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Analgoue sources too good for Marantz SR4300

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Nathanc, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Nathanc

    Nathanc
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    Earlier in the year I replaced my ageing Marantz PM44 MKIISE with the above amp. In sound quality and power terms, it was a step up (never mention the benefit of Dolby Digital).

    Recently I upgraded my Project phono stage with a Gram Slee 2 - my Rega P3 and CD63-mkII KI now sound indistinguishable (when comparing The The - Mind Bomb Vinyl and CD) using the same cable (Chord Co - Siren) :confused:

    In fact I have discovered that my CD63 sounds very similar whether connected via digital (Cambride Audio coaxial) or analogue. My Yamaha DVD (DVD-S540) player in fact sounds very close to my CD63 when connected digitally :eek:

    I would guess that I have reached the sound quality limit of the Amp as far as analgoue inputs go. I can only guess that the amp converts all analogue signals to digital for any processing then back to analogue for power amplification - hence why my DVD in digital sounds very close to the CD63KI in analogue!

    My question is that if I connected a decent power amp to the front left and right pre outs, would analogue sources skip all the processing and go straight to the pre outs for amplification?

    Alternatively if I purchased a decent pre amp to the front left and right of the 6.1 inputs would the processing be skipped and the signal sent straight to the amps?

    I don't see the point of attaching an integrated to the tape loop since it will still be processed - and the processing is the limiting factor here - why go CD DAC to amp ADC to amp DAC to amp ADC!!! I just can't find enough information on how this amp works!

    Perhaps I could get a decent integrated and use a speaker switch to share my Kefs with both amps!
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    As long as your AV receiver has preouts (and from what you have said it sounds like it does) then you can improve tha stereo audio side dramatically with an integrated stereo amp. Just connect everything up as follows:

    connect l & r preouts on AV to integrated HiFi amp input.
    connect l & r speakers to HiFi amp
    connect all HiFi sources (CD, phono etc) to HiFi amp

    When watching a DVD use the AV receiver, which will then feed the HiFi amp for the front l/r speakers.
    When listening to HiFi sources just leave the AV off.

    Arcam integrated amps (among many others) have a great feature that when it receives the DVD input via the AV receiver it bypasses the preamp stage so you only need to set the volume on the receiver. Without this you would need to set the HiFi amps volume to a set point each time you watch a DVD and then remember to turn it back down before listening to a CD etc.
    This option does work very well. I know because I used to have a Denon 3802 feeding into a pair of Arcam amps that biamped my front l/r speakers. The only down side of this is that for stereo listening you bypass any subwoofer that is connected to the receiver, unless it is connected with the high level connections.

    Mark.
     
  3. Nathanc

    Nathanc
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    Mark

    So basically, the SR4300 will not be involved in any way with the analogue hi-fi stuff. This sounds like a very sensible way of doing things - I think I knew about this approach, but got a bit confused with all the options!

    I like the idea of using an Arcam integrated as it would be nice to be able to skip the amps' pre stage with the DVD/Video source and in my experience these Amps can be pretty good.

    I don't have a sub so that's not a problem either!

    Could you advise which Arcam models have this functionality or at least when Arcams started doing this?


    Thanks
     
  4. Nathanc

    Nathanc
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    Found it! Arcam A80

    "The A80 operation is handled by a microprocessor. This allows the user access a menu that provides for a different input trim to be set for each input to compensate for the differences in output level commonly seen between sources such as CD and tuners. The A80 also has a processor function which fixes the level of the AV input so it can be used in conjunction with a home cinema set up."

    Let's just hope I like the sound!!


    Cheers
     
  5. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Personally I love the Arcam sound! But as with all these things it is only personal taste and certainly not for everybody.
    I had the Arcam Alpha 8r integrated (with an 8p power amp) which is fairly old, so I am sure that all but the very oldest of Arcams will have the processor mode.

    Mark.
     
  6. Nathanc

    Nathanc
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    Not sure if this is the right forum now anyway but if I am considering spending £600 on an amp which will far exceed any hi fi purchase to date I must consider the comptetion.

    The competition to the A80 mounts up against the Roksan Kandy, Cyrus 6 and Tag Maclaran 60i (which I heard when it was introduced and loved).

    Then again, as you quite rightly say Mark, it seems that Arcam have had this fixed AV input for a while and I have seen a couple of A75+ amps on Ebay.
     

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