Finally my poor amp has died and i really need some advice please!!

charlie1978

Standard Member
I've tried reading about audio visual and stereo modification or building but I fear that I've just learnt the edge of the iceberg.
I've had my old system for 13 yrs which has finally passed on to the stereo heaven in the sky, and just at the right time I've got some cash to renew so please give me the best advice that you can.

I've got a Marantz sr4200 Av amp, a couple of Mission m72's upfront and centre\surround speakers to match.

The missions are ok but since my mission sub died years ago I've been missing some oomph.
When I bought the system I was more keen on an AV focused setup but having matured over the years I'm more interested now in a better stereo sound rather then AV, but liking my movies I'll still want the option of switching occasionally.

I've liked Monitor Audio speakers for a while and quite fancy the BX5 floor standers (I live in a flat so cant go too big).
Amps are my main confusion. I've read about the options of having an AV amp with either a power amp or an integrated amp connected....not that I really understand what I'm reading. Oh I also would like to be able to adjust things like bass & treble...not just with an electronic display!!

I want to listen to good quality music so would I need a cd player? With the Av amp its convenient plugging my phone into the amp via headphone jack-phono leads but do you lose much sound quality listening to music via a computer chip in a phone as opposed to a cd? What is the best option there I wonder....ease over quality?

Music ill listen to would be classic rock,blues, 50s 60s 70s stuff, a bit of bassy garage & hip hop. Samba and a bit of bossa nova...so a pretty wide variety. Our system has always lacked bass which I think is largely down to the amp.

Ok, I'm after an amp or whatever configuration works better, ill probably get the MA BX5s and whatever else you'll advise.
My budget....well I'll be buying 2nd hand from ebay and am happy to have an oldish (3-5 yrs?) setup so long as its quite good. I'll be looking to spend 300 odd pounds on the BX5s which I've already seen on ebay and for the amp\amps I'll spend again a few hundred pounds...i don't have a precise limit really.

Any advise you can give is much appreciated...im trying to get info and advice first rather then my usual uneducated impulse buy. Thanks!!!!...
 
Last edited:

Ghostrider

Active Member
So many points raised, the first question that you need to answer is do you want a stereo amp or a AV amp as your post does not make this clear.

A stereo amp will give you better stereo amplification and sound quality than a similarly priced AV amp (much less complex and therefore better quality components for the same price).

I am not aware on any AV amps that give you separate Treble and Bass controls.

When people are talking about using an AV amp with a power amp what they are suggesting is that you connect the pre-out (unamplified) outputs from the AV amp to the input of a stereo or multiple mono-block (single channel) amplifiers. Doing so lets you use higher quality amplification for your stereo listening. Unfortunately most budget amps don't have pre-outs.

Do you need a CD player - well that depends on if you have all of your music on CD. If you have all your audio held digitally then what you really need is the best DAC (Digital to Audio Convertor) that you can find / justify.

The DAC in your phone will be OK at best and better results can be obtained by using a dedicated external DAC - these are not cheap however - ARCAM's airDAC is £250 by itself.

As for lacking Bass, did you change the configuration of your AV amp when the sub stopped working or did you just unplug the amp. If it was set up originally with a sub the AV amp would have been sending the bass signals to the sub (if it was there or not) and would have not been sending the bass frequencies to the other speakers. Typically an AVR will crossover from the sub to the main speakers at around 90-120Hz - so if you didn't reconfigure the AVR after taking away the sub then you were probably losing out.

If your budget is in the £200-300 price range for a new amplifier then I'd suggest just going with a new AVR that has bluetooth and/or AirPlay depending on your phone.

Oh, I'd also suggest buying a new Sub.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Spks - ideally you purchase something which works in your room/your placement options.

It does sound like a 2-Ch system may suit you better - though Stereo Amps with a Digital Input, 'old school' Tone Controls, Sub out etc are quite rare so SH may be a very limited option.

Have a look at the Yamaha A-S501 - there are some good deals available new at £200.

A-S501 - Yamaha - UK and Ireland

Joe
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
As above I would get a new sub before replacing your speakers. £300 on a sub is going to give a better improvement with movies than buy the BX speakers which will then mean you have a mismatched centre and rears. Also have you listened to the MA speakers or just going off reviews? If you have not listened to them then I would since they may not suit your tastes. MA speakers certainly do not float my boat particularly despite the good reviews they get.
Your budget is not huge so even going secondhand you are not really getting an upgrade over your current kit. The BX speakers are a similar level to your missions so although they may give a different sound they may not be an improvement over what you have.
What features do you need on the AVR i.e. do you want it to be HDMI enabled? 3D compatible? etc.
 

charlie1978

Standard Member
Wow...thanks guys for your rapid and knowledgeable replys.

Firstly I'll choose stereo music quality over movie watching quality. When my system inc sub was working before, listening to music with a sub just didn't sound good.

After the sub broke I did reconfigure the avr to sub-no. It was supposed to send the bass to the front speakers but there was never really much there.

I'm not interested in buying a new amp asi know for my budget the quality will be quite naff, whereas 2nd hand and 5 yrs old I should get more bang for my buck.p

My mission bookshelf speakers have only one speaker (not inc tweeter) which deals with bass and mid so I'm surprised to hear that they would be similar to the MA bx5s.... I'm really just hoping that I can do away with a sub and the extra speaker of the bx5s will handle bass from (more importantly) music and the occasional movie etc.

