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Advice on buying an amp

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by ElchenUK, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. ElchenUK

    ElchenUK
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    I'm pretty new at this and need some recommendations on which Amp would be suitable for my requirements.
    At the moment I have a bog standard widescreen telly which has my DVD player connected to it and also my VCR. I want an amp to connect to my DVD player via Coax. In the future i will be buying a freeview box and a digital tuner so I'm wondering if these also need connecting to the amp.
    I'm not too sure if I need 6.1 sound as I understand most DVDs don't come with this yet. Also my telly will not accept prog scan and I doubt I will be upgrading it for a long time.
    If it helps I currently use my DVD mainly for music DVDs i.e. concerts etc, and MP3s, so an amp that can satisfy these two mainly would be ideal.
    I have £200 to play with.

    Any help would much appreciated
    cheers,
    E
     
  2. ElchenUK

    ElchenUK
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    OK I have narrowed my choice down to these units, can anyone comment please?

    Yamaha RXV340
    SONY STRDE485
    Pioneer VSXC301

    cheers,
    E
     
  3. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    E,

    You seem to need 1 coax input and 1 optical input (Digital tuner) and 1 analogue input (freeview), and the more spares the better if you want to add sources.

    When you mean play mp3's are you connecting a pc or using dvd to play mp3? If you mean connecting a pc, it will be mostly analouge input unless you have a really good sound card, but mp3 are 2channel modes anyway.

    Also, 6channel dvd film tracks are becoming rapidly common, but not dvd music though, and as you said your are focusing on music.

    Under £200 I recommend
    Yamaha HTR-5640RDS 6channel amp in titanium, based on the new RX-V440 (at richer sounds for £198) but it is limited to only 1 optical and 1 coax and remaining analogues, which is at the moment just enough for your connections, but if you were to connect a console, sky+, dvd recorder you would have to make a choice. Otherwise a true piece of quality amp, both musical and cinema wise, and in both 2 and 5/6 channel film/music. Way better than V340!

    Pioneer VSX-C301 is a slim receiver contender (at Richers for £160) and it has 3 optical and 1 coax, and a few analogues. Again, a great amp for the price, according to owners here, and it looks good too. Owners, when really cranking the volume up is it as good as the 440 as it is physically much smaller, therefore the e.g. power transformators are not as big, which should translate to less real dynamic power.

    I was going to say Sony STRDB-780B (black) which is on clearance at Richer sounds for £165 but I have no idea what kind of connections it has, maybe other owners here can help out.
    But it is a really great low end 5channel amp. But it is an old model which has been replaced by 790.

    If you can stretch up to £250 then you have Sony STRDB790, Onkyo TX-SR501 and Denon AVR-1604 as my suggestions.
    They are all 6channel amps, really powerful, good connections, loads of features, soundwise really good. Onkyo and Denon has a slight edge I reckon with a really usable feature, adjustable bass crossover filters, where you can decide on which frequenz you want the sub or e.g. front your full range speaker to take over all the low bass frequencies. Onkyo settings goes all the way to 60hz, while Denon stops at 80hz, and Sony has none.

    Forgot to say that the latter amps are also properly ready for DVD-A and SACD (they all have proper 10-100000hz frequency range), which could be interesting for you as you seem to be a more audiophile then homecinema.

    Wasabi
     
  4. ElchenUK

    ElchenUK
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    Cheers Wasabi, yes I'm more interested in the music side of things especially with the fact that you can get concert DVDs with 5.1 sound. As for MP3, I will be using my DVD to churn out the MP3s through the amp.

    From reading around the forum, the Pioneer has been highly recommended so I may pop down to RS for a closer look.

    Is it possible to get a combined amp/digital tuner? or is that far too expensive?

    cheers,
    E
     
  5. Wasabi

    Wasabi
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    E

    I haven't heard any amp with digital tuner being out, but to be honest, digital tuners are not my area at all.

    Maybe someone else knows more on this.

    See if you can listen to 5640 as well, as I really think that Yamaha has an edge in the musical department.

    Futski has bought one, and Malkyboy is waiting for one.

    Wasabi
     
  6. Blackspeech

    Blackspeech
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    Elchen,

    The Pioneer VXS-C301 has what you need and has plenty of connections- no doubt some of the others do as well. You say you have £200 to spend. What are you doing for speakers?

    The Pioneer has three RGB scart inputs/outputs and one scart (output only) which is also RGB - this goes to TV. There is one digi-coax and a total of three opticals with one being on front next to the Video and 2ch stereo inputs.

    The amp is fairly heavy and solid and has a few different sound settings for Music, TV, Dialog etc. It is 5.1 DTS/ Dolby Digital/ ProLogic 2 (you want this for 2ch conversion to 5.1 ouput).

    Also has RDS tuner. The use of a single scart from Amp to the TV means you get to free up other scarts on TV for other uses. The amp is slim but has a fair bit off depth. Got caught out on this one! Always account for the scarts and leads sticking out the back.

    Pioneer are also good at helping you rid yourself of a table full of remote controls. They provide loads of codes for these in manual. Even one to control a PS2 provided you have the PS2 IR receiver on console.

    I played around with the amp, which runs to an Eltax Spectrum 5.1. The sound on first impressions is really good, but have yet to sit down and listen/play extensively. If interested can post final comments on Sunday 11th re sound.

    Go and have a look around, it's up to you and your budget. Mine set me back 260 + cables (Maplins doing good deals in sale on Nikkai cables). Don't forget extra cabling as well from RS. + stands if required. Eltax put brackets in box for wall hanging on Spectrum 5.1./ wires 5x5 Metre/ very puny sub lead.

    Best of luck kid...your gonna need it.
     
  7. ElchenUK

    ElchenUK
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    Thanks Blackspeech, much appreciated.

    The 301 sounds ideal so I will try and test it at RS over the weekend. I never thought about the depth of the unit - that will be important as it may not fit on my shelf!

    How much did your set of speakers cost?

    thanks again :)
     
  8. Blackspeech

    Blackspeech
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    Hi,

    The speakers where Eltax Spectrum 5.1 from RS and were a bargain at 99. (50 Quid off).

    Tried them today playing music and the results were great. On some older stuff I heard things I hadn't noticed b4. I tried digital remaster of 'The Doors' and I must say 'Riders on the Storm' and 'The End' were absolutely stunning. Crystal clarity, I am going to try my remasters of Dire Straits 'Love Over Gold' and 'Making Movies tonight.

    Due to the adjustable nature of the Eltax sub you can set the bass perfect. Off to set the speakers up on new Gale stands. Sweet!

    Later....
     

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