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advice on changing over from hi fi to av

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by musicman, Oct 16, 2002.

  1. musicman

    musicman
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    As a music lover who has decided to now include av into the system, I am looking for advice on changing over my valve based hi fi ( croft amps, arcam cd player, townsend turntable) to an all in one av and hi fi combi. I need help on replacing the valve amps with an all in one amp have listened to the arcam around £800 is there anything better at the price? Also listen to the matching dvd£1000 not over impressed on music. Would I be better with seperate dvd and cd -- seperate amp plus a processor. Aslo made the mistake of showing the wife the kef eggs which she really likes. Have around £2000 -2500 to play with, for dvd/cd- amps/ and speakers

    cheers

    musicman
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    ouch.......are you sure you want to do this!?

    I cant for the life of me imagine you will get anything like a valve sound out of any big av reciever. Im tempted to say that, with your budget, an av amp wont be able to better or get close to what you are used to. I far prefer the separate solution. There are not many dvd players overly capable as cd players. Likewise, if you go for a separate processor power amp solution, you can keep the main stereo set up as you have it.

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  3. musicman

    musicman
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    no I don't really want to do this but the wife has put up with the big hi fi system for a number of years and sometimes you just have to move on. I know I will not have the same sound just looking for a compromise, not so many boxes and cables however painfull.

    cheers
    musicman
     
  4. buns

    buns
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    Im not keen to recommend the changes! You couldnt just buy a lovely custom built rack/piece of furniture and persudae her to let you keep it all????

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  5. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I think you will regret getting rid of valve stuff.

    I would personally love to have a separate valve and av setup. I use my av amp for music (CD/Turntable/Minidisc) and although the sound is good it won't beat a valve setup.

    I would have both and move valve setup to another room.

    I played my CD player though a valve amp and the sound was so much warmer. You will lose this with an av amp.

    However I don't have enough room for both (I almost don't have enough for the AV).
     
  6. musicman

    musicman
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    no room for 2 systems,so its all in one I'm afraid
    no pain no gain

    musicman
     
  7. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I know what that is like.

    I like Denon amps from the expensive amps. They are about £1000 for the good ones.
     
  8. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    Women come........and go.
    Houses are there long after you are dust.
    Enjoy the aural pleasures while you can.
     
  9. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    Are you keeping the turntable? Make sure you get an amp with a phono stage or do you have a valve phono stage?
     
  10. buns

    buns
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    I dont mean 2 systems, i mean one and a half. Your hifi setup would be necessary for AV use as it would provide the front channels........

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  11. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I have the following though my AV amp

    Turntable, Minidisc, DVD player (also used for CD) and Tape (don't use though). They use my AV amp in stereo using the front B&W 602 speakers.

    I also have DVD, TV, VHS and laserdisc which uses all the speakers.
     
  12. BigAde

    BigAde
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    Quite agree... you'll regret getting rid of your hi-fi gear.

    How about your get an add-on processor like the Yamaha DSP-E800 (£250) - this would provide the amplification for centre and rear speakers leaving your valve amp to provide the amplification to the front speakers. This gives the best of both worlds - you add only one box to your gear and get to keep your valve amp and the rest of your kit.

    I do the same myself - my trusty Leak TL12+ valve mono-blocks provide the amplification to my main speakers and when they're not doing AV stuff, they're still there for normal hi-fi use.
     
  13. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    You can keep two seperate setups in the same room and add very little in the way of boxes: get a Sony DAVS or similar Denon or Pioneer setup. However you will soon see how pants these are in comparison to seperates and especially what you have already:rolleyes: . You could even get eg. Denon and place the Kef Eggs on top of your existing speakers, but run the systems seperatly.

    But as everyone else has already said, DAVS or going for £1000 integrated amp will be a BIG step back. Rather add a new AV amp to what you have for rear channels.
     
  14. musicman

    musicman
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    Thanks everyone, I might try and save the amps but the speakers have no chance they're just too big, we really need something smaller. The yahama processor is one I thought maybe with a Sugden amp. Really need to reduce the number of boxes.

    musicman
     
  15. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    I'd have to agree with everybody else - I think you're going to be dissapointed by the musical performance of AV kit compared to what you've already got.

