AV vs stereo amps - that old chestnut again...


Novice Member
And another thing (feel like opening cans of worms today): Went to Richer Sounds yesterday (a Dali dealer in the UK). Just wasn't buying all this audiophile stuff about AV amps being so much worse than dedicated stereo. So we did a blind ABX test - me and two of the staff (well, they don't have much to do right now).
I chose 5 tracks, all streamed on Spotify using Dali Opticon 6 (which I own) and a Yamaha A3080 (close as they had to what I have now) and put it up against some stereo amps ranging from £300-£2k. Specifically against a Roksan M2, Lyngdorf TDAI 1120, Cambridge Azur 851 and then a cheap £300 Denon amp as a placebo.

Results - I could barely tell the difference, and in fact preferred the Yam 2/5 with 3/5 tracks totally no clue which was which. They all sounded the same. And the guys were equally confused. I know none of us are audiophiles (whoever they are - do you need to pass a test?) but still....goes to show eh? Also for those that think CD would have made difference, can I refer to proper ABX tests done between Spotify, Tidal and CD - pretty inconclusive, so not sure the source is as relevant any more. Also most people stream, so it's a fair question I reckon. Speakers matter, room accoustics, positioning and maybe cables a little, but most modern amps within their tolerances sound the same. And all this crap about AV sound compromised by interference from radio circuits, etc. just doesn't stack up in real world listening. Is it audiophil marketing crap? Is bias that strong? Thoughts? (Light the touch paper and stand back....😝)


Well-known Member
Well, there is an old saying if you can't hear the difference then this not one. Personally I use Qobuz and can tell the difference between an average AVR and a Stereo amp quite easily. I have had a yam 3010 in the past and so we'll know what to expect, not night and day , but a clean treble and balanced bass.

One thing often missed is the source recording, a poor source negates any advantage of at least a CD-quality recording. Further overproduced modern, often made for radio sound kills the sound. I use an Audiolab 6000a in my office and that provides a great balanced, well-timed sound.


Distinguished Member
There was a massive improvement between my Yamaha avr and a audiolab 8000s.

Deleted member 39241

Why not ask if you can have a home demo of the amps, and see how they sound in your room?

Or, if you are happy with how your AVR sounds - happy days!


Well-known Member
Why not ask if you can have a home demo of the amps, and see how they sound in your room?

Or, if you are happy with how your AVR sounds - happy days!

That is the best advice you could get.
Within a short time I had an Anthem MRX710, an Arcam 550 and a Marantz 7011 the first two were no slouches for music and the Marantz not bad but a Musical Fidelity M3i stereo amp (thanks to @Rambles and @gibbsy) beat them all for music in my situation and my ears. I've since upgraded quite a bit but it was a lesson well learned.


Think my feelings are well known about the poor stereo music performance of Denon receivers. Simply not good enough and all but the most expensive receivers cannot trouble a good stereo amp in that regard.

It matters not a jot if the OP is happy with how his receiver performs with music. I cannot comment on the quality of streamed music as I've never sat down and listened to any and prefer the good old silver disc. If the original recording is poor then no matter what you listen on it's going to be poor, crap in and crap out.


Well-known Member
A selection on a spotify sub probably wont reveal much. I dont even trust that spotify dont further compress their music like radio stations do. I think quality is comparable between Tidal and Qobuz and CD usually. Well produced Mp3 sources can be good enough for assessing some aspects of a system, but the nature of mp3 is that it removes alot (often quiet audibly when you know what to listen for) so avoid for critical evaluations.

Use a known good source for such comparisons. Ideally something that is well produced with good transients etc (ie not a cluttered overly loud track). Choice of track can make a huge difference in terms of revealing differences. Of course, for an audition you want to hear stuff that you know and like, but you should also choose well produced tracks that can reveal differences as well.
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