Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades

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jlemke

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Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« on: 30 Mar 2017, 09:38 pm »
I currently have a 5.1 HT/music system. I don't need a two-channel only system for music because I mostly listen to classical music and opera, and there's a good variety of 5.1 SACDs and blu-rays in those genres. I'm actually quite pleased with my current speakers -- pre TL A/V3s for mains, an N3S for center, two A/V2s for surround, and an Adire Tempest for sub -- but I've got the bug and think I want to move up incrementally over the next year or two. The first step would be to upgrade the two main channels and move the A/V3s to surround duty (I have the space for that). The second step, in maybe a year, would be to add electronics and speakers to jump to an Atmos 7.1.4 capable system, while continuing to use 5.1 for music.

So what should I target for my new main left and right channels? My inclination right now is to go to OB-7s. Years ago I built a pair of OB-7 Pluses for my son as a graduation gift and can't let go of how well they handled Beethoven's 4th symphony. I am keeping N3s in mind as well. And then there's all this talk here about other kits and models not (yet?) on Danny's web site.

FWIW, current electronics are an Oppo UDP-203, Emotiva MC-700 processor, and Emotiva UPA5 power amp.

Your ideas and reactions will be much appreciated.

Early B.

Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #1 on: 30 Mar 2017, 10:50 pm »
Sounds like you answered your own question -- go with the OB7 if those kits are still available. But I'll warn you -- there's turning back once you upgrade your speakers because everything in front of them will also need an upgrade. Of course, you'll need a dedicated 2-channel system if you really want to hear what good classical music sounds like in your home.

jlemke

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Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #2 on: 30 Mar 2017, 11:36 pm »
Well, I think we'll just have to amicably disagree about two-channel classical music reproduction. It's psycho-accoustics at work, and for my brain, there is significant value in the surround channels in a well executed 5.1 recording. I regularly hear live music, and 5.0 or 5.1 on a good system does much better than 2.0 does at persuading my brain/ear that I'm in a concert venue.

Thanks for your thoughts. You are of course right that there's never any real turning back...

-- John

Early B.

Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #3 on: 30 Mar 2017, 11:54 pm »
Well, I think we'll just have to amicably disagree about two-channel classical music reproduction. It's psycho-accoustics at work, and for my brain, there is significant value in the surround channels in a well executed 5.1 recording. I regularly hear live music, and 5.0 or 5.1 on a good system does much better than 2.0 does at persuading my brain/ear that I'm in a concert venue.

Thanks for your thoughts. You are of course right that there's never any real turning back...

-- John

Just keep upgrading and eventually you'll realize why 98% of audiophiles use 2-channels as their reference audio systems and relegate 5 or 7 channels for home theater.

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #4 on: 30 Mar 2017, 11:55 pm »
Considering you will have a sub (maybe more than one over time?) in play for sure, and the open baffles on the OB-7 are no problem, If I were you I would be taking a long look at the NX-Otica kit.  With the sub(s), I think you would gain more in sound quality with the whole speaker being open baffle (as well as using the upgraded mid drivers compared to the OB-7) than the OB-7's lower section would provide in comparison.

Looking down the road, it leaves you with a pretty full upgrade path adding/upgrading the sub(s) (Danny's servo subs, either OB or (and) sealed for the win), upgrading the surrounds to something with the neo3  tweeter (N3TL? N2X?), then (hopefully) twisting Danny's arm to sketch up a new center channel to match the NX-Oticas.

I'll also second that, although there is a lot to be said for a quality 2-channel rig (I have enjoyed and still do enjoy my 2-channel listening), a suitably high quality surround setup can pull off some impressive tricks I have yet to hear with only two speakers in play.  Just because there are a lot fewer options at the very high end of both gear and recordings with multichannel doesn't mean that one can't make a REALLY good rig with what is out there.

ebag4

Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #5 on: 31 Mar 2017, 12:05 am »
Considering you will have a sub (maybe more than one over time?) in play for sure, and the open baffles on the OB-7 are no problem, If I were you I would be taking a long look at the NX-Otica kit.  With the sub(s), I think you would gain more in sound quality with the whole speaker being open baffle (as well as using the upgraded mid drivers compared to the OB-7) than the OB-7's lower section would provide in comparison.

Looking down the road, it leaves you with a pretty full upgrade path adding/upgrading the sub(s) (Danny's servo subs, either OB or (and) sealed for the win), upgrading the surrounds to something with the neo3  tweeter (N3TL? N2X?), then (hopefully) twisting Danny's arm to sketch up a new center channel to match the NX-Oticas.

I'll also second that, although there is a lot to be said for a quality 2-channel rig (I have enjoyed and still do enjoy my 2-channel listening), a suitably high quality surround setup can pull off some impressive tricks I have yet to hear with only two speakers in play.  Just because there are a lot fewer options at the very high end of both gear and recordings with multichannel doesn't mean that one can't make a REALLY good rig with what is out there.
+1

Best,
Ed

jseipp

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 140
Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #6 on: 31 Mar 2017, 12:11 am »
I am belatedly working on putting together one of the new kits you mentioned and have enjoyed the Wedgies ever since they were made available.  The guys on the board here have demonstrated their spectacular talents in bringing many versions of Danny's amazing designs to life.  As far as symphonic music is concerned, I agree that Danny's open baffle designs are magical.  If you do go with a kit that includes flat packs, know that every bit as much attention to detail and to your satisfaction goes into producing them as goes into producing the core design.

