When you build a pair of DIY speakers, $500 goes into components. You WILL hear the difference.

      Personally, what I would do would be to build a pair of proven DIY front speakers (Statement Monitors, anything from Zaph, or even try Clearwave Loudspeakers) keeping in mind you will want a somehat matched center channel. Surround speakers can be more budget minded since they don't need to reproduct as much information as the front speakers in most cases. Don’t buy external amps. Spend some money on a nice AVR with a good DAC built in and the AVR should a pretty good amp section. Denon and Marantz have some nice offerings. Any money left can be spent upgrading your sound card later on OR a night out on the town. :T
      The Old Woods Theater
      My Various Speaker Builds
      Statement II Remix build

      "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

      Comment

      • thatguyyoulove
        Member
        • Aug 2010
        • 44

        #4
        Thanks for the advice. I was leaning towards 5.0/5.1 as most of my content will be movies or surround sound games. As soon as you suggested 2.1 and later upgrade I thought of the Statements Monitors and deewan seems to agree (although I need to find a CC that works well with it). I think I will stick to the 2310ci and can move to a UPA-2 if needed later down the road. As far as a sub I know I can build a better one than the HSU for the price with a Dayton RS sub, plate amp, and building an enclosure.

        I will say that the reason I mentioned the soundcard + external amp idea was specifically because I could use a better DAC in a soundcard than the AVR would provide, or at least that's what I had read. However the AVR's MultEQ is probably much better than any software correction I am going to find.

        The only issue I might have with using my current 5.1 speakers for surrounds is the fact that they are super wimpy and have special connectors on the end of the speaker wire that plug into the back of the receiver. The gauge of wire is pretty small too. Looks just like a headphone cord really. I could cut the connectors but I almost worry if they might blow if connected to a "real" receiver.

        Last detail I left out is that these are being used as both HT speakers AND computer speakers so they will be utilized from both very close (3' and off-axis) and normal ranges(10' and on-axis). I have my bed about 10' behind my desk and it is where I watch my movies from. I do use a nice pair of Grado headphones for PC use though so nearfield off-axis response isn't quite as important as it could be.

        Comment

        • deewan
          Senior Member
          • Feb 2009
          • 284

          #5
          There is a matching Statement center channel speaker that could be used along with the Statement monitors. However, after hearing your room setup, it might not be your best design to choose due to the placement requirements that go along with The Statement design. The monitors and matching CC need a lot of space behind the cabinets to really shine. Can you give a better description of your setup? Is your computer desk pushed up against a wall? Will the speakers be placed near that wall? Where will the center channel be placed, directly under your computer monitor? If both speakers are near your computer monitor, you may need a shielded design.
          The Old Woods Theater
          My Various Speaker Builds
          Statement II Remix build

          "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

          Comment

          • thatguyyoulove
            Member
            • Aug 2010
            • 44

            #6
            Yes it will all be near-wall. I hadn't checked that on the Statements but it looks like the Denon would not have been able to drive them anyway as the Denon's only do 6 ohm for the most part. The LCD HDTV is wall-mounted and the speakers flank either side (though I thought shielding only came into play with CRTs?). Clearance from back of speaker to wall is probably 8-12". I haven't decided on CC position yet. I would prefer under TV but I don't know how having 24" of glass immediately under and in front of my center channel will affect its performance. I am assuming that is a big no-no due to reflections and whatnot. I could do above TV but that would put the center channel about 2 ft above my head while still only 2 ft away (45 degrees downward off-axis) though I suppose I could toe it in a little.

            Any ideas on good near-wall designs? I know --k-- and cjd have some good stuff.

            Edit: Looks like there is a near-wall crossover for the Statement Monitors. Any reason not to go with that (barring finding out for sure whether or not the 2310ci can drive 4ohm speakers)?

            Comment

            • deewan
              Senior Member
              • Feb 2009
              • 284

              #7
              FYI - I drive my statements with a Denon and have no problems at all. Most Marantz AVR's have a slightly more hefty amp, so those would be even better suited. AND I think Yammy AVR's actually have a 4-8 ohm switch. At least my friends does.

