Any "Deadhead" audiophiles out there to help

Looking to fine tune my system for mostly music and then home theater. As apparent I am a deadhead since the early 80s and love the music and grew up on the sound. I have not really swayed much from that genre but do have an ear for classical too. I play a lot of SACD, DVD Audio and blu-ray DVDs. Currently I have a mix bag system and was wondering if I could tighten it up or move some things around. Unfortunately my room is awkward with 8 foot ceilings and 25 by 13 with an extended room open from the length to add about another 12 feet from the front speakers. This creates an "L" shape room, it was a remodel job from the prior owner converting the single car garage into another sitting room with a woodstove. I have been slowly building my system and would like any and all input on changes that could make it sound even better. This is a living area so I must keep it wife approved, as she has embraced this change as well. Now you know most "deadheads" aint got major loot, but I do save and will spend for the right gear. Here is my setup..

Pioneer Elite VSX 94TXH
B&K Reference 200.7
B&W CDM 7NT fronts (Bi-amped)
B&W CC6 center (looking to improve to CDM CNT version)
B&W 602 S1 (Bi-wired) rears along with 2 Athena bookshelfs near the ceiling
Martin Logan Motion 4's and 2-Mirage Nanosats for Side surrounds
Paradigm PDR-10 sub
Oppo BDP 93 player
Panasonic 50 inch plasma

I also have a few other mirage nanosats in other rooms to provide music in those locations and split that with a niles speaker selector
Nice gear...the obvious weak spot imho is the sub...many upgrades...including paradigm themselves...the pw 2200(?) is a significant improvement...and b&w as well...good luck...u got any shows from Europe 72 box? ....highly recommended
Well done!

I would focus on smaller details for refinement:

Dedicated AC lines
Audiophile Grade Outlets
Room Treatments that are (WA of course) and visually kool
Upgraded power cord for plasma and Oppo
Upgraded speaker wires and IC for source
Add another sub so you have two
FWIW, my recommendation, in order of importance, would be to find either separates or an integrated that is designed for 2 channel first and foremost but offers a home theater by-pass so you can use your receiver and HT amp to drive your HT while you have a very high quality 2 channel rig making music.

In looking for the pre/amp integrated I would be thinking ahead to the type of overall sound you want long-term and consider synergistic amplification and speaker combos so you can come up with a system strategy. There are a lot of different flavors to sample.

I am not sure exactly what you mean by the deadhead sound but it makes me think of box of rain on vinyl. Vinyl to me is a very important part of my audiophile enjoyment and as a matter of fact, I think I might go spin some dead right now. That's me and there is plenty of reading here about the virtues and challenges of vinyl.
Many thanks for the responses..I have been considering an upgrade or additional sub to be added..looking towards REL or SVS..any suggestions there??
Nice system, shakedown street. I used to have the B&K 200.5, the 5 channel version of your amp. B&K is a solid underrated company IMHO. I just bought the newly released Grateful Dead blu-ray movie yesterday. I'll let you know my thoughts after I give it a listen. As far as SACDs, I'm a big fan of the Jerry Garcia and Meryl Saunders disc.

Regarding your system, I think maniac is giving good advice. Going from a pre-pro to a dedicated 2 channel pre-amp with HT bypass was a strong step in the right direction for me, as I prefer to do most of my listening in 2 channel, even for multi-channel recordings. Happy listening!
Dserota...many thanks...please give me some suggestions on a pre pro setup that could not break the bank at $3K or less
You've got more speakers there than I can conceive of!!!!

I assume that you are using your Pioneer 7-ch AV receiver to run some of them, and that you want to continue to do so (zoned music system) - so I wouldn't recommend getting rid of your receiver. Your receiver is essentially a pre/pro with amplifiers built in - though perhaps not the best amplifiers for critical listening. So - I suggest keep your receiver and use it for feeding all those peripheral speakers. Feed the receiver digitally from the Oppo. For critical music listening, either take the analog out from your Oppo or another digital out, and feed it to a 2ch system with a HT passthrough. This could be a good tubed preamp with HTpass feeding to a new amplifier or using 4 channels of your existing B&K (for biamping), or a good integrated. If you take digital out of the Oppo, you'll need a decent DAC as well.

