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#144443 - 07/30/06 09:55 AM Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again)
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11208
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
I'm sure this question gets asked all of the time, but I figured I'd ask to get the freshest responses possible. I just purchased the Millennia M80 v2 floorstanding speakers, and I plan to, over time, purchase more Axiom speakers until it's basically the Epic 80 - 500 system. I figured I'd put off getting a new receiver until after all of the new speakers, since that gives manufacturers time to start putting in HDMI 1.3 connections, allowing the new sound standards for HD DVD and Blu-ray to be passed on digitally (BTW, I have the Toshiba HD-A1--how much is that going to limit my sound quality?). However, the sound quality with the M80 v2s was less of a jump from the Polk Audio bookshelves I have than I was anticipating. I emailed Axiom to see if they thought my receiver was the limiting factor, and they did. It's a Sony DA3ES receiver, which outputs 100 watts @ 8 ohms. It would be nice to get more performance out of these speakers sooner rather than later, so my purchase feels justified. I was thinking of getting separates, and I was thinking Outlaw Audio because the reviews seem solid, and I'm a fan of the direct-to-consumer business model.

Soooo... I was thinking of picking up two of their monoblock amps to start, to power the M80s. Do you think using the preamp outs on the Sony receiver along with the Outlaw monoblock amps would give me at least some of the boost in performance I'm looking for, or do you think the Sony receiver isn't even up to doing preamplification duties? In addition to Outlaw Audio, the expert at Axiom also recommended Denon, Harman Kardon, NAD, NewCastle and B&K. Would a receiver by any of these brands serve my needs, or am I right by getting separates, albeit at a much slower rate, since I'm not as rich as I think I deserve to be? It seems separates offers the most flexibility, and I like the idea of only having to upgrade a preamp/processor later. And if I get the monoblocks, it means I can output at 4 ohms to the M80s, and 8 ohms to the others. Or are there multi-channel amplifiers with different impedance settings for each channel? I'm kind of new to high-end audio, so I'm still trying to pick up on everything. Please feed me healthy, easily digestible advice. Thank you for your time, everyone!

C.V.

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#144444 - 07/30/06 10:05 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13337
Loc: Iowa
Charles, sorry your not as pleased with the 80's at this point in time. I'm pretty sure the issue is your Sony. Most people will use Denon, HK, or other methods that have been proven to have no problems with the 80 4ohm load. Not sure if you asked those questions when looking at speakers, but I'm sure we all would have said the Sony would have problems.

Yes, you could by some monoblocks for the 80's and drive the rest of your system with the Sony, but I think long term you may find you'll want a different AVR and/or seperates.

I'm sure others will chime in here, but most Denon's, HK's, NAD will have no problems driving the m80's. If you have the money and want to go the seperates route, go for it. At this point my Denon 2805 has no problems driving my 7 Axiom speakers. Some day I'll most likely get some 80's to replace my 60's, however, right now my 60's have no problems in my 900 sq ft room.
_________________________
M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
Audio Nirvana

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#144445 - 07/30/06 10:13 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
real80sman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 1124
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Charles, sorry to hear that you are disappointed. One thing that you may want to play with in the meantime is placement. I have had my 80's in 3 different rooms and without a doubt changing the position within those rooms made a huge difference. It is very rare that you can take a new speaker and plop it in the exact position of the old one. (And expect them to perform at their best)
_________________________
Shawn

Epic 80/600 + M3's + Custom Finish Algonquin V3's

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#144446 - 07/30/06 11:37 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3904
Loc: Up yonder
I think you’re on the right track. Separates are definitely the way to go if you can afford to do so. Personally, I’d go with a couple mono blocks first and still use the Sony for a pre-amp. Outlaw makes some great stuff and I wouldn’t hesitate to give them a try. That is a fairly cost effective solution. The 80’s seam to come to life with a healthy shot of current. Also, I agree with the previous post, try moving them around a bit. They like to be at least six inches away from the back wall and about a foot away from side walls. They like some breathing room.
_________________________


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#144447 - 07/30/06 04:38 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: michael_d]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11208
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Thank you very much for the feedback. I will try the monoblocks first, and plan on a new preamp in the long run.

I'm very limited as far as placement in my current arrangement, but I've done what I can. I was already about 6 inches away from the back wall and several feet away from side walls, but I moved the speakers even further forward, and it did seem to help a little. Once my basement is finished, I'll be moving the system down there, and I'll have more room to play with.

Thanks again for responding! This is a great community.

C.V.

