Newbie needs advice for upgrade.

I've some questions in regard to upgrade options for my living room rig. If any one word could be used to describe my set-up, it's shoddy. It's tolerable, but barely so...

Anyway, here's the rundown:

Rega Planet ->
The Chord Cobra 2 ->
Rega Luna ->
(erm, the rest is embarrassing)
Monster ->
Yamaha Sub ->
Monster ->
Mission 5" bookshelf speakers

This system leaves much to be desired, this is not to mention that the room that it is in is open to a sprawling studio apartment layout....

Okay, no more apologies.

The reason that I am here is to find some recommendations for a speaker upgrade. I have noticed recently that the port on both speaker cabinets are emitting a fluttering sound due to excess stress on the cones from lower frequencies (perhaps someone could explain what might actually be causing this since I am a total novice). I could swap out for new drivers, but I feel that driver replacement is silly for an entry level speaker.

I have been eying the PSB SubSeries 1 to replace the Yamaha, as it is within my price range, but that is to suggest that I am going to stick with stand mounted speakers. I love the idea of getting my hands on some floor-standing full-range speakers, but these are typically very expensive and I don't know what the Luna is capable of driving.

To put it simply, the sub has got to go, the Mission's are near toast and the speaker cable is depressing.

Based on the information that I have given, can you make some suggestions for my little stereo?

Any input is appreciated!

If your place is smaller, I'd consider powered studio monitors with a matching sub. It can be set-up like nearfield monitors in a recording studio. This will provide a clean balanced sound to develop your ears. I'd recommend 2-way with 8 inch bass drivers, along with a matching powered sub. This is a very common nearfield monitor driver configuration.

Powered studio monitors and matching powered subs can work in many arrangements. They have separate volume controls and high and low passes for the best balance. You'll need "pre-outs" or you may connect directly to your player source, or possibly to your headphone jacks with a convertor plugs.

For HT, you can add a pair for surrounds and one for the front channel. In a smaller place, 5 excellent quality studio monitors with matching subs could really sound nice.

Component matching is probably the most important factor in a great sound reproduction system.

Good luck...enter the audiophile world with caution... there may be no turning back...
you should never feel embarrassed about the gear you have, it shows you are a music lover and no one on this forum will think otherwise. I would go to a hifi shop and see what they have in your budget. the right shop won't hard sell you and will help you get what you need now, and if they handle you properly you'll be back when you move up the food chain...your Rega stuff is a good foundation...when you buy speaker cables and interconnects I'd suggest Paul Speltz AntiCables...very inexpensive and their performance is off the charts...many on this forum use them. If you can, have a dedicated line for your gear and pay attention to treating your room acoustics and power source.
Ditto Larryken.Rega,anti-cables and some used KRK speakers or older JBL's.I had the Luna for years on Missions and Merlins and it was as good as 85% of all Ive heard.Keep on truckin,cheers,Bob
maybe some Rega speakers for system synergy ... some of their older models are very inexpensive but sound great ... their floorstanders are full sounding and maybe a tad forward but are always a pleasure to listen to ... try to find a used pair of Jura's or similar if you don't want to spend a fortune. Email me privately for more info on Rega speakers if you wish
I'll ring in too with "Don't feel embarrassed". Look at the Legendary Audio gear thread. I began by making a audiophile notebook. I listed the most highly regarded components first from different references. Component matching becomes more and more important.

When my "Best List" was missing any real personal experience matching components, my personal notebook kept my sights clearer and loose ideas better grounded while reading forums, reviews and learning technical expressions.

Keep an eye on EBay and CraigsList. With a list in hand, you can much better land those separates. Occassionally, rare pieces appear that are little known. I never heard of 25 year old custom Yamaha ST-1 cathedral monitors and had this burning feeling. I reluctantly took off on a 4 hour road trip and came home with my new front mains. I'm so happy following this happenstance, haphazardous impulse and enjoying music/HT more than ever. I'd say they weigh in at least 200 pounds each.

Look up "craigsublist" for some good info on subs rated by both music and HT reproduction. No lists are all-inclusive. Good Luck and let us know what you chose and how it sounds.

I have a pair of Mackie 824 and Beringer Truth B2031A studio monitors. The Truths are good knock-offs of the Mackies. Both are good near-field studio monitors. My AVP2 manual recommends possibly using near-field monitors as rear surrounds, placed behind the listeners, in addition to higher mounted ceiling surrounds. The Proceed manual stated adding near-fields may add to the surround channels SQ depending on the room set-up.

I also use them with Roland TD-12's and a Roland GT-10. Very versitile, especially with a matching sub.

If you like PSBs, try some Energy RC-10s. They may not be especially "refined" but they have a full sound, very good bass, easy to drive (8 ohms, 88db), and forgiving of equipment.

..... and they are CHEAP. You'd probably be able to get them for $200-300. At that price you could give them away after....they look good too (especially the Cherry).

