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A90 (7.1) + P90/3 + AV Receiver

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by David-Bel, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    I own a Denon 2900 universal player with a Marantz SR7300 A/V receiver. As I want to upgrade the multichannel audio part in a purist way, I'm planning to buy the A90/P90 combo with its multichannel board and extra center channel.

    I'm obviously not too worried about the cd, SACD and DVD-A part (direclty connected to the multichannel inputs of the A90) as I can imagine it is going to be a dramatic improvement to my current set-up.

    My only concern is whether my Denon's internal decoder (DD and DTS) will be good enough to allow me to use the analog inputs of the A90 as well.
    I'm wondering this because I have noticed that my Marantz (via coax input) is clearly outperforming my Denon (via analog multichannel inputs) for DVD replay.

    Hence, I could well link the DVD player to the receiver (coax input) and then feed it into the A90 multichannel analog inputs (via the preouts), as far as DVD replay is concerned of course. In such a case, I would use the receiver as a plain processor, which also means I can use Prologic II/Neo 6 for others sources (TV, VCR, etc.) by the way.

    Does this make sense or should I rather follow the shortest signal path and still directly connect my DVD player to the A90/P90?

    Another alternative would be to drop the A90/P90 option and look for a processor + 5 channel power amp (I know it's an Arcam Forum, but I'm thinking of a Rotel 1068 + RMB 1075). But if this will most certainly solve my DVD replay concern (in terms of decoding), it might well be (far?) below the Arcam combo for cd and SACD/DVD-A replay?!

    You understand that music is my priority. And even if I sometimes watch DVD movies, I mostly play music DVDs.

    Your advice would be extremely valuable to me as I cannot do the test at my local dealer. He only has the A90 available at the moment and would only order a P90 if I'm buying it.

    Thanks in advance for your comments/advice!

    David
     
  2. mrkeeling

    mrkeeling
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    My philosophy is if music sounds great – movies will sound good enough.

    Denon 2900 should have pretty decent DAC’s so the difference that you hear might be the result of bass management. I do not know if and how good bass management exists in Denon.

    On the other hand there should be two sets of 7.1 inputs on multichannel board for A90, so you can have the best of both worlds – connecting Denon analog out directly to A90 one set of inputs and Denon’s digital through Marantz to another set of A90 inputs.

    Just a thought
    :beer:
     
  3. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    Thanks for your thought Mrkeeling. You're absolutely right, I have just realised that the difference does indeed come from Denon's bass management.

    True also that I may have the best of both worlds because of the twin 7.1 inputs. But my concern was rather to know whether passing through the A/V amp preouts would significantly degrade the signal and eventually alter the sound.

    If that is the case, wouldn't it be wiser to go for the Rotel combo instead (I just can't afford Arcam's AV8)? What's your thought on that?
     
  4. mrkeeling

    mrkeeling
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    I have never had a chance to do side by side comparison, so it’s hard to tell what will sound better. And what sounds better to me doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll sound better to you.

    There is one more thing you have to be aware of no matter which route you take. DVD-a’s and SACD’s also need bass management (unless you have 5 full range speakers). Most Receivers/PrePros only pass through 5.1 analog inputs with no bass management. The few ones that do bass management on 5.1 analog inputs do it by converting analog signal back to digital, doing bass management and than converting it back to analog. To many conversions for my taste!

    If you are unhappy with Denons bass management then your option might be an outboard bass manager (like Outlaw ICBM). It may bring your movie sound to the level you like and in that case you do not need any additional processing (so you can go analog all the way).

    :beer:
     
  5. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    Yes I think I'm going to buy 5 full range speakers, so that I won't need bass management. I am about to audition Dynaudio Audience 52 SE + a sub (but for LFE only!!). And I'll most probably go for the no compromise 'analog only' Arcam combo.

    Thks for your helful comments!
     
  6. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    The Audience 52SE are excellent speakers! I have a pair as side surrounds and they sound better than my more expensive Audience 72 fronts. I'm hoping Dynaudio comes out with an SE edition of the 72.

    You will love the 52SE for analog. Very revealing, detailed, and neutral, with impressive bass for a small speaker. What sub are you considering. I've heard the 52SE with a REL (and I have a Audience SUB-30A).
     
  7. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    Well Dean, I'm very pleased to hear that. To be honest with you I'm not surprised at all : I've read quite a number of reviews that unanimously praise the 52 SE.

    At first I thought I would simply buy the brand new Audience sub (300 or something), but I might well look for a Rel indeed or a Moscade. What would you recommend in fact?

    My only concern is to convince my wife to replace our little kef eggs... I do have a low tolerance wife acceptance factor I'm afraid. But I'm quite confident.
     
  8. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    Well my best recommendation is to go listen and see what you like.

    Given that, I have the Dyn. Sub 30A which I'm happy with. If I were to upgrade it today, I would get the REL Storm III. I don't know anything about Moscade.
     
  9. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    Dean,

    I've just seen that the 72 SE must now be available (ad page in What Hifi oct issue)!!!

    http://www.dynaudio.com/

    Cheers,

    David
     
  10. RaceTripper

    RaceTripper
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    Yes, thanks for pointing that out. I did notice it myself. They will start shipping (in the U.S.) in about 2 months I hear, at around $2800 US.

    They also now have a stand for the Audience 122C Center that's like the stand for the Contour SC. I ordered one yesterday.
     
  11. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    I've made-up my mind and ordered the A90 7.1 + P90/3. Can't wait to receive it.
     
  12. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    I have now received my A90/P90. I'm still giving it a run for a few days, but I already have a few queries that I am sure someone of you out there and most probably John Dawson can answer to.

