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Can a £500-£600 S/H Amp take on a £1300 New amp

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by DJW, May 30, 2004.

  1. DJW

    DJW
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    Hi

    To date I have always been a Linn Hi Fi enthusiast, having 4 seperate amps with dedicated pre-amp.

    Things have now moved on & I now need an all in one dedicated amp to provide CD & HC listening on a 70/30 ratio. I have an Arcam DV89 player, plus am looking at a satellite / sub combo for speakers (Anthony Gallo Micros or Orb Audio micros). Looking at 5.1 combo.

    I've usually bought amps S/H as I believe they offer greater value for money, but with AV integrated amps I'm open to peoples opinions please. Lets set a scenario & let the comments fly.

    How would a brand new Arcam AVR300 amp (approx £1300) stand up against a 2 year old Denon AVC11SR (approx £650 - Originally new £1800) or 4 year old Yamaha DSP-AX1 (£500 Originally new £2k) ?

    If I can save some money on the amp it leaves me more to play with for the speaker setup.

    Cheers

    Dave
     
  2. JIT

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    Also, just how much have the most recent receivers like the 3805, AX5i and the Yamaha 1400 caught up with the older higher end models DJW 666 mentions above?
     
  3. DJW

    DJW
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    No comments :confused:

    There must be people out there who have compared these hi-end amps from a few years back, with more modern mid-range amps. Please share your wealth of experience with us newbies to AV, so we don't make expensive mistakes :suicide:

    Any links to other threads with potential answers would be appreciated......I've searched but can't find any suitable ones.

    To keep the comparisons simple, if we forget all the differences in funcionality for DPLII , DTS etc & stick to the pure sound quality between new & old for CD & HC, it would be most appreciated.

    Cheers Dave
     
  4. tom_nieto

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    I bought a second hand denon 3802 a few months ago and I really like it. It's got everything that I could possibly need except for PL2x and video upsampling and it offers plenty of power and is reasonable in stereo too.

    A £600 second hand amp from an older range will probably have been bought for upwards of £1000 and the sound quality will reflect that. Something like a denon A11SR won't sound any worse than it did 3 years ago, and on pure 5.1 channel sound quality will probably beat the new 3805. I'm not sure how the pure direct mode is on the 3805, but the A1 and A11 are apparently very good. If you're not interested in bells and whistles go for the A11 or even A1. They'll still do DTS and DD after all. If you can live without PL2 then the A1 might be the perfect solution. It's about twice the size (and triple the price) of my 3802!

    EDIT: When I upgraded my amp I was considering the pioneer VSX812 for £300 simply because it had pre outs. I'm very glad that I bought the 3802 instead because it just looks so much nicer and although it has about the same number of features it's in a completely different price range which gives me an awesome remote control, oodles of power and imo much more quality.
     
  5. Londondecca

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    In general, good amps will always sound good. You might lose out on some features such as 7.1 etc but IMO amps have not dramatically improved in the last few years.

    My experience is with HiFi stuff but I would doubt the AV amplifier sections have evolved to much. The processor sections might be a different story.

    Will you be using your Linn amps in the AV setup?
     
  6. bluesfan

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    The new arcam avr300 is definitely not worth £1300 if that's what you mean!
     
  7. DJW

    DJW
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    First thoughts were to go for a completely new setup, with a single integrated Amp......eg ARCAM AVR300. From sleeping on this a bit now though, I reckon I''ll get £150-£200 per Linn Amp (x4) + £700 for the Myryad MDP500 Processor.....making a grand total of £1300 worse case.....same price as Arcam AVR300 :rolleyes: . Only prob is 3 of the amps are ACTIV, so I'll have to revert them to Passive, or possibly swap with someone with Passive LK100's

    This is why I was looking at the S/H prices to see if an integrated amp is more viable.

    Thanks for the comments above.

    Oh why isn't life simple ;) :lesson:
     
  8. bluesfan

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    As attractive as this is soundwise it does mean there is more to go wrong. HK 430/630 are cracking amps soundwise (nice and clear and bright). I wouldn't pay more than £750 for any amp. The improvements versus extra cost are just not that noticeable.
     
  9. Londondecca

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    Given that you already have some good amps and you like the 'Linn' sound, I think that makes the most sence. An intergrated amp will rarely sound as good as a pre/power amp.
     
  10. Stereo Steve

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    Personally I have never been satisfied with any integrated. I bought a Tag AV32R and realised what I was missing. Trouble is, I could only afford a Sony 930 as a power amp (via the 5.1 bypass). So, I sold the Tag and the SOny and bought a Parasound 1205a which is a blinding power amp. I now have a Marantz 7200 (on the way) as a processor (and power for centre back) until I decide on a processor. I'm going to wait until a processor comes out that has ilink or HDMI for hi res audio and can apply bass management to pure DSD before I buy one. In the meantime I'll use a variety of receivers for processing and have my fine power section in place, waiting for the right processor to come along.

