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I have no idea what i'm doing - have built a frankenstein HT system, looking for advice on cheap upgrades.


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Hi,

 

I've slowly built my sound system over time, without knowing what on earth i'm doing, just choosing whatever sounds best to my ear, i've ended up with this setup, which i'm sure is far from optimal. I was hoping to get some recommendations on the best value upgrades.

 

Denon X3700H

Front Left, Front Right: Aktimate Mini+ Active Bookshelfs 

Surround Left, Surround Right: Dali Ikon 2 MK2 

Centre: Q Acoustics Q7000iC

Front Top Left, Front Top Right, Rear Surround Left, Rear Surround Right: Q Acoustics Q7000iLR

Sub 1: Wharfdale Diamond SW150

Sub2: Logitech Z5500 Sub 

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated, Just looking at the above i'm guessing the logitech sub should be the first thing to replace?

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7 minutes ago, gillmaverick said:

Biggest Improvement in your system would definitely be with upgrading to a better subwoofer with at least a 12 inch driver.

All it takes is a single step onto that slippery slope and the next thing you know, wheeeeeee..................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...where's all the money gone?

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5 minutes ago, JukKluk2 said:

All it takes is a single step onto that slippery slope and the next thing you know, wheeeeeee..................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...where's all the money gone?

 

Yes, well that's pretty true.

 

I wonder @freshcakes if there is something you don't like about your current system? If not, then you are ahead of 80% of people here who have already dropped a small fortune - and so you should perhaps leave well enough alone😀

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14 minutes ago, tripitaka said:

 

Yes, well that's pretty true.

 

I wonder @freshcakes if there is something you don't like about your current system? If not, then you are ahead of 80% of people here who have already dropped a small fortune - and so you should perhaps leave well enough alone😀

Easier said than done my friend. These things can never be left alone....

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2 hours ago, freshcakes said:

Hi,

 

I've slowly built my sound system over time, without knowing what on earth i'm doing, just choosing whatever sounds best to my ear, i've ended up with this setup, which i'm sure is far from optimal. I was hoping to get some recommendations on the best value upgrades.

 

Denon X3700H

Front Left, Front Right: Aktimate Mini+ Active Bookshelfs 

Surround Left, Surround Right: Dali Ikon 2 MK2 

Centre: Q Acoustics Q7000iC

Front Top Left, Front Top Right, Rear Surround Left, Rear Surround Right: Q Acoustics Q7000iLR

Sub 1: Wharfdale Diamond SW150

Sub2: Logitech Z5500 Sub 

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated, Just looking at the above i'm guessing the logitech sub should be the first thing to replace?

Your methodology to choose what sounds best is excellent. What do you find endearing about the sound reproduction you presently have there ? 

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What sort of layout is your room?

What do you typically listen to (or watch)? Music in stereo or surround sound?  Movies in Dolby Atmos? and so on....

What don't you like about your current setup?

What's the budget?

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I would say you would get the best bang for your buck, by making sure the front three lcr speakers are the same brand and model.

 

Something bigger and with more grunt than the q acoustics 7000 series too.

 

I would have thought the Dali ikon 2 mk 2 as the front speakers and grab an ikon centre off eBay (just saw one there). Would be much better than the smaller q acoustics. A bigger centre than you currently have will be a significant improvement for less outlay than replacing what is ostensibly the second sub in your system.


Edit; there is a Dali ikon centre on here for sale;

 

 

Edited by Ray H
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, stereo coffee said:

Your methodology to choose what sounds best is excellent. What do you find endearing about the sound reproduction you presently have there ? 

Honestly, I started out with the aktimate minis,. Wharfdale  sw150 sub and audioengine D1 DAC , using that combo blew me away, i guess I've bought all this additional equipment to get spatial audio. 

 

I was really disappointed when I bought the x3700 and listened to the Dali mk2's, I was expecting them to sound significantly better than the aktimates, but to my ears I much prefer the aktimates.

1 hour ago, Ray H said:

I would say you would get the best bang for your buck, by making sure the front three lcr speakers are the same brand and model.

 

Something bigger and with more grunt than the q acoustics 7000 series too.

 

I would have thought the Dali ikon 2 mk 2 as the front speakers and grab an ikon centre off eBay (just saw one there). Would be much better than the smaller q acoustics. A bigger centre than you currently have will be a significant improvement for less outlay than replacing what is ostensibly the second sub in your system.