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#144448 - 07/30/06 11:27 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10395
Charles, welcome. There're several possibilities at this time as to why you're not totally overwhelmed by your M80s, but inadequate amplification should probably be placed at the bottom of the list. Your DA3ES is now somewhat dated in its features, but furnishes heavyweight basic amplification typical of the Sony ES models. Your M80s are slightly above average in sensitivity and unless your listening room is huge(unlikely if you previously used bookshelf speakers)the DA3ES should have more than enough maximum power capacity to drive them with ease.

Pending your purchase of a replacement receiver with updated features you should experiment with speaker placement as Shawn suggested, which can indeed make a significant difference. Also, even with speakers as excellent as your M80s there's a need to guard against unrealistic expectations if you're not immediately "blown away".
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#144449 - 07/30/06 11:50 PM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: JohnK]
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10900
Loc: Central NH
CV-
I'm short on time, but wanted to mention another possibility: Axiom speakers are what's often termed as "revealing" (Garbage in, Garbage out).

Frequently when someone reports being disappointed in new Axioms, it ends up that they're not listening to great recordings. Make sure the movies and music you're using to judge are recordings that are often considered "well mastered".

You really would be surprised at how many mediocre recordings, both music and movie soundtracks, are out there!
_________________________
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#144450 - 07/31/06 12:17 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: JohnK]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
Although i disagree with JohnK on the first point, i agree with him on the second point.
Adequate amplification is indeed a strong consideration when powering speakers, especially with those rated at 4 ohm and Sony has never been known for its beefy amp sections. Yes, even at low to moderate SPL this will make a distinct audible difference.

However, one must guard against the expectations our brain may set when buying a new pair of speakers. The concept of "blown away" or "night and day" sound is so over exaggerated by many who report such findings that new buyers are less than overwhelmed by the general lack of amazement upon receiving and hearing their new units. It is called "bias" and everyone has it, everyone does it, consciously or not.
Give the speakers a couple of days and try listening to some different recordings. Borrow a different and capable receiver from a friend or family member, or get one from a store on a returnable basis to use as a comparison. If in the end you still feel they are not worth the cost or change, then send them back.
That is the beauty of the Axiom sales philosophy, 30 days return full refund (except return shipping).
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#144451 - 07/31/06 12:52 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: chesseroo]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11208
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Nothing's ever easy. I'll experiment as much as I can with placement, and there might be a local shop that will let me borrow a receiver. It would probably be an Integra. There really isn't a great selection of home theater/audio stores in this area.

I've played a ton of material, and so far, maybe 5% has really impressed me, but most of those already impressed me on the Polk Audios. Let me just say that the M80s already show themselves as superior to the Polks in several ways, but yeah, I may have been unrealistic in my expectations. The glowing reviews make me think they HAVE to be better than what I'm hearing. I guess that's what scares me the most. Everything is dependent on everything else. What speakers will sound good with what receiver or preamp/amp combo? What if I never find the combination that gives me the performance I'm looking for? I guess that's why this is Earth and not Heaven, huh? Ha ha.

I will try what I can and report back, or I will be glued to my speakers because they sound so good.

C.V.

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#144452 - 07/31/06 11:27 AM Re: Receiver or Separates Recommendations (Again) [Re: CV]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4829
Loc: western canada
Quote:

Everything is dependent on everything else. What speakers will sound good with what receiver or preamp/amp combo?



Not quite.
The fact is you may have had some reasonably good Polk speakers such that hearing the Axioms provided a different sound but not a massive "increase" in sound quality per your expectation. Had you been using some $50 Radio Shack no-name brand, made of cardboard boxes speaker that was 30 years old (or the infamous "white van" speaker sales), you would likely have had a very different experience and probably would have been "blown away" by the Axioms.

However, in regards to the electronics, the Sony receivers have often been noted as lacking in their amp sections and driving a 4 ohm speaker is a real task. ANY other receiver (or separate amp) that has a beefier amp section could make an improvement in sound quality, but only because the M80s need more juice, not because each brand has a supposedly different sound character. They simply do not. The frequency response from modern receivers is ruler flat. Unless there is some unknown filtering going on inside the units, or they have a tube section, then when all sound processing option are turned off and signal levels matched, they will all sound the same. I have yet to hear any difference in solid state amps or preamps in any A/B test i've run. I HAVE heard a difference when comparing a cheap Sony HTIB receiver with a Denon 3802 powering cheap little HTIB satellite speakers and some other small bookshelves of more notable quality.


Edited by chesseroo (07/31/06 11:28 AM)
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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