    Second hand is the way to go. I paid £250 for the 7200 and it beats the hell out of the Denon 3803 I just sold to be honest.
     
  11. Rob.Screene

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    High-end AV v.s. Flat Earth Quality Music is something I've been learning about too.

    In short, audition and buy a s/h integrated AV amp and I'm sure you'll love it, just choose carefully as many don't have the power-supplies to back-up their per-channel power claims. With CD's, it's 2-channels driven that's important, not 6 or 7 channels.

    I also think that a very few AV amps, such as recent Denons and Pioneers allow bi-amping the front pair using the 6 and 7th channels if you are not running surround back EX speakers. I don't think you'll be able to run AKTIV type crossovers with the onboard amps (unless it has pre-power links which don't seem common these days), but you will be able to retain the clarity and punch you enjoy now.

    I was using a Denon A10SE THX Ultra AV amp (1300 new, under half that s/h now) to drive Linn Keilidhs, plus a big SVS active subwoofer. This is in an Auralex acoustically treated garage conversion room.

    I still stand by the A10SE because of it's very clean 32-bit dual processing, great quality bass management and rock solid true 125W/channel on-board power amps.

    Driving 2-channel music is a breeze for it, as it has a clean pre-amp section and a massive torroidal power supply, designed for a true 625W+ channel output, so just running two channels gives it loads of headroom on the power-supply. It really grips even big floorstanders and lacks harshness I've heard from many AV and Hi-Fi amps, even pre/power combinations.

    I upgraded to a Linn Active Tunebox to go AKTIV Bi-amped to the Keilidhs, plus pair of Denon POA-T10 THX Ultra power amps because I needed 4-channels and re-use the on-board amps for that. This improved the quality of the sound, as giving 200W/channel to the 4-ohm Mid/bass pair and 120W/channel to the tweeter would be expected to do, although I suspect the A10SE had a tiny bit more mid/bass punch.

    This also allowed me to configure the A10SE for 7.1 EX, as I was no longer using the front pair of on-board amps.

    I then bought a pair of Linn LK100's, as they were recommended to me as a very musical amp and quite a bargain s/h at about £200 each. Again, still running AKTIV bi-amped. They are definitely more tunefull, but I can hear they have slightly less forcefully grip on the lower-mid bass.
    i.e Bass guitars aren't quite as dry as with the A10SE alone.
    I'm still having many happy hours listening to music off the LK100's till I swap back to the Denons to see which I prefer long-tem.

    I would add that the SVS active sub is very tight and musical, giving a good foundation of tight sub/bass on to which the musical bass can integrate well, without the bloated overhang I've heard off many subs. Acoustically treating the room and adding huge bass traps cleaned up the lower bass and treble/imaging more than any kit change I could ever imagine, it's abvously the thing to do if possible before considering/auditioning/home trialling expensive AV amps.

    I'd also read a number of comments that "AV amps make bad pre-amps if you are using power-amp quality components", mostly on the zerogain hi-fi forum but some here too.

    I last week I bought a Tag AV32R bp192 7.1EX high-end surround processor to potentially replace the A10SE. For me this upgrade was to get a really a musical 3-channel DAC with great bass management for CD's. With it's well reviewed 7.1EX surround processing abilities as a nice bonus. Music seems to be my thing lately and probably gets 70%/30% films.

    I've then listened to feeding the LK100's straight from the AV32R via the Linn Tunebox, as I'm awaiting an internal shelf for the active cards for one of the LK100's.

    Yes, there was a wider and slightly cleaner soundstage, yes it is a very slight bit cleaner treble at a rather loud -17dB volume for CD's compared to using the Denon A10 se as a pre-amp to the LK100's. It is an incremental improvement, without a doubt and one that I enjoy very much (in fact something I've worked towards for years), as I just can't stop listening to music in the evenings to try it with a whole film!

    I would however remember that it has made me appreciate the Denon A10SE's qualities a little more, the fact that it gets vageuely close to the Tag as a pre-amp in a Linn bi-amped system amazes me. I'd guess this is true for the A10, A11SR, A1SE, etc as they all benefit from dual 32-bit SHARC processors and I think one of the real world benefits is in the quality of the bass management, which I'm not sure you'll get with a single processor 38xx or 28xx series Denon.

    Right now I'm using the A10's 8-channel bypass input so that I can use it's 5 power-amps for Center (bi-amped), SL, SR, Surround Back. I'm also planning to try two channels via the A10SE for Keilidh mid/bass and one channel each from two LK100's for Keilidh trebles, but that would be waffling (!)

    I'd be happy to a/b the AV32R and A10SE processing and Linn LK100/THX Ultra power-amp combos while I have them all.

    regards,
    Robs.
     
  12. Andywilliams

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    Hi
    I would also look at the harman kardon avr8500 this too is a very powerful av receiver that sounds very good with music, it is only 5.1 but it does process 7.1 with 2 power amps added on.You would be able to pick one up for around £800 which is very good value as they were £1800.
    Cheers Gonzo.
     

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