How bad is bad?


Standard Member
I’d like to canvass opinion of what you good folks believe to be good and bad in a surround sound amp when it comes to listening to music.

I’m tempted to buy the Pioneer VSX-AX3 to go with my speaker package but have been a little put off as I’ve heard that it’s not that good with music.

I’ll be using it for movies 70%+ of the time & the rest for music so it needs to be good enough for that.

For the last 3 months I have been listening to CDs on my DVD player through the TV’s internal speakers so my expectations are not that high…

My question is how will the “worst for stereo” amp sound compared to CDs through the TV speakers?


If i had to say how good the vsxax3 was with music i'd say about £200 - £250 stereo amp.
considering a cheap hi-fi system of about £70 would sound better than near enough any tv speaker!
I actually quite like the sound of the vsxax3 anyway though I reckon you'll be fine with it, but there are upgrade routes to consider later that'll help more!


Well-known Member
If you dont need the THX processing it might be worth checking out the Marantz SR7400. It will be a lot better in stereo and has a few fans and an owner review on this forum.

The other option is to buy a stereo amp for use with the Pioneer.:smashin:


Standard Member
It's all too much!!! Newbie alert!!

Do I need THX?? I don't know!!??!!

Perhaps the Pioneer will be fine - it's got that auto setup feature that will probably be a real bonus and the music will sound better than the TV so why am I torturing myself?

Unfortunatley I cant speand much time demoing so I have to narrow it down to just a couple before I go shopping.

Thanks for the advice.


Standard Member
panick ye not!!!

Compared to your TV anything will sound better!

I listen to my CDs through my Sony DVPN705 DVD player and my Yamaha HTR5540RDS (aka RXV430RDS) surround amp with some rather unremarkable Yamaha speakers that came with it...

The sound is just so much more open and lively than through the TV...given how much better the Pioneer is than my little amp (don't know what your speaker situation is mind) I would guess that you will not be displeased at all!!!

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
Well I was messing around with my shiny new AX3 in stereo last night and I stand by the comparison that I made in the "I've finally bought a new amp" thread. The AX3 is not the best amp in its price range in stereo- that is the Marantz SR7400. It is IMHO the best cinema amp in the price range though. If you do more films than Cd's (and you've never really listened to decent stereo seperates) you'll love it to bits :).


Standard Member
that settles it.

AX3 it is. Just going to sweat it out for 3 or 4 months until I can afford the £600 and hope that the price doesnt go back up.

Thanks for all who posted. Much appreciated.


Distinguished Member
Wilsot, for £600 you can get MUCH better if you're willing to look at the 2nd hand route. The forum classifieds is an EXCELLENT way to upgrade: e.g I recently bought a Harmon Kardon 8500, which is a flagship amp and weighs in (new) at around £1800. I paid £850 for it from the classifieds. Similarly, for your kind of money you could get a 2nd hand AX5 quite easily, which - I believe - offers a significant improvement over the AX3 (and it's more flexible with video switching etc)


Standard Member
As I am new to all this I would rather get a new amp and the assurances that go with it. I know that the majority of people trading here will be doing so in good faith but until I have been through the process with one amp I don't feel confident enough to risk a "private" deal.

However, with my next amp....
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