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AX1 or A1SE ???

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by zcaps57, Aug 18, 2001.

  1. zcaps57

    zcaps57
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    Hi.

    I'm planning to buy a amplifier next week.

    I'm thinking of 2 models.<br />Yamaha DSP-AX1 ,and<br />DENON AVC-A1SE

    I went to Tottenham Court Rd in London today to get some infos.

    Some dealers say AX1 is better and some say A1SE is far superior than AX1.

    On the webs, I think ppl tend to give more scores to A1SE. (maybe not....)

    I know that Yamaha's sound is bit more of a "bright" side , and DENON's is more of a "warm" side.

    The problem is that I like both sounds.....<br />Gees... this is difficult decision.

    <br />My main SP is B&W CM4<br />center SP is B&W CC6 S2<br />surround SP is B&W CM2<br />(I've got another pair of B&W DM601 S2 speakers for THX-EX surround).

    Basically all B&W. I listen to music as much as I watch movies.<br />Which amplifier would be a "good" match with B&W speakers ??

    Any suggestions ??
     
  2. russraff

    russraff
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    Firstly just a few questions. Is your budget about £2000? This is the price you can get the A1SE for, but if you can spend more… What are your source components like? Do you have a CD player or are you using a DVD player for your stereo CD playback?

    Considering the price difference, I would buy the Yamaha, safe in the knowledge that you have saved some pennies. Yes, the Denon is probably a better sonic match with your CM series speakers, but costs nearly £800 more, and in my opinion is no better than the Yamaha for movies. With this “saved” £800, I would buy a stereo amp, at least an NAD C370 (£450), but preferably better. You have a pair of £900 CM4’s that deserve better amplification than any AV integrated that I have heard (and a better source that most DVD players, too). By going for the Yamaha and buying a dedicated stereo amp, you will be getting the best of both worlds. Just do some home demos first to help pick the right stereo amp.

    Hope this helps - Russell
     
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    Personally i would buy neither right now. The A1se is, given it's extra facilties (THX, THX EX, DTS es discrete, Neo 6, etc etc and of course quality of sound) undoubtably the better offering but i would hold off at least until Denon confirm the software up-grade for Dolby Pro-Logic 2 and hopefully DTS 24/96. These formats will make the already "out of date(?)" AX1 almost antiquated.<br />If you have that budget to spend why not go up market and get the Tag Avr32 processor, an all round step up from the two integrated amps you mention, readily available as ex-demo unit's for around £1750 fully up-gradeable AND supported. You could pick up a (i.e) cheap Rotel 5 channel THX power amp for £600 or so until funds allowed for an up-grade. <br />Performance wise music and a.v a superior decision by a long chalk.

    [ 18-08-2001: Message edited by: SteveEX ]</p>
     
  4. zcaps57

    zcaps57
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    Thank you guys for reply.

    You two have very very good point.

    AX1 + NAD inte amp is a good idea. I'll consider it.

    And... ah.. I do not have a CD player. I use Pioneer DV-737 for CDs and DVDs.<br />I didn't know that CD player produce better sound than DVD players.<br />Just a question ... how come? <br /> <br />As far as i know, CDP and DVDP reads digitally (by a laser) and passes the digital data(signal) to a amplifier. and there are no good or bad in digital. cuz it's digital. (series of 0 and 1)<br />after this procedure amplifier receives digital signal from the source and convert it to analog signal and drives speakers.

    If I'm wrong plz correct me.

    Thx.
     
  5. buns

    buns
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    your right....it is digital and the same basic technique.....ur wrong that there is no difference. By that same reckoning, a £100 matsui dvd player will be as good as a tag maclaren, which isnt happening!

    To add a question onto this post.....the AX1 would be about £1000, is this the best can be done for this moneys in performance, not gadgets. O does the Denon 3801/2 beat it?

