2ch Improvement Required


Prominent Member
Sep 4, 2002
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Blackpool, Lancs
I have the following HC/Hifi setup:

Sony DB930
Pioneer DV515 (both DVD and CD) fed via coax to sony
Mission 773e's (fronts)
Mission 77c1
Mission 700's (rears)
Mission 7AS1 subwoofer

The problem that I have is that under stereo CD replay the sound is not what I would like (but very good under 5.1 conditions from DVD). The bass from the system is distorted at anything approaching 5 on the volume scale (though my music tastes are mainly dance music, or anything with a wicked bass line), with the poor old 773's bouncing off their end stops!!! My room measures 12' x 18', the front speakers are approx 8' apart, toed in towards the listening position which is approx 7-8' away. The room is carpeted, but I have 2 leather sofa's and 3 wall high cabanets.

To counter this the following options are considered:

1. Purchase dedicated CD player e.g. Arcam CD72 or Musical Fidelity X-RAY (2nd hand)

2. Purchase dedicated 2ch amp and power front speakers through this, feed front pre-outs from AV into 2 ch (for 5.1 sound). Thoughts here being Arcam A85+.

3. Change front speakers for alternatives (there is a good deal currently avaiable on Linn Av5140's for £900 (down from £2000) - anybody have any opinions on these speakers)

4. Purchase a better subwoofer e.g. Rel st series (again 2nd hand).

5. All of the above

Your help and advice would be most appreciated!!!

I reckon to my hearing that AV amps are duff at stereo.

I looked for all sorts of AV amps that could do stereo. I even tried the AVR200 which is supposed to have a good rep for music. Didn't really impress me and its not because its Arcam, because I then demoed the A75 stereo amp, fantastic improvement to my ears.

I don't believe there is any point in improving your source etc until you get a decent amp. (all opinion but which I also practice)

Demo amps and sources with the speakers you've got then tag the surround amp on after.


i've got a sony 930, and the biggest improvement for 2channel material was by adding a decent power amp, then using an external DAC.

Did cost £1500 for the improvements, which could buy you a decent 2 channel setup, maybe??
hi i purchased arcam a85 to link to denon 3802, for 2 chan sterio using cdm1nts , to improve quallity, i found in my (home inviroment) 3802 vs a85 there was very little differance in sterio quallity, (have no knowledge of sony 930) i would suggest that you demo at home with whatever 2 chan amp/or power amp you may consider, befor parting with cash to see if the outlay is worthwhile,
Hi All,

Thanks for the initial responses, and I have made some inprovements:

1. I've invested in a TAG DAC20, but at present am disappointed in this product - compared to the DACS in the 930, there is very little difference in the stereo performance (however, I haven't tried too many discs yet).

Considering this, is the limitation now my 2nd gen DVD player (Pioneer 515)???? Would I gain a significant performance increase in upgrading this source? If so what to - Pioneer 656A or something much higher? Or would I be better in adding a dedicated CDT 2nd hand - again if so what transport?

2. I've improved the bass performance of the system. Feeling a littel embarrassed here as I had the front speakers set to large (doh). I've now set them to small which has cut a majority of the low frequency to the front speakers, and is now delivering it to the sub. Can any 930 owners please explain how the amp determines the cut off frequency to the main front speakers?

3. To help with bass duties I am going to buy a 2nd hand REL Stadium II (to be delivered on Friday next week).

Thanks again,

You need a dedicated hifi amp, the sony will not do the job. Adding expensive DACs and cd players will not make a jot of difference.
Get down to your nearest friendly hifi specialist, borrow a decent hifi amp ( between 350-500 notes should be enough ). Use just the front speakers and listen to the improvement.
If your trying to get the sound of nightclub bass, you wont, music doesnt generally sound like this, its the massive volume available from a professional nightclub installation, its designed to get over the top of all the people soaking up the sound, shouting etc.
If you ever listen in an empty nightclub you would know the difference, you can get the same effect in a car, but its unrealistic at home and you would end up with very annoyed neighbours.
I'm a little confused here.

Have I got this right?
You have connected the DV515 to the DAC, and then from the DAC20, you have connected the analogue phono L&R outputs to the CD input on the 930?

If so (and I can't really think of any other way of doing it for CD), you then say you have the speakers set to LARGE, which the redirects bass to the subwoofer.

If this is how you have setup, then I think that's your problem.
The 930 is digitising the analogue input in order to apply bass management to the signal. It's really no wonder you can't hear any difference. I take it you are using AFD.
Try 2channel - this turns off all DSP processing, but I'm not sure if this is the same as a stereo direct for the 930 - it may still be digitising the input.
If so, then try feeding the output from the DAC20 into the 5.1input instead of the CD (obviously just using Front L+R input phonos) - AFAIK, this bypasses all internal 930 processing completely, and should enable you to hear the DAC20's rendition instead of the Sony's AD conversion, followed by DSP (bass management) followed by DA conversion again.

Sadly, you aren't going to be able to get bass management on the 930 if you want the purest signal from the 930.

Connect the sub using both high and low level connections - this will give you subwoofer output without amp bass management, but still let's you use that for DD/DTS LFE/redirected bass etc.

