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Looking for mid-level system...need help

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Anonymous
August 13, 2005 6:35:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

I used to own a beginner level sound system (JVC receiver, Bose
speakers). Now I want to move on to the mid-level systems, but I need
some advice.

I'm in Austin, TX and I went to the Home Theater Store, which appears
to be just a dealer for Rotel and B&W. I take it there are no home
theater "megastores" for mid-high end equipment where you can listen to
a variety of systems.

Anyway, I listened to a really good Rotel setup, consisting of the
Rotel RSP-1098 preamp, RMB-1095 and RB-1080 amps. The speakers were all
B&W, but I'm not sure what model numbers.

I really liked the way it sounded, but I don't want to invest $5,000+
in a system if I haven't shopped around. Therefore, I was hoping I
could get some ideas of some systems other than Rotel or B&W that I
should check out. I'm sure there are a lot, but keep in mind that I
have money and I'm looking for quality, but I don't want to spend too
much more than $5,000. Also, the primary purpose for the system will be
DVD movies.

Also, if there is a better way to do this than to go from dealer to
dealer listening to their pre-set systems, I'd love to hear it.

More about : mid level system

Anonymous
August 13, 2005 8:48:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

J-Mart wrote:
> I used to own a beginner level sound system (JVC receiver, Bose
> speakers). Now I want to move on to the mid-level systems, but I need
> some advice.
>
> I'm in Austin, TX and I went to the Home Theater Store, which appears
> to be just a dealer for Rotel and B&W. I take it there are no home
> theater "megastores" for mid-high end equipment where you can listen to
> a variety of systems.
>
> Anyway, I listened to a really good Rotel setup, consisting of the
> Rotel RSP-1098 preamp, RMB-1095 and RB-1080 amps. The speakers were all
> B&W, but I'm not sure what model numbers.
>
> I really liked the way it sounded, but I don't want to invest $5,000+
> in a system if I haven't shopped around. Therefore, I was hoping I
> could get some ideas of some systems other than Rotel or B&W that I
> should check out. I'm sure there are a lot, but keep in mind that I
> have money and I'm looking for quality, but I don't want to spend too
> much more than $5,000. Also, the primary purpose for the system will be
> DVD movies.
>
> Also, if there is a better way to do this than to go from dealer to
> dealer listening to their pre-set systems, I'd love to hear it.

First off, the only "better" way to do this is to go online and buy
things with return privileges. Expect to rack up shipping fees,
however. I'd stick to what you can find in your local brick and mortar
stores, at least until you narrow in on what you're looking for a
little better. (But always buy speakers with return privileges, because
they can sound very different in your own room.)

Second, if your budget is $5,000, starting with a $3,000 preamp is a
bad move. I presume you're looking at a 5.1 or 6.1 set-up. I'd
recommend a good multichannel receiver (others can recommend their
favorites, but don't be surprised that many have very recognizable
Japanese brand names). Put the bulk of your dollars into speakers. Or,
if you really want "separates," use an A/V receiver as a preamp and
take advantage of those manufacturers' economies of scale.

FWIW, Tom Nousaine, who tests speakers for Sound & Vision among others
and used to hang out here, once recommended the following $5,000 system
:

Fronts: Paradigm Reference Studio 40s
Center & 3 rears: Paradigm Reference Studio 20s
Sub: Paradigm Reference Servo 15
A/V Receiver: a $300 Pioneer.

That may be a little extreme. But the Paradigm set would set you back
$4400 at list price. I should think another grand should buy you a very
capable receiver.

bob
August 13, 2005 9:11:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

J-Mart wrote:
> I used to own a beginner level sound system (JVC receiver, Bose
> speakers). Now I want to move on to the mid-level systems, but I need
> some advice.
>
> I'm in Austin, TX and I went to the Home Theater Store, which appears
> to be just a dealer for Rotel and B&W. I take it there are no home
> theater "megastores" for mid-high end equipment where you can listen to
> a variety of systems.
>
> Anyway, I listened to a really good Rotel setup, consisting of the
> Rotel RSP-1098 preamp, RMB-1095 and RB-1080 amps. The speakers were all
> B&W, but I'm not sure what model numbers.
>
> I really liked the way it sounded, but I don't want to invest $5,000+
> in a system if I haven't shopped around. Therefore, I was hoping I
> could get some ideas of some systems other than Rotel or B&W that I
> should check out. I'm sure there are a lot, but keep in mind that I
> have money and I'm looking for quality, but I don't want to spend too
> much more than $5,000. Also, the primary purpose for the system will be
> DVD movies.


If you like the B&W's, you could get noticibly better sound with more
features on the pre/processor side by replacing the Rotel gear with
equipment from Outlaw Audio. For just a tad over $3k, you can get their
990 pre/processor, the 755 5-channel amp (200wpc into 8ohms/300wpc into
4ohms) plus a pair of their LFM-1 subwoofers (for wall shaking LFE with
movies). If you've got a smaller room or just don't dig lots of bass,
you could dispense with one or both of the subs and save another
$600-1000 bucks. I'm using this equipment with Magnepan and Definitive
Technology speakers and I think the sound is definitely superior to the
Rotel equipment above. Outlaw offers a 30-day in-house trial period.
If you don't like it, send it back.

