Upgrade from Athena AS-B1 speakers
Feb 25, 2006 at 11:05 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

st. park

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Hello everyone,
new poster here, but long-time lurker.
Right now, I'm looking to upgrade from my basic set-up of computer -> audiophile usb -> sonic t-amp -> athena as-b1 bookshelf speakers.

The set-up sounds pretty decent, but I'm left wanting a bit more. Not as full or warm-sounding as I would have hoped, which isn't very surprising considering the amount of money i spent on the speakers.

Anyhow, can you guys recommend me a nice upgrade from this set-up that would fill my medium sized bedroom with rich, warm sound w/ good bass? I'm looking to upgrade speakers and possibly amp.

I've read through some threads, and someone recommended the energy conneuseur c-3 speakers. Would these speakers present a dramatic jump in quality from the athena speakers? (I just don't want to spend that money if it won't improve the quality that much)

My budget is $300-$500 for speakers + amp.

Also, is it true that for the that price range, bookshelves would be of better quality than floor-standing speakers?

Thanks in advance for the feedback.
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 12:23 AM Post #2 of 20

jrosenth

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Lots of options depending upon your ultimate goals.

Everyone percieves the degree of upgrade differently. The energys are very good speakers at that price. Epos and Paradigm should probably be considered.

AV123 has some budget speakers coming out for $200 that look very promising. They are also promising budget electronics soon starting at $99.

You could also look at a son of t-amp or used/vintage amp.

In that price range for both amp and speakers bookshelves, as a general rule, should serve you well. It's worthing thinking about stands and cables too when budgeting (I find blue jeans cables, Radio Shack Fusion cables, and Canare star quad to have good bang for the buck; good deals on used stands pop up from time to time). If they will be used in a near-field environment it might be worth thinking about near-field monitors.

Source is also worth thinking about, bit-rates etc.

One other option, if you have a bit of time and basic solder skills, is going the kit route, which offers good bang for the buck.
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 1:37 AM Post #3 of 20

warpdriver

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The C-3 has a smoother, more refined sound, less bright than the Athenas, a noticeable difference, but it's not that warm. The Energy has the same "family sound", but it's better damping, more advanced tweeter, gives it a tighter, more balanced sound with less harshness than the Athena B1

I'd suggest some Monitor Audio Bronze 1 speakers, warmer and smooth sounding (about $250-300 street price). Adding a small sub will help fill in the lower octave to balance the highs.

Bookshelf speakers really have nothing to lose when compared with floorstanders when you are comparing quality of mids and treble. They lose out on bass depth, maximum bass output, headroom, and efficiency compared to larger floorspeakers. Often bookshelf speakers have better imaging than larger multidriver floorstanders.
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 1:54 PM Post #4 of 20

ssportclay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by st. park
Hello everyone,
new poster here, but long-time lurker.
Right now, I'm looking to upgrade from my basic set-up of computer -> audiophile usb -> sonic t-amp -> athena as-b1 bookshelf speakers.

The set-up sounds pretty decent, but I'm left wanting a bit more. Not as full or warm-sounding as I would have hoped, which isn't very surprising considering the amount of money i spent on the speakers.

Anyhow, can you guys recommend me a nice upgrade from this set-up that would fill my medium sized bedroom with rich, warm sound w/ good bass? I'm looking to upgrade speakers and possibly amp.

I've read through some threads, and someone recommended the energy conneuseur c-3 speakers. Would these speakers present a dramatic jump in quality from the athena speakers? (I just don't want to spend that money if it won't improve the quality that much)

My budget is $300-$500 for speakers + amp.

Also, is it true that for the that price range, bookshelves would be of better quality than floor-standing speakers?

Thanks in advance for the feedback.



I think your source and amp are weaker than your speakers.The energy speakers are not a big enough jump in my opinion.Save up for the Von Schweikert VR-1s after you upgrade your source and Amp.
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 8:38 PM Post #7 of 20

jrosenth

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It might be worth taking a step back and figuring out your system goals.