Or Usher 520s (never tried but tempted sometimes).

I use anti-cables (I'm be tempted to try some DH Labs Q-10 speaker cables), DH Labs Silver Revelation and BLII cables and Signal Cables. I've never used them, but Blue Jeans Cables gets mentioned often. These companies seem to get mentioned often when it comes to bang-for-buck.

I really don't know how much of a difference expensive ICs make, but I don't care. There's no way I can or would spend too much money on them. The only reason I spend what I do on them is that I don't want them to be the "weak" link...

I figure it's got to be commensurate/cost with the other gear.

Power cords though, to me, seem to make a marked difference. Even plugging your power amp into a wall versus a power strip or whatever, made a difference.

If I had the money I'd buy one of those Running Springs power conditioners.

... one thing I learned at it's a good thing early.. always buy USED. I stopped buying from Ebay (way too expensive and frustrating) and just buy from Audiogon and Craigslist (local is good)...

I also use an Apple Airport Express to stream my music wirelessly from my Macbook. For the price, you can't lose. It's got a DAC in it. Better than just plugging in your ipod/laptop. Very Very convenient for casual listening, internet radio.... and if you think it sucks, you could always use it as router or to print stuff wirelessly.

But seriously, save yourself the time and just buy a record player and a tube integrated...
what kind of music do you like to listen too and how is your listening room laid out?
what kind of budget to you have to work with?
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Thanks all for your input. I appreciate the kind words and outpouring of advice! I have to say that I didn't expect such a quick response from the board.

Several of you have suggested near field active monitors, and this is something that I've considered but what about the "near-field" part? Some time ago, I had a pair of powered Event TR-8 monitors that I used for DJing, but unfortunately I had to sell them. I enjoyed them quite a bit, but they didn't seem to project very well as "general listening speakers" as much as near-field reference monitors.

Rleff asked:
"what kind of music do you like to listen to..."

I primarily listen to various genres of electronic music, including beat-driven styles, ambient and experimental electro-acoustic as well as instrumental rock, but I've been slowly getting into contemporary classical and jazz and singer/songwriter stuff. If you have some suggestions for speakers based on the kind of music, I'm intrigued.

"...and how is your listening room laid out?"

The room is a coupled space nightmare. It's a kitchen and living room in one that measures 23x12' that is open to a room/hallway/office with odd dimensions at about a quarter of square footage. There is an open doorway and open wall/window thing that joins the two spaces. The space feels good because it's so open, but...

After thinking about this a bit more, I suppose that the amount of air displacement required for this cavern is simply not to be expected of these little Missions, let alone a pair of studio monitors. Am I mistaken? Is it a matter of tweaking parameters and levels on some more in-line gear? I don't want to color the sound too much.

Bob_reynolds asked:

"Does your Rega integrated amp have both preamp out and main amp in jacks? If so, then you should be using a high pass filter in front of your main speakers so they don't have to handle bass. That's the sub's job"

YES, it does. Is the filter something that can be run in-line between the sub and mains, or is this something that the sub should be designed to handle? This sub has one, but it still allows a considerable amount of low mids through that are distorting the little 5 inchers. Perhaps the issue here is the lack of synergy in the speaker system as was mentioned by Jrinkerptdnet.
Recording studio monitors are not large stage or musician monitors. Their purpose is different.

You've seen the smaller, sealed off studios where the recording engineers sit in front of large mixer boards? There's usually 2-3 pairs of different monitors in their "sound rooms".

At 4-8 feet or so, near-field monitors attempt to provide perfect sound reproduction in a smaller "sound room" for recording engineers. Within this smaller sound envelop, they mix tracks accurately to sound best on the vast majority of speakers in the market. They use 2-3 different types of studio monitors to help get the best possible final mix.
Here is a thought - try to find used Energy Veritas 1.8 (or others but the 1.8's were very good) and then get something like a Bryston 4B ST used to drive them. But watch out the neighbors may complain about the you had better invite them over!
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I recommended active over passive studio monitors based on your experience and questions. Active monitors will make your component matching easier. By choosing active monitors, you won't have to match amps and speakers. Active studio monitors have specially designed internal amps and crossovers designed to perfectly match the internal drivers.

When you are ready to match components and select larger speakers, your ears will have been trained by listening to your favorite music and HT through perfectly balanced, accurate studio monitors. That's a huge benefit.
Passive studio monitors can do this just as well if the amps and speakers are matched correctly. Active moitors may be simply the easiest solution.
Thanks for the clarification, Bob.

And to Soundsbeyondspecs, I do have some experience with properly matched systems so I have a pretty clear understanding for what I am listening. The powered monitor solution makes good sense to me so I will try this to see how they act, but I am more inclined to continue using the Luna as a main power source with a passive system.

With that being said, I will experiment with the studio monitor idea and see what towers I can find on audio row in my city.

Thanks again everyone, and I look forward to sharing what I find in the future.