Do you think your av system is any good for cd s?

Docta teef

Active Member
Whenever you read reviews in what hifi ect you always get "but its not as good as a dedicated system for hifi" when looking at av equipment (some of the arcam DVD players excepted).

I was wondering how you find you av equipment for cd playback, today was the first time ive bothered to use my new setup just to have a propper listen to cd. It comprises a pio 757 (which is said to be alright with cd) a sony av333es (not bad for music) mordaunt-short 906's plus a BK XLS200 the dvd and amp are connected via a QED optical cable and i am use the mosy crappy speaker cable known to man and you know what its sounds very good.

I just played marrys prayer by Danny Wilson and heard so much detail that i have never heard before on anyones hifi.

A friend of mine recently bought a system comprising a pair of mission m74i s a NAD cd think it was the c521bbe and nad amp (?c351) anyway he paid about 450 plus speaker and it does not compare (this is about the price level the mags say my av setup should be similar to) now granted what i have cost a lot more but it also does a lot more.

I just dont know why some of the mags can be so critical of dvd player and av amp cd play back of course it wont be as good as the same priced dedicated equipment but i think its still damn good.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Its really all down to personal taste. I was not happy with my CD replay via the 3802 so I added a pair of Arcam amps that just blew the 3802 out of the water. This is all connected together so the Arcams still power the front L/R speakers for AV, but the 3802 is bypassed for CD's. I later added the Arcam CD-73 as a dedicated CDP that did also make a big difference, but not IMO as big as adding the amps.
Normally the problem with an AV receiver being used for music is that the preamp section of the AV just isn't up to the same standard as a HiFi amp. Also many AV speaker systems are not as good as just HiFi speakers as for many people they just can't afford 5, 6 or 7 speakers of the same quality as they could if only buying 2.

Mark.
 

tom_nieto

Standard Member
I find my 3802 pretty good for CD stereo replay, although I'm certain I can do better, it's just finding the moneys! What I've been most impressed with recently is the amount of detail that I get through the Denon's headphone port with my sennheiser HD575s. I can get more volume and detail than from the CD player's headphone output. I just don't like wearing headphones that much even though mine are really comfy.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Well if you are happy with music via your 3802 then stop thinking about the 'what if....' as that will end up costing you a lot of money. I was happy with my 3802 & Arcams, but then they release DPL2x and I started with the 'what if' and have now just paid for my upgrade to a Lexicon MC-8B and active speakers - and the MC-8 doesn't even have DPL2x :rolleyes: , but it does have Logic 7 :smashin:
I've now just got to persuade myself that I don't want a new DVD player and a ............

Mark.
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
Mine blows- it is a film oriented system- that's why I have a stereo as well.
 

Kazman

Well-known Member
I'm more impressed with the SR7400 than I was initially. It has a great balance between music and movies.

I don't use my Pioneer 668 for CD's though, that task falls to my Marantz CD5400, it sits well with the SR7400 and although a stereo amp would undoubtadly better, I doubt it would sound good enough to justify the extra cost.

Although Richer Sounds do have Arcam A65+ amps going for about £149 in their open box sale this weekend :D
 

jamesl01

Active Member
Initially I was disappointed with the performance of my system with music. For the first 3 weeks I was using the 'pure direct' mode on the amp and a phono cable between the DVD and amp. In this setup the midrange and treble were overwhelmed by the bass. Definitely not a patch on my old Cyrus/Dynaudio setup.

Then I swtiched the amp onto PCM mode via the digitial out connection from the dvd player. What a difference! The display recoginsed the 192khz upsampling signal being sent from the DVD. The sound is now much more to my liking, plenty of detail and control. Even though it still isn't quite up to my old audio setup I'd say it is fairly close.

Does anyone know why the Denon/M&K setup I have should sound so much better via a digital signal? Now I've started to think about upgrading to a Denon link DVD player.

