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On AV-stereo compromise

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by henrydiez, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    I have two different setups in separate homes. In one I have a no-name CD player, venerable NAD 3020 stereo amplifier and Castle spakers. This setup sounds wonderful, with a very detailed music presentation, at least for me.
    In the other one, I have NAD521 CD player, Pioneer 656 DVD-DVDAudio-SACD player, Denon 1802 AV receiver, B&W 601 S3 front speakers, B&W LCR60 S3 centre speaker, B&W DM303 rear speakers, REL Quake subwoofer, front and center speakers biwired with quality cable. Movie sound Dolby and DTS is very satisfactory. DVDAudio and SACD depends heavily in the disc, but there are quite satisfactory discs out there (Handel's Messiah Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to put one example). But, and here is my sore point, CD play is nowhere near my old good NAD 3020 setup. It simply lacks the detail I think it comes from the NAD amplifier.
    Let me point that I listen mostly to classical music and I have been living with both setups for two years.
    The question is, people of experience in this forum, that may have heard the old 3020, is there, nowadays, a AV amplifier that may produce a decent stereo sound like the one I like from the NAD, and give me decent AV perfomance? Budget could extend up to 1000 pounds (1500€).
    I know the easy answer is to install a separate stereo amplifier, but I live in a small apartment with 18 square meter for listening and TV and another big black box would be unadvisable.
    Regards to everyone
    Henrydiez
     
  2. davehk

    davehk
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    You should listen to the Arcam AVR range in stereo direct mode.
     
  3. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    For £1000 you could get the Arcam AVR-250. I've heard its bigger brother, the AVR-300, and felt it was the most musical integrated av amp I've heard. Definitely recommended if you can afford it.

    There are some new Marantz models out that are also meant to be very good in stereo, consider the Marantz 8500, which I believe retails for ~£1k.
     
  4. Kazman

    Kazman
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    I agree with Tejstar, the Arcam AVR250 and the Marantz SR8500 are probably the most musical AV amps at the 1K mark.

    If you stretch the budget a bit more, you could have one of the Rotels, but you would sacrifice some functionality.

    NAD also do some musical AV receivers.

    The Denon 1802 you are currently using isn't really a very musical receiver, fantastic movie amp, but for musicality, the amps mentioned above are the best on the market imho.
     
  5. Falp

    Falp
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    Old basic denon and B&W speakers... try a Maratnz 7400 bargain or 7500...
     
  6. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    Thanks a lot. Your answers have been hugely instructive. I had not even considered the amps you mention. I will now. And I will report the results of my experience.
    Thanks again, and regards,
    Henrydiez
     
  7. davehk

    davehk
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    I have the AVR300 and I'm very pleased with it :thumbsup: - hence my suggestion.

    You can bi-amp the fronts with channels 6&7 of the AVR250 if you're not using them for surround, and later you can add a P80 to biamp the fronts for even better performance (I have a P90 with ny 300).
     
  8. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    The Arcam AVR300 is a lot of money. I am tempted by the AVR250, but the Marantz 7500 and 8500 incorporate the automatic calibration, if they are half good, that makes them also very tempting. I will try to audition them (though that's something that is not easy in rural Spain).
    Anyway, I was counting in bi-amping the front channels, since I use a 5.1 setup and weight more the music side of it.
    Regards
    henrydiez
     
  9. davehk

    davehk
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    Calibration is not that difficult with a basic SPL meter and a tape measure. Took me about 5 minutes. In a typical domestic setting, you are only going to get one sitting position where the calibration is valid anyway. Level settings in particular are going to vary wildly in different points in the room, due both to inverse square effects and room modes.
     
  10. Kazman

    Kazman
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    I wouldn't dismiss the AVR250 due to it not having auto calibration. It is a very good amp.

    I'd say the SR7500, SR8500 and AVR250 are very evenly matched for sound quality. The Marantz models do have an advantage with their extra features though. THX processing and on the SR8500 you have DVI switching which will future proof it for a few generations.

    All three amps are very solid, and have a lovely sound to them, I think you would be happy with any of them personally.
     
  11. Falp

    Falp
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    The AVR250 doesn't have pré-outs, does it?
     
  12. CosmicOne

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    i see that u love Detailed sound,i think u should look at the new Yamaha 1500/2500 with there Pure Direct Mode for stereo they are very detailed,i myself have the RXV650 & it's very good & detailed in stereo,am using Wharfedale Diamond8.4 speakers.
    also the Yamaha's are the best in movie sounds.
     
  13. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    Point taken. I agree is churlish to dismiss the AVR250 for lacking automatic calibration.
    Regards,
    henrydiez
     
  14. Falp

    Falp
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    I would only dismiss the AVR250 for lacking pre-outs... :cool: :mad:
     
  15. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    Big omission imo.
     
  16. Kazman

    Kazman
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    Agreed, can't believe they left that off the design, seriously limits the expansion of the product.
     
