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Newbie here, advise needed about upgrading setup

Truyol

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Hi guys. I´m so glad to have found an audio forum based around science and objectivity, unlike many hifi places on the web.

My question is simple: I have a pair of Q Acoustics 2020i. Are the Yamaha A-S801 amp and Yamaha CD-S303 cd player a good match for them?

The long story is this, my setup right now consists of the 2020i, an Onkyo TX-8020 receiver, a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon with an Ortofon 2m Red, and a crappy "no brand" dvd player connected to the receiver by digital coaxial. I listen in a living room of 5 by 5 meters, at moderate volume levels. This setup sounds... ok I guess. I live in a country with limited access to hifi equipment, so I'm not really sure about what level of quality to expect from my setup, I have very little opportunities to listen to high end equipment to compare my budget setup. But I would like it to sound "fuller" and with more "clarity".

So, I'm travelling to Japan in a few months and I'm looking to upgrade my setup. Currently I'm listening my cd collection a lot more than my vinyl, so I thought that a good CD player should be a given, and the Onkyo receiver has some issues with the control panel buttons so I thought that buying an amp to replace it would get me an audible upgrade (not sure about this though). I chose the Yamaha brand for reputation and aesthetics basically. And I feel that I really don't have the knowledge to buy used vintage gear, so availability of new gear on retail stores is also a factor.
I have a budget of around 1.000 usd, maybe 1.500. So that's the story, I'm really open to suggestions, maybe I should change the speakers first, not sure. Feel free to recommend gear from any major brand (especially Japanese), as I'm limited in my options to physical stores in Tokyo, anything from Amazon is sadly out of my reach.

Let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks!
 

alex-z

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You are 100% limited by the quality of your speakers. Using them with an $800-900 amp like the Yamaha S801 is the very definition of insanity.

"Good" CD player is a myth. CD is a digital format, so any player with a digital output offers perfect audio quality. If your setup uses coax aka SPDIF, you don't need to upgrade it.

I would start with a pair of better speakers, maybe some Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2. Those do pretty well for $300-400/pair. Then add a decent subwoofer, something like an SVS SB-1000 Pro for $600. That will give you an additional 20-30Hz of bass extension, and improve overall sound quality by taking load off the woofers in the speakers. Both those brands are widely available.

If you have money leftover, I would recommend throwing in a miniDSP 2x4HD + UMIK-1 microphone for $305. It is a pretty powerful tool, allowing you to do room correction + subwoofer integration at a level that is beyond all but the best AV receivers. You can hook up your disc player to the optical input, and your turntable to the analogue input, then switch between them as needed.
 

Beershaun

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agree with the above on upgrading your speakers. Including the recommendation to get the Elac dbr62 and svs sb-2000 subwoofer. (I have that setup as well). My only difference would be to prioritize a subwoofer first. If you could only make one change it would be to add a sub. A svs sb-2000 would give you a ton of new information you are not hearing at all with your current setup. It will make the biggest audible difference if you only have enough money to make one change. I also agree upgrading your speakers will make the next biggest improvement. The third step would be digital room correction like Dirac live or Audyssey etc.
 

Holmz

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You are 100% limited by the quality of your speakers. Using them with an $800-900 amp like the Yamaha S801 is the very definition of insanity.

"Good" CD player is a myth. CD is a digital format, so any player with a digital output offers perfect audio quality. If your setup uses coax aka SPDIF, you don't need to upgrade it.

I would start with a pair of better speakers, maybe some Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2. Those do pretty well for $300-400/pair. Then add a decent subwoofer, something like an SVS SB-1000 Pro for $600. That will give you an additional 20-30Hz of bass extension, and improve overall sound quality by taking load off the woofers in the speakers. Both those brands are widely available.

If you have money leftover, I would recommend throwing in a miniDSP 2x4HD + UMIK-1 microphone for $305. It is a pretty powerful tool, allowing you to do room correction + subwoofer integration at a level that is beyond all but the best AV receivers. You can hook up your disc player to the optical input, and your turntable to the analogue input, then switch between them as needed.

One can likely argue the order somewhat… but ^That^ is good advice.
 

NiagaraPete

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Hi guys. I´m so glad to have found an audio forum based around science and objectivity, unlike many hifi places on the web.

My question is simple: I have a pair of Q Acoustics 2020i. Are the Yamaha A-S801 amp and Yamaha CD-S303 cd player a good match for them?

The long story is this, my setup right now consists of the 2020i, an Onkyo TX-8020 receiver, a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon with an Ortofon 2m Red, and a crappy "no brand" dvd player connected to the receiver by digital coaxial. I listen in a living room of 5 by 5 meters, at moderate volume levels. This setup sounds... ok I guess. I live in a country with limited access to hifi equipment, so I'm not really sure about what level of quality to expect from my setup, I have very little opportunities to listen to high end equipment to compare my budget setup. But I would like it to sound "fuller" and with more "clarity".

