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Can I have top quality hi fi and home cinema?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by dpoxon, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. dpoxon

    dpoxon
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    I am about to arrange some home cinema demos and would appreciate some help in narrowing down my options to avoid wasting time with the wrong gear!

    My requirements: To replace an ageing hi fi separates system (NAD amp and Mission speakers) with a home cinema system that still delivers on the music front. My room size is 7m x 5m approx. so big sound would be nice. I don't like boomy base and would rate music above cinema, say 60% music and 40 cinema (but I am partial to the odd action movie with plenty of explosions!)

    Budget: £2000 to £3000 for receiver, dvd player and speakers. Not worried about the TV yet - another month's problem!

    Can I get a high quality music and cinema sound for this budget?
    I am considering the Yamaha 630, Pioneer 656A and AE Evo 3b. I have also wondered about a Marantz or Denon receiver, Tosh/Pioneeer DVD and the new B&W speakers.

    Am I heading down the right road? What else should I consider? I'd appreciate any advice you have.
     
  2. sounddog

    sounddog
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    For that money ... might be worth checking out the following (hope it adds up right)

    NAD T752 AV Amp ... this will be considerably more capable than the Yamaha for music ... cost around £550.

    Pioneer 656A DVD ... as you already know this is universal and will play anything you care to throw at it ... cost £350

    B&W 600 series speakers ... some of the best speakers for their price - my recomendation would be 602s3 fronts (£300), 601s3 rear (£250) with LCR60 centre (£200) ... total cost £750

    For a sub I'm not one to ask ... but budget around £450 for a REL or MJ Accoustic or Velodyne, etc.

    NAD C541i CD player ... will give better sound than the Pioneer with CDs ... cost £350

    Total to this point ... £2450

    Then if you want to have 7 channels for DTS-ES / DD-EX then add a NAD C350 (£300) and just use the power amp section plus 2 more B&W 601s3 ... total cost to add rear channels ... £550

    And that is your £3000 spent.

    Just one sugestion on how to get the best from your music while still giving you first class movie experience.


    Victoria
     
  3. dpoxon

    dpoxon
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    Victoria,

    Thanks very much for the advice. I know the B&Ws you recommend are v good but are they better than the AE Evo 3b? (same money ish?). Also, do you prefer the NAD 752 to the Marantz 5200 receiver? Thinking of space, can I mix a pair of large front floorstanders with small rears from a different manufacturer? (I’m thinking of using the Kef eggs) or will I run into compatibility problems?

    I was hoping to avoid the need for separate CD and DVD players but am I being naïve? (I have heard that very few DVD players sound as good as a good CD player). Should I be thinking of 6.1 rather than 5.1? Sorry about all the questions, but you seem to know your stuff!

    Duncan.
     
  4. sounddog

    sounddog
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    In my opinion ... the B&Ws are the best in their price range and are the equal of many speakers costing twice as much (or even more). Now thats my opinion and I guess a lot is that the 602s2 that I have are just the right size for me, have many of the qualities of larger floor standing speakers, are of a sound that I enjoy and at a price my pocket liked :)

    Other speakers to consider at a similar price are the KEF Q series, Quad 11L and the matching floorstander, Monitor Audio Silver series and the Missions.

    Yes you can mix different manufacturer's front and rear speakers. What you should avoid doing is putting different left / right and centre speakers together as in films often a voice will pan from left, accross the centre and then to the right and if you don't have speakers that sound the same you WILL notice as the voice moves from one speaker to the next. If you decided to go the B&W route, it would be worth checking out the 600s3 to go along with 603s3 or 603s3 at the front or even consider the VM1 leisure monitors for the rears. Or ... as you already said ... look at having 2/3/4 KEF Eggs,

    I've never listened to the NAD and the Marantz side by side (note the Marantz has now been upgraded to the SR5300). All I can say about the Marantz is that it is a very nice sounding amp ... until I compared it to a NAD C320 stereo integrated amp ... when I realised what I was lacking - especially in the mid range and upper bass areas. I've not actually heard the NAD T752 but for the price I think it will be hard to beat on stereo performance. For that reason and the fact you wants 60% bias towards stereo I'd certainly take a listen to it and compare it to similar priced Denon / Marantz / Pioneer kit.

    My feeling, from comparing NAD T550 and Toshiba SD210e DVD players to a NAD C521i CD player is that you really do need a separate CD player - unless you get something in the region of an Arcam DV88+. The Arcam DVD player will of course cost you around £1000 unless you are lucky and (like I managed) get one of the last DV88s or an ex-demo or second hand one. Of course the DV88(+) won't play either DVD-A or SACD like the Pioneer will so not sure if thats important to you. Your alternative to a CD player is to add a DAC to the DVD player (this has been covered a lot in other threads recently).

    Should you be looking at 6(7).1 or 5.1? It's a difficult question and there's no right or wrong answer. To be honest most AV amps that you will buy today (above very entry level stuff) will decode DD-EX and DTS-ES (some only in Matrix variety) so you've really got your answer already. Beyond having a capable amplifier it's just a case of having the 1 (or 2) extra speakers and finding room to put them. I think in a small room I would go for 5.1 but if you have the space would add at least 1 extra speaker for centre back.

    The only problem with the NAD T752 is that it doesn't have amplification built in for the extra rear channels so you would have to get additional amplification. Either look around for a secondhand 60wpc (or greater) power amp or consider getting a NAD C350 and just using the power amp section of it. One other advantage of the NAD would be you could use the C350 for stereo as well, piping a CD player directly into it for stereo and using the pre-outs from the NAD T752 into the C350 for the fronts.

    All the questions are fine ... I would say I have a keen interest but due to finances my actual experience is more limited. The main thing is to decide on a few amps / speakers you want to listen to and visit a nice friendly dealer.


    Victoria
     
  5. Ian J

    Ian J
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    M&K speakers are well worth considering but with your budget you should be trying to get yourself down to the Bristol show towards the end of February where everybody who is anybody will be exhibiting and you can draw up a short list for a more personal demo at a later date.
     
  6. mattheu

    mattheu
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    Surely, you've not got just an ordinary member.

    Some have said it to be a fine example.

    But still in pristine condition?
     

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