    Adam
     
  6. Guest

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    a (good) c.d player will outperform it's cost equivalent dvd/cd player in every single case for a number of reasons, of which a few are minimalist components rather than (sometimes, and always with budget dvd players) boards where the video decoding circuits remain "live" and unsegregated from the audio components, single purpose DAC's (1 bit still being the best "sensibly priced" DAC's IMHO), better component layout/specification, in some/most cases lower sync/quantization errors etc etc<br />For what it's worth i have listened to the "audiophile" Arcam dv88 (£800) against a 3 year old £500 Marantz c.d player i have and IMHO i didn't find the Arcam to be "a match" for it.<br />DVD player's for dvd's<br />C.D players for C.D's in my book.<br />Sorry to all Arcam owners out there, this was simply how "I" felt about the two performances.
     
  7. buns

    buns
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    Steve,<br />A 3 year old £500 marantz.....sounds a bit like the 63kis....thats no way a fair test! That player will eat some £800 dedicated cd players, despite its age! Sorry.....i just like my marantz....

    Adam
     
  8. russraff

    russraff
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    Amaris:

    The Pioneer 737 is a very good DVD player, but for CD replay, any competent £300+ cd player will sound better. Such CD players have very good DAC's (digital to analogue converters) in them that will perform much better than the ones found in most AV integrated amps (as SteveEX said). So a CD player is nearly always connected via the analogue outputs, rather than the digital ones you mention in your post.<br />If you have huge cash reserves, then the Tag route (or similar) SteveEX mentions would be the way to go, which is why I asked what your budget was (£1750 for TAG, £700 for Rotel 1075). If this is too much, then I would still get the dedicated stereo amp. A stereo amp has a much better pre-amp stage compared to an integrated AV (Denon A1SE or Yammy AX1) amp. Also, especially NAD equipment, stereo amps tend to deliver more current to your speakers, making them sound “tighter” and more musical. This is what you need for your speakers to sound their best (as well as a CDP).<br />As a side note, the flagship Onkyo amp is supposed to have all the latest decoding options (prologic II etc.), but I don't know about performance or price.

    Adam:<br />The Denon is a good amp, but nowhere near as good as the AX1. In fact, not wanting to upset Denon owners, but the old A2 is (in my opinion) better than the Denon 3801. Forget about gadgets and "proper" THX EX (I still think this is a THX money making scheme) and go for quality every time. The Harmon/Kardon AVR7000 is supposed to be a stormer, and is about £900. Perhaps this is the best option for the price?

    Russell

    [ 19-08-2001: Message edited by: russraff ]</p>
     
  9. uncle eric

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    Russell,<br />I have to disagree with you. I have listened (very well) to just about every one box combo thats worth hearing on the planet.

    The Denon A1SE and the B&K 307 are far and away the best machines of their kind on the market today. (I am not alone regarding this statement).<br />While the B&K does sound a little smoother, I prefered (and chose to buy) the more imeadiate sound that the Denon had to offer.

    DTS ES Discrete had very little to do with my choice, as the lack of ES Discrete discs available (even in the near future) is a non issue.<br />While the A1SE's multi channel performance is rated in the highest circles I have also found that the Denon is also masterfull at producing an incredible stereo soundstage for serious two channel listeners such as myself.

    All in all, I honestly believe that the A1SE is still the best fast food one box piece in the world. Just to add that in my opinion upgrades such as DPLII will indeed be forthcoming in the near future.

    A few more words of advice. There is a myth out there that Denons next best amp is the 3801 (3802 up next). Believe me when I say this machine is way down on the list of serious listeners of music and movies. While the 3801 is not sonically below par by any means, my feelings are that the 4800 (or A10SE) is in another league.<br />In fact it is very nearly every bit as good as the A1SE but with slightly less power and capable of DTS ES matrix (rather than discrete) and THX EX. The only downside being that you WILL have to add another amp if you must have the extra back matrix channel. <br />However, at half the price of the A1SE, I consider this to be the best value machine on the market period.

