AV amp has died. What direction to go with a replacement?

dts197

Distinguished Member
It's always a balance, but the science is important as it gives objective measurements and comparisons. To dismiss it as irrelevant reminds me of when people used to defend British amps built in someone's garden shed back in the 80's - because they "just sounded better".
I'm not saying it's irrelevant, but the way some people talk it's like ASR is the be all and end all and nothing else matters.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I'm not saying it's irrelevant, but the way some people talk it's like ASR is the be all and end all and nothing else matters.
ASR is a tool that can be used to reference any amp that they have tested. However if an amp with great results just doesn't sound good for you then yes perhaps it is irrelevant. To keep the car analogy going it's a bit like taking the manufacturer's MPG figures supplied from a rolling road as gospel. They never equate to the real world.

BTW I drive a Volvo so I'm Captain Sensible. I've got the Dai cap to prove it.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Not quite. The Arcam is better than the Denon for both movies and music, you don't need a separate integrated amp with it, and you get Dirac which will do a better job with your clarity of dialogue issue than Audyssey will. And the software is perfectly stable and bug free.

It doesn't have HT bypass, from what I can see, you could still use it between the AVR pre-outs and power amp inputs, but you would need to manually adjust the volume each time you switch from using it with your AVR and for music.

Or, you could set-up a switching system, so the power amp inputs are switched from being fed by the AVR for movies, or by the stereo pre-amp for music.

I recall you highlighting the Beringer a800 amp, that is tested on asr and did well, but someone else here had one and said it sounded lousy
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
I recall you highlighting the Beringer a800 amp, that is tested on asr and did well, but someone else here had one and said it sounded lousy
I suppose it depends what they were comparing it with and the rest of their system. In my system it sounds and measures exactly the same as any other power amp, except it provides more headroom.
 
I'm not saying it's irrelevant, but the way some people talk it's like ASR is the be all and end all and nothing else matters.
Far from it. But it does provide objective numbers to counter some of the mindless fanboyism.
 
. To keep the car analogy going it's a bit like taking the manufacturer's MPG figures supplied from a rolling road as gospel. They never equate to the real world.

BTW I drive a Volvo so I'm Captain Sensible. I've got the Dai cap to prove it.
I'm lucky if I see 17mpg, so it's not a parameter that i play close attention to :D
 

Parry

Distinguished Member
Just upgraded to the Denon avr3700x
Movies sounded great from the off, its audyssey auto calibration favours moves, but music did not sound good.
Ive now got it sound amazing with music too, switching off audyssey and then using the MultiEQ editor app to adjust something things and change the sound curve has transformed the sound of this amp.
With a little work it can be setup to sound fantastic with what over source of audio you feed it from music to movies.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
I find the ASR reviews really interesting, I think there is definitely room for more measured objective reviews of all types of tech. But, I think subjective reviews are equally as important, and even more important than that is how the item sounds and performs in your room, to your ears.

Mindless dismissal of entire brands of AVR's because of one isolated measurement on one review, without actually having used or heard one unit, nor taking into account the rest of the measurements or any of the subjective reviews, seems like a deliberately antagonistic and unhelpful approach to take.
 
Just upgraded to the Denon avr3700x
Movies sounded great from the off, its audyssey auto calibration favours moves, but music did not sound good.
Ive now got it sound amazing with music too, switching off audyssey and then using the MultiEQ editor app to adjust something things and change the sound curve has transformed the sound of this amp.
With a little work it can be setup to sound fantastic with what over source of audio you feed it from music to movies.

Nice one. What changes did you make on the app?
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
I find the ASR reviews really interesting, I think there is definitely room for more measured objective reviews of all types of tech. But, I think subjective reviews are equally as important, and even more important than that is how the item sounds and performs in your room, to your ears.

Mindless dismissal of entire brands of AVR's because of one isolated measurement on one review, without actually having used or heard one unit, nor taking into account the rest of the measurements or any of the subjective reviews, seems like a deliberately antagonistic and unhelpful approach to take.
The whole spate of arcam avr and av pre get terrible results, on specific areas. It's not just one model.

Typically the Denon get good to very good results (Denon 8500)
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
The whole spate of arcam avr and av pre get terrible results, on specific areas. It's not just one model.

Typically the Denon get good to very good results (Denon 8500)
Yep, agreed. Having A / B'd them in my room though, the Arcam sounds massively better. How do we explain that?
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Yep, agreed. Having A / B'd them in my room though, the Arcam sounds massively better. How do we explain that?

