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New A/V Amplifier

iball

Standard Member
Hi All,

I currently have a Denon 1907 amplifier and Kef 2005.2 speaker package. The urge to upgrade has finally hit me and I intend to start by replacing the amplifier. I have a budget of around £600 for the amplifier and would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have. Ultimately I will also replace the Kef speakers but this may be some months off.

The new amp needs to be friendly to most speaker types to give me flexibility when upgrading and also must be compatible with the new Ipod Touch 4G (I bought the Denon dock for my 1907 only to discover it doesn't work!) Other than that I'm just after as much as I can get for my budget.

Any suggestions of amps to start auditioning would be appreciated, it has been several years since I really looked at AV kit and am a bit out of touch.

Thanks.
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
What would the budget be on the speaker upgrade?
An obvious upgrade would be the denon 2311 or 3311 although you could also look at the Yamaha 1067/2067 as well or maybe a Marantz 5005.
 

iball

Standard Member
Hi, thanks for the reply.

Speaker upgrade budget likely to be £1,500 (I quite like the B&W MT-30).

Do the Denon 2311 and 3311 allow the use of the new generation Ipod Touch? The problem I have with the 1907 is the ASD-11R Ipod dock does not connect to the Ipod (connector in the dock itself is too short I understand). I don't think there is an alternative dock available from Denon yet.

Any thoughts on the Pioneer VSX 1020K? I assume there is a new version on the horizon as the 1020 would appear to be last years model. The 'Made for Ipod' tag with the Pioneer is an attraction, it also gets a decent review in What Hi-Fi. I will have a shop around and try to arrange a demo of the units you note below. I hadn't considered the Marantz until now.

Thanks again
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
The Pioneer would be another option but Pioneer has a different sound to Denon so it may not be to your personal taste. If you can demo it and let your own ears decide. The reason I suggested Denon, Yamaha and Marantz is because they all have a similar warm sound to your current Denon.
On the subject of the B&W speakers, they are a nice set and pair well with Denons so no issues there. However, the sub with the package is very expensive for the performance it delivers. Hence I would buy the satelite speakers on their own and then get something like a BK Electronics sub (XLS400 or Monolith) as these are not only cheaper but perform better too.
Other speakers to look at would include Monitor Audio Radius or Apex ranges if looking for small speakers but if can upgrade to bookshelf/standmounts then this would open up the BX/RX ranges from Monitor Audio or Focal 700 series or even the new Kef Q range.
 

iball

Standard Member
Sorry to resurrect this post, but i am still on the hunt for an upgrade and would like to hear the opinions of those on this board who know far more than I do!

I had a listen to an Onkyo 808 and decided I wasn't overly impressed by it, it didn't blow me away and make me want to part with my cash. I have a demo of the Pioneer 2020 and Denon 2311 lined up for Friday of this week and am hoping this will give me an idea of whether to continue considering either of these.

I am conscious both the Pioneer 2020 and Denon 2311 are about to makeway for the 2021 and 2312 respectively in the coming weeks.

I've searched around and can't find exact release dates of the new models but it would appear they are both due in June. Both of these new models are Airplay enabled which I am very keen on. Apart from minor spec upgrades such as Airplay does anyone know if there is likely to be any significant sound quality improvements/changes?

I haven't pursued the Yamaha on the basis of Ipod connectivity, am I making a mistake by doing this?

I have been unable to find anywhere locally that I can get a demo of a Marantz.

And finally, are any/all of these amps overkill for a set of Kef 2005's (although I do intend to upgrade them in the next 6 months with a new set of small 'lifestyle' type speakers)

All help/thoughts appreciated.
 