Cheers

James
 

Dfour

Active Member
I am very happy with the stereo replay using any of the stereo modes on the rxv1400. I purposely baught the Limit 900SE because of the Cyrus tuning and comparing it to my Nad 541i I was very impressed. OK the nad finds more details than the Limit but not enough to be bothered about so the Nad is going on sale soon.
I got hold of an old Arcam Alpha amp from Ebay and set that up against the Yamaha (in direct stereo and 2 channel stereo) and was impressed witht the sound from the yamaha again. My friend who was with me (un-biased opinion) actually prefered the sound from my yamaha than from the Arcam :thumbsup: and with my new AE Evo 3's on stereo duty :clap::D:clap:
I will admit I would love to borrow/buy cheaply a modern stereo amp to see if thats an improvement ove the yammy but its not high on my prioritys.:devil:
 

malariaboy

Active Member
i had a pioneer d2011s originally with an arcam cd72t . now using a 565 meridian with rotel amp and 508 meridian cd. absolutely superb in stereo. but have to say it is on a par with the pioneer for movies.
 

captaindobie

Active Member
Listening to stereo CD using a Pioneer 656, Sony STRVA555ES, A pair of rather large and unattractive BOSE speakers (can't complain too much as they only cost me £15 for the pair!) and probably some crappy speaker cable from B&Q - Guess what? SOUNDS AMAZING! (although i am getting on a bit...)
:smoke:
 
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ancientgeek

Guest
I am not a believer in the "dedicated HiFi" theory. Provided you play it through the same speakers, and you have a decent AV amp with digital input, and you don't reprocess the input for surround sound, I don't believe it should sound any worse. I don't even think it should sound any different, provided the amp is working properly.

I do think jitter is important, and I do think upsampling is worthwhile. The amps also need to be powerful enough not to be troubled by strange speaker impedance curves.

I don't understand these things well enough to be dogmatic, but until someone does a scientific blind trial to prove any different, that is my position on the CD-player-AMP combination; above a certain level, there should be no difference.

Clearly a blind trial could provide objective justification for buying a manufacturer's kit. The fact that none has published blind trials suggests to me they know there is no objective difference.
 

lowrider

Standard Member
I think the weak link is the power section, particularlly if the speakers are difficult to drive, pre and processing are quite good at least in modern receivers...

As for beeing good or bad with music, depends mainly on the speakers choosen, IMHO... :rolleyes:

With my brother´s KEF Ref 201s, Denon 2900 + 3803 did a very good job with CD, SACD and DVD-Audio, A11 + 3805 is even better, and now with a Bel Canto eVo 6 it chalenges many stereo preamps... :cool:
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
ancientgeek said:
I am not a believer in the "dedicated HiFi" theory. Provided you play it through the same speakers, and you have a decent AV amp with digital input, and you don't reprocess the input for surround sound, I don't believe it should sound any worse. I don't even think it should sound any different, provided the amp is working properly.
Sorry, got to disagree with you. If you use the digital input on your a/v amp from your CD player, then the sound IS being re-processed.

And the brands of decoding chips's in a/v amps vary greatly, with each brand having their own sound.
 

bluesfan

Standard Member
Anyone that thinks av amps are the same as integrated stereo amps haven't heard enough models. The Marantz PM7200ki wipes the floor with the SR7400. But this isn't the forum for hifi purists. Adequate yes - the same no. But then some people constantly try to kid themselves that dvd players are as good as cd players for playing cds as well.
 
B

bobbypunk

Guest
i've hear alot of setups and have tried to get them to sound good in stereo aswell. The most sucess compared to cost came from using a dedicated CD player just by doing that i was suprised at the improvement. Still no match for using a seperate system but you don't need to pay out for an amp and pair of speakers of high enough quality.
I haven't heard a sub/sat pack that worked well with music though!
 

lowrider

Standard Member
bluesfan said:
Anyone that thinks av amps are the same as integrated stereo amps haven't heard enough models. The Marantz PM7200ki wipes the floor with the SR7400. But this isn't the forum for hifi purists. Adequate yes - the same no. But then some people constantly try to kid themselves that dvd players are as good as cd players for playing cds as well.
Sorry to disagree with you, I compared my Arcam FMJ DV27 with the TAG DVD player, one of the best, and a TEAC CD player fully modded, and it sounds at least as good, now, with a good PC, supports and a sheet of Stillpoints ERS inside, I dare anyone to bring any CDP up to its price to compare... :cool:
 

bluesfan

Standard Member
Obviously the more you spend the closer they get. But for the average punter spending £250-500 for the av amp the rule still follows. Blind tests conclusively prove this. There are lots of reasons for this to do with video circuits and poor preamp sections that are too boring to go on about.
 
