want to upgrade music performance in HT syst.

First the system:

Pioneer Elite DVC-36(odvious weak link for music but love video performance and conveniance of 5 discs.)
Krell HTS1
Plinius SA-250mkIV
Aragon 8008x3b
Dynaudio Contour 3.0
Dyn Contour cntr ch
Dyn 1.3mkII
Rel Storm III sub

I'm not getting the performance that I feel I should be getting, for music, from this system. I cannot afford a separate music only system and I know someone will mention getting rid of the HTS. Sorry, but I love the performance I get from this piece overall and I will not let it go. I've looked into getting a dedicated cdp and have rounded up the usual suspects. Budget; Music Hall MMF cd-25, Rega Planet 2000, top of the line Rotel, various Sony sacd players but I'm not interested in multi-ch music formats at all. The more pricier suspects; Rega Jupiter, Accuphase, Electrocompaniet, Wadia, Levinson, ext. The dealer I purchased my Krell HTS from mentioned that the dacs in the HTS are state of the art, so I could run a good transport and have the processor do the upsampling. I'm so confused. I just want to enjoy my music and I know I'm not getting everything I can from my dvd player. I would like to keep the cost down, $750-$1500. I would greatly appreciate any help you guys & gals could give me. I'm running a Goldmond digital cable (RCA to RCA terminated) and I've had my doubts about that purchase. If you have any thoughts on this cable or any ideas for an upgrade I would love to hear from you as well. Thanks in advance for your help.....John
1) You didn't say what aspect of your system is disappointing. What are we helping you fix? 2) you didn't mention your cables. Although its clear from many posts that you can't use cables to "fix" a system, it is clear that cables make a difference, e.g. some interconnects roll off the highs. Most of what you've listed above should sound very good. I too was using a Pioneer dvd/cd player as a transport while waiting for my expensive transport to arrive and found it to be decent (you mentioned the digital cable and the HTS dacs so I know you are not using the dacs in the dvd player). btw: xlr or BNC terminations on digital cables are supposed to be better than rca (not truly 75 ohms). Do you have some kind of power conditioning? Does you system sound better at 2am than at 7pm (because of dirty power)? lots of things to consider.
Hey Mg123,

The disapointing part of my system is the music playback from my DVD player. My 2 ch. main amp (Plinius) is connected to the processor w/Transparent Ultra XL Balanced IC. My L&R front spkrs are connected by Transparent Super XL spkr cables terminated w/spades on both sides. I have my TV, Mitsu WT-46809, DVD player, cable box, processor, VCR and sub, Velodyne FSX-12, all connected to 2 Richard Gray Power Co. 400s. Digital components and 2nd RGPC into the first RGPC and analog components into the 2nd RGPC. I have the first RGPC connected to the wall outlet by a Synergistic Research AC Master Coupler. My 2 amps are connected to a PS Audio Ultimate Outlet, high current version. All of the replaceable power cords have been changed to PS Audio Mini Lab cables. And yes, my system does sound better at 2am then at 7pm. Hope this helps clear things up and makes it easier get some more feedback on my dilemma. Thanks for your post.....John

WHAT about your music playback? grainy highs or midrange? no bass or bloated bass? can't turn it up loud? distortion? box y sound?. Although I'm not a fan of Transparent cables, it sounds like you have chosen lots of highend cables and have some power conditioning. When I plugged everything (except power amp) into a PS Audio powerplant, then my system sounded the same during the day or evening as the middle of the night. It makes its own power. But tell us what you don't like... be specific
If you have a friend with a quality DAC who will lend it to you for a test, or a dealer who will lend you one, try it using your dvd as the transport. While you haven't yet described exactly what disappoints you, using the dvd's dac(s) is an obvious weak link. A low risk way of confirming that this is your problem would be to borrow one if you can. Your budget allows you to get a decent DAC if that is indeed the case.
Hello folks,

Thanks for the responses. It is hard to put my finger on just what it is that's missing. I get, what I feel, is decent bass and the high end is crisp and extended w/out being harsh or tizzy. But I think there is still room for improvement in every area in the music playback. I'm looking for what everybody seems to be looking for. I want to feel the music. I think the soundstage can be better, broader, wider, more detailed and focussed. I've heard it in audio shops and have read about these incredibly deep, wide and three dimensional experiences that people are having w/there systems and I feel I should be able to achieve this w/my system. I truly think that it has something to do w/the lack of performance I'm getting from my DVD player, the digital cable or both. Again I hope this helps shed more light on the answers I'm seeking to aleviate these concerns I have w/the music playback of my system. Pls keep the comments comming. Thanks.....John
Any chance you're located in STL? Your system looks like one that would be put together by one of the local shops here.

It's not clear if you're using the DVD player as a full blown CD player or just as a transport, but definitely don't use it as a CD player. If you are, change to using it just as a transport and feed the digital signal to the HTS. The HTS doesn't have analog pass-thru, so you're going through two conversions you don't need if you're using the DVD player as a CD player into the HTS. Because of that lack of pass-thru, I'm doubting that any CD player purchase will change the performance of your system. If you have one of the HTS2 that do have that feature, then I'd most definitely recommend a good CD player in lieu of a transport into the Krell. I'd recommend a used Arcam FMJ23 or, for a bit more, a Muse Model 9 (regular or Signature). I have a very similar system to yours (same basic speaker setup, similar amplification quality) and recently added the Muse to my great satisfaction.

