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how good are processers at 2 channel sterio

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by mick23, Mar 2, 2003.

  1. mick23

    mick23
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    i have been pondering over going the (processer +power route)
    as processers are £1000 upwards new,tag 30r £1700 etc,
    must admit i have never heard or demoed any processers at all,

    so my question is how "good" are processers at 2 channel sterio, say rotel 1066 compared with say cyrusc7 arcam a85, or simular priced integrateds,


    my budget will be about £1100 (processer only) this only gives me a choice of rotel 1066 new, or ex dem 2nd hand other brands

    currently have denon 3802, awaiting delivery of rotel 985 mk1 power amp to try with 3802 etc,

    so would like members views on processers and sterio capabilities , without me going into the realms of "megabucks options cost wise"

    thank you all
     
  2. nathan_silly

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    If you mean "Hi-Fi" then they won't be as good, all that S-Video switching, DSP's etc will degrade the sound.

    But for most people AV Processors are a good master controller.
     
  3. sounddog

    sounddog
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    I find that the 1066 (I run it with an RA-970) is very good in stereo. Not quite as good as an Rotel RA-1060 ... but (without doing a direct A-B comparision) I would say that it's way better than the C320 I used to have. Bi amping the 1066 with 2x RA-970 is better than the Rotel RA-1060.

    I didn't demo any other processors as I couldn't afford them - but I'm not disappointed with the RSP-1066 for stereo.

    If you just wanted to upgrade your 3802 ... I could sell you my 2 month old RA-1060 though. :)

    Vikki

    :)
     
  4. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Unsurprisingly a home cinema processor will not sound as good as a dedicated pre-amp for the same price, but some of them do a good job. Others don't. Most of the good ones I have first hand experience of are a bit out of mick23's price bracket, but I gather the Cyrus AV8 is quite good.
     
  5. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Incidentally, if you are primarily looking for a stereo pre-amp and only very occasionally want to use it for films, then try and find an old Linn 5103.
     
  6. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Precisely Nick.

    Comparing a Rotel RSP-1066 (or the Cyrus AV8 at similar price) to a £1000 pre-amp ... there will be no contest ... the pre-amp will win easily.

    Replacing the Rotel RSP-1066 to a Marantz SR5200 + Rotel RA-1060 for stereo has left me with a system that is much better for AV and only slightly worse for stereo and adding a second RB-970 later will - I have already tested - surpass the quality I had with the RA-1060 alone.

    Already having the Denon 3802 would (IMO) make the decision harder as this is already significantly better than the SR5200 was for AV. A better upgrade may be an integrated stereo amp, which the 3802 feeds its front left and right into for AV, and that the CD player, etc feeds directly into.

    Vikki
     
  7. mick23

    mick23
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    thanks all basically denon 3802 meets my av needs, but not so good in sterio, the hearing in my (LEFT EAR) is worse than right ear, so it is harder for me to detect if there is a real "differance between 3802 in sterio vs something else.

    i dont really want to add an integrated amp having already tried this (cyrus 7) i could not notice any real benifit c7 over 3802, with my ears but m8 could c7 (much better)

    nick b how would i (plumb in linn 5103 into denon)

    sounddog i contacted your local dealer L/HIFI on 2 points rotel rb985 vs rb1075 there view 1075 more refined,
    also how to biamp fronts using single "rb985" completly lost on how to do this.

    also how does rotel 1066+1075 combo compare with integrated amps, there view was "pretty close to new cyrus c8"


    sorry if i wandered a bit from the original processer thread
    thanks all
     
  8. zcaps57

    zcaps57
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    Meridian 800 + 861 combo was/is amazing for 2ch, and multi channel music. (let alone DVD-Audio!!)
    This combo is probalby the best as far as transport, and processor can go.
     
  9. sounddog

    sounddog
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    I think this may be a little more than £1100 though!!