As for the speakers, you really can't go wrong with B&W. They can get a
bit pricey though. I ultimately opted to replace my aging Dahlquist
DQ-20i's with Magnepan 1.6QR speakers and haven't looked back.

Best regards,
Related resources
Anonymous
August 14, 2005 7:21:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Ritz" <ritz@mordor.net> wrote in message
news:D dl9ke02pv2@news2.newsguy.com...
> J-Mart wrote:
> > I used to own a beginner level sound system (JVC receiver, Bose
> > speakers). Now I want to move on to the mid-level systems, but I need
> > some advice.
> >
> > I'm in Austin, TX and I went to the Home Theater Store, which appears
> > to be just a dealer for Rotel and B&W. I take it there are no home
> > theater "megastores" for mid-high end equipment where you can listen to
> > a variety of systems.
> >
> > Anyway, I listened to a really good Rotel setup, consisting of the
> > Rotel RSP-1098 preamp, RMB-1095 and RB-1080 amps. The speakers were all
> > B&W, but I'm not sure what model numbers.
> >
> > I really liked the way it sounded, but I don't want to invest $5,000+
> > in a system if I haven't shopped around. Therefore, I was hoping I
> > could get some ideas of some systems other than Rotel or B&W that I
> > should check out. I'm sure there are a lot, but keep in mind that I
> > have money and I'm looking for quality, but I don't want to spend too
> > much more than $5,000. Also, the primary purpose for the system will be
> > DVD movies.
>
>
> If you like the B&W's, you could get noticibly better sound with more
> features on the pre/processor side by replacing the Rotel gear with
> equipment from Outlaw Audio. For just a tad over $3k, you can get their
> 990 pre/processor, the 755 5-channel amp (200wpc into 8ohms/300wpc into
> 4ohms) plus a pair of their LFM-1 subwoofers (for wall shaking LFE with
> movies). If you've got a smaller room or just don't dig lots of bass,
> you could dispense with one or both of the subs and save another
> $600-1000 bucks. I'm using this equipment with Magnepan and Definitive
> Technology speakers and I think the sound is definitely superior to the
> Rotel equipment above. Outlaw offers a 30-day in-house trial period.
> If you don't like it, send it back.
>
> As for the speakers, you really can't go wrong with B&W. They can get a
> bit pricey though. I ultimately opted to replace my aging Dahlquist
> DQ-20i's with Magnepan 1.6QR speakers and haven't looked back.

Outlaw is also about three weeks away from shipping their new
receiver...cost $1100. They offer outstanding bank for the buck, and are
really nice folks to deal with. Money-back, no quibble 30 day guarantee.
August 14, 2005 7:33:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

J-Mart wrote:
> I used to own a beginner level sound system (JVC receiver, Bose
> speakers). Now I want to move on to the mid-level systems, but I need
> some advice.
>
> I'm in Austin, TX and I went to the Home Theater Store, which appears
> to be just a dealer for Rotel and B&W. I take it there are no home
> theater "megastores" for mid-high end equipment where you can listen to
> a variety of systems.
>
> Anyway, I listened to a really good Rotel setup, consisting of the
> Rotel RSP-1098 preamp, RMB-1095 and RB-1080 amps. The speakers were all
> B&W, but I'm not sure what model numbers.
>
> I really liked the way it sounded, but I don't want to invest $5,000+
> in a system if I haven't shopped around. Therefore, I was hoping I
> could get some ideas of some systems other than Rotel or B&W that I
> should check out. I'm sure there are a lot, but keep in mind that I
> have money and I'm looking for quality, but I don't want to spend too
> much more than $5,000. Also, the primary purpose for the system will be
> DVD movies.
>
> Also, if there is a better way to do this than to go from dealer to
> dealer listening to their pre-set systems, I'd love to hear it.


Consider used speakers from online, save 50% or more there.

Consider building all or part of your speakers - check out Parts
Express's site. As is well known the price of speakers at retail is many
times the cost of the raw components. There are also DIY audio sites
with many people with much experience at various levels (from simple
2-ways through ESLs and full range Ribbons...)

Consider used amplification.

Depending on your space & WAF approval factors, consider *real* theater
sound gear for everything but the subs... the keywords are Altec, JBL
and WE. If ya wants a real theater experience that is... ;_) We're
talking old stuff here - high efficiency, so you will need something
like a 2 watt amp to rock the casbah. (12AX7s PP anyone?)

Is this Heresey??

I guess ur stuck with a solid state decoder, so that would be the place
to spend most of ur time finding the right piece - if that sounds like
metallic electronica, then nothing much you can do after that point will
be any good... of course many on this newsgroup may say that any well
designed surround decoder will sound as good as any other... ymmv, of
course.

