AVR +/- stereo amp?


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Aug 9, 2021
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Evening all

I have had very helpful comments a little while ago when I started to think about upgrading my system. Then a house move got in the way and so plans were on hold. It I am planning again to upgrade my entire HiFi/HT system. Split listening is 70/30 music/movies.

Quality of 2 channel listening is important. Type of music is mainly electronic (Electronica, techno) but also film music, classical, jazz. Sources are Spotify, Tidal, CDs, vinyl.

HT sources are 4k blu rays or 4k streaming.

I have a PS4 and will look to get a PS5 within the next 12 months. I will also aim to upgrade my TV (Panasonic 58DX802) within the next 12 months. So the 8K functionality may be nice in the future.

I am looking for a system that aims for future-proofing with a key focus on the music side. In terms of speakers I am not looking really for more than 5.1 or 5.2 but possibly up to 5.1.2 or 5.2.2, so 7.2 capability would be fine (not bothered about separating subwoofer signals).

I don’t have any experience of having AVR plus pre-out to stereo amp but this does intrigue me. But given that most of the music I listen to is electronic music and that the vast majority of my listening is through digital media, and also that I don’t feel that strongly towards me must having a separate stereo amp for 2ch listening, I am not sure about whether I should just aim for the best AVR I can get rather than worrying too much about adding a stereo amplifier.

Regarding speakers I have listened to various ones and actually I enjoyed most the Klipsch sound. Energetic and suits my taste in music. So I was looking at:

-Klipsch RP-8000F L/R
-Klipsch RP-600C or RP-504C C
-Klipsch RP-502S S
-SVS PB3000

So thinking about amplifiers, I was looking at spending total around the £2-2.5k mark and have thought about:

AVR on its own
-Yamaha A6A

AVR plus stereo amp
-Yamaha A4A or V6A
-Denon x3700 or x4700
-Marantz SR5015 or SR6015

Stereo amps
-Roskan K3
-Audiolab 6000 or 8300
-Musical Fidelity M3si
-Arcam SA20

I am keen for your thoughts about whether I should just focus on a decent musical AVR or whether I should go dual. And recommendations in particular about what AVR I should choose for the dual option.

Thanks all
Whatever stereo amp you go for get one with HT bypass

Yeah will definitely choose from this list if I do go stereo amp. Still not definitely set on going dual AVR and stereo. I know the RP-8000Fs are easy to drive.

I am drawn to the Yamaha AVRs. What stereo amps would people recommend work well with the Yamaha AVRs?
I just upgraded my system significantly from a 2015 Denon 3200 and 20 year old, second hand Kef Q3 speakers to a second hand Denon 6500 and new latest gen MA Silver 500's.

I've been listening to WAY more music as a result and just added a cheap Denon turntable and started buying vinyl (might have reconsidered if I'd checked vinyl prices first LOL). Whereas previously my system was always geared around HT first, music second.

I've now got the "stereo amp" itch despite spending way more than I planned originally and also adding a fairly hefty sub.

You don't mention what you're using at the moment?

My suspicion is, that if you go down the HT first route, you'll soon get that "itch" and start thinking about how much improvement there would be from a separate stereo amp. But then it might be the case that the HT first route would be more than sufficient for X months and then you could add a stereo amp later.

The reason I'm listening to more music on my new setup is partly due to room layout having changed to accomodate a home office desk as my L/R speakers are at a right angle to desk behind me, so listening at my desk isn't really optimal for music - meaning if I want to listen to music I sit on sofa at MLP. But also of course because of the jump in quality - I was hearing things on the new set up that I didn't hear on the older one

Admittedly I don't know how musical the Yamaha AVR's are.

Also, your sub is £1800 and take this with a pinch of salt - I was previously using a used Kef sub, live in a ground floor apartment so always kept it down low to avoid annoying upstairs neighbour (even though she's never once complained about volume in 6 years). I was sceptical about upgrading sub if it was also going to be turned down most of the time and only turned up at weekends, but I bought a Arendal 1723 2 from here for a few hundred quid more than I would have spent on a new sub at £500 mark.

I do feel like the Sub is way too much power for my room, and I'm not really a bass "affecionado", so probably could have got away with a smaller sub. But it's kinda like how I don't drink wine unless someone else orders it, so I can't really appreciate wine - I don't know anything about it or how to discuss what is good, bad wine - so my opinion on bass is like my opinion on wine! My point - maybe you could divert some money from the sub towards the amps? But then if you listen to a lot of electronic music maybe you appreciate the bass and your home/room situation may be more conducive to heavy bass than mine!!
I'm guessing you've already done your homework on the HT-BYPASS as it seems the five integrated stereo amps plus the six avrs are all geared up to work that way.

