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dmacnlx

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Hi, I’m hoping folks might have suggestions to replace my old base level Onkyo AVR receiver. Primary goal is music quality. Cant call myself an audiophile - but I do want pretty great sound, and never got it from the Onkyo HT-R380.

The 5.1 that came with that setup was brutal. I ditched all of it, and replaced with a pair of Pioneer SP-FS52 floorstanding (peak 130W, nominal 40W, Impedance 6 Ohms, sensitivity 87dB).
I’ll be running stereo for audio; and would consider adding a sub & centre for video. Not going to bother with surround.

Living room is 12’x18’ (216SF) with seating apprx 14’ away from front speakers.

For music:
Phono & Hi Res streaming

For video:
- an 12 year old 50” Panasonic plasma, that’s fine for now, but will replace when required
- PS4 (same as the TV, will replace when necessary)
- Apple TV (3rd Gen box, on its last legs), won’t need it if we stream video via PS4, and audio through a new DAC (whether that’s part of an AVR, or a standalone unit)

Based on the excellent research/testing here, I’m considering the Denon AVR-x3700h for the decent DAC, Phono, and HDMI real estate. Wondering if the 3700 is overkill for the limited speaker setup I’ll be using? I’ll never use 7.2, let alone 9.2. If it makes sense, I’d stretch the budget to accommodate. But it is about the upper limit of what I can justify.

I’d been looking at the Denon DHR-800, but have pretty much eliminated that based on the fairly scathing reviews here.

I’m not opposed to purchasing a standalone DAC if that makes more sense, but I’d still need an audio receiver/amp, and a unit to run the TV, PS & other video components.

Not opposed to changing out the Pioneer speakers - but it’s not a huge room, so don’t want to take up much more real estate. Max budget for speaker upgrade would be ~ $1000. If I’m not going to find anything significantly better than the Pioneers, I’d hold off. Are any bookshelves, on stands, that would be a significant improvement on the Pioneers?

Hope that all makes sense. I’ve been endlessly reading for weeks now. Getting a bit saturated - as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of info regarding the sort of setup I’m trying to accomplish. Seems lots of people are in the same boat, but there aren’t a lot of clear answers. Or maybe the X3700H is the clearest answer? Hoping for something that’s going to be reliable for several years.
Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks very much.
 

Rednaxela

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I think the most interesting part of the Denon is this.

In your situation, a first step could be to get a measurement microphone, a laptop, REW and EQ APO, and spend one or two weekends to create a set of proper targeted room EQ filters.

You may find yourself quite astonished by how this can transform the performance of the gear you already have.

Also, it can give you a great feeling of control over your audio hobby and particularly the next steps you want to take with it.

Anyway, highly recommended and happy to help you get started.

HTH!
 
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dmacnlx

dmacnlx

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I think the most interesting part of the Denon is this.

In your situation, a first step could be to get a measurement microphone, a laptop, REW and EQ APO, and spend one or two weekends to create a set of proper targeted room EQ filters.

You may find yourself quite astonished by how this can transform the performance of the gear you already have.

Also, it can give you a great feeling of control over your audio hobby and particularly the next steps you want to take with it.

Anyway, highly recommended and happy to help you get started.

HTH!
Thanks so much. I’m definitely up for giving that a go - seems I have nothing to lose, and some knowledge to gain. I’ve just downloaded REW, and will get acquainted with it’s operation.

My current laptop is an ancient MacBook, but according to specs, it should run REW. I’ll need to find a Mac compatible alternative to EQ APO; a quick search provides a few apps - I just need to figure out which will be the most appropriate. I’ll do some reading on measurement mics as well. The best local deal I see is an Apex220 for $70CDN. Should that do the trick?
https://www.longmcquade.com/1683/Pr...Omnidirectional_Test_Reference_Microphone.htm

If you happen to know of a suitable alternative for EQ APO I can run on a Mac, please let me know.

Thanks again for the input and advice.
 

Rednaxela

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The best local deal I see is an Apex220 for $70CDN. Should that do the trick?
Not out of the box I’m afraid as it seems to require phantom power. I use a MiniDSP UMIK-1 myself. Its main benefit being that it’s fully plug and play. It’s a very popular option and works flawlessly with REW.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Thanks so much. I’m definitely up for giving that a go - seems I have nothing to lose, and some knowledge to gain. I’ve just downloaded REW, and will get acquainted with it’s operation.

