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AVR300/DV79 or VSX-AX5Ai-S/DV-868Ai-S

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by Locki, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Locki

    Locki
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    Hi all,

    Having set my sights on a 505XDE (with HDMI) I have recently auditioned the Pioneer 868 coupled with a AX5Ai - initially with the Kef KHT 5005s, but also with the Kef Q series (which I naturally preferred).

    However, being English, I'm interested in Arcam AVR300/DV79 as an alternative. I'm not too concerned about the extra £500 or so, and wondered what I'll gain/lose by going with Arcam for the DVD/Receiver.

    There are a couple of other points... I plan on using Kef Q series with a Rel Storm 5. I'd love to have 7.1, but am happy to consider other layouts. I'd also consider adding another amp (I'm not sure why I need it, but I've read on a few posts here about adding an additional power amp for stereo?). I'd like great reproduction for both movies and music. Other sources include Sky+ and a DAB tuner, but these will be used less than the DVD/DVD-A/CDs.

    Hope you can help!

    Paul.
     
  2. johndon

    johndon
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    Have to admit I've never looked the Pioneer gear but I've got an AVR300 and DV79 with a P90 power amp for the front stereo speakers (Anthony Gallo Micros) and it sounds fantastic. My plasma hasn't got an HDMI input so I use the component connections on the DV79 and the picture quality is superb.

    Music reproduction is also amazing (for an AV amp) althouth I've got a dedicated CD player (Arcam CD73) rather than the DV79.

    I'd certainly recommend the setup to anyone - I've bought all my Arcam gear in the last 6 months and I'm a BIG fan now. :thumbsup:

    HTH

    John
     
  3. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    It is worth noting that if you are not using 7.1 you can use the extra 2 channels of amplification on the AVR300 to biamplifiy the fronts anyway without adding another power amp. Also bear in mind that Arcam have a DiVA range processor and power amp coming out in the next few months which will bridge the gap between the AVR300 and the AV8/P7. Thery will be called the AVP700 and the P1000.
     
  4. Barend

    Barend
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    Go for the Arcam. No doubt about it.
     
  5. Locki

    Locki
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    Thanks a lot for the advice. I have a couple of additional questions :)

    With the Pioneer, the 868 DVD player has an HDMI output to the Plasma, and then something called iLink to the Amp. Is this similar to the setup for the Arcam AVR300/DV79?

    The Pioneer also has something called 'pure direct' mode. Is there something similar available in the Arcam feature set?

    Finally, would the Kef Q7's be good enough as front/left rights?

    Thanks again!

    Paul.
     
  6. Audionyx

    Audionyx
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    Ilink aka Firewire aka IEEE 1394 is a high speed (400mbps) digital connection that circumvents the need for extra cables when listening to high resolution multichannel audio - SACD/DVD-A. Whether this actually improves the sound quality over analogue is open to debate but it sure does reduce cable clutter!

    As to the Q7's, I have owned a full Q7/9C/Q1 system for nearly 2 years and it has outlasted the electronics. Since moving to AV8 and P7 I have only just started to question their suitability. Still have not found better speakers for the money unless willing to spend a greater amount though the PMC TB2+/DB1 sound superb! My requirements are for speakers to suit both AV and stereo and having listened to the PMC's this may be my next move.

    Golden rule is DEMO - what sounds good in the shop may not suit the acoustics of your room.
     
  7. davehk

    davehk
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    Yes - but listen to the P90 with it - to my ears it's a lot better.
     
  8. barnythebear

    barnythebear
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    Brilliant receiver, tried it first biamped via 6/7 with my CD23 and it sounded OK. Found a cheap P23/3 made a significant difference for me more bass, separation, etc etc. Doesn't sound to bad with NTL either.
     
  9. Locki

    Locki
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    Thanks for the help!

    It looks like the combination to go for would be a AVR300, DV79 and a P90. These would be connected to the Q series of speakers from Kef, with the L/Rs biwired and biamped - is that correct? Out of interest, should all the other speakers be biwired too? My current plan is to use the Q7's/Q9c at the front, with a Rel Storm 5 plus the appropriate rears from Kef (I'm trying to figure out whether to use dipolars and rear bookshelfs in a 7.1 setup).

    Oh - another quick question... Does the Arcam DV79 have image scaling and does it have something similar to Pioneer's i.Link?

    Thanks again!

    Paul.
     
  10. Audionyx

    Audionyx
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    The DV79 has no scaling and neither does it have iLink. It's DACs are very good and justify the cost IMO.
     
  11. davehk

    davehk
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    I wouldn't worry about bi-wiring the surrounds, or even the centre. I'm not convinced that bi-wiring without bi-amping makes a lot of difference so long as your speaker cables are of a heavy enough gauge and the runs are not too long (say 5m or less).

