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Improving an AVR200 setup


Established Member

I have an AVR200 driving Dynaudio Audience 42 speakers at the front. I listen to music more than movies maybe 75%-25%. My rears are currently a cheap job. In the longer term, I'd like to move the 42 at the back and maybe get some Contours (1.3mkII, 1.8mkII, S1.4) or better Audience (52se, 72) for the front (other speakers I like include Totem, PMC, Wilson Benesch).

From what I understand, the AVR200 would not do justice to some Contour 1.8mkII for example (I almost bought a pair second hand). My dealer recommended that I should add a power amp to the AVR200 and offered me an ex-demo P90/3. Since my speakers are Dynaudio, bi-amping is not possible so the P90/3 would replace the AVR200 amplification. So I have a few question:

Would replacing the AVR200 power amp for front 3 by a P90/3 be an improvement?

How would you compare the (diva) P85, P90, (fmj) P25 and P35?
In theory: P25 > P85, P35 > P90, P90 > P85, P35 > P25
Where does that leave P25 (fmj range, better build quality) vs P90 (more recent "improved" amp). I am particularly interested in this because a second hand P25/3 could cost about the same as an ex-demo P90/3.

How do these power amp compare to a P7? I feel a P7 would be an overkill for me right now but in the long term, the P7 looks like all the amplification I'll ever need so maybe :)

Even more speculation: Even if the AVR200 is considered outdated by some and now goes for quite cheap second hand, I do not see much within the £1000 bracket that would improve it as a replacement. Still better with music than the Denon, Sony, Pioneer, etc offerings. An AVR250 probably wouldn't improve either, an AVR300 would but I would prefer moving toward a processor + power amp instead. This would be done in two steps with at least year in between.

So in that vein, what do peoples feel is the weaker point of an AVR200, the power amp or the processing? E.g. would I get a better sound adding a P7 and using the AVR200 as pre-amp or by adding an AV8 and using the AVR200 as power amp?

A bit cheaper than the above (<£1000), I have also been looking at second hand older processors (e.g. get a Tag avr32 and use AVR200 as power amp) and power amps (e.g. Parasound, Rotel, Roksan Caspian) but I am a bit worried about the "musicality" of these solutions that are more in favor by home cinema enthusiates. Any commets?

Thanks and sorry it got a bit long


Hifi addict

well, you could also wait 2 more months and try the new P1000 amp from Arcam.
If your dealer really want to sell you something, you could ask to take both P90 and P25 home to test yourself. I haven't heard the P90/P25 only P35 so I would not be able to advice you on that.

the upgrades in the AVR300 are both processor and power wise. I would say that the processor improvements are bigger then the amps and it really sounds another step better then the avr200. So you could consider moving to P1000 now and AVP700 lateron


Standard Member
I picked up a P25/3 and was most impressed by this but I am running biamped speakers with the AV300. The build quality is fine you have the FMJ more solid case etc. From what I've heard there are improvements with the processing quality of the AV300 and I use it mainly for music and again was most impressed. Take some time, have a listen, most dealers are helpful if they know your genuine and have money to spend. Certainly my Sevenoaks are prepared to let me take things home.

malcolm mccabe

I have an AVR200 with a P90/3 - using just the power amp for the fronts really brings an improvement in sound. Having said that I would agree with Hifi addict, it may be better to wiat just a litle while longer to see how the new P1000 shapes up.

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