Upgrade Amplifier or Speakers?

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  • gostan
    Senior Member
    • May 2003
    • 445

    Upgrade Amplifier or Speakers?

    I am running a Rotel 1055 with B&W 602's in front, LCR 6 for center and 601's for rears. I want to upgrade my amplification and the speakers, but I cannot afford to do it all at once. Should I upgrade to a 1066-1075 combination first and new fronts and center channel second, or reverse the order of the upgrade? I am leaning toward doing the separates first as I assume that the existing B&W's will sound better now. I am sure that others have been in this same quandry and can offer me some advise.
    Stan
  • gd
    Senior Member
    • Jan 2003
    • 583

    #2
    The 1055 and 1066 are virtually equivalent as pre-pro's... for less than the cost of a 1066/1075 upgrade, I'd suggest keeping the 1055 and only getting a 1095... @ 200W x 5, it's likely the last 5-ch power amp you'd ever buy, and would make any future speaker upgrades a lot easier.
    .
    greg (gd to you)
    .
    Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring
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    Frank Zappa

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    • gostan
      Senior Member
      • May 2003
      • 445

      #3
      That kind of power would certainly last a lifetime, but I am not sure my current speakers can handle this load. Also, would I have to run a separate electric line/plug for the 1095 to be plugged into?
      Stan

      Comment

      • aud19
        Twin Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2003
        • 16706

        #4
        Or you could keep your 1055 and get the 1075 and bi-amp your existing speakers giving you almost as much power as the 1095 anyway.... What speakers are you planning to upgrade to? Bigger 600 series, higher range of B&W's or different brand all together? Different speakers, (if you truly upgrade rather than making a more lateral move) will make a more audible difference but depending on what you plan to upgrade to, the 1055 might not have enough power for them alone anyway. That would mean, amp first.

        J.R.




        Need a new display? Questions about new display technologies? Visit RPTVs, plasmas, and other monitors @ HTguide
        Jason

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        • Mike Hayes
          Member
          • Mar 2003
          • 73

          #5
          Adding a 1075 with the 1055 and upgrading your fronts seems like the way to go to me. I went 1066/1075 but did not already have a 1055. You may find that the 1055/1075 with upgraded fronts and your 600 series speakers for surrounds is all of the upgrading that you will need for a very long time. I am very pleased with the 1066/1075, 601s for surrounds and HTM2/805s up front. But like I said, if I already had a 1055 bought and paid for, would not even consider a 1066.

          Comment

          • ht_addict
            Senior Member
            • Dec 2002
            • 508

            #6
            Originally posted by gostan
            That kind of power would certainly last a lifetime, but I am not sure my current speakers can handle this load. Also, would I have to run a separate electric line/plug for the 1095 to be plugged into?
            Its always better to have more power than not enough. Get a 1095 and let your speakers sing. Not only that its the type of amp that will last you longer than a set of speakers will.

            ht_addict

            Comment

            • gostan
              Senior Member
              • May 2003
              • 445

              #7
              I dropped in to to pose my question to my hi fi dealer yesterday. His advice was to upgrade the speakers first and then upgrade to a 1066-1075 combo. He has several pairs of B&W CDM7NT & CDM9NT's which he is closing out due to the new 700 series hittting his showrooms. They certainly sound better than my 602's. But I would have to upgrade the fronts and center and move by 602's to the rear. I might never be able to find the matching cdm rears later on. He was pushing to cdm's over the new 700's due to better pricing and a claim that the midrange on the cdm's is better. I asked if the 1055 has enough to drive the cdm's and he claims no problem. His basic advice is that if I want to hear more of a sound quality difference today, that the new speakers will provide that and an upgrade in power can wait until later.

              He claims that there is an audible difference in the 1066-1075 v. the 1055 with a 1075 or 1095. I know that other direct users of Rotel eqipment claim otherwise. It sure would be interesting to do an a-b comparison. Unfortunately, his 1075-1066 are in one room and the 1055 is in another. I may take the cdm's home to compare them to my 602's all running off of the 1055.
              Stan

              Comment

              • Mike Hayes
                Member
                • Mar 2003
                • 73

                #8
                Very odd that he would advise you to upgrade to the 1066-1075 later on and yet admit to you that there is no audible difference between the 1066-1075 and the 1055-1075. It just shows that is no reason for the 1066 upgrade in your case.

                The CDMs are a nice step up from the 600 series. I was torn between 7s, 9s and 805s. If the 7s or 9s are heavily discounted, pull the trigger. I have heard the 9s described as the poor mans 804s (the 9s use the same FST midrange driver as the 804s). You will need the separate amp with the 7s or 9s to make them sing. The 1055 alone is not enough. Don't worry about finding CDMs. You will be able to find CDM1s dramatically reduced on Audiogon for a long time to come, especially with others opting for the 700 series.

                A really nice upgrade in your case might be to add the 2 channel RMB1080 to drive either your new pair of 7s or 9s. Keep the 1055 to drive the rest. The 602s would be really nice surrounds and should be fine driven by the 1055s amps. I think that you would also want to pick up the CDMCNT for a more seamless soundstage upfront.

                Comment

                • Mike Hayes
                  Member
                  • Mar 2003
                  • 73

                  #9
                  Sorry, i misread your previous post. The salesman's claim that there is an audible difference is true but the difference is so subtle that it does not justify an upgrade IMO. Keep the 1055 or look to move up to the 1098. Also, there is the possibility the 1066 will be replaced within the next year or so and the replacement would most likely incorporate some of the 1098 improvements.

                  Comment

                  • gostan
                    Senior Member
                    • May 2003
                    • 445

                    #10
                    Mike:

                    Your suggestion to consider an rmb-1080 is certainly another option to consider. I have two concerns with this approach: (i) unequal power for center channel in multichannel sacd and dvd-audio on my denon 2900 and (ii) unequal power for center channel in home theater applications. It would be perfect for stereo listening.

                    This is certainly a lot of fun considering the myriad of options available out there. If the wallet would allow it all at once, it would be easier to pull the trigger.
                    Stan

                    Comment

                    • simonb68
                      Senior Member
                      • Jan 2003
                      • 101

                      #11
                      Hi gostan, I was in the same position as you, when I got my 1055 I had 602s (S1s), and my dealer reckoned they would then be the weak link. I lived with them for a while but felt something was lacking, did some auditioning of speakers and ended up with Dynaudio Contour 1.1s. I listened to CDM1NTs and while they offered a lot of top end detail I felt that they were a little too bright and would become tiresome over long listening periods, the others in the range may of course be different. The Contours have improved things in all areas, I would recommend you listen to the Contour range, though I've not heard the new ones. I am now pretty happy with my system, though I will be upgrading when I can afford to, probably a dedicated pre/power and CD player, but there again music is my priority. All IMO but I would go for speakers first, then power to match and then consider whether a pre/pro upgrade is still needed. I have not compared the 1055 and 1066 but as others have said and from what I've read this is probably not a worthwhile upgrade, save your pennies for a 1098, or Tag/Bryston/Arcam or such like.

                      Simon

                      Comment

                      • art vandeleigh
                        Member
                        • Oct 2003
                        • 49

                        #12
                        gostan: i was in the same boat as you. i went to audition the 600 series and i was very dissapointed in the sound. they were matched with a rotel amp. the speakers were just lacking in a solid sound stage. dont get me wrong, it reproduced the sound perfectly, but it just seemed very cold and without depth. but i would without a doubt say upgrade your speakers first.

                        my dealer was also having a huge sale on the 7nt's and for the few pennies more, i could not resist. they sound really leaps and bounds better then any of the 600 series speakers. i also have the 1055 right now to poer the spekaers. the sound is bright clean with enough depth to keep the listening easy and joyful.

                        but one thing is the speakers are really lacking in the bass department. this could be from the 1055, because my old nakamichi really was putting out the bass, but i later think it was too much. so this could be a factor for you.

                        i would look into jm labs focal line of speakers. they are alittle brighter but sound really really good.

                        Comment

                        • gostan
                          Senior Member
                          • May 2003
                          • 445

                          #13
                          Art:

                          I think that there are two issues at play: (i) the CDM 7's or 9's can use more power than the 1055 can supply to bring them to their full capabilities and (2) maybe it is time to make a speaker line change after 15 years of listening to B&W speakers.

                          I don't know who carries jm lab focal speakers in Boston. But I will look. I am also interested in listening to some Paradigm's as they seem to receive great reviews. I also wish that I could find a place to demo some ACI's.

                          But I do agree that I will upgrade my speakers first and then add either anoter multi-channel amp or a stereo amp.
                          Stan

                          Comment

                          • spiffnme
                            Senior Member
                            • Apr 2003
                            • 280

                            #14
                            Upgrade the speakers first.

                            The difference in sound between going from 602's to CDM's will be FAR greater than keeping your 602's and upgrading the power. FAR greater.




                            www.funnyfarmcomics.net
                            All Daredevil, All the Time!

                            Comment

                            • Blindamood
                              Senior Member
                              • Sep 2003
                              • 899

                              #15
                              I was recently in the same boat, albeit with a Pioneer Elite receiver. I went from 602 S2s/CC6 S2/601 S2s to the CDM 9NTs/CDM CNT, and moved the 602s to the rears. The Pioneer (100W/ch) has no problem with these, although someday I may add an external 5-channel amp, as you are considering. The difference in sound quality is amazing, and well worth the upgrade. I'm in the process of replacing the rears with CDM 1NTs to complete my upgrade...

                              For pics of my setup, see the Gallery.
                              Brad

                              Comment

                              • aud19
                                Twin Moderator Emeritus
                                • Aug 2003
                                • 16706

                                #16
                                Like I said in my first post, different speakers will yield a greater amount of change to your ears than any amp will. However, depending on what speakers you decide to upgrade to, your 1055 might not be able to power them sufficiently. So you have a lot of homework to do... you need to figure out what speakers will work with the power you've got and/or you need to buy the amp first. If you find out the speakers you want are power hungry little bastards then you might have to get the amp first and "suffer" with your existing speakers until you can afford the ones you want. Another option would be to just to save up a little longer and get both at the same time.

                                J.R.




                                Need a new display? Questions about new display technologies? Visit RPTVs, plasmas, and other monitors @ HTguide
                                Jason

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