A really good 2.1 (Stereo + Sub) AV Receiver with HDR10+ and maybe 4K @ 120?

RagingKileak

Active Member
Hello folks,

I have the following setup:

  • Sonos/PS5/XoX/Switch/Sky Q HDR box into;
  • Onkyo TX8270 into;
  • Philips Sync Box into;
  • 2020 Sony 65A8 TV
  • sound out of the Onkyo into a pair of Dali Oberon 5’s and an MK sub

For my needs, this gives an excellent sound on all movies and audio sources. It’s a great stereo setup and it took time and a lot of listening and research to get things just so.

the only trouble is, as the eagle eyed among you will have spotted, is that the Onkyo is preventing the best possible image quality. Specifically, it does not support HDR10 or 10+ or 4K beyond 60hz. The Philips Sync Box doesn’t support 4K beyond 60hz, but it does at least pass through HDR.

I am fully committed to the stereo setup I have, rather than going to a 5/7/9.1 system.

Can anyone think of a decent stereo AVR that passes through HDR and maybe [email protected] (for future proofing) to replace my Onkyo with?

For anyone thinking of just suggesting running the 4 HDMI’s into the Philips box and using ARC to send audio back to the Onkyo, I’ve tried that and I can’t get it to pass back properly. I think a big part of my problem is the Sync box which is def “crap” and not really “hifi” level tech, but I do like the outcome so I’m happy to buy my way around it a little bit.

I know this won’t help, but I don’t want to buy a 5/7/9 channel received and just not use the other channels. I feel like that will lead to a suboptimal Stereo setup.

Thanks
Matt
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
With stereo AVR's all, except the Arcam SR250, need stereo 2.0 input via the HDMI inputs, which means the source does the decoding, and usually discards the .1 LFE channel. If that is of concern to you, you may be better off just getting a standard multi channel AVR and running it in 2.1 mode, ie not using the centre and surround channels.
 

RagingKileak

Active Member
With stereo AVR's all, except the Arcam SR250, need stereo 2.0 input via the HDMI inputs, which means the source does the decoding, and usually discards the .1 LFE channel. If that is of concern to you, you may be better off just getting a standard multi channel AVR and running it in 2.1 mode, ie not using the centre and surround channels.
Thanks mate, that’s a good point. I don’t think it’s a major issue with any of the sources I currently have as each can be (and currently is) set to output in Stereo. Poss a concern for future though.

I feel like if I go multichannel I’ll have a lot of circuitry making noise and drawing power but never being used. Unless maybe there’s some devices that could double up the power output when in stereo mode or similar.

Given you seem to refer to some actual products, any I should look into? Will have a look at the Arcam.

Regards
Matt
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
The Arcam SR250 is a discontinued model, and I don't think it will pass [email protected] although I am not sure on that point. It does pass through 4K / HDR though. Arcam have not included a stereo AVR into their new range.

I am not sure where your budget is on this, but for something similar in price to the Onkyo that you are using, what about the Marantz NR1711?

It is a 7 channel AVR, but you do have the option of bi-amping (technically it is bi-wiring, but Marantz refer to it as bi-amping). That is if your speakers have bi-amp terminals. Then you could then use four of the 7 channels of the AVR to power your speakers, leaving three idle, which would be fine as that would give more headroom to the power supply.

The Marantz is decent for music, better than say Denon / Yamaha / Sony. Next step up would be a Nad or Arcam AVR, but they are more expensive.
 
Thanks mate, that’s a good point. I don’t think it’s a major issue with any of the sources I currently have as each can be (and currently is) set to output in Stereo. Poss a concern for future though.

I feel like if I go multichannel I’ll have a lot of circuitry making noise and drawing power but never being used. Unless maybe there’s some devices that could double up the power output when in stereo mode or similar.

Given you seem to refer to some actual products, any I should look into? Will have a look at the Arcam.

Regards
Matt

Avoid Arcam AVRs unless you want an outdated box of bugs. Check out the Arcam AVR threads on here for further info - the owners are the ones to listen to, not the fanboise.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
The Audio Science Review measurements of the AVR390, for example, highlighted that a great analog engineer designed the amplifier in the Arcam AVR390 and did a great job both in measured performance and proper cooling. In stereo direct mode, it was ranked 18th out of 112 amps tested to date for SINAD, the next device up in the rank is a Devialet Expert 200 which is a stereo amplifier costing £5495.

So, essentially you are getting a very decent AVR, with Dirac, and an excellent audiophile quality stereo analog amp for free, in the same chassis.

However, I think the Arcam may be over budget for the OP in which case the Marantz NR1711 that I mentioned may fit the bill Their stereo receiver, the NR1200 suffers from the same limitation that I mentioned above in relation to the .1 LFE channel being lost via the HDMI inputs
 
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"Sadly the digital section received no scrutiny and produced some of the worst results I have seen at its max output of just 1.3 volts. Given the legacy of Arcam and marketing material for the product/brand, this is truly shameful performance.

Needless to say, as a package I cannot recommend the ARCAM AVR390. Maybe wait a few years until they are given away for nothing and buy it for its amplifiers and run them in direct mode."


As I was saying...such as shame that some will irresponsibly recommend such flawed products, all due to their blind loyalty to a brand. Or maybe they are on a commission. Either way, their credibility is shot.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
I am a big fan of what Amir is doing over at the Audio Science Review forums, although that does seem somewhat off topic for this thread.

The issues with the pre-out voltage are only apparent in specific circumstances, so now that Amir has provided the measurements we know how to configure our Arcam AVR's to get the best performance if using external amplification.

