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AV Processor/amps for £5k

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Peter Baker, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    I'm thinking about an upgrade from my Arcam alpha10/Dave setup to something a bit more transparent.
    The obvious choice is the Arcam AV8/P7, and having heard it, it sounds pretty good. Before splashing the cash, I would love to hear any thoughts.
    Other amps considered are TAG AVR32 + new 7channel amp
    or any of the Americans, Parasound Proceed etc.
    I use an Arcam DV27 for DVD and a Wadia 6 for CD, and currently have 5 speakers, butwill probably move to 7.
    Thanks for any input
    Pete
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    bryston processor is great...... if you shop around you might be able to get the sp1.7 and a 9bs(s)t for that money

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  3. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    Pete

    A search on here will bring up loads of info. It would help people give an opinion if you said what speakers you have / will buy.

    Try this thread - NicolasB gives a good rundown on your options.

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=80833&highlight=meridian+568.2

    Just to give you an idea what to search for around £5K I would look at / listen to:

    Pre:
    Meridian 568.2 used
    Rotel 1098
    Arcam AV8
    Tag AV32 (not dual proc)
    AV32 Dual Proc used
    Halo C2
    Bryston SP1.7 used

    Power:
    Rotel 1095
    Parasound A52
    Bryson used
    Arcam P7

    HTH

    Gus
     
  4. CYRUStheVIRUS

    CYRUStheVIRUS
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    try the naim, i did not want to like it but it sounded very good
     
  5. rags

    rags
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    I upgraded recently and ordered the Parasound combo with an A51 amp. It sounded to my ears better than the Arcam. However the Parasound amps are only 5 channel and for if you want to go to 7 speakers you will need to add either an A21 or an A23. Parsound claim that they didnt want to / couldnt make a 7 channel version of the A51 as it would weigh in the region of 110lbs - maybe a poor excuse but nonetheless an excellent product. The Arcam is also very good.

    I tried a non dual TAG with 192 dacs and also owned a base AV30R - good processors that are very good value second hand but a number of the other options are better sounding. Not tried a dual processor version but it's supposed to be a significant step up.

    The Bryston SP1.7 really gives a lot less action in the rear channels. It's supposed to have a good bypass which may be a priority for you. My primary concern was movie sound so I rejected it. Really quite bland for HC but clearly buns and others would disagree with this assessment. I also recall that it didnt have video switching unless you bought an add on unit but this was not something that affected my decision.

    The Rotel 1098 has a colour screen which you can watch movies on when your TV is on the blink....

    My biggest regret was that I didnt give a decent try to the Meridian 568.2 or the new G series. Supposed to be excellent so well worth a demo. Actually everything listed above is worth listening to, if you have the time - its a lot of money.
     
  6. Gatto

    Gatto
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  7. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    Thanks for all your advice. As ever, this just seems to increase the choice list, but then, choosing is half the experience. Any thoughts on where to see the parasound or bryston in London? So far reading the threads, I feel the Arcam may come out on top. I have a very reflective room, lots of glass wood and concrete, so a warmer sound would probably be best.
    For Gus's interest, I use Living Voice auditorium front speakers, which are very efficient horn like speakers (c£2k). I use a Ruark Dialogue centre and currently Linn 5110 surround, which I intend to improve to M&K K4's
    Thanks again
    Pete
     
  8. General Skanky

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    I'd 2nd the Naim kit. Very, very good indeed to my ears.

    I use Primare which I like a lot. I know of but one or two others here that have used the Primare route. Not a big following.
     
  9. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    Rags
    I am really interested in the parasound option. How would you characterise the sound v the arcam?
    What is the rest of the kit you are using with it?
    where did you get it from?
    Do you happen to know if Parasound are likely to provide regular upgrades, such as Dolby Prologic IIx
    Any other info gratefully received, as the info on the avs forum seems to be mainly technical rather han subjective.
    Many thanks
    Peter
     
  10. rags

    rags
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    My Parasound kit is currently somewhere in Heathrow airport awaiting customs clearance :mad: - should be with me by Wednesday. I ordered them from a dealer I know in NY. I found that the Parasound was a bit more laid back than the Arcam with a balance of sound that I prefer. However differences are subtle and my demo dates were significantly apart. The Parasound combo is quite a bit dearer than the Arcam.