    RE: the original question ... the Cyrus AV8 is probably better for stereo, but will be disappointing for AV, the Rotel RSP-1066 is a good compromise IMO.
     
  10. mick23

    mick23
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    sounddog what did you demo 1066 in L/HIFI with 1075 or combination of rotel rb*** ?? for sterio
     
  11. sounddog

    sounddog
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    We didn't actually demo instore.

    Not heard it with the RMB1075 - just our RB-970 both single and bi-amped with B&W 602s2.
     
  12. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Meridian 861 costs something like £10,000, which is a little bit more than £1100. :) If you are going to be spending large amounts of money then you can certainly get very good pre-amp abilities - the Bryston SP1.7 is particularly impressive IMO, Arcam AV8 also pretty good in analogue bypass mode. But those are still an awful lot more expensive than mick is considering, I think.
     
  13. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Well ... I guess the answer to the question you've posed really boils down to what level of stereo performance you want. If you're happy with the performance being equivilent to a £500 or so stereo integrated ampm then from my experience you can't go wrong with the RSP-1066. If looking for the best Stereo performance from it, the ideal would probably be a RMB-1075 (or the 985 you've already got) for the surround speakers and then match that with a RB1090 or 2x RB1070 for the front 2 channels (I've not tried this so this is just suposition).

    As a long term plan ... once we've got all our power amps in place ... we've been considering adding a passive pre-amp to the system and seeing what difference that makes ... but thats going to be a little way down the line.

    Vikki
     
  14. nathan_silly

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    Are you a Rotel rep Vikki? :D

    Rotel poweramps are great for AV.

    However there are better stereo only Hi-Fi pre-amps around.

    Nathan
     
  15. sounddog

    sounddog
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    I never meantioned Rotel Pre-amps except for the RSP-1066 processor that the question was originally about. All I meant was that to get best stereo performance from the RSP-1066 you may want to look at a different power amp than the RB 985 MkI that was originally being asked about. This comment is especially relevant if you want 7 channel AV as the RB-985 is only 5 channel.

    As for a power amp for the front two channels to get the best for stereo, if you don't want a RB1070 (2x 70w for information) then look at the Arcam P85, Cyrus Smartpower (think thats right model), NAD C270 and any other power amp avaliable at a similar cost (I list these because they are ones I can think of at the moment not as specific recomendations).

    I did say that we'd been considering a passive preamp, but that would be a QED or Creek or similar - a simple volume control type device between the CD player and the power amp - not sure if it would be worth it but these devices are around £100 or so and this won't be for several months until we have all the amps in place.
     
  16. petrolhead

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    I think you will find that this amp is 2 x 130 according to the Rotel site and the RB 1050 is the 2 x 70.

    BTW Did you do a deal with the supplier of your RSP1066 so that you could exchange it with the RSP1098 when it comes out :)
     
  17. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Okay I got it wrong ... was doing it from memory without reference to Rotel's website. Of course you also have the RB-03 to think about too from Rotel ... though it won't match with the RSP-1066 as well as the RB-1050 would.

    As a point of fact though, in comparisions with our RB-970BXs ... I'd rather use 2x 60w bi-amped (for each channel) than a single high rated amp (admittedly in test this was a bridged 970).

    Vikki
     
  18. alexs2

    alexs2
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    In reply to Victoria's comments about passive preamps,the QED is ok for a very cheap device,but the Creek is definitely better,and has the benefit of remote control,with a decent pot inside.
    By far the best is the Audio Synthesis Passion( a snip at £600-800 depending on version),which will easily match any £4-5K active preamp...I know,as I have one!

    As for the original question,some processors are very good at stereo reproduction,like the Krell/Levinson machines,and the Tag is pretty good as well,but benefits from having an upsampler inserted into the digital feed to run the DACs at 24/96.

    When considering cheaper processors,you have to consider what they are primarily designed for....i.e. AV use.
     
