A quick background on where I am in this journey/hobby. I listened to crappy Bose cubes through a decent Yamaha receiver (85 watts driven) for most of my life. A couple years ago I started to realize it wasn't the quality sound I thought it was. So I upgraded over the next 6 months and landed with the following...
Same Yamaha AV receiver
Two (2) Klipsch R-12SW subs (Rated down to 29 hz)
Four (4) Klipsch RP-150M bookshelves for my two fronts and rear surround (75 watts Cont/93 db eff)
One (1) Klipsch RP-250C for my center channel (100 watts Cont/96 bd eff)
So that brings me to now...
I still have all the speakers outlined above from my first upgrade noted above. All Klipsch. The 4 bookshelf and center channel speakers are 5 inch cones. These are all Reference Premier speakers so a step up from entry level. The two subs are 12 matching 12 inch cones but are entry level subs, not premier. They are rated down to 29 hz for whatever that is worth. Between the two, they seem to have plenty of power for my room but I realize the other speakers are built better. That said, I have no complaints.
Last week my old receiver died and I replaced it with a Yamaha 7.2 A-880 (100 watts driven). It has all pre-outs if I want them. I realize the value in properly setting things up. My speakers are all calibrates for level and distance and are all set to small with crossovers of 100 hz for the bookshelves and 90 hz for the center channel.
The room was an addition so there is only one door sized exit in the center of the rear wall. The room is square and 19'x19' with a flat 7.5' ceiling. All walls and ceiling are drywall. However, the back wall is the exterior brick from prior to the addition construction. The room is carpeted and two windows are covered with thicker drapes. There are no acoustic treatments at this time. Overall, I think it's a great room to work with.
The audio system is situated on the front wall with the two subs to the right and left of the TV and center channel. The center channel is below the TV with slight angle upwards as it sits on acoustic pads with an angle. The subs are situated at 25% and 75% of the front wall facing out. The rear surrounds are tucked into the two rear corners.
The new 7 channel AVR opens up some options for me to upgrade some things which is my predicament. I feel like my last upgrade generated a quantum leap in my audio quality and it didn't cost me a fortune. I don't know if any additional upgrades are prudent or just me chasing my tail. I realize I can make things better but at what cost and return on my money?
The upgrade I have in mind is kicking the two front channel bookshelves to the sides for 7 channel surround. I would replace them with Klipsch RP-260F towers for the two front mains (125 watts cont/97 db eff, 34 hz low end rating). However, will this be a big upgrade in sound quality? It’s the same horns as my bookshelves with 6.5” cones so they could go a little lower. Also, would my receiver be powerful enough to get the most from these speakers or would I need to also add an external power amp via the pre-outs on my receiver? My gut tells me adding a power amp would be the only way to get the most of the upgrade if I were to move forward. My main goal here is to improve my music listening experience.
My questions are as follows:
Is adding a power amp even necessary or smart?
With or without an amp, are adding tower speakers going to truly improve my audio quality or will it be such an incremental step that I can barely hear the difference?
Should I be more concerned with my room acoustics before I start spending money on speaker upgrades?
Are Klipsch RP-260F speakers more than I need for my room? I am guessing 280’s would be overkill for the room size.
Should I instead be thinking about my subs?
I may be willing to spend a little cash but only if I know what I am spending the money on. I don’t want to throw over $1,000 at my system and only have the prestige of bigger speakers to show for it without an audible difference. I want to take it a step further but I feel like I am entering a grey area where there are no clear answers, at none that are obvious to my novice mind.
Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks in advance.