              The Statement Monitors do have a switchable crossover, but the matching CC does not. So you might run into an issue there. You could think about a few of the onwall designs such as the Khan's.
              The Old Woods Theater
              My Various Speaker Builds
              Statement II Remix build

              "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

              Comment

              • thatguyyoulove
                Member
                • Aug 2010
                • 44

                #8
                Well after a lot of deliberation I ended up getting a UPA-5. They were on sale for $150 off and I have a friend who had a Denon blow out on him while driving 4-ohm speakers. Plus I recently found some very good digital room correction solutions for the PC. In this way I can focus my energy on some really solid DACs and not have to worry about paying for all sorts of audio/video switching features. When the Fedex guy delivered it today he asked me if I was shipping a bunch of car batteries because it was so heavy haha. My only issue now is finding a good speaker design.

                Are there no designs for a good near-wall center that would timbre match the Statements? My plan right now is to (hopefully) build 2 Statements Monitors, a center, and a sub. I will scrounge 2 other cheap surrounds from somewhere. Then provided I like how everything goes I will build two full-size Statements in a year or so whenever I move into a new space and rotate the monitors to surrounds.

                Comment

                • deewan
                  Senior Member
                  • Feb 2009
                  • 284

                  #9
                  There really isn't a timbre matching center for the Statements except for the 2RCC (build link in my sig) and the Statement CC. The Statement CC needs a fair amount of open space behind it, and the 2RCC is big, and needs about a 1ft or so according to my hear and my room. The full sized Statements need at least 18 inches or more of open space between the back side and the wall and a fair amount of space to each side. I'm not trying to talk you out of the Statements, but they do require a certain sized room to be fully appreciated.

                  This is just my person opinion, but have you looks at any of Jeds design’s? They are really top notch and I’ve worked with him several times now and can’t say enough good things about him. Think about this design:
                  Fronts: http://clearwaveloudspeaker.com/Dynamic/2T.html
                  Center: http://clearwaveloudspeaker.com/Dynamic/2CC.html

                  I am currently build the 4T and 4CC. Trust me the sound you get for that price will blow you away. And the HDS tweeter is a gem and Jed is looking to design a surround speaker to match the lineup. It’s a win, win, win IMO.
                  The Old Woods Theater
                  My Various Speaker Builds
                  Statement II Remix build

                  "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

                  Comment

                  • thatguyyoulove
                    Member
                    • Aug 2010
                    • 44

                    #10
                    I didn't look into the Clearwave stuff very hard earlier I guess because it seemed like everything I saw on the forums consisted of people building Statements. However knowing that Jed makes them is very comforting. I will fire off an email to him in a second. One thing I am not totally clear on is what all comes with a kit and what one must buy. I realize that there are assembled crossovers (BIG plus for me) and drivers, but are there any other items included?
                    Last edited by thatguyyoulove; 15 October 2010, 18:46 Friday.

                    Comment

                    • deewan
                      Senior Member
                      • Feb 2009
                      • 284

                      #11
                      Jed did design the Statements, he design the sealed version of the 2RCC center channel which used the same drivers as the Statements but in a sealed cabinet. I should have made that more clear.

                      The bare minimum in one of Jed's kits are the drivers and assembled crossovers. TYou can go on to buy sonic barrier (if needed), binding posts, stuffing, and even cabinets. He is a pleasure to deal with, a whiz at designing speakers, and delivers a great product IMO for a very fair price.
                      The Old Woods Theater
                      My Various Speaker Builds
                      Statement II Remix build

                      "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

                      Comment

                      • thatguyyoulove
                        Member
                        • Aug 2010
                        • 44

                        #12
                        Well after talking to Jed I am going to wait and let him measure the new unshielded RS speakers and see how they stack up and develop his new versions of the Dynamic series. It sounds like his all RS design coming up or perhaps the updated 2t/2cc design will work well for me. In the meantime I would like to see if I can move my HTIB speakers to my new UPA-5 as that will allow me to pair it with my Prelude's DACs rather than deal with the DACs in the HTIB (it doesn't have analog inputs for 5.1, just 2 channel).

                        My Emotiva UPA-5 will drive 5 channels at 185W (4ohm) or 125W (8ohm) consistently. The HTIB is a Philips HTS3544.

                        My question is: Will this blow my speakers? I don't tend to listen at really loud levels as my sister sleeps on the other side of the wall.

