AVR vs 2 Channel Stereo Amplifier

Bakeman

Standard Member
Hi Everyone,
I've recently purchased Pioneer's AVR VSX1019AH for AUD$1,200 and now questioning if its the right receiver/amp for my lounge room -this is the primary area for enjoying music, 90% of the time, and video, 10% (1-3 times per week).

Here's some facts and opinon on my needs for audio and visual pleasure... hoping you can give guidance on if I should stick with this AVR or return and get another AMP so I get the best sound from an expensive pair of speakers and also get the best from my blueray player and SONOS music streaming source.

FACTS:
Speakers: I'm lucky to have been given a pair of Focal Chorus 826w special edition speakers (AUD$4,500)
Source Audio: A SONOS ZP90 (and ZP120 for another room)to stream itunes, CD's soon to be ripped, internet radio and on-line music subscription (Rhapsody). I also have a Samsung BlueRay (BD3600) for CD's.
Source Video: Samsung BD3600.
TV: Samsung LED LCD.

At this time I do not have rear surround speakers, a centre or a sub. The idea was to listen to Blue Ray through the 2 Focal's in stereo.

NEEDS/Questions:
1) How do I get the best quality sound out of these AUD$4,500 speakers considering the source's I have? Can this AVR do the trick? Enough power? It received great sound quality feedback from CNet editors.
2) Why have an AVR if I'm not leverageing the 5.1 capability now? I'm up in the air about whether or when to add surround speakers in the future, but is getting this AVR now the right strategy considering my primary requirement is listening to quality 2 channel stereo?
3) What's the weakest link in this set-up? Could they be ranked?
4) Is the DAC in the Pioneer good quality or better than the DAC in the SONOS system?
5) Is there any alternative HT speaker configuration (2, 2.1, 3, or 5.1) I should consider? Or will I be happy with just 2 channel stereo?

Really appreciate your feedback guys. Thanks.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Hi Bakeman

So Many questions and i do my best to help answer a few

1) If you are unsure about surround sound and 90% is being primarily for music then a stereo amp would of been the way to go and sound profoundly better than the AVR. Pound for pound when it comes to music quality, an decent stereo amp will beat all AVR's in its price range and a fair amount above. The equvilent sounding AVR will cost as much as 3X more - and maybe above

2) if you are happy with the music sq from the PIO then it is a good place to start in readyness to add more speakers for surround sound as and when the desire takes you. In saying that, quite a few people are happy with 2.1 and just add a sub to their stereo amp. But yes i do think it is a waste of the AVR capabilities if you are only going to use 2.1 format.

3)Depends on what you planning on doing. At the moment and if it stays in this configuration, then the BR player and AVR are quite weak IMO, meaning as i mention before, not using 5.1 will be waste of the AVR and BR player
because they are not being used as they were intended. A standard but decent dvd player would of been fine in this instance.

4)DAC's: if i were in your shoes i would try both and see. Your ears are your judges, and depending on the SQ, If you had a stereo amp you might want to consider a ext DAC and connect the BR player and sonos to it for better music SQ- if the sonos dac isn't up to scratch that is.

5) If you really want to hear films as they were intended and be imersed in all its glory then 5.1 or 7.1 is the way to go ( 2.1 = 2 speakers and 1 sub. 5.1 = front -rears - center speakers and sub, and so on) Depending how it sounds without one, Centers are not always required but mostly. The only way to find out is to try without one and take it from there. As i said quite a few people use it in the 2.1 format and are bery happy with it. All to do with preference.

Hope this is helpful.:thumbsup:

Don
 

Cable Monkey

Well-known Member
I hate to say this, but it has to be stereo. If your stereo amp has a pre-out you can still employ a sub for the sub-terainean sound effects but after switching a £900 AV amp for a £750 stereo amp for music duties I am back on track. The problem is simples. While the Focals are nominally 91.5dB and 8 ohms, their minimum impedance is 2.9 ohms so they are quite a complex load. AV amps, due to compromises made in stuffing so much into one box, tend not to like difficult to drive speakers. For me, your options are: bi-amping if the speakers allow it or an amp more suited to those speakers.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Just had a look the Focal Chorus 826w speakers - Beautiful.
And Yep - I believe after you hear those speakers with a £500 stereo amp, the AVR will take a back seat.

I 2nd what Cable monkey says and bi-amp if the speakers support it Connect all your music sources to the stereo amp and all the video sources to the AVR and 'walla' - the best of both worlds. If the 1019 has PRE-OUTS then An alternative method to get the same result would be to connect those up to a stereo amp. But thats only if you want surround sound as well.
 

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