I realize I haven't told you anything that you probably don't already know, but I want to chime in with my experience; you really can't go wrong with Danny's offerings.  I'd just add my voice to those suggesting integrating servo open-baffle bass -- once you hear it, I suspect you'll be hooked for good.   

mlundy57

Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #7 on: 31 Mar 2017, 01:32 am »
From my perspective, the main reason for choosing the OB7s over the NX-Oticas would be price. The Oticas are considerably more expensive. I haven't heard the OB7s so I cannot make any comparisons between them and the NX-Oticas. When it comes to comparing/contrasting the OB7s and NX-Oticas, Jay (Captainhemo), will be a good source of information since he has had both. Maybe he'll chime in on that score.

With subs you will get the best blend (especially with the NX-Oticas) with an OB servo sub for each channel. This will produce a main speaker combo that plays full range (20Hz-20kHz). You will still need one or more sealed/ported subs for movies. OB subs do not handle special effects well. The infrasonics cause them to bottom out.

The O-3's were designed as surround speakers for the OB-5/7 and would work just as well with the NX-Oticas.

On the non-OB side you mentioned the N3 transmission line towers. These are also exceptional and would be a big step up from your current setup. The O-3's will also work for rear surrounds for N3's.

I can give you my opinion on the N3 vs the MTM monitor version of the NX-Otica. I have both in different rooms. The N3's are mated with a GR/Rythmik 12" sealed servo sub (F12G if bought from Rythmik). The NX-Otica monitors are mated to dual 12" OB servo subs for each channel. 

The N3's are also in a 4.1 surround system (no center channel speaker). While the N3's are designed to be -3dB at 40Hz, my in room response sounds more like mid 30's (one of these days I'll get around to measuring it). With this I can listen to music recorded in 2 channel in stereo mode and multi-channel for multi-channel sources.

The N3's are a real pleasure to listen to; smooth, detailed, full, jut an all around joy. The only speakers I have found I like better are my OB's (either the LGK Wedgies or the NX-Otica MTM's). OK, that's not exactly true. The Neo 3/10 line array with the triple 12" servo towers for each channel Danny built is the best I've ever heard but for a mere mortal  the Wedgies and Oticas are my reference point. As good as the N3s are, the OBs are just more. But then the OB setup (including subs) cost twice what the N3s did.

Up grade path would depend on whether you decided to go with the transmission line or OB for your mains.

If you go with the transmission line then start with the N3's and move your A/V3's to surround. You already have an N3S so you have the matching center. Next consider a second sub if you need it in your room to even out base response (one sub works fine for me since I don't have multiple rows of seating, just me and my wife). Eventually build a pair of O-3's for surrounds. When you add the Atmos speakers N2X's would be the matching speakers. Danny has also suggested LGK 1.0's as ceiling mounted speakers in a different thread.

If you decide to go OB, either OB-7 or NX-Otica, again start with the mains and move the A/V3's to surround duty. While you can keep using the N3S as center i would recommend experimenting with it both in and out of the system. I find the NX-Oticas (and the smaller Wedgies) to image so well and clearly, dialogue sounds better without a center channel speaker.

Next add OB subs to the main channels. Both at once if your budget allows or one at a time if it doesn't. If you start off with one, set it in the middle and combine both channels.

Then add O-3's for surrounds. Again, N2X's or LGK 1.0's for ceiling speakers.

I'm sure there are other options and paths as well.

Mike

jlemke

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Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #8 on: 31 Mar 2017, 02:41 am »
Where would I find more info about the NX-Oticas and the LGK Wedgies? Tough but interesting trade offs here, I think, which may become clearer as I learn more about the options not on the web site.

Mike, I greatly appreciate your detailed answer and guidance. Although I built a pair of O-3s for my son, he lives about a thousand miles away and I haven't heard them recently; I appreciate your putting them back in mind.



 

mlundy57

Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #9 on: 31 Mar 2017, 03:33 am »
Where would I find more info about the NX-Oticas and the LGK Wedgies? Tough but interesting trade offs here, I think, which may become clearer as I learn more about the options not on the web site.

Mike, I greatly appreciate your detailed answer and guidance. Although I built a pair of O-3s for my son, he lives about a thousand miles away and I haven't heard them recently; I appreciate your putting them back in mind.

You're welcome.

Here's some info on the NX-Oticas:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=138009.0

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=144907.msg1550116#msg1550116

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=143221.0

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=146187.0

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=139529.msg1490441#msg1490441


Both the NX-Otica (full size & MTM section) and the Wedgies are not something the average woodworker can build at home. This is because the baffle incorporates a CNC'd waveguide for the tweeter. Flatpacks are available for the NX-Otica, both full size and MTM monitor from Jay (Captainhemo). Unfortunately, flatpacks are no longer available for the Wedgies. I have enough parts to build 3 or 4 more pair of Wedgies but that is all I am aware of. I will only sell these as completed speakers.

Here are links to some info on the Wedgies:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=126112.0

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=135561.0

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=137917.msg1468076#msg1468076

Mike

jlemke

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Thinking ahead for incremental upgrades
« Reply #10 on: 31 Mar 2017, 01:21 pm »
Thanks again, Mike. Fascinating reading that gives me a lot to think about. It's so tempting to dig deeply into all this...but I have to balance it against other aspects of my life. I can give it some time.