upgrade advice

Posted by: demetman

upgrade advice - 07/18/13 01:31 AM

Hello, was wondering if you guys could help me make a wise decision on a potential trade in upgrade. You guys have always given great advice over the years.

I currently have m60's, vp150, ep500 and 2 sets of qs8's. I've been happy w this setup for the past 5yrs. I'm using a denon 3808 to power all channels. After injuring to axiom about trading up my m60v2's to m80's and upgrading to the vp180 I received a reply with an amount towards the upgrade. This upgrade would still be a substantial out of pocket expense, and I'm worried about running the front 3 channels w the 4ohm load on the receiver. I can't spring for an amp(plus all the electrical upgrades) at the moment. This would have to be a substantial sonic upgrade for me to justify the expenses.

The other option I was contemplating was to simply upgrade the vp150 to the vp160 and call it a day. The vp150 is by far the weakest link in my system. Anyone with a similar upgrade experience, please tell me what you think. I appreciate the advice.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: upgrade advice - 07/18/13 01:48 AM

Demetrios, for a single move, I agree that it should be the VP160 center speaker. I don't, however, think that there would be any need for concern in running M80s with your 3808. The M80s are given a 4 ohm rating, but this is in effect over a bit less than half of its frequency range, and an overall average might be about 6 ohms. In any case, users have had no problems at safe(to your hearing)sound levels running the M80s with units similar to or a little less capable than the 3808.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: upgrade advice - 07/18/13 08:50 AM

I would agree. Upgrading the center channel would be a good move if you want to keep costs down. I mean, the M60s are no slouch. Sure, upgrade everything if you have the funds, but if you want to keep things reasonable, then just do the center.
Posted by: alan

Re: upgrade advice - 07/18/13 11:41 AM

Demetrios, I would concur with the advice of JohnK and Nickbuol. What I will tell you is that I did a lot of double-blind listening tests to the prototypes and final version of the VP180 center and it is spectacularly better than the VP150. I don't recall hearing the VP160 in blind listening but I suspect that given the VP180's performance, the VP160 would come very close.

Posted by: jakewash

Re: upgrade advice - 07/18/13 08:53 PM

I have run my M80s with a VP180 for a week with no ill effects to my 3808; it handled the situation with ease. I would surmise your experience would be similar unless you listen at very loud levels. I went with the VP160 preferring the better horizontal dispersion of the 160 over the slightly better low end the VP180 offers.
Posted by: demetman

Re: upgrade advice - 07/19/13 12:37 AM

Thanks guys, after a little thought I think I'm going to order the VP180. Based on all the positive reviews of both center speakers, I don't think I could go wrong with either one.

I'm leaning toward the VP180 for a couple different reasons. I'm certain I will eventually upgrade to the M80's which will allow the Vp180 to blend in perfectly. If I went with the Vp160, I would have to move my TV up 2" or reduce the height of my rack. The VP180 will fit like a glove. The only concern I have is only allowing 1.5" between the rear ports and my wall. Will this be an issue of compromising the full potential of the VP180?
Posted by: JohnK

Re: upgrade advice - 07/19/13 03:34 AM

Demetrios, a little bit more "breathing room" than that would be good. A rough rule of thumb is to have as much room as the width of the port, e.g., for a 3" wide port, have it at least 3" from the wall.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: upgrade advice - 07/19/13 09:03 AM

The VP180 is a MONSTER sized center channel. I am surprised that it will fit like a glove anywhere.

As John said, the size of the port usually sets the minimum distance away from any solid object so that air can easily flow in and out of the cabinet.
Posted by: Cohesion

Re: upgrade advice - 07/20/13 11:02 AM

I have slightly less than 3" behind my vp180 with no apparent problems. Then again this is less than I would want but the best I can do. Not sure if 1.5" would be enough. Is there no way for you to shimmy your setup a couple inches out from the wall?
Posted by: demetman

Re: upgrade advice - 07/22/13 01:36 AM

Cohesion, unfortunatelly I don't have the ability to gain any more space from the wall in my setup. I'll give more details to make things more clear. I was able to fully customise my setup when I purchased my house 2 yrs ago. The best possible placement for my speakers led me to frame over my 1970 masonary fireplace and tile over the brick base that sits 13" high and 18.5" deep. All wiring was run in wall to all speakers as I remodeled my livingroom. I used 2 layers of 1/2" drywall sandwhiched with green glue as an acoustical experiment. I built my audio rack out of sanded plywood to suit my equipment. My rack measures 17" deep by 40.5" wide. From the floor, the center of my VP150 is 49" high. My TV sits directly above the VP150. My M60's are also on the tile base(or stage) on each side of my rack with 59" of seperation. I have them slightly toed in toward the main listening spot, which is my couch. The distance from my mains and center channel to my ears is 13ft.

