advice before my head explodes...

I've been trying to upgrade my system for awhile now, but got distracted by other purchase decisions.... but that's another story. To give some background, I researched TV's for 2 years, after spending $3000 I realized I bought the wrong one a couple of months ago. I don't want to repeat that.

I currently have a Yamaha RXV-995 receiver and I'm using a Panasonic RP-56 DVD player for CD's. YES, I KNOW. Also, if you must know I'm using some hand-me-down Cerwin Vega D-5 speakers. So I'm in pretty bad shape as far this population is concerned I'm sure.

About 6 months ago, I nearly purchased Paradigm Studio 60's and Studio center. Then I lost out on a good deal on some Paradigm Active 40's and Active center.

Whatever speakers I buy, they will also be used for HT so the center and surrounds is important. But music performance is probably a little more important to me.

I've looked at a number of speakers but due to differnt stores with differnt rooms and different electronics... I have not reached many conclusions. My expected expenditure increased also. I hate to put a figure on it because VALUE is the most important factor to me, but let's say $3000 for mains, center, and either sub, surrounds, amp or cd player.

Any idea what I should upgrade first?
If music is more important to you, I would do the following: Purchase a set of good left/right and center speakers, as close to full range as possible. Spend as much as you can on the speakers, and buy a pair that both you and (if applicable) spouse can live with. Spend less money on the surrounds, but try to find one that is voice matched with the fronts, or at least has the same type tweeter (i.e. metal dome). Then purchase a quality receiver for your surround sound and music listening. Later, as money allows, purchase a separate 2ch amp (used here on Audiogon) for your left/right speakers to get better sound for your music. For music, there are many good used CD players here on Audiogon as well. You are now poised for future upgrades (audio/video preamp-processor and then separate amps for the remaining speakers).

As for brands to look at, I've always been partial to the following when looking for value:

Denon (receivers)

Acurus (amps--these are being discontinued next year due to parent company restructuring so you will find excellent deals on both new and used--first rate quality)

NHT (speakers--research their "Super" series)

California Audio Labs (good quality CD players--especially if looking for used ones)

I'm sure others on this site will have some additional advice. Good luck with your purchases.
Good advise Argent. For heaven sake just take your time. It will all come together eventually. Remember in H/T the center speaker is the most important. Also, when picking a DVD and Pre-Amp shoot for DTS decoding on both pieces. As far as subs go their are only two to choose from Velodyne HGS series or Rell. Try and put some money away for cabling also you'll be needing some soon.

You can run surround with two speakers then three (add Center) then I would add the sub then rears. That is a good progression. take care

For speakers you could hardly go wrong with Paradigms or B&W. Several pairs of B&W 601/2 on the Gon right now.

However, you should really check out NORH as well ( Their HT (great for stereo as well) 4.0 and 5.1 speakers, always a great buy, are currently on an Xmas sale. (about $100 USD)off per pair. Make sure you get shielded speakers for the center channel if it is going to be close to your TV.

My HT is B&W and my 2 channel is Norh with tubes. I have never enjoyed movies or music more.
gunbunny(interesting moniker): i really can't answer your query but hope you'll consider having an mpeg made of your exploding head should such an event seem likely to occur. just a bit of morbid curiosity, don't you know. -cfb
I would highly recommend you looking at the PSB stable. They offer more than one line. I use one of the finest monitors in my main system, the Harbeth Compact 7ES, and also own and use some low end line PSB speakers in another system. They are an exceptional value in comparison. They are popular and can be found used or "B" stock here where you can get a lot of bang for your buck. Good luck. Charlie
Kelly- You sick audiophile you! Can't someone just have there head explode in peace and quiet with out the fear of having it broadcast on the net!! In any case if it makes it to the net I would like to see it.

I agree with everything everyone said already, but like Glen said, take your time, don't try to get everything done at once, chip away piece by piece. One day everything will come together and you'll be pleased with the conquest(audio is the same way, lol!). I think Paradigm is good stuff for the money as is B&W, but just be patient and wait for a good deal, there are plenty to be had you mind as well be one to get one of those deals. Heck my whole system is comprised of too good to be true deals, it only took 3 years! Good luck and enjoy!

If you guys would like to see the technicolor (slo-motion) version of Cher's head exploding, Visit

And please, do not confuse with such imitators as or
I went to a small audio store today to listen to some Pro Ac and Soliloquy speakers. I liked the Soliloquy 5.3 ok, but it seemed to lack something, can't quite put my finger on it. For lack of a better term, I think the lower mids sounded a little flat.

I did however reserve a cd player when the next shipment comes in next week. It's a Cambridge Audio (500E I think?) for $400. I really couldn't tell much, if any difference between it and the $2500 player on the same rack.

For those wondering... "Gunbunny" is slang term used sometimes when referring to attack/fighter pilots in the military. I fly AH-64 Apaches.
Geez, we are getting full of armed service folk now, two new posters in one week Gunbunny and Poor_Airman, and now Pcc is joining us again. I feel safer and more secure then I used to, the 3 of you should get together and talk about audio, I bet you would have a lot in common.