Compromises in budget setups

Wharfedale Diamond 12 Series

ranojoy

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Life is all about making compromises and this is especially true about our AV gear. We all have the yearning to get the best equipment but are restricted by budget constraints.:sad:The excitement lies in addressing these compromises and improving the performance of the equipment.

I thought I'd pen down my thoughts about the compromises I have had to make about my gear and the way forward, budget and wife permitting.:lol:

So here's my list. Lets have your reactions / suggestions. Room size is 5m x 3m; reasonably damped with drapes and carpet on the floor.

1. TV - Pana TH-42PV7 - At my TV watching distance of 10 feet, I guess 720p is not a constraint, even with future purchase of BD player. However, a significant loss would be the inability to process 24fps from BDP. Another drawback is the single HDMI input but that's been solved with the purchase of a 5 x 1 HDMI switcher from Monoprice.
2. CDP - Marantz 5001 - Considering the partnering equipment and my requirements, I guess there's no compromise here.
3. DVDP - CA DVD99 - Same comment as above.
4. Fronts / Centre - Wharfedale 9.5 & 9.CS - Recent acquisitions. They are just WOW. No compromises here !!
5. Surrounds - Currently Yamaha NS-P430; soon to be replaced by Wharfedale 9.0. So that problem will be taken care of.
6. Sub - Currently Yamaha SW015; planning to replace by Wharfedale SW150. Its just a small matter of 20k.:)
7. Receiver - Yamaha RX-V 440 [Min RMS Output 6 channels driven, 20Hz - 20KHz, 0.06%THD, 8 ohms - 65W. Max power 1KHz, 10%THD, 8 ohms - 95W] This, in my opinion, is the weak spot. My listening levels are very sane - I rarely go beyond -40dB volume and never beyond -35dB. At these listening levels, I dont find the receiver straining for power (I could be wrong here; Yamaha owners please enlighten me about your normal volume levels in terms of decibels).
8. Cables - All cables are DAC except for an optical cable from Monoprice (used for playing DTS CDs thru the Marantz; normal redbook CDs are played thru 2 channel analog cable). In my view, no compromise here.

Future plans -
1.Wharfedale SW 150 (Wharfedale owners, I hope its OK to pair with the 9.5 - I really dont want to spend the extra cash for SW250).
2. Receiver wishlist - ideally 90W+ min RMS, with pre-outs (for adding a 2 channel amp), DSD on HDMI, if possible (for SACD thru the DVD99), 7.1 channels with assignable back surrounds so that I can bi-amp the 9.5s in a 5.1 environment and obviously HD audio decoding. Comments ???

The idea of this thread is to share the AV compromises that we all make and learn from each others ideas. Lets get started ....
 

psychotropic

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sorry to sidetrack you here, have you compared the CD audio output of the CD5001 and the DVD99, i have a hunch the DVD99 might be superior.
 

sud98

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Nice post. Your thoughts resemble mine but you have taken a few more steps.

I think your AVR is your weakest link. I myself own the Yamaha 459 and think that needs replacement although for stereo its not a bad compromise. Where it does appear lacking is the lack of HDMI options. In terms of volume, I think thats right, you only find it straining at much higher levels. I will leave to the experts for other comments, but there appears to be a significant SQ improvement when you go for the 663/863.

I am not sure if the idea of SW150 makes sense as from the specs it appears that the 9.5 can go lower than the SW150 in frequency. The 9.5's freq range is 30-24khz while the 150 can do 35-110 hz. So you may want to look at other subs or postpone this for the future.
 

gobble

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the 5003 is certainly better than the DV99. 5001 must be similar. The DV99 sounds constricted in soundstage and plays trough a veil or mist as compared to CA640C.

Regards
 

sandeepmohan

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I like your rig. Its not bad at all. Its a decent bit of kit for what you have spent.

A little more powerful receiver can help matters but then your volumes levels are normal so that makes me wonder if you will ever need more power.

You surrounds & sub are probably the only weak link but then your gonna have them replaced soon. This should change a lot of things.

I also suggest a stand alone stereo integrated amplifier to improve your 2 channel experience. You have a ton of quality options even if you are on a tight budget. Good luck.
 

thevortex

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Ranojoy - the only item that I would add from my side is that compromises as far as Hifi systems are concerned are not things which are unique to budget setups alone:). There is compromise even in systems costing a lakh and above.

Personally speaking I can compromise on ultimate low end bass slam for engaging midrange and soulful presentation. Detail is preferable, but not at the cost of musicality. For this I can sacrifice low end slam happily.
 

Yogesh

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Life is all about making compromises and this is especially true about our AV gear. We all have the yearning to get the best equipment but are restricted by budget constraints.:sad:The excitement lies in addressing these compromises and improving the performance of the equipment.

I thought I'd pen down my thoughts about the compromises I have had to make about my gear and the way forward, budget and wife permitting.:lol:

So here's my list. Lets have your reactions / suggestions. Room size is 5m x 3m; reasonably damped with drapes and carpet on the floor.