    On the DVD-player-as-CD-player issue, for instance, one of Arcam's stated design goals in creating the £1000 DV88 was to make a DVD player that sounded as good with CDs as one of their entry-level CD players. Things may have moved on slightly since then, but I doubt you'll find a DVD player that plays CDs as well as your current CD player unless you spend at least a grand on it, and probably much more.

    You might possibly think about a Cyrus AV8 processor (£1100) with your existing amplifiers. I have listened to one of these, but under very much less than ideal circumstances, so I probably ought not to venture too strong an opinion. So far as I could tell it sounded a little thin and brittle compared to a "proper" processor like the Tag McLaren AV32R or Arcam AV8, but then again either one of those would blow your entire budget at a stroke.

    If you decide you must have an all-in-one box then the Denon A11SR (which you can pick up for as little as £1260, I believe) is a perceptible step up from cheaper devices. (Good cheaper ones include the soon-to-be-replaced Denon 3802 - a very popular choice - Arcam AVR200, and Sony STR-VA555ES. Some magazine reviewers also like the Onkyo DS696 or Harman-Kardon 5500.) For another step up the Denon A1SR and Pioneer AX10 aren't bad value, but their amplification stages probably still wouldn't be as good as what you have, and (again) they would use up your whole budget at one go.

    Speaker-wise you might check out B&W 600 series 3 - the 603s aren't too bad, but are floor-standers, so might still be too big for you. I've read some good reviews of the Mordaunt-Short 500 setup, but can't speak from experience.

    If your wife likes small speakers then the Anthony Gallo "Nucleus Micro" speakers are definitely worth a listen. Again, I can't speak from personal experience, but I've read a number of very complimentary postings in these forums.
     
  16. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    I think the problem here is your budget. A reasonable integrated AV amplifier will cost you the best part of £2,000.
    And as for speakers - the Kef Eggs or maybe Anothin Gallos will take the price well over your budget. Even before you've thought about the DVD player.
    In order to meet your £2,500 price point, you'll be buying mid-range to budget AV equipment.
     
  17. michaelab

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    Oh come on! So you're suggesting that, to take the Marantz range as an example, the whole range except the £2000 SR9200 is "not reasonable"?

    I find my SR4200 (for which I only paid £200) very reasonable indeed and I'd venture to suggest that anyone who's paid £1500 for an SR8200 would like to think it's pretty reasonable too.

    My entire system excluding TV/screen (ie amp, cd player, dvd player and speakers) cost about £1500 and it sounds incredible. If I'd spent twice or even three times that amount the difference would be barely noticeable.

    There's a hell of a lot of BS and 'price snobbishness' in the AV world. The fact is that beyond about £1000 for an individual component you're into the world of very rapidly diminishing returns. People who buy a pair of monobloc amps for £100,000 (can't remember the make) or, in the old days, a turntable stylus for £30,000 are mugs with too much money who just want to bask in the 'knowledge' that their system is the best in the world even though no one can tell the difference from a system costing a 10th, or even less, of the price.

    Sorry about the rant but the kind of statement I quoted at the beginning just makes me so angry :mad:

    Michael.
     
  18. Guest

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    I, also, think that going from hifi to AV is a mistake that will lead to frustration. I'm going in exactly the opposite direction - fairly soon my six speakers will be driven by three high-end integrated stereo amps using my DVD players onboard decoding.

    Even low-end hifi ****es all over most mid to entry-level high end AV gear. There's just too many compromises, and I think most bits of AV kit are built to a price, whereas hifi kit by specialist manufacturers is always built to a sound. Which is perfect for me, because if I walk into a hifi dealer I'm going to ask for a sound not a price...
     