    While I use a Yamaha A5, which is adequate in my living room system, I have to say that I do feel that Yamaha have lost the plot (and the battle) with their high end models. The golden days when the A1 and A2 machines ruled are I,m affraid long gone. Yamaha need to pay more attention to what their amps actually sound like instead of throwing us loads of those silly sound effects which are used to the detrement of high quality listening. I admit that even Denon has felt the need to include some of these daft effects that I haven't the time or inclination to use.<br />I suspect Denon put them in for old Yamaha users that have defected who might have felt hard done by if they were not included, lol. <br />I have listened and played around with a friends AX1 and am of the opinion that even the Denon 4800 (A10SE) street price around 900 pounds) is sonically in another Galaxy.

    The choice is yours, perk up your ears and go have a listen for yourself.

    Eric

    [ 19-08-2001: Message edited by: uncle eric ]</p>
     
  10. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I would go with StevEx suggestion of a TAG and Rotel. Haven't you realised that the big Cedia show is coming up soon. I have money on Dolby, DTS and THX all releasing new formats. Where will that leave the Yamaha? It might be out of date in days.

    The Denon is by far the better receiver, that is why is sells for almost double the Yamaha. They are not in the same class. The Yammy was from yester year and things have moved forward big time.

    What about PL2, perhaps the single biggest jump in quality. Where do they stand. Yammy a no no and the Denon holding off until cedia.

    Save up for the Tag or other upgradeable processor.
     
  11. Rob

    Rob
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    Have to agree with Nic/ Steve. I too looked at the Denon & Yamaha,and also considered a Lexicon processor, but after listening to the Tag it was an easy choice. I picked up an AV32R EX with PLII for less than the street price of a standard AV32R, so shop around. I use this with some Rotel amps, although not high end, they sound terrific for HC and very good for music.

    Regards Rob.
     
  12. zcaps57

    zcaps57
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    Thank you guys again for advice.

    Gees... I'm getting more confused. LOL <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

    The lowest price I've for AX1 Gold is 1600 pounds, and for A1SE it is 2249 pounds.

    I know 650 pounds difference is a lot of money.<br />But I can't stop myself leaning slightly towards A1SE.

    In terms of bulid quality of unit, is A1SE as good as AX1?

    BTW, when were AX1 and A1SE released?
     
  13. russraff

    russraff
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    Eric,

    I wish someone here sold B&K kit. I haven’t heard any of their products, but they, as you say, are supposed to be very good indeed.<br />Problem is, the Denon isn’t “fast food”. It’s expensive. I have no doubt that the Denon is one of the best integrated AV amps out there, but for the money, you can do better. I had a Rotel pre/power combo six months ago (had to sell to get a newer car) which was the 966 processor and 1075 power amp. Before I sold them, I had a home dem of the better 985 processor that I hooked into the 1075 (a total price of ~£2000 for both 985 and 1075). I found that the Denon A1SE was inferior in just about all areas. Only ease of use and aesthetics were better (love the Denon remote). In my opinion I find Yamaha amps to be in-yer-face, kind of visceral in their delivery, which I like as far as movies are concerned. I think it lends the Yamaha a cinematic feel that the more warm, and admittedly more stereo orientated, Denon lacks. The Yamaha is dreadful for music – too bright and harsh. Which is why I recommended a dedicated stereo amp, to make up for this lack in performance. Just goes to show that a home dem, and your ears, are more important when buying kit than relying solely on others opinions... <br />With you all the way on the 3801/2 vs the 4800 (or A10SE).

    Reiner,

    I agree with you about the lack of sonic difference between the CD/DVD player when using an AV amp. Again, this is why I recommend getting a stereo amp for serious stereo listening.