    I'd recommend you try usingu both the high and low level inputs on the REL (I've got a Strata) - then you can still get benefit from the sub with the AVR in stereo direct mode.
     
  12. Matthew J Taylo

    Matthew J Taylo
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    I have the pioneer set up you originally asked about & the only two points I would are:
    iLink is very much a good thing & you do notice a difference to the sound, much more open & a greater sense of timing, especially with SACD & DVD-A.
    HDMI - I'm not seeing the visual improvements that everyone talks about with this type of connection (Pani plasma via HDMI to DVI-D). I use a good quality component connection & I don't see much of a difference, if anything I prefer the compenent picture.

    I'd focus on overall sound quality & on this front I would look towards to Arcam as it will sound much better in 2 channel stereo.

    I'm currently looking into adding in a 2 channel arcam stereo amp into my Pio AV set up so I can have some decent two channel stereo.

    I hope this helps

    Matt
     
  13. Locki

    Locki
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    Ok - great, and thanks again everyone. Once I've got everything I'll be sure to post some photos so you can see the result of all your great advice!

    I've just spoken to Sevenoaks and they're going to setup the DV79 and the 868 side-by-side for me to demo tomorrow morning. The crux of all this seems to be that there's no doubt that the Arcam AVR300 (especially biamp'd with an extra P90) will perform much better musically. The question is whether via HDMI, there's much difference visually between the 868 and the DV79 (i.e. how much difference does the scaling make).

    On yet another side note :), one point made by the Sevenoaks guy was that the Arcam's were not too reliable - is there any truth to this (from those of you here that have Arcam stuff)? I was suprised by this, as I assumed he'd jump at the chance to raise my quote by another £1,000 for the Arcam option :)

    Paul.
     
  14. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Only thing I can add to this is that, I'm on my third AVR300. First one had a noisy fan which came on after 20 mins and never went off. This was replaced very quickly by the fantastic Arcam support within 2 days. The second player stopped working after 1 week. It stopped processing digital signals but worked as normal via analogue. Again this was replaced speedily. I've had the third unit for months now and it's been going perfectly.
    Prior to this, I had an Arcam Alpha 8 amp and Alpha 7CD. Had them for about 5 years and never had any problems whatsoever.
    I would honestly say that, Arcam products are extremely reliable and perform much better than most other products. And you can be rest assured that in the unfortunate event if something does go wrong, then their fantastic support service is one of the best you can get. Can't say the same for some others. Particularly Denon, from what I hear.
     
  15. barnythebear

    barnythebear
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    Would certainly look at biamping all three fronts to keep things the same. You could get a A90/3 the centre does alot of work dialogue etc so you may notice. I would not be to concerned about the surrounds, the front is where most things go on. It may be better to have the use of all 7 channels.
     
  16. SL Boy

    SL Boy
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    I also demoed the 868 and DV79 side by side and found the Arcam gave a much more "musical" sound. I have a REL Stadium and using both hi level and lo level inputs is a significant improvement on lo level only.

    The only doubt I have about the DV79 is its ability to deliver a suitable DTS signal to my Rotel 1068 processor. See my post on this subject which is still unresolved.
     
  17. andyAV

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    Got to agree - the Q7/Q9c's are very good - Q7's are seemingly more power hungry than their spec suggests. Having just gone from Arcam 8 and Pio 2011 as amps to a Rotel 1095 power amp, the Q7s have definately improved (noticed mostly at lower volumes at the mo but then I've not really opened the volume up for a while being a neighbourly sort).

    Also got to agree on demoing - first in the dealers to narrow things down then home trial - especially for what you're gonna spend. Do blind tests wherever possible and take an uninterested party along - say the wife or girlfriend who doesn't know Arcam / Pioneer from her elbow.

    Also think about the new Diva pre/power amps coming along soon - might be worth the wait if your budget is bigger than the AVR300. I ended up moving from the AX5's predecessor to a Rotel-1068 Processor and 1095 Power amp as the AVR300 made little or no noticable difference with the sort of source you're looking at (DV79 but also CD33 and other brands too).

    And lastly again - demo - with your ears only (and especially not with bias from sales forces - selling a lower cost kit might be in their interest if the commission is higher).

    Andy
     
  18. SL Boy

    SL Boy
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    Andy - are you running an Arcam DV79 or other Arcam DVD player into the Rotel 1068?
    What cable interconnect are you using, coax or optical?

    If so do you have a problem keeping the DTS or Dolby Digital signal as when I pause the DVD player my 1068 keeps diverting back to Prologic. It wont go back to DD/DTS on restart I am trying to work out if the problem is with the Rotel, the Arcam or the cable.

    Thanks
     

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