So, I'm travelling to Japan in a few months and I'm looking to upgrade my setup. Currently I'm listening my cd collection a lot more than my vinyl, so I thought that a good CD player should be a given, and the Onkyo receiver has some issues with the control panel buttons so I thought that buying an amp to replace it would get me an audible upgrade (not sure about this though). I chose the Yamaha brand for reputation and aesthetics basically. And I feel that I really don't have the knowledge to buy used vintage gear, so availability of new gear on retail stores is also a factor.
I have a budget of around 1.000 usd, maybe 1.500. So that's the story, I'm really open to suggestions, maybe I should change the speakers first, not sure. Feel free to recommend gear from any major brand (especially Japanese), as I'm limited in my options to physical stores in Tokyo, anything from Amazon is sadly out of my reach.

Let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks!
You are aware Japan has yet again different current standards. Before you buy make sure it will work there.
 

Paolo

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Hi guys. I´m so glad to have found an audio forum based around science and objectivity, unlike many hifi places on the web.

My question is simple: I have a pair of Q Acoustics 2020i. Are the Yamaha A-S801 amp and Yamaha CD-S303 cd player a good match for them?

The long story is this, my setup right now consists of the 2020i, an Onkyo TX-8020 receiver, a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon with an Ortofon 2m Red, and a crappy "no brand" dvd player connected to the receiver by digital coaxial. I listen in a living room of 5 by 5 meters, at moderate volume levels. This setup sounds... ok I guess. I live in a country with limited access to hifi equipment, so I'm not really sure about what level of quality to expect from my setup, I have very little opportunities to listen to high end equipment to compare my budget setup. But I would like it to sound "fuller" and with more "clarity".

So, I'm travelling to Japan in a few months and I'm looking to upgrade my setup. Currently I'm listening my cd collection a lot more than my vinyl, so I thought that a good CD player should be a given, and the Onkyo receiver has some issues with the control panel buttons so I thought that buying an amp to replace it would get me an audible upgrade (not sure about this though). I chose the Yamaha brand for reputation and aesthetics basically. And I feel that I really don't have the knowledge to buy used vintage gear, so availability of new gear on retail stores is also a factor.
I have a budget of around 1.000 usd, maybe 1.500. So that's the story, I'm really open to suggestions, maybe I should change the speakers first, not sure. Feel free to recommend gear from any major brand (especially Japanese), as I'm limited in my options to physical stores in Tokyo, anything from Amazon is sadly out of my reach.

Let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks!
As others have already said, don’t mind the player, you will benefit more, way more, by replacing the speakers setup.
I’m not sold on the “sub first” advice though, this is extremely dependant of your room and living condition. My sub is often turned off, or tuned down around 20db, I live in a small apartment and have a small room to fill, the lower basses are a nice addition, but the Elacs goes low enough to make the room shackle most of the time, making the subwoofer almost redundant.
Now, if you don’t have neighbours to worry about, go for it, otherwise get a nice pair of speaker first, and go for the sub only if the speakers sounds lacking too much.
 

alex-z

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One can likely argue the order somewhat… but ^That^ is good advice.

A good sub costs more than good speakers. Every time you drop an octave, it takes 4x the air movement to maintain the SPL. In a lot of music genres, the bass region contains the highest amplitude peaks. So you need a decent amount of cone area, motor strength, amplifier power, and cabinet volume. None of which comes cheap.

OP could of course spend $1000-1500 just on the speakers, and still experience a significant improvement. But Harman research shows that bass extension accounts for approximately 30% of perceived sound quality. So it takes sense to get a nice sub that will last through several speaker upgrade cycles. Even if bass extension is ignored, adding a sub reduces cone excursion in the speakers, increasing output headroom and reducing distortion.

I also advocate quite heavily for acoustic treatment of the room, but I left that out, as that is something that OP is better off building than buying.
 

Beave

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I agree with all the above posts about upgrading the speakers and/or adding a subwoofer before anything else. Certainly not spending money on a CD player.

One free "upgrade" is simply optimizing your setup in the room. Can you share a picture or diagram of your room and where the speakers are placed and where the listening position is?
 

Eetu

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If your room is 5x5m I'm assuming the listening distance is 3+m? In that case your current speakers are way too small and you'd definitely either want to add a sub or move up at least one size bigger to a speaker with 6.5" woofer, preferably both. Offloading the lowest bass frequencies to a sub would also help out your current Onkyo receiver. Not sure if your Onkyo has any bass management, in that case something like a MiniDSP 2x4HD would do the job.

