AV Receiver or decent stereo amp + HDMI switch?

Locoloic

Novice Member
Hi all,
I'm pretty new to this AV game, but to set the scene, I've recently bought a house and am getting things put in place in the lounge. The lounge itself is long but narrow, and the TV lends itself well to be chimney breast mounted, with a couple of stereo speakers either side on the mantlepiece. I'm not too keen on 5.1 or whatever, and I think the room is too narrow to acommodate it anyway.

So, this means I'm looking for a decent stereo setup, but as I've just given most of my cash to the bank & lawyers, I'm doing so somewhat on a budget.

So, an audiophile friend suggests a 4K HDMI switch with optical out, then a decent stereo only amp (marantz PM-6005) to power a couple of q acoustics 3020's. This is pretty good, but then for similar cash, we have things like the Onkyo TXSR343 which has all the switching built in, can power mini-PCs, has bluetooth, radio, etc. Of course, to be able to have these features, it means things like the amp and PSU of the Onkyo are going to be inferior to the Marantz.

Is there a happy medium that isn't going to break the bank?!

Oh yes, also, with the AV receiver, there is the ability to have a centre speaker. Would this be a good idea to incorporate? I've chased my walls, and am putting in cabling as we speak, so I need to make some decisions! :)

Thanks in advance!
 

sounddog

Well-known Member
One option might be something like Marantz NR1506 (no idea if £350 is "break the bank" for you) ... though the PM6005 plus HDMI switch is likely better sound quality if a little messier.
 

Locoloic

Novice Member
Ok, that looks like a decent option. Reviews suggest the power output at 50W is a little on the light side, but then the room is pretty small.

So, if I went for it, would it be worth picking up a Q Acoustics centre speaker to go with it? I've heard that movie audio can sound like there's something missing if one isn't connected...
I'd only be using two of the channels of the amp (is bridging a thing still? combining two channels as one?).

Thanks again.
 

smokingreen

Active Member
I guess it depends what you will primarily use the system for? If it is music with occasional TV viewing then the stereo amp will be better, if it is primarily for TV personally I would go for the AVR.

I have tried removing the centre speaker a few times, if you always sit directly in front of the TV in between the two speakers then the stereo imaging locates the voices on the screen. However if you are not central, then I have always found it distracting that voices are not located at the screen and therefore I would definitely recommend a centre speaker.

You have said that you are not interested in 5.1, but if you are still chasing wires then maybe run some cables in for surrounds. You never know how you will feel in the future!

Assuming your speakers and avr support it then you can biamp the front pair of speakers using four channels of amplification. I biamp the front left, right and centre from my avr but there are good arguments to say it makes no audible difference but it cost me no extra.

In addition, features in a modern avr such as Bluetooth, AirPlay and Spotify connect make them extremely versatile. I have recently upgraded my AVR from an older model, and I love the simplicity and reliability of having all hdmi sources into one box and then one hdmi cable to the TV. My previous AVR was pre hdmi so I also had a hdmi switch, which worked, but did give me handshaking glitches occasionally, of course different switches may be better.

Final decision is yours, and no doubt others may (and already have) advised differently.... Good luck!
 
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