Answered AV Receiver, Stereo Receiver or Amp?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by chownsie79, Jul 13, 2017.


    1. chownsie79

      chownsie79
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      Hi All,

      I'm looking at options to play music in an extension, possibly use these four speakers to play TV audio and add a sub later on. The main purpose initially is to steam music using an app, such as Deezer, Spotify etc.

      I've noticed, looking at the prices, that a Yamaha WXA50 is significantly more expensive than a RN602 Stereo Receiver, although the RN602 is more bulky. Initially I thought about the RN602 as all my sources are in a hub tucked away.

      Having looked again, I've now seen the Yamaha RX481 is cheaper still and would give me the ability to use it for a second zone later on, albeit, with speakers dotted around rather than in the traditional 5.1 set up.

      My question is, what is the real difference for music listening on these three devices? I will also build a cinema room and hope to use a 3060 in here, but if budget is constrained I could switch the RX481 over temporarily for 5.1 surround.

      Thanks
       
    2. Best Answer:
      Post #8 by Rambles, Jul 13, 2017 (1 points)
    3. Rambles

      Rambles
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      The differences between them all are to do with sound quality / power and features. So, it depends what your priorities are, and what speakers you are using, and also on the acoustic qualities of the room.

      If you just want it to work and sound okay, then I'd say get whatever amp is the most cost effective. You don't even need streaming features on board as you can add a very inexpensive streamer, such as the £30 chromecast audio, which should do all that you need.

      Generally AVR's are considered to be less good at high sound quality for music, because they do so much else, and are packed with lots of channel amplifications, so the more that is packed into one unit, generally the lower the quality. But that is a very sweeping statement, so don't take it as an absolute.

      If you want high quality sound, then you would look for amps that are built with higher quality components, such as toroidal transformers. and that have a higher power rating, so lots of headroom for good quality sound, at any volumes, and can handle peaks without distortion.

      Ultimately, if you get a shortlist, and can find somewhere to demo the amps, then it would be good to listen to them before buying.
       
    4. chownsie79

      chownsie79
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      Hi Punctilio,

      Thanks for the reply. The room(s) layout can be seen here;

      Home AV/Theatre System

      We've been around in a few circles on this, purely down to advice but not fully understanding or maybe researching each unit.

      The idea was to have in ceiling speakers in all rooms to reduce clutter. I understand this is not the most cost effective way, to do it, but I've now wired the house with Van Damme cable to do this.

      In the extension, I will have four Dali E60's which are equally spaced around the room. It is large and these will be used for music primarily. From the diagram on the other thread, it will be one in each 'room' of the extension.

      In the lounge, eventually once complete I will go for a 5.1.4 and have set the wiring for this, plus provisioned for a projector etc.

      Upstairs it will be in ceilings for background music in two zones.

      The extension is the first on the list, hence why I considered using an AVR - there is a wall mounted TV here with four cat6 cables behind it and a sub cable in the corner near to it. So I could use this but the four Dali's would be in odd positions for surround sound.

      I've spoken to three separate suppliers who have mentioned Sonos, MusicCast and Heos to me, but in reality I'd not be using any of the wireless features of these as I'd have everything wired to the hub. Only if I get wireless speakers in the garden or elsewhere would I use it.

      The thought with having two AVR's is I can use them in two zones, but if it will compromise the quality of the Dali's for music then maybe not a good idea. It is proving difficult finding a demo room locally to really hear all of these.
       
    5. Rambles

      Rambles
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      Okay. Interesting project!

      So, for the extension you want an amp that will run the four dali ceiling speakers, but in dual stereo mode? And the option to add a subwoofer? I think that means that the WXA 50 is out, as it only has speaker terminals for two speakers, plus it is significantly lower powered than the RN602.

      You could get an AVR instead, the RX 481 has less power output than the RN602, but it has HDMI inputs. I don't think you will use those, so I think out of the three units you mentioned, the RN602 seems to have the exact features that you want and has the highest power rating.

      Is there a Richer Sounds near you? They should be able to offer a demo, you might need to book in advance.

      What about the Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20? That can do two sets of stereo speakers (A + B), plus has a sub out, and Cambridge have a good reputation for high build and sound quality. You would have to add a separate streamer, but there are several of those on the market for very low cost.
       
    6. chownsie79

      chownsie79
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      It is an interesting and challenging project. I bought a HDBaseT matrix I’ve not been able to get the use out of to date, so hence my cautious approach to anything else I purchase! My wife wants value for money this time….:)


      So in the extension, the speakers will be, left playroom, right family room, left dining room, right kitchen (That is dual stereo mode right?). So they will pair with each other around in two areas (I hope that makes sense?). The TV will be mounted on the family room wall, where the furniture is pointing in the drawing. We took out the log burner, so the sub would sit where that log burner is and we could incorporate a sound bar if needed in there. First and foremost as it is a slow burner (getting everything done vs budget), we want to utilize the Dali’s speakers to play music from Deezer, Spotify and alike. We were thinking MusicCast enabled products, as having researched AVR’s for the eventual cinema room, the 3060 sounds like a good one for the current price. It would then be controllable with one app (the hub is in a cupboard in the utility, so closed away in a rack).