And have to agree with everyone else, the dvd player (=cd transport) is the lowest priority from a sound quality PoV. But if you would like to upgrade because of usability/aesthetics/pride of ownership etc. the Yamaha is probably a good choice.
 

tonycollinet

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You are getting good advice. You'll get no sound improvement from another CD player with digital interface, and the amp will likely sound exactly the same also - as long as your current amp is not being driven into clipping.

As others have said:
Room setup
Speakers


Will make a much bigger difference.

Measurement and room equalisation will also make a significant improvement.
 

Holmz

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A good sub costs more than good speakers. Every time you drop an octave, it takes 4x the air movement to maintain the SPL. In a lot of music genres, the bass region contains the highest amplitude peaks. So you need a decent amount of cone area, motor strength, amplifier power, and cabinet volume. None of which comes cheap.

OP could of course spend $1000-1500 just on the speakers, and still experience a significant improvement. But Harman research shows that bass extension accounts for approximately 30% of perceived sound quality. So it takes sense to get a nice sub that will last through several speaker upgrade cycles. Even if bass extension is ignored, adding a sub reduces cone excursion in the speakers, increasing output headroom and reducing distortion.

I also advocate quite heavily for acoustic treatment of the room, but I left that out, as that is something that OP is better off building than buying.

Well I would put the UMIK closer to the top of your list.
Then we know if the speakers are sub are next.

And it also informs one on the room and treatments.

But we could at least know the OP’s country, and how loud they listen, and whether it is an apartment that should be mindful of the neighbours… etc.
That sort of also determines speakers versus subs.

So again… we can argue about the order, but your advice is generally looking great so far.
 

VMAT4

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You are 100% limited by the quality of your speakers. Using them with an $800-900 amp like the Yamaha S801 is the very definition of insanity.

"Good" CD player is a myth. CD is a digital format, so any player with a digital output offers perfect audio quality. If your setup uses coax aka SPDIF, you don't need to upgrade it.

I would start with a pair of better speakers, maybe some Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2. Those do pretty well for $300-400/pair. Then add a decent subwoofer, something like an SVS SB-1000 Pro for $600. That will give you an additional 20-30Hz of bass extension, and improve overall sound quality by taking load off the woofers in the speakers. Both those brands are widely available.

If you have money leftover, I would recommend throwing in a miniDSP 2x4HD + UMIK-1 microphone for $305. It is a pretty powerful tool, allowing you to do room correction + subwoofer integration at a level that is beyond all but the best AV receivers. You can hook up your disc player to the optical input, and your turntable to the analogue input, then switch between them as needed.
Other options may include Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 bookshelves with a Rythmik L12 subwoofer. Those bookshelves and that subwoofer have good reputations on ASR.
 

djtetei

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@Truyol Welcome to our community!
I am not gonna give you advices regarding what brands of speakers and amplifiers you should buy, because am I am not in charge of your finances, so I will only tell you this: you need a set of speakers, preferable 3 ways, with drivers bigger than 6.5 inch, able to go down to at least 40 Hz (-3dB) in the low end frequency and capable to deliver around 110-120 dB SPL at your listening position, with room to spare, meaning that your amplifier has to have a headroom (power reserve) of at least 3 dB over the speakers rated power capacity.
The option to also add subwoofers to your setup I leave it up to you, but only after you put your main speakers to work and feel that you need more low frequency intension inside your room space.
Your need for "fuller" sound will come from the low frequency entension and the need for "clarity" will be fulfilled by the speakers separate drivers for mid and high frequencies.
Take into account that having a too much low frequency entension in an untrusted room is not always a good thing to the overall sound balance.
I would not shy away from vintage audio equipment, especially loudspeakers, provided it is properly refurbished and sold by reputable shops with knowledgeable people. For vintage power amplifiers, all you have to do is ask politely to inspect the interior in order to assess the general condition of the components and do a test for proper functionality.
Regarding the use of a dedicated CD player vs a multiformat unit (DVD or Blu-ray), you can use either, but keep in mind the fact that not all players are made equal and their built-in digital to analog converters are not always on par with the external dedicated DAC-s, so if you like to use a dedicated CD player I would focus my attention on functionality features, like built-in buttons for control and programming, and the quality of the transport mechanism.
As an example, I have multiple CD and Blu-ray units, but, usually, I work on my Pioneer CDJ Nexus units, mainly because I like to mix music and this requires players with specific control and accessibility features. These players have their own built-in DACs, which are performing very well, but, as a personal preference, I use their digital coaxial outputs to connect them with dedicated external DACs.
Lastly, given the fact that you will use those audio components for your own pleasure inside your home environment, do not ignore the estetics of the equipments, because the way they display themselves in operation contribute greatly to your pleasure and satisfaction.
Pleasure and satisfaction requires investments!
 
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