Processor needed - Sound quality over features

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by kingcobbler, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. kingcobbler

    kingcobbler
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    I'm (still) looking at getting rid of my slightly aged Denon KAVC-A1SE and going processor and power amp.

    I love the idea of the Marantz AV8801, but I have no real need for all the features. I am 5.1, single zone, plain Jane and can't see that every changing due to the shape of my room and the love of big floorstanders.

    So what pre/pro gives me best value for sound quality, is it still the AV8801?

    I'm about 70% music / 30% movies, from a money point of view I guess I am looking at up to about £2500, basically want the new HD sound formats and good bass / sound
    management.
     
  2. t bone

    t bone
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    I came from a similar amp the Denon A1SR which was very good but like you wanted HDMI plus the HD sound formats, the difference was night and day but that would be expected coming from a near 10 year old amp. But there is no accounting for going the separates route and the fact that you're 70% music, you will really enjoy the Marantz musical presentation especially in stereo and pure direct. I wouldn't get hung up on features what your really paying for is sound quality. I rarely use all the features but the one's that you do you will love the flexibility of them never regretted my purchase.
     
  3. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Given your preference for simplicity and music, with no requirement for front height or width speakers, I would strongly suggest that you consider the audio lab 8200AP with outboard base management device such as the anti mode. I gave the Audiolab a very long audition and I would have chosen it had I not fancied some additional features such as height channels. The audio lab also has a multitude of amplification options ranging from mono blocks through stereo power amps to a seven channel amplifier. Several of the amplifiers are often to be found second hand. If in the future you wished to upgrade for two channel stereo and then you could add the CD Q, for CD playback and superior DAC. There is also a matching FM and digital tuner available, which is outstanding and can be had at a bargain price ex demo or second hand. I cannot vouch for the antinode that there are plenty of fans on here.
     
  4. t bone

    t bone
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    What does the audiolab go for these days?
     
  5. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Just over 1000, I think. Also there are a a few dealers doing a package of the processor plus the seven channel amp for about 2250. The Marantz is 2495 just for the processor. For HD audio the audio lab would need to do this via PC, or by using something like the Oppo 105, by direct seven channel analogue input. According to all of the reviews, the analog out from the Oppo is reference status. For about the same price as the Marantz, one could get the audio lab processor plus the Oppo player plus the anti mode. And you get the choice of black or silver.
     
  6. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Post above should PMC, not PC
     
  7. t bone

    t bone
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    Doesn't sound very simple lots of add on components, although not Heard the audiolab it would have to go some to best the marantz also £2495 is way too high had mine for considerably less.
     
  8. nucky

    nucky

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    Go for the marantz it sounds brilliant for music and films, I've just got 5.1 as well
     
  9. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Can I ask how much, T bone? And what do you mean by lots of add on components? The way I see it is that the only add on component would be the antimode, and only if this was found to be necessary after using the audio lab at home for a while.
     
  10. t bone

    t bone
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    sorry didnt see your post though you had to add a pc for HD sound got the marantz for£1950
     
  11. dazed&confused

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    No worries. Less than 2000 for the Marantz sounds good – I thought they were still in short supply and going for full price. Now I am going to have to rethink my whole plan regarding a new set up, LOL.
     
  12. t bone

    t bone
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    Had to rethink my set up at least three times:)
     
  13. eastsoutheast

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    I know I could be accused of being biased but I have tried many expensive processors and have not heard better especially for music and movies.

    For your budget you can pick up a Meridian G68 processor and a Meridian HD621. The 621 adds high def compatibility to the processor and also adds significant SQ benefits to your other HDMI sources (Sky, Virgin, DVD etc). The 621 is £1500 new but I know you could get for £1250 from a dealer (rarely available 2nd hand) and a G68 for £1000 to £1250. You could post a wanted advert on here and meridian unplugged and I am sure you will quickly find both items.

    The software inc Meridian room correction is comprehensive.

    This kit also retains high value so your well future proofed. The old 5 series processors (568.2MM) still sell for approx £800 and you could have picked one up for £1000 5 years ago (£200 loss in 5 years!!!).