  17. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    To help me make a decision I have made the following chart:
    Pioneer VSX-AX5AI-S
    Pros:
    -The one I wanted all along
    -I-link, I think is a good idea
    -I like Pioneer DVD players
    -Specifications for the price, that is, I think it is good value
    -20 kg of weight, good build
    -Bi-amping possible and endorsed
    -Second best in Hi-Fi Sound and Vision Review
    -Discounts found and available in internet
    Cons:
    -Too big
    -General agreement it is not the top-tier in musical terms

    Arcam AVR-250
    Pros:
    -General agreement the best in musical terms
    -Bi-amping possible and endorsed
    -Size (that is, not too big)
    -Best for the money in Hi-Fi Sound and Vision opinion (surprisingly contradicting my own)
    Cons:
    -Specifications for the price (that is, very sparse for that lot of money)
    -No discounts

    Denon 3805
    Pros:
    -Best in Hi-Fi Sound and Vision Review
    -Size (that is, not too big) and weighty (17 kg)
    -Discounts bound to be available in internet
    Cons:
    -Denon-link (proprietary)
    -Bi-amping possible but not endorsed
    -General agreement it is not necessary the best in musical terms (but better than the Pioneer)

    Marantz 7500
    Pros:
    -General agreement second best in musical terms
    -Bi-amping possible and endorsed
    -Reasonable price for the specifications
    Cons:
    -No Hi-Fi Sound and Vision review
    -Too big but light-weight compared with its rivals, cheaper build?
    -I don’t need video up-conversion (I use a conventional CRT-TV and I don’t intend to change it in the short term)
    -No discounts

    After analyzing this chart, my decision is to go for the Marantz 7500. As I said, when I have it I hope to make more (and favourable) comments.
    Regards,
    henrydiez
     
  18. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    I received today the SR7500 and, after a marathon session connecting cables, I am happy to report that the amp completely fulfils my expectations. The sound coming from the loudspeakers is the pure, unadulterated sound of music I very much wanted to hear. I tried mostly CDs, but multi-channel music surprised me with more spaciousness. And finally, a quick test of a DVD video also surprised me with a degree of sound steering I hadn’t heard before. All in all, a very satisfied customer I am ;) .
    Finally, I will share with you the place where I bought it:
    http://www.quarsandorra.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_33_107
    You will find Marantz product at very interesting prices. The only caveat is that buying there is considered importing from a non-EU country, and that increases the paperwork. But not terribly, I bought the SR7500 on Wednesday and I got it on Friday.
    Regards
     
  19. sledwich

    sledwich
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    Wow this place has some amazing prices. They are selling the Marantz 8500 at 736UKP (if I have done my maths properly).

    I dont suppose anybody has bought from these in the UK? I am very tempted.
     
  20. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    Quarsandorra prices don't include VAT. Still, they are very good prices, at least for Spain where VAT is 16%.
    Regards
     
  21. Falp

    Falp
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    Andorra is Tax free and is not part of Spain...
    Around here in Portugal we have 19% VAT...

    I bought an RadioCD for my previous car there in that Shop so a did a friend of mine an AVReceiver...
     
  22. sledwich

    sledwich
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    So would I be right in saying that there is only UK import tax to be paid on any items purchased?
     
  23. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    Contact them directly through their web page and ask them. They are very quick and polite.
     
  24. sledwich

    sledwich
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    Just contacted them and the breakdown is like this:
    > Here is the price for Marantz SR8500 N1S in order to delivery to the UK:
    >
    > - Price: 1069.00 euros
    >
    > - VAT (16%): 171.04 euros
    >
    > - Shipping: 84.00 euros
    >
    =910.778 UK pounds

    I think it may be cheaper to buy from Futurehome

    http://www.futurehome.co.uk/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=354
     
  25. tamthetim

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    Very useful thread henrydiez and others.

    I too am looking to amalgamate my two systems.....................going to ebay my Arcam A85 and Yamamha amps, Mission 780 speakers.

    But i must admit i'm still tempted by the AVR250, my budget won't stretch to the AVR300 unfortunately.

    Do most agree that the AVR 250 and the Marantz will match or better the A85?

    Cheers,Tam :thumbsup:
     
  26. Falp

    Falp
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    Also add the Rotel 1056 to the Marantz 7500/8500 and Arcam AVR300 options...

    The AVR 255 does't have pre-outs...
     
  27. Harry T2

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  28. tamthetim

    tamthetim
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    Wish i could say sunny like Australia......................but its pretty crap in Perth, Scotland :eek:

    Thanks for the link :thumbsup:

    Cheers,Tam
     
  29. Harry T2

    Harry T2
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    Dohhhh!

    Well, I'm in Melbourne, and it is not sunny at all.

    Sorry
     
  30. henrydiez

    henrydiez
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    Now that I have been living with the Marantz SR7500 for 10 months, I think it is a good moment to tell that I am still very happy with it. When listening to CD stereo music, pure direct mode is good, very good.
     

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