I'm not that keen on an external DMC....id probably keep my phone via phono plugs setup until I can sort a reasonable cd player (I have a dvd player which can do cds and guess that cd players output a similar quality to dvd players?). And of course its hard to beat the convenience of storing music on your phone or some hard drive that plugs into your amp...of which I have no knowledge of anything that does that, ideas?

I don't know about having an avr that's hdmi or 3d compatible....in my marantz I just have the sky box plugged in via fibre optic cable...i can plug in loads of other input\output cables but have never seen the point in it.

Well, my old marantz sr4200 is still chugging away..the buttons I press often do something else instead, which is kind of like an old car that you've had to get used to its niggles and groans. I suppose that I could keep it and use the pre out to connect a reasonable quality (2nd hand) stereo amp and get better music quality that way? Ideas on that also please.

I've taken my avr apart a few times to clean out any dust etc so it looks all good inside...i guess its just giving up the ghost.
I've seen newer higher spec avrs on ebay for 50 odd pounds so could opt for that at sometime and a smaller size avr would be good...these avrs can be very bulky!

I know that a couple of average-good floorstanders cant compete well against a dedicated sub etc for movies but music playback will benefit I think. No I haven't heard the MA bx5s, I like the look of them, good reviews and they're made in the UK. When buying from ebay the listen first option isn't there unfortunately.
I don't know of any other similar level model that's as good looking as the bx5s...I've said the variety of music that I listen to already. Thanks in advance guys for taking the time to reply, there's so much research that can be done about these things and I guess I've smoked too much waccy baccy because the info doesn't compute so well anymore .
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Easiest way to go about it is to focus on one part at a time.

Choose your avr first, then speakers, then finally CD player and such.

Go onto ebay or wherever and copy over some links of gear you want opinions of. It just makes life much easier then people trying to guess what you want.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
'Firstly I'll choose stereo music quality over movie watching quality' - then a 2-Ch Amp (preferably with a Digital Input) makes more sense than an AVR.

'I'm not interested in buying a new amp asi know for my budget the quality will be quite naff, whereas 2nd hand and 5 yrs old I should get more bang for my buck' - 2-Ch Amps with Digital Inputs are a relatively new so second hand may not offer you many options. I'm not convinced you can generalise either - the Yamaha (and one or two other similar units) are great sounding units.

DAC - not sure why you would dismiss them, they are a relatively affordable upgrade for many systems.

'It was supposed to send the bass to the front speakers but there was never really much there' - book shelf loudspeakers are not known to deliver much bass energy otherwise they could be difficult to place in a room. Try placing them close to the rear wall to augment the bass.

MA BX5 - note the Manual guidance on positioning:

2 Channel Positioning For use in a 2 channel system, the listening position and the loudspeakers should form an equilateral triangle. The speakers should be positioned approximately 6 - 10 feet (1.8 - 3m) apart. They ideally need to be between 8 - 18 inches (20 - 45cm) away from the rear and 3 feet (1m) from the side walls. Experimentation is strongly advised when initially setting up your speakers, as environments and personal preference differ with each installation. If there is not enough bass, for example, then try moving your speakers closer to a wall. The opposite, if there is too much bass. Also see the information on page 10 refering to Port Bungs. If you are loosing stereo imaging, try ‘toeing’ them in slightly. The sound should appear to originate from the centre point between the speakers, not the actual speakers themselves.

Joe
 

charlie1978

Standard Member
Thanks guys some valid points put forward there.

I've done a little research and know a little mire if what your referring to....haha just a little.
Reg a DAC, I would probably benefit from one as I'm using music from my phone etc but the quality from a cd player and especially a dvd player would also benefit.
I suppose if I connect my dvd player to my avr or perhaps a power amp via a fibre optic cable them as far as I can gather I am relying on the internal DAC of my avr or power amp should I opt for one?

Joe I've just been connecting my phone to my avr through two red\white rca plugs....hence using the DAC in my phone which is probably of worse quality...who knows.
So perhaps a new 2nd hand avr that takes something like a usb from my phone which would still send the signal digitally to the avr and decode it using the avr's DAC....pls correct me if I'm wrong.

Ok. I'm leaning towards getting a reasonable quality power amp to connect to my avr's pre out sockets which would improve stereo sound....thats right yes?
Well on ebay there's hundreds literally....so many brands etc...linn,nand,nam,rotel....to mention some of the brands that I've never heard of...of course there's Denon, Marantz, Yamaha and the like....where to start?

I'm going to change my speakers because well...even if they still sound ok, bookshelf speakers don't look like they've got much oomph compared to floorstanders....lets say floorstanders look more domineering and manly...haha don't pls hate me bookshelf users!!
Ok I've seen a pair of kef iq7s on ebay...the guys asking £400!!! After some research I said that's a little steep!!! But they look really nice
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
DAC - there are a huge range to consider.

Internal DAC - if you use a Digital Output > Digital Input there will be a DAC within the Amp you are using.

AVR + Power Amp - whilst potentially more 'efficient' at driving your loudspeakers you have to remember the old LINN Products 'adage' - Garbage In = Garbage Out! Unless the front end of the AVR is very good you will simply be amplifying a poor quality signal.

Hi-Fi Amp - relatively inexpensive 2-Ch 'Hi-Fi' Amps will often be a match for the most expensive AVR's in terms of Stereo reproduction!

'bookshelf speakers don't look like they've got much oomph compared to floorstanders...' - the marketing dept will love you :)

Choose your Loudspeakers to suit your room/room layout/speaker placement - not by how they 'look'.

Joe
 

The latest video from AVForums

Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED TV Review
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom