Recommendations for 2 channel amp; better than Aventage?

HowardInRct

Active Member
Afternoon all.

Our system is primarily geared for home cinema and, for that, it’s great. However, 2 channel listening, with CDs, via a Bluray player is a different story.

Components are:

Yamaha Aventage RX-A1010

Sony BDP-S6700

Wharfedale Diamond 230

For certain albums, I would describe the sound as: clear vocals, punchy bass, pleasant top end, balanced, weighty.

The experience is really enjoyable, and I don’t experience any boomy bass or harsh treble. To me, imaging is good, and soundstage is big enough.

Tracks that sound good are simple and uncomplicated e.g. those from the album The Police – Every Breath You Take – Singles, for example.

However, for other albums/tracks I would describe the sound as: lacking electricity, lacking emotion, muffled and congested. Some examples are:

  • The Cure, Disintegration – Same Deep Water as You – the spine-chilling synth sound is not there.
  • Same album, Last Dance – the soaring, expansive synth sound is AWOL
  • Depeche Mode – Walking in My shoes, Ambient Whale remix- guitar ripping across at 1.54 used to be electrifying, but is no more.
(I understand that the SQ is dependent on a well mastered CD, but these tracks used to sound better through ear buds, on You Tube, on a phone – which I don’t want to do anymore)

I deliberately picked the Wharefdale as I don’t want harsh treble and want to keep them but realise they could be problem here. Oh well, I'm keeping them and read here that a dedicated 2 channel amp can sound better than a multi-channel receiver.

I’m happy to take a punt on the used market to see if I can improve things.

Please could you send recommendations for 2 channel integrated amps that would significantly improve the SQ for the problem areas I mention above (significantly beyond the RX-A1010’s capabilities), that would work well with the Wharfedales?

Budget is £300 for 2nd hand kit.

Is that too little to achieve significantly better sound?

Must have co-axial digital input as I would use the BDP as a source, at least initially and don't mind manually swapping cables.

Other info….

  • The A1010 was £1200 when new, which is a lot in my book, but Audioholics said of it “I found it to be quite a musical receiver too”, which is somewhat damming with faint praise.
  • See picture below, taken from the sofa (listening position) – As the room is small (3.8m x 2.9m), I’ve pulled the speakers well away from walls and they certainly sound better that way. As I say – no boomyness.
  • I listen at moderate levels, about 2m from the speakers, along the long side of the room. Current setup is loud enough for me.
  • I listen with the YPAO calibration settings enabled e.g. Stereo/Straight, which (to me) sound much better than Pure Direct.

Thank you
 

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Onlythesound

Active Member
Hmmm….where to start? Possibly a new Marantz pm 6007 amplifier or 2nd hand pm 6006. The former is £479 at Richer Sounds but will be a good match for those Wharfedales I think.
I think it might be worth looking at an upgrade to your Sony. I calculated that I would need to buy the UBP X800 m2 to achieve decent CD & Blu-ray performance from the same box consistently. So far it’s been good after more than a year out of the box. Amazon is showing it at significant discount at the moment.

Amazon product
 
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Onlythesound

Active Member
There are quite a few PM 6006s on eBay at the moment. ..
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
Your room itself could help if you looked at a little treatment. Your front soundstage is very narrow. The Yamaha's room correction is probably helping you out here and that's why you prefer it.

To answer your question on whether a standalone stereo amp will improve performance then the answer is yes. If wanting to use the same front speakers, which obviously you do, then the best and most convenient solution is an amp that has HT by-pass abilities. The Audiolab 6000 is one of the cheapest to have this ability.

You can use a standard stereo amp such as the excellent Marantz mentioned above but you would have to faff around with volume balancing between the use in cinema and music. In this case the use of a speaker switch may make life easier. Even with a switcher it could still work out cheaper than a HT by-pass amp.

A standalone CD player will also make a difference, not so much as a stereo amp but an improvement all the same.

I've been down the road your about to go on (except for room improvement) and use a HT by-pass amp and upgraded to a standalone CD player.
 
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HowardInRct

Active Member
Cheers to everyone that's replied. :smashin:

With regard to the Marantz - some people in this forum say there's not much difference in SQ between the PM6005 and the PM6006, and I see @gibbsy has specifically recommended a 2nd hand 6005 before.

The PM6005 was £300 new....just checking....that's definitely going to sound significantly better than the £1200 Aventage, even taking into account all the extra amplifiers and video gubbins that would've bumped-up the price of the receiver? (Better being more electric/emotional/gripping)

If so, I will certainly consider it.

Also, if a dedicated CD player is going to make a difference, I may be tempted to bin the need for the digital input on the amp and look for an older CD player/amp combo, but with better SQ.

In the fading past I paired a Rotel RCD-930 with an Arcam Alpha 5+ (which were entry level admittedly). It was an aggressive pairing. I'm thinking something like that pairing might provoke the Wharfedales to get emotional?

Your thoughts on a such a pairing, say from the last 10 years, would also be appreciated. Again looking at £300 used for the combo.

Thank you.
 
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[email protected]

Active Member
I’m not convinced that an amp will necessarily fix things. Your description sounds like my living room. The issue was uncontrolled bass, due to the room. This is really common. You can sometimes improve it by moving speakers away from the wall and adding damping. I dealt with it by blocking the port on my speakers. The port happened to be tuned to roughly the same frequency as the biggest peak. Combine that with turning down the bass a bit and I’m fine. Another solution is an amp with room correction. Your Yamaha seems to have YAPO. I’m not familiar with Yamaha, but I thought that did room correction. Perhaps you could try setting it up, specifically for use with stereo material. I don’t think it’s a matter of just turning it on. If it’s real room correction you have to measure the room response and tailor the result.
 
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HowardInRct

Active Member
Hi @[email protected] . I've moved the speakers well away from the walls (see the attached picture) and run with YPAO room correction. I'm not experiencing any boomy bass - it's pleasantly controlled with some kick to it.

Just trying to improve the SQ to make it more electric/emotional/gripping, so looking for suggestions for CD/Integrated amp combos that could help with that; I'll search-them-out on the 2nd hand market.

Thanks
 
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Hoku

Active Member
For me, the particular quality that separates a ‘meh’ response from ‘wow’ is timing.

And much of that is down to the bass grip and current available from the amp.

I used to own a Pioneer AV receiver, which sounds very much as you describe your Yammy. It was quite pleasing with simple, sparse recordings. But it lacked dynamics and timing: more complex music could be messy, and it just didn’t track a beat especially well.

In my case I wanted to keep things simple, and preferred a one-box solution, so went with the Anthem, which not only gave all the current and bass grip you could wish for, but added a very effective room correction system to boot.

But I’m just making the general point, that timing is the main culprit here, and yes, your room could be a factor, but for me, it’s timing that gives complex tracks clarity and it’s the snappiness of a beat, the speed and impact of a drum hit or a bass guitar pluck that somehow turns average into wow. It makes dynamic shifts from quiet to loud have that startle factor.

So if you were considering a stereo amp, I’d be primarily looking at high current well timed amps. Unfortunately they tend to be pricey: good power supplies that give amps decent timing rarely come cheap.

The Audiolab suggested above would be a good place to start. But if I were in your shoes, I’d be inclined to wait until you can afford a genuine step up of amp. You may find that spending now doesn’t really give you what you’re looking for and you could end up with buyer’s remorse.
 
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HowardInRct

Active Member
Thanks @Hoku I'll take a look at the Audiolab that you and Gibbsy suggest.

As an aside, I was interested to read that Wharfedale chose to demo their Diamond 200 series using the Audiolab 6000A, so you'd think there must be good synergy there.

There still might be but then I read that Wharfedale and Audiolab have the same parent company, so I guess they had to! LOL
 
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Ascotbilly

Active Member
@HowardInRct

Morning Howard. A shameless plug, you mention Rotel CDP’s I have an RCD-02 in for sale in the classifieds on here at a very good price.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d simply sell the the Yamaha and buy an Anthem 510, 710, 520 or 720.

The Anthem amps are excellent with music. Add the excellence that is ARC Genesis and you’ll have everything you need for top class stereo and it will better the Yamaha for home cinema too.

And it won’t cost you more than adding a stereo amp to the Yamaha.

Big win.
 
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Khazul

Well-known Member
The Audiolab suggested above would be a good place to start. But if I were in your shoes, I’d be inclined to wait until you can afford a genuine step up of amp. You may find that spending now doesn’t really give you what you’re looking for and you could end up with buyer’s remorse.

Have to agree with this - After originally looking for a sub 500 quid amp a few years ago to serve as a music amp and take over the front speakers from my AVR, ended up buying a Yamaha AS-2100 for 3x that price and no regrets at all.

In hindsight I know I would have very much regretted buying something less capable that I would maybe never by entirely happy with, only to have to sell it later and spend the money anyway.
 
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Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Do you move the Front LR when you are listing to a Movie/TV show? Having the Centre so far back from the Front LR must sound odd and light reflections off of the inside face of the Front LR would be annoying visually.

Any chance you can borrow a decent stereo amp (preferably something with a digital input) as personally in your room I'd ditch the AVR, Centre, Surrounds and Sub (assuming you have them) and concentrate on a 2.0 system that fits your overall budget.

Joe
 
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HowardInRct

Active Member
Appreciate all the replies, thanks. Regarding the front speaker positions, they are normally in line with the TV and centre - works just fine for films. When I get some dedicated time for 2 channel listening I move them forward. This is the first time I've experimented with pulling speakers far out into the room and the increase in SQ has been a revelation. I just push them back when finished and (hopefully) remember to replace the speaker covers before the children get a chance to push in the tweeters.

The system is primarily a home cinema setup. Since I have the 230 speakers though I want to see if I can improve the SQ for 2 channel music, within a small budget. If I can do that with a 2nd hand dedicated stereo amplifier then I will be pleased. (As mentioned above, some albums sound fantastic to me so I'm already very happy - just trying to improve things if possible)

I'd love to be able to borrow a decent stereo amp, but don't know anyone who has one. That said, I know Gibbsy is just down the road but I doubt he'd bring his Rega round :)

@Joe Fernand
 
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Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
I'd consider giving Sevenoaks a go, they have ex-display available for 6000a at a reduced price. If you call them, because the units are already "soiled", they may be quite flexible about you trialling it.
 
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HowardInRct

Active Member
@Dobbyisfree - I don't believe we have any Sevenoaks shops in Wales. However, we do have RS and Audio-T in Cardiff; and they may allow home demos of ex-display kit. I'll take a look.....thanks for the suggestion.
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
@Dobbyisfree - I don't believe we have any Sevenoaks shops in Wales. However, we do have RS and Audio-T in Cardiff; and they may allow home demos of ex-display kit. I'll take a look.....thanks for the suggestion.
Nearest SSaV for you would be Bristol. The guys in AudioT in Cardiff are very good. I've bought the vast majority of my kit there.
 
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Khankat

Well-known Member
Thanks @Hoku I'll take a look at the Audiolab that you and Gibbsy suggest.

As an aside, I was interested to read that Wharfedale chose to demo their Diamond 200 series using the Audiolab 6000A, so you'd think there must be good synergy there.

There still might be but then I read that Wharfedale and Audiolab have the same parent company, so I guess they had to! LOL
The Audiolab 6000A has a fairly decent 9amps current swing, which will be better than many other brands, that do not publish this figure. It also has a built in DAC. So, you could use an existing disc player with digital output as a transport only, handing the decoding to the Audiolab, if you opt to go that route. This would give you a decent upgrade.
 
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ItsNotAllSnakeOil

Active Member
Shameless plug No.2 and possibly out of budget but i have a Quad Vena 2 Play up for sale in the classifieds. Great amp, streaming built in, DAC etc and doesn't take up a lot of space. Also has similar internals to the Audiolab as they are from the same group IAG.
 
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