  19. musicman

    musicman
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    Well I seemed to have opened a can of worms here, I am well aware that I will lose sound quality. But I will probably start a second system to satisfy my hi fi urges and allow me to play my 2000 albums.
    I still need an av system costing around £2500 which sound be enough to sound reasonable surely. So it looks like seperate cd and dvd plus the arcam av amp and kef speakers at the moment.

    musicman
     
  20. michaelab

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    Well, I just recently went from Hi-Fi to AV and if anything the sound has improved.

    My old system:
    Marantz CD50SE (about 10 years old but still excellent)
    Arcam Alpha 6+ amp
    Tannoy mx3 speakers

    OK - still probably what you'd call a 'budget' system allthough my CD player cost about £300 10 years ago so that probably is more midrange, as is the Arcam amp. Tannoys are budget though.

    Now I have replaced my Arcam amp with a Marantz SR4200, added a Philips DVDR 890, 2 mx2s for the rears and an mxC centre. I use the digital out from my CD player to my amp so the CD player isn't even doing the D/A conversion anymore.

    Since the SR4200 cost about the same as the Arcam by your (his Dudeness) reckoning the Arcam should have blown it away for stereo music. But at least to my ears it didn't. To me at least my system now sounds better than before.

    I would agree though that a separate DVD player and CD player are worth it. CD playback on my DVDR 890 is terrible.

    Michael.
     
  21. Guest

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    I think my point is more pronounced further up the scale than you're talking about. I'd personally prefer the sound of a decent £500 stereo amp to an absolute top-of-the-range £3000 receiver by Denon or Marantz (or anyone). I think it's partly because the signal is entirely analogue going through a stereo amp, but to me the sound is less homogenised, more natural.

    As I say I've opted for 3 x £2000 stereo integrateds, and the level of refinement and musicality is above any piece of AV I've ever heard (but I haven't heard everything, granted!).
     
  22. michaelab

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    I think you might get similar results with an AV amp of the same cost (ie £6000). Balancing your system and changing the volume uniformly across 3 amps must be the devils own job in your system :)

    Michael.
     
  23. Guest

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    You sure? With an AV amp you are paying for decoding, post-processing, and video switching as well. Not to mention the potentially deleterious effects all that extra circuitry can have on the sound...

    Re controlling volume, all three amps are the same, so they all respond to the same remote control code...
     
  24. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    With an AV processor you're paying for that. If you're talking about a multichannel power amp it's a reasonable parallel.
     
  25. michaelab

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    I think that at £6000 the curve of diminishing returns has pretty much flattened out. Of course putting everything in the same box also creates costs savings such that a company might sell a £2000 stereo amp and a £1000 processor separately but if it combines 3 of the amps and the processor in a single box it could well sell it for £6000.

    Presumably you have an AV processor somewhere in the chain? Just because it's in a separate box doesn't remove the "deleterious effects" it can have. As for video switching circuitry that won't affect your audio as it's totally separate.

    Even my lowly SR4200 has a digital direct option which cuts out nearly all the processing circuitry anyway (except of course the D/A conversion).

    Surely all the remote control circuitry gets in the way too...I hope what your amps have is a motorized volume knob and not electronic attenuation ;)

    Michael.
     
  26. Guest

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    Yep...motorised volume controls...I use the onboard decoding of my Tosh SD900.

    Good point about the separate cases - it's a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other methinks....

    In my case it was because I realised I really, REALLY liked the sound of my stereo integrated, and suddenly had a brainwave...why not extend it to the other channels!
     
  27. michaelab

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    I guess if you have the money then that's a good solution. I wonder what a Lexicon MC12 and 6 monobloc valve amps would sound like..... :D

    Michael.
     
  28. musicman

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    I think my original question has been lost here:rolleyes:

    musicman
     
  29. michaelab

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    Well, to get back to the original question (part of it anyway), defintely go with a separate CD player (keep the one you have!)and DVD player. For reasons I don't really understand DVD players are cr*p at playing CDs.

    To avoid hijacking this thread any further I'll start a separate thread about that...

    Michael.
     
  30. musicman

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    Its ok Michael its been interesting although I still don't know what to buy.

    cheers
    musicman
     

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