Since your source is purely digital, another option would be to get a DAC/Preamp for your 2ch system with a single set of analog inputs to take music from your Pioneer receiver. You run the Oppo digital into it for 2ch music and the analog into it for HT - just choose a volume setting for analog to set your speaker balance with. Output from the DAC/pre can either go to the B&K amp or a nicer one.

Just some thoughts. Also, if you are used to listening with more than 2 speakers for music, there is no guarantee that you'll like a pure 2ch setup better. In this case, you can be feeding digital to both the 2ch setup and the receiver (controlling the rest of your speakers) and you can manually add in the surround system to supplement the 2ch to get that "concert sound". This is not very conveniant though, as everytime you change volume the balance gets thrown off.

Let us know what you come up with. Best, Peter

While it may seem that I have more speakers than one can concieve it actually works fairly well in real good harmony. But I will say that it does seem to lack something on certain tracks but I am sure it is the recordings. I will admit that the 2 channel is probably not my desire as my reciever does give me the opportunity to relieve any sort of musical temptations or coloration. I am sure that this does not fit certain audiophile expectations but the Pioneer does provide this trait. I think that I might venture towards the upgrade of the center channel and subwoofer. I had a good line on a SVS Ultra 13 but decided to pass and get his power amp instead. That has made a great improvement so the quest continues.... channel is key for is sub...the sub was paradigms entry level...and nowhere near your other gear imho...Ck out outlaw audio or Hsu for subs...
Does the Oppo play HDCD? If not I would start there since most of the Dead CD's are recorded using HDCD. Also there are tons of soundboard shows available as flac torrents (totally legal). I would second the room treatments...

When in dought, twirl.
Yep...sub and the cc are definitly the next to be upgraded..I have been looking / saving for about 6 months now and ready to cash in...Ts, yes the Oppo does play HDCD and all others, this is a mean machine and it just got a killer updrade to You Tube "Leanback" which plays back the videos in full screen rather than a small picture area. Plus it alos added Pandora which is nice too..And yes I do stream some of the torrents through my Pioneer via my laptop...checkout Jamtopia website
Any good suggestions on speaker cables as I prefer the bi-amp sound vs the bi wire method..I have a run of 12 feet that is needed for my fronts, figure I woould start their first..


Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval works great.
Try the Kimber Kable PBJ cables. They have been in production for something like twenty plus years and have not changed. They are also reasonably priced.
Also, check out McIntosh's website. There is a video of an interview with Bob Weir for Mac gear. The Dead powered the Wall of Sound with 23,000+ watts of McIntosh power. Bob still uses Mac gear to this day.
Also.....the Europe '72 shows are all being released for individual sale if you missed out on the order for the 7200 limited box sets. There are 74 CDs in the box all of which are from the European tour that year. The sound quality is pretty good from what I hear. That should keep you Truckin' for a long time!