    Good luck
     
  14. nucky

    nucky

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    I've owned the meridian G68J and 568.2MM and it is not as good as you say it is.
     
  15. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Have I lost the plot regarding budget? I thought that KingCobbler was talking about £2500 including power amplification, not just for processing and preamp.
     
  16. t bone

    t bone
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    If he's thinking about the AV8801 it must have funds for additional amplification.....i guess:lesson:
     
  17. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    I noticed that you had a thread about a three channel amp, T-bone. Did you reach any conclusion? I ask because I'm on the lookout for an outstanding stereo power amp (mostly for music) and at some point in the future I would like to get a second-hand seven channel power amp that would provide a good match. I'm thinking of a long term solution – so that I would never again feel the need to upgrade the power amps and instead would only ever need to change a processor. I'm not sure how important it is to match power amps. A stereo Power amp which I am interested in is the Job 225.
     
  18. t bone

    t bone
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    After a little research the consensus is they would be no benefits in sound quality over the Marantz 8077 that I have at the moment, but like to demo things for myself problem is that I'm very interested in the Emotiva amp but no chance of a demo Will have to buy blind from the US. Or like you may try a stereo amp what one do you have in mind.
     
  19. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    The Job 225. I guess they could be described as the BK electrics of the amplifier world. Buy direct from the factory, with no advertising budget. The technology used has trickled down from their parent company who make exceptionally high end stuff. It's sold from Switzerland in US dollars and the exchange rate seems quite good just now. It sounds like a £3000 amp for about £1000.
     
  20. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    When I say sounds like, I do not mean I have heard it LOL. I mean from the sound of the spec and the reviews.
     
  21. t bone

    t bone
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    ill have to take a look but it seems all the good stuff at the moment is over seas:(
     
  22. t bone

    t bone
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  23. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    I have indeed, along with four or five other reviews – and I have found nothing negative yet (one caveat being that the six moons reviews are often hard to decipher, LOL). My only criticism from the spec would be that it has no balanced inputs. I would like to have my stereo pre-amp at one end of the room and the power amp tucked away closer to the speakers.
     
  24. t bone

    t bone
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    Certainly food for thought round and round I go.
     
  25. eastsoutheast

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    I miss read not realising power amplification was also required.
     
  26. eastsoutheast

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    Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. I disagree but that's the nature of opinions. I have owned top of the range Arcam, Pioneer, Yamaha, Tag, Rotel AV amps/processors and none were as good as the Meridian processors I mentioned.

    Good luck with the search.
     
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  27. kingcobbler

    kingcobbler
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    Sorry for not being clear.... I guess my total budget could go to up to £4000 for processor and power amp. My initial thought was the Marantz 8 series pair, or maybe AV8801 with the Emotiva XPR5. My thoughts were that the most important thing to get correct was the Processor. It must be HD sound ready out of the box.

    If its possible to get the AV8801 for under £2000 then I think I would pull the trigger straight away :)

    To spend up to £4000 on a pre and power is a massive stack of money to me, so want to get it right and will be a purchase to last over 10 years!!
     
  28. kingcobbler

    kingcobbler
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    Also, can someone put me out of my misery and tell me I should / shouldn't save a stack of money and buy the Denon AVR-4520 which I can get for around the £1200 - £1500
     
  29. t bone

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    Hi kingcobbler

    Your post has cleared things up The price I quoted on my Marantz bear in mind it was a combo price that included the power amp. you've expressed a preference for the emotiva so this price may not be obtainable also it was about a year ago when stock was plentiful.

    I'm a firm believer of you get what you pay for, so If your budget is 4K and sound quality is your priority The Marantz is hard to beat even at this high price point.

    I think if you're looking for not many features and outstanding sound you have to go even more hi end i.e. Krell foundation etc. finally what speakers and sub are you looking to run with the processor?
     
  30. kingcobbler

    kingcobbler
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    Sub is a Rel Q400 (looking to replace about 6 months after sorting my amps out). Speakers are Kef Reference 3.2's for front, Kef Reference 1's for rears and Kef Reference 200C for the centre.

    Is there a Marantz AV8**** processor / power bundle price anywhere then?
     

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