The 930's cutoff frequency is fixed - AFAIK, it's 120Hz.

yep....if you want a pure signal through the 930, connect the DAC to the 5.1 inputs, this bypasses all digital circuitry in the 930. Hence the Eq, test-tones, etc don't work.

And believe me, you will see a difference!
You sounds a little like me! Everything is slightly confused!

My first thought was that you are using an earlyish dvd player for cd playback......personally i think this is the biggest flaw. A dedicated cd player will be much more capable, even a budget player. Now that you have the tag dac, you could keep your eyes open for a 2nd hand audiolab transport or tag transport, BUT, this would be wasted money until you have a stereo amp like Karkus says.

If i were you, I would have a look for a stereo amp of the range suggested. Use this to drive your front speakers and forget about the front amplification of the sony. If you can afford a suitable transport, that would be my next move. Obviously you would connect this straight to the stereo amp, it has no need to be near the sony. If you cant do the amp and transport, get the amp first and save up!

As for speakers, i wouldnt change just yet. Your speakers are stronger than the other links. That is, unless you have a blank cheque! In which case.....this was a consultancy thread and my rates can be confirmed by email! :D


I have recently encountered a situation similar to yours joust. I have a denon 3802 receiver and have been unsatisfied with stereo replay. I purchased a DAC20 (small improvement only), then I tried a loan of a denon power amp connected to the front pre-outs (negligible improvement), and finally tried this weekend a separate stereo amplifier (Roksan Kandy KA-1 mk3) connected to the pre-outs on the denon for movie playback, but the DAC20 connected straight into the Roksan for stereo replay (not using the denon atall for stereo replay now). WOW, what a difference, the Roksan is superb, stereo replay is stunning (thorugh my B&W 602 S3 speakers), the DAC20 and B&W speakers are really singing. I have spent all weekend trawling through my CD collection, and have been amazed by the clarity, power and musicallity of some CD's I thought I knew well. Thankfully movie replay is still excellent, once the speakers levels have been set, which only needs to be done once, the movies still have the impact and power.

I am only borrowing the Roksan at the mo, but shall be placing an order for mine first thing on Monday.

IMO you should demo a separate stereo integrated amplifier, it has worked wonders for my system.


Just to echo what others have been saying, plugging the analogue out from the DAC 20 into the AV amp won't give you much of an improvement, the AV amp is one of the two bottlenecks in your system (the other is probably your DVD player, although more recent DVD players can make effective transports for a DAC 20). A £300 stereo amp connected to the front speakers only will be a significant improvement. Also as noted above, if really fat bass is what you're after, you'll need a better sub. A REL would have the advantage of being simultaneously connectable at line level (for AV) and speaker level (for stereo).
what dealer does kandy mk3 please and allowed you to try at home,thank you

Firstly, thanks for all the responses.

The post which said that I wasn't impressed with the DAC was only after 2 or 3 CD's worth of listening. Since then, I have had the chance to listen to many more and varied in my CD collection. What I've noticed is that with certain music (usually the latest 'pop' sensation bands [kids:rolleyes: ]) the DAC has little impact (the midrange is just that more refined/laid back, and the bass is a bit leaner), however, put something more testing in (the greatest contrast was Enya) and the DAC is a revelation! On Enya the DAC has a wonderful midrange that sounds like the instruments should! (compare this to the Sony DAC and the sony sounds almost 'nasal' throughout the midrange especially on Orinoco Flow!). Even my wife has agreed that the DAC is an improvement!!!!!

However, I'm determined to improve things further! I'm now chasing an Arcam DV88 to act as source (should also be good for DVD playback), and will invest in a REL sub (probably a 2nd hand Stadium II) to improve the lower frequencies (the 8" Mission that I have is just 'lost') - and no I want deep bass, not nightclub bass!

Further on, I then can take my choice in amplifiers - either keep the Sony for a while and invest in a good 2 channel (any recommendations for upto £500, incuding 2nd hand?), or change the AV amp for something better (what about the new Marantz *300 series - are these good for music?).

Any further comments are highly welcome (and again thanks for the comments so far!!!!).

re changing av amp, some time ago i had yam a5 av amp (£280) ok for av poor in 2 channel replay, so i linked to yam ax592 (£280) much better for 2 channel sterio, then bought denon 3802 this is simular to ax592 as regards sterio playback, cant find price on sony 930 but i believe this was about £400 new??? the 3802 at £800 new is not (brillant at 2 chan replay) as you seem to want 2 chan improvment over av , as suggested prior see if you can demo at home a dedicated sterio amp, might be a cheaper option than complete change of av unit,
Keep your AV amp, as you will need to spend a lot of money to get good stereo playback from an AV amp. UP to £500, look at the Arcam A75+, the Roksan Kandy, the Rotel 931, NAD C370, or second hand Naim NAIT, Audiolab 8000S or Tag McLaren 60iRV, Cyrus 7,
I found adding a decent Power amp (Primare A30.5) to my Denon 3802 made a huge difference. I can now live with my CD playback whilst may main amp is being fixed .... I do have quite difficult speakers to drive though - Jamo Concert 11's which are 4 ohms - the Denon isn't supposed to drive anything less than 8 ohms very well.

I'd like to replace the Denon with a propoer processor - but they are so expensive, I just have that kind of $$ spare.


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