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I've actually bought an amp!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Ed Selley, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    In my job, I'm lucky enough to generally borrow amps that have come in for testing and voicing and I do in fact very rarely buy any AV gear because of this. Not ever having any money contributes to this policy as well :laugh:.

    However I've actually gone and bought an AV amplifier! In the last few weeks I've been fortunate enough to test the Denon 2803, Marantz SR7400, Sony STRDA3000ES, Yamaha RXV1400 and Pioneer AX3 both in the dem room and in the comfort of my own home. I have owned a Marantz SR7300 for about a year and this served as a useful comparison. After these tests, I've bought the Pioneer. Now because its a slow day I thought I'd explain my choice and answer some straw man arguments that people may have posed were I asking which of these amps to buy.

    The AX3 doesn't have PLIIx
    Neither did my previous amps, so I'm not missing it. I'm also locked into 5 channels for the immeadiate future so I don't have any speakers doing nothing when I'm watching terrestrial. THe Marantz and the Yamaha both had it and in the dem room I was very impressed with it but it didn't translate into a real world advantage when I got them home.

    The AX3 has no component video switching
    This initially smacked of Pioneer being cheap until it hit me that many people have "lop sided" systems like mine where the video source is not sizably (or any) more expensive than the audio side. As such like me, they have no all important component video input to be switching in the first place! Telly's are something I have to pay full whack for so my 28" JVC 100hz will be with me for a while. This means Scart and S-Video for a while yet.

    The AX3 only has 4 back panel digital inputs
    How many do you want? With DVD,DVDR and Sky+ I've still got a spare coax and the front optical for ilicit X-Boxing. OK so with the Marantz, I'd have three spare but I'm still not clear what I'd be plugging into them.

    The Marantz and the Denon are both better in stereo
    Thankfully the Pioneer is in an viewing only enviroment- my Marantz stereo amp slaughtered all the mentioned amps so I'm lucky enough to be free of this little niggle.

    The Pioneer has the nastiest speaker terminals at the price point
    No argument here, they are sufficient to fit my existing cable in but I'll concede they suck.

    So why did I buy it? Well in every home test I did, it excelled. It simply sounded better than all bar the Yamaha (which could not justify how much more I'd have to pay for it) to this set of ears with the speakers in place- and there's little chance of me changing them :). It has one of the best setup options I've encountered (black marks to the Sony here, that nearly left in kit form it was so fustrating) allowing me to extract a great deal of the amps potential for little real effort. It also allowed me to make use of those two channels that would otherwise be dormant with the other amps. It was good enough for me to miss it when it had to go back. Therefore I've just bought one and managed to have an argument with myself in the process :zonked:.

    I suppose one last hypothetical question......
    How come you didn't choose the Marantz as it is of course built by your employers distributor?
    No comment :blush:.
     
  2. wilsot

    wilsot
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    How much did you pay?(if you don't mind me asking!)

    I'm considering one myself - Richer Sounds are flogging them for £586.95...

    Wilsot
     
  3. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Sadly I'm not allowed to say as it was a Cost + VAT purchase through RS (there are some benefits to being a former RS sales chimp). I will say that it isn't very much less than that figure you've quoted :).
     
  4. Kaleb500

    Kaleb500
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    I got a couple of questions :)

    What speakers have you got at home? Also how much difference did the MCACC make?
     
  5. Kazman

    Kazman
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    How did the SR7400 perform? To my ears, I couldn't notice much difference between the RXV1400, AX3i or the SR7400. The SR7400 was significantly better with stereo material though :).

    £580 is a bargain for the AX3i though, if you got it significantly cheaper, I wouldnt blame you for going for it. :):)
     
  6. Ettepet

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    The german site Area DVD just did a comparison between all top integrated amps, and still found the slightly old Pioneer ax10i the best for DD & DTS. Better than the new flagships from Denon and Yamaha (among others). Pioneer it seems is hard to beat for HT! ;)
     
  7. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Ok in answer to the questions :)
    Being an employee of Mordaunt Short, my speakers are MS914 fronts, MS 905 centre, MS506 rears and 2xMS909 Subwoofers. There is no immeadiate danger to me changing them as I'm pretty happy with them (and since this purchase there isn't any money to either!). The speakers were the same for all the amp tests at home. The MCACC is a boon in so much as it offers a fine setup in very quick time. I'm lucky enough to have access to some very sophisticated software and an excellent SPL meter, if I felt so inclined and if I really went to town I think I could improve the settings slightly but life is way too short for that :).

    .

    No question that the Marantz is the most musical (although I was suprised by the Denon) and as I said originally in the MS dem room, connected to seven channels, the PLIIx was comfortably better than the Pioneer. This did not translate into a superior performance with 5 channels in my lounge however. The Pioneer then hits back with the fact that with an excellent 5 channel track (I often use R1 Fight Club DD, Das Boot Superbit R2 DTS and Animatrix R2 DD because I am very familiar with them) it just sounded more lifelike and real (as stated this is only with my ears as a guide) and just more "there." If I had component on my telly and seven channels, I couldn't have ignored the Marantz's facilities (that learning remote is a cracker as well) but I don't so the Pioneer edged it on the understanding that the Yamaha which was the best of both worlds cost more and Mrs Tons has objected to the Yamaha titanium in the past :zonked:. As I said, I have no need for the AX3 to perform any musical duties and little likelyhood of more digital components to show up the Pioneers relative lack of them so it was the best choice for me. Were I recommending a one stop, must do all solution to somone who also couldn't afford the Yamaha, I would probably still push the SR7400. At the end of the day the only unit that didn't impress was the Sony, which did no more than my old SR7300, comes in a revolting champagne finish, was ugly and hard to set up.
     
  8. Brunnen-G

    Brunnen-G
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    My question is... How much are you selling your SR7300 for? :laugh:



    No, seriously, how much? ;)
     
  9. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    It has been snapped up by our export sales co-ordinator I'm afraid- I had already agreed to its sale to fund part of this purchase. I was wondering how long it would be before somebody asked though.....

    Don't worry- when I finally get my hands on a Rotel RSX-1056 I'll probably be flogging the AX3 :suicide:.
     
  10. Brunnen-G

    Brunnen-G
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    God bless you serial upgraders, otherwise I would'nt have any gear ;)
     
  11. Kaleb500

    Kaleb500
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    Ton, out of interest how much difference is there between the SR7300 and the SR7400? It seems strange to me that the 7400 is actually 1.5 kg lighter than the 7300. Would have thought it to be a bit heavier.
     
  12. Dfour

    Dfour
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    Ah all I need is to tidy up my rack and shoehorn in a nice stereo amp to go with my :censored: hot Yamaha rx-v1400:D. Then my life will be complete for a few months lol
     
  13. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Well you're a lucky chap with the Yamaha. I thoroughly enjoyed the 1400 and I rate it highly. Its just that with my own money in play, the features that the Yamaha has over the Pioneer did not offset the price difference that I was facing. The Yamaha Titanium is also a non starter with Mrs Tons who tolerates most bits of AV gear with resigned good humour- the colour difference of the 1400 was a bit too much though so it lost further ground.

    Besides; my nice stereo amp lives upstairs with its dedicated stereo buddies and never the two need meet :).
     
  14. Dfour

    Dfour
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    IM glad you are happy with your purchase. I got the black yammy as I caouldnt stand the titanium either. I am lucky that I dont have to deal with the WAF for the last few years but its all changing at the weekend :eek:

    If we all had the space we would all have a sepetate stereo system :) I think also a lot of us would love to swap jobs with you for a couple of days :D
     
  15. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    The day I've had today, I'd be inclined to give it away :( but I'd soon realise that I'm being childish :).
     

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