    I will be using them with M&K speakers but may change to B&W 700 series - when I demod the Parasound it was with Nautilus 803's - cant really stretch to them but the 700 series may be a good compromise.

    Re updates - the Parasound is software and hardware upgradeable and the manufacturer has concentrated on promoting this feature. There are rumours going around that they will add IIx shortly and there may be some announcements at next months CES.
     
  11. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Peter, if your room is, as you say, very "lively", you may wish to consider some other surrounds as the M&Ks are very neutral and can sound bright in a lively room.
     
  12. rags

    rags
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    yes - mk's can tend to sound bright fi not partnered with the right equipment.
     
  13. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    This does worry me a little. However, every dealer I have spoken to have waxed lyrical on the dispersion characteristics of the M&K's. It also suits wife acceptability factor by being small and available in white.
    As I have mentioned, I currently use Linns, and find that they are a bit point source, and weedy. I intended to use these in the middle of the sides, if utilising 7 channels.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    For me this whole process is something of a voyage of rediscovery. About 10 years ago I was devoted to hi-fi, and had built up a system based around a Voyd/Helios/Audionote turntable, Audio Innovations Triode valve amps, and horn speakers.
    Marriage resulted in some downsizing, although I did pick up a Wadia Cd player along the way, the first time I saw any advantage of CD v Vinyl.
    I'm now far more interested in the AV side of things, but would love to get back to the warm valve sound, with extra transparency.
    I'm kinda hoping the Arcam or Parasound will do this, and that the front speakers will support this.
    This is why these probably appeal to me more than TAG products, which sound a bit more clinical.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble, and thanks for all your help.
    Peter
     
  14. rags

    rags
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    Peter - I have MK's all round and they really are terrific for home cinema [850 fronts and column srrounds]. You however have to partner them with the right equipment.

    The thing is if you like the Arcam sound you cant go far wrong with the AV8/P7 - the dealer I know sells both Parasound and Arcam and he will keep pushing the Arcam everytime over the Parasound - it's just his preference as he feels the two are pretty much equal in terms of SQ but Arcam's support in the UK is much better than that of Parasounds. I suppose you would expect it to be. In fact if you can afford it he will bring on the Lexicon gear which he reckons is the best of the lot.
     
  15. buns

    buns
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    I know dealers who told me flat that bryston processor was the best short of theta..... :D

    Peter, if you like a 'hifi' sound, be very wary of continuing towards M&K. Smurfin will act as testement here, he has been on that route and recently switched over to a very hifi setup utilising celestion A series speakers. As far as I can gather, the hifi characteristics have him exceptionally happy.

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  16. Spligsey

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    Now, now gentlemen....

    We all know who really takes the cake for home cinema & musical duties:cool:

    Those astute digital pioneers from Meridian.

    At the cutting edge of digital for years.

    They must be on your audition list.

    Some nice choices mentioned by the guys too.


    Adz
     
  17. rags

    rags
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    Actually the dealer I talked about also sells Meridian but he only talks about in the context of stereo sound. I should have tried the G series before I made my decision.

    Obviously you shouldnt go with everything a dealer tells you and let your ears decide - I wouldnt have ended up with the Parasound otherwise.

    Buns - Bryston for me doesnt cut it for HC. Also I noticed you sold your SP1.7 after about a week and are now looking for an alternative. The other distinguished forum member who bought a SP1.7 may be selling it and getting a Dual Sharc.:devil: :D


    Only kidding - I too have sold a lot of the gear I bought this year and am replacing it. It's all down to personal preference etc. Bryston, Meridian, Lexicon, TAG etc are all very very good.
     