Would you be happy with a simple system like an amp and bookshelves are do you think that you need a subwoofer? What do you value more, soundstage, midrange, bass, etc?

Try and design your system as a whole - working out percentage of budget for speakers/source/amp/etc.

How much are you willing to stretch your dollar by considering used or DIY?

Are you willing to improve the source?

How do you want to build the system - do you want to spend the budget on a system and not look back - or are you willing to put the budget towards certain pieces while waiting to upgrade other pieces.

A bit of a plan will help you the most - you don't want an $800 amp driving those speakers with that source unless it is for a limited period while saving for upgrades.
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 9:08 PM Post #8 of 20

st. park

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the source will probably remain the same. 95% of new music i listen to is mp3. i may add a cd player too.

i'm not sure how to properly explain in audiophile terms, but i'm just left wanting more than these athena speakers. they don't sound bad, but they don't sound as full/powerful as i want them to.

at this point, i haven't considered a subwoofer.. since the set-up will be primarily for music, i'm not sure that i need one.
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 9:19 PM Post #9 of 20

americandreaming

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i don't think there is a problem with your amp, i've heard it and it's not bad and there are lots of reviews to attest to that. i think you're looking for more from the speakers.

so i would go a different route and try some high efficiency floorstanders. try to find a used pair of klipsch speakers or a pair of inifinity primus 360's. i haven't heard them but they may be just what you are looking for. if you don't have the space a used pair of omegas may do the trick.

alternatively, if you're not scared to get your hands dirty, build a pair of full range speakers with a single driver. this design is as easy as they come.

good luck!
 
Feb 26, 2006 at 10:30 PM Post #10 of 20

XxATOLxX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ssportclay
I am very happy with my Odyssey Khartago but they go for about $800 new so a bit over your budget.


I second this recommendation. Odyssey makes great amps for the money.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 2:41 AM Post #11 of 20

ssportclay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by st. park
the source will probably remain the same. 95% of new music i listen to is mp3. i may add a cd player too.

i'm not sure how to properly explain in audiophile terms, but i'm just left wanting more than these athena speakers. they don't sound bad, but they don't sound as full/powerful as i want them to.

at this point, i haven't considered a subwoofer.. since the set-up will be primarily for music, i'm not sure that i need one.



Synergy is kind of a complicated thing when upgrading a system.A full/powerful sound may require a big power Amp with a large powercord.My bookshelf Von Schweikerts sound full and powerful without a subwoofer.In fact large woofers sound bloated and sloppy to me.You need to listen to some systems and never underestimate the importance of a good source.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 2:23 PM Post #13 of 20

jrosenth

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No - don't get that pioneer.

Also, don't consider full range fostex system unless you really want to keep a t-amp or you value intimacy and musicality of dynamics and impact.

Here's some hard advice, which won't steer you wrong - maybe you could do better with some real hunting, but this is easy and will serve you well:

Go to AudioAdvisor.com, get the Cambrdige Azure 540 integrated amp, which is now on sale for $269!
While there, buy those energy speakers for $250 (ask the sales guys to knock a couple of bucks of shipping).
Sell your athenas and put the money to a source (new sound card, etc.- saving for a CD player) and get some budget cables (blue jeans cables has good wire by the foot cheap, or search for home depot, lowes ideas in the threads here)
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 3:01 PM Post #14 of 20

st. park

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thanks for the recommendation jrosen.

i just wish i could hear these options before spending this money. would the cambridge amp + energy speaker combo sound significantly better than my current set-up?
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 7:17 PM Post #15 of 20

jrosenth

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"Significantly" is a relative judgement and people will say different things partially because people literally hear things differently.

In my opinion, definately a difference and a significant step up. Especailly with that budget, it will be hard to beat. Also, at those prices, if you ended up not liking them you could always recoup your most of your money by selling used. (Audio advisor may have a return policy as well.)

But don't return/sell them until you change the source. That system will perform way beyond your source without getting ridiculous, allowing you to keep playing it with the source you have or a cheap upgrade. It will also pair well with a good source as you upgrade later; at that point you'll get even more of a gain since you'll have the rest of the parts in place.
 

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