      There is a Richer Sounds yes, I’ve been speaking with them, plus Peter Tyson, AVOnline – don’t get me wrong, all the advice is good and I appreciate they are there to sell, but I think the slight conflicting advice has made the choice difficult.

      I’ll check out the Cambridge Audio you’ve recommended.
       
    7. Rambles

      Rambles
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      Hold on, I might be confused, but...

      You have four ceiling speakers, and are you saying that you want to send identical mono sound to each one? Rather than stereo sound to one pair, and stereo sound to another pair?

      If that is what you want, then a stereo amp / receiver will not be able to do that.
       
    8. chownsie79

      chownsie79
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      I think I've confused many people on here before!! Sorry about that.

      Yes, as all four speakers will be in the extension, we want them to all play the same music at the same time.

      So for example, Playroom and Family Room would be left and right. Dining Room and Kitchen would be left and right. So they would be paired but all playing the same source of music if that makes sense? I was told (by Richer Sounds) that by doing this, the kitchen being, for example, the right speaker of the pair (with the dining room) and the playroom being the left speaker of the other pair, it would mean they would also essentially be a pair? Or at least, standing between them you'd get good sound.

      So the 5.1 AVR cannot distribute the sound to four speakers for music then? I thought that you'd have the playroom/family room as the fronts and the kitchen/dining room as the rears but all playing the music as above.
       
    9. Rambles

      Rambles
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      Ha, okay a bit confusing!

      Well yes, an AVR or a stereo amp / receiver could power all four speakers at the same time, in a A + B set-up. So speakers A would play left and right stereo, and speakers B would play left and right stereo (spearately or at the same time).

      My concern is that if you had it set up like this and were playing back some music, or tv audio, or radio audio, and you were standing in, say, the playroom, you would only hear one half of the stereo audio, which wouldn't be good.

      Or... is it that the left speaker in the playroom and the right speaker in the family room is the same room, so you would always be able to hear both left and right of the stereo audio, wherever you were located?
       
    10. chownsie79

      chownsie79
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      Yes, it is all part of the extension, so one big room with just a pier in the middle.

      The playroom is the old dining room, we removed the wall between this and the kitchen, then the back of the house for a single storey extension. The pier may effect the sound slightly but we had to support the steel and there was an internal waste pipe from above which was too tricky to move or get the run off as the steel at the back of the house is up in the floor void.

      The steel between kitchen and dining room (old house) had to be below ceiling height, so may also have a slight effect on sound. The extension has a vaulted ceiling, so the speakers in there will be angled toward the house. All things that may prove interesting once the speakers are running, but the Dali's have directional tweaters, so can be adjusted.

      The whole playroom, kitchen, dining room and family room thing is to give each area of the space a label really, its all fairly open plan other than the pier in the middle.
       
    11. chownsie79

      chownsie79
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      The Richer Sounds rep who came out advised to do it this way. As a fall back I've sent a further cable to the dining and family room (new) in case I need stereo speakers there. Although it would mean those in the playroom/kitchen would need a second amp.
       
    12. Beagle64

      Beagle64
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      Was always a 2 channel purist but now have a Yamaha RXA550. While in pure 2 channel most stereo amps will sound better the sheer flexibility of an AV amp with built in internet radio, bluetooth, multi speaker output, usb inputs etc has meant I can't see me going back.
       
    13. xfilian

      xfilian
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      When I set up my AV system a few years back, I wanted a receiver that performed stereo duties to a reasonable standard. Having read various reviews and chatted with my local expert, I went for an Arcam receiver which had a dedicated stereo stage. It worked fine and well and produced a pleasant enough sound but I always suspected it was somewhat lacking.

      A couple of years later I was browsing the classifieds on here (with no intent of purchasing, as you do :D) and came across a Musical Fidelity stereo amp at a very reasonable price. A bit of research revealed the amp had an HT passthrough, meaning I could use it to power my two front speakers in conjunction with my Arcam receiver - thus not messing about when switching from stereo to 5.1 duties. I negotiated a price with the seller and had it collected. As soon as I plugged it in, I knew I had done the right thing. Instantly the sound was 'full fat as opposed to semi skimmed, if that makes sense. Rich, detailed and a world apart from the Arcam. I guess it would be silly not to expect some difference as I was half worried that the difference would not be enough to justify the outlay, but it was and then some.

      I guess it ultimately depends on how much you use the system for stereo duties. If it is occasionally, perhaps stick with a decent AV receiver. I have got to the stage now where I probably spend more time listening to vinyl and CDs than I do watching films in 5.1, so it is an obvious choice for me.
       
    14. kimberlin

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      I've just recently purchased a Marantz NR1506 to replace an ageing Panasonic SA-XR700. The difference between the two is night and day from a practical perspective.

      I use my set up mostly for watching TV and movies/DVD's and occasionally listening to CD's. The things I love about my new Marantz are the Bluetooth connectivity with my iphone, Amazon Dot etc, internet radio, OTA firmware updates, 6 HDMI outputs meaning I can connect all of my equipment to it, something I was unable to do with my old Panasonic because that only had two outputs meaning I had to use a HDMI switcher in order to pipe everything through the AV.

      Yes the Marantz is 'only' 5.1, but I don't need anymore than that. The £319 I paid for it was a great price too.
       

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