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Home cinema amp choice, comments ?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by pjwraith, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. pjwraith

    pjwraith
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    Forgive the post, I am totally lost at the moment and am looking for a starting point to get me going.

    I have just finished fitting out my lounge ready for a decent home cinema setup.

    Vision will be covered by a 42" plasma, I have had decent wiring plastered in ready for 2 front floorstanders, centrer wall mounted speaker and 2 wall mounted rears together with a sub tucked out the way in the corner. Connected to the amp will be cable tv from NTL box, dvd/divx playback from PC or dedicated player (undecided as yet).

    Budget is flexible but starting with the amp what sort of specs do I need to look for ? I was hoping to pay around £300, is this reasonable ?

    5.1 ok?

    I suppose component input to the amp is a good thing? I assume all the items will connect this way, do most amps have scart connections as well? Does it make a difference?

    Recommended makes/models would be very helpful so I can look at them and compare prices, visit to richer sounds is on the cards for saturday.

    All help much appreciated, I really am bewildered from reading through the threads here :lease:
     
  2. pjwraith

    pjwraith
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    Having spent quite some time browsing reading I seem to have found three items that it seems would do the trick...

    CA Azur 540R
    Maranz SR4400
    Pioneer VSXC502

    Any benefits of one over the other? any other obvious makes/models I should be looking at? As far as I am aware these are all solid performers?
     
  3. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    Also look into sony 795 too, and connection is usualy only by scart on the slim line "life style" models. But scart cable is nothing special and connecting the kit up by s-video is the way most amps do it (you can get scart to s-video cables).
     
  4. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    if the amp has component switching you can use an RGBcvS (scart rgb) breakout, that gives you R, G and B [which go in component in on the amp] and composite, which carries the sync, i.e. cvS [which goes on the composite in of the same video on the amp] then do the same thing for the monitor output, to a scart cable, and you have scart RGB switching!

    also CA Azur is a cracker, i wouldnt go for anything else in the range (and evidently didnt!). stay away from cheap sony's dont be tempted by anything under the 700's in my opinion. (as gazbarber recommended).
     
  5. gnikolaidis

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    I will go for the Yamaha RX-657RDS, which can be bought for around GBP 330 from Germany. It is 7.1, Dolby, DTS, and supports composite switching. That is all video inputs to the amp can be converted to composite signal, and then you can connect your amp to the TV by means of one cable with composite output. (Composite Input gives the overall best picture quality).

    It also supports auto set up (through an included microphone) which makes a hell of a difference to sound quality, at least for beginners.

    Additionally, this Yamaha is very well suited to listening to music and supports a direct mode for listening to music, bypassing all other not necessary video electronics. I have it now for one week and I must admit the sound is impecable (considering the investment).
     
  6. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    Composite Input gives the overall best picture quality, i'm afrad this is not correct.
    Component and RGB scart gve the best picture (if you forget about digital ones now)

    The pioneer 2015 is availible for around 400 which would be a step up from all the amps stated.
     
  7. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    i think he meant component.

    im still gunning for the cambridge. why do people insist on all these gizmos?! do people use them in the middle of the film? the azur doesnt need Pure Direct mode. Those two words describe it down to the ground.
     
  8. pjwraith

    pjwraith
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    Thanks for the replies.

    The only use for the amp is home cinema, no music use to speak of. Although I like the look of the Pioneer, I cant see any immediate reason to justify the extra £150...

    I am planning to pair the amp with Monitor Audio floorstanders and a centre, I assume this isnt an issue at all?
     
  9. jasper_mccrea

    jasper_mccrea
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    Save some more money and get a Yamaha 750 from somewhere. Should be cheap and definitely covers all your bases.
     
  10. pjwraith

    pjwraith
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    Is it better than the 540R particulary?

    I only ask because I hate spending more money than necessary !! ;)
     
  11. jasper_mccrea

    jasper_mccrea
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    Yes. Yes it is.

    Truth be told, I've no idea. It's a name-brand amp with a pretty good rep on these forums. I have one, and I love it. I'm not entirely sure I'd trust Cambridge Audio. That's just me.

    Look in the classifieds. I got my 750 there about a year ago for £300. Now one might pop up for not much more than £200.
     
  12. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    most will say yes simply because the azur is cambridge audio which is a budget make. i find it amazing how few people have heard it. check out the reviews!
     
  13. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    exactly my point. so ignorant.
    oh DEAR. who's the biggest hi fi retailer in britain? richer sounds.
    who owns Cambridge Audio? richer sounds
    where can you buy cambridge audio? richer sounds

    everyone is put off by richer sounds calling it a bargain, or swoop, and thinking they arent getting money off, but the azur sells in europe for around 700 euros!

    ive heard the 750 and the azur is better sounding, the yamaha has little gizmos that make it sound like your in an auditaurium. great :thumbsup:.
     
  14. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Null points for that answer. AP was set up by Richer Sounds but has never been owned by them. Julian Richer has a stake but not a controlling one.
     
  15. Daneel

    Daneel
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    With £300 I'd buy 2nd hand from the trade forum here. You won't get a lot new for that money but can pick up something pretty decent 2nd hand.
     
