Advice on Upgrading to 4K Amp

Baobab

Standard Member
I'm ondering if anyone can give some advice. I bought a Pioneer
Vsx-lx55 a few years ago, which drives my 2 B&W CM8s and 2CM centre speakers nicely. Finally it seems that OLED means I can upgrade my 8 year old Panasonic Plasma (I don't like LCDs), but the amp of course doesn't support 4K.

I guess one option is to connect Sky Q direct to the TV via 4K hdmi, then optical audio connection to the amp. However I also have an old PS3 and Apple TV, so its not ideal.

I've been looking at AV amp options - ideally something compact - and have come up with:

Yamaha RX-AS710D
Denon AVR-X2400H
Denon HEOS AVR

I'm really tempted by the last one (HEOS AVR) as the 3 speakers I have are brilliant and generally fine for me, and if I do expand it would be useful to use wireless. It also looks much tidier than traditional amps and I don't pump up the volume massively very often nowdays. But will I be wasting my B&W CM's with this 'simplicity over functionality' amp ?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
With those speakers I suggest you look at the Denon X4300. It will fulfill your requirements and is better value than the Denon X4XX incoming models. Will certainly be cheaper and give you more headroom than the Yamaha you're looking at.
 

Baobab

Standard Member
With those speakers I suggest you look at the Denon X4300. It will fulfill your requirements and is better value than the Denon X4XX incoming models. Will certainly be cheaper and give you more headroom than the Yamaha you're looking at.

Interesting, thanks.

I guess I was going for the latest models as I feel a bit burnt by the fact that my Pioneer is already out of date. However I see that the X4300 supports HDR and anything my setup is likely to need.

Is it mainly the extra power to drive the CMs that makes you suggest that over the X2400 (and others)?

It alwsys seems crazy to have hundreds of in and out connections when I'm only going to use a handful (and live in a tiny house), but I do love my speakers and it would also be crazy to waste them with an amp that cant drive them.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
If you won't be watching 4K / HDR content from your PS3 and Apple TV, I think they should still work by connecting them direct to your current AVR, then passing through the HD video to the 4K TV, where the TV will then upscale it. Have you tried that?

The workaround with your Sky Q will also work, so video to the TV via HDMI and audio to the AVR for optical.

If you buy a 4K Blu Ray player, they usually have twin HDMI outputs, so one to the tv for video and one to the AVR for audio.
 

Baobab

Standard Member
That is worth thinking about, at least while I save up after buying the 4K TV! I would need to find a way to deal with all the visible leads as I would have 2 x HDMI to the TV, one from the AV Amp and one from Sky Q, and the optical back down.

I would also need to program my logitech remote to switch all the sources as it needs to be easy for the other half to use as she is already not happy with the idea of a 55" TV.... but that should work.

To be honest if the TV has Netflix/Amazon then it will be very rare that I use the PS3 or Apple TV anyway.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Yah, I have a Logitech remote also, bit time consuming to reconfigure, but definitely worth it.

Indeed, if you can use the smart TV apps to access your 4K / HDR content, then pass the audio through to the amp via ARC or optical. it could work out fine.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Interesting, thanks.

I guess I was going for the latest models as I feel a bit burnt by the fact that my Pioneer is already out of date. However I see that the X4300 supports HDR and anything my setup is likely to need.

Is it mainly the extra power to drive the CMs that makes you suggest that over the X2400 (and others)?

It alwsys seems crazy to have hundreds of in and out connections when I'm only going to use a handful (and live in a tiny house), but I do love my speakers and it would also be crazy to waste them with an amp that cant drive them.
I believe that the speakers deserve a better receiver than the 2400, the current 4300 is still two tiers above the 2400. That's not to say that the 2400 is a poor receiver, far from it, it's just that the CMs may just out perform it.
 

logiclee

Well-known Member
I'd also suggest going for the x4300h which is a bit of a bargain now and would give you more uprade options.

Those speakers really need a it more drive than the 2400.

Lee
 

xmb

Well-known Member
A slimline receiver is really going to compromise your speakers. If size is not really an issue also look at the Marantz SR7011 as it will still work with your HEOS speakers.
 

Baobab

Standard Member
Many thanks all, all useful advice. Size is an issue but not at the cost of reducing the sound I get from the system now. The looks and lack of all the connections I'd never use tempted me to the HEOS AVR, but I'm pleased I was unsure enough to check here for advice :)

So I'll get the TV and see how how well I can get that setup with the current amp, and if its not great (and when I can afford it), go for the X4300H. Maybe I can find somewhere to try it with my speakers.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
AIf size is not really an issue also look at the Marantz SR7011 as it will still work with your HEOS speakers.

But will not facilitate a surround sound setup using them. The HEOS abilities of the SR7011 are restricted to additional stereo zones and cannot be used to setup a wireless main room speaker setup as is the case with the HEOS AVR.
 

Baobab

Standard Member
But will not facilitate a surround sound setup using them. The HEOS abilities of the SR7011 are restricted to additional stereo zones and cannot be used to setup a wireless main room speaker setup as is the case with the HEOS AVR.

Can the X4300H have the rear speakers of the main system as wireless ?
 

Baobab

Standard Member
To be honest I used to have rear speakers around 15 years ago and I dont miss them. The three speakers I have will probably do me fine for the next couple of decades, unlike amps or TVs...
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
To be honest I used to have rear speakers around 15 years ago and I dont miss them. The three speakers I have will probably do me fine for the next couple of decades, unlike amps or TVs...