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PSM1

Distinguished Member
All the recievers you are looking at really need better speakers than the 2005 to get the best from them. Really you would need to be looking at the Monitor Audio Apex range to start to get the best from them. That said at the current reduced prices of the models (due to the new replacements coming shortly) make them tempting and they should still have some sound quality gains even with the 2005 speakers.
I would not expect the new models to have any sound quality improvements over last years models. All you will get is extra features. Due to the reduced prices on last years model and the premium you will pay for the new models this will make the cost of those extra features seem quite a lot.
On the ipod front I would not worry about this as there are many good ipod docks that can connect to any AV reciever and give you full control over it. Not sure what Airplay gives you but doubt it gives anything different to a squeezebox or apple express so again this functionality can be added without too much hassle.
 

eaglemmoomin

Well-known Member
If you can find a 3311 I'd be looking at one of those it has a USB input on the front of it. Airplay allows any Apple device to stream to your receiver (currently only audio, can't mess up sales of the Apple TV can we....). The main benefit being one less box involved in your chain taking up a power socket, not having a white box hanging out the back of your nice black/silver AV/HIFI setup while having access to the playlists and library of any Apple based device (including ITunes itself) to stream to the receiver. Also your Ipod device can be plugged directly into the 3311 and then browsed via your tv and the amps remote, it's also network enabled with the abilty to use upnp servers and Internet radio. It also can do firmware updates via ethernet. The 2212,2312 and 3312 have basically the same feature set as the 3311 Denon have migrated features from the 3311 and 4311 to the rest of their mid level receivers.
 
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iball

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies and input, unfortunately I have had to postpone my demo today until next week. Work always gets in the way of fun!!

I have a potentially major problem to add in, we've recently re-furnished our lounge and are still waiting on the new TV unit to arrive. I have a horrible feeling (we ordered it some weeks ago now, with possibly another 3 weeks until delivery) the slot for fitting an AV Amp in is only c. 15cm tall (there is a lip on the front, behind the lip there is c. 23cm if I recall correctly), which is fine for my Denon 1907 but it looks like most of the amps above I've been looking at are more like 17 - 18cm in height!

Any ideas on slimline amps? I will have to hold off ordering anything I think until the new unit arrives and I can figure out if there is anyway to take it apart to put an Amp in it.
 

Dazzor

Well-known Member
Any ideas on slimline amps? I will have to hold off ordering anything I think until the new unit arrives and I can figure out if there is anyway to take it apart to put an Amp in it.

The only one I can think of is the Marantz NR1601....Thing is it's 50wpc....You've been looking at 100+wpc AVR's.

TBH, I'm not sure that WPC means as much as we somtimes think. Decent power supply/supplies behind amplification can often mean much more.

Example; My Yamaha Z7 is 140wpc and when I use pure direct mode to drive just my front-2 it sounds quite good....but no where near as powerful (to my ears) as when my 85wpc Roksan Caspian drives those same two speakers (See sig) And I realise there are other factors like the pre-amp stage to consider too but I really do think a hairy-chested power-supply in an amp (Peak to Peak current output) makes a big difference. (Roksan is rated at 50amps peak-to- peak)


Still, I really don't know if the NR1601 would be lacking on the "grunt-front" for you as I can't see peak-current specs to compare against.....Perhaps a demo is in order?

All the best
Darren
 
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PSM1

Distinguished Member
The 1601 is a lot lower reciever than the OP has been looking at (just about the same level as their current reciever). Due to the size it is going to have a much smaller power supply so be compromised in sound quality due to this as well. By all means demo but I am not sure it is going to offer what the OP wants.
 

Dazzor

Well-known Member
The 1601 is a lot lower reciever than the OP has been looking at (just about the same level as their current reciever). Due to the size it is going to have a much smaller power supply so be compromised in sound quality due to this as well. By all means demo but I am not sure it is going to offer what the OP wants.

As I suspected but was not at all sure, thanks PSM1:smashin:

Any suggestions for a slimline AVR with the berries to match-up to the likes of the 2311?

Rgds
D
 

iball

Standard Member
I can see my wife becoming rather cross with me when I take a saw to our nice new TV cabinet just to fit a new amplifier in that she doesn't even want!!

I may put my search on hold until the new unit arrives and I have the chance to measure up properly (or I could visit the shop we bought it from).

At least the 2312 and the 2021 will hopefully be available by then.

Out of interest, I notice a number of online shops advertising the aforementioned new models for sale already, I assume they are just allowing 'pre-ordering' and don't have stocks of them already?
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
As I suspected but was not at all sure, thanks PSM1:smashin:

Any suggestions for a slimline AVR with the berries to match-up to the likes of the 2311?

Rgds
D

Unfortunately to match the quality of the 2311 really needs a good quality power supply (read this as large and heavy) which does not lend itself to be in a slimline reciever. Hence I know of no slimline recievers of comparable quality to the 2311. The 1610 is by all accounts good for its size/price but imho will always be compromised due to its slimline nature.
 

eaglemmoomin

Well-known Member
Ooops sounds like you may be totally stuffed. Sorry, fella I hate it when a plan falls apart like that.

Dav1Fd was saying that Pioneer will be launching some slim line receivers this year, you might want to go do some research. Though again the point about power supplies may well come into play.

Although Harmon Kardon's older AVR's eg 255/355 were just over 15 cm and HK ALWAYS specify very good power supplies. HK's stated wattage figures never look great as they are extremely conservative eg 50W for the 255 but independent measured results tend to be way over eg 90W for the 255.

They have been discontinued though as they are HDMI 1.3 devices but are available for a bit less than rrp because of that eg
http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/Harman-Kardon-AVR-255-AV-Receiver/product_3331

However you get less HDMI sockets, no IPOD docking or the newer features that have appeared in the last year or two like network streaming etc. I don't know what Harmon Kardon's plans for a new range are.

I just don't think you will get IPOD direct connectivity, good sound quality and a slim line AVR in the same package. Unless Pioneer or Marantz do something outstanding.

Although the Marantz 1602 which is due in July would give you all the features you could want it's sound quality is a bit of an unknown.
 
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Dazzor

Well-known Member
Personally I'd cancel the order.....If something hasn't arrived yet or has been bought remotely doesn't that mean one has the right to a refund and/or refuse delivery (Distance Selling Regulations)

It just seems crazy to me that folk compromise on kit because a slot/shelf isn't big enough by a few centimeters .:confused:
 

eaglemmoomin

Well-known Member
Personally I'd cancel the order.....If something hasn't arrived yet or has been bought remotely doesn't that mean one has the right to a refund and/or refuse delivery (Distance Selling Regulations)

It just seems crazy to me that folk compromise on kit because a slot/shelf isn't big enough by a few centimeters .:confused:

Well you or I might buy stands etc based on the equipment that will be going into it now and in the future but the OP's other half may well have other thoughts about that.
 

Dazzor

Well-known Member
Well you or I might buy stands etc based on the equipment that will be going into it now and in the future but the OP's other half may well have other thoughts about that.

Good point.

Still, marital myrmidon's also bemuse me too:confused:

(I'm married with child, btw;))
 

iball

Standard Member
Well it took us c. 6 months to find the cabinet we have agreed on, it would appear it is very difficult to find a unit which is a nice piece of furniture in its own right and also has a good amount of AV space. The unit we settled on has plenty of AV space, just the height is limited. Anyway I'll wait for it to arrive and re-measure, it may also be possible to take it apart to put the kit in (hopefully!)

Rest assured though, there will be no compromise on kit, I will find a way round it!

Thanks again for all your input.
 

iball

Standard Member
Thanks eaglemmoomin, you're right it is too late, but those cabinets aren't really to my taste.

I had a listen to a Pioneer 2020 this morning and was pretty impressed, I still have a nagging feeling I should hold on for the 2021 though. Didn't get a chance to listen to the Denon, it wasn't available today which was a shame.

I think I will either plump for Denon 2312, Pioneer 2020 + Apple TV, Pioneer 2021 or Yamaha 2067 + Apple TV.

If it was your money and you had a set of Kef 2005s what would you go for? (Yes I realise some of these units aren't even avilable yet!!)

Thanks
 

eaglemmoomin

Well-known Member
I'd be likely to try to get a Denon 3311 (due to the 3312 coming out) as it does everything that the 2312 does (bar one less HDMI input) and will probably be going for about 800 which is the same money as the 2312 and it'll have a bit more oomph to it. Rumour is that the Pio LX53 is a 2020 in a nicer party frock so thats probably a waste of money and the LX73 is way out of budget.
 

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