I'm now thinking the VP160 may be the better option at the moment, but would require modifications to my audio rack. This would be no easy task. It would require the removal of all my equipment and dismanteling the bottom trim of the rack(which is glued and screwed) and ripping 2.75" off the bottom to allow for the extra height of the VP160. What do you guys think? Is the VP160 worth all that trouble? I'd like to add a few photos. Is there a simple way to add them to a post? Thanks for your input.
Posted by: Charles65

Re: upgrade advice - 07/23/13 03:33 PM

Demetrios: What is (are) your source(s)? I understand you want to upgrade your speakers so my advice, lets say opinion, might not be exactly what you are looking for. But if you are looking for substantial sonic upgrade, I would suggest you upgrade your source (before the amp or the good speakers you already have). The source is often overlook by many people and I suspect that could be your weakest link instead of the vp150. But then I am more an audiophile (stereo) than a home theater person (5.1).
Posted by: Hellcommute

Re: upgrade advice - 07/23/13 06:13 PM

Your denon 3808 should have plenty of punch for your speakers. From what you say it sounds like you may be missing some dynamics and system synergy. The pics of your setup show some room for tweaking. Nice gear btw. cool

I would focus on getting your room into better shape to notice great improvements for very little cash. In order of importance (and easyness) I would say:

1: Listening Position in relation to room boundaries
2: Front Speaker Placement
3: Subwoofer Placement
4: Bass traps and acoustic treatments

I am always amazed at pictures online of people with great gear and lost opportunity. Everyone can benefit sonically from setup changes. Biggest upgrade to do and one of the first I would say. Good luck. smile
Posted by: demetman

Re: upgrade advice - 07/24/13 12:45 AM

Hey guys, where did you see pictures? I didn't post any. I did take a few shots with the ipod and imported them onto my computer, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to add them to a post. I'm sorry but I am not at all savy w this kind stuff. Don't get me wrong guys...my equipment sounds very good, but I definitely struggle with center channel dialog while watching movies. All movies are usually blu ray and played through my oppo BDP-103. My source is the denon 3808.

All speakers are set up through the reciever and I run audyssey at least twice a year to recalibrate with the change of the seasons.(windows open, less humidity etc.) I constantly need to boost the center up to very high levels to hear dialog from movies, which creates a somewhat harsh sound at times. I have read how the VP160 and VP180 have considerably rounded out center channel dialog and increased the sound quality of music through muti channel playback.

I think the placement of my speakers has yielded very good results but there is always room for improvement. If someone could help me get some pics on here, it may be easier for you guys to see my setup and help me with the best options to get the most out of my gear. I appreciate all the expert advice and knowledge here on the forums.
Posted by: Hellcommute

Re: upgrade advice - 07/24/13 02:31 PM

is this not you? Sorry if not, but I found these pics and thought this was your current setup.


To post pics start an account for free at photobucket.com and use the link they give you to the uploaded pics for your posts. There is an option to link to a photo in the post tools called "enter an image"
Posted by: demetman

Re: upgrade advice - 07/25/13 12:12 AM

Wow! that is my gear in my old house. Can't believe those pics are still floating around on this forum. I can't believe I figured out how to post those pics,lol.

A Lot has changed since that setup. I'm in a new house with obviously a different layout. Since then I purchased another set of QS8'a for 7.1 surround sound. I'm still running the 3808 and added the oppo-103 with ethernet and a pc. I also added a linksy's internet hub for internet access for all devices.

Since I set my gear up in my new home, there is not a huge difference in sound from my old setup. Besides the addition of the 2nd set of QS8's the results were almost predictable. I've had my gear for 5yrs now and I have been tweaking things ever since. While this is my first HT system, I have been into very high end car audio for about 15yrs now. I have a discerning ear for hi fidelity audio. HT is my newest hobby, now that I am a homeowner. Unfortunately, most of us hobbyists don't have the perfect room to design and setup our systems, so compromise is always a factor in the complicated equation.

Now that I think about it, I do recall using photobucket for posting pics. I'll give it a go.
Posted by: demetman

Re: upgrade advice - 07/25/13 01:22 AM

[img]http://[IMG]http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x150/demetman/IMG_0022.jpg[/img][/img] [img]http://[IMG]http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x150/demetman/IMG_0020-1.jpg[/img][/img] [img]http://[IMG]http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x150/demetman/IMG_0028.jpg[/img][/img] [img]http://[IMG]http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x150/demetman/DSCN0286.jpg[/img][/img]
[img]http://[/img] [img]http://[IMG]http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x150/demetman/IMG_0027.jpg[/img][/img] [img]http://[IMG]http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x150/demetman/IMG_0026.jpg[/img][/img]

Ok! Think I figured this out.
Posted by: demetman

Re: upgrade advice - 07/25/13 01:39 AM

Lol! just realised if you click the [IMG]portion of the link, you have access to all my photobucket pics. Some cool older pics from a project I did in my Dodge Magnum with JL audio amps and sub. Hope you enjoy them.
Posted by: Hellcommute

Re: upgrade advice - 07/25/13 07:19 PM

Checked out your room. Nice setup for sure. There is a lot of potential still in this space.

There are some areas for improvement, but they would involve moving your front speakers out and spreading them apart and softening up first reflection points.

If you are able to move stuff around, there is room for huge improvement. If you wish to proceed let us know. smile