No idea. Although I would ensure room correction is disabled, and only speaker size, distance and channels levels are set. Throwing different room corrections into the mix introduces too many variables.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
No idea. Although I would ensure room correction is disabled, and only speaker size, distance and channels levels are set. Throwing different room corrections into the mix introduces too many variables.
Yep. I did do that. I hate Audyssey, it always seems to make dialogue sound a bit distorted, like there are digital artefacts creeping in. Even out of the box, the Arcam sounded better, huge soundstage and just very clear and precise audio. I only use Dirac a little bit, I have a 60hz peak on my centre speaker which needs flattening, which Dirac does well, as well as really precisely placing the voices to the centre of the screen. I do have a lightly treated room though.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Yep. I did do that. I hate Audyssey, it always seems to make dialogue sound a bit distorted, like there are digital artefacts creeping in. Even out of the box, the Arcam sounded better, huge soundstage and just very clear and precise audio. I only use Dirac a little bit, I have a 60hz peak on my centre speaker which needs flattening, which Dirac does well, as well as really precisely placing the voices to the centre of the screen. I do have a lightly treated room though.

Did you use the multi eq app, limit correction, and try flat and reference modes?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Did you use the multi eq app, limit correction, and try flat and reference modes?
Yes, indeed I did, many, many, many times. My experiences are probably recorded in the Audyssey thread. Ultimately, Dirac is much better, in my room anyway.
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
Not only is the Arcam 390 an old design, it also reviewed very poorly:


As for the "British" aspect, it's more marketing guff than reality these days, with the units being manufactured in that most English of counties - Vietnam :p . So I would say the Arcam option would be a poor choice and I would be surprised if anyone recommended otherwise.

As per Gibbsy's advice, the Denon's do most things well and are generally reliable.
I sold my Denon 4500 and purchased an AVR20, now I have seen the ASR site and the problem for me is simply the measurement don't reflect real world experiences. I agree the ARCAMs are expensive for the features provided, so the average tick box approach leaves the ARCAM wanting. That aside 90% of the features never get used and therefore have zero value.

My AV20 has been fine and sonically with or without Dirac sounds much better particularly is Stereo. The leads me to conclude that ASR are measuring and comparing things you simply can't hear.

Now moving to the ARCAMs lead to me discovering a huge 40hz-50hz & 20db down null in my room when setting up DIRAC. This is something the DENON is has no way of being able to inform the listener. So using the DIRAC live, I was able to move the Sub small amount and got the null down to 10db. Further improvements using DIRAC make the null still there, but much better managed.

I now have very clean bass and better stereo, in fact sounds as good as a normal 2 channel amp with music and really good with movies.
 

Parry

Distinguished Member
Nice one. What changes did you make on the app?
Have you got the app?
I swtiched off midrange suppression and changed the sound profile curve, at drops off at higher frequency range too soon for my ears.
So I adjusted the curve to not be so aggressive and only kick in just before the end of the curve.
It sounds really nice now, its still a work in progress as its the first time I've used the app, I've gone thinking the sound is too soft and muted for my liking to this sound amazing in the space of 30 mins messing around with the app.
There is a thread on AVS on how to use it but I haven't had a chance to read it yet, I found the app to be very self explanatary

My first impression of denon were not great, i hear others discribing the sound as soft, muted and bland.
The amps audyssey software is very cleaver, it has been able to set my sub and speakers up so much better than the onkyo rx740 did. but Its setup to offer the best audio experience for loud movie listening,it rolls off at the high end and lower the midrange to make a more comfortable listening experience at higher volumes, and why not as that's what ats sold as.
But with some tweaks to the sound profile it can be made to sound godd for any audio types or just anyone's prefer sound tastes.
 
Last edited:

shug4476

Active Member
No AV amp can do stereo well. The very best are trounced by even fairly budget stereo amps. A £5k integrated AV amp cannot match a £170 second hand stereo amp. There are lots of technical reasons for this which I won't go into.

That said there is still a stratum of music performance within AV. Arcam are very good, toward the better end.

Denon used to make brilliant one box kit - the THX-certified AVC series which, to my ears, were every bit as good as an Arcam (I owned both, side by side). The AVC series has been largely abandoned now in favour of feature-rich AVRs which seem to change model every 12-18 months. Pretty well all of the Denon AVR series sound poor with music. You could honestly better them for £70 in the used market with a stereo amp.