But you unfortunately need surround speakers if wanting surround sound. Most of what you are paying for when buying an AV receiver relates to the provision of surround sound.
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
Ah, now this reminds me of a long and heated Thread about stripped down AVRs that provide just simple features and focus mainly on sound quality!;)

3.0 is quite a rare sound configuration, does such an amp or receiver even exist? I suppose the OP will end up getting something with more features than he'll ever need, but I'm not going to get drawn into the economics of this!
 

Baobab

Standard Member
Ah, now this reminds me of a long and heated Thread about stripped down AVRs that provide just simple features and focus mainly on sound quality!;)

3.0 is quite a rare sound configuration, does such an amp or receiver even exist? I suppose the OP will end up getting something with more features than he'll ever need, but I'm not going to get drawn into the economics of this!

Yes this is exactly my dilema. My two CM8's are brilliant for music. The 2 CM2 I added to get the centre dialogue channel for TV/films, and my current amp accepts and works fine when it detects 3.0 during setup. The bass I get from this setup is more than enough so I have no need to add a .1. I even have the bass 'mufflers' in (or whatever you call the foam inserts) which gives a solid bass without any boominess.

I also don't rate surround sound in the overall cinema experience. For me the quality and depth of the sound are what give me 'immersion' into the film, not how many directions it comes from. I'm planning to move to a bigger house and I may think about some rears, but its unlikely I will.

So I need an amp that drives 3.0 which pushes me out of stereo amps, and it needs to have enough power for my speakers. There doesn't seem to be an amp designed for this. Its either sound bars or straight to 5.1+ etc
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
There is nothing wrong with running a 3.0 set up, and if you are happy with how your speakers sound with your current AVR, I would be inclined to keep it. Just route your 4K video direct to the new TV, and send the audio separately to your current amp - or through the TV.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Ah, now this reminds me of a long and heated Thread about stripped down AVRs that provide just simple features and focus mainly on sound quality!;)

3.0 is quite a rare sound configuration, does such an amp or receiver even exist? I suppose the OP will end up getting something with more features than he'll ever need, but I'm not going to get drawn into the economics of this!


There's really no strict need for the centre speaker if you can position the left and right speakers appropriately. THe left and right speakers can portray audio central to the soundstage and it is only if dealing with a large screen within a multichannel setup that a centre speaker would really be of any benefit. It is sometimes suggested that you get better tonal consistency across the front soundstage if omitting the centre speaker, especially if the centre speaker isn't rxactly the same make and model of speaker as those to either side of it. I'd imagine audio to be rather mundane if listening to it via a setup with only 3 front speakers due to the fact that most content will be output via the centre and will thus sound less empansive than if output that same audio via the stereo pair.

There are some excellent 2 channel AV receiver available such as Arcam's SR250, but they unfortunately also have a high price associated with them.
 

Baobab

Standard Member
There's really no strict need for the centre speaker if you can position the left and right speakers appropriately. THe left and right speakers can portray audio central to the soundstage and it is only if dealing with a large screen within a multichannel setup that a centre speaker would really be of any benefit. It is sometimes suggested that you get better tonal consistency across the front soundstage if omitting the centre speaker, especially if the centre speaker isn't rxactly the same make and model of speaker as those to either side of it.

I had a 2.0 setup with the CM8s for a couple of years. Most of the time it was great, but about 10-20% of content ended up with poor balance between dialogue and background sound. I tried all kinds of different settings, and maybe my amp is just not good at converting 5.1 to 2.0.

But I decided to get the centre speaker, and as soon as soon as I'd done the setup the majority of the 10-20% were all good. Whatever the reason, the centre speaker fixes an issue that I've seen sometimes when watching TV's not attached to external systems,
 

Baobab

Standard Member
Sorry one more question on this. I didn't realise that ARC was back down the input HDMI cable If I run my Sky Q to the TV, I assume its not going to be possible to use ARC to get audio back to the amp, even if I keep the Sky box on when watching content from the TV ?

Will Sky Q act as an audio relay ?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
ARC seems to operate differently on different TV's. On my Panasonic G30 in the kitchen, ARC will pass through audio to a connected soundbar for any sound from the in built tuner / DLNA content and from any other source device connected to any of the TV's HDMI inputs.

So, to answer your question, you shouldn't need to keep the sky box on to get audio from the TV passed through to the AVR via ARC.

Sometimes ARC is buggy, due to HDMI handshake issues. So, using an optical audio connection to pass audio from the TV to the AVR will achieve the same results.
 

logiclee

Well-known Member
SkyQ and ARC can be a difficult match, many complain of lip-sync issues and I've seen this myself with my old receiver.

As suggested above you may be better just using optical from SkyQ to the Receiver.
 

Baobab

Standard Member
Many thanks both.

I'm trying to reduce the number of cables as I'm not sure that using the old amp will be a long term solution, and so am not going to be burying any cables just yet.

But I guess I can live with an optical cable down from the TV (as well as the Sky Q HDMI) - it sounds like I need to order a white one...
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Have you got your new TV yet? How much of a hurry are you in?

It's just that HDMI 2.1 is round the corner, which will include, amongst other things, eARC (enhanced ARC). Although you will probably need a compatible TV and a compatible AVR to make use of it, but I thought I'd mention it in case you weren't aware and wanted to do further research.

In fact, I understand that some manufacturers are announcing eARC will be included in some devices ahead of HDMI 2.1.
 

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