Edit; there is a Dali ikon centre on here for sale;

 

 

Thanks for the suggestion, I had a feeling my centre speaker was  letting the system down l,  as for the Ikons being front left and right , I tried that first and much preferred the aktimates :(

Edited by freshcakes
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I just had a thought maybe adjusting the crossover frequency on the Ikons might get them sounding better than the minis, I'll give that a shot 

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3 hours ago, blairy said:

What sort of layout is your room?

What do you typically listen to (or watch)? Music in stereo or surround sound?  Movies in Dolby Atmos? and so on....

What don't you like about your current setup?

What's the budget?

I'll try to upload a pic or diagram shortly .

 

Both music,.movies and gaming, I'd like to listen to music in surround but stereo sounds significantly better than everything else in this configuration. I don't like the fact that I'm still using the aktimates, considering how cheap they were, I thought I'd be hearing something better than what I started with if that makes sense 

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Just took a picture to show the room layout , I forgot to mention the in ceiling top rear heights, they're wharfdale Diamond 8 bookshelves I can't recall exactly. 

PXL_20220408_083922984.jpg

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58 minutes ago, freshcakes said:

I just had a thought maybe adjusting the crossover frequency on the Ikons might get them sounding better than the minis, I'll give that a shot 

You could try to source a third aktimate mini+ as your centre potentially. Although buying a single seems unlikely from a quick google search, would likely have to buy a pair @ $540.

 

Not a big one on self promotion usually, but i have these for sale, I could lend you one to try as your centre if you pay postage, it may work better as a centre with the aktimates than the q acoustics as it’s is a similar size active speaker;

 

 

 

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Omnidirectionality is a very desirable feature in loudspeakers. I love looking at history first, maybe that will help to get some ideas for you. Stig Carlsson was one such designer who was involved with Swedish firm Sonab, but a firm here is regenerating his ideas

https://minimalissimo.com/moods/sounds-of-stig-carlsson

 

Another of course was Edgar Villchur, inventor of the dome tweeter, who praised Roy Allison's design of tweeter more than his own.

Both Peerless and Linn have promoted similar ideas of the Allison tweeter.  https://www.parts-express.com/Peerless-XT25TG30-04-1-Dual-Ring-Radiator-Tweeter-264-1016?

 

A famous speaker was/is the JR149 using a cylindrical cabinet. using Kef's infamous drivers the B110 and T27 it is a treat to hear. seen in this video they are the speakers in the corner. 

 

 

Looking at your room layout, it should be delivering pretty good sound. Maybe look at adjusting level to each loudspeaker pair, relative to other placed speakers, if that is at all possible.  No one yet has taken me up on the forum that I know of, with the idea of extending the rear firing port of bass reflex designs,  by using a humble cardboard kitchen wrap roll. I had much success doing just that, which transformed reproduction using a pair of Kef speakers. With your speakers they are close to each wall for aesthetics reasons, if they have a rear firing port, try placing a pair of socks in each port to control or moderate the air movement that is otherwise a added reflection, bouncing around,  assisted by the walls.  

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1 hour ago, Ray H said:

You could try to source a third aktimate mini+ as your centre potentially. Although buying a single seems unlikely from a quick google search, would likely have to buy a pair @ $540.

 

Not a big one on self promotion usually, but i have these for sale, I could lend you one to try as your centre if you pay postage, it may work better as a centre with the aktimates than the q acoustics as it’s is a similar size active speaker;

 

 

 

Interesting, sorry for the stupid question, are you selling them for $450 each speaker? You don't have any idea how these compare to the aktimates do you? If they beat the aktimates then I'd be tempted to buy all 5! 

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Posted (edited)

I forgot the mention I have a paradigm studio ADP 590 v4 but as I only have one (other is damaged) I couldn't find a place for it in my system, I didn't think it would suite as a centre due to the speaker type 

Edited by freshcakes
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11 hours ago, freshcakes said:

Interesting, sorry for the stupid question, are you selling them for $450 each speaker? You don't have any idea how these compare to the aktimates do you? If they beat the aktimates then I'd be tempted to buy all 5! 


$450 for all 5 speakers, I don’t know how they compare to the aktimate mini +, I haven’t heard those speakers, but I think they would be closer match to the aktimates, because the drivers and amps are closer sizes etc. than the passive q acoustics.