On equalisers - Audyssey has its virtues. It requires no user intervention and is easy to set up. It does not require an external PC to use (everything is within the amp). Having owned multiple bits of Audyssey kit and conducted detailed measurements, it is surprisingly effective at improving the measured response of speakers. I have to emphasise here the word "measured" because, despite this, I consistently preferred the sound with it switched off.

DIRAC I have not tried yet. It is much more sophisticated than Audyssey and requires more work from the user. It also has more potential. That sophistication is a double edged sword as just about every piece of equipment that uses it has software glitches.

Even THETA now used DIRAC on the Casablanca which, given they are probably the most stuffy manufacturer around for pure sound quality, strongly implies it must be very effective when used properly.

I would personally use a Denon if movies were your priority, an Arcam if you have an even split between music and movies, and an offboard stereo amp if you take music seriously.
 

shug4476

Active Member
I sold my Denon 4500 and purchased an AVR20, now I have seen the ASR site and the problem for me is simply the measurement don't reflect real world experiences. I agree the ARCAMs are expensive for the features provided, so the average tick box approach leaves the ARCAM wanting. That aside 90% of the features never get used and therefore have zero value.

My AV20 has been fine and sonically with or without Dirac sounds much better particularly is Stereo. The leads me to conclude that ASR are measuring and comparing things you simply can't hear.

See my previous posts on AVS and my overall conclusion that the man doing the measurements doesn't really understand what he is doing.
 
Have you got the app?
I swtiched off midrange suppression and changed the sound profile curve, at drops off at higher frequency range too soon for my ears.
So I adjusted the curve to not be so aggressive and only kick in just before the end of the curve.
It sounds really nice now, its still a work in progress as its the first time I've used the app, I've gone thinking the sound is too soft and muted for my liking to this sound amazing in the space of 30 mins messing around with the app.
There is a thread on AVS on how to use it but I haven't had a chance to read it yet, I found the app to be very self explanatary

My first impression of denon were not great, i hear others discribing the sound as soft, muted and bland.
The amps audyssey software is very cleaver, it has been able to set my sub and speakers up so much better than the onkyo rx740 did. but Its setup to offer the best audio experience for loud movie listening,it rolls off at the high end and lower the midrange to make a more comfortable listening experience at higher volumes, and why not as that's what ats sold as.
But with some tweaks to the sound profile it can be made to sound godd for any audio types or just anyone's prefer sound tastes.
I shall have to have an experiment ;)
 
I sold my Denon 4500 and purchased an AVR20, now I have seen the ASR site and the problem for me is simply the measurement don't reflect real world experiences. I agree the ARCAMs are expensive for the features provided, so the average tick box approach leaves the ARCAM wanting. That aside 90% of the features never get used and therefore have zero value.

My AV20 has been fine and sonically with or without Dirac sounds much better particularly is Stereo. The leads me to conclude that ASR are measuring and comparing things you simply can't hear.

Now moving to the ARCAMs lead to me discovering a huge 40hz-50hz & 20db down null in my room when setting up DIRAC. This is something the DENON is has no way of being able to inform the listener. So using the DIRAC live, I was able to move the Sub small amount and got the null down to 10db. Further improvements using DIRAC make the null still there, but much better managed.

I now have very clean bass and better stereo, in fact sounds as good as a normal 2 channel amp with music and really good with movies.
So ASR - technology bad. DIRAC - technology good. :rolleyes:
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
No AV amp can do stereo well. The very best are trounced by even fairly budget stereo amps. A £5k integrated AV amp cannot match a £170 second hand stereo amp. There are lots of technical reasons for this which I won't go into.
I think in general that is correct, but there is always the exception to every rule:

The Arcam FMJ range, when fed an analogue signal and put in direct mode, digital processing is shut down to improve the sound quality and reduces digital noise with the Receiver to an absolute minimum.

I have A/B'd this with a Musical Fidelity stereo amp and both sound great, the Arcam AVR, in that mode, is easily as good as the MF stereo amp.

Objective measurements of the Arcam AVR range, the AVR390, in stereo direct mode, was ranked 18th out of 112 amps tested to date for SINAD, whereas when not in direct mode, it is ranked at 58th out of 112, quite a difference. The next device up the rank in position 17th is a Devialet Expert 200 which is a stereo amplifier retailing at £5495.
 

Matyam

Active Member
ASR , pointless numbers over listening unless it's a denon.
 

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