1. TV - Pana TH-42PV7 - At my TV watching distance of 10 feet, I guess 720p is not a constraint, even with future purchase of BD player. However, a significant loss would be the inability to process 24fps from BDP. Another drawback is the single HDMI input but that's been solved with the purchase of a 5 x 1 HDMI switcher from Monoprice.
2. CDP - Marantz 5001 - Considering the partnering equipment and my requirements, I guess there's no compromise here.
3. DVDP - CA DVD99 - Same comment as above.
4. Fronts / Centre - Wharfedale 9.5 & 9.CS - Recent acquisitions. They are just WOW. No compromises here !!
5. Surrounds - Currently Yamaha NS-P430; soon to be replaced by Wharfedale 9.0. So that problem will be taken care of.
6. Sub - Currently Yamaha SW015; planning to replace by Wharfedale SW150. Its just a small matter of 20k.:)
7. Receiver - Yamaha RX-V 440 [Min RMS Output 6 channels driven, 20Hz - 20KHz, 0.06%THD, 8 ohms - 65W. Max power 1KHz, 10%THD, 8 ohms - 95W] This, in my opinion, is the weak spot. My listening levels are very sane - I rarely go beyond -40dB volume and never beyond -35dB. At these listening levels, I dont find the receiver straining for power (I could be wrong here; Yamaha owners please enlighten me about your normal volume levels in terms of decibels).
8. Cables - All cables are DAC except for an optical cable from Monoprice (used for playing DTS CDs thru the Marantz; normal redbook CDs are played thru 2 channel analog cable). In my view, no compromise here.

Future plans -
1.Wharfedale SW 150 (Wharfedale owners, I hope its OK to pair with the 9.5 - I really dont want to spend the extra cash for SW250).
2. Receiver wishlist - ideally 90W+ min RMS, with pre-outs (for adding a 2 channel amp), DSD on HDMI, if possible (for SACD thru the DVD99), 7.1 channels with assignable back surrounds so that I can bi-amp the 9.5s in a 5.1 environment and obviously HD audio decoding. Comments ???

The idea of this thread is to share the AV compromises that we all make and learn from each others ideas. Lets get started ....

I find that There is not much of an compromise in ur list. It is an excellent rig. Ur priority for upgrade should be 1. Sub 2. Receiver (Yam 663/Denon 1910). Then, Surrounds, as surround are least used part of rig and demands least Q.
 

ranojoy

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I am not sure if the idea of SW150 makes sense as from the specs it appears that the 9.5 can go lower than the SW150 in frequency. The 9.5's freq range is 30-24khz while the 150 can do 35-110 hz. So you may want to look at other subs or postpone this for the future.

yeah. thats what i thought initially, which is why the purchase is delayed. but there are 2 reasons why i am now having second thoughts :-

1. lets say a sub and a pair of spkrs both go down to 30Hz. would that make the sub redundant ? maybe not. because the sub would be able to reproduce the lowest of the frequency band much more efficiently and with more power than the spkrs, since the spkrs woofer will not only have to reproduce that part of the spectrum but also substantially more above it. without the sub, one may not be able to hear the lowest spectrum with any degree of authority from the spkrs. the problem gets compounded when the amp has only average power (like mine :)) to drive the spkrs.

2. secondly, as per wharfedale specs, even SW250 goes down only to 30Hz vis-a-vis 30Hz minimum for 9.5 and 28Hz minimum for 9.6. not much difference, so why is the company making these subs at all ? after all, if they are supposed to be part of a package, there must be some incremental value in adding SW150/250 to a pair of 9.5s/9.6s, no ?

please note that all of the above is purely my reasoning. no audition is involved. so i may still be way off the mark (but i would love to be proved right, he he). actual SW150/9.5 users, please educate us.
 

thevortex

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yeah. thats what i thought initially, which is why the purchase is delayed. but there are 2 reasons why i am now having second thoughts :-

1. lets say a sub and a pair of spkrs both go down to 30Hz. would that make the sub redundant ? maybe not. because the sub would be able to reproduce the lowest of the frequency band much more efficiently and with more power than the spkrs, since the spkrs woofer will not only have to reproduce that part of the spectrum but also substantially more above it. without the sub, one may not be able to hear the lowest spectrum with any degree of authority from the spkrs. the problem gets compounded when the amp has only average power (like mine :)) to drive the spkrs.

2. secondly, as per wharfedale specs, even SW250 goes down only to 30Hz vis-a-vis 30Hz minimum for 9.5 and 28Hz minimum for 9.6. not much difference, so why is the company making these subs at all ? after all, if they are supposed to be part of a package, there must be some incremental value in adding SW150/250 to a pair of 9.5s/9.6s, no ?

please note that all of the above is purely my reasoning. no audition is involved. so i may still be way off the mark (but i would love to be proved right, he he). actual SW150/9.5 users, please educate us.

Specification wise, the Diamond floorstanders overwhelm the small SW150. But for ultimate low end slam, the speakers still cannot compete with the subwoofer. If I were to go with the 9.6 then I would not use the SW150. But with the 9.5 it may not be a bad choice. You would not be wanting for bass:)
 

sandeepmohan

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The sub woofer is there for an entirely different reason. On DVD & Blu Ray the Sub channel is a dedicated one & you have a different signal feed running to the sub based on whats happening in the movie.

The cabinet construction of a sub woofer also helps it deliver better bass.

Amplifier power should have nothing to do with your sub. The Sub Woofer is driven with its own amplifier.

The inclusion of a sub woofer is stereo setups is something that started very late in the world of Hi Fi. Bose introduced this concept with their Acoustimass Series & its a big hit (Not among the critics) even today . Book Shelves could not deliver the bass one wanted & hence a sub was added. I remember the days I had just book shelves (& I still do) for the entire sound spectrum. There was no sub to help with bass. I enjoyed the little bass that I got from my tiny book shelves.
 

ranojoy

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The cabinet construction of a sub woofer also helps it deliver better bass.

Amplifier power should have nothing to do with your sub. The Sub Woofer is driven with its own amplifier.

yes yes. my point exactly. even with the same lower frequency limit, the sub should perform better than a passive speaker.

and when i said that "the problem gets compounded when the amp has only average power (like mine) to drive the spkrs", i meant that "an average powered amp driving a speaker cannot beat a sub for low frequencies since the sub has a built-in amp dedicated for low frequencies". hence, my inclination towards SW150.:)
 

skumar

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My 2 cents: choice of a sub should be based on how low you want go and how much the room can take, rather than the overlap with your speakers.
 
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