  16. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    im ever so sorry. i get very steamed up when people ditch the azur because its not well known. go to home cinema choice and read all 3 reviews of the azur. 5/5, 4/5 and 86%.

    the point i was trying to get across is that if something does go wrong its no more than a short walk to richer sounds for them to sort it out. and ive had mine for 7 months with nothing whatsoever gone wrong.
     
  17. pjwraith

    pjwraith
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    Main difference seems to be 7.1 sound and lots of sound effects? I wont be going past 5.1 (too many speakers) and not bothered about the effects to be honest. I just want a solid performer and from a store is preferable for returns if necessary.
     
  18. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    azur is 6.1, many people think 7.1 is better, i dont (had a sony 7.1 and it was no different to me) remember the two rear channels are mono in 7.1. The azur has about 5 sound effects, yamaha has about 5 billion.

    the azur sounds better. thats all that matters surely? ( and the fact that richer's returns policy is good)
     
  19. jasper_mccrea

    jasper_mccrea
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    well I for one think the yammy sounds pretty good. The effects are cheap to stuff on a chip, so don't believe that they're there at the expense of decent sound. If you want a movie amp, you won't regret it with the 750.

    You probably wouldn't regret it with the CA, either, but have a listen to both if you can, and buy whichever is cheapest ;)
     
  20. sennen

    sennen
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    I've just bought the Pioneer 502 mentioned earlier (from Richer Sounds, make sure you get them to match their web price!) I'm in stereo at the moment (it's struggling with a pair of B&W 601s) - which sounds OK for TV/DVD, but dreadful for music. Surround speakers aren't here yet, so I'm reserving full judgement on the sound for now. Scart switching and auto-setup were the biggest pulls for me on this amp, plus i have a Pioneer DVD.

    Previously I was running TV/DVD and music through a Cambridge Audio 540A stereo amplifier with said speakers, so that's what I'm comparing the sound against. I found the CA stereo amp to be a little unreliable, two trips back to the shop in the first 6 months.

    Chedmaster - I've seen your enthusiasm for the CA amp throughout the forum :) . You say "the azur sounds better", did you audition other amps? If so, I'd be interested to hear which ones... in case I decide to dump the Pio!
     
  21. av2diefor

    av2diefor
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    Sound advice.

    pick up a cheap amp off ebay, a denon 3802 is a cracking amp and will fill most needs until amps catch up to the sreens.
    Later this/ next year amps will feature multi hdmi inputs/outputs,until this happens to buy new is a waste of loot :)
     
  22. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    sennen, i did hear other amps

    yam 750 - great for movies, good for music but not musical how it should be in my eyes (i.e. sound like a proper stereo amp)
    yam 650 - again great for movies but again the music just sounds...not right
    denon 1905 - another movie machine
    marantz 4400? - not a fan, but ive heard a 7500 and thats awesome so id never rule out marantz
    and i also heard a slimline one, i think the 402? and i thought it lacked any kind of punch whatsoever, but as you say it has scart switching* and auto setup, and the slimline profile. id love to hear a fullsize pioneer.

    * remember if an amp has component and composite switching, you can use an RGB scart breakout cable to get the components, R, G, B and composite (which carries sync signal), and stick them in component in and composite in on the amp (of the same video input).

    Then take component out and composite out, preserving the RGBcvS signal, straight into another scart socket. scart switching! (you do loose auto switch etc)

    those are just my opinion i know lots of people are very happy with 750's music, and i must say if i couldnt have the azur i would take the 750 over anything else at the price (or 757)
     
  23. sennen

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    Interesting stuff. Thanks for the response. :smashin:
     
  24. pjwraith

    pjwraith
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    OK, having spent saturday looking/listening to speakers and amps whilst charging between stores I have pretty much settled on the following, I would welcome any comments people have.

    Amp- Pioneer VSX1014
    Divx/DVD- Yamada DVX 6700
    Speakers- Front Monitor Audio RS6
    Rear Monitor Audio RS1
    Centre Monitor Audio Radius 225
    Sub Monitor Audio Radius 360
    Screen- Panasonic PW7


    I was going to get the Cambridge Audio but the salesman at Richer Sounds peed me off so much I changed my mind ! The auto setup on the Pioneer also attracted me a lot and I found it on sale.

    I will be confirming prices and ordering later today, my only concern is the sub...is there a better option for £350 ? Bear in mind this is for home cinema use only, music is irrelevant.

    Thanks for bearing with me.
     
  25. gnikolaidis

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    The Pioneer VSX1014 has just been replaced with the VSX1015. In the same price range you can opt for the Yamaha RX-657RDS, which is more musical sounding than the Pioneer and includes lip-sync correction as a standard feature.
     
  26. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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  27. pjwraith

    pjwraith
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    Precisely where I was planning to go !!

    Does the Pioneer deal with video switching? A chat with Ben at AMC also suggests a Denon a little cheaper...

    They seem to be no better/worse for the Monitor Audio as far as I can tell as well, the price seems very fixed regardless of where I go.
     

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