You don't mention your room - perhaps setup is an issue? Also - run a couple (few?) dedicated 20amp circuits to your setup if you haven't already. -Kirk


Where is the Mits located in relation to your front speakers? If the TV is located directly in between the front speakers and on the same plane, then it will be hard to get that 3D soundstage you desire from 2ch music. Try to keep the TV at least 3 to 4 ft. behind the front speakers. Hope this helps. Good Luck!
Jrwr7, My close friend has owned a system which was almost exactly like yours - except his front speakers are the Dynaudio Consequence which were the flagship Dynaudio speaker prior to the Evidence. The HTS-1 is a good pre/pro but we have had some trouble with the way it handles Super Audio CD and therefore do not recommend SACD machines as long as you have the original HTS. IF you upgrade to the HTS-2, SACD through-put is better - but still not optimal.

Instead - here is what you should do:

Keep the HTS (use its DAC) and use an EAD T-7000 Transport (or Theta Data II). Connect with a Kimber AGDL or better digital coax. NOTE - please do not even think of trying any other EAD or Theta transport (newer or older) they will NOT perform at the level as the T-7000 or the Data II.

The EAD T-7000 is a laserdisk transport and sounds VERY analog. HUGE soundstage - warm - and detailed... Amazing!

The combo I just suggested will cost less than your budget and will be absolutely marvelous. My friends setup has embarrassed my Audiomeca Mephisto, Electrocompaniet EMC-1 and yes - the Audio Aero Capitole by sounding nearly as good but without spending $$$$.
Hello again folks,
As you can see I'm monitoring this closely, it has become an obsession. To address Kirk. How would I go about getting the DVD players dac out of the loop and using it just as a transport? My room is 22'x 13'x 9' and it is a sunken LR. I have the system facing the long way. The spkrs are 42" from the back wall and 30 1/2" from side walls about 7' apart. The idea of dedicated 20 amp circuits is not an option. I'm in an aprtment bldg. As for Bwhite, I think I mentioned that I have no desire to upgrade to any multi ch music format. But I will have to investigate your suggestions on the players you mentioned. Thank you all for your comments/suggestions. Pls keep them coming......John

If you are using a digital audio cable from your dvd player to the digital input of your HTS then you are using the dacs in your Processor. If you are using a pair (or more) of cables from the right and left audio out on the player, you are using its dacs.
Have Dan Wright or Stan Warren upgrade your Pioneer for music??
Jrwr7 - my suggestion was not for multi-channel, SACD or other "new" format. The EAD T-7000 is an "old" transport based on a laser disk mechanisim.
Alright now we are getting somewhere,

I am very happy to get such a response, I really appreciate it. Sugarbrie, I spoke w/Dan Wright and he no longer does upgrades on DVD or CD changers due to the problems they have incurred in the shipping of the units. Although I'm not sure if I looked up Stan Warren or does he work w/Dan? Mg123, thank you. Now I know that I'm using my DVD as a transport, that really helps. Brandon, unfortunatly, I have the TV only 6" behind the front plain of the spkrs. So now I see why I'm not getting the depth of soundstage. I need to get a longer run of spkr cable to be able to move my spkrs further ahead of the Mitsu. Thank you for pointing this out, it makes sense. Bwhite, I apologize, I must have misunderstood how you presented your ideas to me. Again, I apologize. Freinds, thank you so much for all of your comments/suggestions. This is all starting to come into focus, evan if my music still has not. Thanks again and keep it coming. I feel like a curious child having all of my question answered......John
How big is your TV? If it's a 50+ inch TV, then another problem would be only 7' of separation between the L/R speakers as that would imply they're pretty close to the edge of the TV. Getting the fronts of the speakers in front of the TV and the sides some breathing room from the TV will both help the music reproduction. However, having a big TV in the middle of your speakers is going to negatively impact the performance no matter what you do. The only way around that would be a retractable screen, plasma TV or RPTV built into the wall.

Also, while I don't recommend choosing music based on it's recording quality rather than it's content, I'd recommend getting some CDs you're very familiar with and/or are of noted high recording quality that have a deep and wide soundstage and be sure that part of your dissatisfaction isn't merely that the recordings you're listening to are less than stellar. Maybe even resort to the Stereophile test CDs or something - they give you a lot of tools to experiment with. In any case, a lot of music I like a lot isn't recorded particulary well and has very little soundstage depth. Maybe you like the same stuff. -Kirk

Stan Warren and Dan Wright are both in Oregon, but they are not connected. Stan only uses the phone. His phone number is 541-344-3696

The full mods are like $250 plus $19 shipping. It is a good way to get a big improvement in the digital playback for audio without spending a lot of money. If you go that route, it takes Stan a couple months sometimes to just a couple weeks, depending on how busy he is, so you would need a backup DVD player in the interim.

I agree with the above advice but would add one thing I have not seen above... I own Krell equipment and Transparent IC's and Speaker cable (all two channel stuff). I love these products. I owned Transparent super balanced cables and then auditioned the Ultra's and now own Reference with the xl technology. I recommend the upgrade. The super's and the Ultra's are dynamic but somehow more 2-dimensional and less musical. I know you're thinking, "no way", I can't afford it. Neither could I, but I waited and waited and eventually found the reference cables right here on Audiogon.
Hi all,

Thank you very much, one and all, for the helpful information you've shared w/me. It was all very informative and useful. I would especially like to thank Brandon, who suggested I that I move the spkrs out in front of my TV. I know, common sense, but I wasn't doing it. Also, Sugarbrie, who pointed out to me that I could run the digital cable for movies to let the processors DAC handle the 5.1 and hook L&R ICs up for the music and use the DVD players internal DAC. I did this today and it was just amazing. It was a whole new experience in sound reproduction that I knew I could achieve but, up until now, had not been able to accomplish. Let me not forget Mg123 for explaining that, by using the digital cable, I was not utilizing the DVD players dac. If I have forgotten anyone, I apologize. Again, thank you all very much. I don't know how I ever survived before I found A'gon......John