  18. buns

    buns
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    Unfortunately I had reason for selling mine....... my upgrade often require money from elsewhere...... not everyone appreciates bargains like me!

    Actually i now have a meridian 565...... its a fantastic machine, if not that much of a replacement!

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  19. rags

    rags
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    Oh no :( . Now where going to get the Meridian double act from Ad and Adz.

    :D
     
  20. buns

    buns
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    :D no i wont say too much for them...... they refuse to consider selling to me unless i go out of my way...... no NI dealers so they simply refuse to sell unless i take a trip...... apart from that, they have alot going for them!

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  21. Orbital

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    Right then I'll chip in with my 2p worth of "meridian" jive talk :D

    I've had my 565 for about 6 months now and it continues to make me smile every time I listen to it. It's a cracking piece of kit and I can't speak too highly of it. I'm just lurking in the wings now for all the Meridian people to go and buy the new "G" series processors so I can get myself a luurvly 568 at a nice price :smashin:
     
  22. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    All
    Thanks for all your input. It may not make things simpler, but it all helps. In the past I have listened to full Meridian systems, and found them somewhat unengaging. This is going back a few years though.
    Yesterday I listened to a TAG AV32r (dual processor). I don't think the Monitor Audio speakers helped but it sounded very metallic to me, certainly not a sound I could live with. It was running through TAG power amp and DVD player. Actually it wasn't bad at all on movies, but not music.
    I also listened to a Proceed APV/5 channel poweramp. This sounded excellent on music and very good on movies. Once again, the peripherals will have made a difference The Cd player used was a wadia, similar to mine, whilst the speakers were £4k Tannoys.
    The result was a reaaly engaging, involving musical sound. This was still present on movies (using a top end Denon DVD), although I felt that the rears were somewhat subdued.
    However there is a problem, namely that HArman are not continuing the Proceed brand, concentrating instead on the Mark Levinson arm.
    Whilst this demo unit is competitively priced against the Arcam AV8/P7 as a result, it does leave one a bit stranded with DTS and DD. It isn't even the upgraded AVP2 which has Prologic II.
    I've also read horror stories of servicing issues.
    But, it really does sound good, and is effectively a Mark Levinson amp on the cheap.
    Any thoughts?

    Peter
     
  23. rags

    rags
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    Oh no Peter - Ad and Adz are going to be mighty upset with that statement. :D

    Regarding the Proceed - it's a lot of money to spend without an upgrade path. Prologic 2 is pretty good and is well worth having. Hey but if you like the sound and it's better than anything else you have heard.......
     
  24. buns

    buns
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    I think you answer your own question..... you have expressed a fear and it will almost certainly bother you from now until you upgrade..... so probably the wrong choice for you
     
  25. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    You might be right, but then again, DTS and DD5.1 provides pretty much all I require in HT, so perhaps concentration on the sound quality is all I need to consider.

    Isn't life tough?

    Peter
     
  26. lowrider

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    There is also the KRELL Showcase combo, they had a nice promotion, dont know if it is still on... :rolleyes:

    Analog class A bypass, balanced 7.1 outputs and stereo input, equalization, good video switching, etc... :smashin:

    After my old TAG DP, sounds like I removed a courtain from between me and the speakers... :rolleyes:
     
  27. rags

    rags
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    I was wondering why it took you so long to bring the Krell into the equation.
     
  28. lowrider

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    Only noticed this thread now... :blush:

    Any reason why I shouldn´t bring the Krell up... ;)
     
  29. rags

    rags
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    Nothing at all - in fact it got a great write up in our favourite Hifi mag recently :)
     
  30. marck

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    I can 2nd lowrider - I changed my MC1 to the Krell Showcase - it is amazing for music and movies.
    I am not sure if they are still doing the special offer either - but now is as good as time as ever to phone around....
     

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