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Denon A1SR or TAG+power amps?

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by godzilla, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. godzilla

    godzilla
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    I am about to upgrade from my trusty Denon A1D as I believe my room is crying out for 7.1 (I have as much room behind my listening position as in front).

    The obvious choice is an A1SR, which seems to have all the features I want, THX Ultra 2 etc and can be had for around £2200, but is there a tangible and worthwhile improvement to be had by changing to a separates system such as TAG/Rotel?

    Has anyone made a similar decision recently?
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    The Denon is undoubtedly a very good integrated AV amp,as the the similarly priced Pioneer(can't remember the model number!)and both have some very good features in addition to the standard ones,including encrypted digital inputs for accepting DVD-A.

    The Denon also has an upgradeable digital bay,which brings you to one of the major differences between integrated units like these,and the Tag....the Tag can be upgraded fairly extensively(see the Tag website)and even "recycled" into AV192R should you wish.

    To my mind,there's no real comparison...the Tag is a much better machine,but I think you'd be doing it a bit of a disservice by running it through Rotel's multichannel amps(IMHO)....Tag's own amps aren't bad,but a bit soft in the bass,but you havent specified your total budget,bearing in mind the Tag on it's own comes in above £2200.
     
  3. godzilla

    godzilla
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    If you need Krell monoblocks to get the best out of the TAG, then it's out of my price range!

    I am well aware of the law of diminishing returns and feel that perhaps the A1 SR is as far as I'm prepared to go.
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I wouldn't say you need Krells to get the best out of the Tag,just that you'd notice a great improvement using it with good power amps...the AVC 1SR is a very good piece of kit,and should sound very good...I had the Krells from a previous system,so couldn't part with them! :cool:
     
  5. Lowrider

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    A friend has the A1D and uses Rotel for all channels...

    The TAG would be further improvement with the Rotels, later you could go for Bryston or whatever, front first...
     
  6. godzilla

    godzilla
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    I had just about decided on an all Denon A1SR/ 3800 combo, but then made the mistake of asking Uncle Eric who swears by the TAG route for a) "better" sound, b) upgradeability, having originally owned an A1D (my current amp) himself.

    Does anyone have anything to add or gone from an integrated amp to separates?
    What improvements should I be looking for? (the A1SR has not even been slightly criticised in any of the reviews I've read)

    I suppose the main argument for the TAG is the perpetual and accelerating rate of change in home cinema, particularly DVI, firewire, digital audio links etc.
    If there becomes a significant and industry adopted standard and your current equipment doesn't support it, you have to sell it (at a considerable loss as I am about to), but looking at TAG's history they will sell you the upgrade.

    Advice please!
     
  7. Timmy B

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    What I don't understand is what the procesor does to make the sound "sound good".

    I mean, a processor takes the digital signal, pipes it through a dsp and then through a dac and then to the speakers, right?

    Well if using an intergrated amp which has the same if not better dsp and dacs, isn't the reason why these processors sound better because they are used with very expensive seperate high quality power amps??

    I think there is nothing wrong with the processing side of the a1sr (the dacs and dsp are better than the tags), but think that having 7 intergrated poweramps has the greatest impact on sound quality which can be resloved through using the preouts.

    The standard response to any a1sr or seperates is a1sr wll sound good but the tag will blow it out of the water. I think cost should be more of an issue. You could get the a1sr now for around £2000, enjoy it, and then upgrade to seperate power amps when the need arises.

    I know I am going to have every tag owner screaming out me now, but please realise that this is just an opinion, which may very well be incorrect, so please go easy on me!
     
  8. NicolasB

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    There are three answers to that.

    1) The quality of the DACs and the power of the DSPs in a good processor as compared with a stand-alone processor/amp do tend to be higher.

    2) More importantly, the quality of the DACs and the DSPs is far from being the whole story. Generally speaking the quality of the sound depends more on the circuitry surrounding these components. Interference, noise, jitter can all spoil the sound quality.

    3) Converting something like a Dolby Digital soundtrack into line-level signals is not as simple as you might imagine. For starters Dolby Digital is a lossy compression format. To put it in stereo terms, it's not like playing a CD or a WAV file on a computer you're doing a more complicated equivalent of decoding an MP3 file. As I'm sure you know, not all MP3 decoders do an equally good job. Once you've done the initial decoding it gets much more complex, because you have to do things like bass management (redirecting low frequency components from the main 5 channels to the subwoofer in such a way that you don't mess up either the bass or the treble) and adding different delays to different channels. So all in all the quality of the software can make a great deal of difference.

    If you compare an AV system with a stereo system, the processor is doing the job of both the CD player and the pre-amp. The quality of these two components together will have at least as much influence as the quality of the power amplifier, and probably more.
     
  9. sounddog

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    There are also differences in the programming of the DSP (and possibly the DAC ... not sure about that).

    This is also the reason why the Arcam DV88 or DV27 can produce a better display than the Phillips 963 when they are using the same hardware - I think that example is correct ... if not then you get the jist anyway. Often the cheeper DVD players, etc will use pretty much a generic peice of code, where as for the higher end stuff they will tweek the code, or even write it from scratch. I have heard that Arcam had to send their programming team to USA to learn how to programme the DAC for their DV88 DVD-A board which is why it's taken so long to develop - the hardware has been ready for ages but the software's kept it back from being released as they decided in the end to write new code from scratch.


    Victoria
     

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