                        Here is all of the info I can find on the speakers and the power they are usually fed by the HTIB receiver:

                        •Output power (RMS): 4x125W, 2x250W
                        •Satellite speaker drivers: 3" full range woofer
                        •Satellite speaker impedance: 6 ohm
                        •Satellite speaker freq range: 150-20000 Hz
                        •Center Speaker: Magnetically shielded, 3 way
                        •Center speaker drivers: 1 x 2" tweeter, 2 x 2.5"
                        woofers
                        •Center speaker impedance: 3 ohm
                        •Center freq range: 150-20000 Hz
                        •Subwoofer driver: 8" high efficiency woofer
                        •Subwoofer impedance: 8 ohm
                        •Subwoofer freq range: 40-150 Hz
                        •Subwoofer type: Passive

                        If you actually look at the back of the subwoofer it says 3ohm rather than 8ohm so I imagine it is actually 3ohm and the center channel and subwoofer are the two 250W channels mentioned above.

                        I am also wondering if I should avoid connecting 3ohm speakers to my UPA-5 as it is rated for 4ohm speakers. Theoretically the fault protection on the amp will protect it from blowing up correct?

                        Comment

                        • deewan
                          Senior Member
                          • Feb 2009
                          • 284

                          #13
                          First, those specs on the HTIB are over esitmated for power output. IMO, if the Philips could output that kind of clean power, it would be twice the size and weigh three times as much. As is, the thing would melt if it sustained that kind of output.

                          I would NOT hook your speakers up to the UPA. Nothing good can come of it. not many 3 inch drivers can handle 185 watts of real power. I don't think anything bad would happen to your amp, but I can't promise you that. But I wouldn't be surprised if the speakers blew at even a moderate level or if soemthing inside them melted or crapped out.

                          My best advice, wait until you get a real set of speakers before using your UPA.
                          The Old Woods Theater
                          My Various Speaker Builds
                          Statement II Remix build

                          "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

                          Comment

                          • cbark
                            Member
                            • Jan 2010
                            • 97

                            #14
                            Jed, hurry up! thatguyyoulove needs to spend some money on some speakers, now! :E

                            Comment

                            • thatguyyoulove
                              Member
                              • Aug 2010
                              • 44

                              #15
                              Originally posted by cbark
                              Jed, hurry up! thatguyyoulove needs to spend some money on some speakers, now! :E
                              Haha this is so true.

                              I bought an Asus Xonar Essence ST today. Have some nice op-amps on the way from National Semiconductor too! Probably going to buy an ECM8000 as well and hook it up to my Fast Track Ultra to do some REW impulse response measurements on my parents Def Tech system downstairs. I'm interested in testing some convolver DRC! I am also planning on building a really large Dayton RS sub to go with my RS Dynamics when Jed finishes them. Just need to line up budgets, christmas shopping, etc.

                              Comment

                              • garrison
                                Member
                                • Oct 2010
                                • 45

                                #16
                                I would suggest waiting a few more months and saving some more money... unless you want to go with a bose system that is a package deal in that price range

                                Comment

                                • deewan
                                  Senior Member
                                  • Feb 2009
                                  • 284

                                  #17
                                  IMO, anything Bose is over priced and as worth while as a pile of bird sheet on a pump handle. You would be better off pocket change on a DIY project and you would still get better sound than most Bose systems could ever try and promise.
                                  The Old Woods Theater
                                  My Various Speaker Builds
                                  Statement II Remix build

                                  "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?"

                                  Comment

                                  • thatguyyoulove
                                    Member
                                    • Aug 2010
                                    • 44

                                    #18
                                    Before I stumbled across the DIY scene I very nearly purchased the Mirage Nanosats.

                                    I am currently modeling some Dayton subs in various enclosures. What do you guys recommend as far as amplifiers? I was going to do the Bash 300W or Dayton 240, but am wondering if I should just hold off on it for now and use my UPA-5 to run it. That way I don't have to pay for another amplifier. I can use this, determine if the wattage seems about right for my room after parametric correction. Then I can build the 2 2T RS Fronts and run 2.1 until I have my center and surrounds done at which point I can get an external amplifier (which I could mount on the back of the sub if I wanted it to still be all contained).

                                    Currently looking at a Dayton RS 15" HF. Look at the pretty graph
                                    F3= 17.98Hz
                                    Click image for larger version

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                                    Last edited by theSven; 04 May 2023, 13:25 Thursday. Reason: Update image location

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