    Amaris,

    The Denon has better build quality, and weighs a ton (or about 30kg). And comes with a really nice remote. The question you need to ask is:<br />Is it worth paying the extra for a TAG/Rotel combo, or not?<br />I still think that if you lean toward the Denon A1SE, then the extra cost in getting a TAG/Rotel is worth the stretch, which I kind of said in my second post. 1750 for s/hand TAG (available on their website), should be able to get the Rotel for £650-£700 new, making an outlay of £2400-£2450. That is a comparatively small extra outlay of £200 over the A1SE you saw, and I assume you are/were willing to pay for. I suppose this is my biggest gripe over the Denon. It is just too expensive. If £2400 is too much, then the AX1 can be had for £1000 ex display, leaving you a huge wedge of cash to spend on CD player/Stereo amp, and maybe even some DVD’s.

    Russell
     
  14. Reiner

    Reiner
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    If you insist on all the features the AVC-A1SE it will beat the Yamaha DSP-AX1, no doubt - but it comes at a (higher) price.<br />However expect a replacement model soon or hope that Denon will offer the SW upgrades as promised.<br />Alternatively consider perhaps the Denon AVR-3802 + 5-channel power amp.

    As for the CD/DVD player question this are my findings: when connected to a AV amplifier (I have a Yamaha DSP-A1) the CD player (Marantz CD-63KISig MkII) should no advantage over my DVD player (Yamaha DVD-S700) at the time.<br />A CDP might beat a DVD connected to a stereo amp, but IMHO it's not worth considering when you use an AV amp/receiver or when your focus is more towards movies than music.<br />That said for casual listening a DVD player is IMHO good enough.

    As usual listen before you buy. If you still can't make up your mind throw a coin. <img src="wink.gif" border="0">
     
  15. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Amaris, the Yamaha AX1 came out earlier but isn't that old actually, I think a year and a half - maybe 2 at most.<br />It came with (proprietary) Dolby Ex/DTS Es (matrix) decoding ("6.1") and 6 channels of amplification and at the time beat the Denon AVC-A1D which only had DD and DTS (5.1).

    However Denon made a good move by introducing the AVC-A1SE shortly after, spotting DTS Es Discrete (true 6.1) and THX Surround Ex ("7.1") including all the amplification required (7 channels), plus DTS NEO:6.

    Now we have DPL II and the new Denon will also allow THX processing for DTS Es Discrete, offering more features than ever and beating the Yamaha hands down in that regards, which has no replacement model announced so far and does not allow SW updates (at least there has never been such an announcement or claim).

    As for the stereo sound (judging by my DSP-A1) I think it's not too bright/harsh but rather on the neutral side, i.e. **** in, **** out. Perhaps you could compensate that to some extend with warm sounding speakers.<br />However mainstream pop/rock CDs can indeed sound terrible and the warmer sound of the Denon might therefore suit most people better, but it's actually the fault of the CD and not the amp.<br />Some CDs do IMHO sound good, but keep in mind I am more a casual listener and not an audiophile.

    So I guess it comes down to price against features, build quality is very high on both.<br />BTW: Should the AX1 not be around GBP1300 only? I thought I read this somewhere in another post ...

    Anyhow, I urge you to consider the advise given by others, i.e. a pre-power combo.<br />If the Tag is too expensive (considering that you need to partner it with a suitable power amp) consider the new Denon AVR-3802 (with all the features you could ever ask for) plus a e.g. Rotel power amp.<br />Should be no problem with a budget of around GBP2000.
     
  16. Lowrider

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    I had an Onkyo 787, then I bought a Rotel RB993, 3x200, for the front and center channels, huge improvement. Now I replaced the Onkyo by the Tag AV32R and another Rotel for the surround channels. Man, it is a completely different ballpark, if you have the money, dont hesitate, go for it...<br />Now a question, is the processor in a CD player better than the one in the TAG ??? <img src="eek.gif" border="0">
     
  17. sk1234

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    Looks like I came here just in time, as just about to buy a AV1SE for around 1600 quid (in asia)..now just one question if i go for a TAG and Rotel1075<br />isnt the rotel going to leave me with just 5 channels, so i will not be able to upgrade to 6.1 or 7.1?<br />or does the rotel give me just the 2 channels, and then the TAG gives the rest.<br />(apologies for my ignorance)
     
  18. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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