My current laptop is an ancient MacBook, but according to specs, it should run REW. I’ll need to find a Mac compatible alternative to EQ APO; a quick search provides a few apps - I just need to figure out which will be the most appropriate. I’ll do some reading on measurement mics as well. The best local deal I see is an Apex220 for $70CDN. Should that do the trick?
https://www.longmcquade.com/1683/Pr...Omnidirectional_Test_Reference_Microphone.htm

If you happen to know of a suitable alternative for EQ APO I can run on a Mac, please let me know.

Thanks again for the input and advice.
Just to avoid misunderstandings. You don’t need EQ APO to run REW and just to measure your room. However if you don’t want to buy a new AVR yet and just test EQ. Here are the options for Mac


The X3700 measures well and has Room EQ (xt32) built in. If you just want plug and play you wouldn’t even need REW. But of course it helps to verify and possibly fine tune the X3700 automatic EQ Settings.

To really improve your sound, next to room EQ, the speakers have the biggest effect, magnitudes more than any electronics. So you might want to consider some new speakers first. As a rule of thumb - spent 90% or more on speakers. Given your budget and maybe holding off on the Denon - the KEF R3 are excellent bookshelfs- see the reviews here. I just saw them on a special sale for 1.200EUR a pair, which is a steal.

 
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Rednaxela

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Just to avoid misunderstandings. You don’t need EQ APO to run REW and just to measure your room. However if you don’t want to buy a new AVR yet and just test EQ.
Thank you so much for this.

Indeed my suggestion was only about learning, understanding, experiencing, and taking back control if you will. Gone through this myself recently and it was the best investment in my hobby I could have ever done.

After that by all means get the Denon or something else, new speakers or not, etc.
 
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dmacnlx

dmacnlx

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Thank you so much for this.

Indeed my suggestion was only about learning, understanding, experiencing, and taking back control if you will. Gone through this myself recently and it was the best investment in my hobby I could have ever done.

After that by all means get the Denon or something else, new speakers or not, etc.
Thanks Rednaxela, I definitely understood the intent in your very helpful suggestions. If it provides a chance to learn, I’m in. I’m curious to see how much I can improve the performance of my basic system.

In a turn of events, I took a drive to the local shop, and picked up the last x3700h, and a demo pair of KEF R3’s on significant discount - significant relative to Canadian prices, anyway. R3 stock is very low. Need to assess whether it’s worth it. I can return either/both items - and need to make sure the R3’s haven’t been compromised - a good price, but they are not mint. The drivers have small indentations. A few on one speaker, more on the second speaker. No perforations, but one looks like it may have come close. Perhaps I should make that a separate question/post with photos. Nonetheless, I’m still going to follow your initial advice and use my old system to learn how much I don’t know.

I’d still like to optimize that setup for the basement, garage, etc - to go through the process if nothing else. I’ve started tinkering with REW following the tutorials you linked (big thanks to Amir, too). Interested to see how much this setup can be improved!
 

HarmonicTHD

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Thanks Rednaxela, I definitely understood the intent in your very helpful suggestions. If it provides a chance to learn, I’m in. I’m curious to see how much I can improve the performance of my basic system.

In a turn of events, I took a drive to the local shop, and picked up the last x3700h, and a demo pair of KEF R3’s on significant discount - significant relative to Canadian prices, anyway. R3 stock is very low. Need to assess whether it’s worth it. I can return either/both items - and need to make sure the R3’s haven’t been compromised - a good price, but they are not mint. The drivers have small indentations. A few on one speaker, more on the second speaker. No perforations, but one looks like it may have come close. Perhaps I should make that a separate question/post with photos. Nonetheless, I’m still going to follow your initial advice and use my old system to learn how much I don’t know.

I’d still like to optimize that setup for the basement, garage, etc - to go through the process if nothing else. I’ve started tinkering with REW following the tutorials you linked (big thanks to Amir, too). Interested to see how much this setup can be improved!
Sounds good.
Yea let’s see some pictures of the damages. The UniQ driver are carefully engineered to create the desired FR and directivity and I can imagine that any deformation to them might be detrimental. Measurements even showed the a slight unevenness (not fully flush with the housing by ca 1mm) of the shadow flare (ring around the coaxial) led to easily recognizable differences in measurements. But let’s see.
 
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dmacnlx

dmacnlx

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Thanks for the quick reply!

There are cosmetic dings on the enclosures, but this is what I’m concerned about. I believe a good price at $1750CDN. But not sure that matters in this instance. If I return this set, I’ll likely have to find a different brand/model. R3’s seem to be quickly disappearing

This is all one speaker, the other one looks ok.

Thanks in advance for your insight.
 

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Rednaxela

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Great news @dmacnlx. Congrats on the purchases!

Hard to imagine you’ll find yourself returning the AVR.