 

They do have similar size drivers to the aktimates, they have more amp power and we’re a more expensive speaker (around $1000 a pair from memory)

 

They are sealed so I don’t think they go as low in the bass as the aktimates on paper, I would guess they would sound heaps cleaner/clearer and more detailed than the aktimates. Realistically they would need to be crossed over to the sub at around 80 hz. Other than that they are really good for home theatre.

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I suggest stop. Take a deep breath. Concentrate on the one thing you’re the least happy with and move to the next. By far the most important is speakers. Get these right then look at your sub. Then move to receiver amp. Buy the very best sounding you can possibly afford and wait for the next purchase. NEVER EVER listen to that 100k plus cinema at your local dealer if you can’t stretch ( just like never test drive a Ferrari if an AMG is the budget limit) they are better. You will want them. You will therefore be disappointed with anything less. Upgraditis is a slippery never ending slope if you let it be. Everyone here will have their own opinion based on personal preference ( or justification )

Let your ears do the listening and your bank balance do the restricting. 

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On 08/04/2022 at 9:54 PM, freshcakes said:

I just had a thought maybe adjusting the crossover frequency on the Ikons might get them sounding better than the minis, I'll give that a shot 

I'm feeling pretty defeated right now, just put the Dali's as fronts, adjusted crossover frequency, and the Aktimates still sound better, this is doing my head in as the dali's are far superior speakers right? 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 14/04/2022 at 3:55 PM, freshcakes said:

I'm feeling pretty defeated right now, just put the Dali's as fronts, adjusted crossover frequency, and the Aktimates still sound better, this is doing my head in as the dali's are far superior speakers right? 

your ears and brain are easily mis-lead on what "sounds good".

For instance, if you've been running a speaker which is overly bright in the top end, and you swap to a speaker which is actually smoother and more accurate in the top end, you will find the new speaker "sounds" dead in the top end - where in reality it is "better".

Not surprisingly if you keep listening to the new speaker for a while, your ears/brain get used to the new sound, and this becomes the new baseline - if you swapped back to the previous speaker it would sound too bright/harsh in the top end.

 

Mike

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On 14/4/2022 at 3:55 PM, freshcakes said:

I'm feeling pretty defeated right now, just put the Dali's as fronts, adjusted crossover frequency, and the Aktimates still sound better, this is doing my head in as the dali's are far superior speakers right? 


The Dali’s may not be getting enough grunt behind them - and they don’t sound their best unless they do (I’ve owned a number of paid of them I’ve the years).

 

I had a NAD T758, and it wasn’t enough grunt to drive Ikon 7s as the fronts, and I added a big power amp - they came to life.

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On 08/04/2022 at 3:47 PM, freshcakes said:

Sub 1: Wharfdale Diamond SW150

Sub2: Logitech Z5500 Sub

A big room for these subs - you want your subs to add depth and weight to the room sound without them needing to run hard/loud.

If you can hear/locate a sub in the room it's likely running too loud/distorting.

 

Mike

 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, almikel said:

your ears and brain are easily mis-lead on what "sounds good".

For instance, if you've been running a speaker which is overly bright in the top end, and you swap to a speaker which is actually smoother and more accurate in the top end, you will find the new speaker "sounds" dead in the top end - where in reality it is "better".

Not surprisingly if you keep listening to the new speaker for a while, your ears/brain get used to the new sound, and this becomes the new baseline - if you swapped back to the previous speaker it would sound too bright/harsh in the top end.

 

Mike

I think I understand what you're saying, I just feel like i can hear more detail in the Aktimates. 

16 hours ago, almikel said:

A big room for these subs - you want your subs to add depth and weight to the room sound without them needing to run hard/loud.

If you can hear/locate a sub in the room it's likely running too loud/distorting.

 

Mike

 

I've actually slightly changed the system since my first post, swapping the Center Q7000Ci speaker for a Polk CSIA6, and replacing the the Logitech sub with 2x Jamo 250's, so 3 subs total now,  I don't know if this means anything, but after running audysey calibration, the jamo's are running at ~30%, the Wharfdale ~75%, i'm quite happy with the bass, i definitely couldn't tell you where it's coming from.

 

 

Thanks again for the advice, it's greatly appreciated :)

 

 

Edited by freshcakes
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A shame you're not in Brissie as otherwise I've a Dali Ikon Vokal 2 I'd let go of for $100. Built my own centre integrated into the entertainment unit and no longer need it.

Edited by MattyW
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