I feel that you really need to hear one or two of the integrated stereo amps plus the Yamaha RX-A6A on its own to see which one really makes your foot tap

I suspect the AVC-X3700H plus the AudioLab 8300 or Musical Fidelity M3si will be the winners for a combined unit using the HT-BYPASS as these should give you the best of both Worlds without the desire to upgrade those components for quite a few years

As you are looking at the Yamaha RX-A6A, you should also have on your list the Arcam AVR-5 Anthem MRX-540 as these should be able to deliver great musical playback whilst being quite adapt as cinematic performances
Thanks famasfilms for your response.

Current system is Denon X2400H with an old set of Cambridge Audio speakers 5.1 (Sirocco). Did have Cambridge Audio sub but played that into the ground. Don’t tend to turn the system up to 11 very often, but do like to be able to every now and again.

I am definitely going above and beyond with sub for my space. I am also hoping that the setup I buy now will last a long time. I have attached my floorplan for the current listening space. The current room is a weird shape and so creates difficulties for subwoofers. At some point this is also going to change with us knocking down a wall between two other rooms and thus will create a new room of 30m2 for listening. But admittedly I don’t know when this will be. Perhaps for now PB2000 Pro is enough. I did listen to a REL T9x and wanted more than this gave.

I would be happy to settle for a musical AVR and am not definitely set on combining HT bypass for stereo amp. But from reading through the posts here I have found consistently lots of praise for this dual setup. I could do AVR now and think about adding stereo amp layer, but if I am looking at paying £2-2.5k now for AVR I would ideally like that to be it rather than then thinking about adding stereo amp. And obviously something like V6A or X3700H is much cheaper than A6A and could add a good stereo amp to this for the remaining money it would cost for A6A.


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Thanks ShanePJ for your response.

AVR5 does look intriguing. I don’t know much about the brand but do see it consistently recommended in these forums for its musical abilities. It’s cheaper than A6A too. Will need hardware fix in future for HDMI2.1. I would stretch to AVR10 but I wonder what you thought the key differences were between AVR5 and AVR10? I think no Dirac out of the box for AVR5.
Thanks famasfilms for your response.

Current system is Denon X2400H with an old set of Cambridge Audio speakers 5.1 (Sirocco).

ok, so I think you'll see a similar jump in quality as I did. There is a Denon 6700 in classified for £1500 which is the price I "paid" for a 6700 from ebay recently - however after the sale the seller apologised because it was actually a 6500, and I ended up paying less for the 6500.

If you're relatively local to the seller, I think he's in Thurrock then that might be a better option than a new 4700 for same price. You'd be getting the same generation product but a tier higher.

Also, feedback to me here for ht bypass was to cut the HT AVR out the loop entirely, so bluetooth/stream to/from the stereo amp. So I presume any amp you're looking at needs a dac and bluetooth (could be wrong on this). I was looking at 8300a and got offered one on ebay for £500 yesterday but decided not to go ahead
Thinking about your last point famasfilms it looks like AVR5 could offer DAC and Bluetooth so maybe this is something I should really consider?
Thinking about your last point famasfilms it looks like AVR5 could offer DAC and Bluetooth so maybe this is something I should really consider?

The Denons will as well, but my understanding is for music you keep the avr turned off. Not sure how musical that arcam is

I can say, I'm currently listening to 2001 by Dr Dre for first time in years, through the 6500 and it sounds like it's in surround sound due to wideness of soundstage
Yes so for the dual AVR and stereo amp setup you would want all the stereo sources to go into the stereo amp and then all the surround sources to go into the AVR.

I am still undecided about whether going dual is too much of a faff if I can get good one box.

Not sure if A6A should also feature on this list

Lots or comments about buggy nature of Arcams. Also the HDMI 2.1 upgrade no clear plan for this and has to be hardware upgrade.
I am still undecided about whether going dual is too much of a faff if I can get good one box.
It's not a faff really. Just another box and you have to connect it up via the AV amp's pre-outs. Run the AV amp's room correction and that's it. In HT by-pass the volume is controlled by the AV amp's remote, all you have to do is switch it on and select the by-pass option.

Unless you go for the likes of Arcam or NAD as examples then the rest of the available makes are quite poor, certainly in comparison to a stereo amp costing the same, for stereo music.
It's not really a faff all you have to do is switch HT button, depending on the amp.

A bigger faff would be getting a amp with no HT bypass, it's certainly a faff however still have benefit of two channel stereo.
If stereo is important then like me a move from a Denon AVR 2400 to an Arcam AV20 would be much better solution. You could also consider NAD as an all in one solution. I have an Audiolab 6000a in my office and that only not on parr with the Arcam. Therefore if you want to go the HT route I be looking for a step up from the Audiolab to make it worth while over the NAD/ARCAM.
Thanks gibbsy/rccarguy2/ashenfie

So looks like Arcam/NAD still recommended for one box as is consistently seen throughout the forums.

