Power amp quandary

Spick72

Standard Member
Hi all, I currently run a Denon X3600h driving 9 speakers and my previous AVR (Marantz 1509) powering the fronts in a 7.2.4. The speakers are not overkill, I have Dali Oberon 1’s and Oberon Vokal for the LCR, B&W M1’s for the side and rear surrounds and ceiling mounted Mission M3 cube speakers for the heights. Movies are ace but 2 channel seems lacking for my tastes. The upgrade itch is biting. If I upgraded the Marantz to a proper HT bypass amp like an Audiolab 6000 do you think that would be better than sticking to the amps I have and upgrading the front L and R speakers?
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Almost certainly, yes.

How are you playing back 2 channel music at the moment? Is it all through the Marantz, with the Denon switched off and the Marantz in the purest of pure direct mode? Have you tried feeding it an analogue signal in that way - any better?
 

Spick72

Standard Member
Almost certainly, yes.

How are you playing back 2 channel music at the moment? Is it all through the Marantz, with the Denon switched off and the Marantz in the purest of pure direct mode? Have you tried feeding it an analogue signal in that way - any better?
I use the Denon via AirPlay and Marantz in pure direct as I believe tue Denons DAC is better however if I went with a better 2 channel amp I would consider a second streamer or possibly the new 6000a play as it has a streamer built in. I have not tried using the Marantz to Airplay directly, do you think that would be better? I also understand that Apple Music ain’t the best and if I got everything sounding ace I would move to a hi res service such as Amazon HD however I have tried this already and can’t hear another £15 a month worth of difference in the current set up
 

Spick72

Standard Member
Just to complicate things I love 2 channel with the subs. The Oberon 1’s just don’t cut it without them. If I went for a better power amp wouldn’t I lose the ability to use the subs when playing 2 channel as they are connected to the Denon? God this hobby is frustrating!
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Yes, you correctly raise a lot of issues there. There is a lot to think about.

Before you look at spending money on new electronics, have you seen this review of your Denon 3600:


It measured strangely well for a Denon AVR, so have a try at using it in the different ways and see if you can get 2 channel music to sound better. Maybe take the Marantz out of the set-up for the experiments. Then add it back in and try and compare the difference between the Marantz the Denon, the onboard DAC's, using a source with it's own DAC or an external DAC, pure direct mode, Audyssey on and off etc.

If you do decide to add a separate hifi amp to the set-up, and you want the sub, you can get some subs, such as the BK ones that allow a high level and low level connection at the same time. So, you could still use it with a purely analogue only stereo amp if you want to.
 

Spick72

Standard Member
Yes, you correctly raise a lot of issues there. There is a lot to think about.

Before you look at spending money on new electronics, have you seen this review of your Denon 3600:


It measured strangely well for a Denon AVR, so have a try at using it in the different ways and see if you can get 2 channel music to sound better. Maybe take the Marantz out of the set-up for the experiments. Then add it back in and try and compare the difference between the Marantz the Denon, the onboard DAC's, using a source with it's own DAC or an external DAC, pure direct mode, Audyssey on and off etc.

If you do decide to add a separate hifi amp to the set-up, and you want the sub, you can get some subs, such as the BK ones that allow a high level and low level connection at the same time. So, you could still use it with a purely analogue only stereo amp if you want to.
some good points there. I used to use the Marantz for the rear heights but recently swapped it to the fronts to see if it made a difference to both music and movies and tbf the Denon is probably better driving the fronts. I currently run 2 B&W subs a 608 and a 610. They both have LFE and normal binding posts, does this help? Sorry for all the questions!
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
No problems. I am not familiar with B&W subs but if they have speaker connections then that does give you the option of connecting them via high level, which means they would work for music, even if you were using a pure analogue amp or analogue mode on your AVR.

The BK ones let you have both high level and low level connected at the same time, you'll need to check the manual to see if the B&W ones allow the same option.

I have a BK200 and a BK400, with the smaller BK200 at the front of the room connected via both high level to support my Kef R300's for music, and low level for movies, and the bigger BK400 at the rear of the room just connected via low level. You may be able to do something similar.
 
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stranger

Well-known Member
I use the following set up as I have almost given up on using full sound for films etc. (neighbours)
Music is now my priority and I like my sub on just to underpin my front two speakers.
My sub only allows for a high OR low level.

Setup: Anthem MRX 710 a/v. Stereo amp with HT bypass Musical fidelity M6i (upgraded by JSaudio).
I have l/r speaker wires (as well as wires to the speakers) running to the sub, this gives me what I want for music.
If I do want to watch a film etc. I unplug the high level wires at the sub end (placing the banana plugs into a home made insulated board) and plug the LFE from the Anthem into the LFE on the sub.
This may seem like a lot of faff but takes less than a minute and suits me at the moment. A different way would be to use a switch (or a sub that takes both connections at once as per the above expert advice) hth.
 

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