Subs are easy - again Parts Express (no affiliation) and other web based
vendors (Adire is one) offer tons of bang for the buck there.

Sky's the limit - ur only limited by your desire and willingness to
learn and explore (and maybe build and/or buy and trade)!

:- )

_-_-bear

PS. there are surely audiophiles in Austin... dig 'em out!
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 3:25:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

> Second, if your budget is $5,000, starting with a $3,000 preamp is a
> bad move. I presume you're looking at a 5.1 or 6.1 set-up.

Agreed. After doing some more reading/listening, I decided that if I
went with the Rotel/B&W system, I'd go with the following:

pre-amp: RSP-1068 ($1700)
amp: RMB-1075 130wattsx5 ($1000)
Fronts: B&W 602 S 3 ($600/pair)
Rears: ?? B&W 602 S3 or DS6 s3
Center: LCR 60S3
Sub: ASW600

Later I might upgrade to 6.1 or even 7.1... I definitely won't need 200
watts/channel in my small living room. I've been really impressed by
the B&Ws. I will probably have to take a listen to the Paradigms though
to check them out.

My main area of concern is the amp/pre-amp, since I'd imagine that's
the biggest area of diminishing returns. If I could save a little there
and get better speakers, that would be great. Of course, the next step
up from the 600 series is the 700s, and those are like 1500-4000/pair,
and there's no way I can save that much on the amp... ;) 
Anonymous
August 20, 2005 2:20:53 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

J-Mart <jumart@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Second, if your budget is $5,000, starting with a $3,000 preamp is a
> > bad move. I presume you're looking at a 5.1 or 6.1 set-up.

> Agreed. After doing some more reading/listening, I decided that if I
> went with the Rotel/B&W system, I'd go with the following:

> pre-amp: RSP-1068 ($1700)
> amp: RMB-1075 130wattsx5 ($1000)

You can replace these by, for instance:

Yamaha RX-V4600 7 * 130 Watts, i-link, hdmi
on-line price: $1,205.00 - $1,900.00
http://www.yamaha.ca/av/Receivers/RXV4600B.jsp
http://www.yamaha.com/yec/customer/manuals/PDFs/RX-V460...

or even by a Yamaha RX-V757 7 * 100 Watts, no i-link, no hdmi
about $400 on-line
http://www.yamaha.ca/av/Receivers/RXV757B.jsp
http://www.yamaha.com/yec/customer/manuals/PDFs/RX-V757...

Or a Pioneer:

Pioneer VSX-56TXI 110 W/Channel, 7.1 Channels A/V Receiver with i-LINK
on-line price $900-$1650
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/pna/product/detail/0,...


So you can save up to $2300 there.

--
http://www.mat.uc.pt/~rps/

..pt is Portugal| `Whom the gods love die young'-Menander (342-292 BC)
Europe | Villeneuve 50-82, Toivonen 56-86, Senna 60-94
Anonymous
September 26, 2005 12:38:31 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

J-Mart Wrote:
> I used to own a beginner level sound system (JVC receiver, Bose
> speakers). Now I want to move on to the mid-level systems, but I need
> some advice.
>
> I'm in Austin, TX and I went to the Home Theater Store, which appears
> to be just a dealer for Rotel and B&W. I take it there are no home
> theater "megastores" for mid-high end equipment where you can listen
> to
> a variety of systems.
>
You're looking pretty good here, B&W is right up there. Speakers are by
far the most important element in a good audio set up. Get some good
sturdy electronics, with 100 watts plus of conservative power feeding
the front stereo channels. Make sure you remove any locks from you're
listening room doors. After listening to dime store speakers for
several years, you may may need some assistance in taking on some
nourishment after a couple days. Audition the good Canadian speakers,
such as Paradigm, NHT and Energy. These manufactures have access to
state of the art development facilities and are some of the finest
speakers availble.


--
Carver1200
August 9, 2006 6:05:32 AM

J-Mart,

I too live in Austin and have been into hi-fi for awhile now. I like The Home Theater Store...nice guys. Been working with Eric Day there. Good man.

Anyway, I listened to the B&W stuff but was not impressed. That said, you must understand that I have about $23k worth of Martin Logan speakers that make up my 7.1 system (Prodigy, Cinema, Ascent, Script, Descent).

If you want REALLY high end (and you won't even come close for $5k) go to Audio Systems on Konig (or 2222 if you prefer). They are West of Lamar where 2222 makes the big bend before you get to the Honda dealership. They are on the north side of the road and they have some GREAT stuff! Worth looking at even if you don't buy.

I will likely buy the Rotel system you looked at. RSP1098 and then 7 channels worth of amplification (1090 and 1095 one of each) sometime in the next several months.

I am currently using a Pioneer Elite VSX-49TX and really don't have any complaints with that product. Easy set up and very high quality and I think it is quite attractive too. BUT, $23k worth of speakers deserve seperate amps and pre/pro!

Best of luck,
James
!