Most are deadheads.
For true Phil Bombs, consider a (or, better, two) JL Audio F112 (or two F110s). Beyond that, and recognizing that you enjoy the surround/multi channel experience, if you are really looking to capture the live Dead sound, you should still consider going 2-channel. Peter S (and others) makes good suggestions about electronics. Re speakers, given your room size and configuration, consider switching to floorstanders with more cabinet heft and lots of mid-range clarity, extension and power handling -- so essential for Jerry's guitar work. I really question whether you're current multi-set up comes close (it may well; but I fear you are missing the core; and you must too, hence this thread). Or, get monitors with those qualities and add two subs. The advice about room treatment is spot on; it makes a huge differenence, and can be accomplished with WAF.
Peter's response is right on. For 2 channel, which is key if u r doing some serious sessions w/quality live or studio dead, get strong 2 channel amp and a quality dac/pre w/ht bypass and true high quality analogue output stage and gain control(w4s and bel canto come to mind; if bigger budget the new amr dp-777 is unreal)and fully separate 2 channel from HT. You will be amazed. Also, a few bucks spent on the ICs and speaker cable fro main speakers can be meaningful.
Replaced the center channel with the CDM CNT version, almost night and day differnce to the CC6. Still playin around and tryin to get it seated in right. Seems to be a bit more forward.
I don't know if your living space can accomodate, but Vandersteen 2CE signatures and Vandersteen subs together can be quite satisfying and not too hard to drive. You need to be able to pull the speakers away from the wall by a couple of feet though. I've been impressed with this many times. You may want something more detailed though, given your enjoyment of B&W's. Something to consider.

Are you using fully digital sources or do you have any analog sources? That could affect the W4S recommendation above.
I'm thinking something like this:

FOR 2CH MUSIC LISTENING: Oppo goes to 2ch DAC ($500) into either preamp or integrated amp with HT bypass. The unit should have a spare set of variable outputs. That way, if you want to embellish the 2ch recordings with your other speakers, you take the variable out from the pre/int and send it to an analog input on your Pioneer receiver. Figure out a fixed volume for the Pioneer, and then the whole shebang is volume adjusted with your 2ch pre/int. Depending on which fronts you use, you may not be biamping. I figure you've got to spend atleast about $1200 to get a decent preamp. Please specify whether you have any aversion to tubes, and whether you require a remote control.

FOR HT WATCHING AND SURROUND SOUND LISTENING: OPPO source goes into your Pioneer Receiver. Analog front channel outs got to HT bypass in your 2ch pre/int, which essentially gives up control to the receiver.

You can use your B&K amp initially for the fronts. The amp you ultimately get will depend on which speakers you ultimately choose, and the synergy b/t them.
For reference, may want to check out the new Parasound JC-2 Bypass preamplifier with HT passthrough.
My best friend has these I believe, I know they are the 2 series not sure on the exact model. I have a restriction of my ability to come from the wall. Currently my speakers are about 16 inches from the wall only because of the room layout I cannot bring them forward anymore. I did enjoy my friends Vandersteens but did note that they were a bit excessive in the bass dept though. Could have been his setup and arrangement too.
No specific answers for you, but many fond memories of Jerry, Bobby, Phil, Bill, Mickey, and Pigpen/Keith/Brent/Vince at some awesome New Year's Eve shows. It's been a long strange trip, and I've enjoyed every single minute of it ! The road goes on forever. Happy New Year, and keep on truckin'.

Very nice system and glad to bring you back to the "Golden Road"..Happy New Weir
Does the Oppo have to go into a DAC or could it be just an integrated amp with HT Bypass??? How about Krell or Parasound would either of those work so they could be passed through my Pioneer and B&K???
Could this be a possiblity..Bel Canto S300i USB Integrated Amp to give me the 2ch and bypass that you speak of?? This is in my budget range. Anyone have comments about this amp?? A question I have is the line out on the unit, as I read the PDF it says that it can go to the sub or another amp...In my setup it would go to the amp and not the sub right??
Still trying to wrap my head around improving my system. I still feel its lacking fullness. Its nearly there, just can't quite put my hand or ear on it. The new center channel was an improvement ten fold (got the CDM CNT). I am still torn to see if new front full range speakers would provide me a LARGER sound. Or is this pre-amp or integrated amp the ticket to this achieved sound. Would love to consider a speaker that is Bi-amp capable and would sing with the rest of my equipment (I can dream can't I). I can only move the speakers out about 13-15 inches from the wall, so any suggestions would be great...Got about $3k to play with..
Bel canto is a great move. I use this in my office system (w/ dynaudios) and it is great. Has great internal dac also.
I have read great stuff about Bel Canto...Which version do you speak of???