Regarding the KEF’s, maybe this is even a better reason to get a measurement microphone. :) With all the data and knowledge available here on this particular speaker it should be possible to assess the speakers’ technical condition quite thoroughly. Hopefully the impact of the dents will turn out to be cosmetic only.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Thanks for the quick reply!

There are cosmetic dings on the enclosures, but this is what I’m concerned about. I believe a good price at $1750CDN. But not sure that matters in this instance. If I return this set, I’ll likely have to find a different brand/model. R3’s seem to be quickly disappearing

This is all one speaker, the other one looks ok.

Thanks in advance for your insight.
Of course without measuring it is hard to tell, but most likely the dents in the woofer will not affect the sound quality.

However I would never accept a damaged speaker at this price from a dealer. Have them repair it or exchange the one speaker for a good one or knock off at least 300 of the price especially when you also get the X3700. Here in the EU incl up to 20%VAT one can get some for the same price but brand new and in mint condition. But that’s just me. Your money your decision.

BTW. How do you like the sound?
 
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dmacnlx

dmacnlx

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Yeah, I won’t be returning the AVR… I just had to rationalize blowing my budget:)

I sent photoa to KEF, they replied quickly. Not sure the position of the person I spoke to, but their assessment of the photos was that it appears to be only cosmetic, and should not affect performance. I can purchase a new driver for $150.

I let the shop know about the damage, so I have 30 days to assess and return if necessary. In the meantime, I love the idea of testing this pair. Another way to learn.
In the meantime, best price new in Canada is $2500CDN, by the time taxes, etc factor in, I’ll be way over what I can justify.

I could also swap these out for a set of
shiny new LS50 Metas for close to the same price - but will see how testing goes - I know some assessments on here didn’t recommend them.

Either way, I’m going to order that mic now. I leave today for a week of work, so it should be here when I get home, then I can get down to learning a thing or two.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Yeah, I won’t be returning the AVR… I just had to rationalize blowing my budget:)

I sent photoa to KEF, they replied quickly. Not sure the position of the person I spoke to, but their assessment of the photos was that it appears to be only cosmetic, and should not affect performance. I can purchase a new driver for $150.

I let the shop know about the damage, so I have 30 days to assess and return if necessary. In the meantime, I love the idea of testing this pair. Another way to learn.
In the meantime, best price new in Canada is $2500CDN, by the time taxes, etc factor in, I’ll be way over what I can justify.

I could also swap these out for a set of
shiny new LS50 Metas for close to the same price - but will see how testing goes - I know some assessments on here didn’t recommend them.

Either way, I’m going to order that mic now. I leave today for a week of work, so it should be here when I get home, then I can get down to learning a thing or two.
Sounds like a plan. Have it fixed, get 150 off. I would prefer the R3 over the LS50 - more bass extension and they are capable to play louder. The LS50 start distorting at a lower level in comparison to the R3.
 

Vacceo

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The great thing about the R3 is that, should you decide to go back to a 5.1 (or more) system, you have a whole ecosystem of speakers to keep your R3 tone-matched.
 
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dmacnlx

dmacnlx

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The great thing about the R3 is that, should you decide to go back to a 5.1 (or more) system, you have a whole ecosystem of speakers to keep your R3 tone-matched.
Good point! I hadn’t considered that.
 

Vacceo

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Good point! I hadn’t considered that.
Kef center speakers are a sure bet: they are among the best you can find. Atmos ones, on the other hand, can be improved in the frequency response department.

The whole series is very EQ-friendly, so it should be relatively easy to tune them on your listening space.
 
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dmacnlx

dmacnlx

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Update: I’m waiting on my Umik to arrive. None available in the city. A bit of a development with my demo speakers - I sent the shop photos of the dinged up driver. In a surprising gesture, they’ve offered to swap them out with a brand new pair, for the same price. That’s far lower than any price I’ve been able to find in Canada. They’re calling clearance price $2400+, I’ll be getting these for $1750. I mean I also purchased an $2000 AVR, but still I think they’re being pretty fair.

Only drawback is I likely won’t get my mic in time to assess the demos I’ll be returning. Would make for an interesting comparison.
Who knows, maybe that’ll still work out as well.

I’ll likely go with Monoliths for stands. Should the R3’s be nice & stable on the 28”? The KEF manual seems to suggest up to 24”. That’s lower that I want - but I don’t want set them up for a big crash.
 

Rednaxela

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How many " would be needed to get the tweeter at ear height for you?
 
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dmacnlx

dmacnlx

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28” will put the tweeters right at ear level. I guess the extra 4” shouldn’t make a big difference in stability of the stands.
 
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