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Cheap processor/power amp or integrated?

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Smurfin, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Following on from my thread in the speakers section which has got kinda lost, I thought I should ask this in the right section:D

    I'll shortly be downgrading, and I'm faced with a problem. Firstly, the speakers I'm running are Celestion A1s, the A4C and A5rs as surrounds.

    The fronts and centre are 4ohms, and thus difficult to drive, so I need something meaty...but cheap.

    My overall budget is around £500-£600 for either a power amp/processor or integrated amp.

    Whilst I'm currently looking for a Rotel 985mkII power amp and 976 processor, I've read of quite a few issues with the 976, with audio dropout, particularly DTS. Old reviews gave it good marks however...

    If I went down this route, what other processor's should I consider? I'm really looking around £250-£300 max, which I think kinda leaves my options rather narrow....

    The other option is to ditch the whole pre/power idea and just plump for an integrated amp. For around £500 I can get a Denon A10se, but I'm not entirely sure how this will cope with the demands of my Celestions?

    What other integrateds could I consider?

    I know my options are limited, but what's the best thing to go for I wonder?

    btw PLII would be nice, as would component video switching. Hmm, damn I think I just broke the budget....:rolleyes:
     
  2. hornydragon

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    Smurf get a demo of some HK kit AVR4500 or 4550 on paper low power but huge current delivery which i guess is what your speakers need.
    http://international.harmankardon.c...EC&ser=AVR&prod=AVR 4550/230&language=ENGLISH
    If you could find a S/H AVR8500 you would really be cooking Spligsey had one for sale a while ago but i think a bit more than your budget
    http://international.harmankardon.c...EC&ser=AVR&prod=AVR 8500/230&language=ENGLISH
    85 amps peak current and 250 watss into 4 ohm stereo load!
     
  3. buns

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    the problem is that the A's are not tough, they are plain difficult. They might be 4 ohm but they tend not to go above 6 ohm..... so if you do the math, this means they are equivalently sitting between 2 and 6 ohms all the time..... thats hard. And no, I cant find the info, i have a graph in a folder somewhere but cant find it.

    What about something like a yamaha e800 (or latest model) combined with a 985ii? This would also give you a bit more freedom as to wiring the speakers since you will also have 3 channels on the yamaha as backup

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  4. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    I'd thought about the Yammy processor, not sure how good it is though?
     
  5. rags

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    Matt - I just cant see how you are going to make this work. Your used to the good stuff in terms of HC and the gear your now talking about wont cut the mustard. If it's moving house thats the main problem how will buying a cheaper system put you in your neighbours good books - it will probably go just as loud ! Maybe I have misunderstood :confused:
     
  6. Smurfin

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    heh, there's several reasons why:)

    The biggest is priorities (new year and all that;)), which is really the biggie, the second is that with neighbours and a small living room, the equipment will be (imho) somewhat wasted. I know quality is apparent even at lower volumes, but to me - and I know many will disagree - this level of kit really shines when it's at -10db:)

    Also the longer I hold onto stuff, the more it will de-value, I'd rather sell equipment now and bank the cash for a while (won't be buying a house for some time yet). Dunno though, I'm still toying with it atm:)

    Not only that, but one thing I haven't mentioned, and some may find this view controversial...but I find the value-for-money equation to be lacking. Even with buying alot of my kit 2nd hand, I really do wonder sometimes how much better this all is compared to my Yamaha A1 a year ago. Maybe I'll notice the difference if I go back, maybe it will be much more apparent, but it's something I want to look at. The worst thing is that I love my celestions, but it's typical that I'm enjoying a reasonably cheap speaker package that's a bitch to drive:rolleyes:
     
  7. buns

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    the Yamaha is OK. I was just thinking it was an average processor that would do a job...... which i thought was the objective! :D

    it wont do the job of the meridian, but it will give you 5.1 dd/dts without bells and whistles

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  8. Dimmy

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    Second hand Denon 3802 and 2802s go for around £300 and under. Were I you Matt, i'd be looking at these, or similar, for processing duties.

    Basically, processing's what's come along huge leaps & bounds in recent years & months, and poweramp quality's what's had a very slight improvement. In Theory at least, the processor in the Rotel you mention is outperformed by that of the new Denon 2803, and by some margin. You're going to struggle to get a dedicated processor which is even acceptable in the face of what you're used to. The 2803 has one hell of a Dolby/DTS decoder in it (claimed by Denon to be the same used in the A1SR), but it's going to blow your budget to use it as a processor..