At £2699 for AVR10 and £3499 for AVR20 this seems like a big amount for one box when you could combine a much cheaper AVR eg V6A or 3700 and then add a really decent stereo amp with HT bypass on top. In what situations would people recommend to stick to Arcam and not consider the dual box setup?
I feel everyone has said everything that needs to be mentioned although, if you are going to use the HT-BYPASS solution, do note that the stereo separates you want to use with the system need to be connected to the integrated stereo amp and the home cinema products need to be connected to the AV Receiver. If you are using a blu-ray player for both duties of playing CD's and films, then you really need to make sure you firstly that its a good one and also that you have both RCA and HDMI outputs to use it as a dual functional product

Setup wise, I did create a simple diagram (using Yamaha and AudioLab products and a lot of colouring in :rolleyes:) for stereo avr connection which shows how simple it is. All you really need to do afterwards is ensure you set the AVR up with the room eq so it can balance itself whilst using the integrated stereo amp as a "Power Amp" as essentially, the HT-BYPASS feature is a fixed input without volume control allowing you to use the volume on the avr when in cinema mode
Drawbacks of two box solution

More expensive
More cables required
Slightly more difficult to use
Higher power consumption And heat
Lower waf
Then onto mindset of changing avr to AV pre and power so even more money
One more plug used
Extra remote / need to programme into harmony etc
Speakers in full range, no sub

Redundancy if amp or avr blows up can at least get stereo system working
Better sound quality pre amp stage
Better power amp quality
Allows you to use decent stereo DAC more into pure two channel
No messing around with DSP mode
Speakers in full range, no sub
Thanks ShanePJ for the images. Thanks very much for the helpful list rccarguy2.

Let’s say I paired up stereo amp (either network amp or combined with streamer) with AVR. 3700 often recommended as AVR to be paired up with stereo amp. Would people recommend V6A? Cheaper and more 2.1 ports. I am only looking for 5.2.2 channels max at the moment I reckon.
If cinema is important to you, This is why people buy Denon as they are one of the better options in this area regardless of it what options it delivers with its multi-channel speaker output. I cannot complain at the Yamaha's as they are very capable, but compared to the Denon you are looking at, the tiny Yamaha will never fully embrace those Klipsch speakers plus it will certainly be a miss-match with the woofer as you are looking at a meaty woofer and you want something that can match it
Too many variables, room, speaker type, brand, stereo amp, avr, room eq type, avr reliability.

Also in some circumstances you might want to use high pass in a stereo system that's like a analogue bass management

Also some integrateds have dac, and some have built in streamers so that gives you many other variables
At £2699 for AVR10 and £3499
My two box solution cost just shy of that top amount. It would have exceeded it had I bought the Denon AVR at it's release price. It often works out more expensive than a good one box solution. In fact it cost me quite a bit more as the stereo amp I choose didn't have a headphone jack so I had to invest in a standalone headphone amp.

I was going to go down the single box solution but at the time the Arcams had more bugs than an episode of a David Attenborough nature programme. On top of that I don't think I've got the computer skills to really make a good fist of Dirac.
ShanePJ - if I had V6A and Ht bypass stereo setup then as the Yamaha wouldn’t drive the front stage wouldn’t need to worry about whether they could suit the Klipsch front stage surely? But good point about being able to drive subwoofer.

rccarguy2 - yes lots of variables with additional stereo amp/DAC/network capability. I like the look of the Bluesound Node 2i to join an integrated amp.

gibbsy - I think I would assume the two box setup should be more Because you know you are getting a really good music setup. If the Arcams were all praise then it would be easier, but the bugs and need for hardware 2.1 add on does deter me
If you can afford the Arcam, then go that way as it would be daft if me to recommend you any other way as I use Arcam at home. I do however not rely on its ability to decode my musical data and I own a DAC and Media PC for these duties

If Music is important and your struggling to justify the expense of owning a large Arcam, then the two box HT-BYPASS system is an easy way to create a great setup which is built around your musical/cinema needs/wants

The level of products you ware wanting to put with the speakers and sub, the minimum would be the x3700h by Denon

I think you also need to ask how long you’ll be keeping the kit. If it’s going to be 7 years, then spend the money on the right electronics once whereas if you are restricted with your budget, spend the money where you are passionate. So if it’s cinema, then get a better avr and lesser quality integrated amp (with HT-BYPASS). If it’s stereo, then use the Yamaha for the short term and get the better stereo components

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