Many many AVR's measure poorly, but having A/B'd the Arcam AVR550 with a Denon 6300 and 4400 and a Marantz SR7011 in my room, I can confirm that is sounds massively better. So it's possible that some of the measurements are not actually audible in real world use.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Mod comment.

There are two members banging heads again on yet another thread. It's becoming really tiresome and is nothing more than something you hear in the playground. It's verging on thread spoiling and trolling for a reaction.
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
i ran a good 2.1 setup for quite a while...

the key to it was the oppo 205... rare as hens teeth now i know ...

but it exists ....

what i did was run the oppo 205 off its XLR outputs to stereo integrated eg nad m3 at the time...

the beauty with the oppo 205 is it has digital inputs (including hdmi) so you can run inputs into it... they and also any discs played off it can output from its XLR/RCA L&R outputs... it does not throw away the .1 infact it down mixes the .1 into the L&R channels whether you use the RCA or XLRS.

my nad m3 had a sub output and any analog sources went straight into the nad m3

what i had was a superb 2.1 setup !

if your integrated doesnt have a sub output you can just run off L&R pre outs most have .... to your sub..
 
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RagingKileak

Active Member
Folks,

Some good info and interesting debate here, thanks.

it does feel a bit like what I am trying to do is “not normal” these days. The Marantz NR1200 system discussed here looks like it’s a little “old” and broadly comparable to my current Onkyo in terms of tech - seems to support some HDR formats but not 4K 120 (which I concede was not essential) but given it’s a 2019 product I’m not sure it’s what I would call an upgrade. I feel like if there was a V2 model in 2021 it would probably be perfect.

The idea of bi-amping or wiring sounds interesting, although I note that most sources suggest it’s a gimmick of sorts that doesn’t improve sound quality in the context of bi-wiring in this way (IE splitting the frequency into high and low and sending it separately) although the science as to why not eludes me - especially if each set of wires is individually amplified.

The budget isn’t a concern really. I leant to the Onkyo because the overall effect at the time was good, but I could probably have gone higher if a product existed. It seems like it doesn’t to me - notwithstanding the very good options raised about more complex setups that I’ll definitely think on.

I suppose what I was hoping was for something that I think I knew deep down didn’t exist - a perfect out of the box answer.

regards
Matt
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
suppose what I was hoping was for something that I think I knew deep down didn’t exist - a perfect out of the box answer.

here is another approach... turn things on the head....

id just skip all that :D

cut to the chase ... :p

go a really nice pair of speakers.... a really good 2ch integrated... plug all your devices straight into the telly.... 2ch out the telly into 2ch integrated of choice...

path i took in the bedroom system... even dispensed with the sub... which was a lovely velodyne DD...found didnt need it with the lovely amp doing its thing with the speakers instead...

many ways ... this is just one...

2EFD4BE5-887F-4F0B-8C6A-D04B1951929B.jpeg
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
The idea of bi-amping or wiring sounds interesting, although I note that most sources suggest it’s a gimmick of sorts that doesn’t improve sound quality in the context of bi-wiring in this way (IE splitting the frequency into high and low and sending it separately) although the science as to why not eludes me - especially if each set of wires is individually amplified.
It does depend on the amplifier as to whether you would actually get more headroom by bi-wiring, but with empty channels it is probably worth doing. There is also the benefits of back EMF.

I find Gene from Audioholics to give reassuringly good advice about most things:

 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
"Sadly the digital section received no scrutiny and produced some of the worst results I have seen at its max output of just 1.3 volts. Given the legacy of Arcam and marketing material for the product/brand, this is truly shameful performance.

Needless to say, as a package I cannot recommend the ARCAM AVR390. Maybe wait a few years until they are given away for nothing and buy it for its amplifiers and run them in direct mode."


As I was saying...such as shame that some will irresponsibly recommend such flawed products, all due to their blind loyalty to a brand. Or maybe they are on a commission. Either way, their credibility is shot.
If that would be like any other AV. then worth another after a few years, but as ARCAM does no release a new AVR every year they hold their value far better.

I not sure what he is talking about or to be correct I know he does not know what he is talking about. "The AVR390 is unique in AVRs in that it limits the output to 1.3 volts at volume level = 75. You can turn up the volume after that but nothing changes in the output! Other AVRs allow the output to keep increasing, albeit often with sharp increase of distortion. Sadly, the AVR390 generates copious amounts of distortion even at this low output level (we like to see 2 volts output)."

It something to consider when matching any AVR with power amp's, that the pre-out maybe limited to 1.3 volts (or worse unlimited and the power amp. expecting 1.3v) many AVR so thats not just Arcam, google it. That is one thing to consider when upgrading with power amps. Having said this, many never notice they can't get the fully bang for buck out of external amps.

Then to suggest a sharp increase of distortion is better, just makes me question what kind of I* wrote the review.

Radio Receiver sensitivity is a measure of the ability of a receiver to demodulate and get information from a weak signal. We quantify sensitivity as the lowest signal power level from which we can get useful information. In an Analog FM system the standard figure of merit for usable information is SINAD, a ratio of demodulated audio signal to noise. In digital systems receive signal quality is measured by calculating the ratio of bits received that are wrong to the total number of bits received. This is called Bit Error Rate (BER). Most Land Mobile radio systems use one of these figures of merit to quantify sensitivity. To measure sensitivity, we apply a desired signal and reduce the signal power until the quality threshold is met. No idea how these measurements translates in to a comparison for AVRs

It's also interest that AVRs that a generally considered as "very good" are at the bottom of the list and cheaper AVRs measure very well. Go figure ....
 

Conrad

Moderator
Another option here, two channel AVR: Classe Sigma 2200i. I don't know what your budget is but this is a great bit of kit and I chose mine over the AV250 when I was solving exactly this problem.
 

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