    Have you tried listening to other speakers in the budget/second hand/easier to drive category Matt? Basically, I can't think of a solution for you that doesn't involve you changing your speakers or being marred by 'old' processing.
     
  9. Smurfin

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    Dimmy:rolleyes: Poweramp quality has had a very slight improvement? On what do you base this?

    Re: processing, unless you're talking about some of the new high end processors, I'm also not entirely convinced on this one either. Yes, for PLIIx and the niche formats for which there's little software, but for vanilla DD and DTS? How has processing improved?

    On what do you base this?

    I may be in the minority here, but there's nothing wrong with "old" processing. My Lexicon is probably 4 years old, nowt wrong with that :D

    You may be right about the speakers though, but I want to keep them. I may look at getting a Yamaha DSP-E800 processor for around £130, just to see what the difference is. Nothing to lose as they say...
     
  10. puddleduck

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    Denon AVC-10SE sounds like it would be a good choice?

    Given your speakers are a bitch to drive, you need to be looking at quality amps as a priority, with processing bells / whistles as a secondary concern IMHO.
     
  11. Andywilliams

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    Hi Matt
    Have you given Nad any thought you might be able to pick a cheap T762 up as the new t763 is now out.It should be able to drive the celestions ok.
    Nad do state there receivers will drive most speakers you could give nad a ring to find out for sure.
    Cheers Gonzo.:)
     
  12. buns

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    unfortunately there is a difference between driving the A's and really hearing them. I used to drive them with £400 of amp, but they are barely waking up at that point. They really love big dynamic amps and are not one big shamed by many thousands of pounds behind them. I wouldnt really want to risk any integrated with them, even the big flagships

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  13. rags

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    So they are sort of mismatched to their price bracket.

    They other way to look at it is that they are cheap.
     
  14. Dimmy

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    IIRC, pretty much everybody agreed with that sentiment when the Celesion A series had its last significant mention on the forums, with a lot of people saying the A1SR didn't have sufficient poweramp quality to drive them properly...

    Hearing them matt :D. Like it or not, you're looking at equipment in the 'budget' category of things now. I've had a lot of experience with 'Budget' category equipment :D. And on the whole, processing's off on another plane and poweramps have remained comparatively static IMHO.

    The hammerhead Sharc processors used in the A1SR are widely reveared as some of the best that money can buy Matt. They're still appearing in 9K Lexicon processors and the like (albeit, about six of them being used at once...). But, again, the processor doesn't define how the quality sounds. DACS, ADCs, shielding etc. etc. all carry weighty significance. It's areas like this the Rotel you're thinking of will outshine budget receivers with mammoth processing.

    Your Lexicon is a little more 'Up Market' than this Rotel :laugh:.

    The missions sounded fantastic in your setup. You said the M&Ks were a big improvement over them, and the Celestions an improvment over the M&Ks. So I can only imagine how good they're sounding in your setup. It makes sense you'd want to keep them.

    You said, in the other thread, you don't want to spend more than £1300. Couldn't you allocate a little more of this to your Amp/Processor? Or, in which case, perhaps keep your 1075 and buy the Yamaha you mention, or the Rotel...
     
  15. buns

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    well the A1's cost £900 in standard finish, the A2's were up at £2k ish..... at those prices it isnt unreasonable to expect to be driving them with £1000 of power amp per pair.....

    At the current pricing they are nonsensically cheap, so much so that most people buying them will call them crap simply because their amps arent up to the job.

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  16. Andywilliams

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    So being realistic matt isnt going to be able to drive these speakers with his budget.Best thing to do would be to box the speakers up till you could afford some better amps.Then get some cheap second hand speakers that sound decent to tide you over your skint period.
    Cheers Gonzo.
     
  17. buns

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    one of the rotels would make a stab at the speakers, with something like that, hes unlikely to get a sound better from a cheap package...... the problem is that the power amps in a lower end integrated is nowhere near as good as say a 985ii

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  18. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Buns log onto msn:)
     
  19. Dimmy

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    That're the differences between the 985mkII and the 1075?
     
  20. Steve.EX

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    Keep the kit
    Buy a cheaper house/mortgage
     
  21. buns

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    i think the 1075 is simply an evolution...... i dont believe it to be anything mroe

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