  19. zcaps57

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    Gentlemen,

    Sorry.. my bad. I didn't read the thread stater's price range.

    Yes. It costs more than 10k. Also it has to be coupled with 800 transport using MHR link/connection to sound their best. For this combo alone, we're looking at 20k+ :(

    One has to listen to this combo to believe how good this combo can sound.

    Very expensive, but very tempting!! :D
     
  20. deckard

    deckard
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    Mick

    I use Linn stereo amps (integrated+power) with a Yamaha DSP-E800 processor which outputs into a tape loop on my integrated amp. This means I retain the stereo ability for music, but can add on the movie stuff also when i wish.

    Why don't you retain your Denon and buy a quality pre-amp? You could take the main pre-outs from the Denon and loop them into a tape input on the pre-amp.

    This way you'd enjoy decent stereo performance but could retain the Denon's processing power.

    Just a thought...
     
  21. mick23

    mick23
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    thank you all for replies re processers and sterio playback abilities.

    deckard
    i assume you mean a sterio preamp something like linn kolector to link to 3802, i have not tried this but would there not be problems with pre amp (linn) and power (denon) something i have read in the past , something to do with "gain" i believe.



    i did have yam ax592 sterio amp ,then purchased yam a5 ( according to yamaha tech same as e800, but with 5 channels of amplification) got a5 for £3o less than cost of e800 about 2 years ago.

    using just a5 for sterio only (sterio was no where near as good as 592) so linked a5+592 together 592 driving fronts this was ok for av and sterio use, "but the adjusting of 2 volume controls for various movies was a pain.

    purchased 3802 so i could have "one box solution, less clutter, and 3802 has more modes pl2, dts es etc and sold on a5 and 592, after purchase of 3802 tried against ax592 in sterio and thought 3802 more or less on par to ax592 certainly much better than a5,

    as regards linn i did try lk85 amp powering fronts, and this gave slightly better quality over the the denons amps for sterio, no doubt if i had used linn pre+lk85 i would have noticed a bigger leap in quality,

    still awaiting delivery of rotel 985 5 channel amp to compare with 3802 then i might have better idea what to do, thanks all
     
  22. sounddog

    sounddog
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    You could always buy a stereo integrated amp, then use a speaker switch box to eliminate the need to alter volume on the integrated amp when switching between the two.

    Or buy a pre-amp and a 2-way source selector switch, put the front outs from the 3802 into 1 input, the output from the pre-amp into the other and connect the front two channels of the power amp to the output of the switch.

    The switch box will add an extra stage of switching, but with a decent quality switch (QED come recommended), the quality will be hardly noticable ... certainly would be cheeper than buying the processor and in many ways will be the best of both worlds.

    Vikki
     
  23. deckard

    deckard
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    Mick

    Fixed gain relates to power amps, pre-amps have variable gain ie the volume knob! What you do is set the volume at a given level on your pre-amp/integrated (mine's digital so I can always set it at 40) usually around half-way, then calibrate the Denon using the test tones. You then control volume for the system using the Denon's volume control. Gain doesn't come into it in the way you're worried, the pre-amp in this circumstance is doing nothing. To then listen to music you select the correct input on the pre-amp and control the volume from the pre-amp.

    It's much more simple than I think I've made it sound and allows me to separate AV and stereo performance.
     
  24. ditton15

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    Mick, all good advice, and from many (but not all) who advised me. I am currently using the set up shown below, via the pre-outs and having set the vol to the fronts higher in the Denon.

    I am still learning about dacs and av processors.

    ditton
     
  25. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Mick ... just noticed on eBay there is a 3 month old AV8 up for sale "buy it now" for £850 if you're interested.
     
  26. nathan_silly

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    Isn't it £1000 new?
     
  27. sounddog

    sounddog
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    List is £1200 for the Cyrus AV8
     
  28. cmrayer

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    Er, £1100 according to the Cyrus website:blush:
     

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