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ancientgeek

Guest
MJN wrote

Sorry, got to disagree with you. If you use the digital input on your a/v amp from your CD player, then the sound IS being re-processed.

And the brands of decoding chips's in a/v amps vary greatly, with each brand having their own sound.
Disagree away, I've got no problem with that!

By reprocessed, I meant modified digitally to "enhance" it. I did not mean simple D/A conversion.

The CD defines a 44kHz 16 bit data stream that is provided on the digital output, or that is used internally to create the stereo analogue output. It's the same data whether it's a £30 DVD player from Sainsbury's or a £5000 "high end audio transport".

This (de-jittered) data stream from a CD defines a precise signal that D/A conversion is required to produce. The scope for varying this is very small. Given that it represents a 16 bit 44kHz sample, there is scope for upsampling to 24 bits and higher frequency to replace the stepped signal with a smoother notional signal from which it was sampled, but there is very little scope for significant variation of this notional signal. Assuming the spec of a modern 24-bit D/A converter is met, there is in turn very little scope for variation of the analogue input to the power amplifier when the A/V amp is operating in "direct" mode with digital source. Finally, the power amp then has no scope to vary the speaker signal it is supposed to produce. Hence my assertion that above a certain level there should be no difference.

In scientific circles, tests are considered near worthless if they are not double-blind (ie neither the organiser nor the listeners know which configuration is being evaluated until after the entire trial is completed). Unfortunately such listening tests are non-existent, because they are against the interests of the manufacturers.

I believe it is only recently (less than 5 years) that it has been possible to reach objective correctness from digital input to amp output, hence the lingering opinions about dedicated CD players being better.

Like everyone else, I hear differences when I make setup changes. But it's too easy to be fooled. The simplest example: almost universally, people will say the slightly louder of two alternatives sounds better.

Bring on the double-blind trials.
 
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ancientgeek

Guest
With falling prices for digital processing, 24-bit D/A and MOSFET power amps, I do seriously thing the writing is on the wall for dedicated hifi. In fact the market for such equipment has already more or less collapsed to a fraction of its size ten years ago.
 

Barzo

Well-known Member
Have to agree with all of the above about the superiority of a dedicated hi-fi system over a DVD or AV Amp based system for music replay. In my own set-up, any music replay is compromised by the NXT speaker panels in the Mission FS1AV system, but that is not what the panels are supposed to do (purchased as a liveable compromise to get 6.1 channel sound). However, my previous speaker set, Mordant Short Pearl speakers MS20i fronts, MS10i rears and an MS subwoofer and matched centre, while sounding more powerful and musical, confirmed that the AV gear was no match for the hi-fi seperates. Things like realistic instrument tone and spacial depth to the sound seem beyond most AV systems I've heard. (And yes, I did try these speakers with the hi-fi system, and it just highlighted how much weaker the AV amp was).

That said, music processing such as Circle Surrond II Music, Neo 6 Music and Dolby Pro Logic II music can be fun, and I prefer listening to music in one of these 'flavours' on my AV system. Its artificial and processed, but it does add some depth to the sound (if not realism).
 

lowrider

Standard Member
Most of you choose kit starting with the smallest speakers you can find placed against the wall, close to all kinds of interferences, (perhaps to please the wife), the largest display and the loudest subwoofer, then came here and say AV systems dont play music well, you need a dedicated stereo for that... :lease:

I dont think it is fair, or wise, but very good for the hifi merchants... :oops:
 

buns

Banned
I think AV CAN do music well. Or maybe i should be more specific and say I think AV amps can. Comparing the bryston sp1.7 to my valve preamp was tough because the two were really very close. To be honest I thought that the bryston was a fantastic stereo amp and but for having a very expensive pre whose sound is my favoured valveyness, I would have lived with it without any problem. I know the bryston is special amongst av amps, so maybe my view is not indicative of general. As far as other components in an AV system go, well thats tough. To my ears, the best AV system isnt far away from the best stereo one simply with a multiplication of the same speakers..... so this point couldnt be debated. Source wise im about to find out as I have an arcam dv27 coming.

Overall I dont think it is right to say an av system cant perform as well as a stereo one because is can. You just have to spend alot of money on it. You can expect similarly priced av and stereo system to perform similarly because while 5k on stereo system is quite a good system, it is really only just a middle of the road AV system.

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