    1) How come the sound is not muted when the volume comes down to -70db. I can still hear something like 2 or 3 db? Apparently, only the mute button can mute the sound.
    Is that normal also to hear a little ticking sound when the volume is raised?

    2) I haven't tried it yet, but what if I connect my current A/V receiver from its pre-outs to the A90 multi-channel board? Shall I have to set something like 'processor mode' somewhere in the menu? Is there any 'fixed gain' to set as well?

    3) My Marantz A/V receiver and the A90 seem to have the same built-in infrared codes. This means that both remotes can operate both amps. This becomes a little bit problematic when, for instance, I want to power on the A90 from standby, while the Marantz is already on : the former switches on and the latter switches off!
    Is there any way I could sort this out?

    4) Although I'm planning to buy full-range speakers, I'm still using for the moment my satellite speakers (Kef eggs). Is there any way I can connect my sub to the A90 speaker output, so that low frequencies would be fed into the sub? If yes, shall I have to connect the sub together with the front L & R speakers or shall I rather connect the sub to the second speaker output?

    These are quite a number of questions I know, but I'd appreciate if you could help me to sort them out.

    Thks in advance,
    David
     
  13. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    Problem n°1 solved (well disappeared actually).
    Problem n°2 and 3 are related and cannot be solved I guess. It's a shame BTW the 'processor mode' feature does not work for the multi-channel board.

    But I'm sure someone can still help me for my problem n°4 :
    How can I connect my sub to the A90 in order to ouput low frequencies (<80hz) in stereo mode?

    Is there anybody out there to help me? :lease:
     
  14. mrkeeling

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    Well I do not have any experience with multichannel board so there are a lot of assumptions here (but I hope they are right).

    I am assuming you have a powered sub and you want to feed it with line level input.
    As far as I know multichannel board has 7.1 input as well as 7.1 output. In other words, whatever you are feeding in sub in, should come out from sub out (pre-amplified). So you should be able to connect your sub there.
    The question that arises is bass management. I am assuming that multicannel board has no bass management (and it shouldn’t have any - to keep the signal as pure as possible). So the bass management has to be done in the device that you are connecting to 7.1 inputs of multichannel board. If it is a receiver, than it should be done in receiver, if it is DVD player (through 5.1 analog out) it should be DVD player.

    There is option #2.
    If your sub has speaker level in (and out) you can connect your sub to FL/FR speaker posts on your amp and FL/FR speaker to speaker out on the sub. In that case you use sub’s internal crossover to set the crossover point. But you still have to set up your speakers properly in your receiver/DVD player (fronts as large and sub to OFF in this case). This should also work for any other input in stereo mode.

    Hope this helps
    :beer:
     
  15. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    Your assumptions are absolutely right. And it's your option #2 that really answers my question in fact. I was suspecting it but wasn't quite sure.

    But you know, before I looked at your post tonight I went back reading the A90's manual and found out that besides the 7.1 outputs, there is another set of preouts (FL & FR). Therefore, I tried connecting them to my sub's line level inputs and it seemed to be working just fine. I still have to tweak the crossover and I hope it'll be ok.

    Now I guess it would have been exactly the same if I had used the FL & FR of the 7.1 outpouts right ? (BTW, the center and surround channels are connected to the P90/3).

    And eventually, wouldn't I be better off using that type of connection instead of your option #2? I fear that the latter might in fact lenghten the path between the amp and the speaker.

    David
     
  16. mrkeeling

    mrkeeling
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    Using line level connection IS better if the bass-management has been already done earlier in the signal chain. In that case you should bypass crossover in your sub (or if you can not bypass it – turn it all the way up to the highest frequency).

    If you have to use sub crossover for bass management than this connection is not ideal for two reasons:

    First, you'll connect your speakers to the amp, which will send full range signal to them. Depending on the speakers internal network (is it filtering out frequencies that speaker can not reproduce or not) this can diminish your sound quality as speakers struggle to reproduce frequencies that they are not capable of.

    Second, crossover in the sub (which you are using in this case) may introduce phase shift to the signal that sub is reproducing so you’ll end up with mismatched speaker-sub sound reproduction.

    This is just MHO and I am by all means no expert.

    Best thing to do is to try all combinations and see which sounds the best to you.
    :beer:
     
  17. BLS

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  18. David-Bel

    David-Bel
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    Thks mrkeeling, I'll try indeed both combinations. Although I am afraid my wife won't be very pleased to see more speaker cables running to the sub and from the sub to the front speakers...
    That being said, I might well look for full range speakers (like Dynaudio 52 SE) much sooner than I expected. That would be the ultimate solution, provided my wife can cope with their more 'conventional' design which she finds terribly ugly...


    Thks BLS for the link. BTW, are you now using your pronto neo with your upgraded A85?
    Do you recommend that remote?

    David
     
  19. BLS

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    Unfortunately I can't be more help on this David as didn't go for the AVR300.

    I decided £1300 was a bit steep for an A/V amp when I listen to far more music than I watch movies these days!
    I am hoping the AVR250 is going to be a good buy for under a grand - then I will have to see about upgrading the software on the A85 and sorting the remote control.

    EDIT - Oh nuts! Just read Dean Wette's post about the 250!

    The Pronto Neo is a good remote, but not great. I won mine so it was great value!
    It's good being able to programme the buttons however you fancy and label how you like so you can make it as simple or as complex as you want it.
    However, mine and my mate's stop working from time to time, but a battery removal/reinsertion sorts that out.
    I'm going to upgrade mine though as it doesn't do RF and as I mention in the other thread you can't programme buttons directly with the RC5 code. In fact I found the only reliable way to programme was via point and learn, and some buttons took a lot of learning.
    oops, sorry to ramble on but I hope that helps.
     
  20. bluesfan

    bluesfan
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    Just remember the 250 has no preouts!
     

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